Moving Van

Vancouver Canucks fired Dave Nonis today. It was a deserved firing and much of the trouble was obvious before the season. Here’s what I wrote October 3 while picking them to pick 4th in the Northwest:

They have some extreme strengths (the piss cutter Sedins, Bernie Parent) and some major weaknesses (who IS going to play on their secondary lines/pairings? I think Dunc Wilson is the backup goalie). They also have a big problem in that (unlike Colorado and Minnesota) the guys who emerged for Vancouver last year out of the blue aren’t young or about to step into the stratosphere (Pyatt, Bieska examples). They might miss the playoffs, but it won’t be because they’re a bad team. Need to improve depth before they make a SC run.

Bieksa played half a season, Pyatt ran in place and they were a bad team due to a large number of injuries and what ended up being two 4th lines. A key element in roster structure in the new world order of the NHL under this CBA is to find inexpensive options for the non-skill lines and 5-6D pairing. The Canucks invited the Beatles to headline the show, ran Menudo out there as an opening act and everyone left the building before Ringo could hit the stage.

The Canucks gave 875 minutes to Byron Ritchie and received 3 goals; 667 minutes to Trevor Linden and received 7 goals; 595 minutes to Brad Isbister in exchange for 6 goals; 402 minutes to Jeff Cowan and got 0 goals; 239 minutes to Jason Jaffray and got 2 goals. 178 minutes to Rick Rypien for 1 goal, 120 minutes to Mike Brown for 1 goal.

That’s 3,000 NHL minutes for 20 goals.

Ethan Moreau scored 5 times in the same amount of time Jeff Cowan got 0. Zack Stortini got 3 goals in 539 minutes, which is about the number of minutes it took Jaffray, Rypien and Brown to score 4. Fernando Pisani played 925 minutes and scored 13 goals, which made him far more productive than Byron Ritchie. Curtis Glencross played 700 minutes and got 15 goals for his troubles.

Not all of those Canuck forwards are bad, Brad Isbister looks to have had a decent season. The problem is that Vancouver had the Sedins, Naslund, Kesler and a couple of others in front of a lot of blah. It’s like having a dynamite leadoff man, a good punch-and-Judy man in the 2slot, a fine major league hitter batting third and a quality cleanup hitter.

Followed by 5 pitchers. And for that Dave Nonis lost his job today.

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54 Responses to "Moving Van"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Here’s what I posted on the other board I frequent:

    In defense of Nonis, he was pretty well crippled with the long-term Naslund and Morrison contracts from when Burkie was in charge. But he did so little in terms of finding anything for second-tier forwards. He got lucky with a couple prospects maturing that were Burke picks (Bieksa, Edler, Raymond) and had even more luck by having a premier farm team developing bottom-6 talent for them (Burrows, Rypien). He also let a perfectly good 7th leading AHL scorer in the minors the entire season in Brad Moran, who you think could have immediately stepped in as the 2-line C in goal starved Vancouver.

    He didn’t really have good luck drafting prospects either. Bourdon may amount to something eventually and Grabner may improve but they dont’ exactly scream “Impact player”.

    Vancouver needs a GM who gets hockey. Not a penny-pinching capologist. Whoever gets put into the GM position is going to have a great shot at being competitive in a very short timeframe. The team’s playoff material just with Luongo between the pipes, and that’s without any mention of the Sedins, a very deep defense and lots of money to spend up front.

  2. James Mirtle says:

    That’s not right –

    Nonis was hired in 2004; Naslund’s contract was signed in August, 2005. Morrison, too.

  3. Ducey says:

    I bet Nonis’ templates were the Devils and the Wild (of last year). Defence, Defence, Defence. The Nucks this year were some kind of boring to watch.

    The injuries to their defence certainly hurt them but bottom line this team did not have foundation of a Stanley Cup winner. It was destined to grind out a round or two in the playoffs every second year.

    The new guy might go for a Schremp to add some “O”. Not sure what the Oil would want back though. They have their own potential glut of 3rd lineers.

  4. doritogrande says:

    mirtle:

    Well fuck. Then he has no box to stand on. It’s all his fault then.

    Thanks for pointing out my lack of research. Appreciate it.

  5. HBomb says:

    LT: In the last paragraph, where you say Oilers, you mean Canucks, right?

    Just being an anal-retentive engineer.

    Good Lord is Theodore putting on a show in OT so far. And Marian Gaborik is going to go to some other team someday and score about 110 points. What a player.

  6. doritogrande says:

    hbomb: yeah, Theodore’s playing like he’s all Hart. I’m also left wondering what the hell Lemaire did to make Todd Fedoruk a hockey player? He’d be a very effective addition to any team’s bottom-6 the way he’s been playing since he joined Minne.

  7. doritogrande says:

    And that. Right there. Is why no-touch icing should not be adopted.

  8. Josh says:

    Nice call on the Northwest standings LT. Was it not for a late season surge by Colorado you probably would have been bang on.

  9. HBomb says:

    hbomb: yeah, Theodore’s playing like he’s all Hart. I’m also left wondering what the hell Lemaire did to make Todd Fedoruk a hockey player? He’d be a very effective addition to any team’s bottom-6 the way he’s been playing since he joined Minne.

    Considering Fedoruk is UFA and is from Redwater of all places, maybe he’s a nice add as a 14th forward for the Oilers? Can throw the gloves down and hold his own, but he can also play the game.

    Something worth thinking about at the very least.

  10. RiversQ says:

    Boy, tough crowd. I’ll ask one question: In light of Nonis’ failings, how does Kevin Lowe measure up against the same criticisms?

    I’d say about the same or worse. It’s funny to me that Lowe is still living on one great trade, while Nonis’ Luongo deal didn’t buy him more goodwill.

    More accountability in Lotusland?

    I guess so.

  11. Muller says:

    I expected Vigneault to go first. The Nucks had too many injuries in the back. Both Naslund and Morrison are three years past their prime, signed during the Burke era. Nonis had his hands tied.

  12. YKOil says:

    Lowe had a Cogliano, Gagner and Garon happen.

    Not the signing of Garon either – the unearthly SO performance of Garon is what I am refering to.

    I honestly believe those three things saved his job.

  13. James Mirtle says:

    Nonis had his hands tied.

    No, he’s been with the Canucks as GM since prelockout — May, 2004. He could have done whatever he pleased at this point.

  14. jon k says:

    Fedoruk has always been a player.

    Skates well for a big guy, can shoot it if he gets the odd lucky chance.

    He’d still be more effective than Stortini next season, but I doubt management would make that swap for one reason or another.

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    Lowe had a Cogliano, Gagner and Garon happen.

    Not the signing of Garon either – the unearthly SO performance of Garon is what I am refering to.

    I honestly believe those three things saved his job.

    I don’t.

    The EIG gave him a 4 year contract extension 2 games into the season. He was a loyal guy to the EIG, and they rewarded him as long as the buildings were full.

    Though I do agree the Gagner’s, Cogliano’s, and Garon’s saved Lowe’s dignity to some extent.

  16. Bruce says:

    He’d still be more effective than Stortini next season, but I doubt management would make that swap for one reason or another.

    I can think of a couple reasons. Stortini is 22, Fedoruk 29; (currently) costs $475 K to $875 K, has played for one NHL organization his whole career (this one) while Fedoruk has played for 4 teams the past 2 years. Superfically their counting stats are similar; Stortini 66 GP, 3-9-12, +3, 201 PiM; Fedoruk 69 GP, 6-7-13, +2, 139 PiM. Not bad, actually, for a 10-minute a night guy. Fedoruk fared much worse in the penalties drawn/taken, where he posted a -11 to Stortini’s -1. Neither of them can handle Derek Boogaard, but at least Stortini got up from his knockdown to throw more punches, whereas Fedoruk got seriously busted up by Goobaard.

    I think the Oil could do worse than Fedoruk if they were to add a second tough guy, he and Stortini together might be more effective than either of them on his own. But as a straight replacement, I don’t see it unless Zack proves difficult to re-up.

  17. uni says:

    I remember a well meaning Canucks fan who blasted Edmonton fans along the tune of ‘this is why Oilers fans don’t get hockey’ or some such; basically defending Nonis and lauding him as having a team that perennially competes for the division title and finding gems like Bieksa, Edler, and Raymond. I didn’t have the heart to bother responding at the time.

    As I said before, Nonis’s only really premier move, and what a move by the by, was landing Luongo and shipping Bertuzzi out in one fell swoop. Other than that, making the playoffs 1 out of 3 seasons isn’t exactly dominating your division, and as Doritogrande pointed out Bieksa, Edler, and Raymond all seem to be Burke picks, and the Nonis stint picks don’t seem to be quite there yet. Didn’t know about the Naslund and Morrison contracts, but Mirtle’s insight basically paints Nonis in an even harsher light. I wish him well, but this seemed like it was coming for some time.

  18. godot10 says:

    Luongo has 2 years left on his contract and unless something was done like yesterday, it is likely he was NOT going to re-sign.

    The Canucks owneship has to get Luongo to believe in the organization and sign an extension by next summer.

    Does anybody in their right mind think Luongo would sign an extension with Nonis and Vigneault running the show, and being forced to watch the ugly hockey that Vigneault forces them to play?

    I think it is highly likely Ryan Miller will play out his contract and become a UFA next summer, and Luongo will play out the two years and become a free agent the summer after that.

  19. RiversQ says:

    Does anybody in their right mind think Luongo would sign an extension with Nonis and Vigneault running the show, and being forced to watch the ugly hockey that Vigneault forces them to play?

    Do the Canucks play ugly hockey? I really haven’t noticed. Sure, they pick their spots when forechecking, but when they do they usually come hard. Really hard. (Reminds me of a certain other team we know and love that made it to a Cup Final not too long ago)

    Add in the Sedins, (who are unquestionably fun to watch) and the world class goaltending and I fail to see how that’s bad hockey. Heck, Luongo probably loves VAN hockey because it helps keep his numbers down for this next contract.

  20. Lowetide says:

    HBomb: Thanks. I need an editor.

    As for comparing Lowe to Nonis, there’s a world of difference. The Oilers don’t run their show like that, they are more like the Dodgers used to be. Walter Alston signed a one-year contract maybe 25 times and kept coming back (of course he won like a mad man in the 60s) and Lasorda did that too.

    The Canucks run their front office like they’re hiring assistant managers at McDonald’s compared to the Oilers.

    I have no idea which way is better btw. Maybe something in between?

  21. Oilman says:

    Just an aside – I had a really hard time figuring out who that goalie in the picture was without the VANCOUVER splashed across the chest.

  22. doritogrande says:

    LT:

    why bother paying an editor when you’ve got us schlubs to do that for you?

    I like the McDicks comment, mainly because the Egg McMuffins are currently seeping cholesterol into my soon-to-be clogged arteries. *insert current McDonalds catchphrase here*

  23. Showerhead says:

    Does anyone else think that Nonis’ one great move may have been what killed him in the end? I stress the maybe on this one, but when a team acquires Luongo and signs him to a long term deal it is pretty much 1/3 of the way to having all of its pieces in place.

    In Vancouver’s case, they may have even been further ahead. The Sedins were signed to cheap and they had some nice things going on in Ohlund, Mitchell, and yes even Naslund in a support role. Two full years went by and the supporting cast was simply not acquired. I don’t know how hard Nonis was pounding the pavement but sometimes it’s not so much how weak you are but how obvious your weakness is… or stealing a metaphor from my first ever job as a stock boy, sometimes it’s not how much of the mess you clean up but how much you leave behind.

    I would suggest Nonis felt more comfortable. He had one such supporting piece in Anson Carter. Carter walked, Nonis was unable to replace him… but to the GM it must have felt more like one year of inability to build whereas to me and perhaps his bosses every month that goes by with Luongo and without a supporting cast is a damning one.

    Another perspective that I’ve tossed about is that maybe Vancouver was actually content with the job Nonis did. Maybe they looked at all of their cap room as a once in a team cycle opportunity to finally put together a championship quality team and decided that Nonis, for all that he’s done, wasn’t The Guy to lead them into this particular summer. Kind of in the same way Fletcher is talked about as a rebuilding specialist (I have no idea if he actually is good at it or not), perhaps Vancouver is looking for a free agency or cap room specialist. IMO if this is the case AND if they get their guy AND if the missing pieces are in place by training camp it’s a fantastic move regardless of what Nonis has or hasn’t done. All this said, he must be choked at missing out on the opportunity.

  24. Sean says:

    The difference between Lowe and Nonis? When Lowe had a decent core of a team, he added Tarnstrom, Spacek, Roloson and Samsonov for basically a first rounder. When Nonis has had a team, he hasnt been able to add the pieces to make a run which is exactly what fans want.

    Lowe for the last 2 years has done a very decent job of rebuilding the team. It took 2 years to recover from Pronger. Even though Vancouver is a more desireable UFA option than Edmonton, it would take Ken friggin Holland more than 2 years to recover if Luongo decides he wants to live back in Florida.

  25. cartooncolin says:

    At the presser Aquilini came off looking like a kid who got his lunch money stolen.
    Knee-jerk reaction it looks like. Still could be the right decision but it doesn’t look like he has a plan. He reminds me of a message board lurker who goes around screaming “FIRE EVERYBODY” after every loss. Except he had enough money to buy the team. Should be fun to watch …

  26. godot10 says:

    No plan is better than Nonis’ plan, since Luongo had thrown in the towel on the Nonis regime.

    Nonis didn’t seem to realize that once he got Luongo that the future was NOW. Luongo made one good faith bet on Nonis signing a 4 year deal. After seeing Nonis sit on his hands for two years, Luongo is on the verge of putting himself on the market.

    All Roberto has to do is declare that he is going to play out his contract, and Vancouver has to trade him.

  27. James Mirtle says:

    Nail on head, Godot.

  28. CrazyCoach says:

    This probably goes without saying, but the fact that Nonis was a leftover from the John McCaw days also was a factor in this decision. Aquilini will now want his guy, and believe me whoever that is will expect nothing less than the Cup next year for Vignault to keep his job.

    And yes, Riversq, the Canucks play very ugly hockey. When you play a trap system, it is ugly hockey.

    Say what you want about Brian Burke, but I know that former Canucks assistant coach, Mike Johnston said that if he and Crawford used the trap system, Brian Burke would have fired both of them. Under Burkie’s watch, the Canucks were an exciting team to watch. They were innovative and creative in their approach (would any other coach allow Jason Strudwick to join the rush?).

    The day Vignault came to Vancouver was the day exciting hockey died.

  29. PunjabiOil says:

    The day Vignault came to Vancouver was the day exciting hockey died.

    I wouldn’t care either way. Whatever it takes for the W.

  30. godot10 says:

    //I wouldn’t care either way. Whatever it takes for the W.//

    How can you be an Oilers fan then? From the day Glen Sather became the boss of the Oilers, Oilers hockey has been about winning, and winning the right way, playing “Oilers hockey”.

    “Oilers hockey” is a brand. MacT coaches “Oilers hockey”. The evidence was on the ice the last twenty games of the season for the Oilers.

  31. CrazyCoach says:

    \\I wouldn’t care either way. Whatever it takes for the W.\\

    Good point and one that I make all the time while coaching.

    However, if you continually play boring hockey, who will come to watch it? The economics of sport tell us that in order to generate future revenue you need to hook fans when they are young and hope that they stick around long enough to pay the price.

    A certain percentage of fans will always show up to games, but if you were a new fan to the game and were to watch either the boring trap style of the Nucks or the high flying style of the Oilers or Red WIngs, which would you choose?

    And believe me, new fans don’t care about the W. They want to be entertained. No entertainment, no new dollars to replace fans exiting the fan escalator. No new dollars, no extra bucks to pay to UFA’s.

    Now do you know why the trap is the worst thing to ever happen to hockey?

  32. Slipper says:

    The boring trap is an illusion. I mean, it’s executed, but mostly by shitty players.

    The Wild are a pretty entertaining team, despite the continuing myth that they’re a dull trap system team.

    The Avs v Wild series has been intense, thus far. The only difference in Minny now is the improvement in talent.

    The same goes for this Oilers hockey bullshit. There’s been some pretty low scoring teams in Edmonton over the past 10 years, yet this last 1/3 of a season nullifies all that? Now they’re playing “Oilers hockey”, thus they always were.

    What’s the real difference?

    I think it’s talent.

  33. CrazyCoach says:

    ///////
    The Wild are a pretty entertaining team, despite the continuing myth that they’re a dull trap system team.//////////

    Just let them score on you in the first 5 minutes of the game and see how exciting they are to watch.

    The real difference between trap systems and what the Oilers do, is an emphasis on speed and transition, which technically speaking are big components of the trap system. There is a not a difference in talent level.

    Detroit plays a 2-3 forecheck with a slider, is exciting to watch but requires players who can think on their feet and adjust quickly. Edmonton plays a classic 2-1-2 forecheck which is effective but in these days of a 4 man overload in the offensive zone, leaves one open to odd man rushes if the first forward gets beat.

    The trap is a highly effective system. Often called the 1-2-2 system, it basically calls for the first forechecker (F1) to try and direct the attack to the boards, much like a fullcourt press in basketball. It was originally designed to be a system based on quick transitions and turnovers in the offensive zone, but coaches soon realized it was easier to execute and teach if you executed it in the neutral zone.

    It is boring a system as you’ll ever see. Nowadays though, it can be beat with a quick swing pass from D to D and of course defensemen who have the ability to skate with the puck and have excellent read and react skills.

    Just a preference I guess, but I know as a coach I never teach the 1-2-2. It wins games, but it robs kids of developing creative and innovative skills.

    In the late 90′s the Swedes, who invented the trap, realized they were not successful in world competition because they had not developed their homegrown talent due to relying on the trap. When I was at hockey schools in Sweden in 2001 many of their coaches wanted to know what the secret was behind Canadian kids and their work ethic in hockey. My reply to them was that the trap does not build a strong work ethic like say a 2-3 slider or 2-1-2 system builds.

    If I told them anything further, I would have had to slap them to death using Danny and Ernie Gare’s drill book.

    Now as you can see, with the introduction of the torpedo system (used by Djurgardens), and the eventual move away from the trap system, Swedish hockey has been quite successful lately.

    Death to Jaques Lemaire!

  34. PunjabiOil says:

    How can you be an Oilers fan then? From the day Glen Sather became the boss of the Oilers, Oilers hockey has been about winning, and winning the right way, playing “Oilers hockey”.

    “Oilers hockey” is a brand. MacT coaches “Oilers hockey”. The evidence was on the ice the last twenty games of the season for the Oilers.

    Fuck…that…shit.

    Was it “Oilers” hockey that took the Oilers to Game 7 of the SCF?

    No.

    Fuck no.

  35. PunjabiOil says:

    However, if you continually play boring hockey, who will come to watch it?

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem in Vancouver or Minnesota.

    What continually brings fans back?

    Winning.

    That is all.

  36. Jonathan says:

    //However, if you continually play boring hockey, who will come to watch it? //

    It’s a good bet there’s some fans in Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Florida that could stand some boring hockey if their teams started winning.

  37. Allan S says:

    Mr Comparables: How about comparing Linden to Sanderson?

    Missing the playoffs two seasons out of three is a terrible standard in the more competitive environment. Roughly half the teams in the NHL will miss the playoffs two years out of three. The Western conference no longer has a glut of bottom feeders to skew the distribution. With the cap, few teams are more than a key injury away from 94 point season turning into a 91 point season. Fire the GM! He’s hopelessly incompetent!

    A better system is to count making the playoffs as one point, and series win as another point. 16 teams make the playoffs and there are 15 series victories per year (8+4+2+1). 31 points awarded per year over a 30 team league. Call it a point per year.

    Lowe earned 4 points in one season, and zero points in the following two seasons. Still above average, and coming out of it with a team on the upswing.

    It cracks me up to quote the “luck factor” that saved Lowe’s job: Garon, Gagner, etc. That’s not a valid mode of analysis. For every team in every season, there is a mixture of good and bad. Lowe endured two consecutive seasons which set team records for man games lost to injury. Even if we subtract Souray from the totals, as if he’s any less durable than Ryan Smyth. The surprising emergence of the rookies is not an even independent variable: the extra playing time caused by all the injuries likely contributed.

    It seems not many people notice this, but Lowe doesn’t build his teams based on the 1 point per series victory formula. He’s far too competitive for that.

    How about 1 point for making the playoffs, then 2, 3, 5, 8 points for the four playoff series? It adds up to 62 points awarded per season (1*16 + 8*2 + 4*3 + 5*2 + 8*1), roughly 2 points per team per year.

    By this formula, Lowe has 11 points over three years. This distribution is heavily skewed to the left over short time periods, so the majority of teams will have less than 6 points. Over three decades (one cup per team), the skew would disappear.

    Lowetide wrote recently that Lowe overpays D men. Could it be that Lowe overpays players who block shots, and it just happens that many of these overpaid players are D men? Could it be that blocking shots doesn’t get you into the playoffs, but does help you win a playoff series?

    It’s the same deal with pulling your goaltender. You decrease the odds that your team scores the next goal, in exchange for the increasing the volatility that the next goal is scored soon enough to make a difference to the outcome.

    It’s the same trade-off to build a team capable of winning a cup, and not just a perennial regular season Sensation. Lowe is one of the few GMs out there with thick enough skin to take this view, even though most of the fan base will never get it.

    I love the way Lowetide lays out the commodity viewpoint on NHL talent, but at the same time, it’s highly ironic to apply this view to Lowe, who least takes the commodity view of what it takes to achieve the brass ring.

    I never understood the Nonis plan, and apparently neither did his locker room, and I think that’s why he’s now gone.

  38. godot10 says:

    //Was it “Oilers” hockey that took the Oilers to Game 7 of the SCF?//
    //What continually brings fans back?
    Winning.//

    Winning consistently is about doing the right things the right way for the right reasons. Or the winning will end up being just an accident.

    The Oilers played Oilers hockey in the Cup run, but with a talent-constrained team. Tactical considerations come into play when faced with a more talented opponent (i.e. when they played Detroit), but then Oilers hockey ISN’T braindead hockey. If one has to make a temporary tactical stylistic compromise because the opposing team has superior talent, well then one does it. Even Muhammed Ali used the rope-a-dope as a temporary stylistic tactic.

    But the Oilers/MacT have never adopted the “killing-the-game” philosophy that Vigneault espouses as a strategic permanent style of play.

  39. Jonathan says:

    //Boy, tough crowd. I’ll ask one question: In light of Nonis’ failings, how does Kevin Lowe measure up against the same criticisms?

    I’d say about the same or worse. It’s funny to me that Lowe is still living on one great trade, while Nonis’ Luongo deal didn’t buy him more goodwill. //

    Worse. Much worse= http://coppernblue.blogspot.com/2008/04/team-records-post-lockout.html

    Nonis’ teams averaged 5 wins per season more than Lowe’s over his tenure. Want a funnier stat? Edmonton has the worst post-lockout record (21/30 teams) of any NHL team that has kept the same GM/coach over that span.

  40. Dennis says:

    I would say that MacT coaches the team he has and not the team he’d like to have. This year — through necessitity or whatever — he let the kid line try drop passes and what not and he didn’t smack them for it.

    Will he have that much patience next year? It depends I guess. If the D’s improved, he probably does but overall it could be as much about talent as anything else.

    I think my problem with the Nonis firing is that if they had better luck with the IR this year, they would’ve made the playoffs again. He built this team from the goalie out and tied up money in the backend and then a bunch of those guys missed a bunch of time.

    If they’d left Nonis alone and he dumped some salary from his D and made an offersheet to Carter and brought in Hossa, that team would be well on their way.

    I know that’s a lot to assume but it’s certianly possible.

  41. Jonathan says:

    //I would say that MacT coaches the team he has and not the team he’d like to have. This year — through necessitity or whatever — he let the kid line try drop passes and what not and he didn’t smack them for it.//

    Absolutely. MacT isn’t a problem.

    //If they’d left Nonis alone and he dumped some salary from his D and made an offersheet to Carter and brought in Hossa, that team would be well on their way.//

    It’s hard to say- you can’t really analyze a GM’s plans based on media reports, but there wasn’t a lot of noise about making waves (and Nonis doesn’t seem like a wave-making guy). He almost seemed like he’d be fine with Brunnstrom and the current group.

  42. RiversQ says:

    In the late 90′s the Swedes, who invented the trap, realized they were not successful in world competition because they had not developed their homegrown talent due to relying on the trap.

    At least you come by the name honestly, crazycoach.

    If you think the Swedes magically appeared sometime after 2001, then you’re certifiable. They’ve been cranking out the players since long before the fucking Torpedo.

  43. RiversQ says:

    The Oilers played Oilers hockey in the Cup run, but with a talent-constrained team. Tactical considerations come into play when faced with a more talented opponent (i.e. when they played Detroit), but then Oilers hockey ISN’T braindead hockey. If one has to make a temporary tactical stylistic compromise because the opposing team has superior talent, well then one does it. Even Muhammed Ali used the rope-a-dope as a temporary stylistic tactic.

    Uh oh…

    That doesn’t sound like Oilers Hockey (TM) to me.

    Blaspheme!

    Die! Die! Die!

    Oilers Hockey is poetry in motion played on blades of steel. They just don’t win very many games, get outplayed and outchanced a lot and don’t play much hockey in April.

    Other than that, it’s a thing of beauty.

  44. Bank Shot says:

    “He built this team from the goalie out and tied up money in the backend and then a bunch of those guys missed a bunch of time.

    If they’d left Nonis alone and he dumped some salary from his D and made an offersheet to Carter and brought in Hossa, that team would be well on their way.”

    I don’t think he’d have had to do that big of moves. Nonis did well with the contracts on the backend, and has alot of desireable $3 million dollar defencemen.

    He suggested in his season exit interviews that they’d be on the table.

    He could have traded a D for a decent second liner, signed a decent offensive talent or two with the Naslund/Morrison savings and been off to the races again without bringing in any more big names.

  45. Dennis says:

    Jon: pretty sure I read somewhere that Nonis said he’d probably have to deal off some of his D stockpile to address the offense.

  46. RiversQ says:

    crazycoach said…
    The economics of sport tell us that in order to generate future revenue you need to hook fans when they are young and hope that they stick around long enough to pay the price.

    Really?

    And style is more important than winning?

    Do you have anything that actually backs up these statements?

    Just wondering because Sandy Alderson and Billy Beane definitely disagree with you. Winning is king.

  47. Slipper says:

    “…temporary tactical stylistic compromise”

    I challenge everyone to say that ten times fast.

    Yeouch!

  48. Slipper says:

    I meant to add that “temporary tactical stylistic compromise” perfectly describes the entire calender year of 2007.

    A good portion of 2005 and 2006, aswell.

    Actually, come to think of it, “Oilers Hockey” might have ceased to exist in 1992. I might be confused with the definition, though.

    Is Oilers Hockey the kind where you perennially finish 8th or worst out of the fifteen teams in your conference?

  49. RiversQ says:

    Man, this thread is just pure gold. there’s so much in here that’s way off base, it’s astounding.

    allan s said…
    It’s the same trade-off to build a team capable of winning a cup, and not just a perennial regular season Sensation. Lowe is one of the few GMs out there with thick enough skin to take this view, even though most of the fan base will never get it.

    I can’t beleive I just read this.

    I can’t see how anyone could rectify this viewpoint of Lowe’s masterplan with the actual fucking results. One 8th place finish in the last four seasons doesn’t indicate that Lowe’s eschews mediocrity for a shot at the Cup.

  50. RiversQ says:

    Slipper said…
    “…temporary tactical stylistic compromise”

    Just awesome stuff. I’m sure he’d add “regular temporary tactical stylistic compromise” just to hammer home the point that the Oilers trap when needed every fucking game.

  51. CrazyCoach says:

    RiversQ

    Billy Beane’s genius sure has given him a lot of post-season success now has it? If winning is so important to him, then why does he continually field teams that don’t win?

    Any established hockey fan will come to see a winning team regardless of style, but if you want to build a fanbase, you have to have an exciting product. Now Nasville has been fairly successful the last couple years haven’t they, but pardon me if I’m wrong in saying that they can’t get fans out to games. Why?

    My point here is that fans enter the exciting world of fandom much in the same way you go on an escalator. If that escalator doesn’t appeal to you, you don’t go on it. No fans, no money.

    As far as the Swedes go, if you’ve ever been there, they will tell you that the trap was killing their game and that they were concerned about their lack of success on the world stage at all levels. And yes, many of their coaches came here to learn Canadian training methods in player and coach development. And yes, the Swedes have been cranking out players long before the torpedo.

    That fact can be filed in he “No shit Dick Tracy” file.

  52. CrazyCoach says:

    PUNJABOIL SAYS: “Doesn’t seem to be a problem in Vancouver or Minnesota.

    What continually brings fans back?

    Winning.

    That is all.”

    Yeah and in a couple years when they Nucks are tanking it for the draft lottery, lets see the fans fill the place then. If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Vancouver in trouble getting fans to games in the mid to late 90′s?

    Fans in Minny come because they’ve had the experience of losing an NHL team already, so they’ll do anything to fill the stands no matter if their team plays a Sominex style.

    So when Nashville makes two straight playoff appearances with a winning record, why don’t the fans show up?

    Anyone who thinks winning is the greatest marketing tool is very myopic in their thinking.

  53. Slipper says:

    Nashville plays boring hockey?

    I think there’s a more accurate reason as to why Nashville has problems selling out hockey games. It’s similar to the reasons Phoenix, Tampa, and Ft. Lauderdale have trouble selling out hockey games.

    I’m convinced that every team reduces the forecheck pressure when nursing a lead. Some teams you just notice less because they have better players who retain the puck more.

    It also appears that the measure for excitement is singular in many peoples minds: GOALS! It’s all well and good to proclaim one team as super exciting when they’re cashing in at 12-15%; but in those dry stretches, where the pucks only hitting twine 5-7% of the time, they sure look like a trap team.

  54. Alice says:

    I remember watching a NJ team winning the cup several years ago and thinking “what’s boring about that hockey?”. Fact was they could skate, carry the blueline, made things happen offensively. What the trap stifles is the Opposition – when they’re forced to play dump and chase it starts to look like the 2002 World Cup. Rope-a-dope indeed. Dump and chase is the enemy, the trap is what necessitates it. NJ didn’t play the boring D&C, their victims did.

    Where we all want to get to is those epic end-to-end battles that Mtl and Quebec had in the first round for a few years in the eighties. Increased size and speed means you won’t see that again, unless we go to Olympic ice or 4-on-4, neither of which are in the cards.

    On winning is everything? I give you Sean Avery. He could likely find a way to contribute to the Edmonton Oilers. I sure as fuck wouldn’t care anymore, though.

    Toronto believes in winning, would give their nuts to win. God, just let us Win. One. More. Time.
    So they lose.
    In Montreal, they win. Both missed last year.
    You win because the game is everything. Not because winning is everything. The wins follow.

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