Setting The Facts Straight by guest speaker “Ktown”

By , January 20, 2014 7:44 pm

How many times did we hear him call Oilers again?

How many times did we hear him call Oilers again?

This post is from guest writer Ktown. We’re shutting the blog down soon, but he wanted to squeak one post in before doing so…

Setting the Facts Straight

I was recently pointed in the direction of a Flames blogger who wrote about the state of their team. That in itself is likely a misleading statement, as the author wrote primarily about the state of the Oilers, under the theme of “We don’t suck as bad as them”. This opened up a lively debate with a friend of mine (as avid a Flamer as I am an Oiler). Throughout our banter, I heard more of the same “facts” spewed back at me, attempting to demonstrate the Oilers’ futility in the last few (several) years.
Now, before we get too far, I want to state clearly – this is not a defense of the Oilers, nor an attempt to say “they don’t suck that bad”. The levels of suckage, futility, insanity and pure, abject failure within the organization are beyond debate. What I am submitting now is more of a simple supplication to other fan bases (and even our own) to at least get some facts straight before engaging in any spirited debate.

Facts are important in any “informed” discussion, and so the level to which facts are misstated, misquoted, or simply falsified in Oiler diatribe has become detrimental to any discussion where the team is concerned. Let’s just take a moment now to set some simple “facts” straight, in the hope that one day, we may actually be able to have a simple, “informed” discussion about how bad the Oilers suck without having to resort to myth, gossip, or even imagination. To be perfectly honest, the pure level of suck really doesn’t require exaggeration or hyperbole in the first place.
Probably my favorite thus far, and the one I hear most often is “they suck so bad, they’ve been last in the league for 4 or 5 years.” I love this one not only for the absurd level of exaggeration, but also for the most absolute falsehood within.

Let us put this on the ground floor now, and agree to be bound by the truth forever after – the Oilers did not finish dead last the past 4 or 5 seasons. They didn’t even finish dead last in 3 of those 4 or 5. They finished dead last twice. Let me restate that for clarity – they finished dead last TWICE. 2010 and 2011. In those two seasons, yes – the Oil were the epitome of losers in the National Hockey League. They sucked so bad that “rewarding” them with the 1st overall draft pick was hardly fair compensation to the fanbase that died, was buried, and returned from the dead only to be killed again.

In statement of FACT, the Oilers have finished 24th, 29th, 30th, 30th, 21st, 19th and 25th since making their last run at the Stanley Cup (oh, such a distant, happy memory now). Unless my grade school teachers failed at teaching me the true meaning of “greater than”/”less than”, that shows me just 2 (two) complete and total last place finishes in the last 7 pride swallowing, fan decimating, NHL seasons.

This is where we Oilers fans get the inevitable sand kicked in our face – “but they drafted 1st overall three years in a row!”
Yes. They did. That is indeed a FACT. However, in 2012, having finished SECOND TO LAST in the league, the Oilers hit a (just less than) 1 in 5 shot (that’s 20% for you mathematically challenged folk) and won the draft lottery – beating out the eternally lost Columbus Blue Jackets for the coveted first pick. The Oilers should not be inappropriately berated for their 3rd last place finish in a row (myth), but rather should be lambasted for robbing the Blue Jackets of what should have been their hard earned 1st overall. Selfish bastards, those Oilers.
The other misstatement I hear so very often is as follows – “The Oilers suck so bad, even with all those first overalls on their team, they can’t do anything.”
Depending on your definition/quantification of “all those” there could be any number of misconceptions happening. Again, let’s set the record straight – the Edmonton Oilers have exactly three (3) first overalls playing on the team right now (2½, really as Yakupov has been either 4th lined or press-boxed much of this season). Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov are the only Oilers players that have legitimate pictures of themselves at the draft with their fingers raised in an internet worthy proclamation of “FIRST!” As well – so we’re not at liberty to disagree, those photos happened at the drafts of 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The vitriol spewed at the Oilers – when faced with this last FACT – is invariably met with the “well, they have a lot of guys that could have been first overalls.”
Let’s examine that statement. Had the draft in 2008 been redone in an epic NHL do-over (sorry, Senators fans – there’s no such thing. History will remember Alexandre Daigle), there is a strong possibility that the names Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz would have been announced much sooner than 22nd and 43rd (respectively). Of course, to suggest they would have been the first names called would be to assume that names like Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, and Alex Pieterangelo had not been in play at that particular run of the tables. I’m a big Jordan Eberle fan – I have a jersey with his name stitched on it – but if someone were to suggest to me a Jordan Eberle for Steven Stamkos trade, I’d take it in a New York minute, and then run for fear of police, arrest and charges of grand larceny.

No, the FACT is that Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz were not, and have not magically become, worthy of first overall draft status. In fact, I’d go further to suggest that wouldn’t have been the case had they been drafted a year earlier (Patrick Kane) or a year later (John Tavares). By the way, the year the Chicago Blackhawks drafted Patrick Kane (2007) they – like the 2012 Oilers – did not finish last in the league. Funny thing, that NHL Draft Lottery – robbing teams of their rightful firsts since 2007.
The Oilers have a lot of young talent, that is undeniable, and their success despite this abundance of talent is really inexcusable. However, to suggest that players like Eberle, Schultz, Paajarvi (departed now in favor of David Perron), Gagner, etc. should have been 1st overall picks in their respective years would be to disqualify oneself from any legitimate hockey conversation for the next decade at least (“Hey, Richard! 10 years for being a fool!”).

Now, these are just a few of my favorite examples, but there are more. I’m sure over the last 7 (going on 8) seasons, we Oilers fans have heard it all. I personally don’t think there is a better cautionary tale, or tale of futility that can compare with the full blown Greek tragedy that is the current Edmonton Oilers. However, I implore my fellow Oiler fans, fellow hockey fans, and even fans of the most hated Calgary Flames to be mindful of these FACTS when discussing the suck level of the once proud franchise to which I still maintain allegiance. Please don’t mistake gossip, myth, or banter as statements of fact, and please for the love all that is great about the game of hockey don’t misapply these fallacies to comparative analyses of your own teams.

In FACT, the simple truth is that the Oilers of 2014 (and recent memory) are a horrible hockey team that strain the bonds of love and loyalty. They don’t need anybody’s exaggerations to make that worse.

– Ktown

5 Responses to “Setting The Facts Straight by guest speaker “Ktown””

  1. Racki says:

    Good stuff, Ktown. I value your fight to set the facts straight. However, I wouldn’t defend the truth around this team. For every Flames fan saying the Oilers finished last for 4 or 5 years running, there is an Oilers rep claiming the rebuild started in the Hall draft year. That to me is just a way of mindwashing the masses into thinking it hasn’t been THAT bad yet. Really, it has. But you know that too. The sadest fact of them all is that this is the worst NHL team in the last decade. Ouch.

    But the guys in charge are trying. As Steve-O said today, it will take time for MacT to “unfuck” the mess that Tambo left. He’ll get there. I have faith. As a guy who likes Lowe (despite his faults and recent dumb quotes), I hate seeing him take serious heat.. like not just “fire this guy”, but I think it’s going way deeper than that. It sucks, because I think his heart is in the right place, but fans just see 8 years of suck and need to be done with the one constant here in that time. I get it though, but I just hope people can be a bit more “classy” about it.

  2. john says:

    I too appreciate your willingness to battle for the oildrop Ktown but some of what was said could be boiled down to semantics; is finishing 29th then winning the lottery to pick first overall really any better than just finishing 30th for example? In my books drafting anywhere in the top 5 positions is a failure that can be directly attributed to player suckage, bad coaching, etc., so I personally do not try to defend at least 4 of those seasons you point out.

    Your point made on “All those those first overalls…” is very valid however; most intelligent hockey fans know it takes more than 3 or 4 good players to create a successful team even if a couple of those guys are studs. To be honest I think most Flamer fans realise that fact they just love to try & throw salt on the wound as a shot at coaching & management in general.

    I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle as it usually is. The Oilers for all their struggles are not as hopeless & do not suck quite as bad as Flamer fans want them to; but our organisation is nowhere as stabalised, healthy, & perched on greatness as we have previously believed either. The proof is in the pudding as they say & right now the Oilers who should be pretty much done rebuilding are still several points behind the Flames who are only in their first year of rebuilding.

    When the Oilers can finally stop picking in the top 5 at the draft consistantly & finish several positions higher than the Flames just as consistantly; then I will start waving the battle flag & my face will turn purple with conviction as I defend “my team”!

  3. DropIt says:

    One thing is obvious, the Flame fans you ‘discuss’ hockey with are either fair-weather fans or hardly knowledgeable.

    My name is Dropit, and I make fun of the Oilers for ALL the first overall draft picks they have and their inability to play/win/perform. Now, the difference is when you tell me “Well, the Oilers only have 3 who were drafted there..”

    3 is a SHITLOAD of #1 overall, best ranked, hands down undeniably above all other players in a WORLD of tens of thousands of other eligible players in the same age range… players to add to your lineup as John mentioned.

    The only team that has come anywhere close to that level of futility is the BRAND NEW team of the Thrashers, who had to make their team out of the list of misfit toys that other teams sent in… players worthy of being had… for FREE. We know where those Thrashers are now… still struggling 15 years later in a new city.

    The thing that Atlanta didn’t have though, was the embarrassing front office that lived in a fishbowl, Canadian market, who exchange coaching staffs more frequently than their players do scoring chances. All the while entrusting backup goaltenders to display 60 save performances to get them wins.

    Now, also attributing to this (not Oilers franchise fault) is the media behind the rebuilding process.

    “It’s not a matter of if, but how many Cups the Oilers win”
    -Glenn Healy

    “The Oilers will make the Playoffs this year, it’s simple math”
    – Darren Dreger

    The Oilers are building something special up there, Flames fans should be jealous”
    -Pierre Maguire

    Despite your stance on which Alberta team to cheer for, I’m sure if Maguire said something along the lines of

    “Calgary is rebuilding and at a better rate than Edmonton, without ANY top 5 picks… How pathetic for Oiler fans”

    You would be quick to jump on him and the opposing fan base as well… You never like hearing that you should aspire to be like one of your biggest rival teams.

    These are the reasons that the Oilers are the NHL’s current laughing stock and until they prove otherwise, will remain that way. Part of me hopes that the Oilerss at least somewhat figure themselves out, however after growing up a Flames fan in Red Deer (im sure there were more Flames Fans in Edmonton) It really is sweet to watch the season start with so much purpose only to end in bitter disgust… and below their newly rebuilding southern rivals to boot, in a year that the Playoffs were destined to be achieved.


  4. Racki says:

    Rant imminent…

    “The only team that has come anywhere close to that level of futility is the BRAND NEW team of the Thrashers”

    You should know better. Pittsburgh Penguins. They drafted 5th overall (Ryan Whitney), then 1st (MA Fleury), then 2nd (Evgeni Malkin), then 1st (Sid), then 2nd (Staal). That is quite futile as well. Of course, they pulled out of the fire much much quicker than the Oilers. Credit to Ray Shero, perhaps.

    Also, a lot of people are too young to remember that the glorious modern Red Wings franchise was HORRIBLE beyond belief in the 70s and early 80s, earning them nicknames like “Dead Wings/Things”. Of course, that’s a long time ago now, much like the Oilers glory years. But as far as modern times go, the Penguins were saved by Sid and Gino.

    Now, on to the topic of the Oilers. Terrible team. Without a doubt mismanaged in the 2005 CBA+ era, possibly up until possibly now (still undecided on MacT, but I believe him to be a guy who can turn things around). Burke was incorrect in his ramblings.. Lowe wasn’t going to run this team into the sewer, but Tambellini would. MacT has his work really cut out for him. These kids have been great, but they’ve proven that you can’t just hang it all on 3 or 4 wunderkinds.

    Tambo acquired the best talent on the team by being an inept GM. I think MacTavish recognizes this teams needs, but the complementary players here are of such low grade quality when he came on that he really had fuck all to work with. I think he’s made a couple steps in the right direction (Perron for Paajarvi), but he’s also gone backwards with some (Smid for .. who cares.. and I like Brossoit).

    It doesn’t matter to me if the Oilers “only” have 3 1st overall picks. Really, this team’s shittyness is indefensible. I applaud Ktown for trying, but I do agree with Flames fans that say this Oilers team has had a lot of HIGH quality draft slots to be this shitty of a team. This isn’t because of bad draft choices though… this is because of GM ineptitude. Lowe… Tambellini.. Katz.. blame who you will, but the fact is the Oilers organization made terrible decisions when it came to supporting these young kids with good talent and still are.

    It may be tough to obtain good players, but we see it happen. MacT promised bold, and I want bold. I believe he can do it. But bold to me isn’t being involved in 40% of trades this season.. it’s having the balls to move an Eberle or Nuge or Yakupov or someone like that in order to bring in a top tier D-man… or a very good d-man and some speedy forwards with size and some offense. I would hate to see it happen, but your bold move might be selling high on Perron… I’d hate it because to me this guy is an NHLer, and I can say that about very few players on this team.

    This team’s makeup is completely fucked. I’m not sure who in their right minds thought that we could have 5 d-men who all have questionable defensive awareness and a top six made up of all similar forwards. The d change reeks of the new-age-Corsi movement. But sorry… you need at least 3 guys on your blue line who know how to play a respectable game of defense, and this game is still one that requires physical presence.

    The Oilers seem like they’re going to swing for the fences for a goaltender (if you believe the media, as I do), but they can’t see that their blueline is pathetic and it won’t matter who is in net. They don’t realize also that their forward group is made up of 3 great players plus a bunch of guys who are expected to overachieve (much like the blueline). MacT needs to drastically change this team’s make up.

    As for the Flames, they are a dog shit team sitting barely above the Oilers. That is the smallest moral victory ever, and that’s really all it is – a small moral victory. They are a shit team with a very modestly promising future. I would hardly suggest they are doing anything better over there either when the team is about to be on year 5 out of the playoffs. Bragging about the Flames being a better team than the Oilers is like saying “my dad is bigger than your dad” when your dad is Warwick Davis and the other guy’s dad is Verne Troyer.

  5. Racki says:

    Huh.. I may come off a little angry with the Oilers above. lol

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