In a season that has seen the dubious and the depressing, the Edmonton Oilers need the unsustainable and the perverse: they need hope. And they need it now.
I subscribe to the law of contrary public opinion: if everyone thinks one thing, then I say, bet the other way. Every swinging Dick is trying to bury this team, the news stories break hourly and they’re all bad. The team can’t cover breakfast, let alone the center standing in front of the net. The phenom’s are fuming, the coaches are wincing and the goalies want to call the whole thing off.
I used to play roto baseball. What a hell town that is, your closer ruins at least 30 nights of summer every year and your bats are hot in April and dead on arrival in May. It’s a dog’s life, and chances are the men you’re up against spend their days and nights plotting your demise and laughing at your $20 pitching staff. I learned one thing playing roto baseball: when your good players are going badly, things will turn north. When your team is high in the rockies, trade those suckers because it’s going to be a blue day tomorrow and you’re going to wonder why you’re down here wasting your time with such bums.
THE LEADS ARE WEAK
Get mad! You son of a bitches! You’re getting kicked around North America and your interviews after the game are depressing one million cold mo-fo’s in good old Your Town, Canada. I know the standings hate you and the other teams mock you and apparently you’re not good enough to get traded, but piss on that noise. You’re better than that–you ARE better than that! Strap on your strap-on and get out there dammit!
This problem isn’t just yours–everyone is to blame! MacT–he saw Gagner go down, knew the Nuge was hurt, and then claimed Steve MacIntyre and Luke Gazdic–but no center! Eakins didn’t give himself enough options in his roster makeup and is making curious lineup/line choices. It isn’t all on you, but tonight we’re healthy and at home and a win can put all that crap behind us!
ALWAYS BE CLOSING!
When you die, you’re gonna regret the things you don’t do. This is it, boys! Tonight’s the night things start getting better! The Horcoff is in town and he’s got those crazy eyes and a brand new plan. You gonna let him run your show? Get in there, head on a swivel, let ‘em know you’re there! AIDA! Break!
Pottery barn is back in town, replacing Taylor Fedun who heads to Oklahoma. I have no idea if he’ll play, here’s what we saw at practice yesterday for lines:
I’d say we might see Gagner moved down the depth chart and Arcobello and Gordon moved up, but we’ll have to wait and see. At least they have enough penalty-killers to roll three pairs now (Dennis King has been trumpeting this for some time).
Tyler Bunz has done exactly nothing so far as a pro (he’s not alone–the Oilers have several players from the 2010 and 2011 drafts who were good juniors and pro flops) but he’s been very good in a very short sample size with the Barons.
- Game 1 .857
- Game 2 .944
- Game 3 .944
- Overall: 3, 2.07 .937
This is of course crazy early. However, this is a goaltender who has been mediocre in 40 ECHL games and his first two AHL contests. His final season in the WHL, Bunz .921 sp ranked second overall (behind Ty Rimmer) and he was also second overall in the previous season.
HALL, THE VOICE OF REASON
The Yakupov story held sway yesterday and there was some interesting insight into the team dynamic. One fascinating quote:
- Taylor Hall: “He had a lot of leeway last year and this year, not as much. Ralph really took a liking to a young European player and Dallas is trying to get him to play the right way. I think once those two things mesh that’s when you’re going to see the player he can be.”
- More Hall: “It’s not a distraction for us. Last year, he had a great year and this year, he’s struggled a bit. But it’s not like he’s not giving an effort. He knows our system and he tries his best to play within them. Right now it’s not working the way that it can, but we know it will turn around.”
- More More Hall: “It’s unfortunate his agent had to say those kinds of things … it would probably be easier for Yak if his agent came into town a little bit quieter, but that’s stuff we don’t really think about. We’re trying to get him back on track and I know he will.”
Joanne Ireland article is source here and thanks to ThePeet So for the find. I love this quote, it’s true, it acknowledges the problems, gives us a little insight into the locker room dynamic and expresses some belief in things working out. I think he’ll captain this team someday. I specifically like his explanation about the change from last year to this–remember the Imlach/Perreault story from the other day? This is trying to get the player into a position where he can defend, and be part of the offense, in a more structured way. I remember hearing the same things about Hemsky so it can be done (Hemsky does a lot of nice things that never get mentioned–zone exits, etc).
TAYLOR HALL ON SHAWN HORCOFF
“There were a lot of times in the last four years where Shawn stepped up and said the right thing; really got us back on track. (Andrew Ference) has been a really good captain for us, but it would be nice to have another veteran guy on the team that’s for sure.”
Article is here and I love the quote about another veteran guy. THAT guy could be mentor to Yakupov the way Horcoff was to Yakupov. We should never underestimate the power of a mentor–Oilers have had some gems over the years like Reasoner and Pisani–and that guy over in the Dallas locker room had a major impact on these kids and their development. I hope people at Rexall cheer him tonight, at least one time. I heart Shawn Horcoff, even in another uniform.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE