Sunday, January 18, 2009


Woke up yesterday to twenty below, thirty with the wind, and it’s a real winter here in Toronto, first one in years. Even last year’s record snowfall was not that impressive, each dumping of snow washed away in a few days by rain and warm temperatures. This winter has alternated snow with cold and so it’s the real deal.

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.


HBomb said...

Reddox has been good, a useful 4th line guy.

But I still have a problem with him being dropped down with Gagner and Cole for tonight and Potulny having to sit out. 21-89-26 were starting to develop some chemistry, so why mess that up?

Answer: Reddox is Petersen II. He's MacT's new pet. And frankly, it's unacceptable.

Steve said...

Christmas 2007, everybody I know (led by the girlfriend) got together and flew me to New York to see Neil live, in a 3,000-some seat theatre. Fucking incredible.

Also, something about the Oilers.

Black Dog said...

hbomb - agreed on Potulny - its MacIntyre who should sit though, after the fact but its not like the Yotes are a bunch of bully boys

Reddox is a useful guy, I know you're not a big fan but he's got third line upside and can hold his own wherever you put him - I can see why he draws in

Black Dog said...

Steve - ok, first of all, why? Christmas gift? grad?

because that is fucking awesome.

I've seen Neil twice - once at Maple Leaf Gardens back in 86 - just an amazing show, that wasn't a bad place to see a concert

Second time was at Exhibition Stadium with Pearl Jam and SOundgarden about ten years later.

great show although an awful venue

Good Muckin' Tonite said...

Really been into Neil's 1971 live recording at Massey Hall lately, as well as Springsteen's '75 live show at London's Hammersmith Odeon. Both amazing performances and mindblowing to see how good these guys were already at 25 dripping raw-ness and grit.

Perhaps a couple similar pick-ups heading towards post-season for the Oil? Maybe one or two cagey rock stars who have been there and can provide some character?

HBomb said...

BDHS: I wouldn't say I'm not a fan of Reddox - I'm just not a fan of how he's being used.

Fully healthy, the Oilers could theoretically roll out a "4th" line of Moreau-Brodziak-Reddox if they want to. I'm OK with that sort of thing.

It's when I see 85 on LW with Gagner and Cole while Brule plays with Strudwick that I scratch my head. What better opportunity to give 67 a shot with two other talented guys and see what he's capable of.

Toby Petersen clearly was an NHLer too while he was in Edmonton (he continues to be in Dallas), but to see him on the point on the PP was not a pretty sight.

Black Dog said...

hbomb - yeah I get that argument

the only thing I can think of is that Reddox has the edge over Potulny and Brule away from the puck at this point and that's the reasoning behind MacT's deployment of him right now

this team has to scratch and claw for every two points and MacT trusts the little guy to not make the mistake that will cost them

Promoting him to play with 27 and 10 was goofy but other then that I'm not complaining about him other then Potulny taking a seat, period.

HBomb said...

Pat, out of curiosity, was your new top-of-blog quote inspired by this little gem?

Black Dog said...

Naw, the rant was longer at first, I had commented at LT's the other night, but I had to cut it because Blogger wouldn't allow all of it due to length.

I was 'scolding' everyone for their cynicism regarding their club. ;)

hunter1909 said...

Yeah, just what we all need. Unflinching optimism. The Great Depression of the 21st century is looming(and look where the LAST one got us), and the OIlers are in an 8 way fight for the 5th to 12th conference spots.

Still, it could be worse. I could have bought Nevada real estate.

HBomb said...

Well, it's an odd coincidence, because the first thing I saw when I read it (and I saw it when you originally posted it) was "Bull Durham".

I think the Oilers need to find the hockey equivalent of Nuke Laloosh.

HBomb said...

Actually, in hindsight, we may have already had Nuke in the form of Bo Mironov.

Remember the line "he fucks like he pitches, kind of all over the place...."? Well, that would pretty much describe BoBo's slap-shot....

Steve said...

BDHS: Christmas gift. I saw him again in Halifax a couple of months ago. New York was better, because
i. you always remember your first time,
ii. it was New York (no slight on Halifax, which is a lovely city, but come on)
iii. venue was better (in Halifax he played in the Mooseheads' barn, whatever it's called)
iv. he was just more "on" the first time. During his solo set (he didn't have one of those in Halifax - we'll call that reason # iv.5) he just picked up a guitar and suddenly started playing "Don't Let It Bring You Down". "Huh," he said, "let's see how this goes. We'll call this a bonus track." He didn't play that song at any other show on the tour. He also did a double encore, finishing with "The Sultan" from his Squires days, which I'd never heard before.

What a guy.

Black Dog said...

Yeah he's the greatest. And nice friends by the way. Holy shit, what a gift.

I'll have to keep an eye out for when he comes here, I rarely go to concerts anymore, last big one was The Hip at Ontario Place and that was pre - kids - 2002 in the summer.

Other then that its the odd bluegrass session or band in a bar.

But I would pay a lot to see Neil again.