Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

Right now it's looking like Craig MacTavish made the right choice. And right now, it appears that an Oilers' Cup loss would not come down to goaltending.

However, the Oilers are still displaying some Senators-esque problems that will lead to a 4-1 series victory for the Hurricanes, should they continue. Their PP remains unorganized and lackluster, with unscreened shots that Cam Ward can see coming from a mile away. Worse still, they're not capitalizing on the rebounds, and lacking the traffic in front (that won't be construed as goaltender interference*).

The Oilers also need to make a concerted effort to get to the puck first -- there was a better effort in Game 3 -- including a couple of bellyflop pokechecks to get it out of the zone. But I think all Oilers supporters would like to see faster wheels from the team.

Regardless, a win's a win. We'll see if they can string something together tomorrow.

To wrap it up...a few non-sequitur quick hits:

· CBC showed the Oilers returning to the dressing room after the game, and Joey Moss was standing at the entrance. Everyone gave him love except Ryan Smyth. What the hell's up with that, TEETH?

· At around 1 am EDT, ESPN's E.J. Hradek appeared on The Score, and promptly threw the 'Canes under the bus for their post-game behaviour. Apparently Rod Brind'Amour refused to come out of the dressing room and address the media. ("A 35-year-old veteran is pulling this -- he can't just come out and say, 'We played a good game, but we'll pull it together for Game 4'? He's got to pout in the room because he's unhappy with the refs?") He also mentioned that Cam Ward refused to talk when Hradek approached him. E.J.'s final analysis? "Maybe Lindy Ruff was right. Maybe the Hurricanes are a bunch of sore losers." Ouch.

· Speaking of Carolina -- their fans, who pride themselves on their bottomless well of knowledge, weren't able to give me the name of the RBC Center's arena announcer, even after three days of inquiries on a message board. 63 views, no replies -- hence the reason why there was no name referenced in today's column. Thanks a lot, 'Canes fans. You're ever so helpful. (And from now on, the announcer will be known as Howard Finkel. End of story.)

_______________

* Karma for McGeough being out to lunch (and out of position on the disallowed goal). But the Velveeta-loving media are pushing it with their claims of symbolism involving the puck going off Smyth's chest logo for the winning goal. It goes both ways.

15 responses to "Choosy coaches choose Juicy"

  1. Whoa, leather! The Oilers are not the Senators and the series will not end on Wednesday night. The Hurricanes have been very effective at isolating what had been working well on the Oiler PP -Edmonton will adjust. With confidence playing in front of Jussi (The Sens honestly never felt comfy in front of Ray), the Oilers will make this a long series. I expect the first 4 words of your Wednesday evening post to be...OK! I was wrong!

    I found the Oil had to play a very tight and conservative type game at this point to get back in the series. Each player focused more on their own jobs than looking over their shoulders at the goaltending like they had in game 2. This ones going to seven, I believe. The diference in tones of the two teams press talk today said alot. While they Canes were still dredging up the calls (which for the most part have served them well for 4 rounds), the Oilers were a losse bunch, with lots of funny jabs and pokes at Ryan Smyths lack of talent. It bodes well for the Oilers.

    Before I hit 458 words, let me say the CFL piece was intriguing and very well done. I have always found football fans in Canada to be a complex bunch. Many of the NFL boosters cannot stand the small time CFL. They find it such a non show league - lacklustre and boring with little razzle dazzle. On the other hand, the CFL followers claim the game is actually a better one. The rules are more intelligent, the games more exciting from start to finish, and the Grey Cup is never a cut and dried affair after one quarter. I tend to agree with them for the most part. If the league were ever to find solid footing in Ottawa and expand to Quebec City and two East Coast teams, it would become an awesome league. The interest will be there. The serious question will always be money and ownership.

    Nonetheless, I hope to see you explore the subject further. It was an interesting read!

    Call the Canes at 919-467-7825 or fax at 919-462-0123 for info on the announcers name. Don't forget to ask if he is taking the Leafs job...just for laughs!

    I turn 44 on Wednesday and the Canes better not hoist it that night. It happened to me in '94 with NYR and hated it! LOL - TC

    reality check

  2. The Oilers can make the same mistakes as the Senators -- that doesn't mean I think they're the same team. It would be foolish to say so. I used the comparison because they were the team I watched the most. But these errors could have previously been made by any team. There's nothing specific that identifies them with one club. All teams have PP woes on occasion, don't go to the net, get to the puck in time, etc. I saw it from Ottawa in the post-season. That's why I used them as a comparison.

    I'm glad you liked the column, RC. I still don't believe the CFL is bigger in Ottawa than the NFL -- it seems impossible for me to fathom. And I really don't think this city was meant to have a franchise. The core group of fans who would support the team regardless is too small, and the rest are fair-weather and can't be counted upon for season-tickets and repeated walk-up sales. What I still don't understand is why the 'Gades never truly tapped into Gatineau. Is everyone over there a Montreal fan?

    The Universal Cynic

  3. One more thing, RC -- your birthday's the day before mine. How do you like that? I'll be 28, which makes me the youngest sportswriter in Ottawa (contrary to Don Brennan's claims).

    From March 22nd's Cheapseats: "Best wishes to Le Droit's "Sleepy" Sly St-Laurent, who turns 28 today but he's still the young pup of the Ottawa hockey writers fraternity."

    Hockey writer...sportswriter...trust me, there's no one younger than me. If they are, they're interning.

    The Universal Cynic

  4. So everything that they say about Gemini's is true! Intelligence, literacy, charm, good looks...

    Ottawa is a planet all it's own when it comes to sports. In football, they would have to kick things off with a winner and restock the fan base while they hit the ground running.

    There is no way to prove the CFL is more popular in Ottawa. I'd like to see a geographical breakdown on that survey and a good analysis of the Gatineau area to boot.

    Fans get fickle when they continuously get screwed over. I've watched the Expos scenario rot for years and fans have long memories. Promises of properity for teams in areas where ownership has issues fall on deaf ears. The Alouettes are a model of how to revive a team. Solid ownership, good location, talent in the front office and catering to the grass roots support have served them well.

    The Renegades severed the last good link to its fanbase when they axed Paopao and from there it was all downhill. Once it was clear that the Gliebermans had lost touch it was game over.

    Is that Steelheads guy still in the picture to assume control of the team? That would have been interesting!

    Have a good one Tueday - don't spend the whole evening writting about how the Oilers have wrestled control of the series away while the Canes get cranky about bad refs!

    reality check

  5. How are Geminis at comprehension? Your birthday is the day before mine, RC -- but thanks, I will enjoy Thursday. :) Do candles stick upright in filet mignon?

    No news on the Steelback CEO. I don't know if he's still interested.

    The Universal Cynic

  6. LMAO! I am illerterate twoday! I'm actually sneezing wheezing and running all over. I must have read it with my watering eye! Any more excuses and I'd sound like a Pat Quinn press conference!

    reality check

  7. Hey...I take all that back..I never did say your birthday was Tuesday, did I? I just said "have a good one" in reference to writing the next Oilers blog that evening! So there!

    Comprehension is to clarity what assumption is to aging!

    reality check

  8. RC said:

    "Have a good one Tueday - don't spend the whole evening writting about how the Oilers have wrestled control of the series away while the Canes get cranky about bad refs!"

    So you were just wishing me a Happy Tuesday then? Glad we straightened that out! Enjoy your NyQuil shooters.

    The Universal Cynic

  9. Yes I was wishing you a happy Tuesday godamnit - your BD isn't until Thursday! Get some NyQuil into yourself soon or you'll miss the Press conference Muckler's called for 10 a.m. Monday. And...have a good one!

    reality check

  10. Reality Check, it's time for a spellcheck on those posts of yours.

    It's amusing to see you lecturing about comprehension and clarity when half the time I don't know what you're babbling about. Maybe I should keep a bottle of NyQuil beside my computer too.

    P.S., Joey Moss is awesome. He should pimp it up a bit and arrive for work with an entourage.

    Wardo

  11. I was hardly lecturing about comprehension, still doesn't surprise me you don't get any of it. I don't recall you ever have much of anything construtive to say. Must have been you who led to this blog being shut down down for a bit. As far as my spelling, I'm sticking with "Hooked on Phonics" it's werked fer me.

    reality check

  12. Relax, RC. There's no need to get your panties in a knot.

    I doubt I have the power to shut down the Universal Cynic!

    -A

    Wardo

  13. The CFL survey:

    Erin, do you happen to have any more information on that CFL breakdown?

    Like, you said that you wouldn't argue with the professor's conclusions, but I'm curious, for instance, about the questions used to come up with the numbers.

    Geographic breakdown, age, sex of respondents, etc.? What about the backup for his claim about the popularity skyrocketing in Quebec - did he conduct the first survey (showing anemic interest) as well?

    I haven't seen any of the hard numbers or support for his claims, so I'm skeptical. I find it hard to believe that the CFL would be bigger in Ottawa than the NFL, too.

    Not to say that Ottawa is some kind of pigskin hotbed.

    Wardo

  14. I also was trying to find the name of the annoucer for the Arena. My sister and I both think it really sounds like Howard Finkel but I can't seem to find the name of the announcer anywhere not even on the freaking official website of the Carolina Hurricanes.

    Bri

  15. I looked for a couple of days, and posted on the hfboards looking for a response...nothing. The odd thing is, their previous announcer was a former employee of the WCW.

    The Universal Cynic