Tonight’s game between the Oilers and the Riverkings was not exactly full of promise, since the RK are fighting for their lives right now, and the Oilers are already dead (much like the NHL version). All that was on the line for the Oilers was pride, and sometimes, pride is not enough. At least, not enough to play a halfway decent game of hockey.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to dissuade you from taking in an Oilers game. By all means, if circumstance should find you in or near Tulsa, you should go to a game, and certainly next season, when I am told a new arena will open downtown. And it looks like the cat’s ass, which is a good thing. For now, the cat has the better deal, and the Oilers may have to sign him to a contract next year. That is, if they want to have a full bench.
But the Oilers, who are out of the playoffs according to math, the law, and the new testament, decided not to show up for the game tonight, at least not in any way that would have won them a hockey game. They did show up in the penalty box. Hell, they set up a nice condo in the penalty box.
A few double minors didn’t help them, along with some plain idiocy. For instance, the spearing double minor to Kal Magnussen was such an obvious penalty, done right in front of the ref. It not only negated a penalty on the Riverkings, it put Tulsa on the PK. Then a roughing and a slash a minute thirty later put the Oilers down by two men long enough for the ‘kings to score. Twice. And that was the game.
And the worst part? The Oilers have to play in Colorado for the weekend, with a Saturday night game in Windsor against the Eagles (1st in division) and a Sunday game against the Rage (2nd in the division).
Let’s get to the photos.
The Tulsa Convention Center is just that, and not your new fancy CC, it’s your old CC, built when attaching a rink was a good idea. It does remind me of Amarillo, where the rink is attached to the theater, but a little cleaner.
This came at a point when the Oilers didn’t need anything other than a mercy killing, or a really fast clock. The game was over, and they weren’t playing for pride, just fighting with it. There was no message to be sent, nothing to be gained. But it was probably the only thing the fans could go home happy with.
I don’t have any idea what it’s going to look like on the inside, but I have great expectations. A nice new place for all of Tulsa’s minor league teams to play.
I’ll let my experience in Tulsa be summed up with one last picture. I have been in beat towns before. Really beat towns, where hockey isn’t even an afterthought, and Les Miserable coming to town is an event. But this is the most beat thing I have ever seen.
That is beat.
Tomorrow night, if I get up in time, and drive like hell, I am seeing a game in Bossier City, LA, another CHL matchup. It will probably be my last live game of the year. You gots to do what you gots to do.