Friday, May 22, 2009
My wife is out east right now, visiting her Dad who is back home and recovering nicely, thank you very much, from his recent brush with the Reaper. Its baby steps right now, a walk to the neighbour's tires him out, and he's chafing a bit at the enforced inactivity. The other day we were talking.
Yes, he says, read a book the other day for the first time ever and now I'm watching the grass grow. The grass and the weeds.
I told him he could get after the weeds next summer, they weren't going anywhere.
And my poor wife gets out there with the baby with the idea of giving her mom a break and then spends two days in bed with a fever herself, struck down by mastitis.
I told her that the leading cause of mastitis was not letting your husband touch your breasts constantly. And that the male equivalent, ballstitis, was pretty easily preventable as well, if she knew what I was saying.
She laughed and said I am funny.
Do I look like I'm laughing over here?
Anyways so its the Three Amigos again here and things are going well. My theory is to tire them out quite frankly so they go to bed nice and quiet and then I can devote myself to the drink and the porn. Its going pretty well. A week and a half. Piece of cake after last time when we were on our own for just under a month.
A couple of weeks ago news began to float around our neighbourhood that an ice cream joint was going to open up. We live in a great little neighbourhood in Toronto. It used to be predominantly Italian and then as many of them moved to the suburbs it turned a little for the worse. Not terrible mind you but the streetscape was mostly minor industrial shit like appliance shops interspersed with seedy bars, pawn shops and the odd rub and tug. Put it this way, I've rarely seen a bar I didn't like and I definitely will take your local little hole in the wall over your faux Irish chain pub any day of the week but there were about a dozen bars within ten minutes of our house and I've only ever been into one (its actually Gare Joyce's local) a couple of times, a reasonable little sports bar where I watched a couple of games in 2006 when my wife had had enough of hockey on the TV every second night.
She's selfish I know.
Anyways I just avoided all of the other places, mostly because I have an aversion to getting stabbed. I'm getting older I know, not so much fun anymore. And then there was the one place where buddy got gunned down on the dance floor for a change of pace from the usual knife fights. Quality.
Thing is, relatively cheap housing in Toronto just minutes from the lake, Broadview and Danforth and little India, has a way of getting popular. We got in on the ground floor seven years ago and since then the prices have doubled and as the old Italians have died off and more and more young families have moved in suddenly things began to change. There's a farmer's market in the newly redone park and the drug dealers who used to hang out there are gone. The cops busted the rub and tug (sigh) and nearly all of the bars are long gone. Now there's a bistro and a boutique and a cafe and they're like those little flowers you see that pop up on a rock face, somehow growing out of nowhere, surrounded by empty storefronts. But things are changing and its for the better. Its a great great neighbourhood to raise a family.
And the other day the rumour was proven true and we walked into our brand new ice cream shop, run by a young couple from the next street over. The kids (and I), well, we pretty well have died and gone to heaven. We're talking less then a five minute walk from the house and this is with the boy.
The kids stood there and looked in awe and I swear you could picture the heavens opening up and the light of Dog shining on their faces and the singing of angels.
Glory Glory Indeed.
And it was good.
And everybody we talked to over the next couple of days received the boy's sermon on the subject of the new ice cream place in the neighbourhood.
My folks came down to give me a hand for a few days and the other day I came home to find my daughter skipping rope in our living room (this was the day before she had six Freezies for lunch) and when I came in she ran over and said that Grandpa took them to the park and then they went for ice cream and she had mint chocolate and I said wow, that's great, and I asked the boy what he had and he turned and I told him not to bother telling me because it was quite clear that he had had cotton candy.
And you should have seen him before the woman at the shop cleaned him off, my dad said.
Watching the third round and it looks like these series may be quick to go, especially now that the Wings have stormed back to tie the Hawks. Great hockey in both series although the Hawks and Canes are on the edge. The Malkin performance yesterday was one for the ages.
I'm really enjoying it but its a little depressing because facts are facts and the Oilers have a ways to go before they get anywhere near these clubs.
Here is what has to be done in Edmonton.
1/ They have to hire a very good coach. I have to admit I love the idea of Scott Arniel without knowing whether or not he would be any good. I would prefer Mike Babcock or Joel Quenneville or Ken Hitchcock or Andy Murray but they're not going anywhere. I definitely don't want Crawford or Quinn or Constantine or the newly available Keenan. I think they are poor fits or past their due dates. So its Arniel or the idea of Arniel but Tambellini has to make a good choice here. Too many kids who need teaching and this team needs structure and someone who has a clue about the power play among other things. The good news is this is something that is within the realm of possibility.
2/ They have to get their farm system figured out. Springfield was a joke and I think that fact, besides having the very obvious impact on player development this season, also was a symptom of where this organization is. Any team can have a bad year because of injuries, poor luck, shit just not working out but when the drift is from top to bottom then you know something is rotting and has to change. The Oilers need to become more professional as an organization and they need to get a development program in place. This half assed shit does not cut it. The good news, once again, is that this can be done.
3/ Of course the most important thing is the makeup of the team and unfortunately this is also the most difficult task facing management. The Oilers are already nearly right against the cap and they don't even have a starting goalie under contract. The players they would want to move will bring them fifty cents on the dollar or less. They don't have a wave of lottery picks coming in like Chicago or Pittsburgh benefitted from. They don't have a whole bunch of kids bubbling up from the farm who could step in, even in support roles, like Detroit does.
They need to move contracts in order to give themselves more financial flexibility. They need to bring in value contracts like they had in 2006, like they had in Jan Hejda and Curtis Glencross, guys who will outperform their contracts.
Oiler fans talk about getting value for guys like Nilsson and Pouliot and Schremp and Staios and Penner; they hope that they can package some of the depth guys or failed prospects on a team that was out of the running and bring back serious quality the other way.
This idea isn't exclusive to Edmonton. If I had a nickel for every time 'Tony from Woodbridge" told Bob McCown that the Leafs should trade a couple of marginal NHLers like Rob Pearson and Drake Berehowsky for Joe Sakic I'd be able to fly every person reading this to Toronto and take them out for ice cream.
The truth is Steve Tambellini is going to get nothing for the aforementioned - Steve Staios and Penner might bring picks the other way. If he wants to make something happen then he's going to have to move Cogliano or Gilbert or Hemsky or Grebeshkov .
What do I think about that? Well I don't think the Red Wings would make those moves, myself, lets put it that way. This team is okay. Bringing in a shooter at the cost of Tom Gilbert and Andrew Cogliano is going to give them a shooter and leave them short two young players who will likely have long careers as NHL players.
LT always talks about working on a building. Thats exactly what Steve Tambellini has to do, put it together piece by piece. Start with the coach and the farm. Get the finances in order so that they can keep their good kids and bid on free agents. Keep the good young kids. Fill in some holes with cheap veteran options. If you can find a guy who can play in the top six for relatively cheap then do it.
You aren't moving Schremp, Pouliot and Nilsson for Frolov.
Ice cream parlours fall from the sky only once in your lifetime.
Posted by Black Dog at 11:00 PM