The playoff beards have been shaved, the car flags are coming down and Edmonton Oilers fans are coming to terms with team’s 2-1 loss in Game 7 Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks.
While it wasn’t the outcome most were hoping for — and the disappointment was still fresh on Thursday morning — there was a lot of optimism coming from Oilers fans about the season. After all, the Oilers finished in 29th place last year and made a good fight for first place in their division this season.
“I’m a huge Oiler fan all the way to the top,” Braden Risby said as he left the Rogers Place watch party on Wednesday night.
“They played a great series. They laid the boost down for a couple games. It’s Game 7 — that’s playoff hockey, you know? That’s how it goes.”
“It was a good atmosphere going around here,” Oilers fan Jacob Moore said. “Everybody is happy we made the playoffs after an 11-year drought. We’re still doing pretty good and next year is going to be really good.”
Watch below: For years, Oilers fans have been waiting for their team to treat them to all the excitement that an NHL playoff run has to offer. Well, the Oilers did that this spring, taking the whole city of Edmonton with them on a thrill ride that won’t soon be forgotten.
“I’m pretty upset about how the Oilers played. They didn’t play so great. Pretty disappointed about the outcome of the game,” fan Connor Gratton admitted. But still, he felt confident heading into the 2017/18 hockey season.
“We’ll get it next year, we’ll get it next year.”
Mayor Don Iveson, who had been sporting a playoff beard, showed up to work on Thursday morning clean-shaven.
“It was sad to have to take off the playoff beard, but I understand you have to take it off right away. I think next year, I gotta start when we clinch. I gotta start earlier,” he said.
“Shaving it off was — first of all, my skin is kind of irritated. I actually kind of got used to it. I had never grown it out that far before. I’ll miss it, but I’m confident it’ll return next year.”
Iveson, who hadn’t grown his beard out in a while, noticed a bit of a difference this time around.
“There was a little more grey in there than the last time I let my beard grow.”
More than a dozen die-hard hockey fans lined up at the Edmonton International Airport on Thursday to show their support and catch a glimpse of the players as they arrived home from Anaheim.
“They lost last night, but we want to show our support. Just because they lost, they still tried and they still tried hard,” said nine-year-old Paige Nychka.
“And they did a good game, they really did,” added her eight-year-old sister, Moira Nychka.
“We just came out to show our support – to show how proud we are, win or lose, to have a team like this. For many years to come, this is going to be fantastic,” added the girls’ dad, Beau Nychka.
The NHL playoffs brought the city together over the past month, a feeling Oilers’ fans have been without since the spring of 2006. A local psychiatrist said it’s completely normal to feel emotion over Wednesday’s loss.
“People react quite negatively to loss — it’s almost like a grief reaction if it’s too severe,” said Dr. Peter Silverstone, a psychiatry professor at the University of Alberta. “As part of the stages of grief, you often get anger and denial and various other things, and people can act out.
“How can you tell if someone is taking it too far? Well, you look out for the fact that they’re not coming back, they’re not being able to adapt. Within two or three days, they should have fully moved past that and if they haven’t, you might want to talk to them about it.”
Watch below: Edmonton Oilers players, coach and fans react to Game 7 loss against the Ducks
The Oilers’ loss leaves just one Canadian team in the playoffs. The Ottawa Senators will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference final. The series begins on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
The Ducks move on to the Western Conference final against the Nashville Predators. That series starts on Friday night in Anaheim.