PAC Championship, Christmas Edition: Oilers @ Sharks
It’s December 23. We’re 35 games into the season. And tonight, we faceoff against the San Jose Sharks for the PAC-Crown heading into the break. This is the literal definition of unfamiliar territory. The Oil have accumulated 41 points in 35 games this year. Last year? 46 games. The year before? 56 GAMES! Holy balls. In 2014/15 we were so obnoxiously bad that we didn’t hit 41 points until February 12. If you didn’t think el Connor was the Messiah by now that stat should knock your head on straight.
So here we are. Tonight, the Oilers invade Saint Joseph, battling for the Iron Throne, in the first meeting of the season against the Sharks. I’m not even going on a limb when I say this is the most important game we’ve played in December since 2006. This is a franchise that has typically bullied the Oilers out the door each time we play them, and yet somehow, we’ve played them at about .500 hockey for in the last few years. Make no mistake about it, this one’s extremely winnable, and we’re all extremely aware of what’s on the line. Imagine opening up the NHL standings on Christmas Day and seeing the Oilers in first place?
Looks like Beck draws in for Puljujarvi on right side w/Caggiula & Pouliot. Rest of lineup remains same. Talbot vs Jones in net.
— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) December 23, 2016
We also got some shit news this morning. Tyler Pitlick, who was having a career year, is now done for the season with a torn ACL. Breaks my damn heart. Great kid. Hopefully Vegas doesn’t snatch him because I’d really like to see him play for the Oil again.
I can’t be bringing everyone’s spirits down like this though, tonight’s too important of a game as we need everybody to be at their pinnacle mental state. Some good news today? Jesse’s buddy and Oilers 6th round pick, Aapeli Räisänen, made the Finnish WJ team! Yay, Aapeli!
Of course Jesse is trying to eat the gold medal.
The San Jose Sharks.
Signs of choking include: bulging eyes and veins, red face, being the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs. <3 -W2
— #LAKings (@LAKings) April 23, 2014
The Sharks would go on to lose that series 4-3, after being up 3-0.
Why They Stink
When we’re a playoff team in April, the last club I’m worried about facing is the Sharks. In fact, I would much, much, MUCH rather face these idiots as the four seed over ending up in the one or two spot and getting like either LA or Anaheim, or crossing over and facing anybody in the Central except maybe St. Louis. You know 2016 was fucked eight ways from Friday when the Sharks made it to the finals. This was an absolute god awful year, and that was hockey’s epitome of it.
Why Their Fans Stink
Well, they booed “O Canada”.
Which Shark Stinks
Hey, did you know Mikel Boedker is a Shark? Yup. After years of kicking tires in Arizona, and being labelled as “that guy who’s under-valued because of where he plays” and all that mumbo jumbo, Boedker finally became a free agent and landed a lucrative deal with the Sharks. He’s getting paid a cool $5.2 schmil this year, and has SIX points.
Mark Letestu has seven goals so ok.
Why They Might Not Stink
Still the funniest video on the internet:
Ladies. Gentlemen. I can’t stress the magnitude of this game. It is huge, and we need each and every one of you to bring that energy from your home or the bar or wherever it is you watch the boys play tonight. Now I’m not one for the motivational speeches or anything, but I’ll give it my best shot. I don’t know what to say really. Five hours, until the biggest battle of our professional decade…all comes down to today. Either we heal, as a team…or we’re going to crumble. Inch by inch, play by play, ’til we’re finished.
But on this team, we fight for that inch.
On this team, we tear ourselves–and everyone else around us–to pieces, for that inch.
Because we know, when we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING.
And I’ll tell you this: In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die, who’s going to win that inch.
That’s a team, gentlemen. And either we heal, now, as a team–or we will die, as individuals. That’s the PAC-7, gentlemen. That’s all it is.
I also just think I made a new pregame video for the Silent Jungle, and I didn’t even need clips of Darnell running by himself down a barren street. You’re welcome, OEG.
I expect it to be s bloodbath tonight. Multiple lead changes and goal exchanges and bodies flying everywhere courtesy of Edmonton’s new favourite lunatic. We don’t have to be there to tell the boys the importance of this game, they know it. We know they know it. And unlike our teams of the past, I fully expect them to bring it tonight. This is a huge, huge test, and not only are we going to pass–we’re going to turn a few heads doing it.
On the back of three McPoints, the Pacific Division leading Edmonton Oilers win 5-3, with Mark Letestu burying his miraculous eighth of the year into an empty net to seal this one for us in the Tank. Things get heated, and the captains begin to mix things up. But then Zack Kassian bulldozes Joonas Donskoi, fights Brenden Dillion, and yells “This is Sparta!!” on his way to the dressing room, and the Sharks remember this isn’t the same Oilers team anymore. Now let’s go lead a division.