Command performance for Oil Kings

The Edmonton Oil Kings regroup at their bench during Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Rebels in Red Deer....

The Edmonton Oil Kings regroup at their bench during Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Rebels in Red Deer. The Oil Kings host the Rebels Monday night in Game 3 of their first-round WHL playoff series, and hope to provide the hometown crowd with a win. (RYAN FRANKSON/Special to QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:08 PM ET

EDMONTON - It's been 1,411 days since a big-venue team representing Edmonton won a home-playoff game.

It was June 17, 2006.

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

It's not likely, but at least possible, the drought could come to an end Monday night and that the Edmonton Oil Kings could do what the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Eskimos and Edmonton Rush haven't been able to do since then.

It's a chance to finally stop the bleeding and win a bloody playoff game in the late, great City of Champions.

The Oilers, Eskimos and Rush haven't even HAD a playoff game at home since then. Not one.

At least the Oil Kings can say they played host to playoff games in the interim. Two. And they barely count.

Two years ago, the team lost 5-0, 4-1, 4-1 and 2-1 in overtime when goalie Torrie Jug made 54 saves and drew pathetic playoff crowds of 3,501 and 6,387 in being swept by the Calgary Hitmen.

Is it different this time as the Oil Kings go into Game 3 here against the Red Deer Rebels?

Nobody has Memorial Cup fever here. But whatever the condition is, at least the hope is there might be more than 3,501 show up Monday for Game 3 at Rexall.

The reason, of course, isn't the Oil Kings themselves but the possibility that their parent club, the Oilers, may possibly pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Rebels in the NHL Entry Draft.

Edmonton will select no worse than No. 1 or No. 2. If he isn't No. 1, it looks like he could end up being no worse than No. 2.

While Swedish defenceman Adam Larrson better fits the needs of the Oilers, Nugent-Hopkins is making a whale of a case for himself in front of Oilers' hockey operations boss Kevin Lowe, father of Kings' defenceman Keegan Lowe.

If a team usually wins one game in a series, it usually comes in Game 3, so there's at least an outside chance of seeing a home-playoff win. And maybe there's a 50-50 chance of watching this year's Taylor Hall.

The playoff thing in Edmonton is getting to be ridiculous.

The Oilers have played 403 regular-season games since Game 6 in 2006 and only managed to win 161 of them.

The 13-time Grey Cup-champion Eskimos hold the all-time North American pro-sports record of 34 consecutive years in the playoffs including 25 consecutive seasons with a home-playoff game when Hugh Campbell was either the head coach, GM or CEO. The Eskimos won their last Cup in 2005 but haven't had a home playoff game since 2004.

The Eskimos have played 90 games since the Oilers won that last playoff game, and won only 38 of them.

The Rush, coming off their third win of the season Friday at Rexall, are now 3-9 for the season.

The Rush have played 95 games in their history and won only 29 of them.

They've never had a home-playoff game in six seasons in the National Lacrosse League.

The Oil Kings come home for Game 3 having never won a playoff game in their current reincarnation after having played 288 regular-season games and having won only 98 of them.

The thing with both the Rush and the Oil Kings is that they haven't been able to use the floundering fortunes of the Oilers, including not only five seasons out of the playoffs but two consecutive 30th-place finishes, to build their own franchises.

The Hitmen got hot and had top teams, including a Memorial Cup finalist team in 1999, as they used a run of futility by the Flames to draw three of the top playoff crowds in WHL history 19,017, 18,279 and 18,028 while the Roughnecks won NLL crowns. For the 2004 championship game the Roughnecks were over capacity at 19,300 and, like the Hitmen, had several games in the 14,000-plus range. Timing is everything and the Edmonton teams haven't had it.

The Flames missed the playoffs seven straight seasons from 1997 to 2003. The Oilers have missed the playoffs five straight seasons from 2007 to 2011 (and counting?). But so far no other team in town has stepped into the void to make hay and carve themselves a permanent place in the market.

At least the Oil Kings could create their own special night the first in 1,411 for Edmonton.

Twitter.com/sunterryjonesterry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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