Sometimes in life, the meagre protection provided by a thin layer of hockey padding is simply not enough to combat the forces of the universe that continually come together to assault the Edmonton Oilers. An endless amount of variables have been considered and explored, and we have yet to find an answer, but one thing is clear--the Edmonton Oilers are still cursed, each player just a helpless body waiting to fall, whether from a stray elbow in the face or the most innocuous misstep en route to buying a falafel.
When there is such evil lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce the moment a naïve Oiler makes the grave error of having has his head down, even for one second, steps must be taken to protect these young men from the spinning wheel of injuries, seemingly selecting in cruel random fashion both victim and affliction every other day. Will it be a mild concussion or broken toe today? All four limbs detaching for no reason at all while the player was sleeping?
Garishly thick, excessively padded yet still allowing for "extreme range of motion," the Dean & Tyler Bite Suit may be the defense the Oilers actually needed, the protection Chiarelli strived so hard to find this summer. The shaman rituals and praying to every god will continue, but in the meantime, it has clearly become imperative to have a physical barrier shielding the vulnerable mortals of this team from further injury imposed by supernatural forces beyond our control.
At the bargain price of $1395 USD, this suit can aid in preventing the Oilers from losing more valuable hockey players signed to million-dollar contracts, a trend which looks sure to continue this season. I will not even bother to list the victims of last season, because I may as well link to this roster of the entire team, with an incredible 368 man-games lost to injury. After moving to a new building this year, perhaps many fans thought this curse would be miraculously lifted. Alas, so young, so naïve were we to think it would be so easy.
It started with Patrick Maroon, the tough guy coming into camp 20 pounds lighter- new season, new beginning, possibilities as fresh and plentiful as a bouquet of long-stemmed roses. Little did Patty know he would be the first in a series of unfortunate events this preseason, in obvious pain after going hard into the boards following an awkward hit from James Sheppard during a preseason match with the Canucks. He was assisted off the ice, seemingly unable to put any weight on his left leg.
Next, we have Oscar Klefbom. Because a freak staph injury last season was simply not enough suffering, he took an elbow from the carnivorous body of none other than Dustin Byfuglien, inflictor of last year's season-ending knee injury to Brandon Davidson. Dustin Byfuglien, it is an understatement to say that you are a highly odious human.
It somehow continued on Sunday night. I was watching the preseason game against the Kings somewhat distractedly, prioritizing eating out and grocery shopping over devoting my undivided attention to what I had anticipated would be an uneventful match. Little did I know it was the beginning of another night of horrors. It seemed whenever I would take a peek at the game streaming passively on my phone, I was greeted with the horrific image of an Oiler lying helplessly on the ice, writhing in unspeakable pain. I first saw the ankle of Iiro the Hero twist in a way that human ankles should definitely not be twisting, again helped off the ice by his teammates, who by now should be used to their roles as part-time paramedics. Next time I looked, I saw Brandon Davidson lying facedown on the ice after a high head check from Tanner Pearson, at first hoping it may have just been a replay of the Pakarinen injury. It was not.
Maroon should be back for the first regular season match, Klefbom's injury was described by Todd McLellan as "very minor" (fighting the déjà vu so hard right now), Davidson is day-to-day, and Pakarinen is out for at least a month. Many Oilers fans are looking at these prognoses and thinking, "Well that's not so bad." This is sad. It's only Oilers fans who can be optimistic with such a prognosis, because of the absolutely endless litany of injuries they are used to seeing.
The most incredible thing about all this is the regular season has not even started yet, and we've only passed the halfway point of the preseason. That is almost one player per preseason game. Can the preseason end now? Can the entire season end now? By this rate, we will have lost 90 men by the end of the season. I want to die.
This is why the D&T Bite Suit is exactly what the team needs right now. Yes, it does look a little unwieldy on the surface and is not the slickest uniform, by any means. But did you know that it is "extremely well-made using synthetic French linen"? Mm, how deliciously fancy that would look with the Oilers logo stitched on. Also, not to overwhelm you with positives, but "the cuffs of the jacket have leather hand protectors." This is to prevent the impending injury when a deranged member of the opposition eventually tries to bite the hand of one of our own during a fight, causing them a season-ending infection at a pivotal point in the year. You know it's going to happen at some point. In fact, wearing of this suit should not be limited to on-ice matches, but extend to regular everyday activities, as well. By this point, it is clear that every moment is perilous and every event highly hazardous; cooking of highly greasy foods should be done with extreme caution, as well as visits to zoos of any kind, especially petting zoos.
I recommend that the members of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club henceforth complete their games while wearing the Dean & Tyler Bite Suit until further notice that the curse has been lifted. It is the only solution at hand until an enterprising fan discovers the correct type of voodoo magic required to prevent the entire roster from landing on the long-term injured reserve list. In the face of an inept roster, we collect number one picks. In the face of long-term winless seasons, we rise to the occasion with unflagging optimism. In the face of a universal conspiracy against the health of the entire team, we have them all wear K9 bite suits on the ice. It’s pretty simple, really.