Saturday, September 19, 2009
I remember one Christmas Eve, my God it was a long time ago now, probably twenty years or so. Our family tradition (I mean the Sudbury McLeans) is pretty simple.
First of all we're heathens. None of this going to Church once or twice a year for us. We're all out.
So what we used to do and still do when we get up there is have a big plate of shrimp and a simple fondue. The fondue pot is probably as old as I am and I think the oil my folks use is too. My Mom cuts up some steak and we eat shrimp and fondue (fondo?) the meat and have a few drinks and listen to Christmas music. My best friend, who I have known since we were five, would go to Mass with his family and then wander over from their place a couple of streets over and have a couple of beers.
On this one night we were back from school, we may even have graduated by this point, I can't remember and we were out at a buddy's. Can't remember why but Pete wasn't going to Mass that evening. It was a beautiful night. Warmer than normal, mostly because there was a nice heavy snow coming down. Everything white, you know how that looks and feels. Silence. The streetlights muted. No a soul out except for us because it was Christmas Eve. Probably around 8 or 9.
And we're heading back to my folks' place, nice and easy in our old Chevy pickup, what a great truck that was, the only North American vehicle I've ever had a good thing to say about and up ahead the light turned red and I wasn't going too fast at all but when I pressed the brake to slow down we just went for a nice easy gliding spin, round and round in nice easy loops, softly in the silent falling snow, we just looked at each other and waited it out until we came to a stop.
And then we went to my parents' place.
I think too that this was the night that we took a break from the surf and turf and went out back and smoked a joint. I remember giggling in the bathroom like fools and then trudging downstairs and cracking open another beer, glancing over to see my buddy staring at the myriad of flashing lights and Christmas geegaws that overrun my folks' house every December, waiting for him to run screaming out into the snow.
It didn't happen but damn that was some Christmas Eve.
Well it was only a few days ago that I was shooting off my mouth about how very little was happening this year in camp other than vets getting into shape and some prospects getting a chance to strut their stuff. The latter is continuing with Chorney having a nice game last night.
The thing is there may be more going on than I thought. I still think that both the goaltending and blue are set. The one guy who might have pushed for that seventh spot, Peckham, is still recovering from an ankle injury. Probably best for him to play big minutes in the AHL and I'm sure we'll see quite a bit of him this year later on when the injury bug hits.
Up front here were my fourteen a few days ago. The same fourteen as I would have listed a week ago:
Horcoff, Penner, Hemsky, Gagner, O’Sullivan, Nilsson, Cogliano, Comrie, Moreau, Pisani, Stortini, Brule, Jacques, Pouliot
Now in the last post and in the GDT at LT's there have been a lot of other names thrown about. Fact is there are some guys making an impression. Now its early and I think tonight's game against a Canucks' club with a lot of regulars might start exposing some of the pretenders but the fact is that right now there are some fellows who are turning heads.
So lets look at a few of what I believe LT calls 'tells', things that are going on or that have happened that might reveal to us what's happening.
- Jacques, Stone, Schremp, Eberle and now Brule are guys getting a long look based on the linemates that they are getting, no pluggers for these guys, they are getting time with Horcoff and Hemsky and other top sixers.
- Potulny isn't even getting a look at all, the poor bastard
- McDonald and O'Marra and Paukovich, longshots all, aren't getting much of a sniff either
- Cogliano is getting another shot at centre, if they wanted him on the wing he'd be playing wing.
So of our fourteen originals, barring injury, I think the following are locks unless there's something big in the works: Horcoff, Hemsky, O'Sullivan, Comrie, Penner, Cogliano, Gagner, Pisani, Moreau, Stortini
Now how this is going to end up as a reasonable lineup I have not the foggiest. Deano and I were going back and forth in the previous thread and by my eye the following pairs have shown something: Cogliano and Penner and O' Sullivan and Comrie. Problem is if Comrie and Cogliano are centres then it doesn't work because you still have Gagner and Horcoff. And as I said they haven't played Cogliano on the wing yet.
So likely we're going to see Horcoff and Hemsky and either Comrie or O'Sullivan on the left, likely the latter, at least to start. And then the second of those two will play on Gagner's left. And Penner and Cogliano will be a third pair. Then you have Pisani on one of these lines and I guess Moreau on the other.
I guess. You're short a RW unless Penner or Moreau shift over.
If Nilsson survives then he's the RW, likely on the Gagner line and then Moreau drops to play with Stortini and either Brule or Pouliot.
But here is where it gets interesting.
For - best player of those on the bubble, an obvious whipping boy for MacT you have to figure he could thrive under a new coach, conditioning shows he might finally get it, a world of skill, a natural RW, political fallout if he gets moved after being the centrepiece of the Smyth deal
Against - Cogliano and Gagner have pedigree, O'Sullivan is better player, they didn't bring Comrie in to sit, relatively large salary on a club with cap issues means he might be moved, despite his promise he was scratched a tonne last year
Prognosis - not so good, he's the natural to get moved especially with Eberle and the Euros in the pipeline, the Comrie signing sealed his fate, I think he gets traded if they can find a partner, gets paid a lot to send to the minors but if they need size, grit, PKers (and they do) then he's the odd man out
For - Size, an apparent willingness to do what it takes to stick as a role player and hope to move up the ladder later, too attractive to get through waivers
Against - can't afford to slide in terms of effort, can't PK worth a damn that's for sure
Prognosis - on this club he's set, they are too small and he's huge, he's our eleventh man
For - a big RH centre, just what they need, is versatile enough to slot in a higher spot if needed, looks like he finally realizes this is it and its reflected in his efforts, another guy unlikely to get through waivers
Against - jack of all trades, master of none, not very physical on a team that can use it
Prognosis - he's the wildcard, I like him and I think they need him but he hasn't done a lot to merit high hopes, to me he's a guy who can fill a need, take draws, PK, chip in with some offence, like Nilsson however I think he may be in danger
For - aggressive player, some offensive skill, great pedigree, likely not to get through waivers, management wants him to succeed, especially since they gave up an NHL player to get him and he's done fuck all yet
Against - small, not impressive in any of the areas the club needs other then he is willing to hit, did very little last season
Prognosis - he has a spot unless he's absolutely terrible and even then he might, they're not going to trade Raffi Torres for a guy and then give him what, a dozen games? He has a spot but I don't think much of him. I hope that I am wrong.
For - according to Gregor he is in the mix for the fourth line centre spot, excellent chance at bottom of the roster if not that, tenacious smart player on a team that lacks them, can kill penalties and knows his way around his end of the rink
Against - his size, his pedigree, he's a guy who could probably sneak through waivers
Prognosis - I didn't think he had a shot but he's the ginger who keeps coming back. If he makes it does that mean Pat Quinn is a shitty coach too? I hope he makes it and if they figure they need what he brings then he will
For - size, toughness, some hands (who knew?), has had a nice camp
Against - running out of spots
Prognosis - this is one guy I know nothing about and I'm not the only one, does he have to clear waivers? if he does then it helps his cause, if not I could see him going down and being the first guy coming back when the injuries start
For - those crazy hands, he's actually in shape, if they waive him someone will take a flyer and he will be gone
Against - he has to leapfrog not one but two of Cogliano, Gagner, O'Sullivan, Comrie and Nilsson, not going to happen, limited skill set means its top six or bust
Prognosis - gets snapped up on waivers or maybe they find someone willing to trade a pick for him, a nation weeps, that nation being Belgium, or something like that
For - great story, like Rudy, plus he kills people
Against - can't actually play hockey
Prognosis - can't see them carrying him, a great story from last year, two goals, a big league salary and that Flames' game but its back to the minors with him
For - management went out and got him, he can skate, at least
Against - I don't think he can do much but fight, again, can they afford to carry a guy like this
Prognosis - serious wildcard, I don't see the point but a lot of folks might disagree
For - kid has looked just fine so far and he's a RW, this club needs a RW badly
Against - he's a kid and he'd be far better off going back to junior
Prognosis - unless they get a couple of injuries then he shouldn't even get his nine games in, send him back and give him another year to fill out, he looks good though, might be another great pick
So there you have it, its a goddamned mess and of course this doesn't even take into consideration possible trades or waiver pickups.
I have to admit though, they have my attention now. I even watched a few minutes last night.
Of course I was high as a kite. That's my story anyways.
Posted by Black Dog at 10:10 PM