The Edmonton Oilers shit their pants with such ferocity today that thousands of people, hundreds of miles away feel like they’re drowning in it.
Taylor Hall was a shining light. A lone beacon of hope between the Pat Quinn and Connor McDavid eras in Edmonton. He alone was many fans' reason for not giving up on the team already. He was one of the game’s true elite, and he was traded today for a shot in the dark and a CAT boot to the genitals. Taylor Hall is arguably the best player in his position in the NHL, was inarguably the best Edmonton Oiler since Mark Messier, and his bosses couldn’t fetch anywhere close in return. That he was under team control for the entirety of his prime years is just salt in the gaping, festering wound that is Oiler fandom. Once again, we’re doomed to support a franchise that demonstrates, on an entirely-too-regular basis, that they are completely fucking incompetent. Fuck the Edmonton Oilers.
I’m one of those Oilers fans who has no problem taking shit from other fanbases, and even fewer qualms defending the team and giving my own shit in return. I’m happy to wear my Oilers logo’d gear in Calgary – whether in October during the height of my Oilers optimism, or later in October, during the nadir of my Oilers loathing – and have been that asshole for years, despite the Oilers doing their damnedest to make me stop.
Year in, year out. They blow it. I hate it. I continue to love them. I hope for something different. It sort of comes, but then it’s always – and I do mean always – the same old story. Most recently, it was Jeff Petry. A couple of years ago it was Ales Hemsky. Before that it was Ryan Smyth. Or Chris Pronger. Doug Weight. Mark Messier. Wayne Gretzky. The list goes on and on. Loving a player in Edmonton means, almost universally, that they will leave and you will cry. Or yell. Or both.
If why they leave kind of makes sense, you – the pathetic Oilers fan – find a way to justify it, and eventually come to terms. However begrudgingly. Doug Weight comes to mind. He’s the last Oiler to score 100 points in the jersey, and the EIG couldn’t pay him. It happens. But when they leave and it doesn’t make sense, like today’s Taylor Hall deal? I don’t know that you ever do come to terms. I was only 2 at the time, but I guarantee that people’s blood still boils when they recount the Gretzky deal, or even the Smyth deal. Hell, my stomach turns when I recall Jeff Petry being dealt for dogshit. I get it.
Today’s deal is such a black mark on the franchise that Commander Hatfield can see it from space. The Oilers traded the best left wing in hockey for a borderline 2/3 defender with some upside. Even if Adam Larsson (the poor idiot who will forever have this trade held against him) does turn into a #1 defenseman, you just can’t bet Taylor Hall on that. Hall has proven to be an elite, cream-of-the-crop guy, and Adam Larsson may or may not have turned the corner. You simply cannot justify trading a player like Taylor Hall, who is also on a cherry contract, for that kind of uncertainty. You just can’t. That Chiarelli is, and that reports are coming out that other teams would have put together a more enticing package had Chiarelli just called them, is just more shit icing on the embarrassing shit cake that we keep eating as Oilers fans.
I’m sure I’m just repeating myself. At this point, I just don’t know what else to say. Fuck the Edmonton Oilers.