Tuesday, February 19

Now's when we want to try some new line combo's!

First of all, I hate that calling for the coach's head after a loss automatically qualifies me as some know nothing radio call in show reject but seriously? Tonight was just plain atrocious. Our magical goalie was kicking out rebounds like I get kicked out of Vegas strip clubs for breaking that "no touchy touchy" rule. Ales Hemsky actually pulled a laz-boy recliner out on the ice at one point and caught up on some light reading. In a stroke of brilliance Dustin Penner, who I was surprised to find wasn't scratched the last 7 games but has, get this, supposedly been out on the ice, is now playing center for our checking line! And yet the radio hosts continue to bust all the "coach's fault" callers' balls. Well guess what, I'm a fan, fan's (and multinational beer conglomerates) are the people paying the salaries. We buy the tickets, the third third, away fourth practice, and retro special limited edition Klima jerseys. I want to be able to fire the coach.

The Oilers have been playing their best hockey of the year. Ever since having their bottoms tanned a lovely rosy pink by the San Jose Sharks some time ago there was a call to arms led by, of all people, Zach "Huggy Bear" Stortini. The Oilers were suddenly not the passive, glasses taped together, test the backup goalie against, draw hearts with sparkly macaroni on that date of the calendar team to play against. We were tough! We were strong like bull! Hungry like the wolf! We were mean and we hit people and we made them cry. We won 4 of 5 games. Then we lost an absolute heartbreaker to the Canucks. A game we deserved to win and only lost because of two flukey goals off our own guys. We left two hundred yards of skin (incidentally the name of Russell Crowe's band) and more blood than Richard Zednik's carotid on the ice that night. I spoke with Moose about the next game being the real test. A test of this new mettle. Well, that mettle is brittle.

MacT had two days of practice in Nashville at what was once and may still be called the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Apparently Predators coach and man voted least likely to pull of a turtle neck Barry Trotz attended both of them. This got into MacT's head. MacT who is second in the league for bench minors caused by too many men penalties. MacT who actually had to run "change on the fly" drills for his team. MacT who decided to change up all the lines! That'll be a shocker to ole Trotsky! He'll never be able to handle the four wonkiest combinations of players ever seen on an NHL lineup card! The lines worked like this...

Hemsky - Reasoner - Stoll
Moreau - Penner - Pisani
Cogliano - Gagner - Nilsson
And the same old fourth line.

Now, best case scenario, with everyone playing at their utmost, how are these lines supposed to click? I guess Gagner could pass it to Nilsson, other than that... what are we hoping for? Then! With the game improbably tied at four late in the third period, let's chuck Dustin Penner out there for a draw in OUR OWN END! This man isn't a center! He's barely even a hockey player! And being down with 2 minutes left let's not put Gagner out there. He only has a 7 game point streak and a goal and assist tonight already. Nope. Let's put our first line center Marty Reasoner out there. Oh! And those "change on the fly" drills really panned out, what with both the first two goals coming from rushes from terrible line changes. Wow. Let's run line change drills and then, change all the lines! That ought to stop us from getting confused when we shift on the fly. Right?

So, the team that was playing its best hockey, not good enough to get into the playoffs but fun to watch at least, is now a random collection of players who have no idea what the name of the person lining up on either side of them is. I truly believe that if the lines had been the same as last game the team would have come out straight off of that Vancouver bloody brawlfest and torn it up. There was an awful lot of talk about the new feeling of "team" that had grown from all this physical play and sticking up for one another. So let's shake it up, right MacT? Well, maybe we should shake up the coaching staff. Holy christ I'm angry. C'mon Wash, close your eyes, just imagine combing out Klima's curly locks. Mmmmm, that's the stuff.