Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A loss? What's a loss?

Dozens upon dozens take in a mid-week Toronto Marlies game at Ricoh Coliseum.

An illicit blogger, setting up a post-game threesome on MSN Messenger.

A bona fide Easterner, thinking about stealing your hard-earned oil dollars.

Coming home I see that the Oilers are coughing up a hairball against the Blackhawks, which makes feel even better about catching some quality live AHL action tonight here in Toronto. Forget the Oilers. Can you say Boyd Devereaux? Ben Ondrus? How about a side of Kris Newbury?

From what I saw tonight, coupled with recent training camp memories, I can boil down the three biggest reasons why players don't make the big leagues, as follows:

1. Not being able to shoot the puck. Like, seriously. I'm talking higher than three feet, especially when shooting off-balance or when the shot requires a quick release. If you want to be an NHL player, you probably can't do enough wrist rolls.

2. Speed. It takes about one period to realize which guys are the first rounders. A guy I never heard of, Max Pacioretty, was zipping around the ice all night for the Hamilton Bulldogs, and it came as no big surprise to find out later that he was drafted 22nd overall. Even marginal NHL players like Kris Newbury get by on having some legs, even if they are slow by NHL standards. The drop off can be stark, especially with defencemen.

3. Any hockey sense at all. Like knowing when to switch gears and either speed up or slow down, how to back check effectively or make the right pinch at the point. Personally, I mastered the skill starting with EA Sports NHL 1994, so I find it surprising that professional athletes fail to "see the ice" the way that I do.

I have nothing to say about tonight's game. The Oilers are skating nicest, widest circles, throwing passes into each other's skates, and without seeing the first period it looks exactly like Roloson hasn't played in a month. Bah!


raventalon40 said...

To be fair to Roli, the Oilers didn't score any either. He did make 27 saves after all, a better showing than DesLauriers season debut.

David said...

I want more wins for the oil... Truthfully, Im surprised with their 4-0 start. I live in Montreal, have only seen 3 oiler games to date and with what ive seen, i think that they are in for a long season. Theyre talented but i havent seen a big line yet. It seems like most of the time, their puck movement into the off zone is sloppy. I know its early, and i love the new acquisitions, but please hurry up and get some chem ! Playoffs or bust boys.

Black Dog said...

You know what is awesome? The ice at Ricoh. Seriously. We play there once a year and even a hack like me can tell the difference. Its amazing.

Rock Deputy said...

On the topic of ice:

I was at that woeful game (thanks for the tix, Benjammin!) and the Vancouver game on Sunday, and the ice at United Center looks crap. It looks like they had adjusted to it by the 3rd, but it was a little too late then.

It's not an excuse... just saying.