Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hard to Love a Man

Edmonton (28-25-4) at Buffalo (awesome)
5pm MST, Sportsnet, 630 CHED

If the Oiler's depressing lack of any hockey-related aptitude hasn't been enough disincentive to post, there's also the fact that lately I've been agreeing with absolutely everything Lowetide says. That post is a beauty, stating both the obvious (deal Sykora) and bringing up some intriguing possibilites (deal Greene, who seems to be going nowhere).

Obviously, then, in my books the Oilers are roughly on par with the girl I used to be "best friends" with in high school: all I want to do is tell them how much I love them, but they keep giving handjobs to guys with blonde streaks and cars with tinted windows and then crying to me when things don't work out, telling me how understanding and sensitive and entirely non-sexual I am. Ahem. Anyway, I guess in this analogy the Bruins got a handjob on Tuesday, which actually isn't that far off from what happened, but the basic point is that they keep consistently confounding me with their performance, and it's hurting me, deeply.

I think we've actually reached the point where trading for a defenceman, unless he's good and we can sign him for a while, is entirely useless. We're not an Eric Brewer away from the playoffs (his name is now the most frequent mentioned, though I have no idea if we actually want him or St. Louis wants to deal him), or at least certainly not an Eric Brewer away from a really quick playoff exit (why I am still even that optimistic?) Occasional commenter Jeremy, who I've started playing Risk with (SHOUT OUT!) pointed out that this isn't terribly different from what the Oil do every year—that is, slide ass backwards towards the playoffs—which is fair, although usually the Oilers don't have this large a glaring hole preventing their possible playoff entry since July (I would argue we had more reason to think we'd have good goaltending last year than good defence this year). I've honestly become baffled as to why we've even bothered to pick up players like Sykora or Nedved—seems like all they've done is prevent young players from getting NHL experience, and if you're not going to legitimately attempt to make the playoffs, you might as well just develop your youth.

All I can say is this: overspend for a defenceman this summer. Yes, the market price is high. This is obviously because good, puck-moving defenceman are incredibly valuable, as we've shown. As we saw last year, you can stock your entire fourth line with minimum-salary players if you have a good defenceman. It doesn't look like the reverse is true at all.

Also, just floating this out there: the Oilers defence also has a huge problem actually keeping the puck in the offensive zone. I mentioned a lot last season that they rarely rushed or pinched, and I see it again this year. I'm curious as to whether this isn't as big a deal, if not maybe even bigger, than having trouble getting it out of the zone. Thoughts?

Anyway, I expect another night of misguided handjobs and backhanded compliments from the Oil, but we have to predict a win, don't we: Oil 4, Buffalo 3; Smyth with a hat trick, Pouliot with the game-winner; Briere, Vanek, Afinogenov the other way. GOILERS.


Aaron Paquette said...

I'm in for Risk.

Coluch said...

Because I care about my fellow Oil fans...

Here is an EBAY auction that I've been waiting to see for a long, long time.

Alas, even so. I am not willing to pay the current bidding price. Good luck brothers & sisters.

Coluch said...

Surprisingly close game... bitch of a winning goal.

When is Brire gonna play for an important team, like the Habs? That would be awesome.

Highlights from tonight

Chris said...

Shit. Nice move by Briere on the winner.

And thanks for the video highlights, John! Are you posting those regularly somewhere?

Jorge said...

As for the sad handjob comments, here's something that may make you feel better...

mike w said...

Goddamn Canucks. I hope they lose 4 straight in Round 1.

Coluch said...

Who's goin to the Leafs game? YEAH BABY!!!!!