Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hammer to Fall

What the hell we fighting for?
Just surrender and it won't hurt at all
You just got time to say your prayers
While your waiting for the hammer to hammer to fall

Now, I'm stealing my introductory statement from the LT style of writing, and I can only say that this imitation is simply the most sincerest form of flattery. However, watching the Oilers climb the standings and put on what can only be described as a unbelievable performance, I keep thinking back to Queen's lyrics.

Now, don't get me wrong, the Oilers have truly suprised me, and my end of season predictions have been a complete bust. By any measure made at the beginning of the season, I think I can classify this run as making this season a success and keeping it really entertaining, especially compared to last year's sucksplosion.

Still though, I just can't help but wait for the Hammer to Fall. I think this whole thing is just one big playoff dink tease, as CIO so succinctly put it.

Now, unbelievably, the path to the playoffs is actually within the Oiler's hands, their last 8 games are against divisional opponents. Running the table on even one of those teams might be enough to make the playoffs. Unfortunately the Oilers divisional record almost completely accounts for the current separation between the Oilers and the rest of the NW division playoff hopefuls. The Oilers' 9-13-2 divisional record pales in comparison to Colorado's division best 15-8-1. Every other opponent is at least 3 games over .500.

Now, the Oilers are probably most likely to tank these next 8 games, and if so, well, that's just life. This team shouldn't even be competing in the race, let alone challenging for a podium finish. This is like the Jamaican freakin bobsled team in 1988. But like LT has said, it seems like this team is too young or ignorant to realize they're supposed to lose.

Hey, at worst, this season ends up like the last 6-7 preceding it besides 05-06. Regular season suckage followed by a very late season playoff push that ends up just short or just past success. I think most smart fans would have been pretty satisfied if at the beginning of the season someone had offered them 8 games left in the season all against divisional opponents with a 5 pt playoff separation.

Not only that, but this season, and it's been harped on in most of the Oilogosphere, has had a lot of suprise positives. Sam Gagner has been far more effective this season than I would have ever expected, Andrew Cogliano has got more of a scoring touch than I ever would have given him credit for, Robert Nilsson is looking like a legitimate skill guy...holy crap there's a lot to look forward to.

I think if there's one thing the run should prove is MacT's coaching ability. MacT was the first one to admit that good goaltending makes you look like a good coach, he claimed that's why the Oilers beat the Wings in 06. I beg to differ, I believe a lot of times good coaching makes your goaltender look good (or at worst a good defensive structure). Look at the Toronto Maple Leafs and their goalie woes over the last few years: here's a hint guys, it aint the goalies, its the defence...then look at the goalie successes of the Minnesota Wild. It's not a suprise that goalies continuously flourish on some teams and continuously fail on others.

In this case, I think MacT has simply done a nice job with the cards he was dealt. This team had every reason to fold the cards, but a little trade by Lowe to get Gleneration X (the new Stempniak) and all of a sudden the Oilers have an alright pest/shutdown line, Nilsson and Gagner step it up, and MacT gets top notch efforts out of the rest of the guys.

Whether the hammer falls or not, it's really been quite the ride.


Anonymous said...

"Hey, at worst, this season ends up like the last 6-7 preceding it besides 05-06. Regular season suckage followed by a very late season playoff push that ends up just short or just past success."

Not sure this is fair criticism to lay on the Oilers, considering that the last ten seasons have seen the Flames miss the playoffs seven times, making the same SCF run as the Oilers, and then being bounced in the first round the two subsequent years.

therealdeal said...

So your basic point is that its unfair criticism not because of it's inaccuracy, but because the Flames have had similar mediocre results?