Thursday, June 17, 2010
We were up north a couple of weeks ago for a few days to visit the folks. Good time was had by all as we brought the madness to the grandparents and the grandparents loved it.
When we head north after the warm weather has come we always hit a chip wagon on the way up. And we always visit with dear friends of ours, whether its warm or cold, but when its warm enough for their pool to be open then then kids are in there. They'd be in there day and night if they could.
And always we eat. Joan is Italian and so her home is always warm and welcoming and always there is food. There are butter tarts and raisin squares and pastries and sweets of every description. Soups and pastas and meat and bread and by the time its all over we can barely push back from the table.
When I met them many years ago their sons were seven and four and now the boys are both grown men and friends of mine. They are loud and boisterous and the air is thick with the give and take of good natured insults, the needle is always out in that house and any bullshit is called quickly and any big heads get popped pretty quickly.
We are family when it gets down to it and so when we can get over there and spend an evening its a time that I look forward to and enjoy almost more than anything. And so on this visit the kids were in the pool and we had a couple of beers and then the boys came over with their girlfriends and soon we were all sitting around the table with a couple of bottles of wine and some beer and a massive feed of ribs. One of the guys has been seeing a sweet wonderful girl for a few years now and it was good to see her and and the second brother brought over a girl for the first time (when we have been there anyhow) and she was sly and sarcastic and so she fit right in with the rest of the zoo. It was boisterous to say the least.
When it was over we pushed back from the table and the kids ran wildly, amped up on multiple desserts, chased by various adults around the house. As for me I sprawled in the living room and caught part of game four as Joan (a huge Hawks fan) fretted and cursed while her husband (a Leafs' fan, the poor bastard) and sons (Bruins/Wings) mocked and teased and derided her club.
Guess she had the last laugh though.
I've been roller blading back and forth to work a couple of days a week to try and stay (get back) into shape. Might take a month before I work off that night. All worth it though. What a time.
With Chicago victorious its now time for us to tune into the Oilers again in what has become THE time for hockey fans. The playoffs are great but if your club is not involved then its not as all consuming. As much as I loved Chicago's run this season it did not compare to 2006. And the regular season can become meaningless before the trees are naked if you are unlucky. And while training camp is fun and the start of the season brings with it hope its not as meaningful as, say, spring training in baseball. Its not an event.
But the offseason now? Well with trades in the regular season limited to deadline day now for the most part the last two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July, that month or so, has become Christmas for hockey fans. After the Cup has been presented its like a fantasy league gone wild. Not only is there the draft and the free agent frenzy but all of that pent up trading action happens plus you get your buyouts.
So every team tries to do what it can to position itself for next season. They draft for the future, try and purge past mistakes, try and bring in the guys who will put the team over the top or at least into the playoffs.
A feast indeed.
What is going to have an impact next spring will be how Chicago manages their cap issues, what moves San Jose makes, whether the Penguins bring in guys who can play with their big guns, if the Caps sit tight or change their makeup.
What Edmonton does isn't going to have an impact next spring but its going to hopefully change the course for this sadsack franchise so that maybe there will be some better springs for us in the future.
Some things I think we may see, keeping in mind that I have a terrible record at predicting this shit. Seriously I run at about thirty percent when it comes to this.
1/ They're going to pick Hall over Seguin. I think its a coin flip myself and I'd take the pivot but Hall is the sexy pick and I think that matters to the Oilers. Not the best reason to pick him but in the end I think either will be a good pick. So it will be Dopey. Me like hockey.
And that's ok.
2/ And they're going to load up at the draft. They're going to try and move up, they're going to try and trade for more picks, they're going to load up as best they can.
3/ Souray is gone but its a similarly flawed player coming back. No team can just take in a big contract like that without sending money back. So we will probably get one or two guys back for him. The cap hit will be around five million per for the next two seasons and the players will be flawed. What do you expect for a guy who is aging and has played one of the last three seasons. Might get some of that size the club needs here though, maybe an overpriced guy to play in the bottom pair and a big man to play in the bottom six forwards.
4/ Moreau is as well and I think its the same type of deal. They'll send him somewhere for a change of scenery and get the same money and same type of player back. Remember Geoff Sanderson? They aren't sending him to the minors and he isn't coming back so I think this is where they go. If not then they will buy him out.
5/ O'Sullivan and Nilsson are gone. The fact that the Oilers can buy them out for a third of their contracts means if they can't be moved (and someone might take a gamble that one of them wakes up I guess) then they will suck it up and take the hit. With Omark and Eberle on the way and Gagner, Brule and Cogliano still there there aren't enough roster spots for all of the shrimps. And these two dogfuckers have had their chance and failed miserably.
6/ I would guess that one of Cogliano or Brule is gone as well and it will probably be Cogliano for another youngster gone astray, similar to the Mueller deal this spring. The Oilers want a bigger team and the kid needs a change of scenery.
7/ I think JDD will not get moved unless they bring in a veteran to backstop Oklahoma. And even if he gets moved it will be a nothing deal. Halak brought a couple of prospects who are decent. What do you think JDD is worth? Pffft. And he is going. That WC call to Dubnyk was all you need to know about that race being over.
8/ No whale hunts this year. They'll bring in some vets through trade or the UFA market, the former will be guys that clubs need to move to clear space and the latter will be the guys trying to keep their careers alive, just like Comrie last year. Actual NHL players to help protect the kids and make the club a little bit better. Nothing that exciting though.
That's about all I have. Rumours of a big move (Hemsky or Penner) don't strike me as being reasonable. If this year goes awry then next summer they will make the decision on these guys but if you want to avoid being the Islanders then you're going to try and keep two of the very few good NHL players that you have.
Posted by Black Dog at 10:15 PM