Halloween is barely over and the Oilers have already ruined Christmas. Nice. To be 10 points out of a playoff spot after 14 games, to know the season is all but over before the smoke has even cleared from the opening night pyrotechnics, is beyond comprehension. This was the season the Oilers were finally going to stop being doormats and start showing some progress in the never-ending rebuild, but if you believe the statistics, they are out of it earlier than they’ve ever been out of it before. They will miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season. “Somehow we have to find some strength within this team and push back and win some games,” said veteran Ladislav Smid, who joined the organization in 2006 and has yet to see a post-season game. “Obviously, nobody wants to be in this situation, but for the past four or five years it’s been the same story.” There are extenuating circumstances involved in why they’re this deep in the mud — like uncharacteristically weak goaltending that lost them a few games they should have won early, like a ridiculous stretch of 12 of 15 games on the road, and like the laundry list of key injuries that always seems to plague this team. But legitimate excuses or not, they might actually be out of it after 14 games, and that’s bad, even for the Oilers. “I think it’s way too early to talk about this,” said Smid, refusing to believe it could all be over so soon. “There are plenty of games to be played and nobody is going to quit here. Everybody still believes we can have a good run and make the playoffs.” That’s not what the numbers say. Since 2005-06, no team has ever come back from more than seven points out of a playoff spot on Nov. 1. The Oilers are 10. Sports Club Stats, a site that calculates these things, says Edmonton has a 3.1% chance of making history. While it’s possible the Oilers will get healthy and use a string of home games to go about 10-2-2, get themselves back in the race and do what no other team has ever done before, it seems more likely at this point that the Oilers will do what they always do. Either way, the show must go on. “I deeply care about the playoffs, that’s our goal, but you can’t listen to it or look at it,” said head coach Dallas Eakins said of the long odds. “If we look at it and go, ‘OK, we’re out of the playoffs,’ then what? Just pack up our stuff leave?
Oilers not giving up on post-season, despite statistics
Edmonton Sun | Nov 1