Saturday, April 07, 2007

Maybe Lowe, Laforge, and Nichols and fans should look in the mirror....

Maybe Lowe, Laforge, and Nichols and fans should look in the mirror....

...regarding UFA's.

Back in the late 90's, you had guys like Cujo, Niinimaa, Weight, Guerin, Marchant who openly claimed they loved the city. Niinimaa, Weight, and Marchant cried on their first return to Edmonton. Of course money basically lead to them all leaving, but it amazes me, how the perception of the city has changed over the past year in a city that has become much bigger, has had way more entertainment options, etc. Is it cold? Yup - but that's not anything new. It's Canada - Ottawa and Calgary aren't much different.

By Weight's comment's today, even players who haven't been to Edmonton or have rarely traveled have the wrong impression of the city - and Pronger played a role.


...yet, other teams have lost star players and recover. Pronger did not create the negative perception of the city since Lowe take over. He contributed to it, but he didn't create it.

Population wise, it's not really different from Ottawa and Calgary. Entertainment wise, I don't believe it's much different from many cities in the league, including Calgary. Obviously it's no Montreal, LA, or NY, but I don't think that's the major contributing factor. If entertainment were on the top of the list, one questions what Miami and Phoenix are doing so high on that list. Ditto for the Island. The entertainment options are much more than back in the late 90's, where it wasn't an issue.

Some other factors have come to play IMO.

Lowe:
How many friends did he make around the league (with regards to players) with the Comrie mess? He smirked when asked by a reported, and remarked, ''Well, I've always been told to ask.'' (asking Comrie to repay 2.5M). Then traded him out east, while Comrie's first choice was in the west. Problem is, Anaheim offered Edmonton Andy Mcdonald, Correy Perry and a 1st. From Philly, Woywitka, 1st (Schremp) and 3rd rounder (Syrvett) were obtained.

Marchant? Mentioned Lowe was no longer in his good books after receiving a fairly low offer after a career year. I think Igor mentioned it on his blog, Lowe was telling the media during the year that he was in contact with Marchant's agent regarding a new contract - Marchant then went to the media and claimed that was an outright lie, and no negotiations were taking place

Laraque, a guy who throws F bombs regarding how much he loved the city, hasn't exactly had kind words to say about management.

People around the league talk

Laforge

He's a president - was it really necessary to take shots at Smyth? Again, people talk.

More?

Why Weight?

In all his years as captain of the Edmonton Oilers, Doug Weight never once embarrassed himself or the franchise in public.

Weight was the consummate pro, committed teammate and charitable soul in the community, like so many others who have worn the Oilers jersey and moved along to pastures which sprout more greenbacks.

He was also an elite player, so when he bid pennywise Edmonton adieu, as part of a trade we hasten to add, he was paid a ridiculous amount of money by the pound-foolish St. Louis Blues.

His departure in 2001 was one final slap in the face for small-market fans.

Some people have never gotten past that nasty bit of business, so they boo him relentlessly every time he appears on the ice at Rexall Place.

[Oilers president Patrick LaForge] chose to tell a story [at a pep rally earlier in the day] that likened Weight to a wimp, except LaForge used a far more vulgar, derogatory term to get his message across, in front of women and children, no less.

Weight was the captain, the face and the best player of your franchise for a long time, Mr. LaForge. He was as professional a captain as Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier, Kelly Buchberger and Craig MacTavish.

To demean him in public is bad enough.

By doing it with vulgarity you only managed to embarrass yourself, and quite likely some people in the audience. Not Weight.



Nichols
While I agree with his comments today on having taken a more firm stance due to the fact a contract was signed, implying a divorce is going to far.

..and isn't divorcing breaking a contract too?

Some Hypocrisy?

The self created impression that the ownership group is poor also doesn't do anything to help attract guys here.

Fans

Passionate fans, no doubt. Yet, there needs to be a balance. Even in a world class city like Montreal, the fans being tough like ours has adverse consequences.

The perception still exists the fans are very tough. We've had a few guys who have been booed out of town (Poti, Arnott) and other guys like Weight, who people to this day hold a grudge against by booing him every time he touches the puck.

Lupul mentioned that talking to the guys around the league, he was scared to come here feeling the fans were too tough on the players. He did admit though, that hasn't been the case, and fans have been supportive. Yet, this does shed some light regarding perception around the league.

Comrie is another example. Like mentioned, players in the league talk.

...and how the heck is talk around the city that player X cheated on Player Y's wife (Comrie) or Reporter X(Chorley) help the situation at all?

Case can argued the fans were not as tough in the Sather days, because the expectations were lower...
___________

While many of the current players have openly claimed they love playing here, the issue is brining outsiders to come here.

Why would someone who has zero affiliation with Western Canada, play for less or equal money, with a weak corporate culture and hostile environment?

Basically, Lowe and Laforge, and to a lesser extent, the fans have some blame to play in this perceived notation that nobody (in terms of higher end talent) wants to play here.

_______

Of course in the end, money will talk. Once you get elite talent to come and stay here, it will get the ball rolling....in other words, there really shouldn't be any excuse for the team to not progress this summer.

...but just saying, using the city as a cop-out for not attracting UFA's (the upper end ones) doesn't tell the true story.

2 comments:

Guy Smiley said...

I think this is the link you are looking for at iof...

http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=2714#more-2714

Slipper said...

I beleive Marchant had the career year after the low ball offer. In fact Kevin's low ball offer made Marchant a UFA early the following off season and then he put up his career best numbers, and then got paid huge by Columbus based on them. I'd say everything worked out well for him.