Friday, May 12, 2006

Well, now, how about that.

And there I was, all mopey and shit because I left my house after a dismal first period, only to get stuck at Ossington station waiting for a bus down to Dundas; I phone my two suddenly-hockey-enthused friends Christie and Leah at the Crooked Star to ask what the score is, and Christie is all like, "Do you really want me to tell you?" It was 3-1 San Jose.

Things seemed so bleak. I wondered why the hell I was waiting for a bus to take me into the godforsaken west end just so I could watch the Oilers go down 3-1 in the series at a bar that wasn't even playing the game with sound. But then, somehow, against all logic, I arrive at the bar to learn we had tied it up midway through to second. By the time I've settled into my second beer, we're murdering the Sharks by a score of 5-3. The San Jose defence lays in tatters. Toskala has hit the bench. The Oilers add one more on Nabokov, just because they can. In one night, we score as many goals as San Jose could muster against us in the three previous games. It's hard to not walk away from tonight's without an armful of positives.

Since I was in transit for half the game and spent the last period watching without sound, I can't comment much on the minutae of the win; all I can say is that beyond the win itself, this is exactly the game the Oilers needed. To be down two goals on the first two shots, only to come back and shell the goalie who once seemed so impenetrable? That's confidence you can take all the way to the money bank. The Sharks are an excellent — if not superb — positional defensive team; to open them up like a 95-cent can of oil-packed Western Family tuna from the local Safeway is such a shockingly precise and effective manner... well, that's the kind of performance that a series can hinge on.

Still, my mood is nonetheless tempered by a lingering sense of incredulity. I've often wondered what the casual observer with no emotional ties thinks about the Edmonton Oilers as a hockey team. I mean, are we scary? I doubt that somehow. More like worrisome — while few teams would call the Oilers a threat, they are undeniably dangerous. As tonight (and the majority of the Detroit series) showed, they're one of those teams that can win a game no matter how lopsided the play may get in the other team's favour. Given the right opportunity, they can put pucks in the net. For all the team's shortcomings, the Oilers are never truly out of the game until the final buzzer sounds. What a turnaround that is from years past.

San Jose has been humbled. I can go to sleep happy. Oh, and drunk.

Thanks to Kristine for phoning me from Whyte Ave tonight so I could hear the mayhem. If anyone has any photos or videos of last night's celebrations, drop me a link in the comments and I'll post them tomorrow.


mike w said...

But above all, has to be the happiest of all, no?

mike w said...

Also, you have to love Ville Nieminen's "we have to get out of Edmonton as soon as possible" quote, which might earn him the "Manny Legace in a Playoff Series" Pscyhotherapy Award.

I fully expect the Sharks to be even more tough at home. The Oilers, however, have surpassed most expectations, and I expect them to play well.

Achtungbaby said...

Anyone else hear the single sweatbead on Prongers underwear comment? Good Lord!

Besides that unfortunate nastiness I thought it was nice of the Oilers to finally bail out Roloson after he had a hard start. If this team can keep up this kind of effort they could go a lot farther than most pundits gave them credit for.

Colby Cosh said...

The CBC's taking a frightful shitkicking from the Oilers weblogs, but let the record show that no other network would have gotten the shot of Roloson hugging Joey in the tunnel.

Andy Grabia said...

I wouldn't say that San Jose is humbled. Both Wilson and Thornton were snooty about the game, saying that the Oilers had won because of a couple "lucky bounces." Scott Thornton even had the nerve to say that they had played exactly the way they wanted for the first period. I guess 4 shots is how they like to roll in San Jose.

My greatest wish now is that we wipe that smug smile off of Ron Wilson's face.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Andy - Absolutely on Wilson. But if they're not humbled by that then to me that's a good thing - let them keep playing the way they're playing - they have gotten weaker every game since G1, the Oil stronger