Underdog was an animated TV series, with one of the best show intros ever, that Lowetide and Brownlee watched while eating cheerios in their pajamas in the late 60s and early 70s. There is no way they didn’t get jacked up watching Underdog, who always spoke in rhymes and one of his favourite saying was, "There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here."
Fast forward to 2011, and the Oilers could use his slogan for the remainder of the year. Even against the struggling Colorado Avalanche, 1-18-2 in their last 21, the Oilers are still the underdog tonight.
When Greg Sherman surprised the hockey world by trading Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk to St. Louis and Craig Anderson to Ottawa, many felt he set his organization back a few steps. The Avs were 0-8-1 and had been outscored 38-14 in the nine games prior to Sherman orchestrating the two deals in 24 hours.
In the twelve games since, the Avs haven’t gotten much better, or worse, going 1-10-1 while getting outscored 49-24. Much like the Oilers, the Avs are very young, don’t have an established goalie, have a few key players injured, Foote, Hejduk, Fleischmann, and they are just hoping to make it through the remainder of the season.
CURSE OF 42 CONTINUES
@24JustinW pointed out to me on twitter that Colin Fraser is 26 years old, and wears #16; they add up to 42. I wonder if Ryan O’Marra is worried that the curse will somehow impact him in the final 11 games?
Fraser is out tonight with a foot injury, so Liam Reddox will now centre Linus Omark and Magnus Paajarvi. The reason the Oilers are the underdog, even against a team with one win in 20 games, is because Reddox and Andrew Cogliano are the top-two centres tonight.
Jones/Cogliano/Eberle….42 goals on season (there is that dreaded 42 again.)
Paajarvi/Reddox/Omark… 14 goals
MacIntyre/Vande Velde/Strudkwick…0 goals.
The forwards have a combined 58 goals, but something tells me they will erupt for three goals tonight.
Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in goal, for reasons unexplained, and it looks like he will battle the equally inept Brian Elliott.
IN NEED OF A LAUGH
Somedays you need a release from the daily grind of watching a 30th place team, so I introduce you to Ben Crane. Crane is a professional golfer with three wins on the PGA tour, but you probably know him more for being one of the slowest players on tour. You might recall when Rory Sabbatini was so frustrated with Crane’s slow play that he played out of turn and was cited for unsportmanlike conduct.
Crane might be a disgustingly slow golf player, but he’s a pretty funny guy. Check out some of these classic golf videos.
"If you have something bottled up inside you go straight to the snake shaker." I think the Nation might have to sell snake shakers to Oiler fans, because I’m sure many of you have some bottled up frustration.
And here is my favourite…."I have sensors in my hand and I’m constantly receiving vibrations from the course’s crust."
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Despite all of their injuries, the Oilers and all their AHL call ups will play with loads of heart, energy and character and pick up their third-last win of the season. Oilers win 3-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The most entertaining part of the game will come afterwards when Jason Strudwick and Ryan Jones will be on After Hours on CBC. Strudwick is one of the funnier Oilers and very quick-witted, while Jones is one of the few players that isn’t afraid to let fans see his personality. Both are in love with their hair, so I’m sure there will lots of talk about their flowing locks.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ladislav Smid ends his 91-game goal-scoring drought with a slap shot from the point. Smid celebrates by fist pumping six times before being mobbed by his teammates. The camera pans the Oiler bench and all the guys are smiling, but you see Strudwick and Reddox with worried grins, because now they are the two guys who’ve played more than 30 games and don’t have a goal.