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I’m Back

June 23, 2010

A lot has happened since May 6th, the last time I wrote here. Chorus Magazine launched, a herd of bees invaded the World Cup, and scores of wildlife decided to take mudbaths in the Gulf of Mexico all at the same time. I’ve had some ups and downs as well, and wouldn’t you know it, they’ve all been related to the beautiful game in some way or another. And by beautiful game I mean hockey. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, that’s the sound soccer makes, and it’s poor.

Quinn: Good move. Renney is extremely sharp and able to motivate young players by giving them structure. The Oilers’ new or semi-new players will be put in situations where they have a chance to succeed, which is a refreshing return to the MacT era, though I don’t think Renney has any of the MacTavishisms that see players like Toby Petersen playing the point on the powerplay. Renney has also demonstrated an ability to keep high-maintenance stars like Jaromir Jagr happy while maintaining a fair balance with the rest of the team. Hemsky will be better this year, you’ll see. And with Hemsky’s improvement you’ll see Penner’s as well.

Draft: Hall. I want them the team to draft Seguin, though I know not what the better choice will be. There’s also a strange feeling in my heart that says I’ll be dissapointed if they don’t draft Hall, though I think Seguin has greater intelligence and will be a stronger ambassador for the team.

Hall of Fame: Who cares?

The summer is nearly upon us, the NHL entry draft will signal the beginning of a new era for the Oilers with Tom renney at the helm and a score of young players battling their way into the league. I said many times last year, I’ve been able to cut myself off emotionally from the Oilers when I desperately need to, during times when their is just simply nothing interesting to talk or write about, but those days seem to reside safely in the past. From here on in, being a fan of the Edmonton Oilers hockey squadron promises to be nothing if not interesting.

I used the word score to describe two different things in this article.


On Coaching

May 6, 2010

Roll the lines? Play to win?

My first spring hockey tournament has come and gone, and it really opened my eyes to the realities of coaching. People have always told me that it’s impossible to please everyone, and this has never rang more true. The parents whose kids get the most ice time should probably keep their mouths shut and just be happy, correct? APPARENTLY NOT. There’s only so much ice to go around, so when you’re rolling the lines, people will be unhappy, and when you load up with your jets, these same people still aren’t happy. Out of my control? Yes.

The lesson here is that as long as you believe in what you’re doing and have a leg to stand on, then hopefully you’ll be able to sleep at night. I had a terrible sleep last night, but that’s due to suddenly living alone and having no blankets. But I’m not complaining, I’ve watched more Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth than I ever thought possible this week. What, hockey? Oh yeah.

I’ve discovered a sure-fire formula for skill development though: don’t listen to the parents. I’ve got an unreal, hard-working group of players that all want to get better. We practice cycle drills where players have to make hard, flat passes, while moving their feet, and taking quick shots, all within the framework of a basic powerplay. It’s awesome. The team concept improves through repetition of individual-based skills. Man I’m tired of being right.

Go Bruins!

Trade Me!

April 21, 2010

As the world comes crumbling down it’s only inevitable to feel pressure from your inner sink-or-swim. All the pieces are in place, everything should work out perfectly, though for some reason it doesn’t. Is there a lack of communication? A difference in philosophy between those giving the orders and those receiving them? When the team is made up of similar levels of talent who all have a common goal, shouldn’t the ship constantly sail in the appropriate direction? Apparently not. I have a soft spot in my heart for the players, those that make mistakes so glaring that even the obvious attempt at an honest effort is little to deter the critics. Like scoring a goal on your own net in overtime in the playoffs, sometimes things simply don’t work out, and no matter how hard you try, things just get worse.

Perhaps the answer is to change situations, place a team-member on a different line in an attempt to generate some chemistry. The problem that will then arise though is that the player is already one known for having difficulty adjusting to new surroundings, and this change could very well have the reverse of the intended effect. No, the issues are deep within the primary players, and it’s unlikely anyone will have the intelligence or patience to extract that pure skill long enough for the chance to win the drink.


Dany Heatley played on the third line last night. Think he’s asking for a trade? This article was about the San Jose Sharks and nothing else.

Marleau for Iginla

April 15, 2010

With the Flames out of the playoffs and having no solace in a first overall draft pick or a GM that sounds like someone flicked his ear, talk has begun regarding shipping someone out of town. Calgarians must have a mortal fear of anything called Sutter, so they’re calling for captain Jarome Iginla’s head. It must be his fault, not all the third liners from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Watching the San Jose Sharks begin their annual choke-drive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night, it donned on me: Patrick Marleau is a better all around player than Thornton or “Camps-in-the-slot” Dany Heatley. Both Calgary and San Jose need a shake-up, Iginla only needs a supportive centreman like Thornton to jump-start his career, and Marleau seems more capable of creating offense on his own, as evidenced by his play in the Olympics.

Alls Well That Ends Well

April 11, 2010

The Edmonton Oilers play their final hockey game of the season tonight against a fellow non-playoff team in the Anaheim Ducks. There’s not a lot to say, though the bottom line remains that this season the Oilers didn’t play well enough to a man, they didn’t score more goals than their opponents on enough occasions, and they ultimately failed in every conceivable way. Sometimes things just don’t work out, and you can try to write about it and talk about it and figure it out until you’re blue in the face, though often you’re left with more questions than answers. This team has questions aplenty, and only those that are blue in the heart as well will stick around to figure it out.

This feels like a post-mortem, which I suppose it is, but obviously there are better times ahead. Well, the team can’t be any worse, that’s a fer-sure, but I’m generally optimistic and excited to stay tuned to the happenings. I learned long ago that if I disconnect myself from a professional sports franchise, then they’re a lot more fun to watch and I learn a lot more when they totally dominate the suck dial every chance they get.

As this is the first year I’ve written articles based around my passion for coaching and watching hockey, I don’t know what’s in store for the off-season. I suppose I can still be whatever I wanna do, so I’ll write more about coaching as I get my spring hockey team rolling. I have some new projects and undertakings that I’m going to be, uh, undertaking, and that all ties in to Barnorth.

Thank you to the Oilers for giving us all so much to write/talk/bitch/complain about this season. ‘Twould be a dark and dreary winter indeed without the game.

Go Wings Oilers.

I’m Happy for Ryan

April 8, 2010

I can see through time.

No, I’m not happy last night, those eyes lit up as he solidified himself as the Oilers’ only overtime hero during this long and sorry season. Whitney is everything he is supposed to be and more, and he reduces the hysteria over the upcoming draft, which is a good thing. The Oilers have a sure thing already, and thy name be Whitney.

I’m not going to go into the archives to find out how many articles I wrote about Tom Gilbert this year (oh wait, I will), but suffice it to say that the Long-harian one was the target of much of my malice toward the team this year. Then Crazy Eyes Whitney dropped into our laps at the expense of the only player on the team that I cheered for at Christmas time, and he decided to bring his little bro Tom with him. Gilbert is playing with flair and confidence, and reminds me of Scott Neidermayer with his offensive zone forays. Am I saying he’s the next Scott Neidermayer? YES. YES I AM SAYING EXACTLY THAT.

The season is almost over. What?

Almost Stanley

March 30, 2010

Without a doubt, this is the most exciting point in the Edmonton Oilers’ 2009/2010 season; mostly because it’s almost over. No one will need to pretend to care, shell out for tickets or ludicrous payperview games, or make up excuses for why they didn’t watch a game. People are scared to come across as wagon-jumpers, so they sit through pure misery just to prove to themselves that the hockey squadron they adore so much feels supported. Wait, what’s that? They couldn’t care less? Well then, uh… you’re a squadron!

Really it’s not the aforementioned misery that people are avoiding these days; it’s the unadulterated boredom. That’s right, the boredom is now lacking adultery, that’s just how boring it is. There’s a light at the end of the pipe however, in the way of the NHL’s entry draft and the promise of a wee bit o’ excitement when free agency opens for business on July 1st. I think the Oilers are going to do something, which ’round these parts counts as excitment.

And finally, to prove that you aren’t a bandwagon fan, sit your tired self down over the next two months and watch the playoffs. The Stanley Cup run is what hockey is all about, and if I were Pat Quinn, I’d make it mandatory for my players to watch every single game, even though that’s impossible. Except this one time that my roomate and I had two TV’s going side by side, both of them swapping games, so in essence we watched four hockey matches all at once. Try it, I dare you. If anything, it’s a sure-fire way to get rid of that unadultery thing.

I don’t even know who I am anymore.