Thursday, January 31, 2008

YK Oil is back

In case you missed it, YK Oil returned in the past weeks after a 6 month hiatus.


Stadium (Arena) Promises Never Pay

Rick Eckstein, professor of sociology, tackles on the sociological aspect of stadium lobbying.

Why, then, given the overwhelming academic research challenging stadium-centered economic development do political leaders (if not average citizens) still support such projects? In a just-released article in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, my colleagues and I studied media coverage of 23 publicly financed stadium initiatives in 16 different cities, including Philadelphia. We found that the mainstream media in most of these cities is noticeably biased toward supporting publicly financed stadiums, which has a significant impact on the initiatives' success.

This bias usually takes the form of uncritically parroting stadium proponents' economic and social promises, quoting stadium supporters far more frequently than stadium opponents, overlooking the numerous objective academic studies on the topic, and failing to independently examine the multitude of failed stadium-centered promises throughout the country, especially those in oft-cited "success cities" such as Denver and Cleveland.

To read more on this article, click here

He has a point.

*Credit - Sports Economist (link on the sidebar) for providing the story

NHL's Most Valuable Player (Hart Trophy)

The guy is good.


Nikolas Lidstrom, soon to be 38, is the league's best defenseman. For the first time in his career, he will be considered for the MVP award.

In 52 games this season, he's amassed 6 goals, 43 assists (3rd most in the league), 49 points and +43 rating. Just 28 PIM and logging up 27:13 TOI/game. Did I mention +43?


I would not only argue he's helping his team win hockey games (that is an understatement), but also a big reason why Chris Osgood is boasting a career high .925 SV% (.907 Career avg).

Of course he'll be in tough competition. Daniel Alfredsson is having a career year at 35. Edmonton boy, Jarome Iginla is having an outstanding season and the Flames haven't suffered from Mikka Kiprusoff's poor goaltending in the standings. Joe Thornton is carrying the San Jose Sharks. Ovechkin is making a strong case in Washington.

I don't like the fact that LeCavalier and Kovalchuk are getting consideration. "Buzz Penguin" from HF crunched the numbers and discovered this:

LeCavalier (+3) has a 1.75 PPG against teams in the SE division, and a 1.03 PPG against non-division opponents

Kovalchuk (-15) has a 1.94 PPG against teams in the SE division, and a 0.90 PPG against non-division opponents

Ovechkin (+10) has a 1.22 PPG against teams in the SE division, and a 1.33 PPG against non-division opponents

All good players, but it's clear that LeCavalier and Kovalchuk are reaping the benefits of playing against poor defenses and poor goaltenders. Of course some of these SE division teams should be auctioning off guys like Prospal, Whitney, Stillman, etc. in the case they are overvalued on the trade market, in order to address team needs.

Back to Lidstrom - he's my choice. The guy quietly gets results year after year without much press.

The Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. Nikolas Lidstrom is valuable to his team in the sense that he helps the Detroit Red Wings win hockey games.

And they win.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Steve Yzerman Duped

A story of Steve Yzerman tricked over a 5 year period


Friday, January 25, 2008

Oilers Media Spin

Perfect example here.

Hilarious. Great site. I recommend reading some other entries on that site.

Trivia Time

Guess who this *active* player is?

16 Years Old: 57GP 39G 59A 98PTS - 1.72PPG
17 Years Old: 60GP 27G 52A 79PTS - 1.32PPG
18 Years Old: 39GP 24G 23A 47PTS - 1.21PPG

Unreal. Just doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Review

On the ice, Steve Stamkos stood out. Big guy. The team that wins the lottery will have a solid player to build around.

Staal was slow-footed.


That's enough discussion of the game.

The real highlight of the night was talking to various NHL personnels. I got my game ticket signed by Steve Yzerman and shook his hand. I talked to Don Meehan - very friendly guy who approached the fans. I asked him about what happened with the Ryan Smyth negotiations. Obviously he wasn't going to spill it out, but he told me, "Ohh, it's a very long story." Daryl Sutter was there in his leather jacket, talking to Meehan during the 2nd intermission. I caught Sutter at one point shaking his head. They were also sitting together during the game. Phaneuf & Huselius negotiations? One of my friends met Glen Sather - got a pic taken with him. We then caught Scott Howson - nice, friendly guy. I asked him whether they will extend Jan Hedja. He hesitated, then responded, ''Ummm maybe...most likely." I asked him if he'd send him back to the Oilers. "You guys have enough defenceman!" was his response. My buddy then discussed Gare Joyce's recent hockey book, "Future Greats" with Scott Howson. He's a fan of that the book too.

Lots of scouts there too - they weren't revealing much or very talkative.

Junior hockey isn't popular yet in this town - it's be great if the Oil Kings can get some high-end players in the coming years that can drum up the interest.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kevin Lowe and the Playoffs

Oh no no! Not this year silly.

Rather, I'm bringing forth a question - does Kevin Lowe put too much weight on playoff performance when making transactions?

1) Dwayne Roloson - Everyone knew that Dwayne Roloson was playing way over his head in the playoffs. That type of SV% was never sustainable in the long run, and the cracks started to show in the Anaheim series.

So...under what basis was he extended 3 years for?

The money was fine - the contract length wasn't.

Manny Legace, however, put up strong numbers throughout the regular season. MC79 was on board, at that time, suggesting the Oilers pick up Legace instead of Roloson. Legace signed for a mere 1.4M/1 year deal. Roloson, meanwhile, provided the Oilers with less than league average goaltending in year 1 of the contract, and has reverted to a backup role in year 2. Did anyone expect a 37 year old goaltender who was never a full-time starter in his career, to revitalize his career a la Tommy Salo, 1999?

2) Marty Reasoner, an integral part in the Doug Weight deal. Marty had a solid playoffs in 2000-2001, scoring many key GWG in the 10 game span.

3) Joffrey Lupul in the Pronger deal instead of one of Penner/Perry/Getzlaf. Lupul's playoff bottom line:

16 GP, 9G, 2A, 11 PTS, +9.

The regular season? Old news. The playoffs are what earn you 6 Stanley Cup Rings.

An added bonus, Lupul is a GAB (Good Alberta Boy) Copyright: Dennis

4) Fernando Pisani's contract extension. According to Scott Howson, the Oilers didn't give Pisani the 1.1M he was asking for in January 2006 and wanted to wait it out. Then came the playoffs. Strong Performance. Poof! "Here you go, an additional 1.4M, no questions asked."

5) Craig MacTavish's 4 year contract extension after the playoffs. Lowe/Oilers had declined to exercise the team option of MacTavish's contract after the regular season.

Just a theory.

I like Kevin Lowe - he's an epitome of an Oiler. He's a genuine, down-to-earth person [I've met him]. Of all the GM's in the league, he's first choice would be that he finishes his career in Edmonton with one Stanley Cup ring as a GM. However, like Scotiabank commercial suggests, perhaps it's time for Kevin Lowe to get a "second onion."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What does Nilsson have to do to earn more ice time?


2.67 ESP/60 [4th highest goal differential]

0.55 PPG

3.35 PPP/60 [on 2nd unit]

Tied with Gilbert, 5th on the team in Plus/Minus rating (+2). Breakdown: Home (-1). Road (+3)

Yet, he sits at 18th on the Oilers at 13:05 TOI/game.

What explains this? What am I missing?

Is his hair too funky?

Or is his hockey style just not suited for a "Mac-T type" of hockey club?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

De Guzman weighing allegiances to Canada, Netherlands

As an avid Mens National Soccer Team fan, I've been on top of the De Guzman saga.

Here's an update:

The father of Jonathan de Guzman, one of Canada's most talented soccer players, says the chaos in the Canadian Soccer Association continues to discourage his son from playing for Canada's national team.

"If the CSA wasn't in such a horrible state, he would've played for Canada by now. I don't know that for a fact, but it's just a strong feeling I have," Bobby de Guzman told Tom Harrington of CBC News

Friday, January 18, 2008

EIG Continue to use Edmontonians As a Pawn

A recent questionnaire illustrates the EIG reverting back to their old subtle tricks yet again

See below:

13. At this point in time, are you intending to renew all or most of your Season Seats for the 2008-09 season?
- Select One -(5) Very Likely(4)(3)(2)(1) Not at all/Likely/Don't know/Not stated

14. In the case where the NHL salary cap increases from one season to the next, which of the following ticket strategies do you favour?

Increase ticket prices to allow the Oilers to maintain their practice of spending near or at the top of the cap OR
Maintain ticket prices and no longer spend near the cap
Don't know/No opinion

15. What is your expectation on ticket pricing for the 2008-09 season?
0% increase
1-2% increase
3-5% increase
6-7% increase
Don't know/No opinion

*Tip of the cap to Ibis284 from HF.

It's quite clear they intend to raise ticket prices. The intended purpose of this survey isn't to genuinely consider what the season ticket holders base wants. Rather, it's a case of another attempt by the EIG to create an either/or scenario in the minds of the consumer, influence them towards the desired response, and subsequently use survey results as defensive tool when they raise ticket prices this summer.

The fact that they're asking this question, however, concerns me. Perhaps the 66% shareholder vote isn't secure just yet.

Too bad.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Billy Beane on Statistical Analysis

A recent article from ESPN. A great guy, that Billy Beane.

For the uninitiated, the term "Moneyball" refers to Michael Lewis' book by the same name. The book attempted to explain why the A's, on a shoestring budget, managed to successfully compete against baseball teams with far bigger payrolls. The answer, in part, lays in the organization's use of statistical analysis as a means of finding undervalued players, be they prospects or established veterans.

"If you get the data, what you're trying to ultimately achieve is: What is the intrinsic value of this player's performance?" Beane said. "What is he paid, and what should he be paid?"

"I think the misconception about any statistical analysis is that you're not going to be 100 percent correct," Beane said. "What you're trying to do is create an arbitrage ... if you're right 25 percent versus 20 percent you've created a 5 percent arbitrage opportunity. That's really all you're trying to do

"Let's face it, every business has metrics that can be used," Beane said. "It's just identifying the metrics that have the greatest weight and the greatest correlation to ultimately winning. It's a work in progress, and I say this with a tremendous amount of respect [for soccer]."

"You don't create the template and then that's it," Beane added. "It's constantly evolving and changing as you try to ferret out things that can be applied. Statistical analysis is still very much fluid."

Patrick Sharp Cashes In

Patrick Sharp, 26, signed a 4 year contract today at 15.6M [3.9M/season] avoiding restricted free agency.

He's posted a strong year with 22 goals and 36 points in 44 games. Chicago is banking on the hope that Sharp's offensive game continues at the current year's pace for the next 4 years.

Meanwhile, the numbers show that a guy is shooting at a 19.6% rate, much higher than his career average of 13.2%.

From Chicago's perspective, I don't like it. I'll be honest in saying that I don't watch too many games not involving the Oilers, aside from the playoffs. However, looking at the career numbers, I don't believe the ones posted this year are sustainable in the long run. Sharp also doesn't have a history of putting up big numbers going back to his junior days. Too much for a guy that likely would have been in the middle of the line for possible RFA offersheets.

Perhaps Kevin Lowe did singlehandedly change the market. Or perhaps GMs are irrationally worrying about the "RFA game." Or just perhaps, my salary expectations lag behind inflation and the rising cap.

We'll find out more in the summer.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Little Known Fact


Q: Has there been talk of the Oilers getting their own plane if Daryl Katz becomes majority owner? If so, does anybody know if an airplane's environmental controls can be tweaked to simulate a hyperbaric chamber?

(Davey Armey)

A: The Oilers already have a spiffy private plane with first-class, leather seats and nice food. They don't use a hyperbaric chamber at ice level, so I don't see them giving it a go at 30,000 feet.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pure Dumb Luck

Ryan Rishaug just recently reported that the Oilers actually were close to signing CUJO at the beginning of the season. He also implied that it went as far as negotiating terms and dollars.

Seeing how Garon has worked out, it's safe to say Lowe dodged a bullet.

Luckily, it's not the only occasion where he has done so:

2) Vanek RFA offersheet that would have ended up costing the Oilers 4 First round picks had Buffalo Matched.

The bottom line: 25 points in 43 games earning a 10M salary this season. Still a way to go before he peaks.

3) A 35 year old Michael Nylander who was close to signing a 4 year deal, worth at least 5.5M in the first 3 years.

The bottom line: A team worst -19 in 40 games on a relatively strong 5 on 5 Washington Capitals [EVGF 80, EVGA 88]. The next closest is Semin at -11.

4) Many reports indicate that Wade Redden refused to waive his NTC to play with the Oilers.

The bottom line: If he had, as reports suggest, Shawn Horcoff was going the other way.

Sometimes, the best trades are the ones you never made

-- Kevin Lowe


Hannu Toivenen Career Falling; Marek Schwarz Called Up

Hannu Toivonen is an interesting goaltender. Drafted in the first round (29th overall) in 2002, he started his professional career with a splash.

He posted a .921 and .932 SV% in the AHL at 20 and 21, and a .914 SV% in 20 games with the Boston Bruins at 22.

Then he fell - for whatever reason. In 2 further stints in the NHL, he posted a GAA of 4.23 and 3.89, and corresponding .875 and .882 SV%. Today he was sent down to the AHL.

Many, including myself wanted Lowe to acquire him this past summer. We were confident that there was no chance his numbers early on in his career were a fluke. Needless to say, he's proving us otherwise.

So What happened to Toivonen?
I generate 3 possibilities:

1) He was indeed playing over his head at 20 and 21
2) Boston rushed him into the NHL when he wasn't mentally ready; confidence and numbers fell
3) In the seasons he was playing well, the sample size was too small to make confident assertions

I'm leaning towards (2) and (3). Confidence is a fragile thing, and goalies tend not to be ready until 23-24. With regards to sample size, we're measuring him on seasons with 36, 54, 20, 18, 27, and 14. Perhaps not large enough to make an analysis.

On a related note, a goaltender that Oiler fans will forever compare Devan Dubnyk to, Marek Schwarz, has been called up to take Toivonen's spot. His .900 SV% is slightly lower than Dubnyk's .903. I expect he'll get murdered playing against men.

Quite simply put, he's just not ready.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wivies

Excellent opening show. New CBC drama. Hockey related.

Watch the show online here if you missed it.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Oilers TV Ratings down 30% from last year

I guess that's what a bad hockey team will do for you.

William Houston with the STORY

Despite leading the Northwest Division, Canucks regional audiences are down 20 per cent. Rogers Sportsnet is averaging 242,000 viewers a game compared with 303,000 at this point last season.

Networks pay closer attention to long-term trends than year-to-year measurements, but the Canucks numbers also have declined 29 per cent from the prelockout season of 2003-04.

Flames: Averaging 117,000 viewers, down 3 per cent from last year at this point, up 3 per cent from 2003-04.

Oilers: Averaging 116,000, down 30 per cent from last year, up 22 per cent from 2003-04.

Leafs: Averaging 411,000, down 3 per cent from last year at this time, up 7 per cent from 2003-04.

Ottawa Senators: Averaging 102,000, up 17 per cent from last year, up 38 per cent from 2003-04.

Montreal Canadiens: Averaging 643,000 on Reseau des Sports, down 9 per cent from last season, but up 65 per cent from 2003-04.

Jason Bonsignore traded [Back in North America]

RENTON, NJ (January 9, 2008) - The Trenton Devils [ECHL] today announced that they have acquired forward Jason Bonsignore from the Fresno Falcons in exchange for future considerations.



For the love of the game or nothing else to turn to?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shawn Horcoff an All-Star

Hey now you're an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you're a Rock Star get the show on get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mold
-- Smash Mouth



"I don't think he gets the credit he deserves," said Fernando Pisani. "He's on the power play, penalty kill, he's out there 20-plus minutes a night. He's been doing it all for us. It's great to see him get some recognition."

"It speaks to the dimension of his game because there's not a situation I don't rely on him in during the course of a game," said Craig MacTavish. "He's a great role model. Yesterday in practice I went to a player and said 'Watch Horcoff, practice, just watch him.' From a coaching perspective it's so beneficial to have your best players be your best examples."

U.S . Television Ratings Up


At the midway point of this season, national audiences on Versus are up 32 per cent from this time last year.

Versus is drawing numbers comparable with ESPN2's viewership in 2003-04, which was the last year of its deal with the NHL.

Regionally, the audiences on Fox Sports Net have increased 25 per cent. FSN, which airs regional telecasts in 14 markets, has seen huge increases for the Minnesota Wild (114 per cent), St. Louis Blues (103 per cent) and Detroit Red Wings (50 per cent).

On the downside, audiences for the Atlanta Thrashers have dropped 50 per cent. The Phoenix Coyotes numbers are down 35 per cent. Viewership for the Tampa Bay Lightning has declined 31 per cent and the Dallas Stars are in the hole by 29 per cent.

However, when ESPN2 was airing games, the telecasts were blacked out in the local markets. Versus has the advantage of going into the local markets.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Demotivational Posters


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ales Hemsky is an Improving Hockey Player

I never understood the Hemsky "bashing." [for a lack of a better word].

2002-2003 - 0.51PPG
2003-2004 - 0.48PPG
2005-2006 - 0.95PPG
2006-2007 - 0.83PPG
2007-2008 - 0.89PPG

He's shown improvement. Not following a linear curve, but improvement nonetheless. I believe last year's numbers should be looked at in context [final 20 games].

If the arguments are that he doesn't step up in big games - I have a feeling you missed the 2006 Cup run [17 points in 24 games]. He was arguably the Oilers best forward in the SCF.

And this year - for whatever reason, the PP has struggled. It's improved recently, and we should expect that over the long haul, it gets on track and subsequently improves his numbers with the man advantage.

The key things you should take note of are:

a) SOG
2007-2008: 88 shots in 37 games - 2.38 SOG/game
2006-2007: 122 shots in 64 games - 1.91 SOG/game
2005-2006: 178 shots in 81 games - 2.20 SOG/game
2003-2004: 87 shots in 71 games - 1.23 SOG/game

*The final 20 games in 2006-2007 - Again, use the numbers in context.

2007-2008: 11 of his 33 points are on the PP - EV PPG: 0.59
2006-2007: 25 out of 53 point were on the PP - EV PPG: 0.42
2005-2006: 42 out of 77 points were on the PP - EV PPG: 0.43
2003-2004: 11 out of 34 points were on the PP - EV PPG: 0.32

It's no secret how much Pronger improved the Oilers PP. The Oilers simply haven't been able to replace him at the point. Perhaps Souray will help in that department - and perhaps also when Pitkanen learns to take the shot more often instead of constantly having the urge to pass it off.

However, the fact Hemsky's improved significantly at EV is a sign of an improving hockey player. He's only 24 - patience obviously isn't a strong fort in this city.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Weak UFA Class - Summer 2008

I'll start with a list and finish it up with some commentary.


Doug Weight


Marian Hossa
Bobby Holik
Steve Rucchin
Pascal Dupuis
Mark Recchi
Steve McCarthy
Johan Hedberg


Glen Metropolit
Aaron Ward


Dmitri Kalinin
Brian Campbell
Nolan Pratt
Jocelyn Thibault

Cory Stillman
Trevor Letowski
Bret Hedican
Glen Wesley
Mike Commodore


Craig Conroy
Daymond Langkow
Kristian Huselius
Owen Nolan
Stephane Yelle
Mark Smith


Martin Lapointe
Sergei Samsonov
Jason Williams
Yanic Perreault
Brent Sopel
Andrei Zyuzin


Sergei Federov
David Vyborny
Michael Peca
Jason Chimera
Jody Shelley
Adam Foote
Jan Hedja
Ron Hainsey


Joe Sakic
Andrew Brunette
John-Michael Liles
Kurt Sauer
Jose Theodore

Mike Ribeiro
Stu Barnes
Antti Miettinen
Niklas Hagman
Mattias Norstrom

Daniel Cleary
Dallas Drake
Aaron Downey
Chris Chelios
Andreas Lilja
Chris Osgood

Geoff Sanderson
Marty Reasoner
Dick Tarnstrom


Branislav Mezei
Steve Montador

Ladislav Nagy
Scott Thornton
Brad Stuart
Brian Willsie
Rob Blake
Jaroslav Modry
Jon Klemm
Kevin Dallman
Jean-Sebastien Aubin


Pavol Demitra
Brian Rolston
Dominic Moore
Branko Radivojevic
Todd Fedoruk
Keith Carney
Nick Schultz
Petteri Nummelin
Sean Hill

Michael Ryder
Brian Smolinski
Patrice Brisebois
Cristobal Huet


Martin Gelinas
Jean-Pierre Dumont
Dan Ellis

Jay Pandolfo
Arron Asham
Karel Rachunek
Sheldon Brookbank


Miroslav Satan
Mike Comrie
Ruslan Fedotenko
Trent Hunter
Josef Vasicek
Chris Simon
Bryan Berard
Wade Dubielewicz

Brendan Shanahan
Martin Straka
Sean Avery
Paul Mara
Marek Malik
Michal Rozsival
Stephen Valiquette


Chris Kelly
Shean Donovan
Randy Robitaille
Wade Redden
Luke Richardson

Jason Smith
Jim Vandermeer

Radim Vrbata
Mike York
Ilya Bryzgalov

Gary Roberts
Ryan Malone
Georges Laraque
Jarkko Ruutu
Adam Hall
Mark Eaton
Brooks Orpik
Ty Conklin

Curtis Brown
Patrick Rissmiller
Jeremy Roenick
Alexei Semenov
Sandis Ozolinsh

Martin Rucinsky
Ryan Johnson
Mike Johnson
Barrett Jackman
Bryce Salvador
Matt Walker


Vaclav Prospal
Chris Gratton
Jan Hlavac
Andre Roy
Dan Boyle
Johan Holmqvist

Matts Sundin
Wade Belak


Markus Naslund
Brendan Morrison
Matt Cooke
Trevor Linden
Byron Ritchie
Brad Isbister
Aaron Miller
Curtis Sanford


Donald Brashear
Matt Bradley
Olaf Kolzig


Perhaps with the lack of elite players, it's an indication that teams have began to lock up their star players early.

*The only elite players I see from the list are Sakic, Hossa, and Sundin. I can't see Sakic or Sundin playing anywhere else, giving Hossa a "pure monopoly" status.

*FORWARDS THAT WILL GARNER THE MOST INTEREST: Daymond Langkow, Kristian Huselius, Jason Williams, Mike Ribeiro, Andrew Brunette, Pavol Demitra, Cory Stillman, Brian Rolston, Jean-Pierre Dumont, Miroslav Satan, Sean Avery, Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka, Radim Vrbata, Vaclav Prospal, Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison.

From that list, I expect most of them to be locked up by their teams. From the Oilers standpoint, they can use almost anyone from that list.

Sutter will have a difficult time keeping both Langkow and Huselius, with nearly 40M committed in cap space [more in real dollars with Kiprusoff making $8M for the next 3 years].


Aaron Ward, Brian Campbell, Bret Hedican, Mike Commodore, Adam Foote, John-Michael Liles, Mattias Norstrom, Brad Stuart, Rob Blake, Nick Schultz, Paul Mara, Marek Malik, Michal Rozsival, Jason Smith, Mark Eaton, Dan Boyle

Not a tremendous group. A lot of defensive-defensemen in this year's group. Dan Boyle has been injured pretty much the whole season, so it will be interesting on how that plays out. I expect most of the players to be retained by their club.

Lowe could certainly use names from that group, using Tarnstrom's money.

Jose Theodore, Chris Osgood, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Dan Ellis, Wade Dubielewicz, Ty Conklin, Stephen Valiquette, Johan Holmqvist, Ilya Bryzgalov, Olaf Kolzig

A load of backups in the group. Osgood is having a tremendous year with a .932SV%. I expect he could be getting a large raise. Likewise, Dan Ellis is set for a massive raise on his $500,000 salary. Ilya Bryzgalov will also cash in. Conklin has at least won himself a one-way contract with his recent performance.


The pending UFA class this year is weak, and when many teams begin locking up their players, it will be further weakened.

From the Oilers standpoint, each team in the division has many key players to sign. CAL (Langkow, Huselius), COL (Sakic, Liles, Brunette), VAN (Naslund, Morrison, Cooke), and Minnesota (Demitra, Rolston, Schultz). At least we can hope...

We may see some RFA offersheets. One thing is clear: RFA's will/are (be) taking a larger share of the pie than they historically took.

PatH from Lowetide posted this Hockey News Article regarding the influence Kevin Lowe has had on the market.

Some noteworthy excerpts:
Kevin Lowe is the Newsmaker of the Year because nobody influenced the game the way Lowe did in 2007. In short, his offer sheets to restricted free agents Thomas Vanek and Dustin Penner have changed hockey's financial landscape.

"Every GM I talk to talks about Kevin Lowe," said one NHL agent. "Every single one."

The implications have been huge. With two strokes of the pen, Lowe has essentially created a situation where elite players coming off entry-level deals have moved into the elite wage earners in the league. It has certainly moved young RFAs into the same status as elite unrestricted free agents, both in terms of their attractiveness to other teams and in salary.

Did Kevin Lowe singlehandedly change the market?

You decide.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Another Arena Debate... Battle of Alberta blogspot.


Friday, January 04, 2008

I don't want your money - I want your Bookie's Fucking Money

There are only 3 sports leagues I follow. NHL. NFL. National & International Curling. I don't know what happened, but the MLB, NBA, and CFL no longer interest me.

I bet every once in a while at [Canadian site - legal]. Not much - a pansy better if you may - but a bettor nonetheless.

Hockey is a bit more difficult to bet on. The spread for games is always -1.5 for the favoured squad on this site, and with the empty net goals factor, it's a bigger challenge. Usually when I bet NHL games, I pick the underdog when I feel it has a good chance of beating the spread (+1.5), or bet the underdog in moneyline.

The NFL is much easier to digest. Spreads are different for each game.

I've had some success this season. Won a NFL Yahoo pool, and am first in a group of 20 in the Straight-up picks pool. I'm also 2nd in the Against-the-Spread picks pool.

So this is what you're going to do - You're going to lay down $1,000 on each of the following picks. Expect to 6/8 (75%). Then you're going to wire me 10% of the of net winnings.

TENNESSEE @ SD (-10.0) - Vince Young questionable. Top receiver out. SD finished the season hot. Take SD SU, and AS

NYG @ TAMPA BAY (-3.5) - Garcia with the experience. Home crowd. Gruden is a damn good coach. Take TAMPA SU, and AS

JACKSONVILLE (-2.5) @ PITTSBURGH - Jacksonville is a great team. That's why it was difficult for me to take PITTSBURGH SU, and AS

WASHINGTON @ SEATTLE (-3.5) - Washington's on a hot streak with a strong defence. I like them in an upset. Take WASHINGTON SU, AS.

Let's make some money

The Role of Sports & Entertainment Facilities in Urban Development Conference


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Bob McCown schools Edmonton's MSM

Did anyone catch "Primetime Sports" today? [Excellent show by the way, aside from Jim Kelley]

They were discussing the outdoor game concept, and figured Ottawa may not be worth it financially as it holds only 30,000 capacity.

Bob McCown then remarked that Cal Nichols came to speak with them in his show during the HC timeframe, and used to comment that the Oilers aren't doing it for the money, but for the atmosphere, and ''blah blah blah.'' Then Bob remarked, ''I used to tell him, Cal, you're full of you know what. It's all about the money'' and that Cal's response was ancillary costs [and conveniently ignoring ancillary revenues]

I recommend this read before you go on further [regarding costs]:

Bob then went on that ''in the end, they winded up admitting to making 3-4M, and it was a case of them downplaying their profits. 3-4M is a good chunk of change for an NHL franchise. Of course it was about the money."

Did the Edmonton's MSM ever challenge those ''feel good community catch phrases?''


The EIG is no longer a group of 33 united individuals.

With another episode of an EIG personality & decision-making clash today, it's becoming more and more likely that either the team will be sold to Katz, or some members of the EIG will be bought out.

Here's a complete updated TSN story

This was Katz response

Some noteworthy quotes and snippets from today:

The Edmonton Investors Group held a formal meeting to discuss the bid to buy the NHL's Edmonton Oilers by businessman Daryl Katz and have recommended their shareholders to reject the drugstore billionaire's attempt to purchase the team.
However, the offer is far from dead as several major investors are not on the Board and would still like to sell to Katz. TSN has learned the board voted 6-4 to recommend rejection, but some of the bigger shareholders are known to support the latest offer.
The 33-member group stated their desire to know if Katz would be willing to sign an agreement to keep the Oilers in Edmonton. They also wanted Katz to discuss reports that have suggested he would be willing to spend up to $100 million on a new arena.

I had initially thought the EIG were just looking to make sure the sale included a written clause to keep the team in Edmonton and invest 100M in a new arena [referring to: ''reject the offer in it's current form'']. However, with members of the EIG [Nichols, Saville] among others endorsing Katz publicly, I don't feel that's the case. The guy was born here. Went to the U of A here. Built the largest house in Edmonton [25M]. Made the largest donation [7M] to the U of A in its history. Saved the Grand Prix of Edmonton when it was losing sponsors. Donates large sums to Strollery Children's Hospital. Bought a section of tickets for Tickets for Troops night. Ensured the Cash is King lottery would break even by purchasing large sums of lottery tickets when sales were struggling. I can't see the threat of Katz moving a concern to members of the EIG - it's beyond that, which I'll follow up on.

KATZ [voicing his frustration]

The board's conduct in recent days is confusing and I fail to see how it serves the best interests of (Oilers) shareholders,'' Katz said. "I have offered repeatedly to meet with the EIG Board of Directors, EIG shareholders - either individually or as a group - and with the professional advisors to any of the above to discuss my interest in acquiring the team and answer their questions."

I intend to respond to whatever valid questions the board has about my offer for the team, but I think they owe an equal duty to come clean about any involvement members of the board may have in fashioning an alternative bid, how much debt they plan to assume to retain ownership, and what commitments they are prepared to make to help secure a new arena.

BILL BUTLER, Current Chairman of EIG
Some shareholders are getting close to 80. They should be given rights to get out. As we move forward, what are the options? If we were to explore bank financing could we raise capital to buy out existing shareholders who want to sell. Other current investors are prepared to take a larger piece. Are there third parties who want to take a role?

Seems to me there's conflict in the group. Gregg and a few smaller shareholders are seeking to possibly buyout existing shareholders. This would require more debt financing, or equity financing in the form of new investors, which the NHL would subsequently have to approve.

Of course Butler was on CHED today, and threw out the obligatory, ''Doing what's best for the community'' catch phrase. What nonsense.

Dashingsilverfox on HF brought up a strong point:

Oh the irony...the EIG splinter group has managed to alienate a large portion of their fan base and the largest corporate sponsor (Daryl Katz) all in one ill-conceived and ill-timed news release.

I wonder who is giving these clowns media relations advice?

What happens to these guys when Katz takes his money elsewhere, should he not be successful in obtaining the team?

He won't step up for arena naming rights or buy a bundle of Cash is King lottery tickets either to ensure it breaks-even - that's for sure.

It's become a battle of pride - and it certainly isn't doing the Edmonton Oilers any good.

Quite simply put, what a mess.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Sam Gagner's 18 year old season

Tyler on Lowetide had this comment on Sam Gagner

Gagner is so out of his depth that I want to cry watching him - but I'm still not sure that he has quite enough offensive game to get it done.

I wonder about his long run progression too. He doesn't really have much of a shot, and is somewhat weak defensively despite some solid individual plays. I mean, no question that the talent is there - and he's only barely 18 - but what is his ceiling as a hockey player?

Looking at two comparables, both whom went straight to the NHL from junior, he's in good company thus far. Whether he'll take the big step in one of the subsequent years like them, or or more locally, Hemsky [3rd professional hockey season] remains to be seen.

Staal put up:
81 11 20 31
*Turned 19 at the end of October, effectively making him a 19 year old

71 16 23 39

Gagner is thus far:
39 3 13 16
*He put up 7 points in his first 8 or so game.

The reality of the situation is fans like myself tend to be impatient. Prospects also develop at different rates.

For Gagner, I feel he'll have to improve his strength and work on his shot. Defensive play will come with experience.

Will he?

The hockey sense and heart is there [Read: Toolbox].