‘The Trash Heap’, Featuring Western Canada

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Another week of hockey, another pile of garbage to shift through.  I hardly watched any sports this week and yet the was no shortage of lowlights spreading across the internet.  Oil Country has hit a bit of a rough patch recently so it’s important to remind our readership that they aren’t alone during these tough times.  The debut “Trash Heap” was a smashing success, so let’s keep it rolling with some hilariously awful performances by (most of) Western Canada’s hockey teams.

5.  Own Goals

Last week’s slate of games featured two of the worst own goals we’ve seen in a long time.  Boston’s Colin Miller buried this laugher on Thursday night against the Jackets:

At least the Bruins were up 5-1 when this happened.  That’s goals in two straight for him!

The other own goal came Saturday night in Colorado.  The Jets and Avs battled hard and after things couldn’t be settled in regulation, the two clubs went to OT where this happened:

Nik Ehlers took a lot of heat for this one, but if you take a closer look you’ll see some comically lazy play from Dustin Byfuglien and Michael Hutchinson.  Byfuglien is open in a good support position until he creeps in towards the pile with his stick in the air.  Hutchinson was just chilling and not paying any attention and watched as the pass went through his legs.  Remember kids, keep those sticks on the ice!  This own goal was eerily similar to one from a few years back, when Dan Boyle buried one past his own tendy from almost the exact same spot in the exact same rink in the exact same situation:

That one was in the playoffs too.  At least Ehlers won’t be able to do that! *insert Winnipeg Thrashers playoff joke here*

4.  Forgetting to Gamble on Kings – Leafs

When gambling on daily sports, there’s a lot of games that could be considered Should Win’s and Can’t Lose’s, but it’s rare to find an absolutely stone cold lock like the one we had on Tuesday night between the Kings and Leafs.  I spent that entire day talking about how so completely obvious it was that L.A. would mercilessly crucify Mike Babcock’s band of teenagers.  The Kings forwards score goals and win games by pounding the opposition’s defence into submission and the Leafs D-corps is about as soft as they come.  Nevertheless, I started loading my DraftKings lineup with Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Peter Budaj, Tanner Pearson, and then got sidetracked and forgot to submit it.

The result? A 7-0 dismantling, and losing out on what I could’ve only assumed would be a healthy amount of money.  Good thing I didn’t move out this summer and have a bunch of new monthly expenses with no job income until January.  That would suck.

3.  A New Form of Oilers Fan Torture

It’s been a shockingly hot start for the suddenly-might Oil, but the roads gotten a little bumpy over the last couple weeks.  The old Oilers had broken the entire population to the point where every new failure was met with hearty laughter and copious amounts of alcohol.  These new Oilers seem to have found a more creative way to torture their fan base, by creating hope and excitement before ripping it away by running what I assume to be the Dallas Eakins swarm in the first five minutes of hockey games before fighting back and losing by a goal.

The “bad start” issues are simply bringing attention to a much more concering problem.  Outside of McJesus and the Big Rig, a lot of the Oilers core guys have been junk since before the last road trip.  Jordan Eberle has yet to breath on somebody in the D-zone, Milan Lucic looks slower than ever, Leon Draisaitl left his World Cup hockey ability back in Toronto, and the top pair of Klefbom and Larsson have rolled out the red carpet for opposing forwards in front of Cam Talbot.  McDavid is so ridiculously good that all anybody has to do is just be average when he’s not on the ice.  That was happening in October, but they’ve been getting caved in ever since.  Tyler Pitlick worked his way up to the top line, Zack Kassian and the Big Rig are both way ahead of Lucic in terms of pretty much everything, and our boy Benny is arguably their best puck moving and possession-driving defenceman behind Klefbom.

It’s not time to push the panic button yet, but Oiler fans would appreciate it if they could stop getting everyone’s hopes up before losing by a goal.

2.  The Calgary Flames

Oh boy does this team ever stink.  Glen Gulutzan’s strategy of equipping a boat anchor to every forward line and defence pair seems to not be working.  What a surprise, I just can’t figure out why Johnny Gaudreau is having a garbage year.  It couldn’t possibly be because he’s played on a line with Alex Chiasson and/or Micheal Ferland at times this year, no sir.

The Flames have all the pieces you need to build a winner, but their absolute refusal to build any kind of depth behind their top guys is going to continue to hold them back.  You can confidently stack T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, and Dougie Hamilton up against the top-3 defencemen of any other team in the league, but pairing them with the Deryk Engellend’s and Nic Grossman’s of the world is a good way to make sure you cancel out any benefits they bring to your club.

“Brian, I’ve a feeling we’re not in St. Louis anymore.”

1.  The Vancouver Canucks

Back in the number one spot on the list, weighing in at 45 years and no Cups, are the reigning, defending Trash Heap champion Vancouver Canucks.  Despite actually winning a hockey game last week (at MSG of all places), the ‘Nucks are still well on their way towards being the worst NHL team in decades.  Loui Eriksson picked up his 2nd goal of the season (and first into the other team’s net).  Their top defenceman, Troy Stetcher, played so well they sent him down.  Derek Dorsett continues to be on the ice when they need a goal in the final minute.  They still average under two goals per game.  Jake Virtanen has been god-awful and should have been in the minors last year, but they finally sent him down on Thursday.  They then recalled him on Sunday for no apparent reason.

The Canucks have  chance to bank a few points with a four-game homestand coming up this week, but chances are they’ll do something stupid to hang onto their Trash Heap championship for another week.  When in doubt, put Alex Burrows out!

The Vancouver Canucks.  Champions of Trash.

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