Monday, September 17, 2007

Good luck to Buffalo

The Buffalo Sabres and the NHL have announced they are holding their own Outdoor Hockey Game on January 1, 2008.

Good for them. Loved the game but the aura surrounding seeing Gretz, Mess and the older Habs stars stole the show. I wonder if they'll trot out old Mario.


Name the current Oilers who suited up for the Heritage Classic in Edmonton.

Hint: There are nine.
Other hint: Screw you, no more hints.

Prize: you look smarter than others and it's right there in the comments for all to see. Priceless.

Just like an asshole...everyone has an....


IN THE BOX would love some quick opinions on how you feel about this year's Oiler squad and some predictions from an Oiler-centric POV. Some of them could be included in this year's first In The Box for the 07-08 season.

Send your diatribe. Try to keep it short so we can fit it in. Three to five sentences should encapsule your own version of the truth.

We'd love to hear from some real Oiler fans who read Vue regularly.

Email to and send some good stuff. From your asshole to ours? Man, I hope The Boy doesn't read this.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Since everyone else has an opinion

Don't get the partial armband.
Looks slick but a bit too much like a practice jersey.
The colours are OK. I hope that's orange and not the copper.
Isn't better than best jersey re-tools (Boston, Nashville) or as ugly as the worst (Vancouver, Long Island).
Too bad the code RBK inserted on the NHL 08 vids was cracked. I was anticipating seeing the new kit in full, live colour on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Back to the Vault

The prediction/start of season/Oilers-are-undefeated-and-at-the-top-of-the-standings-because-the-season-hasn't-started-yet issue of Vue Weekly's In The Box is coming (SEPTEMBER 27th issue).
I'm excited about writing about the Oilers (and Oil Kings too - what the Hell?) for Vue.
The column has managed to slip talk of NHL hockey into a weekly entertainment paper full of rock stars, left wingers who aren't Ales Hemsky, artists, artistes (there is a difference), restaurant reviews and the film-snobbiest reviews of movies in the city (and that's a good thing). But it always surprises me that, in this city, the culture vultures are also Oiler fans. It seems an odd match (millionaire hockey players cheered on by bohos) but that's Edmonton.
We can mix our high-and-low brow. It's hockey and the art gallery. Wine and rye/Cokes. Tom Robbins and Stompin' Tom.
Mixing the hipster sensibility and Oiler news is a delicate balance but its much more fun to write.

Anyway, here's last year's Oiler season predictionsand how they played out. It was an interesting mix of rose-coloured glasses and some real bad vibes.

Excerpted from last year:
Fearless Oiler Predictions

Dave (ME!!!!): 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.
Ethan Moreau - sucks to be right.
Goals will come in buckets,
Make that vomit or stomach lining
but no single Oiler will be in the top 15 in scoring.
Right again!
At least four Oilers will be in the top 30 in scoring, though.
Top Oiler scorer (Sykora - 110th place) Smytty finished 51st but he doesn't count.
The powerplay will strike often, but will give up too many shorthanded opportunities with forwards on the point and what’s-his-name gone.
The Oilers only allowed four shorties - second best in the league. Considering that they had the fourth worst PP% other teams got a lot of chances with two full minutes to score. Wrong again.
MacT will keep getting funnier in post and pre-game interviews.
He is funny. March and April didn't give him much to laugh about though.
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.
That didn't happen until February or so. Although he played surprisingly well, Mathieu Roy has a hobo beard. If any hobos had shown up at Kevin Lowe's door and could skate backwards, they would have played by March after the injuries.
If everything does start to go horribly wrong, I don’t think we’ll have to wait long for MacT to pull the trigger.
Or take sleeping pills?
We’re deep up front
on paper we wereand
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,
the pine - during powerplays anyway
Smith to get meaner, Bergeron to mature
all the way to Long Island
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.

Brent, dirty stinking musician type that he is, nailed it. He gets another go this year.

“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.

He's 8 now. Must be weird to think of the last Oiler Stanley Cup as ancient history. Kind of like how the Leafs were revered when I was 8.

“Ales Hemsky will have a breakout year, scoring over 85 points
53.. but he did miss 18 games - and was an Oiler in February, March and April. That doesn't help
and making his first all-star team. Joffrey Lupul will lead them in goals, Hemsky will lead in points
nope and nope - I don't know what Lupul's goals were but I hope he realizes them in Philly - boy, did he get a rough ride and as a team they will finish in the top five in goals scored.
...or the bottom. Count from the bottom and he's right.
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
it did, but not in the scary-to-opponents way
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.
We got one - but not until July
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.”
Oooops. Cautiously optimistic indeed.
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.
That would have been fun....something other than hockey...anyone see her with Smytty?
Oh, and to the IMPORTANT stuff ... Leafs ... finish … last ... in ... East ... win draft lottery.”
Close but no 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.
Except reality kicking in....
Awesome acquisitions in the off-season should pan out big time. Sykora and Lupul are already fitting in nicely.
Remember this was just after pre-season....
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.
Why couldn't you have been right? It's Kory Read's fault. Kory Read's fault!
Veteran D-man Jason Smith has some promising young talent to paint copper and blue.
they looked more black and blue last season - nice analogy though
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.”
I like Billy. He's seen more hockey seasons and hockey games in real life than I've seen on PS2.
Billy Warwick—played for the New York Rangers from 1942-44, founded “Billy’s Guide” in Edmonton

Just some of my own pre-season

It's starting to kick in. I think after the highs of the '06 playoff run and the short off-season with no shortage of excitement (Pronger!) and an interesting first half of the season and one of the most dreadful final 30 games in Oiler history I quite enjoyed thinking only occasionally about NHL hockey.
My damn PS2 broke down as well and I couldn't even play online against fat kids and shut-ins.

A few notes to get ready for the first In The Box of the season (September 27th issue, BTW).

-Lines - Everyone is wondering what rookie or upstart will jump into the second line RW position vacated by Poor Pisani - the man who used all his luck up in playoffs. That line is supposed to be Stoll and likely Torres - two muckers and shooters - so Nilsson or Gagner or, at the other end of the spectrum, Sanderson have pretty tough company. I think Nilsson could do the most as the second liner.

-The Joey Moss Cup - I might go check this inter-squad scrimmage out. The lure of seeing the new jerseys (god, they better not suck) is tantalizing.
I remember attending the rally at City Hall when the Oilers unveiled their Copper and Blue jersey designs and liked the kit.
I was also one of the first people in the city to parade the Todd-McFarlane jersey down Whyte Avenue on the morning the jerseys were sent to stores. The pub I worked at finagled an early delivery of the jerseys and I ordered one.
Then I recycled it to my brother as a Christmas present. I like hockey jerseys but rarely wear them.
He's already gotten three jerseys. I should get him one of the new ones I suppose.

3- Go Canada! Flipping channels, I notice that the Women's World Cup (Canada 1, Norway 0 right now) is on.

That's it for now. A little dry. No style; mostly substance. More to come as I get warmed up.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Worst "Hiatus Over" Ever - Indeed

So I got a little overexcited and figured it was time for blogging again. The column is on hiatus but soon to be back up again.
I started a new job and have also become more responsible for the kids than before.
But Oiler-itis is starting its annoying little itch and compulsion to plan my week around something as important as a game once again.

Some quick hits on the summer's action:
1- NEW LINEUP - Seems like a promising cast of characters. Souray will no doubt make us all curse the odd defensive flub - the difference being he'll be sworn at in English now. It might sound different coming from riggers out of Leduc or Cold Lake than Montrealers.
Pitkanen could be good but seems pretty enigmatic.
Sanderson is our new Dvorak. Fast and will fill different roles.
Penner has an odd mix of hands and size and seems like a character guy as well.

2- Smith and Smyth gone. With these two building blocks of the team out the team will truly be starting anew. I'm curious to find out how the Oilers Community Foundation will replace these community-minded players. With Smith, Smyth and (the season previous) Laraque gone, personal appearances and charitable endeavours in this town will need some more spark from more than just Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios.

3- New jerseys. Please. Understated and classy. No piping. No frigging piping. No municipal or provincial flags.

4- Pisani. Hard luck for Fernando. Screw all the criticisms over his raise last year. He provided quiet leadership and the playoff run was something to remember. Last year he had health issues with his newborn baby and struggled through that. Now we discover he has colitis. This may explain the season he had last year and the pained, white-as-a-sheet look on his face all the time. He was in severe stomach pain.

5- Rivals. We now hate Anaheim (Stanley Cup, "Burkie"'s whining, Pronger), Calgary (duh), Colorado (division rivals and Smytty) and Vancouver (making the playoffs in our place again). Who will be added to the list this year?

Nice to be back.
More to come soon.