It’s a long and winding road, to be sure, but the Edmonton Oilers are not giving up on this season: they are not out of the playoffs yet. Not mathematically, that is.
And they tell this season’s third episode of Oil Change that they still have faith in themselves. It airs Sunday at 7 p.m. on Sportsnet West, 9 p.m. on Sportsnet East, Ontario and Pacific.
Just use your fingers and toes, the Oilers seem to hint: three wins, one loss, and again, three wins, one loss, and they’re in, and once they’re in, we all know, it’s a brand new season.
Why are you laughing? What they are talking about is a plain .750 winning percentage, nothing a good team can’t achieve.
That’s what history tells us, after all: last time the Oilers made the playoffs, with Ales Hemsky’s end-of-season heroics, they went all the way to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals. They would lose by one miserable goal (empty netters don’t count).
The tragic thing is they would never make they playoffs since then. The fact the winner that season, the Carolina Hurricanes, didn’t make it the next season either doesn’t count.
Oil Change is a series now in its fourth season, with a cult-like following growing by leaps and bounds. This time, it goes behind the scenes to remind us about a few shockers that had happened between the previous episode and now.
First, the shocker: Ladislav Smid, out of the blue, is gone. And not to just somebody. He goes to the People’s Enemy Numero Uno, the Calgary Flames. Why? So the Oilers can bring in Ilya Bryzgalov, a goaltender with a proven record, unlike the current Oilers’ Nr. 1, Devan Dubnyk.
That Bryzgalov brings in a bit of a baggage? Whose baggage is it? Definitely not Bryzgalov’s.
The fact he knows more about modern applied science than do most sports reporters (or reporters in general) is definitely to those reporters’ detriment, not Bryzgalov’s. And that he answers a question whether he’s afraid of his former NHL club’s next opponent by saying that he could be afraid of a bear he might encounter in a forest, not of a hockey team, well, now, that’s simply funny. Alas, it’s also something reporters who embellish the quote and make fun of it never grasped. Whose issue is that? Definitely NOT Bryzgalov’s.
In any case, Bryzgalov’s arrival seems to have stabilized the goaltending position to a degree.
A bunch of Oscar-aspiring Hollywood writers wouldn’t be able to script the next item on the agenda. Young defenceman Taylor Fedun shattered his femur in a freak play in an exhibition game in 2011. Many feared he would never make it back to professional hockey. Yet, here he is, scoring his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.
This episode of Oil Change, just as many other episodes, takes us also on a few of much less publicized events. These are events that might deserve more attention than some of the games. They are less agonizing, to say the least. Wide-eyed kids at an Edmonton French immersion school who enjoy forward David Perron’s reading. Team captain Andrew Ference who grabs several teammates as they go toy shopping for disadvantaged children. And they also visit youngsters who attend the Inner City High School in downtown Edmonton.
Watching the brand new episode of Oil Change might turn out to be precisely THE pre-Christmas Sunday evening well spent. Try it.