You did a great job today. In fact, you are better at what you do than ever before.
Hollow sentiment, or genuine praise? In the world of pro sports, where players and coaches are overly carefully about showing respect for their opponents lest they provide dreaded “bulletin board material,” we can never be too sure.
But after the Edmonton Oilers downed the St. Louis Blues 3-1 Thursday night at Rogers Place, Oilers fans couldn’t help but hope every word coming out of the visitor’s dressing room was authentic.
“They’re not the Oilers of the last few years. Definitely, some good additions to their team,” said Blues goaltender Jake Allen.
“They’re big. They’re strong. They have a lot of good players. They’re going to be a good team,” said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.
Wait a minute. Big and strong? The Edmonton Oilers?
Turns out, it wasn’t just the opposition who noticed a difference.
“I think you could see the size difference along the walls tonight,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan.
Hold on here. The Edmonton Oilers pushed the St. Blues Blues around?
“Having the mindset that we believed we could come out with a win in this game, that’s the type of mindset we’re starting to build in our hockey club,” explained winger Milan Lucic.
Confidence? A winning attitude? The ability to make the right plays in a close game?
All attributes Oilers fans have been dreaming about for several years. Against the Blues, they were there. Maybe not in full bloom, but at long last starting to sprout.
Maybe one day we’ll look back on this win over the Blues as a turning point.
But one thing is for sure: You want to believe. (jrw)