Sunday, March 25, 2007

To Fight or Not to Fight: That is the Question

Fighting has become an issue. Following Fedorak getting KO'd last Wednesday and having to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, the issue of whether fighting has a place in the NHL has been renewed. Colin Campbell, idiot extraordinaire, has decided it's time to question the role of fighting. Even more shocking, MacT has agreed with him.

Actually, it was NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell who first dropped the gloves by suggesting it might be time to at least ask the question: do we still need bare-knuckle bouts in hockey?

Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish yesterday agreed, and good for him.
The fear is players are bigger and stronger and better trained as fighters these days, making a toe-to-toe scrap more dangerous than it's ever been.

I'm not sure if MacT only agrees that it should be addressed or if he truly believes fighting should be removed from hockey. I'd be quite disappointed with him if it's the latter.

"He was bang on," said MacTavish of Campbell's comments about questioning fighting in hockey. "A guy in his position has to ask the question. I know we were all watching it live and it was a pretty ugly situation. It left a knot in all of our stomachs just watching it."

I love Don Cherry's response to all this and, in particular, Colin Campbell's assertion that the players are bigger today.

Does anyone except the liberal media want fighting removed from hockey? Majority of players and fans want to keep it. Isn't that all who matters? The NHL needs to quit screwing around with the game. I've had to endure the addition of the embarrassing shootout, but please, stop it.

I agree with Brian Burke, just because one player ends up on a stretcher, a debate should not be triggered. Fighting has already been reduced and it's a shell of what it used to be. I'd like to see it bulked up to be honest. Get rid of the instigator rule for starters. It's not just fighting that has been reduced, it's the hitting. While I enjoy the skilled play, I miss the physical part of the game.

Oh and the Oilers lost again last night, shut out once again. Ales Hemsky returned on Friday but did not play last night. What a difference between the two games. Hemsky is the catalyst. His return on Friday was absolute magic. While the boys still played a respectable game early on last night before going down 4-0, Hemsky was sorely missed.

We have also seen the return of Tom Gilbert, a defenseman who is going to make the team next year. I'd be surprised if he didn't. I would love to see Greene shipped out of town. I'm not sure that will happen, because MacT has an inexplicable hard-on for him.

Our defense for next year will have Smith, Staios, and Smid for sure. Hedja is a possibility as is Gilbert. I'm assuming a trade/free agent signing will bring in someone to play on the top defense pairing. That's 6 players, and Greene could be the 7th guy (or trade him and add Roy as the 7th). Greene's minus rating (third worst) and penalty minutes (leads the team) would not be missed.

So the Oilers will head out on a season-ending six game road trip. Will they win again? That is THE question.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Grab Another Fork....He's Done Too

Little Stevie Staios is done for the year. His knee, which has been affecting him since November, is kaput. Off to surgery for you Steve plus a nice four month rehab.
But is there some light at the end of the tunnel? No, but a quick flash of light. Defenceman Tom Gilbert who has been out with a concussion since early February has started skating and could be ready to return to when the team opens a six-game road trip in Nashville. Great. I liked his game when he played on the demoralizing road trip last month. I'd like to see him get some big minutes, if he can, before the end of the season. I think he has a great chance to make the team next year if all goes well.
Well two games against the Avalance and then Nashville to end the Oilers home games. Off on the road for six to put an end to the misery. The big question: will the Oilers win again before the end of the season? And do we even want them to? Yes and no. I have a hard time cheering against them, but it's meaningless right now. If they can get into the bottom 5, they have a chance for the overall pick. I like to see them competing, like they did last night. I don't know.
I do know this: I am cheering hard for the Avs and Habs. Right now, Calgary is only 4 points up on Colorado. How sweet would it be if they faltered? Many dances of glee would follow.

Child Custody Case In Edmonton

Edmonton, Canada - A seven year old boy was at the centre of an Edmonton courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with the child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree possible. The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her.

When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him. After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.

After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Edmonton Oilers, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

In My Darkest Hour

In my hour of need
Ha you're not there
And though I reached out for you
Wouldn't lend a hand
Through the darkest hour
Grace did not shine on me
It feels so cold, very cold
No one cares for me

I could go on, but you get the point.

Not surprisingly, the Oilers lost again last night. However, it was not a regulation loss but an overtime loss. A step up, yes, but not enough. They took St. Louis to overtime (and before you scoff, St. Louis has been playing some damn fine hockey of late. I never thought I'd say that) and just came up short.

BUT, good news folks: According to TSN, Petr Nedved's second stint with the Oilers has ended. Nedved, knocked out of the lineup earlier this month with a knee injury, has left town in a move agreed upon by both himself and the team. The 35-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Now only if we could get Lupul out of town? Any thoughts??

So Horcoff returned last night and played fantastic. He should be out with the flu more often. Horcoff deserves some kudos for his play BUT also for infecting Joffrey "I won't go into the corners" Lupul, who did not play last night. Hallelujah!! Apparently, it was the "flu" but Dan Barnes makes a good point, what the hell was he doing in the press box "infecting" others if he truly had the flu? So maybe he was finally scratched for the first time this year?? Too fucking late. Nicely said is the bit about Lupul.

Joffrey Lupul has been wasting ice time all year long and they finally scratched him Saturday, allegedly with the flu. If he was truly sick, he shouldn't have been breathing on his teammates in the press box, lest they catch whatever it is that has affected his play this season.

The rookies? Brodziak got his first NHL goal, Nilsson played quite good and Jacques had a decent fight. Smid got injuried in the second period (puck hit him in the side/stomach, he has bruised ribs according the Edm Journal and this could results in calling up Sebastien Bisallion), so they boys were down to 4 d-men. Considering that, the defense held up damn good. There weren't a lot of breakdowns or giveaways (that was reserved for TORRES....did he ever play a shitty game).

The crowd was actually into the game last night. The only cheering I've heard in Rexall in the past month had nothing to do with the Oilers. Megadeth played on March 13th, finally giving the crowd something to cheer about and did they ever!!

So we're heading towards the end of the season: four more home games in the next week (Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat), then the boys head out on the season-ending six game road trip. As horrible as they have played the past month, I'm still sad to see the season end.

Even better news: NYI lost last night and the Rangers jumped into the 8th playoff spot. Is it horrible that I do not want Smyth's Isles to make the playoffs? I don't think so. So please keep winning Rangers and Habs. I never thought I'd actually cheer for the Habs. What is becoming of me? Shocking days around here!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Long Road

The Smitty-less Oilers are having a tough time. Two shutout losses were followed up by a pretty good game against Calgary. Yes they lost 4-2, but I thought they played quite well. A couple of bad bounces went against the Oilers but I was impressed with their game. I'm becoming more and more impressed with M.A. Pouliot. His second stint with the team has been fantastic. His first call-up was a disaster, and I was wondering why many bloggers out there were so high on this kid. He was called up in late November and played 18 games. I forgot he was up for that long. Probably cause he was invisible. He had 3 points during that period. He was sent back down and up he came February 9th. Since then, he's played 12 games and has 6 points with 2 assists coming in the game against Calgary. He was dynamite on the road trip, and probably should have had a dozen more points. He's had so many scoring chances. I can see him having a real good breakout year next season.

Okay, enough about Pouliot. The picture above is of Ales Hemsky. This is his team now now that Smyth is gone. He must step it up, he must start shooting more and he must take charge of this team. He's the superstar, he's the scoring leader and he has to take the next step forward in his development. Unfortunately, Hemmer reinjured his shoulder against Calgary. I'm not sure how long he's suppose to be out. His numbers look like they'll be a little off last year, but he's had a couple stretches where he's been out with an injury. But the numbers are close enough to last season, his breakout year.

So Hemsky, when he returns from his injury, needs to play out the rest of the season. Play with pride. That's all there is for now.

Number 11

It's taken me a week to finally post again after the big events from February 27th. It was incredible to see the Moose back on the ice, and in the Oilers jersey. I grew up in Manitoba, and only got to see him play a handful of times. Many times during the playoffs, when the Oilers would come to town and obliterate the Jets. Oh yes, those were good years. Great years.

I always considered Mess to be the best player. I would take him over a Gretz anyday. I loved his intensity, the dirty hits, the scoring touch, the physical play and the Messier stare. He was my childhood idol. And it was a great to see his number go up and join his fellow teammates. I hope to see Glenn Anderson up there next. Get that man into the Hall of Fame.

Nice to see the Moose back in the Oilers blue and orange. The way it should be.