Wednesday , June 16 2021

JONES: Waiting for the playoffs atmosphere on Saturday when the flames hit the city.



Not losing is everything.

IT'S OK. IT'S OK. I know. I know. The famous quotation was not exactly like that.

But on Wednesday night in Vancouver for the Oilers and Edmonton, it was not winning, that's all.

Tonight, do not miss it all.

There's a difference. Trust me on this.

Maybe you have to live here.

Of course, if you work in the offices of this grand and new palace on 104 Avenue in the center of town, or you live anywhere in northern Alberta and wear bright orange clothes to the place on game nights, you get it.

Wednesday before the game in Vancouver, I suggested to one of those people working at the Edmonton Oilers offices at Rogers Place that if the hockey team lost later that night and then came home to lose to the Calgary Flames on Saturday, I would not want to be near this city.

"Me too," said the clerk.

"It's the most important stretch of hockey in two years."

The left wing of Edmonton Oilers Jujhar Khaira (16) celebrates his goal with teammate Darnell Nurse (25) during the NHL's first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Wednesday, January 16 2019.

JONATHAN HAYWARD /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Something to hold

There was the potential of the whole season to end on Saturday night at Hockey Night In Canada if they had missed that one.

Not to lose Wednesday, or it was diluted or delayed.

If the Oilers had been declared dead before the All-Star break – and it's still possible if they lose the next three – it would be hard to imagine what it would be like here.

For not to lose to the Canucks in the overtime and penalty shootout thriller, however, the Oilers are 3-1 by the stretch of seven games so far and go home in games against Calgary, Carolina and Detroit. And the mood and attitude will almost certainly be totally different in the Flames game.

Instead of something to fear, the game of flames became overnight something to embrace.

Instead of a funeral procession to Rogers Place on Saturday for the game against division leaders, there is every reason to expect a playoff atmosphere.

In game time, the level of anticipation with the players should be something to be seen in a very different way than squeezing their sticks so hard that there would be sawdust on the ice.

Not to miss Wednesday night in Vancouver was everything.

Edmonton suddenly becomes the place to be.

Oilers at a wildcard playoff spot

When Alex Chiasson won with the only goal in five rounds of penalties, the Oilers finally broke his manic depressive, rising and falling like a toilet, winning and losing one, love me, Love-me-not run that followed a sequence of six defeats.

Edmonton Oilers right-wing Alex Chiasson (39) celebrates his penalty shootout after the NHL's Vancouver Canucks action at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver on January 16, 2019.

Jonathan Hayward /

CP

Suddenly, after one of the biggest changes of time you will watch, followed by a compelling goalkeeping duel in the following skill competition, the Oilers were in a tie with Minnesota Wild for the final of the Western Conference tournament. Suddenly, everything changed from an Edmonton perspective, at least going for the weekend.

Unlike the Vancouver game, the Oilers are not going to take to the ice on Saturday with a bow around their necks.

Look at it this way. Wednesday in Vancouver was the 4th game of the seven-game series – with six of them at home – leading to the 10-day NHL All-Star Break.

There are many people in Oilers Hockey Ops who are probably wearing ties around their necks.

If the Oilers are 5-2 in this stretch, those noos will probably come loose a little.

If they had gone from 2-5 and gotten out of the crazy race to create Edmonton's second appearance in the playoffs in 13 years, you know that singing from one end of town to the other would be a sequel.

No one in the Oilers organization probably dodged a bullet in Vancouver.

Is Chiarelli safe?

For some, regardless of what happens next, the 10-day break would be the perfect time to fire a general manger that has lost the city's confidence.

On the other hand, there is the owner and CEO in a possible crisis situation in the first wave of first-class contracts at Rogers Place expiring. Daryl Katz and Bob Nicholson are likely to be side by side with six shooters in the holster aimed at Peter Chiarelli and his accomplices, such as a pair of Yosemite Sam characters.

Alex Chiasson (39), the right wing of Edmonton Oilers, celebrates his game with teammates after the NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Wednesday, January 16, 2019.

JONATHAN HAYWARD /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

From an OEG property and business standpoint, the message and focus should be "Make The Playoffs – Period."

It's no secret around the hockey world that the Oilers are open for business by offering a protected lottery (2020 draft if they fall in the lottery) 2019 first round draft pick and / or prospect to solve their serious lack of punctuation problem by players not named Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan-Nugent-Hopkins or Chiasson.

Not losing a hockey game should not change that.

But what changes is the mood and attitude of the game Flames for the fans.

Instead of focusing on the owner's box and general manager's bunker, everything will be in a hockey game. And it will be a game you can not wait to attend.

E-mail: [email protected]

No Twitter: @ByTerryJones


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