Friday, March 23, 2007


The Bipolar Express

"I'm not exactly sure when they quit on themselves, their coaches and their fans, but capitulation was so complete Wednesday in a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, on Fan Appreciation Night no less, that the last of the shills and sycophants, boosters and backers finally fell off the bandwagon."
--Dan Barnes, Edmonton Journal

Barnes has been nothing less than fantastic this year, but I'm more than a little surprised that he didn't include management and the coaching staff in this article (I'd also like to know, by name, which shills he was talking about). Sure, lots of older players need to be called out, but you can't spend too much time picking on Pouliot, Syvret, Young and the like. These kids are in over their heads, sacrificed to the Gods of hockey and bad management. Ten players on the current Oilers roster are 23 and under (Greene, Smid, Nilsson, Lupul, Jacques, Thoresen, Syvret, Stortini, Young, Pouliot). That doesn't even include Kyle Brodziak and Sebastien Bisaillon, just sent back down to the AHL and QMJHL, or other youngsters who are injured (Hemsky, Gilbert, Roy, and Stoll are all 24 and under). Now I'm not suggesting that they get a free pass (I've been pretty clear about how I feel about Joffrey Lupul, for example) but I think it is appropriate to acknowledge the fact that Kevin Lowe, the loss of Ryan Smyth, mediocre coaching, and an insane run of injuries have sent these lambs to slaughter. So there, I just did. Now, having said that, the Sabres have had a bunch of bad injuries this year, and it hasn't slowed them down. And apparently the game on Wednesday was particularly brutal (I didn't watch, of course). So stop making excuses already, and win some hockey games. Except don't, because we need Colorado to catch Calgary, and I want this team to suck so hard that everyone in this city turns on Kevin Lowe and the EIG. So...yeah.

Sigh. Please just make it all go away.


Somebody got to him ...

Yeah, I read that article and was a little stunned. From what I read the game against Colorado was really a no-show, with only Thoresen singled out as a guy who played well and hard. Although Pouliot was an even in that mess so not sure why he and others are getting thrown under the bus.

Management gave up last July. At least the players didn't until the end of March.

Somebody got to him ...

He probbly just decided to move on to new targets. There are so many these days.

I thought the article was completely unfair. If this fellow truly is the voice of the fan, why doesn't he make an appointment with Kevin Lowe at his office, walk in, sit down and say "What in the name of FUCK are you doing?"

Otherwise, it's same shit, different pile. Go to the park, find a dog chasing it's tail.

That's where we are, doesn't matter if you're Dan Barnes, Terry Jones or Andy Grabia.

Kevin Lowe is like the guy who used to be in my roto baseball league. We'd all look forward to draft day when he'd spend $2 on Mark Wohlers before he became a closer, and he was right often enough early on for the rest of us to be in a bit of awe.

But after awhile he started drafting Hector Carrasco for $25 and we knew what he was.

One of us.

I emailed Barnes asking him what gives?

His reply was that he has taken management to task but based on the effort (or lack thereof) that the veteran forwards gave on Wednesday he felt that they should be taken to task.

Yeah I suppose it doesn't help things if all the Edmonton media is unfair. Barnes pretty much just posted the exact opposite of the Pollyanna nonsense we see everyday in the Edmonton papers and that doesn't get us any closer to reality now does it?

Part of me wants to cheer him on just on principle though. The Oilers org could use some unfair son-of-a-bitches in the media at this point. For some reason, the management concluded that their shit doesn't stink so I don't mind watching them get railed across the board. On the ice, off the ice, at the draft table, in the boardroom, all of the above - I don't care. Let 'em have it. If Dan Syvret goes down as an innocent bystander, so be it.

I find it hard to get riled up over somebody willing to take a swing at the Oilers right now. They're that unique combination of defenseless and asking for it.

His reply was that he has taken management to task but based on the effort (or lack thereof) that the veteran forwards gave on Wednesday he felt that they should be taken to task.

Makes sense to me. I just hope he heads back towards management soon. And the coaching staff, for that matter. Oilers powerplay. Hello?

I think Lowetide's point is valid, it would be better if Barnes were addressing these questions directly to Lowe. And if Lowe is refusing an audience then Barnes should tell us that (easy for me to say I know).

I remember Mark Spector on the radio, talking about the extent of control of the Oilers on the media. And the fact is that they're the only show in town. We can't reasonably expect the media to tear into these guys the way that they do in the big city.

He explained it as the Lawrence, Nebraska ..... New York, New York continuum. I surely have the words wrong, but that was the gist of it. Lawrence is apparently a big college town with a huge university sports program. And essentially nothing is ever printed or broadcast there that the school doesn't approve of, it's just known.

In New York, the competition is cut-throat, and the reporters know that "if I don't print it somebody else will" ... so it's a free for all and the teams are shown no mercy.

We can all take our own guess at where Edmonton lies on the Lawrence-NY continuum. Personally I'm thinking that it's well to the left, people smarter than me probably disagree. In any case I find it impossible to criticize Barnes for being "unfair" right now, even if he is.

BTW: Is this guy still getting interviews with Oiler players and staff?

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