Friday, January 25, 2013

Uphill Both Ways

We don't have real winters in Toronto anymore, haven't in a number of years. We used to. I remember in my first year of University, in early November of 1986, a massive snowstorm which led to a snowball fight with the adjoining residence house, which then snowballed (HAHAHA DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!) to include all of the residences at our college at which point we marched on the next college where after a great battle we joined forces and rushed across campus like I picture my ancestors coming out of the moors down into England, howling and naked, slaughtering the pasty English with their bad teeth and haircuts. Except we weren't naked. And we didn't kill anybody. Threw a lot of snowballs through open windows though.

 Now this wouldn't happen nowadays. The cops would be called and we would be dispersed or at least sent home to put on helmets and other protective equipment. There's a school in my neighbourhood which banned ball playing for a while after a parent was hit by a ball in the playground. Don't get me fucking started.

 Of course the other issue is there is no snow. No winter. Nothing. Even when we moved back to Canada in 2001 there were winters. And then, four or five years ago they began to taper off. Last year we had one truly cold day. The year before the same. Last winter two of my kids got out tobogganing not once. The third was at a sleepover, got up in the morning, rushed out and go a few runs in. By noon the snow was gone. Toronto winters aren't much to speak of anyhow. Relatively speaking I mean. We can get decent storms but we're not talking the sixty or seventy cm monsters they get out east or in Quebec. Twenty cm is a big one for us. And it doesn't get that cold. Not Alberta or Sudbury cold that's for sure. Its a damp cold and you get some wind and that makes it unpleasant but we're not talking Call of The Wild shit here. So this week when the temperature suddenly crashed folks were a bit stunned. Just two weeks ago it was PLUS 15 degrees over the weekend. This week it was minus fifteen and lower every day and that's without 'that windchill bullshit' as my Uncle Ray calls it. So on the minus 20s every day pretty well and yeah it was cold. I know cold. I grew up in cold and played hockey in cold and I know cold. It was cold.

 I loved it to be honest although I don't think I could take much more. I've grown soft here although its also an age thing. Even my old man doesn't like the cold much anymore and he was raised in a snowbank if you believe the stories. The kids love it or at least the novelty of it. When confronted with the fact that it was almost thirty below or something ridiculous the boy asked if school was going to be cancelled. My reply, without even a thought of the irony of it all:

When I was your age I used to walk to school every day, it didn't matter how cold. Thirty below. Blizzards. it didn't matter.

Yeah. I actually said that.

His reply, not being a smartass, I think he had me confused with the milkman, his real Dad I guess:

 I thought your school was across the road from your house.

 LOL. It wasn't. Still it was funny. Not as funny as me pulling out the old 'When I was your age' line though. God help me.


 I said it while the game Tuesday was being played - it didn't mean a thing. Every team gets clobbered once and a while, every team does some clobbering. The Oilers destroying Chicago twice last year meant nothing other than twice they had games where everything went right for them and everything went poorly for their opponent.

The Oilers bounced back last night and now they are two and one after games against three likely playoff teams. They could be oh and three of course, both the Canucks and Kings might have won with some luck here or there but both wins were full value for the Oilers too. I'm not saying that Edmonton is a sure bet for the playoffs because I don't believe that they are (I think they have a chance though, a better chance than I figured even a week ago) but its not like either win was one of those Roli specials we used to see where he would stop 50 and somehow Edmonton would eke out a 2-1 win.

No, the Oilers looked like they belonged on the ice with both Vancouver and Los Angeles and in some ways getting blown out by San Jose was not an awful thing. Reading your press clippings and all that you know? Bob MacKenzie tweeted last night or the night before that he doesn't put much in one week' results but he said come back in a month and then you'll know what you have. Even with that said I am going to point out a few things:

 - one of the keys for the club was what the kids could do and so far Hall, Nugent Hopkins and Eberle have dominated at times despite getting some tough matchups and, imo, not really playing that great yet. I know that sounds crazy but you see them put it into another gear and then ... wow

- Yakupov can do the most difficult thing there is to do in hockey, score goals. He's a boy still but physically he is not afraid to engage and I think this was the biggest worry for me

- I know for a few people the day that Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner get shown the door will be a great day but this past week has shown us what a team with offensive depth can do. Suddenly other teams have to pick their poison. Try and stop the kids and you get 83, 89 and 64 with an easier matchup. Or you can go the other way. Some teams, the elite ones, can match up with two good scoring lines. There are few elite teams in the league.

 - Paajarvi getting a push after an autumn where it appeared Teemu was eating his lunch is a good sign to me. He's not a thumper but he can skate like the wind and if his future is on a line that's going to take on the toughs then so be it. You need those guys.

- Schultz squared have done better defensively that I expected

- I liked Fistric in limited viewing

- I am afraid that Whitney is done. I can't see them shipping him out but if they are serious about playoffs I think they need to do what we figured months ago, add another D. And he's the odd man. Shitty but his mobility is gone.

- Dubnyk with a great game last night. I have faith in him.

- Belanger far better than last year and I think Kreuger is giving he and Petrell tougher matchups than we might be comfortable with to see what they can handle. They haven't been getting destroyed out there so far.

That's all. I'm hoping that they thump Calgary tomorrow night, a loss and its really a case of one step forward, one step back. Four of their next five are on the road and its the Avs twice, the Coyotes and the Sharks besides the Flames. So tough sledding most likely. A win Saturday would be nice, three and one before a tough week.


Marsha said...

Hall, Nuge and Ebs are so close to breaking out. They had a good game but good point, they haven't played their best yet and you just know they're going to break out soon!

Bar Qu said...

IThrow to explode everytime someone says "no snowballs!" I mean, if the snow is good & a kid is near it, why shouldn't they throw the stuff? If you want your kid to never get hurt, you are living on the wrong side of eternity my good man. I need to stop, it just makes me crazy what we keep from kids in the name of safety.

Bar Qu said...

That should read "l want to" not throw.

And i agree too that these Oilers look for real in each & every game. Good times.