Its been a terrific summer, the weather just fantastic, so fantastic indeed that the sudden appearance of cooler days just recently has taken everyone a little bit aback here. After over four months of gorgeous sunshine and warm days a little bit of wind and rain has thrown us all off. Its nice though, certainly perfect weather to sleep in, and soon the leaves will turn. First Capsule game this Sunday and Oilers' training camp opening, autumn is almost here.
It was in July that I went to the doctor for my checkup. I'd say annual but at this point I'm going every two years, not annually, but still its a lot better than my record of old. I didn't have an appointment between the ages of eighteen and thirty three and then again for five years. And if you think that's bad you should check out my dental record.
Of course when you're young those annual physicals aren't really necessary, you're in the best shape that you will ever be in but when age starts to creep up on you well then you have to bite the bullet and get in there.
My doctor is awesome, except for the fact that he has pretty big hands. He is South African and if I were king of the world every doctor would have a South African accent. So reassuring and, well, just intelligent sounding. That's the thing about accents, you can have buddy and he's a half cut yob and because he speaks with a slight lilt or brogue he sounds like he has stepped right out of a lecture hall at Oxford. Meanwhile you have a brain surgeon from Alabama and with that drawl he sounds like he should be asking you if you want fries with that except even then you wouldn't trust him not to plunge his coconut into the deep fryer.
Good news this year. At my last appointment I found that I had put on fifteen pounds in two years and believe me that was a wakeup call, because once you hit forty or so its a slippery slope, I have a few friends who have started beefing up and once that starts well you're in a world of shit I think. So I began to do the basic thing, the whole diet and exercise thing. Hell I love my beer and I love my bacon and sausage and cheeseburgers but I do an alright job and so just before buddy stuck his enormous finger up my ass he informed me in his wonderful and a little bit sexy accent that I had dropped seven of those pounds.
And everything else was right on track as well. So I headed out the door feeling pretty happy with myself, let me tell you, a little more spring in my step than the usual, grinning and there standing by the elevator is this little old fellow, he's got the cool shades and he's pretty happening himself and as I get up there he looks at me and says:
Well now, you look like a young man who's on top of the world, you know, you look like a young fellow who knows what's going on! Can I ask you a question?
And I reply, because at this moment I do feel just like that:
Absolutely, sure do, go ahead.
Can you tell me, what the hell is this?!!?
Now thing is he's one of these little old guys with the typical fit little old guy body, you know the type every fit little old guy around eighty has, the chicken legs and flat belly, the big arms and, well, the little boobs. My old man is seventy eight and he's getting there. You know what I'm talking about.
So buddy is jabbing himself in his left nipple and I'm thinking - poor old fucker, he's just realized he's got tits and he's freaking out. And I stutter and stumble and I say:
Um, er, sorry, what am I looking for here, sorry I'm confused a bit. (Because what the hell I am going to tell this old guy now? I mean, he has boobs! How do I confirm his suspicion?)
And he says:
The logo! The logo! (he's pretty well roaring, damn he has enthusiasm) My grandson gave me this shirt and I have no idea what this thing is, I'm afraid I'm walking around town with some goddamn obscenity on my chest!
Ahhh. So I take a look and inform your man that its an old postage stamp of sorts, English by the looks of the man with the handlebar moustache.
And that's that.
I was telling a girl I work with about this later and she said 'it sounds like you coming from the future to fuck with you now' and first of all I surely hope that if I make it that far that I'm an enthusiastic little dude just like that old fellow and of course if forty years from now and there's time travel I'm definitely coming back and fucking with people (so keep your head up fuckers!) amongst other things. Of course lets get one thing straight. If I grow boobs, you'll never see me. I'll be sitting on the couch playing with them. Happy days!
So as a guy who knows what's going on, at least in one crazy old man's opinion, what do I have to say about the Oilers and this upcoming season?
Well, there is going to be some fun. At the rookie camp this week we got an eyeful of Paajarvi and Hall and Eberle and its going to be exciting to watch these kids make their way this season, at least until one gets run from behind or kneed by some goon in preseason. :( Anyhow with these three and Omark and Hemsky back there is a lot of promise for some highlight reel plays and lots of firsts and of course we can also hope that down the road Hartkinen and Pitlick and Vande Velde and Roy and Petry and Plante (and hopefully others, may as well be greedy!) may also make the grade.
There are going to be setbacks and disappointments and some of these kids, even the highly touted ones, may never amount to much, but the Oilers have a nice crop of kids here (and I haven't mentioned Gagner and Cogliano and Brule and Peckham yet) and the future looks bright.
And its going to get brighter still because this club is going to be in the lottery again this season. As a fan I dream of Hemsky tearing it up and Horcoff scoring thirty five and Gagner and Cogs and Brule all taking big steps and the rookies ripping through the league and the D being airtight and the Khabibulin being healthy and playing sixty games and reliving 2004 and the club making the playoffs and letting the Sharks know that soon, very soon, their time is coming.
But the truth is the goaltending is a disaster and the D is going to need Gilbert and Whitney to be a legitimate top pair (possible) and Smid and Foster to be a 3/4 (a lot less possible) plus up front they have three legitimate NHL veterans capable of playing tough opposition. No checkers, no penalty killers, nobody who can win a draw.
McKeens and THN has picked the Oilers to be dead last again. And McKeen's, iirc, have them finishing at least ten points behind everyone. I'm inclined to agree.
Still it is a rebuild after all. If you have a D where Jason Strudwick probably will end up playing a major role again (because guys are going to get hurt) and four goaltenders who will probably see action, none of whom look particularly great, then you aren't going anywhere.