You know your team is in trouble when ...
1. Ladislav Smid is considered one of your veteran D-men.
2. You have to start your 39 year old goalie in 33 straight games and for 60 or more games in a season - even IF he is your best player.
3. You're in the middle of a playoff race and the 39 year old goalie is your best player. No offense to Roli though, he's been great this season.
4. Jason Strudwick is the guy you pair with Theo Peckham.
5. MacTavish gives the nod of confidence to Zach Stortini in the final minutes over everyone else who couldn't deliver. Good goal Zach my boy, good goal.
6. You have less 2 million cap space and your team cannot compete.
7. You're 77 games into the season and you can't afford to play your backup goalie even though your starter is dead tired.
8. Your team flatlines after the 1st period in a must-win game.
9. You run out of scapegoats. Can't blame 'em if they're sitting in the pressbox.
10. The team needs more defensive grit and you call up Taylor Chorney. Doesn't make any sense to me when Roy, Young, and Taylor waiting to go.
11. You can win all the games except the must-win games.
12. MacTavish has lost the room and the administration are willing to hang him out to dry.
13. Ryan Stone is the second best player on your farm team and he was the sweetener in a goalie dump deal.
14. Your farm team is in last place in the entire league.
15. Kelly Buchberger is next in line for the head coaching position - and he took the Falcons to a stellar non-playoff finish in his AHL stint.
The Oilers should just pack it in because the way they are playing it looks like it anyway. Sure, we'll here some chivalrous response about "playing until the bitter end" of the season regardless of the fact that they called it quits a long time ago. I harken back to the 5 game losing streak that followed the 4 game winning streak back in October. The lack of consistency this season is glaring.
So now is not the time to boast about the values of the professional hockey player because frankly, if you're not going to make the playoffs, it would be nice at least to get a decent draft position in the upcoming draft. Spots 1-7 are all great players. Hell, the Oilers should call up Jordan Eberle and Rob Schremp and let them play out the season with a team not called the Falcons. Schremp is most likely trade bait this summer and it might be a fit farewell for a highly touted prospect who pouted about not getting his chance. And who knows, Eberle might have some of that magical spark left over from the World Juniors that the Oilers need. Plus, with the Falcons in last place, it might serve Eberle and Schremp better to play 5 games with a team where the games matter than spend the next week with a team that hasn't done anything well consistently all year.
Am I talking about the Falcons or the Oilers ... you ask?
Sorry, I'm not sure which team I'm talking about anymore. But the point is, however slim the chances - the Oilers can still make the playoffs. If the 4th line is the only line that looks like it gives a shit though, then the Oilers have nobody to blame but themselves. That "the fans are the 7th man on the ice" crap was horrible and it almost seemed like they were blaming the fans for not enough support. Fan support has been disproportionately high, I would argue, for a team that hasn't earned it. We've supported this circus for a few seasons now and our promises have not been delivered upon.
The fans aren't asking for a Stanley Cup. We just want to see a team that competes. Is that so much to ask for?