Remember when the Oilers couldn’t stop boasting about their last-place team filled with young superstars Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Nail Yakupov? We had no squabble with the Oilers at the time, other than our two AHL games a year, but still, Oilers fans could never stop boasting about their “young core.” Now, with all those players in their prime years, all the Oilers have to show for it is the last year of RNH and Adam Larsson in the last years of their contracts. Literally nothing else. Only an incomprehensibly pathetic franchise could bungle that core. And yet here we are.
People laugh at how top-heavy the Leafs are, but man, look at the Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl can score themselves points, but they run away every time the puck leaves the offensive zone faster than Jason Kenney and his cabinet run off to the Caribbean when they think nobody's looking. And for the rest of the team, they play like the neutral zone is as far away from them as Banff is from Edmonton.
This team construction is especially rich when every third quote coming out of Edmonton is their big manly brotherhood of big strong men, how the big tough men stick up for each other rah rah while McDavid has to carry the offense of 10 men on his literal broken shoulders because his teammates do literally nothing. Edmonton knows hockey as a team sport in every sense of the word except when it comes to putting pucks in the net and winning games. Wasn’t Milan Lucic meant to scare pucks into nets? Meanwhile scoring rates went up when he wasn’t on the team last year.
It’s sad to watch broadcasters and fans spout truculence in every win because a guy made a hit 40 minutes before Draisaitl’s goal on the power play. We drank the kool-aid once, get off it, it’s just water.
I appreciate the toughness it takes to get past an opponent and get into the areas to score goals. But when toughness is done the Oilers way, it goes sideways very quickly and very often. I hate that. I hate watching a bully crosscheck a competitor to the ground, laud over him, and punch him while he’s down. That’s chickenshit. That’s the 12ft wide F-150 with trucknuts of hockey plays. Do I ever have to respect a player or team that does that kind of crap regularly? No, I never will.
Moving on, I don’t know how much I can mock the Oilers “elite” prospect pipeline because we’ve never been pragmatic about our prospects either. That said, it is funny to me that their defense prospects famously don’t know how to defend. I’m sure I’ll eat my words when Evan Bouchard turns into PK Subban, John Carlson, and Shea Weber after one rookie season points per game in the AHL. Analytics is definitely your passion over there.
I saw an article a day ago that top Oilers prospect Philip Broberg played through injury in the semi-finals of the WJC. I’m so glad he’ll fit in with McDavid’s collarbone, Klefbom’s shoulder, and Puljujarvi’s hip. All of whom played through their injuries, leading to the first looking like a ghost at the end of the season, the second missing the entire 2021 season after long-awaited surgery, and the third to run all the way to Finland for two years. I don’t know what’s going on there, but holy crap let your players heal. It isn’t endearing. You’ll all be better off, I promise.
Back to your team, I mentioned in my article that came out earlier today just how mediocre the Oilers are on paper. Ken Holland can’t even put together a bottom six that’s better than the Leafs when they tanked for Matthews. At least try and take some shots when McDavid isn’t on the ice? He won’t be mad, I promise. Although, if he does get mad, you’ll probably end up in his underground Darth Vader dungeon (aka his kitchen) for a month. Better not risk it. Off the glass and to the bench it is then.
I mean, it’s great.
Love the artwork.
It’s so cozy.