Nuts! Yeah.. but people say I’m a bit nuts (and not only for staying up all night to watch the Oilers).
I had this long post, saved as a draft which I planned on finishing. It was on why I thought the Oilers very well could be a team for the NHL playoffs as soon as this year. I commented on the players, special-teams and so on.. and I was suppose to finish it up before the opening game. But.. turns out there is some game going on in Winnipeg and I realized I was better off watching that one so never mind completing my original post. Speaking of Winnipeg.. anyone have a reasonable explination on why the Jets fans booed P.K. Subban (other then the fact “Subban” means “The Bitch” in Swedish.. but I doubt that’s the reason). I mean c’mon. How old was Subban last time Jets were on the NHL?
But, back to my prediction. Yes - Oilers will make the playoffs in 2011/12. And I’m well aware of that pretty much no one else have made that prediction and while I’m fairly confident I might not be better at making predictions then anyone else (even if I managed to predict the Oilers scorers better than Lowetide, Robin Brownlee, baggedmilk and the likes last season.. and that after leaving out Hall from the top13 scorers. Yeah I know.. stupid call) it’s simple, I say - why not?
Well.. that one is obvious.. D’oh! There are reasons as to why the “experts” have Oilers missing the playoffs and once again might find themselves in that lottery come next spring (and you’ve read then more than enough by now). But mainly I only fear two things: The injury bug and Nikolai Khabibulin. But staying positive Dubnyk should force Khabby out and our forward depth is rather OK.. there is that defense.. but I mean.. have you seen Rangers, Sens, Flames, Coyotes (etc and so on) this season? Things doesn’t look so good there either.. so with just some luck on their side Oilers could be OK. With Whitney back and Potter being a very nice surprise, an ever progressing Smid, a Gilbert who doesn’t have his worst season in the NHL (again), a Peckham with more experience and comeback Barker (whom I’ve already rambled about) things could even be better than that on the D.
In short, our PK was horrible last year.. in short, our PP was horrible last year. But with Belanger in, Horcoff healthy, Petrell in, Lander in the PK is looking way better already. On the PP side I’m already drooling over the Omark-Smyth-Eberle line with MPS on the point, that line got it all. PP should be good. Speaking of Horcoff it’s kind of funny to see him on a line with Omark and MPS, something I wanted to see back in January (I guess patience is indeed a virtue).
But perhaps the thing that stands out for me is Devan Dubnyk. Most experts still have their doubts in Dubnyk. Well, I don’t. There is a reason why I have a signed #40 Dubnyk jersey. Even the Oilers asked me if it wasn’t a #91 MPS one I meant, as a Swede I suppose that would’ve made the most sense but no. I’m a Dubnyk believer. As much faith people have in the original H.O.P.E. quartet - I have in Dubnyk. There is absolutely nothing telling me Dubnyk won’t still be a NHL starting goaltender and a Oiler for years to come. Dubnyk got what it takes, his size, composure, calmness and obvious skill.. I can’t believe all the pessimism out there. Why do people believe in Crawford, Varlamov and the many other young goaltenders and have absolutely no, ZERO faith in Dubnyk. Beats me. I do and I believe we’ll be the big upset this year, much thanks to Dubnyk and an improved PK, PP, a couple of healthy players, a pair of great rookies and progressing super-sophomores. I’m so looking forward to seeing it unveil in front of our eyes.
So there it is folks. Oilers will make the playoffs. Never mind what could go wrong, mind what could go our way. Have faith, keep believing, never stop cheering. The season starts now - Let’s go Oilers!