Adrian Dater raised a few eyebrows on Wednesday when he released his preseason power rankings over at Sports Illustrated. Things started out well enough: the Penguins first, the Rangers second... it all seemed reasonable. But then the Edmonton Oilers appeared in the number three spot. A curious choice.
So curious was it, in fact, that even a member of the club Sports Illustrated regarded so highly couldn't help but take a jab. Here's Oilers' defenceman Ryan Whitney's reaction to the generous placement:
"Third? Not third in the West, either? Overall? I think that... well. marijuana's legal in some areas."
And here's why it's a doubly funny comment: during the lockout, Dater's state of Colorado actually did legalize marijuana.
Dater's rationalization is that, unlike most other teams, much of the Oilers' core played together in the AHL during the lockout. From Sports Illustrated:
Check with me in a month or two, but it says here that they will get off to a great start -- which really ups the odds of getting into the playoffs. Why the reason for Oil optimism? Because Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and newcomer D-man Justin Schultz all played regularly during the lockout in the AHL and will be that much further along than the players who were limited to informal skates or shinny matches for charity. Eberle had 51 points in 34 games for Oklahoma City, while Schultz had 48 in 34. Granted, big questions remain in goal and defense, but what an offense this should be.
But still. Third seems awfully high... unless, as Whitney suggested, you're awfully high.