Monday, June 5, 2006

You're not real... this can't be happening... you're already dead...

It happened while I was in transit from a table to the bar at Kilgour's on Bloor (Pauper's, incredibly, didn't even open the upstairs with the big screens to show the STANLEY CUP FINALS, offering as an explanation, "well, if the Leafs were playing, maybe...". Retards). When everything first crashed into Roloson I figured it was no big deal; he'd done this before, after all — lying there after his bell was rung, possibly looking for a penalty after the play. By the time I sauntered to the bar, however, something was horribly wrong.

"No," I gasped aloud after glancing at the TV screens overhead. "No. Tell me that man with the number 29 on his back is not skating into net for the Oilers. Tell me that whatever happened to Roloson was so bad that we have to bring Ty fucking Conklin into a barn-burning, high-tempo, 4-4 STANLEY CUP FINALS game. Tell me that what I see is not fucking real."

Oh, but it was real. You could see it in the eyes of every Oiler on the bench for the next six minutes: Dwayne Roloson, our saviour, the man with the magic mask of gold and the special eye exercises, was gone. And in his wake, the shittiest goaltender to nervously guard the Oilers twine since Pokey Reddick, or possibly Mikhail Shtalenkov. You're not real. This can't be happening. You're already dead. Weren't you? Why are you dressed? Didn't we waive you? Is this a joke? WHO IS LAUGHING, TY CONKLIN? Not me, that's who. Maybe Calgary fans who have just been spared the pain of dealing with physical evidence that the Oilers have a better team than theirs; possibly Carolina fans who only faintly realize what Dumb Lady Luck has just dropped into their incredulous laps; and perhaps even Vancouver fans, who are so blinded by their hatred of the Oilers that they can't even see their own shitty team crumbling around their feet — but not me, friends. Not fucking me.

Is this the end? It's tough to say. Well, no: it's not tough to say when it comes to Conklin. That idiot is done. If he ever plays another game in the NHL, it'll be a miracle (or as a backup in Vancouver). Considering how the chips of public opinion were so unfairly stacked against him already, just letting in the winning goal would have been a death sentence; what philosopher could have fathomed the depth of Edmonton's hatred for Conklin now, after he gift-wrapped the winning goal so beautifully, in such a singularly perfect manner? Was there ever any way else we could have lost? Could God himself was created a more nightmarishly delicious ending to a night full of positives?

This isn't real. This can't be happening. We're already dead.

Maybe Markannen can pull out a game or two. Maybe the Oilers can capitalize, as Mike pointed out, on the fact that we have rarely seen a game where the Edmonton offence blew by the D so effortlessly, so unabated. Maybe Cam Ward, despite his flashes of Chicago-era Belfour brilliance, will continue to post his overall sub-.900 numbers. Maybe the chips will fall into place.

But it's hard, people. It's hard not to feel pain right now, to have ridden so far on such perfectly unstoppable chemistry only to realize that, contrary to the number of shorthanded chances for the Oilers in the second, these players are not algorithms in some glorious EA Sports simulation, but men. Men that are mortal, and men that break.

Our chances are not yet completely unreasonable, and tomorrow I'm sure I'll wrinkle my nose at tonight's clouds of pessimism. But tonight is a time for mourning, and for reaching into the darkness for a chances at brushing our fingers upon what could have been. Because it's not just Dwayne Roloson that we lost tonight, but the way the Oilers play in front of Dwayne Roloson. In case you didn't notice in the waning minutes, it's a markedly different system, punctuated by crippling fear and a near laughable lack of confidence that the goaltender with make the stop.

If we don't win game 2, I fear the dream is over. As a fan, all I can do now it dutifully wait and see what happens next.


mike w said...

Thanks Chris, now I'm even more depressed.

Kind of wish it was Wednesday, like, now.

gary b said...

Dream is over... BAH!

tonight we wallow, and tomorrow we gotta listen to all our co-workers etc. telling us about how finished we are (jeez, i hate living in Calgary), but we ain't done yet. Jussi will come in, and play... well enough. that's all we ask. the team in front of him will take care of the rest. we've all seeen JUssi play well before. we're not asking for a 35 win season out of him (any more) - just a handful of decent starts.


Chris! said...

What, I live here for four whole months, and I'm officially a Torontonian cunt? Did you not read what the dude said at Paupers tonight? That's what a Torontonian cunt sounds like.

I'm just a temporarily wounded Edmonton fan who is nonetheless hoping for the best outcome in a grim situation. But by all means, tell me what you feel is so fairweather about my stance in this post. I'm not jumping off any bandwagons, and I gave no indication of such. Brainless anonymous jackass.

---HockeyDude--- said...

maybe put Jussi Conkannen in. 2 goalies melded into one, and punt M.A. Bergeron to Iowa for his dumb ass check !

Chris! said...

Huh. Seems the comment I was responding to has somehow disappeared in the last ten minutes. For posterity, it read as such:

"Fairweather fan.

Raving lunatic.

Torontonian cunt."

Thanks, buddy. Beautifully retarded.

mike w said...

Woops. I deleted that.

I did a 30 minute Pilates worjout and I still hate everything. Should I move on to a punching bag?

Gzarnet said...

The uber-bummer is that Carolina fans (those in the know, and they seem to be a surprisingly large proportion) will know what an anti-climax this is. I have few objections to losing to good team, but the fans in NC will be deprived of games that seem in any way like a Stanley Cup final. "Shouldn't he have stopped that?" "Oh, I guess we're champions now. That was nice."

Superdude said...

Tears. I don't even watch hockey until the playoffs every year, and now, right when I'd just learned that Roloson was a big part of the reason we were in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since dropped out of university, this happens. Wayne Gretzky 1988 would barf in his jersey if he could travel forward in time to this age, 18 years later, where a brick wall can be replaced by a couple of chuckleheads.
Fuck. I don't know what I'm talking about. But I sure want to see Whyte Ave burn all the way down when the Oilers win the cup.
But maybe it's best that they don't. I like that street.

Steve said...

My brain during the later portions of the third period: "Huh. Well, maybe he'll come in and play great, and I'll be vindicated for believing that the Oilers' biggest weakness going into the season was a lack of a first line centre, and not goaltending. Hell, this could be the best thing that ever happened to Ty Conk. . . FUCK!"

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

It was just so Conklin.

My wife comes downstairs - "Are you coming to bed? You look like you are going to cry"

Almost. Almost.

Kel said...

I stumbled to bed in a daze right after the horn blew, didn't hear the news on Roli until this morning, and am still reeling. I believe the Oil can pull this out (as long as Ty stays on the bench), but it's going to be a massive uphill battle mentally for the guys to rebound. We shall see.

Coluch said...

Pre-game one: "Hey guys, it should be a good matchup! But if Cam Ward gets hurt, at least Carolina have Gerber. Edmonton doesn't really have anything back there".

My reply: "We don't need anything back there. Roli has a protective coating of Zen meditation".

Now: Roli will be back. Game 4. Please.

taulpaul said...

The Oilers were so clearly better than Carolina last night that most fans started enjoying the idea of 80s era dominance (sample incoming text message "more more more")... But then the Oilers got ahead of themselves and stopped clearing the net out so when Rollie let a little fart go, it ended up with shit in the bed... still, I thought he did very little well from the moment he sivved that peach right to Rod "the bod" Brind'Amour and Ward2 still had to pull horseshoes out of his ass and the exward of the oilers "Stickboy" still had to magically have rebounds float his way. Look I was in a tailspin too last night so don't feel bad about that, but feel bad if you have an ounce of doubt right now motherfuckers. Oilers win I GUARANTEE IT... btw i dig your blog dude, you should come watch the game at Insomnia we have a private backroom with theatre sized screen surround sound couches AC hot waitresses 3 dollar beers and tons of oiler fans (ask for Paul)

taulpaul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
N said...

Look, I can understand you wanting to go all crybaby on us after your own guy basically rips Roloson's knee off, and then your own goalie kisses Brind'Amour on the lips... but do you have to rip us Canucks fans? Like we haven't suffered enough?

And get off your "everybody hates us" whiny high horse. Oh boo hoo, injury threatens your Stanley Cup chances. I mean, you lost your number one goalie, your top three defencemen, your top centre needs hip surgery... oh, no, wait, that's VANCOUVER. Oh, sorry. I got all caught up in the sobbing and wailing.. i thought for a second that bad things only happen to you guys. Pardon my mistake.

Chris! said...

Thanks for putting this all in perspective, "n". At least I can draw strength from the fact that no matter what happens, we still don't suck as badly as the Canucks.

N said...

This is true. I am not in any way denying this. Enjoy your schadenfreude--I hear it tastes almost as good as champagne.

Chris! said...

Sour grapes? Not here. I guess it should have been made more clear in my post that I wasn't directing my vitriol at Canucks fans in general, but rather more pointedly at Canucks fans such as a certain Mr. Jes Golbez who has spent this entire playoff run cursing and spitting at the Oilers as though the Canucks' shortcomings could reasonably be blamed on someone other than the Canucks.

Jes Gőlbez said...

rather more pointedly at Canucks fans such as a certain Mr. Jes Golbez who has spent this entire playoff run cursing and spitting at the Oilers as though the Canucks' shortcomings could reasonably be blamed on someone other than the Canucks.



Chris! said...

I wrote that before I saw your writeup on the Oilers today, Jes. I stand corrected.

Jes Gőlbez said...


I won't deny that I want the Oilers to lose and that I'm cheering for the Canes. I don't want to see the Oilers fans celebrate while we have to put up with yet another year of misery. Sure, I am bitter and jealous, but I also think that my posts come across more 'serious' that I actually am. I don't lose sleep at night at the thought of the Oilers winning the cup ;)

What I took issue with is 'cursing and spitting at the Oilers as though the Canucks' shortcomings could reasonably be blamed on someone other than the Canucks.'

I know I said the Oilers made the playoffs b/c they sucked less than the Canucks, but I won't delude myself into thinking the Canucks lost a playoff spot for any other reason than their own putrid play during the 2nd half of the season.

The Oilers have generally been a team that gets more than the sum of their parts. When have the Canucks ever been like that? 1982? We're used to underachieving squads, much like this year's edition. It would be nice if we could ever have a team like the Oilers that 'overachieved' in some respect.

Brushback said...

I'd just like to add my 2 cents and say, that was one of the best-written blog posts that I have ever read.

BlueBloodRunsThick said...

As an Edmontonian and die-hard Oilers fan since the first cup win in 84 I think the Oil will rebound with Marks or Conks(God I hope not) in net. Why? History shows it.

Will it be hard? Fuck yes. Does it suck Roli(the Saviour) is out? Fuck yes. Does it hurt and am I worried? Fuck yes. Will it be easier to take now "IF THE OIL" pack up their tents and shit the bed 3 more times and lose the Cup that this city needs soooooooooo badly? FUCK NO!!! No fucking excuses and the players know it.

The Oil has faced controversy in every round they've played and ALWAYS bounced back.

Round 1 - Lidstrom pick and roll on Stoll makes it 3-2 and leads to win in gm 4. Series tied at 2 heading to Hockeytown. Looks bad. Oil wins gm 5 decisively and then the 2-0 after two deficit in gm 6 comeback. 4 goals in the 3rd. Huge.

Round 2 - Lose first two in SJ and everyone talks about how the Oilers have never ever come back to win a round down 2-0. Never ever even when 99 was here. They are done right? They pullout a gutsy triple OT win and roll for 7 straight from there. Huge.

Round 3 - Lose game 4 convincingly and everyone in the Edmonton and Canadian media talks about how the Oilers are going to potentially be the first team since the 75 pens to lose 4 straight. Even my good hockey buddies were saying this shit. They win game 5 on solid PK and Roli's strong play even though they had 10 guys sick with some violent stomach flu. Huge.

Round 4 - Game 1 - Oil shits the bed in the 3rd and blows a 3-0 lead to lose in laughing stock Conkannen clown show fashion. More importantly they lose Roli... obviously this is the biggest test yet. Adversity like this either makes you or breaks you. Mentally as a team I think that they have it in them to pull through because they've showed it all playoffs.

The canes D has way more holes than any of the last 3 teams by a huge margin. The Oil showed they can score. They just have to play smarter and harder now that they're vulnerable in goal. If Buffalo almost beat them without their top 4 D and Connolly out, there's no reason the Oil can't execute.

Trust me I've watched enough hockey to know:)

You gotta believe baby!


KBL said...

Absolutely... it's just one more obstacle in the way of a team that will not quit. Jussi or Ty have certainly sucked at times in the past... but they have also had their successes... and it's not impossible that one of them could find that form again now. I'm still saying Oilers in 6. Can't wait for tonight's game!

Christy Hammond said...

Did you hear that not only did Roloson strain his MCL, but he also hyperextended his elbow? Poor guy.