Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Oilers survey to season ticketholders reeks bias

With a week left before the EIG take a vote on whether to sell the team to local multi-billionaire, Daryl Katz, Edmonton Oilers season ticket holders received an email survey, administered by an organization called Banister Research. The timing was coincidental - one could logically assume

- The EIG have made the decision to retain ownership, and will use the survey results as a defense on announcement day


- The EIG is genuinely concerned about public perception and wish to evaluate fan perception before making a collective decision.

Looking at my Psychology 104 notes, under the topic of survey bias, the following commentary is provided:

Factors that can threaten the validity of your results fall into three broad categories:

  1. Survey Construction
  2. Survey Administration
  3. Analysis and Interpretation

Let's examine number 1 (using these excellent class notes):


Should a survey item be worded positively? Negatively? Or Neutrally?

I was satisfied with the customer support I received.
I was not satisfied with the customer support I received.
How satisfied were you with the customer support you received?

Ideally, you should use neutral statements so you aren't leading an individual to respond a certain way. However positively and negatively worded items are frequently used. The most important consideration is balance. If there are negatively worded items then there should be an equal number of positively worded items as well.

- Following that criteria, Which of the following indicate a hint of objectivity?

a) It is important that the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is locally owned.
Neutral statement corrected: Do you feel that it's important the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is locally owned?

b) The Oilers ownership group fosters the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club as a community team.
Neutral statement corrected: Do you feel the Oilers ownership group fosters the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club as a community team?

c) I think the Edmonton Oilers should be owned by a group of individuals, rather than a single owner.
Neutral statement corrected (a little tougher with numerical answer surveys. This should have been an open answer question): What type of ownership would you prefer? Group or an individual owner?

d) The Oilers ownership group does a good job of communicating with Oilers fans.
Neutral statement corrected: Do you feel the Oilers ownership group does a good job of communicating with Oilers fans?

e) I think the Oilers ownership group manages the Oilers organization well.
Neutral statement corrected: Do you feel the the Oilers ownership group manages the Oilers organization well?

or possibly

Do you feel that Cal Nichols was suggesting sound advice to Pronger regarding a possible divorce?

f) The Oilers ownership group is working hard to build a competitive team.
Neutral statement corrected: Do you feel the the Oilers ownership is working hard and using all it's resources towards building a competitive team?

g) The Oilers ownership group members are strategic thinkers
Neutral statement corrected: Do you feel the the Oilers ownership group members are strategic thinkers?


Now, let's examine number 2:

- Seems the Oilers did bring an independent party to administer the survey.
- The failure is that the Oilers delivered this survey directly to the season ticketholders.
- More people are likely to display their true opinions if directly asked by a neutral/independent party
- The chance to win $100.00 of Oilers merchandise isn't a gesture of actively trying to minimize experiment bias

Number 3 of the criteria has yet to be determined, but it makes you wonder why they only emailed season ticket holders, and not every member of the ''Oilers Pipeline.'' Will the survey results be more positively slanted towards the response the Oilers want? Are the Oiler Pipeline members that do not purchase tickets more likely to be a threat to the desired survey results? Will the Oilers analyze and intentionally interpret these results as the voice of the entire Oiler nation? The Fuck happened to democracy. Isn't my opinion on the Oilers ownership group (taking into account of the emotional investment and time) worth just as much as the big corporation season ticket holders whose primary purpose of the ST is a tax write-off rather than the score shown on the scoreboard?

Why only season ticket holders questioned? That's one legitimate question that only the Oilers know.

To be fair:
- Some may say this blog entry reeks bias. Perhaps. I can't possibly objectively evaluate myself on whether I have bias.
- Surveys are difficult to conduct, without leaking bias on at least a few occasions
- The blame should fall entirely fall on Banister Research for conducting a poor survey, if they were under no influence by the Oilers to generate specific results
- The above questions analyzed are not unusual in the form itself. Typically however, they are repeated again using an opposite statement

1) The Oilers ownership group does a good job of communicating with Oilers fans.

This would be followed up in the survey later on, with a question like this:

The Oilers ownership group does a poor job of communicating with Oilers fans.

I think the Edmonton Oilers should be owned by a group of individuals, rather than a single owner.

Followed up later in the survey with:

I think the Edmonton Oilers should be owned by a single owner, rather than a ownership group.

Colour me not impressed.

Which leads me to believe the EIG have made the decision to retain ownership, and will use the survey results as a defense on announcement day.

Friday, July 27, 2007

10 Hockey Rules to live by

Following the footsteps of Bill James (Author of ''Moneyball'') I've come up with a list of rules that hockey clubs should follow or be aware of

1) Truly elite talent does not usually spend more than 1 season in the AHL
2) There is significant home ice advantage in game 7's.
3) The most attractive Unrestricted Free Agents typically do not over-perform their contracts.
4) Young players should be sheltered on early in their careers
5) Elite Goaltenders can make defenceman seem better than they actually are
6) The BPA drafting strategy should always be utilized.
7) Careful consideration should be paid on the TOI and PP Points % of overall points for players in Junior hockey
8) Spending to the cap or a series of over-performing contracts have a strong correlation with making the playoffs
9) It is much more difficult to turn a team from average to elite than it is from poor to average
10) Using the ''small market'' label can be advantageous for an ownership group in a hockey market

Examples/How they apply in the real world
1) A warning bell if a player hasn't made the step. If over-valued on the market, it may be wise to trade him. For example, should Schremp not make the team next year, it's a sign towards him being a fringe player, and if Atlanta (Hossa) or LA (Cammareli) want him part of a package deal, do not hesitate

2) Proven Data

There were 118 rounds that went seven games since the NHL introduced the best-of-seven format in 1939 and the home team won 74 (63 per cent) of those series. In the final, 13 series advanced to the seventh game with the home side winning 11.

Strong emphasis should therefore be placed in fielding a competitive team beginning at game #1

3) Chara, Gomez, Briere, Jovonovski, countless others. The typically best players in the league tend to get locked up early, thus not reaching the UFA status.

6) Needs change quickly. Read Oilers and defenceman

7) Schremp

8) www.nhlnumbers.com

10) EIG

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dustin Penner: Pros, Warning Bells, and Cons

As sports fans, only after the initial rush of excitement of signing a free agent or making a trade, do we have the ability to analyze the deal in a rational and objective manner.

Which brings upon, Dustin Penner.

The Edmonton Oilers are back at it again, tendering a five year, $21.5 million offer sheet to Anaheim Ducks Group II restricted free agent Dustin Penner.


- A soon-to-be 25 year old. Room to improve his game
- 6"4, 240 pounds adds elements of toughness in the lineup
- Replaces Ryan Smyth in the slot on the PP
- A "Win" now mode in the dressing room is likely to give more incentive to the guys in the dressing room to play to their fullest
- A possible sign that the Oilers (spending up to the cap) will be sold to Katz this off-season
- Possibly by years 2 or 3, he outperforms his contract

1st, 2nd, 3rd, in a deep draft are valuable assets
Didn't put up solid numbers as a 21 year old in the NCAA, or as a 22 year old in the AHL. Not a proven commodity
- Like Joffrey Lupul, posted poor relative results 5 on 5 (-2) with sheltered minutes on a relatively strong ES team with strong ES goaltending
- Quite possibly, following the career path of Raffi Torres (3 years, 2.25M/year). Torres numbers at 24 years of age:

82 27 14 41

Are we paying 4.3M to a possible Torres, and giving up 3 draft picks in doing so?

- Slow foot-speed. Will likely be unable to keep up for Horcoff and Hemsky
- Possibility the deal is looking terrible if Penner underperforms his contract
- Unlike Lupul, his 4.3M contract, long-term, will be much harder to move via trade.

I'm not convinced this was the right move, as per my initial reaction.

Time will tell.

Friday, July 06, 2007



[lev-er-ij, lee-ver-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -aged, -ag·ing. –noun
1.the action of a lever.
2.the mechanical advantage or power gained by using a lever.
3.power or ability to act or to influence people, events, decisions, etc.; sway: Being the only industry in town gave the company considerable leverage in its union negotiations.
4.the use of a small initial investment, credit, or borrowed funds to gain a very high return in relation to one's investment, to control a much larger investment, or to reduce one's own liability for any loss.
–verb (used with object)
5.to exert power or influence on.
6.to provide with leverage.
7.to invest or arrange (invested funds) using leverage.

An example with leverage used in a sentence: Michael Nylander used the Edmonton Oilers as leverage for a new contract.


Kevin Lowe commented on how Nylander's wife freaked out, as if Edmonton is Siberia. I just have a hard time believing since the Rangers were eliminated, Michael and his wife never sat down to discuss possible destinations. I mean, they're a couple, aren't they. Don't they talk about these things?

For the record, Nylander did the Oilers a huge favor. There have been numerous players that have mentioned they love Edmonton - one doesn't, doesn't indicate the end of the city or the franchise.

The franchise will in time, when they change things/positions around, will be able to compete in the UFA market. Until then, no need for the organization to further increase the poor perception by playing the victim mentality.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pronger, Smyth, and Lowe

The Pronger trade is a little less forgiveable, even though the return was poor and the strategy of getting 5 assets in return was ridiculous. At least he semi-redeemed himself by getting Pitkanen. It wasn't a trade by choice, but necessity.

Smyth? Wrong on so many levels. Negotiations should have began much earlier (a la Regehr and Iginla), and you better damn well have a replacement lined up if you're going to make such a move.

Worse thing is, you then throw the SAME money to a 35 year old (Smyth would have been 36 when his contract ran out) in Nylander for four years, until he's 39. I don't see any fucking strategy in this - it has a Mike Barnett move written all over it.

Lowe says he offered Smyth a contract yesterday - perhaps, just perhaps if him, Patrick (especially), and Cal Nichols didn't take verbal swabs at him after the trade, maybe he would consider coming back. The Smyth is ''not elite'' talk on HNIC isn't going to win you back Smyth's respect.

So yeah, it's time for Lowe to go. There isn't any direction going ahead for this organization. If we're rebuilding, I don't believe it's something Lowe has willingly chosen. I like the guy, but as a GM it's time to move on. Any possible replacements outside the organization?

You look at Philly, and how quickly they turned the ship around after firing Bobby Clarke- creative thinking with acquiring rights prior to July 1, set a new trend with front loading contracts - just a good, aggressive game plan that's more action, less talk.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ryan Smyth

Before you all turn your back on any FORMER Oiler (Smyth), Bryan Hall style, consider this

1) He wasn't shown the same amount of respect and priority as is a guy like Iginla
2) He's always had to fight for a contract in the past
3) After not able to agree on a deal back in the summer of 2006, both Lowe and Smyth agreed to revisit negotiations in the summer of 2007. Smyth performed well, so Lowe went PUBLIC with negotiations, putting pressure on Smyth to sign. His words were, ''we've offered Smyth a substantial contract between 3 and 7 years in length.''

Smyth was disgusted by that display - and mentioned he wanted a contract done well before in the summer

5) Lowe trades Smyth for futures. The team is in a mess this off-season, and Smyth never likes losing.

6) After trading Smyth, Lowe and Laforge take some jabs at Smyth. Laforge especially (interview on CHED). Lowe comments that Smyth is not an ''elite'' player. Cal Nichols then takes a swipe at Smyth, ''100,000 isn't a big difference when you consider the Alberta Advantage''


So forgive the fact that Smyth didn't want to come back. Lowe and company chose not to re-sign him, and Smyth went to unrestricted free agency.

He has no obligation to sign out of the division - his only obligation is to sign where him and his family feel most comfortable. If he's such a greedy ******* people are making him to be, why did he reject Montreal's 6 year, 39M deal?

He's not the villain he's made out to be. He's a damn good person, and was a damn good citizen of Edmonton. Show the man some respect