Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wasting Away In Margaritaville

When people I have met a little more recently, say guys I play on my hockey team with, find out that I lived in Florida for three and a half years they are a bit astounded.

I'm not a Florida type of guy.

I don't like to golf and I am not into boating. I like the beach in small doses but that's about all.

Everyone who drops by here knows I'm a pretty positive guy, right? Other than when it comes to Oilers' management. I enjoy life, look on the bright side, don't like running folks down.

But God help me I don't like Florida much at all. And I lived here for years so while I'm certainly not born and bred I'm not casting stones from afar.

If you were to ask me of my lasting memory of this place - one time we were taking the big fellow (God bless him) down to the beach for a swim and as we putted along looking for a parking spot we noted a girl, about sixteen or seventeen, enormously pregnant, dancing in the back of a pickup truck in a thong bikini, can of beer in one hand, smoke in the other.

Should be the state flag right there.

And yes I know many lovely people here and Key West is one of my favourite places but sometimes I think if a big wind came and blew the endless sprawl and tattoos and gun shops and billboards advertising personal injury lawyers and the personal injury lawyers themselves and all of the rest of it into the Gulf of Mexico and left the peninsula to the geckos and the manatees and the palm trees it might just be a better place.


Now having said all of that we're having a grand time here, just finishing up our near two weeks before heading back north. What can I say, nice place to visit .... We hit Disney and the kids loved it, as did we, what can I say we're just two big kids ourselves. We drove down to Sarasota today to catch a spring training game at a lovely little park and the kids (the boy especially) loved their first encounter with baseball. We did one of the crazy mini putts and we've been to pools and barbeques and the beach pretty well every day and we're all brown as we can get. And God help my poor wife I can barely keep my hands off of her when she's brown and smelling of the beach and all salty tasting. Mmmm hmmm.

So its been a fine time and the cheap beer and wine certainly has not hurt.

Front row seats to see the Oilers tomorrow night, fifty bucks lol, and I'll keep an eye on the young Finn first and foremost but hopefully the entire club puts on a good show especially Hemsky who is catching fire (healthy at last) and the old Russian captain, God love him.

Friday we'll be on the beach all day and then Saturday and Sunday we'll be heading up I75 home but hopefully I'll have a few words on the game and the Florida hockey experience next week and then will be back in the saddle again.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Odds, Sods And So On

Does anyone else get the sneaking suspicion that everything Tambellini touch turns to shit?

LOL don't bother - I already know the answer to that one.

But just a few games into the Nick Schultz era and a trade that didn't look great but at least looked ok is suddenly looking, erm, dicey.

Its one thing to say well ok Schultz doesn't have the skill set that Gilbert does but at least he is a top four guy, right, but so far he's been pulling down bottom pair minutes, which is sort of what he was doing in Minnesota but of course we didn't know the circumstances there.

But if we traded a guy who played the toughs and over twenty minutes a night for a guy who gets less icetime than Theo Peckham then, um, what the fuck?

Especially considering that the fourth man of a decent top four of Smid/Petry/Gilbert/Whitney is just a shadow of himself and apparently going under the knife. Again.

Or is it just Tom Renney who looks more and more like a guy who knows the jig is up and, like MacT, is going to go out his own way, even though he looks goofy doing so. Scratching Sutton instead of Potter? Playing Omark not with skill guys but with the pluggers? (And God bless pluggers - you need them - but Omark is what he is. PLAY HIM AND SEE WHAT HE CAN DO!!)

Now of course the die is already cast for the young Swede - according to the mouthpieces he will be moved at the draft for a pick - he's an NHL player and all but you know, no room for him.



Here's the thing. Its a huge business. And its a cutthroat business. And while I'd prefer a guy like Chiarelli or Gillis, a guy who has a business background rather than just being an old player, as the Oilers' GM, I would also just be happy with a guy who, you know, has some depth. A guy who seems smarter than the average fan who thinks that the team is doing just fine and that the best thing they could do is get rid of everyone over 21 and replace them with teenagers.

But I doubt that his depth of thinking goes further than that. And as a result we're fucked.


A little late on this but it appears that the two big winners in terms of inseason moves this year are once again Boston and Vancouver. We know once the playoffs come that anything can happen, hey both of these clubs were an OT goal from being eliminated in the first round last year, but really by my eye there are three contenders in each conference and then the rest. Not to say that Chicago or Nashville might make a move out West or that Philly might do the same in the East but right now it looks like St Louis, Detroit or the Canucks out west and the Rangers, Bruins or Penguins out East. These are the heavyweights and I'd like the Rangers out East, I think they get an easier road first round, they have the goaltending and, same as the last four Cup champs, they are so deep. Just quality everywhere.

Out West I'd say Canucks again as well, Gillis has added to their depth (there's that word again!) and I think they are totally quality, no matter how unlikeable they are as a team. A healthy Malholtra, Booth, Pahlsson, Kassian. I mean, seriously?

A long way to go but that's the way I see it now.


Nothing more frustrating than watching / reading/ listening to hockey commentary. The trade deadline was awful and the fallout from the Grabovski deal was just as bad. Doug MacLean's admission that he had not seen Sammy Pahlsson play since 2007 was reminiscent of Pierre Maguire wondering if Hemsky fit a need at centre at last year's deadline and MacTavish's raised eyebrow in response.

I don't watch any other sport in depth and I think in some cases, like baseball for example, evaluating players is a lot more cut and dried so even if your man is an old first baseman its pretty hard to make a mistake when it comes to a guy's value. In hockey though you have a few things going on. First of all the majority of the television media are ex-players and so you have that conservative hockey hidebound way of looking at things, the idea that a guy like Darcy Hordichuk has value or that Grabovski is a third line centre despite all evidence to the contrary or that 'Collie' is just such a good guy you know. There are a handful who are good but for the most part there is a tendency for the easy answer. And here's the thing - so many of the print media, despite being 'journalists' are part of the same culture. This you have Mark Spector calling Cam Barker a top 3 NHL defenceman or Terry Jones musing that Ales Hemsky is not much of a player or that, echoes of Pierre Maguire, any six defencemen at the WJC would constitute a better D corps than the Oilers present set.

In other words the rot is pretty deep. Add to this a peculiar laziness which is epidemic, symptoms found in those examples above, where what guys know is based on old or second or third or seventh hand knowledge. So you're a writer in Toranna and you see that Elmer Ferguson award winner and allround good guy Terry Jones (remember back at the Grey Cup in 92 when Large threw up on Angelo Mosca's shoes lol)doesn't approve of Ales Hemsky and well, there you go ... Another example would be Damien Cox saying last year that Tom Gilbert was worth a low round pick if the Oilers threw in a prospect with him to sweeten the deal.

Its just absolutely poor.


OK enough complaining lol. Life has been hectic, I guess it is always hectic nowadays really, but about to head on what will be our first major family trip. We always go east of course and north as well but this will be our first major jaunt where we're not hanging out with family, its just our little gang. We've been to Ottawa for a few days but this is hardcore, packing up the family and heading to sunny Florida for two weeks. Of course we are driving and while its mental we're pretty confident that we can pull it off, he said, reaching for another beer and trying to kill the rising sense of panic.

The beach, folks. The beach. We're just across the street from it. I'm thinking the beach. And lots of cold beer.



If you have not, check out Luck. Its fantastic. Also it took me a while to get into Shameless, the British version is wonderful and at first the version set in Chicago seemed a pale imitation. But it found its legs quickly. Plus ... Emmy Rossum. So take my advice would ya?