Graveyard Shift at the Dream Factory

I would like to apologize in advance for the calibre of this morning's entry into the Copper & Blue canon. I volunteered for this article in the hopes that inspiration would strike, but alas it has stayed away like a maltreated animal shying away from the owner who has abused it so. I sat at my computer, staring at my computer pensively, reading websites full of jokes in hopes that I'd see one worth stealing.

No such luck. What the hell kind of hockey season is this, anyway? The Oilers have been doing the ol' dirt nap for many eons now. Those sadsacks the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers duke it out in the East, and when I say "duke it out" I overstate the matter significantly as two underpowered and overconfident teams crash into each other as though they were out-of-control semitrailers barreling down the freeway and the only casualty is us, the viewing public, watching with open eyes and slack jaws and sheer horror that such a beautiful game between two such glamorous teams could be reduced to such a generic grey paste of sheer generic boredom, drawn from the store brand plain blue one-gallon can marked "HOCKEY" in a joyless yellow font.

The Western conference final? Oh, more exciting. That was a heck of a game last night, wasn't it? But it's between the San Jose Sharks, with all the scorn inherent in the modern California hockey team, and the Chicago Blackhawks, idol to the rewards of awful ownership and worse management, of years of horrible play and terrible players and fantastic draft picks that after a few years finally panned into a delightful, exciting, and even likable team (unless you're a cab driver) which is regardless a lesson to the boys and girls that no matter how awful you are you will be rewarded for your parsimony.

So excuse me if I must spin about in my office chair, groping for a subject. Derek's breaking news about the farm team and Scott's helping him count scoring chances in the sort of vain quest which must appeal to the mind more patient than mine, and in a shocking upset Bruce is talking international hockey. They're all very good at it, and I'm good at snarking about the Oilers, but wallowing in their sty of inactivity the Oilers have done nothing worth mocking simply because they've hardly done anything at all.

Perhaps that inactivity is a subject in of itself.

There's not much to expect from the Oilers this time of year, of course. The draft is coming up at its usual leisurely-yet-alarming pace, and free agency isn't until July, and it's not like we have to worry about a bunch of undereducated and overconfident men in expensive suits forgetting when they have to sign their Finnish prospects or anything. How many players can they have left to sign? Not that many, surely. Let me see. Just... twenty-five guys, ten of whom are unrestricted and not one of whom have come to terms or even been murmured as potential objects of conversation.

Sounds like a lot when I put it that way, doesn't it?

Now, again, it's not that time of year. The Oilers are probably too busy sticking their hands down their trousers as they watch Taylor Hall get run over on the trolley tracks with his head down to worry about their players. The draft is a big opportunity for this dreadful team, a chance to begin the Chicago Blackhawks process, and there's no time to waste on trivialities like getting twenty-three hockey players together for the 2010-11 season. Important things like stealing a billion of your dollars and building a hockey arena with it.

Is this still, strictly speaking, a hockey team? Have we seen any hints that the Oilers organization has been at all interested in hockey beyond telling Sparky Kulchisky and Kevin Prendergast that they should put in applications at Badass Jack's? If there has been, I missed it. Even the Teemu Hartikainen signing may have just been to keep Derek from picketing Steve Tambellini's house and causing an unwelcome hockey-related ruckus.

At some point, the Oilers might actually do something. Until then, we're stuck watching other men in other cities go about their not-particularly-exciting wickedness for a prize so distant it might as well be the world championship of Jupiter. So forgive this dud of an article, but unlike the Oilers at least I'm trying to do my job.

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