Monday, February 14, 2011


Remember that Simpsons' episode? Can't remember the exact situation but it had something to do with what was on Homer's mind as he sat in (apparent) deep thought. And of course then it was his voiceover with the old cat commercial. Pretty fucking funny shit.

The kids and I were sitting around a few weeks ago and I pulled that on them. Asked everyone what they were thinking and then they asked me and I started into it. They thought that was the funniest thing ever. This is what passes for conversation at the dinner table, which is rather Simpson like now that I think about it. Food flying, slurping and grunting while my wife looks on with disapproval. The barbarians (my genetic makeup) are winning, just as they always have since the first McLeans came rampaging naked out of the moors.

I was talking to the boy a while back and he asked me about sex again. I gave him the whole spiel, no holds barred (just the basics now, we didn't talk about the oral or the anal) and his favourite part, as always, was when I talked about Daddy putting his penis into Mommy's vagina. He just thinks that's the greatest.

Me too boy, me too.

The family got back yesterday after two weeks away and the first night lasted three hours before I got up with our youngest who is under the weather. About an hour of that and then she was okay. I'm glad they're back. Seriously.

When we first started having kids and Jenn would go away with however many of them there were at the time things could get mental. I organized a couple of pub crawls and spent a lot of time drinking when I wasn't tearing apart the house (we were renovating, I wasn't actually stumbling around with a crowbar). Not sure if it was the time of year or if I have aged (we've all aged) or the fact that everyone is a lot busier these days (lots more kids) but mostly I was just bored and lonely this time and with the exception of one night out plus hockey I pretty well kept to myself.

I really do attribute a lot of it to the weather though. Last week was absolute horseshit, very cold and miserable. We've been spoiled here for years and frankly the endless days of winter are taking their toll I think. It warmed up yesterday and its supposed to be warm all week except for tonight and tomorrow and its a welcome respite. Its actually raining here today.

If these are dog days well no more so than for the Oilers who are on track for a worse record than last season if that can be believed. Its playing out the string time again while every other club in the conference is within striking distance of the playoffs. The rumours are heating up about Hemsky and Penner going and the word is that a) both will be happy to stay and b) the Oilers are asking too much for them which is pretty well the only good news I've heard from those parts in a long time.

The highlight of Hockey Day in Canada was my own game. We were up 1-0 on an outmanned squad for half the game and their goalie turned away shot after shot until we scored one to double our lead. Then I had one of those shifts I seem to have now and then. First on a two on one I sent a backhand saucer over their Dman to my opposite winger for the tap in. Even the opposition complimented me on that. Then thirty seconds later I cut into the slot and picked the corner myself. And for good measure on the next shift I busted around their Dman and cut in Anderson style. I was stymied but our centre followed up for an easy dunk into the vacant net.

The game was busted open and we had a rare laugher. As in I can probably count on one hand the number of games we've had where we've blown the doors off the other team in all of the years I have played for old Capsule.

I came to the bench after the second shift and said I should take the key and get while the getting is good. I'm always joking that one of these days I'm going to do just that. Blind squirrel is going to find a nut and then skate off into the sunset right then and there.

The reality is that they're going to have to drag me off kicking and screaming. I love to play, probably more than I ever have and of course the camraderie in the room is the best part of it. We have a terrific group of guys and we always have a laugh. Plus the sex in the shower is fantastic.

Was watching Oil Change yesterday and I found the whole thing interesting, probably moreso than it deserves. Tyler Dellow got some great lines off about it but of course the best part of it was the 'passing grade' that the organization got. Never a discouraging word said, much like the broadcast on Saturday afternoon where Kevin Weekes bent over backwards to compliment the Oilers and especially Khabibulin. Buddy must be looking for a job in management somewhere because the see no evil act grew pretty thin. Hopefully he'll get a job somewhere and then he can take Khabibulin off of our hands.

Kevin Lowe talked about being a contender in four to six years. That picture up top is my son around the time the Oilers made that magical run in 2006. He's finishing kindergarten now, can skate, read and write and knows the capital cities of thirty countries. By Lowe's math then he will be almost in puberty by the time this club contends again.

Man that is awfully hard to take for two reasons. First of all this was a perfectly good club that was a break or two away from winning it all. And secondly the guys who put the whole thing in the ditch are still around.

My God.

Oh that's hard to take.

And we can talk about exciting hockey and all that but its starting to wear on everyone I think. Taylor Hall certainly didn't display his usual flair on Saturday. Losing sucks and I can't see why Hemsky and Penner would want to stick around honestly. And the expected return for the two of them is underwhelming, what I have seen anyhow. Which means the club takes another step back and then in a couple of years its Whitney and Gilbert and Gagner's turn to go. Of course for most fans it seems the shelf life of a player on this club is three years before they are all too happy to get them out the door and replace them with the next shiny object that lands on their doorstep.

So it won't bother a lot of fans I think. Five years out of the playoffs and everyone seems happy with the company line despite the fact that shoring up the blue and the goaltending might make a pretty big difference for next year's club's chances, imo. Nope its stay the course and in Lowe we trust.

I don't think this is going to end well but then again maybe that's just the weather talking.

Then again listening to Lowe and LaForge on Saturday and seeing Tambellini's dopey smile as he talks about getting another great player in the draft makes me think that maybe I'm not off the mark too much here.

I think there may not be much there there, if you know what I mean.


spOILer said...

I don't know what to think any more. Well, I do, but I'm not happy about the thoughts.

I'm still okay with the 10-11 tank job. We all knew this was coming, we knew it would be a bitter pill to swallow for proud fans, and we knew that even with ELPH, there would be some flat nights when a bad team is gonna look downright horrible.

But there have to be some credible moves in the direction of improving the team made this summer--outside of the draft and promoting from within.

This is a rookie-laden squad that can use some water wings before being tossed into the deep end of the NHL for another season.

Luck has also left this team. The years we suck bad enough to get #1 overalls, the first year the best player is a winger, preventing us from building up the middle, and the next year (this one) is filled with mediocrity and risk.

Teams that have been galvanized forward are those that have been lucky enough to cash that 1st overall into good 1Cs... guys like Kopitar and Getzlaf and Datsyuk and Stamkos and Crosby. I can't really put it on the GMs for the turnaround after such good fortune.

I don't really think the GM is all that relevant really, except they can eff it up really badly, and they also need to add the minor pieces to have a true Cup contender. Just too difficult to foresee the future to be consistently good at that job.

And sadly, it doesn't appear Miss Luck is going to grant us that Messiah.

Black Dog said...

Well ... we could say luck has abandoned us except we have Eberle who was a late first rounder who looks to be a bona fide player.

Plus a bunch of kids on the way who were lower picks still who look like they may be the real deal.

And I would be that this year's draft will turn out ok. You get the odd one that is iffy and maybe this is it but I think there is so much hype now that people tend to underestimate the kids. Stamkos was not highly rated iirc.

It was a bit of a slap to hear Lowe say that though. Considering we had four years where they fucked around and went in every direction it now sounds like they are all in, lose lose lose and damn the consequences. Not sure why you would not be looking to improve. If you are smart and lucky you can get good players for a song. Clarke MacArthur and Grabner being two examples.

You're right in that so much of it is akin to gambling, it really is. And even the good GMs make mistakes and a lot of them.

And success begets success. I think Ken Holland is a good GM but the success of the Wings has certainly helped him along.

I don't think Tambeliini has it in him. I really don't. This summer is going to be the test imo and I think we already know what's going to happen. Hemsky and / or Penner out the door. More kids in. More losing.

God help us.

spOILer said...

Pat, if we're dead last or close to it at Xmas 2011, I will jump on the Fire Everyone! bandwagon with both feet.

But I do think Lowe's comments are being misconstrued somewhat.

First of, it's never a bad thing to lower expectations, especially about an uncertain future. Secondly, he did admit the goal this year was to make the playoffs, so he's not talking about a half decade of wandering the desert. And finally, his timeline referred specifically to Cup Contenders (not playoffs). If he's being honest about that last bit, then really the only criticism is not publicly acknowledging that there might be a prior window built on the back of the cheap ELCs of the present rooks.

His problem is that he hasn't built up a lot of trust amongst the fan faithful (or that he's spent the good faith accumulated from the Cup Run).

Black Dog said...

Oooh, something to look forward to next Christmas.

Naw I read it the same way you did and of course it makes sense. Four years to be a contender sounds about right.

It just makes me pissy because what the hell have we just done the last four years? Should have started this years ago and then maybe we'd be there already!! ')

And we have talked about lowe and Tambo before - they can't say a damn thing these days without getting criticized - sometimes its unfair but of course they have earned our derision.

Good Muckin' Tonite said...

I guess my question at this point in the game is where have the savvy moves that keep a GM his job been since the Cup run?

Thanks to the oilfans site, I'm as stumped as ever:

Aside from Whitney showing to be a decent return for Lubo, at what point does track record come back to bite you in the ass?
Finishing with a high draft pick is not crafty GM planning.

spOILer said...

You know I look at that Avs team, and even with the good fortune of getting Duchene, and Stastny, a value contract in Anderson, and real useful vets in Hejduk and Foote, they're bottom-trolling.

Black Dog said...

spOILer - yeah they were kind of lucky last year I think, a lot of folks supposed that and it seems they were right. More frightening for me are teams like the Isles and Thrashers who are rotten year after year. Five years out of the playoffs is a long time and if the GM decides to continue to sit on his hands we're looking at a couple of more at least.

Ribs said...


LittleFury said...

Comrie talked about the Oilers being like communism, but a Five-Year Plan for the Winning of Stanley Cup is a bit much. Horcov have a say in that?

After Lowe's spiel, there was some clown on HF saying the basic plan from here on out is for the team to improve incrementally each year, a slow steady climb up the standings and into the postseason and glory somewhere down the road. Like it's the easiest, most natural process in the world.

But you look at the teams everyone talks about as models or rebuilding, very few spent much time wandering the desert: they were bad and then suddenly they weren't. If we're just talking getting into the playoffs two years down the road, it probably means some of these kids will have busted.

And, as guys like Tyler and Dennis and anyone with half a fucking brain will tell you, time is a luxury you don't have in a cap environment.

It's been said before (what hasn't at this point), but this off season is nut cutting time for these jokers. Take the plunge and add whatever you need to get this team up the standings. Now's the time having a real GM would be handy.

Anonymous said...

The rumours are heating up about Hemsky and Penner going and the word is that a) both will be happy to stay and b) the Oilers are asking too much for them which is pretty well the only good news I've heard from those parts in a long time.


Great writing Pat, as usual.