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GENE'S BLOG: Happy New Year

In his latest blog, Gene Principe writes about the Oilers final game of 2019 and wishes all of Oil Country a happy new year

by Gene Principe /

EDMONTON, AB - It was Tuesday night after the Edmonton Oilers final game of the year. 

I was in the basement watching a little bit of a "feel-good" movie with my daughter and wife. I had just finished packing for the upcoming road trip. My youngest son was upstairs. My oldest was out and I heard something... "Pop, pop, pop." 

I didn't make anything of it until I heard it again. This time it was, "pop, pop, pop, pop, pop." 

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs NYR 12.31.19

The noise was longer and more pronounced. As I was just about to head upstairs and see exactly what was going on, I glanced at the clock. It was 12:00 on the dot. The noise now was easy to figure out. Fireworks. Midnight had come and so had a new year. 

However, it wasn't the only fireworks on the final night of 2019.

No, in fact, it felt like the entire night was full of fireworks and the popping sounds. They happened indoors, not outdoors. It started exactly 11 seconds into Edmonton's game versus the New York Rangers and didn't stop until there were 67 seconds left on the clock. 

There was a consistent theme in colour as they were either predominantly orange and blue or a shade of navy, white and some red. Just when one finished, here came another one. And another one. 

When one set of fireworks were done and you thought that would be it for the night, along came a second set that for a while seemed unstoppable. Finally, after 12 separate explosions, it went quiet and not a moment too soon for those about to revel in the midnight explosives in Edmonton. 

Talk about going out with a bang. The Oilers certainly did that and so did the Rangers. I'm sure there was no shortage of great places to be in the Alberta capital to ring in the New Year. 

However, you would have been hard-pressed to get more entertainment, action, drama, excitement and, eventually, for Oilers fans, a happy ending with a win. 

Video: Neal scores hat trick as Oilers stave off Rangers

In the end, Edmonton - who was 37-37-10 in the calendar year of 2019 before their game against the Rangers - got exactly what they needed to finish off the year and to kick off the second half of their season. 

A lot was riding on this game. Playoff positioning in the Western Conference was at the top of the list as jockeying for spots in the Pacific Division and the wildcard have become something to keep an eye on.

No sense waiting until March or April, but something that should be duly noted every day as one year comes to an end and another one gets started. It wasn't just that but the Oilers wanted to get back to the way they started the season. It's the kind of play that netted them nine wins in October, seven in November and five more in December after the New Year's Eve bash. 

Times Square was expecting a million people on the final night of 2019. Waiting until midnight for the ball (which weighs 11,875 pounds) to drop. It's something that's been happening in New York since 1907 (excluding two misses because of the war in 1942 and 1943). 

Well, the Rangers dropped the ball or maybe better put Edmonton took it from them through the first two periods of their game. New York got it back but not in time before the clock struck midnight on their hopes of getting a win. 

Wherever you were and whoever you were with, we hope you enjoyed the final Edmonton Oilers game of 2019. Also, I hope it was a good year for you, your family and friends. 

To health, happiness, safety and some prosperity in 2020. Happy New Year.

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