Friday, April 14, 2006

I take back everything bad I said until we lose again

Edmonton 2, Anaheim 1
San Jose 5, Vancouver 3

PLAYOFF TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alright, obviously, there's a reason why this post is particularly late. However, I feel it important to start with a disclaimer, so her goes: it's been made mention several times on here that the three of us enjoy alcohol from time to time. I feel it's important to point out that this is never mentioned to appear "hip" or "with it" or to glorify the consumption of alcohol; it is simply a fact that, generally, when one or more of us is watching the Oilers, alcohol is involved, for a number of reasons (one of which I outlined in an earlier post). But again, this isn't cool; it's just there.

Which is why, when some belligerent, possibly Australian asshole completely belittles an eight-yeard-old by spilling beer all over his replica Oilers jersey, then tries to convince the tyke everything is okay by yelling "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and chanting "WIN OR LOSE, HIT THE BOOZE!" I can feel morally outraged. I realize emotions run high at sporting events, and god knows beer is delicious, but I've never had any trouble not becoming a complete fucking moron after a few glasses, and frankly it's guys like this who make me want to shell out for the NHL package and watch the remainder of my hockey games on my couch, huddled under a complimentary (with credit card signup) Oilers blanket, free to masturbate whenever Hemsky scores. And, uh, not put up with this.


There are still problems, of course: for about two straight periods, the only Oiler willing to try to go up the middle in Anaheim's zone was Samsonov, which is why Giguere looked so damn good (I would hazard to guess close to half of our 37 shots were from the outer half of the face-off circles). And really, we've still only scored three goals in our last three games, though at least now we finally have a goalie (the only one thing that stood between Rollie and a shutout was Jason Smith's stick--if he's decided to peak, it's a great time for it). I liked some of our new line combinations, though I was kind of curious as to why we abandoned them after the first, which was about a good a period as I've seen us play since the Olympic break. I thought Moreau/Horcoff/Pisani was really tenacious, and GG and Peca looked quite good as well. At first I thought the pairing of Pronger and Smith was kind of redundant, but it's actually a pretty nice compliment: Smith's defensive responsibilites allow Pronger a bit more freedom, and Pronger's solid d allow Smith to play a simpler game, which, quite frankly, he needs to play. I was actually surprised at how well Bergeron and Tarnstrom worked together, though I think that we need a defenceman who actually rushes more (Tarnstrom and Spacek sort of used to, but now they just sit back and head-man it, like everyone else, which makes me think MacT must be against it, a sentiment I just don't get).

The thing I don't get, though: obviously, it's advantageous for us to play Samsonov and Hemsky on a line together--they compliment each other quite well. So why does Smyth have to be on our first line, then? I have nothing against him, I think he's a great winger, but he's not a natural centre (at all), and if it appears we have a better combination (which I think we do), why don't we go with it? Why not Horcoff with Hemsky and Samsonov, and Smyth with Stoll and Torres? I actually think they would work together quite well, Smyth distributing the puck and standing in front for Stoll's blasts and Torres' "the only time I'm in the slot is on a breakaway" perimeter stuff. Is there some pride thing keeping him on line 1? I just don't get it.

Now, lastly, this has all been incredibly rational considering how unrepentantly excited I was last night. So, to bring some emotion, I give you, more or less verbatim, a phone call conversation I had with a Calgary Flames fan I happen to know. This was, to provide context, while sitting in the Strat, just after learning that San Jose beat Vancouver. I shall not censor, so faint of eyes read not on:

Me: You fuckin' like that Ross (*name not changed, you douchebag)?! Fucking playoffs baby! Playoffs!
A-1 Asshole: Yeah, well, we clinched the division, so...
Me: (interrupting) Fuck you. 'We clinched'; fuck that. Fucking playoffs! How the fuck do you like that? WOOO!
Captain Retarded: You didn't clinch, anyway--Vancouver won.
Me: I just saw the fucking score. You're a fucking moron. Fucking playoffs!
Mr "If it weren't for my goalie, my team would get beat by the Connecticut Pee-Wee All-Stars": Whatever.
Me: Not whatever. FUCKING PLAYOFFS!!!!
(phone hanging up)

All right, so, until last night, I've never had any trouble not becoming a complete fucking moron. But, I can assure you, this prick totally deserves it. Go Oilers.


mike w said...


Sean said...

Damn, I really hate Australians.

Garnet said...

Aussie Oil fans say:

Pleasure Motors said...

Two things I mean to point out but didn't:

Through the first half of the game, the Oilers were all up in Jiggy's grill, but they backed off from about the midway point on. I'm not sure if it was because it wasn't really working, or just part of the whole "we're not driving to the net" thing, but I liked 50% of the strategy.

Also, this is why I think Hemsky shoots just enough. Giguere was off that post because Hemsky almost always passes in that situation (he did, like, three other times in the game). Anyone else was streaking down that wing, there would be no hole there. Hemsky just makes good decisions with the puck, and as Cosh alludes to in the comments on BoA, if we had anything resembling a sniper he'd rack up assists faster than he already has. And we'd probably shut up about the "shoot" thing (he is, as a matter of fact, third on the team in shots, anyway).

Oh, and unrelatedly, Australians suck.

Prus said...

1) Flames captured the division
2) Oilers "captured" eighth

Welcome to the playoffs Edmonton, the least you could do is act like you've been there in the last 5 years.

namflashback said...

Good points about Hemsky -- he is a great playmaker with "decent" shooters on his line. Imagine what he would do with a real shooter. Mebbe the first period where he played well with Samsonov is a preview?

Let's think about lines for next season.

Assuming Schremp is ready -- (and Pouliout can continue to play like he is).

Sammy - Horcoff - Hemsky ---> plays so pretty you could die
Torres - Schremp - Smyth --> Smyth shows Torres how to play in top gear all the time, and Schremp capably sets up the shooter (Stoll) and the grinder for many tip-ins
Moreau - Stoll - Pisani --> a checking line with great face-off wins and contributes offensively
Winchester - Pouliout - LeGG --> formidable energy line with the very smart Pouliout

I think that would be pretty fine.

You keep Murray and Harvey around as utility guys that can spot in if the rooks have difficuly.

Coluch said...

Dooood, I was just shown this blog for the first time last week by my buddy 'ol pal, ROB~!

I must say, the Oil is like a religion to me, and I too am stuck in the center or maple leafs nation... it's fucking depressing at times that all I can hear about are kyle-fucking-wellwood's great night, and pat quinn's gum smaking sound in my ear. I fucking hate the leafs and their dumb ass fans! I'm soooo happy they probably won't make the playoffs.

Also, i wish I had found this blog sooner, but since it won't be an issue in the playoffs (with CBC coverage, I hope) I would still like to know where you guys catch the games in toronto during the regular season. I can't afford the NHL cable pack.

Coluch said...

Do you guys have an rss feed for this shizzle?

mike w said...

Welcome fellow wayward Westerner,

>I would still like to know where you guys catch the games in toronto during the regular season.

Sadly, NHL Centre Ice is pretty much the only option for Oilers games. Even finding a good place to watch any hockey is pretty hard, since I kind of prefer pubs to the sports bars so full of retards you can practically smell the testosterone. Although I hate 'em, the Ferkin bars here are somewhere in between.

>Do you guys have an rss feed for this shizzle?

Nah. We're lazy.

Welcome to CinO!

bigleaguer said...

Torres - Schremp - Smyth --> Smyth shows Torres how to play in top gear all the time

You'd think Torres would have learned to play in top gear all the time now. He'll never learn. Primary trade bait at the draft.

Colby Cosh said...

Wow, Bigleaguer just completely wrote off a 24-year-old player. Now all he has to do is insist that some 29-year-old with 10% of Raffi's talent is a "young guy who hasn't yet reached his peak", and he'll be fully qualified to take over as assistant GM of the Oilers.

mike w said...

Indeed, the Sedin twins were inconsistent trade bait up until this October, same with Hemsky for that matter.

Unless Torres can be had for a top-notch prospect defenceman, he's better off scoring his 26ish goals for the Oilers next season. As for Schremp, what exactly are we expecting from this guy? Of course I'm excited by the 20 year-old, but I would be surprised if he managed more than 10-15 goals in his rookie season. As absurd as it sounds, I'm still wary of translating his 100 or so OHL Power Play points into automatic Number 2 centre on the Oilers.

Prus said...

With all due respect Mike i'm not trolling. Actually i'm just trying to clear up the conversation i had with Pleasure Motors that he added to the bottom of his post. I love that man, but get a few beers in him and have the Oilers qualify for the playoffs and it's hard to get a word in edgewise.

Also, while i'm not an Oilers fan, at least they're not the 'Nucks or Leafs......Though i still won't shead a tear if they get bounced in round one.

Colby Cosh said...

I'm sure we'll shed a few when our kid Jarome gets his own hands around his neck nice and tight and the Flames start running off 1-0 losses (don't pretend you don't know it's going to happen)...

bigleaguer said...

If you believe that Torres is going to make a
Sedin-esque leap from 40 pts per season to 70 next year, you're dreaming. He just doesn't get to the puck enough. The Canucks finally put a good player (Carter) with the Sedins this year (ie: not Trent Klatt) and they scored goals. Despite all the talk of Torres' improving season this year - only six more points than last NHL season. Next year, 50 point season, at best.
Trumpeting Torres is typical of the mentality of the modern Oilers fan: acceptance of mediocrity. Any surprise the Oilers squeak into the playoffs every year??

Pleasure Motors said...

>Unless Torres can be had for a top-notch prospect defenceman, he's better off scoring his 26ish goals for the Oilers next season

I'd actually also argue that if we could flip him for another mid-20s forward who was a bit slicker, I'd probably do that, too (we send them a big, bruising winger for a smaller, speedy guy kind of thing). I wouldn't say I'm writing him off, but he's always been a little too perimeter for me, and he doesn't really create much; he finishes alright, but it's worth noting that Torres' performance is almost always dependent on the performance of his linemates (it's worth noting that his best month, goal-wise, was October, where he played with Hemsky for the first part). Quick guys who create their own chances seem to do better on our team (York, Samsonov, Nedved), though I guess Anson Carter did fairly well when he was here, too. I don't think we should just dump him, but, at the same time, of our top six forwards, he'd be first on my trade list.

>I love that man, but get a few beers in him and have the Oilers qualify for the playoffs and it's hard to get a word in edgewise.

Whenever I let you talk, all you do is yap about how great Jarmoe is, and how Calgary isn't a one-player team. And stop acting like one playoff run suddenly makes you old hat at this, dick. I like you as a person, Ross, I just don't agree with the choices you've made.

Colby Cosh said...

So, uh, the Canucks actually did the right thing by waiting out the Sedins (who are a year older than Raffi) and putting a finisher on their line. How the hell is this part of an argument for giving up on Torres?

The Oilers are the oldest of the Canadian teams at this point, probably top five in the whole league, and we're staggering around trying to figure out why they struggle more and more every year in their stretch runs. There should probably be a loudspeaker in Winston Churchill Square broadcasting the word "DUH" to this city every ten seconds.

So does anybody agree with me that maybe painting a bullseye on a 24-year-old kid is possibly not part of the right answer? Torres is never going to be Hemsky but with a couple of breaks he could have potted 30 for us already this season. Guys with that level of upside aren't exactly falling out of the trees.

lowetide said...

Raffi's a mittful but he's 24 and has scored 20 goals twice in the NHL on some pretty minute ATOI.

I'm interested to know how the Oilers are going to throw Hemsky, Torres and Schremp out among the top 6 though (starting some say as quickly as the fall)but I suspect it never happens.

I vote they deal Schremp instead but Raffi's a guy who might go.

Sean said...

Hey, I've posted what I consider to be the keys to an Oiler first round victory, let me know what you think

Coluch said...

Anyone else hoping we get to play Dallas in round one? I think they'll be vulnerable without Modano, and I also have revenge on mind.

Anyway, with a Vancouver win tonight over the Avs, it's up to the Oil to decide their opponent! Screw you Colorado, LOSE!

and umm, I don't often say this, but go van city.

mudcrutch79 said...

Indeed, the Sedin twins were inconsistent trade bait up until this October, same with Hemsky for that matter.

I'm mystified by that, although I agree with you that that was the perception. They had phenomenal seasons in terms of outscoring in 2003-04; I think both of them finished in the top 30 in the league. The Big Line was getting fed the quality PP minutes though, I'd imagine.

These guys were good players by the end of the 2003-04 season. Torres isn't yet.

Colby Cosh said...

Was that some other Mike Modano who had two assists in a game that ended a couple hours ago?

mike w said...

> If you believe that Torres is going to make a Sedin-esque leap from 40 pts per season to 70 next year, you're dreaming.

Um, firstly: no and no. The guy has 26 goals and one of the few Oilers forwards with a good release on his shot and oh yeah, he's young yet. Did I say he'd be a top 3 forward? No. Will he get better? Yes.

Wanna trade someone? Trade Jason Smith if he can get you something young and good.

Coluch said...

Ok, so my wish to see revenge against the Stars clouded my vision a bit. It would've been nice though. The wings scare me.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

You can't trade Mr. Torres unless what you get for him is prime quality goaltender and you have someone who is young (25 or less young) who is going to score you 25 goals. He's prime trade bait sure but put him on a team with a serious #1 centre - Thornton, Forberg, Richards, take your pick, and he scores 40. If you're going to trade him you better get what you need now and have someone who can replace him now.