Sunday, February 08, 2009

Do We Laugh or Do We Cry? Do We Even Care?

I don't have any really depressing stories to tell or at least none that come to mind right now so I don't really have anything relevant to our favourite team and their struggles these days.

Of course some might say that today is like every other day then. ;)

I was going to try and write this like Larry King but I haven't the energy to tell you the truth. The kids are mental and its February and we're just trying to get to next weekend now.

This club is where we figured it would be, really, but with the exception of that nice run before the All Star break it has been a wholly unsatisfying year. Management left this team short of veterans again, especially up the middle and while one might figure the idea was to test out a kid as a tough minutes pivot, well, Fernando Pisani got that role instead. Strange coaching decisions have abounded and one wonders if MacTavish is just tired of being given an unbalanced team every year - shoddy goaltending in 2006, poor defence and no replacement for tough minutes wingers in 2007, kids up front and still no tough minutes forwards last season.

MacTavish gets a whole lot of blame for this season and while the running joke every time they win a game is that he has lost the room, the truth is that there is a disconnect between the players and their coach, I would say, probably partially as a result of the long list of odd and counterproductive decisions that have come from behind the bench this season. Add to that the disastrous PK, a lack of compete on many nights, a woeful lack of preparedness on many nights, strange decisions regarding Cole, Penner, Pisani, Brodziak, Reddox, Pouliot, Storini, MacIntyre, Smid, Strudwick, Roloson and Garon (did I miss anybody?) and mark me down as a guy who thinks that its time for MacT to move on, perhaps to the Rangers? And I am a guy who likes MacTavish, I really do, this whole idea that he deserves no credit for the run in 2006 is absurd, but its really time to go. Ted Nolan, a guy I really like as a coach, defines a role for each player on his team, spells it out for them and then does everything he can to get that guy to achieve what he has to to fill that role. The idea that a guy like Pouliot has to find his role is absurd to me - it is up to the coach to point the kid in the direction that he wants him to go into and then help to get him there.

And there are those who would say that its not the coach, that its the players, that they are just not that good and of course then we have to point fingers at the man who put this team together. I look at this club and I do think they are underachieving - look at clubs like LA or Columbus or even St. Louis, wracked by injuries, look at Chicago, these teams are loaded with kids and yet they carry on and outperform what you think they are capable of when you look at them on paper. Chicago is not loaded with wily veterans and yet they are near the top of the league already. Makes you wonder.

But in the end it all comes back to Lowe. He took a quality team and disembowelled it, leaving it to bleed out in the heat. Letting all of the UFAs walk after June 19th was one thing; failing to replace them with cheap veterans so the team could carry on was another. The Pronger deal was a disaster - oh yes it was - and the return for Smyth is looking poor as well (and remember Smyth bashers, please, that Lowe himself admitted he erred in that move just months after).

Thank God Nylander's wife stepped in too, huh?

I could go on and on but I will spare you.

I was driving the kids to gymnastics this morning. Its great, the gymnastics. The boy asked me, amidst a crowd of folks, whether my testicles were still sore.

Not too bad, thanks. Just another day in the life of an Oilers' fan.

Anyways on the radio pn the way to the club they talk about some guy they had to rescue from a chimney. He had passed out in there and woke up, stuck, no idea how he got there. I'm not sure if that's relevant to the Oilers because I think we know how we got here but maybe it is.

Now remember over the break, I talked about what the Oilers should be doing at the deadline, well more and more it sounds like they are going to be buyers which means draft picks and kids out the door for rental players, all to get smoked in the first round.

I have no faith in the current regime, I really do not, and I can just see them moving Nash and Cogliano and Smid and Brodziak for Reasoner and McAmmond and Chris Neil.

Look at the Leafs and what they have done in the last five or six years and you can see why they are where they are now. Three high picks for Toskela. A pick and Rask for Raycroft. Additional picks to move up two spots to get Schenn. Brad Boyes out the door. Prospect and a pick for Yanic Perrault. On and on. Oh man. A pick for Jamal Mayers for Christsakes.

Its no way to run a railroad.

So now you have a regime with an owner who wants to make a splash and a bunch of buddies who stand to take the fall if this Cap team can't make the playoffs and a fanbase that sees teams of youngsters outperforming their club, passing them like they are standing still. What do you think is likely to happen?

Their next six games, without their best defenceman, probably without their only veteran centre and with their best player looking like a guy who may have had his bell rung again (or maybe its the effect of having Moreau on his wing!?) are as follows: home to Montreal, at LA, at Phoenix, at San Jose, at Dallas.

Anyone think they are going to win in San Jose? In Dallas? In LA?

Anyone think they're still going to be in it when they roll back home? This is it folks. They're about to step into the elevator shaft.

Another year out of the playoffs will be hard enough to take but moves made from desperation would make it harder still to believe that this franchise has any plan at all.

And the dummies are going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. As LT would say, book it.


Down Goes Brown said...

Look at the Leafs and what they have done in the last five or six years and you can see why they are where they are now. Three high picks for Toskela. A pick and Rask for Raycroft. Additional picks to move up two spots to get Schenn. Brad Boyes out the door. Prospect and a pick for Yanic Perrault. On and on. Oh man. A pick for Jamal Mayers for Christsakes.

Hey now. Easy on the relentess Leaf bashing. That's my schtick.

David S said...

I half expect MacT to lose it in a post-game presser and blurt out "What the fuck am I supposed to do with this shit!?"

Alot of it is depth. Or more precisely, our lack thereof. Detroit loses two of their top guys and they're firing up the Johnsonville brats on the bench 10 minutes into the game. We're out Horc, Viz and Pisani and the drop-off is ridiculous.

I still think we'll make the show. But that first round will be the most painful set of games we've seen in a long time.

Swabbubba said...

Perspective is we came with 3 out 6 points? Did I expect better in Detroit not really. Missed the 1st period must been ugly. As far as I can see we have Montreal coming to town. That should be good one. The only game where the hockey gods need to smile on us is San Jose.
The rest of them we do have a chance.
I really don give a shit about the score if ya lose lose by 100. If ya win by one it it is like winning by 100 you get that same 2 points. Was I hoping to steal a point from Detroit well maybe if was heavily medicated. The Wild we never have had good games there I think it was positive we got a point

Schitzo said...

Perspective is we came with 3 out 6 points

We also gave STL a point and gave Minny 2. That's the killer in these tight races.

Traktor said...

"The idea that a guy like Pouliot has to find his role is absurd to me - it is up to the coach to point the kid in the direction that he wants him to go into and then help to get him there."

"I'm going to play Brule on the 4th line and if he looks dynamic then I'll move him up to the 2nd line."

Talk about backwards thinking.

Freeze said...

You constantly say exactly what I am thinking when it comes to this team. Today in no exception.

Love the blog, take it easy.

Black Dog said...

thanks freeze

swabb - barely edging out St. Lou is barely a victory

LA and Dallas are smoking hot. Montreal and Phoenix desperate.

This is the season. Tyler has put up a nice look at what lies ahead that flatters the Oilers but if they come out the other side of this stretch with nothing, a pretty good likelihood I think, then they're going to be 14th and in an impossible position.

Missing the playoffs again would piss me off; the fact that this club could have been better, just like the last two seasons, is what is really frustrating.

The thought that Lowe might piss away some youngsters to save macT's ass is infuriating.

Black Dog said...

sorry, d.g.b., fish in a barrel you know.

That's true David and fact is the depth this year is actually far better for the Oilers, which is a good thing. Just nowhere near the best clubs.

Traktor - yeah I've been a MacT guy but I'm done. I look at guys like Lemaire, Andy Murray and Hitchcock and wonder what might be; heck look at Terry Murray in LA

Darren said...

The Oilers and Sp*rs are like one in the same in terms of management it seems. You do pick your clubs well. Im just glas I support the correct North London side...

Swabbubba said...

I understand and feel your frustration. But I just find it odd that this is the 3 game road trip to get all cranked. Lets see we lost Vish, Horc, Gilbert. When we are playing well I still think we are 3/6. We never win in Minny, well Detroit only in playoffs have we had success there.
I am on the Ted Nolan rant I think we go back a couple years on that one. Hey I am Metis so I always say give him a chance. The Oilers only have 3 lines and the leadership is dicey.

OK if we are blowing this up lets do it right.
Mac T -> Nolan
Penner -> BO
Moreau -> Trade for bag of pucks
Souray gets the C

I am waffling on Horcoff. I would get Stevie Mac on ice every day teaching him how to skate. I would reverse the Goal tending too JDD would be ridden like a mule to see what he can do.

Tambo makes this move as he is the effing GM. Or for chris sake give me the job I will do it for 85K and expense account. Will allow the bloggers in the press box. And if the CBC pricks get uppity then I will fire there asses to the parking lot.

LT & BD can my Asst GM's. need a good hacker though to deal with the maroons over HFboards.

jdrevenge said...

Oh the joys of Oilerdom. I remember like 4-5 years ago working in a warehouse and everybody talking about how good the team should be next year despite missing the playoffs that year....

What the f*ck has changed....? No idea.

For those outside the bubble this team is good. Looks good on paper had a good run last year and is on the way up. Are we talking the way we are cuz we're guilty of looking too close? It's like a friggin hall of mirrors.

I'm one foot out the door. I just can't figure this team out. They've had like 3 games all year where everybody showed up. I'll be back on the bandwagon just like everybody else when they win a few in a row and like every canucks fan out there will lose it on the team when they sht the bed. Either in the stretch run or the first round. Back on the bandwagon again come free agency and a decent signing and trade. Again when they win the first game of the season... and on and on and on we go.

Lol. God damn i love sports.

Black Dog said...

swabb - you're a trip, man

jdr - frustrating team for sure

darren - I only recently got into the Premier league too - I actually knew Man U best of all, all of the players, liked them actually

but where's the challenge in becoming a fan of the best team right off the hop?

hunter1909 said...

With Visnovsky gone, there goes the only reason I had to watch this appalling team - a good top four defence who could move the puck out of their zone at lightning speed, to the pathetic Hemsky+11 plugger "attack".

I don't know or care when the next game is, because I probably won't bother to watch it. Having been taken to games since I was 5 years old, I would like to ask Katz exactly where the next generation of fans are going to come from; since when my(hypothetical lol)kid is ready to like sports, I'll be certain to steer him to the Red Wings, Bruins, Canadiens, even Leafs, before this shitbag Oilers "organisation".

Darren said...

BD - That is a very fair comment. No one likes a band wagon jumper anyways. I follow Arsenal because of my dutch heritage and when I fist started following, my favorite player, Dennis Bergkamp played there. Throw in Van Persie, and it became love for life!

Black Dog said...

Darren - as a Gunners' fan you have read Fever Pitch, right?

If not get out there and get it.

I work with a guy who is a Chelsea fan, has been all his life (he just turned 50) - he's in his glory right now.

Well not right at this moment.

But over the last few years. A lot of years of failure before the successes lately.

And Arsenal had their horrible years (decades) as well.

Its great stuff, English soccer.

Darren said...

I have not yet read Fever Pitch, although I have heard it is a good read.

I am currently just finishing up 'How Soccer Explains the World' by Franklin Foer, a very interesting take on soccer's involvment on globalization. I would recommend that to anyone. Infact I plan to mail it to my father-in-law who detests competitive sports, that is how interesting I found it.

I would be worried as a Chelsea supporter right now. I have a feeling he is looking to dump that club on the first Arab billionaire right now, and if not, just simply cut ties with them. That $750 million debt looks slightly worrying right now, albeit, not as worrying as Liverpool's.

All teams have their rough years, I am just happy to say Arsenal is not a billionare's playtoy (yet) and the only club to only play in the top league of English soccer.

Great stuff to say the least!

Black Dog said...

Darren - the weird thing about Fever Pitch for a fan like me who has only ever seen Arsenal good, so to speak, is that they're quite often rotten over the years he describes.

A lot of angst.