Nelson Santovenia once asked to be sent down to AA, after finding out he was ticketed to be the backup catcher in AAA. Why on earth would he do that? Why would anyone WANT to be demoted to the hinterland?


Lets face it, this season is totally about development. Wins and losses in the AHL might be important at some level, but if the Edmonton Oilers had a choice between 5 more wins and a useful 2-way winger for their NHL future there’s no question about what they would hold dear.

I wonder if it might be an idea to send Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton and Ryan Martindale to Stockton. Callup Cornet and Rajala and Eric Hunter, and let these 2nd rounders get some powerplay time and big minutes in the hopes some confidence and success follows. I know they aren’t 18 years old anymore, but with all the talent in OKC that wouldn’t ordinarily be there, might this be a reasonable solution?

It’s worth talking about, surely.

Now. Santovenia. He had an incredibly slow bat, but he did in fact play well enough at double-A to get noticed and then moved past the leather brigade (Expos led the universe in all glove, no hit catchers during this period–Wil Tejada literally didn’t need a bat!) and have a small career.

Is two seasons in the NHL worth the humiliation of playing every night in the ECHL instead of riding pine in OKC? I think it might be.

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17 Responses to "SEND IN THE CLOWNS"

  1. Gerta Rauss says:

    It makes a lot of sense if this lockout drags on much longer-I guess we’ll have the lockout sorted out one way or the other in the next 2-3 weeks. If they cancel the season and Hall and the rest of the kids are in OKC for the duration, then yes, get the 2nd level prospects some ice time elsewhere.

  2. godot10 says:

    Pitlick needs stability. This is the first season in ages that he has been on the same tearm for a second year.

    Hamilton was always going to be a complimentary player. It was only recently that he has played some with top six forwards. On the lower lines, he is not going to provide much offense. He has yet to be given an extended opportunity in an offensive role.

    So I think it would be a mistake to send either or both down. They are not giving up much. You really only need to be sent down if one is making too many defensive mistakes at the current level, and neither really does.

    I think it is also important for them to see how real NHL’ers prepare.

    Plus, one really only has three years to make a decision on these guys, because of the 50 contract limit. This effectively closes the window on a Stockton experiment. Pitlick and Hamilton have a season and a half to prove themselves. The Mike Keenan moment is here. You just keep playing the guys and they either make progress or they don’t. If they don’t, you move on to the next guy.

  3. vishcosity says:

    I want to reinvent my interest in sports. I want to put my effort towards where the money is not the key #1 ingredient. I think I could support a player owned co-op with relegation and pay based on gate revenue.

    If the math likes of ricki and eric are around here, then maybe too are their social equivalents. While I am clearly not one of them, maybe we can spend our time trying to figure out how to make playing in Stockton more interesting. Relegation conversely would give them a shot. If the team had a shot to move up a league, then maybe playing in the ECHL would be no big deal.

    Anyone know how is the Edmonton kid doing? Last I heard he had 90 points in 15 AAA bantam games. Any blogs on the bantam draft that anyone knows of? I’d love to find some footage and see that kid play.

    Having skated on some outdoor ice in the YEG, I can say for certain that there are a ton of very good players. Building a local league and promoting it would most likely serve the civic much better than a billion dollar speculation, on credit.

    I say bring the AA league. Together I think we can figure out how to make the hockey version of guys like Santovenia excited to get a job in Edmonton. Phoenix bantam AAA plays in Tempe, Jan 1 at 10 am. They are 15-7-2. I’m going to try and catch that game.

  4. Woodguy says:

    I think anyone who is giving up on Hamilton and Pitlick is moving too fast.

    You shouldn’t watch your house being built, you shouldn’t witness sausage being made, and you shouldn’t watch young non-awesome hockey players figure out the pro game.

    Neither of these kids had primo ice time last year, nor this year.

    They’ve had ham fisted AHL 3rd pairing guys starting the play, which often ends up in chasing the puck, rather than skating it up.

    They are not where I’d like them to be, and perhaps they won’t make it, but its far too early to make that call.

    When both RNH and Eberle made the NHL they said that it was actually easier than the junior ranks because everyone is where they should be and passing the puck correctly.

    I really don’t think Pitlick nor Hamilton have been able to play with players who are where they should be or pass the puck where they should on a regular basis.

    Wait before making yes or no pronouncements on these guys.

  5. Lowetide says:

    WG: Seems fair. Injuries haven’t helped either but I do think there’s more to each story than we’re seeing currently.

  6. Captain Happy says:

    Occam’s Razor..

    If these players are unable to establish themselves at the AHL level, they have almost zero chance to succeed in the NHL.

  7. Lowetide says:

    I’d agree under normal circumstances but the Hall/Eberle minutes impact OKC wingers all down the line.

  8. jfry says:

    I’m not sure what the echl is like now, but I had a number of friends in it ten years ago…skill players growing up, who just didn’t quite have enough skill once they got to the pros…so they ended up in the echl, and to a man they loathed it. Said it was the roughest, meanest, dirtiest league ever. Most of them quit hockey within a couple of years or moved to Europe to play.

    It sounded horrible. Maybe it’s more refined now.

  9. Romulus Apotheosis says:


    When both RNH and Eberle made the NHL they said that it was actually easier than the junior ranks because everyone is where they should be and passing the puck correctly.

    Marchand said the same thing about the AHL in The Hockey News recently, i.e., the NHL is easier in some ways because of systems play and role/positioning/expectations being met.

  10. vishcosity says:

    Woodguy: You shouldn’t watch your house being built, you shouldn’t witness sausage being made, and you shouldn’t watch young non-awesome hockey players figure out the pro game.

    Because you should instead build your own house, if you cannot watch it being made then you probably shouldn’t eat it, and instead of watching kids develop, you should be helping them? Or is it because your ego is from LA?

  11. jfry says:

    As a person who has watched a few places being built, I think it’s an apt metaphor. Marincin reminds me of my granite counter that was cut wrong and needed another six weeks to get it right. A kitchen without a counter means eating out a lot

  12. Lowetide says:

    I watched the house we live in being built–very apt imo. The biggest problem was patience–had none. :-)

  13. Ducey says:

    I know his boxcars are not there, but hasn’t Pitlick generally got good reviews based on “saw him good”?

    The issue with these two players may be ice time, it maybe QOT, it might be confidence, they might be playing with an injury, or the coach may be asking them to concentrate on their glove. Its pretty tough to say from afar that sending them to the ECHL is a great idea.

    The timing would be terrible right now too. The lockout has to come to a head in the next 3 weeks and you’d be yo-yoing these guys up and down if the there is a new CBA.

  14. vishcosity says:

    Interesting. I’ve built a couple houses, some with home owners hanging over my shoulder, most without. I have yet to build anything where the home owner actually wanted to help, because I was the Mexican and they had entitlement. Classic white man complex.

    While it may be obvious that if life were a meritocracy those with the insight would rise to the top, it is more obvious that local culture is very much not about merit. Instead, when I use vocabulary the boss didn’t understand, mostly the white guys were threatened. Like I was going to steal their job.

    I suspect that is the same thing that drives the Edmonton Ice to Kelowna. The Oilers tickets were impossible to get, yet the Ice couldn’t fill 3000 seats. Could it be anything but that same sense of superiority, that we are entitled to see the best of the best, that could make a WHL team fail in Edmonton?

    While we keep buying the marketing of these large corporations, while we continue to believe that watching under developed kids play the game is somehow equivalent to watching dead animals parts exit an extruder, then Bettman will have us by the balls indefinitely and we may as well simply bray by the gate to the palace.

    I say forget it. Consider me a new recruit to the Yacqui nation. I’m not waiting for handouts from the government, I’m not interested to be surprised if the machine fails, I’d rather build my own. And most certainly I will never buy into the idea of making sausage, let alone considering that remotely similar to nurturing youth.

    Clowns. LT did you mean us white guys and our prescribed mode of thinking? Should there be more comments from lawyers and their eurocentric colonialism to really round out your title?

  15. Lowetide says:

    Vish: No, my meaning for ‘Send in the Clowns’ is the same as Sondheim’s: this thing is off the rails, send in the clowns to save the scene and change focus away from disaster.

  16. Woodguy says:

    vishcosity: Because you should instead build your own house, if you cannot watch it being made then you probably shouldn’t eat it, and instead of watching kids develop, you should be helping them?Or is it because your ego is from LA?

    Not sure what you mean about my ego.

    I used the house building comparison because I supply material to the new home construction industry.

    Time and time again I’ve witness home owners freak out over simple and standard issues that happen during construction.

    They don’t understand many things and make everyone’s life difficult when you try to explain that a straight wall has never existed in the history of mankind, but they want theirs re-done because they move 1/8″ over 20 feet.

  17. stevezie says:


    I think the housebuilding one works, but if you don’t like the way sausage is produced maybe you shouldn’t eat it. Not that we came here to discuss metaphors.

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