I noticed a lot of Edmonton Oilers fans flipping out on twitter and message boards during the Friday night game against the Dallas Stars. The Oilers looked disinterested and lost to the Stars B team 4-0. Yes, it was an ugly loss, but please try to remember that this was the pre-season. A meaningless game where the Oilers were working on systems and formations. Heck, the Oilers have had seven straight winning pre-seasons coming into this season. They’ve also missed the playoffs seven years in a row.
The pre-season doesn’t matter from a wins and losses stand point, it really doesn’t. Remember during the 2010-11 pre-season when the Oilers B team walked into Vancouver and spanked the Canucks A team? It was really indicative of the regular season when the Oilers came in 30th and Vancouver went to game seven of the Stanley Cup Final.
Last night you saw a desperate Dallas team, one that had quite a few guys fighting for NHL jobs this season and guys fighting for top call-up spots. On the Edmonton side you saw a roster that knew they were going to be in the NHL, and was pretty much trying to work on a few things and stay healthy.
I’m not saying they didn’t try, and I’m not excusing the lack of urgency. Things like that are unacceptable, and this team needs to show urgency from game one until game 82 if they want to have a fighting chance to get into the playoffs this season. All I’m saying is I’m willing to bet there will be much more urgency and full throttle effort on Tuesday night when things actually matter.
The Oilers enjoyed a lot of success prior to last night in the pre-season. In my mind, it was good for them to have a stinker to remember that it’s just as easy to lose in this league and get embarrassed doing so. Dallas Eakins seems to agree too based on his quote post-game.
“It’s good that it happened. It’s good to let our team know that our diapers do stink.”
Maybe a little dose of reality will help get these guys re-focused going into the regular season. Everyone needs a taste of reality, and after an otherwise really good training camp, this was decent timing for that dose of reality.
Look, I know the last seven years have been tough, I’ve lived through them too. I know at the slightest sign of trouble it’s easy to say “Here come the real Oilers!” and “So what’s the 2014 draft look like?!” or even “Who is going to be a free agent for us on July 1st?”. I get it, so much losing and all those pathetic performances makes it easy to flip out at the smallest thing, but let’s take a step back here.
This was a tough night, a bad game, and one that was very forgettable for the home side. That all being said, remember people, this was a meaningless pre-season game. If the Oilers play like this during the first few weeks of the regular season, then we can start panicking and talking about the draft.
Give this team a chance in the regular season. One bad pre-season game has never dictated how the regular season would go for any team. Take a step back from the ledge and take a deep breath. The Oilers will be fine. I’m still saying they fight for the post-season. One PRE-SEASON game isn’t going to change that. It shouldn’t change your opinion of the team either. Relax folks, it’s just the pre-season.