With everyone all atwitter about the trade deadline, it's easy to forget that today is special for another reason: it's finally time to appreciate everyone's favourite potato chip spokesman and my first-ever Oiler crush, Mr. Mark Messier. The fun- and salty snack-loving Moose will have his jersey retired tonight before the Phoenix game which, as any Oiler fan knows, will trigger a lengthy and depressing losing streak. No matter -- there isn't any season left to save!
First of all, it's Marty's birthday. Thirty years young! To celebrate this day, join my "I Believe in Marty Reasoner" group on facebook. We have 100 members and growing strong!
Tomorrow is the day where some of the Oil might not be so Oily anymore. Last year at this time, my Marty was going the wrong way. This year we don't know if we're sellers or buyers. We have stockpiled a great group of prospects and I don't think this is our year. What happens to guys like Smyth that are UFAs at the end of the year? Do we rent him out? Try to get him back in the summer?
I have no answers. I look forward to finding out what happens. I look forward to having you folks email/text/facebook/msg me the moment something happens.
I hate pay-per-view games. They have a habit of showing penalties no longer in existence, and because the games are not on cable channels, I have to drag myself to the nearest BPs. But last week was a worth it. The Oilers managed to drag Ottawa to a shoot-out, courtesy of the late goal by Tom Gilbert (who then got injured on Thursday and is "doubtful" for tomorrow's game), which happened to be his first NHL goal. Smid then scored his first NHL goal the following game against Columbus. Our congratulations to one of my potential future husbands and to Ladislav Smid.
Now here's an action look at Ulanov's teammate and newest sort-of-Oiler, Yaroslavl's own Denis Grebeshkov. I spend far too much time on the Lokomotiv site, and I have found the real reason that Alexei Mikhnov went back home. Nice outfits, ladies.
Now, could I have loved someone like the one I see in you Yeah, I remember the good times baby now, and the bad times too These last few weeks of holding on The days are dull, the nights are long Guess it's better to say Goodbye to you
Looks like everyone's favourite French troll has finally been sent packing. He's headed to the best backup-goalie-managed squad in the NHL, and we're getting this guy in return, sort of:
Denis Grebeshov is expected to finish up the current season alongside Mikhnov and Ulanov in Russia with the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, after which he will be an RFA. As Andy speculates, I hope this was just done to free up some $$ for Smytty's contract -- otherwise, we gave up one of our more experienced (albeit terrible) defensemen for very little in short-term returns. At least the Prez will be happy that we have another Russian.
So, ladies -- let's get to what's really important: Do you consider this acquisition an upgrade in terms of team hotness? I was never a fan of MAB's troll-hair or pointy features, but this guy's not really doing anything for me either. In terms of looks, I think I'd consider this a square deal.
I mean, really. This team just isn't fun to watch anymore -- the defence leaves the goalie out to dry, the offence is impotent, and everyone looks like they're skating underwater. The most entertaining parts of tonight's game against the Leafs were MacTavish's "shocked and awed" facial expressions, the frequent sight of Oilers falling over with no one near them, shots of K.Lo looking grim in the rafters, and the anciently old guy that commentated the first 30 seconds of the game before CBC slowly turned down the volume on his mic. If I wanted high comedy, I'd tune into some Full House reruns, not Hockey Night in Canada.
It's heartbreaking to see your team flounder like this, especially after last year's success. I think I've forgotten how to be optimistic -- I go into each game with no hope at all. This way, the wins are happy surprises and the losses are nothing more than inevitabilities. The Oilers have become that crush that really defines the word "crush" -- they're that boy who gets your hopes up and then stomps your heart over and over. But no matter how disappointed he makes you, you still love him. It's painful, but there's really no escaping -- all you can hope for is that one shining moment where he reminds you why you fell in love with him in the first place.
There are a lot of reasons why the Oilers won't make the playoffs: Personnel, Coaching Decisions, Lack of a puck-moving defenceman, Relying on Steve Staios as your puck-moving defenceman, injuries, Other teams succeeding past expectations...
I'm going to blame it on Craig Simpson.
Since he was hired in 2003, the team's powerplay has ranked 29th, 14th and 27th. Granted, Chris "Go to Hell" Pronger makes a huge difference, but maybe Simpson's plans on the PP catered too much to having him back there. Many teams don't have a bonafide CP on the blueline and can manage better than the basement in PP percentages.
Before Craig Simpson came to the team? It ranked 19th, 16th and 21st. While those numbers aren't great, it means you can make make the playoffs. Over the past few years,
I have stats to back this up. I'll continue later today. (Nobody reads blogs on Saturdays anyways)
Whatever, we lost to Toronto. It's officially over.
(Stolen from HFBoards - To the Tune of Justin Timberlake's SexyBack)
I'm bringing Igor back (yeah) Them other D-men are a bunch of hacks (yeah) Igor makes up for the things they lack (yeah) For stopping goals he just has a knack (yeah) Take it to the net
Dirty D You can't make passes Igor, save us please We need your Russian styles, KGB It's just that no one here can play hockey Take it to the corners
Jason Smith Go ahead, be gone with him Steve Staios Go ahead, be gone with him M-A Berge Go ahead, be gone with him Ladislav Smid Go ahead, be gone with him Let us see Igor on the ice Go ahead, be gone with them I wouldn't think twice Go ahead, be gone with them Igor's pissed Go ahead, be gone with them No more Tjarnqvist Go ahead, be gone with them
They just really suck Go ahead, be gone with them (4x)
We're bringing Igor back (yeah) The Western Conference won't know how to act (yeah) He scored two goals one game, and that ain't whack (yeah) With Ulanov we'd sure get back on track (yeah)
I'm bringing Igor back (yeah) He hits, he scores, and fights like Wade Belak (yeah) Cherry loves him, just ask Ronnie Mac (yeah) Cos' Igor's kickin' ass and that's a fact (yeah)
When your goalie makes highlight-reel save after highlight-reel save, and your team still manages to lose? Why the hell was Petersen the only one back on the OT goal?
K.Lo, please get Roli some help. Now. As others have mentioned, what's the point in having an expensive netminder without any defence? "Expensive" does not necessarily mean "miracle worker" -- even the best goalies in the league need solid D to check and clear the puck. Otherwise it's just a damn shooting gallery. Roli's baseball move is good, but it's no replacement for a (sigh) "puck moving defenceman."
Even if K.Lo sees this season as a "development" year, it's not very cool of him to rely so heavily on Roli to cover the team's asses when the baby defence turns over the puck. Right in front of the net. Again. Why bother? Why not just string up a shooter-tutor, and let Roli take a vacation in Hawaii? (mmm, shirtless Roli) -- Or better yet, why don't we just ask Conks to come back?
Here's a clip of Boulton running Roli in the Atlanta game. I kinda wish Greene hadn't stepped in, but it is pretty cute of him to stick up for his goalie. You've redeemed yourself in my eyes (at least temporarily), meth-head Greene. Also -- get back in your net, Hedberg.
Last night, I had the honour of presenting the Hot Oil Oilogosphere Hot-Off champion, Mike W, with a certificate commemorating his victory. As you can see from my expression, it was thrilling to be in the presence of greatness. Squee!
In addition to the certificate, Mike's prizes included a bottle of wine (for romancing MAB "the ladies") and a '95-'96 hockey sticker and activity book, featuring Chris Chelios and Peter Forsberg on the cover. Very exciting!
Congrats, Mike! And a big thanks to Leah for the photos.
Tuesday night, I was a special guest on the crazy canucks podcast. Yes, it's a Vancouver Canucks cast, but I was there to represent the Oily side of life. I give credit where credit is due (Luongo and Calgary's possible #1 in the division) but you know there is only one team in my heart.
I'm also looking to start a podcast of sorts in the Oilogosphere. Grabia and I are doing seperate research and will conviene with a business plan at a later date.
Following a roller-coaster of exhilerating highs, devestating lows, and general indifference, the Hot Oil Oilogosphere Hot-Off has come to a close! Over the past few weeks we've seen puppies, kittens, Jesus, and what puts the Pleasure in Motors. Blinded by all of this rad-tastic-ness, the masses collectively said "...meh." But this makes it all worth it!
Chris! has conceded victory to Mike W, based on the strength of his Championship Round entry. I can't say I blame Chris, as the awesomeness of what you are about to see cannot be disputed:
CONGRATULATIONS MIKE! YOU ARE THE HOTTEST MAN IN THE OILOGOSPHERE!
Shawn Mullin, in his own words: "...all I can say is that Pleasure Motors was thought to be the favourite to win this thing after the first round, and it's crazy I ended up getting past him. I'll say it was probably the dogs. Definitely the dogs. However, I think I took the dog angle about as far as I could. So here is just me, and I'll let that stand on its own. No gimmick except that I played with the colour. In honour of the great PM that's as close to me naked as you'll get.
And for the record, Chris Pronger still sucks."
Mike W: Artist, sailboat passenger, Oilers devotee. Could he be any more dreamy?
Come on, as if you don't want to see a Covered in Oil bloodbath as the final round.
Mike wins with 57% of the vote!
The final Oilogosphere Hot-Off Round will begin on Wednesday, February 7.