"You know what? I look forward to the Battle of Alberta for the next X number of years. If the idea is, ‘Burn it to the ground,’ then (Flames president) Ken (King) can find another manager to do it."
- Jay Feaster.
This past week, Feaster revisited his comments about rebuilding with a lighthearted and "just playing around" tone when it comes to his underlying message about the Oilers sucking forever and a day. Whether he meant the sharp jab or not, his words have left many an Oiler fan somewhat confused about the whole situation. The common response is to tell Jay that his team will always be chasing 8th place while the Oilers will be sipping on the Champagne every spring starting 2014ish. At the same time, the Oilers DO suck and as the days and losses and excuses pile up, we inch closer and closer to a year that closely resembles 2014.
My automatic reaction to Feaster's comments was anger, and then I wondered why I was angry. In a way, his comments make sense. I've never been proud of the Oilers trying to lose to get high picks. It's the easy way out, and it's the way of losers. I mean, they actually give you a prize for being a loser. I had always hoped that they could build it up again after Pronger left, and it seemed like they tried to do something that Feaster might have respected back in the 2006-2007 season.
Since that infamous trade, the Oilers tried adding Petr Sykora, Petr Nedved, Geoff Sanderson, Erik Cole, Ales Kotalik, Sheldon Souray, Patrick O`Sullivan, Gilbert Brule, and Mike Comrie at various times to try to make a "quick fix" of things. If that's what they were trying to do, which seems to be what they say they were trying to do, then that, my friends, is striking out... big time! Never mind, burn it down.
In the Oilers case, was there ever really a foundation to build upon at all? Do the Oilers have an All-star goalie? Do they have a future Hall of famer? If Iggy and Kipper had walked away like Pronger, would Feaster be singing a different tune? More than that, is there more to the Flames that the Oilers just aren't at yet?
On Lowetide's show last week, He talked to Ryan Lambert about these very things. LT rattled the "Flames will always chase 8th place" drum. Though, looking deeper into the expanding void between these two teams, they concluded that the main thing that seemed to separate the two had something to do with drive and work ethic; the Flames compete much more consistently than the Oilers. They have been for years now.
When I look at the way the Oilers have been competing this season, the main thing that has been missing, and has been missing for years, isn't a 1st round pick; it's hard work and a consistent compete level. It's the stuff that made us all endure the "Great Leap Forward" of the 90's. Hard working, mediocre talent, and a killer goalie. Now, we've got some nice talent, but the hard workers and the goalie are missing.
At some point, this team has to start being consistent. If they keep losing, that's fine, but if they continue to dog it out on the ice then I would say that they are further away from success than years can count. They'll never make it out of the bottom unless they first learn how to bring the damn fury every single night. Haven't seen it for years now. Don't know how they get it back.