SUN Hockey Pool

Wins in neverland?

Nothing has gone right for the Edmonton Oilers since the NHL trade deadline last month. (Sun...

Nothing has gone right for the Edmonton Oilers since the NHL trade deadline last month. (Sun File/Darryl Dyck)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Twenty straight losses?

Can a team go a quarter of a season without winning a game?

We're about to find out.

That may be the only drama left in Stretch Dive 2007, seeing just how bad this train wreck will get.

And, when you take a look at what's left of the schedule, and what's left of the bedraggled Oilers, it doesn't look good. There's a very real possibility, disaster lovers, that they won't win another game this season.

They're already closing in on the franchise record for consecutive defeats (11), and with eight-straight losses already in the bank and 12 games left, the NHL's all-time mark of 17 straight is well within reach.

We could be watching history here.

Even if the opposition can't run Edmonton's table and the Oilers don't surpass the 1975 Washington Capitals and 1993 San Jose Sharks, this slump could still reach such biblical proportions that 30 years from now people will still grimace and whisper in hushed tones about the spring of 2007.

"Yeah, absolutely, there's a fear (the slump) could continue," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "You'd be naive not to think that's a possibility.

"But at the same time I've seen enough in the last few games to lead me to believe we're going to win. Soon."

Or not.

Look at the rest of the schedule and circle the games that look winnable: Minnesota? Nope. St. Louis? Nope. Vancouver? Nope.

MAYBE A SPLIT

Back to back with Colorado? Maybe a split. A home-and-home series with Nashville? Nope. Nope.

In St. Louis? Nope. In Chicago? Maybe. Back-to-back in Minny? Nope. Nope. And the final game of the regular season in Calgary? Nope.

That's nine nopes, a maybe and a split. That's 2-18, maybe 1-19.

Holy Moses, if that isn't wandering through your own personal desert for 40 days, I don't know what is.

"It's not something you'd like to be a part of," said captain Jason Smith.

"A lot of good things have happened over the years here. Going in the record books as the team with the most (consecutive) losses wouldn't be a great stat."

With six goals in their last eight games, 10 players on the injured list, only five able defencemen (three of them rookies,) and a horizon filled with red hot teams fighting for home advantage in the playoffs, the brittle Oilers don't need crystal balls to see what the future might have in store for them.

"It's pretty easy to understand why we're in this situation, but we just have to work through it. That's all that we can do," said MacTavish, who doesn't like to think of their plight in a historical sense.

THAT BAGGAGE

"We can't carry that baggage of losing eight in a row, into the next game. Our objective is to come out and win a hockey game. But obviously there are some things you don't want to be associated with."

Again. MacTavish, you see, was on the 1993 Oilers team that lost 11 straight.

"We went on a pretty good stretch in '91, too, (nine in a row) when Mess got hurt at the start of the year," he said.

"I've been in a couple of them."

Then he paused. "But I was playing well."

A sense of humour helps in a situation like this. When they stop and think where they were just nine short months ago, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, and where they are now, Game 8 of a funeral march, they don't know whether to laugh or cry.

"From where we were at the end of June last year until now is definitely a huge swing," said Smith, rubbing the spot where his ring should be.

"It's gone from pretty much the highest point in this game to being in a pretty low spot right now. We just want to continue to be positive in the dressing room - learn from this."

"We have to win some games,'' added Ladislav Smid. "There's not many left."

Just enough to make history.


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