Welcome Home, Playoffs: Sharks @ Oilers

Good morning, Edmonton.

If you’re a psycho like me you’ve been awake since 6. I absolutely could not sleep last night. The adrenaline’s been pumping for weeks now and the playoffs have yet to officially begin. And I can say with full disclosure that I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for about three hours now and I still don’t have a damn clue what to write. Nothing. I’ve had three years to prep for this day and I’m still at a complete loss for words. Truth is, nothing I say can fully grasp how we’re going to be feeling in approximately eight hours. This city is AWAKE. About five kms away, in Northlands, the Concrete Jungle sheds a tear of joy. Flags are all over cars once again. There’s a buzz on the street. The air seems a little clearer. The sun seems a little brighter. And playoff hockey is back in Edmonton for the first time in 3,952 days. Puck drop’s at 8 p.m. and I write my last final at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. Suck it, MacEwan. The playoffs are back.

Lineup

There’ll be no negativity today. I need all of the positive vibes before the puck drops on this historical evening. Thus, I won’t say anything about Tony Slepyshev being left out of the opening day playoff lineup. Iiro the Hero slides in. On defense, we assume Matty Vegas will make his playoff debut alongside Daryl Nurse, who is also making his playoff debut. In fact, five of the Oilers six playoff-opening defensemen have a combined 13 games of playoff experience. Playoff experience. That’ll be thrown around in excess while the Oil casually steamroll their way through the entire Western Conference. It’s as if they’re so desperate to find a flaw in our game that they’ve scapegoated to the inexperience factor. You know who else was inexperienced? Try the 1927 Ottawa Senators. First ever Stanley Cup Champions. They didn’t need experience to smoke the Bruins. There are literally only two things that matter in this series, and for the rest of the playoffs:

  1. The Iceman cometh, and
  2. The best goddamn player in the world is our captain.

Let’s go.

Our Opponent for the next 6-12 days

San Jose Sharks. Saint Joseph.

There we go. Nothing screams ‘California hockey’ quite like a dude wearing a Ducks hat and a Sharks jersey, surrounded by empty seats.

Regular Season Record

3-0-2 Oilers

Advantage: Oilers

Career Playoff Series Head-to-Head Record

1-0 Oilers

 

Chills, and advantage: Oilers

Head Coaches Seeking Vengeance

1-0 Oilers

Advantage: Oilers

Connor McDavids

1-0 Oilers

Advantage: Oilers

The Roundup

You think all of Edmonton’s ready for this or what? Well Ed Hervey’s former staff is fired UP for your boys to begin the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup:

God yes. On a scale of 1 to 0, how many roofs will be on the Rog Mahal by 8:01 this evening? Might honestly be the first ever outdoor playoff hockey game by the time that puck actually drops. No one has any idea what to expect. We all think we remember 2006 but truth is, that was 11 years ago, and I don’t remember what I did on Monday. There are parts that are engraved in our memories, sure. But the legitimate feel of it – the excitement, the build up, the unprecedented noise? That’s all brand new. That’s something we haven’t experienced in over a decade. It might feel nostalgic for a while, but at the end of the day, it’s all brand new. There’s almost an entire half-generation of Oilers fans who have never been alive for a playoff game. And those of us that were alive? Well, we didn’t exactly think we needed to pay that close of attention to what was happening around us during those three months in ’06, because we fully expected to be back in the playoffs the following year. No one could have predicted the Saw-caliber torture that was headed our way. Could you imagine being told in June of 2006 that the Winnipeg fucking Jets would make the playoffs before the next time we did? That’s why I’m typing this, to you, right now. I’m telling you that I cannot predict the kind of chaotic, barbaric shit we’re about to go through as a fan base. All I know is that in St. Albert, we have a little thing called “Merch Madness,” and if the crowd of hundreds inside the Brick Jungle of Akinsdale can erupt as loud as they do when my dude Tommy Rotundo pots a third period bingo then I can only imagine the record-demolishing decibels that will erupt from inside that glorious mecca when Connor dangles Marc-Edouard Vlasic into the Spengler Cup on this beautiful April evening. It’s going to be Loud.

Doors open at 6, I’ll be in my seat at 6:04.

Prediction

*cracks knuckles*

Let’s actually go. I want to predict a blowout of catastrophic proportions but it’s the playoffs. I just have this sick feeling the Hockey Gods are going to put me through all the stress in a seesaw affair that ends with el MVP scoring the game winning goal and launching the city to Mars. Oilers win 4-3. My Christ, I didn’t even think about overtime.

If this shit goes to OT, somebody please call my mother: Tell her I love her.

PS – Obligatory:

 

If the fellas come out to “Pump It” tonight just forget that close score prediction and watch as the the Oil become the first team since 2012 to score 10 or more in a playoff game.

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