Sunday, September 17, 2006

We're back, turkeys


By definition, early preseason games are weird, and any first interpretations based on three periods are going to be hasty and wrong, swingly wildly out of proportion like some sort of berserk Geiger Counter: "Danny Syvret coughs up the puck! The Oilers D is doomed!", "Alexei Mikhnov scores! Put the fucking
'C' on his sweater!"

Based on tonight's game, you might even conclude that Devan Dubnyk is a sexual demon between the pipes, Laddy Smid is a keeper, and that Patrick Thoresen (who?) is destined to be our second line centre of the future.
Good games all, but the real deal of an early preseason tilt is to see who's extra-bad (we were pretty dead on about Cory Cross last year) and ou
t of place while keeping a mindful eye on some question marks (et tu Jani Rita?).
By all
accounts, Alexei Mikhnov shook off some of his rookie game listlessness and rust and potted 3 points, including his first NHL goal, making the Oilers 2007 scouting staff look like a bunch of wizards. On the backend, Devan Dubnyk got his first NHL shutout in his first NHL game, and he even had to earn it by stopping about 20 Shane Doan shots. Perhaps more importantly, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Ladislav Smid and Dan Hejda were also solid. Good times. But yes, some hedging; it's only one game against a thin Phoenix "B" team so you can't read too much into it.

Oil splurts:

- write this on a small piece of paper for future water cooler chat reference: Tjarnqvist = "Tsharn-qwist," Dan Hejda = "Hyedya" (I think) and Ladislav Smid ="Schmeed"

- nice to visit with our prairie brethren in Winnipeg's, er, MTS Centre (remember the good ol' days when a hockey rink was simply known as a "coliseum"?)

- I never thought of Winnipeg as being an Oilers-friendly town, but the crowd was 100 per cent cheering for the Oilers. Funny what a Cup run can do -- then again, who could cheer for the Phoenix Coyotes, least of all, any self-respecting Winnipegger? I want them to get a NHL team just for the fact that they booed Mike Comrie.

- it took Rod Phillips about ten seconds to confuse the Phoenix Coyotes with the Winnipeg Jets, a team that hasn't played in over a decade. Some things are comfortable marker stones of a summer passing to fall, whether it be falling leaves, having to wear wool sweaters, or hot mugs of coffee on cool mornings. For me, it's the sound of Rod Phillips having a brain aneurysm trying to pronounce names like "Vyacheslav Trukhno"


Pleasure Motors said...

Blast you, Winters--how did I not notice this for 2 hours before I put my own post up. I checked and everything!

mike w said...

Egad! I write something for the first time in what feels like weeks and you upstage me?

Good thing for you I'm a slow, rather dim writer...

Anonymous said...

Actually, Winnipeggers told me the two times I've been there post-Jets that after a brief run of trying to air Phoenix games on local TV pretending the team was still in town, they started regularly getting Oilers games, and sort of "adopted" them around 1999-2000.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan fans (particularly in Regina) tend to go for the Flames, and I'm told this in no small part due to the fact that Peggers cheer on the Oil.

Colby Cosh said...

A dubious generalization. I'm sure there are pockets of Flames supporters throughout the Great Empty Rectangle, but Regina went so crazy for the Oilers down the playoff stretch that the cops were laying on extra personnel for game nights, and if it weren't for the unanimous Oilers support in the Lloydminster-Battleford part of northwestern Saskatchewan, we'd all be cracking jokes about the Des Moines Prairie Dogs or the Las Vegas Dice right now.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Wasn't Dan Hejda the Dad on The Wonder Years?

Doogie said...

Actually, I think Hejda is just pronounced "Hey-dah". One of the few European names that doesn't have some hidden pronunciation.

namflashback said...

interesting about the crowd getting on Comrie. Did he sleep with Winnie the Pooh's wife?

mmmm, Mike likes hunny!

case said...

did someone say the 1972 dolphins?

Paul O-the O stands for Sports said...

For the record, Winnipeg's rink was the Winnipeg Arena, not any sort of "coliseum", and refused to succumb to demolition like most building would. Man I miss that shit-hole.

mike w said...

...or hell, yes even an arena.

Back in the olden days a "coliseum" or "arena" would suffice. I guess my point was that I'm not a big fan of the "Centres" or "Places" that have cropped up in the last decade and a half.

Doogie said...

How about Forums and Gardens? Few of those along the way, too.