Thanks to a part-time gig with a company that shall remain nameless, I've managed to luck my way into the press box for tonight's Oilers-Panthers tilt. In an effort to kill two birds with one stone, and avoid awkward small talk with Terry Jones, I think I'm going to give a live blog a shot. So, on the off chance you can't figure out the online feed—and aren't one of the monocle-wearing dandies who can afford Center Ice—feel free to tune in for sardonic commentary on Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and an inside account of just how tasty free ice cream sandwiches are (early guess: incredibly). And, of course, leave your own comments.
See you all at 7pm.
7 pm: Confirmed: free ice cream sandwiches are indeed delicious.
7:02 pm: I assume this is only the training camp version, but the pre-game video is pretty ridiculous. Music is Saul Williams' "List of Demands" (WTF?), and opens with shots of what I assume is the Mandelbaum compound. Then it has multiple shots of Oilers with, ahem, "demands," like "heart," written on the palm of their hands. As per the song lyrics. Ethan Moreau=that wuss from Captain Planet.
7:11 pm: JDD looks okay so far. Pisani might not be such a good choice for center, though.
7:12 pm: Scratch that shit about JDD looking good.
7:14 pm: Greg Paukovich = dirty MF.
7:16 pm: Theo Peckham = bad MF.
7:19 pm: This arena is like 2/3 full, and the Oilers have exactly one NHL player on the ice right now.
7:24 pm: Rob Schremp is not what you would call a scrappy player. Also, Pisani comes from the "tie them up and pray" school of face-off winning.
7:25 pm: JDD comes from the "poke it right back into the slot" school of rebound control.
7:31 pm: This is still purely hypothetical of course, but has any team ever had 2 right-catching goalies? Because if we're the first, we might be pooched.
7:33 pm: Chorney and Peckham looked like they were tied together with a bungee cord on that last rush. Also, Mark Schultz has not spent the summer getting less obnoxious.
7:39 pm: For a guy with a good head-man, Lubo sure did make two of the dumbest passes I've seen in a while.
7:41 pm: Edmonton fans did not spend the summer learning to not yell "SHOOOOOT!" on the powerplay.
7:42 pm: WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
7:49 pm: Confirmed: free pop and popcorn are also delicious. Also, what a terrible period. I know it's preseason and all, but Florida is horrible, right? Like, especially when they have half a real team? And I don't think our half a real team should count: as stated in a previous comments section, Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky and Moreau-Pisani-Penner could well be the top six forwards in terms of EV ice: we should be making Mike Duco wish he had gone to Marvel College, like his mother always wanted.
7:57 pm: If I spit on someone, do you think I could get away with blaming Jim Matheson?
7:59 pm: Further to my comment at 7:31 pm: has there ever been a game where both goalies had hyphen names? This could be a historic night. And not just because Jim Matheson gets tossed out of Rexall for pouring free Canada Dry on section 202.
8:04 pm: Lefebvre has moxie. Though, to be fair, he was also the dude who gave that suicide pass that got Reddox drilled, so maybe it was more like covering his ass. By getting four minutes in penalties. Moxie.
8:09 pm: Florida does suck. Hard.
8:12 pm: Hold on a tick. Apparently the Panthers only suck when they have the man advantage.
8:14 pm: The video on the scoreboard just called Gilbert Brule a "proven performer"; technically true, though a diplomatic choice of wording.
8:17 pm: I hope what MacT says about Souray being good at breaking up the cycle is true, because none of other defencemen seem capable of doing sweet FA about it.
8:19 pm: I want to have sex with one of Ales Hemsky's passes. He just about put it through the legs of both a Panther and Shawn Horcoff to Visnovsky.
8:23 pm: Chorney and Schremp both look really good on the powerplay. They played some pretty good cross-ice catch there, and that pass to Penner by Schremp was just delicious, to sound like an effete '50s British guy. Shame neither would see any time there in a real game.
8:27 pm: Just in case anyone had some doubts, Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky are completely awesome. Erik Cole is like a slicker Ryan Smyth (though he doesn't have Smytty's crease presence; then again, who does?).
8:29 pm: Note to the people getting free Old Dutch chips right now: free Oreo ice cream sandwiches. ENJOY YOUR STALE POTATOES, PEASANTS!!!
Also, they just announced the attendance as 16,048. It's not actually quite that full, but still: there's a fine line between devotion and insanity, people.
8:31 pm: There are a surprising number of bisexual-themed songs for a sport as rabidly, old-fashionedly masculine as hockey.
8:34 pm: If Lefebvre shows any more moxie, I am going to order some spinach dip from him.
8:39 pm: Schremp doing the between-periods interview. Seems as though he's been pretty thoroughly Nuked: not a word that wasn't boring and lifeless. Ah, pro sports, you thought-killing, vaguely fascist institution.
8:46 pm: A decidedly better period, obviously. Put me down as a big fan of the Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky line, and very suspicious of the Moreau-Pisani-Penner line. Penner looks like he has his ass in gear, but there's just too many little, out-of-regular position things that seem to be dooming them a bit. I say move Penner and Pisani back to their regular wings and see what Brodziak does between them.
Unrelated to anything you hapless simpletons will ever experience, the Oilers PR department has given me enough paper to insulate a garage. I cry for the trees that died to tell me that Taylor Chorney has a giveaway and three takeaways.
8:58 pm: The odd bizarre pass aside, Lubo is a really solid positional defenceman. Shame he's also the size of a garden gnome.
9:00 pm: Jesus, those composites break when you look at them funny. I think they're held together by the dreams of Louisville investors. Also, it's about time Paukovich did something. He's been out-moxied all night.
9:02 pm: Whoever the hell is the band that decided to cover "Message in a Bottle" should immediately be put to death by getting strangled with guitar strings. Douchebags.
9:05 pm: Theo Peckham might try to fight his mother for not using enough fabric softener on his pillow cases. Also, to hell with what we're paying Souray: Lubo should definitely be on the right point on the PP; now he just needs to hit the net.
9:09 pm: Showing opposing players on the kiss cam = the funniest thing since Duck Soup. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go dance to a Hot Hot Heat song I clearly don't actually understand.
9:12 pm: Jesus this is a dirty game for the pre-season.
9:14 pm: JDD's a bit of a technical disaster, but he seems to be getting the job done. And that was just a stupid save.
9:17 pm: Made-up fact: Terry Jones does the wave with the crowd; Joanne Ireland only glares at him disgustedly.
9:21 pm: They are going to have to scrub the goddamn moxie off the ice with a brillo pad. People are going to be wearing Theo Peckham jerseys on the street by the end of training camp.
9:24 pm: How could the CBC not use "The Hockey Song" by Stompin' Tom for the HNIC theme? C'mon...
9:26 pm: This is echoing a comment, but Dustin Penner really does look good out there. Shit, if he starts killing penalties, I might think about taking back everything I said.
9:31 pm: Erik Cole, I want a poster of you in my bedroom 12 years ago.
9:34 pm: Well, Visnovsky sure should have raised that puck a little better.
9:37 pm: "Raise a Little Hell": the poor man's "Taking Care of Business"?
9:39 pm: Souray, if you throw out your shoulder fighting in pre-season, I am going to find your house and pee on it.
9:45 pm: Desperately hoping to make it to the shootout, where we have our only chance of winning: it feels like old times.
9:46 pm: I hope this is the last time in a long, long while we ever see Peckham and Chorney killing a penalty together.
9:52 pm: Schremp should have done the lacrosse thing.
9:54 pm: Hero time? Ah...he's rusty.
9:59 pm: Jesus this place empties fast.
10:02 pm: Final thoughts: Not a bad game: despite a terrible first, we were probably the better team from the beginning of the second until Sheldon Souray lost his shit. 1st line = awesome, 3rd line = suspect, Lefebvre has guts but won't make the team, Peckham might make the team, and will immediately gain a sizeable fan club whenever he sticks, Schremp's downfall is traffic, though he'll probably end up eating up PP minutes in Atlanta or something like that, this generation's Craig Janney, and I don't think any of the other kids that played today has a realistic shot at making the team. The oreo sandwiches are better than the popcorn, though I would have traded either for beer.
It's nice to see hockey again.
Post-final thoughts update: I saw quite simply the finest jersey (alright, actually it was a t-shirt, but it had numbers on the back) I've ever seen on my way to the LRT. A small-ish, dark-haired woman, wearing the number 06. The name above it? "So close." Magnifique, madame.
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