Sharks at Oilers, G22 ’10-’11

Watching the department of youth this fall on the ice can be deceiving. They have speed and creativity and are very exciting to watch, and yet when the whistle blows and the camera pans their faces it’s clear they are so very young.

The Oilers reflect that youth and lack of experience. The club won a thriller the other night, so the smart money is on the group falling flat. However, a HNIC slot can create excitement too, so this is no slam dunk.

The Oilers top 6 forwards have played well this season, and the blue has some (not a lot) nice things. If they can get Smid going (can you believe that hit the other night? I’ve never seen an NHL player get blindsided by a guy who came from the front. I don’t believe Smid saw the guy until the last minute) then maybe Whitney, Gilbert, Smid and Peckham can gobble up some extra minutes and strengthen the blue.

The goaltending has been much better since take-a-powder came up with his whatever-it-was, so there are some nice things. Ales Hemsky’s injury hurts, but there is entertainment value in this team.

I liked the lines on Thursday night, and especially hope they place young Pääjärvi on the Gagner line again this evening. Andrew Cogliano and Gibert Brule had an extra bit of something too (Penner) and of course the HEH line scored the big one and is likely to return.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the San Jose Sharks are a perfect match for the 1979-84 Montreal Expos. This (as I see it) is the period just before they blame Gary Carter for everything and trade him to the Mets for four assets (“hey, we’ve got a lot of shortstops!”). Their blueline is not close to championship calibre and I wonder if they’re good enough to make the second season.

Those who complain about Tom Gilbert should get a load of Mark Edouard Vlasic’s stats this season:

  • 09-10: 64gp, 3-13-16 +21
  • 10-11: 21gp, 0-0-0 -10

Lordy.

The top 20 prospects will continue tomorrow, there’s about 6 guys bunch together here so if your guy is sliding know that it’s close in the middle range of the top 10. MBS is kicking ass.

Good luck to the Saskatchewan Roughriders tomorrow afternoon. I married into a Roughrider family (I’m an Eskimo fan) and have to hand it to them: they’re a rabid bunch. Years ago, when my wife Jo-Anne and I lived in Regina, we flew into Edmonton to visit my parents. As luck would have it, the Roughriders were in town to play the Eskimos so we grabbed some ‘bleeder tickets and went to the game.

We sat way up top (you could have a crazy afternoon up there if you suffer from vertigo) and right next to us sat a Dad and his 12-year old son (that’s a guess). Anyway, we chatted a little and when they discovered my wife was a SK fan the kid when into overdrive. He jumped in front of her and mocked the green Riders, to the point where I caually mentioned to the Dad that he might want to back off a little. But the boy kept on going, maybe because Jo-Anne didn’t say anything.

This was during the era when the Eskimos were dominant and the Roughriders were poor. The SK quarterback was Joe ’747′ Adams, who could throw the ball to the moon but only if he was trying to hit the sun. GREAT arm, no control. Anyway, this day the Eskimos (this is the 80′s, mind) tore through the opponent like a hot knife through butter. With each score, that energetic 12-year old did a dance, jumped around in front of Jo-Anne and mocked the Roughriders. At least twice during the first half I gave the Dad that “you know, this could end badly” look but the gentleman didn’t think there was much worry.

At the half, the score was mayb 28-3 for the Eskimos. Now, during that time the Esks had a great offense but their D could dominate too. This was one of the finest CFL teams I’ve ever seen.

However, in the second half things changed for both teams. Joe ’747′ Adams had the second half of his life and the Eskimos let their foot off the gas long enough for the Roughriders to catch and then pass them. I believe the final score was 48-35 or something along those lines.

Along about 28-28 things began to stir on my side of the aisle. Now, for future reference my wife is the finest person I know. She’s a beauty, smart and a spirited lass with enough German in her to keep things interesting. So, turnabout being fair play the chatter started to heat up there in the third quarter and of course when one Rider fan starts chriping there’s a bus full ready to join in. Soon there was a party of mockers at the feet of that poor kid. It was not a pretty sight, and late in the fourth quarter the Dad glanced at me with a “call off your wife” request but I shrugged because God knows no one could stop her at that point. The afternoon ended with a me walking out of the stadium with a very happy Roughrider fan and a lesson learned across the aisle.

No mercy. :-)

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