Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Damn Lies

Kids lie. They all do. If you think your kids don't lie you are either lying to yourself or you are in for a fun ride once they become teenagers. Plus you are dumb.

I was a born liar. Still am. Pathological almost. And the kids take after me. Although it is pretty funny listening to my wife sputter 'why do they lie?!' while glaring at me and then later that night over another bottle of wine laughing about how she used to pull the wool over her parents' eyes by covering up her breaking of their rules about sloth and drunkenness as a teenager.


Now of course it sometimes works against them, as it did this morning when my eldest tried to wear a dress to school that I am pretty sure she's not allowed to wear to school. But Mommy lets me she wailed, along with lamentations about the unfairness of it all, to which I replied that she and her brother are lying liars who lie and as a result I really could not trust her on this point. Her brother smirked, because she was the one getting called on it this time.

Evidence from this weekend points to our youngest lapping the field in this particular talent however, perhaps even putting her old man to shame (and I've told some dandies in my days). The difference between her and us is her absolute shamelessness, coupled with a killer's lack of conscience and an incredible ability to think on her feet.

My inlaws are here to visit and on Sunday afternoon my mother in law came downstairs and found my youngest in her purse, rummaging about. She had applied some lipstick and eyeliner and was chewing a piece of gum that she had thieved, the little rat. My mother in law called her a rascal or a scallywag or some such, shooed her upstairs with a scolding and placed the purse where it could not be reached by dirty little hands.

Next time downstairs mother in law discovers our sweet baby (she is three) has pushed furniture over, climbed atop it and is standing there holding the pack of gum in her hand. Before she can say a thing, little miss K turns to her, smiles sweetly and says:

Oh there you are Nanny. I was just getting a piece of gum for you because I thought you'd like one.

Did I mention that she is three? Also that we are doomed.


So the Oilers are halfway there anyhow. Great at home. Lousy on the road though, where Renney can't protect the kids and the team is too thin on the blueline to be any damn good. One wonders what Tambellini is going to do here. The club is good enough to be in the mix for the playoff race I think but not as presently constituted. They need Whitney to come back and they need to shore up that D with a trade. Rumours are Carle is available for a pick. If Philly isn't asking for a first do you make that move? A D that goes as follows - 5/77, 6/Carle, 25/58 with Potter also in the mix - is probably good enough to keep this team in the hunt and don't we want the kids to play some meaningful games?

Some other thoughts, mostly concerning damnable lies told by fans and others:

1/ Hordichuk and Eager have some value. Intangibles, right? Well anyone who saw the Stars run roughshod last night has to admit that Hordichuk is a waste of lineup space. Seriously, what is the point of his handful of minutes each night? Nobody is getting intimidated by this plug and Tom Renney thought so much of Ben Eager, the other ruffian, that he sat him. Might be sending a message to Eager or maybe he's still not over that concussion, Eager, that is, not Renney.

Seriously though the argument is always 'you never played the game' and 'they bring a lot to the table in terms of intangibles' - well they don't score or defend or hit or intimidate the other team or stop the other team from running the kids so ....

2/ Get rid of the useless vets!! They're useless. Well, there are so few on this team one can take a quick look around and see Smyth leading the team in scoring, Horcoff leading the team in icetime amongst forwards, taking the tough competition and tough zonestarts and Gilbert, well, what can one say about Tom Gilbert. Averaging five minutes more than anyone else on the club in icetime. Playing the toughs. On pace for forty points. And what, one bad game to show in twenty?

Back to Horcoff for a second. Nobody can get past the contract but I've never been able to understand why folks hate this guy. Andy Grabia was asking me how he could win an argument about Horcoff being a good player with someone who despised him. No advanced stats, Andy said.

Watch the game I said. Buddy starts in his own zone against the heaviest dudes the league has to offer, he is barely a minus, he's on pace for just under fifty points. What the hell else do you want? You don't like the fancy stats? Watch the fucking game then and if you don't see his value or the fact that because of the role he plays the kids get some shelter (and I love the kids don't get me wrong) then you. don't. know. hockey.

3/ This team is really really good. This team is really really bad.

Look here, this team is in between. They'll have their bad home games but for the most part they're a much improved club, at least at home. They need some help on the blue though. And they'll have their good road games but for the most part they're easy prey when they hit the road, especially against those big physical grinding clubs like Dallas and Phoenix. The depth is not there yet and the kids are too callow still.

Its going to take time but really other than the strangeness surrounding Paajarvi and the absolute collapse of Theo Peckham I don't have many complaints about this club and where they're at, which is further ahead than I figured. They just need Whitney to come back and stay healthy and for something, anything, from that third line.

And that's the truth.


Anonymous said...

Love the blog, but the first part seems to ignore the "Mother's curse". That being, "when you grow up may you have a child just like you...".

Karma man... ;)

EasyOil said...

Fully agreed on the Vets part of the post, Pat. The hate for Horcoff and Gilbert simply baffles me (especially when I see comments along the lines of "send them to OKC"... yeah that'll help this team won't it!). Derek Zona had a wonderful description in the offseason about Gilbert, along the lines of "Gilbert, the ironman who has done everything asked of him". Couldn't think of a better description of 77. As for Horcoff, I'm telling all those naysayers out there - take Horcoff off this team and see what happens; just try it, and then come back to me with your opinion. Wonderful two-way player and great captain. I sincerely hope he is a career Oiler, one of my favourite players on the team.

Bruce said...

Agree too on the vets, they've been huge. One guy who is delivering the goods as a "young vet" is Ryan Jones, who has his own large group of haters who mostly seem to be the same people who love Horcoff and Gilbert. And vice versa.

I just don't get the hate ... I'm a fan of all three players. Part of it's a style thing, I would consider Horcoff and especially Gilbert to be cerebral players while Jones is definitely of type "visceral", but he's getting the job done. Solid secondary scoring at 5-4-9, +2 despite virtually zero minutes on the PP, 3 minutes a night on the PK and another dozen at evens, mostly against tough comp with tough zone starts. He's been a big part of the PK unit.

Oh well, one thing the Horc haters and the Gilby haters and the Jonesy haters can agree on, we ALL love Smytty!

Black Dog said...

Bruce - yeah Jones has been very good so far. Jonathan has a nice article up at Oilers Nation.

I never hated the guy, also never thought he was the end all and be all. Figured he was a fourth liner who they could plug in up the ladder here and there but you'd better not expect much.

A couple of things. Buddy seems to have a nose for the net. I'm sure it was you who brought up his shooting % - its always been freakishly high. Maybe he's just one of those guys.

The other is that he is proof once again that guys aren't fully formed, in many cases, at any age. I always find it weird that people think guys can't improve once they are older than 22 or 23. Hell Horcoff, Smid, Gilbert - all of these guys are examples of guys who have.

Oh well. Hopefully he keeps it up.

Black Dog said...

anon - yeah my wife was apparently a bit of a challenge and then she wonders when our daughters are the same.

While her own mom smirks.

EasyOil - well those folks who talk about making the team better by sending guys like 10 and 77 to the minors are really stupid. Its a word I rarely use but it applies.

And agreed on Horcoff. Love to see him be the first player of any longevity to be a career Oiler.

Bruce said...

Good point on how guys can improve deep into their 20s and even beyond. A point I make fairly often. :)

In Jones' case last year was his first full NHL season. He beat the odds to make it this far, why would he suddenly level off or decline when he should still be growing as a player. This year he's become much more responsible.

Yes it was likely me who pointed out Jones' better-than-expected offensive output dating back to his college days. He creates chaos around the crease and picks up the garbage plus a few lucky ones off the skate, butt or whatever body part. You know, the kind of goals Patrick O'Sullivan was not noted for.

Plus he's good in the room, great with the fans, yada yada. I know the numbers guys will mock that as irrelevant, but you gotta have it I think.

Swabbubba said...

You know I don't think I hate any players contract on Oilers. Horc's ain't pretty but wht the team gave it to him.He is doing his thing this year last year I had issues with Komrade. The D well Gilbert is a surprise. Ted is driving me nuts, he just seem to be second late. Potter what can u say the dude is having a Cinderella season so far.
The MSM is driving me ap as they are claiming the skyis falling. The Oilers are not going to get 100 points but they will be sniffing around. Feaster can choke on his words.

Unknown said...

Love that Jones feller he is a real mind fucker. Whenever I see some video of him with Hall, Ebs or Peckman he is always fucking with their heads. When he golfed with Teddy P he got him so bent out of shape TP was going to break his clubs on Jonesy lol!...Brian aka Nanaimo Oil

Unknown said...

Strudwick was good in the room too

Peacecountry said...

Hey! Sorry its been a while since the last time I had a chance to post!
I think the reason Horcoff gets so much flak is he doesn't do the things the casual fan notices. He doesn't score or make end to end rushes. No big body checks from the vet either.
The things that he does aren't flashy. They just win games.
Man o man he does seem to miss a lot of one timers though!

Black Dog said...

Peacecountry - yeah he doesn't have that finisher's touch. But he does do a lot of the things that win hockey games very well. Problem is he doesn't have a lot of flash. Plus the contract. But as Swabb says the team gave him that.

Brian - as Bruce said I think that matters. Not a lot but its better than having a dickhead in the room.

spOILer said...

I don't know what Caps fans are saying about Boudreau, but I bet it rhymes with "lost the room'.

I don't know if Carle is the answer. He plays a pretty similar game to Gilbert, probably not as good defensively and a little more positional rather than physical in his play. He's done well as a PP guy in the past, but that's not really a weakness for us right now (I don't mind Eberle there at all).

He's the perfect age for a Dman though, and hey... what team couldn't use two Gilberts? LOL.

But I think our weakness on D is more in the land of the big physical, minute-crunching, defensive Dman. A PKer and a GA preventer.*

Or, y'know, an absolute stud would come in handy too.

*I'd rather have another Smid than a Gilbert? Hmm, maybe I should think about this a little longer.

Black Dog said...

SPoiler - a right handed Smid to play with Whitney? What's jason Smith up to these days?

Don't disagree though.