THINKING ABOUT THE WINGS AND A WICKED VIDEO

First and foremost stop whatever you are doing and watch this video. We don’t know who these folks are, but they are absolutely wicked. A big ups to David Staples for tweeting the link.

DATA ENTRY

The first round of the NHL playoffs have been wildly entertaining in our humble opinion. Now this could be because Wanye Manor is currently a flurry of activity, hammering in all of the playoff draft cards from Hudsons. It is a slow and tedious process to say the least.

When the Nation BrainTrust cooked up the concept of making a hockey draft that could be used by bars it seemed like such a good idea. And it still is. It’s just that three times a year roughly 7,500 cards come in and have to be manually entered into the system.

So we are about 45 hours into a 70 marathon with a team of four folks that involves parking in front of a computer and hammering in card after card after card after card. It consumes our every waking moment and we actually had a dream about doing data entry last night. Bingofuel pulled out just in time.

That’s what she said.

THE MIGHTY WINGS

The best part about the draft cards piled high to the sky is that we have watched a mind boggling amount of the first round of the playoffs and having hilarious twitter conversations in the process. Say what you want about the Canadiens and the Bruins series being the best, or watching the Canucks get smoked by the Hawks last night. The best series for our money has been watching the well oiled machine that is the Red Wings pick apart the Coyotes. This team is amazing.

Remember when the Oil whipped the Wings in the first round back in ’06? How on earth is it that the team has only gotten better since then while the home team has *ahem* gone in the other direction? What are they putting in the gatorade at the Wings practice facility to keep the beast growing year after year?

MEETING THE CAPTAIN

We had a chance meeting with Dennis Polonich at the Scotiabank Tournament a few weeks ago. Polonich was the Captain of the Wings back in the 1976-77 season and isn’t the biggest player by any standards standing only 5 foot 6 inches and was selected 118th overall in the 1973 entry draft . Yet he has more compete in his little toe than half the players in the league do in their entire family trees stretching back four generations.

At the tournament, he recounted a tale about visiting the locker room several months ago. He was walking down the hallway into the weight room when current Captain Niklas Lidstrom was walking the other way. Lidstrom saw it was Polonich and immediately stopped to chat. "Hello Mr. Polonich, I just wanted to say that it is an honour to meet you Sir," and spent a few minutes chatting before Lidstrom went on his way.

Polonich pointed to this type of encounter as the reason that the Wings are so successful. Years after being a Captain of the team the current C can indentify him on sight, refers to him respectfully as "Mr" and "Sir" and treats him with the utmost respect. This type of respect and community fills every part of the team, from the front office to the minor leagues, to the current roster and players past.

It’s a rarity.

The Wings are hands down the best at cultivating this type of environment in the NHL. While the City of Detroit is turning into some sort of Mad Max-ian post apocolyptic world – to the point that many NHL teams won’t fly into the City the night before games anymore out of security concerns for the players – it remains the number one destination of choice for players around the league.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN WANYE?

What it all means is that people who think that the weather or the City itself or needing a new arena are the reason players don’t want to play for the Oilers need to give their heads a shake. Championship teams are built within the room by the organization not through seasonably unwarm weather or with busy shopping districts.

    • I can only see 5 or 6 of those players on our roster that far down the road…

      In other news, I haven’t watched ANY of the Stanley Cup playoffs because SHIT happened AND I am in the middle of final exams. I really wanted to watch Boston-Montreal… FML.

      #ineedsomeonetoholdme #ormaybeanangusburgerinme #ineverhadachildhood

        • WANYE QUOTED ME!!! *SWOON*

          Oh, the answer is by being out of the playoffs and getting injured. 🙁 But really, I’m a scholastic player, a self-admitted nerd. Prior to the draft, I noticed how your media enthused about my expertise in hockey history and stuffs. Now that the spotlight is on me (when was it not?), I’ll talk about the long summer ahead of me:

          1) I’m going to put on another 20lb so I can absolutely smash through my opponents (Penner told me to just consume a lot of donairs with sweet sauce before he left, but I think I’m going to train with Gary Roberts. He also told me he misses all the donair shops in Edmonton, and that his new coach is tearing him apart about his weight so he now must secretly consume donairs on limo rides to the rink). I can already dominate the game with my mad skills, so now I just need to add a physical element to my game a la Messier. He’s a beauty player I want to base my game on.

          2) Convert to center so I can be in a Swedish sandwich. I want to work on my 2-way game and really, playing a little more defensively means the puck is on my stick more and that ultimately means we win more games. Another reason is that I don’t want a smurf centering my line (sorry Gags). Plus, playing as a center will give me more options (as if I need ’em): I can utilize Omark’s creativity (I love that little hot dog) and Paajarvi has the speed to match mines.

          3) Work for OilersNation. That is a dream of mine.

          • “standing up and clapping” Bravo Bravo…..

            and this fine Sirs and Dams of ON is why “We” the mighty Oil will one day ascend to the heights of NHL greatness and kick those commie Red Wings (wearing their Red and White) … off the Summit……(err what ?? Scotty isnt there anymore??? and the Russian 5 have retired ???!!! )

        • Wait till I tell the story of the Smyth family members I ran into in Moose Jaw last weekend. Boy did a drunken Wanye just pour his heart out to the assembled clan on behalf of Edmonton and the OilersNation.

          But first, the remaining 13,234,567 draft cards.

          @Taylor Hall

          Use your clout to have a Dustin Penner donair made somewhere around town. I am amazed no one has made this innovation.

  • D-Man

    I had the honor of playing in that Scotiabank tournament… Although I didn’t get an opportunity to speak to Polonich – I did get to speak with Brian Trottier… He was such a class act… He also raved about how the Oil revolutionized the game in the 80’s… He also mentioned that he does see alot of promise in our line up now – nothing compared to our dynasty… He did predict better things to come though…

    Keep fingers crossed Oiler fans…

  • OilLeak

    The Wings front office is by far the greatest in the history of the NHL. You can compare them with teams like the Canadiens and Oilers during there dynasty years but they didnt have to deal with over paid athletes in a salary caped NHL.

    I hope Tambo or whoever is running the front office for the Oilers moving forward take note from the Wings on how they develop players, manage veterans and find diamonds in the rough (excluding Datysuk and Zetterberg cause those picks are unexplainable).

    Not to mention Holland is from my hometown and I have been lucky to see the cup up close thanks to him.

  • Oilers21

    It’s really hard to pinpoint what it is that makes Detroit so successful. One trend I’ve noticed is that they never seem to have to call anyone up from the minors before they’re ready to seamlessly fit into the lineup. They never seem to be in the position of needing one or two rookies to learn on the fly and play important roles. Their veteran lineup allows them to fully develop their draft picks and learn the systems, so when they arrive they don’t miss a beat and there’s very little downgrade from the veterans they’re replacing.

  • Steve Smith

    A friend without an account here advises me that that clip is from an outfit called “Mostly Water Theatre”.

    I can’t vouch for the veracity of that.

  • Bucknuck

    watching that video… then watching all the Edmonton Oilers 2006 stanley cup run you tube videos… I think I wanna go and curl up in fetal position somewhere.

    This has to stop soon, right? Right!?!?!??!!!???

    • I don’t understand what’s so hard to believe. It was reported in the Journal a few weeks ago that Smytty would love to finish his career back in Edmonton. We could sign him to significantly less then what he is currently making and he would be a good tutor/leader for all the kids.

  • positivebrontefan

    That video is epic. I sent it to my brother inlaw and his wife in Anahiem. He’s a former Edmonton kid and his wife is from Anaheim and a huge Ducks fan. Classic.

  • book¡e

    I have seen like 98%of all Oiler games over the past 20 years, but I have never seen that 2006 final game. I was in a meeting and dinner that I could not get out of. I learned that the Oilers lost and never went back to watch it.

    Should I?

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Has anyone brought up the fact that it is way EASIER to get a Donair in the city now that Dustin isn’t eating them all?

    Thank You Steve Tambelinni*

    * ONLY TIME I WILL EVER SAY THAT

  • Gerald R. Ford

    That video hits home a little too much.

    The Red Wings are a fantastic organization, and they have certainly built a great atmosphere there. That makes things so much easier, when trying to attract and retain talent. No argument. That said, I just can’t accept the constant Edmonton media mantra of “Detroit is the biggest hole on the planet, and players LOVE it there! Edmonton just needs to win, right?”

    It’s not that simple.

    The players may work in Detroit a few hours a week, but they LIVE in gated communities in places like Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Pointe, which are completely different, insulated worlds. Their families are never really forced to deal with “Detroit”, outside of going to and from JLA, if they choose to attend games. They’re completely sheltered in idyllic, tree-lined communities, with all the benefits of a centrally located U.S. metropolitan centre, but none of its problems. So, the argument that an excellent hockey organization can compensate for the negative perception of any particular city doesn’t really apply here. Certainly not as much as our local media hopes. These guys are just too wealthy to have to deal with inner city issues. I hate to say it, but, reverse the fortunes of the Oilers and the Wings for the last fifteen years, and “Detroit” is still going to be a far more attractive destination for a lot of players and their wives. Winning will help things, for certain. But, it’s not a cure-all. These guys aren’t sacrificing a single thing to play in “Detroit”.

  • I tried it at home

    Some people remember where they were when JFK was shot, some remember where they were when Gretzky was traded… I remember where I was when “we” lost the 2006 game 7. Ceili’s, in the left corner of the bar, probably the only time of my life my eyes werent glued to a certain buxom bartender… G*ddmn it. I miss those playoff games so much. Good on Rollie for taking the Bolts to the second season.