at Vancouver (28-19-4)
8 p.m. MT
Seriously: can you believe that the Vancouver Canucks got Roberto Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi? I'm sure most of you are over this by now, but just think about that for a second. The best young goalie in the league. A franchise cornerstone. Who wants to play for you. Who has said so publicly. And you throw this all away for a sulky, emotionally damaged power forward with the decision-making capacities of a bear with fetal alcohol syndrome.
How do you make that trade? I fucking mean it, people — how do you make that trade?? I wouldn't even pull the trigger on that during one of my darkest, most self-destructive "I'm going to accept the first AI-generated offer that comes my way just for the fuck of it" moments in NHL 2K7… AND THIS WAS IS REAL LIFE. IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
Just amazing. And made more amazing by the fact that this was the second time Luongo had been driven to the airport by an idiot GM for far below his obvious value. (The Islanders' Mike Milbury, you may recall, traded Luongo — along with Olli Jokinen, no less — in 2001 for Mark Parrish, Oleg Kvasha, a booklet of Quizno's coupons and a cats-humourously-dressed-as-people Hallmark calendar from 1997.) I mean, honestly. That calendar wasn't nearly as cute as the year before.
Anyhow, my point in all this, if there is indeed one to be salvaged, is that I hate the fact that Dave Nonis won Crazy Mike Keenan's Big Please Take My Valuables I'm A Moron Bonanza this summer, I hate the fact that Luongo has played exactly as dominantly as the Canucks had hoped he would, and I especially hate that this had to happen in our division. And yet, despite all this, I just don't hate the Canucks that much as I used to.
Once upon a time, I hated the Canucks even more than I hated the Leafs. Even the briefest glimpse of that we're-so-awesome smirk from the Asshole Troika of Bertuzzi, Naslund and Morrison after they victimized Tommy Salo with yet another power-play goal was enough to reduce me into a remote-throwing machine. But things are different now. Bertuzzi's gone and not playing, Naslund's misplaced his wrister and Morrison, no longer able to hitch a free ride on the underbelly of more productive teammates like some sort of hockey-playing remora, is a hilarious -15 and has yet to crack 30 points. Even Jovanovski has moved on to browner pastures. Annoyingly, there's nothing really that angering about the Canucks anymore.
Indeed, they've become exactly the kind of team I usually like: built from the net on out, defence-first system, doing more with less, finding ways to win despite clear deficiencies. Years of Oilers fandom have engrained in me a deep appreciation of a team that consistently punches above its weight class, and dammit, I'm loathe to admit that I've been impressed by Vancouver's restructuring. They made some great moves, and those moves have paid off. They're still winning hockey games, and have become a team that few would want to stare down in the first round of the playoffs. Good for them.
But still, fuck 'em. They're in the Oilers' way tonight. And as Andy points out, we've been kind of awful against the Northwest since mid-December, and now would be a hell of a time to turn that around with a solid 4-2 win.
Ladies, gentlemen, if I may: goilers.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Posted by Chris! at 11:15 AM