Sunday, January 14, 2007

To Have and Have Not

Watching a little of the Yankee Foozball today and watching Tom Brady struggle most of the day and now it looks like he's going to pull it out again.
The epitome of cool. Having a terrible day, Chargers' D in his face all day, gets a break and now he's pulling it out of the fire.
Bogart and Bacall, to your left, more of the same. Cool. Bacall at nineteen with that smokey voice, sexier then anyone the media machine pushes on us nowadays.
One great movie moment - Bogart is roughing up the bug eyed Peter Lorre.
Lorre - "I don't have to take that!"
Bogart, as he smacks Lorre around - "You'll take it and like it!"
I think lately fans of the Oilers are feeling a lot like Peter Lorre. The Flames, old, unattractive, on the sauce, are sleeping with Lauren Bacall. And they're slapping us around. And there's not a whole lot we can do about it.
The Oilers are still in the mix and when you're in the mix then there's always a chance you can catch the old lightning in the bottle, as Vic Ferrari put it. But unless this team makes a move and soon, then its going to be seventh or eighth at best and I don't think there's any miracle in this squad right now.
This isn't last year's squad with veterans sprinkled all through the lineup and a goalie finding his place and one rook on D only and guys like Horcoff and Hemsky and Torres finding their place in the league. This is a team that has lost that old Oilers' grit and elan, for the most part. Its greatest shortcoming, a D riddled with rookies, is wearing down the goalie and the few vets back there who are being asked to do too much. And up front nothing seems in sync, with the majority of the forwards falling short of expected production.
Anything can happen - Lowe might still pull a rabbit out of his hat and add a couple of solid vets to the back end. With a good defence this team, while definitely not in the league's elite, might make some noise.
Hell, look at last night's game. They played one of the best teams in the league right now (there, I said it), a team that doesn't lose to anyone but Vancouver (?) lately and has not allowed an ES goal in some ridiculous amount of time. And if Smyth stuffs that wraparound in and Stoll converts that nice setup from Torres then my guess is game over. And for the good guys. Instead, Kiprusoff makes the saves and Roli goes down a little early on Friesen's shot and now its 1-1 and the Flames make their PP work and Lombardi victimizes a rookie Dman and that's it.
The Oilers played two decent games, scored a total of three lousy goals and came away with nothing.
Lowe has tried to have his cake (compete for the division) and eat it (rebuild the D on the fly) too. He gambled and it looked like it might work out ok, despite the offence's shortcomings, until Roli began to tire out and Shaggy, Staios and Smith all came up lame.
Fun fact - our goalie started his 39th game last night, I believe they said. His career high - 47.
He's 37 and they're asking him to be Brodeur or Luongo and play every night. Not a recipe for success.
So, Lowetide has another of his terrific posts about what the Oilers have coming up the pipe and its going to make for an interesting spring and summer. They have a ton of kids who may or may not be ready and a team that is now six back of the division lead (with Calgary holding two in hand). They're a win two, lose two type of team, and St.Louis, Chicago, L.A. and Columbus, who all made little charges, have all begun to fade so while they're unable to establish that playoff spot they're also not likely to fall out of it. So a selloff would be similar to the famous White Sox white flag trade when they gutted their team despite being a couple of games out, if I remember my baseball history correctly. And Oiler fans would probably march on Rexall with torches if that happened. But does this team have what it takes to do anything, really?
Does it make sense to trade Gilbert and Schremp away for a couple of Dmen who will likely command 5M as UFAs this summer? If contract talks with Smyth go south do you move him?
Do you get rid of Sykora?
I would sign Smyth as long as its 5.25 or less (I keep bumping up the price) for four years - if you don't then you might move Lupul or whomever for a Dman but you've traded that big hole on the back end for one up front. Unless you're going full on rebuild then you'd better keep him.
Move Lupul for someone like Duncan Keith or Joni Pitkanen or (dream) try and pry Bouwmeester from the Panthers who are a complete and total disaster and going nowhere. They'd never do it but give it a whirl. Or how about Tom Preissing who is a plus 25 for Ottawa. Soft minutes? Whatever. The guy is a decent player. So add one of these guys and have him play with Smith and pair Hejda or better still a cheap vet if you can find one with Staios. They have Gilbert and Roy pushing up and after last night's debacle it looks to me like Smid has regressed so I'm not sure what the hell you do with that bottom half. Greene had a good game last night. He actually moved the puck well on a number of occasions and looked solid. But with him, MAB, Smid and your two other kids coming up something and someone has to give.
Then up front you have Moreau/Reasoner/Thoresen to play some tough minutes and Torres/Stoll/Pisani and reunite Smyth/Hemsky/Horcoff. Put together a fourth line with kids and give them the butter soft as they say a la Getzlaf/Perry and see what you get.
No? You're right. I haven't the foggiest either. Every day I'm throwing something up there to see what sticks.
Just call me Peter Lorre. Let me have it again. I'll take it and I will like it.
On a lighter note I am sure that you have been here and here. Now these posts are not as disturbing as this or this but they're pretty damn close and just a couple of more examples of the bizarre and wonderful world that is the Oilogosphere. Thank Dog for the Interweb - it certainly makes this mish mash of a season a little easier to take.


Mr DeBakey said...

There's plenty of despair around the blogs today.

But, you know, they Oil are not that far away.

They were in both games this weekend - with 4 dmen in their first calendar year in the NHL.

Horcoff is scoring, Lupul is trying his damndest to be a hockey player,
Stoll, Smith, Staois all are, or were, playing great.

They must upgrade at least one at the back.

The Pitkanen thing worries me - I understand why they would want him, but how much help will he be this season?

namflashback said...

As much as Pitkanen was coveted, he is still young - and is having third-year adjustment issues. You don't want him taking a half-season to adjust. If the plan was to go for it next season or the following -- I would think you would want a guy with more GP than him.