Sunday, June 18, 2006

Going Back To Carolina

After winning Game 6 at home, the Oil and the 'Canes are headed to Carolina for the decisive Game 7 on Monday night. It's worth noting that this is the third consecutive Stanley Cup Final that has gone 7 games (and each time, the Western Conference champion has been a 7th or 8th seed), so parity seems to be alive well, especially since six different teams have appeared in these finals.

Last night, for the first time in these playoffs, I made my way down to Whyte Avenue to watch an Oilers game. We ended up in line at the Elephant & Castle for about two hours - right behind Cosh, funny enough. I should thank him (and about 20 other people) for leaving when the prospects for getting in looked bleak, which allowed my group to get in a few minutes before the puck dropped. In terms of other Edmonton-area celebrities, it was nice to see Mayor Joe Devaney back in these parts of the world, and out on the blue mile. Sadly, I didn't see this guy out there, though I have seen him other nights.

A couple of notes on the crowd during the game:

• Can we try and come up with a more inventive chant than "Let's Go Oilers (fuck Carolina!)"?

• As much as I love seeing everyone in their Oilers jerseys, can we set out a code of rules for which jerseys are appropriate and which aren't? Let me suggest the following:

- The current design (home, away, or third jersey) with the proper name and number of a player currently on the club.
- The 80s jersey (vintage or retro) with the name and number of a player from that era.

- Any Oilers jersey, with no name or number on the back.

- Any Oilers jersey, except the 80s one, that has the name and number of a player who's no longer with the club. (Yes, I'm talking to the guys who had Salo and Marchant jerseys on). It's especially bad if the relevant player is still in the league, and ended up facing the Oilers with his new club in the conference final. The only way I could find this acceptable is if you have a personal connection to a player - such as being an immediate relative/childhood friend, or having fathered the player's love child after downing a few too many jello shots at The Armoury.

Unacceptable, and Worthy of Your Scorn
- Any person who has put their own last name on the back of their jersey. In fact, if they've done that, and put the number 69 on it, you should laugh at them. Repeatedly. If you want your own name on a jersey that badly, join a rec league.

• An observation that only a lawyer would make: "These people know that they don't actually get the Cup, right?" (from a recent law school graduate at my table, in response to the 'We Want the Cup' chant).

• With all that said, I have to give credit to the fans. It seemed like everyone in the city was not only watching the game, but cheering and screaming the entire way through. I don't think that could be said of many other fan bases.

• The crowd post-game was more orderly than it has been in my previous post-game trips to Whyte, ostensibly because of the increased police presence, and the fact that they didn't shut down parts of the street. The latter is the more important move, since if people are forced to keep moving, and cannot stop to congregate, it becomes that much more difficult to cause trouble.

As for the actual game, the win in Game 6 accomplished two important things, aside from the obvious extension of the series:

• The Oil protected their backyard, and won at home. Though the thought of Joe Camel-toe face lifting the Stanley Cup in any venue makes me ill, it would have been ten times worse seeing him do it on our home ice.

• We've gone as far as the Flames did in 2004 (to Game 7 of the finals). Their recent history is now no longer more accomplished than ours, which should hopefully shut their fans up. If we seal the deal, it will be that much sweeter.

Some game analysis:

• The power play finally looked good. The Oil actually started cycling the puck down low, and shooting from the slot instead of the point. Well done, though I'd still feel better with The Hockey Jesus in the lineup.

• Can we go one game without a Matt Greene penalty? Please?

• Is it telling that D-Vo finally came close to scoring (that should have counted, imo) just as soon as Sacamano left the continent, and is no longer around to predict that he'll score? I sense that he's on the verge of shedding his hands of stone. In fact, with Hugh off in Sheffield next year, he'll probably score about 45 goals this coming season, and 'The Curse of Sacamano' will enter into Edmonton Oilers lore.

• Carolina looks tired. I don't know if it's our forecheck, or the age of some of their players, or the grueling seven game series with the Sabres, but they look like they've hit the wall. For those keeping count, however, the Canes have only played one more playoff game than the Oilers have (24 to 23).

• With that being said, I'm worried about Game 7. Problems aside, Carolina has too much pride to roll over, especially in their home rink. A 4-0 shellacking will serve as wake up call, and I will be stunned if they don't come out buzzing in the first 5-10 minutes on Monday night. For that reason, I almost wish that we had eked out a 1-2 goal win. Luckily for the Oil, however, with only 1 day off instead of 2, it doesn't give Laviolette and company much time to game plan. I'd make a prediction, but I'm too terrified to say anything, and my previous attempts to jinx Carolina have failed. So I'm just going to watch, and pray for the best.


At 3:04 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

I can't believe the title of this post wasn't, "In My Mind I'm Gone To Carolina." I also can't believe I hadn't thought of it myself until just now. We should bothe be ashamed of ourselves.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Alex said...

You're right. I have no excuses, I just dropped the ball.

I will do my best to incorporate James Taylor into a future post, because the man is awesome, and deserves our love.

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not in any way arguing with you about Brind'amour, aka Joe-camel-vagina-karen-face (funny shit) and his questionable faceoff tactics, but where did it all start? Was there one specific incident where you started hating him?

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

For me, it was his smug post-game interviews in the Finals. He just had this look on his face like his shit didn't stink. Which is ironic, because if there is one guy who should be able to properly identify smells, it's Karen.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

What Andy said, plus it seemed to me like he was always whining to the refs about everything. His little hissy-fit after Game 3 was what cemented it.

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Eau de Chacin said...

As a recent law school graduate, I apologize for the graceless conduct of many of my counterparts. It seems that being socially retarded is looked upon as a favourable trait by law faculty admissions committees. Me, I save the douchebaggery for the interweb. And when I'm drunk. So, um, most of the time. Damn.

At 7:58 PM, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Please. I was at the baseball game with you last week and you spent all of your time looking for small children without parents so that you could steal their candy. You're just as contemptible as the rest of them.

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flames fans (who already should be biting their tongues after seeing offensive performances like R1G6, R2G4, and R3G3) have already been mostly silenced.

That being said, the Oilers came back from a 3-1 deficit to force Game 7, which is almost the opposite to what Cowtown experienced last season. Even if the Oilers fall short, they fought their way back from near-certain defeat (including the loss of their hot new goaltender, a feat that I dare the most hardcore Flames fan to boast their team capable of).

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous ~Janet said...

I agree with your jersey analysis. I was walking through the mall on the way to work today and I spotted a man whom I've seen several times on Rideau St this week (always in the same jersey) and has attracted my scorn and wrath equally each time.

He wears an Oilers jersey, but not an old-school jersey, nor a current home/away/3rd jersey. It looks like a cheap generic white hockey practice jersey with a uni-colour Oilers logo on it in royal (not even midnight blue!). The Oilers logo doesn't even look full circle, it looks more wide than it is tall, strange strange oval shape. Then, as I walk past him, I see the back of his jersey--- WEIGHT as the nameplate with no number.

Like, WTF?! Where do I even begin?

Mind you, I think I knew something was off when I saw him walk past my store at least 16 times today looking rather lost. I don't ask questions, I just observe.

GOILERS! I'll call you after the game, Alex.

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Doogie2K said...

Added to the jersey analysis should be "Worthy of Our Worship: The guy in the orange '72 original jersey with the 'ALBERTA' nameplate and Jim Harrison's #7 on it."

Saw him in the crowd a couple of times on TV, and saw him in person at Rexall Saturday. That is officially the gold standard for oldschoolness. Only way to top that is possibly Al Hamilton's #3 with the "C" on the front. Or maybe a Gretzky WHA jersey, though for entirely different reasons.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Whatever happened to those two diehard Oilers fans from the 80's, btw? The one guy used to have flames shoot out of his hardhat, and the other guy had the red goal light always going off. I had forgotten about them until last week, when the CBC was showing the Cup win games.


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