Eulogy: Remembering the 2016-17 Edmonton Oilers

 

(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we’re bound to lose some friends along the journey. We’ve asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers and fans who hated them the most. Here is Mork Sphincter of the Edmonton Journal, who in no way is actually Puck Daddy Eulogy All-Star ‘stace_ofbase’ of Battle of California, fondly recalling the 2016-17 Edmonton Oilers.)

(Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don’t take it so seriously.)

By Mork Sphincter of the Edmonton Journal

Congratulations, and welcome to the first ever Edmonton Oilers’ Puck Daddy Eulogy!

For everyone outside of Edmonton, thank you for reading and happy Friday. For everyone inside of Edmonton, Happy Canada Day! That dial up internet connection sure is getting faster.

For Edmonton fans, before I begin respectfully taking a crack at your team like it’s your captain’s clavicle, here are some basic guidelines to note about Puck Daddy Eulogies:

1) All eulogies are written by Greg Wyshynski and he…I mean….I….. try to blame them on respectable writers like Mork Sphincter from the Edmonton Journal.

2) This is not a joke post. Know that when I write things like “the trade is one for one: Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson” it is not hyperbole. That seriously happened.

3) If you have trouble stringing together a basic sentence and are typically mad on line, the Yahoo! Comments are just for you. Make yourself at home. If you prefer electronic mail, my contact information will be at the bottom, for your convenience.

To truly encapsulate the Oilers’ 2016-2017 season, one must travel back to the beginning of the season, April 2016.

I know what you’re thinking: “Mork, the hockey season starts in October.” Let me tell you, you don’t cover the Edmonton Oilers for 25 years on the beat without learning a thing or two. While 16 fan bases were finishing up watching their teams battle in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Oilers fans spent their playoff ticket money on cover charges at their dark and dank watering holes to eagerly watch the draft lottery.

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. It is the saddest thing in the world.

On April 30, 2016, as Edmontonians were putting away sixers and flirting with their cousins, in a devastating turn of events, the Oilers drafted fourth overall. The Oilers lost the draft lottery for only the third time in seven years; this would the first of many failures by the Edmonton Oilers this season. Although the lottery was a wash, Oilers fans kept their spirits high. After all, they did have four first overall picks on the team.

…And then there were three…

For the first time in the history of the National Hockey League, a HFBoards transaction was carried out by a NHL General Manager. Peter Chiarelli traded 2010 first overall pick Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson, who is only known because of his role in the 1995 film Heavyweights.

Fun fact: his character’s name was also Lars!

Now, every Lars needs a Tony Perkis and Chiarelli had a whole bunch of Taylor Hall-free money to spend. Petey thought to himself, “who is inherently evil like Tony Perkis but incredibly out of shape, slow, and could use 42 million dollars?”

Attention rookies the topic for tonight’s discussion is, “Spearing: Option or Obsession.”

As you all know, the Oilers’ roster primarily consists of children, and bringing in Lucic was the much needed leadership to guide them to morphing into little cheap-shot goons. This, combined with Todd McLellan’s thirst for giving minutes to slow and bad players, it was the perfect storm.

You have to give Lucic a lot of credit though, as he had a high production season due to being gifted with a spot on McDavid’s line every once in awhile. Oilers fans will tell you that Lucic will revived his career and that him scoring was no consequence, but any sensible person knows that he got a case of the Cheechoos. I realize that this is an offensive comparison, because Cheechoo, had about three times more goals. I wouldn’t put that blame on Lucic though — Connor McDavid just isn’t a gifted passer like Joe Thornton.

The Oilers have done a lot of growing in their 10 year long rebuild, for example, in Year 9 they realized they needed goaltending and defense. Prior to this season, the Oilers snagged Andrej Sekera from free agency after the LA Kings hilariously traded a first-round pick for 16 games of Sekera. This was a big upgrade for the Oilers as Sekera replaced former defenseman File Notfound.

Although the Oilers acquired Sekera and Larsson, who at best, are second and third pair defenseman, the Oilers felt that they needed more third pair defensemen. Thanks to my mainstream media colleagues in Southern Alberta, the Edmonton Oilers set their sights on Kris Russell as his tires were pumped more than a fucking bounce house. His calves are covered in welts from all of his blocked shots and his heart is covered in gold. Although he had a piss- performance for the Dallas Stars in the months prior, his Good-In-The-Room/60 was off the charts. The Oilers have had enough of their youngsters who didn’t know how to solely speak in cliches in the locker room. These problem children must be traded.

…And then there were two…

To be fair, acquiring Yak didn’t really pan out, but in Yak’s defense, he was on the Oilers. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues (that poor bastard) for *squints* …..Zach….Pochiro….?

Chiarelli is essentially the reverse Lyle Lanley of the National Hockey League: buying garbage rather than selling garbage.

Now, after the hilarious offseason that the Oilers had, everyone assumed that good ol’ Edmonton was geared up for a 26th place finish and to everyone’s surprise, we were horribly wrong.

The biggest giveaway that the Oilers were different this season was the fact that when I checked the standings on November 1, 2016, they were not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Oilers fans already started getting a little bit of a cocky ‘tude after naming their injury prone first overall pick as captain. As they remained in playoff contention as the months passed, this ‘tude only got worse as the hovered in the first, second-place spots in the Pacific. To be fair, the Pacific has morphed into a pile of hot garbage, even though their teams managed to get to the conference final every single season for the past eight years (hi there California).

There was actually a considerable amount of time throughout the season that the Oilers were in first place and their fans were so excited to capture their first Pacific banner since leaving the now defunct Northwest Division. It was truly cheek-pinchingly adorable to watch these toilet water drinkin’ scraps get Oilers Fever during the actual season, rather than 3 days during the offseason and having 6 months of pure apathy.

I must admit that for years, I was duped by Oilers fans. Their apathetic style disguised them as a seemingly chill fan base that I actually enjoyed conversing with. As the 2016-2017 season carried on and the Oilers got closer to clinching their first playoff berth in eleven goddamn years, the more unhinged that their fanbase became. It was horribly annoying to see Edmonton fans happy for the first time in over a decade, which made my thirst for schadenfreude unquenchable.

“When one door closes, another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Nobody wanted the Oilers to miss the playoffs more than me. I even launched a twitter campaign via hashtag, which was #4in16 (if you search this hashtag, it is likely that I was the only person to use it).

This hashtag suggested that the Oilers were going to get a mere four points in their last 16 games, to miss the playoffs. I had blocked the Todd McLellan years of San Jose from memory when he left, but if I hadn’t, I would have known that OF COURSE THE OILERS WOULD MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. But little did I know, the Oilers making the playoffs would be my own personal draft lottery win.

Hockey fans can be a tad bit dramatic when their team accomplishes anything, even something as silly as clinching a playoff berth in a League where 53% of the teams make the playoffs. Oilers’ fans were convinced that they deserved a Medal of Honor for heroically standing by their team through the past 10 crap years. The fact of the matter is that the most they deserved was to be called idiots. There is nothing heroic about being a sports fan, especially an Edmonton fan.

Wow, you managed to get through a long rebuild without throwing your 200-dollar Ryan Smyth jersey on the ice or sending a tweet to the team account, threatening to abandon the Oilers for good …

The fact of the matter is that, despite a 10-year rebuild, there is absolutely no reason why anyone should ever feel bad for the Edmonton Oilers. There are 12 teams at this time who have never won a Stanley Cup. There are 5 teams who have only won once. The goddamn Edmonton Oilers have won the Stanley Cup five times. FIVE TIMES. The Edmonton Oilers also had the “Great” one (this is in quotations because I could have scored at least 500 goals on 80s/90s era goaltenders). Nobody cares that these championships occurred before you were born. Do you use the Cup argument against sad-ass Canucks fans? Then you cannot complain. [Expletive] you.

The flip side to the Cup argument is that I’ve found a loophole for San Jose Sharks fans. Oilers fans cannot use the Cup argument against us because their Cup drought is one season longer than ours.

Hahah suck it losers!! YA BURNT.

Anyway, it had only took a mere 90 minutes of being in a playoff berth to make Oilers fans completely melt down. Instead of being excited that their team made the playoffs for the first time since George Goddamn W. Bush was in office.

Side note: The Oilers are only contenders when the GOP is in the White House, which is not surprising, as a large amount of Edmonton fans on Twitter are very outspoken Trump supporters.

Makes you think

Who was in office when they won five Stanley Cup championships? Reagan and Ol’ Ass Bush. You’re welcome. The wellbeing of the world is in jeopardy when the Oilers are in playoff contention. This will be taught in Civics/History courses throughout North America one day.

The first round of the playoffs saw a match-up between the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks. If you recall, earlier I mentioned that spending playoff money on cover charges for draft lottery parties was the most sad waste of money. Little did we know that the Oilers would charge fans 80 dollars to wander aimlessly around the concourse of the Ice District during playoff home games.

What the organization did not consider is that this would make the lines for the bathroom incredibly long. This was not a huge deal for a majority of Oilers fans, who typically wear diapers as they are….piss babies…or to use their proper nomenclature, “Edmonton Soilers.”

Thankfully, my best friend and mentor, David Staples, came up with an idea for those who do not use diapers.

This idea, unfortunately, was not well received on twitter. You’ll get em next time, Davey.

Even the Edmonton Oilers were affected by the bathroom debacle as they found themselves crapping themselves multiple times throughout the playoffs.

The San Jose Sharks were burned by an early playoff exit due to being plagued by injuries and giving up multiple goals to unsung playoff hero, Zach Kassian. Kassian’s playoff heroics were a surprise, as he managed to tie the Chicago Blackhawks in goals for the first round. Truly a Cinderella story.

It was a nice redemption story for Todd McLellan and Drew Remenda, who were dropped faster by the Sharks than Taylor Hall was dropped for Adam Larsson (one for one). With the Oilers’ first-round win, they managed to capture their first series victory in 11 years.

For the second round of the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers faced off against the Anaheim Ducks. The first two games of the series were in Anaheim and the Oilers managed to get two big wins, while their neighbor of the south, Calgary, has been unable to win a game in Anaheim since…Edmonton’s last playoff run. Full. Circle.

Edmontonians paid homage to their Calgary rivals by chanting “You can’t win here!” after each playoff win. Adorable. Viral on Facebook baby on laughing gas adorable.

The series went back to Edmonton with a 2-0 lead and Oilers fans felt invincible. That feeling went away quickly as Edmonton squandered their 2-0 lead, leaving Edmontonians stunned with their pants soaked with pee. The series returned to Anaheim tied 2-2. The Oilers felt confident that their team could continue winning on the road and boy were they right! For Game 5, Edmonton came out like a bat out of hell and got themselves a huge 3-0 lead at the Ponda Center. The arena emptied out rather quickly, hah just kidding, it was already empty.

With less than four minutes left, Anaheim managed to get on the board, making the score 3-1. There was no way that the Ducks could tie up this game. Only a team run by Todd McLellan could blow a 3-0 leaOH MAN THIS IS AWKWARD. About 35 seconds later, Cam Fowler, who sucks, scored to make the game 3-2.

Is this happening? Could it be true? Is this the schadenfreude I’ve longed for?

With 15 seconds left in regulation, Rocky Rakell scored a questionable goal to tie the game up. 3-3. Holy crap, this is amazing.

The best part about this goal was that Oilers fans seem to be under the impression that goaltender interference should have been called, and that this is another way that the mass conspiracy against the Oilers has manifested itself.

Right. A mass conspiracy. A team who has singlehandedly won four draft lotteries in six years is being conspired against.

Anyway, despite the allegedly conspiracy, Edmonton fans and my mainstream media colleagues kept their composure.

To be fair, most Canadian hockey fans are pretty casual, so I’m not surprised that they would act in such a manner.

To prolong the torture of the Oilers’ blowing a 3-0 lead, the game went into double overtime and to make things worse,  Corey Perry,a dead possum who came to life when coming in contact with radioactive trash, scored the game winning goal, giving the Ducks a 3-2 lead going back to Edmonton.

Now, this is a story we have seen every season for the past five years for the Ducks. Game 6 saw the Oilers completely throttling the Ducks with a 7-1 victory, sending the series back to Anaheim, where the Ducks could potentially lose their 5th game 7 at home in a row.

For those who know me, the Ducks Game 7 debacle has been one of my favorite playoff storylines and I wrote about it extensively for the Ducks’ Eulogy in 2015. But I was torn. I would love for this streak to continue but I would also love for the Oilers to lose. At that moment, I had realized that the ultimate schadenfreude had been achieved: No matter who loses, it would be a complete and devastating failure for the loser, which is heartwarming for any ghoul like me.

Euphoria. Bliss.

In a not-so-shocking turn of events, Todd McLellan, was out-coached by Randy Carlyle once again and the Oilers lost Game 7 in Anaheim 2-1. The Game 7 nightmare for all 43 Ducks fans had finally come to an end.

Collar McBroken kicked off his first ever Game 7 by leader-shipping to the scoresheet with a big fat zero points. Truly a lock for the Conn Smythe.

The future is bright for Edmonton though, mostly because Kris Russell will be filling an Olympic-sized swimming pool with shiny toonies as he is signed to a 5×5 contract in the offseason. It’s highly likely that Ryan Nugget Hopkins has played his last game as an Oiler, as he will be shipped off to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Boone Jenner. Jordan Eberle will be bought out to help fund Kris Russell’s contract. Ryan Smyth will likely cry at some point. The Oilers will acquire a couple more rejects from California to fill their squad (Micheal Haley, don’t read this…..Pete Chiarelli, hello)

Despite these offseason efforts, not drafting top 5 this year will significantly hurt the Oilers, and send them spiraling back into another decade-long rebuild, sending Connor McDavid to Los Angeles, where he will do what Wayne Gretzky did in LA — not win a Cup.

It all goes back to that fateful trade that launched this overall disaster of a season.

If you haven’t heard, it was Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. One for one!

As a 25-year veteran beat writer for the Edmonton Journal, I value feedback from my readers and those who I engage with about sports on line. If you wish, feel free to drop me a line.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got deadlines and start times to complain about.

NHL EULOGIES 2017

Boston Bruins

Calgary Flames

Chicago Blackhawks

Columbus Blue Jackets

Minnesota Wild

Montreal Canadiens

San Jose Sharks

St. Louis Blues

Toronto Maple Leafs

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