Friday, September 28, 2007

Training Camp - Hope


Interesting article about the Oilers at TSN.ca from Canadian Press. The main focus is on the play of Cogliano, Gagner, Nilsson and Brodziak but there are references to the rebuilt D and the play of Mathieu Garon as well as the fitness of the returning veterans. Horcoff is described as "tearing up the ice" in the preseason and Pitkanen also comes in for a positive mention.
Good stuff, especially seeing as its from an outside source rather then the Oilers, the Edmonton media or us (the fans) who want to put last year's debacle behind us.
TSN has the Oilers ranked 27th to start the year but they sound intrigued by the potential of the kids, the rebuilt D and the probable rebound of so many veterans who had terrible years last season.
I think that this year's club is going to be better then expected. While Adam Proteau crowed about how his prediction about the Oilers was in the ballpark last spring (although not a word from him when the Oilers were leading the division in December - frontrunner!) he also made no reference to the fact that injuries to nearly half the roster had a lot to do with the freefall - quality work , pal. In other words, a relatively healthy Oilers' squad doesn't make the playoffs last year but they don't crash and burn either if Staios, Tjarnqvist, Hejda, Moreau, Stoll, Hemsky etc etc aren't hurt.
Not likely a playoff team this season - man they would need everything to go right and a lot of teams to crash and burn, but I think we're looking at around a tenth place finish. Look at a team like the Kings who everyone is picking to finish ahead of the Oilers despite the fact that they don't have an NHL goaltender right now.
What I liked about this camp is something I touched on in August - a return to the pre Cup mentality. The veterans are hungry and they are taking nothing for granted. Some say intangibles don't matter but the fitness level of Torres, Reasoner, Stoll, Moreau, Staios, Hemsky and Horcoff is outstanding and will make a difference. It also exhibits an edge that this team lost last summer, imo.
What I loved about this camp is that it has brought hope back to Oiler fans. I am talking about this year but more about next year and the years to follow. Cogliano, Gagner, Brodziak, Nilsson, Gilbert - all have had impressive camps and could make this team on the merits of what they have shown. Grebeskov has shown flashes and will stick. Pitkanen and Hemsky are still just kids really. Stoll and Penner too. Smid has looked like he may be ready to take the next step. And then there is Trukhno who has lived up to Lowetide's expectations, O'Marra who may indeed be a player and Almtorp who may be a guy who can play a role down the road.
And we haven't mentioned Schremp who McKeen's ranks in their top 100 prospects list despite his struggles last season. Kid had a decent camp coming off an injury remember. And Jacques who may be figuring it out. (Interesting note in McKeens - I just bought it - can you tell? - about Jacques and how he is miscast as a fourth line energy guy). And Stortini who has improved his skating and strength. And Thoresen. And even poor Pouliot who looks like he may not know what has hit him as he likely heads to Springfield.
We all know that some of these kids will get derailed at some point but the fact is I don't think we'd want Lowe to trade a whole lot of these guys for Don Awrey or someone to replace Fernando Pisani. Adding an Awrey and having Pisani return doesn't get this team into the playoffs (although it would make them better obviously - these kids are going to take their lumps). We are rebuilding and I want to make sure that when Trukhno scores twenty five goals in 2011 and Cogliano is a terrific two way pivot scoring seventy points and Gilbert is quarterbacking the PP and O'Marra is a twenty goal scorer who can shut down whoever you want and Gagner and Nilsson and Brodziak and Peckham and Petry and Chorney and whomever you like is doing what they may be capable of doing that they are doing it in copper and blue. Hopefully with Hemsky and Horcoff and Pitkanen and Smid leading the way.
Hope.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cut Cut Cut


Bisaillon, Syvret, Young, Bodie, Johansson, O'Marra, Schremp, Reddox and Truhkno.

Gone.

With the exception of Schremp I don't think any of these guys figured to be in the mix coming into camp. Truhkno showed very well. We'll see him again.

For that matter Schremp showed well too. He's coming along. He just happened to have two kids who showed better. I'll bet he's hoping Gagner ends up back in junior at some point this year though.
After tonight's games we'll see a few more head down - Sestito, Almtorp (another who has done well), Simon.
And then the tough decisions.
Seven or eight D? I figure seven. Vic Ferrari made a good point in a thread the other day. We love Roy but every team has a Roy or two. The Leafs have a couple of guys who are looking pretty good who have to clear waivers for example. So I think they try to sneak him through. And Gilbert goes down as well. He will be back soon though. He's had a terrific camp, I think.
Up front its pretty crazy - I think we are going to have a couple of surprises.
In - Horcoff, Penner, Hemsky, Stoll, Torres, Nilsson, Reasoner, Sanderson, Moreau, Brodziak
I would think Thoresen has a spot as well. Good role player and maybe someone who ends up playing some tough minutes this season. That's eleven.
Cogliano is in, at least to start the year. He has gotten better, instead of worse, and I think he could play a few different roles on this club. That's twelve.
Jacques or Stortini. That's thirteen. If JFJ does not make it its a big disappointment. I also think he will be in line for top nine minutes if Moreau, Torres or Penner go down and he gets the call.
So fourteen (this is presuming they go with seven D) is either Gagner or Pouliot, I would say. Gagner is playing again tonight. If Pouliot does not make it, well, it would be a huge disappointment. It would mean he was outplayed by a whack of players who on paper should not be outplaying him.
Imagine.
UPDATE - According to this CP article MacT says the Oilers will start the season with eight defencemen. So I guess Roy is in. What that does up front I have no idea. If Gagner gets cut then I guess Pouliot is also gone. If Gagner sticks then does Stortini or Thoresen go down as well? Cogliano has already scored tonight. He's in.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

You Wonder What He's Thinking


A team can build toward becoming a contender for many years. Then the window is open and they either win many times, like the Islanders, Devils and Red Wings did, or once, like the Flames and Stars did or never, like the recent vintage Flyers and Blues, the Sens and the Sharks(so far)? The window opens and then it closes. Done. All that promise gone, squashed by better teams, mistakes at critical times, injuries, plain bad luck.


Imagine then what it would like to be a player who suddenly senses that his own window of opportunity may be closing. Probably the best player on his team for years, highly touted and drafted (or maybe not), greeted by the fans and the organization as someone who will be a star for the home team. Consider Rob Schremp.


As we all know Schremp always had the numbers but along with the numbers came a lot of concerns which is one of the reasons he fell in the draft. His skating, his play without the puck, his attitude - all were called into question. The kid has charisma and a lot of party tricks and a lot of fans fell in love with a guy who has a flair that the franchise has lacked for many years. Ales Hemsky is flashy but quiet. The Oiler players who have formed the core over the past number of years - Smyth, Smith, Staios, Moreau, Marchant, Grier, Horcoff, Pisani, Niinimma, Brewer - were mostly solid guys who got the job done (or not) with minimal fanfare. So fitting then that the Cup finalist team was a veteran team filled with solid players who did all of the little things right. That will win you a lot of games.


Lacrosse moves in a shootout win you nothing.


So Schremp was sent back to junior after his first camp and down to the minors after last year's, despite the outcry in the chatrooms, MySpace and high schools of the nation that given the chance Schremp could prove that he was clearly the superior player to Horcoff, who had only outplayed and outscored MVP Joe Thornton in May '06. Once a pro, Schremp struggled at times and found himself a healthy scratch for an alarming number of games. Then his season ended with a knee injury.


This camp Schremp has shown improved skating by most accounts, decent conditioning and a greater awareness of what he needs to do when he does not have the puck. He is becoming a better player. And he is being passed by prospect after prospect on the depth chart. I wonder if he looks around him and wonders if his window of opportunity, at least with the Oilers, is closing.


Passed by the undrafted Thoresen and the afterthoughts Brodziak and Stortini, who all bring abilities that Schremp does not have. Schremp was never going to be a fourth line energy guy or someone to play the tough minutes; he cannot provide toughness nor can he be counted on to work the PK. So that's well and good - these three may carve out good NHL careers - we certainly hope so - but they are not the same type of player as Schremp.


But Robert Nilsson is. So are Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner and Trukhno. What I mean by the same type of player is that these four would be considered the types who might some day play top six minutes, same as Schremp. Now from what little we have seen I think we might say that Cogliano and Trukhno may be NHL players regardless. They can do those little things without the puck that make them useful players even if they do not fill a top six offensive role.


So here is Schremp and there goes Nilsson, who had his own share of questions and seems to have answered them, for now anyways. There goes Cogliano, zooming by. And Gagner, just a kid, there he goes too. And Trukhno, out of nowhere (not really but sort of), as well.


I wonder what Schremp is thinking. He seems to be getting it but suddenly things look bleak. The window hasn't closed yet but for him, like Marc Pouliot and JF Jacques, time maybe ticking on his time with the Oilers and maybe on his potential as an NHL player (although I think Pouliot has the overall skill set to fit in as a third or fourth line guy, worst case). Next stop could be Ritaville or Winchestertown if he doesn't get a break because I am thinking that is what this guy needs, a break. He needs a couple of guys to fail and a couple more to get hurt and then he needs to take that chance and run with it. Or a couple of years down the road he's on his way out, maybe never to be heard from again.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Why Is This Dog Smiling?


Frequent visitors to this site (all four of you) will know that I am turning 40 this year - in December, in fact. Its been a terrific year. I have been abusing my body as much as possible, making sure that this will likely be my last milestone birthday. Anyhow, thanks in part to my lovely (and very understanding) wife and some encouragement from Senor A. Grabia, I will be making the pilgrimage this November.

Yep, first time in Edmonton. Going to check out the Oilers/Blackhawks on November 24th. Also looks like a Golden Bears' game is in the cards as well. And Andy claims he is "going to make a man of me" which is both frightening and quite exhilarating. I have been beside myself with excitement thinking about it.
Ahem, well, yes ...
As for TC news, check out Lowetide. I'd love to be able to add something but as we all know the quality and quantity of this man's work (I truly believe he has a staff of thousands) leaves us in the dust. I will say the following:

- truly excited by the Oilers' kids this season - the list of guys who look to be players is a lengthy one and its exciting - Cogliano, Gagner, Trukhno, Brodziak, Gilbert, Roy, Nilsson, Almtorp - not to mention Thoresen and Smid as well as kids like O'Marra and Peckham - its great to see

- not so great to see the struggles of Matt Greene - I like the guy and nobody can question his heart but man, he is stinky; some guy commented the other day that we should lay off him - its preseason after all. Exactly! He's taking two or three minors a game playing the scrubs. Guy has got to get it together.

- Pouliot scores tonight and that's nice - I think this kid is Vernon Wells - slow starter - and I really think he has a spot on this team. He obviously pissed someone off by not sticking it out in California but I sure hope they don't give up on him. He has been outplayed by some of the youngsters but I think he can play a role on this team.

- Whatever happened to Rob Schremp?

By the way, I still think this D is rotten. Absolutely. Achilles. Heel.

Having said that its exciting to see the season near. And I think this team is going to be damn good in a few years.

See you in November. I'll be the guy with the big stash.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Already Getting Clearer?


Well, yes and no.
I've said it before and I will say it again - its exciting to see so many kids who are turning heads - Trukhno, Almtorp, Cogliano and Nilsson all got good reviews for their play last night.
As Lowetide says you can get a lot from what MacT says. What he is saying in the papers today, backed by his boss, is that Robert Nilsson has a job. It was his to lose and he is not losing it. His conditioning is terrific and so is his mindset. Much like Pouliot it appears that last fall he went into camp comfortable and that set him back. He has not made that mistake.
With Carter getting his bell rung, one wonders if his chance may already be over. Three days and done - irk.
The other guy getting praise from his coach is Stortini.
Its crazy right now and injuries may still play a role but for now I think its looking like this:
LW-Penner, Torres, Moreau, Sanderson, Brodziak
C-Horcoff, Stoll, Reasoner
RW-Hemsky, Nilsson, Thoresen, Pouliot, Stortini
Is it possible that there is only one spot left already? Or am I giving Pouliot too much credit? And what of JF Jacques?
Trukhno, O'Marra and Almtorp have shown well but they are ticketed for Springfield and that's fine. They need that seasoning.
That leaves Gagner, Schremp, Jacques and Cogliano for that last spot. I love Gagner but I cannot see him sticking. I'd love to be proved wrong but I can't see it.
I think its Cogliano - Pouliot moves back to centre and the kid goes to the wing. He has the speed to play at the NHL level and the right skillset too.
Sure nice to see the kids the Oilers have put together - different sets of skills and I think maybe a few guys in there who may really be able to play.
There you have it - until next time. ;)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nous Gagnons!

First period ended last night and some wag (ok it was me) commented that it might not get any better then this in 2007/2008 for the Oilers. But they held on to win their first preseason game and this morning we are happy. To say these games mean nothing is inaccurate. Ask Patrick Thoresen and Kyle Brodziak about the meaningless of intrasquad and preseason games. By this time last September Brodziak had already fallen off the radar and Thoresen had interested the brass enough to pencil him into the lineup again. A couple of games later and he was a lock to break camp with the big club while Brodziak was cut early and buried in the minors.

This year Brodziak has come out on fire, making a statement as MacT said, that he deserves to be on the team. Considering that he can play without the puck, I would say he is almost there already.

So, lets review real quick:

LW - Penner, Torres, Moreau
C - Horcoff, Stoll, Reasoner
RW - Hemsky, Thoresen, Sanderson, Pouliot

I realize Thoresen, Sanderson and Pouliot may all be playing other then RW but for simplicity's sake lets keep them there.

That leaves three or four spots open. I would say Brodziak will lock one up.

That's two or three spots left up front for Gagner, Schremp, Almtorp, Cogliano, Nilsson, Carter, Jacques and Stortini to fight over. Have I missed anyone? So much depends on whether a kid centre can win a job or not. if one can then you can shift Pouliot to the wing and the lines look a little more palatable, presuming the kid centre takes the soft minutes.

Likely Lowe moves someone out if the kids impress and Carter can hang in there. Or maybe he just ships a bunch back to Springfield and Gagner back to London. If Gagner continues to do well, he may very well get the 10 game trial to see what he can do.

It makes for an interesting camp for sure. It is nice to see that a lot of the kids seem to have come along, that Gagner looks like a blue chipper and that a guy like Brodziak is ready. Its great to see the vets in such great condition. Intangibles aren't going to make Sheldon Souray any faster but a lot of enthusiastic hungry hockey players, many of whom can be sent down quickly if they don't work to keep their jobs, will make for a hard working, aggressive, old time club. Will it translate into a lot of wins. Maybe not but its an identity I want this team to have, much like it once did.

Oh, for all of you who come here with filth on your minds, rest assured that there will be a conclusion to our little tale - I just need to get my mind in the proper state - that being one of total and complete perversion and debasement.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gilbert, Greene and Oilers' Management Screwing Up - Again


Vic Ferrari over at IOF has his usual terrific take - in this post he looks at depth players. Take a look if you have not already.
Pundits and fans look at the Oilers and worry about who is going to score goals. Some, including myself, look at this team and think that this defence corps is still a mess. I see two guys who are definitely capable of top four minutes - Pitkanen and Staios. After that I see a bunch of guys who would be excellent fits in the 5-6 hole. In Grebeshkov, Gilbert and Smid, I see three guys who need experience and who would be best served playing this role. You have Roy who is likely a 6 or a 7, period, but likely a guy who could hold his own there. Then there is Souray who played second pair minutes last year and got killed doing it. And now has a five year 27 million dollar contract.
Finally you have two guys who, by my eye anyway, make Vic's point. Remember the playoff run? Tarnstrom started on the bottom pair with Bergeron. Something was wrong with Tarnstrom almost immediately after he came over from Pittsburgh. If you recall, he played very little down the stretch. At the time I thought perhaps MacT did not like the Swede but his return belies that theory. He had an injury, some sort of nagging issue.
Anyhow, Tarnstrom played and then came out when his problem flared up again (this is my theory - I would say it was likely) to be replaced by Matt Greene. It was a tough position for the rookie and he struggled mightily. Anybody who watched that beauty run will remember that when Greene and Bergeron hit the ice Oilers' fans collective hearts were in their throats. Nothing good ever resulted. Penalties, scoring chances, icings - it was a clusterfuck every time they hit the ice. And they were playing the other teams' shit, mind you, for the most part.
After Ladd blew by Greene and Bergeron came flying over (we all know the end result of that), the following game saw Bergeron out of the lineup. Wrong guy. While Tarnstrom's return settled down the third pair somewhat, Greene still made plenty of mistakes in the SCF. G5 - two penalties that resulted in goals. And so on. Tarnstrom/Bergeron may have made a difference there.
So now we fast forward to training camp. Some good things so far - the fitness level of the vets, the apparent maturity of Raffi Torres, the apparent health of Jarret Stoll. Good stuff. Also it sounds like Pouliot and Thoresen are ready to establish themselves as players. And apparently there may be some actual prospects up front for the Oilers - it seems like some of these kids look like they may be players.
But here is the problem - Lowe has created a huge mess on the back end. Nine defencemen but the problem is the only two with real trade value are the two that the Oilers cannot afford to give up - Pitkanen and Staios. The kids all have value but not a lot or Lowe likely would have made a move by now. By trading for Pitkanen and adding Tarnstrom Lowe addressed the problems this team had moving the puck and likely helped the PP. Tarnstrom being on a short term deal meant that his contract could be moved and also that a spot would not be taken up longterm. A really nice pickup. And eight D so that Roy could stick as your seventh and a kid could be sent down.
And then the Souray signing, which Souray himself said came out of nowhere. Just about the time Katz was making some headlines. Coincidence? Of course not. So Lowe added a guy who could help the PP, replicating his two prior moves. And this guy likely cannot play top four minutes. And he has a five year big money contract.
Now I wish Souray well, I do. I'd love for him to score 20 goals a year for the next five years and hold his own 5 on 5, although that sceanario is unlikely. But the move makes no sense, based on the acquisition of Tarnstrom. Who is going to play top four? Pitkanen, Staios, Souray, Greene, Smid, Tarnstrom?? Four of those six, I'd guess. Those names make you happy? Not me.
And now they have two D lost in the numbers game, not one. Who would you rather on third pair, Greene or Gilbert? Would not a third pair of Gilbert and Tarnstrom sound good? A kid who by every account has it - he's big, can skate, he can move the puck, he has the right instincts for the game - paired with a vet so he can get some experience the right way. Instead Gilbert will likely be sent down while Greene who struggled against the garbage last season will stay. And Roy may be lost on waivers. He's not Bobby Orr but a guy who can likely step in and play on that third pair and hold his own - to give that guy away is sheer stupidity.
And ... the D is still going to be lousy. The third pair will actually probably do fine but they don't have a top four.
Lowe has backed himself into a corner. Its amateur hour again.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Called On The Carpet, Part Deux - Pucker Up Buttercup!













Fair play to sacamano, despite his surly demeanour during our meeting, even he was not so hard hearted as to not sympathize with me. Broken hearted by Lowetide's bitter jibe, I could scarce hold back the tears. He gave me a smooch, grabbed my ass and said "Buck up, jerk! What did you expect?"

But before I could wail "Why me, oh why?", we had entered another room. Therein were three men - two sat at a table, drinking their pints, while a third scribbled formulae on a chalkboard furiously.


"So, as you can see, take his ES rates, multiply this by pi, add the PP/H, PK/S, TOI, KFC and divide by the LL Cool J - ergo, Radek Dvorak is a far better player then Mike Bossy ever was," said the madly scribbling Mudcrutch. Vic Ferrari, busy lighting voodoo dolls of EIG members on fire, perks up.


"Mike Bossy was an Islander! Alright! Lets talk about the Islanders and that marvelous bastard, Garth Snow"

"No, fuck the Islanders," says the third, in a distinctly Newfoundland accent. "Fuck them the way Lowe fucked this team with the return he got for Pronger and then doubly fucked them by what he got for Smyth."

"Focus guys, focus. As you can see by this chart, you can see that if you subtract EN SH scoring from the DoReMi ... no wait a second," says young Mc79, suddenly thrown off by the mad tangents of Vic and Dennis.


"Garth Snow, magnificient bastard!"


"See, its like this, see. There's this girl in town, she's the hottest girl in town by far, and one day things somehow work out and she's with you. And for a year, she's your girlfriend and you're the envy of all your buddies because she's hot and she's smart and cool - she's the best thing that's happened to you, well, in over fifteen years. But then she decides she's going away for school, even though she told you she'd be yours forever. So you're fucked .. except for every girl in town is figuring, well, if she was with you, well you have to have something going on, like you're terrific in bed or hung like a horse or you have balls that taste like a hot fudge sundae. So, you take her to the airport and everyone in town is there waiting to see her off, but they really want to see who you will go for. And because you're pretty fucking full of yourself because you just spent a year with your dream girl and you figure this hot streak is going to last forever you go with the girl who is dumb as a post - I mean she's cute and all but so dumb she spells it dum. So there you go and next thing you know you're bored as hell because she's bad in bed - she has no idea what she's doing - and she's a dolt on top of it. And everybody in town loses respect for you so you can't even dump her and move on to someone else because everybody thinks you're a total tit. One night she asks you what you want and you tell her to lick your ass and she goes right to it, no questions asked, and so you're playing with yourself forever while she's licking your arse - she just keeps licking and licking because she's got not a ounce of sense - and you're too drunk to get off and so you just keep at it, getting more and more angry because your best girl has gone to university and you've got some dumbass who's a Leaves fan to boot, could be worse of couse, could be Cuntreal, but she's a dope all the same and she's licking your arse. That's the whole deal in a nutshell right there ..."


"Garth Snow, omnipotent bastard!"


"Jesus, now I've lost my train of thought," said Mudcrutch. "Is it 'i' before 'e' except after 'c' or does that depend on Hrudey's GAA as opposed to Fuhr's Stanley Cup rings? Goddamnit!"


"Garth Snow, you accordian playing, hot dog eating, omnivorous bastard!"

I turned to sacamano who looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. "What can I say, I don't get much of it either. Smile and nod. Smile and nod. Try not to make eye contact."


We backed out of the room slowly.


Suddenly we both nearly jumped out of our skins, shocked by the most bloodcurdling scream we had ever heard. I thought that Grabia had finally discovered the truth about the past year for this sound was bursting with pain, sorrow and terror. We rushed towards the sound rather then away from it, for no other reason that by this time we were both pretty sauced. We charged through a door to find a pitiful sight - the quivering remnants of something, was it even human? - strapped to a chair - before him two figures mocked him without mercy.

"Mike? Chris!?", I asked, "Is that you?"

"Hey,", answered Chris! (for it was indeed he), "Its the Black Cat Fucks Skunks dude. Hey, man, how are ya?"

I ignored his faux pas, for he was at least friendly to me, unlike the others I had met. Suddenly a horrible cry came forth from the disgusting puddle in the chair: "COILERS! COILERS SUK! FALMES ROOL! MOMMY!"

"Reggie Jr?", I asked.

"Yep," said Mike W. "We caught the little fucker and now we're teaching him a lesson."

"Jesus, what a mess. What? How?"

"With these," said Chris! "Naked photos! We have Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish, Pat Quinn, Brian Burke and Dick Cheney. We haven't been forced to use Cheney yet - we're saving those for Mclea."

"Jesus Christ, where the hell did you get those?"

"We got the Lowes from Craig Simpson, MacT from Toby Peterson, Quinn from Tie Domi and Burke from Scott Niedermeyer."

"Hmmm, that explains a lot - what about the Cheneys?", I asked.

"I don't know - Mike actually got those. Where did you get those Mike?", Chris! asked, arching an Albertan eyebrow suspiciously.

Suddenly Mike turned a dozen shades of crimson. With great embarassment for him, we realized that the Hot-Oil Blogger Hot-off champion was a straw man, all sizzle but very little steak, when he suddenly blurted, before any accusations could begin to fly:

"You're in for it, pal! Yes you! With your pornographic filth that you call hockey blogging."

Taken aback, I tried to argue back "... but, but, how about the story of Dion and Chris Simon or Darcy Tucker and Aki Berg? How is that not filth but my own stories are? That makes no sense."

"Well," said Chris! "That's easy. Your stuff is shit. Ours is art." Mike W. and sacamano nodded in agreement.

As I felt my sphincter loosen and a lonely trail of poo began to make its way out of my bum and down my leg, I tried to remember that my mother had told me that there would be days like these. Then I began to cry like a little girl.

Next, if you can still stand it, one final installment ...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Called On The Carpet





At work the other day chatting with our man from Dublin when the bell rang. The Irishman went to answer it and came back, followed by a rather tall shaggy man.
"Its your man sacamano", says our man from Dublin.
So it was. I've never met him but I recognized him immediately. I was confused - wasn't he in Sheffield? Or Siberia? And how did he find me? And what the hell does he do when he goes to Siberia? And why did the Oilers sign Souray to Smyth's money when they said they didn't think Smyth was worth the money but everyone and his brother knows that Smyth is, at the very least, far superior to Souray.
Hmmmm.
"Lets go for a couple of pints", quoth your man. "I know just the place."
Twist my arm. I love to drink almost as much as I love to fuck.
So down the street and around the corner we walked. Right into McVeighs and ordered a couple of pints from old Jimmy.
"We're going to go into the back, Jimmy", said sacamano.
"Suit yerself, ya wankers", says the grumpy old bastard.
"I didn't even know there was a back, what?", I said. But sure enough sacamano led me through a door which I had never noticed before. Into a dark room we walked. A large screen TV was on. With a gasp I recognized Game 7, 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. Oilers on a power play. Suddenly I hear a tortured moan from the corner.
"NO! NO! Always the same shit! Simpson you're a dead man! Put out Schremp! Put out LeGG! Always the same goddamn shit! Argghhhh!"
"Isn't that Grabia," I whispered.
"Shhh, he's very fragile.", sacamano whispered back. "He still doesn't know the Oilers lost that game. Pronger, the whole fiasco with the D, the Smyth disaster, EIG's angling for a publically funded arena, Pisani's illness. He chooses to forget it all - he's in a state of denial. Probably best for all of us. He'd fly into a murderous rage if he ever came to." Suddenly Grabia rose from his table and staggered drunkenly, tearing at his hair and sackcloth tunic, frantically trying to claw his out eyes out, sobbing uncontrollably. We fled the room.
"Hey lads," waved Pleasure Motors, reclining on a velvet chesterfield, naked but for a strategically placed Oilers' hat. I'd link to a picture I took of this but apparently Blogger removed it.
Anyhow we fled the room. Quickly. I mean really really fucking fast.
"Jesus!", we both gasped.
We were in a quiet dark room. At a small table two men sat with a big bottle of Black Bush Whiskey. One was, um, black and white.
"Who's your monochromatic friend, Lowetide?", said sacamano.
"This handsome guy is Edouard "Newsy" Lalonde , in the uniform of the 1910/1911 Montreal Canadiens of the NHA, the precursor to the NHL. In 1909/1910 Lalonde played twelve games, seven with the Canadiens and five with the Renfrew Hockey Club. He scored forty goals and racked up fifty nine penalty minutes. Looking at Desjardins' numbers, there is no comp for Lalonde. His accomplishments are completely unbelievable, sort of like trying to compete with a team full of rookie blueliners or signing Dustin Penner to an offer sheet. He was a beauty. No Marc Pouliot, mind you, but then again, who is?"
"Right on", I said with breathless admiration. "Lowetide."
"Who's your friend, sacamano?", Lowetide inquired, throwing back a big glass of the good stuff.
"Its the Black Dog Eats Rats guy", replied my guide.
"Oh", says the Blogger Emeritus coldly. "You're going to put him in his place, I presume. His shit makes no more sense then the existence of the California Golden Seals or Lowe's failure to sign Don Awrey. I did not see him good."
That's when I began to sweat.
To Be Continued.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

There Was Something In The Air That Night


Here we go again? Camp hasn't even started and San Fernando is out indefinitely with ulcerative colitis.
All I know about ulcerative colitis is that Fernando Pisani has it but one of my wife's cousins has some form of colitis and it is an awful awful thing to have.
Interested in reading about this form of bowel disease? Feel free. Note the picture and also the main symptom. Its nasty.
So ... Robert Nilsson, Patrick Thoresen and maybe Andrew Cogliano? Come on down lads - with Pisani out the Oilers' depth at right wing, already iffy, now consists of Hemsky, Sanderson and whoever can reach out and grab it, unless Lowe manages to pull a Johnson out of his ass.
How about Sam Gagner and that Super Series? Sigh.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Oilers Ponder Coaching Change

I'm all for it - this guy will add a little jam.