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.