Well here we go...it's diary time again. I can't say this is the perfect time for another installment of non-sensical ramblings but on the other hand there is a lot going on and it's put me in a helluva mood.
First of all today is MLB's real opening day and not some ESPN fake opening day like last night's 40 hours of rain game between the Tribe and the Pale Hose. My Nationals season opened earlier today in Shea with a one run loss with Jose Vidro continuing to believe he's a good baserunner so everything seems in order on that front. Tonight also brings us the championship game of the NCAA tourney and let's hope Florida gets their comeuppance for that flukey shot that beat the Hoyas. Don't worry..I'm getting over it. And in about a couple of hours my birthday rolls around again. It's 28 and holding for all you ladies that are out there though I'll admit that somewhere on the web you can find my personal info. But by somewhere I don't mean AdultFriendFinder. What would your name be if you joined the horny legions on AFF? I think I'd choose Mr. Clamtastic.
Of course let us not forget the reason I'm here as the Oilers are hosting the Yotes on a PPV cast that will hopefully spawn some material ripe for the mocking. Anything they do or say at this point may be moot though as it will be hard to top the footage of Barrie Stafford dancing that the Oilers brass unleashed upon us back in the '04 season. Does anyone else remember that? It was a game from LA and the crew promised us some never before seen footage from the Oilers Cup celebrations. I yawned and cursed them openly for their longing for the past but I wound up watching the intermissions because there was nothing else on TV. And then it happened...there's a cut to some old footage and here we have Barrie Stafford juking and jiving like a drunk rubber band while sporting an expression that floated somewhere between orgasmic bliss and pedal to the medal determination to appear on Soul Train. It's been over two years since I saw that clip and I'm still not over it.
Along with the Oilers there's another 10 or so games to watch and some with Oilers playoff implications like the Sharks in Dallas, the Wings visiting Calgary, the Avholes hosting the Hawks and later on the Canucks take their death march to the sunny climes of LA. The Leaves are also hosting the Sabres and I mention this because I have some money on that game along with a couple of others;)
Note: even the CBC seems to be co-operating with my plans for hockey leisure as today's Simpson's re-run chronicles that hockey game between Bart and Lisa's teams. Let's hope the Oilers win this one for Mr. Honey Bunny.
Ok...the "Let's Go" song blares from the TV screen so it must be time for propoganda at it's finest. What do we have here? Buchy is in the booth along with Karius and Principe. Oh my god this might be too good!! But appearently the best laid mocking plans are of mice and bitter men as Buchberger stickhandles past the platitudes and starts throwing out stats. Truth be told I didn't really want to mock Buchy in the first place. I'm still feeling bad over feeling good the night Anson Carter throttled him in LA. Buchy's on fire early on and is actually telegenic. I haven't been this pleasently surprised since I picked up a copy of the Broken Flowers DVD. If you're a fan of the ABC show "Invasion" then you know of what I speak.
The action has started and MacT brings out the Peca line against the Yotes #1 line of Doan-Reinprecht-Sjostrom. Peca nearly kills Ballard on one of those sneaky hits where he gets you when you're putting your weight on one foot. Gretz goes away from that matchup immeadiately but sneaks the line back on after the Horcoff line ices the puck. Seems like this Gretzky guy has been doing his homework. Principe chimes in that Jason Smith held a players only meeting this morning at the far end of the rink. I'm just throwing that out there.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot, forever to be known as MAP in this space, scores his first career goal. So we've got a team meeting and MAP breaking his red light cherry. Have the Oilers been reading Lowetide's blog? I can imagine that guy is on fire right now. Let's hope the missus doesn't have a headache tonight;) Oh wait...the goal is under review...albeit for just 10 seconds. The last time someone looked at a TV for that little time was the episode of Family Feud where Louie Anderson wore a silk shirt.
At this point the kid is doing it all. He's winning faceoffs, he's backchecking and now he's scoring goals. And in a less publicized though no less important gesture he returned BG's Roch Voisine CD's which had been in storage in Hamilton for the last 9 years.
Here's another goal as Cujo lets out a big rebound on a Bergeron shot and Horc knocks it in. It's early on but Bergeron is rushing with aplomb thus far. I think back to that end to end rush he made against the Preds late in the '04 season and I wonder why the Oilers just don't give him the green light on more than the odd occasion. Of course it's hard for him to exert his offensive accumen when paired with a guy like Staios who sometimes jumps into the play like he's Bryan Fogarty in the OHL.
Ok here's a timeout and let's get to the good stuff shall we? Nothing to see here really though as Mark Schultz is hawking playoff tickets. It's nice to see this guy go from being a no-talent on BTV in Halifax to being a schill for the Oilers. I swing a sledge four days a week but at least I have my dignity.
OK I just switched over to the Wings/Flames game because I thought it was odd that game was starting a half hour earlier. The game isn't going but there is the Wings pre-game show. WTF? I'm not saying this shouldn't be an all the time thing because I think CI should do things like that but it seems to me certain teams get preferential treatment. I used to work MCR here at a local TV station, ie glorified switcher, so I know it's just a matter of swapping in one feed or another. But here's the Wings pre-game and on the Oilers casts they hit the button as soon as the credits roll. Even more disappointing is that I won't get to mock Ro-get Millions because obviously the feed is from Detriot. Mickey Redmond shall feel my wrath tonight people. As will Ken Daniels. Which reminds me..remember when Ken Daniels was Canadian? Yeah, neither does he.
We're back and Buchy's talking about his first goal. Says he scored it in Quebec but he didn't see it because he was knocked on his ass behind the net. Damn right!! The other part of the story is Buchy was named the game's third star but couldn't do the skate because he busy shovelling coal into the train's furnace for the ride to Montreal and the Oilers next game. Later on Buchy punched Doug Harvey in the face and plowed 10 strippers.
Karius takes over the PBP commentary and I'll be damned if he doesn't start pointing out the matchups on every shift. I don't like this guy because I thought he was a massive dick on SportsNight but the guy's winning me over here. I mean why can't more guys do this? Doesn't anyone else besides Pat Quinn think that line-matching makes a real difference?
Note: meant to post this earlier but almost forgot. The Oilers had a PP and 12 was on fire. I'm gonna say it right now...if he had the same icetime and the same linemates then 12 would outscore 83. Yes I know he's about 5 years older and he has lots more games under his belt but Samsonov has the talent and the vision of Hemsky with maybe a little more smarts.
Oilers 2nd PP chance is pretty non-descript and Gretzky's first ES shift brings about the Doan line and here comes Peca's troika. Definite sea change with the way MacT's matching lines. I couldn't be happier at this point.
I drop in on the TO game and it's 2-0 Sabres. Ahhh..life is good sometimes. Neale's openly talking about the teams that will make the playoffs and Bowen's grumbling something into the mike about Lonny Bohonos and the marvels of previous springs. And I'll let you in on my betting: I dropped $20 on Pro-Line on the Oilers, Sabres and Stars. Wins by all three and I''ll take back a little over $110.
Back to Edm where Comrie scores to make it 2-1 and it was interesting how it shook down. Gretzky had Comrie's line against the Horcoff line but MacT tried to change on the fly to get the Stoll line out. 12-16 swapped in for 94-10 but guess which guy from the first line stayed on the ice and was hung with another goal against? I don't think it's a coincidence at this point.
The first intermission rolls around and I need something to cheer me up so I head to Calgary and what's this? Larry Murphy is the colour man supplanting Mickey Redmond. Someone's trying to cut into my fun here. I'm holding out for a hero at this point....
Sweet Bonnie Tyler here it comes!! Joining Principe in the booth is one Mr. Glenn Anderson. Andy talks about what it means to be back in this building and his eyes light up when he talks about giving guys hugs. Gene finishes by saying Andy's in town on a corperate junket. Corperate Junket? I didn't know that was the name of the Pet Shop Boys latest tour
The second period begins with Buchy talking about how Horc always gives 110%. You're losing me here Buchy....
The Stoll line matches up against the Doan line and does pretty good. The only blackmark was a bad pinch by Smith that lead to an odd man rush. MAP's unit ices the puck so Gretz gets out the Comrie line and Comrie beats MAP on the draw and basically goes unchecked for the rest of the shift. Watching Growing Pains hasn't been this hard since Ben had that hot girlfriend.
Smith gets caught again and Tarnstrom saves him. Shouldn't this be the other way around? Was making stupid decisions in the offensive zone one of the talking points of Smith's on-ice meeting?
Here comes the 37 line again and watching these guys trying to create offense is like watching a man trying to eat mashed potatoes with his bare hands. Just as I type this Moreau scores his first goal in 234 games.
I'm feeling frisky at this point so I flash to Calgary where I see that John Merrick, you may know him as Dion Phaneuf, has given the Flames a 1-0 lead. Daniels says this is the best young dman he's seen since Jeff Sharples plied his trade at the JLA.
Comrie throws it over the glass so an Oilers PP's coming up and in Dallas it's 1-1 with seven minutes left to go in the second stanza.
3-1 on a PP goal by Bergy. A drunken Hideo Nomo wouldn't take that long to wind up. But at least 47 didn't fall down after he shot the puck. It's all about the little things
Winchester demolishes a Yotes dman. Good lord this kid is doing it all right now. The rumor mill says he was dealt to the Blues for McAmmond but the paperwork didn't go through so maybe it smartened him up a little. All I can say for sure is he only seemed interested in floating around in his previous tours of duty with then Oilers but now he's out there with renewed interest.
Mike Peca actually does know how to smile and I know this because he just gave his best grin after scoring the 4-1 goal for the Oilers. Rough night for Cujo to say the least. Two goals from our checking line while keeping the other team's top line firmly in check? Reminds me of the good old MGM days when Moreau-Marchant-Grier could hold it down.
It's back to TO and WTF? It's 2-2 in OT and I'll only win if the Sabres pull this out before the SO. But something does take the edge off my loss of 20 bucks and it's the fact that Aki Berg is on the ice. OK let me check a few things here. They are playing just four aside? Check. My heartrate isn't accelerated so I didn't inadvertantly take any drugs? It's in the 60's so I'm good. I wonder did two Leaves defenseman die during this game? I check TSN.ca and it doesn't appear that they did. Bu why is Berg on the ice in a 4-on-4 situation? Bowen addresses it very gently and gets all excited because the Panthers have lost in Tampa Bay. Neale quickly adds that means TB's picking up points though and the gravity of the situation hits Bowen and he quietly sobs. Harry Neale is being a real bastard at this point. He's like a guy who's broken up with his girlfriend and now he's texting you all the slutty pictures she let him take.
After the Peca goal Karius mentions that today in practice MacT took that line aside for a long chat. I would imagine it's to tell them that from now on their line's a good bet to draw the most even strenght minutes and that it's all about the shutdown. At least that's where I hope the MacTactics are headed.
The Sabres win in TO but it's a SO so my ticket is shagged. Damn it.
Another PP goal by the Oilers as Samsonov ends up on the other wing and shuffles a step to improve the angle before ripping one stickside on CuJo. Just a wicked shot that could even beat the likes of Kiprusoff. With every multi-point game he racks up Samsonov gets closer and closer to being offered huge money by someone else. Oh well...it's like when you dated that cute girl with glasses in high school. At least you could say you had her on the way up.
Tarnstrom and Comrie tussle after the whistle and I only mention this because it's the third time it's happened. What's going on here? Did Comrie skate by the Oilers bench and hear Tarnstrom telling Samsonov how much fun it was to play in Edmonton?
1-1 in Colorado with 14 minutes left in the 2nd and the Hawks are still hanging around.
The Oilers are rolling over the Yotes but Buchy says the Yotes will continue to be game because they're good professionals. As opposed to bad professionals? That's it Buchy...you just lost me.
Ok we're in the last minute of the 2nd and Principe says the PPV channel is being used for two casts tonight if you live outside of BC so hold on and they'll go to the game in LA as soon as this one's over. It's a big game for the Canucks he says because they're one point ahead of the Oilers and if the Oilers win this one the Canucks will need a win to stay ahead of them. So Principe follows this team for a living and he doesn't know that the Oilers would lose the first tiebreaker of wins and thus even a win tonight means the Canucks would need just a single point to stay ahead of Edm?
Just before the third starts in Edm I head to Dal where it's 1-1 after 40 with their final frame about to start and they're talking to assistant coach Mark Lamb. At this point Lamb looks like someone let off a stink bomb in the Stars dressing room. He says Dal only had three shots in the second period and are just standing around out there. After seeing the Stars blow two third period leads, the only times they've did that all season, to Ana in the last two weeks I'm beginning to think it's probably not smart to look for them for help. They're in second place in the Conf and they won't grab 1st so what do they have to play for at this point? In fact if you saw that LA bested them 1-0 on Sat you might also want to know that in that game Dal rested Modano, Zubov and Turco.
The period starts with SJ on a two man adv for over 1:20 but the Stars kill it without the Sharks getting a shot. Maybe there is life in Dallas.
I'm going to get away a little now from the Oilers game because that one's basically a foregone conclusion.
2-1 Hawks with 10 min left in the second period and whoa...is this shaping up to be the biggest gag job in Denver not involving Kobe Bryant? Interesting to note that Pierre McGuire is doing the colour for OLN in this game and in bringing up the Oilers trouncing of the Yotes he says the Oilers were feared around the league for awhile but not so much now because of the fact their netminding still hasn't been shored up. Hey I agree with the guy but this is also the same fellow who said Roloson would be the perfect fit for the Oilers because of his rebound control. Hold on here...if Pierre had been alive in the 30's he'd have told Mussolini to hitch his star to Hitler's wagon and then when it all fell apart he'd be doing PR work for the Allied Powers. You know whenever I see Chicago playing in Colorado it reminds me that's where Bo Mironov played his first game as Hawk. I'm funny like that. It's the same as whenever the Oilers play at MSG it reminds me of the time Bo and Kovalenko went mad in Brighton Beach.
2-2 in Col now. This team scores when Sakic's on the ice and when he isn't well why would you watch?
Cujo's on the bench now and look at that hairdo. He looks like a member of Weezer...if a guy from Weezer was going bald and refused to accept it.
In Edm we're firmly in gar-bage time as Marv Albert so aptly put it. Hemsky's been passing better tonight so hopefully that means his back's improving. If it isn't then there's no reason for him to be playing in this third period.
I haven't really noticed the music at Skyreach and that's a good thing but now I'm awakened from my slumber from the docile tones of Kenny Loggins and his dancing anthem, "Footloose." There's been some talks of a new arena in Edm and for the Oilers and if that happens and they blow up Rexall let me suggest they do the same to the music guy.
Not much happening here but a nice glove save by Roloson. This is the best time I've seen him control his rebounds since the 2-1 game in Minnesota. Phx is really piling on the shots now and I for one welcome it. Lord knows Rolo needs all the practice he can get.
In Dallas the Sharks have gone ahead 2-1 on a shorthanded goal by that stupid looking Ville Neminen. Dallas is 10-1-1 when tied after 40 but once again this appears to mean nothing at this point in the season.
Oilers PPV crew in total filler mode as they bring up a grapic detailing all the local guys that are playing for the Yotes. The title of the graphic is Alberta Beef. Upon hearing this Anderson pops his head back into the booth.
Play continues and Karius says Smyth's putting the moves on Morris and once again Anderson appears
Arnott has tied the game at 2-2 for the Stars. Apparenlty he felt like it
Florida up a shocking 22 points against UCLA in the NCAA Finals with 14 min to go, 47-25. I guess I sorta forgot about that. Just like the Gators forgot that heading into this game the Bruins had only allowed three opponents to score more than 60 points.
Yet another battle by Tarnstrom and Comrie and Buchy says 23's gonna have a huge impact down the stretch because of his ability to win battles in front of the net and in the corners. Either Buchy's gone mad or is he's making stuff up to see if anyone's listening
This is how much of an offensive cataylist Samsonov has become for the Oil. He's basically the go to man on the 4-on-4. In fact now they've even got him paired with Dvorak. And Bergy makes a nice pass and I'll be damned if Dvorak doesn't score a goal. So that's three points for Samsonov. I wonder if Yawney will have him on the first line with Ruutuu next season?;)
It's in OT in Dallas and the Sharks are on the PP to close out the game. Thornton, the good, scores to rack up two points for the Sharks...which reminds me that I haven't checked on the Canucks/Kings game. It's scoreless with six min left in the first period and the Canucks PPV games are on more pins and needles than Pinhead's mother during birth.
2-2 in Colorado and I languish there for a second to see if McGuire is telling the story of how he warned Craig Patrick not to trade Naslund for Stojanov.
The horn blows in Edm and it's a 7-1 final. The kid scored his first goal and Samsanov edged himself closer to a huge payday and the Oilers "Trying To Impress Your Parents line", Look Ma No Hands, of Moreau-Peca-Dvorak all managed to score a goal.
I head back to Colorado for one last look and McGuire's talking about how he tried to talk the Sens into drafting Pronger...