What Next? Spontaneous Human Combustion?

You better decide which side you’re on

The chips go down before too long
If Left is right then Right is Wrong
You better decide which side you’re on
-Tom Robinson
I never thought there’d be a need to quote a TRB song, but today is the day.
After a really nice UFA signing (Garon, do we know the terms?) and before a really nice Raffi signing (reported as 3yrs/6.75M) comes word that the Oilers not only got screwed over by Nylander but are SO huffy about it they may take action.
My question is, WHY? Why make it public? This cannot help the reputation of the Edmonton Oilers among free agents, and Nylander sure as hell can’t come here now.
Listen, I understand zero about lawyers (except they can be asses. When my wife and I bought our first house the lawyer shook my hand and then said to my wife “I also do divorces but will only represent the woman” Ha Ha Ha. Jerk) and maybe they can tie Nylander and his agent to a giant saw or maybe they can force Nylander to become a roadie for the TRB or maybe there’s some money coming for the EIG.
No matter, it still seems a little like pissing in the wind. You’re going to get some on you, and that’s for sure.

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32 Responses to "What Next? Spontaneous Human Combustion?"

  1. Aaron Paquette says:

    Was it simply damage control for the fans? I doubt anyone else in the league would really care about it.

  2. Andy Grabia says:

    My guess is they wanted to achieve three things:

    1) Name the agent, and tarnish his reputation amongst players and other GMs.

    2) Save face to a fan base who are going, “wtf?”. Now we’ll have a whole year of Matheson and Stauffer telling us that Lowe only failed in the off-season because someone screwed him. Never mind that he should have had a backup plan, and that until Nylander signed the paper himself, the deal ain’t done.

    3) Fight. Kevin Lowe hates to lose. This is going to be going on all year, I would imagine.

    Here’s my question: who is the Oilers assistant GM right now? Would something like this have happened if Howson was doing the negotiating? I’m assuming other lawyers were around the table, but with this group you never know.

    I can’t say I’m sad, as I didn’t want Nylander anyway. And there are fine replacements out there. He should be worried more about those, and less worried with sending out press releases.

  3. godot10 says:

    The Oilers have no choice but to take legal action. They made statements to other agents about having signed Nylander, and if they don’t sue and win, then they look like the liars, and not Mike Gillis.

    If they have a LOI, Mike Gillis damaged the reputation of the Oilers and Kevin Lowe, and Nylander is no longer a UFA, and whoever signs him in the NHL should owe them compensation.

  4. choppystride says:

    Well, they need to make a stance against being used as leverage, which might be the case here, and might have occurred in the past as well, albeit less blatantly (i.e. Spacek).

  5. Scarlett says:

    Perfectly said Andy. I like Lowe not laying down. It’s nice to see some fight in him.

  6. mc79hockey says:

    Listen, I understand zero about lawyers

    All anyone needs to know is that we’re incredibly cool and have huge penises.

  7. Bendelson says:

    Isn’t Stauffer the person that ran the story BEFORE any deal had been signed.

    Journalism 101?

    Nice ‘scoop’ loser.

    I noticed the Oilers never ran a story claiming the Nylander deal done.

    KLowe may look like a GM that can’t get anything done, but the media in Edm isn’t helping by jumping the gun on UFA’s in negotiations that aren’t yet signed.

    What’s going on in Edmonton?

  8. Black Dog says:

    Garon – two years. No idea on money.

    The Oilers seem to have no plan, in a way. Why not sign Brad Stuart for two years? Or Nagy or whomever as stopgaps?

    My guess is they are rebuilding and if you’re going to rebuild you may as well get that lottery pick while you’re at it. None of this iffy mediocrity stuff.

    But trying to sign Nylander flies in the face of that.

    Anyhow, if what they say happened did happen then I’m all for going after Gillis. Seriously, wtf is that? It doesn’t help anything but I don’t think it hurts. And if you agree to a contract then you agree to a contract.

    Everyone knows you have to play at least a year before you ask out of it …

  9. Vic Ferrari says:

    According to a Larry Brooks article from a month ago, Nylander’s agent Paul Theofanous had negotiated a three year deal (for 11.5-ish million I think) with the Rangers. Nylander balked on the contract, then he fired Paul and signed on Mike Gillis.

    So while I agree with you that there is little to gain in the Oilers going public with their displeasure … if we’re playing “find the asshole” I pick Nylander.

    BTW: Remember that time Lowe negotiated Comrie’s trade to Anaheim only to have it fall apart when he demanded a departure tax from wee Mikey? Bryan Murray was plaenty pissed off, and said so publicly. Seems so long ago now. :D Do you think Murray and Lowe will do another deal some day?

  10. Andy Grabia says:

    And if you agree to a contract then you agree to a contract.

    Cough.

    The Oilers seem to have no plan, in a way.

    I become less convinced of that by the day.

  11. Bendelson says:

    mc79 – thanks for the anatomy lesson. you must be refering to the ‘old boys club’ were you can ‘sip’ martinis after squash and ‘compare’ your ‘coolness’ in the steam room all afternoon. good times.

    ooops, I mean.

  12. mc79hockey says:

    I don’t get it.

  13. Asiaoil says:

    What Nylander and Gillies have done rates very high in the “not cool” category. The contract negotiation process in the NHL depends heavily on Letters of Intent to facilitate business in a timely manner. Imagine having to negotiate the contract, draw up the formal paperwork, ship it across the country and wait for it to then go to the NHL office and be registered before moving on to the next negotiation – that’s impossible. So the LOI are important and Nylander/Gillies fucked with the system if the Oilers are on the level.

    Again if the Oilers have a signed letter of intent then they have every right to go at Nylander and Gillies for damages resulting from breaking off other negotiations or changing strategy based on the assumption that Nylander was in the bag. Clearly the contract should not be registered by the NHL office – but I don’t know the rules there. You can’t let this slide though as it attacks the trust that GMs and agents need to operate – and Nylander/Gillies seem to have broken that trust and there’s hell to pay.

    What will happen – well if a signed LOI does exist – then Gillies likely takes a fall, and it would not surprise me to see the Nylander contract not registered by the league since it was negotiated in bad faith. Nylander likely just lost a potful of money unless Washington agrees to compensate the Oilers to keep the contract – and the agent gets thrown under a bus. Hard to say at this point.

    But this is a very important issue which absolutely cannot be ignored. It threatens the relationship between GMs, agents and players that is required to operate. How about if teams suddenly started signing multiple letters of intent with players that they were not obligated to fulfill. No contract – no harm right? Doubt the NHLPA would see it that way. No Nylander and Gillies go down on this as their actions threaten the whole contract negotiation system – most interesting thing that has happened this week IMO – and boy am I glad that we missed on Nylander if this is the way the dude operates.

  14. Black Dog says:

    I play hockey with a lawyer.

    Definitely a cool guy but we call him 2-D.

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    The Oilers may very well have a good case against Nylander/Agent.

    But why make it public? It certainly doesn’t help the image. Why not quietly take action, low-key style? What purpose did the press release serve?

    Sounds like a bunch of justification to their fan base on why they couldn’t improve the team the way they proclaimed for the past 3 months.

    Of course Lowe really has no plan. This ‘rebuild’ isn’t one by choice, but now because of necessity.

    Nylander didn’t screw the Oilers. He saved the Oilers from a brain-dead contract that would hurt the team later on. I’d have even given him 12M over 2 years – but 4 years at 22M is stupidity. What happens when his production falls without Jagr? The fact he took only 19.5 from the Capitals kind of tells you he really didn’t want to come here anyways, or he just used the Oilers for leverage a la Smyth and the Flames. This kind of contract is completely against what we’d expect from Lowe – indicates some sort of desperation, and a hint that his days in Edmonton are winding down.

  16. Mr DeBakey says:

    This is part of the reason for the Oiler’s reaction:

    I know for a fact Lowe was telling agents that Michael Nylander to Edmonton was a done deal. You will be interested with some other things that have gone on with Lowe that I don’t want to report just yet.

    quoted from a post by that twerp Andy Strickland on Bockeybuzz

  17. Andy Grabia says:

    Great post by Cosh on the matter.

  18. Kyle says:

    I got the ‘statement’ as an Oilers Insider. What a disgrace this whole thing has become.

    Like I said on my site, Lowe should be glad that signing never happened, it would have made him look like a bigger idiot than he already seems.

  19. Dennis says:

    This organization is a joke and even I’m finding it hard to laugh anymore.

    I don’t know what this solves other than trying to pat Stauffer and Tencer on the back and tell them that everything’s gonna be alright.

  20. jon says:

    Pretty sure this move boils down to two things:

    1. Damage control.

    2. In this business if a bargaining party fails to meet the conditions of a binding agreement they should no longer be privy to taking part in that business. The Oiler’s most likely are aiming to having Gillies de-certified.

    That really covers everything.

    For the record Nylander would have been a great pickup but I’m fine with not signing him as it will surely resign the team to another year of dedicated rebuilding. Might as well finish what was started after the departure of Pronger.

  21. Barry says:

    Some of you guys don’t know why the Oilers took this public? You can’t see why the Oilers wouldn’t just take this quietly to the league?

    Were you asleep during the 20th century?

    First, organizations react to public opinion. Washington is going to have to react publically. This is not likely to be a pleasurable experience for them. They will want it to go away. More importantly, the NHL is going to have to do something that includes a public position and finding a solution.

    Secondly, all kinds of speculation would have started spilling out that would just require the Oilers to make a public pronouncement on it anyway. Why not get out in front of it?

    From a legal perspective, I can’t really see the league ordering Nylander to come to Edmonton. Slavery was done away with a while ago. I expect as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the dispute with Washington and Nylander will go to arbitration or mediation and the Oilers will wind up with a shiny new draft pick.

  22. Vic Ferrari says:

    Yeah Dennis, you may be right.

    This is so foolish from an Oilers POV that I’m embarrassed for them.

    BTW, Stauffer and Bryn Griffiths both implied yesterday that the Oilers would probably have been able to also land Kariya if they had actually gotten approval from the player (as the CBA makes explicitly obvious) instead of the agent in the Nylander negotiations.

    Gosh golly darnit, Dennis! The Oilers would have been a CAP TEAM if only they hadn’t been screwed by the forces of evil!

    You have to admit, it is funny. :D

  23. Whippy says:

    If I’m Kevin Lowe, I’m begging Bill Guerin to sign a 1-yr deal with us. Even something ridiculous like 5 mil.

  24. Andy Grabia says:

    BTW, Stauffer and Bryn Griffiths both implied yesterday that the Oilers would probably have been able to also land Kariya if they had actually gotten approval from the player (as the CBA makes explicitly obvious) instead of the agent in the Nylander negotiations.

    I’m confused. Were they saying Kariya signed in St. Louis because Nylander wasn’t yet signed here? Or that they lost Kariya because they talked to Kariya’s agent rather than Kariya?

  25. Vic Ferrari says:

    Andy

    As it sounded to me from Stauffer: he implied that if Nylander had been signed the Oilers would ALSO have nabbed Kariya.

    And it turns out Griffiths had apparently said the same thing earlier in the day (2nd hand info there)

    This sounded irrationally optimistic to me. I would have to check LTs salary page, but I’m quite sure that would also leave the Oilers spending to the cap. And still with a kiddie corps defense.

    These are strange days, Andy.

  26. Black Dog says:

    Lowe can sign Guerin, Johnson and Fedotenko but when it comes back to it this D is more inexperienced then last season’s. Which worked out well, as we know.

    Pendergast says they’re still looking to add someone up front. We’ve been waiting a year now for someone on the back end.

    Oh boy.

  27. Dennis says:

    Oh Vic, thanks for that one. Now I’m laughing again:)

    The only thing funnier than the media spinning for the Oilers is all the dumb fans who eat Lowe’s ass and call it ice cream.

    And wasn’t Kariya supposed to come here the LAST time he was UFA? I remember back in the summer of ’05, a Thurs evening to be exact, and I was checking the buzz before I went to the my softball game and one of the stations in Edm had Kariya here that day now.

    I can’t wait until the summer of ’10, maybe Kariya will almost come here again!!!!!

    !!!!

  28. Vic Ferrari says:

    Well, Pat, I think that it’s clear that five of Pitkanen, Smid, Greene, Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Chorney and Petry are set to be the Oilers defense corps of the future. And in a few years that may very well look like an impressive set of guys. And will probably form a very good back end for the Oilers. It’s going to be a hell of a long, rough journey to that point though.

    Staios is the mentor here, or retro-rocket, depending on your viewpoint. And Tarnstrom is as well I suppose, just a lesser version.

    From where I sit I suspect that Smid-Staios will play the top opposition next season. Probably Greene-Tarnstrom as the rollover guys … like Staios-Smid usually were last year. And Grebeshkov-youngster getting their NHL feet wet in the bottom pairing.

    So if the Oilers do land a guy like Kubina, then Staios is the logical guy to leaving the Oil in the same trade. And I’m not convinced that’s an upgrade in the role.

    This is what it is. And it’s intentional.

  29. Black Dog says:

    Vic, where’s Pitkanen? I would figure he and Staios in the top pair?

    Oh, I have little doubt that this is the plan. It became clear as last season wore on that the inability to get any veteran Dman from July to January when one or two such guys may have made the difference that winning now was no longer a priority.

    The only question now is whether they’re going to do anything to upgrade the forwards or if, as it stands now, Nilsson, Pouliot and Thoresen are all top nine guys. With Kozlov and Fedotenko now off the market, there’s very little left. And with a D corps like that is adding Mike Johnson or Bill Guerin going to make that much of a difference. It will help win a few games but we’re talking a legitimate lottery squad – its not going to take half the team lost to injuries.

  30. PunjabiOil says:

    Kariya was signed around ~9:00 on Saturday evening.

    The timelines don’t match.

  31. jon says:

    Umm how could Kariya be signed before the free agency period began? Kariya was mid-Monday I believe, and then the timelines would match very well.

  32. PunjabiOil says:

    Sorry. Had a brain cramp there.

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