Oh, I missed the game tonight. The entire game. Saw not a second of it. When the puck dropped I was at work and the online community for some reason felt no reason to stream a feed of Edmonton playing in Nashville. Then I walked home and the game was over. We lost, as per usual. There was never really any doubt. If I'd come home and seen "Edmonton 5, Nashville 4" on the ticker I'd have immediately sought medical attention.
But this was a rare night when you didn't have to watch the game to know the story. I'm going to say that I know the narrative just from a glance at the box score. In the first game back from the Olympics, it was an Olympian who had a night fitting his stature: one goal, one assist, and one interference penalty, or as it was called back in 2002 or so "the Ethan Moreau hat trick".
You're a regular reader, you don't need me to introduce that Olympian. Hell, it says something that I'm focusing on one Predators defenseman when my boy Marc Pouliot also bagged a goal and an assist while going a terrific-for-the-Oilers 4-for-12 on the dot. Or my anti-boy Gilbert Brule pulling the same trick, except he only went 0-for-1 on faceoffs since he was playing on the wing, which is weird when you think about it since he's second on the team in faceoff percentage behind Mike Comrie.
There's little point in going over the Denis Grebeshkov trade again, how we've sunk from magic beans to the promise of magic beans yet to come, except for one detail. I've always been inordinately fond of the Copper & Blue's comment section, who are usually funnier and more relevant than I can ever be (damned with faint praise I know, but bear with me). Well, when a brain trust the size of ours comes together in the comments of Jonathan's, Scott's, and my posts and ignites Steve Tambellini for his lunacy, that's a pretty strong statement.
Not as strong a statement as a goal, and an assist, and a smile that said "I never realized how fantastic it would be playing against these beer league bums" as he cleared the deck like Patrick Swayze at the Double Deuce. But pretty strong.
How many Oilers will get to wear that expression by this time tomorrow, I wonder?
We call it "the trade deadline". I joked on Twitter we should call it "Amateur Week" as rumourmongers of all stripes come out of the woodwork to shove preposterous ideas down our throats, sometimes if we're lucky pulled from the mouth of an inebriated Rexall Place usher but more often crafted out of whole cloth. Besides, the name is deceptive as the Oilers have been dead for some time now.
Tonight lent little evidence to the contrary. As our resident truculent-in-residence Bruce McCurdy observed via e-mail, rightful Springfield Falcon Theo Peckham had six hits tonight, rightful Odessa Jackalope Taylor Chorney had three, and the rest of Edmonton Oilers combined for six. By the way, Zack Stortini (season line: 57GP, 10P, +2) was a healthy scratch in favour of pillars of excellence such as Patrick O'Sullivan (season line: 60GP, 30P, and an Oilers record -30 - congratulations, Mr. O'Sullivan). I'm certain this was unrelated.
The bright side, for Bruce and his fellow Stortiniphiles, is that if Zack is in the press box that probably means he isn't being pumped for the dump. Perhaps Pat Quinn knew what he had all along and was afraid that if Stortini had a chance to show his value Tambellini would leap at the chance to trade him for a draft pick or a 6'7" forward from the Iron League.
Peckham also picked up an assist, his first career NHL point, and wound up even on the night. Good for him! In just under twenty minutes of ice time, Peckham had more offensive spunk than Jean-Francois Jacques had in his first sixty games (Jacques, by the way, was out of the lineup with what doctors are calling "he's a useless brittle garbage sack full of shit, except with an 'itis' on the end").
Taylor Chorney played 20:22, mostly with one of the Oilers' two remaining top four defenseman in Lubomir Visnovsky, and was only -1. Good for him too! Seriously, for Taylor Chorney -1 is terrific. That's, like, his Bobby-Orr-flying-through-the-air moment.
I'm almost looking forward to the trade deadline. Did you know the Oilers are 19-43? You didn't? You stopped checking in, like, December? Probably smart of you. But did you know that pro-rates out to a record of 25-57? And that's with Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert, Lubomir Visnovsky, and sometimes even Sheldon Souray?
Can you imagine how terrible this team might be in 2010-11? I'm almost excited!