Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Hodge

I actually witnessed the famous Dave Hodge moment, the one that saw him exiled from the CBC and Hockey Night in Canada, the famous pencil flipped in disgust.

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.


Kyle S said...

Hodge...interesting...I've always called it "swass".

Lame comments by Hodge. I'm all for the team maintaining their bad play so we can get a top 2 pick.

Lord Bob said...

One little correction: the picks we gave up for Penner were first, second, and third-rounders in the 2008 draft, which wound up being the #17 in the first round.

You remember the end of the 2007-08 season, I'm sure? Awful, awful hockey team, went on some ludicrous impossible run to finish .500 and miss the playoffs by the hair on their chinny chin chins despite having a -16 goal difference and being every bit as crappy as next year's team?

Anyway, Anaheim wasted the #17 on Jake Gardiner, which in an improbable linguistic coincidence is Swedish for "Sean Brown". We had the #22 that year and picked a stiff named Eberle.

Swabbubba said...

Hodge is one trick pony. I don't think the Oilers are in an intentional free fall or the coach would not bag skated them today. The team has earned the right to have a high pick and I think it is sour grapes per say for Hodge to call out the Oilers. This year has been trying I don't watch the games like I used to I just check the score. In some perverse way I am hoping they don't win until Feb so this edition of the Oilers can go down as the crappiest team ever to wear the silks. This will ensure a full force changing of the guard. Some players & senior mgmnt have overstayed their welcome and they need to go. If Katz thinks that he can repackage this crap for next year thne I think he is sorely mistaken. I would like to see the buy rate for last couple of PPV's

Black Dog said...

L.B. - so true except I would submit that if they had not picked up Penner then they would have been worse still. But you may be right, maybe not top ten.

Probably pretty close though.

Plus a second and a third.

Sad thing is now that Penner is becoming a player his time as an Oiler is growing short.

Swabb - well there is quite a bit of glee amongst the fans as to the fall but I think most of it is tied to a desire to see a thorough house cleaning, as you say. Another mediocre year ensures more of the same. Disaster might make Katz begin to wonder wtf.

Kyle - agreed. They're going nowhere. May as well get something decent from the freefall.

PDO said...


The actual pick was the Tyler Myers pick, Anaheim just traded down several times.

I don't know about you guys, but I think Myers would look pretty damn good here right about now, and as much as I like Dustin Penner as a hockey player, I'm pretty sure Myers would be giving us a much brighter future as soon as next year given relative salaries...

Black Dog said...

Yeah I was thinking about that this morning, if it was the 17th pick that would have meant the Oilers had made the playoffs, which I hear is a tournament that good clubs get to play in after early April.

Sounds like a fairy tale to me.

I think it was 12th overall? Without Penner that club definitely is top ten. Without that run of luck in March they were probably a lottery club.

Oh well.

And yeah Tyler Myers would look alright. ;)

hunter1909 said...

We're virtually the worst team in the NHL.

And it's getting worse, before it gets better - unless the Katzenjammer kids running the team decide to resume their pathetic "win now" mode. In that case, it's game over.

Scott Reynolds said...

I must admit that I hate the system that rewards failure. It gives everybody an out. I've said it before but IMO the team finishing last should have the worst chance at winning the lottery and the best team to miss the playoffs should have the best. Reward the teams that are trying to win! Don't reward the teams that leave two AHL kids in goal for the last two thirds of the year.

And that Penner signing... working out alright but it was dumb, dumb, dumb. That team was lucky to be out of the lottery.

Black Dog said...

Scott - agreed on the system you propose and agreed on the whole Penner signing, he's having a good year but he had two that weren't so good and fact is he'll be gone in two tears unless they can convince him to sign and I don't know if they can with the team being so lousy year after year

Mike said...

I'll have to admit I have no idea what you're referring to by the "famous Dave Hodge moment." Care to fill a youngster in?

I agree that Dave Hodge is off-base. As Oilers fans we realize that the best hope of turning our favourite team around would be a high draft pick. We're cheering for the FUTURE Oilers not for the current squad to lose.

Also I think it's a statement to Oilers management. We're telling them we're fed up with the direction the team is going.

Black Dog said...

Hey Mike, Hodge was the host on HNIC for many years until I believe it was in the mid 80s. The primary game neded early and they went to some extra coverage of a pretty good game. I think it may have been going into overtime and Hodge was on air when all of a sudden he says that the broadcast is done because they are going to the news. He says something snarky about the network (you can find it on google for sure), something like that's how they do things around here and then he flips his pencil in the air in disgust.

That was it for him, next week some kid named Ron MacLean was in his seat and he was fired soon after. He was very good on HNIC.

hunter1909 said...

Flames today look exactly where I've been seeing the Oilers for the past decade. Hovering around 8th place, mediocre as hell, going nowhere fast, with a fanbase that's wondering what the fuck they can do to turn it all around before their fave players disintegrate.

It's hilarious, and also make me so happy to see the Canes starting their surge under that wonderful new captain they have.

May the Oilers keep everything exactly the way it is right now - keep Moreau, and all the rest - worry about the future when it comes for a change.

spOILer said...

I hate to ask, but what does "Hodge Podge" mean then?

Dennis said...

You'll have to trust me that I didn't look this up but I was watching when it happened and I believe the game the CBC left was a Flyers/Cuntreal tilt and that what Hodge said had something to do with this decision "being typical of how this network operates."

I was just a kid then but when it happened it was still a "whoa" moment. I was a little bit more plugged in than the average kid and I realized this was a big deal.

Of course that was confirmed when I checked out HNIC the next week and Hodge was no longer there.

Black Dog said...

Dennis - yeah that was the game although I admit I cheated and looked it up.

My memory isn't what it used to be. ;)

But I remember it too, I was a teenager and I remember thinking that that a) that was pretty cool and b) it was not going to end well for him

spOILer - I believe its when the sight of a sweaty ass gives you a boner but I could be wrong.

That sort of thing doesn't do a thing for me.

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