Monday, December 28, 2009
Yes the holidays have been wonderful, thank you very much. Much eating and drinking and merrymaking have ensued. My only complaint thus far? There's no goddamned snow. This appears to be getting rectified right now.
We've spent the last few days pretty well hunkered down but in a couple of days we're heading up to see the folks for a few days. Plenty of snow up there.
And New Years' Eve? We're spending it at the Sudbury Curling Club. Oh, you bet. I've only curled once, when I was around twenty one. There was an annual event on Labour Day Weekend up by our camp, called the Iron Broom. A bonspiel and a golf tournament. My folks and my dad's sister and her husband and two of dad's brothers and their wives would put in a couple of rinks and a couple of foursomes for years. One year my uncle and aunt were a little late coming in from Wawa and my Dad recruited me to curl a game. Match? Whatever they call them.
So I step in and take my first shot and it, well its not as easy as it looks, right, so my rock flies right through the house. Dad comes over and tells me, ok, ok, just let up a little, no worries.
So buddy takes his shot and lays it in there and I step up and let it rip (obviously I'm not in the moment) and it zips down the ice, through the house, past the opponent's rock and into the scoreboard, which crashes to the ice. Remember I'm twenty one, so I'm kind of borderline retarded.
Dad comes over, looks at me and tells me to head up to the lounge for a beer, they'll do just fine without me.
That's the depth of my curling experience. Which is two shots more than my wife.
My old man hits the ice three or four times a week and has been curling for almost sixty years.
You know where this is going, don't you?
Anyways it should be a riot, after curling we will have a dinner and then they have a "Buddy Holly guy" to entertain. Good times coming.
Mocking the Oilers is far too easy these days, they really are becoming a laughing stock. The excuses for another terrible team centre around the injuries to Khabibulin and Hemsky. What if the Flames lost Kiprusoff or the Canucks lost Luongo, the apologists say, lets see how they would do. With a fourth straight year out of the playoffs looming I find it hard to believe how anyone anywhere can support the management of this club, you can tell when they arrive at the GMs meetings when the clown car pulls up. In any case its pretty clear based on the work of Sutter and Gillis that if their first string goalie went down for any length of time they would likely, oh I don't know, go out and do something about it.
I know I know, its hard to make trades.
Oilers' management have nobody but themselves to blame for signing a goaltender with a history of injury problems, including a bad back. A four year contract.
Stupid. There's no other word for it.
So don't give me the Khabibulin excuse.
And the usual issues up front. The difference between a good team and a bad team is that when injuries strike a good team they hand in there and survive. Detroit lost Franzen, Filppula and now Cleary and Zetterberg and still they have been hanging in there. Chicago was in first place despite not even having Hossa in the lineup, never mind the very useful Dave Bolland. Boston lost Savard and Lucic and Buffalo was without Vanek and the list goes on and on.
Losing Hemsky was a death knell for this season but it didn't have to be. Unfortunately its the same story for the Oilers as its been for the past few years. With Hemsky and Pisani out the Oilers are down to Penner and Horcoff as actual quality veteran forwards and even poor Fernando may not be part of that group any more. Luckily for them Sam Gagner seems to be taking a step forward but this has been offset by the disaster that is Patrick O'Sullivan.
Check out the lines. Horcoff playing with two kids, Stone and Brule. Jacques and Potulny and O'Sullivan. Moreau, completely done, playing with Cogliano and Stortini. Penner and Gagner, a twenty year old, playing with Robert Nilsson.
On a quality club you might have three of Brule, O'Sullivan, Cogliano, Gagner and Nilsson in your top nine. Guys like Stone, Potulny, Jacques and Stortini might fill out a fourth line with Moreau.
Instead we have this mess.
We're going to have fun on New Year's but no matter how good Dad plays we aren't going to win. Any dummy can see that. I would think so anyways.
But apparently the dummies in charge of the Oilers don't get that simple concept.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This is the baby last Christmas. Now she's seventeen months old and a madman through and through. Any opportunity for mischief and she takes it, whether its climbing into her brother's chair and eating his supper or heading up the stairs whenever the gate is unlatched.
At least once a day I will be downstairs and hear the pitter patter over my head. A quick head count determines that the one person upstairs is the one person who should not be upstairs.
She keeps us on our toes.
She is still a little young to figure out Christmas although she is quite fascinated by the tree. Her sister and her brother, on the other hand, have had it figured out and the countdown began weeks ago. They are so excited that they are actually losing sleep. Between that and the Christmas chocolate and candy cane ice cream (seriously! can you imagine?) they are bouncing off the walls and in this case its not a figure of speech.
Meanwhile we, the oldsters, are loving every minute of it. We both love Christmas, for the time spent with family and friends, for the excitement of the children, for the sheer celebration of it all.
So from the McLeans, best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season, for belt busting meals, plenty of nog and spiced beer and red wine, for nights out with friends and nights spent with family, for the sheer delight in the eyes of your children.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Twelve Basement Dwellers, Eleven Loverboy Tunes, Ten Brilliant Nights, Nine Final Papers, Eight World Juniors, Seven Aching Bodies, Six Fucking Douchebags, Five ... Straight ... Road ... Wins ........ Four Pints of Beer, Three Frenchmen, Two Sausages and Lubomir Visnovsky
Oh its bad, really bad. The Oilers are a deserved last place in the Western Conference right now.
Their big free agent signing from the summer, an aging goaltender with health issues signed to a four year deal that is a cap killer, is on the shelf with back problems as it comes out that the total amount of due diligence the Oilers, a multimillion dollar business, did before signing him was to ask his agent how he was feeling. The contract is completely unmovable and now one of the few strengths of the Oilers from the past few years, their goaltending, always pretty reasonable with Roloson and Markannen or Roloson and Garon, is in the hands of two unproven rookies who have no track record of success.
Their D, supposedly their strength, looks overmatched.
Their corpse of forwards consists of three quality NHLers now that Hemsky is on the shelf (Thank God that happened!) and one of those has a bad shoulder and another is twenty years old.
A generation of kids are dying on the vine. Where Ales Hemsky got to play with Ryan Smyth opposite him and Raffi Torres played with Mike Peca and Fernando Pisani in the spring of 2006 and Torres and Stoll got Pisani to shepherd them the following year, now guys like Nilsson and Cogliano and Brule and O'Sullivan get fucked. One gets to play with two NHL players, one gets to play with Horcoff and an AHLer and the other two get the dregs.
And we wonder why the kids regress.
For the fourth straight year the club is seriously unbalanced with almost nobody up front who can kill penalties, check their hat, play their position properly, win faceoffs, hit somebody, the list goes on an on. Basically beyond Horcoff, Hemsky and Penner and by the looks of it, Gagner, they have nobody who can play top nine minutes and come out on top.
And even better, we get to do this all again next year unless Lowe and Tambellini's replacement (oh please Santa make it so!) can find someone dumber than them to take the long list of big contracts that they have handed out like candy at Halloween.
Four years ago this was a terrific club filled with young veterans that came within a break of winning it all. Within a year the heart and soul of the club was torn out of it and all that remains is four years of shitty hockey, four years to match the longest stretch of futility in club history.
The fish stinks from the head and so the front office needs gutting for starters, Lowe and Tambellini have to go and probably immediately.
This squad is going to be awful next year too. May as well bring someone in who knows what they are doing before these guys give Brule a massive extension and pry Jason Blake from the Leafs the next time he has a nice week. I exaggerate but only so slightly. They are that terrible. The proof is on the ice.
Which is also crappy, by the way. It hasn't been quality in years.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me Eleven Loverboy Tunes, Ten Brilliant Nights, Nine Final Papers, Eight World Juniors, Seven Aching Bodies, Six Fucking Douchebags, Five ... Straight ... Road ... Wins ........ Four Pints of Beer, Three Frenchmen, Two Sausages and Lubomir Visnovsky
Tight red leather pants, a bandanna around his neck and a headband.
Seriously, there is no better representative of early 80s Canadian rock than Mike Reno.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Finally Shawn Horcoff with three game winners in this stretch, two in the shootout of course, and as a big fan of a guy who has played most of the year hurt I have to say it warms the cockles to see him get some success. Horcoff is a guy who has earned his position on this club through plain old hard work but fans have never taken to him really and its too bad. Here's hoping that he gets on a roll although with those linemates its surely going to be a difficult task.
Anyhow we will see how things work out over the next little while, it appears that some of the kids are coming along up front, which is terrific stuff, and certainly the club plays an entertaining brand of hockey and seems to have very little quit in it, all positives to be sure. Can't really cheer for the team to lose but I still have very little faith in management so in this case its a bit of a catch 22. Dennis remarked the other day how much better this club would look with a couple more veterans up front and he's right of course. My biggest fear is that come February Tambellini will sacrifice Cogliano and some other kids for a quick fix to try and eke out eighth place.