San Jose 2
All things equal, the fan has about a three percent chance of seeing his team win the Stanley Cup in a given year. Of course, things are never equal (oh, the brain hemorraghe-inspired Joe Thorton trade by Mike O'Connell comes to mind), so it's not unthinkable that a fan could spend his entire life in perrenial frustration, nay, delusion in thinking his team will win every year - just ask any middle-aged Maple Leafs fan in Etobicoke. And yet we march on every season, terminally disappointed when our team fails (gasp!) to bring home a Stanley Cup or even worse, make the playoffs.
My point? Being a fan makes me feel bad. Even when a game involving the Oilers is by all objective standards a great hockey matchup, I cannot enjoy it. Instead, I pace around the room, scream expletives, nervously finger a guitar, and more often than not you can find me in the crash position, face buried in my hands. Tonight I was two feet in front of my TV, just standing there for the entire second period. The only good game is one in which we win (about 50/50), and even at that, victory's reward is that of sated relief, a belly full of glory that only lasts until the next game. SO I ask, with rended heart: Why am I fan?
Ineffable fandom is certainly something to ponder, but it's also a completely serious zero sum game of emotions: at no point can I watch a game with any detachment, and, say, marvel at Chrisitan Erhoff's development as a top 4 defenceman. He might even be a nice guy who collects butterflies and writes Philip Larkin-inspired poems in his spare time, but at the end of the game I'll still want his head on pike. On the other hand, absent-mindedly watching Anaheim school Colorado with very little personal stake is a summer breeze. The Oilers are my terrible, masochistic weakness.
So yeah, tonight's deja vu loss was just another dose of psychic trauma, with San Jose doing everything that Detroit wasn't quite built for: dump and chase, using their freakish, 210lb plus front line size and speed to pound at the soft underbelly of our defencemen thirtysomethings, which also includes the all too tiny Marc-Andre Bergeron and an overwhelmed Matt Greene. The defence collapses pretty well though, and Roloson is still playing sharp, but without a transition game and plays off of the rush, the Oilers can't even generate enough to win games (Vesa Toskala, we hardly knew ya). Not having a front line stud doesn't help, but the only way the Oilers can turn this series around is with better skating and neutral zone positioning, which is easier said than done when chasing Joe Thornton or a swift pinching Sharks D. I think the Oilers are capable of it, and the bonus is that playing from behind hasn't bothered them all season. That and I know the Sharks have weaknesses in their own zone but again, we haven't seen much of that part of the ice, have we?
Some Oil drops, in-situ style:
All right, Sharks fans, not bad. You know who our best player is and you booed him, good, good. But why do I get the feeling the people that actually show up to games are naturalized citizens from Canada? Just a hunch.
The Oilers D is having a rough time. You want to get mad at Steve Staios for some horrendous giveaways until you realize the real reason he's sucking is that we can't play our back D for more than 6 minutes a game. Stevie played 25 minutes, tired and slapshotted at, while Greene played a mere 7. Is Ulanov such a crazy idea? At least he has a fan blog.
Well, now their can't be any doubt who Hockey Night in Canada is cheering for. Not that I care, but the entire night felt like a clinic on what the Oilers could do or were doing well. Greg Millen obviously doesn't read the papers, since the Globe has already called him on his homerism when it comes to the Oilers. That and I can't believe NBC is starting to kick the CBC's ass.
I still liked Fernando Pisani tonight (and Moreau, too). His game is more suited for this muck than a Hemsky or Samsonov, although as a whole you can't talk offence until MacT figures out what to do with the middle 50 feet of the ice.
The East teams are everyone's favourites to win the Cup, but I'd bet money on an Anaheim or San Jose's near perfect positional playoff hockey against Ottawa or Carolina at this point.
A change of scenery? Excellent idea! Joe Thornton: don't even try to leave your hotel - Oilers fans will try to gouge your eyes out with their bare hands!
Monday, May 8, 2006
San Jose 2
Posted by mike w at 9:12 PM