Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Patrick LaForge has done what guys like him, guys like Richard Peddie and Gary Bettman, do. He has glossed over errors, deflected blame, covered his own ass and basically treated Oiler fans like morons, asking us to bend over as he gives it to us up the ass, all the while reaching into our wallets.
The best part of his missive was that part of the reason for the Oilers' failure this season was due to long road trips. I had forgotten how half of the teams in the NHL have no road games while the other half spend three days at a spa, being pampered by beautiful French nymphomaniacs, before they play their road game. They then return to said spa for three more days to unwind, before going home for their month long homestands.
The other truly ridiculous thing about his letter to the fans was his defence of Edmonton, as if Edmonton needed defending. Not sure when this myth began but LaForge sure is doing his best to propagate it. Lets review, shall we. The Oilers traded for Chris Pronger, who hated Edmonton so much that he immediately signed a five year contract. Of course Pronger did ask to be traded so that is one in the minus column but other then Spacek who likely took a look at the Oilers in the post Pronger era and decided that if he wanted to win then les Sabres would be a better bet (knowing full well that a team that had him in their top two was less likely to go far then a team with him in their bottom pairing), I beg to ask who turned down Oiler green last summer. We all know Peca and Samsonov were going elsewhere and the Oilers never took a second glance their way but LeGG wanted to stay and I would bet that Dvo would have signed as well if he was offered anything half decent.
Indeed playing in Edmonton is so horrible that Roloson and Pisani, as well as Sykora and Tjarnqvist, signed here last summer. Also Horcoff and Hemsky gave up UFA years to sign on and both Moreau and Staios also reupped during the season. And we all know that Smyth wanted to stay as well.
So based on one guy who asked out and another who probably made a wise choice for a veteran, suddenly Edmonton is the gulag. The problem is that instead of highlighting the fact that eight guys signed here and two, maybe three others who left, wanted to, LaForge chooses to deflect the blame from a management team that blew this season by playing this card. Its a handy one for EIG, no doubt. Can't sign big ticket UFAs - nobody wants to play here. Right.
Its a good money saver.
LaForge is your ugly saleman writ large. The type of guy who asks to have a meeting on the other side of town. Then while you're cooling your heels in some restaurant he, Cal Nichols and Joffrey Lupul have broken into your house. Cal drinks all your beer, smokes all your weed and leaves a note saying you should divorce your wife. LaForge backs up the truck, steals everything of value and takes a big crap on a plate and leaves a note saying he hopes you enjoy your chocolate cake and Lupul rapes the big fella, because if there's one thing he's good at, its fucking the dog.
Meanwhile down south the Flames have crapped out. Now I don't have the hate for the Flames that most Oiler fans do. Late to the party and all that - I guess I'll get drummed out of the union. I get more pleasure out of seeing big D go down, even if they are just a shadow of their former selves.
And I do feel bad for Fenwick and Peter and metrognome and the rest. This team was built to win and they should have won the division going away I think. And I know I'm not the only one to think that. Hindsight is 20/20 but Sutter added Stuart, Primeau, Conroy and Tanguay, all for Leopold, Kobasew and Ference. He had a couple of kids in Lombardi and Phaneuf who could contribute, an excellent keeper, a team that on paper anyhow, looked to be world beaters.
But something didn't mesh and if I was a Flames' fan I'd be mighty disappointed. Over half the D that carried these guys within one win of the Cup are gone and Warrener looks done. Hamrlik and Stuart are UFAs this summer and we all know what looms next season. I have no idea what Sutter is going to do - likely he will try and sign Stuart. If I were him I'd sign Kipper and Iginla now, ride them hard next year, and then deal with the cap by trading Iginla if I had too. Or maybe he'll trade Iggy this summer.
Expectations are a bitch - Oiler fans know that. If Lowe makes a few decent moves this summer he'll be golden if the team makes any noise next season. Look at Canuck fans - their season is a total success. Nobody expected this much of them.
I'll leave the serious post mortems to Matt but I would say there were issues with chemistry and with coaching. Can I prove it with numbers or anything more then saying it - no, I can't. And more to the point this team lacked what the Oilers lacked - guys who could handle the tough opposition both up front and on the back end. Again, I'll leave it to Fenwick to dissect what went wrong.
And so on to round two. Went six and two in round one but I think pretty well everyone did that or better. Only the stupid monkey took a powder. Poor monkey. Holds out for more bananas and now she's getting her name attached to spinning a wheel and having to service Domi and MaGuire whenever they happen to drop by the studio. I'd be flinging crap, let me tell you.
Not many surprises in round one and I went wrong in picking Calgary and the Pens to upset. Round two looks to be a little more dicey. I'd say Anaheim takes the Canucks who just cannot score. One thing to edge out Dallas, led in scoring by Mike Ribiero, but the Ducks have a little more up front and a little more on the backend as well. And I must be going soft because I actually felt good for Turco for shedding that playoff rep. Boy, am I becoming a pussy. Anyhow, Ducks in five.
Les Sabres should take the Rangers but it will be a tough test and thye definitely have to raise their level of play. Having said that it comes down to that depth once again - Sabres in six.
The tossups are Jersey-Ottawa and San Jose-Wings. I think Jersey is solid but beating a four man team is one thing. The Sens shut down a pretty potent squad in Pittsburgh and I think they can do the same here. Sens in six.
The Sharks are my pick to represent the West and I'm not straying from that. The Wings were excellent against the Flames but the Sharks beat a Preds squad that was loaded for bear. Again its depth that wins out in the end. The Sharks are big and fast and deep. they shut down the Preds and will do the same to the Wings. Six games again.
Posted by Black Dog at 7:42 PM