Ah, yes, another year around the sun.
My 24th came yesterday and knowing well I had my weekend columns to write here, I got thinking about what I want most for the Edmonton Oilers.
Growing up a young Oilers fan, I’ve seen some things. Some uh… less than pleasant things at that.
My first big year of hockey came when the Oilers made their big cup run, all in thanks to my parents finally allowing me to stay up and watch the majority of the games. (Thanks for the big push there, Dad.)
It was a great year, one I’ll never forget. But the Decade of Darkness that came following was excruciating, sans a few meager bright spots here or there. You know, like when Taylor Hall was drafted, the Oilers had H.O.P.E., etc.
I’ve been reflecting on that decade, as many else have, as the Oilers struggle to find their footing despite having the best player in the league on their roster. Why do the Oilers, as a franchise, year in and year out, struggle to remain consistent?
Must be something in the water, I guess.
The Oilers are on their eighth coach since the start of the 09-10 season and their fifth general manager in the same time frame.
The seven coaches before recent hire Dave Tippett have gotten 112 games on average — a little less than a season and a half — to be able to show what they’re made of as the Oilers coach. Todd McLellan was the longest-tenured bench boss in that time frame, getting 266 games behind the bench plus another baker’s dozen in the playoffs.
So that brings me to my wish — some damn consistency in the Oilers organization.
I really hope it’s not too much to ask for, but I’m a firm believer in the organizational revolving door being a key factor why the Oilers haven’t had good standings in this league.
Sure, some (very) poor roster management, and outright bad coaching decisions led to the ultimate demise of many of the men in Edmonton.
We’re weeks away from camps and pre-season action, so there’s a whole hell of a lot left to be seen, but I’m inclined to believe that Tippett and GM Ken Holland will be the right men to get Edmonton back to glory.
Are the Oilers a playoff team this year? More than likely not.
But the year after this, nothing short of a playoff push would be unacceptable. Edmonton has one major signing next year in RFA Darnell Nurse and has roughly $23-million in space to work with. If they can wriggle out of Kris Russel’s final year of his contract, they’d be looking at another $4-million to play with.
On Twitter: @zjlaing