Game Day Blog 47/82: Back to Work, Canucks @ Oilers

Annnnnnnd we’re back.

Here come the Oilers out of the bye week, out of Cabo, out of every outdoor rink in the city, and back to the magnificent Rog Mahal in a divisional showdown against a familiar foe. It was an… interesting week off. Seven days ago we were told that Nuge would be OK and he’d be fine after the bye week after suffering some bruising. Yesterday we found out that they were just kidding and that we’re actually going to be without our team leader in goals for 35-42 days. Of course, this is exactly the type of news you want to hear when your team is currently 11 points out of a playoff spot and 10 points back of the next closest team in the division, so grab your Saturday night cocktails and let’s collectively watch the 27th place Oilers take on the 28th place Canucks. Happy Hockey Day in Canada!

Tonight’s Opponent: Vancouver Canucks

“No”?

Last time we played them: Was forever ago. That was the Jokinen era. We’re way beyond that. Let’s not recap.

What do they have? Though I’ve never been alive for an Oilers Stanley Cup, at least I can cling to the fact that my team has had some quantifiable success in their organizational history. I don’t know what it’s like to cheer for a team that’s completely and utterly immune to relevance, like the 6,000 Canucks fans who didn’t jump off the wagon must perpetually endure, but I do imagine that it feels similar to letting out a massive burp, one that scorches your esophagus so bad you literally need Xanax to physically function. Their window of opportunity closed five years ago and now they’re left in a massively overpriced Utopian hellscape. This is a city that has rapidly become Canada’s answer to Dubai, filled with unimaginable and conspicuous wealth, girded by shoddily hidden poverty and despair, flooded with equal parts money and human feces, and so absurdly expensive that even MBA banker doofuses have to take the SkyTrain from Richmond or Surrey because they can’t afford a 350 square foot studio apartment in downtown Vancouver.

On the ice, let’s follow up with my Vancouver spiritual doppelganger to see how things have played out:

See? YOU SEE?! We could be the Canucks, or the Browns (same thing) but instead we’re a team that won five Stanley Cups in seven years and have hosted two of the 10 most generationalized players of all time, and Jesse Puljujarvi’s irreplaceable smile. Things could honestly be way worse. We could be run like them.

This was the Canucks equivelent of the Hall trade (moving a talented player in exchange for a heavy “shutdown” defenseman because reasons) except at least they didn’t trade away 70-90 points per year and a bargain contract so, wait, I lost my point here.

Nailed it.

Fact is, this is a trade that would have sufficiently given Vancouver enough reason to successfully induce a riot, and yet we can’t even criticize or complain without the humiliatingly overwhelming PTSD kicking us square in the dick, because:

Brock Boeser is fucking sick.

What do we have? Nuge is dead, so there was a spot open on the first unit. Did it go to Jesse? Haha, good one.

It’s RYAN STROME!

Yes, Strome’s abysmal season as an Oiler is blackmarked by Jordan Eberle absolutely demolishing his campaign in Brooklyn. Therefore, it’s critical that this team save face and throw him on a power play that has the look and feel of a kidney stone. I love to use the “it can’t get worse so why not” scenario for most things in my sports life but this one blows my mind. We have a kid who takes shots for a living and shoots right and is out there in the community working on his dangles with Peewee kids while the rest of the team gets some sun in Mexico and instead of putting that dude on the power play we’ve settled on Ryan Strome, who has one less goal than JP in 17 more games.

But at least Jesse is still on the second unit, right? WRONG, stupids:

Three of those five players would be permanent fourth liners on about 29 of the other 30 teams in the league, Arizona excluded. Our 19-year-old shot freak will no longer be on the ice during a man advantage. Alrighty then.

The good news is that there is no good news.

Here are our new lines now that Nuge is sadly dead:

Drake was bumped up to line one because he hasn’t done anything to deserve it so naturally that’s Todd’s bat signal to elevate his minutes. The thing about Drake is that he only scores when he plays with Connor (see Drake Caggiula WoW McDavid in 2016-17, and 2017-18). I’m pretty sure Drake’s scholarship was due to Connor McDavid. That’s the reality we face. No matter what the circumstance, Todd will always resort to Drake with Connor. It’s inevitable, like death.

Oh and we’re probably going to hire Paul Coffey because our quest to hire every living former Oiler in any capacity is still alive and slowly killing us all, like the plague.

Prediction: Oh man you know Drake’s going to score at least two tonight now that I’ve emotionally chastised him. Let’s go with 4-1 Oilers. Drake gets two. Connor gets one and two assists. We put Drake out for the ENG but he can’t even do that right so I’ll say Lucic gets it because not having a goalie in the net is the best chance for Looch to actually score.

 

PS – Calgary finally lost. Unfortunately it was to Winnipeg. And it was in a shootout. Both teams got points. That is my actual nightmare. Bad juju heading into tonight’s game, Christ.

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