Friday, September 05, 2008
Here's Fernando scoring against Calgary.
Last winter in December my folks were storm stayed for a day during one of our many 'Storms of The Century' last winter here in Toronto.
Weather and illness - the new Communism!
Now Dad brings just enough beer to last whenever they come down so Sunday afternoon all that we had in the old 50s beer fridge was a load of Guinness as well as a few other stouts. Dad's not a fan of the good stuff - tastes like wood he says.
So midafternoon and we're antsy so we decide to head out on a little beer run. My Mom didn't pay us any mind, she's used to this, but my wife of course figured us to be mental. Its was actually a pretty decent storm - there'd be no driving down the Danforth - but we're Northerners. Dad was born in the Soo and raised mostly in Franz where he spent most winter days skating on the lake. He and his brothers also used to hop trains and jump off them into snowbanks. True story. And I'm Sudbury through and through.
Little snow and ice isn't going to stop us from drinking damnit!
We headed out and slogged for about a half hour on what is normally a fifteen minute walk. Got to the beer store. Across from the beer store - The Hargrave pub.
Needing a breather and a little warmth we headed in and had a couple of pints by the fire. We weren't the only people there - one fellow at the end of the bar fell off his stool he was so loaded. The bartender called a cab and hustled your man into it. No harm done.
Fernando Pisani is that pint I drank last December. He comes to me and comforts me in the dead of winter.
San Fernando, the hometown boy, the hero from 2006, impregnator of Andy Grabia, patron saint of lost causes, the Oilers' Everyman, a guy who showed true courage (not the phony stuff we get inundated with) battling health issues last year, is back and healthy this season. And this is important. Matt Fenwick, terrific guy and closet Oilers' fan, has been (weakly) arguing the Flames' case, saying that there's no way the Oilers can make up the gap in the standings between the two teams. Now the Flames have lost Tanguay and Huselius and Nolan and replaced them with Cammelleri and Bertuzzi while the Oilers have added Cole and Visnovsky and have a bunch of kids who logically will be better then last year. The Flames will be worse. The Oilers will be better. Plus they have their trump card.
They have Pisani and a healthy Pisani is going to make this team a whole lot better. Its no coincidence that two years ago Stoll played his best hockey with Pisani on his wing or that his arrival last season kickstarted the kids. He is the guy who does the little things that win hockey games and he is back.
Guy is an outscorer at ES while playing the opposition's heavies, a top notch penalty killer and seven less PP goals total then Todd Bertuzzi over the last three years ( at a third of the price).
I remember listening to one of his first games back last season (it may have been his first) and how, as the Oilers protected a third period lead, his name came up over and over again, killing penalties, breaking up plays, getting the puck out, doing the little things right. It was late in the third when the announcer paused after another great play by Fernando, chuckled and then remarked how great it was to have him back.
A true mastabatory moment for Oiler fans everywhere.
Now, Matt may be right and the Flames may finish ahead of the Oilers one last time but the second half of the season was a different story for the Oilers last year from the first half when it was Bettman points or nothing. Kiprusoff may rebound and Keenan may finally give Lombardi a chance (that I have never ever gotten) and the Flames may get lucky with injuries once again but is it just me or has half of the Flames roster passed through waivers this summer?
People speak about Lowe getting a pass but what about Sutter?
Should be fun.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:39 PM