Monday, June 08, 2009
Was outside of the city for the first time this summer this past weekend at a cottage just down the road from Bobcaygeon. Good times had by all but it was certainly capped by a Saturday night playing darts, drinking port and listening to the Hip after the womenfolk and the little people were all tucked away. It was seriously fucking quality.
We ran through enough CDs including Phantom Power, which after Fully Completely may be my favourite, although I'm partial to Up To Here and Road Apples. Phantom Power has to be the most underrated Hip as far as I'm concerned. Something On, Emperor Penguin, The Rules, Thompson Girl, Bobcaygeon, Escape Is At Hand For the Travelin Man ... all terrific shit. And probably my favourite two lines out of any Hip song are in Vapour Trails when Downie roars:
I pulled the car on over to give you a ride
but there's nothing uglier than a man hitting his stride
My favourite song off the album is Fireworks with its reference to walking home the long way and the goal that everyone remembers.
If there's a goal that everyone remembers it was back in ol '72
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember is sitting beside you
You said you didn't give a fuck about hockey
I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr
Isn't it amazing anything's accomplished
When the little sensation gets in your way?
Not one ambition whisperin' over your shoulder
Isn't it amazing you can do anything?
Listen to that when you have a bottle of anything in you and you'll be up and at it.
Gord might say that nothing is uglier than a man hitting his stride but I have to disagree. The boy is hitting his stride now and its something to behold.
Now of course I'm sure many of you are saying 'oh no, here we go again about the boy, blah blah blah, he can do no wrong' but the reality is I am not one of those parents who turns a blind eye to his kids' faults. The boy is terrific but he's stubborn and cocky and it takes him ten times as long as anyone else to do something. He's deliberate and methodical and he will not be rushed. He already spends a half hour taking a dump, as discussed previously, and he eats his cheerios one 'o' at a time. While other kids at his birthday party ripped through the cake he sat and savoured each bite, still eating long after the rest of them were bouncing off of the walls downstairs from the sugar bomb.
Last night we put them all to bed and we could hear him talking on and on while his older sister was trying to get to sleep. My wife threatened him with getting moved out of their room into our room and when he ignored her he was taken away, protesting loudly and plopped into our bed. As she walked to the door he cracked "If I keep talking now, where will you move me?"
"Outside!", my wife snarled.
The boy has always acted like an Allied airman shot down behind enemy lines when confronted with punishment. Name, rank and serial number only. A trip to the step for a timeout leads to a swagger over and a sprawling sneering arms folded do your worst to me you'll never break me aura. I half expect him to light a cigarette and put on a Bowery accent.
'Do your worse copper, you'll never get me to talk'
Of course he's a sweet little fellow, all hugs and kisses and he treats his baby sister like the goddess that she is. He's a generous soul, a good man through and through.
Here's the thing. He has the knack. Everyone remarks on it. He has IT, whatever it is. I don't have it. I know people who do but I'm not one of them. He sits at a friend's piano and he doesn't smash the keys like most little kids (and his old man) - he plays the notes and listens to what he is doing. He sits at a drum set and within a minute he is pounding out a rudimentary beat, looking like he belongs there.
He always looks like he belongs there, wherever there is.
A few weeks ago he stepped onto the playing field for the first time. He's one of the youngest ones out there, an October 3 in a league made up of 3 and 4 years olds. Its a riot really, a herd of little people all chasing the ball, this way and that, slowly one by one they drop off and wander away until the end of the game usually involves a half dozen and no more. And the boy always sticks it out until the end, running endlessly, charging into the pack, getting knocked down and knocking down, taking the ball and racing away with it. (The fact that he often leads the pack onto adjoining fields does not in any way take away from his accomplishment! ;) )
He loves it and next year he will be the boy on his team like the little guy in the hat who does what he wants when he wants this summer.
I was never that boy.
He picks up a bat for the first time and hits line drives. At the beer store he tells me that O-p-e-n spells open. He saunters up to the older kids in the schoolyeard and gets himself included. He leaps from the pool deck into the water without an ounce of fear. He struts down the stairs in his T shirt and tie when he accompanies his sister and I to ballet.
What's with the tie, pal?
I'm wearing it to ballet.
And as he pulls on his boots:
I think the girls are going to like my tie.
And when we get there he takes off his jacket and walks over to where the girls are playing tag and he leans against the wall and smiles.
He is the boy. He is a star. And he knows it.
Lowetide has been doing his usual plethora of posts regarding the upcoming draft and the present depth chart for the Oilers and where Tambellini might take the team this summer. Nobody knows whether there will be a bloodletting or minor surgery, whether they will try and hit the home run or try and bring in some established depth guys to help hold the fort while we wait for the kids.
Next year's team will be bigger and it will be tougher, we know that.
Robert Nilsson is certainly the best bet to be a goner.
Other then that, who knows? I would believe that they should move Moreau and Staios because while they have a lot of what this team needs (experience, grit) the roles they play now can be done for cheaper, probably better and I believe both have value around the league. Jacques and Stortini and probably Brodziak will help fill in the end of the roster. Horcoff, Hemsky and Pisani will probably be a third of the top nine and likely Penner will join them.
A lot of the debate is revolving around the other young smallish players on the club. Gagner will be back but is there room in the top nine for both Cogliano and O'Sullivan?
I look at Detroit and they aren't all that big; then again they're just so damn hard on the puck. But O'Sullivan and Gagner are listed (yeah I know I know) at 5'11 190 and Cogliano is at 5'10 184. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Hudler, Helm, Draper - all 5'11 or smaller. So it can be done.
All things being equal I'd rather big talent over small talent but I'd rather small talent over no talent and I think Traktor's comment in a thread at Lowetide's the other day that Cogs is a good bet to score 25 this season may be a tad low if he has the right linemates.
Really though for me its all about July 1st and this guy specifically.
Damien Cox remarked in his mailbag just recently that Bouwmeester and Edmonton might be a marriage we could see. Cox is not the first to mention this idea. In fact its been a number of months that the idea, once considered a pipedream, has had legs and its gotten play from various media, including a lot of guys who are very connected.
There's no better guy for the Oilers to go after, imo. He's huge. He's mobile. He's durable (19 games missed in seven years). He adds offence and he plays the toughs and he could anchor Edmonton's blueline for a decade because he's twenty five years old. I love Hossa, as you know, but he'll be nearly 31 when next season starts. A great player but while the Oilers could offer Bouwmeester a cap friendly contract that takes him late into his thirties, any offer to Hossa is going to be a cap killer and the decline in production is likely to come relatively soon.
Add Bouwmeester and you have three defencemen in he, Gilbert and Grebeshkov who can give you quality on the blue for years. Plus the kids Smid and Peckham. And the vets Souray and Visnovsky.
And then you can deal from the strength on the blue to add a little of what they need up front. Trade Gilbert without Bouwmeester and suddenly you go from strength to one injury away from having a second pair of Smid and Staios. Sign Bouwmeester and trade one of your quality blueliners and you still have two nice pairs.
Who knows what Jay Bouwmeester wants to do this summer? For years he had no interest in going home but now there is smoke. The Oilers HAVE to chase this guy and if there is interest they HAVE to make it happen as long as the contract isn't ridiculous.
He's serious quality.
Posted by Black Dog at 11:15 PM