Oilers starting season 0-2 means nothing but everything

Oct 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Dakota Joshua (81) knocks Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) into Vancouver Canucks goaltender Casey DeSmith (29) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Dakota Joshua (81) knocks Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) into Vancouver Canucks goaltender Casey DeSmith (29) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /
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How you perceive the Oilers starting the 2023-24 season 0-2 comes down to a number of factors, particularly whether you view it objectively or subjectively.

Let’s start off by stating the Edmonton Oilers losing their first two games of the season is not the end of the world. Or is it?

As the saying goes, perception is reality, and really this has a lot to do with how fans in particular view the way the Oilers have started the 2023-24 campaign. Are they objective or subjective; logical or irrational?

There are different facets to consider including, for example, looking at the situation from a purely statistical perspective. In one respect, the last time the Oilers started a season 0-2 was in 2018-19, which was also the last time they missed the playoffs.

However, this can be (more than) countered by a couple of factors, including the reality the team is a lot better these days. In addition to this, two fixtures over the course of an 82-game slog is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

More to the point, if you’re a strong enough roster — and the Oilers are — then they can (or at least should) be able to overcome a two-game losing streak – even if it’s at the beginning of the season. After all, it’s not as if they won’t suffer more losing streaks along the way.

Moving past statistics, how about the overriding matter of rational thought process versus emotional erraticness. Let’s be honest, sports fans are not exactly renowned for their logical approach towards matters involving the team (or teams) they support.

Interestingly, this passionate fandom can work one of two ways. In other words, either stubborn belief and almost irrational optimism or a constant impending sense of doom, when it comes to the team in question.

Funnily enough, Oilers fans in particular have experience of both outlooks. The former came during the Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier days, when the team won five Stanley Cups in seven seasons.

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The latter outlook came between 2006-07 and 2018-19, when the Oilers qualified for the playoffs on just one occasion. Of course the one major positive from this sorry run of futility, was winning the rights to draft Connor McDavid in 2015.

And really, McDavid –along with Leon Draisaitl — should be reason enough alone, to believe the Oilers can easily overcome their losing start to this season. No matter how much hockey is a team game, there is no rational reason why you should suddenly be terrible with that duo on the roster.

However, ‘rational’ is the key word in the previous sentence. Again, sports fans are not a rational breed; the majority (metaphorically) live and breath through the fortunes of their team.

Those who are negative, see a team which currently has an under-par blue line and goaltending situation. They look at a roster which is terrible on the penalty kill and seems almost incapable of scoring without the advantage of the power play.

Overall, when viewed objectively, Oilers fans have no rational reason to worry about what the 2023-24 season holds for their team. The problem is, being a sports fan is usually associated with a skewed perspective which does not lend itself to logical thinking.

dark. Next. 3 positives about Oilers' slow start to season

As far as the actual team is concerned, the Oilers players themselves have said they have no worries about the start to the season; in their mind they know they’re a good team. Now, it’s a case of going out there and proving it, to alleviate any fears their fans may or may not have about what to expect in the coming months.