Cue Up The Brass Bonanza
I am too distraught to write much, but I'll give er' the old college try:
I watched the game on NBC again, and was again pleased by the coverage. My only complaint was that they kept putting on an advisory note telling people in Spokane (the NBC feed we get in Edmonton) that Everybody Loves Raymond would be on after the game. Is hockey so unpopular in the U.S.--even in a region with the Spokane Chiefs--that a repeat of a show that ended a year ago is given such powerful credence?
The powerplay cost us this game. Again. Again. Again. But I'll give Carolina credit. They have clearly watched the Oilers powerplay at work, and figured out how to defeat it. I would give up three Ales Hemsky's for one Peter Nedved right now. Not a single Oiler knows how to do anything other than pass the puck to the point.
I wish MacT would pull a Mike Keenan on Ales Hemsky and bench him for prolonged periods of time. I counted at least four times--before I passed out from oxygen deprivation--where Hemsky had a good scoring chance from the slot and instead made a pass that ended up going the other way. And he has obviously rubbed off on Shawn Horcoff, who did the exact same thing on a play in the 1st period. John Davidson remarked that Hemsky reminds him of a young Alexei Kovalev, and I couldn't agree more. Too much of an emphasis on making the perfect play with a fancy pass, rather than just shooting. When Kovalev was younger, he used to take really long shifts on the ice. Keenan cured him of that by refusing to let him come off the ice. MacT should do something similar, like maybe reopening that cut on Hemsky's neck with a rusty blade every time he doesn't shoot the puck, or forcing him to dry hump with a mustached Todd Harvey. Anything, so long as he gets the message.
We blew chunks again in the 2nd period. Totally outhit, outplayed, outhustled, outmojoed...everything. If it wasn't for Jussi, this game would have been over at the 30 minute mark. But can everyone stop raving about Cam Ward, please? Did he make a single tough save all night? Rave about Carolina's defence all you want--five plumbers and an aging stalwart (Wesley) being held together by duck tape and sheer will-- but enough with the Ward circle-jerk.
The Chris Pronger turnover that led to the second Carolina goal was mind-numbingly stupid. Instead of putting it up the left board or flipping it high in the air, he tried a pass across the center of the rink. Awful. I haven't felt that depleted since a marathon masturbation session in 1994 that left me dehydrated and permanently turned off by Candice Bergen.
Cosh liveblogged the game, and does a fine job breaking it down. I do take issue with a comment he made in his Game Three analysis, however. It made me want to punch him in the uterus for saying it. In that post, Cosh stated, "Pronger is a Hall of Famer no matter what happens; so, probably, is Brind'Amour." Um, excuse me? Rod Brind'Amour is a Hall of Famer? In what league? Is it one that rewards guys for having faceoff prowess, low body fat, Joe Camel's vagina nose and a wife who cheats on you with Eric Lindros? Because then yes, Brind'Amour is a shoo-in. But if it is one that rewards a player for being an elite on-ice performer for the length of his career, then the answer should surely be be in the negative. The guy only reached the 80 point plateau three times in his career. He made the All-Star roster once. In 2003-2004, he scored 38 points. Maybe Cosh was still hopped up on quaaludes from his stomach virus, or maybe he was trying to direct some bad karma Brind'Amour's way. I don't know. But I do know that if Joe Camel makes it into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the bar on hockey excellence has fallen very far indeed.
Before Oilers games this year, a few lines from the Nina Simone song "Feeling Good" have been played, followed by "Pump It" by the Black Eyed Peas. Well, I ain't feeling too good right now. If someone had told me two months ago that the Edmonton Oilers would end up in the Stanley Cup Finals, I would have been ecstatic. I would have been ecstatic if they had told me two months ago that the Whalers/Canes would win the Stanley Cup. Yet now neither scenario pleases me. I never expected the Canes and Oilers to be facing each other for all the marbles, and I sure as hell ain't happy now about the Oilers being one loss away from Finals elimination. Rather than being pleased as plums with both teams, I am now on the brink of being heart-broken by both. The Canes have been the better team, and will now win the Stanley Cup, but I couldn't be unhappier about it. All I can do is sigh.