Gilbert to Open Season on Third Pairing

Word today out of both dailies is that Tom Gilbert will be on the third pairing opening night (with Dick Tarnstrom). That’s a tremendous accomplishment for Gilbert, who had all kinds of disadvantages coming in not the least of which was a two-way contract that would allow him to be sent out without fretting over the waiver wire.

The top 6D against San Jose would appear to be Pitkanen-Staios, Souray-Greene, Tarnstrom-Gilbert with Grebeshkov and Smid in the pressbox.

With 8 defensemen on the roster, plus two goalies, it looks like the Oilers will start the year with 12 or 13 forwards. It was thought that they would be one below max (22) but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have no forwards readily available.

There’s still a logjam up front, with these fellows still in camp:

  1. Shawn Horcoff
  2. Dustin Penner
  3. Ales Hemsky
  4. Jarret Stoll
  5. Raffi Torres
  6. Robert Nilsson
  7. Marty Reasoner
  8. Ethan Moreau
  9. Kyle Brodziak
  10. Andrew Cogliano
  11. Sam Gagner
  12. Geoff Sanderson
  13. Zack Stortini
  14. Jean Francois Jacques
  15. Marc Pouliot
  16. Tyler Spurgeon

I think that’s everyone. Spurgeon is likely to be placed on IR or sent out, leaving Stortini, Pouliot and Jacques as the last men standing for that final slot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stortini get it and the two Q kids get sent out. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Pouliot make the grade.

I also still hope for a trade today. It’s the right thing to do.

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60 Responses to "Gilbert to Open Season on Third Pairing"

  1. mc79hockey says:

    And what little lustre remained on the Pronger trade gets washed away…it might be a bit unfair to Smid, but considering that they gave away games to give him minutes last year, it’s more than a little disappointing that he wasn’t good enough to win a spot on merit. Tip of the cap to Tom Gilbert though – quite an accomplishment beating out an organizational golden cild.

  2. Oilman says:

    Good on the Oilers for actually taking the players that are earning spots through camp – too many years have gone by where the team was picked prior to camp. I have no idea what the results will be, but I like this apparant new philosophy.

  3. Scarlett says:

    I’m happy to see Gilbert get in there, but not thrilled with Smid in the pressbox! That is where Greene should be. If a trade is to be had, it must include Greene. Smid and even Grebeshkov outplayed Greene during training camp and pre-season.

  4. Devin says:

    I have a lot of trouble finding major flaws in Gilbert’s game. He’s really high event, but he doesn’t make big mistakes as often as Smid or Greene. He always seems to be near the puck, too. I’m pulling for this guy to fortify himself on that 3rd pairing – he should be really effective in that role.

    Look for Marleau’s line to go to town on the Greene-Souray pairing on Thursday. I’m cringing already. I’m really really hoping they have Greene there in preparation for a pump and dump — there’s no other explanation that makes sense, esp. given his awful preseason (and hockey abilities). I heard a rumor awhile back about CAR wanting Greene and EDM liking Stillman. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  5. Vic Ferrari says:

    Devin, I’d like to believe that the Oilers know better than to play Souray-Greene against the top lines at evens.

    I think we all expect to see Staios-Pitkanen with a hard match on Thornton, hopefully with Horcoff and Hemsky up front for that gig, to give them a fighting chance.

    And I think we’ll end up seeing Tarnstrom and Gilbert with the Marleau gig. Who the hell knows up front for that one. And in a reasonable world Staios will take a bit of extra icetime away from Gilbert, some of the own-zone draws and time vs quality opp will have to be absorbed by Steve there. Like we saw with Shaggy, and later Hejda, helping out Smid that way last year.

    Tom Gilbert, the man Lowe acquired for six weeks of Tommy Salo. Damn, that’s a good trade. Nobody I know had heard of Gilbert before, but Dennis had a great line … more or less “As long as he doesn’t murder Ryan Smyth, the Oilers win this deal.” :D

  6. Black Dog says:

    Maybe they still send Smid down?

    This really emphasizes the failure of Lowe last season – they throw Smid to the wolves last year, basically pissing away the season for lack of veteran Dmen and now they may send him down or he will sit in the PB.

    Jesus.

    Good for Gilbert though – I like him a lot.

  7. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Agree with the running opinion that Greene deserves the PB instead of Smid. Interesting about Carolina…Stillman would be nice, but Williams would be nicer ;). (Williams – Cogliano – Hemsky… that’s a 230 point line…)

    Heard a comment from MacT yesterday about Gagner that I liked (I’m sure everyone’s heard it already), that he’s never once had to go to him after a shift and correct him on his positioning. For an 18 year old, that’s pretty impressive.

  8. mc79hockey says:

    Can you guys imagine if it was Smid and Greene in the PB?

    “Well Rod, not dressing are the guy for whom the Oilers gave away the Cup to develop and the guy for whom they gave away the 2006-07 season to develop. Doesn’t that just beat all?”

  9. Jonathan says:

    Against teams like the Canucks (limited offensive depth), we should be okay with only one solid EV pairing. Against teams with supplementary scoring, probably not so much.

  10. Andrew says:

    Smid shows all the signs of being a cornerstone on Oilers defense for years to come, so starting the season with him in the press box is surprising. Maybe he’s got a very slight injury? Or, as has been suggested, maybe they are showcasing some trade bait?

    If they are showcasing trade bait, I wonder who? In my opinion, Smid, Souray, Pitkanen, Tarnstrom, Staios, and Greene are not going anywhere, for various reasons (talent and politics). Smid is the main return for Pronger. Souray, Pitkanen, and Tarnstrom are new acquisitions (would look bad to ditch them so early). Staios is going to log the hardest minutes all year and was just given an “A”. Greene is clearly seen as a “project” by the Oilers coaching staff (Huddy), so I don’t think they want to give up on him.

    Who’s left? Grebeshkov, Gilbert, and Roy. Only one of them is in the opening lineup, so if showcasing is the strategy, then I don’t think that is good news for Gilbert. Personally, I don’t want to see him go, but if he’s the price to pay for a forward on the top two lines…?

  11. Devin says:

    Vic- I thought the same thing as you, but I can’t see how 23/77 is much better than 44/2 at dealing with the opponents’ second best. 23 has never been a great ES player, and wasn’t in the NHL last season, and his partner has like 12 NHL games. Marleau’s licking his chops. Having 2 playing the weakest ES minutes could be another indicator in the pump and dump idea, but I figured they honestly had him in for 2nd pairing minutes since the Oilers fail to see what the rest of the world sees when it comes to Greene.

    I imagine 18-19-51 will take on the 2nd best Sharks unit, though my wish is to see a 14-16-78 line do that job.

    Clayton- we’re not getting Williams out of Carolina. I’d love him too (except his penchant for waving his stick around wildly) but they have zero reason to let him go now.

    MC- The Oilers seem about a yr behind in realizing how stupid their decisions are. Instead of fixing them they are making further mistakes. I’m sure in a year they’ll start to realize that a bunch of small, skilled AHL-level players won’t win you a lot of games.

  12. NBOilerFan says:

    I too wish to praise MacT and company for sticking to their word and picking the best players from camp to start the season.

    And a big congratulations to Gilbert for grabbing the 6th spot away. Will be hard for Smid,Grebs to take this spot back, but Greene’s is still up for grabs.

    Gilbert was my favorite D-prospect last season and I’m happy to see it working out. Mark my words, Bryan Young will out perform next camp and stick.

    Regarding the trade expectation comment, interesting quote in the Journal…

    “We have options we didn’t have last year,” Prendergast said. “We have interchangeable parts. Now if we’re not happy with our team in a month and we feel we need a goal-scorer, or whatever, we certainly have enough to offer another team and they’ll have to think about it, at least.”

    Not sure a trade is made today, but I’m sure Lowe has been on the phone alot lately.

  13. godot10 says:

    Smid still has a huge future with the Oilers. Tarnstrom, after all, will only be here for this year.
    Opening day rosters are nice but mean little. And well, Greene has regressed a bit from last season, and if he doesn’t pick it up relatively soon, who plays and who sits will change fairly quickly.

    I think Jacques and Stortini get sent down if there is no trade. Both benefit more from ice time than sitting.

    It makes no sense to send Pouliot out. His time is now. And if it is not now, then one is showcasing him for a trade. And sitting him in the pressbox won’t hurt him at this point.

    If the Oilers start getting roughed up, Stortini will be back.

  14. goldenchild says:

    I keep seeing people saying that they are ‘showcasing’ Greene for a trade but IMO the more they showcase him the less attractive he looks. To make him look more attractive they should be playing him in a 3rd pairing in ltd minutes and sheltering him from playing against quality opponenets. maybe then he will look okay enough for someone to want him. Playing him in the top 4 isn’t showcasing him its exposing him.

  15. dave says:

    hey maybee greene will get some points with Souray. might make him more attractive? I have a hard time believing it is a good pairing or that he is better than Smid.

    On the project side of the arguement maybee playing with Souray keeps him loose and gives him a bit of swagger/confidence?

  16. Bank Shot says:

    Pretty excited for Gilbert.

    There is a decent chance he could be Tom Preissing this season, and maybe Tom Poti a couple years down the road.

    Outside of positioning Gilbert doesn’t seem to have any real flaws in his game. And fortunately Gilbert appears to not have problems thinking the game so I don’t see why he can’t continue to improve in that area.

    P.S. Greene will prove you all wrong. ;p

  17. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Devin – I don’t for a second think Carolina would let go of Williams for something we could afford… just dreaming out loud…

  18. Asiaoil says:

    The question for me is – does any combination of all this spare change we have in our pocket (Greene, Grebs, Roy, Schremp, Mikhnov) get us a solid 2nd pair stay-at-home dman with wheels?

    A healthy Pisani or veteran replacement RW would also nice before next summer. I can live Brodziak and Pouliot playing out of position for a short while – but Pouliot is our 3rd line Reasoner replacement in training and Brodziak is over-matched on the 3rd line. Both guys should be on the 4th line with Sanderson and Cogs.

    Oh yeah – JFJ and Stortini go down (but Storts probably doesn’t leave town) while the Gagner audition goes on. We need a trade.

  19. Jonathan says:

    As per TSN, Smid and Stortini were assigned to Springfield today. Looks like MacTavish isn’t playing politics, anyway.

  20. Vic Ferrari says:

    jonathon:

    If you listen to the MacTavish interview from Gregor’s radio show (linked by this blog on the weekend), Craig mocked the reporter who suggested that Smid was AHL bound.

    I guess I’m going to need a new definition of “playing politics”. Mine isn’t working :P

  21. Jonathan says:

    vic: I didn’t hear that interview, and thanks. At any rate, I was fairly surprised to see an organization that puts so much emphasis on optics send Smid to the minors (which, IMO is the right move).

  22. Paulus M. Possum says:

    It makes perfect sense that Smid is being sent down. With such limited options last year as far as ‘puck-moving defensemen’, they had to toss Smid into the deepend before he could swim. Now, they feel that they have the depth to give him some actual developmental time, which MacT and company probably wanted for him last season.

    I can’t say whether I agree with the decision, but it does have a logical basis.

  23. Scarlett says:

    I can’t believe they sent Smid to the minors. Soooo wrong!!!!

  24. BROOKLYN_oiler says:

    Yep, looks like Smid and Stortini have been sent down according to TSN – again, I agree with many others in giving kudos to MacT and company for actually sticking to the “earn your roster spot” plan for the most part – the exceptions being Jacques and Greene perhaps? Pouliot seems to have squeeked through…

    To be clear, is Roy actually going to get “injured reserve” status? And any word on on Tyler Spurgeon?

    At any rate, I know there will be a lot of in-game changes as alluded to in the papers today, but where do Cogliano and Gagner now fit when the puck drops?

    Is THIS the line-up? :

    Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky
    Torres – Cogliano – Nilsson
    Moreau – Stoll – Brodziak
    Sanderson – Gagner – Pouliot

    PB: Jacques, Reasoner

    Pitkanen – Staios
    Souray – Greene
    Tarnstrom – Gilbert

    PB: Grebeshkov

    Roloson
    Garon

  25. BROOKLYN_oiler says:

    And interesting note as well, that Reasoner could/ would slide over to RW to switch out for Brodziak or Pouliot….

  26. Tyler says:

    With such limited options last year as far as ‘puck-moving defensemen’, they had to toss Smid into the deepend before he could swim.

    Really? Smid is a puck moving defenceman now? I didn’t notice that in the least last year. His good plays with the puck were so rare and so notable, that when he made a play in a Vancouver game where he circled away from the forecheck, both Dennis and I simultaneously commented on it on MSN.

    He was here for political reasons last year. He was in the lineup for political reasons. Those of us who remain pissed about the Smyth trade have to wonder a little bit at what might have been if the Oilers had done the right thing last year and given Hejda the minutes.

  27. Dennis says:

    Wow, what a day. First things first, MC comes out with a couple of zingers and it was almost like he was channeling me or something;)

    Let me get this right out of the way: Fucking rights on the Stortini demotion. The guy can’t win fights so he’s of no use whatsoever. I’m not happy about guys like him getting to play over Thor and I’m glad that right now, the Oilers aren’t thinking like that either. I’d like to see Sanderson get bought out or waived and then we’d still have 14 guys in the mix but all of them might wind up being useful and helping us in say ’09.

    On another tip, it’s really a day that’s all about Kevin Lowe. It’s not a day where it’s about the whole org and scouting and this and that, though I guess someone gets props somewhere for picking out Gilbert, it’s a day about trades Lowe made and should’ve made and didn’t make.

    Salo killed this team for a long time and was making money when hardly any other Oilers were, or at least comparitively. Lowe shouldn’t cut bait on him long before March of ’04 but once he did, it looks like he came up a winner on at least the move, but certainly a loser on the timing,. Gilbert gets it as a offensive based third line pairing guy, ala your Matt Carle and Preissing types. Eventually, those guys counting stats make them more appealing to other clubs then their own, read: contract, and they move on unless their defensive game improves as well but for right now, Gilbert’s a very affordable guy who looks like he can put up some numbers.

    And with Tommy Albelin being sent to SF, sorry Lain but this is just too good;), it might signal that the Oilers are embracing meritocracy for once. Then again, it seems like both kids have sucked this preseason and it’s hard to say that Smid’s worse than Greene. For me, though, it all goes back to the point that Smid should not have been the centrepiece in the Pronger trade. A guy like Pitkanen might’ve been a good story but Lowe jumped early and later on had to mitigate the encompassing damage by trading off Jason Smith as well. So that was a fine job by Lowe.

  28. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Can anyone point me to a press release or waiver wire or a comment from the Oilers organization or something besides hearsay that says Thoreson was put on waivers??? Because I can’t find one. And if you can, you have more time to waste at work than me…

  29. ClaytonMagnet says:

    …and by Thoreson, of course I mean Thoresen.

  30. Dennis says:

    Something else to add as well. I think a few of us were upset but perhaps not upset enough about the decision to not bring back Hejda and seemingingly in his place, trumpet Matt Greene as a top four.

    Hejda played top min for awhile with Gator last year and didn’t get killed and with a team that might be able to score, he’s probably gonna be a plus player if he plays with Edm in ’08.

    I didn’t understand that move at the time and now it really kills me given how shitty Greene’s playing.

  31. Big T says:

    I want to make sure I’ve got this straight…

    According to TSN’s Bob Mackenzie, so long as Gagner plays less than 41 games this season, it does not burn a year off of his first contract and he will still be considered a rookie for next season.

    If Gagner plays less than 41 games the Oilers will not lose this season as a year of service and he will still need to play seven seasons with the club to become a UFA.

    Of course, if he plays over nine games with the club he can no longer be sent back down to London. And due to age, he remains ineligable for the AHL this season. So, if I’m correct, if Gagner plays over nine games he has no option but to stay with the big club for the entire season.

    This is the situation as I understand it. If this is indeed true, there are certianly some interesting implications. Please let me know if this isn’t the case.

    T

  32. Big T says:

    Agreed Dennis;

    Not bringing back Hejda back was a huge mistake. It didn’t get talked about because the rest off the offseason was an even bigger clusterfuck.

    Hejda is a player that is both cheaper – by about $500K – and, by all accounts, a much better player than Greene. The only forgivable excuse is that Hejda had no interest in coming back to Edmonton this season – and I think that could be a reach.

    T

  33. ClaytonMagnet says:

    T – I think the only way to keep him up but not burn a year towards FA is to sit him in the PB for 42 games.

  34. Big T says:

    That’s how I read it Clayton… not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing though. I’m kinda leaning towards good actually.

    Guys can learn a lot watching in the press box and practicing with the team. How many games did Hemsky play in during his first season???

    T

  35. Ribs says:

    Springfiled just keeps looking better and better!

    Does anyone know if they plan on broadcasting their games anywhere? They may be funner to watch than the big oil this year.

  36. Dennis says:

    As an aside, I’m sure LT will be reading this and he should make a post on Smid’s demotion with this headline:

    “And down goes Alblein.”!!!

  37. rickibear says:

    40 games in the pros, time at the world juniors, and tonnes of practice time is better than dominating 65 games in junior.

    Heck Cogliano played 38 games in college and it did not hurt his development.

  38. Vic Ferrari says:

    Dennis:

    I think the Albelin comparable was as solid then and that it is solid now. What’s your issue with that?

    In fact I think that LT was well ahead of the curve here. The vast majority of Oiler fans would have readily accepted Scott Niedermayer or Larry Robinson as a comp … the Tommy Albelin comparable broke hearts. And if it wasn’t so damn reasonable (and Lain so damn nice) then a lot of fans would have lashed back. But they didn’t.

  39. Oilman says:

    I’m guessing everyone figured that Hejda really loved his 30 odd games with Edmonton and REALLY wanted to come back

  40. Rod says:

    big T: I believe the 9/41 games work like this:
    - anything over 9 games, and a year ticks off the three year entry level deal
    - anything over 41 games (half a season) would count toward UFA eligibility

    True enough that 40 NHL plus World Juniors could be better than dominating the OHL. I’m not ready to make that call just yet though. That’s what the 9 game look is all about.

  41. Tyler says:

    I’m not going to try to speak for Dennis but what I think is aggravating is trading Chris Pronger for a softer, less talented version of Anson Carter, Tommy Albelin, a kid who looks like a baby giraffe and whatever abomination they pull with next year’s pick – I’m just going to assume now that they grab Ty Gretzky, who at last report was playing in a league that had an all girls team. Seeing part of that trade get sent to the minors after a year of hurting the team because he wasn’t ready to be in the NHL – PARTICULARLY when so many insisted that he was really good last year – well, it feels a little good on the inside, for me at least.

    But hey…five assets, right?

  42. Jonathan says:

    Another interesting choice was the decision not to resign Tjarnqvist. As much as he was injured and didn’t look good last year, I’d much rather have him at number 4 on the D chart than Greene. I think I’d prefer him over Hejda, too, for that matter. Unfortunately, what we’ve got is what we’ve got. Personally, I think Tarnstrom will be on the second pairing by game 10.

  43. Master Lok says:

    So much hindsight – I really didn’t see a lot of posters here demanding that Hejda play top 4 minutes. In fact – I DISTINCTLY remember a lot of posters on this site laughing at Lowe’s trade for Hejda as a possible top 4 option.

  44. Vic Ferrari says:

    Master Lok:

    You are confusing the Oilogosphere with the messageboards. Though unfortunately Lowetide has provided a soft landing spot for the messageboard butternuts (not saying you specifically).

    I would have thought that Dennis and mudcrutch would be driving them back. Doesn’t seem to be the case.

    A curious thing about Hejda, he layed the toughest minutes of any Oiler D in the preseason, gets good results … then the regular season rolls around and he’s not playing. Go figure.

  45. Master Lok says:

    I remember I was one of the few who liked Hejda after seeing him last year at pre-season. I do find his non-resigning puzzling but then I guess if Hejda was here – Gilbert wouldn’t be.

  46. Tyler says:

    A curious thing about Hejda, he layed the toughest minutes of any Oiler D in the preseason, gets good results … then the regular season rolls around and he’s not playing.

    That’s one of the great mysteries to me. It’s a shame that the Oilers don’t play in a more media desperate market where MacT or Lowe might be willing to spend 45-60 minutes talking to someone with a blog, because there are a ton of great questions that don’t really fit what the MSM do that don’t get asked. The Hejda treatment of last year screams out for that.

  47. Vic Ferrari says:

    tyler:

    That trade was brutal. Is anyone even arguing the other side now?

    BTW: I go on HF and search for posts by MikeComrie’sGhost every week or so, because in that environment you’re as funny as you are relentless and evil. I also look at Oiler scout crashd’s posts. He actually commented in a “your fave poster” thread, granted I think AsiaOil unintentionally wound him up, but he listed Bryanbryoil as one of his top three HF posters.

    That really got me thinkin’. I mean he’s a pro. For the Oilers no less. Hmmm, maybe Schremp really does rock, maybe MacTavish really is dumber than a plank. Right then and there I stopped listening to you, mister, that’s for sure! :D

  48. Vic Ferrari says:

    Tyler:

    Has anyone from the Oilogosphere approached the Oilers about an interview? You never know.

    There is a service that provides free internet radio to anyone who wants to host, a kid from one of the Isles boards has a show. Maybe that’s the direction that things will start to move next, I don’t know.

    The internet is slowly kicking print sports journalism in the nuts, no doubt. I mean who would you rather read, Lowetide or Matheson? And what will happen when more and more Matheson readers learn who Lowetide is? (so to speak).

    It’s just going to keep going in that direction. Unless the newspaperman is bringing new information direct from the source … they have very little value, and it’s decreasing. Surely they know that too, the teams know that as well … it’s funky now.

    There will never be a time when this medium is not in transition. Now is interesting though.

  49. mc79hockey says:

    Has anyone from the Oilogosphere approached the Oilers about an interview? You never know.

    Alan Watt told someone who called him during the Nylander fiasco that he doesn’t talk to bloggers. To be honest, I can’t see why the Oilers would want to. Certainly anyone with an interesting site probably has said things that would put them off (possibly not LT) – I spent a month ripping Lowe for the Smyth trade, I’ve certainly criticized things MacT has done before, my language is occasionally over the top…I’d think that they wouldn’t be interested in talking to me. Not when you can talk to other internet representatives like Guy Flaming.

    In any event, they’re probably not the team to start with – the smart play is to call up one of the teams desperate for some attention and ask them if they’d be willing to do it. I’ve actually kind of kicked around the idea of emailing the Isles and seeing if they’d be interested and trying to sell it as something other than a “You’re awesome” interview but a chance to talk about things that aren’t really suited for the dailies. I’ll have to give that some more thought.

  50. Vic Ferrari says:

    Ron Wilson, Howson, Hitchcock, Poile, Feaster, Tortorella, Shero, Regier … there are some clever and interesting people out there that would probably be terrific to talk to if you happened to meet them. I’d imagine that you would have to go through proper channels though.

    For that matter, just emailing players directly might be a simple way to go as well.

  51. Black Dog says:

    Email Andrew Ference.

    He’d do it.

  52. Dennis says:

    Well, Vic, not sure why this got erased but I like sticking it about Smid because it was such a dumb trade and no one should’ve believed that Smid was anything close to being a centrepiece of any kind of a trade involving Pronger.

    I love LT but that trade was all kinds of bad.

  53. mc79hockey says:

    I love LT

    And to think Pat queried Vic’s comment about the homoerotic overtones of the Oilogosphere…

  54. Oilman says:

    Sadly enough, wasn’t Lupul the centerpiece of that trade?

    Anyways, the idea of a non-media interview of Oilers players management is a great idea – but I’m thinking it would be a one time thing. I’m sure the media members lob those softballs only to get a chance to pitch again another day. They all can’t be that obtuse can they?

  55. Lowetide says:

    I think lots of people have good ideas for blogs and they should pursue them. For me, I find this site relaxing but can say with certainty the fun would end the moment I picked up the phone or sent an email.

    Someone out there will make a career of this, but it won’t be me. I can already afford to buy all the beer I need and have ruined more than one area of interest by taking it too seriously.

  56. Vic Ferrari says:

    Maybe one day Lowe will write a book and tell us what happened there. Why the hell that ended up looking like the best offer. Was he planning a rebuild? Were there serious budget constraints? Did other deals fall through? Was it simply a gross midjudgment of talent?

    Only Lowe and his inner circle know.

  57. Bank Shot says:

    Ted Leonsis, owner of the Capitals actively endorses Capitals blogs, and I’ve read he has conversed with the owners of some of the more active sites.

    If Basille ever gets a team you’d have to think he’d be plugged into that type of thing as well.

  58. mc79hockey says:

    Ted Leonsis, owner of the Capitals actively endorses Capitals blogs, and I’ve read he has conversed with the owners of some of the more active sites.

    Mirtle went down there for a game last year and spent a period sitting in his box, shooting the shit with him.

    Maybe one day Lowe will write a book and tell us what happened there. Why the hell that ended up looking like the best offer. Was he planning a rebuild? Were there serious budget constraints? Did other deals fall through? Was it simply a gross midjudgment of talent?

    I’m hoping to get that book as part of a discounted two pack with Jim Matheson’s “Cocaine Is A Hell of a Drug: My Time Covering the 1980′s Edmonton Oilers”.

    Anyways, the idea of a non-media interview of Oilers players management is a great idea – but I’m thinking it would be a one time thing. I’m sure the media members lob those softballs only to get a chance to pitch again another day.

    I think part of asking the right questions is having somewhere to run such a thing though. Take the whole thing with Smyth and not knowing that the cap was going to go so high. I think that there’s an interesting story there about what internal processes the Oilers have to project the cap, when they set their budget for the 2007-08 hockey season (I forecasted in about October that the numbers didn’t work to bring Smyth back) and went wrong internally.

    I don’t know how much the Oilers are willing to discuss of that, which is a problem to be sure, but from Jim Matheson’s perspective, how can you write about that in 800 words? From Terry Jones’ perspective, how can you tie in a toilet metaphor and use words of two syllables or less? Stuff like this works terribly on TV because it’s the sort of stuff that requires digestion and rumination; TV is more for yelling. It would probably work on the radio but, as we’ve been told by Eklund’s Boy, nobody wants to listen to an accountant’s hour. Prior to the development of the internet, there simply wasn’t a real forum for this sort of stuff. BPro does some fantastic stuff like this now, just great stuff where they interview GM’s and managers.

    Someone needs to do it.

  59. Dennis says:

    We know that such questions won’t come from the Edm MSM and guys like Gregor and Stuaffer, the ones who are sorta outside a little, it seems like they’re not interested in delving beyond the, “talk about Hemsky and what he did last night.”

    The whole issue with supposedly underestimating the cap and what it meant in terms of a potential contract for Smyth, that’s a story that should’ve had serious legs. Especially in the wake of hailing Howson as the cap genius when he got a new job with CBJ. Yet, no one touched it.

    I’m not sure if the media are super fucking clueless or just super happy to be there.

  60. Bank Shot says:

    One would have to assume that the Oilers management and owners wouldn’t be inclined to answer these questions even if there were someone there to ask them.

    They are a private conmpany the business of making money so they are going to actively attempt to sway public opinion in their favour any chance they get.

    Admissions of, “Hey we fucked up big time, and we won’t be in competition for the cup for at least three years” are bad for business.

    It’s not like they are misappropriating government funds(yet), so there isn’t much to gain by going after them with hard hitting journalism tactics. And really 90% of moderately hardcore Oil fans(already a tiny segment of the total populace) could care fucking less about the inner workings of the CBA so there is no money to be made in pursuing it.

    The only media groups with enough clout to put pressure on the Oilers org to answer these questions are concerned about making money. And complex financial forecasts and their failings don’t bleed….so they don’t lead.

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