Oil Going Up

OilersbeatStarsIt’s been over a year since I wrote my most viewed blog.  As absolutely miserable of a time that was, man did I ever make the most of that!  It wasn’t my intention, I just took what I had seen that late November weekend that saw the Oilers completely quit in back to back home games and wrote about what I thought.  Worked out well for me.

 

I’m not expecting the same thing this time around.  But thanks to a mangled finger, the site has been on the DL for a little over a month if you haven’t noticed.  Well, I’m back, annoying as ever!  And why not check in on the Oilers, as they’re never dull.

 

So last week they roll into Toronto and absolutely stink the ACC out.  Just an atrocious showing in the hockey capital of the planet.  I didn’t have work that day, so I got to hear a lot of the pre game talk out of Toronto, and despite coming off a weekend where they took 3 of 4 points in Detroit and Pittsburgh, the Oilers were still being shit on.  Maybe it’s the Oiler fan in me, but I really do get the sense that there is a level of giddiness from the Toronto media that the Oilers are so bad.  But then again, that’s the media.  They love having something to talk about so as Jim Rome always says “give me an A or give me an F” and the Oilers have given an F for 6 years now.

 

Anyway, Darren Dreger hosts Leafs Lunch that day on TSN, and Dreger along with Jeff O’Neill and Jamie McClennan were going on and on and on about how awful the Oilers are and how they need to make a big trade, and then about how the Oilers young stars aren’t worth anything.  So I’m asking “how are they supposed to make a trade when nobody is worth anything?”  And as expected the day after, that sentiment was coming from EVERYONE in the Toronto media once again.

 

And I have no problem with people shitting on the Oilers.  I’m the last Oiler fan who it’s lost on that they’re the laughing stock of the league.  Thankfully the Sixers have surpassed them as the biggest joke in sports, but that’s not saying much!

 

But while the media and fans take pleasure in kicking athletes and teams while they’re down for some reason, is it too much to ask that they at least get it right!?

 

The Oilers young core isn’t worth nothing.  The reality of it is that every time you hear non Oiler fans and media outside of Edmonton talking about how they need to make a big trade, they say it with anger.  Well, why anger?  Because they think the team they have interest in will then fleece them on a deal.  It isn’t like that is talked about, but make no mistake, that’s the case.  I’m sure its the case for some of the media too, and then the rest of the media wants it because it would be a big story.

 

What really bugs me about it all, is that while everyone screams “make a big trade”, nobody ever has a suggestion as to what that trade is.  They’re just supposed to sell everyone.  Make a suggestion as to whom they should acquire!  And you never hear that.  The last I checked, you need 2 teams to make a deal.

 

I don’t expect this from fans, but could the media, specifically the Toronto media, PLEASE smarten the f*** up?!?  A guy from Lloydminster who blogs for free shouldn’t be able to figure this out before you do.  Trades are nearly impossible to make in the league today, they’re even more difficult to make for a top pairing D-man, and it is basically pie in the sky thinking until June rolls around.  Travis Hamonic?  The Islanders don’t want to move Hamonic.  If they did, they wouldn’t have an unrealistic asking price for him.

 

Darren Dreger believes Peter Chiarelli should give up Oscar Klefbom for Hamonic.  Smart.  You’re awful on the blueline, so give up your best D-man for a slight upgrade.  That’s really going to fill that hole hey Dregs?  Quit your job.  Seriously, if you ACTUALLY think trading a bigger, younger, more talented and higher point producing D-man for what might be a slight upgrade today and likely a downgrade moving forward is an answer, just quit covering hockey.

 

And while I love Hamonic’s game, he’s not a game changer.  He’s a solid D-man in the EAST.  Anyone else notice how much better players look in the East than the West?  I sure do.  Mark Fayne, top 4 guy in Jersey.  Healthy scratch for the Oilers.  Hamonic is good, and might be better suited for the West, but he’s not becoming a number 1.  Hell, the people suggesting he’s now amazing never even gave him a thought as a top D-man in the league a month ago.

 

Then you have the hack writers.  They usually work for publications such as The Hockey News.  Ever wonder why The Hockey News doesn’t get any recognition?  Well, they choose to employ hacks.  Mike Brophy, proved once again why he is considered by most a complete hack when he came out with his piece….4 days late…about how the league can’t allow the Oilers to get another top overall pick.

 

Now, aside from the fact that I don’t get why this is such a concern to the media, and aside from the fact that it isn’t as if the Oilers have been intentionally tanking this entire time, he DOES realize the league has pretty drastically changed the way they do the lottery, doesn’t he?!?  And he DOES realize 1/3 of the season hasn’t been played yet, RIGHT?!?  With the Oilers win on Sunday night vs the Sabres, they moved within 3 points of a playoff spot.  Good job Mikey!

 

The fact of the matter is that the Oilers have been much better this season.  This team isn’t getting blown out every night.  They are battling back in games, they are playing with a lot of structure, and despite the fact that everyone wants to ignore it….Connor McDavid is an Oiler and losing him is a pretty damn significant injury to overcome.  You lose 2/3 of what was your top line for the first month of the season, I would say it’s going to hurt your hockey team.

 

I’m actually impressed with the way this team has rebounded after the humiliation in Toronto, and before that Carolina.  They weren’t playing as good as they had been, and while they’ve won 4 of 5 and got points in 5 of 6, 2 of those wins were in a shootout, 1 was in 3 on 3 OT.  But they’ve hung around in games and they definitely didn’t do that the last 2 seasons!  It’s not much of an accomplishment, but you have to crawl before you can walk.

 

And thanks to an awful division, they have a pretty big game against the Sharks tomorrow night.  Win that in regulation, and they’re officially in the hunt.  Anders Nilsson is playing terrific right now, while they aren’t great defensively they do have everyone buying in defensively, and Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle look to have their games going again.  If they can stay in the hunt until McDavid gets back (and I personally expect him back earlier than anyone else, perhaps January 4th), he might give them the jolt they need to make a serious playoff push.

 

I would honestly be shocked if they were a serious contender for Auston Matthews.  If I did, I wouldn’t be writing this piece.  I would be writing about how humiliating it is yet again and to boycott the team yet again.  1-0 loss in Washington, comeback from 3-1 in LA only to fall short 4-3, OT loss to Chicago, these are respectable loses and proof that they’re really close the breaking out.

 

And again, they aren’t where people want them to be.  But at least it’s coming.  From what we got to see with Dallas Eakins and Craig MacTavish running the show, that is a MASSIVE improvement.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

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