And I’ll be the Oilers and you’ll be the Oilers. We’ll be the Oilers and you will pass it to me and I will shoot.
He already wants the damn puck.
So we did a little bit of this and then I told him to try and put one top corner and he had no idea what I was talking about so I grabbed the ball and began to fire it at the net.
A couple of weeks ago I scored the prettiest goal of my life but last week was more the McLean signature game. I’ve always been more of a playmaker. I was covering for our Dman and the puck got chipped into our zone and I skated back, gathered it up and then hit the same Dman I was covering for, in full stride, at the opposing blueline from our slot. He skated in and scored and we were on our way. A while later we were scrambling around their net and the puck squirted behind the icing line. I gathered it and backhanded it into the mess in front and it bounced off of their goalie’s skate and in. As a guy who once scored in two consecutive games from behind the net it was same old same old.
Just don’t ask me to raise the puck.
So here we go, top corner, and I miss the net, bottom corner, hit the post, middle of the net, bottom corner, opposite bottom corner. Finally I figure I’m holding back and so I fire one and the ball whistles across the room, hitting my liquor cabinet, missing shattering all of my pint glasses by six inches.
Whereupon the boy retrieves the ball, steps back about ten feet from the net and rifles it under the crossbar, right at the right post.
Some have it. Some don’t.
I’m not a full out numbers guy. I look at them to help me gain a better understanding of the game but I don’t swear by them. Of course even the guys who the ‘watch the game’ crowd sneer at, the real math guys, generally see a lot more when they watch the game than your man who calls for Tom Gilbert or Shawn Horcoff to be traded after every shift. I've watched games with Tyler Dellow and have conversed enough with guys like Vic and RiversQ and Derek and Bruce McCurdy to recognize that they know a hell of a lot about hockey. They pick up on a lot more shit than all of your guys who figure Dion Phaneuf for a Norris trophy candidate or Rob Schremp for a fifty goal man in waiting.
Penner is an interesting case though. When he was hired by the Oilers there were a lot who thought it was a poor move, given the cost. What I found interesting and always find difficult are the observers who do not believe that a player can get better. They look at the past and ignore the fact that in some cases the indicators are not always right. In Penner's case the past numbers were not really promising.
Now I did not like the Penner move. I liked the Vanek attempt but I did not think much of the Penner sheet. In my first view of Penner in the 2006 playoffs he awed and terrified me, a huge man with great hands who gave the Oilers fits whenever he was cycling deep in their zone. His following season though he left me indifferent, despite his twenty nine goals.
A lot of folks point to the coaching change and of course it didn’t hurt, I guess, but its not like Penner walked into camp, Quinn told him a story about going over the top at Vimy and the light suddenly went on. Quinn had an open mind, for sure, but Penner’s improvement is almost all Penner, one hundred percent. He came into camp in excellent shape and he got off to a good start and he is playing with confidence and enthusiasm. I’d like to say that I am still not convinced and that we’ll look again at Christmas and talk then before we pronounce that he has arrived but the fact is that he is dominating games. He is charging the net and defencemen are bouncing off of him and he is dunking in those three footers. Whichever line he plays with suddenly takes off. He was the cure for Hemsky and now it looks like he may be jump starting Horcoff.
Of course the Oilers’ problem is one we figured all along. The wave of injuries and illness on the blue has hurt badly of course but in the end the lack of depth up front is killing them. If Pisani is Pisani then things will get better but it’s a tell that we need Ryan Stone back to add a guy who knows where to go when the good guys don’t have the puck. The kids got filled against the Wings, hell it was a gong show whenever the big line wasn’t out there.
They might get by if Pisani is OK and if Stone is OK and when the D get back. They’ll probably win a few more than they lose, I think. There’s some quality on this club. But the Detroits and Chicagos expose them badly.