SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers in race to disgrace

Kevin Lowe, along with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, is one of three people who have been with the...

Kevin Lowe, along with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, is one of three people who have been with the Oilers organization since the current CBA was struck. (Edmonton Sun file)

Terry Jones, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:15 PM ET

It’s time to follow The Great Race To Avoid Total Disgrace.

The Edmonton Oilers are four points back of the New York Islanders and three points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the CBA-To-CBA Standings — quite possibly the Lockout-to-Lockout Great Race To Save Face.

The Oilers magic number against the Islanders to finish worst overall in that span is 15 against the Islanders and 16 against Columbus.

Any combination of Oilers points lost and Islanders/Blue Jackets points won totaling 15 and 16 respectively will give the late great City of Champions, Canada’s once-upon-a-time Title Town the title of ultimate Lockout-To-Lockout Losers.

It’s a glorious three-team race!

The once glorious five-time Stanley Cup-winning Oilers against the once glorious four-time Stanley Cup-winning Islanders.

OK, the never-glorious Columbus Blue Jackets could still upset the rotten apple cart and end up hoisting the toilet bowl at the end of this seven-year war.

But right now it’s Kevin Lowe, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff — the ones who will have been there from start to finish – going hold-your-nose to hold-your-nose to hold-your-nose down the stretch.

And you thought the season was essentially over for the Oilers when they left the ice with their 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames?

You thought there were no meaningful games left?

With all those teams crowded around sixth to 12th place in the Western Conference figuring out magic numbers, it’s good to have a magic number to follow now.

The other magic number is about to expire.

Any combination of one loss by the Oilers or wins by the Phoenix Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche and the Oilers would be officially, mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Then the siren will have sounded. The horn will have blown. It’ll officially be over.

But the REAL magic numbers, you now know, are 15 and 16.

If you are late to start following this dungeon derby, welcome to the club.

I admit it. I had the blinders on. I was considering odds and magic numbers involved with the Oilers becoming the first team since the 1989-90-91 Quebec Nordiques to end up with the first pick in three consecutive drafts.

But then came the question via Twitter.

“Why aren’t you covering the race for the worst record under the CBA?”

The keeper of the sewer statistic is an ex-Edmontonian, a Toronto lawyer by the name of Tyler Dellow who goes by the Twitter handle of @mc79hockey with 2,912 followers who lists himself thusly: “A Westerner in a strange land. And a lawyer. Also a pedantic tart. Fink. Internet gangster. Grimly self-absorbed.”

Obviously the right man for the job.

“I got curious about this stat in February,” Dellow explains, forwarding a complete spreadsheet following the great race.

“I didn’t expect that the Oilers would be in the running because of the 2005-2006 season. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with enough lottery pick-level finishes.

“It’s kind of funny that the Oilers finally got their CBA that leveled the playing field and then, all of a sudden, there was some other reason they couldn’t win. It was Chris Pronger. Then it’s because Edmonton is a bad place nobody wants to live. Then Craig MacTavish. Then unhappy veterans. It’s never the guys who hire those guys for some reason.”

Dellow said he’s not anti-Oiler. Quite the opposite.

“I’m absolutely still an Oilers fan. I want nothing more than for them to win Stanley Cups.

“I travel to watch them in Buffalo and Ottawa. I stay up late to watch them on Centre Ice. It would be a shame if the fruits of the last seven years — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, etc. — were frittered away because the people in charge can’t figure out how to win in the current NHL.”

Dellow may be an Oiler fan, but when it comes to The Great Race To Avoid Total Disgrace, he says he’s not cheering for them.

“I’m rooting for total disgrace.”

He could start a club. Sell T-shirts.


Videos

Photos