NOTE: This blog is dedicated to the few Ranger fans that believed in Talbot, like @fixxser, Dolgin, Rob Stuchiner, Travis Jackson, JEFFREY and to all my new found Edmonton Oiler fan/friends over the last two seasons! For better or worse, Oiler twitter fans have always been more realistic about expectations than Ranger fans. Plus, who doesn’t love Canadians that offer to ship you Canadian beer and whiskey?
What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. This is a rare blog, as it is a blog not following a Rangers game. Special occasions call for that. Cam Talbot setting the record for most wins in a season, in Edmonton Oilers franchise history, is certainly a call for celebration!
If you’re a Rangers fan who regularly reads me, this is a pure Oiler blog. For my Oiler friends who follow me, this is your night! If you’re new, check out the right hand of the site for the archives, where I have a ton of blogs on a variety of subjects, mostly Ranger related. However, if you want to read about me singing the praises of Talbot 2-3 years ago, you can also find those blogs in the archives!
With the Oilers 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks tonight, not only did the Oilers get one game closer to clinching home ice in the first round of the playoffs, Cam Talbot got his 41st win, surpassing legendary & Hall of Fame goalie, Grant Fuhr.
Before going on about Talbot, credit to Grant Fuhr who has been supporting Talbot in his quest to break the record. Just check out their twitter exchange:
— Cam Talbot (@ctalbot33) April 2, 2017
Grant Fuhr has been doing the rounds in the Canadian media, saying he hopes Talbot breaks his record. I thought that was classy.
What does the record really mean for Talbot? Sure, wins may be an inflated stat in this day and age, in the no-tie era, but Talbot also didn’t have a dynasty team in front of him. Sure, McDavid may be a Hall of Famer one day, but Fuhr played in front of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson & other greats.
It is very hard to compare eras, but just take a look at Talbot in his record season vs Fuhr’s 40 win season in 1987-1988:
Talbot has 41 wins, a 2.40 GAA & a .919 save percentage.
Fuhur had 40 wins, a 3.42 GAA & a .881 save percentage.
Fuhr got his 40 wins in 75 games. Talbot has 41 wins in 72 games, with one to go.
I know the eras are different, trust me, but you can’t ignore the Oilers dynasty teams & the offensive numbers they produced. The stat line suggests Talbot is better, but tonight’s not the night for that. Tonight’s the night to tell 95% of the Ranger fan base “I TOLD YOU SO!”
If you go back in the archives of this site, which you can search by looking on the right hand of this blog, you know I was the biggest Talbot advocate. Still am. While I’m happy for Talbot’s success and vindication in being proven right, I still wish he was in Rangers blue and Lundqvist was off somewhere else.
Two years ago, on Facebook and Twitter, 95% of Ranger fans made death threats, said I didn’t know what I was talking about, said Talbot would never be a starter, said Lundqvist would win the Cup and Talbot was a flash in the pan. WHO IS RIGHT NOW BITCHES?
If you’re a Lundqvist apologist and choose to keep your head in the sand, I feel bad for you. When Lundqvist struggles in Montreal, just think about Cam Talbot. Think about those 2015 playoffs too, where Lundqvist had his doors blown off by Tampa Bay. Talbot was the one who helped the Rangers get the President’s Trophy, not Lundqvist. The Rangers coddled Lundqvist and he struggled in the playoffs. It will be the same thing this season and instead of saying “What if Talbot started?” we will be saying, “What if Raanta started?”
While I think Cam Talbot is better than Antti Raanta, what I think everyone can agree on, in this 2016-2017 season, is that both goalies have been far superior than Lundqvist and for a lot less money. Lundqvist never won 40 games in a season. In his first full year as a starter (He split duties with Scrivens last season), Talbot has 41 wins. Raanta has Hank beat in every statistical category this season as well.
It is fun to say I told you so, but at the same time, while I am rooting for Talbot & his Oilers to do well, it pains me that the Rangers threw away a Vezina level goalie, to stick with the insane idea of “Lundqvist will carry us.” Those days are long gone and not having the foresight to see that, assures me that Sather is/was senile.
While I sit here in my glory, I’m reminded of the “abuse” I took on social media for saying Talbot was the future and should be given the reins in NY. I don’t take anything to heart – after all, I was in the indy wrestling business for 10 years, which is a much deeper cesspool than anything you will find in the land of hockey twitter! However, I would always get comments like “YOO DON’T PLAY THE GAYME, U DON NO WHAT YOU TALKIN ABOUT!” It’s safe to say, the people saying that weren’t NHL goalies either.
Listen, I don’t have to be an NHL goalie to recognize talent, just like you don’t have to be a chef to appreciate good food, a mechanic to appreciate a good car or a brewer to appreciate a cold hard beer. While my playing days were pretty terrible (I recapped this in my Nashville/Rangers blog this season) and the highlight of my “playing career” (I only played rec leagues) was clearing the puck and starting fights, I have watched enough hockey to know that Talbot was pretty special when he was in Hartford.
I will say, I did respect the opinion of Steve Valiquette on this subject, just because he was an ex-NHL goalie, with time logged in both the Rangers & Oiler organizations. If he wanted to give me shit, at least it came from someone who knew what he was talking about. My hockey knowledge doesn’t even scratch that guy’s ass. He was an NHL goalie & has probably forgotten more about the game than I’ll ever know. That said, TOLD YOU SO VALLY! Just to be clear, I still respect Vally, enjoy him breaking my balls on twitter & love his insight on the MSG broadcasts. However, he was wrong about Talbot vs Lundqvist!
So many people were quick to jump down my throat when Talbot started slow last year. Of course, they weren’t watching the Oiler games, who had a worse defense than the Rangers. After all, this was the same team that traded Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson in the off-season. Remember how panned that trade was? Now look at it. Who won that trade now? Of course, more time is needed, but in year one, Edmonton won that deal.
Listen, this blog is like nothing else you will read from the Rangers fanbase. I’m more raw than anyone else and not afraid to be politically incorrect. I try to bring a stand-up vibe to these things. After all, you can read a million blogs with x’s and o’s & charts made from a basement. I’m here to give you a different take and I attempt to make you laugh with my weird sense of humor! I also consider myself realistic. I understand my opinions may be controversial and against the grain, but where have I really been wrong? Talbot was better than Hank. The Hagelin trade was stupid. Letting Stralman walk for Boyle was dumb.
In the present day, I have Ranger fans telling me that “YOO ARE A RETART!” for thinking that Tanner Glass should be on the fourth line and that Raanta should start. If you look at my predictions when it comes to the Rangers themselves, I have a pretty good track record. I am happy to say that many Ranger fans are coming around on the Lundqvist vs Raanta deal. The only mainstream support I have about Glass is from Ron Duguay. You think he may know a thing or two about this subject?
Since the end of the 2015-2016 season, Cam Talbot has had an amazing year. Probably the best year in his life. Take a look:
- Wins the IIHF Championships.
- Shut out in the Gold medal game in the IIHF.
- Has twins with his wife Kelly.
- Multiple NHL star of the week awards
- Joins a short list of goalies to post a shutout in an outdoor game.
- With McDavid, leads the Oilers to their first playoff berth in years
- Beloved by his teammates and accepts personal responsibility for losses & credits the team in front of him for wins.
- Breaks Fuhr’s win record
- A probable Vezina finalist.
- Rejuvenated the Oiler fanbase
What has Lundqvist done in the same period of time?
- Another “goalie controversy”, where Raanta gets four straight starts
- Another injury
- Worst GAA & SV% of his career
- Despite being paid Vezina winner money, ranked 20th or worse in every pertinent stat
- Outplayed by his back-up, AGAIN
- Cries about his defense after every loss
So for all those people who were so quick to say “YOU ARE A DUM ASS” two years ago, explain to me why Talbot isn’t a better commodity than Lundqvist in 2017? Just think, Talbot’s year can only get better, as he enters his first Stanley Cup tournament as a starting goalie. I will say, the only thing that makes me nervous is the amount of games Talbot has logged in a year-long period. However, as Mark Spector said tonight, Talbot will keep the Oilers in any playoff game they are in.
Here’s Talbot on the win:
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 7, 2017
As far as tonight’s 4-2 win over the Sharks, the hero of the game was Milan Lucic. Let’s not get it twisted before I continue – the Rangers are my favorite team. I want to see them win a Cup badly. If it’s Rangers vs Oilers in the Cup Finals, I’m rooting for a Rangers sweep – sorry my Oiler fan/followers/friends. That said, it took me a while to warm up to Lucic. After all, he burned my Rangers badly in the 2014 SCF.
I’m not going to lie, while I’ve been pounding Gretzky Whisky & Molson beer all night, hence this blog being all over the place (I’m also still very excited about Talbot), having Talbot go to Edmonton has worked out for me. I’m a diehard Ranger fan. Just read the blogs, my travels and the disgusting amount of money I spend on this franchise. That said, Talbot going to the West gave me an incentive to follow the Western Conference. Instead of mindlessly watching a 10:30PM game, I’m invested. I like the feeling of having something to root for.
Talbot going to the Oilers, besides educating me more about the Western Conference, has been great. After all, the Rangers & Oilers have a storied history together. There is no 1994 Cup without the Oilers. That said, there is heartbreak and hair pulling with the most overrated GM of all time, Glen Sather. Come on Oiler fans, me or you could’ve won the Cup as GM if Messier or Gretzky fell into our laps. Sather has been a trainwreck in NY. In fact, he is the longest tenured GM of all time, in NYC sports history, to never win a championship. I can think of something else he can suck besides that cigar!
Talbot on the Oilers also gave me the joy of watching every Connor McDavid game. That kid is just a stud. While the Art Ross Trophy (most points) seems like a lock, he’s also a Hart candidate. I can still see the NHL giving the Hart (MVP) to Crosby, but really, McDavid should get it.
I was talking to a younger fan on Twitter tonight, who was not aware of Gretzky’s stats. I mean just take this in and keep in mind, this wasn’t even one of Gretzky’s top 5 seasons:
The young fan I was talking to on twitter was unaware that this was not one of Gretzky’s best seasons. Gretzky had multiple 200 point seasons, for those not aware.
I’m not here to get into Gretzky vs McDavid, because how can you compare a guy who has a season & a half career against either the greatest of all time or second greatest of all time? (Howe being the option for the other GOAT.)
That said, we’re living in a great time. I was born in 1982, so I didn’t see much of Gretzky’s prime. Not that I could’ve seen it anyway. TV is different. I can watch any NHL game, any time I want in the present day. You couldn’t do that in Gretzky’s time, so I think some of his greatness is lost on some people. Gretzky spending the prime of his career in Western Canada was great for Canadian fans, but didn’t do much to promote the sport in America.
For as big of a star Gretzky is today, if he was playing today, he would be an even bigger star.
Where am I going with all of this? I’m glad Talbot wound up in Edmonton, I get to watch McDavid every game and have met some real cool people from Edmonton during my NYR/EDM trip!
In the Oilers 4-2 win over the Sharks tonight, as I originally was going to talk about two sections ago, Lucic was the hero. He had a natural hat trick and kicked Micheal Haley’s ass. As he’s been all season, Talbot was a rock for the Oilers & kept them in the game, however Lucic won it. While Lucic had his best game as an Oiler this season, obviously, the talk around Edmonton is Cam Talbot.
Any night you get a hat trick is a good game. However, the play of the game may have been, with the Oilers down 2-1, Matt Benning hooked Marcus Sorensen on a breakaway. Sorensen was awarded a penalty shot. Quick digression – if the NHL wants more scoring in the league, they should allow a team who misses on a penalty shot, a two minute PP.
Anyway, on the penalty shot, Talbot stoned Sorensen, keeping the score 2-1, rather than going to 3-1. Two minutes later, the Oilers would get a game tying goal from Lucic, with the puck coming from a similar spot where the Brent Burns goal against Talbot came from. It was a momentum save from Talbot and Lucic put the team on his back.
I could go on and on about Talbot and puff my chest out about being right. I can make the comparisons about how everyone thought Galileo was wrong in his day too.
However, in this special blog, I just want to say congratulations to Cam Talbot, the Edmonton Oilers and their great fans. Home ice in the first round is a possibility. I will be cheering you guys on in the playoffs, but if there is a NYR vs EDM SCF this year, (hey you never know), my loyalties lay with my beloved NY Rangers. That said – IN CAM WE TRUST!
Looking ahead, as far as my return, I have a few blogs planned. I think I’m going to skip Saturday’s meaningless afternoon game with Ottawa. It’s a big UFC night anyway.
Starting Sunday, look for these blogs:
- NYR vs PITT blog & thoughts on the Steven McDonald award winner
- NYR Season Report Card
- NYR vs MTL Preview
- Pete Gas, AJ Lee & Terry Sawchuk Book Reviews
If you’re an Oiler fan finding this blog for the first time, stay tuned too. There are plenty of Talbot mentions on these pages!
As always, LET’S GO RANGERS & TALBOT!
Congrats 33, I never doubted you.
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter