THE KIDS FROM NIZHNEKAMSK AND WEST KELOWNA

A few items to discuss today, beginning with a “goal scorers goal” that has Oilers fans gushing about their young Russian.

This kid is something special. The KHL is a fine league by anyone’s standards and he’s scoring goals at a tremendous clip. We know (thank you, KHL!) his TOI isn’t ridiculous and we also know he’s getting his shots on goal.

We can expect the growing pains of all youngsters, but when this young man arrives in Edmonton for good it’s going to be something else. He’s all that, and impressing the Oiler fanbase after Hall, Ebs and the Nuge isn’t easy.

Justin Schultz is an exceptional young talent, a throwback to the “rover” days and an exceptional hire for the young Oilers. Much is being made of his defensive lapses, but I’d suggest that making mistakes is part of the process.

As Glen Sather said years ago, and I quoted in this item, “If a guy is making the same mistakes over and over again, you’ve got to be concerned. But if he’s learning then you’ve got to be patient.”

The Barons could help themselves by adding a veteran left handed defenseman to play alongside Schultz the younger, too.

Terry Jones took a look at something we’ve discussed at length on this blog–the 2010 entry draft–and I wanted to post a link just in case you missed it. Great quotes in there.

I don’t have much to say about the NHL/PA negotiations, except for the fact that it appears we’re reaching a turn in the road. It could–and this is probably more likely–begin the period where the two sides don’t talk and the season crumbles away one piece at a time. Maybe like a giant iceberg on a mighty ocean, or the side of a mountain.

However, it also means both sides have to look doom straight in the eye, and remarkable things can happen in that moment.

We wait.

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30 Responses to "THE KIDS FROM NIZHNEKAMSK AND WEST KELOWNA"

  1. Kaiser Permanante Power Play says:

    Long time listener, first time caller…

    Gonna be tricky to get all these guns PP time… Sure will be fun to watch though…

  2. Wolfie says:

    I was pretty wrapped up in the NHL/PA lockout last time around. I am still following the proceedings fairly closely but I don’t really care how long they take to iron this out. Another lost season would be an absolute disgrace. I hope both sides will be happy to split a significantly smaller pie. Maybe it’s too much to ask the fanbase to hit them where it hurts. I’ll still watch and go to games(Jets season tickets locked in for a couple more years). But they’ll have a hard time squeezing any more money from me. No concessions, no merchandise.

    Schultz and Yakupov have been nothing short of brilliant so far this season. It is almost embarrassing to have this much young talent in the organization. Last lockout there were a couple of youngsters to follow(Stoll, Torres), but this time Oilers fans have tons to look forward to even without NHL hockey. It won’t be nearly as hard to get my hockey fix this lockout.

  3. mumbai max says:

    I am genuinely hoping for a long lockout. The list of reasons that this would benefit the Oil is long. Yak, Shultz and Khabbi obviously, but also the young dudes getting to dominate together for a year. Hall and Whitney rehabbing. MPS, Fedun, and Hartie developing with the core. Not good for Sutton, Potter, Eager, Hordie and a few others. Sorry about that boys, bad timing.

    I am very much in the camp of hoping the NHL declares an impasse and imposes a new CBA. (Sometime shortly after the WJC is over would be nice.)

    50 m cap, 30 m floor. All contracts honoured at 70% of face value (50/70). Take it or leave it. If they leave it they become free agents. How many of todays NHL players could make more than 70% of their current contract in a Euro league. A very small number. AHL money is about 5% or less of their NHL contracts. It is a no-brainer, they would file back in a big hurry, stumbling over each other to secure their locker room stall. Each locker room would have a dart board installed, with an image of Mr. Fehr for slow afternoons between workouts.

    Only the sight of humbled holier than thou hockey gods arriving back to work with their
    tails between their legs will make me happy at this point.

  4. dessert1111 says:

    I don’t care about the lockout anymore, the only thing I want is more coverage of OKC, and that includes televised games with better feeds and more lively discussion. I think a lot of people would feel better about the whole thing if they just watched/cared about the Barons (almost all their players are under contract to the Oil anyway). I’m cheering for a winning team with familiar faces and my favourite player on it, seeing the young guys develop, and having a development year go by without watching painful mistakes, and it’s one year gone on the older players that are playing poorly. I’m fine if it lasts the whole year, maybe that would spark some more intense coverage of the Barons too.

  5. alice13 says:

    Mumbai,

    They were locked out, remember, by the same guys who offered them their current contracts. I don’t think ‘holier than thou’ applies here, regardless of the ridiculous sums involved. The owners own this problem, it’s their CBA and cap. Were they not of sound mind and body when they offered up the existing contracts? Under duress? Or just… hockey owners. They need no pity, whether or not you think their workforce is overpaid.

  6. RickDeckard says:

    alice13,

    Option A: Sign players to dumb contracts

    We’re seeing how this is turning out

    Option B: As a group, refuse to offer contracts like these

    Ever here of the term “collusion’? Take a look at this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_collusion

    Notice a name on the MLBPA’s side? Why it’s our good friend, Mr. Fehr.

    Option C: Refuse to offer these contracts independently

    You know who did this? Brian Burke. How did that turn out?

  7. ItsTheBGB says:

    With so many people in the AHL that are young, especially because of the lockout, I think getting another defenceman would be way to crowding. The young ones aren’t struggling that much, so let them play, let them gain confidence. We don’t need a 35 year old guy taking away their playing time.

  8. Dipstick says:

    My son asked me recently, “why are you spending so much time at the computer?”. Honestly, I’d rather be watching on the TV.

    Regarding the 2010 draft, we need to remember that Stu had a couple of extra picks in the second round. Comparing that draft class with a year in which the team has its normal allocation would be a bit unfair. That being said, Stu did a very good job of not squandering those extra picks!

    I expect that both Schultz and Yakupov will have to adjust to having a lot less space in the NHL when they get there. They both seem like highly intelligent players and should make the transition.

  9. Kris11 says:

    Alice,

    The following is an interesting claim that the players keep making, but I don’t think it’s true, at all: “They were locked out, remember, by the same guys who offered them their current contracts.”

    Hall wasn’t promised 6MM in his contract. That’s just the face value. Even if the current CBA had stayed in place, Hall might’ve gotten less than 6MM, losing a bunch in excrow, if HRR had gone down. Hall was promised a percentage of HRR based on the the players’ total percentage of HRR stated in the CBA. But when Hall signed the contract, the current CBA was only valid until this season.

    So according to the letter of the contract, Hall was not promised 6MM. And Hall and his agent and their lawyers surely knew that the CBA could change, that the future actual pay he would get would depend on the new CBA. So it’s not like he was fooled into signing that deal.

    Same goes for every other player. No one was promised that the players’ percentage of HRR would stay at 57% forever in the last CBA, and the contracts they signed don’t promise that either.

    The players are really lying about this to get our sympathies.

    Granted, my sympathies lie with the players already, but not because I think the owners aren’t honoring contracts, or even implicit promises. There was no such contract and no such implicit promise.

  10. Kris11 says:

    Sorry, I mean “escrow,” obviously.

    Also, the claim I quoted from Alice is itself true, but the implied claim that the owners reneged on a deal is false.

    My bad.

  11. jfry says:

    this quote from tippet comes to mind when i think of schultz (junior)
    “We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can’t move the puck.

    “Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn’t defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he’s making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he’s only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman.”

    http://www.defendingbigd.com/2012/4/13/2941077/dave-tippett-defense-mark-fistric-matt-niskanen

  12. Bruce McCurdy says:

    The way he cheers for the super-rich against the sorta-rich, I’m guessing Mumbai Max is a Yankees fan.

    At least for Oilers’ fans there are silver linings in other leagues. Yesterday was a red-letter day with the last two #1 picks sniping third-period game winners for their respective teams in two of The Best Remaining Leagues In The World.

    Too bad those silver linings surround two systems of dark clouds, one league-wide, one local. The perfect storm? The silver linings are nice, but as an Edmonton-based NHL fan it’s not too hard to restrain my optimism, let’s put it that way.

  13. Captain Obvious says:

    I can understand why the owners might want a salary cap but I don’t understand why fans think salary caps are good for them.

    It’s simply not true that salary caps contribute to competitive balance, especially if what you mean by competitive balance is that the “rich” and “poor” teams have a reasonably equal playing field.

    At the same time, salary caps do break up good teams before their time. I would think that all Oiler fans would be concerned with this.

    From a fan experience perspective, the best CBA would have a luxury tax instead of a salary cap, no revenue floor (or a reduced salary floor), increased revenue sharing, a longer time before free agency, arbitration instead of restricted free agency, and the ability to sign long term contracts.

    This would result in the players getting a little more money on the whole in exchange for getting fewer contractual rights. This would also widen the spread of payrolls while shifting money from younger players to older players. This wouldn’t hurt competitive balance because, by and large, hockey players peak relatively young, and so the expensive players would be overpaid. Most importantly, it means that lower revenue teams would have the best chance to keep their players through the best years of their careers. Instead of losing someone at 27 they’d lose them at 29 or 30. This would allow them to compete with a lower payroll, which would increase their profitability, thus reducing the likelihood of future lockouts.

    It’s a win for the small market owners because the franchises losing money would be in a better position adapt their payrolls to their revenues and maintain profitability.
    It’s a win for the large market owners because they’ll have a small structural competitive advantage.
    It’s a win for the players because they’d be getting a larger portion of the pie
    It’s a win for the fans because their teams will lose fewer of the players they’ve grown attached to.

  14. spoiler says:

    Arena Debacle:

    Well after years of haranguing the County and other levels of government to help re-build or improve Nassau County Coliseum, along with threats to move to Canada or Kansas City, Wang has given up, and will be announcing a new lease beginning in 2015 with Barclay’s Centre in Brooklyn, a 14,500 hockey seat stadium primarily used by the Nets.

    Not good news for Katz or any supporter who points to taxpayers everywhere caving to the demands of billionaire owners.

  15. commonfan14 says:

    Kris11,

    Thanks for that.

    The “the owners don’t want to honour the contracts we signed with them in good faith” argument from the PA has been making me sick, for all the reasons you mention and more.

    I know part of the reason a lot of high-priced players recently signed deals with big signing bonuses and low annual salaries is that they wanted to make sure they got paid if there was no hockey, but that doesn’t explain why they structured them that way for multiple years. That was all about protecting money from being lost to the new, less favourable split that the players and agents knew was coming. They can’t pretend to be blindsided by it now.

    The players also don’t talk much about members of their brotherhood who don’t stay in shape, lose motivation or demand trades after signing their deals. How much “honour” does that show to the owners they signed the contracts with in good faith?

    It’s also not really negotiating in good faith when you say you’re willing to accept a 50-50 split, but refuse to consider taking any less money to make the split work.

    Anyway, they’ll soon lose far more money than they would have lost if they’d just accepted the NHL’s last proposal. I suppose it’s worth it, though, to stick up for their principle of not wanting to lose money.

  16. bookje says:

    3 points for the regulation win, 2 for OT or Shootout win and 1 for OT or Shootout loss.

    The Russians have figured this out, why the heck can’t the NHL?

  17. Dipstick says:

    bookje:
    3 points for the regulation win, 2 for OT or Shootout win and 1 for OT or Shootout loss.

    The Russians have figured this out, why the heck can’t the NHL?

    3 points for a win? Too much like soccer!

    This is not meant as a slight towards soccer (I play and coach), but to the NHL’s mindset.

  18. delooper says:

    Dipstick, the problem with the rules in the NHL now is there’s incentive to go to over-time as it’s an “everyone wins” situation.

  19. Captain Obvious says:

    delooper,

    All intelligent people understand that. The fact that the people who run the NHL don’t understand the negative implications of their own rules goes a long way in explaining this lockout.

  20. commonfan14 says:

    I wonder what OTs would look like if they just abolished the shoot-out and made it no points for a tie.

  21. Mr DeBakey says:

    No points for a tie, but
    2 points for a regulation Win
    1 point for post-60 “Win”

  22. Ducey says:

    Captain Obvious,

    Nice of you to show up again and presume to speak on behalf of the intelligent people of the world.

    I can understand why the owners might want a salary cap but I don’t understand why fans think salary caps are good for them.

    It’s simply not true that salary caps contribute to competitive balance, especially if what you mean by competitive balance is that the “rich” and “poor” teams have a reasonably equal playing field.

    Huh? Its not true because you say so?

    As an Oilers fan I would think you would be keenly aware of the impact of disparate resources on a team. The Oilers were happy to make the last playoff position. All good players had to be sold off. Any “good team” was broken up by economics.

    In the last 17 years the Yankees have missed the postseason once. Once!

    While the Oakland A’s might break thru every once and awhile, all that is really happening is that their players are auditioning for a rich contract with another team. I guess that’s competitive balance in Mr Fehr’s world.

  23. CrazyCoach says:

    mumbai max: 50 m cap, 30 m floor. All contracts honoured at 70% of face value (50/70). Take it or leave it. If they leave it they become free agents. How many of todays NHL players could make more than 70% of their current contract in a Euro league.

    Don’t forget that Fehr took on such men like George Steinbrenner, Marge Schott, and even Jeffery Loria (LT’s fave owner). Do you honestly think that the NHLPA has never been in better shape than it has been under Fehr’s leadership? Russians aside, the members of the NHLPA are obviously on a short leash this time around and they have bought into’s Fehr’s strategy lock stock and barrel. The last two NHL labour disputes have seen the players association slowly erode and then buckle to the owners insane demands. When things don’t go well one of the usual tactics used by management is the use of lockouts, which is followed by trying to get the public onside with their view. I have heard that the owners have hired a PR firm that is guiding their media strategies during this dispute, that also guided the Republican Party’s PR strategy.

    It’s not that the players are angels in this deal. If anything, they are guilty of not getting their house in order which played into the hands of the owners during the last lockout. I have made my living working alongside organizations that don’t have their house in order and the government and industry funders that deal with them love the disorganization as it keeps the program costs down. The NHLPA was not the ideal organization before and they learned the hard way.

    Either way, this labour dispute is no different than others. We as fans want things to be different, but like taxpayers who sit by watching govt’s and public sector unions act like children, we are sadly on the periphery.

  24. Kris11 says:

    Either way, this labour dispute is no different than others.

    Not sure about that.

    1. Millionaire labor.
    2. Whole career of labor is a few years.
    3. Scab labor is not really plausible (like some labor disputes but not others)
    4. Labor is the product (unlike, say, a UAW strike of factory guys)
    5. Ownership is not a single person or corporation, but a cartel where some owners are losing a lot of money and some are making money (this is a big factor in current negotiations)
    6. Ownership only has leverage because of control via leases over publically subsidized (or publically owned) arenas
    7. Subset of owners are looking for prestige and a fancy toy, not profit maximization

    I can think of labor disputes in other fields that are similar to the NHL-NHLPA dispute in one or two of these ways, but not all 7, nor even in 3 or more ways.

    IMO, high-end professional sports in NA, gives us a very unique collective bargaining process and labor situation.

  25. Moosemess says:

    Is it possible that the league’s broadcasting partners are prohibited from providing broader coverage of the minor leagues in the event of a work stoppage?

    Sportsnet rolling out a robust schedule of Barons games in this market is an absolute no-brainer. Why the sports networks are not leveraging this opportunity for ad revenue is perplexing, unless some legal mumbo jumbo prevents them from doing so?

  26. Bruce McCurdy says:

    bookje:
    3 points for the regulation win, 2 for OT or Shootout win and 1 for OT or Shootout loss.

    The Russians have figured this out, why the heck can’t the NHL?

    Yes they do.

    Mr DeBakey: No points for a tie, but
    2 points for a regulation Win
    1 point for post-60 “Win”

    Sorry, but that system has the exact same flaw (only moreso) as the current system, namely different games having different values. Puts pressure on teams to resolve things earlier, current system rewards them for resolving it later. Better to let the game resolve itself in the normal course, but with all games of equal value, thus balancing risk vs. reward. This happens naturally in the playoffs, but in the regular season the 3-0 or 2-1 split is one way to accomplish this.

  27. DSF says:

    Moosemess:
    Is it possible that the league’s broadcasting partners are prohibited from providing broader coverage of the minor leagues in the event of a work stoppage?

    Sportsnet rolling out a robust schedule of Barons games in this market is an absolute no-brainer. Why the sports networks are not leveraging this opportunity for ad revenue is perplexing, unless some legal mumbo jumbo prevents them from doing so?

    The Edmonton TV market is much too small to justify sending a production crew to OKC to televise Baron’s games.

    Considering far fewer people would watch a Barons game than an Oilers game, it’s far from a no brainer.

    The Toronto and Vancouver broadcast areas are far far higher which is why you’ll see Marlies and Wolves games instead. Even Abbotsforrd and Hamilton games make much more economic sense.

    The Wolves games are also already broadcast in Chicago so it’s pretty easy just to pick up a feed.

  28. Mr DeBakey says:

    all games of equal value

    I agree
    I just put up that 1-point suggestion whenever I see someone suggesting 0 points for a 60 minute tie.

    Actually, I’m a Luddite on this topic, games should end at 60 minutes, with 2 points awarded.
    Forget all this extra time BS.
    I never watch it, its crap.

  29. frenchfrog says:

    Schultz looks real good. But…he would never sign here. :(

  30. alice13 says:

    A little late to the reply, but my point was Not that the owners are reneging on the contracts. The point is they stand back and look at the 13yr deals and all the other mess they’ve put themselves into of their very own making, and then they throw out “we don’t make any money”, “the players are rich enough getting to play a game”, and so on, while they play their Get out of Jail 6yr reset card. And ask the players to bail out their individual mistakes and collective failures (PHX). Am I missing something here? Ownership is voluntary, and it does have its perks. I don’t think anyone should be feeling sorry for professional hockey players, but there’s no reason to put the responsibility for this fiasco at their feet, that’s all.

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