Shooter

In 1974-75, Bobby Orr led the NHL in shots (384). He was on a team that boasted four players over 200 shots (Esposito-347, Gregg Sheppard-249, Carol Vadnais-256).

Last year, Alexander Ovechkin led the league in shots (392) with only Alexander Semin over 200 (243). In 06-07 there were 73 players over 200 shots in the NHL, or 2.4 per team. The Oilers had Petr Sykora (66th overall, 206 shots) among the 73 and no other (although Ryan Smyth ended up with 203 with EDM and NYI).

This year it looks like the league will have another 80 or so shooters who eclipse the 200 shot mark. Edmonton’s Dustin Penner (157) should make it to 200 and Jarret Stoll (142 and coming on) also has a chance.

Last night in a PPV game (my third in a row, I’m now at a 2-4 territory and zero wins for my money on the season) Kevin Lowe said the Oilers needed a scoring winger and some grit. He also mentioned a possible impact player that everyone believes to be Brad Richards.

If the Oilers need a shooter, then shouldn’t they just go look at the list of people who do that and see if anyone is available? Too simple? Here’s the top 11 shooters in the NHL based on shots per game:

  1. Aexander Ovechkin 5.4
  2. Henrik Zetterberg 4.9
  3. Jason Blake 4.2
  4. Olli Jokinen 4.2
  5. Jarome Iginla 4.1
  6. Vincent Lecavalier 3.9
  7. Brendan Shanahan 3.9
  8. Marian Hossa 3.9
  9. Rick Nash 3.8
  10. Ilya Kovalchuk 3.7
  11. Brad Richards 3.7

Now, is there anyone in there who might be available to the Oilers at the deadline? In the summer? By the way, Jason Blake’s shooting percentage is also 4.2 so if you’re in need of more reasons for Toronto’s season mailing yourself a shooter with that kind of luck should be added to the list.

What about the next 10?

  1. Brian Rolston 3.6
  2. Patrick Elias 3.5
  3. Daniel Alfredsson 3.4
  4. Radim Vrbata 3.4
  5. Marian Gaborik 3.4
  6. Nikolai Zherdev 3.4
  7. Mikael Samuelsson 3.4
  8. Mats Sundin 3.4
  9. Pavel Datsyk 3.3
  10. Zach Parise 3.3
  11. Evgeni Malkin 3.3
  12. Scott Gomez 3.3

Phaneuf is also at 3.3 which is an impressive number for a modern Dman (Orr was 4.8 btw for 74-75). Anyone on this page? Well Brian Rolston is UFA but the odds of him signing here for market value are not great based on past experience. A couple of those names (Zherdev, Vrbata) may have been available one year ago but their emergence takes them off the market.

There are no home grown snipers bubbling under and there are no obvious choices among the leagues most prominent shooters. The Oilers are going to have to identify an undervalued shooter and then they’re going to need to give up something to get him. And then they’re going to need to put him with Horcoff and Hemsky or Penner and Gagner in order to get the most out of him. Which probably means that Raffi Torres is heading out of town this summer.

For the record, here are the shots-per-game leaders on the Edmonton Oilers this season:

  1. Raffi Torres 2.7
  2. Sheldon Souray 2.7
  3. Dustin Penner 2.5
  4. Ales Hemsky 2.4
  5. Jarret Stoll 2.3
  6. Shawn Horcoff 2.2
  7. Ethan Moreau 2.2
  8. Joni Pitkanen 1.6
  9. Kyle Brodziak 1.5
  10. Sam Gagner 1.4
  11. Robert Nilsson 1.4
  12. Fernando Pisani 1.4

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63 Responses to "Shooter"

  1. DBO says:

    i guess if we we want impact the Florida captain seems to be a great fit, although it means moving gagner to wing. But he’s a consistent 35 plus goal scorer, is 28, and signed for 2 more years at a reasonable (when compared to Richards) cap hit of $5.25. On Sirius CBC hockey Night in Canada daily show they talked bout Florida if they move Jokinen wanting young players back. CouldLowe finally put together a package or our young players to make it happen? Would we part with Cogs, Chorney, Schremp and Anaheim’s first for Jokinen?

  2. Matt says:

    It’s going to be wonderful (and needless to say, hilarious) when the Leaves “manage to dump Blake’s contract”, and then the luck turns back around next season and he pots 40-ish again. Good, good times.

  3. Andy Grabia says:

    Barnes dumps pretty heavy on that Richards idea today. First time I’ve ever seen the track record of this regime in the papers , too.

  4. doritogrande says:

    Would Jeff Carter count as an impact player? I’d shell out some big-time prospects to get his services, and weren’t they intersted in Stoll earlier this year? Stoll, Chorney and the Anaheim Pick would seem like a worthwhile investment.

  5. GorillazXL says:

    Ideally the Oilers should trade Torres, Stoll and Roloson for Frolov. a) You get your shooter
    b) You get some size

    LA gets a shut down center, a good mentoring goalie for Bernier, and a LW who hits and shoots. For me Torres is still a good player, he’s just needs a serious change of scenery, I think he’s always under the impression he’s being criticized by the fans — even when he’s playing well.

    GXL

  6. Vic Ferrari says:

    I really wish that the Oilers would stop looking for the magic key that will unleash the power of the team. Apparently adding a shooting winger is the new solution.

    I’d rather they just tried to add players that create more chances than they give back the other way. And that are a good bet to outperform their salaries. And try to move out some of the guys that don’t.

    Lowe seems to have a knack for finding useful defensemen at bargain rates. Recently Hejda and Tjarnqvist are evidence of that, I actually preferred the latter before injuries started taking their toll on him last season.

    Yet we’ve seen young defenders getting marched out there to learn on the job, players who, if they are blessed with good health, will be far better NHL players a decade from now. And then they’ll probably still be at a similar salary, relatively speaking.

    Up front it’s the shiny dimes that seem to be fascinating Oiler management lately. And some scratched up quarters are really needed here.

    Riversq wrote elsewhere that he hopes that the new ownership will have Lowe carry on with the youth movement. Give the young players that are a part of the future a chance to gain experience in all situations. And then get a high draft pick next season.

    Sensibly, he’s probably right. The thought of it makes me cringe though.

  7. godot10 says:

    Lupul is a shooter. Look how good that worked out.

    If Buffalo loses Campbell, offer Chorney plus for Stafford in the off-season?

  8. Lowetide says:

    godot10: Chorney is an unproven talent who hasn’t turned pro. There’s no way his value is such that he could represent the key component of a deal for someone like Stafford and also no way the Sabres (or anyone) would look at his as a legit top 4 option in the NHL next season.

    Vic: Yeah, I hear you but I’ve given up on Lowe. If he hasn’t said “we need to add NHL players” by now well then he’s clearly decided to go down with the ship and build for a Tavares future.

    The Barnes article was pretty close to how I feel to be honest, the Oilers need to make a change if this doesn’t go well in the fall/winter. The old ownership group could have gassed Lowe this summer but Katz would probaby have a hard time getting rid of Lowe right away.

    Of course, they can always send Lowe upstairs and bring in MacT or someone else as GM this summer.

  9. Bruce says:

    Kevin Lowe … mentioned a possible impact player that everyone believes to be Brad Richards.

    BR is just the sort of shiny bauble that would interest Lowe, and he frankly scares the shit out of me. I spent a couple hours on Desjardins’ outstanding Behind the Net site researching his horrible season earlier this week; unfortunately by the time I posted my findings in the “tag-you’re-it” Oilogosphere, the discussion had moved on to other threads. While the discussion is certainly relevant in light of subsequent developments (BR put on the market, Lowe expressing interest) rather than re-post my Richards rant and perhaps breach blog etiquette (??) I will simply refer anybody interested to the very bottom post under “Cammelleri?” (sic), already filed under “Older Posts”; and a second BR post more specific to the current topic of shooting percentage (and Corsi number), the very bottom post (sigh) under “Sam Gagner” below.

    Besides the obvious negatives – biggest cap hit in the league, biggest MINUS in the league – Richards’ on-ice vs. off-ice rates in Tampa tell quite a tale. Given he’s on the ice about 40% of the time and plays a lot in all three situations this is surely an excellent statistical sample.

    5v5 ON = +2.19/-3.59 = -1.40 /60
    5v5 OFF = +2.70/-2.66 = +0.03/60

    (QUALCOMP +0.06; QUALTEAM +0.05, so pretty much a wash)

    5v4 ON = +6.49/-0.84 = +5.65/60
    5v4 OFF = +4.04/-0.00 = +4.04/60

    4v5 ON = +0.87/-8.70 = -7.83/60
    4v5 OFF = +1.09/-4.38 = -3.28/60

    Lumping both special teams together, if you imagine a game consisting of 30 minutes of 5v4 and the other half 4v5, Richards on-ice rate nets to = (5.65/-7.83) / 2 = -1.09/60; the team rate with Richards off the ice is +0.38/60.

    Conclusion: at even strength Tampa score +1.43 / 60 better without Richards than with him. On net special teams, Tampa scores +1.47 / 60 better without Richards than with him.

    And he’s got three more years to go at $7.8 MM per. Regardless of the player cost of any trade, do we really want any part of that?

  10. jon k says:

    Brad Richards is in many ways a good example of how Desjardin’s quality of comp and quality of linemates is still flawed.

    Tampa Bay is a two line team in essence. Richards plays almost 17 minutes ES/G and Vinny and St. Louis play almost 18 minutes ES/G.

    When you have two lines playing almost all the time at ES combined, it inevitably leads to the question: Who is playing the tough minutes and who isn’t?

    The results should probably lead most people to suspect immediately that Richards is taking the Horcoff role in TB.

    Combine that with a team so lacking in winger depth that Richards is playing with players such as Jan Hlavac and Jason Ward and well, he’s not going to be racking up the positive ES events.

    I actually have a bit of a different view on the Richards thing, one that I changed this past season.

    Yes, Richards has a huge cap hit which makes my next conclusion difficult for a team to manage, but…

    I think that with a team with Edmonton where you could potentially have Horcoff, Richards, Cogliano, and Reasoner down the middle, you might just “miraculously” see Richards have a bounceback year.

    That said, he’s likely not heading to Edmonton, but I would be very interested to see what his numbers look like on a team where he’s not being relied on for secondary scoring while also being the top checking centre.

  11. mc79hockey says:

    I’m going to write a post about this (hell of a lot more fun than reading documents) but Barnes’ article said fuck all about shitcanning Lowe. He said that MacT should be fired if he can’t get a healthy Oilers team into the playoffs next year.

    As for Richards, I just have a hard time with his number. If you bring him in, it means that Horc is gone next summer. I’m not sure that I think that makes a hell of a lot of sense.

  12. Matt says:

    Indeed, there are all sorts of circumstances that can mitigate being the worst minus player in the league, or your team being better (statistically) with you on the bench than on the ice, even though your team is one of the worst in the league.

    But paying $7.8M/yr for those results — or more to the point, trading for that contract — would be utterly indefensible. You can get a nice complementary player who doesn’t drive positive results for one-quarter that price tag.

  13. Dennis says:

    Colour me unimpressed with the Barnes piece.

    If anyone’s gonna take on this Old Boys network, I thought and still think it would or will be Dan. Remember, he was about the only print guy last deadline who showed any semblance of frustration over the Oilers inability to get Smyth signed. So, when I saw both AG and LT here talking about Dan taking another tilt at the windmill, I expected a helluva lot more.

    In fact, Barnes even says he’d support a Richards trade if Lowe could somehow include Stoll in the outgoing package. And he really fails to get into the root causes of why this team has disappointed since Oct of ’06:

    1: Magic beans for Pronger.

    Special Note: Does anyone else get a kick out of when David Staples-Backcock-Lowe keeps pushing his idea of Det’s accompanying first round picks not being worth all that much if they were to try and lift a RFA? While on the other hand, he won’t acknowledge my point of how the very same principle devalued the Ducks Pronger package? That stuff just kills me. Like I said, being the Oilers GM is the easiest job in the fucking league when it comes to accountability.

    Back to the list;)

    2: Not getting the Smyth deal done early enough

    3: Rebuffing Pisani’s agent when he was willing to sign for way less early New Year ’06, ie reports had 34 willing to accept 1 mill per season.

    4: Signing Souray to a parcel of term and money that wasn’t even close to being offered by any other teams.

    I mean for fucksakes, this isn’t like Mulder and Scully chasing the trail of the black oil; this evidence is a lot easier to unearth.

    Why someone doesn’t bother to do it says a lot about why Lowe keeps making the moves he makes.

  14. Bruce says:


    Brad Richards is in many ways a good example of how Desjardin’s quality of comp and quality of linemates is still flawed.

    Can you demonstrate this, Jon, or is this just a feeling you have? As far as quality of linemates is concerned, Desjardins has the following top 5: Prospal +0.36, Lecavalier +0.25, St.Louis +0.17, Richards +0.05, Ranger +0.03, all others on the team minus. This certainly figures, Prospal is the one guy who gets to play with two superstars on his line, and each of them plays with the other so they’re 2-3. Richards gets a fair bit of time riding shotgun with the superstars and a bunch of other time with the scrubs but comes out a little above water. Seems logical.

    When you have two lines playing almost all the time at ES combined, it inevitably leads to the question: Who is playing the tough minutes and who isn’t?

    On the qualcomp front Desjardins’ results are pretty interesting: Lecavalier +0.15, Prospal +0.13, St.Louis +0.13, Ranger +0.12, Kuba +0.12, Richards +0.06, Darche +0.04, etc.

    So here we have the first line 1-2-3, and among forwards they play by far the toughest minutes, as Tortorella seemingly prefers a best-on-best match-up. Richards leads the charge after that, but only after that.

    The results should probably lead most people to suspect immediately that Richards is taking the Horcoff role in TB.

    Suspect, maybe. How about demonstrate? The Behind-the-Net qualcomp ratings make me suspect that it’s Lecavalier in the Horc role. So where is the flaw in Gabe’s method that somehow obscures the fact that BR actually faces the tougher opp?

    I would be very interested to see what his numbers look like on a team where he’s not being relied on for secondary scoring while also being the top checking centre.

    As would I, although hopefully we don’t get a chance to “see” up-close and personal. This is one of those guys who looks WAY better from a distance.

    Bloated reputation aside, the hard numbers indicate this “top checking centre” can’t check. He bleeds GA worse than anybody on the team.

    To isolate his effectiveness as an defensive player, the 4v5 rates are telling. The team’s minus/60 rate is a mind-boggling 2.4 times worse with their “top checking centre” on the ice than without him.

    BR doesn’t get it done on defence, and he sure as hell doesn’t make up for it with his offence. All of which suggests Tortorella is overusing/misusing him. I can’t for the life of me explain why he has by far the most SH TOI of any Tampa forward. It’s nonsensical given the results.

  15. Pat H says:

    LT:

    On a few occasions, I’ve seen you allude to the possibility of Lowe getting bumped up to president, and MacT getting the bump to GM. I don’t doubt the possibility in the slightest. What I wonder about, though, is whether you think that MacT would stand as any sort of improvement over Lowe as a GM.

    To me, I just think those sorts of moves would just serve to re-frame the problem. The pieces are still there, they’ve just switched positions. And do Huddy or Bucky become head coach?

    It’s interesting that we (or maybe just me?) find it so difficult to conceive of a world where MacT and Lowe are not together in some capacity. They’re like the Sedins.

  16. jon k says:

    Bruce: You’re a knowledgeable poster and you provide some good insights. However, if you wish to refute my argument that Desjardin’s system doesn’t work 100%, it might be best to use evidence that doesn’t rely upon that system.

    I’ve watched some TB games, and like clockwork, Richards is sent over the boards for home games against the other teams’ top lines, while Vinny and St. Louis’ line comes out immediately after.

    The first game I checked using the Timeonice.com tool confirmed this for me.

    I took a game from earlier in the season as that’s where Richards was getting hit hard.

    Oct 25. Phi v. TB
    Game code 20135
    http://www.timeonice.com/default.html?GameNumber=20135&submit=Go

    PHI starts with the M. Richards line, which is matched by TB with Vinny’s line.

    Next line, Briere’s line, and B. Richard’s line is sent out… with Hlavac and Ward on the wings.

    Next shift that Briere is sent out, Richards is sent out. Briere comes off, Vinny’s line is sent out.

    Now, I’m sure that things have been less consistent as TB struggled to find things that might help stop the bleeding later in the season, but from the games I’ve watched or looked into, Richards is doing the heavy lifting.

    Hell, you can only see so many highlight reel hits on Richards by divisional rival Ovechkin before you start to realize there’s a pattern.

  17. jon k says:

    That link won’t work, but the site is timeonice.com and you just enter the game code.

  18. Dennis says:

    Not sure if they’d bump Buchy after one year but I could see him getting the call in 2010.

    The interesting trickledown is where would this leave Laforge? He’s the president now, right? I can’t see him surviving the regime change so eventually I see Lowe as pres, MacT has GM and Buchy as coach. Lowe ends up doing what he does best; fooling people, MacT gets to acquire the kinds of players he likes and Buchy winds up being his bench puppet.

    The problem with that is that would leave Lowe handling both GM and Pres duties come ’09.

    But hey, why the fuck not, right? He’s doing such a bang-up job as GM

  19. Lowetide says:

    MC: From Barnes article: “For those scoring along at home, it will be the fourth non-playoff finish in seven years under the Lowe/Craig MacTavish regime. They will also be one-for-three in the post-lockout NHL and that is a more damning statistic. That much failure on a level playing field leaves less room for excuses and the season-long calls for MacTavish’s head will only intensify down the stretch. I won’t be joining that chorus unless and until MacTavish fails to steer a healthier lineup into the playoffs next year. If that happens, it should be his last attempt.”

    That is about as severe as you’re going to get imo in regard to Lowe. Seriously. There is no stomach in this town to rip the guy, never will be. When Lowe finally gets the axe/kicked upstairs, the tone of the articles in the newspapers will be “after helping the Oilers to multiple Stanley Cups and a return to Glory in the 2006 run, Kevin Lowe has decided to tackle another challenge….”

    I cannot imagine a time when either paper would write “Kevin Lowe’s horrible decision making since summer 2006 must be dealt with swiftly by Katz” and if you’re expecting it then you’ll be disappointed I suspect.

    path: To my mind, MacT has always been more of a button-down mind than Lowe. I believe the wild goose chase that has been the youth movement on this club came from Lowe convincing MacT they needed more offense and a better PP.

    The problem is a MacT team probably isn’t ever going to be a good powerplay club and the kids on the team can’t play that grinding, honest style MacT is so good at coaching.

    I don’t like this team, and I don’t think MacT does either. If he took over as GM,he would build it more in his image.

  20. Pat H says:

    LT: I agree and disagree. :P

    I agree that MacT is the “button down mind” as you put it. No question there. I definitely think he’s got superior analytic/tactical ability.

    I also agree that he would form this team into his own image as a GM. But gawd, that’s a team I don’t really want to see. I mean, it COULD conceivably get it done, but it would be an ugly looking thing.

    Where I kind of disagree is the look of this current team. I’m not saying I’m enamored with it by any means, but I’d much prefer giving it a chance under another coach as opposed to blowing it up under MacT as GM.

  21. Pat H says:

    to clarify: I’d prefer that this team get a chance under a non-OBC coach (and preferably a non-OBC GM too, but that’s just getting greedy).

  22. Dennis says:

    LT: Mark me down as another guy who’ll be disappointed.

    And for all those that don’t have the stomach to call for his firing or stay away from the rink in droves, they’ll get and they’re getting what they deserve.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Pat H: I like certain players on this team, certainly guys like Horcoff, Hemsky and Penner are good NHL players. And you can add Sam Gagner in there someday, Andrew Cogliano, Brodziak.

    There are some nice things. However, there are also some just flat out weird things, like the number of at bats promised to kids on D. And I’m not talking about injuries forcing the kids into prominent roles, I’m talking leaving training camp with a bushel of kids on D.

    I remember one year the Pittsburgh Pirates had a veteran group and a rookie at shortstop. Gene Alley was old and Dal Maxvill came over from the Cardinals and they put Frank Taveras out there to play SS and won the division.

    But that’s one guy. The Oilers have spent the last 2+ seasons (including Matt Greene learning on the job in the SCF) teaching kids how to play defense at the NHL level.

    No amount of talk will convince me that was a MacT decision. One at a time, people. Rookies kill you even one at a time, but at least you still have a chance to win the pennant.

  24. Pat H says:

    to clarify: I’d prefer that this team get a chance under a non-OBC coach (and preferably a non-OBC GM too, but that’s just getting greedy).

  25. Bruce says:

    Bruce: You’re a knowledgeable poster and you provide some good insights. However, if you wish to refute my argument that Desjardin’s system doesn’t work 100%, it might be best to use evidence that doesn’t rely upon that system.

    In the case of QUALTEAM I used logic to support the idea that Desjardins’ system does work. Richards ranks sensibly behind the VL/MSL/VP line, and that made sense. In the case of QUALCOMP I concede your point, to a point. Since you are the one claiming that Dejardins’ system doesn’t work, it’s up to you to provide some evidence to support that, before I can even attempt to refute you. Or agree with you, I’m open-minded to alternate forms of measurement.

    PHI starts with the M. Richards line, which is matched by TB with Vinny’s line.

    Next line, Briere’s line, and B. Richard’s line is sent out…

    Next shift that Briere is sent out, Richards is sent out. Briere comes off, Vinny’s line is sent out.

    Bad example. 5v5 Mike R. is +0.62/60, second best on Philly, while Briere is a gawdawful -1.47/60, worst on the team and one of the few in the league that’s even worse than BR. Brad had the easier shift by far than Vinnie that night.

    And yes, I am using BtN stats again to make my point. But those numbers of GF/GA while on/off the ice are pretty absolute. I will agree with you that it is much tougher to judge quality of teammates and opposition, and no doubt there are some flaws in the method. Show me a better method, and I will use it.

    At the very least I think the evidence is overwhelming to support the argument that, as Matt mildly put it, BR “doesn’t drive positive results”.

  26. Dennis says:

    Just wanted to add something here.

    With a new owner coming in, I think the press and fans have a new chance for influence.

    The EIG wouldn’t be moved, it just couldn’t happen. For fucksakes, this is a crowd that were making a lot of money and lying about it long before the lockout. And then once the lockout was over, they had the balls to go nearly three mill under a 44 mill cap following a spring where they cashed in on 12 extra playoff gates.

    That’s being miserly, smart, headstrong; you can use a tonne of adjectives.

    One thing we can agree on though is they didn’t give a fuck for the fans. If so, they would’ve went tight to the cap for ’07.

    Now we have a new guy in Katz. And if the papers turn on coaching and MGMT and the fans leave the seats empty, he’s gonna know he needs to do something.

    Everyone was too busy kissing 30 odd asses to do that with the EIG but a new owner presents a new opportunity.

  27. Traktor says:

    lowetide said: The problem is a MacT team probably isn’t ever going to be a good powerplay club and the kids on the team can’t play that grinding, honest style MacT is so good at coaching.

    If that’s the case, why not get a coach who is good on the PP and has a system that doesn’t require his players to muck it up 60 minutes for a 2-1 win?

    Seems like a faster solution than trading for Martin Gelinas, Dvo and Boyd Deveraux to squeeze out 8th place.

    Kevin Lowe has said a few times he wanted to emulate the Buffalo Sabres… That’s like saying you want to emulate the Indianapolis Colts when you have Bill Cower as your head coach.

    Kevin Lowe has made a bunch of bad moves but I don’t understand why MacTavish gets immunity around here. RPM line on the PP. Playing your worst EVs players (Stoll, Reasoner) with Hemsky on the top offensive line. Playing your top offesnive LW as your checking center. At what point does MacTavish have to take the blame?

    I know..I know.. you can’t win with rookies in your lineup, even though the Sharks did it last year with 5 rookies and 2 second year players. But at what point is enough enough? If the Oilers only had 2 wins this season and 4 points is that enough? Or does the results not count until MacTavish gets a superstar?

  28. Tyler says:

    I cannot imagine a time when either paper would write “Kevin Lowe’s horrible decision making since summer 2006 must be dealt with swiftly by Katz” and if you’re expecting it then you’ll be disappointed I suspect.

    If David Staples is reading this and has access to the Journal archives (my university has figured out that I’m no longer a student there), he should dig out the article where someone at the Journal – I think it was Barnes or Spector – crapped all over Sather about ten years ago. A great moment in the history of the Edmonton press.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you LT, that expecting something a little stronger is unrealistic – I just find it really weird that Lowe has this immunity from criticism that MacT doesn’t have. Is the consensus amongst the hockey cognoscenti that this is a playoff team if healthy? I mean, if you think it is, fine MacT is the problem if they don’t make it. I just don’t know how you can look at the makeup of this team and think that that’s the case. If that’s not the case, how is MacT at fault? I can see getting rid of him for other reasons – PR and the PP – but the failure to make the playoffs isn’t it. The right question is whether or not Lowe should be excused for those failures. I have absolutely zero confidence in his ability to deal with the unexpected – “Expect the unexpected” my ass, this guy has enough trouble with the expected: “What, trade deadline and we don’t have enough money for Smytty?” “What, Pronger wants to be traded after demanding a trade 6 months ago?” I just cannot fathom why he is immune from journalistic criticism and MacT isn’t. It’s insane.

  29. godot10 says:

    //2: Not getting the Smyth deal done//

    That was a good thing, NOT a bad thing! -).
    (Colorado started losing when he came back from his injury.)

    Last year the wheels fell off the bus because of CFP. This is the first year of a rapid rebuild. 3 rookies, 6 second year players, and a couple of third year players. The second youngest team in the league.

    Lowe talks too much for a GM though.

  30. Dennis says:

    Tyler: Bob Stauffer’s like a shadow-critic for MacT and it’s sickening. MacT has made some boneheaded decisions this year none of them have been as bad as the Souray signing.

    I listened to Bob’s show the other evening and the callers were on their fucking game. Guys were going nuts and someone brought up the Souray move and said something to the effect, “how many full years is this guy gonna put in as an Oiler? He’s already O-for-1.”

    Brownlee was on with Bob and when the guy laid out that quip, there was silence. Finally, Brownlee says, “maybe the Oilers didn’t do their due diligence in this case” and Bob mumbles something inaudible and they moved on.

  31. Lowetide says:

    MC: Lowe did a lot of things while an active player that tied him very deeply to the community. When I was an on-air guy, we used to do a live broadcast from the Westin Hotel each year for the Christmas Bureau. 6a-9a on air and Kevin Lowe was the honorary chairman every year.

    Anyway, at least a couple of times the sked worked out so that the breakfast happened on a morning that followed a game and a late flight into Edmonton.

    And Lowe was there every time. Just was. Now I know that no one reading this gives a rat’s ass and it’s clear some would like to attach his nuts to an electric shock device, but this is the way it is in ourtown.

    And that’s just one example, there are plenty more.

    Does it excuse him? Hell no. Should Kevin Lowe be fired? Yes. When he is fired will it be the way many among the blogosphere clearly want badly?

    Not a fucking chance.

  32. Dennis says:

    LT: I think that stuff matters. I guess that ties into charity work, right? And that stuff Certainly matters.

    I don’t know why people remember that when he’s fucking their hockey team, though. It’s not like the guy won’t find another job if he’s fired.

    In fact, to turn it around, it’s being nothing But charitable to keep giving the guy a pay-stub.

    Fuck it, keep the guy around for the pancake breakfasts.

    Just take the hockey keys away from the fellow.

  33. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: lol. I think this is the way it’ll go: Lowe will make another bad contract with someone in the summer, and the Oilers will add Chorney to the blueline.

    In the fall the Oilers will start slowly and it’ll become clear they are bad again. Lowe will either have another “is it me?” moment or before it happens he will be bumped into the title of “President of Off-Ice Operations” which will envelope much of what you’re talking about in terms of community.

    The Oilers (Katz) will make every effort to make certain people know he is in the decision-making process and MacT as new GM will rely heavily on him in matters of trades, etc.

    And they will draft John Taveras in summer 2009.

  34. Pat H says:

    LT:

    Your last post re: Lowe and the breakfasts is representative of a huge, critical, factor in my mind. I mean, I agree with the sentiment Dennis offers – let him show up at the pancake breakfasts, but don’t let him do anything important. But I do understand how freaking mythic this guy is. And maybe even deservedly? Just not deservedly as a GM.

    I was thinking about the time period in which Lowe/MacT came back to this organization as non-players. Dark days. We needed them. We needed some shred of hope. We needed that link to the past.

    We don’t anymore. Now it’s just an albatross.

  35. Pat H says:

    LT: I hope to god(ot10) your premonition about next year doesn’t come true. I didn’t think it could get any worse than what we’ve already seen.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Pat H: I pretty much agree, with the additional fact that the Stanley run brought him even more loyalty.

  37. PunjabiOil says:

    There is no doubt about it – Kevin Lowe is a good human being. I’m speaking from experience meeting him, and everyone besides Burke has good things to say about him.

    It’s not so much that I want him fired – it’s that I want him to change the ship around. I want the Oilers to have success again, and watching games these days makes you realize how difficult it is from a fans standpoint to go through a rebuild. He’ll probably have another year at the very least – if he could put this team into the playoffs next year, I’d be willing to give him another year.

    I don’t think any Oiler fan wants Lowe to fail – but at the end of the day, it’s about the team rather than the individual.

  38. PunjabiOil says:


    In fact, to turn it around, it’s being nothing But charitable to keep giving the guy a pay-stub.

    LOL

  39. Tyler says:

    Does it excuse him? Hell no. Should Kevin Lowe be fired? Yes. When he is fired will it be the way many among the blogosphere clearly want badly?

    I’m not sure how you think people want him to be fired – I don’t care if they soft sell it publicly, he explains that his kids are getting older and he’s spent too much time away from home and away from his family over the course of his working life and they kick him upstairs – I just want his hands off the levers of this operation. My line with him since about 2003 has been that he ought to be kicked into the position of “VP of Remember the Glory Days”. Obviously, his 2006 cast some doubt on that argument but if you’re looking over the whole of his reign, 2006 stands out as an outlier.

    LT, I take your point that he’s a hell of a guy – I’ve said many, many teams that he’s always struck me as a decent man. MacT strikes me as a decent man too, though, and one who a bunch of the press like (or ought to like, because he gives great quote). I guess I understand that he doesn’t have Lowe’s history with the community but he’s got a pretty great history here too. The whole thing is weird – I can’t see enough of a difference between the two of them.

    Finally, Brownlee says, “maybe the Oilers didn’t do their due diligence in this case” and Bob mumbles something inaudible and they moved on.

    Ryan “You can’t judge the deal until he’s healthy” Rishaug is still the best in the absurd Souray defence part. Someone ought to explain to that fellow that the Oilers still have to pay Souray and keep losing hockey games when he’s out (not that if he was in, things would be any different, just that there’s an effect of having burned the cash on him whether he plays or not.)

    As for not doing their due diligence on Souray…sweet jesus. Just look at his GP every year. Either he’s not good enough to be in the lineup (in which case why pay him?) or he’s hurt all the fucking time (in which case why pay him?).

    In any event, I look forward to Brownlee calling out Lowe for this spectacular failure.

  40. Bruce says:

    Kevin Lowe has made a bunch of bad moves but I don’t understand why MacTavish gets immunity around here. RPM line on the PP. Playing your worst EVs players (Stoll, Reasoner) with Hemsky on the top offensive line. Playing your top offesnive LW as your checking center. At what point does MacTavish have to take the blame?

    Good question, and good points, Traktor. I like and respect MacT, and think he has many strong points as a coach. But seven years on the Oil are spinning their wheels, and of late the veterans have been the worst offenders. And all too often, the worst defenders.

    As you may know I’ve been shadowing Staples on his errors project since the All-Star break. Yesterday I took on the recent debacle in Nashville, where the Oil scored 4 goals and still found a way to lose. Since all 5 GA were scored at evens I reveiwed each one in painstaking, painful detail. I could’ve watched a good movie in the time it took me to review this horror flick. I hope the players were forced to watch these tapes too. :)

    The team looked disinterested at times, disorganized at times, and discombobulated at times. Sometimes all three at once. One goal was scored as result of a bad line change, another because a player didn’t change despite a perfect opportunity and wound up pulling the puck out his net after a 1:49 shift. One goal was scored when all five Oilers got sucked down below the bottom of their own faceoff circle, another (the winner) when all five Oilers got sucked on to the same side of the ice. Each goal was a tragicomedy of errors, I gave out the maximum three every time and had dishonourable mentions besides. It was an ugly, embarrassing team (lack of) effort.

    And as I mentioned in my concluding remarks to Staples, echoing Traktor’s point above,
    “Penner and Brodziak struggled playing centre, and Gagner and Reasoner struggled playing wing, and one could argue none of them were playing their natural position. A coaching error? Let’s just say MacT didn’t have a great game either.”

  41. Traktor says:

    It’s like having the cookie missing from the jar and a fat kid in another room.

    MacTavish was said to have a say in what was done this summer. MacTavish has never put together a prolific PP. It’s pretty clear what happened to me.

    Beavis and Butthead both have to go.

  42. PunjabiOil says:

    As for not doing their due diligence on Souray…sweet jesus. Just look at his GP every year. Either he’s not good enough to be in the lineup (in which case why pay him?) or he’s hurt all the fucking time (in which case why pay him?).

    Which is why I’m uncomfortable giving Joni Pitkanen a 100% raise.

  43. Dennis says:

    If you damn MacT for having input into Souray and Nylander, you have to give him the credit for the improved PP because it’s been improved for close to 30 games now, hasn’t it?

    Bruce: Before you help Staples with errors, you should help him with applying the same logic to the Oilers with first round picks as he does to other teams.

    Tyler: I heard Ryan R. say that as well and it drove me nuts. Cory Graham was anchoring Total Sports yesterday, Bob “Van Wilder” Stauffer was back at the university , and Rishaugh joined Graham at some point, ie I listened until 7pm and then I left. I got back home from the gym around 830 NST and the boys were taking calls.

    Anyway, Ryan says that Lowe and Co came back in ’07 and tried to win even after Pronger was dealt and I reached my breaking point. So I called in and ran down how the EIG went under the cap in ’07 even after having hauled in the rev from the extra 12 playoff home gates the previous spring and how Lowe’s excuse of the market being too expensive for a puck moving dman was destroyed the day Cgy picked him up for Ference and Kobesew. I mentioned how if Lowe’s always bragging about how much depth he has and if he was trying to win in ’07, why didn’t he spin some of it into Stuart and I listed how Kobesew was a major question mark and how Bergy was a favourable comp to Ference. Finally, I used all of this plus being under the cap as my arguement for how the Oilers had to intention of trying to compete in ’07.

    To which Ryan replied, “that’s a great point.” Him and Graham said nothing else so when I went on to rant on Stauffer’s dislike for Mactavish and how it resembles the agenda of a shadow critic; all the while failing to take Lowe to the woodshed for the Souray signing.

    I had originally called in to ask him about any Stoll rumors and eventually I got around to that as well but hearing Lowe’s 07 being defended under the guise of the team trying to win that year, I just couldn’t resist.

  44. jon k says:

    Bruce: There are some implications of choosing an October game with PHI as the opponent. Briere was a worldbeater in the first few months of the season, while M. Richards was still working his way up.

    The next few months saw Briere fall off dramatically while M. Richards took off. The stats you cite for them reflect that.

    Regardless, the point is that looking at actual game play shows one thing, while looking at desjardin’s quality of competition suggests another thing entirely. Watching games and looking at shift charts show that Richards is being assigned to the other team’s top lines and is playing with Hlavac and Ward, while Vinny, St. Louis, and Prospal are being sent out the shift after, generally the obvious soft shift in hockey.

    That’s really all there is to it. You say that Richards isn’t playing the tough minutes based on Desjardin’s site, I disagree based on what I’ve seen.

    More than often than not, Richards is the guy who sees the top line when TB is trying to hold onto a lead.

  45. jon k says:

    Bruce: With my previous post I didn’t intend to sidestep your main point that Richards doesn’t drive positive results.

    Part of the point of my initial post was that Richards isn’t driving positive results right now and we don’t know for certain that he’s not capable of it, largely because he is playing the tough assignments and playing with two Marty Reasoners on his wing.

    As in my original post, I eagerly wait to see if he can put up the numbers again if he’s moved to a more balanced team.

  46. PunjabiOil says:

    Anyway, Ryan says that Lowe and Co came back in ’07 and tried to win even after Pronger was dealt and I reached my breaking point. So I called in and ran down how the EIG went under the cap in ’07 even after having hauled in the rev from the extra 12 playoff home gates the previous spring and how Lowe’s excuse of the market being too expensive for a puck moving dman was destroyed the day Cgy picked him up for Ference and Kobesew. I mentioned how if Lowe’s always bragging about how much depth he has and if he was trying to win in ’07, why didn’t he spin some of it into Stuart and I listed how Kobesew was a major question mark and how Bergy was a favourable comp to Ference. Finally, I used all of this plus being under the cap as my arguement for how the Oilers had to intention of trying to compete in ’07.

    Couple of points.

    1) In the summer of 06, there were rumours floating the Oilers put out a 7M offer to Chara.
    2) I think Lowe honestly wanted to win in 2006-2007. He really expected the team to be top 5 in scoring, after acquiring Lupul + Sykora.
    3) That didn’t work out, and the defense was a mess. But I do believe Lowe knowingly went into the season, holes on the defense, with the hopes he could pull a Tony Salemenien for Spacek type of deal.
    That didn’t happen. By the time Brad Stuart was available, the Oilers weren’t really close to the playoffs, so acquiring him made little sense.
    4) The EIG may very well have been cheap – we do know Lowe asked for a higher budget in the spring of 2007.

  47. jon k says:

    To address the other discussion going on, I’m suddenly terrified to think that Lowe might try to deflect blame for the past 2 seasons on the EIG being low budget, and then subsequently forcing him to make a PR deal with Katz on the doorstep.

    That in itself is expected. But what if suddenly there’s talk of how Lowe needs a second chance to start over with a Katz budget?

    Scary.

  48. Bruce says:

    Interesting parallel. Have just been watching the Bob Gainey sweater retirement, with attendant adulation and devotion that at this distance seems utterly appropriate. Gainey has always been a class act; he won 5 Stanley Cups in Montreal in an understated but extremely important supporting role; he made a major contribution to the championship character of the club; he proved his worth by winning another Stanley Cup in a different city; then returned to his NHL home as GM where he proceeded to hire a bunch of his former teammates to the coaching staff, emphasizing the team’s rich winning tradition.

    Well, that entire paragraph applies just as much to Kevin Lowe and Edmonton as it does to Bob Gainey and Montreal, except the retired number thing which hasn’t happened here yet. But it should, and when it does I hope our fans respond the same way. Goddam right those breakfasts are important, and this guy has been walking the walk in this town since he was a rookie (when as a single example, he and his roomie Wayne visited my wife’s class of disabled kids and made an indelible impression on everyone).

    None of which even begins to address the current question of how these guys have performed as GM. For now Gainey has assembled the better team, although he has yet to lead a serious playoff run. In both cases the fans have high expectations which are hardly lessened by the GM’s previous accomplishments. But there’s a certain level of respect that they have earned, with the team and within the community. When they do move on, it will be with a golden parachute to a front office or ambassadorial role, not with the poor bastard’s head on a stick.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Does anyone really doubt Kevin Lowe’s GM career is coming to an end? I mean, can anyone build a case FOR him?

    1. He lets his scouts have leeway.

    2. 2006 deadline

    3. Staying the course 01-04.

    This is more about framing the issue than arguing the conclusion.

  50. Bruce says:

    Bruce: Before you help Staples with errors, you should help him with applying the same logic to the Oilers with first round picks as he does to other teams.

    Well I might, Dennis, if I happened to agree with you. As I understand it David’s point (which I happen to agree with) is that top teams pay less for RFA raids because their compensatory draft picks are further down the food chain. And you are saying that the same applies to the CFP trade. Which it would … except Lowe built in a condition that if Anaheim’s pick fell to 29 or 30 (by making the finals) they would have to surrender a second first-rounder in 2008. And that’s what happened. So in that specific example I don’t think you have a very good case.

  51. mc79hockey says:

    Which it would … except Lowe built in a condition that if Anaheim’s pick fell to 29 or 30 (by making the finals) they would have to surrender a second first-rounder in 2008. And that’s what happened. So in that specific example I don’t think you have a very good case.

    Yes, instead of one long shot to get a topline contributor, Lowe got two. So…well done, I guess.

    Does anyone really doubt Kevin Lowe’s GM career is coming to an end?

    Well, we’re all dying, and Lowe is of course a day closer to the end of his GM career today than he was yesterday. With that said, I have my doubts that his GM career is coming to an end. Katz plays his cards pretty close to his chest but I don’t see why you’d think that he’s going to remove Lowe, other than the fact that the Oilers stink and it’s because of managerial performance. None of that has stuck to the Teflon Don yet…why do you think it’s now different?

  52. Pat H says:

    I have four quotes that are sufficient in my mind to justify a dismissal. Sorry to those (probably pretty much everyone here) who has ween them all before.

    Granted, you can talk about context and whatnot(pre and post cap-era, etc.), but such qualifications are simply just not enough in my mind to warrant any sort of reprieve:

    1.”I don’t want to talk about today’s market anymore because nobody can make sense of what the market is. It’s all over the map. There’s a bunch of lunatics out there throwing money away. I’m sick and tired of it. It’s lunacy. Punch me in the head and tell me I’m stupid, but that’s the way I feel. There’s no sense to it anymore.”- Lowe, 2003

    2.”There’s no question there are players who interest us and we are prepared to overpay like everybody else does in the unrestricted market…There will be no stone unturned. There will be no lack of effort and funds when it comes to acquiring some of these players.” Lowe, June, 2007

    3.”We’re in the win-now mode” – Lowe, Jul. 5th, 2007

    4.”We have to take ourselves off the mode where we’re winning today. We’re not trying to win today.” – Lowe, Nov. 17, 2007

  53. Bruce says:

    Bruce: There are some implications of choosing an October game with PHI as the opponent. Briere was a worldbeater in the first few months of the season, while M. Richards was still working his way up.

    Let’s meet halfway on this example, Jon. While no worldbeater beyond the opening three-game road trip, Briere did have a reasonable start, and he entered that Tampa game 4-8-12, +2. But Richards had already taken off right from the beginning of the season; he was already 5-5-10, +3. So given the information of the day it was a pretty even match. It was neither the mismatch you seem to suggest, nor the one that my cited stats suggest either.

    The next few months saw Briere fall off dramatically while M. Richards took off. The stats you cite for them reflect that.

    That is a weakness in the system, to be sure. In comparing a guy’s performance against the league you must include many games over many situations, which over time is going to blur the data as it relates to the specific circumstances of a specific game, perhaps beyond resolution.

    On the other hand, in a more controlled measurement system like playoff series, qualcomp measurement for a specific match-up will result in mirrors where the successful lines will by definition play against unsuccessful ones, again compromising the results.

    So macro- or micro-measurement both have problems, and the only thing I can tell you for sure is that there never will be a perfect system.

  54. Asiaoil says:

    Two points on the major themes of this thread:

    1) Even if Richards is indeed playing tough minutes – so what – he’s obviously terrible at it. I’d take Horcoff circa 2008 every time without considering salary – if you consider contract then it’s silly to even discuss Richards coming here.

    3) This is the 3rd year in a row that Lowe has refused to fill obvious holes in TC – how long does new ownership overlook such clear incompetence? Like all “good old boys” who can’t hack it – he’ll likely get kicked upstairs where he can do less damage.

  55. rickibear says:

    AsiaOil:I blame Ralph Klein And Calgary. He has been giving all the infrastructure money to Calgary since he was Premier. Calgary has recieved most of the infrastructure money since the Olympics.

    This has affected the sellability of Edmonton. Making Kevin Lowes job harder.

    The Solution is for the province to pay for a new arena development in Edmonton or if they will not Edmonton north needs to seperate from Alberta. Taking Northern B.C. and the part of Northern Saskatchewan with oil sands, uranium, and diamonds with us. Call the province Athabasca.

    Then we can we build our own arena with all the royalty money.

    PS. Calgary is Northern Alberta’s Quebec.

    Sorry about that the realiztion of the blog comunnity to base player selection on shooting % and Shot count to generate goals so shocked me it caused this you wont change my opinion rant. Not unlike alot of the stuff I just read on here.

    Oh well now that the oilers are considering these factors it is a step in the correct direction.

  56. PDO says:

    So, what happens when we don’t win the 2009 lottery, and Tavares is playing for the Lightning?

  57. Dennis says:

    Bruce: so he had Two long shots instead of one? Awesome. I know Ty beat me to that point but if Staples wants to acknowledge that all first rounders aren’t considered equal, he can’t change that based on whether his favorite team’s involved.

    PatH: The comments you had for July ’07 and Nov ’07 are the most damning. That’s an excellent dig. You should really call in to Stauffer one of these days and hit him with them. But just make sure you let me know when you’re planning on doing so so that I can have a good chuckle at Bob stammering his way through it:)

    LT: we know Lowe will eventually lose that job but could you hurry it up please;) Seriously, we’re about to be lottery fodder for the second year in a row; how much worse does he need to be? All the EIG cared about was the place selling out so thanks be to God they’re no longer writing out the stubs; otherwise Lowe would’ve had the job for life. I’m just wondering how Katz is gonna take losing because a lot of things would have to go right for us to make the playoffs next year.

  58. Bruce says:

    MC/Dennis: I’m not saying it was a good trade or that two first-rounders were enough. I am saying that the trade was different from compensation for an RFA signing where the # of picks are cast in stone; no matter where in the said round(s) they happen to be, there’s no kickers, so the compensation is less from a top team than a lower one. So it’s apples and oranges.

  59. Alice says:

    LT, you’ve got 23 shooters up there not named Crosby, that’s at least curious. Is he right below at 3.2, or?

  60. Pat H says:

    Dennis: I have little doubt that Stauffer is aware of the “win now” to “not trying to win now” comments. Nonetheless, I’m sure an on-air reminder might garner some amusement, or at least some dead air. Actually, I’d almost rather ask Dan Tencer about it. I know that Ched gets a much-deserved rap for ridiculous homerism, but I detect that Dan is becoming more susceptible to reason lately.

    Anyhow, the reason I suspect Stauffer knows this is because Brownlee more or less referred to these quotes in his “Metro” column a few weeks ago: http://www.metronews.ca/story.aspx?id=105526

    Btw, maybe this has been discussed elsewhere or on the message boards, but I never predicted Brownlee to come out like this. It’s like he grew a pair of balls overnight. Too bad we don’t see this kind of article in the Sun or Journal. I give Barnes some credit, but even he has done nothing this damning recently, at least to my knowledge.

  61. Lowetide says:

    Alice: Yes, Sidney is at 3.2

  62. godot10 says:

    //3) This is the 3rd year in a row that Lowe has refused to fill obvious holes in TC.//

    You can say two years, and I would agree with you.

    But I would even sort of disagree this year. Lowe committed to going with the young guys, without building in an injury buffer.

    (In a cap system, one is probably never going to have an injury buffer…depth is young inexperienced guys.) Look at Detroit or Ottawa or Philly fall off a cliff with a few injuries.

    When Moreau got hurt right before the season began, couple with Pisani’s issues, they were exposed.

    Lowe had a decent expectation that Conklin was a goaltender based on the way he finished before the lockout. It took two seasons, and Conklin is looking pretty good again in Pittsburgh this year.

  63. PunjabiOil says:

    Btw, maybe this has been discussed elsewhere or on the message boards

    It was, and I got roasted for it;)

    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=477313

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