WE DID IT EVERYBODY! WE DID IT! MEANINGFUL GAMES IN APRIL HAPPENED!
40 games are in the books and the results are in. The Oilers are terrible. This is a team that could not rise to the occasion, not that they were given any real chance of succeeding. This morning the Oilers are 22nd in the NHL with 39 points and only 3 points removed from a bottom 5 finish. The facts are simple. The team isnt good enough.
This block of games, though, contained the 5 game winning streak culminating in the Moment that Oiler Management will rest its case upon: An 8-2 drubbing of the Calgary Flames that ever so briefly vaulted the Oilers into a Playoff position in the month of April. When Tambellini talks about this season he will dodge all the tough questions and start droning on about being in a playoff position late in the season.
That 8th seeding in the West for 24 hours was the apex of the season. They peaked. The teams that were chasing the 8th spot tried to get better at the Deadline, the Oilers chose to stand pat. The results were as foreseeable as the season as a whole.
A team that wasnt built to win stood pat and didnt win. Shocking, I know.
If you were one of the few Oilers fans that wasnt questioning the Management of the club then you better start now. This is a team where the Playoffs were not the stated goal and yet neither was Tanking. The goal was to Play Meaningful Games late in the season and it happened. The Oilers proceeded to lose those meaningful games, but it happened.
Or did it?
The season is shortened to 48 games or 58.5% of the normal schedule. It isnt really fair to judge it by 82 game standards. When we say the Oilers Playoff Dreams didnt officially die until April 10th it gives the impression that they battled late into the season. The only people this lie serves to protect is the incompetent management group that leads this once proud Franchise.
If we accept that the Oilers Playoff Dream died after game 40 then its a relatively simple calculation to find out what is comparable. Take 40 games and divide it by the 48 total games, then multiply that number by the 82 games of a full season and you have 68. In a regular season the Oilers being out of the running at this stage would be equivalent to them being out at 68 games under normal circumstances.
Based on a Full Schedule that is similar to last year’s, the Oilers would have played their final meaningful game on March 12th. The Oilers did NOT play meaningful games late into the season, saying they did would be a lie.
If you think its a bit generous to say the Oilers werent out after the loss to the Coyotes, and rather choose to believe that it was the loss to the Ducks in Game 39 that killed it for them then the real death of the Season would have been on March 8th in a full season. A Month before the scheduled end of the Regular season.
The Next 8
The season is over. The only thing the Oilers can do is hope to improve as individuals. As fans we can look forward to 9 more games of Ryan Whitney and rest our hopes on a management team that decided to add absolutely nothing that could help the Oilers either in the long term or the short term to be a Playoff contender.