Monday, March 31, 2008

Such great heights

Weeee!! This is the Oilers' 2007-08 campaign in a nutshell: dizzying highs, terrifying low(e)s. As the last grains of sand trickle down on this weirdo year, the Oilers find themselves in mix for a playoff spot, which is an achievement few people could have predicted. Lots of folks, including yours truly, had this club tagged as a lottery team. Too much youth and too many questionable moves (step right up Mssrs. Penner and Souray) spelled doom from the get go, a prospect made all the more certain by the mounting casualties. The mere fact that the Oilers have pulled together a respectable second half, thanks to the emergence of the kiddie corps, is cause for optimism. Of course there's the usual and well-trod questions around everything from the repeatability of the Oilers' shootout success to their lousy goal differential, but I'll leave all that to the stats-heads, and they are welcome to it.

Regardless of the why's and wherefores, the last couple of weeks have been fun for a fan, a damn sight more so than the suckfest that followed the Smyth trade last year. Even if the Oilers miss out (which is, let's face it, a highly probable occurrence), there's still a good chance that their late seaon surge will contribute to one of Vancouver or Calgary missing the dance: that in itself is something to cheer for. And there's a very good chance our team will be better next season: I'm not sure how much that applies to the Oil's Northwest Division foes.

The only dark cloud on the horizon is the possibility that Kevin Lowe will do something monumentally stupid in the off season in hope of shortening the timeframe between "rebuild" and "contender." It's a distinct possibility, given the rising cap, the influx of new money in the form of Katz's billions and Lowe's apparent love of shiny objects. personaly, I'd like to see Lowe get the house in order by signing the current crop of RFAs and UFAs and looking at a couple of cheap upgrades both up front and on the backend to take some heat off and to offer some depth for when (not if) Moreau and Souray get hurt. The bunch in place right now has all the makings of a helluva team: I'd hate to see Lowe blow it by deciding we need another five year plan for the third year in a row.

None of the above is all that new or visionary, I know. Many have expressed similar sentiments, so I guess I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus. On a final note, this season was my first outside of Edmonton, which means I actually got to watch very few games—I probably caught 30 on TV and a few more on internet radio—yet thanks to the Oilogosphere, I feel more connected to what's going on than I ever did back in the 780. The amount of good information, insightful commentary and funny shit on some of these blogs is often more compelling than the actual games. So I'd like to thank Punjabi Oil for bringing me into the fold as a bona fide contributor instead of random snarky commenter. GOILERS.

1 comment:

PunjabiOil said...

Not a problem. It's great reading multiple opinions

As for this season - it was a disappointment in the sense that it was only til late January, the Oilers were a lottery bound team. The team still has had trouble holding leads or coming up short (Games against Minnesota, Vancouver, Colorado in the past weeks).

But then again, I realize the Oilers were the same inconsistent team back in 2005-2006, and nobody remembers the regular season. It's all about the counting results, and this team is 6 games above .500

It'd be great to make the playoffs - but even if it doesn't happen, the Oilers have given fans legitimate grounds that this team will be closer to the Montreal 2007-2008 team next year rather than St. Louis version 2006-2007. For instance, how Gagner has developed. Cogliano and Nilsson have also become consistent players. Hell, even Matt Greene has proved he can be an NHLer who doesn't bleed goals against.

I had mentioned St. Louis's hot streak to end last season (2006-2007) as a possible comparison to the Oilers - I looked it up. Without double checking, their record from Feb-end of season was 12-12-7

The Oilers have been hot too long for it to be a steak. And they've been doing it without the likes of veteran players in Torres, Horcoff, Souray, Moreau.

Things are looking up - there is good reason to believe the roller coaster next season will more eerily resemble Callaway park rather than the mindbender at West Edmonton Mall.