No job, too late to make it to class, a laptop computer and a fan on its highest setting--sounds like good a reason as any to bum around the internet, soaking up information like a hideous, cereal-slurping sponge. A cereal-slurping sponge still in his bed, of course. On the plus side, at least I don't have to worry about no girlfriends telling me to shave my playoff beard, not that I can grow a beard. Anyway, presented to stave off the crushing realization that a team of grown men I've never met means more to me than any actualy human connection, thoughts on Round Three.
Now THAT'S smart coaching!
From an NHL.com article on MacT, pointing out how great a coach he is (has he really gone from "fire the bastard" to shrewd tactician in two rounds? I guess, but this needs more analysis, I think):
"How about inserting minor-league winger Brad Winchester on the team's No. 1 line along with Craig MacTavish and Shawn Horcoff?"
That's the kind of coach MacT is: the kind that sits his best winger to play on the top line himself. Hey Chris!, maybe you can get a job copy editing for NHL.com.
Thoughts on fans
Besides screaming existential expletives at TVs in public places, I believe my favourite thing of this playoff run has been seeing fans from around the league react to the Oilers. I was actually hoboing around Europe for the Flames' playoff run, so the concept of a playoff-drought Canadian team going on a substantial run, and the angst that causes rival fans, is quite novel. I recall saying then that if I was home, I would be utterly disgusted by Oilers fans cheering for the Flames, and actually admonished by mother, over 15-cents-a-minute long distance from a pay phone in Madrid, for even suggesting that it was nice to see a Canadian team doing well for themselves, if that Canadian team was the Flames. So, even if their teams are filled with untalented, gutless, overrated goons and coached by complete assholes, I admire people like Fenwick and Jes Golbez, who are refusing to back down on years of fandom, and hating the Oilers with all the passion and glee true rival fans should. Were either of their teams battling the Commie-Nazi All-Stars for the fate of the free world, I'd be goosestepping to get my groceries and quoting Chairman Mao to all who would listen, so I'm glad the loathing is mutual.
Now, having said that, there's a bigger lesson to be learned here: hate the team, not the fans. Best exemplified in this case-against-evolution post by Rob Huck (already rightly flambéd over at BoA), but seen also in sanctimonious Oiler fans indignantly raging at Sharks faithful for booing our anthem, the attitude goes something like this: "who doesn't want the bragging rights of a Stanley Cup champion, especially with the obnoxious buffoons residing three hours north on the QEII?" The defeated nature of the post as whole puts the question of whether Huck fits the definition of sports fan in the first place, but any sports fan calling any other sports fan obnoxious is like the pot calling another pot a kettle. This entire season, Flames fans were insufferable pricks, with Midas eyes for their own team and scoffs for all the other upstarts--kind of like OILERS FANS ARE RIGHT NOW, AND WILL BE UNTIL OUR REQUISITE LOSING STREAK NEXT SEASON.
Sharks fans were convinced that there was an NHL conspiracy to help the Oilers advance, and that Raffi Torres is the dirtiest cheap shot artist alive. Everyone thinks that Greg Millen is openly rooting against their team. I've been to regular season games where Oiler fans have booed the US anthem. For the love of God, if you haven't figured it out already: WE'RE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME. The only thing seperating any one of us is place of birth and/or place of formative youth. Stop hating on fans of other teams. Hate the teams, hate them with an ever-burning passion, hate them with the kind of fury that makes you urinate on the side of their stadiums in broad daylight in the middle of summer (take that, Saddledome!); but the obnoxious, ignorant, jackass fans you hold with such contempt would be wearing your jersey if they grew up on your block, so lay off of them. Unless they're bandwagon jumpers--hate away, friends, hate away.
I've heard it. Cashiers have chatted about it, store proprietors have dropped it once or twice, people who inexplicably liver right near Whyte Ave but can't stand all the noise (there's a quieter part of Edmonton: it's called anywhere else in the city): there's a small but alive discontent among the people of Edmonton who don't love the Oilers or a free shot at telling someone to display their "no" zones. I actually have a fairly long post worked up on the conflicted nature of my fandom that I'm saving for post-playoffs so as not to piss off karma (it doesn't involve backlash of any kind, but I have my reservations about sports), but I can't imagine how terminally joyless you'd have to be to hate the party while it was happening. Maybe after, we can decry it all, but for now, this city is actually displaying an abjectly beautiful unity. Hate hockey, if you want, but dammit, there's an energy in the city right now, an unrestrained force with a result that's far more than unmitigated high-five streaks and road hockey in the middle of Whyte. But the anti-Oilers sentiment is out there already, and though Cosh gave the gears to Calgary for their second-ratedness, I'm not looking forward to the insulin shock that's going to accompany this sugar rush as soon as we have no more games to look forward to (which, uh, shouldn't be for another couple weeks, of course, but I have a feeling that the longer and bigger it gets, the worse the downfall).
Blue Mile website
If we're going to insist on stabbing people, might I suggest The Thirsty Turtle as ground zero for Shivfest?
We can beat the Ducks, right?
Kris Russell, A Molehill.
1 week ago