A sombre drive home, indeed.
The Capilano Mall "GO Oilers GO" sign takes on a rather pathetic quality as I drive by, and only a few dozen Oilers fans were on Whyte Avenue tonight, standing around and vacantly eating donairs. All of these car flags, the smashed windows, the tits -- you mean its all for nothing?
Most of the night was screaming at a big TV screen at the Sidetrack, feeling sad and trying to think of some sort of philosophical exit strategy that comes with the near certain doom of an elimination game. The one I'm working on is this: unless you are a beer-swilling maniac willing to light the shopping cart fires to end all shopping cart fires, Stanley Cup wins are actually somewhat anti-climactic. The last six weeks have basically been a continuous Stanley Cup celebration, and our Game 1 win against Detroit will (somewhat pathetically) surpass any Stanley Cup celebration that 200 RBC beer tent dwellers will be able to muster in Raleigh.
When I think of what I want to see with an Oilers Cup win, I think of the last ten seconds, the joy of the players, the champagne and the impromptu team photo on the ice, all of which lasts about an hour. For a fan, everything else is like trying to find the perfect party on New Year's Eve. Winning the Cup is underwhelming in its actuality, kind of a "what's next?" sated overstuffed feeling similar to eating a bucket of KFC (savouring moments is actually kind of hard: the last time the Oilers won the Cup, I immediately played leggo afterwards).
I know what you're gonna say, but listen: I desperately want to see Ryan Smyth rightfully lift the Cup over his head as much as the next guy and I'll be utterly crushed by anything less, but it doesn't hurt to remember the good times along the way, especially now, with that jackass Brind'Amour leading us to the gallows.
Of course, it ain't over just yet, but it doesn't look good, either. The Oilers Powerplay, once a difference maker in other series, is on a 0 for I-don't-want-to-think-about-it skid and worse of all, the Oilers' lack of pure skill on the top line has reared its ugly head again. Carolina's defence cheat, but they do it well, and overall the Hurricanes played a much improved positional game than at any other point in the series (except for the routine and humorous gaffes of Ray Whitney). The Oilers simply ran out of ideas, although the more obvious one of just shoot it at the net wasn't exactly on the top of their minds. Cam Ward's lateral movement and the Canes shot-blocking have made the Oilers second-guess themselves into button hooks away from the slot, often leading to dribble passes to the D on the point that don't amount ot much. Pronger screwed up on the winning goal, which is probably about as confusing and terrifying as watching your drunk Dad spontaneously beat the shit out of the family dog.
The last four games have gone against everything we've seen from the Oilers in the playoffs, but I'll give the Hurricanes their due. Cory Stillman bores me just looking at him, but a 12 game point streak is one reason they're winning in the playoffs. Same with that freaky less-famous Kaberle brother getting all of these PP points, or Mike Commodore playing better than he has any right to play. These cats can puck.
But I'm not giving up. A win in Carolina and anything is possible. But man oh man do the Oilers need to pull three magical wins out of their ass, likely with a lot of dumb luck and funny bounces. Doesn't look good. If anyone needs me, I'll be in my parent's hot tub...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Posted by mike w at 12:49 AM