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Oil Patch

Sad Times as an Oiler Fan

I haven’t written much for a while now. I’d like to say that it’s because I switched jobs. I’d like to say that it’s because I moved cities. I’d like to say that it’s because I got engaged and planning a budget wedding is time consuming. I’d like to say that it was one of any number of excuses, but the honest truth is that I stopped making it a priority. It’s not that I don’t feel fulfilled anymore, not at all! What the real issue for me has been, is that that team that I have devoted so much time and energy to getting behind, getting excited about, and looked for stories to report on hasn’t given me much reason to be excited about these days. And I know that I am not alone.

Looking at my RSS feeds, I see fewer and fewer articles every week from the Oilers’ faithful. I know that everyone is feeling the frustration. How often can we talk about the team needing an improved blueline, goaltending, and even centremen? We can’t keep saying every day that the team has too much of the same player, and that they need to mix it up on the front end. We certainly can’t keep saying that the Oilers should make the playoffs this next year, all we do is make ourselves look like liars.

I was sure that this year would be a failure if the team didn’t at least compete for the playoffs. You know what, they didn’t. I see it as a failure, and I can only hope that they do as well. GM Craig MacTavish thought that they were only a few pieces away, and I wanted to think that they were too. Now, it’s extremely apparent that those holes will not be filled in one off season alone. No matter what MacT can do this summer, it won’t be enough to get the Oilers to the playoffs in the Spring of 2015.

My typical style has been to look to the future, look to the upcoming players. That’s certainly not something that I think I will ever tire of. The positivity, the drive and the ambition of any young player is contagious. I love reporting on Junior Hockey. I will make that a priority again.

While this may read as an “I quit” or “Dear John” letter, it’s not. It’s me admitting that it’s very hard to be an Oilers’ fan these days. Everyone is laughing at us, I’m laughing at this situation too! The team has 3 first overall picks, and they might even add one more to that this year. The team has had a coaching carousel, and people continue to mention changing coaches even now. This still isn’t an excuse to be so lazy about writing. So what this post is supposed to be is an apology, an apology for letting myself fall into the same slump that so many others have hit even though there is nothing wrong with feeling down about this team.

I do have hope, maybe even faith, that MacT will be able to make a few moves this year. I have faith that next year will be much better. I’m going to try to make the most of these last few games. I’m going to enjoy my last look at some of these players in an Oilers jersey, I mean come on, they have to move some of those top six players. The decisions made this summer will be the toughest ones made to date. The team is going to have to look at trading at least one of Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov and I am going to talk all about that when it happens.

In the meantime, I am happy to announce that I am going to watch the Oilers lose in San Jose next week, crossing another NHL arena off of my list and taking my count to 18 arenas, and Oilers games in 16 of those.  That story is soon to come. Things will get better, I do still believe that. The only trouble is that things getting better can’t happen soon enough.

Thanks for your patience, I do still believe tha things will get better, and that the Oilers can only stay at the bottom if they do nothing moving forward.

Filed in: Edmonton Oilers, | Oil Patch | Permalink


RorSchach's avatar

Just goes to show that you can’t win on talent alone. What astounds me is that there are times where they flat out look really good as a team.

I’m not sure what could fix that situation. It’s definitely hard to be an Oilers fan.

I wish y’all the best of luck at not being a joke in the league. Same with Buffalo as well.

Posted by RorSchach from Datsberg on 03/27/14 at 06:22 PM ET

Lisa Brown's avatar

The team desperately needs some veteran leadership, and players that have more “give a damn” to drive the team. A local radio guy has been talking to past and present players about the tempo of the Oilers’ practices and what it boils down to is that the players are trying hard enough and aren’t driving the practice which translates to games.

Posted by Lisa Brown on 03/27/14 at 06:51 PM ET

BrendonTO's avatar

It’ll all turn out - they’re too talented to keep languishing. They’re just still pretty young. Eberle is the definition of clutch when he’s on and the Nuge may be the most naturally talented player in the League when he’s on. Eakins is a good coach but it may take some time for him to have his intended impact. The main problem in EDM has been lack of patience with the whole process.

Posted by BrendonTO on 03/27/14 at 08:01 PM ET

Lisa Brown's avatar

It feels like we’ve been plenty patient since things fell apart after the ‘06 cup run and Pronger asked for a trade. It’s been a very long time without playoffs in the city of champions.

The worst part has to be the years with Tambellini at the helm, and nothing much changed or improved. MacT is making moves, whether or not they are right, or good we have to wait and see. It’s hard to be patient after all this time.

Posted by Lisa Brown on 03/27/14 at 11:06 PM ET

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About Oil Patch

Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.

Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.

Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.

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