Stuff Still Happens, week 26: Oiler fans say, ‘What the Hall?’

It’s summer here in the Great Green North, the brief respite from the snow and cold and ceaseless hockey talk. Or at least that’s supposed to be the way it goes.

While there are no reports of winter weather, hockey news just never goes away. This week, the obsessive fan base of the Edmonton Oilers was send spiralling into an even deeper dismay than usual with the news that Taylor Hall, the team’s leading scorer, face of the franchise and all-round stand-up teammate, had been traded to the New Jersey Devils. In exchange, the Oilers got some guy who is so little known, even Bob McKenzie likely said, “Who the hell is that?” The player, a defenceman named Adam Larsson, is the type of guy who isn’t even a household name in his own household. Oiler fans were outraged … until Friday, when GM Peter Chiarelli signed coveted free agent Milan Lucic, who is the kind of big, bruising winger that the Oilers desperately need (or so I’m told; I haven’t watched a full Oilers game in about five years). The local media drooled all over the deal, of course, but one discordant note appeared in the Edmonton Journal’s sports page, where the ‘national hockey writer’ Michael Traikos called it the second worst free agent signing of the day, saying Lucic is a “28-year-old in a 38-year-old’s body”. I guess that’s why Traikos is the ‘national hockey writer’; the guy has access to the medical files of players. Personally, I have no idea if this is a good deal or bad, but unloading Taylor Hall seems like an awfully high price to pay to make room for Lucic.

And now, back to summer …

A terrorist attack, likely from ISIS, at a Turkish airport killed 46 people earlier in the week. Also this week, terrorists took hostage in a Bangladesh cafe, killing 20. And on Saturday, a suicide bombing at a Baghdad shopping district killed more than 120.

Oh my god. Let’s go back to hockey.

Subban sent packing

On the same day as the Hall trade, Montreal’s star defenceman P.K. Subban was traded to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber. This, too, is apparently a terrible trade. While management apparently soured on Subban, he was much beloved by some parts of the Montreal fan base. The guy donated $10 million to a children’s hospital, for god’s sake.

Deficit, schmficit …

Finance Minister Joe Ceci gave another of his casual financial updates this week. The deficit is now at $6.4 billion. But is Ceci worried? Nah. His attitude, and the government’s, imagesis that the deficiurlt isn’t their fault and they won’t do anything to rein in spending. The NDP has no plan to get its spending under control, preferring to … well, who knows?Looking at Ceci, I am reminded of another gap-toothed comic figure, Alfred E. Newman of Mad Magazine. What, me worry?


What if they gave a strike and nobody cared?

Back some decades ago, Canada Post used to be a big deal, and the postal workers’ union knew it. Postal strikes happened almost yearly, and a postal strike was a major national crisis. Parliament would be recalled to deal with the strike as panic and concern swept the land.

Well, it appears we’re on the verge of a postal strike. You may not even know this. Most of my mail consists of advertising for window replacements or new condo developments. I used to get two or three magazines, now I get none. My bills arrive via email, and payment is through my computer. Aside from packages, which is still a good business for Canada Post, the mail is almost irrelevant. A postal strike will only mean people will send their packages through UPS or Fed Ex or some other company, further weakening Canada Post, likely resulting in job losses. So, enjoy your strike, posties. Nobody really cares anymore.


Michael Cimino, 77, Oscar-winning screenwriter and director (The Deer Hunter, Heaven’s Gate) … Elie Wiesel, 87, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner … Alvin Tofflerk 87, the ‘futurist’ who wrote the influential book Future Shock.


By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.

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