Sunday, February 5, 2006

Canucked Heat

Oilers 3, Jim Hughson and Greg Millen 1

Just in case anyone was still wondering which team Jim Hughson and Greg Millen follow, last night's apologize-fest for the "tired" Vancouver Canucks should have answered all your questions. The fact the Canucks took a bunch of hooking and holding penalties is obviously some indication they were tired, but man alive, don't you think the fact the Oilers are a three-man cycle machine, or that our defence has all of the sudden become a sizeable, smart, mobile point-shot force had anything to do with that? Hughson and Millen would have been a great regional broadcast team, but sweet Lumley, can't the CBC find any goddamn pair capable of calling a game between two Canadian teams with some level of balance? My heart goes out to Ottawa and Montreal, who experience this far more regulalry, and to a higher degree.

Anyway, my blood hatred of those two aside, I'm really damn glad we won this game. I think this was the type of game that really goes to show that if the Oil need anything for the stretch drive, it's a guy who can finish. This scoring-by-committee works on most nights, but if it weren't for Quimby's wall-like abilities (there were only 17 shots, but a high number of them were pretty good scoring chances, including a near-break by Carter and a scramble with Naslund and the 'Tuzz on), we very easily could have had 40 shots and a loss. Our goaltending looks fine, but maybe we should be calling New Jersey about Alex Mogilny, who isn't doing anything important these days. Also, shame everybody from St. Louis who can score has already been traded; maybe we can convince Chicago to take Danny Syvret for Calder?


-I maintain my view of Jarkko Ruutu: not so much a pest as a retard. His penalty on Torres was one of the dumbest I've seen in a while (what the hell did holding him at the bench accomplish?), and he didn't do anything else in the game besides yap at GG, which would have resulted in several broken bones if Georges had bothered to shut him up. I can't understand why any team would want this guy.

-Tarnstrom sat, somewhat deservedly, from what I understand of the Columbus game. Smith has also been "injured" the last couple of games (I only say it like that because I think they're calling it a bruised foot, which doesn't strike me as the type of injury that would normally keep him out). Also, we should seriously look into keeping Spacek around. I assume the fact he went so cheap was because he clearly wants to try the FA market, but with him, we'd have a top-four reminiscent of the Canucks' stellar unit from last season (Jovo, Ohlund, Sopel and Salo). As is, I think we've got one of the most mobile, sound units in the league.

-Apparently Edmonton radio station The Bear, who evidently are not content to let KRock hold on to their "number one among the brain dead and frat boys of all ages" title, has some dare thing going on, and one of them was for some guy to get their logo on last night's broadcast. I didn't see it, thank God, and I hope whatever moron they suckered into it got hit by a car on his way out the door, sending him flying comically over the hood, and crushing his "The Bear" sign into the cold, hard pavement.


Colby Cosh said...

Uh... are you implying here that the Gator was made a healthy scratch?

Steve said...

I echo Cosh's question.

I'm also confused as to what GG (in the context of Georges Laraque, who has not been made Her Majesty's representative in Canada to the best of my knowledge) stands for.

Also, Oilfans was way ahead of you on that Syvret for Calder thing. Probably.

Pleasure Motors said...

Steven, I refer you to Battle of Alberta's "Terms of Battle":

"Le GG: Nickname for Oiler Georges Laraque. Georges is often referred to as BG on the net ("Big Georges") but someone (MikeW?) noted that it really should be in French."

Also, yes, that was what I'm implying. It may not entirely be true, but of our eight defencemen, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to say that Smith is worthy of sitting from time to time. Pronger, Spacek, Bergeron and Staios should be set in stone, and then what? Ulanov and Tarnstrom are more or less the same player, as are Greene and Smith; given that Greene is younger, why not play him from time to time? And how do you sit your Captain, if not having him injured? I just think it's sort of convenient that Smith got hurt when we got a glut of defenceman, is all. More or less idle conspiracy theory, though.

Colby Cosh said...

[cuckoo-clock noise]

Pleasure Motors said...

It's not likely, and I wouldn't be willing to put money on it, but the more important point is that I just don't think it's that ridiculous to sit Smith with the defencemen we have (and I don't know how you legitimately sit your captain without saying he's injured).

Now, as a bit of an aside, I also don't think it's entirely unreasonable to assume that Smith isn't incredibly long for Oilerland.

He's gritty and all that, of course, but it's fair to say that, of our top four d-men before the trade, he was definitely the fourth. After the trade, he's fifth, I guess, though improved play by Tarnstrom would easily make that questionable, and even then, do you want your captain and a guy who makes $2mil a year playing 10-15 minutes a game?

Greene play his style, not quite as solid yet, though physical and, again, gritty, is way cheaper, and you could probably get more for Smith on the open market than either of the other three (I don't think a 5-6-7 of Tarnstrom, Greene and Ulanov is that bad, either). Given that we have greater needs elsewhere, I don't think it's out of the question. It's not as if we have some sort of leadership deficit on the team (Pronger, Smyth and Moreau are already As, and Peca and Staios are both former captains), and I really don't think Smith brings THAT much to the table that he would be untouchable.

You can make noises all you want, but while this is just speculation, it's not without base. I'm not saying I'd want it, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see it.

mudcrutch79 said...

I buy the argument that it makes sense to move Smith more than I buy the argument that he's a healthy scratch. There's no way around the fact that Smith is significantly better than Greene and Ulanov. There's no reason for the Oilers to sit him if healthy.

Even moving him is problematic-Spacek's only signed for the rest of the year, as is Tarnstrom. If you lose them in the offseason, you're left with Pronger, Staios, Bergeron and Greene as a presumptive top 4.

If Spacek signs an extension, then I could see Smith moved but I doubt we'll see it-no one knows what the market will do this year and a guy like Spacek who can eat minutes will be a reasonably hot commodity.

Colby Cosh said...

That's right. Your theoretical argument for moving Smith is good, but I defy you to find one other earthling who agrees that he's "essentially the same player as Matt Greene." In fact, if there were general agreement about this, he wouldn't have the trade value you ascribe to him in the "aside." Greene was behind Syvret on the depth chart three weeks ago--comparing him to Gator is jumping the gun. And the truck it's mounted on. And the ammo shed.

And speaking of juries that are still definitely out, what the heck has Tarnstorm done so far to deserve sealed-and-delivered #5 status? He's a PP specialist on a team whose PP has played better without him so far, right? What did I miss?

Anonymous said...

You guys seem to be missing the fact that Millen has cheered against Vancouver in every game involving either a Canadian or Original 6 team. There is a reason everyone in Vancouver hates him...

Pleasure Motors said...

Woah, woah: Millen cheers AGAINST Vancouver? Since when? All I can ever remember from this guy is barely-disguised vitriol for the Oilers at every available opportunity (he didn't ever get shelled by us too bad, did he?), and Canucks apology in between.

Christ, if he's a broadcaster that's anti-Canuck, I'd hate to have to suffer through one that actually likes them.

Dennis said...

I think Smith's riding the pine because he's injured and because we have eight defensemen who can play...well seven now that Tarnstrom has the flu.