As training camp opens it's doors this weekend the excitement for this season is rising to quite a high level. With the past few years in the books as suck and more-suck, it's time to peer through the clouds and see that big, bright, hopeful 25th place finish we were all dreaming of last night. Yes, my friends, that dream could very well end up being reality!
It's the time of year when everyone is undefeated. A time when people are hopeful that Hall will score 40 and RNH seems the obvious choice for the Calder. Heck, why don't they just give it to him right now and get it over with? Playoffs, here we come!
This kind of talk is what every fan loves, no matter how bad your team is. Even Cubs' fans can trick themselves into believing their own hype. So, when the Oilers come off of 2 straight last place finishes, it's only natural for us all to believe that, since we have Belanger now, we will make the playoffs. The reality is that we still have a lot of messes to sort out before we sail on into glory.
But enough of that. I'd like to steer the ship down a different road for a moment or two. At the moment, I live in Central China. My wife is working at opening a Kindergarten here and I will be busy watching the youngest of our 2 boys as she is busy at the school.
We have lived here since the Winter of 2006, just in time to miss the entire Stanley Cup run. It was disappointing to miss it, my sister-in-law calling to give me updates during language class just didn't do it for me. The excitement that flowed through the city was invisible to me over here. The Chinese term for hockey is "Ice Ball", so you know that there aren't a lot of Oiler fans around to celebrate with. I was able to skip class once or twice to listen to it on CHED's website but, seriously, not quite good enough.
The point being, I am an Oilers fan. In fact, being far away from it has actually made me more of a fan. Since moving here, I've turned to this site along with Oilersnation and Lowetide to get my fill of Oilers happenings and the like. As for the games, I've been listening to the website. Sometimes I can watch a stream of the game, but usually the internet is too slow to give me a smooth viewing. Thus, at around 930am my time, I turn on the game and get stuff done around the apartment as Jack and Bob give me the play-by-play.
It was rough there for a while. God Bless Rod Phillips, but I often had no idea what was going on when he was commentating. I can't blame him, I am sure that anyone would have trouble keeping things straight for so long.
The good news for me is that we will be coming back to Canada for 6 weeks on the 6th of October. It was fortunate that the season starts on the 9th. I'm looking forward to taking in a few games while I'm home; perhaps out at the pub with my brother like we did a few years ago when I was home. Anyone have a favorite spot that they like to go to to watch the games? I'm listening.
I will appreciate those games, watching them live in HD. I'll appreciate them all the more since I am usually over here listening to them on the radio and using my imagination to see what's happening. Surprisingly, my imagination thinks that the team isn't very good either.
But really, after two 30th place finishes, lets soak it all in! The team is better than it was last year, and if things play out the way they should, it will only get better for the next 10 years or so. The toil of the last two seasons will make anything that happens this season all the more special.
I'm hopeful that we are moving from the radio to at least standard definition.