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Pressure on Oilers, Esks to win
Alex Antoneshyn, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, October 13, 2018 6:17PM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 13, 2018 6:28PM MDT
Wins by the Oilers and Eskimos on Saturday made for a long-awaited reprieve for Edmonton sports fans who have been watching their teams play poorly on the ice and gridiron.
Winning 2-1 against the New York Rangers on Saturday earned the Edmonton Oilers their first W of the season.
But entering the game, they had already suffered two losses.
“There is genuine frustration right now with this team because of the disaster that was last year,” said TSN’s Dean Millard.
The host of the Oilers’ pre and post-game radio show on TSN 1260 said his callers are fed up.
“The knives are out already. The coaching staff is being questioned, people want them fired,” he said. “There (are) predictions the coaching staff won’t make it past Halloween.”
Gambling site Bodog seems to confirm the idea that Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan is in the hot seat. With the odds stacked 11 to 5, McLellan is the betting favourite to become the first NHL coach fired this season.
“People are frustrated because you didn’t do anything a whole lot different from last year’s team,” said Millard, referring to the 2017-18 season in which the Oilers were expected to be a Stanley Cup contender and failed to make the post season.
“So why would the expectations be any different?” he asked.
“It’s two games in, but this is a 12-year drought other than one season for this fanbase.”
On the gridiron, the road to the Grey Cup has turned bumpy for the Edmonton Eskimos.
Going into Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Redblacks, the Esks had won just two of their last eight games, ranking fifth in the west division.
Each loss has faded playoff hopes.
Fan Peter Koziol said he’s followed the Oilers since the World Hockey Association, and the Eskimos since 1970, adding that he’s “lived a lot of painful years” supporting the teams.
But he hasn’t given up hope yet: “I’m actually quite worried, but as long we finish fourth, go to the East, win there, come back and play Saskatchewan or Calgary for the Grey Cup, it would be fantastic for the city.”
The Eskimos won Saturday’s game 34-16, moving themselves one spot up in the west. They’ll play the B.C. Lions next on October 19.