Sunday, May 20, 2012
When it comes to Twitter most of the folks I follow fall in one of three groups. There are sports columnists and broadcasters. There are friends or 'acquaintances', most whom I have met through blogging or through Twitter itself. And then there is an eclectic mix of parody accounts, political commentators and celebrities. When I first started tweeting I had a lot of athletes and entertainers on my list but most of them I have winnowed out (although I have kept the Oilers on my list) mostly because they are dull or their tweeting consists of promoting the new episode of their TV show. The athletes especially, other that @shorcov its the usual platitudes and dreck. I still follow a few though and one of these is Moe Berg. I've seen him here and there on the streets of Toronto over the years, he stands out in a crowd, he's a tall dude and has petty distinctive features. I was always a big Pursuit of Happiness guy back in the day and still fire the CD in there now and then. Good driving music. Catchy. Can't really dance to it but hey ....
It was about three years ago now one summer evening where three of us friends decided to go out and hit the town. As we sat on a porch in the August heat having a few cold drinks before heading downtown my friend Sharon and I got to talking about how the year had seen its share of tough times, older relatives and the parents of our friends falling ill or passing on, the odd peer, just turned forty, suddenly stricken with an awful twist of fate, maybe illness, maybe the end of a marriage, maybe a sick child.
And we talked and talked and we came to the conclusion that possibly, just possibly, this was not a sudden blip, a momentary downturn in our worlds, but perhaps this was the new normal.
And with that in mind that night we drank and we smoked and we laughed as we wandered hot summer streets.
Its been a few years now and we were right. For all of us who were there that night life has gone on and for the most part it has been very very good but as we get older it becomes clear that those carefree days untouched by sorrow (if we were lucky) are long gone. Its not those two generations removed who are dying off now, although a few of them are still hanging around, tough as nails, its the ones next to us who are starting to go and the odd time its one of us that gets picked off as well.
I've always had a fair respect for the idea of my own mortality and I've forever been part of the 'live for today' brigade and the former has been honed to a keen edge by recent events (illness has claimed another family member on Jenn's side, another has but weeks to live and a client at work is watching his wife waste away) and the latter I come by naturally as my Mom, at 79, has just returned from her first trip to Europe. Also, despite having been told it would not could not ever walk again, she is now doing so.
And so there are pints and dinners and last Sunday we had an impromptu street party with our neighbours that saw the drinking and the smoking and the eating and a good time was had by all. So this is all and good but also we are renewing our mortgage and the lease on our van is up and work is busier than its ever been and there is the usual day to day to day grind that has worn me down to the nubbiest of nubs.
Me I'm tired.
I'll be alright. Here's the thing I've realized about being an adult. If you use your head and act your age then things will be okay. Have a positive attitude. Treat people with respect. Don't spend more money than you make. Plan for the future but remember to enjoy today. Know who you are and act accordingly. If you have kids be tough but fair. And give them all of the love you have.
Its like I always say - life isn't easy but its not hard either. Laugh and love and battle through those tough times.
That's all I have to say about that Bubba.
So its been busy as hell and on top of everything, here's the thing, how many times can you write about how many things your sadsack team needs to do to compete next year? We've seen six years out of the playoffs and summer for an Oilers' fan consists of draft day, July 1st and then two months of waiting in vain for those moves that never come. In 2006 after Pronger and Spacek left we waited for those two veteran Dmen to come in to replace them and for Smyth to be signed. We waited and waited until the team went into the toilet for lack of quality D and then Smyth was traded.
And so it has gone year after year. Any fool can see what the Oilers needed to do but unfortunately the guys at Oilers' HQ aren't just any kind of fool. They're leading the parade apparently.
And now we wait again. The problem is that the holes in the Oilers' lineup are massive. You don't finish 30th, 30th, 29th because of poor coaching. You have that kind of run because your team is otherworldly bad. And while there are a lot of terrific kids the fact is the Oilers need help everywhere. They need it on the blueline where after Smid, Schultz and young Petry you have a bunch of bottom pairing guys unless you believe Ryan Whitney can come back and stay healthy and return to his previous level of play. (I don't). They need it up front where they have some great high end talent but a lack of depth, size and two way players. And they need it in net where Dubnyk had a good season but is certainly not at a spot where you would be able to run with him for sixty plus games.
Its the same old story. You need good players. The more good players that get off the bus the better your team is. And the better your coach is.
I think we are in the death throes of the Tambo regime and that Lowe is getting ready to step back in. Mr Six Rings has been in the public eye a bit more and there are rumours (they are just rumours) that Tambo wanted Renney to stay. And if there is a bit of a power struggle that would explain the way Renney was left to twist in the wind. That sort of move has Lowe's fingerprints all over it, he is the consummate amateur.
The plus to this is that he may put the kibosh on any desperation moves Tambo may make to save his job. The minus is that it is Lowe and so if the word from Katz is make the playoffs then we're liable to see some kids moved for guys like Colby Armstrong and Mike Komisarek. The gang in charge at Oilers' HQ is nothing if not unimaginative.
So while I should be excited about the addition of another all world talent in Yakupov instead I await Tambo's glazed over grin as he announces that he has traded the #1 for Luke Schenn and then picks an 18 year old Dman because 'that's what we need'. Never mind that you always pick best player available, that Dmen nearly always take years to develop with few exceptions and that if anybody should know the danger of drafting for need it would be the Oilers who passed on Zach Parise because they already were small up the middle with Comrie and Marchant. A year later both were gone.
What say you? Are the Oilers going to be adults about this? Are they going to think it through and make the right choice, the one that every other team in the NHL would make? Or are they going to blow the mortgage money on a weekend bender in Vegas?
I'm hoping for the former but betting on the latter.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:45 PM