Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Journey

Was digging through our old desk in the basement over the weekend and found a dozen envelopes of developed pictures.

My wife's father is an accomplished and prolific photographer (after our wedding he handed us eight rolls of film that he had taken through the day and evening - we had never even noticed) and my wife has the bug as well. We have albums of pictures and a hard drive with thousands of images on it but just the other day I was going through an old shoebox I have which has old pictures and ticket stubs and other stuff from my bachelor days (I have an old cabinet downstairs which is all mine - books and pint glasses and photos and old baseballs and cards from the kids and keepsakes from my travels, some sentimental stuff, some great old memories) and while I found a lot of pictures I also was missing quite a few from my slacker days. And then I got to thinking and looking at our photo albums I realized that there were two enormous gaps, one in my life from about 1993 until when I moved to the States and one in our life from when we moved back from the States to when we started having babies, with the exception of our trip to Ireland and Scotland in 2002, just prior to our first pregnancy.

And I knew that there were pictures from both times. There are a few framed around the house and in my mind's eye I could see a few of them.

But they had disappeared.

And now suddenly I had found them.

Of me. Pictures from parties in the early and mid nineties, big hair and cigarette smoke and is that a bead necklace around my neck? my wife said. Um, yep. The first wedding for one of our friends, all of us not yet thirty, skinny, no grey hairs, all of our hair, no exhaustion from the kids, roaring at the camera. The girl from Rawlins Cross in a summer dress and sandals, black and white. My best friend and I at our camp, he fishing off the dock, a friend's long gone terrier staring intently into the lake. My own just passed big fellow a tiny ball of black fur, floppy ears, white paws and tip of his tail, white seven blazed on his chest, small enough to fit in my cupped hands. Out on a boat on Charlottetown harbour with friends just around the time that I would meet the girl who would become my wife.

Of us. Pictures from Quebec City and Montreal as we drove from Charlottetown after our wedding, on our way to Toronto to get an apartment and Jenn a job so we could move back to this good country. The first of seven annual Christmas parties we hosted before, pregnant with our third, we put the kibosh on the tradition. May be time to begin again. Here we are in our apartment. Six couples. No kids. Within two years there will be four kids. Today there are thirteen. My wife sitting on the couch, glass of wine, tongue sticking out, snarling, I love this picture. Our new house, wood panelling everywhere. Layer after layer of wallpaper. My best friend's wedding. Another friend's wedding. Laughing, glasses raised high. The big fellow after his first encounter with a skunk, dripping tomato juice, forlorn in the tub, the bathroom looking like the site of a massacre, red on the walls and floors and everywhere from everytime he shakes in disgust. Hen parties with drunken nurses and cock shaped cakes. Jenn pregnant with our first. Belly swelling, her belly button ring almost a thing of the past.

And now we're caught up. The pictures sit on our hutch and every time I wander by I pick them up and laugh. Its been quite the trip.


New lines by the looks of it for the Oilers. Paajarvi, who has been the best of the kids, will play with Horcoff and Hemsky. Eberle will get Penner and Gagner. Hall will play with Cogliano and Brule. We'll call those guys "The Lost Boys". I think that works.

Its going to be a long season and we knew this and so unlike the past four years where management wanted to have their cake while eating it too I think we all know we're going to see a lot of losses, hopefully for the longterm greater good. The kids are going to take their lumps and with the dearth of veteran quality up front and on the blue its going to be a whole lot of ugly with an uncertain payoff. Renney is rolling them and the theory is that he wants to see what kids can do what against tougher opposition. They're going to get killed. Only Smid and Gilbert have looked good by the scoring chances metric and only Penner/Gagner/Hemsky have done well up front with the Horcoff line holding its own at times.

So Renney will mix things up and we'll see if anything comes of it. He was a hard matcher when he was with the Rangers so one suspects there is a method to his madness and once he knows who is going to get gutted when Iginla or the Sedins come to town (I think he must already know for the most part really) then he will begin to use a little more strategy when it comes to sending guys over the boards. For now though we will just grin and bear it.

Our lament is the same as always. If things were patched up with Souray or if a few veterans had been added to kill penalties and handle the toughs then this club would stand a better chance on some nights but its been the modus operandi of management these past years to leave holes everywhere and so we have to hope that this time the reality is that a lottery pick is better than the few extra wins that might mean a pick around eleven or twelve.

I can live with it although I dread a few years from now when Hemsky and Penner and Gilbert are gone and one of the prize kids doesn't turn out or gets hurt badly and then another one decides he's had enough of the losing and wants out. I know everyone points to the Pens and the Blackhawks but I keep thinking Thrashers and Islanders and see myself joining Dellow and Winters in a pub forty years from now, parking our jetpacks outside, Winters in a wheelchair, Dellow with his walker (I'll be fine - clean living you know) and us bitching about how Tambo, version 25b, is high on this new first overall pick, Robert Nilsson the third.

God help us. Hopefully the journey will have more laughs and joyful occasions than that.


Chappy said...

Cripes, Pat. I lost it at the photo.

Bruce said...

The Lost Boys works for me. Clever idea by Renney to take off Paajarvi who at least backchecks and replace him with the youngest, least-defensively repsonsible rookie on the team.

If it were up to me I'd either be protecting 13-67 with Penner, or splitting them between the 3rd and 4th lines and putting some grinders with them.

But this just in: it's not up to me.

David S said...

I suppose this means Tom Gilbert will be playing about 50 minutes a game and Khabby will have to replace his pads at about the same pace as pro tennis players change their racquets.

Pete. said...

Awesome photo. My wife and I are deep in discussion about getting a dog (it's passed the if stage, and we're now debating when), and everywhere I look these days it's puppies, puppies, puppies. Yours was a great dog.

Black Dog said...

Yeah Chappy its a great one. A whole roll of him at that age plus plenty of him from 2001 and 2002. It was a nice find for sure.

Pete - he certainly was. As a puppy though he was a bit of a jerk. I remember buying him and buddy saying 'you know the first year is brutal' and I snorted - sure whatever. He was right. Lots of good but he was a pest and into shit from day one. Worth it though.

Black Dog said...

lol David, yeah I don't think things are going to get any better soon. The over under on Khabby staying healthy is American Thankgsgiving, I think.

Bruce - Dennis just commented over at LT's, basically saying what we all know. They're fucked whichever way they go. That line is going to be in their own end 95% of the time, especially seeing as they are just rolling them. Not enough guys who can play. I presume at some time Jones and Stortini will get a shot with the kids but for now its just a case of finding a fit. I think this configuration works a bit. Penner and Gagner should hold their own and Horcoff and Hemsky too. Paajarvi will do well I think.

But they're short guys who can play.

Alice said...

Well that 3-line is a bit brutal, but if you look around and you see Bill Lee up the middle, maybe you learn to check. Not from the other guys on your line, but Because of them. I could see 4 benefiting from having to cover someone else's ass for a change. Of course that will be a fire drill, but as someone said, kept to 10-ish minutes we might be able to stomach it.

Nice pic. Gotta say too, the words are flying out of you lately. Well done, keep the hammer down as long as you can!

macaotim said...

First off...just back from Shanghai and I bought 11 Oilers jerseys for family and friends (an assortment of Halls, MPSs, Gretzkys and one Eberle for me). The jerseys look authentic...can't wait to get back to Canada and compare. I paid around 19 CAD each. Anyway, I choose an Eberle jersey because I think he, not MPS, has been the best of the 3 rookies. He seems soooooo poised with the puck.

Anyway, I had a big fire in my backyard before I left Edmonton for more communist waters and I burnt all the old shit that I had stored from life-times past. Letters from girlfriends, some gifts for random chicks, treasured pornos and incriminating photos. It was a spiritual event; my wife was standing beside me watching the toxic fumes whirl into the clear, star-filled Alberta night. All this shit was locked in a trunk in my basement. I did keep a bunch of stuff, including pics of my girl Willow when she was a pup.

As for the Oilers, there's enough in their trunk that you need not worry and set it ablaze. Tambo's shelf life will pass and someone will take the reigns and lead us to the promised land.

Fuck, I hope I'm right!

Woodguy said...

When I look at pictures of myself and my friends in our 20's I see people with much different immediate goals, priorities, bank accounts and responsibilities, but yet I feel exactly like the guy in the pictures.

I'm rounder and grayer, but in my mind I have changed otherwise even though my entire world has.

I'm not sure that ever changes.

Hopefully I'll live long enough to look in the mirror and see an old man staring back at me, but somehow still feel like I'm 22 and just concerned with chasing tail.

The prediction that 4-13-67 will spend 95% of the time in their own zone is a little off.

If 5-77 are on the ice its high.

If 6-26 are on the ice, its about right.

If 2-49 are on the ice, its low.

What pisses me off to no end about the Oiler management is the constant mantra about "having patience and letting the kids develop"

Most everyone has paitience for these kids (although 91 & 14 look just fine only 4 games into their NHL careers...wow)

What I don't have patience for is filling out the roster with a pile of flotsam.

Having 2 AHL goalies, JFJ (LTIR), Studwick, Smac, Vandermeer on the roster is bad.

Having two very redundant players like 13 & 67 is bad.

Look at Florida, they are "re-building" and filled out their roster with *ACTUAL NHL PLAYERS* on 1 year contracts, and they will probably make the playoffs.

Why does the Oiler rebuilding method have to include having shitty vets and getting your head kicked it?

Are they trying for another lottery pick?

If this team stays relatviely healthy they are not a lotter team.

Why not make better roster decisions?

Fuck Tambellini and Fuck Lowe for saddling this team with a bunch of shit when they didn't have to.

Woodguy said...

should be:

"I'm rounder and grayer, but in my mind I HAVEN'T changed otherwise even though my entire world has."

Kinda changes the entire meaning of the sentence.


Black Dog said...

Woodguy - yeah I agree with you and I guess it comes back to our old worry, which you have articulated a few times. Does Tambo have the chops to build a competitive team? I would say that he does not.

My mom is in her late seventies and she says that in her mind she is still in her late twenties. Unfortunately her body is not.

Black Dog said...

macaotim - I hope you're right too!

And I have liked Eberle quite a bit as well btw.

Thanks Alice.

Well, we'll see how that line does. If anything they will get some experience playing in their own end without the puck. All three could learn from that - hopefully they do so.

David S said...

Nice thoughts WG. Pretty much my point of view as well. At this stage I'm not really concerned about winning as much as being able to compete. Go hard at it and let the chips fall where they may. Most of us would be OK with that. But working in 3 new guys and another 3 (at least) almost new guys while not bothering to surround them with competent veteran players is inexcusable in my opinion.

The way this team is going now is pointing to a pretty obvious tank job, which I cannot accept in professional sport. Not after last year's obvious tank job.


spOILer said...

Is that a Rangers jersey you're wearing? For shame, Pat, for shame.

Black Dog said...

lol, yes it is, I think, iirc, it was actually an old practice jersey I used as a teeneager, there was no logo but it was obviously a Rangers shirt

I think I may have found it amongst my Dad's old gear and I absconded with it

For years later I had it and wore it as a shirt because I am a fashionista when it comes right down to it