While the prospects should have fans giddy with excitement, the fact is Edmonton is buried in a deep conference full of Stanley Cup contenders, so expectations have to be tempered.
-The Hockey News, predicting Edmonton will again finish last in the Western Conference in 2011-12.
It’s no big secret that the Oilers have been lacklustre over the past half decade. Missing the playoffs for five consecutive years is a surefire indicator that something’s amiss on the ice. Wrap those five years up with a back-to-back last place finish, and the icing on your cake of defeat is looking mighty grand.
The Hockey News seems to think that the Oilers are going to pull an early 90s Québec Nordiques performance again this year, and it’s easy to pile on this team when they’re down. There have been so many different things to go wrong with this team, it’s hard to pinpoint which one was the contributing factor. I’m going to shoot a dart here and say that while the team wasn’t filled with Gretzkys, Coffeys and Messiers, injuries played a big contributing factor to the team finishing last. (Oh, alright, goaltending didn’t help either)
If the Oilers stay healthy next year, there’s no chance they finish in last place.
If I’m Ryan Whitney, I’m cutting this out or printing this quote about ‘tempered expectations’ out and sticking it on the wall in the dressing room. Blow that sucker up, put it on an 8×10 Let everyone who walks in that dressing room see that the Hockey News thinks that this squad is still one that can be rolled on. Let everyone who comes into Edmonton think that the Oilers are just another two points to not take seriously. It’s easy to push the Oilers since they’ve been performing poorly. Go on and let 29 NHL teams believe it.
I don’t think anyone in their right mind is thinking Stanley Cup here in August. If you think the Oilers are going to be a bad team after a five year absence from the playoffs, I certainly have heard crazier things. To say that they’re going to finish fifteenth because the team is ‘buried in a conference full of Stanley Cup Contenders’… I tend to find holes in that vein of thought.
If this team stays healthy, you will see marked improvement over last year. Take it to the bank.
Where do you think the Oilers will finish in 2011-12?
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