GDB Oilers (17-12-2!!!!!!!) @ Jets (19-9-2): The Cocksmen are coming

The hottest new team of 2018… has arrived. The Oilers have landed somewhere in rural Manitoba and made the strenuous voyage into that subarctic dystopian hellhole, carrying with them the second-longest active winning streak in the NHL, and boasting a record of 8-2-1 since the Cock replaced the Idiot. We are, illogically, burning hot. Against all odds, we have stormed back into the playoff race thanks to sensational goaltending, the re-emergence of a second and third scoring threat in Nuge and Leon, and Him:

Of course, Him. He who wants his Throne and hath marched under the Wall with his army of Cocksmen to battle on the Jets. Time to burn their frozen butts. Let’s go, baby.

Tonight’s Opponent

Barf.

Our Lineup

Ever wonder what our blue line might look like with three key injuries:

Oh no.

Forward depth has actually taken a decent turn from “rubbing alcohol in my eyes!” to “oh wow it’s not really terrible right now.” Drake Caggiula was a perpetual piñata at ENS for two years but he was playing some damn good hockey before his brief stint on the IR. It’s good to have him back. This paragraph was specifically for that one dude who introduced himself to me at the Rec Room last month. I promised you I’d be more open to not crucifying Drake every night, and damn I’m a man of my word.

Winnipeg is actually one of the few teams that have done an impressive job at containing el Connor., holding him to a modest 12 points in nine games. Up until this year, he hadn’t registered a goal against the Jets in his career. That all changed on October 16th, when Connor decimated their lives at the tune of two goals and four points in what was one of the more thrilling games we’ve played since the 2017 playoffs. That was the game we all thought might have saved Todd’s job. Thankfully, it did not. Do Peter next.

Juj gets the promotion to the second line where he’ll join a red hot RNH and a confidence-gaining JP. It’s amazing what a coaching change can do for a player. Jesse hasn’t been scoring, but looks more comfortable with every game he plays. He’s winning puck battles, he’s going down to block shots. Todd would have stuffed Jesse in a dressing room at Kinex by now. Hitch is talking about playing him even more, including on the PK. Two goals in four career games against the ‘Peg? I’m definitely predicting one fuck for him tonight.

Our blue line…

Holy fuck.

Nurse becomes basically the de facto first pair sub for Klefbom. Hopefully Klef isn’t out too long, or hopefully Sekera’s rice paper anatomy heals sooner than later allowing him to draw back in. Otherwise, yikes.

Kevin Gravel has actually played not too bad and Matty Vegas has sort of stepped it up a bit, so I’m more comfortable with that pair than I should be. I cannot wait to look back in ironic laughter after saying this. That’s probably a 7-8 on most other teams in the league.

Our third pair is a skunk carcass.

The Iceman’s in the pipes. His SV% has jumped up since Hitch took over. It’s still sub-900 and his GAA is still high, but it’s no longer higher than my undergrad GPA, and he’s extremely impressive in his last two starts (2-0, .933 and .939 SV% in both games). If we can roll two hot goaltenders for the next while it makes shifting one to another team near the deadline for a productively serviceable asset more likely.

Their Lineup

So, essentially, it will look something like this:

Ehlers – Scheifele – Wheeler
Kyle – Little – Laine
Perreault – Lowry – Tanev
Lemieux – Roslovic – Appleton

Oh boy. Add that plus our blue line and yikes.

Their first line is disgusting. Nothing else to say, really. On their second line, you have the best shooter to come out of the 2016 draft. Their third line is whatever but they absorb more of a shutdown-style role anyways, not that it will really matter against 97. Their fourth line has a really good whiskey (updated: Dammit, Appleton is rum. You know your boy only gets into the beers and vodka, and sometimes a little bit of sambuca when I’m feeling risky).

Buff is back. This made me howl:

Line up McDavid LMAO WHAT?!

Hahahahahaha ahhhhhhh, Hellebuyck starts in goal. 

Last Thoughts

This is one of those “oh god no please no” moments where I continue to scan our blue line hoping to convince myself that any of those pairs can withstand the incoming torment they’re about to face from Winnipeg’s top two lines. Wheeler and Scheifele have 38 and 37 points, respectively. Scheifele, who happens to be Connor McDavid’s biggest fan, also has 17 goals. Patrik Laine already made someone the richest man in Winnipeg earlier this year when he became the first player on a Canadian team to unlock that Safeway Million Dollar Score and Win.

Laurent Brossoit is leading the league in SV%, because of course he is. I almost wish we were playing him tonight. You just know Connor would eat his glove side for brunch.

Haven’t mentioned much on Ference yet because, to be honest, I don’t care much about our former “$13 million for 147 total games” captain and his redundant bullshittery. If you don’t care for the take of a 27-year-old barely-paid blogger on this subject, take RNH’s word for it instead. Andrew’s teammates partied. They obviously did. I saw them out 9.5 times out of 10. Who cares? They weren’t belligerent. They weren’t hammered off their nuts. They weren’t visibly demonstrating self-destructive social or ethical habits. They just went about their lives and did their thing and minded their own business, and then they’d go home… always well before your boy here would go home. But using their social habits as a scapegoat for the team’s utter terribleness? Look at this GIF of Andrew swarming around the crease, trying to play D:

Was it Taylor Hall’s social life’s fault that you one-timed that puck into our own net? I had to check to see if Ference was still on LTIR. Seriously. I forgot when we finally dumped that god awful contract. We’re probably still paying him anyway. I’m sure he has an assistant to an advisor role we haven’t heard of yet. This is the OEG.

We didn’t lose 65 games per season because a few of our young guys drained the sauce. We lost because our incompetent GMs overspent on terrible free agents, like Andrew Ference. We lost because, every night, we dressed a lineup that featured an abhorrent combination of Anton Lander, Mark Fraser, Ilya Bryzgalov, Nick Schultz, Will Acton, Jesse Joensuu, Ryan Jones, Anton Belov, Corey Potter, Phil Larsen, Mark Arcobello, Luke Gazdic, Keith Aulie, Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin, Ben Scrivens, Rob Klinkhammer, and Andrew Ference himself. All those guys played 30 or more games, per season, for the Edmonton Oilers between 2013 and 2015. None of them are currently in the NHL. Every team has players who enjoy going out. Don’t believe me? Listen to literally any episode of Spittin’ Chiclets. Think about the 80s. Andrew would have had a manic episode if he played with the Boys on that goddamn Bus. Players on every team, in every league, who love to rip it up. It’s just magnified in this cesspit of a market because we’ve been unequivocally dog shit for 11 of the last 12 years AND because the majority of idiots in this city have adopted this ridiculous self-entitlement where they feel the need to dictate and criticize the social lives of the millionaire athletes in this city.

And therein lies the biggest problem with this culture we’ve unfortunately adopted in Edmonton. We actively search for things to blame our perpetual downfalls on when, in reality, the teams we built just weren’t that fucking good. Every offseason we convinced ourselves through blatant media-fed propaganda that those teams our imbecilic GMs assembled were somehow going to play competitive hockey. Looking back, it’s hard not to wonder what the actual fuck we were thinking? We not only bought the shit this organization/team media would sell, but we also consumed it like an expired box of vegetables then promptly blamed the plant for our 48-hour diarrhea binge, all the while that propaganda-spewing company continued to profit off selling that same shit. Alas, that’s not the direction we’ve pointed our fingers. Not now. Not in the past. Not ever. Instead, some of us have decided to dump the majority of the blame on those players who put up numbers guys like Andrew Ference could have only dreamed of. Those players were not the reason those teams sucked and I really don’t care if you disagree with me. BLH and Dirtbag Donny think this is the perfect mechanism for scapegoating fault or blame, so if you disagree with me, you’re essentially agreeing with the two biggest mouth-breathing/water-carrying/dried-up nut sacks in this city. End rant.

Prediction

This is reckless optimism at its finest. I believe in the Cock’s system, or whatever system he comes up with tonight to limit Winnipeg’s chances despite dressing a blue line that mimics what a solar eclipse does to the naked eye. Therefore, I’m going 3-2 Oilers. Good lord, pray. Connor with two points. Nuge with another goal. Jesse with one fuck.

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