Not much more Oil Kings could do

CRASH CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

The reality was they didn't stand a chance.

A one-off game?

Yeah, with Torrie Jung's leg pads and if Brenden Dowd or Jeff Lee can get their full grips on one in front, then the Edmonton Oil Kings shock the WHL (and CHL) by stunning the Calgary Hitmen.

A seven-game series?

Right. And I'm going to scoop Angelina away from Brad.

To repeat a phrase used by media and players during this series about the Hitmen: they come in waves.

For example, in Jung's epic 54-save performance in Game 2 at the Saddledome, top Hitmen scorer Brandon Kozun was seemingly invisible. Meanwhile Kyle Bortis and Kris Foucault pounded Jung's pad all-afternoon long.

Game 3? Bortis and Foucault off the scoreboard. Kozun nails the insurance job. Bostjan Golicic has three assists. Joel Broda matches Kozun's goal and two helpers.

Game 4? Golicic blanks while Foucault is back with a pair, the game-tying marker and game-winner. Bortis and Kozun get one each, 30 seconds apart in the third.

Like the hippies used to say: "That's deep, man."

The Hitmen defence corps?

Despite all the research-and-development facilities in the city of Edmonton, maybe Calgary has mastered cloning first. Every one of their D-men is big, mobile, willing to hit, willing and able to blast from the point and - the cloning clue - five of six shoot right-handed.

Like the hippies used to say: "Freaky."

Jung had a Curtis Joseph playoff.

Cujo with St. Louis Blues in 1992-93 - 438 shots against in 11 games; with the Oilers, 405 SA in 12 games.

Jung had 181 SA in four games. (Yet some pinhead in the CHL office awarded the Hitmen's Martin Jones as CHL Goalie of the Week.)

Whether they pull it off (Champs of the Dub, Memorial Cup) or not, this Hitmen squad is as deep as a Rocky Mountain lake.

Am I being a homer? Being too kind to the Kings?

At the best of times "he shoots, he scores" doesn't come easy for the Oil Kings. All I can say is what I saw, which was the overmatched underdogs - to quote Calgary's Kozun - "work their butts off."

OK, there were a handful of Oil Kings that didn't do it on the ice this series.

Adrian Van de Mosselaer sucked: hobbled on his crutches like a three-legged dog.

Tomas Vincour was useless: just sat around rubbing his shoulders.

And Jesse Pearson, what was he thinking stopping a puck with his jaw in Moose Jaw during a playoff stretch?

They would have been better off on the injured list.

Oh, wait. They were.

What about top prospect Mark St. Croix?

Apparently the son of a goalie was too busy getting 20 points in his first eight games during Winnipeg midget playoffs to bother and come help out his future teammates.

Seriously - now that the Oil Kings have had this experience beyond original expectations, they've set up this whole new level of expectaions for themselves and the franchise. And it will start right at the first drop of the puck this fall.

That's when they'll realize this "learning experience" merely creates another one.

- - -

It is hard to tell inside a 17-18,000 seat barn like Rexall Place, but Wednesday's announced crowd of 6,500 looked like that in bodies not just paid tickets - unlike Monday's 3,500 attendance figure.

But I'm here to officially kick off another arena controversy in Edmonton. I say we go down to Red Deer and drag the Centrium Centre back up here. Real estate conditions are favourable, the Rebels don't really need it anymore and it would be perfect for the Oil Kings as well as concerts.

DAVID.CAMERON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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