Thursday, August 02, 2007
I will be here in less then three days. Northern Ontario. No electricity. No phone. No internet. No running water.
My wife loves it.
Spent a lot of time growing up on this lake. Isolated.
Both of my parents come from what you would call old stock Canadian families I guess. My Dad has some native in him. Both are from families that were in Quebec long before James Wolfe happened by.
My Dad's father's family has roots in Scotland. His great grandfaher arrived in Ontario and settled near Barrie, then moved to Kincardine just south of the Bruce Peninsula. Him and his eight kids.
The youngest boy, Dad's grandfather, along with another son, then moved to Goulais River in the 1890s.
I was there a few weeks ago.
When I was a boy my parents' idea of a good time was to find a lake in the deepest darkest north, load up the boat, find an island and camp there for three weeks.
They like their quiet. Having been to Goulais I can see that its in the blood I guess. The place is in the middle of nowhere now - imagine the 19th century.
When we make this annual trip we always end up coming out of the bush in a pretty mellow mood. You can turn the brain off.
I think there may be a lot of Oilers' fans who would like to make this trip after today. Dustin Penner is an Oiler. True to his word Kevin Lowe has made an impact this summer. The question is whether the impact is going to be a positive one or not. If this team has even a decent season and Penner is successful (and in a lot of ways the two go hand in hand) then he's likely ok.
If Penner is Lupul II and the Oilers are terrible then this could go down as a complete disaster. we're talking Tom Kurvers.
Never mind the carnage from last summer. Since the beginning of last season the Oilers have replaced Ryan Smyth, Petr Sykora, Joffrey Lupul, Jason Smith, Jan Hejda, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Marc Andre Bergeron and Jussi Markannen with Dustin Penner, two forwards to be named, Joni Pitkanen, Sheldon Souray, Dick Tarnstrom, Denis Grebeshkov and Mathieu Garon.
They are younger. Garon is an improvement on Jussi, though I'll miss the Finn. They are bigger I think. Not sure if they are any tougher. Souray is tough but few come as tough as Smith and Smyth. Better puck movers on the back end. In Smyth, Smith and Hejda/Shaggy they have lost three guys who played their toughest minutes last season.
This team may be better. They may be worse. I lean towards the latter. On paper I think its not as good a team as last season. Now last season there were injuries and the lineup of guys who had poor seasons was a long one. Maybe Torres' marriage sets him straight and he scores 30. Maybe Hemsky takes that next step. Maybe Stoll improves some more and Pouliot comes out flying. Could be that Huddy teaches Souray how to play D and Pitkanen shows that the future is right now.
Paper can fool you. The Vaunt will always remind us of that. So maybe I am wrong. But there's a lot of cash on two longterm contracts out there now.
Spending big money is part of the deal nowadays. I don't know if spending it on Souray and Penner is the way to go. I don't think Souray was smart. I guess we'll see about Penner. I sure hope Lowe is right.
And now I drift away. Sitting by the lake. Glass of wine. Not a sound. Thank God for that.
Posted by Black Dog at 3:07 PM