GENE'S BLOG: A Quiet (Rogers) Place
Gene checks back in to discuss the pause of the NHL season and put the call out for fan questions for his mailbagby Gene Principe / EdmontonOilers.com
Today was the day 'A Quiet Place Part II' was to be released in theatres. A sequel to a movie that was eerily excellent (if you have the time right now, give it a watch). It stars John Krasinski, who famously played Jim on The Office, as the father of the Abbott family. They are forced to survive in a world of silence due to the threat of creepy, crawly and dangerous creatures that hunt by sound. Hence the movie title.
Tonight, theatres would be packed with movie-goers getting a look at the sequel, but instead it was postponed due to the coronavirus. Rogers Place would also be packed with hockey-goers, but instead the home arena of the Edmonton Oilers is a Quiet Place.
The second newest building in the NHL, next to Detroit's Little Caesars Arena, has been silent since the night of March 11. It was during Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey on Sportsnet that Edmonton was hosting Winnipeg. Before the first period was done, at least temporarily, so was the NBA season, called off after a player tested positive for the virus.
Suddenly, the old rivalry between the Oilers and Jets that dates back to another league (World Hockey Association) was put on the farthest back-burner of the hockey stove. A push for the playoffs fell by the wayside. The fight wasn't to be in the top eight in the conference anymore; it was just to keep the game on the ice.
As I've driven by Rogers Place recently, I can't help but think of what could have been or would have been or should have been, especially starting tonight. To this point Edmonton has missed four games. Opponents wiped off the schedule were the New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and a meeting with the Senators in the nation's capital of Ottawa.
Conservatively speaking (pun intended), if the Oilers had four points from those four games they would be at 87 points. My best guess is that would have, at worst, kept them out of the wildcard mix and left them still in second and pushing for first in the Pacific Division.
Whether I gave them too many points or not enough against that foursome of opponents, it still takes us to tonight and the next 12 nights when the Oilers would have been primed for playoffs. This six-game homestand was going to be the pushing-off point to the post-season. In order, they would have faced Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Colorado, San Jose, Anaheim and Vegas.
Again, trying to be conservative, but a .500 stay at Rogers Place, which is really being conservative considering three of the six games were against non-playoff teams, would give Edmonton six more points. Add that to the 87 and the total of 93 would have almost certainly been good enough for a playoff spot. There would have even been one more road game in Calgary just in case Edmonton needed it, but I don't think that would have been the case.
Unfortunately, for now, the NHL is on 'pause' waiting for the right time, the safe time to come back to work. No one knows if or when it will return, but everyone can hope that it does.
The debut of 'A Quiet Place Part II' won't happen until the coronavirus pandemic has cleared. The Oilers also won't be released to the public until thousands can gather and make Rogers Place a loud place once again for the playoffs.
EdmontonOilers.com won't be a quiet place during the season pause as Gene will answer fan questions in his blog every Wednesday! If you have a question for Gene about the Oilers, his career, or anything you can think of, tweet them to @EdmontonOilers with #AskGene and check back every Wednesday to see if your question was answered.