- Dion Phaneuf – Is it Possible he’ll be an Oiler?
- Oilers Gameday – Vs. Flames
- Is Jake Gardiner A Fit In Edmonton?
- Loyalty Poll
- Oilers Gameday – Vs. Avalanche
- Taylor Hall – Breaking Bad?
- Disaster In The D-Zone
- Making The Grade…David Perron
- Making The Grade – Devan Dubnyk
- It’s All About the Benja…er…Bordens?
It’s Already Pep Talk Time For Oilers Fans
- Updated: October 4, 2013
“Ladies and Gentlemen…YOURRRRR EDMONTON OILERS!!”
Those words have caused sell-out crowds in Rexall place to explode into thundering, defeaning applause game after game. Despite the Oilers less than optimal showings in the past decade (give or take a few years), Oilers fans are arguably the most supportive (albeit insane) and dedicated fans in the league.
Your typical true-blue Oilers fan shows up for every single game, with his face painted, Oilers jersey on and wearing a crazy Oilers hat or some kind of body paint. He’s the guy that leaves the game after everyone else has left with a hoarse voice from cheering – even if the Oilers lose. If it’s an away game, he will sit on his couch at home alone wearing his jersey, phone in hand ready to text or tweet everything that happens. While people are posting pictures of their weddings, new babies and engagement rings on Facebook, he’s posting a pre or post game blog about the Oilers, or uploading pictures from the game itself. These are real Oilers fans my friends…and I’m proud to say I’m one of them. While we may spew forward a few negative comments here and there out of frustration, there is no denying that we bleed orange and blue.
Take a bow Oilers fans…we are the best there is. (I may be biased, but it’s my article and I can say whatever I want).
My shock and dismay came on Tuesday night at about 11:30pm as I laid in bed going over some of the post game tweets. I couldn’t believe some of the comments “Oilers fans” were spewing forth. Things like “Fire Eakins” and “Not Making the Playoffs” and some profane things that I just wouldn’t repeat here…or anywhere for that matter. It got me thinking, is this really what we’ve become? A bunch of fair weathered fans?? So I would like to take this glorious opportunity to reach out and say…
IT WAS THE FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON!
Of course everybody is going to be nervous and a bit shaky…but low and behold, fans are jumping off that bandwagon faster than you could say “Ohhhh”. Come on people…this is the reason knee surgeries are up by 30% in Calgary. Pick your heads up and shake it off!
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve mentioned once or twice in the preseason that I’m going to be trying this new thing called positivity…it’s rather foreign to me and I don’t really like it but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it although my Twitter followers may disagree.
I’m not going to lie, after the first two periods against the Jets on Tuesday, my first thought was “Man, if they still can’t play a full 60 minutes, we’re screwed”. Sadly…the very same unfolded right before my eyes. There were definite low points to the game like Dubnyk and his ever so classic softie goals. I’m calling a spade a spade…Dubnyk was terrible. Taylor Hall didn’t have a great game. Eberle was inconsistent, Ryan Smyth on the first line? Yakupov riding the pine for a bit? Defensively we were flat and offensively, we couldn’t capitalize on the chances we had. I get it! I’ve been an Oilers fan for a long time, I understand the frustration.
Here’s the thing though…we were winning 4-2 at one point…so we must have been doing something right. Let’s take a minute and focus on the positives shall we?
It has been years since I saw the Oilers come out flying the way that they did. They were taking shots from anywhere and everywhere…by anyone! The flurry of activity the Oilers were providing in front of the Winnipeg goal was impressive. GAZDIC…for the love of hockey…shot it from pretty much behind the goal line and it found it’s way in. On a sidenote, Gazdic also had himself a fight…so that Gordie Howe hattrick was well within his reach.
Ales Hemsky…I am FAMOUS for hating on Hemsky but he had a great game on Tuesday night, and instead of losing the puck, he dangled through a few guys and actually shot it…and look what happened…he scored. Isn’t it funny how you can score goals when you throw the puck at the net? Hemsky was also defensively responsible and I saw more hustle out of him than I ever have.
Perhaps the most positive point of the night for me was Jonesuu. Point blank, if that guy consistently plays the way he did on Tuesday…we have a superstar power forward in the making. He scored a goal, he’s a big body, he hustles, he works hard and he doesn’t take crap from anyone. Another bonus…when Eberle got rocked into the boards, Jonesuu was NOT having it and immediately went over and dealt with it. He had his hands in a few skirmishes that night and I loved it. Great move by keeping him on the active roster. He proved that he deserves a spot there.
While the Oilers may have lost their home opener, there were still a lot of things that they did right and yes, they have things to work on but let’s remember that Taylor Hall is playing a position that he normally doesn’t play and we’re missing our top two centres. Having Gagner and Nugent-Hopkins back in the lineup will make a big difference. By the sounds of it, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be making his 2013-2014 debut on Monday against the Devils, and he’s pumped about it, so that’s a big step in the right direction.
The Oilers have their work cut out for them this season, no question, and I think that the realignment is going to make it even harder on them to make a playoff push but it’s still early in the season and to put it nicely…fans just need to CHILL OUT. That pains me to say because I know…we’ve been patient for years and end up in the same place year after year despite the amount of young talent we draft, but the melodramatics have to go!
Bringing in Dallas Eakins could be the cure to the Oilers mediocre play issues. He is known for his ability to nurture and develop young players and that’s what this Oilers team is full of. Firing coaches every year isn’t helping the team grow either, but I think Eakins is the right man for the job so we have to give him an honest chance to see what he can do with our young team.
I know we all had some questions about what was happening with the lines and why we saw so much of Ryan Smyth and so little of Nail Yakupov but there has to be a method to his madness and he’s got to figure out what combinations work so let’s lay off the “fire Eakins” comments and cut the guy some slack.
All in all, the Oilers played a decent game. Yes there was questionable goaltending which I still believe is an issue (but that’s a blog for another day), yes there were errors and yes we blew a 4-2 lead. However…Did the Oilers fire pucks at the net from all angles? YES. Were they fast? YES Did they work hard? YES Did they give up? NO. It’s always easy to focus on the negatives, but come on…we’ve been through worse.
The bottom line is, this is still a very young team, dealing with lots of off season changes, unexpected injuries and a shoulder surgery. They’re going to continue to make mistakes but jumping ship after one game does not make it any better.
I know that everyone was looking forward to this season more than any other, and it’s disappointing to have lost right out of the gate. Look at it this way…the past couple of years the Oilers have started off the season on fire, I know because I took a screenshot of the standings last year when we were in first place for 24 hours…but as usual we crashed and burned somewhere in the middle of the season. This year…we have nowhere to go but up!
So take a deep breath, have a drink, go for a jog or do whatever it is you need to do to de-stress…we have a long season ahead and you KNOW it’s not going to be all champagne and caviar…which is good because we’re more of a beer and pizza fan base anyways.