Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Brick And A Bottle Of Whiskey

My wife and I always wanted kids but we were also very careful about it. Planned it out and its a good thing because if this was one hundred years ago we'd either have twenty kids or we'd be having no sex.

We're that fertile. Decided to start trying in January 2003 and we figure she was pregnant after the first or second go. When it came to the second goround early in 2005 we're quite certain that I hit it out of the park in my first at bat. So we're damn lucky. We know a few people who struggled to have kids and you don't know if you're in that boat or not when you first start at it. When I found out we were pregnant the first time I burst into tears of joy and relief.

So we weren't sure if we wanted three. The jump from one to two is gigantic. Suddenly you don't have enough hands and things can be tough and we were lucky (there's that word again) to have two healthy kids so we knew that things could be worse. They can always be worse. So we were both ambivalent about having another.

But the trap is that it gets easier. The kids get toilet trained and they can dress themselves and next thing you know they're playing together in another room all of the time and you can get them to bed easily and all of a sudden you have time for coffee and a paper on Saturday mornings and you get your social life back because they're easy pickings for a sitter and even if you go out and have a few too many (it can happen or so I've heard) then there's no getting up in the night with them and in the morning you feed them and then send them to the basement with the dog and a blowtorch and go have a little laydown on the couch.

So you get lulled into a false sense of security and then all of a sudden she's all for the third and you're wavering and then you're pretty well ready in your mind.

And one night you come home from hockey against your biggest rivals, a two - one win and you assisted on both goals and not those give it to Hemsky and let him skate through the team type assists either, no sir, one is a turnaround out of the corner, fire it through a maze right to your man standing at the edge of the crease, so surprised he barely even taps it in and then the other is a slap pass that catches the other team off guard and again a tap in.

So you come home feeling pretty high and you had a couple of pints at the communist bar and there's your wife and she's had a couple of glasses of wine so even though its late October (26th) its warm out and you sit on the back deck and have a few more drinks and smoke a few cigarettes and the conversation is languid and life is good and then you tell her, sure lets have a third. And then its off to bed and next thing you know you're saying why the hell why not lets give it a go tonight and the next morning you laugh about it and yeah we'll try in the spring, there's no way but of course you both know it and sure enough a week later she's a bit off and that's it, the baby she is a coming.

She's almost six months old now and the third one is hell on the sex life but we're starting to climb back on that horse now, thank fuck for that, but when I get back to Toronto I have to make the call to you know who because three is entirely enough. So I'm calling the vasectomist.

Yee haw.

My boss told me to come over with a bottle of whiskey and he'd take care of it himself with a brick but I figure I had better get it done right, seeing as I have the Supersonic Sperm of Steel. I'm not too worried about it although a conversation with a friend a while back gave me pause.

Its not too bad, he said, except when they give you the needle. When they fire the freezing in there it feels like someone is squeezing your balls.

Hmm, said I. I love it when I get my balls squeezed. That's not so bad at all.

Squeezed in a vise, he says.

Oh, I said, as the blood drained from my face.


Its typical Oilers these days, up and down, back and forth. The usual shit. Groundhog Day as LT called it. Three wins in a row and they were heading on up and then two losses and suddenly two men down and the problems that have plagued this team all year, most of all the PK and plain old inconsistent play, have reared their ugly heads again.

Cole and Gagner have begun to produce and the back end continues to generate offence (four defencemen likely to have forty or more points) and just when it looks like they're turning the corner Hemsky goes down and they lose to the sad sack Sens, unprepared or unwilling to play hard that night.

And so another poor year, maybe the third consecutive out of the playoffs and all of the money wasted and one wonders how long before the fans start getting snarly. MacTavish has a long list of goofy decisions going back to day one of this season and while the PK's struggles have a lot to do with personnel there's also some poor coaching going on there as well.

If they don't make the playoffs he is a goner and even if they do and things go badly, which they likely will, he may be a goner as well.

I think that move would be a reasonable one but it makes me laugh that the architect of this club, short of vets again, third year in a row with a poor job coming out of the summer, is escaping censure once again, and indeed will likely never get the gate for what he has done, or not done, since 2006.

Traktor had a long list of questionable decisions by MacT in the Blue Snow post at LT's and the thing is that you can explain one or another but put them together and its a pattern and that is a problem.

Its the same with Lowe. You can explain away letting Glencross go or letting Hejda go or losing Thoresen or getting Lupul as the centrepiece of the Pronger deal or gambling on young kids on the back end and so on and so on and so on. Taken singly well damn it there weren't a lot of guys saying that signing Glencross for three years at 1.2 per was a good idea back in August.

But now Glencross is playing tough minutes in Calgary and scoring his share and all of a sudden you think and realize that the GM is paid to evaluate players and here's another mistake and when you take all of these mistakes and add them up - Glencross, Hejda, Lupul, Pitkanen, Cole, O'Marra, maybe Nilsson, maybe Penner and so on and so on - then all of a sudden you might start thinking that Daryl Sutter takes a lot of flak but he picked up Glencross and Bourque as well and suddenly the Flames bottom six, so awful last year, looks pretty good, certainly better then the Oilers, who flushed Torres and Stoll and Reasoner and Glencross from last year's group. And once again I wouldn't argue with those moves singly but where is the hard ass left winger and the centre to take draws and play the PK?

No GM is perfect. As Tyler Dellow described it a while back, to paraphrase him, essentially a GM makes a series of bets, one after the other. Not every bet is going to work out. The Oilers weren't the ony club to pass on Parise.

But when the number of losing bets begins to outnumber the winners then you have a problem.

That problem is a club that just can't get any damn traction. That looks to flit with the eighth spot again.

And then you end up with fans who are looking for bricks to hurl at their TVs and whiskey to kill their pain.


LittleFury said...

At this point it's safe to say I know more about you than my own flesh and blood, good or bad I dunno.

This team is just all smoke and mirrors right now and watching those smug pricks in red yuck it up was about the 19th last straw for me this year. Giving up on this team without actually giving up is my thing, kinda like LT's quixotic hope that Lowe/Tamb will actually do something to fix a team that still sells out every night. We all have our crosses to bear and you're right about the whiskey. Anyway, good shit as per.

hunter1909 said...

Something died inside me the day they traded Gretzky.

Then they got raped in the Messier trade...R.A.P.E.D....and I simply took it as the sign to get the hell out of town just as soon as my little legs grew long enough. Which I did.

Ironically, my first college was in Boston, where I became an instant Red Sox fan - who at the time were living under the curse of the bambino thing.

That was cool, because the Oilers suddenly were a very long way away from me. And I was a 19 year old in the big(Boston might as well have been Blade Runner for my hicksville self at the time) city.

Fast forward to 2006 and the Oilers finally have a seriously cool player in Chris Pronger. Part Coffey and part Messier. A true on ice leader. Lowe looked like a genius.

But there's a fly in the ointment. Lowe and his pathetic 'organisation' cannot keep anyone happy. They blame the city of Edmonton, which provides the club with the perfect excuse for eternal failure.

The reality is, playing for the Oilers must be like being in the cub scout troop I was in as a kid. The cubmaster's fat, coke bottle glasses wearing son was a senior sixer. What that means is, he had 3 stripes instead of the usual 2, the kind of thing that only the perfect boy could ever possibly get(unless Dad wanted sonny boy to look better than he really was and damn the consequences for anyone else)and soured my innocent mind on civic responsibilty really quickly.

For the 2009 Oilers, it's obvious who plays the fat kid with glasses.

The current Oiler players act like I used to feel going to that rotten cub meeting every week that I couldn't think of an excuse not to go. Listless, a lot of them seem to be daydreaming out there. Others simply don't seem to know what the fuck they're doing. Or care.

No one in their right mind would want to play for this team, not if they had options elsewhere. Too many indians, not enough chiefs running this show.

I'm from the olden days of Oiler fandom, even if I was a little kid when I started. The Oilers to me are like the habs, or the current wings - not a bunch of lunchbucket fucktards which I've been putting up with since the early 90's.

For me, it's patently obvious that Anderson, Messier, Coffey, Kurri or Gretzky should be running this team. Guys who love skill over grit.

Seriously, the way things are going in a few more years I'll just stop being a hockey fan altogether.

In many ways I'd rather watch Pee Wee hockey - you get to see players really trying hard, and there's always a kid who stands out as a superstar, lol. And you don't get your pocket picked at the entrance.

Swabbubba said...

wow Hunter nice tilt.. still effing drunk 2 days in
The Oilers have not tossed in the towel it seems that they can work through some adversity. Who know Brule is back and maybe they can get some mojo going.
Looking at the standings we aint out of it by much. Happy 2009

Baroque said...

My father called it quits after five. They thought four was good, two of each, and my mom was a little queasy, but they were being careful, and she went to the doctor - and when she got home she put her foot down and said that's enough. :)

Traktor said...

I was talking about "self-inflicted wounds" before the season even started. I shouldn't be able to predict that friendly fire would be the cause of death. But it always is in Edmonton.

I don't even cheer for this team anymore. I cheer for justice. Every loss is deserving. And since the culprits will never be held accountable at least they're getting exposed.

rananda said...

i dont even bother to read the stuff after the line break about the oil-ers (am i saying that right?) anymore.

HBomb said...

...and then send them to the basement with the dog and a blowtorch and go have a little laydown on the couch.

Meanwhile, Lowetide's referencing his kid riding cardboard down the stairs.

Note to self: do NOT use the Oilogosphere archives as parenting advice if I ever am in the position to consider such a thing.

That being said, I'm laughing my ass off after reading this one. As usual.

As for what I think of the rest of this season? Dump the Staios and Moreau deals, cash out on Roloson, see what one can get for Cole if there's clear indication he won't re-sign here (I think it should be looked at if he and Gagner develop genuine chemistry), try to find the next Hejda and Glencross, give the kids responsibility galore, see if Garon is worth retaining for another 2 years, hell, shop Souray and see if someone's willing to give up a nice young forward for him......essentially, it boils down to three words:

Tank for Tavares.

Do that, get a little lucky in the draft lottery, and maybe you're Pittsburgh - back in the finals within 2-3 seasons. Hopefully quicker, since we've got a wonderful three year window after this one known as "cheap Hemsky".

We're not at that point yet. But the next five are Dallas-NY Islanders-Vancouver-San Jose-St. Louis. Any worse than 3 wins in those five and you're at the halfway point in an unfavorable position, a long stretch of winnable home games done with.

Lord Bob said...

I couldn't help but notice letting Thoresen go on your list of individually defensible Lowe moves, BDHS.

You mean the Patrick Thoresen who nobody in North America wanted and who is currently playing in what is, at best, Europe's fourth-best hockey league, right? That Patrick Thoresen? :P

Anonymous said...

The Patrick Thoresen who stopped a puck with his cup?

Maybe he was traumatized.

Doogie2K said...

Guys who love skill over grit.

I don't think that's an accurate assessment in the slightest. Everyone noticed the skill back in the day, but without the grit -- whether it was straight-up scrappers like Semenko, or guys who could drill you through the glass like Pouzar, or guys who weren't afraid to make a cheap shot to get some space like Messier, there was more than enough grit to go around in that lineup. It was that grit, as much as the skill, that made the Oilers hell to play in the '80s, and you see today in Gretzky's new team in Phoenix that he has all kinds of time for Dan Carcillo, as long as he reigns in the undisciplined bullshit. He knows the value of an enforcer who can play, for example, from his own era.

hunter1909 said...

I always thought Semenko was crucial to the Oilers, lol.

Ditto McSorely.

Ditto Linseman.

That's what made the Oilers so great, as the old Montreal teams. They had the softies who knew how to score, but they also had the killers who put the fear into the opposition bulliy-boys.

DeBakey said...

Ahh the vasectomist
The same day I saw him I had to attend an evening work function - hob-nob with folks you don't know so well.
The first couple of hours were OK,
but after that...
One of my co-workers says to me "why you limping?"
I liked her but hadn't let her in on the secret.

The thing about this team is that it's gotta be in WIN NOW mode by October.
Horcoff, Visnovsky & Souray could begin sliding off the peak at any time.

Fill the holes and get crackin dammit!

Black Dog said...

Just back from the road trip a few hours ago.

Just watching Eberle score.

For all of the collective angst swabbubba is right - this squad could squeak in. But I think the feeling amongst many of us is that they should not be squeaking in - coaching has something to do with it and so does the shortcomings that Lowe left the coaches with.

Its frustrating.

Black Dog said...

L.B. - I have a soft spot for Thoresen, yeah, and I could see why Glencross took his spot, Curtis could do one thing Thoresen could not - score.

But they should have kept him - smart, fast and hard working and always showed well on the PK.

Even as the 13th forward.

Philly thought enough of him to play him on the PK in the playoffs and with Richards v. tough opposition.

He wanted a one way contract and they wouldn't give it to him and I can see that but again, a guy they let go because they hadn't a spot for him, but he's a better player then Reddox for example or either of the goons. And the guy who replaced him is gone so ...

I have chosen my hill to die on. ;)

Black Dog said...

Mr D. and baroque - thanks for the laughs

Anonymous said...

Sorry to weigh in so late, but I have called it quits after two and the vasectomy (December 19) was a breeze. I almost felt guilty spending the weekend on the couch watching football and hockey. Almost. I did take the Dr's advice seriously though and did as little as possible in the 48 hours after the procedure. Don't be afraid to milk it (figuratively).

Sorry about the anonymous post - can't remember my username or password - too much wine over the holidays or I haven't posted any comments in over six months - could be either one.


Black Dog said...

pn - yeah I've heard its not so bad and unfortunately my wife is a nurse and seems to know this as well

the doctor said I should just stay on the couch all weekend but some dummy of a "friend" opened his mouth and said it wasn't too bad and now it looks like I'll be shovelling snow off the roof the next morning