Ah, to be an Oilers fan in April... the smell of melting snow, the muddy brownwhite landscapes, the deep despair of another lost season, nursing again a bruised forehead from the 'concrete contemplation' of management's ongoing displays of irony... wait, 8-2 over the Flames! Playoff spot! Hope...
Where was I... oh yes, the despair. I've grown weary of trying to make sense of my love for all things painfully tragic in the sporting world (of course I'm a Mike Weir fan!) so rather than simply throw expletives at management I'm tossing out a end-of-season question to you stats-minded kin who seem to either work at the CnB or traverse its ether halls:
This shots on goal thing.
What the Hall? I see all the corsi stats, the article after article explaining just how bad our shot differential is, the somewhat amazing fact that, although we're near the bottom of SOGs, we aren't by some miracle in last place yet we still really suck. I just can't understand why we are so bad at getting the puck on net. Don't we have Youth? Don't we have Speed? This concept comes to the forefront even more so now that we are left to focus on the one bright spot we have every year: the Draft (aka Rebuild 3.0.)
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's not the kid line as I'm pretty sure Hall and Eberle are up there in shot count despite our somewhat suspect face-off ability. But how can a team suffering from goal-anemia, with some pretty decent talent in its top six, go game after game saying that they need to get this particular stat corrected and yet fail to do so? Are we that weak in our bottom 6 that our differential is skewed so greatly against us? Is our line matching (hahaha... whew, sorry.) that abysmal? Are we that small up front that we're getting man-handled day in and day out? Is it our lack of a rearguard who can find a way to get shots through? Am I answering my own questions?
Sigh. I'm resigned to the fact that we have another summer to sit in the proverbial corner and think about what we've (not) done. I'm even willing to give McT the keys to the Bus to see where it can take us, despite the fact that the Lowemobile has major engine problems. What I'm not OK with is the idea that we will atrophy, wasting away our (shoulder-tweaked) top end talent as the clock ticks, the losses mount and, by the end of it, realize no one wants to take a shot at playing here. The fans deserve better, the city deserves better... heck even the players that understand deserve better than to see our love of, and passion for, the game be so easily blocked.
Having my fingers crossed all summer won't help my golf score.