Friday, November 20, 2009

I Love Myself Some Colm Meaney

The truth about life is this. Unless you are independently wealthy or a professional athlete or in some other profession that puts you in a position where big things happen to you a lot, life is not full of big moments. Its the small moments that make life what it is.

Sure you have your wedding and the arrival of your children and your travelling to wonderful locales. You have your love affairs and your road trips, your first kiss and your first times, buying your dog and the glory when your favourite team goes on a run or a Canadian wins Olympic gold.

But for every one of those special days there are thousands of small moments that are the story of your life. Building a model helicopter with your son. Taking your daughter out for pancakes at the local joint. Taking your kids and the dog for a walk in the little ravine in your neighbourhood, showing them a tiny snake and the trees laden with snails and the wildflowers at stream's edge. Having a beer in a pub with your dad as a vicious winter storm rages outside. Enjoying a pork roast and a bottle of wine, courtesy of your mom. Your love leaning back as she rises over you, in shadows, the streetlight drifting through the blinds the only illumination, curves and sweet pale skin. The baby throwing the rest of her dinner overboard as the dog rushes into the room. A cool October night in a village in Cork, the smell of peat in the air as you duck into a quiet pub. The light rain falling outside when you awake in the quiet dawn. Another Saturday night on the ice with Capsule. Stumbling out of the Communist Bar after pints with your good friend, lurching down the Danforth as the heavy silent snow falls around you.

So much out there. So much to life.

I love my big moments and I love my small moments and I'll take what I can get. Last week my wife got the horrible news that a girl that she played soccer with this summer had passed away. In her late twenties, diagnosed with cancer in August after going in to see about a sore back. Gone three months later. Awful stuff and a reminder that not everyone can be as lucky as my folks, down for a visit this week, nearing eighty and still full of piss and vinegar. Lucky and they'll be the first to tell you.

Naw life isn't about all of the sound and fury, the white noise, the media telling us for weeks that the end is nigh and then telling us not to panic in the next breath (ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall the msm has cast about for something to keep us on edge, first it was terrorism, now its essentially pandemics and the weather).

Its not about the big roar. Tom Cruise grimacing as he runs from some computer generated threat. Run Tom run. I wonder if that is a Scientologist thing? Isn't Will Smith a Scientologist too? He spends a lot of time in his gigantic movies running. Run run run.

Maybe its in that weirdo Tom Cruise's contract. 'Mr. Cruise must spend ten percent of finished product engaged in running'.

Mr. Cruise leaves me cold. So did Demi Moore when she was big. You know who I like? Colm Meaney. Curly thinning hair, craggy face, heavy set, sneering, smirking Irishman. I could have a beer with Colm Meaney. I'd rather watch Colm Meaney fret and fume about his teenage daughter being pregnant in The Snapper a thousand times before watching Tom Cruise running from another fucking alien spaceship. Just as I'd rather see Julie Delpy, wispy, pale beauty, spend two hours talking to Ethan Hawke, than Demi Moore playing a stripper or a lawyer or an astronaut or whatever the genius producers have figured out for her.

Oh well, to each his own I guess.


Pat Quinn talked on Friday and damn, I love listening to his pressers. He pulls no punches and he doesn't talk in cliches and he's interesting. He gives us information and you know what pisses me off? If you didn't listen to the shit on the interweb you'd never have an idea. The MSM doesn't give us but a fraction of it. Rotten. Anyways his latest is great stuff as always. What interested me and what I want to talk about, is what he says about Liam Reddox and Ryan Potulny. I especially want to talk about Reddox.

You can't keep track of what is going on without a reference when it comes to the guys coming back from injury or going down with injuries on this club but the fact is that unless a couple guys take a step back or someone else goes down, soon a decision has to be made. Even with MacIntyre gone and Pisani on injured reserve again there is about to be too many forwards on the roster.

Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky, Comrie, Gagner, O'Sullivan, Moreau, Pouliot, Stortini, Jacques, Pouliot, Stone, Nilsson, Reddox, Potulny, Brule

That's two too many.

Comrie and Nilsson are still a ways away I think and Jacques, Pouliot and Stone are all still day to day, I believe. Sounds like Jacques may be ready to go. Pouliot and Stone have just started practicing.

So no decisions need to be made yet but when the time comes what do the Oilers do?

I think Quinn's presser gives us some answers or at least some hints as to what the coach wants. He is happy with Potulny who had a poor camp but who has done well in this callup. What makes the coach happy? The PP goals are nice but what Quinn wants to talk about is Potulny's positioning, his checking, his ability to do the little things correctly.

And Reddox? The fans' whipping boy from last season? The guy whose callup was meant with scorn this season? Well, MacT, who was the ONLY reason Reddox even got a look last year apparently, must be wearing a Pat Quinn suit because Quinn talks about how Reddox was the last cut at this year's camp and how he has done everything they need from him since he came back.

Now Reddox is still a kid and at times his numbers are going to reflect this but the reality is this guy offers a lot that this this team needs. He is aggressive and he goes hard all of the time. He hits and he picks up his man and he wins puck battles. He blocks shots and clears the zone and he gets the puck deep.

Is it sexy? Robert Nilsson sexy? No.

Now he may be Patrick Thoreson redux and if he is, well that's still ok. Thoreson's biggest problem was that he wasn't a guy who would score a lot and when Curtis Glencoss arrived and immediately went on a rampage with Brodziak and Stortini, dining on the opposition's scrubs, well that was it for the Norwegian. So Thoresen went away and then so did Glencross and Brodziak so where did that leave us? With not a damn thing.

If Liam Reddox does what he does, what Patrick Thoreson did, and ends up as a fourth liner who can provide some energy and hold his own and chip in a goal here and there then he's valuable. If he can rise above that and become Pisani II well then all the better. Time will tell.

But think of the last game the Oil played. Reddox forechecked hard and that led to O'Sullivan's game winner. In subsequent shifts, by my memory, an Av was rushing hard and gained the line. Reddox got a piece of him and that resulted in change of possession. He provided an outlet for a defenceman by sagging deep into the zone and then cleared the puck. At the end of a shift he got the puck over centre and then got it deep for the change. Later on he cleared the zone again and also blocked a shot.

Sexy? No.

Doing shit that wins you games? Absolutely.

Reddox has a second coach on his side and its becoming clear that he is going to have an NHL career. MacTavish liked him. Quinn likes him. I'm thinking that if he were playing for Hitchcock or Babcock or Woodcock or Mycock he'd be getting his minutes.

Why? Because he helps the damn team win. And that's the name of the game. Rob Schremp hockey may be sexy but its loser hockey. The Oilers need a little less of that and a little more Colm Meaney. Er, Liam Reddox. I'm thinking when the dust clears he will still be standing.


Anonymous said...

Well Patrick, once again, you've made this old Italian mama proud. You've always known what's important. . . and on that note . . . what baking do you want for Christmas!!

macaotim said...

I wrote this in response to a post a few posts ago:

"Anyway, you love Pisani too much and Reddox just enough. R's game is simple and effective. I was at a lot of games in E-town last year and he appeared to be a sound player...not very effective in x-box, but holds his own, rather than beating his own, in real life."

I stand by my thoughts and I like the fact that you point out the good things guys like Reddox do. To many fans only go by their hockey points=no good. And, that's just not true. Stortini is another guy who gets ripped...but he's just the sort of player I hated playing against. His positioning and defensive play arn't bad either.

I do, however, find your man cursh on Pisani starting to get a bit creepy. He was reasonable, but not the small-g god you are in love with.

Black Dog said...

macaotim - here's the thing with Fernando that made him a key member of the Oilers. Like Smyth he was an outscorer and like Smyth he did it against the other team's best players.

Now he wasn't a scorer like Smyth, you saw the numbers a few posts ago - 15 goals a year or thereabouts.

But he played against the other's team quality and he outscored them plus he was an excellent PK man. So that says it all. If he outplays the other team's quality offensive players then he deserves the recognition.

Now his effectiveness has waned the last two seasons and on top of that folks look at his contract and that's the first thing they see and as a result he gets lumped in with guys like Moreau.

Just a couple of years ago though he was a big part of this club, because he did the little things that you talk about but also scored enough to be a step above guys liek Reddox and Thoreson.

Baroque said...

My sympathies to your wife. Whenever I see someone's age in an obit, and I find my self thinking "that is my age" or "that is younger than my kid sister" I always get a shiver.

Small moments with kids are large moments to them - unless my nephew's cousins are around, I am NOT PERMITTED to hang out in the kitchen talking with the grownups because I have to play games on the floor with a four-and-a-half-year-old. The horror of it all. :D

(And if you ever get an urge to write a book, it would be a breeze - just collect a bunch of your posts, check them over quickly for spelling and grammar errors that might have snuck through, and voila! a book of essays on life, the universe, and hockey.)

Scott Reynolds said...

Good article Pat. Regarding Scientology, Will Smith is not a member so far as I know. The founder was hilarious though, science fiction writer before he was a religious man. Here's a quote from him before he started his religion: "I'd like to start a religion. That's where the money is." Gold. And there was ten different kinds of crazy once it began: "The alleviation of the condition of insanity has also been accomplished now." Ummm, nope.

As for Reddox, he does some nice things but he's not at the same level as Thoresen was yet, let alone Pisani. Good old Patrick was actually able to break even and MacT started using him some against the toughs where he did alright. Reddox has been pretty consistently crushed. He does some nice things, but he's a good long way from being a helpful piece on a playoff team.

Black Dog said...

Baroque - thanks for your sympathies, it was an awful reminder of how fragile this whole thing is

as for the little moments / big moments thing, as someone who drops by quite often I think you know that while these moments with the kids may be little, they are really about as big as they get with the exception of those really big deals

Black Dog said...

Thanks Scott. There have been rumours of Smith being involved for quite a while but I have to admit that I have picked those up from trashy internet sites (not unlike this one ;) ) so take that fwiw.

As for Liam, I would agree with you. Its going to take time and he may never get there though I am hopeful that he will. Ideally he'd be playing on the fourth line against the dregs or with a couple of veteran outscorers to get his feet wet but so it goes.

Thoresen was a minus one on that 06/07 club. Minus one! That would be like plus forty on a top club. ;)

Another dummy mistake by management.

Bruce said...

Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky, Comrie, Gagner, O'Sullivan, Moreau, Pouliot, Stortini, Jacques, Pouliot, Stone, Nilsson, Reddox, Potulny, Brule

That's two too many.

Well it's one Pouliot too many unless we traded for Benoit (heaven forbid). Cogs missing?

But "two too many" is three or four not enough right now. You need organizational depth at forward like at any position. The likelihood of all these guys being healthy at once seems pretty goddamn remote based on what we've seen up 'til now.

David S said...

Further to Bruce's post above, that's TEN developing players out of sixteen.

Just that fact alone grinds my gears.

Chicago 6 Edm 3 (and that's being generous)

Black Dog said...

Bruce - they traded Cogs for Pouliot? ;)

And I went over the damn list twice too. Stupid aging.

Agreed on the depth thing, its been illustrated on the back end as well.

If, and its a big if, they get healthy though, they're going to have to make some decisions. That will be intersting. Will they bury some salary? Or will they try and sneak a couple of cheap kids through waivers?

Personally I hope for the former.

macaotim said...

Black Dog,

If it makes you sleep better at night, I'll agree with you. However, I still think you over state Pisani's status.

You have been preaching that the Oilers have not replaced spare parts with other useful spare parts. Pisani is yet another part that does, or at least in the near future will, need replacing. On this front, you are right on...and I would take a couple of newer Pisanis if I could.

Black Dog said...

macaotim - ah you may misunderstand me then, I'm definitely talking about Pisani's past work. I thought that last year's struggles may have been due to playing centre but his numbers were not good.

And while his PK work looked fine to me this season in the few games that he played, he certainly is a shadow of his former self. Of course he was sick as well.

In any case he is probably done and even if he were not sick now its still likely the case. Have to agree with you there.

Gord said...

Patrick Thoreson is tied for 11th over in Russia... And is tied for 4th in +/-...


Gord said...

11th in scoring...

Black Dog said...

I believe it Gord.

Guy was a useful player. He would look good as an Oiler right now.

And he would have been inexpensive.


Vic Ferrari said...

Good for Thoresen. MacT threw that cat to the wolves while he waited for the puck to get going the right way for the kids. Dude didn't have much finish, but that stretch with Stoll and Reasoner was the most brutal icetime I've ever seen. Pahlsson would have fallen to the floor and curled up in a ball, for crissakes.

It's a shame that our local media is oblivious to such things. Jason Gregor doesn't believe that coaches match lines, or ever have. Bless him. He's a sparkling genius compared to the rest.

Quinn doesn't have the game to run a bench like that, though. And really, being clever on the bench only gains you so much. Pat isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, he's not helping himself here, but the lack of talent that is the much bigger worry for the Oil. Or so I think.

Black Dog said...

I'd agree Vic, I watched the game Saturday night and the depth up front is just beyond poor. Now of course Comrie and Pouliot and Stone and poor Fernando are out and some or all of them would be better options than what they are running out there now. I mean Fernando is pretty well done but he's still a better player than some of these guys. And Comrie at least might do something with some soft minutes.

I wonder what Quinn was like before his Leaf days because there was a team where you really could roll the lines. I mean he generally had great goaltending to back up what was going on up front but he always had a veteran team, guys who he could roll out there, hard on the puck, pick up their man, chip in some offence, all that usual non video game stuff. And so he could get away with 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4.

Wonder what he did with the Nucks. Can't say I know.

Doogie2K said...

I just want to say, Colm Meaney is great. Somehow, a bit player on an 80s sci-fi TV series with big boots to fill became one of the longest-lasting characters on one of the longest-lasting TV franchises.

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