Jan. 10, 2013 - Issue #899: The games we play
First things first
Hello loyal readers to In the Box! Vue Weekly's long, long, LONG running Oilers column. The only thing older than this column may be me, your loyal servant, and new co-writer of ITB, Brent Oliver.
For those who don't know me, I'm a local public servant, entertainment impresario, father of three and, most importantly, a hockey fan. I say "hockey fan" instead of "Oilers fan" because far too often people new to this column may see it as Oilers homer-ism at it's finest. NOT TRUE MY DARLIN'S. I will be the first to scream almighty bullshit on a crappy team, game or general play from this city's beloved Oil, so rest assured, you're reading a column of upmost objectiveness—with a side of filthy words.
Since we last left our beloved Oilers, they were the fucking worst team in the NHL, and were so bad that not only did they get the first overall pick, AGAIN, but the new collective bargaining agreement now contains a new provision that all non-playoff teams receive an equal shot at the first overall pick. I'll call this the "HallNugeYako Rule", or HNYR for short.
OH RIGHT. THE LOCKOUT.
Remember the lockout? That sure sucked balls didn't it? Almost makes a guy never want to watch the NHL again. That'll show those millionaire pricks. The players, not the owners. Wait ... or is it the other way around?
Anyway, regardless of anyone's ingratiating "I'm never fucking watching hockey again" stance, I'm willing to bet my kids' college education fund (about $27.50) that all of you reading this right now are going to watch Sunday's first Oilers game in nearly a year against the godless Vancouver Canucks. That's right. You are. Don't tell me you aren't. You're lying. Stop it.
Furthermore, all of you are calling every last connection you have of disgruntled family members or co-workers begging for a seat for next Tuesday's home opener. At least, I am. And so is Craig.
Craig! Shit! I forgot to tell you about Craig! Craig Douglas is a long time CJSR radio host, Black Dog bar man and snappy dresser—like, really snappy dresser. Craig's busy this week but trust me, he'll have plenty to say when things start to roll for the Oil. Or, 'R-Oil'… as it were.
Anyway, as this column is a tasty appetizer to the upcoming season, we'll stick to the bold predictions that have made this column so famous in the past. Every year I was lucky enough to be included in the list of locals (and ex-locals) to predict the demise or triumph of the hometown boys. (Let's face it. In the last few years it was the former more than the latter)
So, without further ado, here it is:
THE INCREDIBLY BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR THE SUPER SHORT 2013 OILERS 48 GAME SCHEDULE AFTER THE LOCKOUT.
(I have copyrighted this title)
"We're looking a little skinny on defence, but man, we're gonna score lotsa goals. Schultz is gonna make the power play look awesome and Hall and Eberle will click. Goals will be coming from three different lines and Dubnyk will have his best year yet. They will come out like gangbusters and the short season will benefit the young Oil more than any other team. Calder trophy for Yakupov and they make the playoffs for sure."
Haven Social Club, Talent Buyer
Guitarist, the Guaranteed
"Here’s some predictions:
1) Oilers will make or get close to playoffs IF they have a good start (say more than 10 standings points in the first 10 games). If they start poorly, the young players will have trouble.
2) Top three in Oiler scoring: Nuge, Ebs, Hallsy.
3) Ales Hemsky will have his best points-per-game in several years but will get dealt.
4) Ryan Whitney will be better, but get hurt again.
5) Justin Schultz will start slow and steadily improve.
6) After the exciting short season, we’ll find next season tedious and long.
7) The Oilers will end up with a better record than the Flames."
Former In the Box columnist
"Here's what's going to happen over the 48 games.
1) Petrell will be caught for using his sword instead of stick. Smyth backs up his Finnish teammate, switches from wood to Valyrian steel and goes on to score 26.
2) After the "wow" trade, Hemsky and Robyn Regehr agree to go splitzies on rent.
3) Eager beats up his team. Schultz & Schultz take on Eager’s case.
4) Yakapov wins the Calder but Cherry storms the stage, steals the award screaming "This one's for you Bobby".
5) Magnus really likes playing for the Sabres and winning faceoffs.
6) The Nuge assists on all of Halls' and Eberle's 104 goals, gets really, really excited, signs for six zillion dollars, buys Katz's house and puts on firework shows.
7) Smid decides to try swords too but doesn't tell anyone.
8) The Oilers finish in sixth and meet the Canucks in the first round. "
—Marek Tyler, Victoria BC
Drummer (Kathryn Calder, Meatdraw)
"Everyone thinks the Oilers will have a great season, and the Magic 8 Ball seems to say, 'YES.' I'm a little bit more skeptical for a couple of reasons. Yes, the core of this young team has been playing for months in Oklahoma City and looks poised to gel at the NHL level. But, and this is a big 'ol BUTT, there're so many questions around this team: new coach Ralph Krueger, Dubnyk as a number-one goalie, Smyth getting older, Whitney and Hemsky being made completely out of glass, a hectic schedule having the Oilers play 48 games in 3.5 months … I could go on.
All this being said, I think the Oilers are going to make the playoffs, just barely, then get bounced first round. The history repeats itself with these young teams … Pittsburgh, Chicago, LA—all teams that had learning experience postseasons before really going deep in the next couple of years. So, I see the Oilers getting bounced by Vancouver or Minnesota in the first round and that will make me very, very sad. (*see "godless" comment above)
Current In the Box columnist
Well, that's it for this week. Depending on how the Oilers do, or how angry either Craig or myself get, there's a chance for multiple column posts in a week at vueweekly.com, but for now, let's sit back, enjoy the fact that the NHL is back, and get back to what this city does best—complaining about Ales Hemsky not passing the puck.
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