Saturday, May 27, 2006

Onward and upward!

Edmonton, narrowly, 2
Anaheim 1

First off, I may as well get this out of the way: Wooooouuooo [running up and down the hallway of my apartment, pants on my head, home-made Oilers banner flapping in the wind].

Penultimate riots on Whyte Avenue tonight, and I'm sure the mob will raise a few Heritage buildings for good measure, since, afterall, this is the greatest day in modern day Oilers fandom. A Stanley Cup Finals appearance is an indelible marker in history, rarely lost in the murk of a hockey fan's playoff memories, plus... WE WON A BOWL!

The Clarence Campbell bowl is actually one of the finer looking pieces of NHL hardware, but as per tradition, Jason Smith wasn't touching the fucking thing. Four more wins! Four more wins! Four mor-... sorry, this mob thing is easy to be fall back on. I watched the game with about 20 or so Edmontonians in an eastend Toronto bar, with slightly bemused serving staff changing the channel and turning up the sound for the gang. Of course, I spent most of the game squeeling in
falsetto whenever the Ducks had the puck in our end, which was often, and most of the subway ride home was in a state of dumbwondered disbelief. Partly disbelief that we're in the Finals, and also disbelief that we won the game, considering the Oilers spotted Anaheim a red card-esque half game on the Powerplay.

Anaheim's soft underbelly was a 11% powerplay (which would have been 31st in the league during the regular season) that could have used a true second unit quarterback on the point, and goaltending that let about 2-3 soft goals at bad times. That's about it. I did spot a "our kids are better than your kids" sign, which is probably true, but then, all of the 2005 veteran acquisitions like Roloson, Pronger, Smith, Peca (!), outperformed Anaheim's key elder players,
with the lone, tragic exception of Todd Marchant. All told, I feel very lucky as an Oilers fan.

Tonight's game featured a better result from the very players that sucked balls Friday night, including Torres, Moreau, Dvorak and, well, Roloson. Torres' tip-in should be cast in bronze
if possible, and the Oilers PK did that very underappreciated and nearly always unaccounted thing of being in the way of shots. Roloson's rebound control should get its own special engraving on the Clarence Campbell Bowl's nameplate. During the last three minutes, we should have let a goal in, but we didn't. All of it was Roloson.

Even better is the precious layoff 5-6 day layoff that will allow Torres and Horcoff to eat a few more steaks and multivitamins, Hemsky to heal from whatever he's suffering from (likely a bruised brain, in "upper body injury" parlance), and Spacek can figure out a special strategy on how to be good again.

More Oil Spuzz:

- the "kindly send off Bob Cole on an ice floe" file: Jason Smith was somehow confused with Ryan Smyth for the fourteenth time in the series,
despite standing perfectly still at centre ice accepting a trophy, with no other players around him, while wearing a jersey with his name on the back.

- Who do we want next? I hate this parlor game. Carolina has some pylons in the backend, more so than any other team thus far, while Buffalo has some serious injuries to capitalize on. Carolina, however, features Glen Wesley who I fondly remember sucking air as a rookie for Boston the last time we won the Cup. But ah, who am I kidding. I want my EA Sports fantasy Oilers vs Sabres final, with Buffalo having been my Eastern Conference sister-market, hard luck favourite team for years.

- Dvorak Watch: Plus two on the night, despite wiffling on the puck everytime I pointed him out to a dismissively drunk and belligerent Chris

- First 8th seed in the Stanley Cup Final! (Blogger friends, a query: who was the guy that back in September predicted the Oil to win the Cup, as a throwaway guess; I'm thinking Sports Illustrated but I know it's something else like that)

- Foam Finger Award: the 150 or so Oil fans gathered around the benches, giving Oilers high fives on the way to the dressing room

- Wayne Gretzky was skulking around the building, presumably trying to jinx the Oil or perhaps try to sell the younger players Ford F150s and McDonald's fries before the game. Listen up, Oil alumni not currently employed by the Oilers: STAY AWAY. All evidence has shown that this glorified 1980s revisited stuff just distracts current Oil trying to do their own thing, SO LEAVE THEM ALONE.


[triumphantly kicks over his laundry basket]


Chris! said...

Hey good for Dvorak for being on the ice when his far more adept and talented teammates put the puck in the net for him.

I'm not saying I want to burn the guy at the stake. I just don't understand why MacT overvalues him so blatantly.

But also, who cares? FINALS FINALS FINALS FINALS FINALS and so on.

Dan-O-Mite said...

My favorite Cole quote from the game, which happened after it was mentioned to him that the Ducks had an 8.2% power play percentage:

"8.2%? I had two beers yesterday that were more than 8.2%!"

+timrhodes said...

...and I admit, the comment about Niedermayer hiding a weasel in his beard was about 8 awesomes - even though it disagrees with my thoughts of him looking like a level 34 wizard.

Anonymous said...

Wasen't Gretzky more pro Anaheim when hes talking to Harry and Bob

sacamano said...

As I said someplace else - I think Wayne was drunk up there. I'm serious. Wasn't he drunk?

Adamn! said...

That was Harry Neale who made the comment about beer. I'm pretty sure he had been cooking up that joke all commercial break.

Rachael said...

My favourite Bob Cole moment was when I flicked to see the score and it said 2-1 and then I hear Bob Cole "recapping" the game and he says "Edmonton has a 1-0 lead in Game 5"....Just Brutal!!!

the Prez said...

I was in a bar where I couldn't hear anything but "Roli! Roli!" from the crowd around me. Too bad I missed out on these comments!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I certainly appreciated seeing the bearded Mr. Ulanov wandering around in the background hugging people. What a glorious model of facial hair.

mike w said...

>I don't know about the rest of you, but I certainly appreciated seeing the bearded Mr. Ulanov wandering around in the background hugging people. What a glorious model of facial hair.

THAT'S who that was! I couldn't figure out who that headbanger handing out hats was,and now I know. Best playoff beard EVER!

the Prez said...

>Best playoff beard EVER!

And he's not even playing in the playoffs. I always knew he was a manly man, capable of growing a beard of that magnitude.

Anonymous said...

The best Harry Neale comment came in Game 3:

"I'll tell you why the Oilers scored here -- NO GOALIE!!"

Bob Cole calling games sounds official and important but the old guy can barely follow the action at this point.


Brad E. said...

great blog. Just wondering where the oiler fans in t.o. meet for the games? I wouldn't mind going to a bar here in toronto where I'm not the only crazed oiler fan bouncing off the ceiling while the Leaf fans roll their eyes.

Julian said...

Indeed, I'm in TO occasionally on weekends, and it'd be cool to watch a game with people who actually know the difference between Smith and Smyth. And who aren't my father.

mike w said...

>Just wondering where the oiler fans in t.o. meet for the games?

If the game is important, I usually just watch it in my apartment wearing boxer shorts while clutching a glass of wine. Otherwise, I've been moving around town. I tend to hate sports bars, so I've actually had good times at Westside places like the Crooked Star or the Cloak and Dagger (the mini-Black Dog of Toronto), even with a small tv and no sound.

The best setup, I believe, is Southside Louie's on College in Little Italy. It seats about 30 or so, but they have a big screen and a serviceable bar, plus no meatheads. I'd be happy to meet TO Oilers nuts somewhere during the next round (we all await the schedule), but after June 8th I'm back in Edmonton to survey the damage and visit my parents.


Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Love the Cloak and Dagger - if I had a day (w/ two kids I don't get many of those) to go drinking, that would be right near the top of my list.

Terrific place.

Brad E. said...

count me in for Southside Louie's or any venue for that matter. Let's all bust out our Oilers gear in a show-of-force. Let's all touch base again closer to the game 1.