Monday, January 31, 2011
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.
Posted by Black Dog at 2:25 PM