Jan. 24, 2013 - Issue #901: Children can’t choose
All hail Nail!
(Unless you are in the media)
Greetings loyal In the Box-ites (both of you)! Craig and Brent here to break down the week-plus of games from your local sports heroes, YOUR Edmonton Oilers. We promise not to talk your ear off about an 18-year-old sliding on the ice after a goal, because that would be fucking ridiculous.
Oilers vs Sharks, January 22
Craig Douglas: So the home opener for the ol' short-ass season took place last Tuesday and it came with bells, whistles and apologies. The Oilers took on my other favourite team the (now) red-hot San Jose Sharks. The evening was to be my first press box adventure and it was interesting right off the bat. I rode the media elevator with an unidentified TSN reporter and San Jose GM Doug Wilson. Since I’m a very reputable “reporter,” I eavesdropped on their discussion regarding Scott Gomez, who has since signed with the Sharks. So I broke my first story, found my spot up in the media ring (with a little help from TSN guy), and it was showtime.
Actually, it was apology time as Oilers president and CEO Patrick LaForge showed up on the scoreboard to let us know that he thought the lockout was shitty too. Thanks Pat! He also mentioned some of the opportunities the Oilers were offering to save fans money (by spending it) as an apology for going without hockey for several months. These included 50 percent off of the food for that night only and savings of 40 percent (I think) on merchandise. And boy, did folks line up! The 40 percent off sale caused at least one store to close because they ran out of, well, everything. I was also told there was a point when the sales system crashed due to overload which forced gullible people to stand in line for an additional 10 – 15 minutes waiting to get gouged. The pre-game show was well and good as it featured two gigantic jerseys held up by little kids in each offensive zone. The jerseys have since gone back to their regular jobs as Hummer covers.
Once the game got underway, our Oilers were dominated by the Sharks in the first (6-1), holding them to a 6-3 loss. The only positives of the night were the first NHL goals for Nail Yakupov and Jeff Schultz. At least the fan volume after the Yakupov power-play goal was the loudest in years. Speaking of the power play, the Oil has now scored only four of their 14 goals at even strength. Yikes. Having a really good power play is a nice problem to have, but they have to be concerned with the lack of even-strength offensive output.
Brent Oliver: I was putting my kids to bed and turned on the game at the end of the first period. I then proceeded to catch up on my recorded cooking shows on the PVR. I made the right choice.
Oilers vs Kings, January 24
CD: The game against the Stanley Cup champs should have been called, "The one where the referees got to try out some of their shiny new rules."
This game saw the Kings go 0 for 7 on the power play while the Oil went 1 for 9, and it was as annoying as fuck to watch for about 58 minutes. There were three lengthy (and I mean, LENGTHY) 5 on 3 power plays, two for LA and one for Edmonton. There were way too many penalties called to get into all of them, but it sucked a lot of the joy and momentum out of the game until ... Yakupov scored with 4.7 seconds to go which sent the game into overtime.
Yakupov may have celebrated that goal, but I'm not sure.
Then of course Gagner won it 3:01 into overtime with a fucking power-play goal. At least the penalty in overtime was against LA for too many men on the ice, which is not open to interpretation.
BO: Full disclosure: this week I was away for a work conference in chilly Ontario and had to catch this game at a local sports and root beer establishment. Luckily, the only team with a worse recent history than the Oil has been the Leafs, so plenty of people have become accustomed to cheering for different NHL squads. By the time the Yakupov goal happened, I celebrated with some high fives with local folks who seemed genuinely happy about cheering for the Oil. Then Gagner scored! We won! Yay!
Then, the next morning happened.
I’d like to read part of a fake news transcript:
Reporter: “So, what should we talk about today? Oilers beating the Cup champs? Marleau breaking records for early season scoring? Something with the Super Bowl?”
Producer: “NO, YOU FUCKING IDIOT. WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THAT KID WHO SCORED AND CELEBRATED. DID YOU SEE HOW HE SINGLE-HANDEDLY MADE A MOCKERY OF THE GAME OF HOCKEY?!!”
Reporter: “Are you sure? Seems much ado about nothing. I mean, he’s 18. I’ve seen plenty worse from nothing soccer matches.”
Producer: “MUCH ADO ABOUT WHAT?! FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING BOOK LEARNING. DON’T YOU KNOW THAT THIS SHIT SELLS? GET DUTHIE ON THE PHONE. NO ONE DOES QUIET, ANNOYED INDIGNATION LIKE THAT HOT PRICK. NOW GET ME A GODDAMN SANDWICH WITH BOLOGNA ON IT, WITH TONS OF WHITE BREAD AND SAUERKRAUT.”
So yeah. The kid’s 18. Who gives a shit?
Remember how the Oilers beat the Stanley Cup champs? That was awesome.
Oilers vs Flames, January 26
CD: I wasn't able to catch very much of the Saturday night matchup versus Lee Stempniak and the Flames of Calgary, so I don't have a lot to say about it, other than, uh, FUCK!
BO: I was stuck on a plane during this game and got to watch the whole damn thing while cursing to the discomfort of my fellow passengers. We lost to the Flames and what’s even worse is Curtis Glencross played a big role in their win. Remember when he played for us? Remember when he wanted to continue playing for us but the Oilers wouldn’t pony up any dough? Remember how on Saturday he was playing on a line with Jerome Fucking Iginla? Sigh. Oil lose. Enough said.
Oilers vs Avalanche, January 28
CD: I attended this game and really enjoyed it. We won and the refs called a sane amount of penalties, so what's not to like? I found my new favourite Oiler: Teemu "Special Teemz" Hartikainen and his giant Finnish frame. Why I love him? Teemz took the full attention of two Avalanche penalty killers as Hemsky opened the scoring with the 3999th Oiler power-play goal in just five games this season. The Oilers pulled this one out 4-1 with Dubnyk making 37 saves and holding a shutout until the last 10 mins.
BO: Again, I keep saying this, but honestly, the Oilers look like a REAL TEAM. They work the puck well on both ends of the ice; they kill penalties; they’ve also found a bit more toughness lacking in the first few games. The stat that does worry me the most was that this was the Oil’s first game that they actually held the lead. Hopefully that stat doesn’t bite us in the ass for this shortened season. Stats like that tend to do that.
So, the Oilers are an impressive 3-2-0 after five games and if we want to see the glass as half full, they’ve had one bad game (Calgary) and one bad period (Sharks) all season.
Whoa, whoa, whoa ... you gotta stay positive.
See you next week, In the Box
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