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The Edmonton Oilers Are Cursed

The date was June 5, 2006. The number 8 seed in the West was the cinderella story of the year knocking off the President’s Trophy winners Detroit Red Wings, the San Jose Sharks, and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals to meet the number 2 seed in the east, the Carolina Hurricanes. The Oilers had made it back to the finals for the first time in 16 years.

The Oilers were in this position due to 3 major factors. 1. Right winger Fernando Pisani, who finished the season with 18 goals in 80 games, was scoring at will in the playoffs, and at clutch moments. He went into the finals with 9 goals in 17 games, half his goal total from the whole season in less than  quarter of games played. 2. One of the top defence man in the game, newly acquired Chris Pronger, was playing like a man on a mission. He was shutting down other teams top lines all game while still managing to lead the team in points. 3. Last, but most importantly, was the play of 36 year old goalie Dwayne Roloson. Roloson stood on his head through the first three rounds. He averaged 34.3 saves per game and was the backbone of the surging Oilers.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The visiting Oilers take a 3-1 lead into the third period at RBC Center in North Carolina. Thats when The Curse kicked in. The Hurricanes score 3 straight goals in the third to take a 4-3 lead. Ales Hemsky ties the game up at 4-4 with 6:29 left in the third period. Then about 30 seconds later with just around 6 minutes left on the clock, Carolina’s Andrew Ladd was charging towards the net when Oilers defensmen Marc-André Bergeron pushes him and he slides into Dwayne Roloson. Ladd got up and skated off, but Roloson did not. He sprained his MCL on that play and didn’t play for the rest of the playoffs.

Back up goalie Ty Conklin ended up handing Carolina’s Rod Brind’amour the puck with 32 seconds left in the third for an easy goal which capped off the biggest comeback in Stanley Cup Finals history. Third string goalie Jussi Markkanen started the next 6 games for the Oilers who manage to force the series to a game 7 even without Dwayne Roloson, but ended up falling short and losing 3-1 to watch the Hurricanes hoist their first ever Stanley Cup. No one knows for sure if the Oilers would have won the series had this injury not happened, but I, along with many others, know Roli The Goalie would have taken us to the Promise Land.

Roli-The-Goalie

Days after the playoffs ended, Chris Pronger requested a trade due to a number of personal issues (one being that his wife whined about not being in America) and found himself wearing an Anaheim Mighty Ducks jersey come the beginning of the 06-07 season. Also a key component to the year before, Michael Peca, signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Then on February 27th, the night Oilers legend Mark Messier’s number was being retired, The Oilers announced that Ryan Smyth, Captain Canada, the heart and soul of the struggling Oilers, had been traded to The New York Islanders. The Curse was further cemented. The city of Edmonton was crushed, the team was crushed, and the Oilers win column got crushed following the trade. From the day Ryan Smyth got traded, the oilers finished the season 2-16-1 which included a new team record, 12 straight loses.

That year the Oilers finished 12th in the Western Conference, then followed it up with a 9th place finish in ’08, 11th in’ 09, 15th in back to back years in ’10 and ’11.

The only bright side in the last 2 years have been the first overall picks in back to back drafts, choosing Taylor Hall in 2010 and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (RNH) in 2011. Unfortunately these 2 young stars, plus the debuts of Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi have not led the Oilers to much success.

On top of endless amounts of losses over the past 2 and a half years, The Curse has decided to add the injury bug to the already struggling Oilers. In the 2010-2011 season, the number 42 was a cursed one. Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner, and Ales Hemsky all suffered season ending injuries while stuck on 42 points. Ryan Whitney also suffered a season ending injury on December 30th missing the final 45 games of the season.

The 2011-2012 season started out with a bang, and there was hope that the presence of first overall draft pick RNH had finally lifted The Curse. Starting the season 9-3-2, the Oilers briefly sat atop the Western Conference standings. Hope was in the air. The Oilers looked poised to be fighting for a playoff spot with the bounce back year of the Boulin Wall and the high scoring youngsters. But like the year before, injuries are back in the City Of Champions.

Cam Barker hurt his ankle on November 11th and has missed the last 30 games, Ales Hemsky reinjured his shoulder on October 15th and missed 11 games, Ryan Whitney hurt his knee and missed 12 games earlier in the season and is now out again since December 26th and has missed the last 11 games, and Tom Gilbert has missed the last 7 games with a knee injury after being smashed into the boards on January 3rd. And as for the young guns of the Oilers, RNH looked like he had never been on skates before when he tripped into the boards and hurt his shoulder. Eberle had his leg tripped out from under him leading to a knee injury. And the spark of this young Oilers team, Taylor Hall, has been the most unlucky. After missing 7 games with a shoulder injury from being hit into the boards, he recently had his face stepped on by fellow Oiler Corey Potter in the warm up for the St. Louis Blues game this Tuesday and has had 30 stitches to repair a gross looking cut on his face. He told his mom that he looked like Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster, and when the picture came out of his cut he wasn’t far off.

As of today, The Curse that looms over the Edmonton Oilers is still there, ready to pounce on the next poor Oiler who loses an edge, or jumps over the boards too fast. It hasn’t gotten to the point of getting any players while eating delicious pancakes, but who knows whats next.

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  1. Matt Labrecque
    January 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    i pray they’re all on a strict no pancake diet

  1. March 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm

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