To the Fans of the Edmonton Oilers it May Concern:
Death, taxes, and the Edmonton Oilers missing the playoffs. It feels good to have order restored to the universe.
You see, about this time last year, the Sharks were preparing to take on an Oilers squad that was... well, let’s say full of themselves. For the first time since 2006, the Oilers were going to the postseason, led by a plucky and healthy Connor McDavid. From the second they clinched a playoff berth, you all seem so sure your young captain would lead you all the way to Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The thing is — last year was probably the easiest path to the Cup we’ve seen in awhile. And yet, ya blew it.
After beating a Sharks team whose two leading scorers could not breathe (Logan Couture) or skate (Joe Thornton), the Oil dropped the ball in seven games against the Anaheim Ducks. The Randy Carlyle-led Ducks! Granted, had the Oilers escaped Round Two, they would’ve run into the buzzsaw that was the Nashville Predators in the Conference Final, but you have to imagine that simply being that close would’ve fueled the Oilers into — at the very least — giving the Preds a run for their money.
Connor McDavid did not lead you to a Cup last year. This year, despite an undisputed title as the best player in the league and an Art Ross Trophy, he did not lead you to the postseason and will lose the Hart to either Nathan MacKinnon or... wait for it... Taylor Hall.
Yes, Taylor Hall, that prickly sonofabitch thorn in your side that will never die.
ChiaPete can’t keep a first rounder in Edmonton if he tried and lord knows that man has stopped trying. While the Oil miss playoffs, here’s a brief list of some notable former Oilers who will be in the postseason:
- Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
- Nail Yakupov, Colorado Avalanche
- Justin Schultz, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Andrew Cogliano, Anaheim Ducks
- Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild
- Patrick Maroon, New Jersey Devils
- Mark Letestu, Columbus Blue Jackets
- David Perron, Vegas Golden Knights
Yikes. That’s gotta sting.
But, hey! Maybe that makes it easier for you when once again, you set up for the postseason by finding a new team to bandwagon. All of these teams have merit and there’s even a few underdog stories in there, if you want to stay comfortable.
Or maybe you could move on from former Oiled Men and hop on the Philadelphia Flyers bandwagon — y’know, the team that you ripped off their 2004 series slogan “Orange Crush” from last year? Besides, if there’s one schadenfreude hockey fans seem to enjoy more than the Oilers being bad, it’s anyone crushing the Pittsburgh Penguins’ hopes and dreams. So hitch your wagon to Philly and ride this one out while Connor McDavid spends his summer regretting getting swindled into committing to Edmonton until 2026 because of one decent season.
At least you know you get to watch the greatest player in the league until then! With Leon Draisaitl by his side, no less! These are legitimate positives!
Until you remember that ten-goal-scorer Milan Lucic is also slogging around Rogers Place until 2023. Oh, and add Adam “Can Play 25 Minutes a Night Comfortably” Larsson until 2021. Edmonton, you’re doing amazing, sweetie.
Speaking of Rogers Place, there’s that shiny new arena to make going to games less horrible, even when you pay money to wander the concourse and not get a seat. The good news is that they haven’t started making you pee in sinks yet.
In all, I think the Oilers are doing you a real solid by not making playoffs. Sometimes you just know who you are, as a fan, as a team, and changing that deep-seated sense of self can be a bit daunting. A perfect storm of circumstances helped you make that leap last year, but tigers just don’t change their stripes — especially if Peter Chiarelli is the one painting them on.
To top it all off, you don’t even really have the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes to look forward to as an apology for a mostly abysmal season. Being somewhat okay to close out the year — which, by the way, you really couldn’t find it in yourselves to help your draft odds and just like, let the Sedins go out with a win? C’mon — the Oilers are looking at about a five percent chance of getting that first-overall pick.
Ah, who cares if y’all win it, anyway. In three years, he’ll get traded to the Rangers for an ECHL player and three cases of Febreze Fabric Refresher. Ask 200 hockey men, and they’ll tell you that odor eliminator brings more than just the what the label says — it’s got heart, and somehow, grit.
As a Sharks fan, let’s just say this: you can’t choke if you don’t try. Maybe you’re better off.
Before we go: what’s the asking price on a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Asking for a friend.