For those about to rock……..The NHL’s playoffs begin April 12th and the Oilers are going to be playing some hot weather puck, finally. It’s going to be fun down at Rogers Place and 104Ave so enjoy the show.
As I intently watch the NHL standings by the day trying to figure out who the Caps will play, the matchup for the Oilers is also very intriguing.
While I expected the Caps to be where they are, I think it’s safe to say not many were picking the Edmonton Oilers to win the division. Now not many are nor should they be surprised with the season McDavid has had. The kid is ridiculously good. With some predicting Hart and Art Ross trophies for 97 at the pre-set of the 2016-17 season, McDavid has proven that he is arguably the best player in the league. Not sure how much of an argument you need to make but for me it’s him. At this point, he should win both those awards and I suspect he’ll be voted by the players as their MVP as well.
With the team where it is now and factoring in the season it’s had, could the teams’ expectations be higher than the pre-season thoughts many in the city had of just battling for a playoff spot in March and then see what happens? And should those expectations be higher?
I would caution that given where the organization was just 1 year ago, the season should not be considered a failure should the team lose in the 1st rd. I’d go as far to say even if they were swept (not likely) I would still consider this season a success. Players will have played plenty of meaningful hockey and received a taste of playoff puck. This would only bold well for the future and with the young core players gaining valuable experience, you can bet it’ll pay off. That’s the kind of experience that money can’t buy.
Having said all that for me, and again as a non-biased but heavily watching Oiler observer, I think this team is not just ready to win just one round but make a deeper run into the second season.
Now I don’t need to use a bunch of stats and analytics here to make a case, the Oilers are peaking right now. The ‘ole eye test will do just fine thanks. A winning streak at home with their best players rolling on all cylinders has the Oilers on an arc that could win the division, if not at least gain home-ice advantage for the first round. Imagine that and think about where the team was with Dallas Eakins for instance. I’m still laughing…..
Given the wild Pacific division and they way the standings have changed in last 3 weeks would anyone argue that the Oilers couldn’t beat anyone in their division in a 7 game series? They absolutely could.
Starting in goal, you could make the argument the Oilers have the best goalie in the West conference playoffs this year in Cam Talbot. He’s played that good and that alone will get you some brownie points in winning a playoff series. You add in the additional bonuses of having the best player in the game and of course you can win a series…. or a few.
While I honestly do not care who the Capitals play because in my mind they should beat anyone in the East. Won’t be easy, but they are the best team and have handled the heavyweights, Pittsburgh and Columbus, well all season. But I will say this much, I would not want to mess with the Oilers as a Caps fan. The biggest reason for that is if it were to occur it’d be in the Stanley Cup Final and that would mean that the Oilers would have already won three rounds. That would be a different and very confident Oiler team than the one found in the first round. Of all teams that would benefit most from building momentum from winning one series to the next, it’d be the inexperienced Oilers. Now I’m still taking my Caps because of the depth and experience but I know all too well it’s no guarantee!!
With a little over a week away before the big dance, I get the feeling this city is like getting ready for the prom after years of high school. It’s going to be a party and it’s going to be awesome. Just remember to enjoy it. It’s been a long time.