But after the Canadians fell out of the playoffs, I really didn't care about watching anymore games. I was actually convinced that my late Uncle was willing Halak to play that well (since he was the ultimate Habs/Dryden fan). As a good secularist, I finally came to my senses as Halak came back to earth against the Flyers.
It has been a long season for this lone Oilers fan: watching the Oilers lose over and over, while living in the East. We didn't even do better then the Leafs which made it even harder.
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During my time in Oil Country, there was a lot of hockey talk, not about the playoffs but the next season of our mighty oil. It was about if there should be a mighty oil next year, or if the goal should be to shit the bed again. Most everyone I talked to thought the Oilers should tank again next year on purpose and 'do this rebuild right'. I disagree, and here are my reasons:
- I can't take watching this team continue to suck! Seriously, all you in E-ville have a support structure with your friends to cheer for another lottery pick, while the rest of the diaspora have to put up with the mocking that comes with loving the worst team in the league. Our co-workers and friends have 82 time a year to mock us (well maybe 60 times since the Oilers will win a few games).
- I had to live through the early nineties, with my little brother cheering for Mario and the Penguins, and I can not take another year out of the playoffs. I do not want to watch the Oilers finish last or finish 9th in the West. We can not continue this lack of the playoffs any longer, it is embarrassing! Finishing last would be even more embarrassing to me at least. Now on to some hockey reasons:
- We need to get some of the young'ens some playoff experience! Gagner, Smid, Cogliano (if he is here next year), Gilbert, and Brule have never played an NHL playoff game. While I agree that this core is still a couple years away from completing in the playoffs, it would be a good idea to allow these players a taste of what is expected of them in advance.
- Making the playoffs would be beneficial to convince players to sign or re-sign here. Over and over, the mantra has been that good players (and possibly elite players) will only sign here if we are winning. I think that means more then one year in a row. So making the playoffs after being the worst team in the league seems like a good place to start. Plus players such as Penner and Hemsky will be more likely to resign if they do not think the team is an absolute cluster fuck. Making the Playoffs while rebuilding (and developing the players we already have) makes us more likely to resign and sign veterans when the core comes into its own.
- The new guys (aka MPS, Eberle, and the 1st overall pick). While I do not think these players should be on the Oilers next year (but in the AHL or OHL, plus a cup of coffee in the show), I have a feeling that all of them will see significant time with the big club. I do not think bring these players up in a losing atmosphere is good idea. What ever team these young'ens are on should have a chase of making the playoffs (if that is the AHL team or the NHL team). Not playing on a crappy team is beneficial to there development, and those that argue differently are false prophets!