Wanye calls Cole

We were sitting around with some of the boys over the weekend, having a couple hundred Cold Certifieds over a game of poker. As with all good Canadian Boys, talk quickly turned away from the new bassoon player at the Edmonton Symphony, and focused on the mighty Oil.

As we folded hand after crappy hand, the conversation passed from the departure of Glencross to the signing of Strudwick and finally landed on the hilarious collapse of the Calgary Flames—many a hearty laugh was enjoyed by all.

In the midst of all this good humour we continued an annual right of passage at the Annual Pre-season Oilers Forum/Garage Poker Tournament. Each year we pre-call our favourite Oiler and decide who we will rag on all year. Both are extremely important decisions in the life of a hockey fan—you pick your favourite, you pick the goat for the year and then the season begins. If you happen to make a good pick—say selecting Horcoff last year—you are an absolute hero as “your boy Horcoff” potted goal after goal. Select a dud—like the year we decided that Adam Oates was going to have a veteran resurgence—and you are the nerd for the entire season.

Same goes for your whipping boy—you have to have a player on the roster you can’t stand. Then if the Oil are scored against, it isn’t the team’s fault. It’s that damn Matt Greene. Man, we hated Matt Greene in 2006. Every time he was scored on we would curse, “Damn that Greene. They need to send him to the ECHL on the next thing smoking.”

We won’t even begin to tell you about the time in 2006 our buddy declared “I think Pisani could have a good playoff. It will be interesting to see him in pressure situations. I think he will hold up well.” Damn Lee, you were a hero in that Cup run, you son of a gun.

Well, it’s that time again, Nation. We’re going to go out on a limb and make an interesting set of calls this year. We hope you will do the same.

First Star

Erik Cole. Yeah, he’s new. Yeah, he used to be a Hurricane. But dang it, we’re glad Erik Cole is an Oiler. This guy shoots, cuts to the net and doesn’t need to be told to play the body. Break your neck in the playoffs, Erik? Merely a temporary injury it would seem.

Mark our words: You will love Erik Cole.

We know that we will too, and we’ve claimed him as our boy for the entire season. Now when Cole scores, it’s like we scored too. And we can rub it in your faces for eight solid months of hockey.

First Worst Star

This gets tougher with the departure of Raffi Torres, and our perennial beyatch Matt Greene. We’ve hated Torres ever since he failed to follow up on his 27 goal season back in 05–06 and we picked him to be our boy the following year. We took many a beating for that pick, we can tell you. This doesn’t mean we actually hated him, but he was a convenient player to hang the inevitable losses on for the past two years.

This was actually was a difficult decision this year, but we eventually landed on Dennis Grebeshkov. Let’s see if works:

Man, that Grebeshkov could be player one day, if he was put in a dark room for four solid months and completely reprogrammed mentally by a team of scientists.

Yep, that works. You’ve been put on notice “Grebs”—we’re watching you. And we aren’t going anywhere either. We’re going to sit and judge and judge and sit.

We encourage all of you to leave your picks for Champ and Goat here. We know it’s going to be a long season, and we know we are going to be going to war on this site each and every game. Let’s put pen to electronic paper and mark our territory, shall we?

  • First Star:

    I am going with Horcoff as the first star – he should be hungry to prove he deserves the big contract that he signed with Edmonton

    First Worst Star:

    I am going with Penner – I see his ice time going down and by the half way mark of the season he will be replaced on the first line by Eric Cole.

  • It's Erik Cole, Wanye. Erik Cole. Like "Erik the Red".

    Star: Cole and Hemsky have been taken, so I'll pick Sam Gagner.

    Goat: Kyle Brodziak. Brodziak's going to get tossed into the deep end, and even with competent wingers, he's going to drown. All those fans who hated Stoll/Reasoner are going to turn on this guy really, really fast.

  • I'll leave the easy picks to others and go out on a limb here.

    First Star; Cogs. Everyone picks this guy for a bad bout of the Sophmore Jinx. I say that while he'll leave the first line to the vets, he'll turn into the solid second line guy everyone was hoping for.

    Potential Disapointment: Nilsson. Something about this kid makes me uneasy, despite his flashes of brilliance last season. I'm not hoping for him to fail and I'd like nothing better than to see the kid-line light up goalies coast-to-coast this year, but something deep down inside whispers that Nilsson is going to spend a lot of time as a spectator this year, despite the high hopes and pool picks of many.

  • First Star – Ales Hemsky. I know this is way too easy of a pick, but when Hemsky is at his best, pucks are going into the opposition's net.

    First Worst Star – my goat last year as well – Sheldon Souray. It's easy to see how many mistakes this overpaid clown makes when you are looking closely for them. You can almsot always put the blame squarely on him for the goal that just went in against the Mighty Oil.