SUN Hockey Pool

Witness the gory details

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Craig MacTavish, who wasn't fired after the second period like Wayne Fleming was in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League this season, survived to call it a "debacle of monumental proportions."

It's not often you hear a home crowd chant "We want 10!" for the visitors.

Well, O.K. They did that earlier this year when the Chicago Blackhawks were in town.

But this time they got it. An Oilers home record for ineptitude to celebrate their 30th season in the NHL.

Losing 10-2 on their first game back from the All-Star break after having won five of their previous six going into the break was a world-class dive into the toilet, a sheet-soiling like few you have ever witnessed since way back Well, since they followed five wins in seven games by losing 9-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks, also at home, just before Christmas.

That was only 17 games earlier!

But that one only tied the record for futility at home.

Every time the Oilers get excited, they get eviscerated.

"We weren't ready from the start," said Sheldon Souray, just back from the All-Star Game in which he played for a team that scored 11 goals and lost.

"The game was essentially over in the first few minutes.

"That was embarrassing plain and simple. Everything, everything was horrible. I don't care if we had lost our last 10 games. Who cares about that?

"That was embarrassing. We weren't ready to play. It was embarrassing," Souray continued.

"If we thought we were on the top of the mountain, think again. If we start thinking we have this figured out we're sadly mistaken. We were out of this game right off the bat."

After six days of basking in a set of standings that said their hockey team sat sixth in the NHL West, the Oilers set some sort of record for returning their fans to reality.

Ten seconds!

That's how long it took Oiler equipment man Barrie Stafford's nephew Drew, in his first ever game against the team he used to hang around here, to score for the Buffalo Sabres.

His goal was set up by Thomas Vanek, the player going against the Oilers for the first time since Kevin Lowe set him up for life by producing a seven year, $50 million US restricted free agent offer sheet, which Buffalo matched.

O.K. It wasn't a team record for giving up the first goal. That was Tim Kerr for Philadelphia in 1989.

And when Nathan Paetsch made it 2-0 at 1:11, that wasn't a record for the fastest two snipes against. Old Islander John Tonelli did that by himself way back in 1984.

But the timeout MacTavish called at that point had to be the earliest timeout in a game in Oilers history.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff had to be wondering if he could end up as the second coach this week to get fired for beating somebody 100-0. No, check that. GM Darcy Regier was probably offering bonus money to run this up on Lowe's hockey team.

Dwayne Rolson looked like he'd spent the All-Star break held captive in somebody's wine cellar and was out of there after giving up three straight ghastly goals on eight shots and a 3-0 Sabres lead by 10:17.

During a commercial break, a promotion for an Oiler wives fundraiser resulted in Souray being outed as "a metro sexual guy" on the scoreboard by Jason Strudwick's wife Shona.

"That was probably the nicest thing that happened tonight," said Souray.

Caroline Frampton of England was shown on the scoreboard a little later in the period watching her first NHL game. Cricket anyone?

Maybe she saw Dustin Penner break two sticks on the same shift. You don't see that every day.

The fickle fans booed the "one minute to play" announcement at the end of the first period. Their week-long love affair was over in 19 mintues.

With a minute to go in the second period and the score 7-1, the same announcement received a much louder boo.

MacTavish had asked Rob Daum to remind him not to do what he did last year after the All-Star break when he tried to skate the rust off the team. The Oilers lost 3-0 and 4-1 coming back from that one. So MacTavish took it easy on them Monday. Oops.

MacTavish's first words in the post-game interview room?

"OK, fire away!

"It started early and it kept on coming," he said.

"There are plenty of areas of our game plan leading up to the game which are open to criticism. We are not as masochistic as it may have seemed watching the game tonight."

He said some other stuff. But he pretty much had it covered with "debacle of monumental proportions."\


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