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Edmonton - Anaheim Post-Game: I <3 MOGULS

Another desultory blowout loss by the Oilers. We've grown used to them, I think. This one was less desultory than most. We got our first short-handed goal of the season outside the state of California. thecaptainethanmoreau scored it on a night when he was actually trying; perhaps he has his hopes as pinned on a pump and dump as the rest of us do. We allowed approximately one million minutes in penalties and came out pretty good on special teams - well, we went seven for ten, but for us that's pretty good.

So why talk about that? Moguls! Alexandre Bilodeau picking up Canada's first gold medal of the Olympics! Jenn Heil picking up our first medal full stop yesterday! Moguls are my new favourite sport. Moguls is my new favourite sport? I don't know the grammar. But as a budding moguls fan I will have to learn!

Wait, the voice in my ear is speaking. It is saying that this is still a hockey blog and that moguls isn't even really skiing (I get very strange voices in my ear) and so maybe I should talk about the hockey game.

God, fine.

Okay. Okay. You know how awesome our moguls skiiers were? Jeff Deslauriers was precisely the opposite of that awesome.

Are we good yet? Fantastic, I'll keep going! Additional, one hundred percent non-moguls-related content, coming up!

In this, the last game before the NHL's Olympic break, it is important to look for positives and building stones. Unfortunately that's impossible because we were almost completely terrible. Ethan Moreau is trying harder to get a trade than he was ever trying to get two points most of the year. He reminds me to a remarkable extent of Australian mogulist Dale Begg-Smith, born and raised in Canada but abandoning his heritage and taking off to Australia as soon as he thought it could help his career. Like Begg-Smith, Moreau seems determined to punch his ticket out of town as soon as possible. Like Begg-Smith, Moreau has talent (okay, one's a double Olympic medalist and the other is a fourth liner for the worst team in the NHL but the talent is there) but no character to back it up.

Which is irritating, since, y'know, he's our captain and all. He seemed determined to back it up at points tonight, charging between Mike Comrie and his adversary, sticking up for l'il Mikey even though Comrie is a far tougher customer than Moreau has ever been. Look at me, I'm sticking up for my teammates! This will help you forget the pile of bodies that I threw under the bus!

Even in the most miserable losses, though, there are unsung heroes. Shawn Horcoff had three assists tonight. Three assists! From a dude with one arm! And he would have had a goal if he hadn't buried a five-bell chance straight into Jonas Hiller. That would have got people to remember him, but even the ultra-homer Oilers pay-per-view team rated him only as third star. Much like young Canadian mogulist Vincent Marquis, who everybody will forget about in the afterglow of the Bilodeau orgasm but who finished fourth by only 0.8 of a point (attention, Jason Gregor: his speed score was .42 lower than bronze medalist Bryon Wilson's).

But you must give respect to a worthy adversary, as well. The Oilers weren't terrible today, goaltender aside. The Ducks, particularly Ryan Getzlaf, were simply better. Shades of Bryon Wilson, the American who finished third and knocked Marquis off the podium. What complaints can we have? The better skiier won, and the better team won today. I am not stretching this metaphor to its breaking point at all.

But, of course, there is always the elephant in the room. The yin to Bilodeau's yang. Jeff Deslauriers allowed seven goals. The first two would have been two of the worst in Oilers history if not for Jeff Deslauriers having played so many games this season. The third one was a deflection that Deslauriers had no legitimate shot at. The other four... well, the mere fact that we're discussing another four should be pretty indicative of how Deslauriers was tonight. The Oilers pay-per-view guys sucked him off, but they do that.

If I could pick any comparison to Deslauriers from anything in the world, it would be to Kazakh mogulists Dmitriy Barmashov and Dmitriy Reiherd. The two Dmitriys, who I'm sure wasn't just the same guy competing twice because who cares about Kazakh mogulists, were the reverse three stars of men's moguls: Reiherd was the weakest of all mogulists to qualify for the final with only a 19.23 including a remarkably bad 2.71 air score. Barmashov, unbelievably, was even worse, putting down only 4.75 for a speed score and winding up with 11.56. If Barmashov had been allowed to go again and add his scores together, a 23.12 would put him as the sixth-worst finalist.

Actually, you know what? I don't buy it. Jeff Deslauriers was much worse than that.

The Copper & Blue Reverse Medalists:

Reverse Bronze Medal: Zack Stortini. Shit, Bruce is shooting through my window again! Be right back.

Okay, I'm here. I need to get bullet-proof glass put in before I put Stortini on these lists. But any time you play 6:04 and go -2, that's a pretty rough night at the office. He was one of those most culpable for Saku Koivu's goal, tottering about a little too much and letting Teemu Selanne sling an uncontested cross-ice pass to his countryman. More than that, he was generally impotent, not doing anything to stir up a team that needed it besides politely discussing the weather with George Parros.

He's more than a one-dimensional goon, most of the time. Today, he was a no-dimensional waste of skin.

Reverse Silver Medal: Steve Staios. I have commissioned a state-of-the-art supercomputer at the University of Victoria to calculate just how many penalty minutes Steady Steve took tonight. And they were stinkers, every one of them, from ridiculously holding people in the attacking zone to brazen failed bodychecks to incidents where he obstructed a Duck seemingly just to get off the ice. Which probably wasn't a bad idea since despite spending a hundred years in the sin bin he was still on the ice for over twenty minutes and still -2.

I mean, that's hard to do! That's an amazing combination of futility! The only way things could have been worse would have been if he'd wired a slap shot into Ryan Potulny's knee. I'm almost impressed. This is a man truly playing in the spirit of the Fall for Hall.

Reverse Gold Medal: Jeff Deslauriers. Run up the flag, play "O Canada", play a sappy story about one of his relatives. This guy is the real champion.