Game Day

Oilers Gameday vs Vancouver: Auld Lang Syne, or Something

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

It’s New Years Eve, and this hellscape of a calendar year is over.

The Oilers are sitting 4th in the West (2nd in the Pacific), and with any luck they’ll walk away from 2016 with 2 more points and a firmer hold on that elusive playoff position.

The Oilers close out 2016 with a HNIC game against the Vancouver Canucks. It’s fitting, somehow, that the Canucks are here tonight as the Oilers have only played once since Christmas and the Canucks will be playing their 3rd in 4 nights. It’s like the league wants the Oilers to walk away with the win.

Almost.

It should be noted that the Oilers haven’t won a NYE game since 1985, so maybe the NHL is just messing with us.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Score more goals than  the Canucks. It shouldn’t be hard; the Canucks have a -21 goal differential thus far, and the Oilers are +20.
  • Keep it simple, and get the puck to Eric Gryba. He played like a man possessed last game, and his enthusiasm at that goal is something we need to see more of.

Vancouver

  • Target Connor and force his linemates to drive the play.
  • Get right in Cam Talbot’s kitchen, and make it hard for him to see the puck. Most nights, he’s the difference maker, so getting him off his game will be important.

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • Connor. He’s real good at this hockey stuff, and when he gets wheeling it’s pretty great to watch. Just enjoy it, y’all. He’s an Oiler and that’s a wonderful thing.
  • Pat Maroon is a joy to watch. I want him to score a million goals so that we can see him celebrate every game.

Vancouver

  • The Sedins, while not quite as amazing as they’ve been in the past, are still something else. Someday, when they retire, I’ll be able to fully appreciate just how good they are without hating them. Probably, anyway.

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Milan Lucic – Connor McDavid – Jordan Eberle

Patrick Maroon – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Leon Draisaitl

Benoit Pouliot – Drake Caggiula – Jesse Puljujarvi

Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson

Kris Russell – Matt Benning

Brandon Davidson – Eric Gryba

Cam TalBot

Vancouver

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jayson Megna

Loui Eriksson – Brandon Sutter – Markus Granlund

Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Alex Burrows

Brendan Gaunce – Michael Chaput – Jack Skille

Alex Edler – Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa – Chris Tanev

Ben Hutton – Nikita Tryamkin

Jacob Markstrom

Auld Lang Syne

At the end of the year, it’s customary to let things go and start fresh. Grudges, regrets, old sweaters….we should just let them all go. (No, I’m not talking about the trade. I’ll never get over that. Fight me.)

But maybe, just maybe, we should take a look around at our fellow Oilers fans and remember that even though we don’t all agree about the direction the team is heading, or the personnel decisions that are made, or the seeming inability of Edmonton’s MSM to objectively analyze anything having to do with the team, that there are real people who love the team as much as the next person.

We don’t all demonstrate that in the same way, but that doesn’t mean we get to make assumptions about what kind of fan someone is. If they’re not on board with analytics and you are, great. If you think the stats guys just need to watch the game, fine. Maybe you’re an Eberle fan and you can’t handle people ragging on him – that’s fine too.

The point is that we all have a vested interest in the team, and our reasons aren’t necessarily the same.

I love this team, and it’s brought some amazing people into my life who I never would have met otherwise. Despite everything that’s happened, I can’t be upset about that.

So in 2017, let’s be a little kinder to each other and remember that no matter what, we’re all fans. (And if you really don’t agree with someone, unfollow them. It’s better for everyone.)

Happy New Year!

 

 

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