Monday, April 01, 2013

Precocious, Precarious, Precious

My youngest daughter, well I could write a book about her. Every once in a while we look at her and say 'where did she come from?' and then I laugh and say to my wife that she is a reflection of how she was made. While the oldest two were carefully planned the youngest was the result of a wild drunken night of passion and so I believe she carries that wildness in her.

Both Jenn and I have our crazier sides and we are outgoing but when we were young we were both pretty reticent (so she says, I certainly was) and both of our oldest kids are the same. They have a lot of personality and great senses of humour but both also have a quiet reserved side.

Not this one. Life of the party wherever she goes, bold, quick with the smart remark.

Saturday we went out to get a birthday present for her little friend and she insisted on wearing her little rabbit mask. Everywhere we went she was greeted with smiles and upon entering a shop one of the staff said:

Oh look there's a little bunny in our store.

 My daughter turned to me and said in a whisper:

See, I told you people would think I was a real bunny.

 We have very good friends and every couple of months we get over to their place in the Annex. I believe it was last year we discovered that she had 'fed the fish' and she did this in a subsequent visit as well, dumping an entire package of fish food into the water. Recently we were visiting again and the kids were charmed by the latest addition to their family, a little lovebird named Basie. Basie hangs around with the family (literally, my pal has described being in the shower and the bird holding onto him for dear life) and so the kids enjoyed this but after a while he was brought downstairs while we ate brunch. After she was done our youngest excused herself and disappeared and it wasn't but a minute that Basie reappeared, followed soon by our daughter who exclaimed that Basie wanted to come and see us again.

 So yeah. This was her in a snapshot.

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This time of the season is generally a terrifying one for Oiler fans. Except for
2006 when Lowe brought in Roloson to FINALLY solve our goaltending woes as well as Samsonov to augment the roster (not to mention earlier acquisitions Spacek and Tarnstrom) the deadline has almost always meant favourites going out the door for futures. The worst ever was the Smytty kick in the nuts in 2007 but we have also seen Erik Cole, Lubo, Penner, Grebeshkov and Gilbert dealt in the past few years. Add up the return for a half dozen actual NHL players and you get Klefbom, who looks promising, Nick Schultz, who is fading, and Whitney, who is pretty well done.

There's a reason this team has been in the basement forever.

 Last year brought us the fear of losing Ales Hemsky for futures, somehow they figured out that depth at RW (or any position) might actually be a positive and so they signed him and so RW may be the Oilers' deepest position today. Of course they immediately turned around and traded Gilbert so even that joy was shortlived.

 What will this year bring? Well they signed Smid this morning to a very nice deal and so that is no longer a concern. When having very few experienced quality defencemen is your biggest problem its a good idea to keep one of the few that you have.

 So very happy about that.

 And if the Oilers beat Calgary tonight then they will have a playoff spot if everything else falls right for them on the OOT scoreboard and even if they don't they are only a few points out and with that being the case I cannot see the Oilers subtracting. They might stand pat, they might add but I can't see them sell being a seller to either the players or the fans.

 Having signed Smid I would look for the following moves but I don't think we see them until this summer.

1/ Add another actual top four D. Really ideally they would add two and have the Schultzes play bottom pair next year (plus you know ... depth!!!) but I think they definitely add one. Good news is come summer guys like this can be had for a pick. Best way to go, more likely they trade Hemsky for one which leads me to

2/ Keep Hemsky. A RW depth chart of Hemsky, Eberle, Yakupov is outstanding, take Hemsky out of the mix and its not so hot.

3/ Add a LW. I've mentioned MacArthur and Stallberg. Your might have someone else in mind.

4/ Keep Horcoff. I am starting to think they aren't going to buy him out unless his game falls off a cliff next season. His return has made a big difference in the lineup. Even with the cap coming down he fits and the following year its sure to rise again. Can't see Katz paying a useful player to go away and then paying someone else to replace him.

5/ Clear out the deadwood. This we might see at the deadline if the Oilers can find replacements/takers for the likes of Whitney, Khabibulin and so on. Then again there are rumours those two might be extended. Anyhow we will see guys get culled between now and Wednesday as well as this summer.

That's all. Nothing too sexy. Don't give up your good players unless the return is other good players. No magic beans. The team is past that. I figured with luck the Oilers would be where they are now, in the race, and the reality is their shooting % was dreadful for most of the year. Suddenly guys are starting to get hot and maybe, just maybe, they can make it into the second season.

This year playoffs would be gravy. Next year its expected. Keep your good players, like Smid. Add more of them. Its pretty straight forward.

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