Monday, March 20, 2006

Running The Gauntlet


Function: noun
Etymology: by folk etymology from gantelope

a double file of men facing each other and armed with clubs or other weapons with which to strike at an individual who is made to run between them

The Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks face off three times this week, in what are likely be make-or-break games for both sides. The Oilers are currently in 6th place in the Western Conference, one point behind Colorado and five points behind Calgary. In their last 10 games, the Oilers have a record of 4-3-3. The Canucks fell into 9th place in the Western Conference last night, but are still only a point behind Edmonton, two behind Colorado, and six behind Calgary. Key injuries and the total disappearance of Todd Bertuzzi seem to be crushing the Canucks, who are 3-6-1 in their last ten. The Western Conference is still tighter than Bill Wirtz, however, and no team in the Northwest Division is dominating their opponents. Calgary is 5-4-1 in their last ten. Colorado is 5-5-0. If either the Oilers or the Canucks were to win all three games, for example, it would go a long way in solidifying their playoff chances.

Speaking of chances, Tyler at has all the odds on each team in the NHL making the playoffs this year. It is to be updated daily, and will remain at the top of his page for the rest of the year. Now if only Tyler were to run the odds of his blog getting a better name than "mc79hockey". This is how I see it breaking down:

Blog NameOdds
Great Pythagorean Expectations12.4%
Value Over Jamie Lundmark (VOJL)37.2%
Sabre-Metrics: The Art of Winning a Fair Game18.3%
You Down With OBP? Ya, You Know Me!32.1%

The Oilers and Canuck have played each other five times already this year, with the Oilers winning all five games. One was in a shootout, and the other was won in overtime. I actually had no idea about this statistic until I looked at the schedule, but it warms my Vancouver-hating heart. The first game is Tuesday night in Edmonton, with the second game on Thursday night in Vancouver. The season-series wraps in Vancouver on Saturday night, live on Hockey Night in Canada. Hopefully—and I can't believe I am saying this—Greg Millen will return as the colour man for that game. Hearing Ron Tugnutt sputter through another three hours of inanities is about as pleasurable as, well, having Bill Wirtz tug on my nuts for three hours. Ideally, I’d have Damon Killian call the match, but you can't always get what you want.

Damon Killian: There are still plenty of snipers out there. Who do you think will make the next goal?
Kelly Hrudey: Oh my. That's a tough one.
Damon Killian: Come on, Kelly. You can do it. Who do you think?
Kelly Hrudey: Alright, I think the next goal will be made by... Georges Laraques.
Damon Killian: No, no. Kelly, Laraques is a fighter. You have to pick a scorer.
Kelly Hrudey: I can pick anyone I choose. And I choose... Georges Laraques. That boy is one mean motherfucker.

Canucks and Oiler games are my personal favorites, and I find that unlikely to change this week with the two teams playing three games in five nights, with everything on the line. The Oilers have been playing some particularly uninspired hockey as of late, and my confidence in Sir Dwayne: The Unsound Mound of Rebounds has been rattled. I don't know what I was ever thinking, advocating the Oilers pick up a goaltender whose mug shot is so eerily similar to that bug-eyed lawyer whose infomercial runs on Channel 5 all day long. Here’s hoping the Oilers can run through Captain Freedom (Markus Naslund), Buzzsaw (Todd Bertuzzi), Fireball (Anson Carter), Dynamo (Jarkko Ruutu) and Subzero (Alex Auld) on their way to a 4 or 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.


At 11:57 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Seeing as how you're referring to IMDB, I suppose I could point out that the Western playoff race is tighter than Tom Thumbs' ass.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

And since we talking about Ron Tug-nutt, let me say: Larry Bird doesn't do as much ball-handling in one night as you do in an hour.

Oh Del,you loveable bastard.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

You Down With OBP? Ya, You Know Me!

It is just beyond sad that I've made this joke before (at least the OBP? Yeah, you know me!) part.

As for the name of the place...I didn't know what to call it. I didn't want to go with anything uber-pretentious and MC79 has some Oiler board history for me.

I'll have to look at changing it though-you're the second person to comment on a blog that it's a bad name. How soon people forget the early days of Tom Petty.


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