Wednesday, October 04, 2006


It's A New Dawn, It's A New Day

Looking back over some old posts from the spring and summer (many of which were fantastic, by the way), I've come to realize one thing: I'm due. Seriously. Sure the Oilers went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, but this is how it has gone since then:

• Oilers blow 3-1 lead in Game 1, and lose Dwayne Roloson for the rest of the playoffs.

• Oilers go down 3 games to 1 against hated Hurricanes after Game 4 loss.

• Oilers lose Game 7 of Stanley Cup Finals.

• Four fucking days later, Cockface Stinkfuck's agent requests a trade.

• A few days after that, Cockface is traded in a lopsided deal.

• Italy wins the World Cup.

• My favorite Oiler, Le GG, signs with the Coyotes.

• On August 21st, the New York Yankees zip up on a five game pounding of my beloved Red Sox.

• Injuries to Francisco Liriano and Jonathan Papelbon kill my chances of winning my fantasy baseball league.

• My house is broken into while I sleep, and thieves run off with my wallet, phone, laptop, and car.

Of course this is all countered by the joys of becoming a Battle of Alberta correspondent, and beating the piss out of Cosh in our fantasy baseball league (he deserved it. He razzed the shit out of me and my team all through our draft and the first 1/3 of the season). But it isn't enough. I want more, damn it. I deserve it. WE deserve it. Which leads me to my Oilers 2006-2007 Regular Season Preview/Predictions.


• When was the last time the number one concern of Oilers fans wasn't scoring goals? Like, 1990? Well, it won't be problem this year, folks. It better not be. There are 8 guys on this roster who should score 20+ goals: Smyth, Hemsky, Sykora, Lupul, Horcoff, Pisani, Stoll, and Torres. Throw in some helpers from The Island of Ethan Moreau, Thoresen, Mikhnov, Reasoner and the defence, as well as the 69 The Hockey Jesus will score when he is inevitably recalled from the minors, and we should easily get over the 300 Goals For mark. That would be a vast improvement over the 256 we scored last year, and that will translate into wins. Lots of them.

• Ales Hemsky will score between 90-100 points, even after sharing ice time with the other offensive studs. It's Hemmer time.

• Shawn Horcoff, Jarret Stoll, and Marty Reasoner will not lose a faceoff all season long.

• Following in Mark Messier's footsteps, Stoll will be late for a plane leaving Los Angeles, and will be punished by Oilers GM Kevin Lowe. He will also follow in Messier's footsteps by sleeping with a long-past-expiry-date Hollywood celebrity. That's right, Cuba Gooding Jr.

• A forward and/or prospect will be traded for a top four defenceman near the trading deadline.

• Mike Peca won't score any goals as an Edmonton Oiler. So pretty much the same as last year.

• Fernando Pisani will score 30 goals, then impregnate me. Again.


• I've said it before, I'll say it again. Meh. It's not a pretty backline, but I've seen worse. I'd rather have the team we are starting with now than the one we started with a year ago. I'm confident that the defence will be servicable, and that Lowe will make a deal if it isn't.

• Tom Gilbert will play over 15 games with the Oilers this year.

• Jason Smith will attempt to start a fight with Chris Pronger.

• Matt Greene won't be the most penalized player on the team.


• The play of Dwayne Roloson is way more critical to the Oilers success than the defence. I'm optimistic that he will have a solid year, but am very nervous about it.

• Jussi Markkanen will have to start in about 25 games this year. If he plays like he did in the Finals, we will win most of those.

• Devan Dubnyk was very impressive in camp. Very. Roloson's contract could be an albatross as early as next year.

Special Teams

• The penalty kill will pick up where it left off in the playoffs. That is to say, it will be awesome. I imagine Horcoff, Stoll and Moreau among the league-leaders in shorthanded points.

• I really hope they go with 5 forwards on the Powerplay. I also hope they don't go back to their "shoot only from the point" strategy of last year. Mix it up, for God's sake. What the hell does Craig Simpson get paid for, anyway? I can't talk about this. It's gonna eat me alive all year. Just wait and see. Breathe, Andy...

• Imagine this shootout unit: Sykora, Lupul, Hemsky. Then add in the other scorers if those three can't win it. I'm going to guess that we have a 4-6 point improvement in the Overall Standings because of our shootout prowess. That is, unless MacT decides to pick players like Brad Winchester for the shootout based on a hunch, which isn't beyond the realm of possibility.


• In KLowe We Trust.

• We have enough cap room, forwards and prospects to make a move, if necessary. Not many NHL teams can say that.

• Not only does this team have experience after going all the way to Game 7, it also has confidence. This is a cocky team.

• I like that, and believe the two intangibles (experience and cockiness) will allow the Oilers to avoid what has killed them for the past six or seven years: the slow start. Every year, we go on a two month losing streak, and have to fight to the death just to get the 8th playoff spot. It's our signature. I think that will be avoided this year, although I did sense a lack of urgency and killer instinct against the Canes in the Finals that may reintroduce itself.

• Can I get a "Hell Yeah!" for Joey Moss?

• The national anthem tradition will continue.

• The game between Terrell Owens' Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday is the most anticipated sporting event of the year. It will get ugly. Thrown batteries and human feces ugly. A close second will be November 28th, when Chris Pronger comes to Edmonton for the first time as a Duck. It will feed this town for months.

• Two words that shape my entire thought process on this year's version of the Edmonton Oilers: EWING THEORY. Count on it.

Homer Prediction: I'm due, and so are the Oil. 2nd place in the Western Conference, and Stanley Cup Champions.

A More Rational Series of Predictions

Western ConferenceEastern Conference
1. Detroit*1. Buffalo*
2. Calgary*2. Carolina*
3. San Jose*3. Ottawa
4. Nashville4. New York Rangers*
5. Edmonton5. New Jersey
6. Anaheim6. Philadelphia
7. Minnesota7. Tampa Bay
8. Dallas8. Florida
9. Vancouver9. Montreal
10. Los Angeles10. Boston
11. Colorado11. Atlanta
12. Phoenix12. Toronto
13. Chicago13. Pittsburgh
14. St. Louis14. Washington
15. Columbus15. New York Islanders


Not sure how many have noticed that Roloson's contract is no longer being reported as $4M-$4M-$3M - Its now split $4.5M-$3.5M-$3M. Small change, but, if he plays adequately, makes him more attractive as more of the reward for last seasons' playoff run is paid for this year. In my wildest dreams DD doesn't improve enough to make this an albatross next year, but realistically, Jussi might not get renewed.

In my wildest dreams DD doesn't improve enough to make this an albatross next year

I suppose that is true. It's probably more due to the fact that I already think the deal with Roli is for too long. I'm more than willing to be wrong about it, though.

Grabia, it's like you've got a mortal lock on this shit.

I do. Anyone see what the Phillies did after they dumped Bobby Abreu this year? They only won like a trillion games. The Ewing Theory is about to come into full effect. Take that to your local gambler.

Love the Ewing Theory. And I agree wholeheartedly with your assertion that things have to turn around, if not just for you, then for all of us who had our hearts ripped out this spring.

No anonymouse insults yet today?
The tide must be turning already.

andy - okay, the stars align and Jussi is replaced by a prospect to back up Roli next season, who does well enough to start the following season. Roli is redundant and in his last year @ $3M. As long as he is still playing ok some Doug MacLean will take him - it just happens with goalies. We might not get any thing in return, or have to sweeten the offer with a pick to move him, but I think it will be worth it for the mentoring that Roli can do with the prospect. Or, we keep him around and put him in a platoon or backup role. I still remember Lowe saying that he "didn't realize that he was getting another captain" when he brought Roli in. Just the kind of guy you want working with the kids. To me, Roli is now part of the plan to help the prospects succeed.

Only an Oilers fan could somehow feel that even with the never-fail-to-mention-them 5 cups and an unexpected trip to game 7 this spring that they were 'due'. The Oil won't be 'due' until sometime in the 22nd century.

Somebody wasn't watching Game 1 of the finals. Trust me, even those of us who haven't had most of their possessions stolen are running a monthly balance after that shit.

I have to point this out, as it's something that has bugged me for some time.

This so-called Oilers national anthem tradition is not an Oilers tradition at all - the Canucks were doing this way back in the 02/03 playoffs against Minnesota and St. Louis, and the 03/04 playoffs against the Flames.

Even I'll admit it would be great if Edmonton finished above Anaheim in the standings...

...but I don't think I'd bet on it.

It's happened in other arenas as well. I think he just means continuing the new Oilers tradition with the anthem not that they started it.

5 hours to go...

The Oil are an enigma to start the season. Last year, for quite a bit of the year they had a solid back-end and up front a bunch of guys had career years. Yet they were were often floating on the outside looking in, and fought hard for their eventual spot. In the playoffs, they became more defensive minded and carried that to the SCF.

As of the end of the season, whomever played beside "he who cannot..." looked like a star, but would flounder when paired with anyone else. And that is where all the Oil D are all now.

Offense isn't an issue (although with Kipper, Luongo & Fernandez in the division it will be more difficult than most other divisions), but will guy need to come back a bit earlier than they did last year to cover the defensive deficiencies?

A lot of teams have done a lot of changes. One of the few thing's I'm sure of is that most of the pundits will be wrong (just because no one knows how all the changes will turn out).

im 29 old enough to have memories of the dynasty and the wilderness years that tormented my entire life since then...

this seasons edition of the oilers is the best ive seen at the start of the season since 1989 easily...

if pronger was so great, why didnt the team win game 7?...

im not worried about the 2006-07 oilers at all, and for me thats seriously weird


peter said Only an Oilers fan could somehow feel that even with the never-fail-to-mention-them 5 cups and an unexpected trip to game 7 this spring that they were 'due'. The Oil won't be 'due' until sometime in the 22nd century.

You are absolutely right Peter. Only an Oilers fan could say those things. Or perhaps a Montreal fan too. It's a cross I'll bear.

Only an Oilers fan could somehow feel that even with the never-fail-to-mention-them 5 cups and an unexpected trip to game 7 this spring that they were 'due'.

It's funny, because Peter was the one who mentioned it. Bears mentioning, really.

I forgot to address the idea of team defence in my preview, which was a big error on my part. After having to fully commit last year to win playoff rounds, I expect many of the forwards to go all out in protecting Roloson and the defence. Shots will be blocked at a Ludwigian rate, the centres will win every single faceoff in the defensive zone (I mentioned that), and the hustle will make Pete Rose want to bet on us.

As for the anthem not being original, who cares? It's ours now. The fact that no one remembers it being done in Vancouver says everything there is to say about hockey and hockey fans in Vancouver: fairweather.

Imagine this shootout unit: Sykora, Lupul, Hemsky.

Is it worth mentioning that Lupul is just 0-2 in shootouts? It's not so troubling that he didn't score in two attempts, but that he wasn't trusted a third time.

Trust me, even those of us who haven't had most of their possessions stolen are running a monthly balance after that shit.

Seriously? After getting that miracle run to the Finals 50 years ahead of schedule, you guys were seriously in overdraft. What happened in Game 1 was just the hockey gods calling the loan.

Why is it that I-Rod loses 25 pounnds and people are snickering that he was on steriods but Iginla comes into camp 12 pounds later and no one says a thing?


12 pounds? Are you serious? Was he in San Francisco all summer? Is Charlie Francis his trainer? Start digging people!

Please. I've never seen a ducks team that couldn't be solved by turning them over and smacking their bottoms like a naughty British Nanny.

I didn't worry then and I'm not worried now.

If I'm worried about anything it's the Sharks. Just like last year. Except this year it will worry me even more.

Yes...12 pounds. Playfair said that Old Missing Tooth came into camp having concentrated on his conditioning. Yes..this from a guy that did that old Nike hockey commerical with Naslund where OMT was cut like a diamond. Yeah that really looked like a guy that needed to lose weight.

He was juicing for sure.


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