Friday, December 9, 2011

so this is what it feels like



A while back, I expressed concern over the expectations that were being loaded on the shoulders of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Edmonton OIlers 18 year old #1 draft pick.  I was worried that he wasn't ready to withstand the crush of pressure that he was sure to feel from the fans and the media.  I was uneasy that the city was pinning all of its dreams on this one kid.

Boy, do I feel stupid.


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been NHL rookie of the month for the first 2 months of the season - he is only the 2nd player to do so in the last 20 years.  Patrick Kane and Jonathon Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks didn't do it, Alexander Ovechkin didn't do it, not even Sidney Crosby holds that honour.

The last player to mark that milestone was Evgeni Malkin.

Not only is RNH #1 in scoring among rookies, he is 7th overall in the entire NHL.  I don't remember the last time the OIlers had a player in the top 40 scorers.  So far this year, we have 3 players in the top 20 - RNH, Jordan Eberle, and the prodigal son, Ryan Smith.
RNH leads all NHL rookies in goals, this year, with 13.  He leads in assists with 17 and, of course, total points with 30.

In 28 games.

That's more than a point per game.

There are only 16 players in the NHL right now that are averaging more than a point per game.

2 of them are Oilers.

The team is 2nd overall in at-home power plays at home, and 8th overall in the league - last year we had the worst power play in the league.

What a difference "The Nooge" makes.

Did I mention that he now holds the record for the earliest recorded hat-trick by an NHL #1 overall draft pick?


Wilzie and I finally attended our first game of the season, last week, and it felt different than it has in the last few years.

There was...excitement in the air.

People weren't just hanging out near the concessions drinking beer, they were actually watching the game.  And they were cheering.  There was even a wave!

That sort behaviour is unprecedented around here!

We even have a bonafide celebrity fan.  Kevin Smith of Jay and Silent Bob fame is sporting a giant hard on for the Oilers - just check his twitter feed to see how often he talks about the team.  He calls in to local radio shows to talk about last night's game and he filmed a bit for edmontonoilers.com showing off all of his Oilers memorabilia.

The team is still far from perfect - we lose games that should be a no-brainer, we fan on good chances and we take stupid penalties - there is potential shining through.

And you don't even need to squint to see it.

After 6 years of losing, of not only missing the playoffs completely, but coming in dead last the last 2 years in a row - Edmonton Oilers fans finally have something that we had almost given up on, entirely.

Hope.

And it sure feels good.

 

2 comments:

  1. Being a die hard fan comes with heartache but also true jubilation when wins finally come. Everyone else has jumped ship but you can stand proudly beside your team and know that you stood beside them through better AND worse. Which is what I have to keep reminding myself with UK football this year. Congrats on getting some wins under your belt and for feeling that winning atmosphere. There is truly nothing like it.

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  2. So exciting! I love that the games are now filled with so many people.

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