Tuesday, August 30, 2011
When I moved to PEI I didn't know a soul there so looking back things worked out pretty well. After eleven months there I ended up with a girl who would become my wife, my wonderful dog and a number of friends, including one fellow who I would have to count amongst my best friends. He worked at the company I signed on for and after a few weeks he asked me if I wanted to get out one night and as Rick Blaine once said, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. He's a bit of a madman and a great fellow most of all and we've had some terrific times.
Every year when we get back there he and I get together a few times and one of those involves a night out on the town and some heavy drinking. Last summer's episode was the usual good fun but overall it left us cold. Dealing with the kids, the sad cougars and a fairly high percentage of arseholes (maybe we're just getting old but it seems like said number is increasing), all while spending a boatload of money got us, and especially him, thinking. So this year when he suggested that we head down east to his family cottage with some steaks, some beer, a few cigars and a bottle of scotch I wholeheartedly agreed that this sounded like a capital idea (twirls cane and wipes monocle with monogrammed handkerchief).
The weather out east has been the shits but it broke for us when we got out there. After working for a few days my holiday started on the Thursday and from then on it was sunny skies so when we headed down to the Montague River it was a hot beautiful day, just perfect. We sat on the porch and polished off the beer and steaks and then settled in to smoke and drink scotch, which I am beginning to acquire a taste for. We traded tales and solved the problems of the world and sometime after nine he remarked that it was strange that his old man had not called him yet, he did every Friday night to briefly shoot the shit. About fifteen minutes later, on cue, the phone rang.
Unfortunately I can't, writing this, make you hear his voice or his accent. He has a unique sound, so to speak, thick, growly, mumbling PEI brogue. After a few hellos and some laughs, he asks us if we're going to be getting some tail. We laugh and say no and he then says the following:
Well now lets say you do want to, this is what you want to do. Drive into Montague and go to the Kentucky Fried Chicken. OK? Get yourself a bucket of chicken and you want to put that bucket of chicken on your dashboard and drive up and down the main street of Montague in your truck. And guaranteed you're going to get all the tail you'd ever want because the girls there are going to see that bucket and think you're rich!
We stopped laughing sometime the next afternoon I think. That evening we (Jenn and I) went to my pal's place for a party and his old man was at the top of the drive having a smoke when we arrived. We walked up, I shook hands, nodded at my wife and thanked him for the bucket idea, it had worked like a charm.
Haw haw haw, he said. Haw haw haw.
This season, like last season, the bucket for us Oiler fans, as noted already here a few times, will be the future. There are rumours of a trade for a defenceman and of course something may shake loose from some capstrung club but the Oilers need at least two top four defencemen (unless one of the kids makes a leap) plus some goaltending to really make a move. Plus some luck, yes?
Do we agree on that?
Even the most jaded Oilers' fan would have to agree that the kids look to be alright. The list of guys who showed they have chops last year is a long one: Hall, Everle, Paajarvi, Omark, Peckham, Petry, Dubnyk. Shit is going to happen but barring injury or other disaster we're talking seven guys who are going to have NHL careers. Add in Hartikainen and this year's collection of up and comers led by Lander and Hamilton and then all of the kids in junior and in Europe and who are in limbo right now (Nugent Hopkins, Pitlick and so on) and the future looks bright. If Hemsky and Smyth are dealt at the deadline then more pieces will be added and of course the likelihood is another top ten (and very likely a lottery) pick will be added next summer.
The question for the fan (or this fan, anyhow) is when will the future arrive? Will Hemsky and Smyth get moved at the deadline or Smyth ignored as a possible veteran presence for next year's club when it comes to summer signings? How about when Whitney and Gilbert's deals come up? This is coming sooner than we think. Will the club keep pushing the future back? Or is the signing of Belanger a sign that finally the present is almost here? Is the rumour being floated by Bra and Panties a possibility, that the Oilers are going to bring in a top four Dman for a kid or two? Is this a good thing or is it too early?
I'm tired of losing and I am sure the players are too. We're looking at six years out of the playoffs coming up around the bend. Thing is this club is still probably so iffy that a top four Dman might not be enough to get it out of a top ten pick anyways. We may be able to have our cake and eat it too, getting a player who can help when the team becomes good while still getting that high pick.
Personally if the right player is available and the right guys are going back (I know I know hedge your bets you fencesitter, right) then I think its time to start shoring up this roster, adding to the kids, making amove. And I'd sign Hemsky too as long as he's not asking for the moon.
Its time to get things moving in the right direction.
Posted by Black Dog at 4:00 PM