Sunday, May 28, 2006

Gratuitous Hockey Post

I couldn't help feeling some sense of deja vu in the final outcome of the Ducks/Oilers series. I wasn't cheering too hard for either team, but I did follow my father's habit of siding with the underdog, the appallingly-named "Mighty Ducks". The emotional cache was given some extra weight by coach Randy Carlisle, a former Winnipeg Jets defenseman.

The coach for the Edmonton Oilers is, of course, former Oiler centre Craig McTavish. Back when Winnipeg had an NHL team, there was no guarantee they'd make the play-offs, and when they did, fans became accustomed to watching their team get perfunctorily eliminated by one of the two Alberta teams. The fights with Calgary were sometimes close, but Edmonton was another story. So far as the Oilers were concerned, the Jets were little more than the scrawny workout partner who showed up to keep them in shape.

And so Carlisle's team has once again been dismissed by McTavish's: salt in the wounds. On the plus side, a series between Carolina (I can't imagine Buffalo rallying from its wounds) and Edmonton could be pretty intense. But once again, I'm not sure I can find it in me to cheer Edmonton. Funny how deeply these sport history resentments can run.


DarkoV said...

Not cheer, and by that I mean exuberant cheer, for the only Canadian team left?
WP, it's Memorial Day down here south of the border. But as soon as the Federal offices are open @ 8:00 am on Tuesday, I'll be down there getting your green card and citizenship papers in order. Unless, of course, the Canadian Nationalists haven't put you on the first horse out of town.

Shame on you! And your daughters are looking up to you as an example? I may just have to send them my autographed photo of Pierre. That's someone to look up to (and thanks ot this phot angle, looking up is what they'll be doing).

Whisky Prajer said...

Is that Pierre, John and Yoko at a Habs game? A worthy audience for a worthy team, given how the times were. No doubt everyone involved was enjoying a pleasant buzz from a Cuban non-tobacco export. Those were the days.

Yes, my chief allegiance will be to Carolina, the state where the drive-through beer vendors ask their customers, "And how many open?" before delivering the chilled goods - a customer service policy custom designed to appeal directly to a Canadian's gut instincts.

Trent Reimer said...

Once again I am proven inept at predicting these things. Unlike the rest of my family I found myself cheering more for the unlikely Oilers in spite of the respect I have for the Ducks and the fact I enjoy watching them. I guess I buried the hatchet a few years ago and have enjoyed watching them play as perrenial underdogs. Even Gretzky has been forgiven for embarrasing our city with his prodigious talent.

I think these have become Chris Pronger's play offs and I don't see Edmonton being where they are without him. St. Louis Blues anyone? He shut down Joe Thornton in the San Jose series and he shut down Teemu Selane on the Ducks.

Speaking of which I had to marvel at how different the North American game is from the still evolving European game when I watched the final game of that series. I just can't see Teemu Selane and Scott Nedermayer being contained that well on the wider European ice surface. I watched some of the world championship games and much like at the Olympics, the European game seemed to be more about containment, setting up plays and then sprinting to execute - more like European football. Shifts are longer (since its not a pure sprint) and skating ability is a premium. The North American game is more sprint and smash - more like North American football. And I'm not sure I see Canada or America dominating a European tournament for the next couple years. You want to bet they'll build the Olympic rink to NHL specifications for the 2010 games in Vancouver?

DarkoV said...

TR, I'm with you on the European style of play. While I missed the Worlds, the Olympic hockey experience was breathtaking, as always.

Not to sound too sexist, but since they've "girlied" down the NHL rules such that every solid check results in a bated breath as to whether the refs will be blowing a whistle. The rules are now gender-indeterminate! Do I smash him? Do I smooch him?

May as well go all the way, for at least one season, I say. Give Donald Brasheur and Georges Laraque a one way ticket to Bermuda for a fully paid 9 month's stay in some fancy hotel (Not that I wouldn't miss both of these guys; their style of play (chippy without being goonish) is quite appealling and Brasheur is a fabulous interview..quite the funny self-deprecating guy) and let the larger Olympic size rinks somehow be miraculously installed overnight in all of the NHL arenas and let the skating begin.

But, you know that won't happen, unfortunately.

Did you hear that the owners of the Anaheim team, in a move to break further away from the World of Disney, will be doing new uniforms next year and dropping "Mighty" from "Mighty Ducks". Possibly, this will be the beginning of a complete name change to say the Loons, keeping the ornithological thing happenning.

Trent Reimer said...

DV - I'd vote for that. Even "Loons" wouldn't sound as silly as "Mighty Ducks" :)

Whisky Prajer said...

"Loons" - now that's a team I could cheer for (though DV's proposed "Hosers" still gets my top vote)