Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bring on the adorable preds

I just woke up from the snorefest Chicago game that nobody watched, especially Blackhawks fans. It's hard to criticize the Oilers vaunted offence with two of its best scorers out of the lineup, but at the same time, I can count maybe two or three complete 60 minute efforts from this team. Perhaps last year's team had a more realistic take on their prospects for post-season and played accordingly.

I shudder to think of what this year's edition would be like with Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen.

Clearly something needs to be done. One of the luxuries of having Dwayne Roloson bail the team's asses most nights is that they're not doing so bad in the standings, so Kevin Lowe can wait on the right kind of trade for a slick puck-mover on the backend. A big part of the dump and chase, cycle down low is having some nimble D-men that can block the puck along the boards (Carolina murdered us with that in the Finals). Unfortunately, not many of our guys are very good at this.

Matt Greene and Jason Smith are unassailable, physical stay-at-home guys that need puck moving compliments along the lines of a John Michael Liles. For the first part of the season, Marc-Andre Bergeron was still apparently shellshocked from his Stanley Cup Finals meltdown , although he's recovered somewhat -- but it's a bit of an understatement to say his lack of size makes him a liability in the back end. Even if I had a gun pointed at her head, Steve Staios can't get a shot on the net to save his mother (if Craig Simpson knew any better, he'd ban Staios from attempting one-timers). Daniel Tjarnqvist and Ladislav Smid are doing an admirable job, but they're a depth player and rookie, respectively, and are being asked to play way too many minutes (22 and 19).

This isn't news to anybody. That said, if anyone is wondering why the offence might be sputtering, one just has to glance at the 7 goals scored by defenceman this season. Shots from the point and containment were the bread and butter of the Oilers success in the playoffs. Take that away and you get a lot of Matt Greene and Marc-Andre Bergeron playing Keystone Cops in their own end. As much as I blame the team for their effort, I can see why the forwards aren't playing as well as they could. Pull a thread and the whole team plays like crap.

On that baleful note, the Oilers lug their 1-2 PPV record against the Nashville Predators tonight. I have a bad feeling about this, which I'm hoping turns out to be a reverse psychology superstition good luck trick. Prediction: Nashville 10, Edmonton 0, with goals being entirely scored by guys in my pool.

PS: Following up my previous post, dubbed "crappiest ever" by one critic, I tried extra hard on painting the cat stripes in the above photo illustration.


Par said...

Are you and Fenwick coordinating your anti-karma invocations? (Well, at least, until he ostensibly decided on a "no Trap Game"/invoked anti-anti-karma.)

On another note, I wonder how many other fans come to conclusions about their teams' fates based on the route taken by their video broadcasts. Not that I'm not guilty of the same; I'm convinced that there was a 5 or 6 year period during which the Oilers couldn't buy a decent record on HNIC.

Mr DeBakey said...

Thank God you posted again
Search teams were being marshalled.
Hospitals called.
And So Forth.

Another bad thing about the goddamn PPV is that TVU has pulled the plug on the Coolest game on Earth.

I just read the rantings of a 12 year old on HockeyBuzz
He says, he's sure, that by next season
Smid is the Oil Numba 1
Greene is the Oil Numba 3
Tom Jill-bear is the Best puck moving Oil defenceman

And Smith is our most tradeable d-man, maybe for a draft pick or sumthin'

I love reading those guys

She said...

My son loves the sweet kitty-cat. Nicely done, Mike.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure everyone else has noticed that the Predators play Tim McGraw's "I like it, I love it" after every goal, and follow that up with a cheap sound effect of some sort of animal (an angry one, I'd imagine) growling. Please, Oilers, for your sake and mine, no more Nashville goals today.

Doogie said...

You think it's bad on the radio? Try being at the arena.


Luce said...

WOW I thought it was bad when Carolina would play the theme from Mortal Combat and show Ric Flair on the screen going YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Alana said...

I didn't think I could hate Carolina more. Thanks, luce.