Sunday, September 13, 2009
1. I'll try to blog more often this season. The past year was dedicated for working towards a professional designation. 12-13 hour work/study days on a regular basis has the capability to mentally exhaust you; but as a man once told me, 'It's not about how hard you can hit – it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving FORWARD."
2. Jonathan Willis discusses Patrick LaForge using textbook EIG scare tactics with regards to the new arena movement. No bombshell here. Today the Oilers are losing a substantial amount of money, not much different from the publicized documented position that 'a lower salary cap would mean the world,' held back in 2007. Apparently contributing into the revenue sharing pool [Top 10 in league revenues] and receiving a massive public subsidy from taxpayers on the annual lease, still generates a loss. Hamilton Oilers has a nice ring to it, no?
3. On the topic of Willis, congrats with the new position at TheScore. Hard work usually gets noticed.
4. The lack of interest in Alex Tanguay was baffling at that cap hit. One of the biggest issues for the Oilers has been not acquiring enough value players who have the ability to outperform their contracts. These types of guys are available every off-season. Players like Ray Whitney (1.5M) and Curtin Glencross (1.2M) whom publicly have expressed interest in playing for the Oilers in prior years were largely ignored in order to divert powerful efforts to obtain a high profile player (Read: Hossa, Jagr). This off-season, Blair Betts, Robert Lang and Martin Biron (1.4M) are/were available players but the Oilers management has been more interested in exhausting efforts for the big fish (Khabibulin, Heatley). Once they strike out on an otherwise annual basis, little is done going forward to address team needs.
I question management's "all or nothing" approach. The results in the past three seasons seem to support this sentiment.
5. Lowetide appears confident the Oilers will make a trade during training camp. That should be the case; however, trading Kyle Brodziak, a type of player the Oilers needed more of, for late-round draft picks, doesn't inspire much confidence in management's ability to address team needs (namely, a third line centre). There has been talk for the past three years that the Oilers will address needs at the trade deadline, but by then the Oilers are typically on the wrong side of the Western Conference Standings.
6. Jason "YOU ARE WRONG" Gregor :) indicates the interest was generally coming out from Comrie's camp. I'm not surprised by this notion – in interviews over the past years, Comrie has hinted regret in the way the whole situation went down. The signing from a personal standpoint is generally positive, given the association with those late 90's, early 00's, Oiler hockey clubs. Playing in a hockey crazed market that is Edmonton may also allow Comrie to focus more on the on-ice efforts. The benefits of this contract may be limited (depth scoring, and proper local boy story closure), but the terms of the agreement present negligible risk to the Oilers.
It will be interesting whether or not the Oilers or Comrie will consider an extension if everything works out as hoped. Comrie and Duff are not married at this point, and 8 months is quite different from 8 years.
7. Jason Strudwick's perceived unexplainable raise could at least partially be explained by the fact his contract stipulates endorsing a new arena.
"I'm an Edmontonian and I think it's a great thing for the city," said Jason Strudwick, a day after Oilers owner Daryl Katz announced plans for a new downtown arena. "It will continue the revitalization of downtown that we have to keep pushing. We want to have a good, vibrant downtown."
The Blue Jackets have a brilliant downtown rink with an adjacent practice facility in the middle of an arena district that really comes to life on game night. Players enjoy playing there and on 41 home dates a year, it's not just a game, but a game-night experience.
"Everyone who sees that from other teams loves it," said Strudwick, adding an adjacent practice facility is always popular with players, who hate having to pack up and move across town to a practice rink every time a concert comes to the arena. "This would be easier. I think it's great, I hope more teams do that, it just makes more sense.
One could argue Pisani's contract contains a similar stipulation. One also wonders whether Pisani's quote is indicative of early retirement plans or intent to assess the UFA market come July 2010.
"I think it's going to be awesome, it'll bring a lot of life to downtown Edmonton," said Pisani. "It'll be something to see. Obviously I probably won't be around to see it (as an Oiler) but it'll be something cool to see.
"People will be excited to come to the rink. Take the busses, hang around the restaurants, have a few drinks and enjoy it."
8. The HF crowd vociferously maintained a FIRE MACT mantra throughout last year. While I wasn't all that raucous, there were strong indicators suggesting a need for a change.
a. Employee [read: players] morale was at a low all season and tense lingered throughout the dressing room, with whispers of Souray and Hemsky [Journal Article 'turning me into checkers] requesting trades
b. Instead of utilizing the positive reinforcement approach, MacT relegated himself to questionable public outbursts [Penner, Nilsson, Schremp], which even if true, did little to improve the situation and most certainly caused him to lose the room. Quotes throughout the post-firing stage have indicated little support for the now ex-coach of the Edmonton Oilers.
c. Most importantly, Craig MacTavish cannot run a powerplay. This has not changed in the decade he was here. When players are not played to their strengths [Penner & Hemsky's PP TOI] and the strategy is predictable to an extent that it is detrimental to production [i.e. Deliver the puck to Souray for low percentage shots], retaining the status quo no longer remains an option.
It could be argued the hiring of the new coaching staff was the best single transaction this summer. Not overly sure that this is a good thing.
9. There are a number of prospects in the system to possibly be excited about [MPS, Eberle, Nash, Omark, Plante, Chorney, Petry, Hartkinen, Lander]. Of course a similar song was sung half a decade ago [Schremp, Pouliot, Tesluik, Woywitka, JDD, Dragon U., etc.]. Many from the former list will company the latter after prom day.
10. Shawn Horcoff. Patrick O'Sullivan. Ales Hemsky. Dustin Penner. Andrew Cogliano. Sam Gagner. Robert Nilsson. Mike Comrie. All of these players took steps back in gross offensive production [pts.] in 2008-2009. How many of these will were underachievers and how many were just not very good hockey players?
It could be reasonably argued only Nilsson and possibly Comrie would be apt illustrations of the latter. Improved production from the remaining players at no cost on the defensive side of the game could theoretically push the Oilers towards a playoff spot.
Like others in minion country, I have purchased tickets for a few games this year. One of them includes 'Boo Dany Healtey' night. GOILERS.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Narrator: Daryl Katz is a philanthropist and a wealthy pharmacy tycoon. He purchased the Edmonton Oilers, a team in the NHL, in July 2008. He now pitches an offer to the sharks for financing of a new arena and corresponding downtown development in Edmonton, Alberta.
Daryl: "Good evening sharks! I am requesting $500 million for a 49% share in the downtown Edmonton revitalization project."
Sharks [in unison]: "Whoa."
Daryl: "You will be rewarded through incremental game-day and luxury box revenues alongside royalties generated from a sequence of chain restaurants and a diversity of dollar stores."
Robert: "Daryl, my acquaintance Terry Jones has vociferously made references to your lack of integrity with respect to your unreceptive, hostile takeover of the Edmonton Oilers. It is also my understanding that you are at this point today following unsuccessful attempts to extract financing from the taxpayers of Alberta. I simply cannot conduct commerce with someone who intentionally takes advantage of others. You declare to be a philanthropist – I volubly do not subscribe to this theory. I'm out."
Kevin O'Leary: "Robert, Robert, Robert! What absurd rubbish are you spewing? The first rule in business is MAKE MONEY! If taking advantage of minion hockey enthusiasts achieves it, then he performed it to perfection.
Now Daryl, whether you are a philanthropist or not, and whether downtown Edmonton is revitalized or not, these items are of nominal concern to me. My only concern lies in how will this make money! As a multi-billionaire, you have the financing available, which raises a huge red flag regarding the profitability of this venture. I principally suspect you will not make money, and for that reason, and that reason only, I'm out."
Barbara: "I adore your hair Daryl. I truly do. But I did observe that you covet to retain 51% ownership. All men desire control!
This won't change, and nor will my position. I'm out."
Daymond: "Daryl, you indicated that we would collect a payback on our investment through royalties from high-class Chain restaurants. I strongly question the degree of these royalties in working class Alberta, where patrons of these sporting and entertainment events are exceedingly representative of the infamous "donair-on-the-way" crowd. While you are truthful there is potential in the dollar stores division, the margins will be too low to allow timely payback. You seem like a first-rate guy and I wish you the best in your future endeavours. I'm out."
Kevin Harrington: "Daryl, I have a wealth of experiencing in marketing. What you are lacking is a visual image to taxpayers! You haven't shown your face to the public at large in over 2 years – the taxpayers can't tell apart Batman from Joker! Now, the risk of this commitment does not coincide with my risk tolerance level, and for that reason I'm out. However, I would willingly accept a marketing figurehead role in your anticipated future pitches, be it for public or private financing.
[Daryl walks out in painful distress]
Daryl [Backstage]: "I really thought I delivered a sturdy pitch. I would like pledge that this project is by far from over. As my good associate, Kevin Lowe, always says, "Expect the Unexpected"
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
- If you can only read one drunken rant this off season, make it Showerhead's drunken rant at IOF.
- The recent pseudo-announcement on the new arena-cum-Daryl Katz's den of debauchery and two for one appetizers on Tuesdays has drawn Andy Grabia out of his long self-imposed exile over at the BOA.
- The CinO boys make it official and not in the good, gay way.
- And otherwise smart people continue to talk about Rob Schremp for some reason.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Speaking of beatings, peep this scrap between Tampa Bay behemoth Evgeny Artyukhin (6'5", 254 lbs) and lil' Panther Ville Peltonen (5'11", 182 lbs).
That could have been a lot uglier than it was. And speaking of ugly: how 'bout them Oilers? I don't know if there's ever been a duller stretch run with the team still in the mix. I'd like to think tomorrow's meeting with the hard charging St. Louis Blues (7-3-0) is a make or break game that will go a long way to determining the Oilers' ultimate fate, but I'm more inclined to think they'll continue bumbling along until Game 82, at which point they'll have stumbled into a playoff spot or have been edged out by a team that actually gives a shit.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
A couple of Oilers-realted tidbits this afternoon as we head into the last weekend before the Trade deadline.
TSN's Scott Cullen has this on the Erik Cole saga:
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Oilers aren't going to move RW Erik Cole at the trade deadline. A curious decision, if it's true.
I don't think the Oilers should trade Cole just for the sake of trading him so they don't lose him for nothing. That said, the team has looked lifeless in it's last two outings and if they get the right offer, nothing should be off the table. Which brings me to this:
Even if a deal seems less likely with Florida in playoff position, the Panthers reportedly will consider offers for D Jay Bouwmeester, but would require more than just prospects and picks to make such a deal. The Buffalo News says that the asking price is a top-four defenceman and a veteran forward that can be sold to the Florida fan base (and help the Panthers make the playoffs this season).
There you go. Cole and Souray. Wham, bam thank you ma'am. Souray has been a stalwart this year, a pleasant surprise, but he's getting on in years, has a history of injuries and eating a ton of cap space. Downside: he has a NTC and likes it out west. Failing that, TambLowe could dangle Gilbert or Grebs. Hell, throw in Staios to sweeten the pot. Dare to dream...
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Jonathan Willis has a post up at Oilers Nation declaring the Oilers must be sellers at the upcoming trade deadline. Willis’s logic is that, since the Oilers would be certain road kill even if they do squeak into the post season, they might as well take the opportunity to dump some contracts and reload for next year. He identifies four players to ship out: Cole, Staios, Moreau and Rob Schremp, as well as a few guys on the bubble (Penner, Nilsson, one of the big names on D). In exchange, the Oilers would get prospects and picks, as well as a third-line centre. In closing, Willis has this to say:
In the big picture, it’s far better to jeopardize a playoff spot now than it is to risk this team’s ability to contend over the next few seasons.I have a lot of respect for J-Dub, and can see the logic here. The Oilers are a third tier team and would need a miracle just to make it past the opening round. They have a boatload of overpriced contracts that need to go to make way for the raises earmarked for the kids (although, given the declining cap, their performances this year, and barring a major leap forward next year, I have to wonder what kind of raises Ganger, Cogliano et al can reasonably expect to get) and to patch the holes that riddle the lineup. I get it. I do. I believe it.
But I can’t endorse it.
In a race as tight as that in the Western Conference, it’s probably a forgone conclusion that giving up as many as three veteran roster players (even if two of them are kinda shitty) would negatively impact the team chances of making the cut. I actually don’t think the choice between playoffs this year and future success is as stark as Willis makes it out to be and it’s entirely possible that the Oilers could make the moves he suggests and still make the playoffs, though I don’t think it’s that probable (most of the assets Willis puts on the market probably wouldn’t bring that much value back, but that’s a topic for another time.) To me, just making the playoffs this year is a necessary step for two reasons.
Experience. Yeah, it’s unquantifiable, but I can’t see how first hand exposure to playoff hockey wouldn’t be beneficial to the Oilers’ young guns and contribute to the ability to contend over the next few seasons. Of course, it’s hard to say just how much a difference it would make, so I don’t wish to overstate the importance of this factor. No, there’s a much more important reason for the Oilers try to make the postseason this year:
It’s been two fucking years out of the dance and I, the fan, am getting pretty sick of missing out. Now, I’m not your typical Oilers fan with an enormous sense of entitlement: I recognize I’m owed nothing, but all the same it’s hard to stomach putting in an (admittedly ever-diminishing) amount of energy and emotional investment and receiving nothing in return. A playoff appearance, as brief as it would no doubt prove to be, would be a first step to making amends for the last three seasons of futility. Some might say a playoff appearance would actually be a negative thing in that it would serve to shore up the erratic and borderline incompetent bunch behind the bench and in the front office. And I can see that view as well. But I challenge any fan to look me in the eye and tell me that the euphoria of an Oilers win on home ice in the playoffs wouldn’t erase those fears, even if just for a moment. Fandom is essentially an irrational, emotional exercise and while it’s perfectly logical to look after the long term interests and accept pain now in service of a bigger emotional reward down the road, sometimes logic needs to shut the fuck up.
Me want playoff hockey. Period.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Per David Staples:
A source close to Czech hockey ace Jaromir Jagr says that Jagr is close to finalizing negotiations with the Edmonton Oilers, reports Euro-hockey expert Peter Adler.
The source would not say when Jagr would report to Edmonton, how much he would be paid, or how long he would sign for. Jagr is now playing with Omsk in the financially-troubled Kontinental Hockey League.
With news that Lubomir Visnovsky will be out for the season with an injury, the Oilers now have several million dollars free to spend under the salary cap.
I'll believe it when I see it.
UPDATE: Never mind.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Strange things are afoot in Oilerville these days.
Coming off the heels of the now-infamous 10-2 drubbing by the Blackhawks and a listless 2-1 decision to the Music City Maniacs, it was reported that MacT bag-skated Penner, Pouliot and Brodziak. Or maybe he didn't. Depends who you ask. On the interwebs, the natives are getting restless. Jonathan Willis wants MacT's head. Lowetide is frustrated. And over on the boards...well, it hasn't come to bloodshed yet, but that might change with an Oilers loss tonight.
Speaking for myself, I'm on the fence. I've said before that I'm not nearly as invested in this team as I once was, but I've seen plenty of shit efforts this year and they still piss me off. I certainly agree with Tyler's theory that the Oilers' brass seems a helluva lot more concerned with protecting their image than attending to the many issues with the on-ice product.
That product has been wildly inconsistent, often unwatchable and frustrating as fuck. They have one veteran centre, one decent offensive line, a whole whack of kids, a shitload of bloated contracts and a 300 year-old starting goalie. Despite all this, they are also in the midst of the fight for a playoff spot.
So the question is, what to do? Everybody with a brain knows this team wasn't built with this year in mind, but for two, three years down the road. If you look at a lot of the moves this year, even the more puzzling ones make a bit more sense. If there's a time for tinkering and seeing what's worth keeping it's now. That the team has done that and still stayed in the hunt is just gravy.
But history has shown that management can oscillate between "win now" and "build for later" five times in the time it takes Kevin Lowe to wake up, shit, shower, shave and get out the door every morning and a lot will depend on whether they stay the course with the group they have or try to force the issue in response to fan grumbling.
I think they stick to their guns. The team is in the playoff hunt and has improved on last year. Fan grumbling doesn't mean squat until they stop showing up and for every one who bails because they won't be seeing Rob Schremp guzzling Moet out of Lord Stanley's mug, there's another two or three
My hope is they keep their heads above water over the next 15 or so that they can deal some assets for a little help at the deadline and make a real charge for the playoffs. I don't expect much more than a first round defeat, but it'd set the stage for a nice off season. Deal some deadwood (Staios, Moreau), pick up a veteran or two for the bottom six. I don't see a UFA home run happening, which is fine. Ideally, next year's Oilers will be a bit older, a lot wiser and focused on making a run. That's not a heck of a lot to ask, I don't think, and it would certainly make teh growing pains worthwhile.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
From a recent Jim Matheson article:
Cross their fingers -- The Islanders are on track for the league's worst record and a shot at centre John Tavares, the world junior hockey championship MVP. They'll have to be lucky, though, because finishing dead last only gives them a 25-per-cent chance of coming up first in the bingo-ball draft lottery.
As all non-playoff teams (14 in total) are entered in the lottery, and the fact each team can move up only four spots, the Islanders will have approximately a 50% chance in obtaining the rights to John Tavares.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Ales Hemsky isn't going to the NHL All Star bash this weekend, but it's become impossible to argue that number 83 doesn't belong in the upper echelon of talents in the league. He's taken this team by the scruff of the neck and dragged them into a nice 6th place spot in the division going into the break. He's in the top 10 in the league for points/game and he's on track for an 80 point campaign. The kid has arrived.
I'm looking forward to the part in the Oilers 2009 Stanley Cup DVD where the Hall and Oates game against Phoenix gets referenced as the turning point.
Yeah, it's been a good week. The Oil are sitting pretty and the Bush era is over down south. Think I'll celebrate:
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
TSN's average viewership is up 17 per cent from last year to 481,000 a game.
Versus in the United States is averaging 308,695, a rise of 18 per cent.
And the CBC, despite losing three Toronto Maple Leafs telecasts in its new NHL deal, is drawing prime-time audiences that are up 4 per cent from last year, to 1.206 million a game.
Regional audiences on Rogers Sportsnet also reflect team performances. The Leafs' average of 321,000 is down 22 per cent from last year. Audiences for another losing team, the Senators, have dropped 33 per cent, to 67,000 a game.
Numbers for the Vancouver Canucks are down 8 per cent (227,000 viewers). For the Flames (135,000) and Oilers (146,000), audiences are up 15 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively.