Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Vs. announcers are apparently in a drought

Argh, argh, triple argh. (expanded from earlier posts today)

I am not one of those fans who is automatically baying for blood whenever my team loses, but dude, we suck these days and it is depressing and terrible to watch and I am finally losing patience. I'm watching Canucks vs. Dallas right now to try and get the nasty taste out of my mouth. Was Horcoff saved from the zombies that came through and bit the whole roster by being out of town last weekend? Because he, Moreau, and intermittantly Pisani and Hemsky, were the only players who looked literally alive out there tonight.

Only compounding matters was the disturbing commentary by the Vs. team, featuring such quotes as "there are two bulls rutting at center ice" and "a buxom rebound off the pillows." I have to say, "buxom rebound" is not a phrase I ever want to hear again.

Moving on, the NHL is pushing its new promos online. Besides the expected array of Crosbiliciousness, and the requisite OMG the NHL has discovered the interwebs spots, there's this spot, which is clearly not new and which seems a little... weird... to me. Am I alone in this belief?

Let's review. Gretzky, Lemieux, and Howe appear to be terminally depressed robots who can open rifts in the space-time continuum to witness their past glories (well, the past glories of the humans they are replicating). The "current" players are straight out of some sort of awful horror movie framing, and I have to restrain the urge to shout "Run Robot Wayne, run!" when they start banging their sticks on the ice, because it is clear they are circling in for the kill. I'm surprised the NHL is feauturing such a shockingly Crosby-free promo on the site, (as their world is measured in B.C (Before Crosby) and the present era.) and also I think it may give me nightmares tonight, as if if tonight's game wouldn't have already.

(I swear the promised Falcons stuff is coming, I've just had a busy start to the week.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shinny Sedin-y Silliness

NHL.com has an amusing interview with Henrik Sedin here--worth a read.

I know tonight wasn't 'real' hockey, but it was awfully good fun I thought, and sadly, the way the Oilers have been going I needed to be reminded that hockey is fun and that's why I watch it. Legace and DiPietro were a real hoot mic'd, and it was delightful to see Nash (robbed of the MVP, IMHO) and Ovechkin having such a gleeful time with such pretty goals, not to mention the fabulously funny moment with Nabokov robbing Kovalchuk. I'd also like to point out that Horc always made his presence felt during his ice time and that's nothing to sneeze at.

Alyssa Milano embarrasses me and my gender, when it comes to sports. That is all.

Tomorrow I'll try to get up pictures and thoughts from a Springfield Falcons game I went to a few weeks ago. I would have put them up sooner but have been cursed with uncooperative camera batteries.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Horcoff has fun, is fast!

I think All-Star games, in the end, are about the need of everyone connected to hockey (or baseball, etc), be they players, fans, management, or media, to at least get to pretend that these ridiculously physically gifted multi-millionaires are at heart getting a kid's pleasure out of playing a kid's game. It's okay that they get so much attention and money and fun because they're showing that they understand how damn lucky they are to do so.

But you know, this ritual really works, and I have absolutely nothing against it. It was pure joy to see Shawn Horcoff in the skills competition tonight, getting the recognition that he so deserves. The fact that he won the speed event came second to the big grin on his face all evening, and the fact that every time the camera was on him, he seemed to be a fun teammate for everyone else too. As an Oilers fan, I'm proud of that. Gagner looked like he might faint or pop with excitement and that was sweet as well.

I love that my Eastern Conference (Flyers) fan college roommate was getting to see folks I babble about when we talk hockey over the phone or email (or texting tonight) play, be they my faves (Horc, H. Sedin), or objects of the spear (Phaneuf, Pronger). I enjoyed seeing Legace having a relaxed and silly time tonight, and getting my first sense of Ovechkin as someone with an individual personality. I've seen most of these guys in games before, but tonight was a chance to see them having fun with their peers, and catch of glimpse of them as people. In my professional/academic life, I study media theory, and though artificial and contrived "glimpses"of "private" selves of celebrities is a very interesting topic, I feel way more confident that I got a glimpse of DiPietro's "real" personality than I'd ever see of a movie star's. Maybe that's where star athletes are still separated out from the other celebrities, and I think it's because we're watching them at play.

Speaking of play and peers, I do have a disappointment so far with the (my first NHL) All-Star weekend. I'm unhappy that the league arbitrarily selected one Sedin and not the other (look at their stats, it's ridiculous!) when conceptually and practically, the two are a unit. That said, I'm looking forward to the game tomorrow night, and to getting to "know" some new (to me) players. I'm impressed they still managed to utter the word "Crosby" many times tonight, and will be keeping tally on that tomorrow.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Be Weary of the Kid Line: How I learned to stop worrying about Gene Principe and love the shootout

Dare I say it, tonight was Crosbylicious. Just as I was sinking into despair, neurotically fretting about why on Earth FSN Florida kept showing me Gene Principe in a cape, and wondering how that goal couldn't have counted in the review, the Oilers came back! Sure, it was to the shootout of course, but I have to say, Shawn Horcoff cannot be overrated in my eyes right now.

I'm impressed that the "Be Weary of the Kid Line" as a "key to the game" persisted throughout eight or so displays of that graphic for FSN. But maybe a lesson can be taken from this misspelling that it's time to be weary of discussing ad infinitum how the weight of the world rests on the kid line .

So beside Horc and Garon, what else did we do right tonight?


So K-Lowe, where's my AHL-fresh hockey players?

I've learned that complaining (politely, of course) works. After Tuesday's "soy sauce beer" debacle, I emailed the brewery and told them my sad story. Last night I got a lovely email back from them, apologizing and offering to send me "brewery-fresh" replacements. I sincerely could not be happier with this as a customer service experience. Support your local (or non-local) microbrewery! Feeling boosted by my success, I offer a modified version of my letter to them now addressed to Kevin Lowe in the hopes a similar response can be obtained:

Subject: Spoiled Oilers Game

Dear Mr. Lowe and EIG,
I've much enjoyed your hockey team after discovering them five years ago. I had a sad surprise on retuning home from a trip, to discover the remaining Oilers players left on my roster had spoiled and now played more like soy sauce than like my beloved NHL team. If you can alert me to any production codes on the players with which I was so frustrated Tuesday night, I will pass them along to you so you'll know which batch had this problem. If you can offer me some sort of recompense for this awful game, I'd be quite grateful, as I'm a poor grad student who watches less baseball than I might so I can have time for your usually premium stuff.
Married to the Oil

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Goes together like... the Oilers and spoiled beer?

I think it was around the second goal, the one Rollie didn't even see, that D asked me if I wanted a beer. The answer was an emphatic yes, little knowing what kind of an Alanis Morrisette-style ironic was going to be served up with it. In a hockey game filled with spoiled chances, I discovered over the course of the next 30-odd minutes of play that I had come back from a lengthy holiday trip to a fridge stocked with spoiled microbrew, in a flourish straight out of indie-movie hell. One bottle after another was cracked open to discover it tasted like soy sauce, so I guess the Oilers metaphorically tasted like soy sauce too last night. To drag this awful comparison further, both the beer and my team were OK when I left for Alberta in December, but at some point for each I guess, something went terribly wrong even though, my bachelor's-in-English heart would like to add, both were kept well-chilled the entire time.

I'm done with that now. I promise.

I'm under the impression that NHL Center Ice is a better deal in the US than it is in Canada, in terms of pricing structure and what it includes. Maybe I'm totally wrong. But anyway, we get all of the Oilers PPV games, and I have to say I'm pretty glad we're not paying $13 each for them. From Gene Principe getting snubbed by the equipment guy (which I guess is at least some variation from his usual interview style of: Why is your team playing so badly? Uh huh. But, would you say that you're playing badly, and why?) to Rob Brown's constant and extremely disturbing leering at the camera and his broadcast partner, to the "my angry teenage kid did this on the computer!" style music they played with their interminable spinning logo or upcoming PPV games screen, one got the feeling that while one might be paying premium prices, one is not getting the A or even B broadcast team, so much as maybe the L team? The stuff with the little kids playing hockey was predictable filler, but undeniably cute. Disturbing however, was that Sam Gagner's mom did not look any older than the moms of the seven-year-olds in the featurettes. This supports my theory that Mr. Gagner cannot be older than 10, but I'm getting old and cranky, I know. Speaking of Mr. Gagner, what was up with that stupid poll on naming the line?

Beyond harping about PPV, what is there really to say about this game? They didn't play well enough to win. They made some stupid decisions. They tried, but it wasn't enough. I don't know how to fix them. I'll limit myself to this: I hope Moreau is okay--seeing that much blood on a jersey makes me highly distressed and gets me compensatorily chanting to myself, nothing bleeds more than a scalp or a lip, even if it's very superficial. What heart he played with--even after getting whacked like that--not leaving the ice until play stopped. For once the PPV team got something right, in saying "That's why he's the captain."

Heal up soon, Captain.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


The Crosby Crosbies will be Crosby-less for 6-8 Crosbies, and Crosby will miss the All-Crosby game on Crosby, according to Crosby.com.

This leaves the Crosby: Will we hear less about Crosby for those 6-8 weeks? Will normal verbs, nouns, and other adjectives be dusted off and brought back into usage, strange as they feel? Will the Edmonton Journal have to change its layout and no longer build an entire sport page around a daily Crosby picture?

Seriously, I wish Sid the Kid the best. He must be at least as bemused as I am by how obsessively he's discussed in the hockey sphere. He seems like a great guy with a good head on his shoulders, and I hope he has a speedy recovery during which no one is asking him to produce a soundbite every forty seconds, for once.

Oilers vs. Tampa tonight. Tampa is terrible right now. Is there any way we can win? This worries me.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oilers win? WOOT!

Staring urgently at the young players actually works? Yeesh, I should have tried this weeks ago!

As you may have guessed from my Sedin post, and will see in the weeks to come, I'm a Swede-o-phile. Maybe it's that most of my furniture is from Ikea, that my favorite coffeeshop is in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, the constant stream of cheery techno/silly videos that ever seem to issue from that northern clime, or maybe it's just that I like my hockey with a little salmon and butterfat. Who knows.

In that vein, though, I need to comment on one Garnet Exelby of the NHL. Despite his supposed origin in Saskatchewan, does he, or does he not, have a name that indicates he came flat-packed from Ikea, with some assembly required? Does the goalie model ("Crossnet Exelby", I presume?) cost a bit more and require a different caliber allen key?


I'm well aware the Oil is playing Atlanta right now, but through some annoying quirk the game doesn't seem to be available through our Center Ice. Booo-urns!

I'm listening to 630 CHED online, but don't really have anything pithy to say about the game yet, other than that I love the player names Rod invents in the heat of the moment and find myself wishing players with those names actually existed. Also, when I was a newbie and we listened to ALL the games online, I seriously thought, because of Rod's "inventiveness," that "loose puck" was Ulanov's nickname.

So with lack of high-level Oilers stimulation, I found myself looking at the NHL team sites, and became enveloped in hopeless giggles over the Canucks site. Take a look in the upper right hand corner, and you'll see what I like to think of as a beautiful synechdoche of dealing with the Canucks. It's a Sedin. A D. Sedin, to be specific, peeking eerily around the corner.

This leaves you with a thought process quite similar to playing Vancouver. Ack! It's a Sedin! So where's the other one? He has to be around here somewhere! How many of them are there, anyway?!

I have to admit, I really like the Sedins. They're weird in a fun way, be it their NHL ad last year, or just the persistent uncanniness of their presence and stats. I was very stoked when I found out that not only had my father-in-law gotten us Oilers tix for our visit but that they were vs. Vancouver to boot and I could see the weirdness in person. They did not disappoint, and the Oil actually won (in the shootout, natch) so it was great night altogether.

Listening while blogging has not disapointed either: Rod seemed to be saying that his sandwich has run out of pencils (?!) and has already had a bit of a tiff with Morley over how much was left on the clock and how Morley could possibly know it.

Penner SCORES!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Do "Brind'Amour" and "love" ever belong in the same sentence?*

*yes, I am a terrible, shallow, person, to judge another human--who undoubtedly has people who love him--on the basis of his mug. Losing makes me mean and I'm sorry.

I can't bring myself to say much about last night. It was the kind of game that makes a girl want to spend the day in her bathrobe and sulk. All I will say is that I was a bit disturbed by the propensity of the announcers to keep saying "You have to love... Brind'Amour..." etc. Do I? Really? Showing him in closeup, for long, long clips was not really helping that cause.

Let's talk about the future. Surely if we stare at these kids long enough and hard enough, they'll start playing like seasoned veterans, no?


Friday, January 18, 2008

Carolina? I spear you!

So I see we're playing Carolina tonight, thanks to my fabulous Rexall Place "Game Day" calendar I bought whilst we spent Christmas with the in-laws. (I hear one can also garner such information on the inter-webs, but I prefer this method, which allows me to look at a "candidly" posed Ethan Moreau while I do so.)

Effing Carolina and "Joe Camel" Brindamour. Even if he wasn't excessively unpleasant to look at, I'd have a grudge. We watched most of the 2006 playoffs with friends in Chicago (where we were living at the time) and totalled 2 transplanted Oilers fans, 1 newbie Oilers fan (me) and 2 transplanted Leafs fans (cheering for the Canadian team, natch) at our little gatherings. It was nice. Orange food, orange beer (well, bottle labels and caps anyway): we had a theme going. One of those themes was "spearing" the opposition with handy utensils, in symbolic effigy as it were. This is when I learned that women (myself included) are much louder, angrier, and more deranged hockey spectators in polite company than the men are. This did not displease me.

In the midst of the Cup final, my transplanted Oilers fan and I got married, and that evening, as we watched Game 6, I promised the hockey gods that if the Oilers won the Cup, I would show sufficient gratitude by finding an old-school MacT jersey and wearing it to our later wedding reception in Alberta instead of any kind of "dress".

So I blame Carolina for my just about freezing my rear off in a stupid sundress out near St. Paul that August.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

12 rounds of shootout and all I got was this stupid blog?

In the end, I'm not sure what annoys me more tonight: That we found a way to make the inevitable shootout even more grueling than usual, or the voice of the Caps color guy. Seriously, they thought he was the right type for the broadcasting biz?

And so begins my tentative contribution to the Oilogosphere I've been enjoying as a lurker.