GDB XXIX: An afternoon dancing with the Stars

Well now it feels like hockey season. I’m sure many of you are barely getting in the house in time, after shoveling your vehicle out of 20 cm of the white stuff, to watch the Oilers take on the Stars. You probably spent an hour on your sidewalk and then got the bright idea to shovel out your car, only to have your neighbour notice you were outside so they asked if you could shovel their car out as well.

Your neighbour is either pregnant or elderly so you couldn’t be a douche and now you are trying to adjust your eyes to the TV after being blinded by the sun’s reflection off of the snow. It’s probably not the only thing that will be blinding you today.

Interestingly enough it snowed in Dallas on Tuesday, so it’s hockey weather in Texas and Alberta. Who knew?

When the puck dropped 40 hours ago in Detroit many of you thought it would be the start of the tank job. The Oilers would get blown out in Detroit and then limp into Dallas and get spanked by the Stars. The latter could still happen, but after Thursday’s game some of you are fighting the dreaded SPLIT PERSONALITY FAN.

On one shoulder you have your little devil fan dressed in an Oiler jersey convincing you that 54 games is ample time to turn this around and get into the playoffs. “Jeff Deslauriers is finally going to live up to his draft position and become an impact goalie,” your devil fan says.  

“Who needs Ales Hemsky and his sick stick handling skills, Bobby Nilsson and Patches O’Sullivan were playing in his shadow and now they flourish. Zack Stortini has always been the 4th line checking center who can win faceoffs. Ryan Potulny will be the Fernando Pisani of the 2006 playoffs and he will score 26 by seasons end. Trust me”

While you try to fight off these ridiculous notions, there is a part of you that wants to believe them. How awesome would the Oilers be next year when Hemsky returns after making the playoffs without him this year you tell yourself.

Then your Angel fan tosses his halo knocking the devil off your shoulder and rips into you.

“Wake up Kool-aid boy. This team can’t lose every game down the stretch, so the win over Detroit was just a speed bump. The Oilers aren’t tough enough, they can’t win a faceoff, their defensive zone coverage sucks and their goalie’s game fluctuates more than Oprah’s weight.

“Why do you do this to yourself? Just when you think this team is done, they win one stupid game and they suck you back in. You are blinded by your loyalty to want this team to win, that you can’t fathom another spring without playoffs. Well chump, a win over the Wings is not the beginning of a solid 55 game stretch.”

Admit it, that’s how most of you feel right now.

Last week, many of you were comfortable with the notion of missing the playoffs again, as long as the team got a top five pick, but beating Detroit has given you a glimmer of hope.

Will the Stars crush that glimmer like they did five times in the playoffs between 1998 and 2004? This Stars team doesn’t have Sergei Zubov, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brett Hull or Ken Hitchcock. Instead they have young guys like James Neal and Loui Eriksson and a red-hot Brad Richards.

Brendan Morrow is also hot with a goal in five consecutive games, and Stephane Robidas leads the NHL in hits, but the Stars are 1-4 in their last five afternoon home games.

Who the hell knows if the Oilers will win today, but unless you are stuck in your back alley, or on a side street, or taking your kids to hockey you will be watching this game with conflicted emotions.

I don’t predict scores, because I suck at sports select but I guarantee you this will happen.

Jeanshorts will complain about his hangover and the soft three he just had to pay cab fare to leave.

Dakin will be livid when the Oilers score two PP goals.

Menace will pinch a nerve in his neck from looking at his angel and devil from shift-to-shift.

Scientist will come up with another way to quote posts while calculating the length of time it will take a grader to grade every street in the city.

98% of the readers will read the comments section and never post, but secretly they will be just as irate or filled with hope as all of the posters.

And of course, Gene will have a reference to Robert Nilsson and the Lone Star State in his intro… book it!

  • OregonStateFan

    Oh well, the Oil managed to prove the 2-2 SO loss wrong. I'd like to see if the team can perform as a team over the rest of the season.

    So far in the near term, it's been wins by fluke.

  • BarryS

    I don't know what to say, an good game to watch, and a win. Looks like tanking it is not an option. Sees to me expecting management to tank on purpose is an unreasonable expection.
    Looks like Dustin Penner is paying for all the easy goals early on, but at least he is not coasting, is still contributing. As long as the first line keeps the checking lines on the other teams busy and needing help from other lines they don't need to score as much.

    Is it a worry the goals during regular time came from defencemen not forwards?

    Everytime I see Penner and Gagner backchecking and getting the puck, it makes me feel good.

    Does anybody else agree the two games Nilsson has played since he got back might be hia best as an Oiler? Is he setting us up again?

  • BarryS

    Seem's to me we've lost more games than won by fluke's.

    Any shot that ends up in the net might be lucky, but shots not taken almost never go in the net, unless its the one by Khabbi in game one.

    Isn't the old hockey saying when you shoot, good things happen? Me, I'm just glad they are shooting. More shots, more chances for these so called flukes.

    Neither of the last two wins can really be called flukes, didn't they score more than the other guys? Today they came back from down 2? Seems to me Detroil and Dallas had some say in who won and who lost and so did JDD.

    A win is a win, a loss is a loss. Checked the standings, didn't see columns called fluke wins and fluke losses.

  • There are those who drink the Kool-Aid, and then there is Barry S, who submerges his head in the jug and refuses to stop chugging like a freshman getting hazed no matter how often reality taps him on the shoulder. You keep checking the standings and we'll see what's what after 82 games.

    • BarryS

      So, after 30 games you're certain the Oilers are done? Me, I tend to watch each game then get over it.

      Had, a year long drug induced depression in 1967 after a seven hour surgery and three day every four hour morphine shot, and a self induced four day hangover in 1975, cured me of any sort of coolaid. Sailed through the rest of the sixites and seventies impervious to the drug culture, that's to my surgeons free trip through the dark side. Been there, done that, still got the scars.

      For a guy who makes his living in the writing business, you sure got a thin skin and a limited vocabulary.

      Actually, 82 games will be about right to see what's what. Injuries are starting to spread around through the league and the Olympics are coming, they've affected the final standings before likely will again.

      And thanks for the promotion and notice. Can't think I'm any threat to you, but by your reaction I must be.

      Beer is for teenagers, whiskey is for men.

  • MrOiler

    Oilers 3, Stars 2 (SO)

    And the little devil punches the little angel in the nose. "There's a little koolaid for ya, Wings!"

    p.s. – And a new NHL level backup goalie is found in Edmonton.