IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!

Happy Asteroid Day! The ultimate fly-by happens during the noon hour today. I understand that the asteroid will borrow from George Bush tradition and ‘tip its wing’ as it passes New Orleans. I don’t expect much will happen, but if this thing hits please post something so I can look at it when the internet gets back up. I think Javier Bardem should play the asteroid in the movie.

Here’s some video of that ridiculous Russian meteroite

Man. When I was a kid, this kind of thing would have everyone at the Kingdom Hall counting it down! I hope nothing hits the air conditioner.

brodziak

Ryan Jones is back soon, and that’ll mean too many wingers for not enough jobs. This is the point where Tom Renney lost Paajarvi, and that could happen again this season–Paajarvi and Teemy Hartikainen could be vulnerable.

  1. Hall
  2. Eberle
  3. Yakupov
  4. Hemsky
  5. Hartikainen
  6. Paajarvi
  7. Smyth
  8. Petrell
  9. Jones
  10. Eager

Someone is going to get lost.

hall16

 

“I’d say the coach, the head of amateur scouting and two or three cornerstone players are the most important decisions for a GM.” -Jim Rutherford, Behind the Moves.

If you could choose only one current Oiler player–with the knowledge the others would be scattered throughout the NW division–who would you choose? It is not an easy question to answer. My answer today is Taylor Hall; however, the Nuge is 500 days younger and we’ve just seen a glimpse of Yakupov. Any of the #1′s could end up being the best player of the bunch. Then you’ve got Justin Schultz who is an exciting, wonderful young defenseman. Plus the Eberle, who many feel belongs at the very top of the young Oilers list.

My list:

  1. Hall
  2. Nuge
  3. Yakupov
  4. Schultz
  5. Eberle
  6. Gagner

What’s your list?

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54 Responses to "IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!"

  1. RMGS says:

    1. Hall
    2. Schultz
    3. Yakupov
    4. RNH
    5. Eberle
    6. Gagner

    No matter what, we’re going to be spoiled.

  2. crude says:

    Can of worms alert!

    1. Hall
    2. Schultz
    3. Nuge
    4. Yakupov
    5. Eberle
    6. Gagner

  3. Bookjdjfhgye says:

    I don’t know which one I would choose, but I do know that I would be going all Gillooly on the others and Whitnifying them before they left to go to their new teams

  4. Woodguy says:

    My list:
    Hall
    Nuge
    Schultz
    Yakupov
    Eberle
    Gagner

    I swapped Yak and Shultz, otherwise the same.

    3 days without the Oilers playing does feel like the end of the world.

    IN SOVIET RUSSIA SKY COMES TO YOU!

  5. SEC206 says:

    better get this in before noon(is that est?)

    1)Eberle
    2)Nugent
    3)Schultz (Justin, hey you never know)
    4)Hall
    5)Yakupov
    6)Gagner

    love Hall but imo he’s the most likely to have a short career with the way he plays

  6. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Russian dash cams! what a gift those things are…

    http://jalopnik.com/5969514/the-craziest-russian-dash-cam-videos-of-2012/gallery/

    I’d keep Magnus up and platoon Petrell/Eager with Jones until he has his sea legs and then make the decision… or, if this is a roster decision (to keep to 23), I’d reluctantly send Magnus down. he needs to play.

    hall; rnh; schultz; yak; eberle; hemsky

  7. wunderbar says:

    1)Eberle
    2)Schultz
    3)RNH
    4)Hall
    5)Yakupov
    6)Gagner

  8. danny says:

    Just thinking back to people that have killed us the past 20 years, Modano, Sakic, Zubov, Forsberg… very cerebral players. These guys always seem to find a way to get where they want to go. Nuge hands down for me, but Yakupovs passing and instant decision making has been really surprising for me. Im impressed. Eberle will always be the little engine that can’t be stopped. Schultz and Hall are perennial all-stars. Holy Moly.

    1) Nuge
    2a) Yakupov
    2b) Eberle
    2c) Schultz
    2d) Hall

  9. tcho says:

    1. Schultz
    2. Nuge
    3. Hall
    4. Eberle

    There are others who are valuable (Gagner, possibly Yakupov – not sold yet), but dispensable. I place Schultz first just because potential first pairing dmen, with both offensive flair and defensive ability, are so bloody hard to find. I put Nuge ahead of Hall because he’s a centre, and already so good at the two-way game as a 19-yr-old it’s freaky.

  10. commonfan14 says:

    2010 called and wants to know why PRV isn’t on any of these lists…

  11. nelson88 says:

    Nuge
    Schultz
    Eberle
    Hall
    Yakupov

  12. dessert1111 says:

    1 Schultz
    2 Eberle
    3 Hall
    4 Yakupov
    5 RNH
    6 Gagner

    I tried to click “Play game” in the Asteroids pic….it didn’t work

  13. Ducey says:

    MPS should get farmed. Teemy has looked better, although it has been close. It would likely be until the trade deadline. Then someone will get dealt – likely Jones, Belanger and Whitney. I am sure they would trade Mr “sorta” Eager as well but truculance is not as important as it used to be.

    1 Ebs
    2 Nuuuuuge
    3 Hall
    4 Schultz
    5 Gagner
    6 Yak

    Have not been that impressed by Yak. I thought he was supposed to be the next Bure. I have not seen anything like that skating. With those choppy strides he looks more like Ben Eager than Bure. He has some great tools but I would like to see him tearing around a little more – if he can.

  14. Clay says:

    1) RNH – Joe Sakic maybe wasn’t the most skilled guy on the Avalanche glory teams, but I would’ve chosen him first, too. By the time he’s old enough to shave, he’ll be a legit two-way C with 80+ point potential. What every team dreams about.

    2) Schultz – He could potentially be a top 5 dman in the entire league when he matures. Rare thing.

    3) Hall – Injury concerns, otherwise he’d be #1

    4) Eberle – He is legend.

    5) Yakupov – Have seen too little to know what he is.

    6) Gagner – Little Bad Man, but probably never more than a very good #2 C.

  15. cabbiesmacker says:

    nelson88:
    Nuge
    Schultz
    Eberle
    Hall
    Yakupov

    Hands Nelson the keys to a new car. Well done dude.

  16. loosemoose says:

    RNH
    Schultz
    Hall
    Eberle
    Yakupov
    ………

    I want to put Gagner next, but for some reason, I keep typing Petry……

    Weird.

  17. DBO says:

    1. Hall
    2. Shultz
    3. Eberle
    4. Nuge
    5. Yak
    6. Gagner

    Hall drives the bus, but Shultz may be the engine. He of all of them may be the most irreplaceable since we have no one else in the org that can step in. Hall may the best all around, but we have some players that may grow to at least be similar, but prob not as impactful. However, Shultz has a skill set that no one, and I mean no one, duplicates in the whole organization.

    I do believe that this summer will be a good amount of turnover. Only one of Belanger or Horc will be back (I expect Horc since Belanger is a more moveable contract and Horc’s deal, while ugly, doesn’t impact us until the following year because our cap issue is bigger in 2014, so he can be bought out in 2014 if needed).

    Gagner is still a question mark only due to size. He is doing everything we need, and I think if you add a Brian Boyle type of 3rd line centre then we have that truculance in the top 9, especially if you add another tough two way winger. And add to that Hemsky, who is replaced by Yak next year, freeing up a LW spot for Harski or another bigger winger type.

    So I doubt Oil do anything significant until the summer. And this summer we could very well see Gagner, Hemsky and Belanger sent away in order to balance out our roster. Does Hemsky and Belanger get you Brian Boyle and Stralman (Rags have this year and next to take their cup shot)? Does Gagner get you O’Reilly (especially since Gagner will get at least $4 mill per year)

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Harski-O’Reilly-Yakupov
    Lander-Boyle-MPS
    Smyth-Horc-Jones

    Shultz-Shultz
    Stralman-Smid
    Fistric-Petry

    That is a much more well rounded team with more size and two way ability, Yes we lose some skill, but we add two way play and defensive awareness.

  18. delooper says:

    I have a friend that works at Chebalynsk State University. He reminds me of my grandfather.

    Here’s a more interesting question. You’re on a cross-continental flight that’s hit by a meteorite. Your plane crashes on the side of a mountain. By a strange coincidence, there’s an entangled state Edmonton Oiler that died in the crash. Whomever you want it to be, that’s who it will be (don’t ask me why these are the rules, it’s quantum mechanics). You’re getting hungry and a rescue team is still a few days away. Which Oiler would it be?

  19. Bar_Qu says:

    Hall
    Eberle
    Schultz
    Yak
    Nuge

    I think the important complementary pieces/players are PRV, Harski, Gagner, Petry, Smid. Without the complements, I don’t think this team goes far. I love the idea of getting O’Reilly, but I can’t see him coming here for anything other than an RFA offer sheet, which this mgt group will not do again. The idea of prying Boyle from NYR makes sense, but I am wary of the cost. Perhaps if Sam keeps putting up the points, then a deadline deal would work, but I am more convinced nothing will happen until summer.

    And the ad about dating 10,000 Asian women? That’s more than 27 years of dating. Solomon didn’t have that kind of stamina.

  20. Ducey says:

    delooper,

    Peckham. I bet he is packing lots of snacks.

  21. Bar_Qu says:

    delooper,

    Hordichuk.

    I hear he’s a meat head, thus better cuts to choose from.

  22. speeds says:

    New ISS draft ranking, and it’s starkly different compared to some of the other ratings I’ve seen, with Nikushkin at #2 and other surprises:

    http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=11321

  23. jake70 says:

    Schutlz jr (he gets it…sorry to quote thunder thighs Mcguire)
    Nuge
    Hall
    Eberle
    Yak

  24. nelson88 says:

    Apologies in adavance LT but I don’t have anything constructive to do on a rainy friday before the world end so I was tinkering with me Oilers 2015-16 lineup. A few assumptions;
    - goal for the next 3 years is to be competitve and get to the playoffs but 15/16 (middle of Ebs/Hall “window”) is to be a legitimate cup contender
    - all of the Fab 5 agree to the $6M internal cap and are signed through 15/16
    - cap hits are meant to be reasonable/conservative and players outside “the core” are plug and play. Some current prospects will surprise and some will falter but there plenty of candidates (martindale, pelss, reider, rajala, jar jar, pitlick) for a few to be legitimate players in 15/16.
    - may have to take a little bit of a gamble on further development of some of the soon to be RFA’s (ex.. smid, petry, Harti, MPS) to get them signed long term for reasonable money. You can’t win a cup without taking some risks.
    - you use a combination of your 2013 1st, 2014 1st, 2 – 2013 2nds, gagner, other spare parts as necessary to draft Monahan (Barkov even better), Lazar and a mid ranked goalie (Jarry?) or D.
    - give monahan/Barkov the Couture treatment (minus 1 year). ie. draft +1 in junior, 1 year AHL, 15/16 in NHL. By comparison Couture only played 25 games in the NHL in draft + 3 but the next year he went .70pts/game and won 53% of his faceoffs while playing 17.5mins/game. perfect 2nd line C

    Hall (6M) RNH (6M) Eberle ($6M)

    Reider*(2M) Monahan (3.3) Yak (6M)

    Harti (2M) Lander (2M) MPS (2M)

    4th (1.5M) 4th (1.8M) 4 (1.2M) these cap hits would get you Jones, Belanger, Eager types

    (1M) x2 for #13 and #14 (41.8M total)

    Schultz Jr. (6M)
    JBo (5.5M)
    Smid (3.5M)
    Petry (3M)
    #5 (2M)
    #6 (2M)
    #7 (1M) in 3 years some combination of marincin, musil, klefbom, teubert, etc. etc. better be able to fill #5,6,7

    D total (23M)

    Dubie (4M)
    backup (1M)

    Team total is $70.3M. Salary cap would have to rise about 4%/year for two years from the $64.3M in 2013-14 which seems reasonable.

    Losing Gagner (favourite of mine) would certainly hurt next year but you still have Horcoff to play 2C with Hemsky and Yak to drive the offense or cap room to make other moves and continue to be a playoff contender. In 3 years time and with the development of the young players you have a well balanced legitimate cup contender.

  25. regwald says:

    speeds:
    New ISS draft ranking, and it’s starkly different compared to some of the other ratings I’ve seen, with Nikushkin at #2 and other surprises:

    http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=11321

    Interesting to see the shuffling at the top for sure. I also noticed Lazar and Domi pretty much reversed. I have been watching both closely since last year’s Mem Cup and it seems previous lists have Lazar dropping and Domi rising – except for this list.

  26. DBO says:

    With 4 stellar offensive kids up front and one on the back end, we need to fill roles and balance out this team. I know, balance, the dirty word this org refuses to acknowledge. Is Hemsky for Boyle a huge overpay, yes, but it makes us more balanced and saves us money (which will become a more pressing need starting in 2014).

  27. denny33 says:

    My two cents – Hall has been the best player for us this year. However, I think in a few years RNH will be one of the most creative, play-making centres the league has seen since Adam Oates. But he needs a pure shooter to play with. Maybe in three years – Yakupov. That is my guess.

    Just read the Craig McTavish article on the Sun and he almost said verbatim what one poster said a few days ago. ( sorry I don’t remember the name ) His Oiler teams when he coached were missing that top end talent but had great secondary players ( I am paraphrasing ) We now find ourselves with a massive surplus of top end talent and brutal ( my words / opinion ) bottom end forwards.

    Also read the article on the Klefbom injury. Great idea to bring him over and get used to the guys and the organization….If he can turn out to be a great puck mover and we can actually get some talent in the 2nd round of this years draft – we could be stocked for years of growth.

    With this massive abundance of top end forwards – we are missing 2 puck moving defenceman to constantly feed them the puck. Should have 1 puck moving defenceman for each pairing. Justin Scultz on the first paring. Klefbom for the 2nd pairing / 2013 1st rounder for 3rd pairing.

    Although – maybe J Petry can develop into that puck moving d-man.

  28. Bar_Qu says:

    speeds,

    regwald,

    I like that the ISS puts Josh Morrissey in Oilers drafting territory.

  29. prairieschooner says:

    The toughest thing to find is a number one centre so I would pick RNH

  30. Kris11 says:

    Hall
    Yakupov
    RNH
    Schultz
    Eberle
    Gagner

    I am a huge RNH fan and predict that he will be. great 2-way center with lots of offense, especially on the PP. But Hall and Yakupov will have the ability to drive the scoring chance bus against elite opposition. There are few of those players around. (RNH might have a long ass career, though.)

  31. Mr DeBakey says:

    My list:

    1.Hall
    2 Yakupov
    3.Schultz
    4.Eberle.
    5.Nugent
    6.Cogliano
    7.Moroz

  32. delooper says:

    denny33:
    With this massive abundance of top end forwards – we are missing 2 puck moving defenceman to constantly feed them the puck. Should have 1 puck moving defenceman for each pairing. Justin Scultz on the first paring. Klefbom for the 2nd pairing / 2013 1st rounder for 3rd pairing.

    Your timelines don’t really make sense to me.

    Sometime around 2018 that 2013 1st rounder will maybe develop into a good NHL puck moving defenseman?

    I can’t think of many dmen that were ready for the NHL in their first season. J. Schultz doesn’t really count since he’s 22 years old.

  33. 48 percent body fat says:

    Woodguy,

    I love this. No matter which Simpsons quote anyone uses we all know what it is and where it comes from. Has any other show had the big of effect on pop culture ever.

    Crescent Moon! Crescent Moon!

    Hall
    Schultz
    Yakupov
    Nuge
    Eberle
    Gagner

    Starting to wonder if Gagner has a higher point ceiling than Eberle. His team has been terrible and finally he has a finisher and healthy linemates. Second assists or not he finds a way to get points and has done so at every level. 4 years of tough times there. Dont think he will ever score as many goals though.

  34. khildahl says:

    Just read that the Canucks have placed Malhotra on the IR for the remainder of the season to prevent him from getting injured because his injury in 2011 has made him less physically able to play.

    Does this strike anyone else as a brilliant (yet incredibly shady) tactic? Hey, Ryan Whitney…

    EDIT: Just noticed this actually happened yesterday. Sorry to bring it up if it was already discussed.

  35. DeadmanWaking says:

    Woodguy:
    My list:
    Hall
    Nuge
    Schultz
    Yakupov
    Eberle
    Gagner

    I swapped Yak and Shultz, otherwise the same.

    This is my list, too. Just to frame this in common currency, this to me is like Brad Park vs Jari Kurri, before Kurri had those two good years without Gretzky. Yakupov will be great in the right time and place. What we don’t know yet is whether he makes whatever situation he’s in the right time and place, or whether that has to come to him.

    With Park, it’s almost impossible to imagine him stepping into any situation and not tilting the ice in a favourable direction. At the same time, many lists of the greatest players have Kurri well ahead of Park.

    And finally for the simple matter of team building, as a manager you’d be making better decisions sooner rebuilding around Schultz than Yak, on the present knowledge base about these players.

  36. Captain Obvious says:

    Sounds like Paajarvi is in the pressbox for Saturday. Idiots.

  37. Clay says:

    So Spector is saying both J Schultz and Petry are injured? Yikes. Whitney gets his chance in the top 4…

  38. "Steve Smith" says:

    48 percent body fat:
    Woodguy,

    I love this.No matter which Simpsons quote anyone uses we all know what it is and where it comes from.Has any other show had the big of effect on pop culture ever.

    I agree with you about the Simpsons – which is what makes it so odd to think that the show has sucked for so much more than half of its run – but you might want to look up Yakov Smirnoff; the Simpsons did not invent the Russian reversal.

  39. striatic says:

    1. Yakupov
    2. Hall
    3. Schultz
    4. Eberle
    5. Nuge
    6. Gagner

  40. cmcousine says:

    1) Schultz
    2. Hall
    3. Eberle
    4. RNH
    5. Gagner
    6. Yak

    Schultz is just too valuable. Hall is a beast, but the Schultz’s of the world are a rarity. I like Gagner’s game. He’s finally coming into the player we’ve been waiting for, and he’s still very young.

  41. Lois Lowe says:

    Hall
    Nuge
    Schultz
    Yak
    Eberle
    Gagner

    The Oilers have so much skill it’s embarrassing.

  42. cabbiesmacker says:

    Thought it would be interesting to do a little digging, (memory loss-age thing), to see how my “other” #1 team built their Stanley – draft? – trade? – superstars? – fillers?

    Lots of factors in play of course. Good drafting is esential but some necessary tweeks via trades and FA have to happen as well. If nothing else it gives an idea of where the Oilers sit in comparison, the timelines involved to build a powerhouse, and the benefits of letting prospcts age a little in the A.

    Blackhawks had Brouwer, Bolland, Versteeg, Byfuglien, and Ladd as options for the third line (DAMNNN) when they rolled into the cup final and One First Overall which could have …um…been..cough.. the Oilers.

    Year – Player – Round

    2002 Draft Duncan Keith (2) Starter in 2005

    2003 Draft Brent Seabrook (1) Starter in 2005
    Dustin Byfuglien (8) Starter in 2007

    2004 Draft Dave Bolland (2) Starter in 2007
    Troy Brouwer (7) Starter in 2008

    2005 Draft Nick Hjalmarsson (4) Starter in 2009
    05/06 Trade Patrick Sharp

    2006 Draft Jonathon Toews (1) Starter in 2007

    2007 Draft Patrick Kane (1) Starter in 2007
    07/08 Trade Kris Versteeg
    07/08 Trade Andrew Ladd

    08/09 FA Brian Campbell
    08/09 F/A Anti Niemi

    09/10 F/A Marion Hossa
    09/10 F/A John Madden

    That 09 / 10 team would probably have won another cup or 3 I’m thinking. Pretty decent management to be where they are today after the gutting they took too.

    I also don’t see all of these first overalls being together when the Oilers make their run to the cup. Something will give via trade to fill weaknesses

  43. Gerta Rauss says:

    copy/paste fromt he Oilers twitter feed:

    @EdmontonOilers

    The chances of him playing are extremely high.” – Coach Krueger on J-Schultz, who didn’t skate but had an off-ice workout today

    “It looked like he had a little tweak in his upper leg. Hopefully it’s nothing major.” – Coach Krueger on Petry who left practice today

  44. Gerta Rauss says:

    -Nuge
    -Schultz
    -Hall
    -Eberle
    -Yak

    And if I’m snacking on Oilers, I’m taking Dubnyk…the rescue party is several days away you know.

  45. 48 percent body fat says:

    nelson88,

    wow, more unproven rookies is definitely a way to prolong the rebuild.

    Monohan is not going to be a great goal scorer so you are banking all on his size as an underager.

    Dont understand why guys get hard ons for top ten pick centers. We just end up running them out of town.

    ex. gagner
    columbus has johansson that everyone wanted because of his size. he hasnt done anything yet.
    josh bailey

    Why give a job of a proven player to one based on hype.

  46. 48 percent body fat says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    I will do that. The thing with the simpsons is you can go back and watch the earliest episodes and get new jokes that you didn’t realize back than. You can go back to a few of the newer episodes and find some good stuff the second time around. I also think it has refreshed a little as of lately.

  47. denny33 says:

    delooper,

    Your timelines don’t really make sense to me.
    Sometime around 2018 that 2013 1st rounder will maybe develop into a good NHL puck moving defenseman?
    I can’t think of many dmen that were ready for the NHL in their first season. J. Schultz doesn’t really count since he’s 22 years old.

    Not really sure I put a time on there….I was thinking roughly 4 years from today.

  48. DeadmanWaking says:

    As the asteroid streaks past, I just had a sudden telepathic insight into how Douglas Adams began his career. He was scuffling his way down the street one day feeling low and down on his luck and contemplating turtle cosmology:

    A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”

    Only he thinks to himself about the girl who just dumped him and suddenly goes: “Red herring, more likely.” Then he amends the story “Don’t get smart with me young man, it’s red herring all the way down!” Instantly he had his inner sunbeam back again and the rest is history.

    I’ve just had a rough go for a week with my sleep. This is nothing new: it recurs like celestial clock-work. Sometimes worse, sometimes better, but always the same. Yesterday afternoon the fog became so think I finally capitulated and whimpered off to the bedroom, curled into the foetal position under a giant mound of blankets, planted the white flowers, and hoped for some kind words if anyone missed me. I crawled back out sixteen hours later feeling like a whole new egg, to put it mildly. My pseudonym is truthfully one jigger of Sister Helen Prejean–stirred not shaken–with one jigger of Lady Macbeth, who might perhaps not be the bottommost cold fish in my personal Pan Galactic Garble Blaster. What a difference one letter makes.

    Asteroid Day. I can relate, and under this ominous sky chart perhaps shed some light on the Steve Tambellini question from the other day, as I see it. It’s funny, because while I write fast enough over the keyboard, but I’m rarely able to jump into the discussion with any kind of “summing up” when LT fires off his question of the day. Oh, you want the integral and not just some grab bag (or garble gab) of unruly derivatives. That will take time. Come back in a day or two.

    I experienced an asteroid impact in my early twenties. Nothing special, strictly the usual suspect: a woman. But I took it hard and spent the next three years in Mordor. As much as she presided over the lighting of the fuse (it was a joint ceremony), the actual keg of dynamite was entirely my own baggage–and I pretty much knew this right from the get blow. You see, I had this ring on my mantelpiece from my childhood years. No one really knew what this ring represented … ah, but I see you’ve all heard this story before, so let’s move on.

    I figure there must be at least a dozen different ways to have great sex. It’s a higher dimensional space. If you’ve never been there, try beer and peanuts. Later you’ll discover easier methods. Such as asking. But, you know, with the right tone of voice. So this was long ago, and I still had a short list. What we had together was great because we had such a reliable Hollywood dismount: drenched, flushed, squeezed out and exhausted. But apart from that, it wasn’t that good, really. There was much release of tension and pretty much no release of conflict. I don’t think either of us had good role models from our parental units on that last item. But then, we just made up the sex ourselves, and that had worked out just fine, so what’s the big deal?

    Things became weird and a bit uncomfortable the summer she was preparing to leave and study abroad. I went on a bicycle trip for a couple of weeks toward the end of summer with one of my old college roommates. She met me in Montreal when I returned. This was supposed to be a kind of romantic renewal before she departed a few weeks later to a rather long list of question marks. But she was all strange in small ways and I didn’t understand her mood and whatever connection we made was shimmering more like a transporter booth than the old reliable E.T. saucer beam of dimensional unfolding; and apart from the bedroom, the portents and tracks marks across the sky were bold but puzzling; if only puzzling to me at that age with less of the map filled in.

    It happened that I’d been replaced in my absence by an emergency spare tire. Not a terribly reliable spare tire. He rolled off to rescue some other distressed damsel a few months later. But in the meantime, he did manage to show up outside my front door on moving day to assist with the luggage. Portents aren’t supposed to ring the doorbell, no matter how clueless one might be. That’s a violation of the hockey code if I’ve ever seen one.

    Now the upshot of this is that my departure for Mordor was awkward: in my distress I had the canoe pointed the wrong way around. I also had two Sméagols and no Samwise, but that’s another matter. For sure, Mordor was on my own head. No blame there. The second Sméagol was debatable, but probably also on my own head. Paddling to the far shore with the canoe inverted–that made me royally pissed. For years afterward I would dream of her absentmindedly stepping off a sidewalk in front of a bus (somewhere in London most likely), a bus with no intention to stop, and I just stood there silently and watched: saying nothing, doing nothing, and feeling nothing.

    My time in Mordor was an odd business. It’s true the world went seventeen shades of bleak, but the bleakness was far from uniform. It was rough. After busting my hump on the squash court for an hour and half, I could pump enough endorphins into my system to crack a smile, or maybe a joke. The gleam of sunshine lasted for about half an hour, then it all went back to those weary shades of grey. I read a lot of Primo Levi and things like that. It’s not that I was seeking misery. It was simply that these were the happiest books where I could make a legitimate emotional connection. It takes a very wide lens, I’ll admit, to find any happiness in Survival in Auschwitz. But the truth is, it was a survival story, and more than that, it put the sand into a very important new word in the world consciousness: Hilter, and all he stood for. It’s a horrible thing we ever needed to have that word. But now we do, and anyone out there who might like to retrace his ignominious steps discovers themselves terminally and fatally labelled when people speak behind their backs before they can so much as grow a proper mustache. It’s a form of social immune system. In another generation or five, we’ll forget what the word really means, and perhaps civilization will end up baring a buttock to the booster shot from hell, but so be it. Small steps. Such as I was at the time, I was very receptive to the silver lining. I’m going to quote a little excessively from the copyright perspective, but this is bigger than copyright, goddamn it.

    Hope and despair in Auschwitz

    Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealisable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realisation of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite. Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. The inevitable material cares oppose it: for as they poison every lasting happiness, they equally assiduously distract us from our misfortunes and make our consciousness of them intermittent and hence supportable.

    October 1944

    We fought with all our strength to prevent the arrival of winter. We clung to all the warm hours, at every dusk we tried to keep the sun in the sky for a little longer, but it was all in vain. Yesterday evening the sun went down irrevocably behind a confusion of dirty clouds, chimney stacks and wires, and today it is winter.

    We know what it means because we were here last winter; and the others will soon learn. It means that in the course of these months, from October till April, seven out of 10 of us will die. Whoever does not die will suffer minute by minute, all day, every day: from the morning before dawn until the distribution of the evening soup, we will have to keep our muscles continually tensed, dance from foot to foot, beat our arms under our shoulders against the cold. We will have to spend bread to acquire gloves, and lose hours of sleep to repair them when they become unstitched. As it will no longer be possible to eat in the open, we will have to eat our meals in the hut, on our feet, everyone will be assigned an area of floor as large as a hand, as it is forbidden to rest against the bunks. Wounds will open on everyone’s hands, and to be given a bandage will mean waiting every evening for hours on one’s feet in the snow and wind.

    Just as our hunger is not that feeling of missing a meal, so our way of being cold has need of a new word. We say “hunger”, we say “tiredness”, “fear”, “pain”, we say “winter” and they are different things. They are free words, created and used by free men who lived in comfort and suffering in their homes. If the Lagers had lasted longer a new, harsh language would have been born; and only this language could express what it means to toil the whole day in the wind, with the temperature below freezing, wearing only a shirt, underpants, cloth jacket and trousers, and in one’s body nothing but weakness, hunger and knowledge of the end drawing nearer.

    In the same way in which one sees a hope end, winter arrived this morning. We realised it when we left the hut to go and wash: there were no stars, the dark, cold air had the smell of snow. In roll-call square, in the grey of dawn, when we assembled for work, no one spoke. When we saw the first flakes of snow, we thought that if at the same time last year they had told us that we would have seen another winter in Lager, we would have gone and touched the electric wire-fence; and that even now, we would go if we were logical, were it not for this last senseless crazy residue of unavoidable hope.

    When it rains, we would like to cry. It is November, it has been raining for 10 days now and the ground is like the bottom of a swamp. Everything made of wood gives out a smell of mushrooms.

    If I could walk 10 steps to the left I would be under shelter in the shed; a sack to cover my shoulders would be sufficient, or even the prospect of a fire where I could dry myself; or even a dry rag to put between my shirt and my back. Between one movement of the shovel and another I think about it, and I really believe that to have a dry rag would be positive happiness.

    By now it would be impossible to be wetter; I will just have to pay attention to move as little as possible, and above all not to make new movements, to prevent some other part of my skin coming into unnecessary contact with my soaking, icy clothes.

    It is lucky that it is not windy today. Strange how, in some way, one always has the impression of being fortunate, how some chance happening, perhaps infinitesimal, stops us crossing the threshold of despair and allows us to live. It is raining, but it is not windy. Or else, it is raining and is also windy: but you know that this evening, it is your turn for the supplement of soup so that even today, you find the strength to reach the evening. Or it is raining, windy and you have the usual hunger, and then you think that if you really had to, if you really felt nothing in your heart but suffering and tedium – as sometimes happens, when you really seem to lie on the bottom – well, even in that case, at any moment you want you could always go and touch the electric wire-fence, or throw yourself under the shunting trains, and then it would stop raining.

    There were times in Mordor I was temped by the electrified wire. I would say to myself “this is about as bad as it can get” and then hardly two beats later, some little part of my brain with a shard of clue remaining would go “Dude, snap out of it!” I didn’t need a dry shirt, I just needed the bleak fog to lift. I was really just in Mirkwood Forest, masquerading as Mordor, as convincingly rendered by some horrible dark art of the human condition.

    Here’s the thing about Tambi: It really doesn’t matter if he’s a wet shirt or a dry shirt. People who think that letting Tambi go will import a brighter caliber of sunshine are perseverating on local misfortune. It doesn’t take much to construct a null hypothesis that Tambi’s replacement would amount to nothing more than a distracting wash. Here’s one way to frame a null hypothesis: that the organization as a whole has come to believe (picture Ahab visiting their dreams) that bringing in fresh faces through a spinning door often does as much harm as good.

    By the third year, my mood had improved enough that one day when the sun refused to shine yet again I finally said “Fuck it! If the sun won’t shine, the sun won’t shine.” Then a small bush caught fire in front of my feet and a goat spoke to me, and I saw for the first time a scuff mark in the dry dirt winding its way up the steep cliff face, and I began the slow process of dragging myself back to where the sun does shine, freed at last from the invisible cage of wanting a dry shirt.

    During those three years, I made no additions to my short list. But then, finally, I got back to business, and started to discover there was a lot more to it than the steamy Hollywood dismount. This is hard to put into words, but imagine if The Sixth Sense had been about sex instead of metaphysical loose ends. People have monkeys. You end up covering different terrain if you’re not ignoring the monkeys; less lush in one dimension, but far more interesting in many others. I find there’s no better sport than capturing one of your partner’s monkeys, tying a blindfold around its eyes, spinning it round and round, then pushing it off to stumble and crash into a wall. “Hey, you hurt my monkey!” “Oh, were you fond of it? I thought it was a royal pain in the ass … and you only ever complain about it … and didn’t we have the most amazing time while he was passed out on the bedroom floor for half an hour?” I guess you’d call it an acquired taste.

    The monkeys show up to help us cope, but they have a bad habit of hanging around when they’re no longer needed. For example, you might be in a panic about flunking out of school, but also having difficulties in a relationship. Enter the monkey: emotional multi-tasking. Monkeys and shirts really aren’t so different. At some point you have to say “Thank you Mr Monkey, you were a big help back then when I really needed you. You can go now. Goodbye. If you get all teary eyed, you can send me a xmas card, but no phone calls. Ever. Ciao, have a good one.” Of course, that’s easier said than done. Be grateful, but firm.

    So here’s the thing. Many of us have things going on IRL that make us wish for a dry shirt. The problem is, we sort of know deep down that the problem might be bigger than a dry shirt; it might have roots, say, all the way back to when we were seven and our parent’s were having a tough go after dark. But we want so much to believe in the dry shirt. So we fire Tambi–offer him up to the gods of shirt dryness.

    Yeah, so that’s what I really think underneath all those herring, if such a place exists.

    I’m still pretty angry about the backwards canoe. “That wound will never fully heal. He will carry it the rest of his life.” (How did I ever live before Fran Walsh came along to give voice to my agonies?) Would it have made any difference if I had entered my personal Mordor in rocking canoe style? Hard to know. I’d like to think so. For some reason in my rage against the nested dimensions of life, I’ve burned the shirt, but not the canoe.

  49. Gerta Rauss says:

    Let’s go Kruegering

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/podcastplayer.htm?pid=98&iid=41358

    -sounds like Whitney and Smyth will play tomorrow
    -Petry had to be helped off the ice

  50. Henry says:

    Who is the most valuable? I hope to be pondering and arguing about that for the next 6 years.

    Right now Hall is the bus driver, but they are all getting better.

    My rose coloured far seeing glasses have the Nuge with the highest ceiling

  51. delooper says:

    Henry:
    Who is the most valuable?I hope to be pondering and arguing about that for the next 6 years.

    Right now Hall is the bus driver, but they are all getting better.

    My rose coloured far seeing glasses have the Nuge with the highest ceiling

    With Yakupov having perhaps a slightly lower probability, but perhaps higher ceiling if he goes supernova.

  52. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    1) Yakupov

    2) Hall

    3) RNH

    4) Eberle

    5) Schultz

    6) Gagner

  53. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    But wait till they get Barkov………………Sweet Jesus!

  54. Woodguy says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    When a woman shows up with her new boyfriend to help her move her out of her old boyfriend’s house its legal to set fire to 2 items.

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