Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tony Montana

This is Tony Montana. Also known as Scarface.

An ambitious, aggressive, careless, competitive, cocky and relatively young fellow.

However, it was these characteristics that ultimately lead to his death.

Unfortunately, the Oilers GM, Kevin Lowe inherits these very characteristics.

I will illustrate some examples that indicate similarities between the two:

  • Tony Montana spent '12% of his adjusted gross' on security. However that security failed to bring him results when it mattered. Likewise, Kevin Lowe spent effectively 12% of his payroll on Sheldon Souray - who also failed to deliver results
  • Tony Montana entered the business with a lack of experience. He saw initial success with Frank, and craved for more quickly ignoring long run costs. He took steps to rise fast in the underworld business, no matter what the consequences of pissing off long term competitors were . Likewise, Kevin Lowe had a strong nucleus of talented young prospects, but the strong desire for short term results this past summer lead to signing an unneeded Sheldon Souray, and pissing off competitors [Regier - Vanek, Burke - Penner] in the process of doing so.
  • Tony Montana was careless with his mouth when angrily cussing at Alejandro Sosa, instead of discussing in a calm manner. Ultimately, that shot down any chance of forgiveness. Likewise, an emotionally overwhelmed Kevin Lowe went on National TV [HNIC} to proclaim that Ryan Smyth isn't an elite player. On July 1, Smyth never returned the call back.
  • Tony Montana lost his best business associate - Manny Ribera. Likewise, Kevin Lowe lost assistant [and lawyer] Scott Howson.
  • Tony Montana questioned if the business was truly worth it. That lead to a self-questioning session in public. VIDEO . Likewise, Kevin Lowe was puzzled in a stream of questions and despair .
I will end this entry with the famous words of an experienced Frank Lopez:
Hey, Tony. Remember when I told you when you first started working for me, the guys that last in this business, are the guys who fly straight. Low-key, quiet. But the guys who want it all, chicas, champagne, flash... they don't last.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 back up after a 5 year leave of absense

All of the days articles & columnists across the country.

Excellent site.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Lupul further expands on his time in Edmonton

Last year I got too worried about the score sheet," Lupul said. "Everyone was talking about goals and goals and goals, and I said I had to get some points. For me, I don't think I'm a top-end offensive guy, I'm more of a hard-working, physical player. I have a little bit of natural ability to get those goals.


I was putting the pressure on myself to go out and score goals when maybe I should have been putting the pressure on myself to compete, work, play more physical and, in turn, the goals would have come. I think things just started off bad there. I never really found a line. I played with every guy on the team four times. I never got comfortable there."

"He was the type of coach that had a couple guys he was really comfortable with and he played them 23, 24 minutes a game," Lupul said. "The other guys had to scrap it out for the bottom 12 minutes. I never really got into that comfort zone with him. He never really trusted me as far as John Stevens does, as far as penalty killing and four-on-four play and last minutes of periods. It gives you a lot of confidence when you come in and a coach shows that much confidence in you.

Kind of odd then, when you see Gagner and Nilsson, two rookies, out on the ice during crucial stages of the games.

Jason Smith, who was also included in the Lupul trade that saw the Flyers send Joni Pitkanen and forward Geoff Sanderson to Edmonton, has seen a completely new player.

He came in with a new attitude this year," Smith said. "He was refreshed and looking for the opportunity to prove himself again this year. He's taking that challenge. He came to training camp in great shape and he's working as hard as he can every night.


"If I Only Knew...

If I only knew that the cap was going up, I may have held onto Ryan Smyth.
- Kevin Lowe, July 2007

Don't make the same mistake with Pitkanen, Kevin.


NHL executives project league revenue will jump 10 to 11 percent to $2.53 billion during the 2007-08 season, according to a presentation to the hockey organization's board of governors Nov. 29.

The league's revenue increased more than 6 percent in the 2006-07 season to $2.3 billion.

The league anticipated a more conservative increase of 7-plus percent this year based on a hike in average ticket prices, attendance and sponsorship sales. But the strength of the Canadian dollar pushed the projection an additional 3 percent to the $2.53 billion figure.

According to Irish Blues, a well recognized moderator on HF, he expects based on those numbers, a cap of 54.75M, up from the 50.3M currently.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Is the Oiler Nation overrating Mathieu Garon?

Due to:
  • Making the big saves?
  • Flexibility at a level that is second to no one?
  • Relative comparison to Roloson?
  • Astronomical success in the shoot-out that is unlikely to carry on at its current rate?
He has at times allowed soft goals. Enough of them that his SV% is 22nd in the NHL at .910.

Breaking down his stats game-by-game, in the past 8 games, he's had only 2 of them with a SV% below .900. In the first 9 games, there were 6 occasions, which may be suggesting that he has turned the corner. He faces on average, 25.19 Shots Against/60.

In any case, a larger sample size is needed to see where he fits in comparison to other NHL goalies. If he can squeak into the top 15 category by the end of the year, he'll be making a strong case towards being a starter next year.

It will be interesting to see if MacT rolls with Roloson on Tuesday night against Dallas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dubnyk vs Schwarz

Like the Pouliot vs Parise, this is another comparison Oiler fans love to bring out. The selection of Devan Dubnyk, 14th overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft, didn't come without its' controversy. Many felt Schwarz was the better goalie, whom was taken 17th overall.

Before I throw out the numbers, it should be mentioned only 3 goalies have a SV% above .920, which has been often mentioned as the line in the sand for elite goalies. They are:

Jeff Glass - 17 GP - .928
Drew MacIntrye - 16 GP - .926
Tyler Weiman - 10 GP - .921

Jeff Drouin-Deslausiers - 22 GP - .917, therefore is relatively in good company.

Back to Dubnyk vs Schwarz - here are the numbers for these 2 young goalies at the professional level.

20 year old (ECHL) - 43 GP - .921 SV%, 2.56 GAA
20 year old (AHL) - 4 GP - .855 SV%, 2.94 GAA
21 year old (AHL) - 11 GP - .898 SV%, 3.42 GAA

20 year old (AHL) - 34 GP - .899 SV%, 2.76 GAA
20 year old (NHL) - 2 GP - .880 SV%, 3.00 GAA
21 year old (NHL) - 1 GP - .750 SV%, 5.60 GAA
21 year old (AHL) - 11 GP - .900 SV%, 2.30 GAA

Neither goalies have impressive numbers on surface. Certainly nothing that stands out as elite or anything that suggests either is set to graduate to the NHL anytime soon. Such as, Carey Price's 22 GP in the AHL playoffs straight out of the WHL (at age 20), co-leading with captain Ajay Baines to help the Hamilton Bulldogs win the Calder Cup.

However, two noteworthy differences were found.

1) Numbers for the goalies on the same team:

Jeff Drouin Deslauriers - 22 GP- 917 SV% - 2.62 GAA
Chris Beckford-Tseu - 9GP, .903 SV% - 2.49 GAA

In this sense, it's discouraging for Dubnyk to be posting numbers well below his co-goaltender.

2) Shots Against/60

Dubnyk - 34.47 Shots Against/60
Schwarz - 22.95 Shots Against/60

Their Co-goaltenders:

Jeff Drouin Deslauriers - 31.67 Shots Against/60
Chris Beckford-Tseu - 25.61 Shots Against/60

We can infer that Springfield gives up alot of shots. Peoria, meanwhile does not. Dubnyk's 3.42 GAA (JDD 2.62) also may be suggesting that one can make the quality scoring chances argument - however, that variable is more likely to be drawn out once a larger sample size (GP) is obtained.

Whatever the case is, Schwarz numbers are simply not impressive. Nor were his junior numbers impressive (.900 in 56 GP in his only season in the WHL). Dubnyk, meanwhile did post relatively strong numbers in the dub (.907, .917, .912, .912 in the 4 seasons). I think it's fair to assert that if Dubnyk is going to be a legitimate starter in the NHL, his numbers have to pick up? No? Meanwhile, it seems JDD is ready to graduate to the NHL as a backup role.

It will be interesting to see what happens in coming years.

What say you?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Schedule Breakdown - Updated


Pacific Division

San Jose Sharks (1/2H, 0/2A)
Dallas Stars (0/2H, 1/2A)
Anaheim Ducks (1/2H, 2/2A)
Phoenix Coyotes (0/2H, 1/2A)
Los Angeles Kings (0/2H, 2/2A)

Northwest Division
Vancouver Canucks (2/4H, 2/4 A)
Minnesota Wild (2/4H, 2/4A)
Colorado Avalanche (2/4H, 2/4A)
Calgary Flames (1/4H, 2/4A)

Central Division

Detroit Red Wings (1/2 H, 2/2 A)
St. Louis Blues (1/2H, 1/2A)
Columbus Blue Jackets (1/2H, 0/2A)
Chicago Blackhawks (1/2H, 0/2A)
Nashville Predators (1/2H, 0/2A)


Philadelphia Flyers (1/1 H)
Pittsburgh Penguins (1/1 H)

The injury-depleted Edmonton Oilers have played 16 out of the 33 games games this year on home ice.

Divisional comparison:
Calgary Flames - 18/32
Colorado Avalanche - 15/31
Vancouver Canucks - 15/31
Minnesota Wild - 15/30
Edmonton Oilers - 16/33

*Phoenix, LA - 4 home games left against those two clubs

*Moreau is set to return next week

* 5 out of the 8 back-to-backs have been completed. 3 more remaining.

*6/15 PPV games have been broadcasted. 9 remain on the schedule.

The Business man gets it done

Nichols said: "It's probably time to pass the torch to a new generation of ownership... sale of the team will serve shareholders very well"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lupulov Reflects Back on Time in Edmonton


Some noteworthy quotes

"I've got a lot to prove," Lupul told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. "It feels a lot like I'd been given up on by the Oilers. It would be nice to have a good year and have some success in the playoffs again."

"There's a lot you can learn about yourself as a player and as a person from a year like that," said Lupul, the centrepiece of the blockbuster that sent
Chris Pronger to Anaheim in July 2006. "It was a struggle the whole year. I mean, there was really no time last year where it was a lot of fun for me. You learn a lot about mental toughness.

"I'm sure if I was there this year I really think things would have worked out for me as well as it has in Philadelphia," said Lupul. "I came into the year in a lot better condition and with a different mindset. But the trade was made and I'm pretty happy here in Philadelphia. We've got a great young core, a good team right now and a team I really believe is going to win a championship in the next five years.
"That's a pretty good situation to be put in."

"It makes you realize that it's also a business," said Lupul, Anaheim's first pick, seventh overall, in the 2002 NHL entry draft. "The first time I was traded, I was devastated. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was going to play my whole career there in Anaheim. When I got traded it was a pretty big shock. And then the second time, I was surprised but I didn't have the same feeling from the first time.
"Now I'm at the point where I realize it can happen at any time. But I don't really want to be a guy that moves around all the time. I've seen enough of the country now. I also played a year in (AHL) Cincinnati during the lockout. I've got four time zones under my belt and that's enough. I'd like to stay here in Philly as long as I can."

"I've been talking to a lot of friends and family," he said with a laugh. "But it's over. I don't expect to ever get six points in a game again in my career. It's back to the grind tomorrow night."

Carl's Jr. & Fatburger coming to Edmonton

Carl's food........EVAAAR

Edmonton Oilers 2007: Shooting %

Posted in order of team scoring rank at the particular position


Shawn Horcoff
2007-2008 - 21.7
2006-2007 - 9.5
2005-2006 - 13.2

Ales Hemsky
2007-2008 - 12.2
2006-2007 - 10.7
2005-2006 - 10.7

Dustin Penner
2007-2008 - 10.4
2006-2007 - 14.2
2005-2006 - 8.7

Andrew Cogliano
2007-2008 - 15.8

Sam Gagner
2007-2008 - 7.3

Jarrett Stoll
2007-2008 - 4.3
2006-2007 - 11.3
2005-2006 - 9.1

Robert Nilsson
2007-2008 - 8.6
2005-2006 - 8.6

Raffi Torres
2007-2008 - 5.9
2006-2007 - 9.7
2005-2006 - 16.5

Kyle Brodziak
2007-2008 - 10.6

Marty Reasoner
2007-2008 - 8.1
2006-2007 - 7.1
2005-2006 - 12.1

Geoff Sanderson
2007-2008 - 8.3
2006-2007 - 7.4
2005-2006 - 16.4

Fernando Pisani
2007-2008 - 14.3
2006-2007 - 9.9
2005-2006 - 13.7

Zach Stortini
2007-2008 - 0.0
2006-2007 - 5.9

Patrick Thorosen
2007-2008 - 20
2006-2007 - 5.5

JF Jacques
2007-2008 - 0.0
2006-2007 - 0.0
2005-2006 - 0.0

Marc-Antoine Pouliot
2007-2008 - 0.0
2006-2007 - 5.5


Tom Gilbert
2007-2008 - 13.9
2006-2007 - 7.7

Joni Pitkanen
2007-2008 - 9.7
2006-2007 - 2.9
2005-2006 - 11.0

Dick Tarnstrom
2007-2008 - 5.9
2005-2006 - 5.0
2003-2004 - 12.5

Steve Staios
2007-2008 - 9.7
2006-2007 - 2.8
2005-2006 - 5.7

Denis Grebeshkov
2007-2008 - 0.0
2005-2006 - 0.0

Sheldon Souray
2007-2008 - 10.5
2006-2007 - 11.6
2005-2006 - 5.9

Ladislav Smid
2007-2008 - 0
2006-2007 - 5.7

Matt Greene
2007-2008 - 0.0
2006-2007 - 1.9
2005-2006 - 0.0

Mathieu Roy
2007-2008 - 0
2006-2007 - 11.1

Alan Rourke
2007-2008 - 0.0
2006-2007 - 0.0
2005-2006 - 0.0

NOTEABLE OBSERVATIONS - Shawn Horcoff, while improved his shot and release, is scoring at a long run unsustainable %.
- Jarett Stoll and Raffi Torres are snakebit. Expect their numbers to go up.
- Dustin Penner has room to grow.
- Cogliano's rate likely unsustainable. Ironically high S% for a guy labeled as a Marchant clone.
- Geoff Sanderson's 16.4 S% in 2005-2006 can partially explain why he went from 25 to 11 goals
- Fernando Pisani has historically always had a strong S%
- Gilbert's S% high for a defenceman - possibly sustainable as many of his goals have come by sneaking down low from the point.
- Pitkanen has 3 goals this year. He had 4 in total last year. That can be explained by his 2.9 S% last year.
- Dick Tarnstrom 2003-2004 season seemed like a career year.
- Will be interesting to see who is the real Souray is going forward. The pre-2006 season one or the post 2006 one.



Nashville Predators Independently Valued at 225 Million


Murray & MacTavish Speak on Horcoff and Penner


Horcoff, who has been such a regular contributor that he now has 13 points in an eight-game scoring streak, helped the comeback. He has scored a goal in each of his team's last four games, and a total of six goals during his run.

"I love Shawn Horcoff. I'm so happy to see him playing the way he is," said Andy Murray, the Blues coach who has tutored the centre at the world championship.

"The biggest difference between him now and before is the confidence he has shooting the puck," MacTavish said. "He's a real confident shooter and he's going to shoot ever chance he gets.

"Before he was a look/pass-first guy. Now he's not afraid to unload - which I think is the main reason he has the number of goal that he does. That wasn't something we didn't anticipate."

Teamed with Penner and Ales Hemsky, the line has been leading the way, as it should.

"Dustin's game is predicated by anticipation and foot speed - and when he gets skating, he's a handful," MacTavish continued. "And he has played much better the last while, and there's a lot of room to grow.

"He's obviously a player who is developing and finding himself on a new team, in a new role. He's starting to produce now and it's always good that you see the fruits of your labours. That when you are moving your feet, you get rewarded with productivity and that's what is happening with him."


Once you get Moreau back, you have a list of 6 responsible forwards 5 on 5 (Horcoff, Penner, Hemsky, Torres, Pisani, and Moreau). Gagner and Nilsson have been holding their fort playing the soft minutes. Cogliano has fared well for the most part, aside for the last 5 games (-5).

Things are looking good.

Moreau makes a bold statement, Patrick LaForge on Oilers Live

Tip of the hat to ''hotdog'' from HF.

Jason Gregor reported tonight that Moreau has claimed he'll be back next week - for sure.

We've already seen how Gagner and Nilsson have benefited having Pisani on their line. Just a tremendous 5 on 5 player. Now, with Moreau set to be back - it's an opportunity for the Oilers to make a strong push before New Years.

Perhaps Moreau will take Cogliano under his wing, who has struggled recently (-5 in the last 5 games).

On another note, Patrick LaForge will be on Oilers LIVE! answering your questions. You can submit a question via the link below. MCiampa was great at throwing the hardballs in the last interview.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Crosby, 6 Years Ago

As posted on MIRTLE's blog.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Response to David Staples - Part II


Counter response to your latest entry. Absolutely, I'll be cheering hard for Souray. I hope Huddy helps turn his game around, and the PP shows signs of improvement. I have no malice towards the guy - I just wasn't a fan of the contract. However, he's an Oiler, and he's got full support from me.

As for the previous entry, please don't take it the wrong way. While critical of your opinion, that doesn't neccessarily mean that I am right and you're wrong. It could be exactly the opposite.

If I came across as rude in the previous entry, I apologize - no disrespect was intended. Just a stressful exam season.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Response to David Staples

Being a regular reader to his blog, I'm going to choose to respond to his thoughts in his most recent entry. The reason being, the lack of desire to register an account on the CanWest Website.


That said, I have no problem with critics looking at Joffrey Lupul and Ladislav Smid and stating that the Oilers didn't get much for Pronger. That is a fair enough opinion, though not one I hold myself.

Why not David? Lupul is now on his 3rd NHL team in his young career - even though he's improved offensively, he's still not outscoring. Kevin Lowe massively overrated Joffrey Lupul because:

a) He's from Edmonton
b) He had a strong playoffs. 16 GP, 9G, 2A, 11 points. What was forgotten was the fact he was a minus player on a strong Even-strength team in Anaheim in the regular season.

Smid while good and may turn out, has little offense to speak of. He could be an effective mid pairing defenceman in 3-4 years, but when you have the league's 2nd best defenceman (behind Lidstrom) who carried your team to the SCF, locked up for another 4 years at a bargain price ($6.25M), you simply have to get more proven players, or at the very least, high end prospects.

I've heard many, many people say the Oilers should have got more for Pronger, but do any of us really know how this might have been done? What were the other offers?

Simple, wait it out. After teams went on a spending spree in the UFA market (Ed Jovonovski obtained a 32.5M/5 year contract, Chara received 37.5/5 years), that would have left empty-handed desperate teams that lost out on the UFA signings, an opportunity to send offers for Pronger.

Instead, Lowe insisted to trade him quickly (July 3rd), just a mere few days after the UFA period began. On top of that, he insisted on getting quantity (5 assets) over quality.

You know, I wonder if Lowe really had so many options as his critics imagine he did. Is it possible, for instance, that Chris and Lauren Pronger gave the Oilers a very, very short list of teams he would play for, and thus greatly limited Lowe's trading options?

Lowe had the leverage and upper hand. What could he simply have told Prongers (an individual who the Oilers had given long term security in good faith) if they had given him a short list?

Fuck off.

From your article in February, Cal Nichols seems in favor of that strategy.

Nichols says he wouldn’t have traded Pronger so quickly. “To a hockey person, their first mindset is: ‘I’ve been dealt this blow, I’ve got to get the best possible assets in return, to try to keep being competitive and entertaining.’ The business side of me says, ‘Balderdash! As a matter of principle, we had a deal in good faith.’

“I would have said, ‘Ah, sorry, we got a contractual arrangement. Go sit in the corner.’ ”

Another criticism of Lowe is that he could have made Pronger sit, then hold out for a really sweet trade offer from another team. But was this really possible?

Yes David. Yes it was.

Even your colleague, Jim Matheson, was reported on the record saying the Oilers should have "waited it out a bit longer."

See Yashin, Alexei. Ottawa.

The return for a hockey player who sat out a full year?

2nd overall pick (Jason Spezza), Zdeno Chara, and Bill Muckalt.

But even if such a commitment was not made, does it really make sense for Edmonton to be seen as a place that screws around star players?

No, no no no no, No David.

Fuck No.

It was Pronger who "screwed" Edmonton. He had signed a deal in good faith - a long term deal (something he was seeking). The Oilers paid him the money and gave him the security. It was initially Pronger's desire to play in Canada, if you believe his agent. He mentioned that he had discussed it with his wife, and they then made a 5 year commitment in a span of 10 minutes. If he's an idiot to make such a decision that hastily, so be it - you simply don't reward stupidity.

Because making Pronger sit for weeks and months, waiting for the right deal to come up for the Oilers, would have got that unhappy message across to other players and their agents.

And again. See Yashin, Alexei. Ottawa.

Or a more local example. Comrie, Mike. Edmonton.

People move on - this is a "me" generation. I simply don't think a guy like Petr Sykora or Dustin Penner's personal signing decisions depend on what happened to a player who decided to break a 5 year signed, written contract.

In a league where players have increasing freedom to choose their team, did Edmonton want a reputation for treating star players in that manner?

So how is our reputation now? Or the past summer?

I'd argue that by not receiving adequate return, and by losing hockey games, our reputation took a larger hit than it would have had Kevin Lowe received proper return on the trade. In other words, players that would have helped this hockey club win games.

Nobody wants to play for a loser, all else equal.

Questions, questions, questions, and we on the Oilogosphere don't have the most of the answers, and we never will have many of them, because a good deal of confidentiality is crucial to Lowe's business dealings.

No, but we don't need them to measure his results. The mere fact is, the Oilers simply didn't get enough in return. Pronger was a difference maker - Lupul (the center piece of the deal) was not - in fact, such a disappointment that he got traded away within 1 calender year of the Pronger deal.

Kevin Lowe mentioned that he began scouting for opposition players since February of 2006.

What we do know is:

Roberto Luongo (who grew up as an Oilers fan) was on the market by Mike Keenan, who loves Pronger.

Alex Tanguay was on the market, and was also traded in the divison.

Martin Havlat, a disgruntled player, had also asked for a trade.

That's not even considering other players who WOULD have been made available on the market, as the summer progressed.

In the end, scouting since February, and you end up with only Joffrey Lupul and Ladislav Smid? Oh, and a few late round draft picks? Not enough David.

It just isn't.

David, you're a good guy. In the end we're both cheering for the Oilers. However, the mere fact of the matter is - the MSM in Edmonton simply doesn't challenge or question decisions, save a Dan Barnes here or there. Any fan knows Sheldon Souray was strictly a PR signing - and nothing more - but why isn't the MSM questioning that? Why didn't Lowe opt for the less sexy signing in Jan Hedja (who is leading the CBJ in +/-, logging up minutes) over Sheldon Souray? Why didn't Lowe leave 5.5M of cap space over the next 5 summers? Why the sudden urge to be in a win-now mode, with the league's youngest team? Why not sign a bunch of veteran hockey players on short term deals, while rebuilding, the way the NYI did (Guerin, Sillinger, Fedotenko, Comrie) enough to win hockey games while maintaining cap flexibility? Why are some smart bloggers able to uncover the Oilers profitability and revenue gate receipts, well before the Katz offer, which subsequently forced the EIG to spill some beans? Why does it take a National Post writer (Mark Spector) to uncover the fact that Dustin Penner is out of shape? Why does it take a Nashville newspaper to reveal a quote from Cal Nichols that the Oilers were 7th in league revenues the past year?

Is the MSM in Edmonton just lazy? Or do the Oilers simply control what is printed in the newspapers? Or are members of the MSM all homers like Bryan Hall, and operate under the label of, "If it's not good news, I don't wanna hear about it?"

There obviously is a problem with the MSM in this city.

There certainly is.

There is some hope in the 'Sphere that you can play a role in changing that. Now that doesn't mean being negative - that means being willing to challenge and ask questions.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Robbie Schremp

I admit I've never been much of a fan of Robbie Schremp. However, his recent streak of 15 points in the past 11 games raises some eyebrows and warrants a closer look.

He had put up strong numbers in junior:

17 year old 60 28 41 69
17 year old (playoffs) 15 7 6 13
18 year old 62 41 49 90
18 year old (playoffs) 18 13 16 19
19 year old 57 57 88 145
19 year old (playoffs) 19 10 37 47

The talent was there. No question about it. Obviously not to the Sam Gagner level:

Sam's 17 year old 53 35 83 118
Sam's 17 year old (playoffs) 16 7 22 29

But talent, nonetheless.

However, there were warning bells surrounding him that lead to him dropping to 25th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

They were:
1) Poor attitude
2) Poor skating, which would hurt his ability 5 on 5
3) High % of points on the PP, questioning his ability to outscore at EV

Number 1: We found, was clearly a myth. He's demonstrated ability and desire to become an NHL player. He worked hard this summer, recovering from a season ending lower body injury incurred late last season. He didn't impress at training camp or pre-season play this year, like he somewhat did a few years ago - but the attitude problems were clearly fabricated.

Number 2: He still has an awkward stride, last I saw of him in person at the U of A conditioning camps. Improved over the previous year? I'm not a hockey scout, so despite
the fact that I "saw him good," I'm in no position to make an assessment. However, every man or turtle has his limits. It's very unlikely he'll be a seasoned skater in the NHL - that's simply means he has to improve in other areas of his game to compensate for his weakness.

The AHL numbers are certainly there:

As a 20 year old: 69 17 36 53 (After a slow start) 0.77 PPG
As a 21 year old: 25 6 20 26 = 1.04 PPG

Also mentioned (Credit BBO) is that 15 out of his 20 assists have been of the 1st assist variety.

He sits 13th in the AHL in scoring, a mere 1 point away from 7th, and 2 points away from 5th.


He's -3.


His PP production is 3-11-14. Thus, 54% of his points have come with the man advantage.

Which is, warning bell number 3.

After he was briefly called up to the big league in October (2 games), Oilers coach Craig MacTavish explained why exactly Schremp's ass was stapled to the bench (Quote - Credit Lowetide):

He needs the strength base and quickness. He's got to be strong enough to battle at a standstill because he's not going to outskate many guys...."

Will Robbie Schremp carve a career in the NHL? Could he help his team win hockey games by making a difference on the PP? I believe so. At the same time, I'm not going to expect him to be a guy that will handle tougher minutes. I believe he'll either be a player handling the soft minutes on the 2nd line, while bulking up and not hurting his team like Nilsson has demonstrated in his brief career with the Edmonton Oilers - or, he'll be on the 4th line, limited minutes on ES while logging up time on the PP.

Of course, what I think and what will actually happen is a mystery itself.

Just exactly who are you, Robbie? Who are you?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Early Free Agent Busts

Players who are clearly overperforming their contracts. In many cases, clearly underperforming their contracts.

Handzus, Michal
16M/4 years.
25 1 3 4 -10

Preissing, Tom 11M/4 years.
22 1 5 6 -2

Nagy, Ladislav 3.750M/1 year
22 4 7 11 2

Gomez, Scott 51.5M/7 years
26 5 14 19 2

Drury, Chris 36.25M/5 years
26 6 11 17 -1

Bertuzzi, Todd 8M/2 years
14 1 5 6 -3

Sometimes, you just have to resist the temptation of purchasing that shiny piece of candy.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Hits and Winning Hockey Games

I did a very basic preliminary Analysis, just for the hell of it.

Bold indicates a game in which the outhitting team ending up losing the hockey game.

G1: W3-2 Outhit by SJ 14-12
G2: W5-3 Outhit by PHIL 24-14
G3: L4-2 Outhit by DET 19-13
G4: L2-0 Outhit by MIN 10-4
G5: L 5-2 Outhit by VAN 34-17
G6: L 4-1 Outhit VAN 14-9
G7: W4-2 Outhit PHX 18-17
G8: L 4-1 Outhit by CGY 22-9
G9: L 4-2 Outhit COL 20-4
G10: W 5-4 Outhit MIN 15-11
G11: L 4-1 Outhit by LA 21-17
G12: W 3-2 Outhit by ANA 15-11
G13: L 2-1 TIED DET 13-13
G14: L 4-1 Outhit NSH 10-8
G15: L 5-2 Outhit MIN 10-9
G16: L 4-3 Outhit COL 12-6
G17: W 4-2 Outhit by CAL 25-12
G18: W 1-0 Outhit by VAN 15-13
G19: L 4-2 Outhit by MIN 13-12
G20: L 3-1 Outhit CAL 20-16
G21: W 5-4 TIED VAN 10-10
G22: L 3-2 Outhit Col 9-8
G23: W 3-2 Outhit by CHI 13-9
G24: W 3-1 TIED CLB 12-12
G25: L 4-2 Outhit COL 14-11
G26: W5-1 Outhit by ANA 22-8
G27: W4-0 Outhit by ANA 17-8

End result: 16 games in which the outhitting team lost the hockey game. 3 games resulted in ties in the hits battle, so should be filtered out if anyone chooses to take this data into excel. 8 games in which the outhitting team won the hockey game.

Very preliminary (and quite possibly ignoring certain details), but indicates to some extent, hits aren't a good predictor of winning hockey games. Perhaps even a negative correlation relationship exists. Sample size is closing near 30, drawing out the luck element. I will update this at the end of the year, and perhaps look at more teams.

Next time the masses argue that losing Matt Greene leaves the Edmonton Oilers soft on the back end, perhaps the counter-argument should then be, so what?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

30 NHL games, 30 consecutive nights, 30 cities

Steve Williamson, who embarked on a journey to see all 30 NHL teams in 30 nights, sheds some light in a recent interview with David Amber from ESPN.

Some noteworthy excerpts:


Q: So give us the stats. How many plane rides did you take? How many miles did you travel?

A: I just calculated that I traveled 30,530 miles, including three trips across the country. I took 35 flights total, a few train rides, used a lot of rental cars and took one bus in Vancouver from the airport to the arena.

Q: So which was the best arena?

A: The nicest physical arena was the American Airlines Arena in Dallas. I was surprised to see people dressed up for the game. It had sort of a swanky feel to it. The arena was beautiful, kind of like a hotel lobby with the way it was shaped. It was rectangular, not oval, and the sightlines were amazing.

As far as atmosphere, Montreal was the best, without a doubt. It was unbelievable. It was a Tuesday night game against a last-place team, and the fans were still really into it. Ten minutes before the game, the seats were filled and the place was loud.

Q: Which arena had the best food?

A: The United Center in Chicago had the best selection. You could get Mexican or ribs or pretty much anything you wanted. I ate a hot dog at every arena, and the best by far were in Montreal, where the bun is slit on the top and they lightly butter it. Also, in Dallas, they have something called the "knife and fork" dog, which is a hot dog smothered in chili, cheese and onions. And yes, you do have to eat it with a knife and fork. It was great. The worst food was in Edmonton, where I got food poisoning. Not sure if it was at the arena or at a restaurant, but my flight the next morning to Toronto wasn't pleasant.

Q: What was the biggest disappointment?

A: The atmospheres in some of the Canadian rinks, especially Vancouver and Calgary, were surprisingly bad. The fans seemed indifferent during the game: not a lot of cheering, not a lot of excitement. I was expecting the Canadian rinks to be the best, but it was pretty dead in those two cities.

Q: What was the best moment from the games?

A: A couple of great moments stand out. In Carolina, against the Lightning, Vincent Lecavalier scored an amazing goal. He broke through the defense, and with Bret Hedican draped on his back, he just shrugged him off and scored. It was an incredible show of strength and skill. I saw a total of 158 goals. That one and a Sam Gagner shootout goal were the two beauties I remember best.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Heritage Classic

Came across this pic of streaker from the Heritage Classic.

Not even sure why I'm posting it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A man of Reason

Refreshing to read article regarding the lack of scoring and solutions to improve it.


Buffalo Sabres president Larry Quinn made a presentation to the governors Friday which passionately asked for the league to consider spending more time and money on research and development to try and figure out ways to improve the game.

"We didn't propose any rule changes either," said Quinn. "What we said is, goal scoring is going down, we don't think the zone trap is what our fans want to see, and we've got to find a way to get it out of the game without damaging the game. And that requires a lot of research and development in my opinion. So it was a good discussion.".

Quinn would like to see the league's head office adding way more staff in order to tackle these issues more effectively.

"If somebody wants to go to a bigger net or a smaller catching glove or anything, we have the desired outcome at the end by researching it before we do it," said Quinn.

"For instance, there's a theory that bigger nets would get rid of the trap and improve goal scoring," added Quinn. "Who knows if that's true? I don't. So ideas like that need to be tested thoroughly so that if we decide to do something like that, it has the desired result. You'd hate to do it and not have it work."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Battle of Alberta

12. Calgary 25 10 12 3 23

14. Edmonton 24 10 13 1 21

"Gee, I expected the Battle of Alberta to be a little more battling than this"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lessons Learned from the 2003-2004 Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club

The Edmonton Oilers highest scorer, Shawn Horcoff, is 47th in the league with 20 points (24 Games). Is it a problem that they don't have enough high end depth? Somewhat. In the sense a top scorers typically posts strong numbers on the PP, which in turn helps win hockey games. That being said, there are two examples in recent history that illustrate a club doesn't necessarily need a 80+ point player in order to win hockey games.

2003-2004 Edmonton Oilers


While they didn't qualify for the playoffs, which can mostly be attributed to the special teams, they won more hockey games than not. Despite the fact the PP (29th ranked in league) and PK (27th) were both among the bottom 5 in the league, the team ended up 7 games over .500, just 2 points out of 7th and 8th place in the Conference.

The key? Everybody contributing offensively while playing strong even-strength hockey. 14 players posted at least 20 points. The leading scorers were Ryan Smyth (59), Radek Dvorak (50), and Michael York (42). Only Ales Hemsky (-7), Eric Brewer (-6), Scott Fergueson (-5), Brad Isbister (-2) and Jason Chimera (-1) were on the wrong side of the ledger. On the good Side, Ulanov (+19), Dvorak & York (+18), Staios (+17), and Pisani (+14) among many others.

The team was 9th in GF (221), and 16th in GA (208)

The 2007-2008 team has only one thing in common with the 2003-2004 club - an inefficient powerplay (30th in league). While the PK is stronger (10th in league), EV play is a problem. 74 GA are a pitiful 29th in league rankings, most of them scored against at EV strength. Outscorers gone (or not playing this year due to injury) from the 2003-2004 club include Dvorak, Moreau, Pisani, Reasoner. The Oilers had a solid second line in Torres-York-Dvorak who simply put, took on the soft minutes and murdered opponents. Stoll isn't Mike York yet. And Dvorak never found his offensive touch again. On the back end, Staios was a better defenceman those days, as was Jason Smith. Cory Cross was effective as a bottom pairing, and seemed to have a career year. Igor Ulanov was a pleasant surprise, signed mid-season.

To be fair, that club was largely out of the playoff hunt until it's late surge in late February and March. They acquired Petr Nedved at the trade deadline who put up career-esque numbers clipping 15 points in 16 gaves. On the flip side, one can argue that a top scorer (i.e. One that posts results on the PP) like Nedved was proof enough that a top scorer is required to win hockey games, despite how good the team is on even-strength. The 2006-2007 Dallas Stars certainly seem to support that theory.

What we learned from the 2003-2004 club?

- Veteran hockey players are required to establish a strong 5-on-5 system

- Craig MacTavish is a good hockey coach, who currently can only do so much with the youngest team in the league that has 3 veteran hockey players (Souray, Pisani, Moreau) out with injuries much of the year.

- Perhaps the Oilers strong EV play made goaltenders Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkannen appear better than they actually were/are.

- If the Oilers had better goaltending from Tommy Salo (See Turco, Marty 2006-2007 Dallas Stars), the Oilers would have contended for the division

- PP and PK, like it or not, do matter. Perhaps even more so under the new NHL rules. That's why, when Ray "FUCKING" Whitney, who has over the course of his career demonstrated exceptional PP skills and results, publicly states he wants to play for the Oilers (and he went for only 1.5M), you don't pass up the opportunity. Carolina got a gem - one that certainly overperformed his contract and helped the Carolina Hurricanes win the 2006 Stanley Cup. Too bad, he could have been on our side.

- The West was certainly not as competitive as it is now. Going forward, you hope the NHL Western Conference doesn't imitate the NBA Western Conference of recent years

- The 2007-2008 Oilers squad lacks a 2nd line that can murder soft opponents, the way Torres-York-Dvorak did

- Future Oiler clubs, once the younger players gain experience, should attempt to imitate the 2003-2004 club's EV play, with more success on the PP. Perhaps Craig MacTavish is after all the right man to take them to the promised land.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oilers on the Skids - December 5, 1993


What a hottie in the opening 5 second.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ryan Smyth Struggling in Colorado

Ryan Smyth is my favourite player. He's one of the few NHL players in my life that I've met.

I wasn't a fan of the trade, but I'm also not the most objective party.

20 games into the season with Colorado, he's posted these numbers:

20 6 7 13 -6

5th in team scoring, 6th in PPG.

Of course he's doing the heavy lifting in Colorado, but those simply aren't good numbers. The minus 6 is tied for 2nd in the team worst category, only "Behind" Scott Hannan who is -11. Of course the plus/minus numbers should always be used on context (Sakic is -4, Wolski is +9).

So, the ultimate questions to the 'sphere - what is wrong with Ryan Smyth? Did the Oilers make the right move taking a stand over $100,000/year?

Of course even if the Oilers had made the right decision - they followed it up by acquiring for PR purposes, Sheldon Souray, negating any possible future benefit of the decision.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ryan O'Marra Struggling

During training camp, I had written this piece on O'Marra. Now is a follow up on this prospect.

Above is a picture illustrating Ryan O'Marra as a Champion.

These days, he is anything but one

20 year old Ryan O'Marra, the central piece of the Ryan Smyth deal is struggling.

In the ECHL.

After playing only 3 games and going pointless with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL, he was demoted to a lower tier league in the ECHL. He has posted 6G, 1A, 7 PTS in 11 games, 8th on his team in scoring.

For a 15th overall pick, it's a disappointment, especially considering he went 4G, 1A, 5PTS in 8 games as an 18 year old kid in the AHL. In the past, he's received rave reviews of his play and style:

Ken Morrow on his play in the AHL as an 18 year old kid

"I watched (O'Marra) in the World Junior tournament this year and he's just a steady two-way guy who shows up to play every shift," said Ken Morrow, the Islanders' Director of Pro Scouting.

"As you saw, he can score you some goals, he can kill penalties, he can check, and he can hit...he does a little bit of everything," explained Morrow, adding that O'Marra "doesn't look out of place (at the AHL-level)."

"He looks like a ten-year pro the way he handled himself...he's 18-years-old but he plays like a 25 or 26-year-old," said Morrow.

"I think we have a good one," pronounced Baseggio.

Is it just a confidence issue, or did his 2 major injuries kill his career as a professional hockey league player?

Monday, November 19, 2007

David Staples Article on the Oilogosphere

In case you missed it, a great article written by David Staples in today's Edmonton Journal.


That being said, there's another guy that deserves some mention. He's smart, original, and hammers his points home.


Have to say he's one of the top bloggers out there. He hasn't posted recently, but make sure to check out his archives.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mr. Glass still serving a purpose

After the PR work for the "Cash Is King" Lottery, Ethan Moreau doing his latest PR work for the the Oilers.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Loweapologists Arguments

Term is coined by Dennis.

Here are the most often arguments given by Loweapologists, trying to convince the majority that Kevin Lowe is the man with a plan.

Argument 1: "Smyth isn't worth 5 YEARS! Guys break down at 34 and 35! Just look at Amonte and Naslund!!!"
Fact 1: Lowe obviously though otherwise, considering he offered Smyth a 5 year, 27M deal. A deal that would keep Ryan around until 36.


Argument 2: "Smyth is injury prone. Kevin Lowe made the right choice to pass on Smyth."
Fact 2: Compare with Souray's GP totals, and tell me who exactly is injury prone

And again, Kevin Lowe didn't pass on Smyth by offering him a 5 year contract. Therefore, the injury prone line is bogus, even if it was true that Smyth fit in that category.

Argument 3: "Kevin Lowe is thinking about the Oilers in long run. Thus, the Dustin Penner contract fits in with Kevin's long term vision as Penner will be earning his money in years 3, 4, and 5 of the contract."
Fact 3: If that were the case, why would Kevin Lowe offer a 4 year contract to a 35 year old Michael Nylander, whom is likely to decline in years 3 and 4 of the contract

Argument 4: "Ryan Smyth is Greedy. He is the only reason why Kevin Lowe could not sign him. Ryan should have taken a hometown discount. The truth is, Ryan Smyth didn't want to stay in Edmonton, while Sheldon Souray did."
Fact 4: Sheldon Souray took the best offer (in monetary figures, signing bonus, and length of contract). That is the only reason he signed here. In fact, according to this piece in the Montreal Gazette, the Oilers came out of nowhere to sign him:


A day later, the Canadiens offered Souray a four-year deal commonly reported to be worth $22 million, numbers he says “are close.”

By then, he had similar or better offers elsewhere – eventually a half-dozen or so serious offers, Souray says, before Edmonton came out of nowhere, “not even kicking the tires” until July 11 – and felt he had slipped well down the Canadiens’ list of priorities.

It is also to important to note, none of the guys in Moreau, Pisani, Staios, Horcoff, Lupul, and Roloson, at the times during their negotiations, took a hometown discount. But Ryan Smyth should have!


Argument 5: "Kevin Lowe is put at a huge disadvantage! Nobody wants to play in Edmonton!!!"
Fact 5: Players do want to play in Edmonton, as proven by the numerous guys that have signed long term contracts here. Typically, they go where the money is. While it may be a little more difficult for Lowe to compete in the UFA market when players have the choice, that doesn't mean every guy out there is a Pronger.

Detroit isn't exactly a tropical paradise either.

When given a choice, who would want to go to a place where the team has sold off every damn good player over the years, and won one game in regluation (one that cost us Patrick Kane) in the final 20 games? Last time I checked, celler dwellers teams like LA and Chicago also have had trouble attracting the marquee free agents.

Not to the endless drama within the organization, comparable to an episode of "Days of Our lives"


Argument 6: "Dustin Penner was a GREAT MOVE BY LOWE!!! Draft picks and prospects are massively overrated!"
Fact 6: If they are overrated, then why were you defending the return on:

The Pronger deal (An unproven Smid with little offensive game, a Lupul who had raw tools but poor ES numbers, a 1st, a 2nd, and another conditional 1st)

The Smyth deal (Nilsson, a 22 year old that had yet to crack the NHL on a full-time basis, O'Marra who had just come off a major injury and barely cracked the PPG as a 19 year old in the OHL, and is now doing only OK in the ECHL. Topped with another 1st round draft pick).


It's downright funny sometimes.

Before the ''You're a Basher Crew'' gets on me, hopefully the Oilers win against Minnesota tonight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Revenue sharing and the Canadian Dollar

A great article by ALLAN MAKI AND ERIC DUHATSCHEK from the Globe and Mail, on the issue of revenue sharing and the appreciating Canadian dollar.

Below are some interesting excerpts from the article.

The Atlanta Thrashers, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Florida Panthers will soon feel the strain of a robust Canadian hockey economy, which is generating money for the NHL and increasing its hockey-related revenue. In turn, that could raise the NHL's salary cap. The high end of the cap, $50.3-million (all currency U.S. unless otherwise noted), isn't the issue. It's the low end, which is $34.3-million and could go up. For this season, the Predators and Washington Capitals had to spend upward of $4-million to $6-million just to reach the cap minimum. Now, there are questions surrounding the revenue-sharing aspects of the NHL's collective labour agreement.

According to published reports, the bottom-ranked clubs that receive revenue sharing "must generate a year-to-year growth rate in excess of the league average revenue growth rate." With the financial success of the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers, the NHL's weakest clubs may not be able to better the league average in revenue growth, and that would mean a deduction in the money they'd get from their partners.

In other words, the weak clubs would be weakened a little more, which wasn't supposed to happen in the new NHL. Of all the loopholes the league tried to close with its new collective agreement, this one was left unsecured.

"It's possible," Cal Nichols, the head of the Edmonton Oilers' Investors Group, said when asked whether small-market U.S. clubs could be damaged. "I can say that as our revenues grow, so increases what we pay into revenue sharing. I'm not going to say everything's wonderful [in Edmonton] until we find out what we have to pay. We don't know yet."

Playing the RFA Game

Based on 2007-2008 NHL Salary Cap of 50.3M, the RFA Offer sheet compensation was as follows:

AmountCompensation Due
$773,442 or lessNone
$773,442 - $1,171,8823rd round pick
$1,171,882 - $2,343,7642nd round pick
$2,343,764 - $3,515,6451st and 3rd round pick
$3,515,645 - $4,687,5271st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick
$4,687,527 - $5,859,412Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick
$5,859,412 or moreFour 1st round picks

As the cap goes up, these figures adjust.

The Edmonton Oilers have the following Restricted Free Agents in the summer of 2008:

Jarret Stoll
Robert Nilsson
Joni Pitkanen
Tom Gilbert
Denis Grebeshkov
Marc Pouliot
JF Jacques
Zach Stortini

Stortini is extremely unlikely to receive an RFA offer sheet.

JF Jacques is another guy that is unlikely to garner much interest.

MAP, although possibly will become a regular NHLer one day, has yet to prove himself in the NHL

That leaves us with:

Jarret Stoll
Robert Nilsson
Joni Pitkanen
Tom Gilbert
Denis Grebeshkov


Say Jarett Stoll gets a 3.5M offersheet. Do you take the 1st and the 3rd?

Assume Robert Nilsson is really a full time player, and he receives a 2.2M offersheet. 2.2M is too much coin, but at the same time a 2nd round pick is insufficient compensation. Do you really want to lose the center piece of the Ryan Smyth deal over 1M?

Joni Pitkanen, meanwhile is recipient of a 4.6M offersheet. Is a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd suffient for a guy who was a top 5 pick?

Tom Gilbert gets his well earned, 2.3M offersheet? Any choice but to match?

Denis Grebeshkov - 1.5M. Is a 2nd rounder enough?

So why the concern? You end up with guys on the lower end of the chart ripe for picking, at salaries beyond their value towards the hockey club. In other words, you won't be receiving the same ''bang-for-your-buck" as you initially anticipated. At the same time, the compensation is insufficient, forcing you to reluctantly cough up the money.


Just like players can take advantage of negotiating with other teams, GMs can essentially protect their assets (RFA's) by taking them into arbitration. The kicker is that a player can only be taken to arbitration once in his career (which makes Pitkanen ineligible for team-applied arbitration), and the player must have 4 years or professional hockey experience. Using Mike Cammalleri's 3.1M and 3.6M arbitration award (despite posting 55 and 80 points in the past 2 years) for the next two years, perhaps Kevin Lowe should be thinking hard about taking Jarrett Stoll to arbitration. Especially if he ends up with 30-40 points.*

*Assumption made that he's not packaged in a trade by the summer of '08

I'm not sure what the deal is with Tom Gilbert, a guy who played a full 4 years in the NCAA, followed up with a season in the AHL and currently in the NHL.

Dennis Grebeshkov can be taken into arbitration as well.


I'm not really sure what will happen.

Since the lock-out, there have been only 3 RFA offersheets, 2 of them by Kevin Lowe. History, therefore suggests there isn't much to worry about. On the flip side of the coin, we've seen numerous clubs lock up their top young players on long term deals, post-Vanek offer sheet. It will be an interesting summer - will the GM's break the ''old boys network'' or carry on the illegal activity in the name of collusion?

Perhaps, like every summer, UFA's will dominate the market, some at prices or terms that are clearly beyond logic.


Perhaps a guy like Dion Phaneuf will receive an offersheet in the range below:
$4,687,527 - $5,859,412Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick

Perhaps a guy like Ovechkin will receive an offersheet in the range below:
$5,859,412 or moreFour 1st round picks

Perhaps Buffalo does indeed seek revenge against the Oilers and throw an offer at Nilsson or Pitkanen.

Not that I have a problem with it - it's a legal tool available for GM's to improve their hockey team. Why teams allowed the NJ Devils in the summer of 2005 to sign 3 UFA's, pressed at the cap, without consequences (i.e. Paul Martin, an RFA possibly available for only a 2nd round pick) is beyond me.

RFA offersheets - they really are fair game. Aside from rookies coming off their entry level contracts, a smart GM will make sure he that he protects his most valuable young assets or locks up good young players for the long run.

It will be interesting to see where Kevin Lowe falls, going forward.

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Coyotes Marketing Promotion - "All You Can Eat"



The Phoenix Coyotes announced that they are now offering an “All You Can Eat” ticket package. Fans purchasing the package receive five (5) premier weekend games plus they can enjoy unlimited hot dogs, soft drinks, popcorn, peanuts and nachos each time they visit Arena.

“The Coyotes are committed to making National Hockey League action affordable for our fans” said John Browne, Executive Vice President, Chief Sales Officer for the Phoenix Coyotes. “This package provides cost certainty for our guests and represents a great value when you consider the regular price of just the ticket and then add on the value of the food and beverages.”

The package is available in both the upper and lower seating levels. The “All You Can Eat” upper level package is priced at $150 ($30 per game) and includes an upper level ticket regularly priced at $28. A lower level package is also available at $275 ($55 per game) and includes a lower level ticket regularly priced at $55.


Pretty self-explanatory.

One of the few good things of a market that have consistently told the world that they don't want NHL hockey, are value-based promotions for fans.

Relocated from Winnipeg in 1996, with little hockey history behind the market, Phoenix has been an ultimate failure. Dubbed early on as a non-traditional market, it has done little to shed away from the label. After arriving in Phoenix, the team posted six consecutive .500 or better seasons, making the playoffs in every year but one. Attendance, however, regularly flirted in the bottom 10 category, never topping the 15,604 mark hit in the first year. Despite a new state-of-art facility constructed in 2003, attendance spike was temporary and the team finished 24th in 2006-2007 at 14,988 average attendance (including 1,580 complimentary tickets) per game.

Schedule Breakdown - A reason to be optimistic


Pacific Division

San Jose Sharks (1/2H, 0/2A)
Los Angeles Kings (0/2H, 1/2A)
Anaheim Ducks (0/2H, 1/2A)
Phoenix Coyotes (0/2H, 1/2A)

Northwest Division
Vancouver Canucks (1/4H, 1/4 A)
Minnesota Wild (1/4H, 2/4A)
Colorado Avalanche (1/4H, 1/4A)
Calgary Flames (0/4H, 2/4A)

Central Division
Detroit Red Wings (1/2 H, 1/2 A)
Nashville Predators (1/2H, 0/2A)

Philadelphia Flyers (1/1 H)

The injury-depleted Edmonton Oilers have only only played 7 out of the 17 games games this year on home ice.

Divisional comparison:
Calgary Flames - 11/17
Colorado Avalanche - 10/17
Vancouver Canucks - 8/16
Minnesota Wild - 7/15
Edmonton Oilers - 7/17

*Western Conference teams the Oilers have not played this year include: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, and St. Louis

*Phoenix, Anaheim, and Calgary are the only teams the Oilers have played that have a current record as of NOV 12 below .500

*7 out of the remaining 9 games in November will be on home-ice. Souray is expected back next game, and Pitkanen shortly after. Moreau is a complete unknown, and there have been hints that Pisani could be back as early as the end of this month. December follows a 6:8 ratio for home and away games.

* 2 out of the 8 back-to-backs have been completed. 6 more remaining.

*4/15 PPV games have been broadcasted. 11 remain on the schedule.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sam Gagner

Sam Gagner officially played his 10th NHL game Saturday night at Staples Centre in Los Angeles, thus stapling his stay in the NHL for the rest of the season. There has been some concern on the Oilogosphere and by Oiler fans in general, that the Oilers are burning a year of his entry-level contract by keeping him up with the men. This side feels that Gagner should spend another year developing in Junior, thus helping the Oilers in his most productive, most salary-restricted years (19-22) in his entry-level contract. In other words, ''milk every production out of him before he gets the big bucks.'' Fair enough. I completely understand the reasoning behind this argument.

On to another issue...

Regarding the development, some feel Gagner would better develop playing against men at an earlier age. It's difficult to say. Guys like Eric Staal and Patrice Bergeron gained valuable experience as 18 year olds in the NHL. On the flip side of the coin, Wotej Wolski's 9 game stint with the Colorado Avalanche in 2005-2006 (6 points) before being sent back down to the junior certainly didn't seem to hurt his development. He came back to the NHL at 19, and posted 50 points in 76 games. 10 games into this year, he has posted 8 points. Some point out to Schremp's years as an 18 & 19 year old in Junior were a waste of time since he didn't develop the defensive side of the game. Perhaps the argument has merit. Or perhaps he just wasn't a very good hockey player. It's truly difficult to say.

Another concern among these skeptics however, is not as understandable.

Another concern is one of which that stems from the possibility of Gagner being signed to an RFA offersheet. Under the current CBA, arbitration rights do not exist for both the player and the team, should a player have less than 4 years of professional hockey experience. This means Gagner will have full unrestricted ability to sign an RFA offersheet after his entry level contract expires. Of course that is irrelevant to the decision to send him down to the juniors or not, but noteworthy to discuss.

So far, two years removed from the new CBA, we've only seen 3 RFA offer-sheets in the NHL. Two of them were by a very desperate Kevin Lowe. However, it is under my opinion the recent influx of longer term contracts to young players have little to do with the RFA Game. Players such as Nash, Staal, Cheechoo, Hemsky, and Beregeron, etc. all received long term contracts well before Lowe's RFA offersheets. It's a solid tool for teams to lock up their rising stars. For players, they receive the comfort and security of longterm guaranteed money, enough so to feed their dogs and their grandchildren. The key is, both sides bear the risk of the contract. That is, teams overpay in the earlier years of the contract with the hope that the player will elevate on the ice, while the players give up a few of their UFA years.

So, based on the brief post-CBA history, why the concern of Sam Gagner getting raided by a GM? Will he be the only young player in the league who will have posted solid numbers? Will he be the most attractive target to raid? Will all GMs be even in a position of holding the necessary draft picks to sign him? Do all GMs even believe in the RFA game? I'm not so inclined to believe that RFA offersheets are set to become a common theme.

Then, above all, is the "human element." The Oilers developed loyalty with Sam Gagner by keeping him up in the Majors. Is he, going to take the first opportunity available to sign an RFA offersheet? Or will he give the Oilers a chance to make a fair offer before considering external influences? A bit difficult to say, but the trend of younger players signing 6 year contracts with their only organization inclines me to believe the latter.

On to another issue...

After the draft, Lowe was quoted as saying he believed that Gagner could be in the NHL in 1 or 2 years. Some have accused the Oilers as keeping him up for PR reasons. In other words, "A reason for Oilers fans to believe in the future."

I can't share that assessment. I believe Sam Gagner earned his way to the NHL. He spent the summer in intense workouts. He posted 15 points in 8 games in the 2007 Super Series (next closest was John Tavares with 9 points, followed by Kyle Turris with 8). He followed that up by a strong training camp and pre-season, surpassing the likes of Pouliot and Schremp in the depth chart. The just-turned 18 year old didn't stop their either - he went on to post 7 points in his first 9 NHL games. I don't believe the Oilers kept him up for PR reasons - Sam Gagner left the Oilers with no choice but to keep him in the big leagues.

Perhaps the best Oiler draft pick since Captain Canada, Ryan Smyth. Sam Gagner will develop and grow in Edmonton.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Type of Fan Are You?

Hunt, Bristol, & Bradshaw’s (1999) classification scheme:

1) Temporary
- “fan” not part of self-identification
- time constrained
- BIRGing (Basking in Reflected Glory) motivation
- CORFing

2) Local
- identifies with geographic area
- devotion leaves with displacement

3) Devoted
- increased degree of attachment
- “fan” a closer part of sense of self
- not most critical or central part of self-definition

4) Fanatical
-being a fan an important part of self-identification
-has other means of self-identification that are more important
-engages in behaviour beyond normal devoted fan-behaviour accepted by significant others

5) Dysfunctional
-being a fan primary method of self-identification
-may engage in violent or disruptive behaviour
-identification interferes with normal life

I consider myself number 3.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Big Foot

Alexei Mikhnov is like Big Foot.

You hear about him. There are occasional reported sightings of him. But despite that, you still can't verify that he exists.

The latest rumbling suggest that he has put up 18 points in 17 games in the RSL. Just 4 points behind his career high.

Is this the case of actually progressing his game? Or do the numbers merely reflect his experience (at-bats)? The time is running out before he becomes a UFA in 2008. There are really only 3 options for the Oilers next summer:

1) Trade him if a market exists for him.
2) Sign him to a 1 way contract, and hope he improved his 2 way game.
3) Sign him to a 1 way contract with an opt clause to Russia if he doesn't crack the team.

Personally, I'm a fan of Mikhnov. Soft hands, fairly good skating for a big guy, protects the puck well down low. I believe he can play at least on the 4th line in the NHL. Option 3 makes sense in my opinion - you find room for him.

What Kevin Lowe and MacT will do is a different story.

Have we seen the last of Big Foot?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Getting It Done On The Powerplay

Before I begin for my valuable readers - sorry, just so busy. So please excuse this half-hearted piece.

6 games - 18 goals, 9 on the powerplay.

1 of the ES goal just as the penalty expired

Yes, that is the early edition of the Vancouver Canucks 2006-2007 NHL club, which sit at 3-3.

Don't expect that trend to continue.

At the same time, it gives Oilers fans reason to believe it can improve in the standings (2-4) once the PP starts gelling and starts getting results.

Just some food for thought.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Prediction: Raffi Torres will be traded

Joffrey Lupul's 3 year contract was structured at 1.5M year 1, 2.535M in year 2, and 2.9M in year 3.

The benefit of an contract with escalating dollars is clear. You can move a player with question marks after deriving the most value-per-dollar in earlier years. For the receiving (higher budget) team, the cap hit is less than the actual dollars being paid out.

Looking at Torres's contract structure:
Year 1 - 1.6M
Year 2 - 2.4M
Year 3 - 2.75M

With the dollar being high, you'd have expected the Oilers to front-load the contract. Or even a clear-cut 2.25M across the board.

Not so.

With his salary rising by 800,000 next year, Penner making him somewhat redundant, unless he takes the next step in his career with regards to consistency, I think he's a prime candidate to being moved either at the trade deadline (if the Oilers are out and Lowe wants to stockpile yet even more assets) or in the summer.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Smid and Grebeshkov to get a bird's eye view of the season opener


While Ladislav Smid and Denis Grebeshkov were a little risky in their own end in training camp, Tom Gilbert picked up right where he left off late last season, when he stood out in an emergency relief effort.

That's why Gilbert is skating with Dick Tarnstrom as Edmonton's third defence pair, while Smid and Grebeshkov will likely start the season as Nos. 7 and 8.

"You have to say that Gilbert deserves an opportunity," said MacTavish.

"And he'll likely get that Thursday night."


I understand Grebeshkov, who will get better as the season progresses, but I just don't understand what the bag of suck (as a player, not as a person) in Matt Greene is doing over Ladislav Smid on the depth chart.

Size in hockey is akin to left handed pitchers in baseball, it seems. Opportunities, sometimes undeserving.

Or perhaps Greene is being showcased for trade?

Monday, October 01, 2007

New Kid On The Block

Punjabi Oil has underwent successful expansion.

PDO will now bring his insights to the blog.


To make a long story short, PDO fit in the organization's budget

Anyone else wishing to join the organization, drop a PM on HF or post here. We are "Willing To Overpay" and will throw out some "pretty lucrative offers."



Opening Season Roster

Haven't had the time, nor the desire to watch or listen to the pre-season games.

Just been reading newspaper articles, glancing at boxscores, and catching the highlights on Sportscentre.

Not exactly in-depth analysis and ''eyeball observations,'' but who is paying me?

Without further ado, below is my informal hypothesis on the Oilers opening roster against SJ.

Penner Horcoff Hemsky
Torres Stoll Nilsson
Moreau Gagner Pouliot
Sanderson Reasoner Cogliano
EXT: Brodziak

*Thorosen sent to the AHL
*Storini Sent to the AHL
*Pisani on the IR

Staios Pitkanen
Souray Greene
Smid Tarnstrom
EXT: Grebeshkov, Gilbert

*Note - Trade Greene + Schremp (both overvalued) for a decent goaltender prospect.
*Roy on the IR


Playoff bound roster?

Lets just say I'd be much more comfortable if Pisani comes back earlier than expected, or Mike Johnson is signed upfront. The defence looks like a mess - collection of bottom pairing defencemen that need sheltered minutes. The defence also needs another shut-down defenceman (I'm looking at your, Danny Markov) who can kill penalties and play on ES. Simply put, Matt Greene just doesn't have it in him at this point of his career to log top 4 minutes.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Media takes a shot at the Oilogosphere


"If Edmonton Oilers hockey is a fishbowl, it's never had more fighting fish in it, with far more sports coverage than ever on radio, TV and in print, not to mention the blogosphere, where every wannabe Oilers general manager can have his or her say."

How many of these wannabe Oilers GM's could do a better job handling the Smyth and Pronger situations?

Vito Corleone steps down; Younger, fresher blood in Michael takes over

Ryan Smyth?


Jason Smith?


Petr Sykora?


3 Veteran hockey players were cut loose or traded this past summer. Perhaps the dollars and cents didn't match. Or perhaps, the organization was set on going in a different direction and the above names didn't align properly.

Kevin Lowe long has been discussing the young blood - public comments of ''Not mortgaging the future'' and the alike.

Now the time has come.

Call it the youth movement - With names like Gagner (18), Cogliano (20), Nilsson (22), Stortini (22), Pouliot (22), Thorosen (24), and Brodziak (24) upfront, all expected to crack the opening roster, there is no shortage of reliance on the young members of the Edmonton Oilers.

Penner (25), Hemsky (25), Stoll (25), and Torres (26) have yet to peak either.

The veterans up front is a short list: Horcoff (29), Reasoner (30), Moreau (32), and Sanderson (35)

Defence is sailing in the same boat.

Smid (21), Greene (24), Pitkanen (24), Gilbert (24), Grebeshkov (24), and Roy (24) round up the old-boys-network-junior.

Souray (31), Tarnstrom (32), and Staios (34) are the veterans on the blue line that will be heavily counted on.

Goaltending is an exception to the rule

Garon (29), and Roloson (38) are expected to share the load.

*I'd like to say so. I'd like to believe Gagner and Cogliano will carry their point production to the games that count. Mikhnov, Lupul's and Schremp's pre-season performances last year though, have kept me honest. A wait-and-see approach if you may.

*Young defenceman will make mistakes. Matt Greene's development has stagnated. MacT doesn't think Grebeshkov has a lot to offer defensively, but they'll work on it. Pitkanen came off a year with hot and cold games. Gilbert needs another 100AB in the NHL before he can find his comfort zone. Smid is still a boy amoung men.

*The veteran's don't provide that much of stability either. Souray is 31, and Huddy will STILL have to work to improve his game. Tarnstrom is a bottom pairing, PP Specialist, who wasn't in the NHL last year. Staios is the only calming presence surrounded by chaos.

* Souray was strictly a PR transaction, inconsistent with the organization's youth movement philosophy. Souray, who reported in AUG 21's Edmonton Journal, "The Oilers came out of nowhere, and I told my agent to get it quickly done." However, that's history, and I'm looking forward to see him put the POW in the POWERPLAY.

*The defence can certainly use a veteran to calm things down. YK Oil is a big fan of Tanabe. I was a fan of Hedja, or even Tjarnqvist at lesser money. Hey, Danny Markov is still looking for a dance partner. What say you, Kevin?

*Upfront, Mike Johnson replaces Pisani. Pisani ridiculously had only a -1 on a poor ES 2006-2007 Oilers team. Mike Johnson, meanwhile was +6 (31 pts) on a similar poor ES team. He's a guy who went 16G, 38A, 54 points in 2005-2006 and Montreal only paid the price of a 4th rounder (which is effectively ~nothing) to acquire him. Latest rumblings suggest that he was at the Blues camp on a try-out basis. Poor guy, just can't get a break. If Billy Beane shared his philosophy to the ''Naked-eye observation NHL GMs," he'd be courted by 30 NHL teams. Perhaps things will change in the future. Perhaps not.

I don't believe we're a playoff team, based on the roster thus far. At the same time, we're going on an embarking journey to watch the youth grow and mature. For the first time in organization's history, I can confidently say and truly mean it: "Just watch. Just watch us next year."