Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nothing But Questions

Another hockey season is almost among us. A time for hope and a time for doubt. Lots have chatter has been done throughout the summer, but the chatter has only just begun. How good will the team be? Will it be better? Who will play with who? Will Player X have a breakout season?.....Lots to ponder as the season unfolds.

This particular post is more about the psyche of the prototypical Oiler fan. Some parts fragile, other parts boisterous, all in all, just a voice wanting to be heard across the hockey wilderness. Like the little brother kicking everyone in the shins, running around calling people "Fucker!". The Oilers time will come and there will be Oiler playoff hockey to watch again soon. However, this team is going to require a lot of patience and a healthy amount of blind faith.....still. Are the fans going to turn off their TVs by Xmas or are the fans going to spitshine this thing right up? Fail for Nail anyone?

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the newly found #1 overall draft pick, has been a source of great discussion, will likely have undue pressure on him, some fans set his bar too high, others have set it too low. All I'm going to say is give him time. His time is not now, may not even be here next year. The team is going to have to continue to turnover players to make way for him. Its almost as if you have to look at him as an entity unto himself. Don't look at him and figure out how he's going to fit on the team because the team will likely be vastly different by the time he is ready. Consider him a savings account, which is bad news for us fans who want a winner sooner than later but it is what it is. Are you going to be disappointed if he goes back to Red Deer?

Jordan Eberle is a player that I'm worried about how his future pertains to the Oilers. Don't get me wrong, he is a heckuva player, but once this team is ready to win and break the playoff threshhold, they'll likely get trounced and fully understand then, "Y'know what? This team doesn't have enough strength". In which case, if Hall and The Nuge stays, he'll llikely be gone. In the meantime, appreciate what he is, and marvel at his hockey skills and savvy. Is that a depressing thought?

Sam Gagner, this year he is going all in on a pair of twos. As posted in a previous post of mine, the only way Sam survives is if he totally overhauls his game. Take everything he knows and throw it out. Go straight up shooter and two-way center. Essentially, turn yourself into Jarret Stoll. Good luck Sam. Sam will likely be a whipping boy this year. Are you ready, Sam?

Ales Hemsky. What's his dedication to winning? Is he all in? I know he wants to, but can he? He has to remember that he only one piece of the puzzle, but he is an important piece. Individual play makes the fans go all "wtfpwn!!", but him dedicating himself to more of a team game will make the team better. There is a time to attack and a time to retreat, he has to get a better feel for this. I'm still torn on which player will be gone between Hemsky and Gagner, but I still feel one of them will be gone by the deadline. How will the fanbase react to such a move?

This is just a few concerns that I have going into this year and I haven't even touched the goaltending (ugh!) yet. If you are a fan and like the flavour of the Koolaid that the Oilers have put out over the past couple of years, you're likely to get more of a helping. The Oilers are still a ways away from being able to run. Some pieces are there, but others are not, and the pieces that are missing are crucial pieces to a winning franchise. (A top pairing Dman, a #1 Center, a starting goaltender). There will be highlights and lowlights. Will they be playing meaningful games by March?

Most importantly, I've noticed a real dichotomy in the Oilers fan base over the last couple of years. Some are frusterated over the losing, others are loving the high draft picks. I wonder which will win out this year? Who are the real fans, the frusterated or the pacifists?

When will losing be no longer acceptable from the fanbase?

When will losing be no longer acceptable from the fanbase?

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