Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Night of the Tumbleweed on Whyte Ave


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...


jon said...

I think as someone in the previous thread's comments noted, the Oilers just aren't playing like a confident team now. This probably perfectly fits into your comment about how the Oilers don't look like they have for the rest of the playoffs. I think the obvious overall comment is that without Roli, the Oilers are playing like they for the first 60 or so games of the regular season. Despite what the team might say, they are not confident in Conkkanen, while Roli gave them confidence to be loose and it made them work like a well-oiled machine, no pun intended.

I mean, with complete and utter sincerity, I remember a few games versus the Wild and Blues this season that played out exactly like the games in this series. We make the other goaltender look good by not making smart offensive decisions, and Conkkanen plays either blatently or deceptively below-average. Depressing to be sure.

For the future (note: I am not conceding defeat), I wonder if the run this year will give us some more options for landing a free agent goalie? I hear Luongo is pushing for a 1-year deal so he can split for UFA status. One can dream.

The Acid Queen said...

Welcome to my world circa 2002, Mike.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

actually jon I think if anything the Oil look tired - of course you have to give credit to the Canes on top of that

I think Jussi's play has been great - he gave them a chance to win both G3 and G4 - maybe G2 was a result of the Conkannen factor but since then ...

Brian said...

A few classy Oilers fans really made their presence known after the game last night by screaming obscenities during the live feed from NBC-17's post-game show.

Very nice...

Julian said...

Hey Brian..... fuck off.

how's that for classy?

you're gonna sound like the Wings bloggers complaining about the foul language on the Oil blogs.

Alana said...

Brian, you're an idiot.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Brian is one to talk about class - here's a guy who posts on a Canes' blog that Oilers fans are a bunch of whiny maggots - I believe that's the words you used, right Brian, and then comes here to stir up trouble.

You're all class, pal.

Notice how the Oiler fans sang and cheered The Star Spangled Banner as well as Oh Canada - an entire stadium showing respect for the Canes and the USA. Was that a lack of class?

I guess so in your eyes.


Stop Bitching said...

Oilers fans should be happy that they got this far, they are an 8 seed.


Suck on My Balls Oilers Fans, Hows That For Classy? Jackass

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Wow, that's a quality contribution.

You're a real sweetheart.

Chris! said...

Hey, I heard that some people in Philadelphia are abusive alcoholics who beat their wives because their angry about their own personal failings! Very classy, Philadelphia!

Brian, nice to see is back after your brief hiatus. Sounds like you used the time to work on your "big ol'" opinions, too; excellent. Thank you.

Anyhow, your comments, as we've come to expect, are retarded. Like there's any response we could possibly offer to the fact that some angry Oilers fans swore on TV. You're a troll of the most pathetic — and by that I mean not 14 years of age — calibre. But regardless, I'm sure you're very pleased with yourself.

Good job, Brian. Way to be the bigger man.

mike w said...

Come on, leave Brian alone.

I love him.


Steve said...

Didn't the Oilers lose game 1 against Detroit?

(It's a rhetorical question to which I know the answer, between my own brilliant memory and the miracles of the internet. But I worded it as a question for reasons of, um, class.)

smackd said...

*shrug* I offered up some extra beer after game 2 in raleigh to a group of passing oil fans (who were FROM edmonton) on their way back to their car after the 5-0 win... they were nothing but classy, and respectful. good fans. way better than those dipshits that came in and trashed the RBC from buffalo.

it's been a good series. I don't know why carolina has the rap it has about being dumb hockey fans.. there's more fans here from northern climates then there is in a lot of the other 'transplant' hockey towns.. atlanta? dallas? san jose? yeah.. I think our fanbase is strong, and is only growing.

mike w said...

>I don't know why carolina has the rap it has about being dumb hockey fans

Just trash talk from people that come from a place where they care too much about hockey. I think part of the bad rap comes from the relatively low attendence in Carloina over the last 5 years, although if a team bottoms out in a new market after reaching the Cup finals I guess it's not surprising. But the crowd at RBC has been impressive, I have to say.
>Didn't the Oilers lose game 1 against Detroit?

Er. I meant the Oilers first victory against Detroit.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

no rap on your fans, smackd, for the most part I have nothing but good things to say about Carolina fans - they are either knowledgeable or, as in the case of a couple from Winston Salem who I trained here two weeks ago, eager to learn

steve - I'm pretty sure that's the booze talking - or maybe not

jon said...

BDHS: I agree that Markkanen has made some good saves, and that his play was not the reason the Oil lost last night. Two points though. When I say deceptively below-average, I'm referring to things like the PP goal against last night. He didn't come across quickly, he wasn't square to the shot, and he didn't cover the bottom half of the net. To me that's a weak goal based on the last two criteria, the first is arguable. Not only that, but it's a momentum killer less than a minute after we score. So, despite the fact that Markkanen has made some very good saves, and saved the majority of tough shots, one poor goal can be the difference between an Oiler team that hangs on for a 1-0 win and an Oilers team scrambling around like chickens with their heads cut off.

On another note, any people (trolls) saying that the Oilers aren't as good as the Canes, or pointing out that they're an 8th seed, get a clue. How well in the 2003-2004 SCF would Calgary have done if Kiprusoff was injured in game 1? I'm going to guess not as well. Why would it be any different with our starting goaltender who was previously a Conn Smythe favourite? It's that simple. The odds were stacked against Edmonton after game 1, and the series is reflecting that.

Alana said...

I agree that Jussi made some great saves last night, but there were at least five times that he was way, way out of position and the defence had to dive on the puck to clear it before Carolina could take a shot at the empty net. I swear that there was one instance where Jussi made a save, and then started skating out of the net as if the play had stopped (it hadn't). WTF!

This is why Jussi scares me, and will never replace Roli as my goalie-boyfriend.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

jon and alana - valid points - Jussi is no Roli but except for G2 when each Oiler tried to win the series on his own that night and left him out to dry I'd still say he has done his job.

3 goals in 2 games - that is pretty damn good I would say

he may have gotten over and stopped Stillman's shot but then again maybe Roli doesn't make a couple of the saves he made in the 2nd

it comes back to the PP - even strength its been pretty well even up but when you have 4 5 on 3 advantages and don't even get a sniff on any of them, well, you can't blame that on any sort of Jussi factor

There's Ward, the Canes PK and a gang that suddenly can't shoot straight, if at all

Alana said...

No doubt the PP is depressing as hell. Maybe if Roli was out there he'd be making some plays and getting more assists! :)

zanstorm said...

Skunks, I completely agree. The PP has to fecking get going. It looks like they're scared to shoot. But the Canes are really pressing the guys with the puck. The Oilers are out of room to do anything.
I just really hate how the Oilers suddenly look like they have no depth up front, partially due to the Cane's strangling defence.

Anonymous said...

Matt, Canes fan in Chapel Hill here. (Too much of a pain to register, sorry.)
Love the blog. Have to say I agree with you about the whining our leaders have done.
Suck it up and be a gentleman. Same mess after Weight's penalty in Game 6 against Buffalo. Waa! Kill the freakin' penalty.
Only thing I can say is that this team gets mad, sometimes snottily, but then gets more than even. Closed out Buffalo after Dougie's temper tantrum, basically did the same to y'all after RBA's.
BTW, finally got a decent explantion for the Doug Weight booing, which I at first thought was classless. Read The Great One got similar treatment. Still, wasn't Gretzky's departure more of a stab in the back than Weight's? Forgive my hockey ignorance if not. Never laced up a pair of ice skates in my life, but have really embraced the sport (since 2001, the year BEFORE the Cup run, a small but notable badge of honor in these parts). Now even my very Southern mother and grandmother are into it. Pretty wild.
Anywho, I'll be in the rafters for Game 5 and hope to witness RBA and the other umpteen guys who've never held the Cup skate around with it amid my drunken cheers and their tears of joy.
Oilers had a great ride, and I pulled for you guys the whole way through the west (especially against Detroit) but all good things must come to an end.

Thanks for a cool blog.


Steve said...

Oh, come on: the Oilers aren't losing because the odds were stacked against them after Roli got hurt, they're losing because they're not able to play consistently as well as Carolina. When both teams are on their games, it's a pretty good, even series. The Oilers spend too much time not on their game. That's it. In that regard, Carolina is the better team, and in that regard the better team is going to win the Stanley Cup.

(The Oilers sans Roli are still a far better team than the Flames sans Kipper, though.)

The Acid Queen said...

Nice to see Brian came out from under his rock to troll again--where were you after Game 3, jackass?


All y'all know by now that Brian doesn't speak for the Caniac Nation (est. 1997)--far better to just ignore him.

Stop Bitching said...


Do you really think that your goalie would have made that much of a diff.? he had given up 4 goals, and he doesn't have a lot to do with your teams lack of scoring on our supposedly weak D. I do belive that it would be closer than it is right now, but, I still think that the Canes just have a better team.

Desdemona said...

stop bitching... losing Roli was huge. If your only point is that he played badly in the first and only game, then I'm guessing that was the only game that you saw him play all year.

I believe jon's point was that Roloson wasn't just a good gaolie, but he had a calming influence that helped the men in front of him play well. The confidence in their own game left along with Roli. It really makes a difference in your play if you don't have a lot of faith in the man behind you. Right now, that's really showing in the way Edmonton's playing.

In the end, if Edmonton loses, Markkanen can't be made the scapegoat as he gave them decent goaltending. Decent enough to win. But if he's making me gasp from my house, what's he doing to the players on the ice?

Stop Bitching said...

Stanley Cup teams need depth at all positions, EVEN GOALIE. If our BACKUP Cam Ward had not played so well we may have never gotten out of the first round.

mudcrutch79 said...

Stanley Cup teams need depth at all positions, EVEN GOALIE.

Hey look-it's an example of why some (not me) think Carolina fans tend be idiots. Tell me the last Stanley Cup winner to rely on their backup in the playoffs.

I mean, Christ, this shit is just stupid.

Stop Bitching said...

What an asshole, I was just saying that injuries happen, thats hockey. Do you belive that we would have lost last night if we had Cole? who knows but we deffinatly would have had a better chance. Just quit bitching and enjoy the series.