Thursday, January 08, 2009

Even I Can See It!

I am not your stereotypical guy. I have a lot of good friends who are similar that way. I dated a girl who found it amazing that I could be interested in literature and art and then step onto the ice and break my stick over some guy.

In my defence it was a playoff game and the guy was obstructing me. I put up with it for nearly a whole period too. Plus my stick was really old. It was due to snap any second. Really.

Aw, fuck him anyway. He had it coming, I didn’t get a penalty and nobody touched me the rest of the game. And we won the series.

Anyways I guess we’re kind of a new breed although I don’t see the big deal about it. I spend as much time as possible with my kids (they’re only young once) and my employer is very aware of the fact that its family first. I do the dishes, laundry and I change diapers. Hell, I pulled poop out of my daughter’s ass last year once. I get up with the kids in the morning and during the night. As far as I am concerned I am a parent and that is my job, not just my wife’s.

And I’m a romantic on top of that. Last Valentine’s Day I told my wife to pack a bag and wait for instructions. A sitter came over and told her to call a neighbour who in turn told her to go to an address which happened to be a nice hotel downtown. We stayed the night and had a nice dinner.
Very suave, no?

And I am very sly with the languages, lets just say. In a big way. Which is a hit.

Anyhow, with all that said I’d be happy to spend all day every day eating meat, watching sports and jerking off.. One of my new favourite words is ‘cunty’ as in: “Things were going quite well and then she got all cunty on me”.

That’s not such a hit.

I was at the doctor a couple of years back and he asked me how things were. I told him I was worried about my hearing. If there are multiple sources of noise going on then I tend to lose track. Its normal aging. He asked for an example and I, totally serious (I’m a bit dense, yeah?), said that, as an example, I could be watching the hockey game and my wife could be talking to me and I wouldn’t hear a word she said.

It wasn’t until later that I realized why he looked at me like I was a jack ass.

And there is the fact that I am the least observant person in the world. We were watching the Olympics and I was waxing poetic about the 96 relay team – Bailey, Surin, Gilbert, Esmie – and the wife looks at me, mouth agape. Because while I will remember a tiny irrelevant detail like that I will not remember to pick up a loaf of bread, quart of milk and stick of butter, despite repeated reminders and I will certainly rarely notice haircuts, new shirts, the colour of a car or the new roof on the neighbour’s house.

A few years back I was here at work in downtown Toronto, just about a two minute walk from King Subway station. And McVeigh’s and PJ O’Brien’s!

I was a little under the weather and the woman I worked with suggested I go to the Shopper’s to pick up some pick me up.

What Shoppers? I said.

As you know I’m a bit of a bullshitter so she eyed me with suspicion and then, realizing I was serious, said The one across from the subway.

Which I take every day.

There’s no Shoppers there, I said.

Yes, its right beside that discount place that has all of the clothes on racks right out on the sidewalk.

I looked at her as if she’d just stepped out of a spaceship, got up, walked downstairs and around the corner to the spot that I had passed twice daily for going on two years now and there were the racks of clothing, right by the sidewalk, right beside the Shoppers, just across from the subway station

Fuck me.

So the Oilers continue to meander along and truth be told the season is playing out as expected. Despite the fits and starts and odd coaching moves the team is in the playoff mix. They are a better team then last year. Unlike last year at this time when they had single digit regulation wins in the previous calendar year or thereabouts, they have not relied on the shootout for their points. While Nilsson has struggled most of all and Gagner’s counting numbers are no hell, the kids have been trending upwards. Cogliano has been scoring and he has been facing tougher opposition then last year. Gagner’s underlying numbers are good even while facing tougher opponents. Brodziak is becoming a key role player and Reddox may be on his way there. Stortini has become effective once again. Pouliot too has shown signs of becoming a guy the team can rely on. And on the back end Gilbert, Grebeshkov and Smid have all done well considering their lack of experience.

There have been fits and starts with the kids but that is to be expected. I’m an optimist but I figured they would trundle along and probably squeak into a lower playoff seed.

Now fact is the window for this club, as I see it, if all goes well in terms of health and enough of the kids getting better, is as follows:

2008/2009 – compete for playoff spot
2009/2010 – should be playoff team competing for division title or midrange seed
2010/2011 and 2011/2012 – should be serious contender

That’s it and then Hemsky, Penner and Souray’s contracts will be up and Visnovsky will have one year left on his and it will be time to change direction in some way.

The good news for the Oilers is that they have the players mentioned and Horcoff and Gilbert locked up through that window and they should be able to lock up the remainder of the key kids as well. On top of that Lidstrom will have to retire someday, Vancouver is facing serious issues with free agency this summer and Calgary’s relying on Kiprusoff to reverse a declne which is pretty apparent, despite the club’s success this season.

The bad news is that it is becoming very clear that any dreams of playoff success this season are just those. Just like that Shoppers Drug Mart looming over the intersection (seriously how could I miss it – it’s a big damn building right on the corner) so is this team’s probable goal for the year – low seed and hope for the bounces in the first round to eke out an upset. More likely they are this year’s fodder.

Why do I say this? Well, coming into this season there were the Wings and everyone else and while I would hazard that Detroit remain the favourites the fact is that San Jose has spent half a season rolling over everyone and Chicago has proven that they are, if not in that first tier, certainly at the top of the next, that is, separated from the wannabes and ready to step into the breach if the Wings or Sharks falter.

And now the Flames have taken that same step, there is no doubt, and considering that Kiprusoff has been rather ordinary (and he is not the only one) I think that they still have room to grow and so now there are four teams who have clearance.

And yes you can add Vancouver to that list now as well. Even without Luongo this team has hung in there and the addition of Sundin is huge, very huge, and while some pshaw the Canucks as contenders based on this move, the fact is that if this club stays healthy then I would put them up there with Detroit and San Jose. They have talent and depth at every position and they have Luongo and a sense of urgency due to upcoming free agency and they are a bunch of mean fuckers who will do anything to win.

And Sundin is a great great player. I’ve never understood the strange regard he is held in by Leaf fans and considering the massive hype bestowed on this club and many of the lesser lights who have played for it (I remember Bill Watters proclaiming how McCabe HAD to be an Olympian in 2006 despite his shortcomings and yes I know he is a good Dman but he certainly was never at that level – buddy makes massive errors at the least opportune times) it makes me wonder how this terrific player, playing the best the other team had to offer night after night with guys like Jonas Hoglund and Poni and Antropov at his side (and I like the latter two, mind you), while Sakic got to play with Hejduk and Tanguay and Forsberg, and yet still producing, is actually, wait for it, underrated.

So that’s five clubs who have clearance on the Oilers, big clearance I would say, and while its easy to think that one or two favourites might get knocked off and obviously two of these clubs will face each other first thing in April, the fact is the idea of our nice club riddled with kids making a big move this spring went out the window when Quenneville replaced Savard and Sundin decided to move to the left coast.


Mr DeBakey said...

You sound to me like one of them “renaesauce men”

Even with Pisani & Hemsky healthy
This team will feature 2 “kids” on every line that’s not the First Line.
Nilsson - Gagner
Cogliano - Pouliot
Brodziak – Stortini

Plus 2 or 3 on D, and one in goal,
plus two of three press box guys.
A little short of a win-win situation.
[Lowe is damn serious about draft picks playing for the Oilers.]

I pointed out somewhere recently
The Win-dow better open pretty soon
Two guys, Moreau & Staios appear to be sliding backwards now
Several more, at least 3, are at their peak now.

It’s a race between the kids getting it, and the vets losing yet.

hunter1909 said...

Fact is, no one can predict the future of many NHL teams.

What's to say any Oilers competitor doesn't luck out and pick up a few super rookies next season? or sign that great UFA?

Looking at 'the big picture' might have worked 20 years ago, with players staying with the same team and all that, but these days all you can really go by are 1-who are that team's top players and how long are they likely to be around and 2- who are their other players and are they good enough to not cancel out the star players.

On the Oilers - Who are our star players? Hemsky. That's it. Souray this season, but he's fragile. No Thorntons, Iginla's, Zetterbergs, Lidstrums. No great young goalie. No great young defenceman. No great young center(although Oilers draft centers, then promptly shit the bed and convert them all into wingers).

For the second part, as an Oilers fan who like the rest of us has seen Lowe throwing money at mediocre players like a drunken sailor on payday, the cap implications are even more telling. The way things look, Oilers have been painted into the proverbial cap corner by these silly contracts, to the point where, just like 5 years ago the team is hamstrung - not by lack of budget capacity, but by lack of cap space from wasting money on these clearly(to everyone but Oiler fans) second and third rate players.

Add a coach who simply refuses to adapt in the face of reality, and you end up with a franchise headed more toward missing the playoffs than contending.

Re you're inability to remember seemingly obvious things: it's probably a Scottish thing, whereby your ancestors were probably fishermen, lol.

Jonathan said...

BDHS: That's a good summary and an accurate long-term projection I think; provided that Lowe remembers back to the winter of 2006 when he added (wait for it) quality depth guys in Spacek and Tarnstrom and had lots of quality lower-tier players.

"No Thorntons, Iginla's, Zetterbergs, Lidstrums. No great young goalie. No great young defenceman." Just a solid team line by line with some firepower from Hemsky, the kids and the backend, and depth that can outpower the best of them. That's the plan, three years from now.

If, on the other hand Lowe/Tambellini decide they don't need that veteran RH centre, quality goaltender, or puck-moving defenseman on the roster (as we've seen the past three seasons) it won't ever come to fruition.

Lowetide said...

After you've been married to them for a long time, women listen but don't respond. They just talk about what matters to them.

Years ago, we're driving down the road and I have this stunning joke to tell. It's a sexist joke but any gender can appreciate it.

So, I'm just off work and we're going for beers with friends. Wife's driving, and I say "hey honey, heard a joke today" and tell it:

Two guys talking.

First Guy: "I'm losing it, buddy. Can barely speak the language now."

Second Guy: "What are you talking about?"

First Guy: "Well, this morning I'm on hold with Air Canada, for, like an hour with that shitty musak playing in the background. I'm on the computer doing stuff and when the woman comes on the phone it startles me. So instead of 'I'd like two tickets to Pittsburgh' I say "yes, may I have two pickets to Tittsburgh please?"

Second Guy: I know what you mean. This morning I'm having breakfast with my wife and kids at the table. Instead of saying "honey could you please pass the milk" I say "you know you've ruined my life you stupid bitch."

I'm cracking up at the end inside but I can tell a joke and baby I nailed it.

My wife's reaction? Looks out onto a field and says "we need hamburger."


Fake Craig McTavish said...

In the sparkling wake of another BDHS tale, I regret to inform you that it might be prudent to look in the rear view mirror at LA and Phoenix doing the best Blackhawk imitations before annointing the Oilers as contenders anytime soon.

All the Oilers can really hope for is their kids to improve but, problem is, both LA and Phoenix have better kids and way more of 'em.

Their time is coming very soon.

Lord Bob said...

First, knowing the names of the 1996 Olympic relay team is not irrelevant. It's essential. That relay team is the last thing we've had to cheer about at a summer Olympics.

Second, not only am I surprised that you like art and literature but, being from southern Ontario as you are, I'm surprised you can even read. :P

Third, while Sundin is a great, great player, not a lot of 40-year-olds leap into the middle of an NHL season with a new team and return to franchise-carrying form.

Black Dog said...

fake mct - oh no doubt about it although unless Phoenix moves or gets bought I'm not worried about them, by the time they're ready most of that talent will be gone, they can't pay them

hunter - agree and disagree - its very fluid these days and a team can make that jump quickly, like Chicago, sure, but you still have to have that plan

the Oilers have the star in Hemsky but Souray, Visnovsky and Horc are all very good players and they do have a lot of good young players, Cogliano is going to top 25 goals I would say, for example

and that cap means Detroit will lose Hossa or Franzen this summer and then likely will take another hit summer next. Plus Lidstrom can't play forever

And they were farmers, at least once they got to Canada.

Black Dog said...

Jonathan - thanks. As you and mr. d point out its a balancing act and while Lowe pulled it off in '06 the question is whether or not that was a fluke. If it was then the whole exercise is pointless, if not then I suspect they will shore up the club each of the next few years or Katz will look for new hockey men.

LT - sheer brilliance my friend but we haven't been married that long, I'm afraid my wife might start throwing things ;)

L.B. - typical aristocrat - bored and cynical and of course, just like the joke goes, likely a total pervert!

Simon Whitfield? Lets start there, shall we?

And I'm from Northern Ontario pal. Edmonton isn't part of Manitoba is it?

And Sundin, well, on that one you might be right but I'm thinking not. If they stay healthy that club is going to be a tough out.

Now excuse me while I daydream about Carol Huyhn, Adam Van Koeverden, the rowers and Emilie Heymans. For starters.

Especially Huyhn and Heymans. Hubba hubba.

Lord Bob said...

It's southern Ontario relative to James Bay, dammit.

mattwatt said...

Okay, I have never posted here but I have to say that I am in the mold of a "long-time listener, first time caller".

You, Mr. McLean (if I have the correctly) are one hell of a man doing one hell of a job.

I have only one man-crush in my life. Tom Brady. For obvious reasons. But damn you are making a valiant effort to be a close second.

Robert... said...

Wow BD...You really do have a way with words. Hey, if you not doing anything later.....

Swabbubba said...

When we make the playoffs... there I said it... This team should not be a flimsy as they are now as they know that 4W move them along. Short achievable goals. If they do the Flames thing 1 and out well whats happens. It is really still quite a distance to the playoffs, injuries, hot goalies, hell the Senators look like they are going to implode.
It is never a playoff spot for the Oilers until the last week of the season. Keeps us watching other than the odd death spiral.

Been married for 13, someone told me I would been paroled if I would have harmed the wife. But we are old school we just are trying to out wait each other lol. She is Flame fan what can I do. Face it men are target fixated, u know how to get to work. Shoppers hmm not to important... food and beer are.

Black Dog said...

L.B. - too late now.

swabb - that's what I say! Food and beer, food and beer.

There has always been some latent homoeroticism here, apparently its beginning to rear it head. What can I say except Thanks Guys!

Unleaded said...

Reading through this stuff always makes my day. Thanks guys.

rananda said...

And I am very sly with the languages, lets just say. In a big way. Which is a hit.

dude, your kids are going to love reading that when they get older.

Lord Bob said...

There has always been some latent homoeroticism here, apparently its beginning to rear it head. What can I say except Thanks Guys!

Latent homoeroticism? Hey, how did you get a hold of that erotic Covered in Oil story I wrote?

(You should see the sequel. Suffice to say there's a reason they call him Andy Grabia...)

David S said...

Stortini had become effective once again.


Looks like poor Zack is out for the year as there's no short-term fix for that kind of injury.

As for the team, well I guess it depends on how soon Hemsky gets back. It's pretty obvious the first line is nullified without him and even MacT is hinting at that. So the heat falls to the kids and they are still not quite there yet.

Our vets should be taking up the slack way more than they are and it's getting obvious Staios and Moreau are at the end of their usefulness.

Personally, I think we're still 2 solid guys short once Pisani gets back and we resolve the goalie issue. No team can rely so much on a single guy and hope to make progress. As much as I hate to say it, Calgary seems to be a good model these days. If Iginla goes down, I can see them being able to carry on. Us? Not so much.

BD, the first part of your post made you sound alot like "the most interesting man in the world."


Black Dog said...

Thanks david. Yeah its a process and its becoming pretty obvious that just as Pitkanen wasn't a fit so too are Moreau and Staios going to be long past it two years from now.

So they will have to move them or bury them in the minors (can't see that politically though) and bring in a third pairing vet who can kill penalties and bring some toughness and one or two guys to fill out the bottom six and play some tough minutes and, guess what, kill penalties.

Other then that its wait on the kids. Tough to take some nights but its the path Lowe took when he dealt Pronger so that's the way it is.

rananda - that's going to take a whole lot of reading; if they are persistant enough to get this far back then they deserve the laugh

Or to cringe ;)

Hey kids!

Yeti said...

It broke my heart when the Oilers didn't draft Luca Cunti last year (went to Tampa, 75th overall). I would have loved to get an Oilers jersey with 'Cunti' on the back. Perhaps they would trade him to us for Schremp?

I must sympathise with the child-rearing duties: I have to pick the crap out of my daughters ass quite regularly. Girl just won't eat fibre, leading to a vicious circle in which pooing causes pain so she holds back leading to further constipation, etc. For me, this is a sign from above to stop after two kids... I can't believe anyone would willingly subject themselves to three.

Black Dog said...

Yeti - two to three is easier then one to two. Seriously.

Yeti said...

I want to believe you, honestly I do. But the sheer exhaustion, lost hours of work and recreation, and my wife's almost complete non-interest in reaffirming the intimacy of our relationship since baby #2 seem like significant barriers to me! And that's without thinking about what another set of daycare fees would do to the finances... Perhaps we could adopt. Seems like Rob Schremp needs a new home.

Black Dog said...

Haha, very good.

Oh yeah don't get me wrong. We were saying no as well but the thing is that it does get better as the kids get older. They learn how to entertain themselves, they sleep well (and so do you), you begin to get your lives back.

That's the trap. ;)

Its temporary but its tough to handle. Our last is six months old and she's not sleeping more then a few hours at a time now.

Not good.

But its temporary.