Let me apologize for the lameness of this post. Like Jason Arnott, “I just wasn’t into it tonight.” That is how I am today. I rarely complain about the weather, but I’m sure sick of this -57 crap every morning, and going to the Oiler locker room feels like Groundhog Day.
Same story over and over, except Phil Connors was able to save the kid from falling from the tree, stopped a guy from choking, learned to play the piano and ended up with sexy Rita.
Today I got none of it. I won’t be helping Dustin Penner learn to show up even 60 per cent of the time, Ales Hemsky is still hurt, the music will still be sub par at the game tonight and I’ll be sitting by Rishaug not some hottie in the pressbox.
There was one difference today. It was an optional practice, on a game day no less, and Robert Nilsson showed up with all of his teammates except Shawn Horcoff. Horcoff will dress, and while MacTavish didn’t want to reveal who will be his right winger, I discovered it will be Liam Reddox. MacTavish likes to play Horcoff against the other team’s top line, so Reddox gets the call. YIPPIE.
MacTavish did admit that this team is still in a state of flux when it comes to their system.
“There is a bit of transitional period where you go from a team two years ago that was going to be physically reliable and had a certain amount of power to our game and we could rely on that. Now we are transitioning more to offensive puck moving team, and it has been a slower transition than what we would have anticipated based on what we saw last year. I still feel we are making good progress in that regard, and I look forward to a healthy team to see what we have.”
FYI Craig, you will be at the halfway point of the season on Sunday. Outside of Hemsky, and Horcoff’s wonky back your team has been healthy. Of course, Hemsky makes a world of difference. This team isn’t good enough to absorb his absence, and because no one else can score changing up the lines makes little sense.
But I’m kind of torn with his statement. I can go ballistic and say, “What you talking about Craig,” or I could applaud the coach for being patient with young guys and sticking to their strengths. Because it is clear the Oilers don’t have the horses to play anything resembling a power game. Well, the former is where I stand.
I said at the start of the year, 40 games is where I would evaluate this team, and here we are hours away from game 40 and this team is still as inconsistent as ever. Jekyll and Hyde have nothing on the Oilers. They didn’t take advantage of an extended stay at home and now they are in chase mode again. Win five or lose five in a row, at least do something unexpected. How about a line brawl? Or score eight goals. Do something, anything that would be outside of the same old same old routine of the past three seasons.
But just like the Groundhog Day, a win or a loss tonight won’t change a thing. The coach isn’t going anywhere, the players have yet to learn to be consistent, the music will still be sucky tonight, and I will spend a Friday night at the rink with Rishaug. How depressing. (Let’s hope the camera guy at least puts a few of Edmonton’s finest on the big screen tonight).
And yes, Dwayne Roloson will start tonight.