Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"You know what it takes to sell real estate?"

Above: Montreal Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau.

Facing the possibility of going down 3-1 to the Flyers tonight, Carbonneau is replacing 20 year-old wunderkind Carey Price between the pipes with backup Jaroslav Halak. This takes balls. With the deadline day deal of veteran Christobal Huet, Price was officially anointed the Habs' goalie of today. His play in helping the Canadiens to a first place finish in the East seemed to justify that decision, but Price has been erratic in the post season and downright gawdawful in two straight losses to the Flyers. Halak has played all of 6 games with the big club this year and has all of 19 minutes of playoff experience.

I like these types of high risk/high reward moves. It's not like the playoffs give struggling players (especially starting goaltenders) a lot of chances to play through a funk. And if the Habs continue to outshoot and outchance the Flyers the way they have in the last two games, then Halak will just have to be good enough.

Go Habs.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Really? No, REALLY?


Well, he is, and there, I said it.

What else is he though? For some, unfathomable reason, Dion Phaneuf is a Norris candidate. Why? Well, honestly, I don't know. I cannot find a single reason why he should be a Norris candidate, besides the fact that he was on the ice a lot, has a good slapshot, and is a physical hockey player.

That's it. Problem is, the all the tools in the world don't make you a Norris defenseman if you don't have the toolbox, and as was said in a Calgary Sun article, and voted on by NHL players, Dion Phaneuf is one of the most over-rated players in the NHL.

But, in fairness, lets try to first make a list of things we would expect from a Norris caliber defenseman. We would reasonably expect that he can play at both ends of the ice, and in all situations, and excel. That means EV, PK and PP. We expect that he would constantly play the other teams best players, especially at home, and out-play them. We expect he would be called "complete" and make the other players around him better, instead of victimized.

Does all of this seem reasonable so far? As far as I can tell, this is what I would expect of a Norris defenseman. A Lidstrom, Pronger, Timonen, Gonchar, etc.

Lets take a look at Phaneuf now, shall we?


The Flames played 5 home games against San Jose, 4 against Colorado, 4 against Minnesota, 2 against Detroit, 2 against Anaheim, 2 against Dallas, and 2 against Nashville. The highest scoring player on each of these teams was: Joe Thornton, Paul Stastny, Marian Gaborik, Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Ribeiro and JP Dumont.

In these 21 games*, Dion Phaneuf played a whopping 359.1 minutes, equal to 17.1 ES minutes a game. Yet, against the top scorers on each team, he played a combined, get ready for this, all of 115.1. That's not even 1/3 of his ice time. This was at home. With Keenan having last change.

Worse yet? How did he fair against these players?


Lit up. Like a Christmas tree.

But hey, he had that dominating physical play right? That makes up for it? Well, sure, if you want to consider the fact that he lead the league in minor penalties with 60, and the Flames were more likely to go to the PK than the PP with Phaneuf on the ice. Did he put up some nice counting stats? Absolutely. But not against anyone whose name we know. And I'm pretty sure, that should be an important criteria when deciding if a guy is a top defenseman or not, should it not be?

I won't comment on his PP ability - I think he's one of the better triger men in the league.

However, his PK ability, another important facet of the game, is yet another problem for 'the Dion.' A quick look at shows he played a lot on the PK, about 2 and a half minutes a game, and was the third most often used defenseman in Calgary on the PK. So, he was second unit on the PK, and, once again, likely saw softer competition on the PK. So his PK numbers should rock, correct?

Well. Not really.

When Phaneuf was on the ice, the Flames were scored on about 7.15 times every 60 minutes. When Phaneuf was off the ice, the Flames were scored on about 6.13 times every 60 minutes.

In other words, when he killed penalties, the puck ended up in his net more often than when he rode the pine.

So... my question is, how on Earth is he a Norris Nominee? Anyone? Are the MSM writers really THIS dumb that they couldn't notice that A) he was being sheltered B) he got lit up when he wasn't sheltered and C) he can't play defense to save his life?

*During two of these games, one against Minny and one against Colorado, the offensive star was injured, so I took the second leading scorer in each case - Bouchard, and Brunette, for that specific game.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Goes Around...Comes Around

Agent Ritch Winter was on Bob Stauffer's show today. He accused Kevin Lowe as being a hypocrite with respect to his recent comments on new Canucks GM, Mike Gillis, who allegedly "screwed" the Oilers in the Michael Nylander saga.

The reasoning? Kevin Lowe pulled a similar stunt to Bryan Murray, then GM of the Anaheim ducks. Murray, Comrie, Winter had all believed a deal was complete, before Lowe came out and asked 2.5M from Mike Comrie. I recall later that day, Lowe laughed with a smirk on his face, "Well, I've always been told if I want something...I have to ask."

Hard to disagree with Ritch Winter (profile can be seen here - thanks to DSF from HF for the link).

Vancouver, Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Ottawa. That's 17.25% of the league the Oilers may not be able to deal with as long as Kevin Lowe is the GM.

Will Lowe stop the bleeding? Does Winter have a legitimate point?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dan Blackburn

The Montreal, Quebec native was drafted 10th overall back in 2001. Voted as the CHL's top goaltender for the 2000-2001 season.

As an 18 year old, he was pressed into action due to injuries, and managed to stay on his two feet, playing 31 games and posting a .898 SV%.

Did he have a strong future ahead of him?

There are reasons to believe he would have, but unfortunately, we'll never know.

That is because he suffered a significant left shoulder injury during a weight training session. He pressed a try-out with the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL - playing with two blockers instead of the conventional glove and blocker combo.

Mirtle interviewed Dan Blackburn during this stint. Dan was eager to see how it played out.

Unfortunately, he lasted only 12 games.

Where is this once promising man, now 24, today?

His current life includes a home in Dallas, a job in hockey - he's manager of business development for Goaltender Development Institute ( - and, somehow, no sorrow in his heart.

"No, it's not bittersweet," Blackburn says. "You know what? I don't really miss it anymore - it's been such a long time. It was a chapter of my life and I'm on to the next. I'm happy for all the guys that do well. It's good to see (Leclaire) having a successful year."

"I don't have any regrets at all about what transpired or the way things happened for me," says Blackburn, who played two full seasons - 2001-02, 2002-03 - for the Blueshirts. "I really enjoy what I do now in the business world."

"From my point of view, I was really fortunate, even though I was only there for a couple of years.

"It really set up the rest of my life for all the things that I want to do, from there on out."

Hurtling himself into life after hockey - buoyed by a reported $6-million insurance payout - Blackburn enrolled at Arizona State University.

He's in good shape. In good health.

And happy.

What else can you ask for?

Cheat Sheet

*Click on font to read cheat sheet material*

This is the front page of my "Cheat sheet" for a University Finance class. The flip side of the page was equally busy, with numerous examples. You have to take advantage of every opportunity you are provided.

That being said, I never understood and agreed with the logic of cheat sheet in exams - especially when you put examples that are nearly identical to the questions being asked on exams.

Of course you still have to know your material - and all members of the class are given the same opportunity to write in extremely small font - but it's also an item that provides the less prepared a marginal advantage over those who are more prepared.

And whatever happened to the conventional formula sheet? All Finance classes and nowadays, even some accounting classes, allow one the opportunity of double sided cheat sheets - is this a new trend?

Any 'old-timers' want to shed some light?

In other news, I came across this great site

Playoff Predictions - Round 2

Anyone is welcome, whether they participated in the 1st round or not.

10 points for correct team. 20 points for correct team and number of games. 0 points for correct number of games, but wrong team.

2 pools here:
1) Round winner
2) Overall Playoffs winner


My Picks (in bold):

SERIES A Montreal vs. Philadelphia - 6 games

SERIES B Pittsburgh vs. New York Rangers - 6 games.

SERIES C Detroit vs. Colorado - 6 games

SERIES D San Jose vs. Dallas - 6 games

EDIT: Changed my pick to Pittsburgh

Round 1 results:

LittleFury 10+10+20+10+10+20+20=100 (WINNER)
YKOil 10+10+10+20+20+20=90
PDO 10+10+20+20+10+10=80
Mr DeBakey 10+10+10+10+10+10+20=80
JambonDan 10+10+20+10+10+20=80
doritogrande 10+10+20+10+20=70
jon 10+10+10+20+10+10=70
PunjabiOil 10+10+20+10+10+10=70
Jonathan 10+10+10+20+10=60
Paulus 10+20+10+10=50
Oilman 10+10+10+10+10=50
MikeP 10+10+10+10=40

Monday, April 21, 2008


Well. It isn't Prison. But it sure as hell can be the basement. (And, dammit, I wanted to post the pic.)

It's basically been on my mind since I read what confirmed what I'd thought, posted by Vic over at IOF. Basically... yea, the kids got a hell of a lot of results in the last few weeks of the season... but they are not exactly results that we can continue to expect as we move forward.

Kevin Lowe is faced with an interesting Summer here, no doubt about it. His team went on a fantastic stretch to end the season, largely led by the likes of Gagner and Cogliano shooting out the lights. The problem is though, they shot out the lights like they were Wayne Gretzky and Doug Gilmour. When, in reality, they're Doug Weight and Butch Goring (LT ;)). Who they are isn't as big of a deal here.... it's who they aren't. And chances are, they aren't future HHOF'ers... and even if they are, they certainly aren't right now.

So, what does Lowe do next season? Right now we have 15 forwards on the roster capable of playing in the NHL - Hemsky, Horcoff, Pisani, Torres, Stoll, Moreau, Glencross, Stortini, Pouliot, Gagner, Nilsson, Cogliano, Penner, Reasoner and Brodziak. You have to imagine all of them expect to play next season (yes, I'm aware Reasoner is a UFA, but I'd be shocked if he's not resigned). So, what happens here? Nilsson/Cogliano/Gagner are all guaranteed roster spots for various reasons, baring a blockbuster trade. It's also pretty plausible to imagine that Glencross/Brodziak/Stortini are back as the fourth line.

The thing is though. That's two lines, that a "dangerous" team wouldn't have on the ice against anyone worth talking about. We can even assume Pouliot/Reasoner are the 13th and 14th forwards... that leaves Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky as the top line and a combination of Moreau/Torres - Stoll and Pisani as the second line of heavy hitters.

So. What's Lowe to do? He is in a town that absolutely EXPECTS this team to be in the playoffs next year. He has 2 lines that he can trust.... no true dominant line to rely on (say, the Datsyuk-Zetterberg combo in Detroit. Horcoff/Hemsky is a great combo... but it's sure as hell not Datsyuk and Zetterberg), and 2 lines that will result in complete hell unleashing if he doesn't reunite them.

From my seat, I see four options.

A) Trade Cogliano + Pitkanen for a difference maker. C, RW or D.. not a big deal. But a legit difference maker. I'm talking Dany Heatley here... a guy who you can call THE guy.
B) Move a few parts for another veteran D, use the extra space to ensure Horcoff/Garon/Pitkanen are here long term, and hope like hell the kids can keep making real improvements.
C) A series of big trades, starting with Pitkanen for a forward, and ending with Torres and Stoll for a D.
D) Sit pat, hope the kids really that good and take the bait. Hope it doesn't cost you 10, because you lose the kid, or lose the vets you need around to influence and support the kid.

What would you do? Take the sexy bait, go for the pornstar, or play it slow and hope for a happy ending?

Scott Neidermayer Fined US $500,000


The National Hockey League has fined Anaheim Ducks defencemen Scott Niedermayer approximately $500,000 for missing training camp, according to a report in the New York Post.

The league has reportedly invoked an article in the CBA that states: "For each day a Player does not report to Training Camp without his Club's permission, his pay will be reduced by 1/275th of his annual . . . salary . . . ." Niedermayer will earn $6.75 million this season.

Niedermayer missed the training camp and the beginning of the season, while contemplating retirement. The 15-year veteran would eventually return to the Ducks on December 5th.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

John Short's Column on The New Arena


MASSIVE EDIT: Apparently I'm the idiot who couldn't figure out it was purely sarcastic.

I exchanged an email with John Short. His response was:

Don't know anything about Brad Humphreys but I'm convinced his point of view needs to be
presented more often.
I'm not opposed to billionaires having play-toys of their own, but I am opposed to guys
and gals -- and senior citizens -- paying big tax dollars for facilities to house events
the average person can't afford to watch in person more than once or twice a week.
Interesting that there have been several e-mails already referring to my column on the
subject. Most, overwhelmingly, see the point I was making -- that Mandell and his
committee went in with an agenda. Millionaires (billionaires) almost always find a way to
get what they want and they usually find a way to have you and I pay for it in the name
of progress and civic pride.
Thanks for asking.

My sincere apologies to John Short.

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!"

Miikka Kiprusoff. World Class talent.

In previous years.

He struggled this season, and was quick to sign a long term contract in October 2007. His extension kicks in as he turns 32. A 5.833M cap hit. Reasonable, and both parties bear some risk in the contract.


According to
Year 1 8,500,000
Year 2 7,000,000
Year 3 7,000,000
Year 4 6,000,000
Year 5 5,000,000
Year 6 1,500,000

According to
Year 1 8,000,000
Year 2 8,000,000
Year 3 8,000,000
Year 4 6,000,000
Year 5 3,500,000
Year 6 1,500,000

Front-loaded you say? No big deal. Plenty of contracts are frontloaded, including Souray and Roloson on the Oilers.

Apparently, his agent isn't exactly a bundle of smarts. He was quoted in a Finnish Newspaper:

"From what I've heard from Miikka, he sees the contract as a four to five year deal. Calgary simply wanted to divide the expenses over longer period of time"
"I Think this is Miikkas last contract. I think he has made enough money to keep his bed warm and his beers cold.

Looking at the contract structure closely, Kiprusoff is earning 33.5M over the first 5 years of the contract, close to the 7M/year price he was asking when you consider the present value effects.

So did the Flames effectively shed 1M off the cap hit, with a *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* oral agreement in a scenario where Kiprusoff retires after year 4 or 5 of the contract? Given that Miikka is under 35, the Flames do not incur a cap hit in the event he retires.

The Agent's quotations are direct and to the point. It's a situation where the Flames invade/circumvent "the spirit of the salary cap" should the agent's comments have some truth in them.

And if Miikka Kiprusoff does indeed retire before the completion of the contract, does the NHL brass come hard on them?

Given the NHL's historical reputation of an entity that is too soft and doesn't punish their offenders harsh enough, perhaps the Oiler should engage in this sort of trickery and sign Shawn Horcoff to a cap friendly 10 year deal.

In which he retires after 7.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Much Did the Oilers "Overpay" for Souray?

According to Robin Brownlee:


Did Lowe overpay when he signed Sheldon Souray to a five-year contract for $27 million? Definitely — by as much as $1 million a season over any other offer, according to my sources.

This seems to be consistent with Souray's quote last summer:

“When Edmonton came into (talks), I honestly couldn’t believe that they’d be serious about spending that much money on a guy like me. It was a no-brainer. Everything was too good.

“It took me two minutes to say yes. I told my agent, ‘Have the papers faxed to sign before they change their mind.’ ”

Lowe must have really liked Souray or wanted a big-name UFA signed at all costs.

Or, he just has some terrible negotiation skills.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Living in the Past

Here is a collection of Journal and Sun articles, dealing with the Peter Pocklington & EIG era.

Unproductive, but informing.

Kevin Lowe (Interview In Maclean's Magazine)

November 3, 2003

Some excerpts

How much of player negotiations for you involves selling Edmonton to the players?

Overall, I think the majority of players are happy to play in Edmonton because it's hockey country. When I played in New York, hockey was probably number 4 in the pecking order of major sports. Here, hockey's the number 1 sport in this city. That can be exciting, it can be a challenge and, to some players, it can be difficult. But I think it makes everybody a better player.

Was that your pitch to Ryan Smyth?

My point in the Smyth situation was that there is a price to pay for being in a good hockey city. Economically, you're in a good position being in Alberta. Personal taxes are the lowest in Canada. The cost of living is good. The city is safe. Those things are one side of it; playing for the Oilers is another. Yes, there's a cost to playing for the Oilers, but you can't really put a number on it. Is it five per cent? Is it 10? The point is, if you want to be an Oiler, we have a standard here in terms of what we pay, and what we expect out of our players.

You've expressed frustration about how salary arbitration takes control out of your hands.

Precisely. I don't want to write everything personally, or the average NHL salary to move below $1 million. I just want everybody to take a step back and say, "Holy mackerel, you get chance to play a sport for your livelihood and get paid extreme amounts of money." Appreciate the fact that, in a few years, you can not only set yourself up for life but set up your entire extended family.

Was the Anson Carter trade one of those challenges? You must have known that fans and media would regard it as a salary dump.

Not at all. That was a big shock to me and our management group. The reaction shocked me. It was stronger than when we traded Bill Guerin to Boston. In our minds, the team was going backwards, and we needed to do something. To a certain extent it was financial, but not as much as people think.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Duhn duhn duhn...another one bites the dust.

Grebs signs.

One year deal, no numbers yet.

Shaking Loose the Star....

I'm really not much of a Patrick Marleau fan. He's flashy, a pretty good skater, and has a nice shot. But, he cannot play defense to save his life, has no physical game, and just seems like the exact type of guy who shouldn't have a "C" on his jersey.

That said, his Sharks are in dire need, and they need him to step up and create some offense. Will they? Tough to say. For this though, lets assume they don't. Anything less than a WCF appearance would just have to be considered a failure for the Sharks this season. And given that it would be their third straight failure in the playoffs, you have to imagine that changes would be coming in Shark land.

I personally think, that most GM's are the "bang on their chest" and yell until they get their way type guys. They want "Warriors" and go with their gut instinct more often than not. Simply accepting that you got a bad roll of the dice isn't enough... heads have to roll, and changes have to be made.

The Oilers, in large part thanks to their run, have several guys who would meet the criteria that most GM's would presumably look for. Specifically, Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres, along with Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani. I think Lowe has to make a decision here... we have too many forwards on this team, and someone has to go. Pisani had a very good year all things considered, and is a big part of the room. Moreau likely isn't going anywhere, so that leaves Stoll and Torres; who are both admittedly coming off of a poor year, though the former struggled much more than the latter.

So, Lowe is left with a decision here. He likely has to move two forwards. He's probably considering moving Pitkanen. What can these three get in a package? What teams will be looking at the idea of major changes due to lack of success?

I'd say Atlanta, but they've been raped of assets outside of Kovalchuk, who sells too many jerseys and tickets to be moved. Ditto St. Louis. I think both Buffalo and Anaheim could be looking for shakeups in the near future, but I don't see either team making a deal with the Oilers in the near future. We know Toronto is looking for a change, but again, what do they have that would warrant a package of Torres-Stoll-Pitkanen?

Looking down the line though, there are certainly a few teams that do catch my eye. Florida has missed the playoffs all 3 years since the lockout ended, and Bouwmeester is reportedly again unhappy. Would he considering coming here? Would Florida trade Bouwmeester and a pick for Pitkanen, Torres and Stoll? Should Edmonton?

What about in San Jose, if they don't come back against the Flames? Could Michalek become available for the right price? Or Marleau?

Tampa is into full rebuild mode, but it's hard to imagine that they want to suffer through that when they need to sell tickets. How much would it cost to bring the 1st OV pick to Edmonton? Stoll, Torres, Schremp and Pitkanen? Does that get your Stamkos? Does it make sense on either side?

Nashville looks like they're on their way towards their 4th straight first round exit. Could Weber become available from a GM on a bender after another first round exit?

The Oilers are in a nice position here. Not ideal, but not terrible either. They have a lot of parts, some shiny, some grimy, but a lot of parts. There will be GM's in the coming months who will feel the pull from their owners saying we need to make the playoffs. Even more importantly, there will be GM's who are in the same position that Kevin Lowe was in not too long ago, when Dallas looked ripe for the picking and we crapped the bed and he went on a tirade... we all saw how that turned out for Mike Comrie. There will be changes, and the Oilers, in all likelihood, will have a very good chance of adding a couple of nice players over the Summer without breaking the bank.

I've accepted Souray isn't going anywhere. Neither is Moreau. I pray that Horcoff doesn't, and we all know that Hemsky and Gagner are here for the long haul. What we do moving forward will certainly be interesting, and I'm personally hoping that Lowe is finding out just how available Bouwmeester or that 1st OV pick are from an Oiler POV.

Canucks Set to Win Fabian Brunnstrom Sweepstakes

Overage. Late bloomer. Potential of high reward for the Canucks.

Or, it could end up being nothing more than a utility player like Patrick Thoresen who put up similar numbers at the same age in the SEL


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jumping on the Habs Bandwagon


The chant heard at Elephant and Castle on Whyte Ave.

And the Bell Centre in Montreal.


Time for another Canadian team to make the finals.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I Like The Terms of Gilbert's New Contract

At least more so than I did yesterday.

& COVERED IN OIL put some sense in me.

Basically, Seabrook doesn't work as a comparison, nor does Tyutin. The 4 UFA seasons given up just can't be minimized. I was also probably wrong on the ''What you see is what you get'' mantra. Numerous examples have been pointed out that this theory is bunk.

One does have a legitimate argument that they should have offered Gilbert a short term deal (1-2 years) and make him earn that next contract. Of course the downside is you may end up paying more down the road, especially if the cap continues to rise. It seems Lowe and MacT feel otherwise, and feel confident in giving Gilbert an extension, despite only 1 full season worth of experience.

Time will tell whether they are right. At the same time, I can see their line of reasoning.

Heavy criticism may not be warranted at this point of time.

Two ''New'' Additions to the Oilogosphere

More readings for the Oilogosphere members.

I recently discovered these 2 high quality blogs. They know their hockey.




Friday, April 11, 2008

Oilers Cap Situation, As of April 11, 2008

This is Lou Lamoriello. GM of the NJ Devils. In the summer of 2006, he was pressed into cap trouble after the signings of Alexandre Mogilny, Vladimir Malakhov and Dan McGillis the year previously. In the end, he was forced to trade Malakhov and a 1st round pick in exchange for effectively cap space.

Below is the Oilers cap hit, as of today.


Penner (4.250) - Horcoff (3.600) - Hemsky (4.100)
Nilsson (1.833)- Gagner (1.625) - Cogliano (1.133)
Torres (2.250) - Stoll (RFA) - Pisani (2.500)
Moreau (2.000) - Brodziak (.500) - Stortini (RFA)

In the mix: Glencross (UFA), Reasoner (UFA), Pouliot (RFA)

REASONABLE ESTIMATES: Stoll (2.75M), Reasoner (1M), Pouliot (.650M), Glencross (1.6M), Stortini (.600M)

Souray (5.400) - Staios (2.700)
Pitkanen (RFA) - Gilbert (4.000)
Smid (0.786) - Grebeshkov (RFA)

Extras: Greene (1.15), Roy (.500)

REASONABLE ESTIMATES: Grebeshkov (1.65M), Pitkanen (4.5M)


Garon (1.1)
Roloson (3.667)



Cap trouble indeed.


-One of Torres or Moreau will be traded.
-One of Reasoner, Stoll, Pouliot won't be brought back
-The Oilers may not sign Glencross at that price
-One of Greene/Smid may be moved.
-Pitkanen may indeed be moved if the Oilers don't want to pay him in the neighborhood of 4.5M

Could the Oilers trade say, 2009 1st + Souray for cap space? Should they? Would you?

Details, details...

Also inked today: Rowbear Nilsson: three years, $5.5 million in total.
Nilsson will earn $1.5 million next season and $2 million in each remaining
Really nice deal. The contrast with Gilbert's is interesting and speaks to how much the Oilers value defencemen. That second line of Nilsson, Ganger and Cogliano is made-by-little-kids-in-China cheap.
As for Tom Gilbert's deal, details per TSN are as follows:
Gilbert will earn $3.5 million next season with a $1.5 million signing bonus, $3.5 million in 2009-2010, $5.5 million with a $1.5 million signing bonus in 2010-2011, $5 million in 2011-2012, $3.5 million in 2012-2013, and $3 million in 2013-2014 for a salary cap average of $4 million a season.

I Don't Like The Terms of Tom Gilbert's New Contract

6 years/24M.

Unbelievable. From being one of the most over-performing contracts on the team, things changed.


I love the player. I think he's a player every team would love to lock up for 6 years.

But would every team sign him at these dollars?

This is another Dustin Penner contract. Pay-for-potential that may not otherwise be there. Tom Gilbert is not a 4M defenceman now. He very well maybe down the road, but he also may not be. He's also 25, so perhaps it's a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

He scored a lot of goals - 13 to be exact. However, he boasted a 13.3 Shooting %, one that is highly unlikely to be sustainable over his career. He had 33 points with 2nd unit PP time. Definitely good, but at this age (25), you wonder how much upside there is.

I thought Lowe had the leverage in this negotiation. Gilbert only had 1 year of pro experience. Finding a comparable would be difficult, given Gilbert gives up 4 UFA years. You have to wonder though - whether taking him to arbitration (protecting against RFA offersheets) and a short term deal would have left the Oilers better off. Lets bypass the fact that the Oilers don't take him to arbitration - even if Gilbert received an RFA offersheet this was in the compensation range of 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

Just how many teams would be willing to throw 4.1M to Gilbert AND give up a 1st, 2nd, 3rd?

Lowe had the leverage, and he didn't utilize it.

Just exactly why he's a mediocre/sub-par GM

Above all, this sets a precedence for Joni Pitkanen, who is also 2 years away from unrestricted free agency. A much more proven player (46 and 43 point seasons), more TOI, tougher minutes, and younger than Gilbert. How much does he get? 4.5M? 5M? Or is there truth to the statement that Pitkanen could be on the way out, as speculated by Robin Brownlee and Bob Stauffer?

There are beginning to be too many contracts in the 4-5M range, and you wonder who is going to be pushed out the door when the pending free agents start needing contract extensions.

Perhaps Lowe is counting on a rising salary cap.

Whatever it is, at this point in time, I don't like the contract. Just when I started having faith in Lowe again.

Time for the player and GM to prove me wrong.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Iggy pops

Here's Jarome "Jarmoe" Iginla taking aim at Eric Weinrich of Team U.S.A. during the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. I picked this shot because those mustard yellow 1920 Winnipeg Falcons throwback jerseys are beauties and there's no way in hell I'm putting any Flames shit up here unless it's a picture of Dion Phaneuf suffering a career-ending injury. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, Iginla's a player that's pretty hard to hate. Skilled, tough and, by all accounts, a genuinely nice guy. I watched his performance against the Sharks in Game One of their series last night and he was just dominant. It was the kind of performance that, to me, embodies all the best bits of this game we call hockey. A performance that, as an Oilers partisan, I seldom get treated to.

It probably goes without saying that the Falmes franchise's hopes start and end with Jarome. Me, I hope a few years down the road that he's one of those choices in some T.V. sports gabfest's poll question that asks "who's the best player of his generation to never win a championship?"

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Chance May Never Come Again

Tremendous song. Very motivating. I used to get Goosebumps when CBC used to air this song on day 1 of the playoffs and after the Stanley Cup was awarded.



There's a dream that lives,
deep in every heart.
Heroes carve their name,
legends leave their mark.
And it's worth the sweat,
and it's worth the pain,
But the chance may never come again....

Give it all you got,
take your best shot.
The fire burns deep inside,
stand above the giants.

For the game belongs,
to the swift and the strong.
Though the flame burns bright,
in an instant it's gone.
It's the spirit of the game,
and the legend lives on and on.

But the chance may never come again,
Noooo, nooooo.
The chance may never come again!

Unrestricted Free Agent Signing

PunjabiOil & Company have signed AsiaOil to a contract. More details to follow

Stoll & Torres

"We have to make some changes. We didn't make the playoffs," Lowe said. "In terms of the overall outlook of the team, we have a lot of forwards and we're going to have some tough decisions. Jarret's going to be in that category ... Raffi had an off year.

"We're going to have to spend a lot of time deciding who's going to be in our top 12. We have a lot of options."

Kevin Lowe - In Happy Times


A season ending interview.

And look at that million dollar smile!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Quotes From Lowe


"Not that we won't look and try to be active, but we won't go into free agency like we did last year, where we knew we had to bring players in," Lowe said Tuesday.

This is obvious.

"If a team comes around, like the situation we were in, which to me was very unique, then yes, absolutely there'll be an RFA offer," he said. "Am I concerned about our RFAs? Not one bit. We have lots of (salary) cap room. We know the players we like. If there was one, we'll match an offer, if we choose to. If we think the offer is too high, we'll let them go and take the picks.

"We're in a great position. We have lots of depth in the organization. Having said all that, we've had positive contract negotiations with all those players, so I don't think it's even going to get there."

I hope Lowe is planning to use team elected arbitration to some of his RFAs (to protect against RFA offersheets) if it gets to that point.

"I think if we'd have stayed healthy, we had a team that would have been in a position to challenge," Lowe said.

Yeah, and Grizzly Adams had a beard.

"Our goal going into the season was to try to make the playoffs, and to also be in a development year. We didn't accomplish the playoffs -- it was a good effort by the boys -- but we had probably our best development year in 12 or 15 years. I can't wait for next year."


"We've said that every year and we've had a tough time," Lowe said of moving up in order. "I'd love the opportunity to move up into the top 10.

"We'll see what happens. I think we have the assets to do it. We've built them up over a number of years so, ideally, we'll try to utilize that asset base to improve upon the high-end aspect of our organization."

This is encouraging news for the Oilers. Though it probably does produce a lump in the throats of Schremp fanboys.

"We were ninth, so there's room for improvement," he said. "Depending on what happens with our numbers, if we end up making a package deal to bring in a player, that would be a new player.

I like where this is headed.

"There'll be a lot less changes. You need some continuity. Players need to play with one another for a while. We're in a position to do that now."

Sometimes, the status-quo does indeed beat the alternatives.


And in other news, Robin Brownlee provides his connected opinions on Oilersnation

Monday, April 07, 2008

Playoff Predictions - Get Yours In!


Pretty simple: 10 points for correct team. 20 points for correct team & correct number of games. 0 points for correct number of games, but incorrect team.

No prizes, just Oilogosphere bragging rights.

Playoff pool will be played to the end of the season, teams updated after the completion of each round. Winner will be declared after the Stanley Cup is awarded.

My Picks (in bold):

SERIES A Montreal vs. #8 Boston - 5 games

SERIES B Pittsburgh vs. #7 Ottawa - 6 games.

SERIES C Washington vs. #6 Philadelphia - 7 games

SERIES D #4 New Jersey vs. #5 NY Rangers - 6 games

SERIES E #1 Detroit vs. #8 Nashville - 5 games

SERIES F #2 San Jose vs. #7 Calgary - 5 games

SERIES G #3 Minnesota vs. #6 Colorado - 7 games

SERIES H Anaheim vs. #5 Dallas - 6 games

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Robert Nilsson tidbit

Thanks to "Engineer" from HF with link 1 and link 2 and the translation for the articles

Basically, Robert Nilsson is to join Team Sweden on a try-out basis for the World Championships held this May in Canada. The experience certainly can't hurt.

Robert Nilsson is quoted in the second article:

"It's been a blast - the last 20-30 games are the most fun I've had in my hockey life."

Negotiations on a new multi-year deal are expected to begin any day now. "I do not want to play anywhere else but Edmonton, and it would be nice to have the new contract in place before the Worlds."

Jarret Stoll was also quoted the other day:

"I hope things work out because I don't want to leave here. I love playing here. I've enjoyed every second of it. Even through the tough times of this year, it's still fun coming to the rink, being around the guys, playing for fans like Edmonton fans."

Then there are some nice Horcoff quotes in the blog entry below.

Quite a turnaround from previous years - players wanting to play in Edmonton.

That most certainly helps the team going forward, with the developed chemistry.

Or at the very least, can't hurt.

Saturday, April 05, 2008



Shawn Horcoff on the Oilers Recent Success

This is Trail, BC's Shawn Horcoff. My favourite Oiler.

Shawn Horcoff comes across as a great teammate in this article. Truly an ambassador for the youth on this team. Seems like a player who wants to remain an Oiler; despite the fact the Oilers were trying to replace him with a 35 year old Michael Nylander this past summer, and despite the fact the Oilers were publicly questioning his offensive skills at training camp, using Gagner and Cogliano on the top line. His hockey skills are also vastly under-appreciated by a large number of Oiler fans. Shawn Horcoff recently spoke of the Oilers recent success and how he's dealt with it.

"This would have been a lot of worse if they weren't playing as well as they are," Horcoff said. "On the flip side, you know how exciting big games are, that's what you live for."

"But I haven't missed many of the games. It's tougher for me not to watch. I know some guys just can't stand it, and I have tried not watching, but that doesn't work for me," he continued. "I need to know what's going on.

"I have to be at home, and I have a certain seat I sit on … I even try and have the kids in bed because I just want to focus on the game. I am still emotionally attached. I feel like a big part of the team even though I'm not on the ice playing."

There are several options for Lowe:

a) Extend Horcoff for a short term (3 years). Here, the Oilers would have to compensate Horcoff for the lower security. Range: 5.75-6.25M/year.
b) Extend Horcoff for a bit longer (4-7 years). Gives the player long term security. The Oilers would be bearing the risk of injury in the 1 year period prior to the extension begin date. Range: 4.5-5.75M. Inverse relationship between salary and number of years.
c) Do nothing this summer. Shawn Horcoff has another year of his contract remaining. Take a wait and see approach to see how Horcoff rebounds to his pre-surgery state. This possibility also requires the Oilers to bear some risk - should Horcoff perform to the level comparable to last season, his market value will rise as opposed to his market value today. This strategy may eerily follow the footprints of the Ryan Smyth saga - a player playing his way out of an Oiler uniform after the team couldn't settle on an agreement.
d) Fully go prepared into the season with no intention of re-signing Horcoff. Here, you are under the impression that Gagner can handle 20 minutes/night and you will find a cheaper/better replacement for Horcoff in the UFA market in the summer of 2009. This option is so idiotic, I'm not going to waste further time on it.

I'm not really concerned about giving Horcoff a long term contract. He has a strong character, in which you know he will be giving a full effort 82 games + playoffs. He is also one of the fittest NHLers who had up to this point in his career, excluding this season, remained flawlessly healthy. This may be attributed to his strong dedication to off-season training, as this excerpt reads:

Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff has foregone summer vacations for the last four years to take part in Goodman's workouts. He is starting to challenge Chris Chelios for the circuit-training title.

You wonder if his strong dedication/commitment to the game rubbed off in a good way to fellow linemate, Ales Hemsky.

Today's Journal Article sheds some light on Hemsky's recent changes in the off-season:

This was also the first year Hemsky made a commitment to an off-season training program that revolved around hockey specific workouts rather than his usual soccer and roller hockey sessions. The result was a stronger, more explosive player.

Good stuff.


I was clearly in the (b) camp early on. The shoulder injury at least provokes some question as to whether Lowe should wait until say, November, before extending Horcoff [option (c)]. It will be interesting to see whether Lowe sticks to his original publicly displayed plan of getting Horcoff extended this summer.

Does the shoulder surgery change anything? Should it?

What would YOU do, if you were in Lowe's shoes?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Vancouver Media Tough as Nails


You would never see the local media call out Roloson.

Coach Alain Vigneault said: "Fatigue is not an issue." Yet some of the recent goals Luongo has allowed may be evidence to contrary.


On the Avs first goal Tuesday, Luongo went down with the puck and some traffic in front of the net. He ended up on his back. He laboured to get up as the Avs worked the puck down low, behind the net and then back up top to John-Michael Liles who scored.


On the Avs second goal Tuesday, Paul Stastny was heading toward the crease, and Luongo started bracing for a hit. Luongo admitted later he was "trying to feel contact." Stastny never hit him until the puck was in. But by looking for contact, Luongo took his full attention off Milan Hejduk who scored.


On the Flames second goal Sunday, Luongo dropped his stick which went into his net. Instead of playing stickless, he turned and reached back to grab it. Bad timing. Jarome Iginla had the puck behind the net, and quickly found Matthew Lombardi who beat Luongo before he even turned back around to face the play.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Oilers Player Awards


Zane Feldman Trophy (MVP) - Ales Hemsky
Most Popular Player - Ales Hemsky
Top First Year Oiler - Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano
Top Defenceman - Tom Gilbert
Community Service Award - Ethan Moreau
Unsung Hero - Steve Staios
Top Defensive Forward - Fernando Pisani

I'd have given the top first year Oiler award to Cogliano (+1, 45 points) outright over Gagner (-20, 49 points).

Unsung hero - my pick would have been Kyle Brodziak.

Horcoff would have won top defensive forward if I had the say.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

An Economist's View of The Oilers Recent Success

*click on picture to read the font

The Economist's Argument
-The picks traded to Penner are a "sunk costs." Costs that have been incurred and which cannot be recovered to any significant degree.
-The Oilers, draft wise, are doing themselves harm by winning hockey games because they still own their 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th round draft picks.
-So winning the draft lottery would have been the best case scenario for the Oilers, speaking from a draft standpoint, regardless of the fact Burke would pick at slots 1, 31, 61. Why? Because the Oilers would pick 91, 121, 151, 181 as opposed to the present slots of 102, 132, 162, 192.

The Typical Hockey Fan's Counter-Argument
-Emotionally speaking, it would be very difficult to face the fact the Oilers "sunk cost" would be lottery territory
-Winning now > higher draft picks, emotionally speaking
-Winning today is giving fans the reason for optimism next season.

This argument fits into the broader display of everyday hockey arguments consisting of Statistics/Objectivity/Economics/Science/ vs Emotion/Subjectivity/Human Element.

Arena debate, Whether to trade the likes of Smyth, Hemsky, Gagner (fan favourites), debate on the quality of Horcoff's play (Numbers vs Not very aesthetically pleasing to watch which influences perception).

So think. Think hard next time when you're debating. From what grounds are you arguing from? And do those grounds lead you to the best answer?

Follow-up Question:
Is there a hybrid form of line of reasoning?