Thursday, June 30, 2011

Get Out Of My Jello Tree!

Have been a little nostalgic for the relatively old days lately. Some great threads, including a few here, with comments from Dennis King, Vic Ferrari, LT, Tyler Dellow and RiversQ. Just like old home week if only Grabia, Loxy and the CinO boys would grace us with their presence.

I love this picture. In my hometown if you go into one of the malls you will always see collections of retired miners from Inco or Falconbridge, hanging out and drinking their morning coffees. My parents' neighbour, an ancient Greek fellow with a million health issues, still treks up to the New Sudbury shopping centre every morning, has been doing do for a quarter century now I'm sure.

I remember a buddy of mine, we were in our early twenties I think, telling us how one time he was at the mall and espied a quarter on the floor near the food court. Quite excited, because like all of us he is a cheap greedy bastard, he bent over to pick it up but it would not budge. He began to work at it, picking at it, kicking it, until he heard snickering and saw a band of oldsters laughing at him because they had glued the quarter to the floor.

Amongst the themes in these meandering conversations was aging, with that popping up a few times, and these days I’m feeling it a bit. Every once in a while I have posted a picture of my son from the last time the Oilers made the playoffs. He is eight months old in the picture, all fat face and toothless grin. Yesterday he finished kindergarten and in the fall he will start grade one.

Stupid Oilers.

Last night we took the kids out to celebrate a very good school year. The oldest two are both very bright kids and very good students and so we went out for Chinese. It was a lot of fun although the food was mediocre and expensive, not a good combo. On the way home the radio is on and a song comes on and my eldest who bought her first CD the other day (it was Justin Beiber and she bought it with her own money) asks if we can turn it up.

Well the song is garbage. Its somebody who keeps saying that their name is ‘K’ and so I say to my wife who the hell is this and she says are you being an ass and I say why would you say that and she rolls her eyes and I say no for once I am serious and she says yeah right and I say no I am and who is singing this and she says who do you think, listen to the song, her name is K.

And now I’m really feeling like my old man because I say that is absolutely ridiculous and I think that you are joking me and she says well why would she say she is someone else in the song, that’s just goofy.

And I answer well when Mick Jagger was singing “Can you guess my name? the answer wasn’t Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney is not actually a walrus and what is wrong with kids nowadays anyways!

K. Shut up and go away would you?

Now have a seat over there and I’ll tell you how I singlehandedly took that trench at Vimy, wiped out a whole platoon of Jerries with nothing but a can opener, a urine soaked handkerchief and the onion on my belt.


The day before the free agent frenzy and its looking more and like this could be absolutely mental.

But for different reasons than normal.

There is one marquee name out there. Brad Richards. After that its a bunch of middling players. There's some decent ones out there but after Vokuon I don't think there's even someone you would call an upper echelon player. Ehrhoff is the next best I guess and what was he, the fourth best defenceman on the Canucks?

Now don't get me wrong - there are some useful players out there, guys like Belanger and Gagne and on and on, but more and more players are extending their contracts with their present teams. Carolina was supposed to lose a boatload of guys, they just signed Jussi Jokinen, he joins Pitkanen and Larose, who signed yesterday.

So the supply of players has shrunk and will probably shrink further. The demand is higher than usual with plenty of teams needing to get to the salary floor. Florida, even with Campbell and Kopecky signed, need to add over twenty million in salary still I believe. Khabibulin likes warm weather, right?

So what's going to happen tomorrow? Well its going to look a lot like the trade deadline. There will be a blockbuster and then a whole lot of signings that are the equivalent of Brent Ashton for a fifth rounder type deals. TSN is going to try and get folks excited about the whereabouts of Steve Montador (and as I write this I see that Montador is off the market)and Joel Ward.

As an Oilers' fan its going to be an interesting day because we will see if the Oilers are going to add more "Ryan Smyths", that is, useful players, or if the plan is to add more Colin Frasers.

In other words are they going to start trying to climb back to respectability or are we looking at another tank job.

The biggest problem? These perfectly serviceable players are going to be getting ridiculous terms and monies. Do we want Vern Fiddler and Jan Hejda? Sure, they'd help a lot. Will we be able to sign them for a year for 3 million, as Tampa did with Roloson? Unlikely.

Do we want Vern Fiddler for four years at three million per?

So there is that and with today's trifecta of Oiler news we are reminded AGAIN that management in Edmonton is pretty well the worst, the bushest in a league so bush it reminds me of a centerfold in a seventies Penthouse.

Sheldon Souray and the last year of his ridiculous contract bought out, after spending a year getting paid over five million bucks to play in the AHL.

Ladi Smid gets an enormous raise for ... scoring no goals? Being decent? I like Smid and all but check the thread at Lowetides. Its the best. And I paraphrase:

Lowetide: 2.25 million? Hell of a deal although I feel bad he took a pay cut.

Lowetide: Wait a second. 2.25 million per year! FUCK ME!

(Note that LT did not actually say FUCK ME! That's artistic license. I'm sure he was thinking that though.)

And exhibit three the drama around the Smyth acquisition continues as apparently Fraser, like Brule, is also damaged goods. Apparently the Oilers' team barber was too busy giving Hemsky a good bleeding to properly diagnose, well, anyone.

So while I want the Oilers to shore up what needs shoring up, and its a fair size list:

Third line centre who has size, can win draws, PK, check. (if Cogliano gets moved/bumped to the fourth line)

Fourth line centre with the above attributes if Cogliano sticks and maybe even if he doesn't.

A couple of fourth liners/extra forwards with size and a clue. Of course one of these needs to be a goon because thats the way the Oilers roll, even though the SMac deterrence factor was, again, lacking.

A defenceman who can play in the top four and PK.

A veteran goalie who can share the load with Dubnyk.

That's a long list and its not going to be filled via UFA but my guess is there probably will be a couple of moves. The Oilers have Hartikainen and maybe VandeVelde who can step in this fall but that's about it.

It will be interesting. Few teams win in the frenzy and I'm pretty sure that Tambellini will be stepping up before the mic, staring off into the distance with that glazed look in his eyes and stammering that the Oilers have, yes indeed, signed Zenon Kenopka to a four year ten million dollar deal.

And a nation will turn its lonely eyes to the liquor cabinet and realize that they do not have enough booze in there to kill the pain and rage and because its Canada Day the only option will be to actually break into the liquor store in an attempt to steal a truckload of alcohol with the added bonus that the cops will arrive, thus giving us Oiler fans the opportunity to commit suicide by cop, thus ending our misery.


Kish said...

"The oldest two are both very bright kids and very good students and so we went out for Chinese."
So, what if they were indifferent? A Greek restaurant?;) haha

Black Dog said...

Lol Kish very good.

Lowetide said...

This is beautiful. I'd like to welcome you to the club. Soon, hair will begin to grow out of your nose and ears to the point where people will eventually stop looking and speaking to you (because you can't hear anyway).

You'll know you are one of us when you hear some fuckup ruin Sweet Home Alabama with a bunch of shit memories from his spoiled childhood.

How the fuck you can rip off a dead band and live with youself is beyond me.

hunter1909 said...

They say you can't beat the good old days. I don't buy it, other than the fact that when people say it what they really mean is the days they were young. While you and your wonderful pals were yukking it up, I was still cutting my teeth in internet chat rooms.

Why anyone even bothers worrying about what the Oilers do is beyond me. Other than not trading away the kids, bringing Smyth back(I say fuck drama queen Lombardi whose probably getting fired next season anyway), and apparently drafting some good players of the future, it's hardly even worth the bother.

I mean, if the Oilers don't care what they do, then why should I?

*former England footie fan*

The team is in major tank mode, until Taylor Hall and Eberle et al are able to step up and start dominating their peers. Until then, worrying over who's going to be taking defensive zone draws is about as relevant to Katz+me as how many eggs got broken yesterday in Mongolia.

Black Dog said...

lol as the kids say, LT.

Thursday I was at work and I remarked to a coworker that I suddenly had hair popping out of my ears and where the hell did that come from?

Hunter - well I hope Katz cares about the process. Atlanta had five straight picks in the top two and never won a playoff game. Bad management was a major reason the franchise died. I don't think Atlanta is a hockey market but a terrible team did not help.

Do you trust Tambo or Lowe to make the right moves when the kids mature? I don't.

hunter1909 said...

Do I trust Tambo or Lowe?

No, but I reckon Katz replaces them as soon as he realises there are better hockey brains out there.

For now, the combination of the Dimmer Twin's inaction, plus the fantastic potential of the teenagers coming down the pipeline isn't a bad thing.

For years I went on about how the Oilers needed to tank, simply in order to pick up some can't miss players. I didn't watch much hockey between wasn't worth watching lovable losers being regularly humiliated by the Stars and the other "big teams".

It stinks now, but there is a silver lining ahead. Atlanta was/is a wasteland for sports teams.

Why even worry about Atlanta? If you want to see a truly futile organisation, look no further than the latest SC Finals losers.

Black Dog said...

Well ... you're assuming Katz sees the light. If he doesn't then all of this bright young talent goes away, to be replaced by more bright young talent and so on.

The Islanders, the Panthers etc etc. That's why I worry about Atlanta.

I'm with you, I think that longterm this could be very good. But assuming that management is going to do well with this doesn't make it so.

Vic Ferrari said...


You're talking about Kid Rock's tune, no? Whoever first started calling that song 'Werewolves of Alabama' is a genius.

I don't think it's plagiarism, though. (IANAL, you might want to get Jason Gregor to confirm). I'm under the impression that he meant the song as a tribute, and that Zevon's family approves. Presumably they are getting paid royalties, I mean that is the singular reason to be in favour of that disaster, no?

Lowetide said...

Vic: Werewolves of Alabama. :-) Hadn't heard that, very good line.