Friday, March 02, 2007
Last year's team, as Lowetide would say, was a beauty team. A Cinderella story. Kids and vets. Long time favourites. Hometown heroes. Overtime victories. Winning against all odds.
And then on June 19th it all ended. A break or two short of the Cup.
And then it got ugly. I am sure other teams have had worse years but I am not sure if I can recall any team in sports that has had such a fall from the heights and, even worse, such a heartwrenching one.
Pronger's trade request and the underwhelming return. The firestorm of bitterness that this engendered.
Spacek going to the Sabres and Tarnstrom to Europe and Lowe's inability to fill the holes on the D at all, thus dooming this team to failure.
Peca's defection to the Leafs. We knew it was coming and we didn't miss him but the team missed that ability to play the tough minutes. And he sticks in our collective craw still, for some reason.
Fan favourites Laraque and Dvorak (well of some fans anyway) leaving town.
Only Samsonov, Rem Murray and Todd Harvey seem to provoke little response when we talk about those who left.
And then the season. A good start and then it began.
The strange use of Smid and Greene.
The team going from a gritty oldstyle squad to, can we say it, a soft team.
The injuries. Moreau gone. Stoll's concussion. Pisani, Smith, Staios, Shaggy, Horcoff all playing hurt and three of those missing time with injuries. Smyth and Hemsky out for an extended period of time.
The sourness of fans who turned on guys like Smith quickly and angrily despite his doing his best after being put in an untenable position.
The failed power play.
The overwork of the aging goaltender.
The underachieving of, well, nearly everyone up front.
And finally, the final gutshot, the trading of the team's heart and soul and the one guy who should have stayed an Oiler forever. Even as someone who has argued that the trade may have made sense, I feel physically sick thinking about it. And as I said earlier today, despite my arguments, if they brought him back at 5 years and 27.5 M this summer I'd probably be pretty damn happy.
The club has been shut out 8-0 in the two games since and what do people expect? They've had the heart ripped out of them.
What a disaster. Bring on the end of the season.
Put us out of our misery.
Posted by Black Dog at 3:50 PM