Thursday, August 9


NORTE: Dispatch. This desk. I’m wearing a pink shirt.

1988 was a leap year. It was also the same year that the Soviet Union began its program of economic restructuring, Perestroika, with legistration initiated by Premier Gorbachev. Also that year we were struck by the tragedy in Taiwan when President Chiang Ching-kuo suddenly died in Taipei. But secretly and guiltily happy for ingoing Vice-President Lee Teng-hui. That year even God was shocked when on his television show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart confessed to an unspecified sin. It was later revealed to be an affair with a prostitute named Debra Murphee. Said liaison making Swaggart leave the pulpit. Temporarily.

And of course who could forget that at the same time The Great Seto Bridge was opening to traffic in Japan, the Oscars were being swept by Bernardo Bertolucci and his Last Emperor.

On a sadder note: Amazing Spiderman #300 was released that year. It featured Spiderman’s first fight with his arch-nemesis Venom or Eddie Brock.

But the most memorable. Certainly the most tragic, much much sadder them the death of thousands of protestors in Burma, now known as Myanmar during anti-government demonstrations. Was the news that broke the morning of August 9 1988.

I was in a Shoppers Drug Mart shoplifting a bottle of Paco Rabanne cologne when I caught the front page of the paper. The crumpled tissue, bloodshot eyes, Slavic nose, wardrobe by Alexander Julian. I promised Mess I wouldn’t do this: Wayne Gretzky, fancy dresser, hometown boy, corporate shill, greatest hockey player ever. That’s ever, bitches. Ever. Traded to the LA KINGS. I felt like I got kicked in the nuts. And I knew, even then, that I would never forget that moment.

Moose Droppings...

Random thoughts from Oil Country:

- Simpson Joins HNIC

More than a few fans rejoiced yesterday when Assistant Coach Craig Simpson decided to return to the broadcast booth with Hockey Night In Canada. The man who was universally blamed for the Oilers' inept power-play last season, now becomes the second best broadcaster in his family, behind his sister Christine. In truth, Simpson took too much of the blame for the PP woes and got none of the credit for the PK, which was ranked #1 or #2 in the league for the majority of the season. The Oilers have started the search for a new Assistant Coach whose primary job will be to master the phrase "Hemsky to Souray."

One of my lasting memories of Craig Simpson as a player came during the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals. With the Oilers leading the series 3-0 but trailing the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 4, Simpson scored to tie the game just moments before the famous power failure in Boston Garden. Because the score was tied, the game was called and the series switched back to Edmonton where the Oilers were able to complete the 'five game sweep' on home ice.

- "He's Ricci Ugly"

After careful calculations, I've determined that I think about the Edmonton Oilers 37% of the time I'm awake. With that kind of quantity, you've got to surrender some quality. Today I was thinking about who the worst Edmonton Oiler of all-time was. I'm pretty sure it was Gord Mark. Playing just 30 games from 1993-95, Mark impersonated an orange cone on the blueline, and bore a striking resemblance to the character 'Sloth' from the movie "Goonies" (not to be confused with the character 'Chunk', from whom you should never take legal advice, lest you end up 'blogging' for a career).

- Glenn Anderson

On several occasions I've had conversations with people (okay, Greener) who seem to think the players of today are much better than past generations simply on the basis of athleticism. This usually leads to Greener embarrassing himself by talking in inferences about the 80's Oilers, which he never saw play because he was too busy walking the streets of Soho in his beret, and painting "Chinese Money." But I digress. If there is anyone out there who thinks those Oilers couldn't stick with the Ovechkin's and Crosby's of today, I give you Glenn Anderson. Skilled, fearless, speed to burn and more jam than this.

It's a crime that this man is not in the Hall of Fame:

I Promised Moose I Wouldn't Do This

19 years ago today.

Also: Gretz TOTALLY snubbed me in the Kings practice facility 1 year ago.

Go Norte! Go Norte!

NORTE: Dispatch; this desk. It's Wednesday and that stabbing pain from yesterday has now moved from my neck to my pancreas. Norte is the name, please don't wear it out.

(Pause for applause)

Today I was walking with my 22 month old son and he and I were chatting. I must tell you that we were also dressed exactly the same; black low top converse, army fatigue shorts, ironic t shirts. We knew we looked good. We were discussing who the all time greatest guitar player ever was. We were agreeing to disagree, realizing that ones man's Eddie Van Halen is another man's Yngwie Malmsteen, when one of us…I wont mention who, (me), brought up the idea of the all history dream team. And before you go and bastardize Abbot and Costello and say The Who's Pete Townsend's on first…let me tell you that we are no longer talking about guitar players…we're talking about the NHL here bitches. That's the National Hockey League, national.

The bigs.

At one point during the conversation my son fell asleep. I continued walking with him of course. Cos seriously no matter how hard I shake him, he just won't wake up. (Just in case you didn't know…that was a physical abuse joke at my own expense.) Regardless…as we strolled past the discount nail salons and sex shops, amid the clutter that's exactly the same in every city on earth, I began to amass my dream team. A few times I lost track and began to wonder just how many sex shops are needed on one city block….because let me tell you…I walked past a lot of them. Also, no pun intended but, there is a huge market in rubber penises. If I had a lot of money, that's what I would invest in, rubber penis production. So amid the sexy accoutrement in the windows as we strolled past, the lines began forming in my head. My only proviso was that they had to play their actual positions. Of course the names started coming at me. And let's face it; some names are more obvious than others. To take a page from the sex shops, Gretzky, for example, would be handcuffs. Mink lined. Michel Goulet on the other hand, as a selection, would be Nipple Clamps. I mean he had a moustache, didn't he? Marcel Dionne would be anal beads: small ones. I won't even get into the Pocket Rocket. Regardless.

My first line would consist of…on left wing, Bobby Hull. I heard he would practice in the off season by shooting pucks made of iron.

On center: It's Gretzky. No two ways about it. The greatest. Put the word in italics. The greatest.

On right wing. Gordie Howe. Would you really want to follow the puck into the corner with Gordie fucking Howe?

My second line (which I have dubbed The French Connection line) consists of…on left wing: Mr. nipple clamps himself, free moustache ride Michel Goulet.

Center: Mario Lemieux. Another obvious choice I know…he's like Gretzky. A set of handcuffs….pardon me, les handcuff.

Right Wing: The Flower, Guy Lefleur. Two minute for looking so good. Are you kidding me….him coming down the wing, sans helmet, his gorgeous toupee super glued down. That summa-ma-bitch can give you a knuckle sandwich, a Stanley Cup ring on every finger.

Third line: Sergio Momesso…no…just kidding. Hey right here I would love to say Jari Kurri…cos I am so needy that I want Moose to like me. But since they have to play their actual positions…I'll say Frank Mahovlich.

Centered by the Trashman! Or is it trashcan…? No it's the trashman. For all Esposito did during the summit series alone. Up to, and including this:

Right Wing. Mike Bossy. For some reason I feel sorry for Mike Bossy. But he was amazing. Almost as good, in the early 80's with that Titan stick, as Gretzky. I heard he was a chain smoker and smoked between periods. That's kinda awesome. Mike Bossy at the smoking door.

The 4th line: Look a dream fourth line left wing would be Gilbert Perrault or Sittler…fuck Ron Francis, Adam Oates (who I think is underrated) but…it's gotta be a true left winger. I have to go with Gary Roberts here. There are better scoring left wingers but I'm going with Roberts. Centered by another guy I feel sorry for. Drafted number 2 behind Lafleur. Marcel Dionne. The man literally was the top of a hockey trophy tall. I heard he collects everything he can find from mid 20th Century Danish designer Børge Mogensen.

Right wing…I really really wanted to put Mike Gartner here…another choice could be Jagr. But I am going with Maurice Richard.

On defense: 1. LD Number 4, Bobby Orr. RD Number 7, Paul Coffey

2nd. LD, Mr. Raymond Bourque. RD. Dennis Potvin.

3rd . LD, Big Bird, Larry Robinson. I heard that when the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 76 -77. They were invited to meet then President Gerald Ford…and Robinson wore a brown tuxedo. He also had a moustache. Beside him I have to go with my hometown boy. I have one word for you Borje!

4th line: Doug Harvey and Niklas Lidstrom.

Goalies. If this was based on who had the wickedest mask…it would be Mike Palmateer hands down. Sadly we have to expand the criteria…so I am going to go with Martin Brodeur and Pat Roy.