Who’s in goal?!

Checking the score for the Canada-U.S. World Juniors semifinal yesterday, it was clear that the TSN live scoreboard wasn’t functioning properly. But take a look at who was listed as “Canada’s Starting Goalie”:

Listing Marc-Andre Fleury, who committed the game-losing gaffe in 2004 against the States, seemed like a bad omen.

But as the team just won against Sweden (in overtime, after giving up a 2-0 lead after two periods), it turned out to be just an off mistake. Congrats to the 2008 champions!

Avalanche vs. the Oilers: 0 for 2

For my second Oilers game of the season, I wanted to see Ryan Smyth play for the opposition. He distributed pucks to fans before leaving the warm-up, as he always did, and the “boo birds” did greet him when he touched the puck (though I think, to a lesser extent than his Edmonton debut in a Colorado uniform last month).

Though these seats were much higher than the last time around, I was able to see much better from this height and perspective. Of course, given the outcome was the same (loss), I guess it didn’t matter much. It is nice to see the veterans returning to the score sheet (Hemsky!), but sitting in the basement of the conference is not at all reassurring.

On the bright side, it was fun attending a game with a larger group than usual. Thanks for organizing the tickets, May!

Me and my sister

May and her coworkers James and Nathan

My Dad and Mack

Doug and Jared

Canucks vs. the Oilers: No Contest

My sister Felicia was able to score Amanda and I discounted tickets to Friday night’s Edmonton Oilers game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The seats ended up being very good – executive level – and just above the opposition’s covered exit off of the ice (providing closeup views of Naslund and Ohlund. Whoo.). Unfortunately, that was about all we could “cheer for” that night – the Oilers were horrible. Garon let in a few weak shots, Luongo pulled out all the stops, and we were done.

I haven’t been to an Oilers game in over a year, and I had forgotten how much fun hecklers can be. On another note, my sister and I were hoping for more cheese in the opening introductory video that runs just before the players skate through the derrick (remember the hilarious video of the Oilers mock-racing one another?). It seems this year they were content with shooting each of the players against a white background wearing their jeans and a jersey, without any gimmicks. That, like their play on Friday, also deserves a “boo”.

I would like to go to at least one more game this season, and by that time, I hope for at least a winning record (we shoot low in the City of Champions).

Our view of the ice

Edmonton Oilers Superskills 2006-2007

Just returned from the annual Edmonton Oilers Superskills competition held at Rexall Place. I’ve never been that consistent with attending season games, but I’ve been surprisingly regular with this particular event. I am amazed by the increase in attendance over the last three years. In 2003, the head count was probably under 4,000. Last year, the number pushed 8,000. This time, the crowd was easily near capacity. I find that for the price (an increase to $8 this year, but still affordable), it’s an even better opportunity than a hockey game to see the players up close and looser than at game time. And really, who doesn’t want to see Ryan Smyth’s signature mullet flow free, unencumbered by the confines of a helmet?

There was the usual pee-wee hockey team, partaking in the skills demonstrations right alongside the actual Oilers. There were six competitions in total: puck control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, accuracy shooting, power play relay (3 on 1), and a new “king of the shootout.”

Jussi Markannen was notably missing from the lineup, so it was up to Brian Ross, the Oilers’ video coach to take his place. It would have been nice if one of the announcers could have volunteered the identity of this phantom “player.” Needless to say, Ross did his best, even pulling out a wicked glove save on one of the three-on-one power play rushes.

Marc-Andre Bergeron won two of the competitions – fastest skater and hardest shot, but I must say, Petr Sykora put on the best show. He won the accuracy shooting challenge, hitting all four targets, but he was the token joker all afternoon, purposely sliding into the goalie on his breakaway attempt. I had no idea Sykora had so much personality! They should mike him at an upcoming game!

The end result was White over Blue 17 to 7, due in large part to Dwayne Roloson’s excellent goaltending in the power play and shootout competitions. All in all, an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Here they come!

Wake up, Hemsky!

Matt Greene knows his shot wasn’t fast enough to beat Bergeron.

Taking it easy.

Go Sykora!

Jarret Stoll vs. Brian Ross(?!)

Ryan and Roli

Team photo (“Turn around!”)

Final tally