OILERS SIGN PECKHAM

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Theo Peckham has accepted his qualifying offer of  $1.075M. We have discussed this player many times, and I wrote about him here.

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48 Responses to "OILERS SIGN PECKHAM"

  1. raventalon40 says:

    With the Oil so close to the 50 man limit, you HAVE to think a trade is coming soon

  2. raventalon40 says:

    With Peckham resigned, does that make Plante expendable? I’d flip Plante for a pick and use that roster spot on Fedor Tyutin or Mike Mottau.

  3. Traktor says:

    raventalon40:
    With the Oil so close to the 50 man limit, you HAVE to think a trade is coming soon

    Are they even close to the 50 man limit?

  4. raventalon40 says:

    Copper N Blue says they’re at 48.

  5. Gerta Rauss says:

    Not only are they approaching 50 contracts, they now have 8 NHL D under contract, 7 of which played on the team last year. (I’m giving roster spots to Potter, J Schultz and Peckham) And only J Schultz is waiver exempt. And a verbal that they are looking for a top 4 defenceman.

    Something’s gotta give here.

  6. remember reijo says:

    Waivers?

  7. raventalon40 says:

    Gerta Rauss,

    Yeah, totally agree. And they can’t add UFA or guys via trade unless there are contracts going the other way, or away.

  8. remember reijo says:

    So….he we signed him as insurance and are willing to lose him to waivers at some point if the other options stay healthy and impress, or there is a trade on the horizon. Losing players to waivers is not this teams MO.

  9. digdeepnbleedblue says:

    44 players signed. Then there’s 4 RFAs (Gagner, VandeVelde, Plante & Omark) and Yakupov still to be signed. That’s 49. But one would have to wonder about Omark’s spot on that list. Plus, With Klefbom and Musil probably going back to Jr/Europe and god knows about Rajala that brings it down to 45. Lots of room…

  10. Maverick says:

    Potter was renney’s recommendation is see him being a waiver dump if needed. Peckham is that crust that the team needs I doubt they let him go for nothing.

  11. ashley says:

    There are two alarm bells frequently rung that never seem to amount to anything. One is the 50 contract limit. The other is the urgent need for a team to get to the salary cap floor. It seems that either we aren’t counting properly or there are easy ways to deal with both of these problems without blockbuster trades or other catastrophic events.

    An observation from a nonexpert’s eyes. ;)

  12. pboy says:

    Mike Green re-signed with WSH, 3yr / 18.25 mill, as per TSN.

  13. Ducey says:

    digdeepnbleedblue:
    44 players signed. Then there’s 4 RFAs (Gagner, VandeVelde, Plante & Omark) and Yakupov still to be signed. That’s 49. But one would have to wonder about Omark’s spot on that list. Plus, With Klefbom and Musil probably going back to Jr/Europe and god knows about Rajala that brings it down to 45. Lots of room…

    Yeah, Plante, Omark and VDV all have to be exposed to waivers. They will probably lose 2 of those.

    On the other hand they will need to add 2 to 3 contracts for the AHL team.

  14. raventalon40 says:

    Ducey: Yeah, Plante, Omark and VDV all have to be exposed to waivers.They will probably lose 2 of those.

    On the other hand they will need to add 2 to 3 contracts for the AHL team.

    Well if that’s the case, why the stress on making a trade when there are still quality D-men available on the UFA market?

    I can understand if they are going after a specific player or players – but is that the case?

  15. VOR says:

    This is not an attempt to thread highjack. I spent my morning trying to asnwer just a few simple questions that arose in the last few posts.

    1. What sort of draft success would you have to have in order to be a “Magnificent Bastard.”
    2. How long does it take for a sleeper to reach the NHL? When can you call a player a bust?
    3. Do defensemen really develop by sundial, which is relevant to any discussion of Theo Peckham? Do they play well at the NHL level, then badly, then well?

    Let me put it this way, these aren’t as simple questions as you might think. Looking for sleepers actually highlights some odd things. Like lets say you trade to get all these draft choices 47 in 4 years and not only do you only get 8 NHL players out of it, you manage to pick three consecutive first rounders that never play a game in the NHL. Over this run of ineptitude the league average is 43% of all drafted players at least play in the NHL . You manage 17%. Worse three of your 8 actual NHL players are role players. This is about as bad as it gets statistically for a scouting staff. 5 impact players in 47 draft choices is terrible but their names are Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brett Hull, Gary Suter, and Theo Fleury. So would this scout be magnificent or terrible?

    Do you get to be magnificent if you use the 250th overall pick to take a tiny Finnish D-man who will take 7 years to be a regular in the NHL. Maybe I should mention he has, to date, played the 16th most NHL games in his draft class and is still playing as many of his draft mates retire? Do you get the title if you use the last pick in the draft to take a guy who will play the 18th most games in his draft class. Talk about value (by the way Kimmo Timinen and Kim Johnsson). Maybe it takes a run of 200+ guys like Holmstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg to earn you the title Magnificent. It isn’t quite as simple as it first appears. So how are we going to know if Stu is Magnificent?

    Interestingly sleepers may show up at training camp the year after they are drafted or emerge as impact players a decade later but nearly all are playing in the NHL by year six post draft. So if they get to six years and aren’t playing in the NHL you can by and large write them off. Yes I know some of you are just chomping at the bit to cross off Pitlick, MPS, Hamilton, Plante, Peckham, etc. Sorry, the math actually isn’t on your side. You’ll just have to wait and see.

    Sleeper d-men had the longest draft to impact by far, nearly six years. Many looked good, bad, good, bad, and eventually good to great on a regular basis. One of my favorites is the college kid who post draft (and to that point nothing had predicted what he would be) had the best year of any D-man in NCAA college hockey history. Suddenly there were massive expectations for a big, smart, mean kid. oh and did I mention he has some leadership skills and is good in the room and he fights (savagely) and hits everything that moves. His first year is just a look see and he is nothing special. His first full year is astonishing, screams Hall of Fame and every GM around the NHL is saying to their scouts, “how the hell did he end up drafted 70th). His next year he regresses to below NHL average. Then for two years he is arguably in the top ten defenders in the NHL. This is when things go wrong for a lot of reasons (injury, attitude, labor strife, coaching decisions, team turmoil) and he has several years where it looks like he has forgotten how to play hockey (this includes a memorable -28 where he is possibly the worst regular d-man not just on his team but in the league). Then when it all looks hopeless comes the decade of super stardom and multiple Stanley Cups (not to mention some other trophies and medals) and the birth of a legend.

    I am not in any way comparing Theo Peckham to the brilliantly frigthening Rob Blake. Just saying even those dmen headed to greatness can have years where they regress or frankly just seem to have forgotten how to play hockey. Peckham looked like he had figured it out then plunged off a cliff but hockey history is littered with the resumes of d-men who did exactly that and then turned into useful, or as Blake shows, great players. So I am glad Peckham re-signed since there is something about him that says one fine day he might be that classic late bloomer who plays 1000 NHL game and defines the words tough and journeyman. As a comparable, Pavel Kubina.

  16. raventalon40 says:

    VOR:
    This is not an attempt to thread highjack. I spent my morning trying to asnwer just a few simple questions that arose in the last few posts.

    1. What sort of draft success would you have to have in order to be a “Magnificent Bastard.”
    2. How long does it take for a sleeper to reach the NHL? When can you call a player a bust?
    3. Do defensemen really develop by sundial, which is relevant to any discussion of Theo Peckham? Do they play well at the NHL level, then badly, then well?

    Let me put it this way, these aren’t as simple questions as you might think. Looking for sleepers actually highlights some odd things. Like lets say you trade to get all these draft choices 47 in 4 years and not only do you only get 8 NHL players out of it, you manage to pick three consecutive first rounders that never play a game in the NHL. Over this run of ineptitude the league average is 43% of all drafted players at least play in the NHL . You manage 17%. Worse three of your 8 actual NHL players are role players. This is about as bad as it gets statistically for a scouting staff. 5 impact players in 47 draft choices is terrible but their names are Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brett Hull, Gary Suter, and Theo Fleury. So would this scout be magnificent or terrible?

    Do you get to be magnificent if you use the 250th overall pick to take a tiny Finnish D-man who will take 7 years to be a regular in the NHL. Maybe I should mention he has, to date, played the 16th most NHL games in his draft class and is still playing as many of his draft mates retire? Do you get the title if you use the last pick in the draft to take a guy who will play the 18th most games in his draft class. Talk about value (by the way Kimmo Timinen and Kim Johnsson). Maybe it takes a run of 200+ guys like Holmstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg to earn you the title Magnificent. It isn’t quite as simple as it first appears. So how are we going to know if Stu is Magnificent?

    Interestingly sleepers may show up at training camp the year after they are drafted or emerge as impact players a decade later but nearly all are playing in the NHL by year six post draft. So if they get to six years and aren’t playing in the NHL you can by and large write them off. Yes I know some of you are just chomping at the bit to cross off Pitlick, MPS, Hamilton, Plante, Peckham, etc. Sorry, the math actually isn’t on your side. You’ll just have to wait and see.

    Sleeper d-men had the longest draft to impact by far, nearly six years. Many looked good, bad, good, bad, and eventually good to great on a regular basis. One of my favorites is the college kid who post draft (and to that point nothing had predicted what he would be) had the best year of any D-man in NCAA college hockey history. Suddenly there were massive expectations for a big, smart, mean kid. oh and did I mention he has some leadership skills and is good in the room and he fights (savagely) and hits everything that moves. His first year is just a look see and he is nothing special. His first full year is astonishing, screams Hall of Fame and every GM around the NHL is saying to their scouts, “how the hell did he end up drafted 70th). His next year he regresses to below NHL average. Then for two years he is arguably in the top ten defenders in the NHL. This is when things go wrong for a lot of reasons (injury, attitude, labor strife, coaching decisions, team turmoil) and he has several years where it looks like he has forgotten how to play hockey (this includes a memorable -28 where he is possibly the worst regular d-man not just on his team but in the league). Then when it all looks hopeless comes the decade of super stardom and multiple Stanley Cups (not to mention some other trophies and medals) and the birth of a legend.

    I am not in any way comparing Theo Peckham to the brilliantly frigthening Rob Blake. Just saying even those dmen headed to greatness can have years where they regress or frankly just seem to have forgotten how to play hockey. Peckham looked like he had figured it out then plunged off a cliff but hockey history is littered with the resumes of d-men who did exactly that and then turned into useful, or as Blake shows, great players. So I am glad Peckham re-signed since there is something about him that says one fine day he might be that classic late bloomer who plays 1000 NHL game and defines the words tough and journeyman. As a comparable, Pavel Kubina.

    I wore 49 on my hockey team because I love the Theo Peckham style (yes, I know he’s 24 now). He’s no Jason Smith but it is refreshing to see an Oiler dman who isn’t willing to take crap from anyone.

  17. OilClog says:

    VOR,

    Under Renney.. everyone forgot how to play hockey last season. Renney focused on super the 3 kid canada’s, and forgot about everyone else and what they’re rolls are. I’ve never seen the Oilers so mismanaged on the ice, and there has been some dark dark times.

    Peckham did look lost out there last season, I think a big part of that is he was focusing on protecting his teammates too much and not focusing on his defensive tasks. But that’s a big plus for Peckham, whenever he’s on the ice, he jumps to protect anyone of his teammates without hesitation. These type of men are always needed, especially on high end skilled but low end physical team like this one.

    Peckham has had a road bump in his career, I like his tools, and what he brings to the table for the Oilers. He’s already beating the Odds, and I think he can crush them further. If we’re going to offload some of the log jam, guys like plante, omark, tuebert are on my trading block.

  18. digdeepnbleedblue says:

    Ducey: Yeah, Plante, Omark and VDV all have to be exposed to waivers.They will probably lose 2 of those.

    On the other hand they will need to add 2 to 3 contracts for the AHL team.

    At this point it looks like you got Pitlick, Lander, Hartikainen, Cornet, Tyrvainen, Arcobello, Pelss, VendeVelde*, Martindale, House, Hamilton, and newly signed Byers as forwards for OKC. Green (UFA) is unsigned and I’m not sure if Andrew Lord (missed last season with a concussion) is still signed to a AHL contract.

    On D: Helmer**, Plante*, Fedun, Davidson, Tuebert, Marincin & Zahn**. No word on guys who had AHL only contracts at this point: Yeo**, Montgomery**, Ringwald**, Lowery** & Tulupov**.

    Goalies: Danis, Roy & Bunz.

    *RFA
    **AHL only Contract

    Might need a veteran guy or two, but the meat of the roster is there.

  19. digdeepnbleedblue says:

    digdeepnbleedblue,

    There is also F Cameron Abney…

  20. TheOtherJohn says:

    Sorry Ashley we are all experts here…… unable to help!

    Peckham brings something that only Sutton duplicates: playing with an edge. Sutton is 37. Course Peckham did not play well last year, save killing penalties but I think we may regret it if we decided to trade Peckham

  21. Ducey says:

    digdeepnbleedblue:
    digdeepnbleedblue,

    There is also F Cameron Abney…

    Thank goodness for that

  22. Truth says:

    If Peckham can recover from last year and progress upon his performance the year before he will turn into a useful player IMO. In a perfect world 2 of Peckham, Teubert, Plante, and Musil would come in and lock down the d zone within the next few years. Smid, and N. Schultz should be able to take up most of the heavy defensive d-man minutes.

    I would personally like Tulupov to be in that mix based solely on watching a youtube video of him. The cojones he has to hammer Eager in training camp is also a big positive for me, from what I can remember you used to have to fight the toughest guy in training camp to get a look (even as a skill guy). The Oil desperately need an intimidating defenceman that can play. Sutton partially fills the void now but is aging.

    As Hordichuck said and I’ll paraphrase, its good to get a suspension every once in a while to remind your opponents your crazy. Love that attitude.

  23. digdeepnbleedblue says:

    Ducey,

    LOL Tushay!

  24. "Steve Smith" says:

    digdeepnbleedblue,

    It’s spelled “tushy”. And that’s not nice.

  25. buster says:

    Great read VOR. Thanks for spending the time. As for Peckham, he is a beast and if he can turn things back around he can be part of the Oiler’s deterrent to messing with the talent.

  26. Jordan says:

    digdeepnbleedblue:
    Ducey,

    LOL Tushay!

    I don’t think Tushay means what you think it means.

    “Steve Smith”:
    digdeepnbleedblue,

    It’s spelled “tushy”.And that’s not nice.

    I’m pretty sure he was going for touché.

    Of course, depending on how rough you are, that can be not nice too.

  27. slopitch says:

    Peckham is ok as a 7-8 but you still risk waivers on him. Good teams usually have 9 available dmen

    Whitney
    Smid
    Petry
    Schultz
    Schultz
    Sutton
    Peckham
    Potter

    All we need is a #1 that bumps everyone down a slot.

  28. Truth says:

    slopitch: Peckham is ok as a 7-8 but you still risk waivers on him. Good teams usually have 9 available dmenWhitneySmidPetrySchultzSchultzSuttonPeckhamPotterAll we need is a #1 that bumps everyone down a slot.

    Exactly. By the end of the week please Mr. Tambellini, I’m getting restless.

  29. bendelson says:

    Just a superfluous comment regarding pseudonyms (and guys named Steve) here on Lowetide.

    There are so many of you! Let me suggest a thread for Steve’s only. The sense of belonging you will feel shall cover you all like a warm blanket. You can discuss why it’s so important to include Steve or some version thereof within your pseudonyms… There must be a reason.

    Noted exception: Steve Smith (of course). You are the greatest Steve of all.

    (in fact, you are such a standout amoungst your peers you’re likely not a Steve at all!)

    Back to the thread now….

  30. digdeepnbleedblue says:

    Jordan,

    Tushay, It’s the urban english version so I read. Sorry my french is not so good. I speak better drunkenese…

  31. Cactus says:

    VOR,

    I posted this at the end of the Khaira thread. My stab at trying to create an objective measurement of how to evaluate a scouting staff:

    I’m going to put forward a potential model for evaluating scouts. From the research I’ve been doing (and posting a bit of), it seems that most NHL prospects will play at least their first game by age 23. One way we could evaluate talent is figure out how many players play 20 games in the NHL by 5 years after their draft year (i.e. before they finish their 23rd year). This could be done in an average sense from all drafts or specifically for a draft in question (to account for good or bad draft years). We could then see if Stu and the scouts outperformed this average. Assuming that this is a reasonable measure (and I’d suggest that it is) we would only be able to look back at Stu’s first draft (2008) at the end of the upcoming season.

    Of course, 20 games isn’t necessarily enough. We could also use LT’s 200 game threshold of an NHL career as a marker. Assuming the average NHL player plays between 60-70 games per year, let’s add three years to our draft +5 model. If we view the 200 games mark as a definitive standard for whether or not a prospect makes it, then the first time we could evaluate Stu’s earliest draft is after the 2015-16 season.

    Finally, let’s say that 5 years of drafting are sufficient to give us a good picture of a scouting staff and how well they draft. That means, we’d need to have 5 years of data for both the short term and long term measurements. That means we’ll be able to have a good idea of how successful (or not) Stu has been after the following seasons:

    Short-Term Perspective: After 2016-17 season.
    Long-Term Perspective: After 2019-20 season.

    We should probably hold off on definitive pronouncements for a few years. In the meantime, as long as the arrows are good, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of “MBS” to me!

  32. Bar_Qu says:

    Cactus,

    8 years to wait to give an opinion about a player?

    I think you misunderstand the purpose of the internet.

    ;-)

  33. Cactus says:

    Bar_Qu:
    Cactus,

    8 years to wait to give an opinion about a player?

    I think you misunderstand the purpose of the internet.

    Haha. Never fear, I appreciate the contradiction between accuracy and the internet here!

  34. Jordan says:

    digdeepnbleedblue:
    Jordan,

    Tushay, It’s the urban english version so I read. Sorry my french is not so good. I speak better drunkenese…

    As a staunch Canadian, proud not only of our national bilingualism, but our maintenance of proper British grammar and spelling, it is my honour, priviledge, and duty to uphold our linguistic heritage. While I respect your right to choose to spell such words differently (and continue to bastardize a language that has more french, german, and latin that original Anglish) I will be certain to take the opportunity to colour your words with a big fat think red marker and say in gloriously anonymous fashiion:

    You. Are. Wrong.

    And now that I’ve shared that ego trip with everyone, back to the hockey:

    If they wanted Gagner signed, they’d have done it by now. They’re trying to trade him, and let the other team sign him to a deal they want. That’s it.

    If I were Gags or his agent right now, I’d be working my but off to get a deal signed with Edmonton. He’s not going to get a better chance to play with quality wingers anywhere else. They run up his numbers and cash in. I’d put the odds he gets moved by Friday at over 60%.

    No, I will not take bets.

  35. nathan says:

    “If they wanted Gagner signed, they’d have done it by now”

    Jordan,

    And yet most players that go to this point are signed and not traded. The evidence they want to trade him must be from something else.

  36. godot10 says:

    digdeepnbleedblue:
    digdeepnbleedblue,

    There is also F Cameron Abney…

    In the two Barons-Marlies playoffs games I saw in person, Nelson had Abney laying the body cleanly on Jake Gardiner in his limited playing time, whom Eakins was keeping away from the Hartikainen-Paajarvi line.

    I think Abney will be able to dress most games in a 4th line role in OKC this coming year based on what I saw in those two playoff games.

  37. nathan says:

    When a contract for a real NHL player gets very close to the arbitration hearing one of the parties is probably holding out for a longer term as long as they can.

  38. godot10 says:

    raventalon40: Well if that’s the case, why the stress on making a trade when there are still quality D-men available on the UFA market?

    I can understand if they are going after a specific player or players – but is that the case?

    One has to overpay and give too much term to UFA’s. One can get a better defenseman on a better contract in a trade.

  39. godot10 says:

    Potter has a 2nd year on his one-way contract. It should be relatively easy for him to be on the OKC shuttle, without too much concern of him being claimed.

    It is a prudent use of Katz’s money to guarentee defensive depth.

  40. raventalon40 says:

    godot10: One has to overpay and give too much term to UFA’s.One can get a better defenseman on a better contract in a trade.

    But you’d think the farther you get from July 1st the lower the price must drop, wouldn’t you?

  41. godot10 says:

    raventalon40: But you’d think the farther you get from July 1st the lower the price must drop, wouldn’t you?

    Yeah, but if you want to bargain the guys down you have to wait till September. There are no bargain UFA D deals to be had in July.

  42. whale says:

    slopitch,

    Maybe it’s the wine.
    Is is slo-pitch or slop-itch?

  43. whale says:

    nathan,

    “If they wanted Gagner signed, they’d have done it by now”

    I just don’t think they know what to offer. They need to low-ball it for at least 3 years but seriously can not overpay.

  44. stevezie says:

    bendelson:

    Noted exception:Steve Smith (of course).You are the greatest Steve of all.

    What. The. Fuck.

    What gives Bjendlesson? I should have exoeced this from you, yet somehow I didn’t. Bendelson! Also, who is this third Steve?

  45. oilswell says:

    VOR,
    stevezie,
    So…good threadjack. In the case where we can have enough data available to make informed choices, then you can judge drafting capability by success weighted by chances of success. In the case where no data helps and draft success is governed by chance, it seems impossible to measure draft capability. The draft as a whole seems to me to mix the first case with the second, but in different proportions: early in the draft you expect success and probably want to measure actual success, but in the later rounds the best you might be able to do is measure irrationality relative to what you can predict. Finding gems in late rounds, I suspect, is mostly a product of chance. I don’t remember the Red Wings trading down to nab a zillion late round picks after drafting well there. They could have done so. Maybe I missed it?

    At the party 5 first place, 10 second place and 20 third place tickets are tossed into a hat along with with 65 loser tickets. 10 players take 10 selections each by random draw. One guy, lets call him “Tallon” grabs 1 first, 1 second, and 2 thirds in his first 5 raws. Several girls around the room start checking out the size of his hands, and his wife is now standing closer to him. The hostess, seeing how the host picked just before, slaps the host on the chest and yells–loud enough for all in the room to hear–”why can’t YOU pick a first place ticket!?”. Buddy’s got draw talent, right? Next three he draws only one third place. The wife goes to tend to her drink. He draws two loser tickets to finish his ten and the wife throws her drink at him and tells him she’s filing for divorce. Buddy wouldn’t be at all unusual.

    Who are the fools in the room? I’d submit they fall into at least two equivalent by qualitatively different categories: those that think runs of luck ever at any time related to some repeatable skill, and (particularly) those who think that the 5 pickers picking the first place tickets did anything better or more commendable than the 65 losers.

    if you’re asking me to guess, I’d say you measure draft magnificence by success at most to the top 5 in most draft years, and then weight the success by some rapidly decreasing scale until it zeros out to chance sometime after the 3rd round. I doubt history says the drafters can predict more than this. Some stuff clouds this equation (gamesmanship in picking, relative worth of different player types, etc.) but not enough, I’d say, to threaten its basic truth.

  46. bendelson says:

    stevezie,

    I feared my post may confuse my buddy STVZ.
    Fear realized.

    To answer your question, I believe there is a 3rd, 4th and 5th.

  47. DeadmanWaking says:

    In my first year in residence (200 student co-ed facility) there were 19 “Dave”s. They eventually had shirts made with the numbers 1-19. Must have drawn straws, or something. I was glad I didn’t have to spring for the extra shirt. Near miss. I have a sibling to prove that “Dave” was on my parent’s short list. Actually I think I’ve told a bit of this story once before. In this version, all the Daves were good Daves.

    At my second work term we had a guy with a generic name which I’m 99% certain (in my accelerating dotage) was in fact Steve Smith. 6’2″, with broad shoulders, good posture, calm, confident, well dressed, warm personality, totally upstanding guy. One day the MIG team–men in grey, descending out of the steel blue from their unmarked Deloreans–filed into reception and asked to meet with him. “Are you Mr Steve Smith? Yes. Come with us.” No handshake. They immediately perp-walk him with poorly-concealed Systema hand gestures into an unused office. He was in there for an hour or two, everyone in the office glancing sideways from their keyboards with raised eyebrows at the blank door as minute after another ticked by. Steve finally stumbles out looking white.

    Steve! That was epic, man. What happened?

    Well, I can’t really tell you. The first question was “Steve, we think you know why we’re here.” We never really got past that.

    Steve, we think you know why we’re here.
    Can’t say I do.
    Is your name Steve Smith?
    Yes.
    You attend Ragweed University?
    Yes.
    You’re enrolled in the faculty of Tiresome Rote?
    Yes.
    And your student number is 81345678?
    Uh, no, my student number is 81345768.
    Say that again.
    My student number is 81345768.
    You’re putting us on, right?
    Uh, I didn’t think so.
    Let’s begin again. Steve, we think you know why we’re here …

    Turns out there was a good Steve and a bad Steve. A very bad Steve. Same year, same faculty. Student IDs different by a pair of swapped digits. But the funny thing was, the MIG had the wrong Steve in the room for the better part of two hours. He came out of the room looking like they had taken thumbprints off his appendix using three sets of Proctor and Gamble Ultra-Grips.

    I think in fact an hour was spent on the MIG hotline with the registrar’s office going:

    We think you know why we’re calling. Yes, Mr Smith. A student by the name of Mr Steve Smith. … Off the hook you say? Well, I wouldn’t spread that information around. … Ignore you heard that. This is just a routine inquiry. We’d like to look up a particular Mr Smith. Do you have a Mr Steve Smith on file with the student number 81345678? … Now, we’d like to look up a particular Mr Steve Smith once more. Do you have a Mr Steve Smith on file with the student number 81345768? … Just answer the question. … No shit? Same faculty? Huh. Is this some kind of clerical stunt? Let’s start again. We think you know why we’re calling …

    Steves, we think we know why you’re here. Please continue with your business and ignore the Dave-herding MIG.

  48. DeadmanWaking says:

    I think I spent that entire story daring myself to hit the imperative crescendo. The imperative is a tricky mousetrap, prone to sounding sour notes. Imagine you’re a young Daniel Barenboim. You saunter into Chartes Cathedral on game day, cracking your knuckles in anticipation of your BIG entrance in the wind-up of Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony. An usher comes running up. “Messr Boim, Messr Boim, the organ has no air. It’s given up the gust. All we’ve managed to find is this bagpipe with a split reed that’s been wadding up a nasty draft in the cloak-room storage closet. Think you can pull it off?” The BIG entrance in the imperative mode?

    For all that, I kind of wish I had found vagabond Dave-herding MIG. While I wasn’t trying to be too cruel, it would have added a nice resonance on my Walter Mitty-Marathon Man-Back to the Future-MIB romp. I was trying to use “Dave” as a generic noun for the clone-army of coincidence, and MIG as a generic (and some pejorative-sounding) noun for the entire class of people who find it unthinkable that somewhere on the planet there’s a phone book listing more than one Steve Smith. (Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.)

    This captures the tone of the whole book, which in some ways surpasses Bride:

    He had seen it done. Once. On a basketball court. The nonpareil Monroe matched against the genius Frazier. The ultimate in offense against the greatest defender… He faked right and went right, around Frazier, who could only stand there, watching the score. Scylla faked right and went right…

    I recall a scene in the book (which I can’t dredge out of Marathon Man on Google Books, but who else could it be?) where an assassin braces for an attack from the left hand, not realizing his adversary is the only living man equally deadly with both hands. Classic Goldman, with the shifting hands gambit.

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