So, the NHL season officially gets underway tonight, which is to say it's the first real Oilers game of the season. Now it's for real boys, leave it all on the ice, make your mommas proud, rah rah rah, et cetera.
As always, the beginning of the season carries with it many questions, such as...
-How long before MacT fires up the blender? I'd wager a frosty one on him letting the boys play for the first period, but after that, all bets are off.
-How long before Steve MacIntyre gets brutally exposed as the 28-year-old career minor-leaguer he's been to this point? As a corollary, how many bones in my face could he break/how far back would I fly if he were to take issue with me impugning his abilities as hockey player? In order, I'd say the first shift he plays, six (the ethmoid, lacrimal, mandible and three nasal), and about 12 feet.
-How long will the lines last, in the pre-blender, depth-chart sense? I don't give the third line long at all: they just looked bad through a lot of the pre-season, as could be expected when you have 2/3 of the line playing out of position. That said, I don't think the top two lines will change much until MacT decided to split up the kids, which I'll give about 15 or 20 games. Not that they aren't dynamite together, just that I think the best use of this roster probably involves shifting them through the lineup somewhat. Or at least not playing Fernando Pisani at centre.
-Further, is there really any proof to the whole "Moreau's on the third line becaue of optics" thing? It seems too convenient to me: back in the day, I seem to recall this team had no problem stuffing Kelly "Original Heart and Soul" Buchberger on the fourth line; is MacT really that concerned with egos, and for that matter, is Moreau really that sensitive? I'm more willing to chalk it up to some kind of paranoia about throwing the kids onto the third line on MacT's part.
-Who will win the Hot Off? I say if it's not Cogliano, there is something wrong with the Oilogosphere: pictures of his face could be sold as industrial-strength panty remover.
-Will the old-school jerseys convince Edmonton fans/management that the new ones look like ass? And further, will this be the season the average pot-bellied hockey fan realizes the streamlined jersey demands an increase in size unless you want to look like you're expecting twins? We can only hope on both counts.
-How long before the Oilers play "Rich Girl" by Hall and Oates on the PA? Seriously, the fans want to know.
Anyway, I've finagled my way into the press box once again, so feel free to return for a liveblog full of snide commentary and comments on the pre-game press meal at about 6pm, provided of course you're not up to your neck in turkey and drunk uncles.
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