Somebody Loan Me A Dime

It’s easy to describe the leaves in the Autumn
And it’s oh so easy in the Spring
But down through January and February
it’s a very different thing.
On and on and on,
through the winter of our discontent.

-Van Morrison

Somebody loan me a dime
I need to call my old time, used to be.
Somebody loan me a dime
I need to call my old time, used to be.

-Boz Scaggs

I find myself pondering Kevin Lowe’s future more and more, as the rope tightens and the options diminish. Here is a man who has signed Dustin Penner to an offer sheet that fairly guarantees Anaheim will get an impact player unless he can find a way to get this team into the ’08 post-season. Here is a man who has for three summers now put together a team so unbalanced in vital areas (G in ’05, D in ’06, F in ’07) that it is almost impossible for the team to have a successful liftoff and stay abreast of the competition in the extremely tough NW division. Here is a man who treats the regular season like George Brancato used to, waiting for the NFL cuts so he can win 4 games and make it to the Grey Cup Game.

Here is a man who has not had a lot of luck in the past 12+ months (this is the Loan Me A Dime portion of the post) and it got even worse with the horrible news about the Man Fernando Pisani. Here is a man who has 8 forwards who’ve been to war, and 5 defensemen who can play rear gunner and no one to fly the plane.

I’m caught between genuinely feeling sorry for his poor luck and wanting to shake my fist and wail at the moon. I have no idea what Kevin Lowe can do to fix this club, suspect he’ll make a trade to shore up right wing and it will involve a defenseman. Or maybe he’ll move Steve Staios to right wing.

It’s a mess. And before you bother reminding me about my recent “Time to be a Fan” post let me just acknowledge that I was insincere.

What can a man do when the team he cheers for represents everything he dislikes? I mean, we’re not even successful at it.

We’re porridge.

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18 Responses to "Somebody Loan Me A Dime"

  1. PunjabiOil says:

    I saw Penner today. Was very impressed with his footspeed (he’s not slow) and he showed a good set of hands. I dont’ think we’re finishing bottom 10 in the league either.

    If Penner were to be in the 2008 NHL draft, where would he go? Top 10?

    That’s all I’m concerned with.

    Perhaps this is my typical August/September optimism, but I don’t see the team being as bad as you think Lowetide. I just don’t.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Punjabioil: I just can’t see them winning hockey games with this group of players. They don’t have enough established NHL players and apparently aren’t interested in bringing anyone in.

    I saw an item today where the Red Wings are brining in a couple of unsigned NHL vet defenders to have a look but the Oilers aren’t interested in Mike Johnson?

    That means that the Oilers are willing to go to camp with Ales Hemsky, Geoff Sanderson, maybe Marc Pouliot, maybe Patrick Thoresen as the right wing options.

    Which also means that if Geoff Sanderson gets hurt they’re looking at Ales Hemsky, Marc Pouliot, Patrick Thoresen and maybe Zack Stortini as the top 4RW.

    Tell me why I should Get Happy!

  3. Asiaoil says:

    What is it with the deathwish that afflicts this mgmt team? OK we were a RW short of being very competitive – but that was before the Pisani news – and they HAD to know he was doubtful.

    What justification is there for going into the season with the RW so buggered up? Lack of cap space or budget – nope. Throwing the season to get a good pick – we already sent that to ANA. Saving money – then why sign Penner and Souray?

    I don’t see any reason other than Lowe being a complete dolt. I hate to go there – but we have a pattern of behavior that is pretty clear. He seems willing to go into a season with obvious (and fixable!) problems and hope these “work themselves out”. Clearly the last 2 years show how foolish this strategy is – but maybe Kevin just isnt smart enough to figure out how dumb he’s being. I’m willing to consider other ideas – but I can’t for the life of me see any reasons for this behavior other than sheer incompetance at this point.

  4. Pat says:

    I second asiaoil’s remark. For me,the first big hint of trouble was the treatment of Laraque (probably a little late on my part – I realize that there were warnings signs before that). And without getting into a debate on the Laraque thing, my point is just that from then on, I started to give a little more scrutiny to management’s activities.

    Asiaoil’s hunches are true in my mind. If you turn off the homer blinders and look at management with a critical eye, it becomes really difficult to justify or make sense their actions. I really do think now that (a ) Lowe just isn’t that smart; (b ) the coaching staff ain’t that great either, but we continue with our incestuous hiring of 80′s/alumni icons; (c ) our scouting staff has little to no clue (though we do get an advance line on relatives of the scouting staff, i.e. Nilsson); and (d ) Patrick “Lagorge” is the dumbest of them all, while also being a godsend to the team in terms of excelling at the role of being a sycophant to the fans.

    I’m thinking more about this draft pick thing too, Lowetide. Good post. I want to cheer for them – and I will. But that doesn’t change things so far as Lowe’s concerned. I don’t really pity him. It may finally be time for him to pay the piper. I just hope the EIG has the balls to boot him. Unfortunately, I kinda doubt they do, because they seem to buy into the mythos of the 80s players just as much as the fans.

    I’m so sad.

  5. MikeP says:

    Treatment of Laraque? The man asked for an NTC. I don’t blame Lowe for not giving him one. So he gets one in Phoenix, and then waives it within a year to go to Pittsburgh. I like BG, but there’s plenty of oddness on both sides in that one.

  6. Dennis says:

    I’m sorry for the fans that love this team and have to watch it. I’m not sorry for Lowe, though, because a lot of his old bills are finally coming due.

    Seems like some guys are late to the party but why anyone had any faith in Lowe after the Pronger debacle is beyond me. And then for those that needed to be beaten over the head with Lowe’s incompetence, well, I give you the Smyth fiasco!!

    Not really sure just yet how I’ll react to this season. Things are iffy before 34 went down but now it’s obviously gonna get even worse and at least last year down the stretch I could root for losses because of the draft pick it would bring.

    Now this season, well, we won’t even have that.

    I’m still gonna re-up with the CI Package but unless things improve roster-wise, I imagine that anytime there’s a clash with the Oilers and the baseball playoffs, I’ll chose the latter.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Meh. People are piling on people like me who defended the Pronger trade forgetting the miles and miles of typewritten sentences that said things like “they’ll need to shore up the blueline with NHL veterans” but if it helps to make the dog sniff the poo then rock on.

    Kevin Lowe looked like a pretty smart operator the summer of ’06, seems to me that lots of things have been overlooked by some in this thread.

    The Stanley ran had Pronger, a deadline deal for goaltending, and a half dozen “extreme” cap bargains.

    Pronger is gone for futures, but the goaltending remains, the cap bargains have dwindled and Lowe has had a terrible twelve months.

    Plus the injuries.

    I can agree Kevin Lowe has had an awful 12 months, but he had a nice 12 before that and will get another job down the line.

    The smartest team builder I ever saw was Whitey Herzog, and he couldn’t do jackshit in St. Louis after the Twins killed him in the WS.

  8. rickibear says:

    PLeau: Was in a tough position, was forced to trade Pronger. Klowe in a tough position was forced to Trade pronger.

    We traded: E. brewer, J. Woywitka, D. Lynch, J. Smith, Edm 2008 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

    We got J. Pitkanen, L. Smid, D. Penner, R. Nash, A. Rourke, G. Sanderson, Ana 2008 1st Rounder

    I would make this trade any day.

  9. danny says:

    I’m a fan of your observations and musings LT… i really am… but your obsession with that draft pick is starting to sound like nails on a chaulk board.

    The likelihood of that player ever scoring 30 goals by age 24? Lets say well below a 50/50 split on the odds. But maybe that player would be cheaper than Penner you’re thinking? Bobby Ryan is barely cheaper than Penner. Top 5 picks aren’t cheap.

    Sure theres a distinct chance that the draft pick yields a player better than Penner, but as a fan and in the name of the reputation of the franchise, is rolling over and playing dead worth the wait to beat the odds?

    I mean Penner can get better yet, theres no line on him as far as I can see.

    And I can’t see how surrendering this season, and entering next season on the heels of two dismal records, diminishing what little pride this franchise has left, for the sake of that god forsaken draft pick…

    How appealing are long term deals going to be to guys like Pitkanen/Stoll and various other UFAs when theyve seen you throw in the towel…

    I’m ambivalent about the season, it could be long, especially aftr fernando… but holy… I’d rather cheer a team thats trying to win than jockeying for draft position in freaking July.

  10. Lowetide says:

    danny: Lowe bought Penner at a crazy price money-wise and asset-wise. It’s not my fault, he just did.

    And LOTS of guys have dissed me about my obsession in regard to the 2008 first round pick and that’s fine.

    I’d invite you by next June to discuss it, hopefully you can laugh and say you were right.

    I’d be thrilled, honest.

  11. danny says:

    danny: Lowe bought Penner at a crazy price money-wise and asset-wise. It’s not my fault, he just did.

    I’m not intending to ‘diss’ you or anything, im just questioning your rationality on it. It seems like a pretty immense issue for you, when really as objective as I can possibly be on that subject, calling it a toss up right now is generous towards the draft pick.

    I mean if that turns out to be a blue chip prospect, EDM are paying him minimum 3 million in cap space his first season on the ice. When could we expect him to be an impact NHLer to begin with?

    Considering the money is for all intents and purposes a wash, what are the chances that the draft pick seperates himself ahead of Penners first year+ in the NHL?

    How exactly is it an abhorrent overpay in cash and assets?

    I’ve grown a fan of the strategy to be honest.

    The only way you really come out ‘right’ on this matter is if Penner proves to be dog crap… and I havent gotten the impression you feel that way about him, just that you are putting significant emphasis on that draft pick.

    The internal battle of being a fan and being a critic wages on im sure, but at what point does that cross the line when you begin arguing your team should be jockeying for position in the lottery instead of improving itself for next season?

    Maybe Sam Gagner has a better NHL career than Dustin Penner. 6th overall pick. It’s anything but a given… and at this point Penner is the odds on favourite to have the better career and he definitely has a better chance of helping the oilers the next couple seasons. Thats the story on draft picks.

    Besides, we have a 1st rnd pick with ANA’s.

  12. Lowetide says:

    I like Penner as a player, although there’s lots of guys I’d rather pay those dollars to. I’m also not opposed to the offer sheet strategy, just opposed to it this season.

    We’ll see.

  13. Dennis says:

    Well, Lain, In guess in typing that gear about the vet dmen needed, you were giving yourself an overall out if things fell through and good on you;)

    Personally, I feel the ’07 season wouldn’t have been as bad if even say Shaggy had remained healthy but let’s talk the Pronger trade and Pronger trade alone, a time when you make the decision to jump on dealing off that particular asset. Well, Lowe made every wrong move when it came to that decision and here we are.

    In that respect the first move was dog shit and the overall ’07 plan didn’t smell much better. What have you done for me lately, Lowe? Or what have you done to the next few years? That’s what I’m talking about. And I’m saying that things didn’t have to be anywhere near this bad. No one could’ve predicted internal disorders for Pisani but lots of people could’ve predicted that if you trade Smyth and Pronger for magic beans, then contending for the next couple of years is nothing more than an illusion.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Agreed. I think as a fan it’s easy to say “well he made the deals to get the team to the SCF he’ll do it again” but in retro the CFP was the key, the Peca trade didn’t pay off until very late and the Roloson pickup was so obvious we all knew it was needed long before he pulled the trigger.

    It’s amazing his rep has slipped so far, and it probably didn’t deserve to be where it was summer ’06. But it is the nature of the beast, too much credit when things are going well and too much blame when things are terrible.

    Although he appears to be teflon even now, which is absolutely incredible.

  15. Pat says:

    amen to that, LT. It IS incredible that this summer’s activity has pretty much appeased the masses. The appearance of the moves was more crucial than their substance, perhaps?

  16. Dennis says:

    Spending money is a great way to fool the dummies and let’s be honest, there are more dummies that follow and/or support the Oilers finanically, then there are non-dummies.

  17. IceDragoon says:

    Dennis, darlin’…
    :-)

    Take a look around.

    there are more dummies…
    then there are non-dummies.

    This is one of life’s simple truths.
    nicely understated, btw.

    Embrace it.

    Cherish it.

    and you will find,

    ah, yes. that’s why…“,

    blissful respites of understanding someone’s limitations.

    ;-D

    sorry
    it was there.
    :-)
    Louise

  18. Stuart van says:

    Lowetide:

    The Oilers have consistently produced a team that was in a position to make it into the final 16, 06/07 no exception. Injuries and the trading away NHL players Smyth and Bergeron instead of bringing in missing pieces sealed the fate of the 06/07 team, but Lowe has brought in some solid proven NHL players, so there is no reason to believe that this team cannot be competing for a playoff spot this year. I, for one, think Garon is a very underrated pickup, and could steal some games for Edmonton, and a more rested Roloson will be in top form for more games. Also, the improved puck movers on the Oilers defense will make the Oiler’s offensive players more effective. It’s true that there are some big question marks on the team, but if Souray continues to be effective on the powerplay, Hemsky, Horcoff, Stoll, Pitkanen and Torres return to form, Penner does not pull a Lupul, and Thoreson, Pouliot and Nilsson dial it up a notch, we’ve got an NHL team that can win games.

    Also, the Pronger and Smyth trades look bad now, however, we’ve picked up a lot of high picks and decent prospects. If they develop into NHL players (a big ? mark, but still a possibility) we could come out winners in the long term. Only time will tell. Pulling the plug on the team last season was perhaps not a bad move, considering we’ve got Sam Gagner to show for it.

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