Interesting night, indeed. Mr. Dithers is gone. Toronto is freaked. And maybe, just maybe, the petulant mantra of "Western Alienation" can crawl into a corner and die for awhile.
But even worse, the Oilers lost. I found out by accident, on a TV screen, while turning the corner at Union Station. On the subway ride home, I imagined a typical Oilers loss to the Flames: a stifling, uncreative team collapsing around that rebound-vaccuum otherwise known as Mikka Kiprusoff. And I imagined that the Oilers, who are not playing well, probably lost the game the second they gave the Flames the lead. Familiar enough, the Oilers are still doomed to lose against old NHL retreads along the lines of the Minnesota Wild or New Jersey Devils.
Turns out, it was pretty close to what I imagined, thus saving myself the slow, merciless pain of watching yet another blueballs loss. I guess you can point to the usual difference maker: Kipper stopped 31 shots to Edmonton's 21, and made some brilliant saves. As our own Jussi Markkanen put it earlier this week:
"He's the reason Calgary is ahead of us in the standings.''
Pretty much true this time, although the Oilers played like crap.
I'm happy to point out that there's a lot riding on this one guy (nice to see Iginla show up 47 games into the season). Good goaltending makes Calgary's defence look better than it is and good goaltending makes you forget just how dreadful their scoring has been, so I'll take solace in that. As well, the Oil have played like merde lately and this is the second game in a row where MacT has called out the team for their effort.
''Scoring and points have become more important than winning hockey games,'' said Peca after the loss. ''We've got to get it out of our game.''
When there about 8 teams out of 30 with losing records in the new touchy-feely NHL, losing streaks make me nervous. Here's hoping they clobber Anaheim Wednesday night...
Monday, January 23, 2006
Posted by mike w at 10:45 PM