Saturday, May 16, 2009

Got To Laugh To Prevent Yourself From Crying

I have a very good friend who is up on music. Whenever I'm in his car or at his house he's got something on that I have never heard before. Its almost always something terrific.

I dig good music but its down the charts in terms of what I devote my time and interest to. There are only so many hours in the day and most of those are devoted to the greatest priority, family, and the biggest obligation, work. Then there's hockey, both playing and watching, socializing, food and drink, reading books and writing this blog as well as travelling (which happens rarely but still ....).

Music is like movies or sports other then hockey for me. I used to know every single movie that came out. I used to watch ten hours of football every Sunday and baseball and basketball whenever I could. Now I only have so many hours in the day and so things have slipped away. Letting go of the NFL and MLB and the NBA was pretty easy. I still manage to keep up on movies alright. Music is in NFL territory.

I haven't bought a CD by a band other then the Hip or U2 or Neil Young in fifteen years and when I go on You Tube its straight to the 80s and early 90s for me. I was a big fan of Pearl Jam and any regular visitors here know I'm into all of those 80s bands, one hit wonders or not. But my true musical love is the wave of Canadian bands that emerged when I was in university. I think for many folks that is normal, the music of your life is the music of your youth. My old man's favourites still harken back to what he listened to in his twenties - Buddy Holly and Hank Williams and John Cash. So it is with me - I still have a whack of CDs and albums (yes I own vinyl) from the 60s and 70s but other then the lads from Dublin and Neil Young nearly all of my favourite music is late 80s Canadian shit - The Hip, of course, Blue Rodeo, 54-40, The Northern Pikes, The Skydiggers, the list goes on and on. And of course your man Moe Berg and The Pursuit of Happiness. Moe was probably my first brush with fame - I used to see him wandering about the Annex the odd time, tall and skinny, all long hair, glasses and leather jacket. Nervous looking.

Loved the little guitarist Kris Abbott (she does children's songs now). Loved the humour and the twisted lyrics and the harmonies. Loved the guitars and the hair and the enthusiasm.

The Pursuit of Happiness.

Of course some might say that my musical tastes and the Oilers' gameplan are one and the same. Its all eighties all the time. But that would be a horrible piece of cynicism now, wouldn't it.


Down to four teams now and I hope to post my picks tomorrow night. For the record though I'm thinking we're looking at a rematch of last year's final and probably the same result, to be honest. A ways to go towards that though.

A terrific second round, the best that I can remember, and some truths are out. Parity is here, more than ever. Any of the eight clubs might have advanced easily and throw in the fact that Calgary might have beaten Chicago if they were healthy, San Jose was the top team in the regular season, the Rangers pushed the Caps to seven and the Devils had their series in hand with minutes left and we can see that we're getting to the point where any club that makes the playoff has a shot at the Cup.

Tom Benjamin has been doing his usual terrific work this spring and he made a point the other day which I fully agree with. The Canucks' loss has a lot of people in a tizzy and has some folks calling for a teardown of the Vancouver roster. This is what Tom said before Game 6 in response to that crowd:

I think the blow it up crowd is crazy. Under this CBA I don’t think it ever pays. And that crowd won’t like the years in the wilderness, either. Most of the time you lose for four years and end up where the Blues are. Even if you really suck for a few years, just about the time you get good you have to start shedding talent.
The objective is to be above average every year. To be competitive. To be able to put it together for a run. Its unreasonable to expect more. This team has achieved this goal. Its a good team.

Tom is right and of course the tear it down crowd does not recognize the most pertinent fact. In the Canucks' series and in all of the other series the result might have been entirely different if a bounce had gone the other way. Washington, like San Jose three seasons ago, was in OT with a chance to go up three - nil in the series. They score the goal and they are through. Instead, just like Horcoff did in 2006, the Pens scored and garnered another chance. Boston and Carolina went to OT in game seven, the ultimate coin toss. The Ducks had their shot. There was a sequence early in the game where the puck bounced about in the Wings' crease and just missed ended up on a Ducks' stick. And of course Cleary's goal with minutes left spared the Wings their own flip of the coin.

As for the Canucks, if Willie Mitchell reverses the puck near the end of game four or flips it high into the neutral zone or just blasts it down the ice then Havlat may not get that lucky bounce out of the crowd and the chance that he buried. Mitchell being Mitchell he put it off the boards even though there was a mass of bodies there - if he does not then the Canucks probably have three chances to finish the Hawks and its likely they do the job, imo.

Instead Mitchell did what he did and then Havlat did what he did and now Canucks' fans would tear it to pieces, a team a break away from going to the semifinals.

Hey, as an Oilers' fan if Gillis decides to blow it up I'll heartily endorse the plan but considering how close the Canucks came it smacks of foolishness to me. There is some serious quality on that club, a nice mix of veterans and youth and expiring contracts to give them cap space. I don't see how destroying a pretty good club gets you anywhere.

Its a weird all or nothing mentality.

All four second round losers are in good shape and have the pieces in place for the next couple of years at least. Tearing down a solid foundation makes no sense at all and once its been done you can find yourself thrashing madly about, trying to turn it around, finding that the ground is giving way beneath you.

Just ask the Oilers and their fans.


mike w said...

I still see a de-1990sified Moe Berg everywhere in the Annex. He DJ'd at The Tap last time I checked.

He's also an Edmontonian, and I've actually been on the same flight with him twice.

That's it. That's my big story.

I am glad he cut his hair.

Bruce said...

The objective is to be above average every year. ... This team has achieved this goal. Vancouver has made the playoffs twice in four years since the lockout and won a total of two series. The average NHL team has made the playoffs 2.13 times and won 2.00 playoff series.

Seems pretty average to me.

Black Dog said...

Well Bruce he's talking about this year's club, right? Tom's the first to admit the futility of the franchise as a whole from what I have read on his site.

But this year's Canucks' club was in the mix. The Oilers have been in the mix once in what, fifteen years or more? And ironically it was only a Vancouver collapse that even gave them that shot.

And if they retain the Sedins they're in better shape then the Oilers going into next year as well.

Mike - he DJs at the Tap? Really?

God that place is awful.

R O said...

But this year's Canucks' club was in the mixBased on what though? Several indicators (red Corsi, red Shots +/-, hugely inflated and unsustainable SH%, etc.) point to the Canucks being supremely lucky this year.

Black Dog said...

R O - they were a poor play by Mitchell from going up 3 to 1 in the second round.

Were they in that position because of luck? I guess? I saw the Canucks play a lot this season and in the playoffs as well. They're a pretty good team.

I also think that Vigneault has them play a style that influences many of those numbers - they play that rope a dope style with Luongo back there. They have for a while, imo.

Scott said...

Yeah, the Canucks did get some luck this year but they're also a good team. Plus, them and Minny are in the best shape cap-wise going forward. blowing it up there would indeed be really stupid.

That said, I rarely think "blow it up" is an acceptable strategy and have contempt for the current system which rewards an intentionally terrible team like the Islanders over a team that tried to win like the Panthers. The draft lottery should be changed to favour the teams that just miss the playoffs IMO. But alas, that's not the way it is so fans will continue to call for their team to be terrible.

Lowetide said...

I partied with Doug and the Slugs years ago, they were a fun bunch of people. Also Toronto, they played Rocky Mountain House one thousand years ago (Holly Woods? Was that her name).

Anyway, the first .45 I ever bought was "Make me Do Anything You Want" by A Foot in Cold Water and I was too young to know (or care) if it was Canadian.

Long story short: I agree completely. We keep returning to the music of our youth.

R O said...

Black Dog - I would point out that the Canucks won game 1 on the back of playing 16 minutes on the PP vs. 4 on the PK (meaning 12+ extra minutes of not having to deal with a Hawks attack). This despite the fact that they got away with something like two or three too-many-mens that game, and another two or so as the series progressed. So the Canucks deserved their bad luck in game 4.

I wouldn't qualify the Canucks as a very good team at all. More like extremely average. For all the talk of how good their possession game is and how good their down-low game is - you look at the scoresheet and most nights, the Canucks are usually only even in shots with their opponent. You could say that's some sort of system, waiting for quality chances, etc. but I've never bought into that. To me all that says is Vancouver's not that good - all the good teams (Detroit, Chicago, Washington, etc.) regularly outshoot their opponents AND still get quality chances. Vancouver (and also Boston) rode the percentages this season like Montreal last season, and I think next season we'll see precipitous drops in both teams' standings.

Black Dog said...

LT - Doug and the Slugs - awesome!

And yes it was Holly Woods, although I was a Headpins man myself. Darby Mills!

RO - I know what you're saying and I guess we'll see what happens next year but the Canucks could have won G4, G5 and G6.

That puts them in the mix, I'd say.

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