Too Long at the Fair

The Pat Quinn Oilers are rolling. A shiny new #1 line rolled off the assembly line last night and the club is also enjoying Ladislav Smid’s arrival as a real piece of work on the blue.

The Quinn/Renney system features a simple but effective breakout system that relies heavily on forwards and short passes; a wide open offense that allows creativity in one end and asks for button down in the other; a physical style that not all Oilers are well-suited to and most importantly a big fat bag of results so far this fall.

While we’re gushing over Quinn/Renney, Sam Gagner’s step up to the top line, Dustin Penner taking his place as this generation’s Frank Mahovlich and Laddy the D having the light go on, can we take a moment to tip the hat in the direction of Craig MacTavish for his contributions (good and bad) to this success?

After the 2006 Stanley run, management decided to change the direction of the team, move the center of the cluster toward youth, hold back the water on advancement. Which meant teaching, plenty of teaching. He coddled some, yelled at others, and went too far with Dustin Penner. It is interesting though to see the results of his work in each case listed above and I think it’s impossible to view this team moving forward without acknowledging the previous coach.

So, it’s morning in Oilerland. The birds are chirping, grown men are skipping to work and I’ll even say the dream of a post-season berth is alive. The whole fucking town is one giant Viagra commercial. As we go about our daily business, it might be an idea to put aside the (reasonable) feeling of disappointment over the years 2007-2009 and say a word of thanks to the old coach for his patience. He did not handle the Dustin Penner disappointment well, but he did teach the Gagner’s and the Cogliano’s and the Smid’s and even the Horcoff’s and Hemsky’s along the way. And while we should never condone bad behaviour in any fashion, Dustin Penner’s new look and performance is also tied to the old coach.

He did spend too long at the fair, and he is a part of the past. However, whatever future success this team enjoys is at least a little about the lessons learned from a very smart man who once walked these streets as a winner. I think we should think about that today.

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