Took a chance and made a run up north, meeting my dad halfway as he brought the big fellow back from his Christmas holidays up in Sudbury. We agreed to meet in Parry Sound, pretty well halfway, and hoped that luck would be on our side.
The trip isn’t what it used to be. When I started school, just over twenty years ago, it was at least a five hour jaunt. An hour up to Barrie, then a town of fifty thousand, a quick hour once you were on the 400, speeding past the farmers’ fields north of Steeles, through the Holland Marsh, rich black soil, and then climbing up the moraine and into the rolling hills before the Muskokas. Soon after Barrie though the highway shrunk to an undivided two lane job, 120 kilometres winding into the Shield, granite rock cuts and a thousand lakes, forests stretching forever, the whole way without a single passing lane. To get by someone you needed to get up behind them and if they were calm and reasonable they would pull over onto the paved shoulder, all this at ~ 90km an hour or so, until you passed, and then back on the highway. Impatience and the difficult road made it a killer highway and in winter the danger multiplied as squalls would suddenly rage off of Georgian Bay, turning clear blue into a whiteout.
In the nineties they four laned it all the way to Parry Sound and divided it besides and now a five plus hour trip can be done in under four hours, the slowest stretch now being from Toronto to Barrie, once the fastest part of the trip, Barrie three times the size now, the farmers’ fields north of Toronto being replaced by suburbs stretching into the distance.
You still have to chance winter but yesterday was clear sailing all the way up, met Dad and had a soup and coffee and then back on the road with my big black furry cargo, racing south, music from school days, the Waterboys and Indigo Girls, the Hip and Neil Young, Live Rust.
Neil Young. Cinnamon Girl. Cortez The Killer. Sedan Delivery. The Loner. Powderfinger.
Your man has been around for forty years or so now, all the way back to Buffalo Springfield and Mr. Soul, one of the greats, despite a face looking like scrass and a voice like a tomcat birthed by Fran Dreschler.
That’s what you call sustain.
The Oilers had their own little roadtrip last week and it had the potential for ugliness – Washington, Minnesota, Colorado – but they won two of three and now the break is in sight and with it Ales Hemsky’s possible return and then hopefully Pisani and Nilsson. Four teams have separation from the pack but the Canucks’ break has not materialized and while the Oilers’ season has been one step forward, one back, they remain in the hunt and its very likely that six weeks from now they will still be right there. This week they have a chance to win some games and of course we know that they will go two and one or one and two or, most likely one, one and one, but the end result is that they will still be right there and it looks like management is going to make a move and bring in a vet or two.
The Oilers are flush in forwards – Horcoff, Penner, Gagner, Cole, Cogliano, Moreau, Pouliot, Reddox, Potulny, Brodziak, Brule, MacIntyre and of course that ignores the three aforementioned as well as Stortini. Moving Garon has opened a spot on the roster but there are still two more players then spots and that doesn’t even include Schremp.
And Potulny has to clear waivers and Brule will be there by the weekend and both would be claimed I would think so it means someone is going to get moved and you could start with Nilsson and probably throw another tweener in there, I would hope not Pouliot but there’s a chance for that. And Schremp is probably a goner too.
And Liam Reddox has won himself a job and you can pencil him into next year’s lineup. Kid is good for ten to fifteen goals, I think, and he can do plenty that most of the other youngsters cannot. Too bad he’s not thirty pounds heavier but what can you do. Drink some milkshakes, kid.
Reddox has had a couple of bumps but he has had sustain and as a result he has some traction now. Lets hope that his club can do a little of that this week. Going into the break with another four or six points would be quite nice, thank you.
Think Neil Young, not Chumbwumba.