Greetings Hockey Fans,
The Edmonton Oilers had made a name for themselves for getting the most out of nothing prior to the lockout. They were never expected to be a great team but no one ever thought they would be a bad team. They continually made runs for the playoffs and occasionally had a nice first round upset before bowing out to better teams. All the while Kevin Lowe or Glen Sather would be dumping their best (and coincidentally most expensive) players before they lost them for nothing in free agency. A lesson learned from the Curtis Joseph debacle.
The Oilers rarely overpaid a player (Adam Oates comes to mind). Oilers fans always assumed this was because of shrewd management and coaching. They were the scrappy underdogs which no one wanted to play but no one ever really worried about either. In reality, no one wanted to play here. They were the crappy dogs who no one wanted to play with and no one ever really cared about anymore. Thanks for those teams from the '80s now go die in the corner.
This has been proven to be fact now that we are one of the 10 highest grossing teams in the NHL and have to ability to buy players, keep players, to overpay players (Souray, Pisani, Roloson, Torres, Moreau, Penner, Stoll, Tarnstrom, and so on). Still, players are reluctant to come here and the ones that do consider the Oilers want more money for the sacrifice they are making to come here, even though if they are considering Edmonton that means no one else has too much interest.
Coming out of the lockout Kevin Lowe made some good moves to position this team to be a contender with the pick ups of Pronger and Peca. Signed Pronger to a long term deal and proceeded to build a team around him. The Oilers got lucky and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first year. Optimism reigned supreme in Oil Country. Until the draft. Fans realized Pronger was leaving and hoped for the best. I think deep down they all knew what was coming. Well the ones who have been around long enough to not fall off the bandwagon when it gets bumpy had seen this before.
So, here it is 2 years later and this Oilers team reminds me of the Oilers team of the mid 90's and early milenium. Not as much talent as everyone and no way to get more talent, but no way to keep it even if they get it. Smyth, Pronger, Peca, Smith, Lupul, and Spacek are all gone never to return again as the good guys. Just as Weight, Guerin, Arnott, Hamrlik, Joseph and so many others before them.
I almost like it this way. I would rather have a harder working team this year. A more consistent team this year. A more experienced team this year. But this team represents Edmonton to a tee. No respect. All the oil comes from northern Alberta, yet all the Corporate heads keep warm in Calgary with their Flames (A team with no trouble attracting and keeping players). Edmonton is the blue collar city of the Oil Boom. We deserve the blue collar team of the NHL.
This may be my assumption because I was only 2 the first year the Oilers won a Cup and instead grew up idolizing Zdeno Cigar, Doug Weight, Dave Manson, Boris Mironov, or whoever else the Oilers could con into a jersey instead of Gretzky, Messier, and Coffey. I always knew they were going to leave though, unlike the fans who had their hearts ripped out when Gretzky left and a whole new generation of 10 year olds when Pronger left town but didnt understand why.
Prior to the lock out we were a very good farm team and we will continue to be.
But then again, I've been wrong before.