Monday, 12 March 2012
03/12/12 Why You Think You Want Calgary to Rebuild
You hear it all the time now. "The Flames need to rebuild." It has gotten so bad that even Oilers fans are spending time talking about it with conviction. But here's a thought:
You, Oilers fan, don't actually want the Flames to rebuild. Not one bit.
Is it longing for a more competitive era between the two rivals that has Oilers fans thinking of ways to fix the Flames? Is it wanting Calgary to have a taste of Edmonton's pain? Temporary insanity, perhaps? Could it be a product having been in exactly the same position that Calgary fans are in? That is, watching a bubble team year after year with impact prospects being few and far between. It could be all of those things (insanity included), but the main reason is something else entirely. Being copied is the purest form of flattery; especially when it's a rival stealing your idea.
The Oilers and their fans have absolutely no guarantees that the course the team has taken will lead to a quality NHL team. There are some positive signs and some truly elite pieces in Edmonton now, but the team is still in 29th place. For the Flames to follow the Oilers down this sometimes horrifying pit of suck would be a signal to Calgary fans - and fans all across the league - that what the Oilers are doing is the right thing.
That's it. That's all. Oilers fans don't actually want the Flames to follow their lead because that might result in some fantastic young talent landing in Cowtown. As much as there are no guarantees that what the Oilers are doing will turn out, it's possibly worse to be guaranteed of mediocrity. That's something that fans in Edmonton are all too familiar with, and it closely resembled the current situation down highway 2.
Of course, some of the best hockey in the world took place between two very good Alberta teams back in the 80's, and it wouldn't hurt the game to have that back. There may be a small voice in all Alberta hockey fans with that exact message. But deep down fans from these two cities can't help but cheer for the worst for each other. Admit it: there was a small part of you that didn't mind losing to the Sharks on Monday night because that would make it tougher for the Flames to make the playoffs. And in turn, Flames fans hope that all of Edmonton's high draft picks will only result in the Atlanta Thrashers of the West and not the West's Pittsburgh Penguins. Like any good rivals, we don't have each other's best interests at heart.
You may think that it's painfully obvious that it's time for the Flames to rebuild (and from where I'm sitting they are fast approaching that time, if they haven't arrived there already), but no Oilers fans really want the Flames to fix themselves by any method. Don't feel too bad though. Flames fans are undoubtedly enjoying the Oilers being at the bottom of the league for a third straight year and out of the playoffs for six. It's in our nature.