Sunday, October 29, 2006

Edmonton 4, Ovechkin Nada

A pretty decent showing by the oil on HNIC. Much better defensively then the last few games, a nice goal by Smitty (very nice, considering that in the past his shot has been referred to as a "muffin"), some good stops by Rollie and the ugliest empty net goal ever. Hanlon spent the entire game trying to fool the Oil D by sending Ovechkin out with a variety of line combinations. Uh, dude, his name's on the back of his jersey... Hell, he did everything short of put a fake mustache on the kid. (I tried to put one on the picture, but photoshop's being a bitch). Not the most exciting game, but a fine result.

All in all a good day hockey-wise: an Oil win, I spent the morning helping fix up a community outdoor rink, and played some very fun sopping-wet street hockey with the boys from Battle of Alberta and Covered in Oil. And, Oh yeah, the Flames lost...

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Twilight Zone - WOOOOOOOOOO

So, when you have a baby (OK, someone you love has a baby and you're the proud dad) you have little to no spare time to go out like you used to (oh, five nights a week or so....) but when you're home with the baby and the baby's lovely mother is at work, you've got a lot of spare time - you just can't go anywhere.

Anyway.... on one of those nights with the baby sleeping, I decided to take the entire Oiler roster (it was just before the season started) and did a little Twilight Zone experiment.
I took every player on the Oilers (whether he was drafted by the Oilers or not) and checked which NHL hopeful was drafted one pick before and one pick after that player to see what kind of team the Oilers would have if all the drafts in the league shifted up one or down one pick. You follow?
Here's an example: In 2000, Traktor Boy Mikhnov was selected by the Oilers as their 17th pick. #16 was Marcel Hossa and #18 was Brooks Orpik.
Here's the Oiler roster if the world shifted, everything went goofy, dogs and cats started living together and we got everyone picked directly before the present Oiler player with the player in brackets. Welcome to the Big Waste of Time. Obviously House was not on TV that night.
Jeff O'Neill (Smyth, 1994)
Alexandre Picard (Smid, 2002)
Marcel Hossa (Mikhnov, 2000)
Ryan Klesla (Torres, 2000)
Scottie Upshall (Lupul, 2002)
Ondrej Nemec (Stoll, 2002)
Mattias Ohlund (Moreau, 1994)
Derek Morris (Reasoner, 1996)
Sergei Bautin (Smith, 1992)
Ziggy Palffy (Staios, 1991)
Sami Kapanen (Tjarnqvist, 1995)
Dusan Salficky (Markkanen, 2001)
Joel Kwiatkowski (Pisani, 1996)
Kyle Brodziak (M. Roy)
Dan Hamhuis (Hemsky, 2001)

Jamie Storr (Smyth, 1994)
Brooks Orpik (Mikhnov, 2000)
Scott Hartnell (Torres, 2000)
Alexander Kharlamov (Moreau, 1994)
Danius Zubrus (Reasoner, 1996)
Martin Straka (Smith, 1992)
Jim Campbell (Staios, 1991)
Kyle Wellwood (Markkanen, 2001)
Andrej Podkonicky (Pisani, 1996)
Ryan Kesler (Pouliot, 2003)
Colin Fraser (Jacques, 2003)
Dimitri Nabokov (Sykora, 1995)
Chuck Kobasew (Hemsky, 2001)

That took a lot of work. Wouldn't fit into the column. Glad to pass it on. The draft really is a crapshoot once you've gotten past pick six or seven, isn't it?

Happy Fifth Birthday, Crazy Jersey

Happy Fifth Birthday.
October 27, 2001.
Oilers unveil their Todd MacFarlane-designed third jersey to the Edmonton public on October 26, 2001.
October 27, 2001 - Oilers debut the sci-fi bestsellers in a 3-2 win over the Canucks.
The Oilers are 29-16-7-5 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time in the blue garb. They've already beaten Detroit and Phoenix this season.
Interesting Fact: No matter how many times they would wear the jerseys in a season, they would always lose 4 games in regulation while wearing them.
2001-02 - 8-4-1-1
2002-03 - 5-4-4-3
2003-04 - 9-4-1-1
2005-06 - 4-4-1

The Oiler roster we see today was in its infancy with Shawn Horcoff playing his first season with the team and Steve Staios was into his first season with the Oilers. Jussi saw his first games as an Oiler after a brief trip to the NY Rangers. Ethan Moreau, Jason Smith and Ryan Smyth were already a big part of the team. The core of the squad was being developed.

At first I thought the jersey was pretty cool. And, despite not wanting to like it, I still think it was a damn sight better than some others (any Calgary jersey, third or otherwise). The stories behind the design (the skate blade, the bolts to represent Cup wins, the use of the oil drop) helped.
The pub where I worked at the time (E&C on Whyte - 2nd best place to watch hockey - sorry, Greg) actually got to be one of only a handful of spots in the city to get the new unis and we got to see them the day of the official unveiling. I got to buy one and was one of the first in the city (one of hundreds, mind you) to own one. After wearing it for a couple months, it made a Christmas gift for my brother.
Happy Birthday, Crazy, Sci-Fi Looking, Spawn-Guy Designed, Lucky Third Jersey.

Bad and Badder

oilers 2
ducks 6
and for good measure....
oilers 2
coyotes 6
Two games. Same result.
Except that Anaheim is not a bad team at all. They will do this once in a while.
Phoenix woke up. It must have been the loud bragging from the Oiler dressing room about the win last Monday that did it. They obviously forgot the night before in Disneyland.

The Bad:
Geez, I don't know....
1- Three assists for Prong; three assists for Comrie. Public Enemies #1 and #2, cuz you know people need to have their enemies.
2- Powerplay 2 for 10. Getting better at setting up, still not firing pucks in at the rate they should.
3- Laraque got a goal; Owen "haven't played in years" Nolan got a goal in Phoenix.
4- Another loss to a struggling team with an untested callup, third-to-fifth string goalie (LeNeveu in Phoenix - he didn't look too bad, though).
5- Two losses.

The Good:
1- Winchester, overlooked and mentioned in far too many trade "rumours" on web boards, is looking really fit and ready to keep his spot in the lineup. Even fought.
2- Reasoner fought?
3- Laraque got a goal. Hey, good for him. He's already half the way to the pair of goals he scored last season.
4- Gretzky gushing about Hemsky, calling him the best forward in hockey right now.
5- They're back home tomorrow. Apparently they pack their suitcases with suck.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Notes on the game

Oilers 5
Phoenix 2

Monday night started out well. First of all, it was Monday, one of the few nights I can get to an Oiler game without needing to completely rearrange the schedules of myself, the lovely Heather, the baby, The Boy and people at work.
I actually showed up early and got to "enjoy" the meal supplied to the media by the Oilers. OK. It's usually quite good. I should know better than to take cheap shots at food - this isn't the Gateway. Long story.
Then I got to lug about 30 pounds (I weighed it) of books up to the catwalk. Had to stop and pant for most of the pre-game video.
Most interesting things about the game:
1-During the home games, the Oilers invite a young kid to join the team on the blueline during the anthem. Smytty had the class to call the proud and nervous kid over to stand between himself and Horcoff and shared some words with the young player. That was just another example of why Smytty will always be loved in this city. He still is that kid. He loves hockey more than I do or just about anyone in Canada.
2- Cool of the crowd to cheer Georges. Lucky they did when they could, what with about twenty seconds (OK 6:10 - only Mike Zigomanis played less and he got injured in the second period) on the ice to do so.
3- Enough with booing Comrie. I hate to agree with Bob Stauffer - although he is right quite often and by right I mean I agree with him - but it's getting pretty old. And cheering "Comrie swallows" in the third period? Please. I know they're the cheap seats, but acting like jackasses just gives the rich twits in the gold seats more ammunition to think they are better than us.
4- Speaking of rich (not sure about the twits part, haven't met him) people, Monday's game was the first time that I noticed the winning ticket announcement for the 50-50 draw was not made until the end of the game. Were the Oilers PR peeps purposely waiting until the crowd was distracted by sirens, cheering and Three Stars to announce that Gene Zwozdesky won nearly $25 g's? It may not have been the same Tory MLA Gene Zwozdesky - it is a common name....
5- Thoresen is for real. And with three assists on his new forward line he should be playing with Hemsky and Sykora for awhile. Covered In Oil were trying to find a new nickname for Thoresen (nice move by Pleasure Motors!! with The Electric Norseman).
I wonder what nickname Raffi Torres has for Thoresen. The bad vibes in being moved from the second to the third line are probably slightly mitigated by the sweet-ass feed Thor made to Raffi for the first goal.
6- Nice dive, Cujo. He is still one of my favourite former Oilers, but that dive was stinky. Just before that play, Cujo was almost caught bobbling the puck beside the net, nearly giving up the puck. Reminded me of watching Joseph get stranded in the corners while playing with the Oil and usually losing the puck and giving a goal away. That new goalie rule (no playing the puck in the corner trapezoids) keeps the dog on a leash, though.
7- That Ugly Jacket the Oilers won't speak of may have been from Wayne's closet, judging from the beige (ish) sport jacket Wayner was wearing behind the bench on Monday. He must have pulled the elbow pads off.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Looks like Smytty ends up...

#4 All Time
Smytty's three goals in 2:01 did beat a Wayne Gretzky record (oh no, Wayne's getting erased from the Oiler record books....) but now the name Bill Mosienko has been bounced around once again since the Smytty feat.
Mosienko scored three goals in 21 seconds in 1952 for Chicago in the last game of the season. Both the Rangers and the Black Hawks were already out of the playoffs in a meaningless game that only saw just over 2000 fans. Rumour has it that a young Stan Fischler (the model for the shortlived sailor logo the Isles had a few years ago?) was a cub reporter at that game.
The Rangers goalie Lorne Anderson had already been shelled for 10 goals in his two previous game for the team and never played again after that in the NHL.

2nd fastest...
Jean Beliveau 44 seconds

3rd fastest...
Carl Liscombe of Detroit 1:04 1938

4th fastest...
our own mullet man also just edged out...

5th fastest..
Peter Bondra scored three goals in 2:06 while a Capital

6th fastest....
Wayne Gretzky scored three goals in 2:18 vs. St. Louis in a 9-2 rout in 1981. Gretzky also scored four goals in 7:58 in that game and five goals total.

Don Maloney of the Rangers scored three in 2:30 vs. Washington in 1981

If anyone has any more research to add to this, please do. It was tough enough finding these stats. There may be other records I've missed. I noticed no one out there had yet determined where Smytty stood overall in NHL history with his trio of quick garbage goals. Hopefully no more records pop up and Ryan Smyth remains with the fourth fastest three goals in NHL history.

Ryan's Myth

San Jose 4 - Edmonton 6

What can't this guy do? He can score ugly goals in tight little bunches. He can stop pucks with his teeth (and I'm not so sure anymore that P-Wronger didn't mean to do that). And when other players like Ricci and Jagr have strayed from the path, Smyth still proudly maintains his short-long. Maybe he does it to honour the Oiler teams of the 80's, who would look directly into the gaping maw of a three-goal deficit and laugh their jovial, boyish laughs because they knew they would come back.

Yes, it would appear that running and/or gunning is back, and I couldn't be happier. Unless Kipper gets a case of necrotizing fasciitis in his leg. Five goals in four games? Suck it, Flames.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

FYI, Calgary makes me LMAO

The first week of what looks like a crazy season-to-be is over and the Oilers managed to split a home at home series with the (blah) Calgary Flames. Game one here in Edmonchuk saw a decisive 3-1 win and game two in Cowtown ended with a razor-thin 2-1 Oiler loss. Coming up next week: San Jose, Colorado, Vancouver and Vancouver. Hey Oiler fans. This season looks like it will be steeped. (ugh)

WTF: Wayne’s Tuck Followers
Keep your eyes on Petr Sykora’s hips. No, really. It looks like he may be bringing back a little Edmonton tradition. In parts of game one and what seemed like every other shift in game two, Sykora was sporting the “Gretzky Tuck”—you know, with the right side of the hockey sweater tucked into the hockey pant. I’m not sure if it was on purpose or just a result of the huge windup he takes on big slappers, but we’ll have to check. I noticed some photos with Sykora sporting the style in both Rangers and Devils uniforms. Gretzky started the tradition at age six when his hockey jersey was far too large (to his knees) and Walter tucked it into the right side of his little pants allowing little Wayne to stickhandle and shoot. Doug Weight still does it and an obscure one-time Oiler named Mike Comrie also sported the tuck. Rod Brindamour also sucks (er, tucks). DY

BYOB: Big Year Or Bust
Of course, everybody is hoping for a good showing this season following last year’s cup run. One of those predicting such a showing is none other than CBC commentator Kelly Hrudey, the blue-headbanded one himself, who has said that the Oil will score over 300 goals this year, a feat that they haven’t accomplished since the 1989-90 season. Can the Oil average almost four goals a game? Maybe. Will they allow that many? Uh, maybe. It’s gonna be some kinda ride. TB

SOS: Stymie Opposing Swedes
Czech defenceman (and all-around mystery man to Oiler fans) Jan Hejda has yet to start a game for the Oilers but he is the seventh d-man on the depth chart. Suggestion: play him against Vancouver and Detroit as both teams sport a handful of prominent Swedes. Hejda (I’m not quite a citizen of the world so I can only guess if the Czech name and Swedish word are pronounced the same) translates in Swedish as “to check” or “to stop”. He was born to face Swedes and HEJDA them. DY

BYOB: Bring Your Own Banner
When the Oilers hung their CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP BANNER last week, it was a short, tasteful ceremony. There. Done. We came close, and this is what we got. Over to Calgary, and the raising of the DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP BANNER. Apparently, despite getting bounced in the first round, this is grounds for a ceremony rivaling the retirement of Gretzky, Messier and Ralph Klein combined. A few of the Flames even looked a tad embarassed by the whole production. TB

AWOL: A Week in Oiler Land
One win. One loss. Four goals/44 shots for. Three goals/60 shots against. Puck in the mush to Stevie Staios. Roli denies Iggy in a penalty shot. Sykora/Hemsky heating up. Joff Lupul’s/Daniel Tjarnqvist’s/Petr Sykora’s first Oiler goal. One new banner. Bring on week two. DY

TGIF: Trends Get I Fired-up (Ouch)
Of course, it's far too early in the season to really put much weight in these trends, but I find them entertaining, so suck it up, princess, here we go: the Rangers are scoring and winning; the Islanders are getting scored on and losing (there's some money well spent). Buffalo scares me. So does San Jose. Ottawa can score in buckets but has no goalie. Nashville can score in buckets but has no D. Calgary can still only win 2-1 (and is still one knee injury away from last place). More next week! Woo! TB

Friday, October 06, 2006

Game One - Done and Done

No time for a full game summary, but how about the first game of this season?
Beat the (pfft) Flames here in Edmonton, raise the Western Conference banner (yeah, yeah it wasn't the Cup Banner) and nearly shut the rivals out save a late Iginla goal.
Roloson burned Iginla with an early penalty shot stop, the defence didn't look bad at all and the team looked like a team.
Yes. Game One. Done and done.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fearless prognostications in Oil country

It’s hockey time. It’s hockey time. It’s hockey time. Alright, that’s enough. After a near-miss at game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals it’s time for the Oilers to somehow match or beat the sideshow they provided last year. The team looks just a little different, but this city’s born-again Oiler-mania should be the same. The question is: How long will it last? And have you checked out Loose Bolts yet?

Czech, Czech and Check.

I’m really looking forward to the Petr Sykora, Raffi Torres and Ales Hemsky line this year. When the Oilers signed Sykora, he immediately talked about how much he was looking forward to playing with fellow Czech Hemsky. With Torres to grit things up and bang the puck loose, the two Czechs can dance around with the puck. The disappointing thing about this line? Sykora, while he can play centre, should be on the opposite wing from Hemsky with a more natural centreman in between. Sykora also said he needs to use a heavier stick to help win faceoffs, losing a little flex in his wicked shot. Maybe Coach MacT can teach Torres how to win draws in the circle. DY

Have you seen my website?

The NHL recently updated its website ( to look more like the sites of the other major sports leagues. It's flashier, friendlier and full of the trivia and stats that make nerds like me drool. It has hot buttons for all the teams, and a pull-down menu for all the NHL's affiliate sites. But the best-slash-worst-slash-best-again section of the site would have to be the pull-down menu for NHL Player Sites. Of the roughly 800 players currently in the NHL, a whopping four players have opted to use this service supplied by the league webmasters. The most obvious inclusion would have to Sidney "The Kid" Crosby, seeing as the league wants everyone to know just how awesome he is. Slightly more confusing would be the presence of Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour and Kevin "Do I Still Have A Job?" Weekes. Are elderly back-up goalies really that big with the web-surfing public? And then there's the final member of this very exclusive club, Edmonton's own Raffi "Porn-Star Landing Strip Facial-Hair Thingy" Torres. I mean, I like Torres and all, but is this really necessary? Do I need to know his favourite colour (blue) or his boyhood idol (Wendel Clark)? Not really, I guess, but it's a ballsy move putting it up there. TB

Coincidences abound.

I just rented The Rocket the other day. See it, sports fans. Roy Dupuis nailed Maurice Richard (why not? He’s played the hockey legend three times now) and 1940s hockey looked raw and rea—we really missed out. And by we, I mean our spoiled rotten, shallow generation. Canadian actor Stephen McHattie lit up the screen with his Svengali-like caricature of legendary Habs coach Dick Irvin. McHattie’s portrayal of Irvin seemed to channel Paul Newman’s Reggie Dunlop from Slap Shot. But player-coach Reggie Dunlop was actually based on former Leafs coach John Brophy, not Dick Irvin. Here’s where it gets weird. Both Brophy and McHattie hail from Antigonish, Nova Scotia and McHattie also played Elaine’s controlling psychologist Dr Reston in Seinfeld—or, as Elaine misprounced it: “SvenJOLLY”. DY

Look ma, we’re on teh interw3b.

After blowing some sunshine their way a couple of weeks ago, the boys at the Covered in Oil blogsite were so touched they told us to “go get your own blog, losers.” So we did. Come give us a visit at As well as posting the weekly column, we’ll be talking about current events in the world of hockey, hosting a few surveys, and maybe even give some crap away, too. But try to be nice, we’re total newbs. TB

Fearless Oiler Predictions

Dave: The team will make the playoffs. Starting with game one against Calgary, at least six people in (blech) Flames jerseys will get kicked out of Rexall during each of the Battles of Alberta. One veteran Oiler will suffer a season-ending (and potentially career-ending) injury. Goals will come in buckets, but no single Oiler will be in the top 15 in scoring. At least four Oilers will be in the top 30 in scoring, though. The powerplay will strike often, but will give up too many shorthanded opportunities with forwards on the point and what’s-his-name gone. MacT will keep getting funnier in post and pre-game interviews. We’ll find out who the real fans are this season as the playoff bandwagon party becomes a regular season rollercoaster ride. DY

TB: Ok, I know that everyone in Oilerville is wondering how we’re going to do this year without old what’s-his-nuts on the blueline. Sure, Pronger played a lot of minutes, and hard ones at that. But if the Oil had gotten just four less points last season and missed the playoffs, no one would be saying boo about him leaving town. We may not be flush with Norris trophy candidates per se, but it’s not as if MacTavish is just stuffing hobos into jerseys and hoping for the best, either. If everything does start to go horribly wrong, I don’t think we’ll have to wait long for MacT to pull the trigger. We’re deep up front and in goal, and it shouldn’t take more than a month for some teams (the Leafs!) to realize that they’re just playing out the string. As for predictions—what I’m actually supposed to be doing here—watch for Lupul to shine, Smith to get meaner, Bergeron to mature and Hemsky to make goalies bleed out their eyes. TB

More Fearless Predictions From The “Experts”

“I don’t feel that they will make the playoffs. When Jason Smith and Steve Staios are our main d-men they won’t make the playoffs. And (Daniel) Tjarnqvist is on the number one pair? Tjarnqvist? They have too many question marks this year. I went to a pre-season game and the defence was mostly rookies—they were all over the place letting in goals. They looked terrible.”
Brent Oliver—local musician, promoter (Brent Oliver Presents) and President of the Green Pepper Hockey League.

“I think they’ll do good like last year. Now they have more fast players and better scorers. They’re missing Chris Pronger, though.”
“The Boy”—Kai, age 7. New hockey fan.

“Ales Hemsky will have a breakout year, scoring over 85 points and making his first all-star team. Joffrey Lupul will lead them in goals, Hemsky will lead in points and as a team they will finish in the top five in goals scored. The Battle of Alberta will be a battle for first place in the Northwest with the Flames winning by less than four points. The Oil will finish fifth or sixth and Rexall will once again be a madhouse in April and (hopefully for Oilers fans) in May as well.”
Jason Gregor hosts “Just A Game” weeknights at 9 PM on Team 1260 Edmonton Sports Radio.

“Things just wouldn’t feel right if the Oilers failed to start the season with at least one glaring, potentially team-crippling question mark—last year it was goaltending, this year it’s defence. Still, our offence looks pretty scary and Roloson is great when someone isn’t breaking his knee, so I think we’ll do all right. But a deep post-season feel pretty damn unlikely unless we pull off a trade for a veteran offensive presence on the blue line. Smith-Staios is just not going to cut it. Cautiously optimistic predictions: Oilers win all eight games against Calgary this year; Hemsky scores 40 goals.”
Chris!—Covered in Oil co-Blogger (

“I predict that the Oilers will break the Cup-loser-misses the playoffs curse and finish in eighth. No higher because I can’t see Roloson doing what he did in the playoffs over a full regular season and the numbers 4-6 d-men are real question marks. Calgary and Edmonton will play for Western Conference Championship. Belinda Stronach will date a prominent Oiler, who will then ask for a trade for personal reasons. Oh, and to the
IMPORTANT stuff ... Leafs ... finish … last ... in ... East ... win draft lottery.”
Steven Sandor—co-founder In the Box, former Oilers Zone editor, author of the Battle of Alberta (Heritage House) and current sports editor, 24 Hours in Toronto.

“With three killer lines up front, the Oilers have all the firepower they need and nothing to worry about on the attack. Awesome acquisitions in the off-season should pan out big time. Sykora and Lupul are already fitting in nicely. The big question is on the blue line. Do the Oilers have the defence they need to get to another Stanley Cup final? I say yes. Veteran D-man Jason Smith has some promising young talent to paint copper and blue. His leadership, along with a solid coaching staff, and a proven set of goalies should be enough to take us in to another strong playoff run. Bring an extra loonie to Rexall Place this year. Beer went up one dollar to $7.50 ... ouch!”
Kory Read—Sonic 102.9 news/sports guy. He won his job in a contest—and he kept it.

“What the Oilers have is confidence. The confidence that comes from just about winning the Stanley Cup. This club can score right out of the gate and fight from behind. They could be fighting for first or second place in the division. It’s going to be a great year for the Oiler fans.”
Billy Warwick—played for the New York Rangers from 1942-44, founded “Billy’s Guide” in Edmonton

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Awkward First Steps...

So here we are, going online like the boys at Covered In Oil kept telling us we should, so that all of you can bathe in the healthy glow of our radness. Basically, opening ourselves up to the online derision that I usually enjoy seeing heaped on others. This will either go well, or end in a blind rage and a cloud of carcinogenic monitor smoke. Woo!