Monday, October 06, 2014

Big Wheel Keeps On Turning

 Once you get to a certain age (old, like me), the flood of weddings slows to a trickle. A couple of years ago we had two, both people who work for me, but otherwise we've had none for ages. Until this year.

 Four! Four! Can you believe it? Our babysitter, Jenn's sister, a close friend (he's family really) and in two weeks one of Jenn's coworkers, this one might be a harbinger of things to come as Jenn is a nurse and there is a constant stream of youngsters starting at the hospital, every year, so chances are there will be a few more of these.

A few weeks back we went up to Sudbury for the third of these. I really enjoy weddings, I do, and was looking forward to this one all year. I've know the groom since he was seven (!) when I helped his dad coach the neighbourhood squirt team for two winters before I went off to university and as I noted, he and his family are family to us. Wonderful generous people who have done so much for us (and for me since I was just a kid) over the years.

We left our loinfruit with my folks (everyone survived!) and headed over to the other side of town. We had woken up to pouring rain but by late afternoon it was gone, though gusts of wind rattled the tent overlooking the lake. The ceremony was short (best kind) and we stood and cheered and as they went off for pictures things got a bit surreal.

 I coached the groom off and on for years, even after I came to Toronto for school I would head home for the summer and coach soccer. He was a terrific soccer player, probably a little better than hockey and he was a hell of a hockey player, and so many of his friendships began on the soccer field or at the rink and so everywhere I turned at this wedding I saw someone who I had not seen in nearly twenty five years. A few I had seen a little more recently but there were quite a few, now in their late thirties, married with kids, who I had last seen when they were thirteen or fourteen years old. I was talking to one of them, a young man named Pete, as we did the reception line thing and he said oh yeah a bunch of the old gang is here and I said oh yeah like who and he turned to the couple behind us and said well for starters here's Watson, who had been the goalkeeper on a couple of the clubs.


 The evening started with two kegs from the local microbrewery (Stack Brewery - if you're up north pick some up, I highly recommend it) and wine from the vinyard where they got engaged. On our own trip to Niagara this spring we got them a case of wine from there for a wedding gift. Around 5:30 I was in the little northerners' room (Proud To Be A Northerner! as the slogan on the old Northern Ale bottles once said) and overheard a couple of young dudes wondering how the hell they were going to make it past dinner at this rate.

 Pace your self lads and drink lots of water! Now get back up to the bar!

 A great meal and more wine and at our table was Pete from the soccer days and many wonderful things were said about me by him and it was damn fine and the best man gave a speech that, well, it was either the best or worst speech ever given depending on who you talked to, I leaned to the former, he managed to somehow offend everyone in the room, it was raucous and profane and I'm still laughing about it, you had to see it to believe it you really did.  And then dancing and out into the cool beautiful night it turned into and then beer and more dancing and outside again and catching up with old friends and it was a night that I was sad to see end although I got to go home with the prettiest girl there as I always do.

 I've always been one to enjoy myself and to embrace life and all that it has to offer and this night was about as good as it gets, truly. When Spencer passed last summer it was a heartbreaker, I will never get over it, but it was a reminder to me to not sweat the small stuff. I've always been good at that, I'm a champ now, let me tell you.


 Yesterday was a weird day. I didn't like the Marincin move and I didn't like that they kept Acton. I'm not freaking out about it because in two weeks someone will get hurt and Marincin will be back and likely Pitlick or Lander will be too.

 I understand people getting really pissed off though (and boy were some people pissed off) and here's the thing. I like MacT. I like Eakins. But the organization has been a clown car for nearly a decade now and so they have to earn back the benefit of the doubt that nobody will give them. Eight years out of the playoffs and a roster of current NHL players given away for nothing will make a guy a little antsy, you know. I think MacT is a better than average GM and I think Eakins is going to be a good coach but you know, win some games.

 Marincin played over forty games last year in a top four role as a rookie and he did well by any measure. The organization asked him to put some pounds on and he came to camp fifteen pounds heavier. Sounds like he's all in, right.

 Now he didn't have a great camp and some say Klefbom outplayed him, others disagree. And yet he goes down. Why? Politics.

 The Oilers have their golden boys, same as most organizations really. Klefbom and Nurse are part of the club, same as Hall, Ted, Eberle and Schultz. Marincin, Yakupov, Petry ... not part of the club.

 Is it a big deal longterm? I don't think so really. Marincin will be back soon. I don't like the fact that a small sample size (arguably better camp for Klefbom) outweighs what Marincin did last year and I don't like that the club is going Ference, Klefbom and Nurse at LD to start the season when last year's disastrous start sewered the club by Remembrance Day. Points in October count and wanting to get a look at Nurse ( I do not believe at all that he is ready for a fulltime job, does anyone at all) doesn't lend itself to winning.

 Oh well.

 As for Acton, well Lander was awful but by all accounts Pitlick and Pinizzotto were better in camp. So ... what gives here? Acton is a better PK man and I guess that is the key to it and as long as he is in the pressbox it's fine I guess but if Eakins yanks Arcobello for him after a loss I won't be too pleased. Play Pitlick. Give him a shot.

 Again though Joensuu will be out within a week so my guess is we'll see Pitlick before the ink is dry on this here interweb thing I am doing.

 Don't like the moves. Not going to die on that hill.


 As for the Oilers, well, they're getting there. They really are. For the first time in a long time I feel positive about this club.

 I don't think they're making the playoffs. An injury to Ted and they're in the lottery again actually. To which you might say what the hell!?!?!?! But you just said you're positive!

 Here's why.

 You know my old saw, the one that everyone uses now. Get good players. Keep them. (I should have trademarked that and #BecauseOilers, I really should have.) Not an original thought really but the reason the Oilers have been terrible is because for eight years they turned the house into a paperclip. A full NHL roster of actual NHL players out the door for nothing. Literally. Although Penner can come off that list now that Klefbom has arrived.

 Well in the last year MacT has started to reverse the trend. Scrivens. Fasth. Ference. Nikitin. Fayne. Gordon. Pouliot. Actual NHL players for nothing more than money or picks. And when guys leave other guys come in return. Paajarvi for Perron. Gagner for Purcell. Even Dubnyk brought in Hendricks.

 So now the club has two NHL goalies who are decent. And depth, real depth on the wings. Six actual NHL wingers. When is the last time we could say that? (2007 spring, that's when). And while the D is green and Petry getting traded is going to be a step back again there are actual NHL defencemen back there, not Belov and Grebeshkov and Nick Schultz. (I didn't mind the gamble on the two Russians. Didn't work out. That's okay.)

 Forget about centre though yeah? Yikes!

 So the team is better. And there are a ton of kids on the way and no not all of them will work out but so many of them have good arrows that some of them will and the reality is that this team is going to be a good team quite soon barring a run of career ending injuries or Taylor Hall asking out. Maybe not a Cup contender. But yeah a good team. Soon.

 Hard to believe and this year could be an absolute gong show but it's coming.

 Believe it.


Woodguy said...

Excellent post as always Pat.

This line in particular is a favorite:

"But the organization has been a clown car for nearly a decade now and so they have to earn back the benefit of the doubt that nobody will give them. "

That's just it.

To this day Lowe and MacT don't know why their 30 year old Cup rings don't buy them the benefit of the doubt. They don't really internalize the gongshowerry the org has been for year.

In listening to Lowe explain the slid into the abyss it was always someone else's fault. Always.

Now internal examination, just outward projection.


Were you the one to come up with Because Oilers?

I was trying to think of who did in a thread at LT's after I launched my blog, but came up empty.

Would you like me to change it?

I secured the url and will move all 2 of my posts over there eventually, but if you want me to pull down I will.


Black Dog said...

Thanks Darcy, yeah maybe the lowest point of this whole disaster (and there have been many) was Lowe talking about how he knows something about winning. Man oh man.

As for because Oilers I'm pretty sure it was me but I'm just kidding around. No need to change anything at all.

Have a good one!

Woodguy said...

Thanks Pat, I appreciate it.

I posted that on my phone and some of the spelling errors makes me look like an HF board poster.

Lemme try again:

Excellent post as always Pat.

This line in particular is a favorite:

"But the organization has been a clown car for nearly a decade now and so they have to earn back the benefit of the doubt that nobody will give them. "

That's just it.

To this day Lowe and MacT don't know why their 30 year old Cup rings don't buy them the benefit of the doubt. They don't really internalize the gongshowerry the org has been for years.

In listening to Lowe explain the slide into the abyss it was always someone else's fault. Always.

No internal examination, just outward projection.

Bruce said...

My favouritd line is:

it was a night I was sad to see end although i got to go home with e prettiest girl there like I always do"

solid post as always, Pat. The details can indeed drive us nuts but you are rit to be optimistic about the biggerr picture. Get NHL players, keep NHL players.

rubbertrout said...

One man's clown car is another man's garbage fire. Or something like that. Great post Pat. Keep them coming.

oilfaninvic said...

Thanks Pat. I was hoping you'd have a post before the Oilers fall out of a tie for 1st in the west.

Anonymous said...

Fern Argyle would have been proud!

Black Dog said...

lol oilfaninvic very good!

Thanks Bruce, rubbertrout!

Black Dog said...

Francis, is it you?

Oiler_Kiwi99 said...

Hey Pat,
Another quality post sir.

You could publish a book with the quality writing you have posted over many many years.

I too share your optimism this season for the 1st time since 2006.

Actually have committed to NHL Game Centre Live for the 1st time in the hope that I will get some meaningful hockey past Christmas.

Keep up the great work.

Black Dog said...

thanks Oiler_Kiwi, appreciate it

Anonymous said...

The one and only Pistol Buchowski!

Black Dog said...

The Batman ....