Friday, December 16, 2005

Take that, French Canada!

Edmonton 5
Montreal 3

So far be it from me to proliferate the stereotype that Covered In Oil writers are nothing but lazy drunks, but hey—I'm lazy, as you may have gathered from my dearth of posts of late, and having been at the Black Dog most of the evening since catching the last period and a half of tonight's game at Whyte Ave's contest-obsessed Elephant and Castle, I'm also fairly drunk. So, uh, yeah. HOCKEY!!

Crazy game tonight, people. Crazy. Freakin'. Game. Well, not really, I guess. Like I said, I only managed to catch about half of the second and all of the third, so I missed the first five scene-setting goals, but what I did see of the Oilers' Plains of Abraham-esque 5-3 smokening of Canada's Frenchingest Frenchlords was encouraging indeed, with the Oil managing once again to overcome spotty goaltending and a mentally crippled first line en route to a victory that, given the circumstances, was probably not entirely deserved.

As far as I'm concerned, tonight was a case of Ethan Moreau making up for Conklin's mistakes, and what a job he did. Seriously—we all know there's been no small amount of ink spilled about Moreau's "heart" and "hustle," but tonight was a rare showcase of the man's "talent." This is the guy Chicago thought they were drafting in the first round; he outskated, outworked, dangled, passed and scored like there was no one capable of stopping him, and frankly, there wasn't. Montreal looked terrified every time his line was on the ice, and god bless the man for showing the powerplay the value of a well-placed bullet on the game-winner, because holy god was I getting tired of watching the Oilers regurgitate their passing drills all night. Yes, control is important, but it took seven powerplays for us to register seven shots tonight—and we wonder what the problem on the PP is. Yeesh.

As for Conklin, well, he's got some explaining to do. From what I've seen so far, his reflexes are sharp, but his positioning is hurting him badly (Higgins's wraparound? How could he not see that coming?), and I really can't imagine him sticking around as part of a tandem. Markkanen has played so well that he's managed to convince MacT that he doesn't need to play at all anymore, apparently, and you really can't ignore Morrisson's numbers, so Conks is clearly the odd man out. Maybe this is all just a showcasing stint—but who knows if the guy even has value on the trade market in the first place. Honestly, name a team that needs a guy like Ty. No one's coming to mind over here.

Anyhow, bedtime equals now, and tonight, Ryan Smyth can curl up with his vast collection of Gund cats (I assume) and drift away assured with the fact that his team currently sits six games over .500, which is precisely six games better than I thought the Oil would be at this point. And isn't that what really matters? Gund cats?


mike w said...

What a remarkably lucid post for someone who got "sloshed."

And indeed, what a neat little win. Yet, despite being 17-11-3, there's still an undercurrent of age-old fretfulness for Oilers fans. Too many square pegs to fit round holes: the goalie situation is a mess; our bottom pair D is too slow to do much; our top pair plays too many minutes; and of course, we could always use a top-end scorer. And sweet Thundering Christ, is there a game that goes by in which Horcoff doesn't take a dumb penalty? (I assume they were dumb because they always are). But hey, enough, the Oil are sixth place in the West and I'm a happy man.

I just expect something to happen after the Xmas trade freeze, either a trade or Conks hitting waivers.

Now I'm off to catch a plane home. I hope you guys kept Edmonton the way I left it. Any more heritage buildings burnt down? Jan Reymer is still mayor, right?