I am from the school of thought that this year will be better. I just don’t know how much better, but the good news is that there is plenty to hear about on the radio from fans and media alike. The biggest playoff challenge for the Oilers is going to be their division. Are they ready to compete with Vancouver? Are they ready to beat Anaheim? Can they manage a split with LA?
It is easy to sit back and look at the roster and nitpick here and there where, as a fan, we would like to see improvement. The game is not won on paper. Chemistry, commitment to the systems and maturity are things that we will just have to watch develop. Many teams have looked terrible on paper and have had solid regular seasons and playoff pushes. Florida and Phoenix are two examples of these from the 2011-2012 season. You just never know.
Are we thin at center? Yup. Did Dubnyk let in some muffins last year? Sure. Did our number 1 defenseman coming in to last season go unsigned as a free agent and sign a tryout contract to continue to try to make a living as a pro hockey player? He sure did. Is the hiring of Dallas Eakins the catalyst the team needs to make that next step? Hope so. Is our D really that improved? Kinda, maybe, sorta. Is it hard to win with two centers that are considered small? Ask Detroit. Can Hall really play center? Who cares. Would you trade Yakupov for Pietrangelo? Doesn’t matter. Did you think going into 2005-2006 that the mighty Oil would be one win away from hoisting Lord Stanley’s grail one more time? Didn’t think so.
There are questions surrounding the organization and until that 6th banner is hanging in Rexall, or Katz Place or whatever the new arena is going to be called, the fan base will remain unsatisfied. Sit back, enjoy a game or two and let’s see how it is going to unfold. It’s going in the right direction and all I ask for as a fan is that the games in April matter. Just be in the conversation, boys.