What, EXACTLY, Is Up Around the Bend?

I think most of us cheer for a specific sports team for just a few simple reasons: maybe it’s the town team, or maybe the team caught our imagination a long time ago with their style of play or personality, or maybe we met one of them at Safeway when were were kids, or maybe we played the game a little and adopted a team because one or more players had elements in their game we wished to embody.

Pretty much all of us want our teams to win. I enjoy watching teams being built, procurement over a number of years, clusters of young players arriving together and driving the team up the standings into previously unheard of territory.

I’m not as rabid (honest) an Oiler fan as I once was, as there was a time when I truly hated the Calgary Flames. Now, not so much. I enjoy watching how they go about their business and what they do each summer to improve their team. I can’t follow all 30 NHL teams, but I pay attention to the NW, San Jose, Ottawa, St. Louis, Boston and now Columbus. That’s 10 teams. Why those teams? Specific personal reasons, like the Sharks are the Oakland Seals of my youth with cooler uniforms and better ownership, or Ottawa is the eastern Canadian team I don’t loathe. For people my age Boston will show up on that list until we’re dead because of Orr. That team is as bad as any in the league, but I still pull for them. They got a brand new goalie in the offseason, he’ll go from his impressive SP on a good team to an awful one with the B’s and everyone in the Hub City will blame the goalie.

And so it goes.

Love the town team. Today Kevin Lowe will receive a contract extension. I’m not going to argue with the extension, but the timing really casts a shadow over what the Oilers are trying to do here. Are they really interested in winning? Or is it more important to keep up appearances? I do believe that the EIG would have been better served by waiting out this season to see how things went and then deciding on the future in the spring based on results.

If results aren’t driving this franchise, then what in Holy Hell is? That’s the question, I think. Today’s extension concerns me for lots of reasons, not the least of which is timing. This extension comes when Lowe is under fire from Brian Burke over the Penner offer sheet? Is that why they’re doing it? Lord I hope not.

The best case scenario for this signing is that the EIG told him to go spend money this summer no matter the target and he did so, gathering up Penner and Souray. IF Kevin Lowe was instructed to make some noise in order for the Katz group to be forced to the second page of the newspaper and off the airwaves then this signing makes sense. It’s rewarding your manager for executing the plan.

It does send a weird message, though.

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79 Responses to "What, EXACTLY, Is Up Around the Bend?"

  1. Black Dog says:

    My worry too LT – shades of MLSE everywhere I look – spin spin spin.

  2. godot10 says:

    Lowe is one of the best GM’s in hockey, period, and he is just getting started. Under the cap system, he and MacT are going to shine.

    Many people are looking at last year, and not at his whole tenure.

    His revamping of the scouting system is just finally starting to payoff. Our pool of prospects is beginning to look like San Jose’s and Colorado’s.

    It would be really stupid not to re-sign Lowe right now when John Ferguson Jr. is sitting there as a lame duck in the last year of his contract. Lowe would be out of a job for like no longer than 30 seconds or so. The Leafs job was out there sitting for Lowe at twice the salary if he wanted it, but Lowe is an Oiler, and not a mercenary.

    Plus, having a lame duck GM is dangerous and foolhardy. One is potentially writing off one summer of recruiting and drafting as a new GM is brought on board. A GM has to have a plan in place for the summer. If a new GM is hired in May, the summer hockey season is screwed.

    I know you guys don’t like the spin, but being a GM is in part a political job, and GM’s have to spin.
    One has to watch what he does, not what he says.
    All GM’s spin. Get over it. The business side of hockey sometimes sucks. Get over it.

    No GM was perfect. The Pronger’s wife thing put him in a catch-22 situation. It was absolutely essential that he do a deal quickly, and yeah, it wasn’t the best deal. But look at the positives arising out of last years fiasco. “God” smiled at the Oilers and let us get Gagner. Lowe figured out that he has to and shouldn’t be afraid of using the RFA offer sheet.

    I, for one, am thrilled that Lowe is back. Lowe, more than anybody else, represents the Oiler continuity, that being an Oiler in 2007 means basically the same thing as being an Oiler in 1987. History and continuity are important. Look at what has happened in Toronto and in Montreal because they lost the continuity with their roots.

  3. Matt says:

    MLSE, yes. That’s the only missing element of your ruminations, LT: that there are in fact political issues within the EIG. (We know that there are members that told Katz they want out, and not just two or three.)

  4. Lowetide says:

    godot10: I agree the drafting has been good since 2001, in fact I’ve defended it for years.

    I also thought the Pronger deal would be better than it was, but felt AT THE TIME they needed to add someone to the blueline in order to make inroads. I keep reading that “they were in it until February” but this doesn’t address the lost points during the season when the D group was subpar. Had they signed Markov or dealt for a veteran, would they have been farther along?

    Probably.

    Once again we leave the gates with holes (Greene as a top 4D, no replacement for Pisani). These aren’t things I’m pulling out of the ether, they are actual facts.

    As for lame duck GMs, I’ve never understood the argument. If a management group dares utter “we’re unsure this guy is doing a good enough job but need to decide right this instant” then they’re dead. You can’t make decisions like this on a dime.

    In fact, despite my hyperbole in the post I suspect this has been ongoing for quite some time. It does, however, give us a chance to look closely at what is important to this organization (and by association) the fanbase.

    I love the Oilers, but watching them win is sure nice too.

  5. godot10 says:

    Remember, also, that Sather offered both Lowe and MacT the Rangers, and they chose the Oilers. They chose to tough it out in a small market with a 65 cent loonie when they could have inherited the Rangers franchise from Sather.

    When they chose the Oilers, there was no NHL cap, there was no oilsands boom, and there was no loonie at parity. They chose a lemon, because it was their lemon, and the franchise is becoming lemonade. Yes, there is the ownership and the arena issue to resolve. Things take effing time. Everything can’t be fixed overnight.

    In the end that is the reason Ryan Smyth is no longer here. Ryan Smyth chose money over the Oilers. He was incapable of making the choice that both Lowe and MacT made. I don’t blame Ryan Smyth for the choice. He suffered through the difficult Oiler years. Lots of “post-traumatic-stress” from the years in the desert clouded his judgement about where the grass was really greener. Leaving was what the best players did…until Hemsky, who decided to stay. Smyth could not see that “the times were a-changing”,,,

  6. godot10 says:

    //If a management group dares utter “we’re unsure this guy is doing a good enough job but need to decide right this instant” then they’re dead. You can’t make decisions like this on a dime.//

    The only people who are unsure whether Lowe is doing a good job are some people in the blogosphere and Brian Burke.

    I don’t think there is any doubt with the EIG or Katz or Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment or amongst most of the NHL.

    Lowe and MacT have done enough that they can pretty much write their own ticket anywhere.

    John Ferguson is a lame duck GM. Don Waddell is pretty much a lame duck GM. Armstrong in Dallas is feeling the heat. There are two expansion franchises on the way.

    You want Lowe to be a free agent? Absolute insanity.

  7. Lowetide says:

    I don’t think that’s close to true. Kevin Lowe isn’t God, he’s a GM who has gotten mixed results. He was paid in full for his loyalty and this is a business so it shouldn’t matter.

    He got this team to the SCF and followed it up with a poor year. Maybe this season it turns around, and at that time (say, April) signing him makes complete sense.

    Signing him now means the future has no impact on who runs the show. Why? Because it appears there are other things considered more important. I can’t get beyond that point.

  8. godot10 says:

    //I don’t think that’s close to true. Kevin Lowe isn’t God, he’s a GM who has gotten mixed results.//

    But “God” is what you guys seem to expect. Lowe is not a perfect GM, but he IS one of the best GM’s in hockey.

    Look at the disaster in the making in Calgary. Look at Toronto. Look at Atlanta. Look at Phoenix.

    If you look at where the franchise was when Lowe took over to where it is now, Lowe has done a damn good job.

    Look at all the bad things that happened to the Oilers last year, and look at where the Oilers are right now. Now go look at Phoenix or Toronto or Atlanta or Florida.

    Jim Nill is obviously waiting for Ken Holland to retire. With all the GM positions that have been available over the last 10 years, he obviously doesn’t want to leave Detroit period.

    If not Lowe, than who.

  9. danny says:

    Was this a response to Burkes reaction? The timing was yes… for sure… absolutely. The reason? not so much. Look back to why Sather was fired and you have your answer as to why Lowe was extended. He works WITH and not against Cal Nichols and the EIG. Cal likes Lowes compliance and public demeanor in doing so… plain and simple. Cal is the real Wizard of Oz.

    Blaming Lowe for not signing markov is a little off target. Lowe had a specific budget, and it was clearly his strategy to add 25% contracts at the deadline and not spend to his $42M starting in october. Mission failed, but I’m sure without restraint Lowe knew the defense needed addressing and surely would have done so.

  10. Black Dog says:

    godot10 and danny – Well if he knew the D needed addressing then why not spend the Sykora money on a Dman then? Or make a trade for one? Come on man – they threw last season away. Threw it away! Doesn’t that anger you as a fan just a little?

    As for Smyth – Lowe himself admitted that he made a mistake on that this summer. He admitted it in public. So how you can say that Smyth was in the wrong when he was willing to, yes, sign for less then market value, (in the summer of ’06 and last winter) and the guy who failed to get him signed admits that he was mistaken – well, how is that a feather in Lowe’s cap exactly?

    As for the future – hey lets hope its as bright as you guys figure – I like the prospects as well but I’ll wait longer then a game into the season before I say that our prospects’ pool is looking like the Sharks.

    All I want is for the Oilers to win the Cup – whether its Lowe (who I like btw) or my great aunt Viv who is GM, I could care less. Lowe’s track record over the past 15 months concerns me. The fact that EIG may be sticking their noses into it worries me more. When’s the last time the Leafs won the Cup by the way? It has everything to do with meddlesome ownership. Beware.

  11. Ribs says:

    Rock. Star.

  12. danny says:

    blackdog. I said why Lowe was extended. Cal loves him. He does as told, smiles the whole while, even if its making him look like a moron at times.

    So you’re saying Lowe just decided to throw the season away, irregardless of the budget, he just didnt want to help out his D? If theres anything Lowe has a guage on, its probably defensemen I’d imagine… so no, I dont buy he thought the D last season was fine.

    Taking SYkora instead of Markov was likely a mistake, but from what Ive read, markov was offered what DET offered, he wanted more to play in EDM… thats where the pesky budget comes into play again.

    I think Lowe was too confident in that he could get to the deadline and be able to get cheap help at that time. In fact it seems pretty obvious thats how it played out…

    I think they all knew they werent a contender, but a playoff round could have been in reach with the right deadline deals.

    I doubt the season was tanked theough sheer stupidity, or grand conspiracy.

  13. rickibear says:

    It is important to note all NW division teams are a victim of schedule. So are the GM’s
    NW standings do not ditate the Conference standard of the product.
    Next years change in schedule will help with that.

    If you look at our salary structure and what will clearly be our core of players for the next 5-7 years this team is in a hell of a good position compared to the rest of the division.
    Forwards:Penner, Hemsky, Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, (Trukhno), (Omark Top 20Yr old SEL scoring)
    Defence: Pitkanen, Smid, Gilbert, Chorney
    Goal: ??Garon???

    Does not look like a shitty GM (drafting) job to me.

    Enough about Smyth we will see his totals after 20 games and compare them to Nilsson TOI and all.

    And yes this was an already negotiated contract that was to be announced at a time for best Pr effect.
    I think more mid season was the goal. Brian Burke expidited the process.

    The entertainment business is also about image.

    You wouldn’t have oiler merchandise would you.

  14. godot10 says:

    //Well if he knew the D needed addressing then why not spend the Sykora money on a Dman then? Or make a trade for one? Come on man – they threw last season away. Threw it away! Doesn’t that anger you as a fan just a little?//

    Lowe learned a difficult lesson the hard way that trading is much more difficult in the cap world than in the pre-cap world.

    Who are the better GM’s than Lowe?

    Maybe Ken Holland…but two years into the cap system and Detroit has zero cup finals…so maybe not.

    Maybe Lou Lamorello…but two years into the cap system, and zero cup finals…four coaches…so maybe not. Plus, the Devils have been unbearable to watch.

    Maybe Darcy Regier…but he didn’t get Drury or Briere signed.

    Maybe Doug Wilson…but with a team stacked with prospects, he let Anaheim steal a Cup from him because he was unwilling to trade Michalek for Pronger.

    Maybe John Muckler…but he just got turfed out on his ass by another coach who wanted and stole his job.

    Daryl Sutter had beginners luck, and has been straight downhill since then.

    The guy in Dallas still has his job because Turco and Zubov and Jokinen are great on regular season shootouts.

    Maybe Doug Riseborough…but Minnesota is his second kick at the can, after screwing up in Calgary. We’ve endure Lowe’s growing pains, it would be awfully sad to see the Maple Leafs benefit from that instead of the OIlers.

    Who exactly has done a better job than Lowe?

  15. Scarlett says:

    I agree, this should have been done mid or late in the season. Not in October.

  16. namflashback says:

    Lowe is personal friends with Katz. I’m not clear that Katz wouldn’t have made Lowe the long-term GM as well.
    More likely than not, Lowe used his upcoming FA status to get more operating freedom AND a new contract.

  17. Lowetide says:

    godot10: I’m going to try not to be mean here, but you’re all over the place. You need to define the requirements of a successful GM and then compare Lowe’s record against the other 30 guys. You’ve listed off a few guys who frankly are eating Lowe’s lunch.

    For instance, can you give me a list of sesaons that Sutter has missed the playoffs?

    Without going over it chapter and verse, it would be very difficult to argue that Kevin Lowe at this point in time is anywhere close to top 20 amongst NHL GMs.

    I can agree he deserved this season based on the Stanley run, but if all of these high risk, long term contracts are solely his idea then he must be dealt with harshly less he ruins the next 5 years after Souray and Penner’s contracts are off the books.

    This extension is a reward that is out of step with accomplishments. Surely you must agree.

  18. godot10 says:

    //For instance, can you give me a list of sesaons that Sutter has missed the playoffs?//

    The Flames are going backwards pretty fast.

    //Without going over it chapter and verse, it would be very difficult to argue that Kevin Lowe at this point in time is anywhere close to top 20 amongst NHL GMs.//

    There aren’t twenty GM’s better than Lowe. Name them please.

    The list who are as good or better is short:
    1) Lamorello
    2) Holland
    3) Doug Wilson, but he has made as many mistakes as Lowe.
    4) Riseborough, but this is his second kick at the can. He was awful in Calgary. Remember Doug Gilmour for Gary Leeman.
    5) Maybe one can put Gainey on this list.

    I want to see your list of twenty.

  19. Lowetide says:

    I don’t have a list of 20, this is your project. What do you value most? Me, I like the playoff appearances. They’re pretty important.

  20. boopronger says:

    good comments back and forth. Ive enjoyed reading them. I recently read an article about mactavish in the journal (the sunday reader one week).

    On of the things he mentioned was that if you want to win championships you absolutely need superstars. All those tough years when the oilers were just squeeking into the playoffs only to fall short in the first round to the dallas stars, they were missing an obvious key ingredient. A superstar. A zubov, a modano, anyone.

    They had all the other ingredients for a championship team; skill, leadership, players ready to put there faces in front of a shot, all of it. What happened when they were finally able to land a superstar? one game away from the cup.

    I honestly believe that last year was still backlash from the pronger fiasco and the CFP screwed this team. For that i give lowe a gimmie season. This season however, well, we’ll see.

  21. Lowetide says:

    boopronger: Which is exactly my point. I’m pleased they gave Lowe this season, some organizations might have flushed him in March.

    And if this season works out well then this extension will look like a million bucks.

    The timing makes no sense to me, however. What clicked over to make this happen now? Does on-ice performance matter?

  22. boopronger says:

    Me, I like the playoff appearances. They’re pretty important.

    But thats where you fall into the leafs trap if you are only satisfied with getting to the playoffs. Your a ninth place team but you sacrifice the future to be an eighth place team right now and you bow out in the first round. Next year you dump some prospects to sign some over-the-hillers just to squeek in again. Thats 2 years you’ve made the playoffs (awesome!) but your team still sucks.

  23. boopronger says:

    allright LT I suppose you are right to question the timing. Looking at it now it doesnt make alot of sense.

  24. trader says:

    Interesting views – kind of different from the ones usually voiced. Reading the blogs over the last months is a lot like listening to my mother-in-law. If she won the 649 she would bitch about having to drive to pick up the cheque.

    Now don’t get me wrong things in Oiler land have not been great since CFP’s wife decided that things needed to change but it would be refreshing to sometimes (just sometimes) lets look at the possibility that the glass might be half full.

    Certain guys can do no wrong – do the names Smythe and Johnson ring a bell. These two guys make certain (the most vocal) bloggers spring instant wood.

    Guys you bitch about the spin the management puts on things – step back and look at how you all try to spin your views – quite comical actually.

    Spin away and tell me once again how Smyth can walk on water (all the time forgetting to tell people it’s frozen water)and that Mike Johnson brings Lord Stanley with him where ever he goes.

  25. Pat says:

    //Spin away and tell me once again how Smyth can walk on water//

    Well, the answer to this, of course, simply lies here:

    http://www.markwells.ca/wp-content
    /uploads/2007/02/hockey-jesus.jpg

  26. trader says:

    Pat, the sad part about your response is that a number of bloggers will wonder -
    1) When that picture was taken
    2) Why Smythe isn’t in his uniform.

    I think you just helped me make my point.

  27. Lowetide says:

    I think a good GM in a division like the NW and a conference like the West can’t really be faulted for getting there in 8th. It’s a very difficult division, one of the toughest I can ever recall in terms of getting into the second season. The NW is just raw in terms of whoever finishes 4th getting in.

  28. Ducey says:

    I have to come down on Lowe’s side as well.

    I think he has managed this franchise pretty well through some very trying times.

    Hockey is entertainment, which is all about spin. You expect any GM right now to say: “Yeah, we expect to finish 25th this year”. Does that upset you? Likely not because you expect it. Well, thats SPIN.

    Lets face it, bloggers spend their time studying and discussing the team. For the most part they think they could be GM. They largely don’t look past this year or next.

    I have to agree with Lowetide – I don’t like giving up 3 picks next year for Penner. I think its because I like the draft. I guess in three years it has a good chance of looking like a great move. This is the one transaction I was not happy with off the bat.

    I like the Smyth trade. I am not sure on trading Pronger, just because I have no idea what was out there. Getting Pronger here in the first place was genius. Most of the trades made by Lowe have been fair. Everyone wants their GM to rape the other team. Doesn’t happen much.

    The GM does more than make trades. He sets the tone: Great work ethic around the team.

    Hires coaches: Great stability and talent there.

    Is in charge of marketing: The Oilers have been a model for a number of years for the business side of the house. Lowe has to be a little responsible for that. He has been a rock for the city and the team.

    I like the team this year. I can see the team setting up pretty well over the next three years. I expect they could make a pretty good run. Roloson will likely be too old, the rest of the team will stay in tact. I say let Lowe finish what he started.

  29. danny says:

    I remember when I was a hockey fan for the thrill of being a fan. I would eat sleep and breathe oilers hockey pretty much from a 7 year old in the dynasty days (hence the name) until the lockout, when I stumbled across HFBoards. Boy did I learn a lot from some pretty astute hockey minds over the past few years. The ol’ Hockey IQ reached a different level to say the least. To the point where I had a hard time stomaching the rudimentry logic and arguments that the majority of fans, pretty much dropped HFBoards and stuck to the blogs etc.

    Time has passed, and I’ve grown that uneasy feeling again. I get a sense for a large part of the time that a lot of the enlightened are more a fan of being correct than being a fan of the team. A lot of times the personnel assasinations are rooted in proving their past claims right and nolonger in the interests of being an Oilers fan.

    I’ve distanced myself from most of these boards/blogs lately, and want to enjoy being a fan for a bit. It adds perspective. Boy did I enjoy game #1 vs San Jose… hopefully the people that take solace in seeing Lowe fall flat on his face this season won’t get the satisfaction… because in the end thats what being an Oiler fan is about. I forgot that for a while.

  30. Nelson88 says:

    LT: Sorry but with all due respect I couldn’t disagree more with you on this one. There is a tonne of angles that I’m sure we could discuss ad nauseum so I’ll just mention these.

    Pronger was a fiasco. Everyone agrees. The difference is who is blamed. Imo Lowe did about as well as could be expected. 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing for all the armchair quarterbacks. I’d like to see how they respond in their jobs with thousands of know it alls analyzing every move and saying “I told you so”.

    I realize this does not appear to be the direct crux of your point. I mention it because it is the biggest complaint in general. Also, I think it is impossible to judge Lowe’s actions without returning to Pronger as almost every other move is a direct result of this.

    Holes. In a cap world I would be hard pressed to name more than 15% of NHL teams that don’t have substantial “holes”. The teams that don’t generally fall into 2 categories;

    1. in the zenith of the inevitable sine curve teams will face in a post cap world (NFL is prime example)

    2. “model” franchises with drafting and organizations that allow them to be competitive year in and year out. That takes years to develop and I dare say Lowe was starting from the short end of the stick on that one in comparison to many other “top” GM’s Godot metions. I’d also suggest that many of the acknowled top GM’s are in cities with much less rabid fans who are more patient and understanding of the concept of “rebuild”.

    Lastly, you say all that matters to you are results not blind loyalty. Could not agree more! If that is the case and you believe that the NHL “market” is even moderately efficient (perhaps you don’t?) then that should be a pretty strong damnation of your theory. Lowe is a very well respected GM in hockey circles and would be highly sought after in almost any organization. I do not live in Edmonton but it would sure appear he is much less respected there than he is in other hockey cities. To Godot’s point it makes me wonder why he puts up with it. Less money and less hair for more criticism makes him a more loyal man than I.

  31. Lowetide says:

    Danny: This is what I don’t understand. WHO among us is going to enjoy watching Kevin Lowe fall on his face? I’m a FAN of his, loved watching him play. DEFENDED the Pronger trade until way too late and for my trouble Dennis drops by weekly to put the boots to me. :-)

    Hey, I AM A FAN. But even the most positive fan has to agree that a 4-year deal on the back of last season and one win this year is beyond the pale.

    What would they do if the Oilers finish 15th and ANA gets a once-in-a-decade talent? Make him GM for life?

  32. Lowetide says:

    nelson88: I don’t see that Kevin Lowe has the kind of resume that makes him an automatic hire elsewhere. I really don’t. One SC run and he’s famous, plus he hired a helluva coach.

    Is that enough to counter some wonky signings and the Pronger trade, plus deciding Smyth wasn’t sponge worthy?

    I don’t know. If I’m Toronto’s ownership group it might be a bit high risk.

  33. Nelson88 says:

    LT.

    Apologies on my last. I was commenting more on your comments here where it appeared you were not supportive of the extension? I’m still not clear at to whether you are?. After re-reading your original post perhaps you were only intending to question the timing?

  34. Lowetide says:

    Nelson88: We can’t go back because I’m an idiot and flushed a year’s worth of this stuff, but among the blog people I was most certainly (and probably still am) the most pro-Lowe in the group. I felt he was a mid-level GM before the lockout and any fool could see he kicked out the jams in 05-06 with Pronger, Peca, Roloson, Samsanov, Spacek and Tarnstrom.

    Whatever happened a year ago, be it he didn’t have the time, or that he moved Pronger without thinking (my own feeling, and please forgive me, was the Kevin Lowe really did think Joffrey Lupul was a screamer in terms of goal scoring ability, a sniper, from the Bossy-Leach family. I’m projected my own opinion onto Lowe but it is as good a theory as any) but it didn’t work out well at all. Many of the things we knew last fall (needed another vet D) bit him in the ass.

    So, we get to this spring and he trades Smyth. I refuse to debate the trade of Smyth because imo the Oilers made out like bandits and I’m alone on the blog island on that one. The real issue imo in regard to Smyth was again around the Pronger trade period where he signed Hemsky, Pisani, Horcoff, Roloson and others while basically saying “we’ll look after our guys.” Staios iirc had already been looked after in the winter.

    So with the Smyth decision done, imo they made a stunning trade.

    Now we get to this summer: love the Pitkanen deal, love the Garon signing. Am slack jawed with the Vanek, Nylander and Penner signing and agog (in a bad way) with the Souray deal. SO agog am I about the Souray signing I begin (after having it pointed out elsewhere) that maybe the EIG told Lowe to blow the walking around money to shore up the rep so they could bring the Katz group situation to a head while orgasms were occurring in the streets over the daily news about Pitkanen, Garon, Penner and then Souray.

    So there were are, having spend 5 years forward on somewhat one-dimensional players and we’re left with “well this better work, or else.”

    And now we don’t have that. We have to wait for the rocket to go around the dark side of the moon and hope to God Almighty the free return trajectory works.

    Were are Apollo 13.

  35. trader says:

    Danny said “A lot of times the personnel assasinations are rooted in proving their past claims are right and are no longer in the interests of being an Oilers fan.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    An example would be with a kid like Smid.
    The true Oiler fan is upset that the one of the pieces of the CFP deal is in the minors and wishes that it had worked out to shove it down Burke’s throat.
    Others as you state (I think we all know which ones) are thrilled he was sent down so that they can say I told you so.

    I would hope that the blogs are about opinions and thoughts not about trying to prove you are right about something.

    Lets all try to be like LT who articulates his thoughts, without the coarse language that some bloggers require, and provides enjoyment. It should be about being Oiler and hockey fans and not about trying to tell us your opinion is always right.

  36. danny says:

    LT: it was commentary on the oilogosphere outlook and attitude as a whole. I happen to agree 100% that Lowe has been an average at best GM, with one big triumph and one big disaster under his belt. I am convinced that lowes biggest fan is Cal Nichols… and thats why he has a 4yr pact before anything unfolds. you in my opinion are dead on in saying its irrelevant to the on ice product in a sense.

    I would never support any notion that being a fan means blindly following and supporting the decisions, but crucifying Lowe or whomever every single day in and out for making a terrible deal on the Pronger trade has become deafening. Its a sit and wait session of ‘I told you so’ for the most part… and yes they are right, but lost in the shuffle are always the positive moves and logic that doesn’t support proving the oilogosphere right. Dumping Lupul, and 1 year of Jason Smith for Pitkanen was lovely for example.

    Theres too many things to discuss here and now, but the constant cynicism borders on self endulging ones own ability to see below the surface a lot of the time.

    It just has grown very tiring for myself… but to each their own.

  37. goldenchild says:

    I have a soft spot in my heart for Lowe prob always will and am glad he was givin this season to prove last year was an aberation.

    That being said its hard to find a reason why this extension was necessary right now. He has had such an active off-season you would think it would make sense to see how those moves will actually turn out before giving him a congraulatory pat on the back and a hefty raise.
    I mean its not like he is batting 1.000 on his moves right? The Pronger deal is inarguably a bust, I realize it was a difficult position to move him but you just have to get at least 1 impact player in return.
    The Smyth negotiation was botched, as Lowe has now admitted.
    From game 1 last year it was apparent they needed a puck moving defender and they couldn;t get one that played in the NHL.
    We can go back to Tommy Gun post Salt Lake and how long it took Lowe to admit that the goaltending wasn’t good enough.

    Were there good moments? of course, the Post CBA off season was a beauty, Pronger and Peca, then Spacek, and Transtrom.
    The drafting record is much improved in what we have, drafting 83 was prob the best move of the tenure but again they are batting somewhere around .500 which i would guess is about avg in the league maybe a little less. Also if he was wrong this offseason with Penner and Souray then the impact will be much longer lasting then the good moves of 05-06.

    The timing of this deal screams PR move not Hockey move.

  38. Lowetide says:

    I don’t see any mad on about Smid, certainly none on the blogosphere. I’ve compared him to Albelin and that still seems on target despite the send out. I think the blogosphere has decided (rightly) that this IS confirmation that he should have been in the minors last season and would have been had the Oilers signed/traded for sufficient help on D.

  39. Lowetide says:

    Danny: Agree completely with your post immediately above.

  40. Ribs says:

    On a completely unrelated note, what the heck was going on in Springfields starting game?

    * The first period was played with each team wearing their practice jerseys with no numbers on the back as each team’s game jerseys were late arriving for opening night. The game jerseys finally arrived late in the first period, and by the second period, each team debuted their game jerseys.
    * There was a 45-minute delay during the second intermission due to the zamboni breaking down after it ran over a promotional t-shirt.

    Trukhno scored his first goal as a pro in this game.

  41. trader says:

    Lowetide, my point was think of your regular contributors, and their continual negative thoughts and views.

    Over the last months the only positives are when they are telling us they were right in regard to their trashing a certain player or when proclaiming their man-love for Smythe.

  42. Lowetide says:

    There’s a hilarious group of posts about this in the Springfield GDT Bryan put up (it’s a sticky at HF). On top of the uniforms and the t-shirt zamboni rodeo, a couple of posters (Bryan and someone else0 spent $6 on the game and it kept freezing. I felt really bad for them, clearly it was something they wanted to see, but the feed kept screwing up and their reaction was too funny.

    I’ve been there, it is not fun when you lose the feed. Lost an entire Steelers Super Bowl one year, the whole fricking game. My cable came back in time for Wonderful World of Disney. Argh.

  43. Lowetide says:

    trader: Yeah, I hear you. But on the other hand, there have been some pretty good swings from the other side on here and I’ve yet to edit anything close to a hockey post on this site (I haven’t edited anything since the early days when there would be a daily spam flyby).

    We all probably have healthy enough egos and maybe it gets on the nerves from time to time, but the group of people who zip by here and blog on their own sites are the smartest collective I’ve ever been a part of in a sports forum.

    I can handle a few I told you so’s if I’m learning something about the game.

  44. Boondock says:

    Lowe has been average the last couple years, but I am happy about his extension for a couple reasons.

    The only way for this team to be successful (after giving Souray Smyth’s money) going forward is developing our young players, and Lowe’s group has shown to be fairly adept at the draft table.

    I am scared to death of who the EIG would replace him with. I can very easily imagine them giving the position to the insanely-optimistic Prendergast, who I am convinced would be a massive step back from Lowe.

    Devil you know stuff, kind of.

  45. trader says:

    LT, I believe that you and I are about the same age 50, so I must say I really, really enjoy your steps back in time. The stories bring back great memories.

    Makes you realize how times have changed – I remember back in the late 60′s how I would listen to the radio at quarter to the hour to see how my beloved Blackhawks were doing. Tonight with the CI package I have my choice of watching any of the 14 games being played.

    That being said, remembering how things were brings a smile to my face. Thanks for that.

  46. danny says:

    I don’t want to stir up a hornets nest here, but its a point worth making. It isn’t meant as a diss to anyone, because amongst the people I respect most in hockey terms are all amongst these blogs. however this is probably the most clear example of how the oilogosphere has become a group with compound notions which are always looking to feed and support its own arguments in lieu of just.. well… being an oilers fan for the most simple rudimentary way of putting it.

    A pretty lengthy thread on HF had the oilogosphere heatedly debating that lowe had turned down JayBo + horton because he wanted draft picks included, a certain number of assets and such. There were claims of inside information etc… then Vic posted an article in a recent thread on this blog which completely discounts the stance the enlightened were entrenched in on the subject. Keenan openly states that Lowe wanted Jaybo and horton but they were unwilling to trade them.

    How do people become so blinded and convinced they were right on a topic, when they weren’t, without abandoning reason for the sake of assainating Lowe, and proving themselves right?

    its not a knock against the people, but I think a product of the path that this faction of Oiler fans have been travelling the past few seasons. blinded by cynicism maybe or whatever, for myself I find I have to be as skeptical reading the blogs as much as any of the dailies… they are both guilty of spinning their own agendas all too often.

  47. oilerdiehard says:

    There’s a hilarious group of posts about this in the Springfield GDT Bryan put up (it’s a sticky at HF). On top of the uniforms and the t-shirt zamboni rodeo, a couple of posters (Bryan and someone else0 spent $6 on the game and it kept freezing. I felt really bad for them, clearly it was something they wanted to see, but the feed kept screwing up and their reaction was too funny.

    I’ve been there, it is not fun when you lose the feed. Lost an entire Steelers Super Bowl one year, the whole fricking game. My cable came back in time for Wonderful World of Disney. Argh.

    lol Yeah the other poster was me. On the bright side of things B2 refunded my money. So other than a little frustration, no harm done.

    The announcer was pretty funny to listen to in the first period. New announcer, new team, no numbers or names on the practice jersey’s. “Springfield shoots, save, a Portland defender clears it…oh wait…that was Eric Weinrich, I recognize him by his yellow face shield!” haha

    Then the Zamboni t-shirt incident and they were totally unprepared. They just kept talking in circles about JFJ coming, Edmonton won game 1, all the players and fans are excited about the home opener tomorrow. It was delayed so long apparently while they decided if they could fix the Zamboni or play on despite only the center strip being done.

    Then my feed cut out… :)

    As far as the extension goes. Nichols said it had been on the agenda for a while back when the first Burke tantrum came along, fresh on the heels of the OS to Penner. He said they intended to get it done soon.

    To me it seems obvious with the length of the Souray / Penner signings. That Lowe had obviously sold the EIG on this new business plan they spoke of at the end of last year and it must be a 5 year window. So the EIG may have expressed their desire for Lowe to be around for that duration.

    Getting a chance to give the finger back Burke may have sped it up slightly. Who knows…

  48. Asiaoil says:

    Danny – thanks for so eloquently saying what I have also been thinking for a wile about HF and the blogs. I just want to be a fan for a while as well because all of the cynical posing to look hard and enlightened is boring. Again none of this is directed at LT since this is one of the few places left that isn’t like that – but most everywhere else is these days.

    In any case – hell of game the other night. A fast young team playing Oiler hockey for the first time since way before the lock-out. So what if some of our main guys are one dimensional offense first types. That is Oiler hockey :)

  49. oilerdiehard says:

    I forgot to add. From what I could watch Trukhno was looking very good. He scored a goal.

    Smid looked good, Syvret looked awful.

    Bucky dressed a team filled with Buchberger clones last night. With the likes of Stortini, Simon, Rourke, Bodie, Goulet, Sestito, Reddox and just to squeeze Reynolds in he was moved from D to forward.

    They scratched McDonald, O’Marra, Paukovich, Almtorp, Bisaillon…

  50. Lowetide says:

    danny: One of the things that happens I think is that people throw all the blog group into one pile. Dennis might pop in and say something and then a week later a poster at HF will say “Lowetide says that…” which I never did either. So that’s the other side of the coin.

    As for Vic, we’ve been exchanging views for a few years now and he has an exceptional memory for this kind of thing. Not saying your memory is fault, but I’ll bet a C-note there’s a context issue.

    trader: Yeah, I remember listening to CKSA Lloyminster as a kid to get the scores at 7:55am. The bus came at 8:05, so I had to be dressed and ready before the radio went on. There I’d be, ear to the radio waiting for a TOTAL of three games worth of scores. MAYBE the goal scorers in the Habs and Leafs games.

    Sometimes my wife will ask me how I remember say Bobby Sheehan of the California Seals and I’ll tell her that he only came on TV once and that was a HNIC game and he was a guest (I believe with Brian MacFarlane) that night.

    I remember it because it was an EVENT. Once a week, baby. Maybe the CBC Radio game on a weekend afternoon if my Dad thought the car battery could take it (the radio in our house didn’t get the CBC, can you freaking believe it?)

    Kids today have no idea. I once beat my older brother to a WAGON WHEEL (chocolate tread) and he beat the daylights out of me. You know what I remember about that?

    Wagon Wheels were NEW! We’d never seen them before. MAN I’m old. :-)

  51. Master Lok says:

    Let me pose a question – would you be happier if Lowe was a lame duck GM and was put into a position where he was thinking of trading Cogliano or Gagner for a short term push in order to make the playoffs so that he could get a contract renewal?

    Think Alex Bourret from ATL to NYR. (not that I think Bourret is the same calibre as Gagner but you get my drift).

  52. mc79hockey says:

    Reading the blogs over the last months is a lot like listening to my mother-in-law. If she won the 649 she would bitch about having to drive to pick up the cheque.

    Funny, I’d say that reading the thoughts of the average Oilers fan over the past few months has been like seeing a guy who opens his door and finds a mysterious paper bag. He opens it up and finds that someone took a shit in a bag and left it on his doorstep. He proceeds to react like he’s won the
    6/49.

  53. grease trap says:

    Re:the Negative oilogosphere

    I hear you. Some of us commented on it during the summer. It’s defensible, though. At the ‘official’ Oilers Forums, you get an awful lot of brainless woohoo’s and pie in the sky dreamers. it gets old pretty quick. What analysis there is is thin and suspect.

    The Oilogosphere tends to be a little more realistic, but also a lot more interesting, clever, and gently self-mocking. There’s a distinct reversal in the signal to noise ratio.

    But I do agree that there’s probably a little too much hedging of the bets in order to not look the fool at a possibly abyssmal Season’s End.

    Personally, I think the Oiler’s make the playoffs and that we get a hugely entertaining year. I like having hope, it makes the games way more fun.

  54. Master Lok says:

    (stolen from my post on hfboards) When Lowe was first hired as GM, he was very much a novice GM – and we all know that life doesn’t exist in a bubble – things change: so will Lowe get better in the next four years?

  55. mc79hockey says:

    I get a sense for a large part of the time that a lot of the enlightened are more a fan of being correct than being a fan of the team. A lot of times the personnel assasinations are rooted in proving their past claims right and nolonger in the interests of being an Oilers fan.

    Well what the fuck DD? I’ll cheer for guys like Souray or Penner but that doesn’t change the fact that I think that they were bad moves that are unlikely to work. I don’t see how being a fan of the team requires me to fall into lockstep support for everything that they do.

    I’ll point out as well that Torres was a guy I used to be down on when HF loved him and by the end of last year I was considerably higher on him than anyone there. So it goes both ways.

  56. mc79hockey says:

    I refuse to debate the trade of Smyth because imo the Oilers made out like bandits and I’m alone on the blog island on that one.

    I don’t know that you’re alone in thinking that the return for 15 games of Smyth was fine. The question was whether the return on five years and 15 games of Smyth was fine.

  57. mc79hockey says:

    Lets all try to be like LT who articulates his thoughts, without the coarse language that some bloggers require, and provides enjoyment. It should be about being Oiler and hockey fans and not about trying to tell us your opinion is always right.

    Yes, I agree. Blogs should be exactly like HF. Go Souray!

  58. Lowetide says:

    MC: Agree completely. The error was not in the trading of Smyth at the deadline, it was not signing him FIRST (or second to Hemsky, but you know what I mean) and getting this put to bed immediately.

    Especially considering Pronger’s trade request.

  59. mike w says:

    I think all of the Oilers bloggers have been willing to admit mistakes. If Smyth degrades rapidly and never scores 20 goals, I’ll be the first to praise Lowe for knowing something I didn’t. Of course, until then, it won’t stop me from slaying player-hating orcs on the HF Boards.

    We’re all still fans come game time, but as MC colourfully pointed out, a fan should try to be a discerning consumer.

    It’s been a while since we’ve truly had a winning tradition, and part of that is expecting results of some sort. Rewarding Lowe with a contract extension before he’s dug himself out of a self-made hole isn’t sending fans the right message.

  60. mc79hockey says:

    …and yes they are right, but lost in the shuffle are always the positive moves and logic that doesn’t support proving the oilogosphere right. Dumping Lupul, and 1 year of Jason Smith for Pitkanen was lovely for example.

    http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=2776#more-2776

    …this was a move that makes sense and one that shows the inklings of a plan, which I would argue that we haven’t seen in quite some time – for all the talk that the return for Pronger was indicative of a rebuild, a lot of the signings last summer were pretty schizophrenic, if that was the plan. Given Lowe’s (utterly shocking) failures to get any of the big UFA’s, I’d say that they’re looking a year or two down the road. Disappointing, to be sure, but it makes sense, given the corner he’s painted himself into and the players currently wandering around the Oilers dressing room.

    As it turns out I was wrong about the last part but I still think that that was a good move. I wasn’t alone amongst the blogists. I think that the problem with a lot of you types whining is that other people aren’t saying what you want to hear loudly enough or frequently enough. I don’t really know that that’s the blogosphere’s problem – it might just be that your expectations are out of whack.

  61. mc79hockey says:

    Over the last months the only positives are when they are telling us they were right in regard to their trashing a certain player or when proclaiming their man-love for Smythe.

    Not for nothing but it’s hard to take a guy telling me that I’m wrong about the Oilers seriously when he spells it “Smythe”.

  62. trader says:

    mc79hockey, you just confirmed my point..3 posts in 15 minutes all negative or trying to tell someone else their opinion if wrong as in your comment “what the F”. It seems no one else had to drop to that level to get their point across.

    If everything Oiler is so bad…there are other teams you could always provide your thoughtful insight to.

  63. mike w says:

    I actually really miss the Smythe Division, for what it’s worth.

  64. trader says:

    mc79hockey said…
    Over the last months the only positives are when they are telling us they were right in regard to their trashing a certain player or when proclaiming their man-love for Smythe.

    Once again you don’t deal with the issue but rather find fault with an old guy’s typing skills.

    When one can’t think of anything to say they usually throw insults.

  65. danny says:

    LT: I probably wasn’t very clear, nothing really to do with vic’s memory. I’m referring to a debate regarding what was on the table for Pronger. Aparently inside information from a FLA based source confirmed what Lowe was offered, and it was implied to be Lowe nixing a deal for jaybo + horton because he wanted 5 assets (added draft picks.)

    Then in your blog post “words are mere playthings’ Vic posted a keenan interview in which Iron mike clearly stated Jaybo and Horton were never available all despite Lowes attempts to get them.

    I’m not attempting to bunch all of the blogs together, just saying that on certain topics its largely becoming a communal witch hunt.

  66. mc79hockey says:

    A pretty lengthy thread on HF had the oilogosphere heatedly debating that lowe had turned down JayBo + horton because he wanted draft picks included, a certain number of assets and such. There were claims of inside information etc… then Vic posted an article in a recent thread on this blog which completely discounts the stance the enlightened were entrenched in on the subject. Keenan openly states that Lowe wanted Jaybo and horton but they were unwilling to trade them.

    I think you’re remembering the HF thread wrong. I know what this info is and it didn’t confirm Horton/Bouw. What Keenan said fits with it.

  67. mc79hockey says:

    Smythe

    Hey we all spell things wrong from time to time. I wouldn’t have said anything about it but you spelled it that way in three different posts, which leads me to wonder if you know how it’s spelled. If you don’t know how it’s spelled, it leads me to wonder how much weight I should be giving your opinion.

    It’s a harsh Darwinian world for opinions out there and when an opinion has such an obvious defect – its owner is unaware of the proper spelling of the name of the guy that he’s accusing others of holding an unjustified man love for – well, that opinion is like a flourescnet orange baby zebra with two legs.

  68. Andy Grabia says:

    I just want to be a fan for a while as well because all of the cynical posing to look hard and enlightened is boring. Again none of this is directed at LT since this is one of the few places left that isn’t like that – but most everywhere else is these days.

    What you call posing I call a reasonable reaction. What you call just being a fan I call willful ignorance. I don’t know where the notion of “being a fan means excluding cynicism and criticism” ever came from, but it’s not one I’m willing to accept. I don’t accept blindly following things in any other aspect of my life, so I don’t see why I should apply it in my writing or cheering on of a sports team. I get as excited as everyone else does when I’m watching my teams play. I quite enjoyed watching the game against San Jose. But I’m not going to shut my brain off when I see something that doesn’t jive. I do my best to be honest, and respectful. Sometimes I suffer in the latter category because I focus so much on the former. But I do my best, and my understanding grows everyday. My guess is that is also the case with the rest of the “cynical posers” of the Oilogosphere.

  69. mc79hockey says:

    Aparently inside information from a FLA based source confirmed what Lowe was offered, and it was implied to be Lowe nixing a deal for jaybo + horton because he wanted 5 assets (added draft picks.)

    This wasn’t what it said. It’s not mine to share, but this wasn’t what it said.

  70. danny says:


    As it turns out I was wrong about the last part but I still think that that was a good move. I wasn’t alone amongst the blogists. I think that the problem with a lot of you types whining is that other people aren’t saying what you want to hear loudly enough or frequently enough. I don’t really know that that’s the blogosphere’s problem – it might just be that your expectations are out of whack.

    I guess whining is in the eye of the beholder just as much as beauty. I’m really only saying any of this because the complaining about the Pronger and Smyth deals has become deafening.

    Don’t get me wrong, I admire and look forward to your empirical approach to topics, and am not attacking you directly in the least. I’m just over saturated with the same old vitriol over and over and over.

    the cynicism is feeding itself to such a point that the comments in all of these blogs are just searching for the pending disaster in everything.

    I’m not a fan of Souray, nor a big fan of Penner… but ask me whether I think Penner is overpaid or worth the draft picks, I likely deviate from you and the majority. Again I think its pretty obvious that the EIG forced the hand on these moves more so than Lowe being a dumbass.

  71. mc79hockey says:

    I’m not a fan of Souray, nor a big fan of Penner… but ask me whether I think Penner is overpaid or worth the draft picks, I likely deviate from you and the majority. Again I think its pretty obvious that the EIG forced the hand on these moves more so than Lowe being a dumbass.

    How can you square these things? If Penner isn’t overpaid or worth the picks, what’s your problem with the move?

  72. danny says:


    This wasn’t what it said. It’s not mine to share, but this wasn’t what it said.

    I’m going mainly on a post from PDO, who was privy to the contents and he most definitely was of the opinion that jaybo/Horton were nixed for picks in that thread. I may have missed something or overlooked some nuance of details, but thats how it looked to me.

  73. mc79hockey says:

    Post a link to the thread, if you don’t mind.

  74. danny says:

    How can you square these things? If Penner isn’t overpaid or worth the picks, what’s your problem with the move?

    I’m really pressing my luck delaying leaving for dinner with the girlfriend here so I’ll be quick and have to jet.

    Penner overpaid? I think he is for 1 season, but the shift in pay structure will have him on par with his peers through the final 4 years of his deal.

    Worth the picks? Definitely. The chances of those picks yielding a 30 goal scorer are a crap shoot.

    Would of I have made the move for penner? Not sure I would have based on his skillset and questionmarks, but Lowe was in a shithole due to Cal/Katz media frenzy, and its not suprising that he had not much of a choice.

  75. trader says:

    mc79hockey, my spelling aside, the only point I was making was that it was my opinion you have a lot of man-love for Smyth. You never answered if that was true or not.

    Although I have watched hockey for 45 years I would never profess to be the hockey expert you and your dictionary are.

  76. mike w says:

    you have a lot of man-love for Smyth. You never answered if that was true or not.

    Comments like this are stupid.

  77. Dennis says:

    I was the guy who said I had some info on the Pronger offer but I didn’t say it was both Jay B and Horton.

    Some people will say I’m most happy when I’m right but I’m most happy when we win and I can certainly change an opinion if the facts warrent it. Right now, for instance, I’m in love with Sanderson and that new checking line and all camp I was begging for him to be cut loose. And I’d also like to remind everyone that I was about the only one out of the hardcore group who supported the Penner signing.

    I don’t think it’s the right move to re-up Lowe for four years because he’s fucked up in some of the major moves, ie poor return for Weight, Pronger disaster and the whole decision making process on Smyth. That doesn’t lead me to have a lot of confidence in him and if the early returns on Souray are any indication, and by early I mean the way he’s played in Mtl long before he was an Oiler;), then that signing isn’t gonna look great either. That being said, I loved the Garon signing and Tarnstrom too and I don’t know how gets the credit, but the Oilers have been doing some great things when it comes to scouting. I think everyone can agree on that. But when it comes to making major decisions, Lowe has fucked up large and the list is long. And that’s why I’m not in his camp and really haven’t been since the Weight move and the way he handled the Salo situation.

    As for the rest of this stuff, I could really care less. I like to break stuff down and try and figure out the nuts and bolts and if that’s not for some people, then, fuck em:)

  78. sean says:

    They signed lowe to support the team, to show their backing for what he did this summer. He redeemed the Oilers he brought them back to being contenders in one summer. You don’t think for a second they didn’t let smyth go, hundred grand come on. They traded the other smith in the name of change. This was all a decision to better the team and that’s it. If you get caught up in all the media spins it can get quite clouded. Basically burke can eat a d#*@ and the EIG just said so. They signed a great GM, keeping him around for the next 5 years.

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