Crystal Ball

And if California slides into the ocean Like the mystics and statistics
say it will
I predict this motel will be standing
until I pay my bill.

-Warren Zevon

I’ve been doing some driving this week, listening to tons of music (a variety of styles and eras). I’m struck by just how many truly great songwriters are crazy. Warren Zevon belongs on the list.

Making predictions is silly. If anyone was half good at it they’d gather attention soonafter making them and become famous the world over for predicting the future.

There are none. It’s all crazy talk, baying at the moon gibberish. You’re better off betting 7 than you are trusting anyone to your left or right and yet we all do it.

So, here goes. 10 things that will happen before the end of Oilers TC fall ’08:

  1. Oilers add at least one more significant player.
  2. Rob Schremp has a terrific training camp and doesn’t make the team.
  3. Dustin Penner shows up and demolishes last year’s fitness testing numbers.
  4. Ales Hemsky looks older, more mature, stronger. Better.
  5. Theo Peckham is the surprise of camp (in a good way).
  6. The Oilers training camp invite list has at least two former NHLers on it trying to find their way back to the show.
  7. Ryan Potulny makes the team.
  8. Gilbert Brule is sent out early enough to cause a stir and some bad feelings.
  9. The Oilers surprise everyone by staying relatively healthy this fall (betting 7 here).
  10. Jason Strudwick is in the opening night lineup, and Ladislav Smid isn’t.

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62 Responses to "Crystal Ball"

  1. PDO says:

    Quite the list there LT. While the Oilers have a nice amount of cap space here, I don’t think they’re going to make another move. I suppose they may try to bring in someone like Robert Lang out of Chicago (cap dump), but I just don’t see a big deal coming at all in the near future.

    As I’ve said a few times, I think Schremp is making this team. He’s around the team, he’s at the functions (California, Indy party, etc.), and the coach even had some nice things to say about him.

    Potulny is AHL depth and nothing more, and I think the organization gives Brule a long look, if anything so they can be really sure of exactly what they have.

    What does it say about Smid after making the team as a 20 year old, he doesn’t start as a 21 year old or a 22 year old? That’d start to worry me that we really did rush him.

    I’ll throw out ten predictions while I’m here though:

    #1) Schremp has good TC. He doesn’t go all Brodziak on us, but it’s enough to make the team.
    #2) Hemsky shows up to show us he is the man, and him and Visnovsky find some quick, solid, chemistry on the PP.
    #3) Cole starts the season with 10-83.
    #4) The kidline is broken up before opening night.
    #5) Roloson has a very strong camp, to the point that Garon (and MacT) know he is still a viable option.
    #6) Denis Grebeshkov looks like a world beater.
    #7) Sam Gagner has an extra step and a little bit of a strut.
    #8) Someone the organization has plans for shows up out of shape. Could be Pouliot, Brule or Smid, or someone else, but someone important.
    #9) Stoll’s A is given to Pisani.
    #10) JFJ, if healthy, shows something, and it’s against Calgary.

  2. ryanbatty says:

    Dustin Penner shows up and demolishes last year’s fitness testing numbers.
    I certainly hope so, a repeat of the first 20 he played last season would be just a bit disappointing.

    Hemsky looks older, more mature, stronger. Better.
    I’d bet he finds a way to look even younger. His goal this year is to look 14 not 15.

    As far as predictions go I learned long ago not to ever try and guess what the Oil are going to do.

  3. kurri_17 says:

    “Ales Hemsky looks older, more mature, stronger. Better.”

    LT: I think you missed a word:

    Queue up Six Million dollar man music…

  4. mc79hockey says:

    I like how you’re pretty much just openly baiting Dennis at this point.

  5. PDO says:

    I’ll just throw this out there, for shits and giggles.

    Apparently 6 teams are interested in Sundin. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, NYR and two other teams that would “have to make room.”

    If we were to deal Roloson, we’d have what, $7,000,000 in cap space?

    Nilsson – Sundin – Hemsky
    Penner – Horcoff – Cole
    Moreau – Gagner – Cogliano
    Pouliot – Brodziak – Pisani

    Garon/JDD would be a scary proposition, but… ;)

  6. Lowetide says:

    MC: Who? ME? Any thoughts on Manny being Manny? It sounds like he’s Dick Allen.

  7. PDO says:

    Manny might be being Manny..

    … but Vlad got protection. Honest. He even looks like he’s gonna win a Pennant this year.

  8. Kish says:

    PDO: to play along… that would be a top 5 team in the league.

  9. mc79hockey says:

    Any thoughts on Manny being Manny? It sounds like he’s Dick Allen.

    Ah, he’s acting like an asshole but his point is right about how the Sox do guys in on their way out of town. The Red Sox are the manipulators that the Oilers wish they were. They’ve got a real media there too, that doesn’t mind killing people.

  10. Lowetide says:

    The Red Sox are so far away from being the organization that they used to be before the World Series win. Before then they were a crazy bunch who let their GM draft his son (C Marc Sullivan I think his name was) but also found guys like Clemens and Boggs too.

    But now they’re the Yankees South, or whatever the hell direction they are.

    Bring back the Expos!

  11. Ducey says:

    No way Schremp makes the team. He may show flashes of checking ability but he will be farmed as he is not top 6 (or bottom 6).

    I agree Potulny will make the team.

    I predict Zach Stortini has a big camp. Hopefully we are singing this song about him by Christmas:

    He’s the hairy, hairy gent, who ran amok in Kent.
    Lately he’s been overheard in Mayfair.
    You better stay away from him, he’ll rip your lungs out Jim.

  12. Bank Shot says:

    Three cheers for number 9. I’d really like to see what this team can do healthy for a season.


    Schremp makes the team only to be sent down after 3 games and 6 minutes of icetime.

    Garon looks poor in training camp causing fear all through out Oil Country.

    Smid has been practicing his scowl in the offseason, and beats the bejebus out of someone.

    Spurgeon and Moreau have a head on collision and are knocked out for six months apiece.

  13. Bruce says:

    Huh! I’d like to meet his tailor

  14. GSC says:

    All I have to say is this: If the Oilers miss the playoffs this season, the coaching staff needs an overhaul. This is the most talented Oiler club since the ’06 Cup Run and failure to make the postseason with this group is inexcusable. Allow me to make some comparisons…

    Smyth – Cole
    Samsonov – Gagner
    Peca – Brodziak
    Stoll – Cogliano
    Torres – Penner
    Murray – Pouliot
    Dvorak – Nilsson
    Harvey/Laraque – Stortini/Moreau

    Pronger – Souray/Visnovsky
    Spacek – Gilbert
    Bergeron/Tarnstrom – Grebeshkov
    Greene – Strudwick
    Smith – Staios/Smid

    Roloson – Garon

    The only noticeable difference is the Pronger comparison, although Lubo will have ample opportunity to put some of his points up while Sheldon should provide some of the physical presence he delivered. It’s not a wash but it’s as close as it’s been to covering for him since his departure.

    Every other skater is spoken for. There are questions with the likes of Brodziak being able to provide what Peca did as a shutdown guy. I’d say the make-up of this season’s club looks pretty similar to the Cup run boys.

  15. dstaples says:

    Starting to get a sense of your musical interests, LT, and that you really love a good tune.

    The hardest thing is to find good new rock music, I find.

    I mean, what was the last great rock album?

    That said, there are plenty of great rock singles out there. If you’re interested, try these recent-ish, semi-obscure songs, ranked best to worst . . .

    * Babyshambles “Unstookietitled.”
    * Death Cab for Cutie “Cath.”
    * Johnny Cash “Rusty Cage.”
    * The Secret Machines “Nowhere Again.”
    * Handsome Furs. “What we had.”
    * Embrace. “This New Day.”
    * Matt Mays and El Torpedo “On the Hood.”

    P.S. Smid will have to have a broken leg not to be out there on opening night.

  16. Cloned says:

    Based on your predictions:

    Smid + Schremp for ? ;-)

    But honestly LT, I was waiting for this post all summer. I’ve missed your crystal ball threads on HF.

  17. GSC says:

    Someone get LT some Dire Straits. Bet some Mark Knopfler is right up his alley.

  18. danny says:

    Most recent great hard-rock album I’d guess… Wolfmother selftitled(their single ‘joker and the thief’ was pretty popular at Rexall oil games)

    Kings of Leon, are my fav Rock band. Aha Shake Heartbreak is def one of the best rock albums ever IMO.

    That said, not a big fan of the more generic ‘Rock’ music genre, save for randomly hearing a few classics when intoxicated.

  19. Bohologo says:

    LT, if you’re a Warren Zevon (RIP) fan, look for an album by a band called the Hindu Love Gods. Zevon is the singer, and the rest is REM, minus their lead singer. It’s mostly blues standards, with the exception of a cover of Prince’s Raspberry Beret. It takes some audacity to cover Prince, but Zevon kills the purple version.

    Staples: if you subscribe to podcasts, try National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered-they’v got what you’re looking for.

    My prediction: Oilers stand pat, struggle for the first half, fans call for management’s heads, then are mollified as they finish the season like a house on fire. Gagner and Cogs slump as they’re asked to do heavier lifting, and the Oil finish 6th in the conference.

  20. doritogrande says:


    Deathcab for cutie is shit. Absolute shit. And isn’t rock.

    If you want new good rock, check out “The Darkness”. They’ve broken up since their second album, but man were they good. If you want something a little heavier, Disturbed has been putting out great album after great album for years now.

    And on to the crystal ball.

    Given MacT’s penchance for defensive stalwarts, I’d wager Reddox gets a long, long look in training camp, and gets the 14th F job over the likes of Schremp, Brule and Potulny.

    Deslauriers shows he belongs, and forces the Oilers to run 3 goalies for the start of the year, until Roloson is dealt.

    Pouliot grabs the 3-line job over Brodziak.

    Mathieu Roy trips over his skates, hits the boards, and is put on LT-IR for the year due to another concussion.

    Taylor Chorney beats out Ladislav Smid for the 6-7 defenseman spot. Incidently, I have a question. If Smid has been playing professional hockey in North America for 3 years (one in Portland, two for the Oilers), why isn’t he RFA this year?

  21. doritogrande says:

    Off topic, but I think you’d appreciate it LT.

    McGuire on Edmonton’s prospects at the Canadian Development Camp:


    Prospects at Camp: Riley Nash (21st overall in 2007)and Jordan Eberle (22nd overall in 2008).

    McGuire: “Riley Nash is a good little super-pest. He battles hard, he skates well and forechecks well. I’m not sure he has a lot of pure finish, so that’s something he needs to work on. Eberle, on the other hand, is a pure goal-scoring machine. He reminds me a lot of Joey Mullen. I wish he was a little bit quicker, and I wish he was a little bit stronger, but people used to say that about Mullen. Eberle is a guy that could be a real impact player for Team Canada.”
    It’s Pierre I know, but I had never heard Riley Nash and “super-pest” mentioned in the same sentence. That’s really interesting to hear.

    I’d been following the Development Camp with interest, but hadn’t heard of anything of note from either of our guys. When it’s mentioned that Eberle could be a real impact player for Canada, I start to listen.

  22. doritogrande says:

    Sorry, meant to post the full article as well:

  23. Steve says:

    So much to say:

    1. Daring predictions (though the disclaimer that they’re definitely wrong sort of weakens that). Any chance you’d post your predicted opening night roster, and maybe the pressbox guys for bonus points? I have a lot of trouble fitting Potulny on to mine. I also agree with pdo about the odds of bringing in another significant player.

    2. Your taste in music is awesome. The recommendations made here are mixed. I echo the suggestion of the Darkness: a completely ridiculous band that you can pretend to enjoy ironically while you secretly enjoy it unironically.

    3. Right on about great songwriters being insane. Neil Young’s number one in my books and, while not as nuts as Zevon (whose tailor I certainly would like to meet, maybe over some beef chow mein), he’s got a few loose.

  24. Doogie2K says:

    Oilers stand pat, struggle for the first half, fans call for management’s heads, then are mollified as they finish the season like a house on fire.

    Up to this point, I thought you were talking about last season. ;)

    If you want something a little heavier, Disturbed has been putting out great album after great album for years now.

    You know, it’s stuff like Disturbed that makes me throw up my hands on the whole music-recommendation idea. Of all my friends that know of them, they’re pretty much split down the middle between “awesome” and “shit.” (My own unsolicited random album pick: Modest Mouse’s Good News For People Who Love Bad News.)

    I’d been following the Development Camp with interest, but hadn’t heard of anything of note from either of our guys. When it’s mentioned that Eberle could be a real impact player for Canada, I start to listen.

    I was very disappointed to learn that camp wasn't going to be here in Calgary this year. I really enjoyed the year I went and watched. I must've been the only pure fan in the building: everyone else was scouting, management, or family. I seem to remember Lorne Davis telling me during the second intermission of an U18 Red & White Game that the Oilers liked Sam Gagner all the way back in his 16-year-old year, though I doubt he ever expected we'd get him. I also remember Cogliano having three absolutely brilliant chances created with speed and doing absolutely jack with them and thinking, "Marchant with hands? Really?”

  25. dstaples says:


    You must be part of the Kiss Army when it comes to rock and roll orthodoxy.

    But I would guess, if you listened to that particular song you would agree it sure sounds like a rock song.

  26. Coach pb9617 says:

    * Ethan Moreau sprains his pancreas, sending him to the LTIR opening a spot for JFJ.

  27. boopronger says:

    wow. You slam Deathcab then recommend the darkness? Your outta of your mind doritogrande.

    Kings of leon is the shit. Aha shake heartbreak is absolutely fabulous. I dare you to listen to it once and not not fall in love with it. You cant. Its one of those albums that you can always put in and think “oh ya this song is awesome” throughout the whole disc.

  28. boopronger says:

    P.S. Disturbed is absolute shit. You can throw them into the group of bands that try really hard to act angry. Three days grace is another one that comes to mind.

    What your thinking of is Wolfmother. Light years ahead of The Darkness.

  29. Bruce says:

    I cut my teeth on rock but now my tastes are more eclectic, ranging from world music to ambient to classical to avant garde to hip hop to … (I’m a CKUA guy to the core.) Heard Warren Zevon live twice, once during a six-band all-day affair at Commonwealth a quarter of a century ago and once at the Folk Fest just a couple years before he died.

    Not sure what exactly constitutes rock at this point. I’ve been a Radiohead fan for years but the last truly rock record they did was probably The Bends; they could be considered more electronica than pure rock any more. I sure did like that recent disc put out by Grinderman (Nick Cave and some of the Bad Seeds), which has kind of a punk feel to it. (“No Pussy Blues” has got to be one of the great song titles ever, and the tune lives up to its consdierable potential with witty lyrics and suitably testosterone-soaked instrumental breaks.) My son and I both like Tool and caught their act in Rexall last summer; but maybe they’re not rock either, more like cerebral head bangers. :) But other than isolated little pockets of new stuff and a few geezers even older than me who continue to put out good stuff, I can’t say as I’m really keeping up specifically on the Rock scene; some of the names listed above are entirely new to me.

    As for training camp the best surprise would be for one of those young centres to step forward and grab that “third line” job by the balls and make it his own. That is the most troubling weak link on the team at this point.

  30. Asiaoil says:

    LT – Smid not in the lineup on opening night makes little sense as he’s the future and far better than Strudwick – he’s also tougher than most of the rest of the defense.

    If Schremp is not good enough for the top or bottom 6 then what does that make an inferior player in Potulny? This guy is simply a boost for the Falcons not a serious NHL player.

  31. oilerman13 says:

    shremp has some issues to deal with, especially his attitude. he may still make the team but i don’t know if he will. im hoping but if not, o well. shremp will play before brule. i can almost guarantee that. brule will be in the minors for most of if not the whole year, to regain his confidence. and also, dont count penner out for top line yet. he will give it all to try and keep his spot from cole. i may be wrong on all these things but, thats the fun in predicting. you never know what may happen

  32. Jonathan says:

    Peca – Brodziak
    Stoll – Cogliano
    Dvorak – Nilsson

    I agree this team is the most talented since 05-06, but seriously? Peca and Dvorak were both responsible 5-on-5 outscorers, while Nilsson is a nice player in a different skill set and Brodziak’s about 5 years away from being a comparable.

    If Cogliano flirts with 1 PPG like Stoll did in 2005-06, I’ll be amazed.

    This isn’t the same team, in fact, at this juncture it isn’t even close. Still, I agree with the overall point that they should make the playoffs.

  33. OilCountryEast says:

    If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t Potulny have a one-way contract?

  34. Coach pb9617 says:

    If you’re looking for real rock today, check out The Hold Steady

  35. heed says:

    kings of leon. all three albums…worth buying. seriously.

    ps my buddy in calgary who is a die hard oiler fan got the following message in his fortune cookie on monday…”your sports team will be very successfull this year”. enough said, the gods have already spoken.

  36. Dennis says:

    I can hear the air conditioner hum….

    As a kid and teenager, I knew little about Zevon except for the occasional single you’d see on Much and the fact that he was the weird guy who kept turning up on Letterman;)

    Just last month, though, I re-watched “Freaks and Geeks” and was overjoyed to hear him belting out “Poor poor pitiful me.” I only know that as a gawd-awful Terry Clark songs — don’t get me started on New country — and I don’t know if it’s a Zevon original but it certainly reads like one.

    Not sure if the Oilers are ready to give Smid another October smack and I saw a picture of Schremp at the Molson Indy; was that the Edm race, I wonder?; to me, car racing is as Real as the CFL — and the guy had pipe-cleaner arms. So, what was the problem with him before? Was he a skinny guy with a gut? It doesn’t look like he’s any more muscular or anything.

    As for baseball, I can’t tell you how much I miss baseball and the Expos in particular. Last night, SN had the choice of Angels/Sox or Cubs/Brewers and I wasn’t playing or umping ball last night and it still couldn’t hold my attention.

    Time was I knew at least 23 guys on everyone’s 25 man roster and that time wasn’t long ago. But the motivation really isn’t there anymore with the Expos defunct.

  37. Traktor says:

    Deathcab and all that emo stuff is junk. So is scream-core with no melody.

    The best cd I’ve bought in some time is “Numb” by “Streetlight manifesto”, it’s a gem.

    heed: Yeah kings of leon are pretty solid. Not my favourite type of music but they rock. “Boxer” by “The National” is a great cd too if you like Kings of Leon.

  38. Rick says:

    ” So, what was the problem with him before? Was he a skinny guy with a gut? It doesn’t look like he’s any more muscular or anything.”

    I’m no real Schremp fan but I’ll defend him in this case anyways.

    I am not sure big arms are a make or break issue for a guy of Schremp’s style. Let’s face it he will never be a player that will put himself in a position to grapple with another guy one on one.

    For a guy like him I would expect that the Oilers are looking for him to improve on his leg and lower body strength. It works wonders for Gagner.

    My prediction;

    Pouliot proves for the second year in a row that the so called traction he gained at the end of the previous year was simply a mirage. As a result the Oilers end up moving him to make room for Brule.

  39. Bill Needle says:

    Which Zevon describes Smid’s defensive style:
    Disorder in the House, or
    Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner?

  40. dstaples says:

    Bill Needle:

    Of course, the Zevon song that refers directly to the promising Smid kid is “Werewolves of London,” which has the lyric:

    Ya, hear him howlin around your kitchen door, ya better not let him in.
    Calgary Flame got mutilated late last night, werewolves of London again.

  41. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    OT: Steve Tambellini is our new GM.

  42. Ribs says:

    Well, this is quite the shake-up. I am quite worried at this point.

  43. Chunklets says:


    So, uh, what does a President of Hockey Operations do, anyway?

  44. Schitzo says:

    This has to be a shuffle to bring an extra mind to the table – someone to replace what they lost in Howson

  45. namflashback says:

    11. Katz gives carte blanche for the organization to improve its hockey ops department and bring some more non-Oiler experience to the table.

    Not former Oilers: 8

    Assistant GM (arguable due to how long he has been here)
    Development Coach
    NHL Assistant (Moores)
    AHL Head Coach, AHL Assistant Coaches (2)

    versus 4 former Oilers

    Pres Hockey Ops
    Head Coach
    Assistant Coach (Huddy)
    Assistant Coach (Buchberger)

    Obviously those coaches are in pretty critical areas.

    But its an improvement

  46. IceDragoon says:

    chunklets: So, uh, what does a President of Hockey Operations do, anyway

    Hires the new GM…?

    This is expanding the management team, iow, spending in areas that don’t impact the salary cap. Looks like a smart use of resources to me.

  47. namflashback says:

    I’d guess that the President of Hockey Ops would propose/set player budget (in consult with the CFO and CEO).

    Be responsible for major agreements: minor league affiliations. Support and advice to the GM.

    GM makes the final decisions on players for the big team.

    He might also be overseeing the Oil Kings GM within this context.


  48. PDO says:

    Very, very, solid moves all around imo.

  49. digger says:

    For someone getting a promotion, why did Lowe sound like he’d been given the choice between the presidency and unemployment?

    He sounded a bit waylaid to me.

  50. Doogie2K says:

    I figured Lowe would get kicked upstairs someday, but I thought it would be because he fucked up another season. He actually did a lot of good things this off-season, things-that-might-have-happened-but-obviously-didn’t notwithstanding.

    But everyone knew Tambellini was going to be a GM somewhere, someday. I guess once he failed to get the Vancouver job for the second time in a row, he became a little more open to a move.

  51. Cloned says:

    I think we’re all overlooking the possibility that LT will have to rename his blog and his internet handle. ;-)

  52. Big T says:

    Does anyone know Tambellini’s track record – what can even be attributed to him?

    What are/could be his strengths?

    What are/could be his weaknesses?



  53. Lord Bob says:

    Wait, hang on, what?

    We’re looking to the Vancouver Canucks for management help now?

    Is it too late to get the EIG back?

  54. goldenchild says:

    How much of the title of GM is beause its probably the only way Tambelini could get out of Vancouver? There is prob a cause that says only a GM position gets him an out, I would think Lowe still has final say on moves, though I do like the idea of another experienced guy with probably some different contacts.

  55. Cloned says:

    Some rough comments from Lowe in his interview with Tencer:

    “Kevin and Steve will bring ideas to me…”

    “Someone at the end of the day will still have to make the final decision, and that person will be me…”

    “Steve will be doing more of the day-to-day jobs…things that wore me down…”

  56. dstaples says:

    Have to give LT credit. He’s been predicting this for the longest of time. I certainly didn’t see it coming — or hear anything.

    Could be a good move . . . Lowe still has a say, and still is the team leader. I suspect he was tired of the 24/7 365 grind of it all.

    But it only works if Tambellini doesn’t have a sweet tooth for aging high-priced free agents, as in Souray/Hossa/Nylander.

  57. Cloned says:


    To be honest, Lowe sounds absolutely relieved that he’s no longer GM. He sounds like the job wore him right down. This is the best position for him – he still gets final say on personnel decisions but let’s Tambellini handle the rigors of the day to day work.

    For Tambellini, he gets to work with someone he respects, he likely gets a significant pay raise, and he gets to put this on his resume.

  58. Hoos says:

    Cloned said…

    “I think we’re all overlooking the possibility that LT will have to rename his blog and his internet handle.”

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but Lowetide is actually Ron Low’s nickname. If the name didn’t change with his leaving for the Houston Areo’s, then let us hope that it will never change.

    With all due apologies, “Laintide” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  59. EllaFH says:

    you forgot to mention how the oilers will hire a new GM!!! WOW!

  60. doritogrande says:


    Tambo’s not a significant player to you? ;)

  61. sexy says:







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