Game Day Blog 67/82: Welcome Home, Ebs
God, that goal. Shawn Horcoff veteran leader coming down on a two on one annnnnnd Ebs toe-drags then Flames into Middle Earth. Lovely pass by Jumbo Jimmy Vandermeer on the play. Never forget that.
Tonight’s about Jordan Eberle. Since we were basically mathematically eliminated like four months ago this game holds no bearing on the Oilers chances at doing anything worth mentioning this year. The only people wholeheartedly rooting for a win tonight are the people who are still passionately against Jordan Eberle because he forgot to throw a hit one time. Lord knows Eberle wouldn’t make it on the 2017-18 Oilers, league leaders in hitzzz since day one. I’ll be at the game wearing my bright orange Jesse Puljujarvi face t-shirt while giving my standing ovation during Eberle’s tribute video, and it will be awesome.
I don’t think I ever got around to properly thanking Ebs for everything he did for this team and this community. He was a special Oiler, and Canadian (five seconds left, suck it Russia) and he deserved more than how his time as an Oiler came to an end. I honestly thought he’d be an Oiler for life, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that category. Losing will do crazy shit to fans. It drives you mad, I know. The reason we didn’t win in the playoffs was not because of Jordan Eberle (Ryan Kesler’s hand is still on Talbot’s pad) just like the reason we never made the playoffs prior to last season was not because Eberle as well (at one point our blue line had Nikita Nikitin, Andrew Ference, Mark Fayne and Keith Aulie at the same fucking time). Did he struggle in his last year? Sure (20 goals and 51 points, like… I mean, that’s not even really bad). He’s on pace for 27 more goals this year. He was and still is extremely consistent. And it sucks that he had to be a casualty of Peter Chiarelli’s war. Thanks for everything, Ebs. I’ll never forget your gap-toothed, google-eyed, Rider-cheering times here in Oil Country.
Tonight’s Opponent: New York Islanders
If I am a GM and I have a player whose game is ruined because of a few articles – none of which come remotely close to being as critical as what those same writers face here on Twitter — I move him.
Can't win with those players. Mentally weak.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) November 25, 2017
What do they have? A bunch of former Oilers. As you may already know, we traded Jordan Eberle to the Islanders in the summer. But one of my all time Oilers greats and a man whose number I want retired by this unprecedentedly idiotic organization someday, Sir Doug Weight, is the head coach of Brooklyn’s club. Doug is a good man; a real “player’s coach” whose fiery attitude and knack for going to battle for his players does not go unnoticed around the league. If the Isalnders had anybody who could make a save they’d be a top six team in the East, guaranteed playoff birth. They, however, do not. And my boy Doug might get shit canned this summer because of it. It’s too bad we never had a goalie that Garth Snow could pawn off our hands for something of substantially lesser value. Might have saved Dougie’s job.
*Note: Doug Weight will not be hired by the Oilers to replace Todd if both hypothetical fires transpire. Even though Doug is a former Oiler, he is not a former ‘boys on the bus’ Oilers, therefore he does not qualify. Daryl Katz has probably never even heard of Doug.*
Also we had the opportunity to draft this guy:
— NHL (@NHL) March 1, 2018
Mat Barzal has 3 5-point games this season. The Buffalo Sabres have 3 5-goal games this season.
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 10, 2018
But instead we felt like bettering the Golden Knights’ farm system so we took Griffin Reinhart off the Isles’ hands instead. Speaking of, what’s the last update we’ve had on ol’ Grif?:
Cormier bludgeons Reinhart into the back boards and the Wolves will get a power play with 7:50 to go. #CHIvsMB
— Chicago Wolves (@Chicago_Wolves) February 25, 2018
Oh, he got bludgeoned into the boards.
“But Shanny, we weren’t going to draft Mat Barzal! Stop this stupidity and give it up already!”
The fuck? How exactly is this narrative supposed to make us feel better. Oh we weren’t actually going to draft the guaranteed 2018 Calder Trophy winner who has 69 (nice) points in 67 games, so as my girl Elsa would say, “let it go!” NO. I refuse. Fuck you all. I remember watching that draft with a surprisingly large ENS Draft watch party and rolling on the goddamn floor when Boston passed not once, not twice, but THREE consecutive times on Barzal, only to have us trade the pick for a future salesman at Dick’s Sporting Goods because gosh dang it, the man was a heck-of-an Oil King back in the day *picks butt*. And regardless, even if we didn’t draft Mat Barzalm we could have landed one of the following:
- Kyle Connor
- Thomas Chabot
- Joel Eriksson Ek
- Brock Boeser
- Travis Konecny
- Anthony Beauvillier
And those were just a few of the first rounders that went after Barzal. Know what they all have in common that Griffin Reinhart does not have? They’re all playing in the NHL. Yes. A whole mess of 1997s who are playing with and making impacts their NHL clubs, and the man we traded for under three years ago is now with a different team’s farm team.
Lastly, Brandon Davidson also plays for the Islanders. Three former Oilers plus Mat Barzal and Tony Beauvillier. We have built the New York Islanders. We might honestly we the reason why John Tavares stays. Every year, Isles fans should send us personalized Christmas cards.
Christopher Gibson from Karkkila, Finland will be making his second start of the season tonight so should we just concede the loss now, or?
What do we have? Ryan Strome has his night back at the home of his employer earlier this year, so this is old news for him now. The lines at practice yesterday looked like this:
Lucic not on the ice as the Oilers practice at the Community Arena. Kassian skating with McDavid and Draisaitl.
— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) March 7, 2018
You’ll notice a particularly useless behemoth missing from the first line. That’s because Milan was sick. He’s good to go today, so he’ll once again illogically join Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the top line. Our resident dinosaur continues to be given second line minutes ahead of Jesse, despite everyone and their distant relatives knowing that Cammalleri will not be an Oiler next year. I do enjoy JP with Slepy, though. Wouldn’t hate seeing them play with a guy we drafted first overall. Two wingers with skill and speed paired with a former first overall pick? Nah, here’s a guy who was good in 2009 and a player that we probably could have had on waivers. Good luck, Nuge!
He’ll still get points because he is Nuge and because he is awesome.
Just realized this is a lose-lose for Nuge fans. He plays bad playing with two guys who are not very good? “Trade him, Nuge is washed up!” He plays good? “Trade him, he has value!” One day, this team and this fan base will force me into an alcohol-induced coma.
Prediction: It is guaranteed point night for Eberle. Guaranteed. Bigger lock than SKA St. Petersburg winning the KHL championship. Mat Barzal could honestly put up his fourth five point game of the year, too. It’s all likely. Also, however, this Chris Gibson fella might be exactly what we need to break through the backup goalie slump. He’s a genuine third stringer with mediocre AHL numbers and, need I remind you, the last time we played a legitimate third string netminder we only lost in over time (Chicago, Dec 29, 2017).
I’ll go 6-5 Oilers (in OT, so the Isles get a point and can maybe make the playoffs still). Connor with four, all away from Lucic. Jesse scores. Nuge gets a couple. Eberle gets three.
PS – I do not miss the awkward ATB commercials starring Jordan Eberle.
Cringe. Those were almost as bad as the Speedy Glass Taylor Hall commercials, or the Capital Power Devan Dubnyk “Ohhhhhhh” commercials. Yikes. Nightmarish nostalgia.