About halfway through the second period of the Oilers/Sharks game on Tuesday night a thought popped into my head, why the hell am I watching this game? The game itself wasn't all that bad, compared to far too many other games this season it was a masterpiece, but I realized that I didn't really care one way or another if the Oilers won or lost. It wasn't just that the game didn't matter, I actually didn't care. So I grabbed a beer from the fridge - a Bottle Rocket ISA from the Phillips Brewing Company - and thought about why I was watching this game, eventually coming up with a couple of ideas.
It Gives Me An Excuse To Drink Beer On The Couch - I love beer. Like love, love, love beer. And while I don't really need an excuse to enjoy a beer, we all know that if you're watching a hockey game (also baseball, football, basketball, tennis, darts, snooker, spelling bee, etc.) having a beer, or the beverage of your choice, is part of the deal. If I was watching a great show like Justified I might enjoy the experience more than I would an Oilers game but the beer would seem a little more out of place. I would probably still drink it though.
Ryan Smyth Chasing 127
In a mostly forgettable season at least there is Smyth's chasing of power play goal number 127 and the title of Oilers all-time regular season power play goal leader. Where will that put him on the team's all-time franchise list?
Ryan Smyth And Power Play Goal #127 - I love Ryan Smyth and the simple fact that he's just a single power play goal away from being the Oilers all time regular season leader in that category is a decent enough reason to watch the games. Smyth started the season having already passed the great Jari Jurri and has since jumped over Wayne Gretzky to tie Glenn Anderson at 126. It's crazy to think a Oilers player of my generation finds his name among those greats, and I'd love to see him grab the top spot. At this point I probably pay closer attention to Oilers power plays than I do to any other part of the game just hoping to see him score that goal.
Taylor Freaking Hall - Taylor Hall is just so much fun to watch. He was great on Tuesday night and it was more of the same last night. Earlier in the season his underlying numbers were a little ugly but that seems to be correcting itself, and he is starting to once again look like the real Taylor Hall. And the real Taylor is nine, maybe ten, kinds of exciting. With 73 points Hall is tied for ninth in the NHL in scoring right now with Patrick Sharp and Nicklas Backstrom. As Michael Parkiatti pointed out today, if Hall can average a point per game the rest of the way he'll finish the season with more points than any Oiler in the last ten seasons.
62 Points - The Oilers second rebuild began following the team's 62 point 2009/10 season. I remember fondly in the spring of 2010 saying that the team had nowhere to go but up from there. I was wrong. As it turns out the team could be just as bad, which they were in 2010/11. And now a couple of seasons later the Oilers once again find themselves flirting with 62 points, currently they have 61. So really if 62 points is why you're watching you could be doing so for either a positive reason: They just can't be as bad as those teams; or a negative reason: Finishing as the worst team in franchise history would serve this bunch of sucks right.
Draft Position - As much as it pains me to say, wins right now don't help the Oilers, they can only hurt. In the race to the bottom the Oilers will be out tanked by the Sabres (it's amazing how bad that team is) but they're locked in a battle for 29th place with the Panthers. The "winner" will have a slightly better chance at winning the draft lottery and securing the first overall pick in this years draft. After eight year I just want to see wins, but I know more than a few fans are still thinking about the next teenage superstar.
That's all I could come up with. Is that why you're watching, or did I miss something?