Swearing at Krappy Kevin
by Dan MacRae
Congratulations, Edmonton, you now have new blood in the GM position; more accurately, recycled blood (Craig MacTavish) that’s still gonna be working under president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, but at least there’s something keeping vascular pressure up. Oh, and Scott Howson’s back, too. Who doesn’t want some hot, failed-Columbus-GM action right now? Get dem griddles out!
To sum up: congrats, Edmonton, things are still a mess.
It makes sense that Steve Tambellini’s out. Dude was good at getting the number-one draft pick and, well… that was about it. Lowe gets to stick around because he done did the Cup thing as a player-man and folks are impressed by shiny rings. That is the only reason he’s still around, right? The Oilers had a miracle run in 2005-2006 (where Shawn Horcoff healed the lepers and Fernando Pisani gave sight back to the blind) but aside from that, Edmonton has been room-temperature dogshit as an ice hockey club for yeeeeears. The Oil are missing the playoffs for the seventh straight season and Lowe gets to stick around for some reason.
Maybe Lowe’s being kept on because Daryl Katz needs someone just as hated as he is in Edmonton to share the hate waves.
Lowe suggesting that there are “two types of fans” (those who buy tickets and those who don’t) during the press conference was kinda awesome. You have to admire the balls on a dude who manages to turn a “we’re firing a guy because we suck” press thing into a weird class war. REAL FANS PAY $200 A TICKET TO SEE THE OILERS PLAY A MEANINGLESS GAME! GET YOUR SOOT-COVERED FOOT OFF MY SILK ROBE! Lowe apologized for the comments and clarified what he “meant”, but he really should have just rolled with it and transitioned to full supervillain mode. He could have an eyepatch and a cape, occasionally strolling into orphanages ready to punch any tots in sight. Hockey execs are tyrants on the best of days, so this could be a great opportunity to kick that shit up a notch. Heck, tie Esa Tikkanen to some railroad tracks. That’s a much more interesting way to spend a Saturday night than catching the Oilers/Canucks game.
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
We’re getting six outdoor games next season. That’s five more than usual and *pauses for rotten fruit assault* it’s five more than we need. One game is cool because 1) the novelty’s fun, 2) and NHL 24/7 series is always welcome, and 3) FASHIONABLE TOQUES. Multiply the games, though, and the flaws start to shine through. The Winter Classic is mostly super-profitable NHL PR porn where we all pretend that players like Sidney Crosby played junior hockey outside and not in a highly competitive (and expensive) junior hockey program (REMEMBER THE WORLD JUNIORS WHERE PAVEL DATSYUK GOT HOT CHOCOLATE ALL OVER HIS JERSEY AND A MOOSE WANDERED ONTO THE BENCH AND ATE ALL THE ORANGE SLICES?). The spectacle’s fun in a short burst, but pretty quickly it becomes a four-hour salute to ice repair. I can overlook all the gooftacular goofiness for one game, but six? Nuts to that.
Also, if you’re going to do an outdoor game, who gives a fuck about pristine conditions? Crank up the authenticity and have the players play in an algae-caked ravine filled with improperly discarded snowmobiles and the occasional guy who claims to be someone’s “uncle” even though by law they are not supposed to be within that area at all. Voila: the magic of outdoor hockey!
The Penguins, a hockey team you may know from Jean-Claude Van Damme’s gripping documentary Sudden Death, look disgustingly good this year (sickening, gagging, etc.). They’ve managed to continue to look like a fucking Megazord of a club even with Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Letang, Martin, Nightcrawler and Phife Dawg all out of the lineup due to injury. Plus they added the bargain bin Expendables to the roster this year, which makes them even scarier. They’re scarier-looking than dinosaur ghosts, I tells ya!
Of course, this could be one of those years where Fleury’s dogshit in the playoffs and it all goes down in flames (a dude couldn’t have two 0.834 save percentage campaigns in a row, right?). Playoff fever: continue to catch it!
It’s kinda understood that the San Jose Sharks will never win a Stanley Cup. I used to be totally cool with that – because who gives a hoot (THAT’S RIGHT, SALTY LANGUAGE COMING ATCHA!) about the Sharks? – but I’ve since had a change of heart. Now I’m kinda pulling for Sharks. Not because I have an interest in anyone on the team getting a ring. Nope. I just want San Jose to win so Sharkie can go to the White House and do that thing where he puts his soft mascot mouth on someone’s head. Oh, the laughs we’d have! Harry Reid would probably make a funny face like, “oh no, I can’t believe this shark is doing this” that would really make the photo-op pop. Maybe Putin’s there and he’s all “SAY WHA?” and drops a bowl of solyanka. And isn’t that what sports are all about?
Dan MacRae ate a pork chop out of a bowl this week. That’s where his life’s at. You can follow him on Twitter: @danmacrae