Monday, August 20, 2007
Busiest summer in a long time, work is crazy and to top it all off no internet at home since Friday.
But September approaches. Hoorah!
I have always been Mr. Positive when it comes to the Oilers but after last season I guess you can count me amongst the skeptics for the upcoming season. I'm thinking no playoffs but I'm also thinking that it won't be a huge disaster, which is what I was leaning towards earlier.
One reason for THE REAWAKENING OF HOPE is my belief that this season is going to hopefully see a return, in some ways, to the Oilers of old. For years this was the little team that could, the "young Oilers" who battled for a playoff spot year in and year out, sometimes getting in, sometimes not, but always leaving no doubt that they had left everything out on the ice. Dallas may have knocked them out when they made the playoffs but they always gave them a little scare. In the end the kids couldn't get it done but they were alright. Even in their run of 2006 they did their best work as underdogs. After Lowe loaded up at the deadline the team struggled, unsure of what to do as they now had actual expectations. Barely sliding in as the eighth seed was more to their liking and then they went on their beauty run.
Go back to last fall and you had a new team and new expectations. Roloson, Pisani, Stoll, Horcoff, Hemsky, Moreau and Staios all cashed in. Guys came to camp after a summer of basking in the glow (Stoll and Torres both admitted to not being ready for the season). Trying to remake the gritty team of 2006 with softer skilled guys failed. For the first time in fifteen years the team was fat and happy, with the exception of Smyth who was playing for his contract and a handful of veterans who you could never see getting fat or happy.
And so here is an intangible reason for believing that this season will be better. Reports from California have a large number of Oilers working their asses off in preparation for the season. They have already been written off, by and large. On paper they look like a team full of holes but looking back over the past ten years (check the roster of the team that beat the Avs) there were a lot of teams with more holes then this one who fared ok.
I still don't like the Souray deal at all (Lowe is another example of a GM who has done poorly now that he has the restraints off it seems) but I'm thinking there are a whole whack of players with a lot to prove this season. A burr in their collective saddle may give this team the identity that they seemed to lose last year.
Posted by Black Dog at 4:15 PM