Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Riddle Me This

The Oilers rookies beat the Golden Bears 6-3 at Clare Drake arena this evening, which means I owe Pleasure Motors a haiku. But before I get to that, I'd like to provide some background information on these games, most of which I learned from a poorly written write-up by Bob Stauffer.

• Prior to tonight, the University of Alberta Golden Bears, the two-time defending CIS National Champions, had won the five previous games against the Oilers rookies.

• Over those five games, the Bears had outscored the Oilers rookies 26-8.

• Prior to tonight, the Bears lead the all-time series 10-8.

• This year, the Bears had to replace 10 of the 18 skaters that they dressed in the CIS Finals last year.

Had I known this last bit, I probably wouldn't have made the bet with Pleasure Motors. The reason the Bears have dominated this series recently is that they play together all the time. Well, and they have had some awesome fucking teams over the past six or seven years. The Oilers rookies, however, are thrown together two days before the game and expected to perform. The Bears players didn't even have their names on their jerseys yet, and they looked like a rookie roster themselves. Hindsight is 20-20 I guess, although in fairness to the Bears the loss really wasn't their fault. Which leads me to the game summary, brought to you by my girlfriend and Avi, who both attended the game with me, and helped me hash out these thoughts.

• Clare Drake arena was absolutely packed. I've never seen it that full. We actually had to stand for the entire game, at ice level, behind the home team net. Bob Stauffer, who has obviously never heard of a comma, is reporting that the total attendance for the game was 3009. I believe it, and am convinced they oversold the game. It's amazing what a Stanley Cup run and a couple of hot rookies will do for crowds, but I hope in the future they either sell fewer tickets, or play it at Rexall.

• The enthusiasm didn't end with the attendance, either. The crowd was decidedly pro-Oilers, despite the fact that both teams play in Edmonton. Again, I've never seen it that partisan, and I'm sure it has to do with the Stanley Cup run and two rookies named Schremp and Mikhnov.

• This was the most poorly officiated game I have ever, and I mean ever, seen. Take your least favorite referee, and multiply his shittiness by ten thousand. That was how atrocious referee John Potter was this evening. If this had been a meaningful game, there would have surely been a Jim Schoenfeld/Don Koharski moment afterwards. The crowd booed him for most of the 3rd period--regardless of which team was penalized and the fact that it was an exhibition game--and we actually caught a linesman mouthing the words "I'm sorry" to Bears goalie Blake Grenier in the 3rd, after one of Potter's chincy calls lead to an Oilers goal.

In case you don't believe me, check out the box score from the game: Twenty-nine total penalties called. Twelve against the Oilers, seventeen against the Bears. Nine consecutive penalties for the Bears between the end of the 2nd period and the middle of the 3rd. At 6:07 of the 3rd, three consecutive penalties are called against one team (the Bears), at the EXACT same time (another first for me). Around this time, the Bears have FIVE men in the penalty box. They actually can't see the ice, because the condensation from five panting hockey players has fogged up the glass. And the girl opening the penalty box door has to stand on a bench behind all the players, who are openly laughing at how ridiculous the game has become.

Needless to say, Mr. Potter ruined the game. The calls were 90% bullshit, and they killed any hope of watching, or playing in, a fast, exciting FUCKING EXHIBITION GAME, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. I hope he's forced to eat donuts in hell, for all eternity.

• The Bears were 3-11 on the powerplay, while the Oilers were 2-16. I'm positively shocked to see that both Oilers powerplay goals were scored on the 5-on-3, because their 5-on-3 play looked abysmal. I was even ready to drop a joke about how well Craig Simpson had taught them to shit the bed on a two-man advantage in such a limited time. I can't use the joke now, but I'm not fooled. The Oilers powerplay sucks ass, even at the rookie level.

• Theo Peckham continued to impress me tonight, because I never once noticed him. Looking at the box score, I see that he was +4 for the game. My dad, himself a defenceman, used to tell me that the best defenders were the guys whose name you never heard during a game. The silence meant that they were doing their jobs. Theo, keep it up with the disappearing.

• Strangely, at least to me, Devan Dubnyk played the whole game for the Oilers.

• During the 2nd intermission, there was a shootout contest between Robbie Schremp, Bob Stauffer, and Bears forward Dylan Stanley. Stauffer missed both shots, to the delight of his media colleagues standing nearby. Schremp missed on his first attempt, which involved picking the puck up on his stick, wildly cradling it around like he was a lacrosse player, and throwing it at the net. His second attempt was successful; he pulled the goalie across to one side of the net, then tucked it back and between his legs, and took the shot--with his stick between his legs--for the score. Stanley scored on both his attempts. The first one was a nifty little deke and shelf shot that knocked the goalie's water bottle in the air. The second one was perhaps the most dazzling move I've ever seen. I'm not even sure if I can describe it properly, it was so disgustingly beautiful. He came in wide, pulled the goalie to one side of the net, let the puck slide back, reached back, picked it up on his stick, cradled it, brought his stick and blade back around the front of his body, curled it around himself back to where he originally picked it up, and threw it into the net. I think that was what happened, anyway. I was maybe eight feet away, but it was like being blinded by the sun. The crowd went ape-shit, and Schremp was killing himself laughing. I really wish someone had that one on videotape.

Stanley is one of the few returning members of the Bears championship squad. He is an Edmonton boy, and scored 90 points for the Tri-City Americans in 2002. He is only 22, and appears to be undrafted. Stanley will be on this year's edition of "Making the Cut," along with two other Bears players. If I was Kevin Lowe, I'd invite him to camp for that move he made alone. I will be interested to see how this year goes for him.

• Joffrey Lupul, who today signed a 3-year, $6.935 million dollar deal with the Oilers, stood behind us for most of the game. He had a hat on, and tried to hide during the 1st period. By the end of the 1st intermission, though, the secret was out, and lots of people came and asked for autographs. He politely signed them all, even when a bunch of his buddies showed up and he was probably more inclined to just hang out and goof around with them. I was happy he was there, if for no other reason than that he was drawing hot puck bunnies in like a moth to a flame.

• While fans were asking Lupul for his autograph, a real, flesh-and-blood icon quietly walked right by. Clare Drake, the most successful coach in the history of Canadian varsity hockey, was in the building tonight. He walked right past the crowd, and no one other than us even looked twice. He appeared old and fragile, and it broke my heart. If ever a man deserved to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, it is Clare Drake. His success speaks for itself.

• Robbie Schremp, Alexei Mikhnov and Patrick Thoreson again made up a line tonight. Schremp was at centre, Mikhnov was on the left wing, and Thoreson was on the right. The few Oilers fans that still have their Chris Pronger jerseys should avoid burning them. Schremp is now wearing #44.

• The title of this post, as well as the image above, was inspired by Alexei Mikhnov. In my post on the Oilers rookie camp, I noted that Mikhnov looked like he was dogging it. Well, he was up to his old tricks tonight, looking completely disinterested for large chunks of the game. I have no idea if his face and body movements betray how hard he is working, if he is still lost or lonely in North America, if he is bored of playing with kids five or six years his junior, or if he is the new poster boy for "stereotypical European hockey player," but I wasn't very impressed with him tonight. Essentially, he is the living embodiment of a matryoshka doll: an enigma within a mystery within a riddle within a question mark within a conundrum. He makes my head hurt.

I must give credit for the Lazy Eight image to Avi, by the way. It was his idea; I just added a few touches of my own to give it some pizzazz.

Avi took two rolls of pictures tonight. Once they are developed, and if they are any good, I'll post them on the site. Until then, or until I post on something else, the haiku I owe Pleasure Motors:

Covered in pleasure
The rookies oil Dave's berries
And make him c(h)ock(e)y.

He drafted two Flames
Amonte and slug Langkow
So he should not brag.


Pettersson scores twice in eight seconds and he doesn't get a mention? Is there a typo in the box score or what?

No, it happened. And the second goal was impressive. I guess I was just really underwhelmed, because of all the penalties. The game had no ebb and flow, and I really don't remember being excited at any other time than during the shootout in the 2nd intermission.

Maybe Mikhnov's wife/significant other hasn't arrived yet.

There have been similar sentiments expressed down here about our recently defected russian. Taratukhin looks good when he isn't coasting or drifting back to the bench. I guess that means he's either lazy or out of shape...

We're hoping it's the latter.

Yeah, that's no good about Mikhnov and Taratukhin. Maybe the whole "becoming exiles in their own country" thing is proving a bigger distraction than we thought. Wonder how Kaigorodov is doing in Ottawa.

Ahem, first of all, I didn't draft two Flames--Yahoo autodrafted two Flames. Let's get our facts straight, Grabia: I'm lazy, not stupid.

Furthermore, how did you not notice Peckham? As I said in my post on the matter, he looked better as the game wore on (not hard to do with all the penalties, and I agree with you on the ref), but in the first (especially) and most of the second, he was running all over the place, drifting from side to side in his own end and getting thoroughly beat by the Bears in most every way, except for a couple big hits (which mostly took him out of the play). The only reason he was plus-4 was because of the powerplays, period--based on last night's game, I expect him to get eaten alive in the real camp.

The crowd went ape-shit, and Schremp was killing himself laughing. I really wish someone had that one on videotape.

Both Global and CTV Edmonton had the 2 'fancy' goals. So maybe replayed tonight, definitely on Monday "Plays of the Week" CTV & Global

Pleasure Motors said...
"The only reason he was plus-4 was because of the powerplays, period"

How does that work?

Both Global and CTV Edmonton had the 2 'fancy' goals. So maybe replayed tonight, definitely on Monday "Plays of the Week" CTV & Global

Sweet. I'll have to check it out.

Furthermore, how did you not notice Peckham?

Being behind the net for the entire game severely hindered my ability to see the game properly. I didn't have the luxury of sitting in the press box. Between that and the penalties, I do admit that I couldn't really get into the game. I never noticed Peckham playing poorly, but it could have been due to those things. Then again, we might have just watched different games. I don't understand how one could state that, "the only reason he was plus-4 was because of the powerplays, period", for example, when the Oilers only scored 2 powerplay goals. Furthermore, if one looks at the nifty Box Score that the UofA provides, one can see that Peckham was actually on the ice for 4 even strength goals by the Oilers. He was on the ice for one Bears powerplay goal, but that doesn't count towards the plus/minus. Then again, what do the numbers know?

Shootout video clips from TSN:

- Schremp 'sick'ness (includes Stanley's early on...but no mention from Rishaug)

- Stanley gets The HON (if this link always goes to the Highlight of the Night, the video will obviously change soon...go check it out quick)

Wow. 'nuff said.

- Rod

I can't get them to work. Does anyone know how to rip those bad boys into YouTube, so we have them forever? I don't know how Schremp's could be the highlight. It was good, but nothing compared to Stanley's.

Where the hell is Lowetide with the lowdown on Stanley, anyways? I need to know which 1970's Sabre he is most similar to.

Okay, I saw them. But I really hope someone can get it onto YouTube

This new development has the potential to get confusing, if not downright confrontational.

Don't know if you've seen it; it looks pretty new.

Dave is correct in regards to Peckham. Dylan Stanley made him his bitch in the first period, multiple times, but Dubnyk bailed him out.

Puzzling link, Earl. It shows nothing for me (DNS error). CIRA shows registred to Jon Symons on 76th Ave with a start of March 22/06 and a change in August.

Matt and I know of the link. We've just tried to ignore it, because giving it coverage will only encourage them. I also know that they've emailed other hockey bloggers for links. But what are we to do?

Dave is correct in regards to Peckham.

Well, except for all those parts where he was totally wrong. I saw things differently, and the stats back me up.

And I saw the action unfold right underneath me in the first period. Stanley beat him on three straight deke moves, but either Dubnyk poke checked the puck away or the other defenceman came across and knocked it off. I believe Henkelman also took Peckham to the cleaners with a drag move. That's why #49 was so willing to pick a fight in the first, the Bears were making him look dumb. Yes, he finished +4, but it could have been a lot worse had his teammates not bailed him out. As you admit you had crappy seats at the other end of the rink during this period, maybe you should just take our word on it.

Nope. I saw him at practice, too, and he looked fine. Plus, Pleasure's points were immediately disqualified, due to them being verfiably false. Now, all of this could change by next game, but for now I'm content.

you don't get plus for powerplay goals anyway so that was impossible anyway right.

on a completely seperate note - I thought this was pretty funny... despite being an oiler fan, I live near washington dc now and heard on the radio that ovechkin is having an open to the public 21st birthday party next week.

I think that you should consider sending them a politely worded cease and desist letter claiming copyright infringement and all that crap. Isn't the ABC overrun with lawyers? Talk to one of them (don't talk to articling students, they don't know a goddamn thing).

yeah, for the love of god, someone upload that schremp clip to youtube, or a place i can download it. i've tried three different media players and two different computers, and the damn thing still won't play for me. i need to keep up to date with the rest of the oilogosphere.

nevermind, here it is.

The Stanley goal sounds pretty damn good though too.

Pleasure Motors said...
"The only reason he was plus-4 was because of the powerplays, period"

How does that work?

Since I'm being told my comments are "veriably false," I obviously need to explain them.

First of all, I thought he was on for two of the Bears PP goals--I still think he was, but whatever, I'll trust the stat guys, even if they messed up things like Schremp's assist on Thoreson's goal (after all, Schremp only shot the thing at the net, and was originally credited with scoring it). In any case, the point was he was getting beat a lot, they just didn't count as minuses because the only time it actually ended up costing him was on the powerplay.

As well, the Bears all but disappeared in the third because of all the Oiler powerplays, and so ass-handings like the ones being given in the entirety of the first period became less frequent. Hence, he was +4 because of the powerplays, both because the goal (possibly goals) scored while he was running all over the ice doesn't count against it, and there was a solid period of hockey where a broomstick with an Oilers jersey could have manned the right point to the same overall effect. Admittedly, I could have been clearer on this the first time.

I will also note that two of his plusses--being Petersson's second goal, which was a rush right of the face-off, and Almtorp's goal, which came right after the D changed up--would have had the same effect with the broomstick.

My point is that a: clarity is important. And b: plus/minus is a really shitty stat to judge performance on (Chris Pronger, for instance, was +2 last year, Tom Poti was +16). Peckham got toasted all night until the Bears disappeared, he just didn't happen to get scored on, which is more indicative of Dubnyk's play than his own. I expect to see sweet vindication when the real camp starts and he is cut almost immediately, and am willing to stake another haiku on the subject.

I will now return to not slagging off our third-round picks.

You're still down here? Move up, man! No one cares about Peckham. I have no doubt that he will stink in the real camp.

P.S. You could have excluded Flames off your Yahoo list, like a true fan. Shame on you.

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