Monday, October 04, 2010

An Oh Shit Moment

So we're heading out of Sudbury Saturday night at around half past six and its already getting dusky and my wife turns to me and expresses concern about hitting a moose seeing as its getting dark and all and I reassure her that there aren't really any moose south of the city, the terrain isn't really made for them, its more deer country. To which she replies, because she is a mother of three, that what happens if we hit a deer? And I tell her that in nearly twenty five years of doing the run between Toronto and Sudbury multiple times annually I have never even seen a deer.
She immediately says 'Why did you say that? I can't believe you said that!' and my response is somewhere along 'oh yes, now we're in for it, the deer have bugs in the van and know what I said and they're going to make me pay for my hubris!'

You know where this is heading, don't you? Yep, you can see it coming miles away.

We're not even an hour out, just passing French River and darkness has fallen and we've got a few hours to go. First the boy and then the baby fall asleep and only our oldest is awake in the back and we're going at a decent clip.

Less than an hour after this we're coming into Parry Sound, we're about a dozen kilometres out and its pitch black and here's a fair sized doe climbing out of the ditch right in front of us, we're talking metres away.

Now you always wonder how you'd react under pressure. You like to think that you'd be cool and you wouldn't shit yourself in panic and that you would do the right thing, right? But you have no idea what you will do when faced with a challenge which could, well, end up
very very badly.
And let me tell you one thing, time definitely slows right down. Or it did for me. I would say in about a tenth of a second I processed the following:

- there's nobody behind me
- there's nobody in the oncoming lane
- that's one big fucking animal
- I'm going about 90km an hour
- if I hit that big fucking animal we're going to be in a world of hurt
- if I swerve into oncoming traffic and that big animal is still in front of me not only am I going to hit it but whoever is coming the other way next is probably going to plow into us at 90 km an hour or faster which means we will all be dead
- so don't swerve left
- don't swerve right because there's a ditch and then its either a rock cut, forest or deep water
- do the only thing you can do, hit the brakes
And that's what I did.

And let me just give a shoutout to the fine people at Honda. Because even though I slammed on those motherfucking brakes (enough that my daughter lunged forward in her seatbelt) it was like a pillow it was so silky smooth, so smooth that there was no loss of control, no crazy swerving, so little resistance that neither of the two sleeping kids even woke up.

And so two seconds or so after we saw that deer, as it backed away itself in a panic, we hit it but brushed its shoulder oh so gently that it didn't even leave a mark on the vehicle.

Can you imagine?

Holy fuck.

Pulled over and my wife looks at me and says 'You had to fucking say it, didn't you?'

A little less terrifying but still a learning experience all around was the announcement of the final cuts from the Oilers. The roster is as follows:

F - Horcoff, Penner, Hemsky, Paajarvi, Eberle, Hall, Brule, Cogliano, Gagner, Jones, Fraser, Stortini, MacIntyre, Jacques

Most likely Jacques will start the season on IR. So that is thirteen forwards.

D - Gilbert, Whitney, Smid, Foster, Strudwick, Vandermeer, Peckham

G - Khabibulin, Dubnyk, Deslauriers

So for the most part there are no surprises on this list. Omark didn't get the plum linemates that the big three did, except for one game, where he put up three points, but we could see this one coming. He'll be back, probably the first time someone in the top nine goes down. My guess is Vande Velde will be back too, he had a nice camp. Peckham didn't blow anyone away but he's a kid and so I always figured he'd get the push over Petoit and Belle. Those guys may be late bloomers but then again they may just be borderline NHLers. Peckham may only be that as well but you have to play him and find out.

And of course there is the whole MacIntyre thing. Well I don't get it. They had this guy on the roster and guys were still getting run so we'll see. I can't see the point. I prefer a guy like Vandermeer who can take a regular shift and strikes me as a bit of a vicious fucker. He's certainly more of a deterrent than MacIntyre imo. But anyhow it is what it is.

The oh shit moment for me today is that Liam Reddox has been sent out so that for the second time in three seasons (and third in six) the Oilers will actually run with a three goalie system.

This isn't about Reddox. Well it is a little bit. Look I get that he is a fourth liner at best and he's a little guy and yeah you could replace him easily, or so you would think. Except like Thoresen and Brodziak and Pisani, who the defending Stanley Cup champions think enough of to give a contract and a roster spot (reviews of old friend Fernando have been glowing), here we have another guy who doesn't do much except play the game the right way. He does the little things. He hits. He kills penalties. He blocks shots. He works his ass off. And he had probably the best camp out of any of the guys fighting for thsoe roster spots.

And they send him out. And keep three fucking goalies.

That's the thing with these clowns. You look at their work over the past year and there's a glimmer of hope and then they show that after all they are still the same hopeless bunch, the same clowns who can't decide between a couple of marginal prospects for fear of I don't know what, the same bunch of fools who misread the goalie market so badly last summer that they gave the singlemost worst contract to a goalie since the lockout, if not also in the years before that.

What are they afraid of? That Deslauriers will get claimed and make them look bad?

Well the buzz about Reddox has been very good and I would bet that he gets claimed. And I hope that he gets claimed by the Flames or the Canucks and that from this point until the day that Steve Tambellini loses his job that every time the Oilers play his new club that he shoves it right up their asses so that every time Mr. Personality or Kevin Lowe or Tom Renney gets interviewed one of the first questions asked is ' hey why did you guys keep three goalies instead of keeping two, like every other team in the league, and a useful guy like Liam Reddox.

Won't happen but man I can dare to dream.


shepso said...

great story Pat. Glad it didn't actually cause any serious damage to you and your family. It reminds me of when I moved from Edmonton to Windsor (the first time I left Edmonton for this province). A buddy of mine and I decided to do the drive across Canada, all the way from Edmonton through Northern Ontario and down to Windsor, which for those of you that have done the drive, know how shitty but beautiful it actually is. My buddy was driving at this point, and we were both hungover as all hell, having spent the night in Kenora at a friend's cottage. We were somewhere between Kenora and Thunder Bay at the time, it's pich black, and I'm not paying any attention to anything at all, just texting my girlfriend like a moron. All of a sudden, my buddy who is behind the wheel of my car, which incidentally contained all of my worldly possessions, (and a large bag of pot) screams at the top of his lungs "MOOOOSE!!!!!!!!!" and slams on the breaks just a little bit. It was enough for me to drop the phone, lose my shit and brace for impact. There was no moose. He was just getting pissed off that I was constantly texting my girlfriend who he loathed and being a shitty road buddy. After I had calmed down and decided it was my turn to drive, he told me that he had been planning to do that for like half an hour but was just working up the urge to keep a straight face. Bastard...

In terms of hockey, I'm pretty pissed about the Reddox situation. I'm not surprised though, given that (mis)management was high enough on both Jones and Smac to give them deals (or claim them off the waiver wire) despite the fact that Reddox ate both their lunches in camp. But what do I know? I've only been watching 75-80% of the games this team has played in the last 10 years, and spent more time watching the exhibition games this season then in any other. I'm just a fan, so my knowledge of the game is limited to a fan's perspective, and those couple of years I spent playing in a jewish league when I was a teenager (my people are a lot of great things, but natural athletes we are not...Sandy Koufax aside). So what gives? And we have yet another three headed monster. The monster is dead, long live the monster...again.

spOILer said...

She sounds a bit superstitious.

Pete. said...

Was going to tell a deer story, but Shepso's "mooooose!" tale is so hilarious I'll just leave it at that.

This is incredibly frustrating. I remember watching the Oilers in the late 90s and early this century, and the teams weren't very good, but they always had solid depth guys: not amazing or particularly memorable players, just useful guys who played their 10 min/night effectively. Jim Dowd, Rem Murray, whoever. The current edition has already let a line's worth of those guys go for various stupid reasons, and now they're potentially losing Reddox so they can keep their goddamn plethora of crappy goalies. It just makes me tired. I hope Reddox gets picked up and becomes a solid, if unspectacular, NHLer.

And by that I mean "Buuuuhh! You're too negative! Guuuuhhhh!"

Shepso: Koufax, plus Max Baer and a bunch of other boxers.

Black Dog said...

Shepso - agree with Pete, that's a beauty! I presume that you buried him somewhere up on the Shield? No worries, they'll never find him.

Mathieu Schneider is Jewish. Ex Jay Shawn Green too. He was quality in his prime.

Three times in six years they've run with three goalies. Other than the Islanders I can't think of another club that's done this.


Pete. said...

Other than the Islanders I can't think of another club that's done this.

When you're talking about the Oilers, and you start a sentence with "Other than the Islanders...", it really doesn't help my hockey-related depression.

On the off-topic topic: I remember reading an article about how Jeff Halpern couldn't play on a Jewish holiday, and I'm pretty sure Mike Cammalleri is Jewish, despite the Italian surname. Ronnie Stern is more obvious. And that's all the Jewish NHLers I can come up with.

Scott Reynolds said...

Scary stuff, Pat. I'm not even thirty and I've already hit two deer, hard enough that both deer died, but not so hard that I couldn't drive away both times. It was pretty scary stuff in each instance.

As for the Oilers, it's a really odd thing with these goalies. They were pretty decisive on a lot of players this summer, and yet they still can't bring themselves to make a choice here. It's weird.

shepso said...

nice to see that my people are actually represented in sports, but really, I was trying for a second joke at the know that whole Jewish self-deprecating humour thing...

Either way, glad you all got a kick out of the Moose story. Surprisingly, I didn't kill Clay and leave him to rot on the shores of lake superior. Instead I make him get me to and from the airport every time I fly home to visit. I think that's worth him nearly giving me a heart attack

hunter1909 said...

You're definately Celtic.

The Forechecker said...

Congrats on surviving the deer attack. My Subaru wasn't so lucky about 3 years ago when a deer leapt (mostly) across the road and threw a vicious hip check into the upper portion of my windshield. It totaled the car, and then ran off without even exchanging insurance information.

The bastard.

Black Dog said...

lol Forechecker, good stuff

Shepso - what do they say, revenge is a dish best served cold? still time to make him pay dearly ;)

Scott - yeah its truly shit your pants stuff and hitting a deer is pretty scary too ;)

Your take is on the money though - you cut all of these guys loose over the summer, not even a second thought and yet here you have two pretty mediocre prospects (at least so far, I still hold out hope for DD) and can't cut one loose? Crazy.

LittleFury said...

It's nice to see Oilers management is in mid-season form already. Bunch of fucking clowns.

The thing about the Reddox and Cerebus the goalie that drives me nuts is that, yeah, these are relatively small things, but if they can't get the little things right, how the fuck can you trust them to manage the big things like rebuilding, making the playoffs, shit like that?

Black Dog said...

Reddox clears, poor little fucker.

Littlefury - thats it exactly. I know a lot of fans are saying, big deal, its Reddox who cares. Same as people said whatever when player after player was let go and not replaced with someone of equal or better value.

Holland lost Ritola because he kept Maltby. Probably a bad move but looking at Holland's body of work he can probably be forgiven.

Tambo has absolutely no rope and I don't trust him one bit, for good reason. NOBODY carries three goalies.

LittleFury said...

Pat: In fairness, the three goalies the Oilers have together add up to one functional NHL 'tender.

You can also add MacIntyre madness to the list of inconsequential yet inexplicable decisions made by Tambo.

Looks like all 6 cuts cleared waivers, so I hope we see the Red Ox back sooner than later.

Pete. said...

In fairness, the three goalies the Oilers have together add up to one functional NHL 'tender.

This plan might work out if the trainers sew them all together in some kind of disturbing experiment (like the movie Centipede, which even I'm disinclined to watch: look it up), and play them simultaneously as one giant multi-limbed goaltender. Plus Khabibulin would be drinking for three, which might keep their collective blood alcohol level below .08.

Anyway, "the little things," yeah. Reddox himself isn't such a big deal, and most of my friends are excited to see the rookies, etc., so I try not to piss all over their parade. But it's just endless, this shit, and it seems like every time the team gives me reason for optimism they turn around and do some other dumb shit. It does lead you to worry what fresh hell might show up next month, or next summer.

I wonder, though, if the fear and loathing I feel as an Oiler fan is to some degree an outgrowth of the mass coverage they get, in the MSM and on blogs: someone or other notices and dissects every idiotic decision, and as a result they're awfully hard to ignore. Maybe it's easier to stick your head in the sand when you're a Thrashers fan or something?

Or maybe I should just spend more time at Hudson's pounding back jello shots and yelling wooo.

Swabbubba said...

I don't think you can call yourself a Canadian without some wildlife/car story. Mine involved a Elk and doing little over 110K in a whiteout. I don't sphincter relaxed for a week. The goalie issue for Oilers is truly odd as non of them are true #1's. Maybe Khabby if knocks off the booze. I wonder how all of it works the preseason is just that so Thursday night it is on. It would be good for the team if they won the home opener. BOA and all...we cannot get swept again or they fire everyone and I mean everyone. The guy cleaning the pissers at Rexall your on the list

Andrew said...

Hey BD,

I remember when you wrote that hilarious post about "Horcov" being a russian spy getting correspondence from none other than comrade Putin.

God I hope that joke gets made more now that he's captain!

Black Dog said...

Pete - yeah Centipede is one of those movies that, while interesting, is one I am also not inclined to watch.

I think really that drinking is the answer. Drinking and hoping that these quacks get fired sooner rather than later.

swabb - good story, we'll see about these kids, another long year I'm afraid

Andrew - we'll see what we can come up with here.

uni said...

How the F#@& did the Oilers pass on Ritola to keep MacIntyre or Strudwick?

Of course TBay picks him up and laughs all the way. It's not like Stevie Y has moved the world, and the Lightning probably won't make too much noise, but when you looked at the collected number of moves they've made this offseason, it's clear that at least they are making good bets, and winning tiny victories on contracts, waiver pickups, and trades. It adds up.

Couldn't we have gotten Yzerman as our GM?

Black Dog said...

uni - yes there you have it exactly

Anonymous said...

#4 almost got you!!!! That deer is a Bruins fan she probably had a big number 4 tattoo and one of Orr's autograph on her left hind quarter. She knew you were an Oilers fan and is ticked that we got Hall. Its a conspiracy is for sure!!! You had better stay away From Perry Sound for at least a year!!!! Deer Whistles will only make it worse. STAY AWAY! STAY AWAY! cant you hear the trees talking?
Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"