They don’t show it much anymore on television, but one of the great TV movies of all time is called DUEL.
It stars Dennis Weaver and this truck, which is the scariest vehicle I have ever seen.
The truck (and a driver, we never see him) scare the daylights out of poor Dennis Weaver all over the most remote blacktop on planet earth.
It was the first film directed by Steven Spielberg, and even this still photo makes me a little uneasy. Seriously. Even today, I drive by the Peterbilt store in Edmonton swiftly.
For guys like Rob Schremp, Marc Pouliot and JF Jacques, kids like Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano must have represented this truck one year ago. I mean, what the hell are you going to do? Every damn night they’re scoring two points, making a great play and the head coach won’t shut up about them. Meanwhile, they’ve got you on a line with captain shithook and his friend one-eyed Dick and neither of them have scored a goal in any league this century.
This is the car Dennis Weaver drove in the film. Gutless puke vehicle. It’s a Valiant. Instant female rebarbative (I know for which I speak).
Valiant’s need a little help. That’s why they called it a Valiant for crying out loud. Real, powerful vehicles don’t need names like Valiant. Valiant, Jesus what a name. It IMPLIES failure, as in “he gave it a Valiant try.”
So, if we’re a fan of the “valiant” group which at this point includes all the first rounders passed by Gagner and Cogliano, all the kids who have played more than 100 AHL games and all of the men who played more than 20 games in the minors a year ago, what can we hold on to going into this weekend and training camp?
Perhaps we can look back one year and review the quotes of the head coach:
- MacT 1 year ago on an opening for a young forward like Cogliano, Nilsson, Schremp: “We’re still going to be preaching responsibility. It’s all a game of what you create minus what you give up. If you’re creating a lot you’re going to get more latitude to try and create offense, but if you’re not productive then the balance is out of whack. We want to win hockey games. We need one of those guys to develop.”
- MacT on what he wants from the kids: “It’s got to be a clear and concise plan that you set forth for these players, and all you want to see is progress. As long as you’re seeing progress, then you’ve got an ally in me and the coaching staff. If you’re diligent and have a work ethic, then you’re going to have an ally.”
- On Marc Pouliot making the team: “It’s up to him, he’s got to come in and outplay the other guy he’s playing against, guys like Nilsson, Brodziak, who’s going to be the better player? It’s still early and experience tells you that you never jump to conclusions this early in camp, things develop as camp goes on and some guys fall by the wayside who are having success now. He’s going to have lots of opportunity, it’s up to him.”
- MacT on Zack Stortini: “That guy’s got savvy. There’s nobody who’s going to get that job without a bruise and that’s for sure. Based on what we saw last year and the work he’s put in this year, it’s his spot right now, and it’s a matter of what he’s going to make of it.”
- MacT on lineups, lines and pairings: “It changes, it’s a moving target. The lineup, the forward lines are forming in my mind right now but that doesn’t mean there can’t be guys jumping up and grabbing a position. The backend is a bit more complex, because you’re going to be comparing apples and oranges. Do we need another offensive guy with a 6 or 7, or do we need more toughness, and it’s going to be important we make the right decisions.”
This training camp is completely different than last fall, but then again many things are identical.