Odds and Sods

They put Sheldon Souray back on the DL today, his body unable to endure the pounding of a long season. He’ll probably be back at some point but we should probably brace ourselves for the “we’re shutting him down so he’ll be ready for next year” press release. Souray seems like a decent fellow and his shot from the point looked dangerous when we saw it but the bet seemed risky and the pricetag too dear and the result is no different now that the cards have been dealt.

According to Hoyle, the Oilers need to do some price shaving similar to WAL-MART in order to get some wiggle room by summer. Word today than an NHL General Manager told The Hockey News that he expected someone would be willing to make a nice offer to Kevin Lowe for defender Steve Staios. The writer is a fellow named Adam Proteau and to quote the article “as one Western Conference GM (who spoke on condition of anonymity) told thehockeynews.com Tuesday, Edmonton blueliner Steve Staios might be an attractive alternative to a team that loses out on the upcoming Brian Campbell trade deadline sweepstakes. I really think (Lowe) will get an offer for him – and under the right circumstances, it might even come from me.”

My guess is that it’s Doug Wilson from San Jose.

Sending away Staios probably gives the Oilers more money to spend on Joni Pitkanen and that would have to be considered a good trade at this point in time. The Oilers should keep both of them, mix in Gilbert, Souray, Smid and Greene for the fall and add another veteran to that group but the reality is that the contracts of Souray, Pitkanen and Gilbert will take up so much money they’ll be rolling those three plus a trio of kids again next season.

And that is best case scenario. Worst case is they deal Pitkanen for something less than immediate help and get shutout in the summer when trying to pluck a useful veteran from the UFA tree.

Shawn Horcoff also has a problem shoulder and he apparently tweaked it at the All-Star game. The Oilers need their best veteran players and losing him for any length of time would make this team all but unwatchable. Having said that, it might give one of the minor leaguers a chance to step into the lineup and get some playing time.

The Oilers at this point in the season have devoted so many at-bats to young players it seems incredible that their depth chart at center could soon be Stoll-Gagner-Cogliano-Schremp but we’re not far from it as we speak.

When do pitchers and catchers report anyway? Did Jesse Orosco catch on with anyone? What about Jeff Fassaro?

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45 Responses to "Odds and Sods"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Gilbert-Pitkanen
    Greene-Smid
    Grebeshkov-Roy
    Rourke/Peckham

    Yeah, I just shit a brick.

    We roll with that D lineup until April, and I’ll be damned if Burke doesn’t get at least Luke Schenn.

  2. jon k says:

    Taken on its own merits, the Souray contract really is proving itself to be one of the worst UFA contracts in recent league history.

    Even with the hopes that he could improve at ES under the tutelage of MacT and Huddy, the best one could hope for was for him to break even.

    Given his perennially injured state, everything just doesn’t add up to a $5.5 mill defenseman.

  3. PunjabiOil says:

    I’d move Staios and sign Eaton.

    Or Hejda (who I figure will wind up getting less than 2.5M).

    I hope Lowe isn’t afraid to move Staios – all this leadership talk can tend to be overrated a bit.

    If it’s for a first rounder or decent prospect, I’m all over it.

  4. namflashback says:

    jon k,

    Ironically, the Caps deal with Nylander rates up there too– although Nylander made a reasonable contribution before going out with injury.

    Schneider’s isn’t very good either. Nor Bertuzzi, but we know what that one was really about.

    LT,

    Where does one look for which teams pick where? I recall reading that Dallas is holding LA’s 1st round pick. Does Dallas need something that we can give?

  5. PunjabiOil says:

    Jon K: I don’t think Souray’s been terrible. He’s performed well on the PP too (Something like +7 PPG/60??) and the PK.

    I still believe the Oilers should cut their losses on Greene’s development, and trade him. At least before the whole world realizes he’s no better than Alexei Semenov.

    Grebeshkov in the bottom pairing is okay, but Roy has no business being in the NHL. Waste of $500,000. Again, boils down to too many young players on the backend, and some of these guys have to be moved if we’re going to insert Petry/Chorney into the lineup in upcoming years.

  6. PunjabiOil says:

    nameflashback – actually, it’s the other way around. LA owns Dallas’s first round pick.

  7. namflashback says:

    shit, yeah pjo, just found it. I had it the wrong way.

  8. jon k says:

    I’m not trying to argue that Souray’s been terrible, merely that he’s not nearly worth $5.5 million dollars, especially when considering that he’s only had 3 healthy seasons in the past 10.

    To be honest though, I’m not particularly happy with most of the D core. I’m not convinced that Pitkanen is going to be worth what he’ll cost us.

  9. Dennis says:

    A risky bet, LT? That needs a little more outrage, son!!:)

    I can’t fucking believe that no one in the media took Lowe to task for this signing. Is everyone so self-pitying that they just felt glad someone signed here in the first fucking place? Or are people so blind to Lowe that there’s nothing he can do to elict questioning?

    I’d love to get a look at Schremp but not at the expense of Horc. I know that’s not what you’re saying but I can’t easily forget how hateful it was to watch this team last year with all those kids. Horc our and Schremp in and the Leaves can start printing up the Stamkos jerseys as soon as Sundin throws on a Ducks jersey.

    I suspect that Lowe deals off Staios for yet another first round pick and that Pitkanen gets dealt as well.

    That would leave Souray-Greene-Smid-Gilbert-Grebs plus a vet for the D corps but Lowe’s on a full tilt rebuild outside of the Souray signing so I wouldn’t be surprise if he’s ready to sink the ship again for next season.

    Two things to finish:

    1: Is anyone else honestly afraid what a Katz-backed Lowe could wind up signing this summer? Sweet merciful fuck.

    2: Walked to the store last night and it was so bloody mild, reminded me of April. That month’s always been a touchstone for me because it houses my birthday, the NHL playoffs, plus opening day.

    I remarked to the ladyfriend today just how much I miss having the Expos around and with the Oilers getting ready to dive into the tank wearing concrete shoes, this would be a great time to obsess about #5 starters and fifth OFers. My heart’s not really into it, though. I was a Nats fan out of the gate in ’05 but I haven’t been able to get into them the last two years. And I’ve thought of adopting another team but it just won’t take.

  10. Bendelson says:

    Pitkanen and Staios should both go – though there’s no way in hell Stevie’s going to bring a 1st rd pick back… that would be a brutal trade for D. Wilson or any other GM. Why? B/C anyone that watches Staios knows he is ALL heart and NO FUCKING talent whatsoever. A reasonable 5/6 guy on a good day.

    Pitkanen isn’t worth 5+ and I’m sure he’ll demand (at least) that to stay in lovely Edm. No doubt he will command a 1st round pick plus…

    NYI’s 1st and Tambellini? Thats sounds about right (if Pitkanen signs long term with the lovable losers on long island). Maybe even their 3rd as well if we add some shit to the mix (Pouliot?)

    Staios? Maybe a 2nd rd pick (and yes it’s still worth doing).

    I don’t understand why Reasoner plays… this year IS a right off (has been for some time now). He is dead weight doing nothing more than preventing a young player from developing. Waive his ass.

    This year is all about development (and that’s all).

    You guys can dump on the rookies (or MacT for playing them) all you want but Reasoner, Stoll, Torres, Souray, Pitkanen, Staios, Moreau, Rollie and Fernando (yes, most of the so-called veteran ‘leadership’ on the team, have ALL shit the bed BIGTIME this year. Yes injuries have hurt bad but without that for an excuse – it’s the rookies that have been worth watching. Outside of a good first line – it’s all we have – rookies learning the game.

    Keep playing them (and Schremp/DeLauriers) and trade as many of the other so called 2nd and 3rd liners as you can.

    We need picks this year. Remember? WE ARE REBUILDING.
    It takes time and a whole lot of patience.

    and if Souray is going to have an injury plagued season – kinda nice to do it this year… when it literally doesn’t matter.

  11. toqueboy says:

    really tired of the same people ranting about our need to sign FAs every summer and then complaining about the cost when it fails…

    historically they under perform their pay…but everyone is going to be saying ‘what are we adding?’ come july 1…

    signing dudes over 30 in contact sports is rsky….almost stupid…..nfl, nba,nhl,mlb,etc…

    and for those saying souray is a bad signing….obviously forget the marleau, chara, blake, smyth, cloutier,etc signings….signing anyone over 30 for more than3 years at significant money, under the new CBA means that person should be an allstar….if fans stpped demanding drama, we wouldn’t have souray and lowe wouldn’t have a 4 year contract….

    if you demand drama…accept drama…

  12. godot10 says:

    For the record, I wouldn’t pay Pitkanen more than Hemsky. There are lots of good defensemen in the NHL who have signed long term in the $3.5-4.5 million range long term. Pitkanen has not demonstrated that he is worth more than that, and certainly, not with Chorney et al in the pipeline.

    I might sign Pitkanen to more than $5 million on a two-year deal, but on a long term deal, I would go no higher that $4.25.

    I don’t think Staios will be traded. I predict he becomes the third pairing mentor defenseman.

  13. Oilman says:

    If Pitkanen gets traded, it has to be for nothing less than a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd….he either doesn’t play next year or takes an RFA offer….no ones giving up 4 firsts for him based on this season. So it’s the three picks, or a 1st and a player that would be the “equivalent” of a second and third….throw in a 7th just to make sure we get 3 assetts;)

  14. heed says:

    i noticed in the game the other night that penner was taking the draws for our top line. the horcoff shoulder injury now provides the reason why.

    i really think that lowe is going to stand firm. a lot of people are pissed about the money the team is spending but it’s spread over a lot of contracts (the souray one does hurt but without that signing i’m sure someone would have burned down rexall). i figure they put all those contracts out there and threw them against the wall to see what sticks. by the looks of the effort we get on a nightly basis, not much.

    i say lowe stands pat. we can’t afford to lose staios but tarnstrom is a dead man walking (and playing for that matter…he’s been horrible as of late).

  15. Aaron says:

    There will be no deadline deals in Oil Country lest we tank and give Burke a pick in the lottery. That may happen anyway, but the optics of it all say we will not be doing any dealing.

  16. Vic Ferrari says:

    Dennis said:

    I can’t fucking believe that no one in the media took Lowe to task for this signing.

    I think that most of the reporters thought it was a good, if not great, signing at the time.

    I was out of town when the Souray was acquired, but I caught quite a bit of Stauffer’s show the day after, and the overwhelming majority of Oiler fans thought it was a great deal. The ‘Smyth or Souray’ issue was brought up and the latter won hands down. I would guess that, at the time, 90% of Oiler fans would have preferred Souray at the same money. And most rated him as one of the top D in the game.

    Joe Fan likes Lowe a lot. They liked his moves, because they agreed with them. The heartbreak at the loss of Nylander was downright bizarre. Maybe that’s partly because Stauffer likes these kinds of players too, I dunno.

    Expectations for this team were wildly high. I ran a poll on HF, and it was just nuts, you can find it there with a quick search.

    I was curious as to what would happen when the team inevitably struggled. I thought maybe Lowe would feel the wrath from fandom … but it looks like it’s the injury list and coaching staff that are taking the brunt of it. Go figure.

  17. Mr DeBakey says:

    People are trying to pin some of it on Lowe.

    A guy got onto Total BSports last night and blamed Lowe.

    Stauffer calmly pointed out that MacTavish has lots of input into trades & acquisitions.

  18. DBO says:

    The Souray signing while somewhat unnecessary, was in the summer a perceived solid move. It was a lot of money, and personally I would have sooner had them embrace the rebuilding, but Souray healthy has played well. He is what he is. Good on the PP and PK, and average to below average on even strength.

    As for Pitkanen, he’s played better then I thought he would. I guess it comes down to, if someone offered more then 5 million we say goodbye and take the 4 firsts. Heard a rumour he could be shipped to LA for Cammellari(?sp?) and a prospect, or even Cammellari and Preissing. Would we do that, cammellari and Preissing for Pitkanen? Not that i think LA would do it.

  19. mc79hockey says:

    The Souray signing while somewhat unnecessary, was in the summer a perceived solid move.

    It wasn’t by the vast majority of people posting here or on my own site.

    However, I’m going to start using the phrase “while somewhat unnecessary” whenever I deal with something ill-advised.

    “Rudy Giuliani’s decision to seek the Republican nomination, while somewhat unnecessary, was initially well received.”

  20. mc79hockey says:

    Stauffer calmly pointed out that MacTavish has lots of input into trades & acquisitions.

    The question is: who makes the final call? Say MacT does have lots of input – Lowe is the guy who gave him that input.

  21. DBO says:

    LOL. Happy to provide you with some entertainment. While most of the posters felt it wasn’t a good move, the “hockey people” mostly said it was a solid move. And the reason it was “somewhat unnecessary” is that this team was clearly not good enough to compete for the cup, or even a playoff spot. Souray on a good team where his strengths can be used, and his weaknesses hidden is a very valuable asset. on our team, he’s an expensive unnecessary addition.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I really haven’t changed my view:

    http://lowetide.blogspot.com/2007/07/5-grenades.html

  23. mc79hockey says:

    While most of the posters felt it wasn’t a good move, the “hockey people” mostly said it was a solid move.

    What hockey people? The ones who didn’t make him a comparable offer?

  24. Black Dog says:

    I remember sitting with Ty after a summer league game in June, I believe it was, and one of our teammates was talking about how Souray would be a great pickup for anybody. We both disagreed.

    Total desperation move related to the original Katz offer. When it came down I shit my pants.

    And every Habs’ fan I talked to after the signing was laughing – they were united in their thankfulness to Gainey for signing Markov and not signing Souray.

    Just a bad bad signing. Staples was babbling the other day about how he has been the guy who has carried the blueline.

    Not in this universe.

  25. DBO says:

    By hockey people (of which I am clearly not one)I mean the TV folk. Most of them said it was a good signing. Like i said, it’s not soething I felt we needed, but Lowe was determined to make a statement that people wanted to come here. KLowe should shoulder more of the blame for the off season moves. My issue with him is there seems to be no direction. At first we’re a “contender”, then we’re a rebuild, then we’re an in-between. If anaheim didn’t have our #1 pick, i think Lowe would have already moved a bunch of people, and shut both Horcoff and Souray down for the year to have surgery and recover for next year.

  26. mc79hockey says:

    By hockey people (of which I am clearly not one)I mean the TV folk.

    Ah. Other than their ability to offer some insight on what people within the NHL are actually thinking, I don’t tend to give their thoughts any more weight than I give the thoughts of the average fan. So yeah, the TV guys may have thought it was a good deal but that doesn’t mean anything to me.

  27. HBomb says:

    I hated the Souray signing the first minute I heard of it.

    I tried to warm up to it, and I haven’t minded the guy’s play for the most part. But he’s not healthy enough and isn’t worth 5.4 million. If this shit ends up costing us Pitkanen because we can’t afford him, I’ll be highly unimpressed.

    Oh, if only Lowe hadn’t signed Souray and simply brought back Hejda instead, while managing to make the Philly deal for Joni happen with Staios going and Smith staying….and he could have forgot about Garbagekov as well, while he was at it.

    Smith Hejda
    Gilbert Pitkanen
    Tarnstrom Greene/Smid

    I’d say we’d be way better off if that had panned out.

  28. heed says:

    hbomb. that’s the same defense we had last year minus staios and adding pitkanen. maybe an upgrade of sorts but that first pairing would be shredded on a nightly basis. smith plays less than 18 minutes a game and hejda’s season is starting to even out much like the blue jackets.

  29. HBomb says:

    heed: Salary-wise, we’d be better off, and Smith-Hejda as a pair are way more capable of the tough sledding than anything we’ve got going on right now.

    It’s an upgrade in my books because it’s cheaper and better.

  30. heed says:

    i’ll give you cheaper but in no way is it better.

  31. gary b says:

    Fassero retired last February, didn’t he?

    you know, i had forgotten he was only 8W – 6L (21 starts) in 1994. although he DID have an ERA under 3.00, and 199Ks. not too shabby for the 3rd guy in the rotation.

  32. Bruce says:

    Try 119 Ks. I couldn’t believe 199 in only 21 starts so had to check.

    In a full season Fassero topped out at 222 Ks in 1996, his last year as an Expo (15-11, 3.30). Over his long career he whiffed 7.3 per 9 IP, a pretty decent figure. Hell of a number 3 starter in his early 30s, and a pretty fine bullpen southpaw in his early 40s.

  33. Lowetide says:

    One thing I would like to know from baseball fans is if there is a new knuckleball guy. I remember when Charlie Hough was at the tail end of a nice bullpen with the Dodgers but he was bloody buried (the Dodgers were producing about three starters a year maybe 1971-77) until he found the trick pitch.

    Wakefield is in mid-career now, so some 29-year old failure in the minors will learn it and pitch for 21 seasons.

  34. Oilman says:

    LT…watch for two new Charlies…Haeger(White Sox), and Charlie Zink (Red Sox)….I think both are in their late 20′s, so they’ll hit their strides in the next 5 to 10 years.

  35. Bruce says:

    “Like some cult religion that barely survives, there has always been at least one but rarely more than five or six devotees throwing the knuckleball in the big leagues… Not only can’t pitchers control it, hitters can’t hit it, catchers can’t catch it, coaches can’t coach it, and most pitchers can’t learn it. The perfect pitch.”
    ― Ron Luciano, former AL umpire

    (He should have added umpires can’t call it)

    You’re right LT, Wakefield’s in mid-career, he’s just 41. Sooner or later some 30ish guy with a sore arm will emerge; as Luciano says, there’s always at least one.

    It seems appropriate that the pitch — which may be the closest thing to witchcraft in professional sports — was developed by none other than Eddie Cicotte of Chicago Black Sox infamy. For sure it’s a black art.

    “There are two theories on hitting a knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither of them works.”
    ― Charlie Lau, hitting coach

  36. gary b says:

    Is it just me, or were there WAY more ‘oddball’ pitchers in the 80′s – knuckleballers, submarine-ers (Dan Quisenberry, to name one)… i know there’s always a few guys with a quirky delivery…

  37. Lowetide says:

    Before everyone learned the split finger pitch, you had pitchers who threw palmballs, knucklers, screwballs, the Niekro’s alone must have had a dozen each.

    I remember Tekulve and Quisenberry the best, they were ridiculous after learning a trick pitch. And Mark Eichhorn? All of these may be spelled wrong btw.

    I was saddened when Quisenberry passed away, that Royals team had some bad damn luck (beginning with Howser).

  38. Oilman says:

    Remeber Pasquel Perez’s “Pasquel Pitch”?….I remember him winding up and throwing that 30mph junk to a power hitter one time (I think it was Ken Caminiti), whose eyes got all big, he pumped his lead foot about 4 times and then nearly came out of his shoes swinging through it….then you could read his lips saying “throw it again” to Perez….of course, he only threw it maybe once per game – but it was entertaining.

  39. Bruce says:

    The Pascual pitch was a variation of the original Eephus pitch, concocted by Rip Sewell of 1930s and 40s vintage. According to wikipedia, Rip’s Eephus pitch was taken deep only once, when Sewell threw two (!) of them to Ted Williams in the 1946 All-Star Game.

    Another variant was Expo icon Bill Lee’s Space Ball, a.k.a. the Leephus pitch.

  40. Oilman says:

    Sad thing about the Eephus pitch on Wikipedia – they say that they are clocked between 50 and 60 MPH…a few years ago at K Days, i tried the pitching booth – three picthes with the radar gun giving you the speed (Now, I played highshool ball right up until I was 17 and then played in some beer league stuff years later when I moved to Alberta – I had a strong arm from the outfield, and also played short and pitched a few times – at K days, I nearly threw out my shoulder and did not crack 60MPH…like I said, sad story. I had a buddy that attended a Dodgers camp on an invite – great ball player. He once hit 80mph on a radar, but he said he did it by running into the mound and throwing it as if he was throwing to home from the center field fence…he could never break 65 off the mound. The fact that these guys can “flip” the ball in at 60MPH, or guys like Wakefield can knuckle them in a 70mph impresses the hell out of me. Even more impressive is a little guy like Pedro hitting 95….these guys pitches start from their toes!

  41. Oilman says:

    Bruce – also according to Wikipedia, Williams says he took a run at the ball and was out of the box when he made contact – the homer should not have counted…none of the umpires called the foul on Williams. Apparantly, photos show that he stepped out….

  42. Dennis says:

    Oilman, I saw earlier you talked about the Stephenville Jets being your hometeam. I guess you mean because you’re from Winnipeg, right? It would be cool if we had another Newf here to go along with myself and Bruce.

    It’s also great to see some Expos talk. The thing I remember about Fassero is him coming out of nowhere to be money from the pen and then us converting him into a helluva starter. Also, and I think LT tells this story too, Jeff was the absolute shits the inning after he ran the bases so I think there’s a tale where he was told not to swing the bat but he did, wound up with a single and then scored all the way from 1B on an extra base hit.

    Finally, go check out Deadspin for their post on Pedro Guerrero. Not sure if the stories are true but they are funny nonetheless.

    Fuck, I miss the Expos

  43. Oilman says:

    Dennis – never been to Winnipeg in my life…born and raised in and around Stephenville.

  44. Bruce says:

    Thanks, Oilman. I think I’ve seen a video of that homer, the ball wasn’t even going to reach the plate so the Splendid Splinter came out to meet it. As I recall the ball went out on about the same arc it came in, a towering HR. According to suite101.com:

    The 1946 All-Star game was held in Boston’s Fenway Park. The game was special because it was the first time since 1942 that several great players who had gone off to fight in World War II, were back from military service. One of those players was Ted Williams, who had been a bomber pilot during the war. Williams came back to the Majors better than ever, and at the break he was leading the AL in batting (.343), home runs (20) and RBI (68).

    The Splendid Splinter homered in the fourth inning off Kirby Higbie. In the bottom of the eighth, National League manager Charlie Grimm brought in Rip Sewell. Sewell was famous for his eephus pitch, which traveled with a very slow, high arc that dropped right into the strike zone. Because of its slow speed and high trajectory, hitters often overswung at the pitch and either missed the ball altogether or made weak contact, often resulting in a dribbling ground ball. Prior to the 1946 MLB All-Star game, no one had ever hit a home run off the pitch. But in the eighth inning, Williams timed his swing perfectly and deposited Sewell’s offering into the center field stands, which sent the Boston faithful into a frenzy.

    Williams finished 4 for 4 and the American League won 14-3.

    It happened in the 8th inning of a blowout exhibition game, and Sewell apparently told the Ice Man he would throw the pitch a second time, and did. Under the circumstances — games used to be fun, remember? — I’m sure the ump turned a blind eye to any transgression by the hometown hero.

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