Wednesday, October 24

MacT to fans: "Everything's fine!"

As the great scholar and poet Fry from Futurama once said, "Nothing's wrong with anything." And I'm sure that's where Kevin Lowe and MacT thought up the poison being poured into the ears of Oiler fans. I know its early in the season but last nights game, amidst all the foufarou of Smitty's homecoming, stood as an important benchmark for me, a game I'd circled at the start of the season and not just because of the return of the human hair waterfall. The team has been plagued by the same thing which plagued them since the loss of their C'less captain, a lack of heart. I know, obvious yes? But if you look at the games so far this year, unless the team is down and desperate we're not seeing any emotion. There are still no hits save for when Zack "I was the WWF's Brooklyn Brawler in the early 90's" Stortini is on the ice and sure, there have been some slick moves and moments of excitement otherwise, but boy oh boy, this team doesn't have a heart. It doesn't help that our hopeful heart replacement has been sidelined by a nagging ankle, or that our hometown hero (of being overpaid for having a disease) is out forever, or that our veteran stud free agent signing is now on the IR list, OR that the majority of our team is comprised of elementary school kids. But I've seen it, the talent is there. So surely on this night, when the old soul of our team showed up, surely THIS game would be the one we've been waiting for all year. Right? RIGHT!? Nope. First period, no one shows up, Oilers fail once more.

Back in that glory year a little ways back all our semi-vets, Stoll, Horc, etc, played wonderfully! Career years! What did that team have that this one doesn't? Okay, yes, the best defenceman in the league, sure, but I value that SOB for more than his play, it was his leadership that made the difference. We had Smitty leading by example, Pronger leading by example and with his voice, and Peca/J Smith/Roli leading in a variety of ways. Now, what, Ales Hemsky with an A?
So, we were lacking that leader last year, we're sure as heck lacking it this year without Los Mulletos, so we need to look to our coaches, right? Surely MacT can chuck us on his back and carry us to the promised land, right? Two points. First, power play. Yes, its been dismal. Barren. Worst ever. An embarrasment. It loses us games and momentum. And our answer to that? Keep on plugging away! Lose Pitkanen and Souray on the point? Put in Grebeshkov and Stoll and keep shooting from the point! Hey! Put Hemmer up on the half boards and then everyone else stand in non-shooting positions! Like two guys behind the net! Then, when Hemmer skates to the faceoff dot and back he can.... pass it down low so we lose it! Or, up to the point, so we can shoot it from there some more. Have there been any adjustments? Have we tried working from down low like Calgary did when they destroyed us with the same play four times? Nope! Half boards, point shot, half boards, point shot. You gotta know Simmer's tickled that it ain't his fault anymore.
And the second point relates directly to that mention of the Calgary game. We got scored on the exact same way, and there were countless other opportunities from the same play, over and over and over again Where's that adjustment? Did Calgary crack the code? Turns out there's one play where if you carry the puck behind the net and pass it in front there's no defending it. They finally found the foolproof way to score! Like the one timer in ever iteration of video hockey ever! Darnit! Leave it to Keenan. Come to think of it, I've seen goals against from that same play in at least three games. Is that the defencemen or the coach? Where does that blame lie?
It feels like the team is stagnating. We've had a huge swing in rosters over the last 8 years under MacT's tutelage and we've failed pretty much every year with the exception of the year we had the best defenceman in the league on our team and career years from the entire roster. So what's the through line here? I hate to say it because I enjoy the guy's interviews and the fact that his skin matches his hair perfectly, but maybe MacT's gotta go. And don't tell me that its early, and that the team is plagued by injuries, and that its a young team, and blah blah blah. Our players are not playing to their potential, none of them, is the entire team just having another off year? Gee, tough luck for us! Or does there have to be a shake up? What do we have to lose other than the rest of our games?
I dunno, what are your thoughts?