Monday, January 31, 2011

When The Cat's Away The Mouse Will ... ZZZZZ

Yesterday afternoon the family got onto one of those newfangled flying machines and headed east, to the fair Prince Edward Island, for two weeks with the inlaws.

They take this trip every year or two, leaving me to my own devices. When we had one baby I took the opportunity to drywall the basement (I'm a hack but I did a good enough job that my father-in-law actually did little but smooth the rough edges when he saw it.). Last year I spent most of the time working so I could make some extra cash to pay for my trip to Ireland for my man Patrick Broe's wedding. A few years back I actually went to Dublin for meetings (my company never requires me to travel anymore because of the family so it was a nice diversion) and I was able to mix quite a bit of pleasure in with my work.

And of course, being a chronic masturbator this really is ideal for me. I can let her rip at anytime without having to worry that anybody will walk in on me. Just have to remember to keep the blinds closed. Also that I am inside the house.

Its a weird feeling, coming home to an empty house. Weirder still is the realization that there is nothing that needs doing right at this moment. No laundry, no dishes, no cleaning, no diapers, no supervision. Its a strange strange thing and last year I remember being at loose ends until I got to work. (Actually to be honest I was at loose ends until I realized that I was home alone. I immediately cracked a beer and turned on some porn. Sometimes, as I read on twitter a few weeks back, I like to watch movies where people make love.)

This year I have no big plans. No extra work. No household projects. No big benders. Yesterday I got home from the airport and laid down for a nap. When I got up I cooked up some dinner, grabbed a book and a glass of wine and relaxed. Tonight I believe I will do the same. I have meat in the fridge which means I'm all set. By the time the family returns I should have a nice dose of heart disease as well as some scurvy. Ground beef and onions tonight. That's solo. Nothing else. Don't judge me until you've tried it yourself.

I have a couple of nights out planned but nothing over the top. One night I'll probably grab some Indian at our favourite joint and then head to McCarthys for some pints. I'm getting together with friends late this week and I will get drunk.

But overall its just time to recharge the batteries. I'm tired. Worn out. Feeling my age. Not a good thing, that.


What would be nice is if the Oilers could show some spark now that the break is over and provide some sort of pleasant diversion to help get us through the remainder of the winter. The boy is learning how to skate and is making great progress. The other day he exclaimed that he was really bad at falling down to which I replied that he was definitely getting better at falling down, he barely did so anymore. He then corrected me (this happens a lot these days) telling me that he rarely fell down, making him bad at that particular activity. When he fell down a lot he was very good at it, falling down that is.

No wonder I am tired.

Using the boy's logic then I guess we can say that the Oilers are very good at falling down and reaping the rewards from such. For the fifth straight season we are left twiddling our thumbs and for the second straight year we're looking at a top pick in the draft, perhaps first overall.

Even the most sour of us agrees that the Oilers' future, based on the kids they have accumulated, looks bright. Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Omark, Petry, Peckham, Dubnyk - all are rookies who are establishing themselves as NHL players, joining kids like Smid and Gagner and some good veterans in Penner, Hemsky, Horcoff, Gilbert and Whitney to form the nucleus of what could be a team that competes for a playoff spot very soon. Add to this the kids in the system and in junior and the picks coming this summer and the future looks bright. The question is what Tambellini makes of this. If he makes a hash of it then this will be his first and last job as GM and the Oilers will be the Islanders or the Panthers, an irrelevant franchise.

We have our doubts about old Stevo but the next few months promise little movement which of course will suit him just fine. The Oilers may be the only sellers in the West right now but they are lacking in big tickets to sell. The good news is that what may get moved should get a bit of a premium because so many teams are in the mix in the west. The bad news is that Jim Vandermeer probably has the highest value of the available players.

Here are a few things that I think will happen in the next month or two as well as a few things that I would like to see happen. And a few things that have piqued my interest.

1/ Dubnyk. A bright spot this season. Yesterday there was a debate over at LT's with many thinking he should be playing more. Now I don't know a lot about goaltenders but I think that we can all agree that Dubnyk has been terrific this season. He has been better than Khabibulin, I think that is fair to say. Honestly though I am happy with how he is being used. Its hard to argue with his development path considering what he has become. They might win a few more games if he starts taking the lion's share of starts. Because this is a really shitty team he might also get shelled a few times. He's a big boy and he can handle that I am sure but I am thinking steady as she goes is fine with the big guy. His confidence is growing. He looks like the real deal. Don't mess with what looks to be working. Increase his workload somewhat, next year do the same.

2/ Petry. The lads at Copper and Blue have been writing about the Oilers' kids and they have a lot of good things to say about Petry. Much like Tom Gilbert did a few years back he has stpped into the NHL and has done so painlessly. How important is this to the Oilers? Well the blueline is a blackhole. If Petry has emerged as an NHL defenceman then suddenly the Oilers have five of them, all under thirty, three of them under twenty five. Find a sixth who can play, really play I mean, and they're set. So lets see if this guy can finish strong.

3/ The decisions. If this club can get healthy then some decisions have to be made up front. Do they ship Reddox out and keep Jacques or MacIntyre? How about Omark? He is still learning the ropes but he's already a better player than Brule.

4/ The deadline. Who stays? Who goes? Vandermeer is the obvious guy to go and I think we all know that Stortini is a goner too, even though he brings more to the table than JFJ or MacIntyre (shave those sideburns!!) Can they find a taker for either Foster, Brule or Fraser (unlikely)? Will they make a bigger move? Again, unlikely. The biggest drama come the deadline will be whether or not they keep Ryan Jones. Not exactly riveting stuff.

5/ Hartkinen. The big Finn has taken off down in OKC and is doing very well in a tough league. If the Oilers clear some of the flotsom out will they give Teemu a cup of coffee with the big club? I'd like to see him spend a full year down there, he is getting lots of minutes and running with it. Why bring him up to play a handful of minutes a night. Let him play. Kid looks like a steal though considering where he was picked.

6/ The kids. Will Hall make a run for the ROY or will he hit the wall. Will Eberle come back and pick up where he left off? Will Paajarvi continue to improve?

7/ Cogliano. Is he being pumped and dumped or does he actually fit in the organization's plans?

8/ Gagner. Its been a long and winding road for Sam, who is now in a dip once again. Will he be okay or if the Oilers draft Couturier or Nugent-Hopkins will that mean he becomes tradebait?

9/ Can the fucking special teams get a clue? The PK once was great but the PP has been abysmal for years (it cost the Oilers the Cup in '06 imo). Can anybody get these not so special teams to work?

10/ If Vandermeer gets moved does Chorney get the call again or do we get to see Alex Plante get some time in? It would be nice to see the big kid get a few weeks under his belt to see what he can do in the big league.

A few things to hold our interest. God help me if next year is another meaningless season though. I don't know how much more I can take of this shit.


hunter1909 said...

I figured your name had a Mac, since you're of Scottish descent.

My theory on special teams is simple: The higher the level of talent, the better the special teams execution will be. Sure, there are coaches who can micro manage a few percentage points out of a mediocre team(MacT comes to mind), but in the end the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to be icing a superior PP and PK to the Edmonton Oilers 6 days out of 7 every week.

As for next season being another abortion - count me out. This year has been the worst I've ever seen, ever. Last year it was like fall for Hall, which somehow kept me going, plus Quinn was a laugh although for mostly the wrong reasons.

Tambellini either shits or gets off the fucking pot by next training camp, you know, do your job mate, otherwise what's the point of even watching any games?

I'll do like I did in the early to mid 90's...casually check the standings every week until say November, when Oilers fall out of winning range - then forget them.

hunter1909 said...

ps: I suggest you give your Dad a call to complain about your kids wearing you down - it should give him a good laugh! :)

Black Dog said...

lol, yeah Dad would get a kick out of it.

no worries about the name, that's a common one, my own boss has misspelled it (he's from Gloucester)

The next year is where we will see if ST is up to it. Its easy to be shitty but with the surprise emergence of Omark, Peckham, Petry and Dubnyk plus the golden boys, the solid vets, another top pick on the way, its time to start moving. Decisions to be made on Penner and Hemsky and some holes to fill, Now we'll see what he is made of.

I am pessimistic but we'll see.

hunter1909 said...

I've been to Gloucester. You can see Wales sitting like a giant fairytale mountain kingdom not far off in the distance, and it's easy to imagine hordes of screaming Welsh coming down to raid the nice Gloucester countryside, back in the day.

West country women are lovely too, I mean seriously hot - all long legs tight jeans boots and long dark hair.

Then again Wales is nothing to sneeze at for hot women - Catherine Zeta Jones could walk around Cardiff and no one would look twice.

Oilers? I haven't really paid much attention to them since early December. I saw them getting bitch slapped by the Stars for a period or so, but other than watching rookies it's too much like 2009, 2008, 2007...

Adam D said...

I actually had an opportunity to take in an Oilers practice today and boy was there a lot to like there. The guys genuinely enjoy each other's company I think, and most of them stayed long after practice just playing sticks and pucks. I mean it's no replacement for the W's but you take what you can get and if this means they'll stay in Edmonton then I'm all for it.

Big Mac stayed the latest, working on hands and skating drills. Tilting at windmills probably but somewhat inspiring, in a Rudy sort of a way.

hunter1909 said...

@ Adam:

That's a great sign. Players who enjoy the game.

I blame Renney :)

Adam Dyck said...

Renney actually seemed like a really classy guy, we had a chance to talk to him really quickly before he had to catch a press conference type of deal, and he seems to really value the guys he has on the team. Though I don't think anyone was really worried about his character.

Coach pb9617 said...

Find a sixth who can play, really play I mean, and they're set. So lets see if this guy can finish strong.

Brewer? Pitkanen?

I'd like to see him spend a full year down there, he is getting lots of minutes and running with it. Why bring him up to play a handful of minutes a night. Let him play. Kid looks like a steal though considering where he was picked.

I'm of the same mind. Let him have the strong spring rally we know is coming.

Black Dog said...

Adam - good stuff

its hard to take, all of the losing, and really I just wish they had figured this out a few years back. Its inexcusable that from 2007-2008 to 2009-2010 management tried to have it both ways, putting together a club with obvious holes while throwing kids to the wolves. When they traded Smyth is when they should have torn it apart imo. Moving Pitkanen for Cole, signing Souray and Khabibulin - these types of moves were nonstarters and set the rebuild back.

They have a really nice collection of young talent with more on the way, now its time to augment that talent I think.

And while criticsms of Renney are fair for the most part I have been happy with him and I think he is the right guy for the job.

Hunter - yeah never have been to Wales but its on the list. Friends went hiking there and loved it and of course, Gareth Bale!!

coach - that's the way to go for Teemu I think, let him develop properly, get a good year under his belt and then see if he can win a job in camp. No harm in that.

Brewer and Pitkanen are two good examples, those ships may have sailed but that's the type of guy they should be looking for exactly.

doritogrande said...

On the subject of needing a 6th blueliner for next year, would anyone consider a Khabibulin for Gonchar swap?

Both contracts are albatrosses but the commodities seem to be what the opposite team needs.

We get a guy to run the powerplay and OTT gets a goalie who's better than a shooter tutor.

spOILer said...

Hmm... Dorito that's a possibility, but I expect the Sens are hoping for picks if they are going into full-blow rebuild.

We also don't know the fallout from the conviction (whenever that happens), which may require Khabby going to a US team (if possile).

EasyOil said...

Hunter: Welsh women, are you serious?! Yeah Zeta-Jones is hot, but I went to Uni for 3 years in Cardiff (I'm a Brit) and most Welsh girls (not all, but most) over-do it on the makeup, fake-tan and walk around dressed like sluts! Of course if you're totally inebriated like I was for much of my time there thats fantastic, but otherwise its just disgusting!

I'm with you on the West Country lasses though, I'm from Bath (near Bristol, which is just below Gloucester), and they are for the most part, very hot.

My girlfriend is Irish, and she's gorgeous, as well as most of the other Irish girls I've met through her. Love the accent too. Scottish accent is sexy as hell but yet to meet a really hot Scottish girl.

Andrew W said...

I'm late to the party but can't resist making a few comments...

1) "The PK once was great but the PP has been abysmal for years (it cost the Oilers the Cup in '06 imo)."

~ A jackass named Andrew Ladd was much more responsible than the pp, and unless he comes to the Oilers and contributes to winning a Stanley, I'm not going to forgive him. My grudge will last exactly as long as delusional Leafs fans' conviction of Kerry Fraser (read until my grave). And no, the whole 5'7" of MAB and his inability to stop the beast from crashing into Roloson doesn't bear the same responsibility.

2) As you've got some time on your hands right now Pat, I'll remind you about a flick that was mentioned here a few months ago: Rachel Getting Married. I found it stunning - and Hathaway, too - and am curious as to what you'd think of it. I had a hunch that she had a performance like this in her, but for the life of me didn't see Demme pulling off this film after the downward spiral that was Beloved and The Truth About Charlie.

3) And finally, "Ground beef and onions tonight. That's solo. Nothing else. Don't judge me until you've tried it yourself."

You seem to have forgotten who your target audience is. Not only are we mostly men but we're mostly men that are hockey fans. I've had that meal without the onions - recently.

Black Dog said...

lol Andrew it must have been my feminine side that threw in the onions ;)

yeah that one is on my list, imo Hathaway is a terrific actress and I've heard great things about her and that movie

Yes the Ladd collision killed them but even with Markannen in there they had that shot. In G1 they went ofer on the PP except for the Hemsky solo dash to tie it. G4 ofer. G7 ofer. And that included 5 on 3s. It was just shitty.