29 Teams We Hate: Edmonton Oilers

Jim Rogash

I hate the Oilers. I really do. They're a bullshit team in a bullshit city (did you hear? THEY'VE GOT A MALL!) full of bullshit players.

Let's start from the top. The one thing that people will say is great about Edmonton is that it's got a mall. Like, the biggest one in all of North America. 800 stores (including a shooting range! What luck for the people of Edmonton! At least, when they go there, they'll see a backstop that'll stop a shot.

Edmonton's offense is pretty damn bad, too. For the franchise that once featured Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, the two highest-scoring players in NHL history (thanks 80s goaltending!), they've been pretty bad. At no point 2004 lockout, they haven't outscored Buffalo in a season. A few times, they ended up in the bottom 5, including once at dead last. They can't score, they can't stop goals against, they suck. They suck pretty bad. Or have for a while, anyway. Here, I made a chart about how bad they've been. It shows their rank (out of 30 teams) in PTS%, GF, GA, and SRS. The higher the point, the worse they were.

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As you can see, the team only managed to be a top half team when Chris Pronger dragged their ass to the finals. Where they lost to the former Hartford Whalers, the Carolina Hurricanes. I know that that particularly pissed off just about everyone in Connecticut and Canada (hey, maybe they're not all bad...). The best thing they did (since Chris Pronger did what every good player in Edmonton eventually does - asks for a trade to literally anywhere) was score a bunch of goals in 2007-08. Well not "a bunch." 34-year-old Corey Stillman scored more goals than anyone on Edmonton that year. So, yeah. They were bad.

But we shouldn't keep such a narrow focus. Sure, the team is in shambles and shows little hope of doing much soon. Your local overbearing asshole Oilers bloggers will be happy to ram that information down your throat with so many stats it'll make your eyes bleed. (These same stats have since been picked up by more personable people and now things like Corsi get mentioned on TSN - even outside of drinking games!) Let's talk about the real reasons we hate them.

It boils down to, "once upon a time a podunk city frozen under ice lucked into a couple really good players early in their history and have been coasting on it ever since." Assholes. Thanks to them, Ray Bourque didn't get to lift the cup in Black and Gold. Yeah, I'm talking about 1988 and 1990.

In the 1988 playoffs, the Bruins had quite a storied ride. First, they took out Buffalo. Seems pretty normal. Then, they played Montreal for like the billionth time. For the first time in 44 years, the Bruins beat the Habs. Quite the little fairytale run. In the conference finals, the Bruins won (obviously, they made the finals). The whole world of hockey won, however, when the Devil's coach called Don Koharski a "fat pig." History is a wonderful thing. In the 1988 finals, our own owner was so miserly that the building couldn't handle the weather of a late playoff game. In 5 games, the Oilers won 4-0. Some bullshit.

So then the Oilers sold Gretzky to LA, and we all have to hear about it every goddamn summer. The 30 for 30 about it was boring as heck, as well. Luckily, it meant we didn't have to hear about the Oilers anymore when we had to hear about Gretzky.

Unluckily, it meant that well-known head-hunter Mark Messier could keep doing his thing. The Gretzky-less Oilers went on to win a 5th goddamn championship in 1990, meeting - all together now - the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins lost game one in triple OT (sound familiar?) and then proceeded to win one of the next 4. And that was it.

Ray Bourque wouldn't ever lift a Stanley Cup as a Boston Bruin. 11 years later, everyone in Boston had to convince themselves that this was good enough. 10 years after that, well... we did finally return to the finals and win a cup, and that was pretty good. Didn't have a lick to do with the Oilers, though.

Well, except that I don't think that the current team is close to pulling off the same. I expect that they won't. But then, I also expected Taylor Hall's streak of not playing in April to continue. That broke last year, so maybe the Oilers can take advantage of their new no-name division and squeak in and get lucky. Heh, maybe. Sure.

Just like the highlight of the Oilers for the last 5+ years is easily the GM looking all smug on TSN, getting the draft lottery results that gave them 3 1st overall picks in a row.

Everything not covered here can be found in this breakdown by Thomas Drance here because, holy shit, I think he got damn near everything.

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