Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Shell game

A superstar player can lead to winning and thus towards a new arena, LaForge says. “You win championships and motivate a community to say, ‘We can do better. We’re bigger, more important, more valuable to Canada and to hockey, if you will. So we need to invest.’ ”

- The Cult of Hockey

This is David Staples speculating that the Oilers' flurry of activity (including the potential attempted Hossa signing) are part of a plan to put the Oilers in a position to win it all so that the team's ownership can convert the resulting outpouring of pride and goodwill into support for a publicly financed new arena. He's probably on to something there.

Me, I'm at the point now where I'm willing to bow to the inevitable and accept that a new arena will be built with a heaping helping of taxpayer dollars. Since I don't actually live in Edmonton anymore, my objections to welfare for billionaires have always been a matter of principle. But to be perfectly frank, if a pile of public cash for a new arena is the price to pay to see Stanley back in Edmonton, it's one I'm willing to let you all pay.

Enjoy your potholes, suckers!

POSTSCRIPT:

Another point from Staples that I want to address is the following:

From a hockey perspective, there would have been absolutely nothing wrong with standing pat this summer, giving Jarret Stoll one more year to see if he can fully recover from his concussion, giving Joni Pitkanen another chance to show he just might be an All-Star puck-moving defenceman, giving Matt Greene a much deserved chance to establish himself as the new Jason Smith of the Oil blueline, a rugged team leader capable of playing against tough opposition.

Frankly, that would have been the prudent course of action if the Oilers focus was slowly building towards a Stanley Cup winning team, putting pieces in place around the likes of Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano.


That makes sense and is all well and good, but if recent history has taught us anything, the days of the slow rebuild seem to be over. The onset of the cap, early free agency means teams are now in a constant state of flux. Even with a solid core locked up, finding the right supporting pieces year after year to ensure a consistent contender is going to be a challenge for most teams not named the Red Wings. Against this backdrop, it makes perfect sense to shorten the time frame for your standard rebuild. Put another way: for the Oil, the last two years were rebuilding years. This year, with new deep pocketed ownership, there's a good chance for this team to make a hard charge for a long playoff run. Why not go for it? Isn't winning now the whole fucking point?

6 comments:

PunjabiOil said...

Why not go for it? Isn't winning now the whole fucking point?

Nope. Loading up on prospects is, and then you argue with other team's fans that Schremp's 8.5B rating indicates he will be better than Player X's 7.5A.

In all seriousness, I agree with you. There makes little sense wasting bullets. For the Oilers, the bullets consist of Horcoff, Cole, Pisani.

RE: New arena.

Staples if pretty much bang on. The only thing to take some comfort in, is the possibility Private Seat Liscenses have been rumoured to help finance the project.

Jonathan said...

if recent history has taught us anything, the days of the slow rebuild seem to be over

If recent history has taught us anything, maybe half a dozen teams successfully accomplish a quick rebuild, while another dozen blow too much money on free agents and hamstring themselves for the future while finishing within spitting distance of their finish the season before.

LittleFury said...

If recent history has taught us anything, maybe half a dozen teams successfully accomplish a quick rebuild, while another dozen blow too much money on free agents and hamstring themselves for the future while finishing within spitting distance of their finish the season before.

Point being: the Oilers' rebuild hasn't been quick. This is year three.

rickibear said...

I am all for toll booths for the major roads in to Edmonton from St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Stony, Spruce Grove, The Fort, Devon, Beaumont, Leduc, and Morinville. Let them pay for the potholes. Heck bump it up more and let them pay for the Arena.

saurash said...

I agree, the only way to re-build into a perennial playoff threat is to go via the drafting and prospect path.

Philadelphia managed to sign a few key UFA's, but they wouldn't be in the playoffs if not for the efforts of kids like Richards, Carter, and Cobourn. One-year turnarounds like that can't be born out of purely UFA signings. This isn't the NBA (damn those Celtics).

Oilman said...

I am all for toll booths for the major roads in to Edmonton from St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Stony, Spruce Grove, The Fort, Devon, Beaumont, Leduc, and Morinville. Let them pay for the potholes. Heck bump it up more and let them pay for the Arena.

Lets not give the province any ideas OK.