Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 45: The Glass Is Both Half Full and Half Empty

Technically the Oilers glass is completely full: half is hot air
The experts said expect clouds with frequent dog-shit. The management concocted carefully worded, forward-looking messages that made it clear that the expectations were about where you'd expect for a team that finished dead last in the league. The players even had a go at 'rebuilding' and 'young team'.

Back in the real world I'd say this team is about as bad as to be expected with the current roster and the calamitous run of injuries that seems to be a sort of running joke with the god-who-plays-dice. Like anyone, I'm not happy about being the leagues youngster speedbump. I don't like have an aging goalie who turns in sub-standard goaltending. Least of all I don't like slogging through 60 minutes of hockey where it's pretty clear your favorite team is not going to win. Yet, I do it. Yet, we all do it. It's tough sometimes, being a sports fan. It's like having a girlfriend who will break your heart without a moments notice, but for some reason, you take her back every time. I guess they call it love.

On this night it was pretty clear our second favorite (debateable for some) girlfriend was going to act a bitch right from about 4 minutes in; Cullen made our Russian Bear look stupid, and Gilbert's magical twinkle toes tinkled a point shot into the twine. There were still reasons to watch I suppose, the continuing Hall, Omark, PRV progression (there's no hope in HOP). The just-about-finished-ELC kids (Cogliano, now with less facial cysts, and Gagner, now with more ugly facial hair). Petry's growth (he's playing more minutes now than everyone except Gilbert). I'd say in general all those things were still on track, and regardless of a couple of goals that were as pretty as hammered prairie-oysters, the Oilers actually didn't play that poorly.

If you are a glass is half full guy, you might point out they outshot the opposition 32-26 (something of a trend recently), broke a lengthy PP drought, and moved another notch towards the bottom rung and a wham-bang draft position. Some players looked pretty good: Paajarvi played another great game, and Reddox looked like a bonafide NHLer. The PP's were earned, the kids looked alright, and a couple bounces went the wrong way. What are you gonna do?

Of course, you might also see the glass is half empty. Hemsky might have been playing the game with concussion symptoms, an absolutely ridiculous decision if management was aware of this. Penner was a pot of piss. Hall was not creating (and maybe he should take a look at the game from the press-box). Khabibulin performed equally as well as any backup in the league could have (22-26, .846). Our PP, even with the goal, did not look especially good (1-7). We are still 29th in the league (35pts in 45 games). HEMSKY GOT INJURED AGAIN.

The funny thing is, the glass is both half full and half empty, and really that is the most powerful, prescient viewpoint anyone can have. The GIHE guys are really good at pointing out what went wrong, who sucks, and inviting everyone to take up the pitchfork and torch and storm Castle Tambellini. The GIHF guys are really good at pointing out what is going right, who is playing well, and are linking hands outside Castle Tambellini and singing positive hymns.

The team does suck, but there ARE positives. And quite frankly, your whining, or my realism, or Dellow's rage, or Zona's sarcasm, or Lowetide's aww-shucks aren't going to make a lick of difference. The team is what it is, so either you take it like a champ, or you go find a new hobby. Being an Edmonton Oilers fan isn't for fucking pussies, ya dig?

Taylor Hall - I wasn't joking when I said Hall might need a game in a 1200 dollar Sam Abouhassan. The fire has leaked out of his game and I think he might just need a little breather to recharge that fire and give him perspective. The last little while he has been holding onto the puck too long, and has shied away a bit from the power moves that were getting him into the dirty areas on the regular. I couldn't care less if the benching raised eyebrows amongst fans or the league/media. Maybe it's just the NHL season catching up to him a bit, but I didn't particularly like his game tonight: -2 in 18:08 with three shots.

Magnus Paajarvi - He is so smart on the ice. If you isolate his methods, he uses his effortless stride to carry him into excellent defensive position, and I especially like his calm demeanour. Dude might as well be surfing, the way he tongue wags and smiles. If he starts backing the surfer-Swede with consistent offence he might start giving dudes man-crush dilemmas. Played 16:28 with a goal, and had 5 shots to lead all forwards.

Jeff Petry - Not taking any steps back and again played second most of any Oiler at 22:22. I really hope he's going to help consolidate the future of the D core because god only knows Ladislav Smid is not going to be our saviour (love the guy though, real heart and soul player). As you were Jeff, as you were.

J.F. Jacques - I know I said I boycotted him, but someone had the audacity to post that JFJ was'effectively filling the role given to him'. I'm paraphrasing, but tonight was the perfect example of a Junky Feces Jack-wagon night: 8 minutes, no shots, nothing happenin'. Yea he got 5 minutes for hugging a dude, but if I want to find guys who can hug it out I'll go to a bathhouse. If numbing my brain is his purpose, full marks. Otherwise he's about as effective on the ice as an inflatible sex-doll with a fan strapped to its back.

Nikolai Khabibulin - One goal was a garbage double deflection, but the rest was just garbage. Maybe he stops that first goal and it's a totally different game. We'll never know. Khabibulin is not going to garner a lot of fans after the game tonight.

Ales Hemsky - ANOTHER injury? Dear Ales, You are breaking my heart. Signed Edmonton Oilers fans everywhere. If this was management's fault... HEADS WILL (not) ROLL (at all - not even the slightest bit)!


If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Take your rage, and focus it into what needs to be done not god I hate the fucking Oilers fucking helling damn RAGE. I'm sick of hearing how much they suck. They suck, I get it, I get it...

But they're my suck.


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