Trouble in River City

There was a time years ago when the Oilers had two wonderful young goalies. Each wanted and deserved the right to be a starter and each was a workhorse type so as time rolled on it only made sense that someone would be unhappy.

The math implies Edmonton may have chosen the wrong kid to trade but honestly they were going to win either way.

Moog eventually demanded a trade, jumped the Oilers and played for the Olympic team until Sather finally dealt him to Boston.

Many times in Oilers history the team and players have reached a point where something has to give, something has reached the boiling point and must be addressed immediately.

I think there are two such examples on the current edition of the Edmonton Oilers.

Cluster: If we can agree that the prime period for a player’s career is 27-30 and that a player past 30 is going to get grumpy if he continues to make the playoffs, then the recent comments coming from the veterans are understandable. The men born in the 1970s (Cole, Horcoff, Moreau, Pisani, Souray, Staios, Visnovsky, Strudwick, Garon) plus the one guy born in the 1960s (Roloson) have hung around a long time, seen the development curve on a lot of phenoms, and signed their long term deals with a team who had quite recently gone to G7 SCF.

In his first full season in the NHL, Dwayne Roloson was watching a 19-year old Jarome Iginla and a 22-year old Cory Stillman developing their skills. I can only imagine how many Sam Gagner’s or Ladislav Smid’s Roloson has been witness to and their development curve takes the one thing Roloson cannot afford: time.

Recently, some of the veterans are getting a bit testy about this (if we’re to believe a few quotes and some things that have been mentioned in the newspapers) situation. Ethan Moreau’s postgame comments sound like they were lifted from another time, another place. Apparently Steve Staios said something like “it’s not the same” after last night’s game. It sounds (from an outsider’s point of view) that the veterans have lost the room, the old line “the beatings will continue until morale improves” has been replaced by a scene from 12 Angry Men (the original) in which Lee J. Cobb tars all youth with the same brush. There is (apparently) a disconnect brought on by:

Lack of Success: I admire the Oilers commitment to continuity. These teams who change management every 5 minutes never get any kind of sustain because the deck chairs are all getting moved constantly. Credit to the Oilers, who have had the same evaluation group in place for the entire decade, the same coach since 2000, and a management team that is largely the same as it was at the turn of the century.

This is what winning teams do, with examples being the Habs (Pollock-Bowman), the Islanders (Torrey-Arbour), the Oilers (Sather) and more recently the Red Wings (Holland, Nill, etc). The problem is that the Oilers forgot the key item in the equation: winning.

Having a consistent management team watching over the mediocre is kind of crazy, and although there’s no doubt talent does exist at the management level of the Edmonton Oilers it does appear a fresh start of some sort is in order.

It may be something as simple as a trade, or perhaps an overhaul of certain portions of the roster (sending down three and calling up three new guys would have an impact on the roster). But it’s clear this team and organization have reached critical mass, just as clear as it was in the Moog situation, the Coffey situation, the Arnott situation, the Comrie situation.

This is no longer a must to avoid for the ownership of the Edmonton Oilers. This is about veterans starting to chirp and as the great actor Woody once said “someone’s poisoned the water hole!” Not surprisingly, it looks for all the world like it was the veterans.

There’s trouble here in River City.

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111 Responses to "Trouble in River City"

  1. hunter1909 says:

    Damn kids!

    You do everything for them, then what do you get?

  2. hunter1909 says:

    The sooner this team reaches critical mass the sooner it stands to be repaired, or made worse, if that’s possible.

    Last night’s game was fairly entertaining for the first period. The Sharks were polite enough not to openly mock the Oilers(unlike the Red Wings during their last visit), and the 3 goals allowed aside, it looked like a fun game.

    It appears as if newcomers Katz and Tambellini are both in a mild state of shock, watching the inner workings of this current management team. But they are the owner and GM now, and the way the wind is blowing it’s a fair bet that we are about to see substantial changes before the trade deadline.

    I was able to enjoy the first couple of periods last night, then I simply turned it off after goal 4. That’s something that has become easier to do lately, turn the whole thing off.

    Apathy can be a great thing at times.

    The post game comments mean nothing to me anymore. It’s usually a rehash of the same situation, called re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, shovelling fleas across a barnyard, than sort of thing.

    I’m villified for being extreme, but have been noticing that were this an election the polls are defintely turning in the right direction.

    Oilers are one of the greatest teams in the entire history of the NH bloody L, with one of the very best fan bases this side of the Montreal Canadiens. We aren’t stupid.

    As witnessed by the deathly silence in the arena at the end of the first period.

  3. DBO says:

    So if critical mass is being reached, then what will give? Do we make the quantity for quality for an established player? Do we deal the slowing/plodding/past their prime “leaders” who have lost the room (here i point to Staios and Moreau, especially Moreau who is barely a 4th liner at this point in my mind). i guess the question is what can we do to change the “culture” in the room? Personally I think a coaching change is what this team needs most. Regardless of what peeople think of MacT and how good he is as a coach, when the room has turned, things are different, etc. you change the top guy in the room and that is the coach. i’ve said it before, even Scotty Bowman got fired.

  4. HBomb says:

    This team needs a purge of the “old guard” leadership in the room.

    I point to three guys when I say this – Moreau, Staios, and MacT. Try to move the former two to a contender for whatever you can get (I’d take a seventh rounder for both just to get the cap space), and replace MacT either now or in the offseason.

    Turn this team over to Horcoff, Souray, and Hemsky, and go from there.

  5. hunter1909 says:

    Fire the coach, put a guy like Quinn in there(young players like his easy going style), get rid of the cancerous dross(Moreau, Staios, Roloson), let the players pick their own fucking captain.

    It’s called a fresh start.

  6. Lord Bob says:

    HBomb: the trouble is that, if Moreau and Staios are both toxic off the ice and useless on the ice, who’s going to want them?

    Even if Tambellini comes to his senses, we’re probably stuck with them until the off-season when we can buy them out.

  7. DBO says:

    The issue with dealing the two big vets on this team is that as long as MacT is the coach there is no way he chooses to go into battle with kids. His comments after the game a few nights back about “weathering the storm” until Pisani and hemmer get back made me a little scared that nothing is going to happen. i do agree that with Pisani and hemsky our team gets deeper, Moreau slides to the fourth line and “balance’ is achieved throughout our lineup (at least as good a balance as we can achieve with this team). However, a change (whatever that may be) is needed and I hope all Oilwer fans agree that this team is not right.

  8. DBO says:

    And on the note of hemmer and Pisani returning, what do people think our lineup will be like now that MacT has seen how people play together? i think this lineup makes the most sense, but what do I know:
    penner – horcoff – Hemsky
    Nilsson – gagner – Cole
    Pouliot – Cogliano – Pisani
    Moreau – Brodziak – Stortini/Reddox

    Although i fear Mact would switch Pou and moreau.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Moreau doesn’t play on the 4line. Just doesn’t.

  10. oilerdago says:

    The team is at a critical juncture one made more complicated by the salary cap issues.

    The more fundamental question the organization needs to answer for itself and the fans is what direction are they going to go and do they have the stones to tough it out.

    Either way, this team is not going to compete for the Cup this season and depending on what way they go it could be several seasons. So who do you want to build around and who has the respect of the room (not just the coaches).

    Personally, purging the vets (and that may mean you have to be willing to waive them because they have little to no trade value) is the easiest. Is it the best? I don't pretend to know enough.

    But I can tell you as a person who manages a number of 20 something people in the world of business that the comments last night of Moreau & Staios last night while technically right (team responsibility, make the game fun) would go further if also admitted where they have screwed up personally. Kids don't like being talked at – especiaally in the media. My sense is they may resent it more in the light of day.

    And the coaches need to understand that too. Putting guys out on lines together where there is personal animosity of any kind will not lead to success.

    In the end, I'd like to start watching a hockey team play and stop watching a soap opera.

    Like I said though, the first move is coming in the next 2 days. If JDD comes back and they continue to carry 3 goalies, we'll know Nero is still fiddling while Rome burns.

    And that would be A VERY BAD SIGNAL TO SEND TO THE FANS.

  11. Coach pb9617 says:

    Someone mentioned this year’s Kurt Sauer. Would it be Aaron Johnson from Chicago?

  12. DBO says:

    LT: i know he doesn’t and that’s what kills me. he won’t be a Buchberger: 4th liner who kills penalties and plays the occasional shift on a top line to inject some fire. he would still get 12-14 minutes a night, maybe more with the way mact has played the 4th line. Moving him to the 4th line gives us essentially 2 3rd lines, and you can roll 4 per game and keep guys fresh (a big part of our success last year).

    Question about the run at the end of last year. Does anyone think the run was so successful (albeit just a tad short in the end) due to the kids getting free reign and basically being the leaders of the team? i know they might not have been the biggest talkers in the room, but does anyone think that due to the injuries the “leaders” didn’t try to dominate the room and therefore the kids played better without fear of a tongue lashing from Staios or Moreau?

  13. Asiaoil says:

    1) You allow MacT to “retire” and you make Lowe coach this mess for the rest of the season prior to kicking him upstairs to a non-hockey position. The cancer is mgmt as much as on-ice leadership.

    2) You trade that little prick Moreau for whatever you get right now. Bloody embarrassment of a captain for a great franchise – and for Pete’s sake pick someone with actual talent to lead this team next time. I’m damned tired of MacT surrounding himself with mediocre talents who owe their paycheck to the head coach – totally weak-kneed stuff.

    3) You jettison Staios and Roloson at the deadline – there will be a market to contenders.

    Not even worried about what we get for Moreau, Staios and Roloson – and frankly – we won’t much miss them. Picks are fine or a cheap 3rd pair dman or a 3rd line center who can win a few faceoffs.

  14. DBO says:

    OK, now that i am a few coffees in this morning does anyone think the Oilers would try and make a crazy huge deal? What team has a superstar player they are looking to move (either due to Salary cap concerns or financial troubles for the franchise). No one is going to do a “Thornton deal” again, with 3 spare parts for a superstar. But in this cap age some teams will look to improve their depth and youth by dealing a veteran star.

  15. Coach pb9617 says:

    Even if Tambellini comes to his senses, we’re probably stuck with them until the off-season when we can buy them out.

    Much better players than the two of them have been optioned to the A.

  16. Lord Bob says:

    Much better players than the two of them have been optioned to the A.

    So you’re going to take two grumpy veterans, make them even grumpier, and then send them to hang about your impressionable youth for the rest of the season? :P

  17. oilerdago says:

    DBO a huge super star means that given the Oilers salary cap issues they have to bring more of the Springfield Falcon players up to support him.

    If you think there are issues with scoring goals now…

  18. hunter1909 says:

    Moreau doesn’t play on the 4th line?

    If he played on my team he would play anywhere I told him to play, or else he’s off the team that second.

    Captain? I’d tear that ‘C’ off his jersey so fast both him and his agent would be crying their little eyes out.

    Asiaoil – definitely knows what’s the matter.

  19. DBO says:

    Asiaoil: I agree totally. Give the C to Souray or Horcoff.

    Ok big deal I would love: Rumours about Lecavalier in tampa being shopped are probably bullshit, but lets entertain regradless. Would Oil fans make this deal:

    LeCavalier and Halpern
    for
    Gagner, Grebeshkov/Gilbert, Schremp/prospect, 1st round pick?

    That’s more then they got for Richards, improves tampa’s depth and changes their leadership equation (Stamkos and gagner become their 1 and 2 centres). And obviously we get LeCavalier who has an expensive deal, and we give up a talent in Gagner. But this gives us a top flight player who allows us to compete right away, and gives this stable of vets a chance at competing right away. Not to mentin that LeCavalier is only 28.

  20. Coach pb9617 says:

    So you’re going to take two grumpy veterans, make them even grumpier, and then send them to hang about your impressionable youth for the rest of the season? :P

    Sure. Tell the kids that they are grumpy old men and not to listen to them.

  21. DeBakey says:

    if Moreau and Staios are both toxic off the ice

    you have to be willing to waive them because they have little to no trade value)

    The Intertubes are a fun thing,
    and I spend way too much time with the Google every day

    And one thing I've noticed in comments sections,
    one comment builds apon another,
    climbing to somewhat dizzying heights,
    especially when the commenters are a little
    p-o'd.

    Moreau isn't toxic, it just appears to us grumps that something bad is hapening here.

    Teams who are Cup contenders love wily vets
    Both Moreau & Staios are very moveable.

  22. godot10 says:

    Teams that might be interested in Staios for defensive depth for a playoff run:

    1) San Jose
    2) Philadelphia
    3) Vancouver
    4) NY Rangers
    5) Montreal
    6) Anaheim

    Trading Staios frees up money for Grebeshkov.

  23. Kris says:

    I don’t know about Moreau, but I don’t see any team in the league taking Staios. We’d have to trade Staois and a pick just to get a bag of pucks in return.

    It’s sad giving up on Staios – a class act and once solid player- and I don’t think we should be lumping his beahvior in with Moreau’s. There’s little evidence there’s anything wrong with Staios approach to the team, no?

    —–

    These problems with Moreau make me realize that all that talk about Smith being a natural leader might just have been understatements.

  24. PunjabiOil says:

    Where’s Daryl Katz in all this? Seems like after the initial splash, all he’s been concerned about it is devoting his time to the new arena.

    MacT’s time is over – there really is no reason to keep hanging on to him, simply because he’s making rookie mistakes.

    Moreau and Staios were bad contracts at that time. You never sign long term contracts for which there is no chance of overperformance. Moreau and Staios got paid for what they did, rather than what they were expected to do. Kevin Lowe, despite his absurd comparisons, Billy Beane he isn’t.

    Trading for Cole was a mistake too. Zherdev was a better choice, and you knew Cole was not going to put up the same numbers in the NW as opposed to the SE.

    Letting Glencross and Hejda go for peanuts is just terrible asset management.

    In summary, as per usual, Kevin Lowe is the culprit of the state of the Edmonton Oilers.

    What’s sad is there is no quick fix.

    There really isn’t a nice way to put it. This team is perpetually fucked, and that isn’t changing anytime soon.

  25. godot10 says:

    I think trading Moreau would be more difficult to accomplish than trading Staios, unless one takes a similarly poor contract in return.

    But then Moreau is relatively inexpensive to buy out. 2/3rds of $3.5 million is $2.34 million.

  26. DBO says:

    As for dealing Moreau and Staios to a team in the hunt that could use more veteran’s. Boston is a perfect partner. they have a relatively young team that needs to fill out their bottom 6 forwards and bottom pairing on defense. They have a good mix of what LT called young/cheap overachievers and old guys playing for new deals. The two years left on Staios and Moreau fit their window of opportunity.

  27. hunter1909 says:

    “In summary, as per usual, Kevin Lowe is the culprit of the state of the Edmonton Oilers.

    What’s sad is there is no quick fix.

    There really isn’t a nice way to put it. This team is perpetually fucked, and that isn’t changing anytime soon.” PunjabiOil

    Not at all. There’s nothing wrong with this team, that a seriously motivated coach cannot fix.

  28. bookie says:

    Out with the old, in with the new. I’ve heard things off the record from people with connections that there’s a split in the dressing room, with MacT, Staios, Roloson, and Moreau on one side and Souray, Horcoff, and the “kids” on the other side.

    I don’t know if this is true (from last nights thread), but it kind of seems like it – although I doubt MacT is really in that mix. I would think that the young slackers on the team (Penner, Nilson, maybe a few others) are bothering the hard working talentless, respect us cause we are senior (Staois, Moreau) guys.

    It is time to give the C to Hemsky. He is a class player, with loads of talent, who goes into corners even when someone 50lbs heavier is about to take him out (maybe its bad planning, but it shows guts). THe only way to accomplish this is move Moreau.

    Really, none of us know if there is some kind of old gaurd/new gaurd thing going on. Moreau used to be a very valuable player in terms of energy on this team. Staios could just be ‘in a mood’ because he has sucked for the past 1.5 years and it is getting to him personally. It could also be that he (like MacT) thinks that this team sold its heart and soul when they dumped Reasoner. I dont think that but…they seem to.

    Time will tell, there are too many smart guys in management to just leave this sit as it is.

  29. DBO says:

    My wish list. Not really, but they all could work.

    1. Deal roloson to ottawa for a mid round pick (3rd)
    2. Deal Staios and Moreau and Garon to boston for a late round pick (5th) and Fernandez. They move his money to allow them to make another move at the dealine, and we get a younger version of roloson that is only 33 and may be someone we can sign for 2 or 3 years.
    3. Either stand pat and go with the kids, or make a huge deal and get lecavalier.
    4. Use the third round picks we get from boston and Ottawa to address our checking line centre need and stay at home defenseman need.

  30. hunter1909 says:

    I’m starting to think I need to coach this team.

  31. Lord Bob says:

    Trading for Cole was a mistake too. Zherdev was a better choice, and you knew Cole was not going to put up the same numbers in the NW as opposed to the SE.

    You’re a clever guy, PO, but you’re dead wrong on this one. This team’s problem is not “not enough Robert Nilsson/Sam Gagner/Andrew Cogliano/Ales Hemsky types except with massive attitude problems”. Erik Cole is exactly the sort of player that the Oilers needed. I’d rather have Joni Pitkanen, but if they had to trade him Cole was the right sort of player to aim for.

    I hope none of you were expecting a goal-scoring machine because Cole’s always been a guy who cheats for defense, and that’s exactly what this team is short of. Hell, Cole, Horcoff, and a healthy Pisani are the only forwards on this roster who can defend top players!

  32. Asiaoil says:

    You know the thing about Moreau that really grates is just how useless he’s been – only really been decent one year out of the last four. Can anyone name a guy wearing the C who has done less to deserve it?

    But really why does anyone expect this to change? Moreau/Staios/Roloson are MacT guys who is a Lowe guy who is a Katz guy. You either shit-can everyone form Lowe down or the mutual support circle continues. The whole bunch of them go or else they will kill off anyone that questions them – but it is daft to watch such a bunch of under-achievers display such arrogance.

    As for Vinny – big salary numbers coming up but a reasonable cap number for some reason?? He would need Horcoff to support him and we would need to lose another bigger contract like Penner or Cole to make it work. Just can’t see him make a successful shift from TBL to EDM to be truthful. I’d rather just cut out the cancer (Moreau, MacT, Staios, Roloson) and try get a couple of useful bottom 6 wingers or a #5 dman in return and run the kids. Summer’s a better time to make serious changes.

  33. Asiaoil says:

    Like I said in the game thread – only good news is that it’s nice to hear that Souray and Horcoff are on the right side of the room – the one that should still be here in a few weeks if there is a point to watching this squad for the rest of this season and next.

  34. Traktor says:

    The fact MacTavish still has a job is one of the most unexplainable mysteries known to man.

    The only thing even remotely as satisfying as watching him get axed is watching him get exposed and witnessing his groupies turn on him. He deserves nothing less.

  35. DBO says:

    asiaoil: Vinny’s cap number is good beause it’s an 11 year deal that drops in salary big time later on.
    As for what we would surround him with (this year):
    Lecavalier – hemsky – Penner
    Horcoff – Pisani – Cole
    Cogliano – Pouliot – Nilsson
    Brodziak/Halpern – Stortini -Strudwick
    we can afford him because we deal rollie, Staios and Moreau for no one back. Horcoff’s line becomes our tough minutes line/checking line that can outperform, with the kids getting soft minutes.

    next year you let Cole go and look to promote from wihin or add a $3 million winger for a year or two (Knuble is a UFA and brings grit and goals for $3 million, or Cole at a discount since no way he gets $4 mill plus next year from anyone). Sign manny Fernandez for Roloson money, JDD as a backup. Promote a dman from the farm for toughness, or add a $1 million player for the 6th dman.

  36. hunter1909 says:

    Personally, I don’t want to trade anyone. Better to cut out the rotten players, and try to see if it’s possible to win with the lineup already in place.

    With that motivated coach I’m starting to dream about more and more.

  37. pboy says:

    One thing about the NHL is that once a “rep” as been established, that “rep” is taken as gospel by most of the people that cover or work for on of the 30 teams. Just last year Edmonton was voted in the Top 5 for “Best Ice” in the NHL. Anyone who watches the Oiler games knows that is absolutely laughable but we have always had the “rep” for having great ice, so we must still have great ice, right? Long intro….

    Steve Staios has a “rep” for being a dependable, rock steady 4-6th defenceman who takes care of his own end and who isn’t afraid to rough it up. Ethan Moreau has a “rep” for being a team leader in the dressing room and a solid 3rd liner who excels on the PK. The fact that neither of the guys fit these job descriptions has nothing to do with what their “reps” are. Perception is reality in this league. Anyone who thinks we will have difficulty trading one or both of them, is dead wrong IMHO. Not only can the be dealt but we would do better in return than you might think.

    Let’s look at Rolli: I have been pushing for them to use Garon more almost the whole season but if you look at Rolli’s numbers, he has played like one of the better goalie’s in the league this year. It wouldn’t have been outrageous for him to make the All-Star team as our representative if Souray couldn’t go, if you look at solely the numbers. But Rolli is pushing 40, so his “rep” is now as an older player, playing out the string, regardless of what he is actually doing on the ice.

    Making the playoffs might be becoming a pipe dream at this point, winning the Cup is just not happening, so I would like to see this team jettison the “Holy Trinity”, give either Horc or Souray the C, lock up Grebs (if at all possible), re-sign Cole and either let MacT go now or come to an agreement with him at the end of the season. Do I really think these things will happen? Sadly, no, no I don’t. I expect us to have another unbalanced team next year and to have most of these sames vets and the same voices behind the bench again.

  38. GSC says:

    When will the Oiler organization own up to this mediocre shit? It’s been the same way year-in and year-out, even with the ’07 cup run that damn near didn’t happen (thanks again, Vancouver). Whether it’s mis-management from the front office in terms of icing the right roster, or neglect from MacTavish with who he puts out on the ice and when, the result continues to be the same: scratch for that 8th spot.

    Something has got to give. It starts with cutting out the cancer that Staios and Moreau have become, and moving Roloson for a pick (NOT re-signing him, he’s damned near 40). There has to be a real commitment to winning in this organization, and I haven’t seen it for years now. Even since the heralded re-arrangement of the CBA, the Oilers have done nothing but tread water at best.

    When is enough enough?

  39. shepso says:

    Call me crazy here, but I’m going to go on a limb here and put a question out. Maybe I should be doing this on my own blog right now, but at Bringing Back the Glory, we’re on a kids kick these days…So, apart from Roli’s age and contract expiration which make him expendable, what exactly has he said or done to really be deemed as a cancerous element of this team? Last night’s soft goals aside, if I’m not mistaken Roli has been the one of the top three most consistent players on the team this year. Other than Souray and Hemskey, Roloson has been the team’s backbone. In interviews he’s always really calm and well spoken, defends players, and knows what it is like to battle hard and win. I feel a lot safer with Roli in net then I do with Matty right now. Sure, if he retires we should take a run at Fernandez and have JDD as his back up. That’s a really solid plan, but to lump Roli into the the lethargic, undisciplined non-leaders like Staios and Moreau is to seriously short-change a stand-up guy who, despite his age, has not quit, not slowed down and played at a pretty damn high level all season…or maybe it’s just me …

  40. Kris says:

    Let’s not panic. This team isn’t “totally screwed” long term, because there are a bunch of tradeable assets and up and coming players here. Lowe has made a lot of mistakes, but he has done a decent job bringing in players.

    Let’s review:

    1. Dumping Moreau, and Staios is going to be more difficult to do than most of you are suggesting; no one wants those cap hits. My guess is that, over the next year and a half, one of them gets moved with a little salary coming the other way, and the other retires, get’s waived, or dumped in some other way. It’s doable if we don’t expect to get any return for them other than some cap space.

    2. Pisani and Cole will have serious value at the deadline. IMO, they should both be moved for younger, cheaper players. I know it sucks losing them, but that’s the price of rebuilding.

    3. Roloson might be a decent goaltender still. So might Garon. Who knows. But we shouldn’t sign either for more than 2 million for 1 year.

    4. If we get rid of Staios (2.7), Cole (4.0), Pisani (2.5), Roloson (3.6), and Moreau (2.0) we lose 14.8 million towards the cap. Of course, we need to refill those 5positions with at least average players- say at a million a player. So the real cap savings is only about 9 million.

    5. If we can dump salary and get a few young players in return, then going forward, we’ve got Horc, Hemsky, Souray, Lubo, a mob of talented inexpensive youngsters, 9 million in cap space, and an owner willing to spend to the cap. (Sure we might have to trade some of the soft young guys for some grit, but that’s doable too.)

    6. Looking at 5., this team is in better shape than at anytime post Messier IMO. (Maybe the Pronger year was better. Tough to say.)

    So yeah, it would be nice to have a winning season this millenium, but let’s be rational here.

  41. Lord Bob says:

    The fact MacTavish still has a job is one of the most unexplainable mysteries known to man.

    Actually, it’s completely explainable. MacTavish was gone in 2007. Out the door, see ya later. His contract hadn’t been renewed, he was going to leave and everybody knew it. Then his team got hot at exactly the right time, we came within a goalpost of winning the Stanley Cup, MacTavish got a contract extension, and here we are.

    I said at the time (I SWEAR I SAID THIS) that the Stanley Cup run might, in the long haul, do us more harm than good. I hate being right.

  42. rickibear says:

    Our healthy team for St. Louis:

    Penner-Horc-Nilsson
    Cogs-Gagner-Cole
    Moreau-Brodziak-Pouliot
    Reddox-Brule-Smac

    Grebs-Gilbert
    Smid-Vish
    Strudwick-Staios

    Rollosson
    Garon

    When Pisani and Souray are back:
    clearing Moreau, Staios, and Rolloson is a priority.

    Forget Boston: They will not take on players with contracts past this year. They need to sign two PPG players in Kreji and Kessel. Anyone got 9-10M you can lend them.

    Godot10 list seems like the best targets.

  43. rickibear says:

    Kris: you are another on the list i enjoy to read each day.
    Beauty comment.

  44. Coach pb9617 says:

    Would Oil fans make this deal:

    LeCavalier and Halpern
    for
    Gagner, Grebeshkov/Gilbert, Schremp/prospect, 1st round pick?

    If it’s Cogliano, Gilbert, Schremp and a pick, yes.

    I’d also resign Grebs long term first.

  45. Coach pb9617 says:

    Trading for Cole was a mistake too. Zherdev was a better choice, and you knew Cole was not going to put up the same numbers in the NW as opposed to the SE.

    How in the holy hell is Cole a mistake?

  46. Coach pb9617 says:

    One thing about the NHL is that once a “rep” as been established, that “rep” is taken as gospel by most of the people that cover or work for on of the 30 teams.

    Just two posts back is an excellent LT rant about the “saw him good” guys.

  47. hunter1909 says:

    Cole will not stay on the Oilers.

    He’s a UFA, and won’t have to ever see MacTavish again, in about 40 more games from now.

    Hs agent is probably on the phone right now, reminding everyone what a graveyeard Edmonton has become for talent – thus ensuring a higher price for his client come next summer.

    And btw – the look on his trophy wife’s face said it all to me during one of those pathetic ‘meet the Oilers’ intermission features.

  48. Kris says:

    Hey, thanks Rickibear.

    And thank you Golden Child for the compliment the other day, too.

    It means a lot coming from guys I respect.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Guys if we could keep from being dinks today I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

  50. PunjabiOil says:

    RE: Cole.

    He’s a good player, but he’s not a 4.0M player. With only 1 year left until UFA status, I’m not sure I would have made that deal.

    Since it’s becoming more and more questionable about the Oilers being a playoff team, I can see him being moved for a 1st round pick at the trade deadline.

    As for Zherdev, he’s got a very reasonable cap hit, and an RFA after the year. He put up 61 points on a trap playing Columbus team last year, and is playing well again this year.

    Just heard about Moreau’s comments on Souray. What a dink.

    TSN Ice chips listed Souray in practice today, so that’s good news. I agree with Lowetide though; it would be prudent to trade Souray. He’d carry a lot of value around the league, and could be used in a package to acquire an elite first liner. Good defenceman are necessary, but elite forwards do more to help the team win hockey games.

    RE: MacT

    I was never in the fire MacT camp until this year – but while Lowe deserves a significant amount of discredit, MacT isn’t extracting fair market value from this team.

    It’s really painful seeing your team miss the playoffs 3 straight years, 4 out of the past 5, and 5 out of the past 7. Something has to change.

    It’s quite sad, actually.

  51. Dennis says:

    LT: what’s this 24 quote all about? It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s grousing because we can all still remember that him and MacT had it out in Van one night last winter so maybe there’s still a little something left from that. And, yeah, he’s a vet so he’s probably sick of all the mediocrity.

    I don’t think we can learn anything from last night because most teams lose to SJ and Roli’s been good enough this year that I’ll let him off with one shitty game but no one wins in 2009 with two awful GA; they just don’t.

    Overall, though, we’re now just two home GP away from being evened up with the road docket so that chipstack is just about used up and we’re really no further ahead. Granted, our road record would leave us in relatively good shape if we could get it together at home but I don’t think anyone would bet on that happening, would they?

    I know we’re missing 83 right now and that hurts but we’ve only been missing him now for the last 6 games and we weren’t any hell With him.

    The frustrating thing is that every year now since the lockout we can see the problems from a mile away. And if Joe Fan can see them, why can’t the brass?

    You had the ’07 Oilers with the Tom Horton’s Defense: roll the puck around the rim and expect to win. That didn’t work and apparently Smid was a top four Dman just because he was part of the awesome Pronger package. So, we had some skill up front but a lot of TOI was spent trying to get decent first-pass to a forward while he was in full flight. For those who suffered through that year it’s an absolute joy to watch all of 37-71-77 make the headman pass and start up the attack. In any case, that was the start and then Lowe let business become personal and he moved 94 at the last second instead of holding an auction. It’s an insult to busts everywhere to link them to O’Marra and as quickly as Nilsson looked to be worthwhile, now we have to question it again. Meanwhile the first round pick isn’t likely anyone that’s gonna help Hemsky win a playoff round and he’s the guy to build around.

    Last year was about being super young and burning another year of 83 and we got lucky with all the extra points and just about parlayed that into a playoff spot.

    Now we jump to this year and just as someone forgot to tell Lowe the cap was going up in ’08, someone also forget to tell him about the new rule with PK faceoffs always being in your own end. So, you move out two draw guys and a tough min pivot – 16 played there last year and got raped but you’d still rather have them than 34 playing the role – and we didn’t replace either and here we are again.

    Plus, MacT did his requisite first-20 games-fucking around and here we are again.

    I think we need to change and like the man said, why would you want to continue to foster mediocrity?

    My biggest beef with all of this will be that Vish Throttler – Kevin Lowe – managed to escape the blade. He’s breakfasting around the city by day and he’s Harry Sinden-ing by night but none of this will touch him.

    He’s made some decisions and said some things that have made me less than proud of my Oilers fandom and I’d really like to see him pay the price. He’s way too proud for a guy who’s accomplished so off-the-ice little.

    As for Moreau, the problem with him is he’s oblivious to his role in any of our shortcomings.

  52. Dennis says:

    what was the 18 comment on 44? Did he say he’d make a better president than Obama?

  53. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: It was Thornton. Thornton said that he didn’t know Souray was hurt and someone somewhere (may have been Cloned) misunderstood it. I saw the exchange on TV and Thornton was talking about his skate buggering up and how out of the flow of the game he was (as witnessed by not being aware 44 was out).

    As for Staios’ comments, I think that’s exactly it. These veterans signed long term deals to spend life in the second division.

  54. Jonathan says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of crazy talk in this thread.

    Moreau and Staios are now “cancers”? Really? Maybe I missed the point where the regular commenters at Lowetide got invited into the dressing room (and I’m sad about that, I reall am) but there are a whole bunch of people speculating wildly beyond their knowledge level.

    We’ve heard Moreau’s quotes, which are bizarrely out to lunch, and we’ve seen in-game stuff from him, like pushing Pouliot out of the dot that reak of arrogance. He’s an NHL captain and character’s been on his scouting report since junior, so let’s not imagine that he’s putting stuff in the rookies drinks and paddling the youngsters in the locker room.

    The simple fact of the matter is that Moreau and Staios (who have both consistently given it all on the ice in Edmonton for years) are signed to bad contracts, have diminishing performances, and seem on a different wavelength than the kids. They are going to be more hinderance than help going forward (because their skillsets are replaceable for less dollars), and should thus be dealt, but it isn’t like they’re actively destroying this team.

  55. Jonathan says:

    As for those who are jumping on MacTavish’s grave before he’s in it – if this team goes on a run in the second-half, he’s going to be here for a long time to come, and it’s well within the realm of possibility that this happens.

    He isn’t a bad coach, and he isn’t an idiot. His game decisions this season have been off-base, he refuses to trust the younger players on this team (rightly or wrongly) and he’s been playing favorites on the ice and in the media (Moreau, Gagner, etc.) and I think it’s time for him to go.

    He’ll have another NHL job and be a quality coach for some time to come, I’m sure. I just don’t think he fits this team anymore, and the treatment of his favourites has sold me on that.

  56. Jonathan says:

    As for Staios not being tradeable, I don’t buy it. This column last year featured a fun GM quote:

    “I know his plus-minus is awful this year,” the GM said of the 34-year-old Staios, tied for worst on the Oilers with a minus-15. “But let’s face it, he’s playing on an average team at best right now. And he’s got a manageable (contract) – I think he (earns) under $3 million (a year) for the rest of the deal – that’s probably going to be more and more attractive to teams interested in a defenseman that can eat up a lot of ice time.

    “Even if you don’t take his salary into account, on a better team, he’s simply a better player. I really think (Lowe) will get an offer for him – and under the right circumstances, it might even come from me.”

    What’s changed so drastically from last year for a contending team? I’d argue that nothing has changed except that Staios has a more attractive plus/minus and fewer points.

    He’s still very tradeable to the right team.

    As for Moreau, phone Tampa Bay up and offer them Moreau for Gratton and Jokinen. Gratton can be stored in the minors and Jokinen is a better cheaper player, but Tampa will go for it to save money this year I’m sure (especially given that they’ve already waived both players).

    These guys are tradeable. Probably even for a legit return from a contending team.

  57. Traktor says:

    1. Sign Grebs to a 4 year contract extension.

    2.5
    2.5
    3.0
    3.5

    2.875 million cap hit.

    2. Trade one of 44 or 71.

    Gilbert and Grebeshkov are both from the same mold as 71 so I would trade Lubo.

    Souray is basically the only player on the team that commands respect and while he might have some deficiencies in his own zone things like one-punching Ohlund makes it worth while.

    Trading Souray would only make this more unbalanced. We desperately need his toughness and leadership.

    71 makes 44 a better player no doubt but to improve weaknesses we need to deal from positions of strength and that’s our puck moving defenders.

    Why Lubo instead of Grebs? Because the value that 71 would bring back exceeds the actual difference in play between Lubo and Grebs.

    We seen the exact same example of this last year when we dealt Joni and kept Gilbert.

    3. Dump Staios.

    This will play for Grebs extension.

    Smid replaces Staios and Peckham replaces Smid.

    4. Dump Moreau.

    5. We need to choose an identity already. If we’re going to be a small skilled team (Cogs, Nilsson, Hemsky, Cogliano) upfront then we can in no way afford non-physical players in the bottom 6. Even guys like Horcoff and Penner have zero physical game so you need to make up for that in the bottom 6.

    Get rid of players like Reddox and Pouliot and bring in mean players that can hit and scrap in the bottom 6.

    Keep Storini and pick up 2 more players in the Tootoo, Colby Beware mold.

    Keep Pisani. Keep Brodziak. Find a mean LW that bang and keep the puck out of the net (and unlike Torres do it consistently).

    6. Trade Gagner. There’s no room for all the 5’10 players on the team. Cogliano plays like he’s 6’4 so he stays. Gagner is another pass first player and we already have too many of those as it is. We have another 5’10 player with questionable speed in Eberle so we wont miss a beat.

    7. Trade Roli.

    This team isn’t going anywhere this season and Roli is too old to put more time and resources in. Who cares if he’s our best option if that option isn’t going to lead to a Stanley.

    8. Trade Cole.

    I would say extend him but

    a) he’s going to want more money than he’s stats warrant

    b) there’s no way he would extend him contract anyways considering the horrible team culture and the coaches mismanagement of players including himself.

    There is no chance were winning the cup this year so first priority has to be asset management. Try to get a first or a young player that can build with the young core that we have.

    9. Trade Horcoff.

    Just too much money on a secondary scorer with zero physical play.

    The counting stats will be easy to replace but finding a guy that can match up against the best and get you 60 points will be a little more difficult.

    Still, the difference in effectiveness between Horcoff and a player like Vermette doesn’t warrant the pay difference.

    Again you have to deal from a position of strength and while Edmonton might not have a surplus of 2way centers they have a bunch of talented pivots and 2way players are much easier to find on the open market then elite scorers.

    10. Fire the coach(ing staff).

    No explanation needed.

    ——-

    Forwards:

    Penner xxxxxxxxx Hemsky
    Nilsson Cogliano xxxxxxx
    xxxxxxx Brodziak Pisani
    xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx Stortini

    Defense:

    Souray Gilbert
    Grebeshvok xxxxx
    Smid Peckham

    Trading assets:
    Gagner
    Horcoff
    Visnovsky
    Pouliot
    Reddox
    Moreau
    Stay
    Roli

    1. Trade either Horcoff or Gagner for Horton.

    Hortan wants out and he’s exactly what we need. A big physical top 6 forward that can score. He’s also locked up to a solid contract.

    2. Trade Cole to Ottawa for Vermette.

    Antoine takes Horcoff’s spot as shutdown center.

    3. Moving Stay and Moreau could be hard because the extra year on their contracts kills their value. Focus on moving them rather then brining back any value.

    4. Use 71 and either Horcoff or Gagner to acquire a legit player to play with Hemsky.

    5. Use Schremp, Pouliot and Chorney along with 2nd and 3rd round picks to fill out the bottom

    6. If we can land a player like kovalchuk then keep Horcoff as he would be a good git for that line.

    Penner Spezza Hemsky
    Nilsson Cogliano Horton
    Brodziak Vermette Pisani
    Tootoo Colby Beware Stortini

    Souray Gilbert
    Grebs Volchenkov
    Smid Peckham

    JDD
    Peeters

  58. Jonathan says:

    Final point, since I know I’m going on here – what did Roloson do to get included in the hate-on? Outplay Garon? Is that a crime these days?

    He’s been easily the best goaltender in an Oilers’ jersey since Tommy Salo’s heyday, and this season he came back, earned a starting job after everybody and their dog crapped on him last year, and helped this team win games.

    The fact that a bunch of folks are pissed of at Roli shows more about the stupidity of those people than anything else; the guy has been nothing but money for this team this year.

    Now, if this team is in firesale mode, Roloson should be moved because he’s a 3000-yr old pending UFA and the return should be decent, but as far as on-ice performance goes, few Oilers have been as consistently good as Dwayne Roloson this season.

  59. Jonathan says:

    I lied – I was almost done. Final question:

    Is there any evidence, whatsoever, that Erik Cole isn’t a fan of Craig MacTavish?

    Or is that entirely projected by the folks around here who’ve had a hate-on for MacT since he started the job, and thus feel that Erik Cole must be of the same mindset?

  60. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan: The only anti-MacT player in the NHL I’m aware of is Jason Chimera who made his views known a few times.

    Other than that, crickets.

  61. Traktor says:

    “Is there any evidence, whatsoever, that Erik Cole isn’t a fan of Craig MacTavish?”

    I think it would common sense to suggest that Cole wouldn’t be a fan of any system or team in which he played for and produced career lows.

  62. Jonathan says:

    Traktor: But maybe they play backgammon in the back of the team plane while Erik Cole secretly loahtes Shawn Horcoff.

    Point being, anyone saying “Cole won’t resign here because he hates MacTavish” is conjecturing beyond the point we can be certain, or even reasonably sure of.

    At certain points in my career, I’ve done a poor job and hit lows. At that time, I didn’t hate my boss, because I knew whose fault it was.

  63. Traktor says:

    Anything is possible, I guess. I would be shocked if he stayed in Edmonton though. Same with Garon.

  64. slipper says:

    Denis Grebeshkov should fire his agent if he doesn’t atleast get him Tom Gilbert money in the summer.

  65. Jonathan says:

    Traktor: I'd be surprised too.

    Garon's been brutally mismanaged; he has to shoulder a good portion of the blame for his performance this season, but it was apparent early on that MacTavish and Co. felt Roli > Garon by a large margin.

    He has been, this season, but there's some self-fulfilling prophecy there for sure.

  66. Black Dog says:

    Great post LT and a terrific thread in places.

    Traktor – I’ve jumped down your throat before but when you stick to talking hockey you impress me as a pretty smart guy. A long list of to-dos there, most of which I would agree with honestly.

    Also agree with Jonathan – this whole idea that Moreau, Staios and Roli are cancers does not ring true to me. L.B. made a comment the other day about Moreau becoming a scapegoat more then anything else and I agree.

    The Pouliot faceoff thing was stupid and his performance has fallen off badly but to say that the guy is a cancer is a little much. I think there probably is a disconnect between the vets and some kids. You have the three aforementioned guys who busted their asses all their careers and then you have a guy like Nilsson who plays ~ 40 games and gets a three years deal making almost as much as Moreau makes after ten years in the league (and an overpay at that).

    So I think that the vets are likely frustrated with the fact that some young guys aren’t consistent.

    I think the key is this – this team is being built for the springs of 2011 and 2012. Right? Anyone think Moreau or Staios will be able to help that club win playoff rounds? I didn’t think so.

    So they should be moved and truth is if they want to move them they will find takers.

    Roli too although that decision probably signals the end of any playoff pretensions this year.

  67. Coach pb9617 says:

    He’s a good player, but he’s not a 4.0M player.

    I would suggest a second look and salary compare.

  68. Black Dog says:

    Agreed slipper with the only reason they come in lower because of the apparent dip in the cap.

    Interesting to see how that plays out the next two summers.

    And the whole Russian league issue is not a factor I think. He’d get less money there and apparently a number of clubs are in financial difficulty.

  69. Coach pb9617 says:

    like pushing Pouliot out of the dot that reak of arrogance.

    Aw man. I was in a good mood.

    Final point, since I know I’m going on here – what did Roloson do to get included in the hate-on? Outplay Garon? Is that a crime these days?

    The hate is residual from Garon regressing to his past performance. The masses blame Mac and Mac favors Roloson, so Roloson takes blame.

    Or is that entirely projected by the folks around here who’ve had a hate-on for MacT since he started the job, and thus feel that Erik Cole must be of the same mindset?

    No sir, and I actually think he may be a fan of Mac considering the ice time and linemates Cole’s had this year.

  70. Doogie2K says:

    Pisani and Cole will have serious value at the deadline. IMO, they should both be moved for younger, cheaper players. I know it sucks losing them, but that’s the price of rebuilding.

    Wait, what? I thought that’s what we were already doing with the half-dozen kids up front. You need to leave some veteran presence to teach and guide.

    So riddle me this: why the fuck does everyone want to blow this thing up, anyway? Yes, there are problems, there are guys we might want to trade, and some pieces that we need to add. But Souray? Pisani? Voete for Ljubo? Really? Just because you can sell high doesn’t mean you should, and selling low on an asset who’s worth more to this team than any other in the League right now is twelve kinds of stupid. I just don’t get why people want to scuttle the ship instead of making the necessary, but very doable, repairs.

    @JW: I love how it’s evolved from Moreau being a problem to all of 18, 24, 35, and the coach being the problem in the span of, like, a day. I also love how every single player on this team, except maybe Hemsky, has been traded by multiple commenters in the last 72 hours. Come on people, put your pants back on, this is getting silly.

  71. Kris says:

    “What’s changed so drastically from last year for a contending team? I’d argue that nothing has changed except that Staios has a more attractive plus/minus and fewer points.”

    Sorry Jonathon, but I disagree.

    The guy has a 2.7 million cap hit in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011. In the 2009 off season he turns 36 and he’s already clearly lost a step. His GFON/60 is 1.7 and is GAON is 2.38, despite seeing easier competition (-0.05) than sometimes shaky youngsters like Gilbert, Smid, and Grebeshkov, all of who do better in the GAON/GFON ratio.

    Staios isn’t going to help anyone in the playoffs anymore than he’s helping us get there.

    His +/- improvement doesn’t show how his value has declined on this team, so it’s really irrelevant to his trade value too, no?

    I do agree that if he was a free agent, he’d be easily moveable, no doubt, but not with his contract and clearly declining play.

    And of course, I also agree with your comments about what’s going on in the room; were all guessing.

  72. hunter1909 says:

    History shows that when a great coach joins an underachieving team, more often than not he will manage to make at least some of the inherited bunch into all stars.

    For this reason alone, I wouldn’t want to trade just for it’s own sake.

    To paraphrase the earlier posters – Were this team to go on any kind of a run from here to the end of the season, MacT stays and this team effectively enters it’s darkest age. Ever.

  73. Kris says:

    Of course, Staois GAON was worse last year, but at least he was facing stiffer competition.

  74. Lowetide says:

    Doogie: I think people are just venting. It’s frustrating to be a fan of a club that will either miss the playoffs or just make it every year. Nerve rattling.

    Being an Oilers fan reminds me of the story of a flight years ago. The window blew away and sucked the pilot out and one of the men in the cockpit grabbed him by the legs. So they’re flying for quite awhile in this position (this is a true story btw, it was an episode of that strange flights tv show) and clearly the pilot is dead but buddy is holding on anyway.

    Finally, they land. Ambulance comes, declares the pilot DOA and take him to the morgue. ON THE WAY he thaws out and he’s fine. Flew again iirc.

    The guy who held onto him for all that time? A basket case. A complete melon.

    That’s what we Oilers fans are. Hanging on to some guy’s legs, his ass in our face for an hour and a half enduring trauma no one would wish on their worst enemy.

    And that happens every damn year. It’s a wonder the blogs aren’t named things like “I HATE THE OILERS” and “BLUE, WHITE ORANGE AND MY BLOOD.”

    Seriously.

  75. Ribs says:

    Hahaha…That’s awesome.

  76. Coach pb9617 says:

    Wow, I just lost a short story where I got to talk about the old man being much wiser and calmer than I. Oh well.

    My summation of the lost post – I don’t think a blowup is necessary, but I think for the long term health of the club, some things have to change. On the way out – 1 of Cogliano and Nilsson; 1 of Souray and Gilbert; 1 of Staios and Moreau; 1 of the goalies.

    Out – Cogliano, Souray, Staios, Roloson.

    In – something in the range of Tim Gleason!, Tomas Plekanic!, two firsts, a 2nd and a 4th.

    !- Denotes EXAMPLES of the type of players that would be expected historically in these trades.

  77. Doogie2K says:

    It’s frustrating to be a fan of a club that will either miss the playoffs or just make it every year. Nerve rattling.

    You’re telling me: that’s been my story since 1993. I just think that it’s silly how everyone’s shouting “NEVER TRUST ANYONE OVER 30!” and the entire team is getting traded, fired, or shot, including a lot of players that would be very helpful in this mythical 2011-12 Stanley Cup championship; it’s like listening to Overtime Open-Line or something.

    Of course, I’ve also spent my last few nights playing Assassin’s Creed and GTA IV, so maybe I’m just getting rid of my frustration in other ways.

  78. DBO says:

    Wow great thread. LT to your point about the frustration level of oil fans: you are bang on. it’s just hard to watch this team not compete, get run in almost every 1st period, strange line combo’s and matchup’s in game, and a lot of psychological crap between the coaches and the team, as well as the vets vs kids.

    I don’t think Moreau, Staios or Rollie are cancers, i just feel that anyone who will not help us in 2-3 years when we may be ready to compete should be moved for assets and cap space. I think all three will have some value, especially if we are willing to take back mid round picks.

    I also agree with someone who posted that one of Cogliano or gagner should go. You can’t have your top 2 centres that small, and right now Gagner (based on skill level and age) is the most attractive piece we can dangle for a true superstar. Personally I would rather keep Coglinao since i think his speed and goal scoring touch bring a different player then the other smurfs who are all passers.

  79. DBO says:

    Oh, and as for the defense. We can’t move Souray or Vish who both have no trade clauses. You can move one of Greb or Gilbert (who will have essentially the same deal). I would move Grebeshkov since his penchant for turnovers scares me. If you package Grebeshkov and Gagner, there are a lot of teams that will trade a top player with a hefty price tag in order to cut costs and rebuild.

    i guess one issue may be that with katz in charge, are we ever going to be a “rebuilding” team? Would oil fans accept it?

  80. stubby says:

    “Defenceman Sheldon Souray skated on Saturday and says he’s good to go. The same goes for Sam Gagner, who says he’s fine despite an ankle injury that’s been bugging him. Robert Nilsson had his bell rung in Friday’s game against San Jose and is being monitored. Zack Stortini suffered no torn ligaments in his knee from the fall he took Friday. His knee is strained and he’ll be out for a while, but it’s not nearly as bad as originally thought. – TSN”

    Just wanted to share this from TSN. You are all probably aware. I’m really surprised considering how Stortini fell. He must be part Gumby.

    Grebs signing…he’s got a case for Gilbert $$, IMO the big negative for the Gilbert deal. I’m thinking one of those 2 go. KLowe unfortunately raised the payscale for Grebs.

  81. B.C.B. says:

    wow, I think we all (including me) have lost our cool. But it is entertaining.

    I agree with DBO, that gagner/cogliano and Grebs/Gilbert should be trait bait for a 1st liner: either a center or a left winger. *I am not trying to start is Horcoff a 1st liner argument (I think he is).* We need another top three forward, not a complete make over. Smaller pieces such as two goalies and more grit in the bottom 6 can be added slowly.

    I would vote for Gags and Grebs to go the other way, because of their skill set is repeated, they have incredibly high value, and I think Cogs will be a better player in the next 3 years.

  82. Lowetide says:

    Stubby: Thanks for this, I hadn’t heard any of it.

  83. Coach pb9617 says:

    Zack Stortini suffered no torn ligaments in his knee from the fall he took Friday. His knee is strained and he’ll be out for a while, but it’s not nearly as bad as originally thought.

    Phew. Getting the team’s best faceoff man back will be important.

  84. stubby says:

    Zack Stortini suffered no torn ligaments in his knee from the fall he took Friday. His knee is strained and he’ll be out for a while, but it’s not nearly as bad as originally thought.

    Phew. Getting the team’s best faceoff man back will be important.

    In his defence he beat joltin’ Joe Thornton clean.

  85. godot10 says:

    It would be a mistake to blow up this team.

    The defense, Gilbert, Souray, Visnovsky, Grebeshkov, Smid, Peckham, and Strudwick is fine. Trade Staios to pay Grebeshkov.

    They have to find a starting goaltender for next season, with Deslauriers as the backup. It may be just signing Roloson to a one year deal. But it might make the most sense to trade Roloson to Detroit.

    At forward, Cole hasn't done anything to demonstrate that he should be re-signed, not with the salary cap falling the season after next. He doesn't appear to have chemistry with anybody.

    I want Horcoff as captain, so that means trading Moreau (or buying him out if need be).

    Keep Gagner and Cogliano. Trade Nilsson. I would like a Nilsson for Vermette type of deal. Vermette is good on faceoffs and can kill penalties.

    Then fill the holes:
    Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky –> okay first line
    Vermette, Gagner, Pisani –> 2A minus
    ????, Cogliano, Pouliot –> 2B minus (big physical winger needed…sign UFA Travis Moen)

    Construct a 4th line out of Brodziak, McIntyre, Stortini, Reddox, Jacques

  86. Schitzo says:

    Oh, and as for the defense. We can’t move Souray or Vish who both have no trade clauses.

    Vish wouldn’t, as a future NTC doesn’t carry over to your new team when you’re traded.

  87. hunter1909 says:

    Inter office memo from Rexall Drugs found on a number 5 bus this morning:

    Politically Correct Template for Discussing the 2009 Oilers:

    - No mentioning MacTavish getting fired(done to death)

    - Line combinations from fans most welcome(we get a kick from the fans for thinking they know more than the front office)

    - Only former players allowed to be slagged(except stuggling prospects)

    - Mentioning Lowe not an option

    - Praising the 2006 run gets extra points

    - Anyone called “the Captain” strictly out of bounds for criticism

    - Okay to say things about Tambellini either good or bad, because no one knows anything about him

    - Three headed goalie situation off limits, except to attack JDD who falls under the ‘prospects’ category

    - Mocking anyone who likes Rob Schremp, or attacking Schremp for not producing at NHL level allowed

    - Blaming lack of on ice success on wives has worked since Janet Gretzky. Lauren Pronger eventually will wear out, soon to be replaced by Mrs Cole.

  88. Scott says:

    I would imagine that a character like Staios or Moreau will have some value.

    A guy like Torres, while younger, was in an otherwise very similar situation. A couple years left on his contract at about two million a year and depressed value (injury and stats). The Oilers got Brule back, which is a lot better than nothing.

    Staios seems somewhat comparable to Alexei Zhitnik who was traded to Atlanta in return for Coburn. That obviously worked out VERY well for Philly and while the end result may not be as splendid Staios should be able to net a youngish dman prospect type from somewhere.

    Teams likely desperate to make the playoffs and willing to part with somewhat attractive non-roster and quasi-roster assets might include Florida, Columbus, Carolina or Phoenix.

  89. knighttown says:

    This will probably get lost in the shuffle with this manic and entertaining thread, but the silver lining around this team is some pretty fine development from the kids, starting with this guy.

    1. Denis Grebeshkov

    He’s apparently gotten himself off the acid and boy is a good DG ever good. I said earlier when he was struggling that Grebs was quite easily our best defenseman in the last half of 2007-08 season and that he should turn it around. He’s on pace for 40 points with very little power play time and his underlying numbers (+5 ev GF/GA, positive Corsi) against average comepetition show he’s a damn fine number 4. Of course he and Lubo struggle with big forwards behind the goal line and I’d like to see his PK improve, but I’d like to see him in our silks for awhile.

    2. Tom Gilbert

    There was a lot of hand wringing with this contract especially after the first few months but this guy is turning into a stud. You know how some guys seem to specialize at stopping a certain player or team? Picture Regehr against Hemsky. Very quietly, Tom Gilbert has become a Sedin-stopper (yes Souray has helped but I think he and Pitkanen di OK last year). Those bastard twins are slick and all but Gilbert stick and especially his feet are just below Lidstrom level. He seems like he’s added a touch of an edge since the hit from behind and like Hemsky, I was pleased to see it pissed him off. He’ll always play positionally sound first but he is 6’3″ and can knock someone down if the mood strikes.

    3. Kyle Brodziak

    I called for him to be demoted to the AHL after the first few weeks of the season but some would put him at the top of this list of best in-season improvement. Let’s start with his faceoffs. All of a sudden he has been given the lion’s share of the d-zone faceoffs (Horc has the Tiger’s share while the rest have the Snail’s share) and he’s come up smelling like roses. Next, he’s taken the “demotion” to the 4th line like a champ and has turned one of the worst 4th lines in the league into something positive.

    I’ve said this since the fall of his rookie season, Kyle Brodziak is the best “dumper” I’ve seen in the Oildrop since I can remember. He always gets it in deep, soft to the corner on the side where the forecheckers are coming. A player like Stortini has very poor acceleration but if he can keep a head of steam up he can get to the corner at the same time as a pivoting defenseman, but he has to know the dump is coming every time. STOP TRYING TO PROMOTE HIM TO THE 3rd LINE. He is the key to that 4th line (call it an energy line if it helps with the PR) and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    And he’s on pace for 15 goals with middling minutes…his goals/60 is 5th on the squad.

    5. Ladislav Smid

    I’ve discussed this ad nauseum but he’s played with crap and produced the very best GAOn/60 of any defenseman (min 12 minutes) in the NHL!

    edit: he’s second now (damn you Brett Festerling) and guess who’s last?

    The Dion (42 GA at evens!)

    Anyway, he’s turned into a very dependable number 5 but to my eye, he is an awful offensive player and needs to be this effective defensively to stay in the league.

    6. Zach Stortini

    Not much I can say that Bruce hasn’t, but he’s handled the benchings well and finds a way to contribute every night.

    7. Andrew Cogliano

    Hard to say how much he’s developed but he’s been pretty productive while the other sophomores have struggled. I guess the adage that speed doesn’t slump is true?

  90. Kris says:

    Here’s a nearby possible world to think about, just to make everyone go nuts:

    Hossa-Horc-Hemsky
    Nilson-Gagner-Cole
    Pouliot-Cogliano-Pisani
    Penner-Brodziak-SMac

    (You can double shift all the right wings on line 4 to make it a solid 3rd line and use SMac only when neccessary.)

    I raise this now only to ask: are we only a Hossa away?

    Is K-Lowe that dumb or did his gamble of letting gritty Torres and GlenX go and not signing a Vet 3C or Sauer-like D, in order to get Hossa miss by an inch?

  91. Jfry says:

    Good defenceman are necessary, but elite forwards do more to help the team win hockey games.

    this isn’t true. i think it was tolensky or maybe mirtle who broke it down last year, showing the number of total points a team lost, comparing elite forwards and defensemen. The data ended up showing that an injury to an elite dman ended up losing you 8 points (i believe) and an elite forward was only 3 or 4 points.

    at any rate, i bring it up because it was an intersting article, and worth seeking out if you’re interested.

  92. HBomb says:

    The data ended up showing that an injury to an elite dman ended up losing you 8 points (i believe) and an elite forward was only 3 or 4 points.

    That being said – each team employs twice as many forwards as defensemen. That should be considered in any discussion.

    I’m a believer that high-end forwards drive your team’s success, but that the truly high-end defensemen are a “rarer” quantity. You’ve got Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Iginla….maybe there’s a dozen top-tier forwards and then there’s a drop off.

    When you look at defensemen, Lidstrom’s in a class by himself, then there’s Pronger, and then, from where I sit, there’s a significant drop off. If there was an open market for every player out there, these two guys might get the most, since they’re harder to come by than upper-tier forwards.

    JMO.

  93. Coach pb9617 says:

    For those of you clamoring for Kovalchuk, I’ll give you some estimates on the deal based on the initial work I’ve done on trade value.

    To Edmonton:

    Ilya Kovalchuk – LW
    Boris Valabik – D
    Grant Lewis – D

    To Atlanta:

    Tom Gilbert – D
    Zach Stortini – RW
    Andrew Cogliano – C
    1st Round Pick
    2nd Round Pick

    It’s not these specific players outside of Kovalchuk, but it’s this approximate value.

  94. B.C.B. says:

    Coach: I do that deal, in a heart beat. I would hurt to lose Cogs and gilbert, but getting back Kovalchuk and a 6’7″ (former 1st round) defense man would dull the pain.

  95. Coach pb9617 says:

    Coach: I do that deal, in a heart beat. I would hurt to lose Cogs and gilbert, but getting back Kovalchuk and a 6’7″ (former 1st round) defense man would dull the pain.

    Like I said, it’s approximate value. It’s going to take a ton and Atlanta will still lose the deal.

  96. Black Dog says:

    This is with Kovalchuk signed to an extension, I presume?

    Who are the Atl. kids?

  97. Asiaoil says:

    Nice to see a few people are coming around to the realization that Cogs, Gags and Nilsson will not all play in our top 6 longterm. At least one has to go. Cogliano is now the guy I keep since he has shown that goalscoring is likely a longterm part of his game.

    Vinny L is a player with many faults – but him and Horcoff would be very very difficult to stop as a one two punch down the middle. Horcoff is everything Vinny isnt as a player and could take the toughs on. Horcoff, Hemsky, Vinny, Cole is 75% of a top 6 group I could run with easily. Groom Cogliano as an elite 3rd line outscoring option with Pisani, and Brodziak-Stortini is OK onthe 4th. LW is officially a complete mess – nice job changing that around in 6 months by Lowe – but what ever is left from Gags, Penner, Nilsson, Schremp, Moreau, Staios, Grebs, Roloson that isnt used up to get Vinny can be used for LW.

  98. Temujin says:

    When you look at defensemen, Lidstrom’s in a class by himself, then there’s Pronger, and then, from where I sit, there’s a significant drop off. If there was an open market for every player out there, these two guys might get the most, since they’re harder to come by than upper-tier forwards.

    I’d put Niedermayer a little ahead of Pronger, but I’m 100% in agreement with your main point. There is less of a pool of elite Dmen than elite forwards

  99. Traktor says:

    What do you guys think about Franzen?

    He’s facing the toughest comp on Detroit and get just scores goals. 27 goals last year. On pace for around 40 this year. 6’2 and solid as a rock.

    Is Franzen a better fit to play with Hemsky than Horcoff?

    Would Franzen be the same player if he didn’t play for Detroit?

    Does Detroit have any chance at keeping him? He’s UFA next year and I figure he will get between a 4 and 6 million.

    He’s an interesting option if we strike out on the trade market and look to sign someone next year on the open market.

  100. Temujin says:

    I think Franzen is the real deal. The Oil could do a lot worse. That would be a really good signing.

  101. Lord Bob says:

    This is completely off-topic, but I have to share it anyway.

    Went to an ECHL game tonight (I usually prefer junior ‘A’ games but I was with friends). During the first intermission, they ran out a bunch of little kids – four or five years old – and had them skate around with the puck and have a little scrimmage while the fans all went “awww” and watched them fall over and so forth.

    Well, there was this one kid – #16 in blue – and we sure weren’t watching him fall over. He was so fast by four-year-old standards that he made Jason Chimera look like Frank Musil. He was always around the puck (I mean, these were four-year-olds so they were all always around the puck, but I mean in a good way) and he was so much better than the rest of those kids it was stupid.

    Towards the end of the ten-minute scrimmage, when the puck was in his own end, he stole it off a kid’s stick, stickhandled by a guy, went in on a breakaway starting on his own goddamned blue line, and scored. It was ridiculous. I’m not sure I ever heard a crowd cheer louder during an intermission.

    So, yeah. #16 in blue. I don’t know who he is but if there’s any Victoria natives born in 2004 who go first overall in the draft someday, we’ll know why.

  102. Kris says:

    Lord Bob:

    That was Reddox.

  103. Bruce says:

    1. Denis Grebeshkov
    2. Tom Gilbert
    3. Kyle Brodziak
    5. Ladislav Smid
    6. Zach Stortini
    7. Andrew Cogliano

    Knighttown: Strong comment, as usual. Your insights are always worth the read.

    I’m sharing some of your love for Grebs, maybe not to that degree but I shake my head at how often he’s talked of in terms of a trading chip only. If he is, he’ll either get a big return or our GM is an ass, and the jury’s out on that. But as I mentioned the other day in a thread that saw Grebeshkov (3-14-17, +5, and lest we forget, a defenceman) PLUS MORE being traded for forward Andrew Vermette (4-8-12, -12), Grebs is posting some real nice numbers, esp. since being paired with Lubo. If he’s guilty of anything, it’s of making things look too easy when he doesn’t fuck up, which is most of the time now.

    Two questions, perhaps related: Who’s #4? And where does Sam Gagner fit in

    guess who’s last?

    The Dion (42 GA at evens!)

    Hahahahahahaha!!!!! Maybe that Norris Trophy will have to wait.

  104. RiversQ says:

    Traktor: Interesting to-do list.

    1. Sign Grebs to a 4 year contract extension.

    First off I agree with slipper – if Grebs doesn’t get Gilbert’s contract, his agent is an idiot.

    Secondly, what exactly is special about Grebeshkov? I can’t imagine why anyone would want to keep him for the money he’ll get.

    2. Trade one of 44 or 71.

    Agreed. A team with Lowe and Huddy evaluating talent shouldn’t be throwing huge money at the blueline. However, I’d go the other way given Souray’s current value and the fact that Visnovsky is a freak at ES. (Also since I’d let Grebs walk.)

    3. Dump Staios.

    Sure. Don’t care much about this. Lots of quotes about his numbers around here, but honestly they don’t look all that bad when the #43 millstone is removed. Still you would think the money could be better spent.

    4. Dump Moreau.
    Sure. See Staios.

    5. We need to choose an identity already. If we’re going to be a small skilled team (Cogs, Nilsson, Hemsky, Cogliano) upfront then we can in no way afford non-physical players in the bottom 6. Even guys like Horcoff and Penner have zero physical game so you need to make up for that in the bottom 6.

    This makes no sense to me. Go find some good players and go from there. There are no style points in the NHL.

    6. Trade Gagner. There’s no room for all the 5’10 players on the team. Cogliano plays like he’s 6’4 so he stays.

    This seems very rash to me. If anyone’s deadset on sending a kid line member out of town, why isn’t Nilsson front and centre here?

    7. Trade Roli.

    No problem with this either.

    8. Trade Cole.

    Ditto. A pending UFA and they’re not likely to make the playoffs. It’s a no-brainer for a deadline deal.

    9. Trade Horcoff.

    I can’t see how the Oilers could move forward on a Horcoff deal frankly. Your arguments don’t hold water and frankly you conceded the major point anyway.

    10. Fire the coach(ing staff).

    This just makes me laugh. People have been whining and pissing and moaning about the coach all year. Meanwhile the personnel isn’t good enough and hasn’t been since day one.

    Now, here we are 40 games later and sure enough everybody has finally clued in that the depth is horrific and yet the coach is still the problem.

    The problem is the players aren’t good enough and the Oilers are already near the cap. I’m not attached to MacT anymore but I really doubt there’s another coach out there capable of doing anything with this roster, so why bother? He’s there to play the kids at this point and he has done that, so I can’t see the hurry to waste Katz’s money on a pointless endeavour.

  105. RiversQ says:

    Bruce said…
    Grebs is posting some real nice numbers, esp. since being paired with Lubo.

    This is pretty much it. 71 to the rescue. Grebs’ performance is pretty mediocre without 71.

  106. Schitzo says:

    This is pretty much it. 71 to the rescue. Grebs’ performance is pretty mediocre without 71.

    Is this the second coming of the MAB-Pronger combination? If so, god bless defencemen who make those around them look legit.

  107. Lord Bob says:

    On the other hand, Pronger couldn’t make a number of theoretically-superior-to-MAB defensemen look as good as Bergeron looked. Similarly, Visnovsky gels with Grebeshkov better than he’d gelled with anyone else on the team.

    Sometimes, two guys just go together like vodka and kahlua.

  108. HBomb says:

    Sometimes, two guys just go together like vodka and kahlua.

    Or Crown Royal and Banana Liqueur.

    Shooter, 50/50 mix. Try it. You’ll be as surprised as I was that it actually works.

  109. Schitzo says:

    Or Crown Royal and Banana Liqueur.

    It’s a beautiful thing when a dare goes terribly right?

  110. HBomb says:

    Schitzo: Another good one – Jack Daniels and Raspberry Sourpuss.

  111. RiversQ says:

    Similarly, Visnovsky gels with Grebeshkov better than he’d gelled with anyone else on the team.

    I’m not so sure that’s true. I’ll have to go back and check, but I’m pretty sure everybody’s numbers with 71 are a little better than without him. And you have to factor in that, in general, the dmen are seeing tougher minutes with 71 than away from him. Souray’s the possible exception, but the results support 71 there anyway.

    Lubo’s the real deal.

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