John Candy played Barf in the 1987 sci-fi parody, Spaceballs. It was a strange parody on Star Trek, Aliens and the Star Wars trilogy. It didn’t do very well at the box office, but became somewhat of a cult classic afterwards. Barf and his captain Lone Starr ended up saving the day of course, but while this was a unique character for Candy it was the prelude to Candy’s best characters: Del Griffith in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Chet Ripley in The Great Outdoors and Buck Russell in Uncle Buck. What does Barf have to do with the Oilers, you ask? Stick with me.
I was a huge Candy fan, and PTA is still one of my favourite movies of all time. "Those aren’t pillows," or "You can start by wiping that %^#%&#* dumbass smile off your rosy *&%$#$* cheeks…" still make me laugh just thinking about those scenes. I didn’t like Steve Martin before that flick, but I loved him after and Candy was awesome as well.
Spaceballs was a decent flick. Some of the lines made you groan, while others were epic and this was the first movie where I thought we saw Candy emerging as a go-to main character. Of course he was awesome in SCTV, and some consider Splash as his break out movie, when he played a womanizing Freddie Bauer; Allen Bauer’s (Tom Hanks) brother, but this role jump-started him into becoming a main character.
Actors like athletes rarely burst onto the scene as major stars. Ofthen they start in a secondary role, move up to a supporting role and then become the main character. This years edition of the Oilers reminds me of Spaceballs. Some games/scenes are painful, others make you groan, but you can’t look away because deep down you know it will get better as the season/movie progresses.
Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are already in supporting roles, and they make you believe that this year is their Spaceballs, while next year will be their PTA. Magnus Paajarvi is in more of a secondary role right now. He isn’t ready for prime time yet, but if he continues to hone his craft he should be ready to become a supporting character later this year or next year.
I mention his now, because Barf kind of looks like is a Coyote, albeit an ugly human coyote, and the Oilers will try to stop the surging Coyotes tonight in Phoenix. The Desert Dogs have won six straight including coming back from a 3-0 defecit in Edmonton on Friday.
YOU ALWAYS WANT TO IMPRESS DAD
It doesn’t matter how old we are, but if our father is watching us play sports we always want to impress him. Every Oiler has a father or male role-model on the father-son trip, except for Sam Gagner and Theo Peckham. I spoke with a few players before they left, and they said it is always a different feeling when a parent is in the rink.
It’s not like they try harder, but a few admitted that it can be more relaxing and more motivating when the Old Man is in the house. The only difference this time around is that the kids are buying Dad a beer after the game, instead of Dad buying them a hamburger. The Oilers are 1-0 with their Pops around and they’ll try for consecutive road wins on the same trip for the first time since December 9th and 11th 2009. On that trip they won five straight, with rookie Jeff Deslauriers winning all five. Now they are relying on another rookie goalie.
Devan Dubnyk has started four games this year, winning one and going to OT/SO in the other three. Dubnyk has a 0.929 SV%, and he has faced 41, 39, 30 and 40 shots in his four starts. He will need another stellar performance tonight if the Oilers hope to return to Grey Cup city with two straight wins.
After a horrible start in the dot, the Oilers are slowly improving. They were 42% in October and have no moved up to 45.1% in the circle. They will be tested tonight as the Coyotes are 53.% as a team, 3rd best in the NHL behind Vancouver and San Jose.
Before leaving Ladislav Smid had tonight’s game circled as a possible return date for him, but it looks like Smid will have to wait until at least Thursday to resume playing. When he returns I expect Shawn Belle to go back to OKC, and the Oilers will keep Jason Strudwick in the press box.
Jim Vandermeer has finally started to play better. He has been more physical and he is finally connecting with his first pass more than once a game. Belle can clearly skate, but he hasn’t asserted himself offensively or in any facet of the game. He seems passive and cautious, and if he was going to stay with the club he needed to make an impact in these four games. He hasn’t made any glaring mistakes, and hasn’t had much PP time, but in his three games he hasn’t been better than Vandermeer and that will ultimately cost him a return trip to OKC I would expect.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Dubnyk faces another 35 shots, but this time the Oilers won’t blow a lead and they’ll go 2-0 on this Father-Son trip with a 4-3 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Since being benched, Ales Hemsky has four points in two games, and he continues his streak with another goal and an assist. Andrew Cogliano shocks Oilersnation with the winning goal.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After three days of regaling each other with stories of their sons’ minor hockey memories, all the dads are spent. They watch from a suite and during the first intermission TSN asks Hall’s dad for an interview. At the end of the Interview Mr. Hall stares into the camera and says, "Mark Seidel you are an idiot. Central Scouting should fire you. Not only did you make up a story about me asking Mr. Lowe to give up # four, you had Skinner ranked 35th. You should retire." As the camera shifts back to the panel, Bob McKenzie is smiling and says, "Good point, I agree."