Once again I show my age. I remember Peter Puck (the original), Showdown, Howie Meeker, Brian MacFarlane and I remember Hodge, in his powder blue blazer.
I've always liked Dave Hodge. He's got a bit of an edge to him, as edgy as one gets in the sports media business anyhow. He tends to say what he thinks and maybe that's a function of landing on your feet after getting fired from a pretty good gig or maybe just a sign of age. I know that as I get older I give less and lees of a shit about what people think, much to my wife's chagrin, as I wander down the street to a neighbour's beer in hand, or walk the dog in my housecoat.
Of course wearing a housecoat may be another sign?
Anyways I can see why Hodge said what he said on Sunday - heck the same discussion has been going on in these parts for a while now. How can an Oilers' fan cheer against his club? How can he cheer for them to lose against anyone? They are not true fans. They are bandwagon fans, so called fans.
Now I have written a few times about the nature of being a fan and I find the whole concept interesting. I was once a Chicago Black Hawks' fan, lived and died with them for nearly thirty years. Leaving them was not a conscious decision. One day I was watching a young Oilers' club taking them on and I realized that I was cheering not for Chicago, but for Edmonton, and that was that.
In the end it wasn't the losing that did me in. Chicago lost plenty over the years. Ironically it was probably the success that they had in the early nineties that spelled the death knell for me. When Pulford forced Keenan out despite the fact that Iron Mike had accomplished more in three seasons than Pulford had in the fifteen previous, when that team was dismantled piece by piece, when Roenick and Belfour and Chelios and all the rest were sent packing then I realized that the contract between the tam and I had been broken. Success was not important to Bill Wirtz, if it was then why was Pulford back in charge?
And note that when Bill Wirtz died Pulford was immediately sent out to pasture. Good move Rocky.
Hodge can say what he wants, the old grump, although I would guess he'd be a lot grumpier if he were an Oilers' fan. Or Daryl Katz, who has poured over a hundred million dollars into payroll the last two seasons and has nothing but a laughingstock to show for it.
Four years wasted. When Pronger was sent away for futures and his minutes were not replaced and then when Smyth followed him they should have gone full out and blown it up real good, to quote the late great John Candy. Instead they hemmed and hawwed and threw away what would have been a top ten pick to sign Penner, who is now just over two years away from being unrestricted, same as Ales Hemsky.
If they were going to tread water for four years they may as well have signed Smyth. The club would have been better and his contract would have been up in a couple of years now too. Plus it would have been the right thing to do for the fans, the ones who pay the freight..
The last four seasons have been an unmitigated disaster, mostly because really very little progress has been made towards rebuilding at all. For all of the kids that have been accumulated there are few with the big club who impress in any way and who knows what will happen with those kids in Europe, the juniors and college. Its nice to think that they will all be stars but of course that's not the truth at all. So we have four years and we're no closer to anything of value plus we've had to watch a lot of shitty hockey.
So forgive us, Mr. Hodge, as we hope for the worst for our club. At least we will get a quality kid, maybe one we can build a team around, maybe a nice piece to the puzzle. At best we will see Lowe and Tambellini swept away with a lot of the mess that they have created.
True story, a buddy of mine, for some reason, I have no idea, used to call his ass sweat 'the hodge'. As in, 'fuck its hot, I'm just sitting here and I have serious hodge' or 'I thought she was pretty cute but when we left the dance floor I oculd see she had some hodge going on'.
I think hodge is a good way to describe the Edmonton Oilers' franchise right now. Ass sweat sounds about right.