Are the Edmonton Oilers That Bad? The Paper Bags Say ‘Yes’
As these paper bag heads in the above picture show, it has been a rough season thus far for the Edmonton Oilers. The paper bag has become a universal sign for a team sucking: a fan so discouraged by his or her team that the individual would rather wear a bag than reveal his or her identity. This shaming trend got popularized in the 1980s, when Saints fans cleverly renamed them the “Aints,” but it has been used for every failing franchise since: the Detroit Lions, New York Jets, New Jersey Nets — if your team at any time sucked, then you probably noticed this in the stands.
But this action by these fans begs the question, are the Edmonton Oilers really that bad: or at least bad enough to pull out the paper bags as early as December 16? ? The paper bag fans even customized their jersey to read McDavid on the back, which refers to top NHL prospect Connor McDavid who will likely be selected with the first overall pick this year.
The Oilers a storied franchise with five Stanley Cups have fallen on some hard times, with their decline being eerily similar to the New York Islanders. They have not made the playoffs since losing in the Stanley Cup Final in 2005-2006 and at the moment has the worst point percentage in franchise history: 2014-15’s .313 is far below their worst of .357 in the 1992-93 season.
To be honest, no one expected the Oilers to be good, but did anyone say they would be definitively the worst team in the NHL? At the moment, the Oilers have the least amount of wins in the league with seven, the second least amount of points with 20 and by far the most combined loses with 25. And they are 29th in goals per game, 29th in goals against — meaning their offseason acquisitions to improve their ailing defense has not worked — and have a 12.6 power play percentage.
Not to mention, their goaltending has been atrocious, with their starting goalie Ben Scrivens accumulating a horrendous .894 save percentage, 3.04 GAA and a record of 5-11-4: back-up Viktor Fasth has not faired better with .891, 3.29 and a record of 2-8-2. On top of this, Edmonton’s leading scorer is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with eight goals, which ranks 70th in the league. And while their shots for and against differential is far from the leagues worst, they still rank 25th in shots on goal: but surprisingly they are in the top fifteen of shots against per game, so perhaps not everything is ghastly.
Either way, it is hard to condemn the Edmonton Oilers as the worst team of all time with 50 games left on the schedule. There is no doubt that the numbers are awful, which means their fans have the right to wear the paper bags on their heads: yet they have not failed on the level of the Philadelphia 76ers. But after having three number one picks in a row from 2010-12 and top ten picks in the following two years, one would have expected the Oilers’ re-building phase to be over by now. Well, to the comfort of Edmonton fans everywhere, there is always next year.
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