A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER

Sometimes a small, almost imperceptible thing can change the world. A retirement here, a change of philosophy there and the good times are over.  On the other hand, a team that has been buried deep in the second division for half a generation can turn it around seemingly overnight with the right coach and timely maturation of its young leaders.

I don’t know where Detroit and Edmonton will finish this season (or the next season they play) but there are signs for both teams that change is at hand. For Detroit, Nick Lidstrom’s retirement is a huge deal, as it gave Detroit a top tandem they could count on every year. Imagine if Craig MacTavish had that? He’d still be coaching the Oilers!

Aside from Lidstrom, Detroit’s off-season additions and new draft template look—to me—as though they’ve had a change in philiosophy. Detroit’s trademark—smart passing, smart positioning, killers on the powerplay—don’t seem to fit with the group procured over the summer. Can the Red Wings dominate doing what other teams do? You may ask why on earth would they try? And the answer is Lidstrom’s retirement and the aging of the roster. Life’s a bitch.

In Edmonton, things are on the rise.

That does NOT mean things will go smoothly. The Oilers could suffer injuries or bring Ethan Moreau back or maybe Khabibulin signs another 4-year deal. However, based on what we know, the Hall deal that should set the bar, the current skill players and the reasonable assumption they can add 6′s and 7′s and 9′s to the emerging jacks and kings, I can’t see a way to screw this up.

Sometimes, things work out. Spectacularly. Godspeed, Edmonton Oilers.

NATION RADIO

Team 1260 at high noon, email is nationradio@theteam1260.com and you can post comments and questions below. Twitter is my second home @Lowetide_ and @ItsNationRadio for your thoughts. Scheduled to appear:

  • Tom Lynn from Veritas Hockey will help us on the CBA, the impact of a lockout on players below the NHL and his experience at the recent Ivan Hlinka tournament.
  • Jason Strudwick, former NHL player, Oilers Nation contributor and bon vivant about town. We’ll discuss the impact of a lockout on players and their families and find out how much players know about the issues.
  • Tyler Dellow from mc79 hockey will break down the Taylor Hall contract and its possible impact, the CBA and impending lockout and we’ll ponder lockout entertainment options.
  • Kent Simpson, Oil Kings color commentator will touch base on the Oil Kings and the massive season ahead.
  • Rob Soria from Oil Drop will talk about his recent Chris Pronger article.
  • Ilya Ostrovsky owner of the EMHL and a man who grew up in the shadow of the Kremlin. We’ll talk about adult hockey in Edmonton and what’s available, and I’ll ask him about his unique connection to hockey in Russian and in Canada.

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34 Responses to "A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER"

  1. mumbai max says:

    Loved the Pronger piece.

    So, Pronger brought us a run to the Stanley Cup as a bonus to a trade
    that becomes Lynch, Woywitka, and Brewer for Eberle, Smid, and Marincin.

    I am guessing we might make that trade again!

  2. PhrankLee says:

    Best way to foul this up: Contract over age goalies and have scant to none as prospects in the system. I am thinking this is why ST is keeping 7M in his pocket this year.

  3. Woodguy says:

    Copper n Blue has a rumour that Eberle wants $7MM for an extension, so that’s why its not done.

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/8/25/3265333/weekend-update-seriously

    Eberle getting his back up and forcing a trade after this year when he ELC runs out wouldn’t be a great thing. If they get quality in return it wouldn’t kill the team though.

    They MUST get a 2nd option in the net. Having a good team with crap goaltending would be a disaster.

    Not saying DD is crap, I actually believe he can do it, but lordy you don’t rely on one guy.

  4. fuzzy muppet says:

    There’s NO WAY Eberle gets 7 Million per. Hall was already making 3.75 (a bit lower in actual money). Eberle is making barely over 1 million. He’s not getting a 6 million dollar raise.

    He’ll likely sign the same type of contract as Hall, maybe even a bit lower with less term.

    Frankly, it’s not an issue at this point.

  5. Mr DeBakey says:

    So, Pronger brought us a run to the Stanley Cup as a bonus to a trade
    that becomes Lynch, Woywitka, and Brewer for Eberle, Smid, and Marincin.

    Time?
    Whatever answer that equation you’ve laid out gives, divide it by 2190.
    At least, maybe 2920.

  6. shepso says:

    LT, Ilya is an old friend of mine, known him since he came to this country in the 80s when we were kids. Really nice of you to be giving him some airtime!

  7. Cactus says:

    Woodguy:
    Copper n Blue has a rumour that Eberle wants $7MM for an extension, so that’s why its not done.

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/8/25/3265333/weekend-update-seriously

    Eberle getting his back up and forcing a trade after this year when he ELC runs out wouldn’t be a great thing.If they get quality in return it wouldn’t kill the team though.

    They MUST get a 2nd option in the net.Having a good team with crap goaltending would be a disaster.

    Not saying DD is crap, I actually believe he can do it, but lordy you don’t rely on one guy.

    I wouldn’t worry about Eberle at all WG. If he won’t take whatever the Oilers are offering right now, he can play this year on his ELC. Then, one of the following two things will occur:

    1) He will perform at a similar level in goals/points (unlikely, but possible). In this case, his value will be even higher than now and the Oilers can either pay him what he wants, or deal him for a king’s ransom of help for elsewhere in their lineup. I’m sure the Quebec City/Markham Coyotes would happily take a near 40G scorer for OEL.

    2) His counting numbers regress somewhat, even as his underlying numbers improve slightly (more likely). In this case, he takes a similar contract to Hall or even a slightly reduced one if Hall blows up and kills the league.

    In any case, no reason to panic.

    As for goaltending, Danis is the insurance right now and given the goaltending market that was out there, I’d happily take him over a Nittymaki or a wild overpayment to Harding.

  8. spoiler says:

    Woodguy:
    Copper n Blue has a rumour that Eberle wants $7MM for an extension, so that’s why its not done.

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2012/8/25/3265333/weekend-update-seriously

    Eberle getting his back up and forcing a trade after this year when he ELC runs out wouldn’t be a great thing.If they get quality in return it wouldn’t kill the team though.

    They MUST get a 2nd option in the net.Having a good team with crap goaltending would be a disaster.

    Not saying DD is crap, I actually believe he can do it, but lordy you don’t rely on one guy.

    The Bleacher Report also thinks Eberle should get more than Hall and JW also had an article recently that speculated that Eberle had more leverage than Hall in negotiations.

    I don’t know how that’s possible since a certain Mudcrutch instructed us all that if a player starts his ELC later, he will be cheaper over the long run, despite many of us raising this exact scenario in objection. I imagine that issue could make a good talking point for the segment with Mr. Dellow, but as a non-listener, I don’t feel I have the right to actually submit a question.

    We should probably be thanking Ferris and Orr though, for providing some hedge against Eberle’s Newportian demands.

  9. Lowetide says:

    spOILer: You don’t have to be a listener to ask a question, but I want to make sure I have the question right.

    *During the period when Taylor Hall’s fate was being discussed in the fall of 2010–should he stay or go back to junior–you argued that Hall would be less expensive in the long term if he began his entry level contract later. In light of rumors Jordan Eberle–who started his pro career later–is asking for more money than Hall, do you still feel that way?”

    Is that correct? I suspect his answer will be “yes, although the Oilers did very well on his second contract and one doubts Eberle gets the same deal as Hall, let alone a better one.”

    but if that’s the correct framing above, I’ll ask it and post the answer in this thread.

  10. bookje says:

    If Eberle wants $7 million, I would just give hi Horcoff like zone starts and make him face the toughs all season, then decide what he is worth.

    The problem sheltering these guys is that they think they’re better than they are at this stage of their career.

  11. spoiler says:

    Lowetide:
    spOILer: You don’t have to be a listener to ask a question, but I want to make sure I have the question right.

    *During the period when Taylor Hall’s fate was being discussed in the fall of 2010–should he stay or go back to junior–you argued that Hall would be less expensive in the long term if he began his entry level contract later. In light of rumors Jordan Eberle–who started his pro career later–is asking for more money than Hall, do you still feel that way?”

    Is that correct? I suspect his answer will be “yes, although the Oilers did very well on his second contract and one doubts Eberle gets the same deal as Hall, let alone a better one.”

    but if that’s the correct framing above, I’ll ask it and post the answer in this thread.

    LT, that looks like a pretty fair summary to me. If his response echoes your guess, I would likely follow it up with why he thinks Willis (et alii) are wrong about Eberle having more leverage.

    Because that was basically our point back in the day… That a year younger player would likely have less performance and thus less leverage than a year older player when negotiating second contracts. And I think this situation is a good example of this… Even though Hall is clearly the better player, it’s an issue. The situation would be even worse if Eberle was as talented as Hall.

    And Book¡e, that is damned funny, although I think the players know, and it’s their agents that are the problem.

  12. regwald says:

    The other part of the pitch to Eberle is that contracts exceeding 5 years in length will probably not allowed to be signed once this stupid pending lockout is resolved. Step up the pressure and let Ebs camp know it.

  13. DSF says:

    regwald:
    The other part of the pitch to Eberle is that contracts exceeding 5 years in length will probably not allowed to be signed once this stupid pending lockout is resolved. Step up the pressure and let Ebs camp know it.

    If the contract is limited to 5 years, that actually gives Eberle MORE leverage.

    Pay me now…or pay me later.

    Those folks who were trumpeting Hall’s contract as “the outer marker” should have seen this coming.

    Eberle’s agent is Don Meehan, the toughest sum bitch in the old west and every “arrow” points to Eberle being the better player.

  14. David S says:

    Woodguy,

    I’m not really sure if I’d take Lisa McRitchie as a credible source for much of anything. C’mon guys. She seems like a nice person and all, but writing a weekly update on a blog site and having enough time to attend pre-season skating sessions is pretty weak, no? Who takes “I heard from a friend who has a friend” sources seriously beyond high school kids? That contract report is downright Eklund-esque.

  15. Woodguy says:

    David S:
    Woodguy,

    I’m not really sure if I’d take Lisa McRitchie as a credible source for much of anything. C’mon guys. She seems like a nice person and all, but writing a weekly update on a blog site and having enough time to attend pre-season skating sessions is pretty weak, no? Who takes “I heard from a friend who has a friend” sources seriously beyond high school kids? That contract report is downright Eklund-esque.

    I did say it was a rumor.

    I’m not worried about Eberle either.

    If Newport has him convinced he should get $7MM/season then its great because the OIlers won’t sign him at that number and either:

    1) His numbers regress and he signs for less (highly probable)
    2) His numbers stay magical and he’s worth $7MM (less probable)

    Not worried at all.

    LT wanted scenarios where the Oilers fuck this up, and with the rumor fresh in my head, there it was.

  16. Woodguy says:

    Also,

    Its a very, very good thing that the Oilers are not willing to sign Eberle at $7MM.

    Shows good thought, foresight, and gamble that Eberle can’t duplicate last year and will come cheaper in the future.

  17. jb says:

    Well the thermostat sure as hell isn’t rising in Edmonton.

    Detroit will be interesting this year that’s for sure, I predicted about 6 years ago that the Wings would finally miss the playoffs the season after Lidstroms retirement. I think he’s that vital to that teams success… I’m guessing they’re probably an injury or two away from falling real hard.

    David S:
    Woodguy,

    Who takes “I heard from a friend who has a friend” sources seriously beyond high school kids? That contract report is downright Eklund-esque.

    99.9% of people with a twitter account, and everyone that actually reads non credible rumors?

  18. Woodguy says:

    LT,

    You said on your show that you didn’t know of anyone who disliked the Hall contract.

    Well the guy who writes Wilderness Hockey (MIN blog) thinks its terrible seeing that Hall is at best a 2nd line player.

    He also said in his post that stats minded Oiler fans hate the Hall contract, which is pretty much 100% opposite of correct.

    If that wasn’t crazy enough, he defends his post with outright ignorance until his last breath.

    http://www.hockeywilderness.com/2012/8/23/3261721/final-jeopardy-answer-taylor-hall-shane-doan-contracts-and-kevin

  19. gd says:

    I love Eberle and can’t wait to see Yak, but my feeling is Hall and RNH are the cornerstones that this teams needs to keep no matter what.

    The fact that the Oilers are able to lock up half of these cornerstones through his expected prime this soon after the depths of 2010 is incredible. The only ttrue comparable to Hall, based on being a first overall, having an incredible junior career and delivering in his first two years is Tavares. They aren’t quite in Crosby/Stamkos territory, but they do project better than Skinner, E Kane and yes Eberle. The fact that the Isles got Tavares to sign what might have been the best contract of the past few years was very lucky from the Oilers’ point of view.

    PS LT, loved the Tom Lynn interview, I feel he is closest thing to an insider, who is extremely intelligent and because he has been on both sides very balanced in his analysis. I think he is going to a great source in the next few years, as I think the Minnesota/Oiler rivalry might be one of the best in hockey for the teens. Not just Oiler-Wild, but the two hockey cultures of WHL vs Minnesota high school hockey that are sort of represented by the two organizations.

  20. DSF says:

    Woodguy:
    LT,

    You said on your show that you didn’t know of anyone who disliked the Hall contract.

    Well the guy who writes Wilderness Hockey (MIN blog) thinks its terrible seeing that Hall is at best a 2nd line player.

    He also said in his post that stats minded Oiler fans hate the Hall contract, which is pretty much 100% opposite of correct.

    If that wasn’t crazy enough, he defends his post with outright ignorance until his last breath.

    http://www.hockeywilderness.com/2012/8/23/3261721/final-jeopardy-answer-taylor-hall-shane-doan-contracts-and-kevin

    Totally different perspective out here on the west coast.

    Most analysts think Hall is being rewarded totally for potential and that his contributions so far, especially given his injury history, make the contract a huge risk.

  21. gd says:

    Woodguy,

    I don’t know how this guy can criticize the Hall contract, when his team is paying a winger like Parise a cap hit of $7.8 Mill until he is 40. Both contracts are risky, but the odds of a first overall pick being worth $6 Mill from age 22-29 are much greater than a top 10 winger, staying in the top 10 from age 28-40 to justify his $7.8Mill.

    I do like that this Wild guy pointed out the hypocrisy of Bieksa leading the calls for the enforcement of diving though.

  22. Lois Lowe says:

    Woodguy,

    Wow, that writer is a piece of work. He’s even more of an ass than Scott Reynolds when someone disagrees with him.

  23. bones says:

    I’m back in the rain, you are on dry land.
    One of my favourites. Looking forward to the show posted on oilersnation. Last week was great, and the craic with the producer creased me up, especially the Hemingway and blues bits. Keep up the great work, LT.

  24. Lowetide says:

    lol, well WG’s right I said no one thought it was a bad contract and this fellow from Hockey Wilderness is the exception. I’d say it was kind of a lark, but based on the comments it appears to be his opinion. Maybe in this case ‘wilderness’ actually means ‘wilderness’?

  25. leadfarmer says:

    Of course Eberle’s agent asks for 7 million. Thats called negotiating. I’m sure the oilers first offer was lower and you find a number you can both work with. I wouldn’t be suprised if he asked for 7, oilers countered with 5 and they settle for 6.

  26. BlacqueJacque says:

    If MacT had Lidstrom, Mac would still put Ty Conklin in net and still lose games.

  27. Bruce McCurdy says:

    David S:
    Woodguy,

    I’m not really sure if I’d take Lisa McRitchie as a credible source for much of anything. C’mon guys. She seems like a nice person and all, but writing a weekly update on a blog site and having enough time to attend pre-season skating sessions is pretty weak, no? Who takes “I heard from a friend who has a friend” sources seriously beyond high school kids? That contract report is downright Eklund-esque.

    I can’t speak to this particular rumour, it’s the sort of stuff you read in comments sections all the time, but besides doing the weekly report for C&B Lisa is also the Oilers reporter for Kukla’s Korner.

  28. DSF says:

    Lowetide:
    lol, well WG’s right I said no one thought it was a bad contract and this fellow from Hockey Wilderness is the exception. I’d say it was kind of a lark, but based on the comments it appears to be his opinion. Maybe in this case ‘wilderness’ actually means ‘wilderness’?

    Many people think it’s a bad contract.

    You just need to get out of Edmonton more often.

  29. Lowetide says:

    Lisa is a credible person to me, but to each his own. I think her comment was presented as ‘well I heard this’ and that’s how I took it. I imagine Lisa hears things like that, and she felt it was pertinent.

    The world is unfolding as it should. :-)

  30. Lowetide says:

    DSF: Many people think it’s a bad contract.

    You just need to get out of Edmonton more often.

    Many people like you and Damien Cox. Cool.

  31. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Many people like you and Damien Cox. Cool.

    If the answers are DSF, Damien Cox and Bryan Reynolds then the question is ridiculous.

  32. Jamie says:

    Lowetide: Many people like you and Damien Cox. Cool.

    Awesome.

  33. hags9k says:

    LT, really enjoyed your Horcoff piece today at ON. He’s a beauty. As you adopted Gagner last year, this year I am rooting like hell for Horc. He and Smytty and Hemsky are the somewhat forgotten men now and could make such a difference.

    He will know better than anyone when the time will be right to hand it off and nobody should question him until that moment. He’s been a good captain and will do it right.

    And I don’t think he should even consider for one second giving a rookie his sweater #. It would belittle the club. For goodness sakes he is Shawn Horcoff the team captain. I don’t care if the rookie is JC himself, our captain is not laying his jersey down in your locker. Sheesh.

    GOILERS!!

  34. vishcosity says:

    The house sitting gig in San Diego is over tonight, and somehow LT includes a gif of girls making out on today’s thread. I firmly believe that if the world were passed on to 19 year old Californians, it wouldn’t survive two weeks. While I hope that Taylor Hall is not from Southern California, the topic of late seems to regard the contract value for an unproven 19 yr old player. Curious indeed.

    6 / 70 = 8.57%. 8.57 x 6 = 51.4. 8.57/2 x 6 = 25.7. 8.57/4 x 6 = 12.86
    51.4 + 25.7 + 12.9 = 90.0

    90.0% of a 70M cap is consumed by having 6 players at 6M, 6 players at 3M, and 6 players at 1.5M (= 63M) There remains 7M for 5 more players. If they don’t actually pay 6M to six different dudes, it gets easier. I kinda think that as long as one of the Lowe MacT Tambo crew is a bitch to negotiate with, then it will probably work out capwise okay. I think Burke said something like that about Lowe after the Pronger deal, however the above is as close as I’m getting to links and numbers tonight.

    What I see the Oilers can do, is create four slots for Taylor Hall’s contract, they can create 4 slots for 4M, 2 at 5 and still only be at 50. They need 13 F, 6 D and 2 G. Who fits where? Who will take what slot? Will Gagner sign up for one of the 4M slots for 6 years or not? Will Schultz prove to be worthy of one of the 5′s or a 4 or a 6? But when the bench mark is 8.57 percent its way easier than if it were 13%.

    Dinner is on. Garden grown vegetables with garden grown herbs. 12 consecutive months of agriculture leaves a population that has no clue about seasonal availability. Beets with tarragon, baked potato enchiladas and whatever.

    I forgot to hit post. Seems the kids are well versed in fashion music and subtle nuances of interpersonal communication, modes which go far beyond words. Masters of the unspoken, seemingly useless when it regards anything physical in nature.

    I’m pretty sure Taylor Hall is not from here. Not saying I would pay any 19 year old 6M, but I can imagine it working with said player at 8.57% of the cap.

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