Perfect

As an Oiler fan, I’m thrilled to leave 2007. The promise of that beauty 2006 team vanished so quickly it defies description. I think it will take years to properly appreciate that 2006 spring team and the efforts of Fernando Pisani, Dwayne Roloson, Ales Hemsky and others.

The SCF final team proved a lot of things. The CBA and stronger Canadian dollar meant that the Oilers could compete for the Stanley if management played their cards right and the players delivered.

Since the Pronger trade, I think we can agree the decision making process of the organization has at times run at cross purposes. Signing Roloson, Penner and Souray to massive free agent contracts speaks to winning right away, while dealing off Pronger and Smyth for young prospects and unproven NHLers runs counter to winning right away.

As of this morning, the Oilers position in the standings reflects exactly the moves above: they are close to the basement in the standings, which can happen when you are developing young players. They are also 7 points out of the playoffs, which a veteran team can claw back in a month or less if they get on a roll and avoid injuries.

I think Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish can save this season. I think they should. I’m just a fan but there are a few ideas worth discussing:

  1. Play Garon until he gives you a reason not to play him.
  2. Give Gagner a few games in the pressbox before bringing him back as a PP specialist and 4line guy. Play him more in home games and spot him in away games.
  3. When Hemsky gets back, give major minutes to Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky. Move that line up this list.
  4. Replace Stortini with a veteran RW from the Mike Johnson tree. A top 4RW of Hemsky, Brodziak, Pisani and a veteran two-way player is a much better option for the coach when Nilsson struggles or when an injury happens.
  5. Move Stoll down to the 4line and give him pressbox time when Gagner is effective. I understand he makes 2M large but he can’t play right now. A top 4C of Horcoff, Cogliano Reasoner and a combination of Gagner/Stoll can’t be worse than what we’re seeing now.
  6. On LW, if Torres is gone for the year then it’s time to cash in someone to get a more proven performer. If Torres is coming back, Penner and Moreau should do all of the heavy lifting with Nilsson and perhaps Thoresen or Gagner options in the short term against the soft parade.
  7. To make room for the incoming RW from the Mike Johnson tree, and the possibility of a trade for a veteran LW, see if there is interest in several players making over 1 million dollars and not delivering to their cap number. These may include Geoff Sanderson, Robert Nilsson, Jarrett Stoll, Dwayne Roloson. If not, then consider buying out the rest of the Stoll contract.
  8. Stop playing Grebeshkov and Smid ahead of Tarnstrom.
  9. It sounds like Pitkanen should be back soon. A top 4 of Pitkanen-Gilbert, Souray-Staios may be the best option moving forward despite Souray’s mobility and recognition problems.
  10. If another team offers a more veteran defender for Smid or Grebeshkov, consider it. You can’t develop this many kids on the blueline in one or two seasons anyway.
  11. The powerplay is predictable and no one is moving their feet. In my living room in St. Albert I can tell what you’re going to do when Stoll and Souray are manning the PP point, so it’s fairly certain another NHL team has been tipped too. Perhaps use that as a decoy and work something down low.
  12. Stop calling out Horcoff. Jesus.

I understand the “stay the course” group and if this team is still the suck at the deadline then trading Roloson, Staios and others is still an option. Hell the Oilers only have one draft pick in the deep 2008 edition that has any worth, so I’m hoping a few picks are added.

However, bringing in a Mike Johnson for the next 20 games or so to grab Gagner’s or Nilsson’s minutes doesn’t mean you are abandoning the rebuild. It just means you’re giving the coach and the veterans a chance to save their sanity and a bit of pride. Right now it’s a train wreck.

If you listen to Craig MacTavish’s postgame comments last night you can hear the frustration in his voice. At some point don’t you have to give him more horses? He endured a season of being undermanned last season and this year it’s more of the same.

Are we going to have another Edmonton Journal article this summer where Kevin Lowe says he tried and couldn’t get anything done? Why didn’t Mike Johnson get claimed by Edmonton on waivers? Couldn’t they have added Johnson and released another player? I’m not talking about Hossa.

Some may argue the Oilers aren’t good enough even with an added Mike Johnson and or Radek Dvorak. I would argue they aren’t THAT bad, they’re not losing 5-1 every night. They lost last night’s game 4-2 (on an empty net goal) and previous losses were by scores of 5-4, 2-1, 3-2, 3-1 and 2-1, and each of those games featured rookie mistakes like the one Sam Gagner made against the halfboards with Rick Nash.

Add a veteran or two. For 20 games.

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26 Responses to "Perfect"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Good post LT but I have pretty well given up the ghost on Lowe doing anything of value this year. We’re looking at two wasted years, imo.

    The real disappointment is that neither last season or this should have been such a mess. Just as Lowe deserved all of the credit he got for his moves leading up to the SCF so does he deserve to get blamed fully for this mess.

    But as RiversQ commented the four year extension shows that Lowe can do no wrong in management’s eyes.

    What frightens me most is that if injuries or lack of progress derail some of these guys – Hemsky, Gagner, Cogliano, Pitkanen, Gilbert and so on – then this whole disaster will be for naught. There seems to be this thought that this team is guaranteed to be very good in a year or two based on some nice flashes now. No guarantees and when Horcoff walks in ’09 (of course meaning that he is not a “true Oiler” in the eyes of the faithful) this team will be set back again.

    I’ve lost the faith and that says a lot. Runs counter to my nature. But I’m tired of this shitshow and all of those who think that its just great. If Lowe had used his head it never had to come to this.

  2. mc79hockey says:

    I don’t think that they’re near good enough to pull this off LT. The league is tight these days and the Oilers are just not close to being good enough.

    7 points out doesn’t quite capture it, IMO. Every single one of the five teams between the Oilers and eighth has 1-3 games in hand. Anaheim, currently in eighth, just added someone who’s going to make a hell of a lot more difference than Radek Dvorak or Mike Johnson.

    This is a wasted year, brought to you by an organization sans plan.

  3. Lowetide says:

    MC79: What’s to lose? The Oilers don’t own any of their first three picks, none of the “question mark kids” is really emerging here (I don’t believe Cogliano, Gilbert and Gagner are ?’s) and frankly even if it’s throwing the coach a lifeline there’s no real sin in getting two veteran forwards to show Gagner the way a little.

  4. Black Dog says:

    Its not so much “what’s to lose” LT – there is nothing to lose – I just don’t think Lowe will do anything.

  5. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: Then I don’t want to hear one damn word this summer about trying to get things done from Lowe. There’s a need and there’s a window, and this 50-player cap and the money are considerations but the job of the GM is to solve those problems and move the roster forward.

    Surely to God someone wants to make a deal.

  6. RiversQ says:

    Lowetide said…

    Surely to God someone wants to make a deal.

    I’m sure there is a deal to be made out there. I highly doubt there’s one of consequence that would help this season.

    The Oilers have to make deals for next year and the year after at this point. Clear out some cap space and clear out prospects that aren’t in your plans. In return you’re looking for more picks and prospects.

  7. Black Dog says:

    Agreed on all points LT but Lowe has seemed paralyzed both last season and this. He seems content to see how things play themselves out, “how this group will do”.

    The result was that last season was lost and while this team isn’t a threat to playoff the failure to improve obvious deficiencies again doesn’t sit well with me.

    On top of Lowe’s failures there is the strange decision making regarding Tarnstrom and the absolute disaster (once again) that is the PP.

    Maybe I’m just grumpy because my New Year’s Eve featured a couple of episodes of John and Kate Plus Eight rather then a night of debauchery but its just damn discouraging.

    I don’t know if the drinking can kill the pain. :)

  8. toqueboy says:

    every year there are a couple of teams that go on an insane unexpected run after the all star break. there are as many teams that go in the tank. We’re further behind than I’d like, but it’s not impossible, hopefully.

    A few problems that have to be fixed:
    1) stoll’s +/-. i believe that stoll will finish 4th in team scoring and if he can manage to do that and get close to even…the oilers are a much improved team in the second half. this doesn’t mean that he has to become a world beater…just a little better…i hope that moreau will provide some good leadership for stoll.

    2) goalie. as much as we need to play roli to give him any trade value, the team plays better in front of garon and he steals one extra shot a game. the stats are very clear. accept that roli is a backup and ignore his $.

    3) it doesn’t look like we’ll have a 40 point d man this year. this speak volumes about our PP — again.

    4) shut down line! we need a shutdown line…i’m suggesting moreau – stoll – pisani. play them big minutes.

    5) let kids watch more games from the stands as positive development. since brodziak’s great start, he’s something like -18…he is easy to “see good” but his stats read a little differently. thoresen can be used more efficiently with those minutes.

    6) relax! even when we had teams with hallowed oilers like Smith, Weight and Smyth we needed miracle runs to sneak into 8th. it’s not like the oiler’s have a recent track record of being on top.

    7) keep getting points. as much as we’ve “lost” games recently, this bunch of young guys has also managed to get points in a lot of games i didn’t expect them to. Maybe we’ve got some gamers and winners in the room, with this bunch and they’ll learn to close some of these out?

    8) pray that lowe learns to use the waiver wire…bryzgalov/garon and a waived roli and a johnson would sit nice with me…samsonov for another half year on re-entry and send nillson back down? a fighter, even?

  9. PunjabiOil says:

    Don’t give Lowe any ideas LT.

    By veteran, Kevin Lowe is probably thinking of someone of the Petr Nedved variety.

  10. Pat H says:

    When I see guys like LT and BD this sombre, it tells me something is REALLY wrong.

    One thing I’ve been mulling a bit lately is the old “other GM’s won’t do business with Lowe” conspiracy theory. You know, the one that was trumpeted a bit in the wake of the RFA offer sheets. I’ll admit that I thought it was worth considering, though I was hesitant to put too much stock in it (because the counterargument makes too much sense: a team is not going to avoid dealing with Lowe out of spite when it has an opportunity to improve its own team).

    Still, while I’m maybe being dumb to put much stock into it, I have to confess that this Hockey News article made me wonder whether this aspect of things has a little more legs than we thought (btw, any bets on whether the ‘one NHL agent’ quoted is from Edmonton?)

    I dunno, I suppose one of the biggest considerations could just be that Lowe has nothing to offer other teams. But I wonder…has he pissed off other GM’s more than we think?

  11. PunjabiOil says:

    path – time will tell. Keep in mind though, there hasn’t been any trade of substance this year.

    That’s expected under the cap system.

  12. Bank Shot says:

    By veteran, Kevin Lowe is probably thinking of someone of the Petr Nedved variety.

    Who is going to give up a veteran worth having?

    Pretty much the only other teams out of the playoff race are the Kings, Lightnings, and Capitals. The Kings are probably going to be wanting picks and prospects, and their vets have big cap hits. Can the Oilers even fit them?

    The Caps are basically in the same position as the Oilers with no vets, and Tampa is dry pickings outside their starting five.

    Any team still in the playoff race isn’t going to give up a quality vet for something that doesn’t help them now.

    The second question is whether a bottom six forward/ journeyman D-man ala Keith Carney is even going to make a difference at all.

    I think the Oiler’s biggest needs are top six forwards who can get shots, improve the PP and keep the puck in the other team’s end for about half the game. I don’t see how they can aquire anything like that without creating another hole.

  13. Lowetide says:

    I think cracks are forming in other towns, Bank Shot. Lots of weird healthy scratches and benchings going on currently which usually means the coaches are running out of ideas.

    There are also several nice players in the AHL waiting for their teams to clear spots (LA has a college kid running away with the scoring race for instance) and a kid like Okposo might get a look from the Islanders right after the WJC’s.

    Lots shaking from the trees in the next week imo.

  14. Pat H says:

    //I think cracks are forming in other towns, Bank Shot. Lots of weird healthy scratches and benchings going on currently which usually means the coaches are running out of ideas.//

    Interesting observation. On a related note, I wonder if NYI has re-inserted Bergeron the past few games just to showcase him? Apparently their PP was dead with him out of the lineup, but we also know of the blow up he had with one of the asst. coaches a few weeks back, so I’m not sure what’s going on there. I think he has 4 points in the last 2 games. IF they’re showcasing him, then they can’t be to upset about his performance since re-inserting him.

  15. Showerhead says:

    As far as battle plans go LT, A-freaking-men. As far as breathholding goes, I’m not exactly on board for that. Great, great post.

  16. Dennis says:

    Anyone else picture a certain someone typing with one hand while taking in the latest bit of Lain’s wisdom only to miss a stroke once they read about Stoll being bought out?

    I’ll just go over it point by point:

    1: For sure. I was very disappointed to see Roli starting his second game in a row. He’s done and let’s ride Garon and see how much we can start trusting him come ’09.

    2: The guys who said Gagner shouldn’t have made the team look to be right. You absolutely can’t hide the kid on the road and he’s killing us in the goal differential dept. Which of course is what wins games. I’ve never seen the Oilers sacrifice so much for a guy this year. Let’s hope he appreciates it.

    3: Yeah, let’s ride that line.

    4: Get rid of Zach. Trade isn’t an option unless Lowe wants to get schooled again.

    5: I’m really not sure what you can do with 16. I don’t know if you can get much more from him by benching him, he can’t score enough to warrant soft min and you can’t play him in a shutdown. Ultra disappointing season.

    6: Trade isn’t an option unless Lowe wants to get schooled again.

    7: Trade isn’t an option unless Lowe wants to get schooled again.

    8: It’s nice to believe this will happen but the Oilers are gonna let Smid take the ship right into the fucking iceberg.

    9: Yep, that’s pretty much all we have. You can hope that one of 5, 2 or 23 can step up and into top four EV min but it’s damn unlikely.

    10: Smid, iceberg, staying on course. You make a lot of sense when you say you can only break in so many rookies but when’s the last time Lowe made sense?

    11: If a person’s still fat at age 40, it’s unlikely they’ll change. How many years, outside of the one Pronger was here, does our PP have to suck before we go into each and every season and just realize it won’t work no fucking matter what>

    12: Yeah, not sure what was going on there. Well, then again, maybe I do. Instead of MacT basically saying, “you know what, we need something more out of Gagner than stupid decisions and bad penalties but what the fuck else am I going to do with the roster Kevin’s given me”, it’s easier to call out a vet and try and keep the dogs off the real scent.

    BD nailed it early on here. For as much as you can like the core going forward, what’s 10′s status gonna be by the time when and or if all the kids are ready to carry some mail? Horc might have priced himself out of our cap by then, ie and that’s even if we’re still spending to the max, and if that’s the case, who on this squad could handle Horc’s current role?

    Looking down the line, Horc’s next contract and Souray’s current contract are the biggest worries. We could also throw Garon in there and the netminding because I have a nagging suspicion that Garon won’t ever be able to ascend to “The Man” status. Then again, maybe he’s not doing better this year because he’s playing behind so many kids. Anyway, we shall see about that.

  17. Bank Shot says:

    I’m really not sure what you can do with 16. I don’t know if you can get much more from him by benching him, he can’t score enough to warrant soft min and you can’t play him in a shutdown. Ultra disappointing season

    If you panned Stoll in 05-06 for getting the soft minutes and not doing enough with them, then don’t you have to cut him some slack in 07-08 for getting the shit end of the stick?

    The last time Vic checked to see who was out for all the defensive draws it was Stoll way out in the lead for centers. Stoll also is near the top of the team in Fenwick and Corsi numbers despite playing tough minutes for a stretch with the boat anchor that is Stortini(who is team worst).

    His shooting percentage is just half his career average so he’ll inevitably be drawn back up to around .09 rather then .048. I doubt its because he gets less PP time either. Bombs from the point don’t exactly pad the shooting % numbers.

    Stoll had 1 point and went -7 in his first ten games. In his last 29 he’s had 14 points and went -6.

    I don’t think Stoll has been good this year, but I don’t know why these kinds of numbers get Reasoner and Staios sympathy, and they get Stoll ran out of town.

  18. RiversQ says:

    Bank Shot said…

    If you panned Stoll in 05-06 for getting the soft minutes and not doing enough with them, then don’t you have to cut him some slack in 07-08 for getting the shit end of the stick?

    I don’t know. The common thread here is “not doing enough with them” regardless of the minutes. That seems to be the problem.

    I think the problem is more to do with our expectations. If you start to look at Stoll like a top 9 forward instead of a top six, then does he look that bad? (forgetting his first few games of course) I think the days of “Stoll’s 2nd line centre who can play tough minutes and is future captain material” is well out the window here. If we set the bar lower for Stoll, I don’t think you can be that disappointed (again, minus the first 10-15 games).

  19. Asiaoil says:

    Although I was optimistic in the pre-season – I also believed that Lowe would probably do NOTHING to address team needs this season until it was far too late. It was clear that Conkanen was dead by Xmas 05, clear that the defense was full of holes last year, and clear this fall that we needed a couple of bigger defensively sound veteran forwards in addition to Moreau and Pisani. None of this required a super-computer or Scotty Bowman’s eyes – it was frack’in obvious. Yet every year nothing happens – and eventually you have to question this outfit’s commitment to success in any area outside of the bank balance.

    This mgmt team defies explanation or logic as you watch them put kids into situations where you can guarantee failure night after night. I really wish someone in the butt-licking EDM press would ask why this team continues to play Gagner, Cogliano, Grebeshkov and Smid as they do when clearly this will only lead to losses that would not happen if there were decent veterans playing in their place. The Penner signing made the only reasonable explanation (sucking to get a good draft pick) a total non-starter – so what’s the reason?

    But we’ve been down this road before – and the Lowe plan is simply no plan at all. Rocketing back and forth between win-now and and win later this past summer in the free agent market. Going into every season with obvious holes and not doing anything to address gaps. Even the run in 2006 almost never happened because Lowe pissed around so long when it became obvious that the goalie situation wasn’t working.

    But the guy is going nowhere – and as I said last summer – we are the new Chicago Blackhawks. A team run into the ground by a long string of bad decisions – but no one in mgmt pays the price because the bank account is happy every year. it’s getting awfully hard to care about this bunch………

  20. Tyler says:

    But the guy is going nowhere – and as I said last summer – we are the new Chicago Blackhawks. A team run into the ground by a long string of bad decisions – but no one in mgmt pays the price because the bank account is happy every year. it’s getting awfully hard to care about this bunch………

    What happened to the laughter AO? What happened to the laughter?

  21. godot10 says:

    //One thing I’ve been mulling a bit lately is the old “other GM’s won’t do business with Lowe” conspiracy theory.//

    Nobody is trading with anybody pretty much.

  22. Pat H says:

    godot10:

    You’re right, and PunjabiOil mentioned the same thing. I guess I’m just grasping at straws to explain why absolutely zilch has been done. Nothing even minor. Yeesh, this organization just baffles me.

  23. Bruce says:

    The cap era seems to have largely ended the in-season trade as a way to fix what ails you. It seems there’s a window for haves trading with have-nots around the trade deadline but the Oilers will be beyond help by then if they aren’t already, so won’t be trading for present value, that’s for sure.

    Another thing that has changed in the cap era is the pool of unsigned UFAs, of which the oft-mentioned Mike Johnson was one for awhile. Seeing Cujo strutting his stuff in the Spengler Cup reminds me there are a few still available. The one that springs to mind is Jason Allison, now 1.5 years removed from his last action but still just 32. Allison’s an accomplished power play guy, an extreme weakness on the present club. If he’s still interested, maybe he would take $750 K prorated for the second half and slide under the cap?

    Signing a guy of Allison’s experience and offensive game would change the depth chart at centre, where Stoll and Reasoner look to me a lot more like 3rd and 4th line guys than the 2-3 role they are currently playing. And since Gagner and Cogliano are on the learning curve anyway, surely it wouldn’t hurt to have them learning from a guy who averaged a point-per-game from 1997-2006.

    Any other UFAs out there who might help fix one of the Oiler weak spots?

  24. Ribs says:

    With the trade deadline coming into view I’ve made a list of forwards that I think Lowe should be putting feelers out for. Most are not big name players and most are under 30 years of age. I don’t believe Lowe has many tangible assets at this point and crap for crap trades are most likely to happen in my estimation. Lowe could still end up on top if he plays his cards right.

    First, some RFA’s. With salary cap situations and contract holdouts that are likely to happen now due to the power of offer sheets, RFA’s that you wouldn’t think are available may in fact be just that.

    Chuck Kobasew: Is making $1.2M this season.
    +: Scoring goals on a forward-shallow team this year and has some untapped potential. Plays Right Wing.
    -: Used to be a Flame…eeeewww…

    Trade: Boston could use some quantity for quality these days. Could happen.

    M.P. Bouchard: Making $2.6M this season.
    +: Oilers wouldn’t have to worry about him scoring every time Minnesota comes to town. Has played under a coach who has helped develop his overall game. Elusive and quick with the puck.
    -: Still working on his defensive game. Not very tough on the puck and could be Lupulized in Edmonton. Making money that would require some kind of salary dump somewhere.

    Trade: Minnesota not likely to trade him as he is one of their best players these days. They also grow their own vegetables for the most part. He’s been signed to one year contracts twice by this club. Could he want more than Minny has to offer next season?

    Thomas Plekanec: Making $1.4M this season, $1.8M the next. RFA 09/10.
    +: Great defensively and can score goals as well (On pace for 25G this season).
    -: Not the toughest of players and would need some linemates to reach his highest potential. Small.

    Trade: He’s not a true RFA as he is signed through next year, but he could become available if he does not fit into Gaineys plans for the future. Montreal suffers from some of the same lackings as Edmonton this year and a trade between the two teams could be fruitless for both ends.

    Kyle Chipchura: Making $0.86M this year.
    +: Two way center who brings size and grit. leadership qualities. Alberta grown.
    -: Doesn’t put up much for offense.

    Trade: MacT likes to give 3rd/4th liners more icetime if they are impressing him. He could be a better fit for this than say, JF Jacques. Again, Gainey would need a good reason to make a trade.

    Jordin Tootoo: Making $0.7M this season.
    +: Energizer Bunny personified. likes to hit and get under opponents skin. Can put up a few points with limited ice time. MacT would either love this guy or hate him.
    -: Has been known to take some dirty hits and plays an unpolished game overall.

    Trade: Anything that comes out of Nashville is up for grabs it seems. This trade would depend upon Lowe and MacTavish’s feelings about Tootoo and how well he would fit into the lineup.

    Marcel Hossa: Making $0.78M this season.
    +: Has the size to win battles. Can play either wing. Could he gel with Hemsky? May help bring brother Marian to town. Some untapped potential.
    -: Inconsistent play at times and needs to work on his defensive play (He has been a + player so far though). Hasn’t put up fantastic numbers so far in the NHL.

    Trade: Euros are hard to gauge when it comes to paycheques. Most aren’t as loyal as our beloved Hemmer is. Hossa could command a raise that Sather could laugh at and Lowe might feel the same way about it. Lowe was ready to overpay Nylander….
    Sather facing cap issues may opt to trade some of his mid-level talent.

    Ryan Callahan: Making $0.57M this season and $0.6M the next. Not a true RFA.
    +: Hardworking forward with untapped offensive potential. Plays a respectable game and has been a difference maker in games.
    -: Smallish and could use some strengthening. Plays hard but is somewhat inconsistent in his offensive efforts. Hasn’t found his niche yet.

    Trade: Hasn’t played many NHL games yet and could be getting an extension depending on his play this year and next. Again, Sather would need a reason to move him.

    Antoin Vermette: Making $1.075M this season.
    +: Can play any forward position effectively and has some offensive flair. Skates well and can score goals.
    -: May be sheltered by Heatley and Spezza at the moment. Takes the occasional night off. Has yet to prove he deserves top line minutes.

    Trade: Depends on Ottawa’s cap room and what players they choose to sign long-term. An injury in the lineup before the deadline could force a move. Probably won’t be available.

    Patrick Eaves: Making $0.942M this season.
    +: Known for his skating and forechecking skills. Plays a two way game and can score goals.
    -: Needs some strengthening and is pretty raw in his overall game. Probably hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves in Ottawa.

    Trade: Same as Vermette.

    Matt Stajan: Making $0.95M this season.
    +: Has good overall abilities. Has shown some offensive flair.
    -: Needs strengthening. Not projected to be anything too special.

    Trade: It’s Toronto, they’ll probably sign him to an $8M/yr deal or something equally as crazy. Who knows.

    Daniel Carcillo: Making$0.525M this season.
    +: Coming into his own as one of the best agitators out there. Hits hard and skates hard. Has some offensive potential to go along with his dirty-nose style of play.
    -: Has been known to go overboard with his agitating and can take bad penalties. Needs to work on overall game.

    Trade: he’s been human dynamite for Phoenix and they are unlikely to trade him…But you never know with those guys. As with Tootoo, MacT would likely have love/hate relationship with Carcillo.

    I’ve made a list of UFA’s to ponder over as well that I’ll have to post later.

  25. Bruce says:

    Nice list, ribs, though much of it is probably wishful thinking (as you said, but the Oilers wouldn’t be trading for all of these guys in any event. Plekanec — I don’t think so; M.Hossa the Lesser — careful what you wish for.

    I like Stajan, he’s been a plus player every year in Toronto which is no mean feat. During the lockout I went to an Edmonton Roadrunners-St. John’s Maple Leafs game (reasoning that it would be the only chance in my life to see any kind of game between my two home towns!), and while the likes of Tony Selmalainen and Kyle Wellwood looked flashy, by the second period I said to my buddy “There’s two sure-fire NHLers in this game, Stoll and Stajan”. I’ve seen nothing since to make me change my mind, although Stoll’s concussions seem to have seriously changed his.

    But I remember Lowe holding out for Steen when the Leafs offered Kaberle and X for Pronger; wasn’t Stajan the young forward who JFJ was (rumoured to be) offering? Lowe didn’t seem to interested in him then, more’s the pity. (Imagine Kaberle in Smid’s spot, and no money for Souray; and imagine the Eternal Sunshine of never having been exposed to Lupul … tho’ I guess you’ll have to imagine no Pitkanen while you’re at it)

  26. Asiaoil says:

    I respect your analysis for the most part MC – but you are being delusional if you think you can predict the future team sport results based on short-term on-ice historical data without any reference to injuries, management decisions and all the rest of the stuff that goes into a season. That’s what keeps me chuckling regularly about your stuff……the pure naive arrogance that allows you to think that you can run a few simplistic stats (and they are simplistic) and predict the future. Got any predictions for next years hurricane season based on the weather in EDM this week?

    Look anyone who isnt more interested in childish games can see that the predictive capacity of simple stats issue is very different than being concerned about a GM thrashing about year after year which is what I was actually talking about. But you seem to have taken some wierd stalker-like interest in my posts these days – it’s getting creepy.

    But back to my point….the Oilers summer strategy made no sense in either the short-term or the long-term. The willingness to leave obvious holes unfilled costs the team wins year after year. Playing rookies in situations that hurt team performance when a low cost generic vet would actually produce wins seems counter-productive. You seem to forget that I was pretty pissed off in Septemeber when it became obvious that Lowe was not going to address the lack of veteran forward depth – and that was before Pisani’s situation was leaked.

    With the exception of 05-06 where Lowe made a few moves that looked astute – he’s proven to be a pretty bad GM. He has a small area of proven capabilty in evaluating dmen – but other than that he seems to be out of his depth and is only around because of his connection to the 80s. This team has the potential to win a few races – but not when the GM doesn’t seem to care if the car is sent to the starting line with only 3 wheels and the coach is forced to play young guys in roles that they are clearly are not even remotely ready for.

    So IMHO we are the new Blackhawks – a team with history, some talent and potential that’s being managed into the ground by guys who are in over their head – and todays news about the Katz deal falling through only re-inforces that. The revenues and franchise value keep going up every year – and that seems to be the stat the EIG is most concerned about. I guess they really dont give a damn what Lowe does with the on-ice product as long as the bottom line continues to improve…….which sure sounds like the Blackhawks to me.

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