Crystal Ball

They pulled in just behind the fridge
He lays her down, he frowns

“Gee my life’s a funny thing, am I still too young?”
He kissed her then and there
She took his ring, took his babies
It took him minutes, took her nowhere
Heaven knows, she’d have taken anything.

This is David Jones. It’s been years since I’ve heard much of his music, even though he was all over the radio when I was a kid. The reason I’ve spent so much time around his music lately is my daughter: she sees and hears David Bowie as something brand new. It has caused a flood of memories for me this summer, including one famous fight with my Dad over the album Diamond Dogs (long story short: I could keep the album, but the album cover had to stay at my friend Alan Hermanson’s. Seriously).

This past week or so my family spent rambling through America, and we have a long established rule about music. The four of us get to choose (in rotation) what the family listens to for an hour or so. I made the kids listen to Van Morrison, Blue Rodeo and Marvin Gaye, my wife made sure we got our yearly dose of Fleetwood Mac and my son continued his love affair with ska.

None of that was a surprise. My daughter on the other hand has apparently decided it’s 1970. She wore a Beatles t-shirt for much of the vacation (apparently “there’s nothing else to wear!” is “good morning” in teenager) and is completely taken with David Bowie’s music. “Starman” and “Fame” and “Sound and Vision” and “China Girl.” I’m fine with it (she could have chosen Bobby Goldsboro or Roger Whitaker) but I’ll tell you sometimes Bowie’s 1970 era lyrcis sound rather strange when my daughter is singing them.

Every end of July I make 10 predictions on this blog. They don’t really come true (last year I made 10 specific predictions about the Oilers. The next day they announced Tambellini as the new GM–so much for pertinent predictions) but it’s fun all the same. Here is this year’s edition:

  1. Pat Quinn uses sentences like “we’re too small all over the place” and “we have lots of forwards who do the same thing” quite often during training camp.
  2. Devan Dubnyk emerges as a legit prospect in training camp and his name comes up often as Jeff Deslauriers struggles early in the season.
  3. Edmonton makes a huge trade in August, sending away components of the Heatley trade and acquiring a scorer not named Dany Heatley.
  4. Edmonton makes that deal with a team they’ve done business with in the past.
  5. Marc Pouliot takes complete advantage of the opportunity that awaits him this fall at center.
  6. Rob Schremp is traded to the New York Islanders before the season starts.
  7. The Oilers invite a surprising and significant free agent to training camp without a contract and he accepts the invitation.
  8. The opening night roster has a few surprises on it at the depth level.
  9. Ryan Stone is one of those players.
  10. The Oilers start slowly to begin the season.

Finally, here are last year’s predictions and the results:

  1. Oilers add at least one more significant player. They did not.
  2. Rob Schremp has a terrific training camp and doesn’t make the team. Schremp led Oiler rookies in pre-season scoring (4gp, 0-2-2) and opportunity. He was the last cut before opening night, but on a technicality (he got an exemption to attend his Grandfather’s funeral).
  3. Dustin Penner shows up and demolishes last year’s fitness testing numbers. He had a tough season beginning in training camp and by November Craig MacTavish said “We thought the contract ($4.25 million average for five years) was a starting point for him, but he views it as a finish line. I can’t watch it.”
  4. Ales Hemsky looks older, more mature, stronger. Better. I felt he was quality save for the concussion and the effects of the concussion. We’re still waiting for overdrive but this is a nice gear too.
  5. Theo Peckham is the surprise of camp (in a good way). He did get noticed, including a couple of big fights in pre-season.
  6. The Oilers training camp invite list has at least two former NHLers on it trying to find their way back to the show. There were none.
  7. Ryan Potulny makes the team. He didn’t make it and played in only one pre-season game. He was a late cut (Oct. 2).
  8. Gilbert Brule is sent out early enough to cause a stir and some bad feelings. He was a very late cut (October 7) but didn’t show enough in pre-season.
  9. The Oilers surprise everyone by staying relatively healthy this fall (betting 7 here). The first injury was Denis Grebeshkov November 7th and he missed three games with a concussion. Hemsky went on IR January 9th (he’s miss 10 games) with his concussion and the next day Stortini hit the DL. Stortini would miss 6 games and later Nilsson would miss 5 (concussion), Visnovsky would miss 32 (torn labrum), Grebeshkov 2 more with an ankle sprain, Pisani 42 games with a broken ankle. Moreau then had an eye injury (4 games, could have been much worse) and Smid broke his hand March 30. I’m going to say it was an epic fail prediction.
  10. Jason Strudwick is in the opening night lineup, and Ladislav Smid isn’t. This did in fact happen, with Strudwick playing 13:50 and getting 2 shots on goal in a 3-2 Oiler win.

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