Good thing they had fun while it lasted

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:32 PM ET

It was a great run for the Edmonton Oilers, albeit one that ended in heartbreak, as the 20,000 fans in North Carolina who have actually heard of hockey were finally rewarded for their long-suffering devotion.

The merciful end of the far-too-long NHL season was none-too-pleasing for the Oilers and their fans, who must realize Cinderella seasons are few and far between.

The Oilers will be remembered as an eighth-place team that went a long way but came up short. Like the Calgary Flames before them, they were likely one-hit wonders that never quite made it to the top of the charts.

It has been great to see Canadian teams going deep into the playoffs the last couple of seasons and there's probably more where that came from, but the Oilers barely made the playoffs this year and don't project as the next great dynasty.

That's the reality Oiler fans have to deal with today. You can say there's always next year, but everyone must realize Edmonton could just as easily miss the playoffs as go on a long post-season run next time around.

Good thing they enjoyed it while they could.

MISSING BLINK: Is it just me, or does Charles Roberts seem just a subpar game or two away from a major meltdown? The star running back has been out of sorts ever since the team signed (and later cut) Onterrio Smith last month. His latest tirade, which included a proclamation that he would change his number from 1 to 32 and his name to C.R., (like O.J.), served to get the media temporarily banned from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers locker room. Here's a newsflash for the Bombers brass: Charlie will find a way to make news on and off the field, no matter how much you try to shield him. You can bet on it ... Just wondering, has C.R. actually heard about that whole double-murder thing with O.J. a few years back? ... I'm sitting here trying to think up another Ricky Williams joke, but nothing is coming to me. Guess it's about time I s--- or get off the pot ... Brendan Taman's off-season looked a lot worse after Spergon Wynn shone for the Toronto Argos in Week 1. No matter how you sugar-coat the Wynn-in-Winnipeg debacle, you have to look at the bottom line. Taman gave up a first-round pick to get Wynn and traded him for a second-rounder before the pivot ever threw a competitive pass with the team. And in his Argos debut, Wynn looked better than any of the quarterbacks the Bombers have this year ... If a football coach puts together a 9-14 record with a team, he probably walks the plank. Blue Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn puts up that record and is expected to get a contract extension. Go figure.

NINE YEARS OF HELL: Saw this quote from a Carolina Hurricanes fan, after his team won the Stanley Cup: "It's been nine years. It's about time." Now here's a good old boy who deserves a collective punch in the mouth from diehard fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks, not to mention many other hard-luck sports franchises around the world (the Cubs are working on a century for Steve Bartman's sake!). Nine years? The Winnipeg Jets entered the NHL 26 years ago and the franchise is still looking to win its first game in the second round of the playoffs. Dude, go play in NASCAR traffic ... The Czech Republic fell apart after a great start at the World Cup and missed the Round of 16. Czech reporters are blaming the disaster on a difficult grouping, lack of team intensity and Dominik Hasek's mysterious adductor injury ... Brazil seems to be in good shape to win another World Cup, even though their star Ronaldo appears to have been working out with John Daly prior to the big event. Yeah, the Brazilian star looks a bit porky, but this is what happens when your nutritionist is named Ronaldo McDonaldo ... So, we're figuring the 18th hole of the U.S. Open pretty much explains why Phil Mickelson's nickname on the PGA Tour is "Genius." Million-dollar swing. Ten cent head.

KNUCKLEHEADS

Ananova.com dug up this little nugget about a mugger who deserves a red card for stupidity. The man apparently snatched a woman's purse as she made her way to the Brazil-Australia match at the World Cup, and scored her ticket. Instead of scalping it for big bucks, he decided to watch the game and promptly plopped himself down next to the woman's husband. Needless to say, stadium police were informed and an arrest was made.

SAY WHAT?

"THey kicked our butt. I'm probably going to have to sleep standing up."

-- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, to The Associated Press, after taking 20-6 pounding from the Chicago White Sox this week

NUMBERS GAME

67 million to 1

Odds of a golfer hitting two holes in one in a single round, according to Golf Digest. But that's what 25-year-old Scotsman Chris Tugwell did on the 157-yard seventh and the 168-yard 12th at Bruntsfield Golf Course. Now there's a guy who should be buying some lottery tickets.

TRIVIA TIME

This week's winner will receive a Manitoba Lung Association 2006 Golf Privilege Book.

The first person to phone in or e-mail the correct answer will win. Please leave your name and phone number.

QUESTION: Who holds the NHL record for goals by a rookie defenceman with 23?

LAST WEEK'S QUESTION: Who was the oldest player to make the cut at a U.S. Open golf tournament at the age of 61?

ANSWER: Sam Snead.

LAST WEEK'S WINNER: No winner.

QUICK HITS: Let's start off with Bryant Gumbel from HBO's Real Sports, on the American perception that soccer is boring: "For God's sake, we're a nation that venerates 1-0 baseball games, watches cars make endless left-hand turns and televises people playing poker and dominoes." ... Seattle Times reader Bill Littlejohn, on Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen using a derogatory term about sexual orientation to describe Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti: "Sounds like Ozzie's gone off his Rocker." ... Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, on England winning a World Cup game after a Paraguayan defender headed the ball into his own net: "It was sort of the equivalent of the time that ball bounced off Jose Canseco's head for a home run." ... Randy Hill of FoxSports.com, after former major league pitcher Jason Grimsley allegedly named names in a federal drug investigation: "Jason could have been the first big-league hurler to be put on a snitch count." ... Bill Simmons of ESPN.com, explaining why baseball closers are like girlfriends: "You remember the great ones, you remember the awful ones, and you vaguely remember everyone in between." ... Minnesota Twins centre-fielder Torii Hunter, telling the St. Paul Pioneer-Press about his struggle to keep up his batting average: "In batting practice, I've been like Reggie Jackson. In the game, I've been like Michael Jackson." ... Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on Roger Clemens pitching for a team he owns in one of his minor-league rehab starts: "Let's just hope this doesn't give George Steinbrenner any ideas." ... From Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com: "Phil Mickelson vs. Patrick Ewing in a sweating contest -- who wins? Phil Mickelson vs. Jenna Jameson in a 'Bigger Chest' contest -- who wins? ... From Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: "Speaking of the World Cup, can someone please ask Brazilian star Kaka to change his name? In what other sport is it a compliment to be told you play like Kaka?" ... From Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel: "Here's a thought: Now that Ben Roethlisberger has titanium in his head, Phil Mickelson would have been better off hitting the ball with Ben than with his driver on the 72nd hole." ... Geoff Ogilvy, reading one of David Letterman's "Top Ten Things That Went Through Geoff Ogilvy's mind After Winning the U.S. Open: "Even I've never heard of me."

Ted Wyman is the Sun's sports editor. Got a note, quote or anecdote? Send it to thehitparade@wpgsun.com or phone 632-2794.


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