Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dispatches from the world's worst stoic

Matt Greene bends his ankle as if there aren't bones inside of it, sending this blogger into "one of his moods."

Watching the Oilers this season, I have as many moods as the team has shifts, usually ping-ponging mercurially between two highly polarized half-glass-full and half-glass-empty extremes, hair-triggered by either a Marty Reasoner giveaway or anytime Andrew Cogliano touches the puck. It usually goes something like this, often seconds apart:
Glass half-empty: the team is a giant piece of ass, a massively bungled failure of team management by Kevin Lowe, with about $9 million in cap space gummed up until 2012 by two free agent acquisitions that don't make this team any better, an impulse spree of wasteful spending only underscored by the number dirt-cheap rookies that are outplaying them anyway. For two years the powerplay has been a joke, as if played in slow motion with players standing around like pylons, which raises questions about Coach Craig MacTavish's "ingenuity" and overall coaching abilities. And despite 15 years of perennial mediocrity (excepting one two-month fluke run to the SCF), the fans are gullible, insecure hicks that will buy anything EIG throws at them, even if it's hiked-up tickets for a sure-loser, terrible cash-grab jerseys, shoddy $12.95 PPV infommercials, or possibly an old dog turd that happens to have an Oilers logo taped onto it.

Glass half-Full: Despite losing a staggering amount of players to injury (a forward line's worth of forwards and two top defencemen at this point, but who's counting?), the Oilers have held up rather well, and remain within striking distance of a playoff spot early in the season. While the loss of Sheldon Souray to shoulder injury has hurt the team, this year's other big free agent pick up Dustin Penner has picked up his game as of late and seems to be gaining more confidence as he settles in with a new team. Meanwhile, the rookie class has been the envy of the league, with
Andrew Cogliano, Tom Gilbert, Sam Gagner and Kyle Brodziak all playing beyond their years. This team may not make the playoffs, but there's much to like about this team, especially since they've brought back an exciting brand of hockey that will culminate with Ladislav Smid lifting the Conn Smyth trophy over his head in 2009. I have hope... maybe even enough to buy a new Oilers key chain at Champions in West Edmonton Mall!
The same extreme dichotomy played out last night against Detroit. In many ways, Edmonton held up well against the best team in the league, only to let it slip away with a singular Dick Tarnstrom cock-up in the final seconds of regulation. Then again, the team did nothing on offence all game, looking very much like a team that has barely mustered 2.3 goals a game this season. Either way, this team desperately needs a veteran scoring winger, and I won't even dare bring up Ryan Smyth (5 goals, 9 points) ever again, in the interests of "moving on."


Anonymous said...

The first one you said.

Anonymous said...

We're not so bad. We're missing 3 top-4 defensemen, 2/5 of our 1st PP unit and Pisani, the best checking-line RW in the league. Include that our captain has yet to play a game, and I think there's reason for a quiet sort of optimism.

Once healthy, I think this team is only a top-6 goalscoring winger away from contention. If I was Kevin Lowe I would be hammering out a deal for Shane Doan.


Andy Grabia said...

What does it say about me that I didn't even bother reading "Glass Half-full"?

RiversQ said...

If I was Kevin Lowe I would be hammering out a deal for Shane Doan.

Shane Doan?

Shane Doan?

If this team gets some semblance of a PP, the offense is really not an issue. They're just bleeding goals at even strength at a terrible rate. Bumping them from around 11th in 5V5 GF to 5th or 6th in the league isn't going to change their league worst 5V5 GAA.

That cowtipping sheepfucker from Halkirk won't fix that either.

Anonymous said...

two highly polarized half-glass-full and half-glass-empty extremes

Usually when you're hilarious it's intentional, so I'll assume that's the case here as well.

As for the half full perspective, I share it. But *everybody's* within striking distance of a playoff position on Hallowe'en.

Anonymous said...

The only thing missing from the "half empty" scenario(which I have to agree with, sadly lol), is our Frankenstein coach - who miraculously seems to be one of the senior NHL coaches, despite sucking and blowing every single regular season in his woeful tenure.

Souray, Pitkanen - both injured, and I don't give a fuck when they return, since Souray is more of a PR exercise player(let's give the rubes hope), and Pitkanen so far looks like a fucking head case.

Rookies doing well? Ok, maybe for now. All 20 points between the pair of them so far. Woo hoo. Funny how another team(hawks) is as usual making our golden rays of sunshine look dull by comparison.

All I know is this: Ever since Messier left town, this team has been fucked up.

My most pukable moment ever since: Lowe lecturing the fans last summer about all of the "good times" the Oilers have given us fans - like we owe those fucks a favour for breathing. Or something.


Jonathan said...

I feel, somehow, that being an Oilers fan has destroyed my ethical/moral compass. For example, in order, my thoughts on Matt Greene's injury:
1) Yes! MacTavish can no longer possibly scratch Dick Tarnstrom!
2) That hurt.
3) Who am I kidding- Allan Rourke AND T.J. Kemp are just a phone call away.
4) That really, really hurt.
5) I guess it's a good thing we have "9 NHL-calibre defencemen".
6) I hope Matt Greene is okay. He has been better of late.
7) I suppose Matt Greene doesn't really deserve debilitating injuries, no matter how poorly he's played. I hope he's okay.

Then again, who needs a moral compass?

Anonymous said...

riversq: half of the Doan allure is the leadership. What we really need is Smyth, but failing that Doan is a decent alternative.


Vic Ferrari said...


I don't think that you can divorce the offense from the defense like that.

I mean in most games the Oilers have been playing hard on the puck carrier in their own end, and the wingers have been cheating up. Unless you're pretty damn sure that you can finish more of your chances than the bad guys ... that's a dangerous game to play.

In the offensive end the D pinch like crazy, and they end up with the third forward low a bunch. It's like a boxer swinging for headshots and leaving his left side open ... you'd better well be making some knockout blows, because the counterpunches are inevitable.

So when they play more conservatively against Detroit (apparently), probably for fear of being embarrassed if they don't ... it's not a case of "the defense was better, but the offense abandoned us!" I think it's a matter of "let's try to slow the game down a tonne, because if DET's going to outchance us at a 2 to 1 clip, better it be a 10-5 total instead of 30-15. Then we'll hope our goalie plays well and then we'll hope for a lucky bounce in the last five minutes."

Darien said...

After the Halloween evaluations, I couldn't help but think of the jesus shoop of Ryan Smyth you guys put up last year. No doubt Mike W has some Dumbledore/hobbit/SonofGodwhonowlivesinBoulder slash fiction hidden away somewhere to soothe the ache of bitter defeat.

Tune in next week for Gagner's broken finger and Cogliano's rolled ankle!

RiversQ said...

Hmm, good point Vic. I certainly agree with that concept in general - it's very difficult to divorce the two from each other.

I'm not so sure the Oilers are getting stomped in terms of overall scoring chances. However, they do seem to be getting beat 2-1 pretty often in terms of prime chances though. The Kings game was a perfect example of that I thought - the total chances were almost even but the Kings had a half dozen chances in the blue paint.

I'm not sure if that has to do with a trading chances strategy or poor execution in the defensive zon. ie. poor puck support along the wall, some healthy giveaways and certainly some one-on-one beatings.

Black Dog said...

From the half dozen games that I have seen I would say the latter Riv.

Oilers get plenty of chances but not of the "banging away untouched in front of the net" variety. Oilers seem to give up plenty of those as the kids miss assignments, fail to box out their man cough up the puck in inopportune areas. Their opponents don't give up to many of those.

Kids on D.

And the damn PP.

anj said...

isn't chicago's rookie class the envy of the league?