The other day I had a conversation with a friend who is constantly optimistic about the Oilers, me being the one who always has to bring him back down to earth. After our latest talk it inspired me to write a little blurb about how a conversation with an optimistic Oilers fan and a pessimistic one might be going about this time of year. Here it is:
Oh man the Oilers are 5-1! First in the western conference! The rebuild is over!
Ok, lets calm down, its been 6 games.
Wins are wins! They’re playing good hockey!
They are, but do you really think they can keep this up all year?
Absolutely! They finally have an elite number one goalie and…
Ok I’m going to stop you there, don’t you remember the first 3 games when Talbot gave up 13 goals and a large portion of the fan base was calling for his head?
Yeah but he was first star of the week!
But it’s been 3 games! We’ve now seen 3 good games and 3 bad games from Cam Talbot. I mean his 5 on 5 save% in .922. Which is very very good, but he’s been getting a lot of offensive support. I Like Talbot, I think he’ll be this team’s number one for a long time. But let’s not throw around the “E” word.
Either way they don’t even need Talbot to be great, look how good their offense is! Connor McDavid is tied for the league lead in points! You can’t argue that!
I can’t, but his PDO is over 107, so to suggest he’ll be at close to 2 points per game all year is a little ridiculous.
Well they have been getting good secondary scoring, 11 points between Kassian-Letestu-Pitlick. That’s something we’ve never really seen in Edmonton.
Those will come nowhere close to sustaining more than 2.0 points/60 for the entire year. Don’t get me wrong, great performances from unsuspecting players is exactly what you need to make the playoffs in today’s NHL. But having those performances is an entirely different thing than relying on them.
Who cares?! They’re winning hockey games! That kind of stuff doesn’t happen around here.
People may just need to temper their expectations. This isn’t a team that is going to finish top in the western conference.
This is a team that will still struggle to be in the hunt for a playoff spot.
C’mon now! They deserve a little bit more than that.
Like I said, it’s great to see guys in the bottom 6 giving great performances. But what about guys like Nugent-Hopkins or Pouliot? If this team wants long term success they need players like that to contribute offense.
Couldn’t that be viewed as a positive?
Well if they’re winning now, in large part due to contributions from players who are having out of body experiences, then when players like Nuge, Pouliot and even Eberle step up and play like their normal selves, they could continue to score at this pace.
That’s actually a good point. While some Oilers are over-producing like crazy, Ryan Nugent Hopkins has barely had an offensive pulse. If he gets going, it should bring Pouliot to life and give them 3 solid scoring lines.
Bingo, we saw it last year with how the Penguins found success. They had 3 lines start clicking at the right moment and timely depth scoring.
The Oilers are no Stanley Cup competitor, Todd McLellan even said that the other day. They are still a growth team.
But these last 6 game have been growth.
They have, and if you look at this insanely hot start as growth, not as an establishment of a competitor, then there is absolutely nothing but positives. That’s what people are missing. They have been playing close to complete games for the majority of this stretch.
And even when they start to fall apart they bend but don’t break. We haven’t seen that in over a decade of Oilers hockey. It’s refreshing.
That’s another aspect that’s being a little overlooked. This team fell apart against Buffalo, then had the drama of the cancelled day off. In past years that would have taken a toll, but now we’ve seen the benefit of having a coach like a Todd McLellan and a better leadership core. They came back strong and grinded out a win against Carolina.
Which was a game Oilers of the past probably blow.
Oilers fans should really just be enjoying a competent hockey team, this is what 10 years of pain was all for.