Wednesday, November 1, 2006

'As a matter of fact, Christmas has always smelled like oranges to me'


Nashville (7-3-1) at
Edmonton (7-4-0)
8 p.m. MT
Sportsnet, CHED

For more than a decade, I've believed that Robert Altman's Nashville was one of my favourite movies of all time. So you can imagine my surprise a few months back when I decided to revisit it one Saturday afternoon for the first time in years, only to realize halfway through that I was completely and utterly bored. I'm still a big fan of Altman's work, of course; his mastery of the ensemble piece, the skill with which he can wander a camera through a room and craft a narrative, a palpable sense of immediate time and place, out of nothing more than glimpses of improvised conversation, is simply aweing. And while his films tend to deal with themes that single out the worst aspects of humanity — war, class struggle, oppression — Altman is most fascinated by the tiny interactions between individuals that combine to create these greater flaws, the way in which people bounce off one another like molecules in a pot of boiling water, constantly changing direction based on the influence of everyone else around them, every once in a while creating little lightning bolts of profundity out of the routine and mundane. Nashville is simply teeming with these moments, and remains one of his best works. But it no longer effects me the way it apparently once did. The love affair, it seems, is over.

I mention this because this year will likely also mark the end of an infatuation with another Nashville-related source of entertainment, the Predators. I've always felt kind of ashamed to admit that I like this franchise, but what can I say — as an Oilers fan, I'm a sucker for fast-skating, hard-forechecking teams with good goaltending and a shaky defensive corps. And besides, you have to admit they've put together a pretty entertaining little product over the years, thanks to some solid drafting early on (inaugural pick David Legwand excluded, though 1998 was kind of a lacklustre first round outside of Lacavalier, Gagne and Gomez),
good, patient coaching and a recent handful solid FA pickups, in Paul Kariya and Jason Arnott. (Incidentally, Andy at BoA is suggesting that Arnott is an ex-Oiler we love to hate, and frankly, I'll have to take his word for it on that. By the time I really started caring about the Oilers on a regular basis, Arnott had just been shipped to NJ for Bill Guerin, and as such I never really got the chance to develop much of a hate-on for the guy. I do, however, remember the Oilers doing TV promos with Arnott dressed as the Terminator — Arnie, GET IT?? — and saying things like, "Hasta la vista, Mighty Ducks" and things, which I recall hating. So maybe that counts.)

But a large part of my crush on the Predators had to do with their underdog appeal, and frankly, that's kind of been fading fast as the team improves as a whole while their division crumbles into mediocrity around them. And after racking up 49 wins last year, the Predators are no longer in need of my sympathy. I'd like to say I've outgrown them, but really, it seems to be the other way around.

Anyhow, should be a gooder tonight, and not just because I won't be able to watch it thanks to work and living outside Sportsnet West territory. Both teams are riding impressive streaks — the Oilers have won six straight at home, the Predators six straight on the road — but you have to think the stars will align for Edmonton tonight. The Oilers owned the Preds last year, going 3-1 against them last year while outscoring them 14-8, and Nashville should be nice and sleepy tonight, having just helped us out by downing the Canucks last night in Vancouver. This likely also means that Chris Mason will get the start in net tonight instead of Vokoun, which could be good or bad, depending on how you feel we play against marginal backup goaltenders. But at the most basic level, it simply seems more likely to me that a rested team with an impressive home record will beat a tired team with a impressive road record. It won't be easy, but Edmonton will get it done. 4-2 Oilers, Sykora, Pisani, Stoll, Petersen with the EN.

In conclusion, Goilers! Also, Galtman.

18 comments:

Jim said...

Nostradamus says...

Nashville will destroy us. 5-1.

Back to the drawing board for the Oil.

teebeeplayer said...

That doesn't count. Everyone knows that Nostradamus was a Flames fan...

swabbbubba said...

I thought Arnott impregnate half of the city while he was "playing" Edmonton. Why the hate?

Andy Grabia said...

Trust me, people were not happy with him by the time he left town. He openly admitted that he didn't try hard every night, which was evidenced by his play. And that doesn't even cover the off-the-ice escapades. Am I the only one old enough to remember how disgusted people were with him? Cosh? BDHS? LT? Someone older than 25?

sacamano said...

Dude. TVUplayer lets you watch the games from any territory.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, TVU is also, stupidly, not available for Mac. Plus I'm at work in the evenings anyhow, so it doesn't matter.

chris!

Andy Grabia said...

Ya, quit rubbing the TVU in the face of Mac users, you bastards.

LittleFury said...

I remember, Grabia. I remember it well. The photo of him on the cover of the Scum with his new Viper. The bastard child (children?). The floating and whining. But in spite of all that, I don't think Arnott was ever high up on the ex-Oiler hate list except by default: mostly we were happy to see him go.

Jim said...

I remember, too, and I'm only 21. In the days leading up to his trade, he was caught hanging out in an opposition team's dressing room, yakking it up with one of his buddies. One of the Journal writers at the time really took him to the woodshed.

There was always a sense of: "this guy could be giving us so much more, but he doesn't care". At least, that's how I've always remembered it.

Doogie said...

I'm actually kinda fond of the Predators, too, and not just because they repeatedly beat up the Flames on the scoreboard and "in the alley," as Conn Smythe would put it. They're just a fun team to watch, and have a lot of toughness despite being considered a "small" team.

That being said, down they go, 5-3.

Randy in the Med Hizzo said...

I predict that the gmae will never be finished.
Joey Moss will shot Alex Hemsky midway through the third. Betcha didn't see that coming.

NB Oiler Fan said...

"Anyhow, should be a gooder tonight, and not just because I won't be able to watch it thanks to work and living outside Sportsnet West territory."

I'm truly surprised at how many Oiler fans choose not to watch Oiler games... or lack the desire to pay to watch despite their supposed love of the team?

I am almost as far outside of Sportsnet West as you can get... yet I see every single game. And the regular start times in my area are 11:00pm (Atlantic time). But with Centre Ice and a DVR I don't miss a game (barring an electrical storm).

Sure... I always hear the argument... "I'm not gonna pay $179/season". Well... if I was in Edmonton I'd be paying much more cause I would have season tickets. And the cost with tax works out to be around $2.50/game, which is very good. Not to mention the fact that I also have access to each and every other game evry night of the week as a bonus.

Saving up $200 extra dollars throughout the year for Centre Ice is really nothing. Ever try to figure out how much money you spend on beer a year?

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Fuck man, I love beer.

Matter of fact I'm having one right now.

Andy, I think Arnott was a tool but I think being an immature kid is, well, almost forgiveable. I was one once.

Comrie will always top the list for me, even over CFP, believe it or not. He put the Oil over a barrel and then screwed them as soon as they has a little bit of hand themselves. He was everything that was wrong with the old CBA - a kid who got a pile of cash before he even did a thing and then expected even more.

Chris! Toronto road hockey! What say you?!?!

uni said...

Also for all the Mac users there are ways to make Windows Applications run on a Mac. Virtual PC and Parallels Desktop for Mac are just 2 of the better known examples. I used to set it up for users back in my IT support days and they're not really hard to master for tech savvy guys or gals like those found around here. I mean Colby learning that little scripting for that Oilers AHL affiliates was very impressive haha.

Sure Virtual PC is purchase software...but I'm sure veterans of the infonet can acquire it...not that I'm encouraging anything illegal here.

And BDHS I'd be up for some GTA road hockey...if only I had any sort of co-ordination with anything that wasn't a soccer or cricket ball.

Chris! said...

Pat! Totally! Let's do it!

mudcrutch79 said...

I propose a Saturday afternoon game.

Adub said...

I believe Shayne %$#@!*& Corson was a lot of the problem with Arnott when he was here, dressing room cancer that he was. Those were dark days for the Oil if you recall....IMO the low point of franchise history, on and off the ice.
OK! Let's never again mention that Corson was the captain, or even here on the team.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

I'll post about the game but I'll need help organizing it - I can barely organize my way out of bed these days.