(Update: through Saturday night)
This thing has kind of become a moot point of late, what the Great 2008 Dinktease and all, but it's worth remembering what's really important about this season, people: not giving Coiffy McAsshole a lottery pick.
Before we go on, though, I will say that the really bizarre thing about this year's version of our last-gasp push for mediocrity is the fact that we can actually score goals. The Oilers I've come to know and support intermittently are grinders to their very core, gritting out wins with a few well-timed rebounds and some stellar goaltending. Goals were generally scored with all the ease of delivering the one true ring to the molten hellscape in which it was forged, and when opposing teams answered back—it was almost always Joe Sakic, floating into the slot on a fucking cloud and sifting in a shot that looked so natural you would swear to god he's actually the last living descendant of an ancient tribe of people who communicated solely in wrist shots—more or less all hope was lost, unless we could bounce one in off Ryan Smyth's face or something.
Now, though, when a team comes back from a 3-goal deficit, I almost get excited to see how we'll get out of this one. Will it be some ridiculous, three-dekes-and-a-no-look-pass Hemsky-to-Gagner play? Maybe Joni Pitkanen leading the rush and wiring one over the goalie's shoulder? Or how about a goal-mouth scramble tap-in for old time's sake? These are heady days, if only because being down by two goals isn't an automatic signal to start drinking a lot faster. I still don't think the playoffs are actually a legitimate shot, but hey, at least the highlight packages look good.
Anyway, with specific regards to the push, it's been a big week. The Oil can now officially do no worse than fourth-worst which, while still in the lottery, is working towards something big, especially since the teams currently occupying fourth- and fifth-worst would need to play better than .500 to pass us. Basically, there's a really good chance we won't finish in the bottom five, which, in my estimation, makes this season a success. Sure, there's a decent chance we might still finish in the bottom six, but hey, I set my sights low at the beginning, and that's where they're going to stay.
Now, then, let us sit back and enjoy a new push, the one to finish 9th in the west. If I may re-appropriate some Coolio for you all, there ain't no finish like a high-single-digits finish, cuz a high-single-digits finish is all we've been capable of for the last 12 years.
Oilers: 81 Points (T-10th worst with Florida, Buffalo)
9. Toronto (80 points; 6 games remaining): 1-5-0
8. Chicago (78 points; 7 games remaining): 2-5-0
7. Phoenix (78 points; 6 games remaining): 2-4-0
6. Columbus (77 points; 7 games remaining): 2-4-1
5. NYI (73 points; 7 games remaining): 4-2-1
4. St. Louis (71 points; 8 games remaining): 5-2-1
3. Atlanta (70 points; 5 games remaining): CAN'T PASS US
2. Tampa (66 points; 7 games remaining): CAN'T PASS US
1. LA (66 points; 6 games remaining): CAN'T PASS US
What is this?
While last time out we used the drafting of one potential Russian superstar (which turned out to be a moot point, but whatever) as our mark, being as how the Oilers are currently without our own first round pick, this year's edition takes on a more depressing veneer: keeping a potential number one pick out of the hands of Brian Burke, both for reasons of Oiler fan sanity (ie "WE LOST OUT ON STEVE STAMKOS FOR DUSTIN PENNER?!?!?!?!") and because Burke's a big, stupid fathead who is fat and stupid and has a big head.
Above is the record each team below the Oilers would need to pass them. The trick, though, is that the NHL's draft lottery means that any team in the bottom five has the potential to draft first overall: essentially, to be sure Burke doesn't draft first overall, the Oilers need to finish at least sixth-worst in the league. Also included are teams the Oilers have been ahead of since the beginning of this endeavour, to provide some perspective on just where they might finish.
Thanks to James Mirtle for the original idea.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
(Update: through Saturday night)
Posted by DMFB at 1:48 PM