I’ll miss David Letterman. Like Ryan Smyth, he was no longer at the top of his game. But oh, how I remembered when both were. I still watched, every night, longing and hoping for just a little bit more of their special brand of magic. I knew in my heart of hearts, though, that both would eventually go away forever, and that it would never be the same again. And so it was.
In honor of Dave, and Smytty, here is my Top 10 List: Things Oilers fans should not worry about in 2014-15:
10. Boyd Gordon. The model. The kind of guy I’m talking about when I say we need “more real NHL’ers”. He’s been this player, consistently, his entire career, has “man strength”, yet is young enough to maintain the pace.
9. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. People forget that he spent all Summer rehab-ing his shoulder. He was much stronger in all aspects until the last 20, when he ran out of gas. Watch out, Steve Austin: He’ll be bigger, stronger and faster in 14-15.
8. Rexall Place beer prices. Sure, it’s a 300% mark-up. But after a few of these specially blended crack brew, you’ll have forgotten that fact, as well as the results on the scoreboard. Do you accept Oilers Bucks for those? Awesome.
7. The Draft. The Top 5 are clearly identified, and in my mind so is the Top 3 (Eckblad, Bennett, Reinhart). Leon Draisaitl would be fine. Not even Steve Tambellini could screw this one up. Right?
6. Craig MacTavish. A clear upgrade over his paralyzed predecessor. MacT WILL have a couple more Grebeshkov moments. All GM’s do, but you can’t hit the ball if you don’t swing the bat.
5. Anton Belov. I didn’t like losing a 6’4 defenceman who could skate & shoot, either. But Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse are way, way better, and almost ready. Otdkyhat.
4. Rogers Place. The deal is done. The shovels are in the dirt. Something would have to go tragically wrong for us to NOT be watching Oilers games there in 2016, 2017 at the latest. Have faith. Oilers fans = good at that.
3. Ben Scrivens. Sure, he’s a bit of a high-event performer, but so were Fuhr & Joseph. If he can make “that save” for you, at just the right time, I’ll take “high event” versus the “over the shoulder, stick-side” variety of goaltender, any day.
2. David Perron. Put the puck at the net, good things happen. They said Bryan Trottier’s puck luck would run out, too, but it never did. And as Dad used to say to me…they all look the same on the scoreboard, son.
1. Taylor Hall. A bona-fide superstar. If I hear anyone bleat “Trade Hall”, or complain about which local bar you saw him at last night, one more time, I’ll demand that you turn in your damn hockey cards. What a tragic step backward that would be, for the entire organization. I don’t even like to think about it. And neither should you.