February 8, 2010

My, My, My - My Edmonton Oilers

Right now I'm listening to the Oilers lose. 4 - 0. In the 2nd Period. This will make about 18 losses in their last 20 games or something. They went one game less than tying their longest LOSE streak ever and for the first time in 30 years have they lost a complete season series to the Frickin' Flames. Well what the heck is a guy to do?! I'm not gonna pretend to have all the answers or know where blame should be placed, but I do have an opinion about where the team has made a few mistakes. It all started more than 30 years ago...

Oil. what a word these days. Everyone hates to love it but needs it so much. Loving to hate it is something that is easier done by those extremist greenpeace environmentalists (yay) or those who have been directly affected by the impact of oil in a negative way. (Although, you can buy your health here in Alberta). Well, thirty years ago nothing was heard in the mainstream culture with regards to global warming or environmental impact of oilsands. How times have changed. If this is what the Oilers' founders anticipated, maybe they would have named our Oil Kings something like the PLANETEERS or something like that! Nowadays, players are told they are going to be sent to Latitude 53° - the Gateway to the North - The City of Champions - The Roughneck Capital of Canada* - OIL COUNTRY - and they think "God, I sure hope the fans are at least passionate about their hockey, cuz the most northern major city in Canada doesn't sound like much fun otherwise". That's assuming you are a hockey player that dislikes Kid Rock anthems after any rare goal that the Oilers happen to score.

So there you are. A (multi-)million dollar athlete. In a place you can't stand being. With one of the oldest rinks in the league and and the least creative if not god-awful Game jerseys that could have ever been conjured. Little do you know, Mr. Hockey Player, that 65% of your live audience isn't paying any attention to you whatsoever, but is rather neck deep in his 4th glass of Eight Dollar Molson Canadian Beer. This is assuming he isn't straddling his girlfriend with his tongue down his throat in hopes of grabbing the attention of the "Cisn Country Smooch Cam" to make it on the jumbo-tron, for all of our most shameless perversions.

These are our fans. Funny thing, those abandoning band wagoners. Even if it wasn't 4 years since this same team made it to the 7th game in the Stanley Cup Finals. We would riot on Whyte with the passion that we had for our players. Back then, we could even attract the likes of Chris Pronger to show up in a real "hockey town". What's happened Mr. Katz? I'll tell you what happened. Cal Nichols and Steve Tambellini saw opportunity to make a quick buck to buy that second or third vacation home. Now, instead of having a well-balanced group of investors in which would decide the direction of the team, one man - a drug-pusher - will make those decisions. Dictatorship. The elusive and quirky, owner Daryl Katz, chooses to make his public announcements via texting?!?! and then have the said text messages not even be true. MacT IS going anywhere. Now, this drughappy oddball is even selling his drug products in baskets in the Oilers Giftshops inside of Rexall Place. Hand sanitizers, bottled water, headpills are a few of the products you could be indulging in when feeling uneasy and/or nauseated halfway through the 2nd Period. All in a neatly packed basket.

I had high hopes going into this season. We had the return of our favourite little twerp-hero, Mike Comrie who was going to redeem himself and prove that he is just not a total waste of space. "AhhhCHU!" That was his barbie doll girlfriend sneezing on him. Hilary Duff didn't like the idea of spending all this time in the Great White North so she decided to make him sick. This way, she could have them doing "couples things" together like him learning tap and dance steps in Radio City Music Hall, from her latest pop hit. It's very true that a woman can put a spell on a guy and he will do anything she wishes, but even so, it's hard to not be disappointed when all that a city wanted was for him to come and try to salvage some of what was once good of the club he represents - not to mention his own reputation.

Speaking of Big Babies. Penner. Last season this dumb jock was simply unwilling to suck it up and perform for a coach that he didn't see eye-to-eye with. How Professional. Then all of a sudden, the dude/douche (<-- can't decide) says he's all reformed and re-dedicated and eating healthier and doing the right things to be mentally into the game this year. Welllllll so much for that. Sure, his stats aren't terrible (45pts in 57g) but he is just one of those guys that you can watch not trying when it doesn't suit him. That reminds me of some of my own teammates back from the good ol' days...

Let's stop ragging on the individual players for a brief moment. The OILERS as a collective unit have had a hard time of it. First off: No H1N1 shot. Well jeepers, boys! Aren't you supposed to be the fittest, healthiest members of society who get paid millions to play a kids game?! With all that money, how do you excuse yourself for living the kind of lifestyle that enables you to get sick? Is it toooo much travel, being stuck waaay up here on the 53rd parallel and having so many 2 to 4 hour flights? Is it the $97,000 New Year's Eve Parties and hangovers that follow?! Not to mention that the H1N1 shot that got everyone in such a huff has stuff in it that informed individuals try to stay away from! But nevertheless you cry about it when your line-up is flu-stricken and missing games but the Flames are set, with Alberta and all of it's Healthcare Wonders. Just quit sharing Comrie's girlfriend. Oops. A bit far? Maybe. But then again, maybe if Pronger could keep it in his pants in this cold, cold climate, then maybe his wife wouldn't force him out of the no-trade clause and in to marriage counselling, and we would all still be seeing a team with at least one defenceman. If none of the above, is it the puke-practices run by your new coach Patty Daddy and him canceling your team break trip of golfing in Palm Springs?

Also, people fail to realize that the Edmonton Oilers organization has established itself as a player development team. The second that an 18 or 20 year old gets signed and prove themself as a player with potential and perhaps have a couple of big seasons, they will bugger off elsewhere. That's why Ryan Smyth was so well liked. He didn't leave. The bigger names that did ever play a season or two with the Oil must have had some pretty good agents to convince them to get out of Dodge before they get old and useless (unlike Staios' agent). On the flip side, skilled players that come in to the organization seem to lose their talent. I suppose when Hemsky's not getting nailed trying to make that pretty pass to our newest (hopeful) goal scorer, say, O'Sullivan, then we don't really have much left in ways of getting any offence generated, regardless of the skilled forwards that have come and gone.

Alright. So let's just pound out a few names here that, regardless of whether you like them or not, would be welcome additions to the team at this stage of the game, if we were able to retain them...


Whitney, Dvorak, Torres, Weight, Guerin, Marchant!!, Smith, Arnott, Peca, Sykora, Lupul, Laraque!!!, and even Poti, Roloson & Markannen & Garon... Cujo (nahhh)...

Don't those names sound better than:

Oldman Staios, Dumby Head Moreau, What's Eating Matthew Gilbert, Horrible Horcoff, Hemorrhaging Hemsky, Goofy Grebeshkov, or Lubomir the Lubo'assholio?

I think so...

Lastly, leadership. Ethan Moreau. At the turn of the Century I would have loved an #18 Moreau jersey. He was a gritty checker who would drop the gloves and pound out thunderous mid-ice hits. Now he's old, slow, and doesn't seem to care anymore. Maybe he got sad when Smyth left. I don't know. But he's certainly nowhere near to being what a team needs from a leader. They would be much better off naming O'Sullivan, or better yet: Potulny the captain.

Annnnnd coaching.

Even though Craig MacTavish failed to get his boys into the playoffs 5 out of 8 times, he didn't do it not for want of trying. The years he did get us in always made for an exciting (albeit short) playoffs. And on average his team finished with 87 points over the MacT reign. And one of those times got us the Western Conference Championship. Right now the Oilers have 42 points. On pace for 47. All at the hands of some Eastern Pensioner - Pat Quinn.

Sure, say what you want. "But Pat Quinn's from Edmonton" and "Ohhh I have no more respect for anyone than Pat Quinn." Why? This guy got sent here cuz the price was right and he thought that his old-school ways could redeem this hurtin' team from the wild west. Well, blood's thicker than water, Old Man. And MacT was an Oiler. This homegrown passion and love is the reason why he would try year after year to make his boys win games, even if that meant benching lazy ouffs like Penner. He knew their capabilities and faults better than anyone and coped the best he could given the way the budgets were set up through til the Players Strike.

I think the Oilers would be a lot better off if this Old Man went and retired to Florida (take with Don Cherry with him) and we were rid of the coach that did sooo much for the Toronto Maple Leafs for 7 seasons??! The ultimate failure of Pat Quinn was when he went on the air and was recorded as saying "I've never been this embarrassed". This is your mess, fella. Even more than Katz's or Penner's or anyone's. You signed up to fix us, so quit crying about your circumstances or just shut up and go do some illegal trading with Pocklington in Disneyland.

An organization that is being run as poorly as this doesn't deserve as new arena either, regardless of how old it might be. The Edmonton North East is where the history is and where it needs to remain. Now let's go play some golf.

*Calgary is the Redneck Capital of Canada

p.s. Deslauriers is okay. Give the kid a break. Khabibulin is the disappointment (and 37 year old mistake - isn't Roloson being so old the reason why we wanted to get rid if him??) If I had it my way, we would have kept Mathieu Garon and Jussi Makkannen where I truly believe they both would have had much better luck in subsequent seasons.

p.p.s. I don't understand for the life of me why Rod Phillips won't call Lubomir Visnovsky "Lubo" when he called Boris Mironov "Bobo" for sooo many years!


  1. You're right, the Planeteers is a superior name..

  2. How about Thunder Bay? Thunder Bay has just GOT to be more redneck than Calgary. It has just got to be.