Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Early Returns? Well Pretty Good, Thank You

I don't watch too much TV. I'm a bit of a TV snob (well I'm a bit of a snob plain and simple) but of course its pretty hard for me to crack on shows like Two and A Half Men, According To Jim or King of Queens (total number of episodes watched ever - zero for all three) when I revel in The Biggest Loser and Wipeout. Why you wouldn't love Wipeout is beyond me though. People getting the shit kicked out of them with a liberal amount of groin shots cannot be beat in my opinion.

We watch a handful of shows and one I watch is Cougartown which I think is quirky and funny. It has Christa Miller who is a redhead (!) and very funny (she was on The Drew Carey show) and Courtney Cox and a bunch of people I have never heard of. There was an episode recently where Christa Miller's husband, a short little bald guy called Andy, I think, gets flak because of his attitude. He is an incurable optimist who believes that everything will always work out for the best. Always.

I can identify with Andy. I come by it naturally. My parents are the same way. My Mom has had a tough go of it this year, she has been in the hospital for months now. I'll probably write a post on it shortly. Essentially what has happened is that she started having back pain and then, in the space of a few months, deteriorated to the point that she has ended up in a wheelchair. Pretty scary stuff. Hasn't beaten her down though. Courage. Heart of a lion, my Mom.

We were up to visit a few times and on one of these visits we were in the hospital room when an OT was meeting with Mom and going over various options that she had. My wife is a nurse, as mentioned before, and so she is, well, a nurse. She is detail oriented and realistic and she knows what questions to ask. So she is entirely unlike us.

So this woman is talking and I'm nodding and my old man is nodding and Mom is nodding and we are all smiling and I look at Jenn and I can tell that her head is about to pop off and it doesn't get any better when the OT wraps up and my Dad smiles and says 'Well, we'll just have to see what happens, it will work out' and my Mom echoes his sentiments and I look at the OT and say that, well, thank you for the information and that's great and yes we are pretty sure that everything is going to work out.

Afterwards my wife said that if she ever got sick that her friend, also a nurse, would be responsible for her care.


What was funny was late this summer when some dude came by here and complained that I was a terrible pessimist and waah waahh wahh, honestly I didn't read much more than that because it was awfully funny.

What was funny is that anybody who has been here for a while knows that I am a blue sky optimist. So you know that for me to be a cynic when it comes to the Oilers and their 'management' means that they have worked awfully hard to bring me to such a dark place.

The clumsy know nothing do nothing sneaky smarmy motherfuckers.

And so this year I figured lottery for sure. If, if, everything went right then I figured they would be out of the lottery.

Tall order I figured.

We've had a nice stretch of ugliness already and while we are riding high right now all we need to think back to last year's five game winning streak that turned into twenty losses in twenty one games.


But really there are more than a few nice things going on with this club and while it doesn't make up for four plus years of garbage management it should be noted that there are some positive arrows.

1/ Taylor Hall. I was a Seguin guy although I was fine with the pick they made. A long long way to go but I love the kid and am glad they took him. Never mind the fact that he, 10 and 14 are in the black by any metric and they are not being sheltered (au contraire they have faced the toughs at times and still come out on top). Never mind that he can score goals. What I love about the kid is his personality. A word I like to use to describe Oiler clubs of the past is elan. The dynasty clubs had it, the little clubs that could had it. Taylor Hall has it. He is enthusiastic and intense and he plays with such flair. Wonderful to see. And watching 'Awkward Hours' (hattip to spOILer) on Saturday night I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hall is a thoughtful and candid young man. Easy to cheer for.

2/ Shawn Horcoff. Always been a Horcoff fan but last year was a tough one. He was hurt and he was dragging around a guy whose career is almost done and a second guy who is earning the description of being the worst Oiler ever. And he was pretty terrible himself. And so this year has been redemption for the dirty Red. He has been an excellent captain and he has acted as shepherd for the prize rookies and he has scored a little. Its wonderful to see a guy who should be beloved by fans for his rise from obscurity to fame and fortune through dogged determination and who instead is resented and hated by a large number of 'fans'. You might not like the contract but there is a lot to like about the player and the man.

3/ Jordan Eberle. Eberle was the one of the three kids who was to be questioned - was he big enough? Fast enough? And yet from the first game when he undressed primo douchebag Ian White to stick a knife in the Falmes, Eberle has been the most consistent of the kids. He wins puck battles and is smart as a whip and has a good sense of what to do in his own zone and the end result is a kid who, like Hall, doesn't look like a kid a lot of the time.

4/ Ted Peckman. The big surprise. A brawling bullying ball of enthusiasm. He has played better defence than anyone thought he could while adding some more of that elan to a club that has lacked personality for far too long. What will his ceiling be? Only time will tell but he has made watching this club a lot of fun. My favourite Oiler after Horcoff and Hemsky, with a bullet.

5/ Ales Hemsky. Lets forget, for a moment anyhow, that Hemsky is hurt again and that when talk of extending him is to come that that may play a pretty big part in it. Instead I want to focus on the season that he has had. There has been talk of Hemsky signing a reasonable extension next summer and I think that based on the past few years some of us might find that surprising. I, for one, figured he had had enough. Hemsky is, for now anyway, probably the best Oiler still. He can play the toughs and come out on top and he is the nuclear weapon on the roster, the guy who can make something out of nothing at any time. This season he has played with enthusiasm and purpose and he has thrown himself into the fray repeatedly. I'm really hoping that this is the last in a run of rotten luck for Hemsky and that he comes back soon and begins a long run of good health in Oiler colours.

That's what I hope.

Wife is out and about every night this week so more to come.


macaotim said...

Loved the pic of the big guy in the boat last post.

I was hoping someone would bring up the CBC interview after the game. Hall was really good. Laughing, classy, funny and genuine. I was sold after that. I, too, was a Seguin guy. Hall's play left me neutral and thinking, "we need to wait a few years to determine whose best." While his interview does not change the fact that the best measure will remain a statistical comparison a few years from now, I can honestly say that I don't give a shit cause that Hall kid is great. Of course if Seguin is killing it and Hall turns to stone I will recant the above statement.

The other thing on my mind is Omark. We need to see him in the NHL for a lengthy trial. He's older and we need to see what we have in him before he goes back to his wicked-hot Euro-babes. I'm sure the brain-trust will fuck this one up too.

Finally, Horc is out. My uncle, who ownes race horses, is calling for him to be shot and made into glue. All I can say is that would be some hard working glue.

Halfwise said...

And then Comrade Captain gets an "accidental" knee on knee from Perry and the brightening season takes a swerve into darkness. Damn.

But perhaps now some talent from OKC will be summoned for Mr. Tambellini to begin to assess. One must guard against snap judgments, of course.

Frankly I have been glad that Strudwick has been on the big club's roster so that the AHL talent gets actual ice time. May it continue.

Baroque said...

Best of luck to your mom. Moms are the toughest broads around, whatever they have to deal with.

(But I think your wife has excellent judgment in who to take care of her.) :)

Corey Perry is a little punk-ass bitch.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Baroque and yes you are correct about Jenn and Perry ;)

Tim - yeah I like that pic too.

Omark and O'Marra on their way, now we will see what the Swede can do. Here's hoping.

Halfwise - better that they are getting actual icetime as you said. No reason to bring up Omark to sit in the PB or ride the pine. Now's his chance.

Andrew said...

The worst Oiler ever...might you mean the dearly departed Ethan Moreau? ;)

Adam Dyck said...

re: Hemsky as a nuclear weapon

Actually, a nuclear weapon is something that can create nothing out of something, as opposed to vice versa as you suggest.

With that in mind, I would put forth that JFJ and Jason "GITR" Strudwick are tied for that distinction.

Black Dog said...

Andrew - Moreau was a good player for the Oilers for a long long time before things went south. He had to go but its unfortunate how things ended, people forget the good now.

Adam - 'GITR'?

Anonymous said...

Good In The Room, no?

Black Dog said...

Ah, gotcha, thanks.

Andrew said...

Agreed, I distinctly remember feeling he was the right choice when he was named captain, and was one of my favorite Oilers at the time. He was a big part of that team, I remember when he hurt his shoulder against Detroit the team really went downhill with him out.

But the last couple years, oh my goodness...

On another topic, I'm interesting to read your take on Linus and last night's shootout. Hoo-wee! Eberle's was a beauty as well...

Bruce said...

Surely the "worst Oiler ever" comment was aimed at POS.

Black Dog said...

Yeah Bruce his career is almost over by the looks of it. Wasted talent.