The Oilers leading scorer is a guy they liked so much the press release for his 1-year contract read like a spanking, and their leading goal scorer is a guy management was fixing to have walk the plank before Taylor Hall mentioned he hoped they kept him. If Mr. Magoo managed an NHL team, what team would it be?
On Sportsnet this weekend Gene was telling the story about Sam Gagner meeting Justin Schultz at a college party (there were girls there being thrown in the air, suspect there might have been jocularity) and lobbying Schultz to sign with the Oilers instead of southern California (that’s an ice-to-Eskimos task 89 managed btw).
We also saw Ryan Smyth look like Wayne Cashman about 1983, Gagner-Hemsky good and bad and a gifted PP that simply refused to use the neutral zone as anything more than a stage to try to do it all alone. Remember the SC run in 2006 when the Oilers were having the same trouble? Someone (Peca?) sent the puck to an area and Radek Dvorak got momentum in over the line and won the zone and a goal. Or what about earlier this season, when Gagner cut to the middle and sent the puck on a tee to Hemsky while also moving the defender over just a little? These are smart men, they’ll figure it out.
Let it be tonight, and let it be against Dallas. Why? Because Mike Modano, because Mike Keane because Ed Belfour and because that freak Hatcher. Because 1998, because 1999, because 2000, because 2001, because 2003.
I don’t really know why Minnesota didn’t win a Stanley way back there somewhere. They had great players–Ciccarelli was a terrific player, maybe the most hated great scorer in the game’s history; Neal Broten, playmaker, skilled, smart, great on faceoffs; Sam’s Dad Dave Gagner who was a fine 2-way player. One thing, they always made strange choices for coach–Bill Mahoney, Lorne Henning, Herb Brooks, Pierre Page–on it went. Finally, Bob Gainey came in and then he got the GM’s job and hired Hitchcock. Modano was a killer, a cold hearted killer. Man. What a player.
Oilers waived Darcy Hordichuk yesterday, suspect Chris VandeVelde will be recalled as a special favor to PJ Stock. I don’t have anything against Hordichuk or Steve MacIntyre or any of those folk, they earn a living in the toughest way possible and no one has a right to take your dream away. I’m in my 50s and spent a long stretch of my life enjoying boxing and a good hockey fight, but a smart man once told me “once you know, you know” and man that’s a fact isn’t it. Reg Fleming and Bob Probert are gone, hey we didn’t have the information that is now available. Once you know, you know.
Oilers have a nifty home stand beginning tonight but they always play like crap and corruption first game home. So, I’m going opposite George today–tea instead of coffee, different route to work, vodka instead of vermouth at lunch, I’ll put in a full day–I mean completely opposite! Suggest you do the same.
Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk received some praise from new Oiler defenemen Mark Fistric.
- Fistric to the Dallas Morning News: “I give Joe a lot of credit, because he moved me to a place where he knew I would fit in better, and where I might have a better opportunity. I personally thanked him for that. It’s business, I know, but it’s more than that to us, so you feel good when something happens that makes things better for you.”
Oilers at the quarter pole are just about where they should be and there are some good signs. Ralph Krueger has benched and scratched veterans, moved #1 overalls up and down the lineup and there is a logic and a reasonable train of thought to his decisions. What’s more, the organization has shown–Fistric deal, Hordichuk waiver–they are more proactive than in the past.
What they need to do now is get a defenseman. An NHL defenseman. An actual NHL player defenseman. I’d prefer a puck mover, but if he can PK that’s good too.
I’m always rambling on about trades, and if this team made one this week to address defense then I would begin to believe they’re actually interesting in the standings. It’ll be fun to have management join the fans and players in the passion and pursuit of excellence.
It’s been a long time.