A MODERN MURDOCH MYSTERY?

Long ago and far away, the Edmonton Oilers had a General Manager who looked for other people’s problems. He’d buy the used/damaged talent at a low price, nurse them back to heath/scare them straight, and then let them loose with 250 at-bats to see how they could shine.

  •  1979-80: D Pat Price, R Don Murdoch, C Jim Harrison, L Wayne Bianchin
  • 1980-81: G Gary Edwards, D Tom Bladon

And on it went. Now, some of these guys were at the end of the line and some were mid-career with health issues (Bianchin health issues, Murdoch different health issues) but Price was a fine bet (who worked out for awhile, then fetched Pat Hughes, who was a good NHL player) and Sather was just trying to add useful players. Get good players, keep good players.

GRIGORENKO

The Oilers had Mikhail Grigorenko high on their draft list if you believe the Oilers and despite a couple of tough seasons there’s still a talent there, still a player who could help Edmonton if everything works out right. Mikhail Grigorenko is still a teenager, and things are not going well. Why? Well, the Buffalo Sabres are a troubled team, with management changing and ownership learning (sound familiar?) and sometimes brilliant young hockey players fall through the cracks.

Now, that isn’t to say Grigorenko is an innocent bystander. The have been issues before, even before draft day:

  • Red Line Report: “As talented as Grigorenko is, he simply does not work hard AT ALL when he doesn’t have the puck, even at crucial moments in a game.  One shift he had about four minutes left to go in a game his team was only losing by one goal perfectly illustrated the point.  After attempting an individualistic play, Grigorenko lost the puck behind the net in the attacking zone, it squirted free to a defenseman about two feet to his right, and he just stood there watching as the defender skated the puck out of trouble without even a hint of trying to track him down or even put mild pressure on him.  It would have been a real eye-opener for us – if we hadn’t been seeing the exact same thing from him for three years now.”
  • Corey Pronman: I’m not exactly sure when this issue started to take off, but it snowballed pretty quickly from the start of the spring to now. This was not news to me, as I had been well aware that Grigorenko’s on-ice work ethic was a hole in his skill set. When I polled scouts at various points as I mentioned in this column, whenever I asked them to talk about his skill set, they would mention he’s not the kind of player to go 100% every shift; yet despite that, they still talked about him in a glowing fashion. One head scout who had him as a top-three prospect said, “He may only be going at 75%, but he’s still clearly the best player on the ice.”

And now we are here. The Sabres have optioned him to junior (as is their right). The young man has balked.

  • Mike Harrington, Sabres Edge: Coach Ted Nolan told me today after practice at Riverside’s Bud Bakewell Arena that Grigorenko was upset when told he was going back to junior but that this was a “non-negotiable” decision.

About an hour ago, Grigorenko’s facebook statement appeared on twitter, and gives us an idea about where things are from the player perspective.

grigorenko fb

I have no idea if he wrote it, or even if it’s him, but the author of this piece is an expert at framing the issue, be he a pro or gifted amateur. That is just about the best prose you can produce in this situation—reasoned, intelligent, even generous considering the idiocy of the moment—and yet you will see and hear some very vicious things about this Russian teenager in the next hours and days.

If we can pause for a moment in our little corner of the world, I’d like to ask three questions:

  1. Why is the NHL-CHL rule still in place? Why does Mikhail Grigorenko have to go back to junior, where he will labor for little pay for very rich men? And what does it say about us as Canadians that we allow this to happen?
  2. Why do NHL teams do this kind of thing, knowing the result will sour their organization to a large part of the labor force (players)?  If the AHL is an option that is available, why punish and humiliate? If that option isn’t available, perhaps find another option that doesn’t involve going back to junior?
  3. Should the Oilers inquire about this young man?

Thanks for your input.

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133 Responses to "A MODERN MURDOCH MYSTERY?"

  1. oliveoilers says:

    Pass! Imagine him coming here thinking he’ll be on a line with Yak and getting sat instead? I don’t agree with DE, but he is still the coach and I can’t see him treating Grigsy (ha!) any different than any other prospect. We have enough projects with potential huge upsides, let’s just get another good safe NHLer before we take another 19yo. I know some people are of the opinion that we need to plan for the future when we are a dominant team, but boys and girls, we have to GET there first. THEN plan how the hell we’re gonna stay!

  2. Lowetide says:

    oliveoilers:
    Pass!Imagine him coming here thinking he’ll be on a line with Yak and getting sat instead?I don’t agree with DE, but he is still the coach and I can’t see him treating Grigsy (ha!) any different than any other prospect.We have enough projects with potential huge upsides, let’s just get another good safe NHLer before we take another 19yo.I know some people are of the opinion that we need to plan for the future when we are a dominant team, but boys and girls, we have to GET there first.THEN plan how the hell we’re gonna stay!

    Still, the Oilers could trade for him and send him to the AHL, right? I beleive that’s an option and if it is, then for me that’s the route to take.

  3. oliveoilers says:

    Lowetide: Still, the Oilers could trade for him and send him to the AHL, right? I beleive that’s an option and if it is, then for me that’s the route to take.

    The gist I’m getting is that he thinks he is ready for the show…..I don’t think he wants the AHL any more than Yak did. Who blinks first, lol?

  4. jfry says:

    Is Buffalo a soft landing for Samwise?

  5. bookje says:

    Lowetide: Still, the Oilers could trade for him and send him to the AHL, right? I beleive that’s an option and if it is, then for me that’s the route to take.

    If that’s an option, get him. Clearly the Sabres have lost confidence in him and are ready to move on. Buy low…

    As per why NHL teams do this? Likley egos, frustration, stuipidy, and so on. Focus on the guy in practice and play him 5 minutes a night to get him through the season, send him to the AHL for a 10 game conditioning stint. Tell him he needs time in the AHL,but you can’t do it because of the rules so you are doing the best you can to avoid sending him to the juniors.

  6. OilClog says:

    Grigs is a great talent but not what we need to run 1-2 with Nuge. The big Russian we already have down the middle makes more sense. For the team and as Yaks future running mate. The kid is huge.

    Erhoff, Ott or Hamonic, Clutterbuck are the duos I’d be targeting. Both won’t happen but, I’d welcome either one.

  7. oliveoilers says:

    Well, it certainly would fall into the realm of ‘bold move’!

  8. VanOil says:

    Some good coaching, which includes clearly communicating a long term plan, and this kid could be a world beater. I would be happy if the Oilers thought they could pull this off and took the risk to buy low. Glen Sather in his prime or in the NFL Bill Belichick would make the rest of the league look like fools with this sort of player, 75% of the time. 25% of the time they are Cam Barker.

  9. sliderule says:

    Grigs has talent but he Eakins and Mact would be fire and oil.

    Watching him play hockey and seeing his body at combine he is not in great shape.

    The oilers would be smart to beware.

  10. oliveoilers says:

    VanOil:
    Some good coaching, which includes clearly communicating a long term plan, and this kid could be a world beater. I would be happy if the Oilers thought they could pull this off and took the risk to buy low. Glen Sather in his prime or in the NFL Bill Belichick would make the rest of the league look like fools with this sort of player, 75% of the time. 25% of the time they are Cam Barker.

    MacT is patently NOT Glen Sather.

  11. VanOil says:

    oliveoilers: MacT is patently NOT Glen Sather.

    Ironic given MacT was one of Sathers great turn around stories

  12. Young Oil says:

    If the price is right, it is definitely compelling to go for him. Hell, might as well go all out and try and get a few of Buffalo’s better players when they’re in a mess.

    I wonder if Gagner+1st round pick could bring in Grigs, Erhoff, and Pysyk. Buffalo might be tempted at the prospect of getting Reinhart AND Ekblad, and some top 6 offence, and we get a current 1st pairing Dman, a good young hometown Dman, and a player we could potentially turn into a #2C, who Arco can fill in for until he’s ready.

  13. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    EF just suggested Grig go play in Europe somewhere (not KHL)… i.e., my Nurse idea!

    If it works/happens… we need to explore this for Nurse next year if the OHL looks like a waste of time, but the NHL is a bridge too far (highly likely).

  14. bookje says:

    oliveoilers: MacT is patently NOT Glen Sather.

    Glen Sather is not Glen Sather

  15. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookje: Glen Sather is not Glen Sather

    and Bookje is not Book¡e.

  16. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    On Grig. He played on a line with Slappy at the WJC so I’m sure MacT very recently scouted him.

    I’m also sure Yak, Slappy and others could offer some thought on him.

    At any rate, he’d have to be insane not to inquire. I’d love to get him, send him to the KHL for 2 years and then bring him back.

    I think MacT might have “character” issues here though.

  17. godot10 says:

    Lowetide: Still, the Oilers could trade for him and send him to the AHL, right? I beleive that’s an option and if it is, then for me that’s the route to take.

    I don’t think the OIlers can send him to the AHL anymore than the Sabres can.

    We have three cooperating parties in child slavery in Canada. The NHL, the NHLPA, and the CHL.

    The court case fighting this would take years and millions of dollars, and one might lose because of the collective agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA.

  18. oliveoilers says:

    Few people buying in to the ‘So it once was, so shall it be again” narrative? Tsk, tsk, what do the stats and the laws of probability suggest? Is MacT the new Slats? SlatT? I guess we’ve got the next decade to find out, lol.

  19. godot10 says:

    jfry:
    Is Buffalo a soft landing for Samwise?

    They already have Hodgson. Why would they want two of the same ting?

  20. oliveoilers says:

    HNIC who’s the ginger pube ‘fro singing the anthem?

  21. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Still, the Oilers could trade for him and send him to the AHL, right? I beleive that’s an option and if it is, then for me that’s the route to take.

    That doesn’t compute for me:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_(album)

    why could he play in the AHL for the Oil but not BUF?

    bookje: If that’s an option, get him. Clearly the Sabres have lost confidence in him and are ready to move on. Buy low…

    I don’t think this is necessarily the case.

    It looks more like the new coach and new GM figured things out. There’s a good chance this was the right decision from draft day and Regier fucked it up like so much else.

    Don’t forget Regier started the season with all of Myers, Pysyk, Ristolainen and Zadorov on the NHL roster… that’s fucking batshit insane!

    That said, there is clearly a disconnect between player and team (we know about those) and that might open a crack for a trade.

    ———
    So… that anthem singer in Montreal is basically Will Ferrell in Zoolander

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yiVBI93Kkew/UTSVEsYyITI/AAAAAAAALYo/WLfPWrgjzHY/s400/canadiens%2Bpenguins%2Bnational%2Banthem%2Bsinger.png

    http://wodumedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Will-Ferrell-as-Mugatu-in-Paramounts-Zoolander-2001-0.jpg

  22. oliveoilers says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: That doesn’t compute for me:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_(album)

    why could he play in the AHL for the Oil but not BUF?

    I don’t think this is necessarily the case.

    It looks more like the new coach and new GM figured things out. There’s a good chance this was the right decision from draft day and Regier fucked it up like so much else.

    Don’t forget Regier started the season with all of Myers, Pysyk, Ristolainen and Zadorov on the NHL roster… that’s fucking batshit insane!

    That said, there is clearly a disconnect between player and team (we know about those) and that might open a crack for a trade.

    ———
    So… that anthem singer in Montreal is basically Will Ferrell in Zoolander

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yiVBI93Kkew/UTSVEsYyITI/AAAAAAAALYo/WLfPWrgjzHY/s400/canadiens%2Bpenguins%2Bnational%2Banthem%2Bsinger.png

    http://wodumedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Will-Ferrell-as-Mugatu-in-Paramounts-Zoolander-2001-0.jpg

    Thanks Rom, I just sprayed beer over the counter. He can ‘Derelict’ my ba……

  23. Lowetide says:

    Rom: Yes. As I understand it, if Grigorenko had been born in 2013 (like Yakupov) he could have played in the AHL. Still, I like Finland/Euro option Friedman put out there.

    The point is, why do these rules exist? To allow CHL owners to control these kids. In the case of Grigorenko, a kid who came from not so much. And I think Canadians should look at this very closely, because it’s very wrong.

    Pay these young men something resembling value, or let them wander about the universe as free men.

  24. oliveoilers says:

    Lowetide,

    Seems to be something creeping into pro-am sports at the youth level. Look at college football, some teams posting massive profits and the players basically have to pay to play. An instance of ‘Business Ethics” being an oxymoron.

  25. godot10 says:

    Grigorenko’s lawyers might be talking to Yakupov’s lawyers. Remember Yak was only able to play in the KHL last year because of potentially flawed paperwork between Sarnia and the Yak, and Sarnia and the CHL decided that they did not want to test their agreements in court.

  26. bookje says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: and Bookje is not Book¡e.

    Someday I will need to figure out how to fix that, though I kind of like bookje – sounds Nordic.

  27. Rebilled says:

    I think the last thing MacT is gonna trade for is a teenager. Highly doubtful IMO.

  28. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Rom: Yes. As I understand it, if Grigorenko had been born in 2013 (like Yakupov) he could have played in the AHL. Still, I like Finland/Euro option Friedman put out there.

    The point is, why do these rules exist? To allow CHL owners to control these kids. In the case of Grigorenko, a kid who came from not so much. And I think Canadians should look at this very closely, because it’s very wrong.

    Pay these young men something resembling value, or let them wander about the universe as free men.

    I completely agree.

    People wonder why American college sports is so corrupt without bothering to recall that it is one of the most highly restrictive work environments in the western world.

    Athletes have very little freedom regarding where, when, how and for what compensation they work for.

    The CHL has a lot of problems and the transfer agreement with the NHL is a big one.

    If they grant exceptional status to players to join the various leagues (like in Ekblad’s case), they should find a way for players like Grig and Nurse to find better options.

    FWIW, I don’t get the fear over sending him to the K for a year or two. It seems like more a question of the player, the team and their relationship than some worry over the KHL.

  29. bookje says:

    Lowetide:

    Pay these young men something resembling value, or let them wander about the universe as free men.

    Yep, these ‘controlled systems’ always create problems, such as the illiterate college football players in the USA. Nothing but problems.

  30. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Still, I like Finland/Euro option Friedman put out there.

    Has anyone ever resolved whether this (or the KHL) is an actual option? If the CHL holds the rights, does that only apply to the AHL?

  31. hoser313 says:

    Very interesting.

    That facebook post was deliberate and articulate – clearly written or at least edited by Grigorenko’s agent as an attempt at damage control on his reputation (i.e. future earning potential).

    I wonder what else has gone wrong in Buffalo? Maybe something else shakes free.

    As for the player himself, it would be pretty smart of MacT to call up Yak and get his opinion.

    I’m not so sure on the player. To my eye, although he was PPG he didn’t dominate in the WJC the same way other older players like Forsberg, Ristolainen, Teravinen and Drouin did, but maybe I wasn’t watching Russia closely enough. Maybe there’s still enough upside to trade for him and let him play in Europe.

  32. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    godot10: They already have Hodgson.Why would they want two of the same ting?

    I think that is probably right. Hodgson and Gagner are pretty similar players.

    Still they need offense and you never can tell how other teams value players and/or what they are looking for.

    godot10:
    Grigorenko’s lawyers might be talking to Yakupov’s lawyers.Remember Yak was only able to play in the KHL last year because of potentially flawed paperwork between Sarnia and the Yak, and Sarnia and the CHL decided that they did not want to test their agreements in court.

    Interesting article from JW:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/09/27/chlpa-says-the-sarnia-sting-are-trying-to-cash-in-on-nail-yakupov-asking-for-money-from-his-khl-team/

    “The CHLPA contends that the agreement between the NHL and CHL unfairly limits the ability of players to earn a living early in their careers, because they are excluded from playing in the AHL.”

  33. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    What the Hell was Cherry saying there about Seabrook and Pietrangelo? something like:

    “I know they are all swee[…???] on the team”

    I thought he was going to say Swedes… or Sweets… weird.

    also that tummy cut on Schenn looked nasty.

  34. Romulus Apotheosis says:
  35. stevezie says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    After watching that I don’t understand how some people don’t understand Cherry’s role. I had a great time.

  36. denny33 says:

    Young Oil,

    That is what the league is saying about us……re, Yak

  37. Hammers says:

    The fact the system is WRONG doesn’t say we go after him . Lets not get off message . We need 2 “D” , a goalie and a top 9 winger with size and ability . McT must be smarter than even trying . Move on to next idea .

  38. Gerta Rauss says:

    bookje: Someday I will need to figure out how to fix that

    I think you have to press Ctrl and hold the shift key…

  39. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Gerta Rauss: I think you have to press Ctrl and hold the shift key…

    http://vimeo.com/37714632

  40. striatic says:

    Sometimes players who seem like they have poor work ethic just have poor on ice habits.

    Great players coast all the time. Part of being an elite athlete is having energy management. They need to conserve energy in order to apply it later. There are lots of “high work ethic” players that are largely ineffective because they engage in primarily performative displays of effort that don’t really accomplish very much, leave themselves drained and out of position.

    This distinction is pretty important, because it is the difference between a salvageable and an unsalvageable player.

    If the whole non-pursuit on the forecheck thing is because he developed instincts on the larger European ice where the pursuit pressure on the defender is more expensive in terms of energy, and least effective in terms of results, then he’s salvageable. If he’s just lazy, he probably isn’t salvable.

    This kid didn’t understand or speak english prior to the CHL draft, but after dedicated lessons he now interviews in english astonishingly well. Maybe he has some bizarre late acquisition language aptitude but from all accounts he brute forced his way into learning to speak articulate English. That does not sound like a lazy kid to me. Maybe he knew English the whole time, or maybe he is secretly 24 years old, but that is the kind of thing that’s implausibly difficult to fake.

    As for his fitness level, he’s still a teenager and his body is still developing. He’s a big, lanky kid and sometimes those guys take some time to fill out.

    Maybe Grigorenko is lazy, but I’d want to take a really close look at what the real source of these “work ethic” issues might be a combination of bad on ice habits, ineffective coaching and lack of physical maturity. These things are correctable in a still very young player.

    Maybe he really is just lazy, but the lack of pursuit forecheck only exposes that as a possibility, not a certainty.

  41. Lowetide says:

    striatic:
    Sometimes players who seem like they have poor work ethic just have poor on ice habits.

    Great players coast all the time. Part of being an elite athlete is having energy management. They need to conserve energy in order to apply it later. There are lots of “high work ethic” players that are largely ineffective because they engage in primarily performative displays of effort that don’t really accomplish very much, leave themselves drained and out of position.

    This distinction is pretty important, because it is the difference between a salvageable and an unsalvageable player.

    If the whole non-pursuit on the forecheck thing is because he developed instincts on the larger European ice where the pursuit pressure on the defender is more expensive in terms of energy, and least effective in terms of results, then he’s salvageable. If he’s just lazy, he probably isn’t salvable.

    This kid didn’t understand or speak english in 2011, but after dedicated lessons he now interviews in english astonishingly well. Maybe he has some bizarre late acquisition language aptitude but from all accounts he brute forced his way into learning to speak articulate English. That does not sound like a lazy kid to me.

    As for his fitness level, he’s still a teenager and his body is still developing. He’s a big, lanky kid and sometimes those guys take some time to fill out.

    Maybe Grigorenko is lazy, but I’d want to take a really close look at what the real source of these “work ethic” issues might be a combination of bad on ice habits, ineffective coaching and lack of physical maturity. These things are correctable in a still very young player.

    Maybe he really is just lazy, but the lack of pursuit forecheck only exposes that as a possibility, not a certainty.

    Great post. Frank Mahovlich was always “lazy” but he was a great, great player. Big guys often get tagged with that, Penner being a recent example from Oilers history.

  42. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Part of me dreams of Grigorenko and Myers for Gagner and Gernat.

  43. gr8one says:

    I skimmed very quickly so not sure if this was covered but one of the problems is that Buffalo already tried sending him to the AHL and it was blocked by the NHL.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nhl-blocks-sabres-bid-send-161912253–nhl.html

    IT really does suck for that type of player…too good for junior but not ready for the NHL and SHOULD be in the AHL, yes Europe is potentially an option, but I’d prefer those players to stay in North America getting used to the culture and playing style.

    FWIW, I would love to see Grigs here, depending on price obviously, but I think he will become an absolute star if handled right.

  44. stevezie says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: EF just suggested Grig go play in Europe somewhere (not KHL)… i.e., my Nurse idea!

    Sir, this is my Robbie Schremp idea. If you insist on pressing the issue I am open to settling this through trial by combat. I like Indian Leg Wrestling, best two out of three format, but it is only fair we both agree on the specifics.

  45. gr8one says:

    Marcus Oilerius:
    Part of me dreams of Grigorenko and Myers for Gagner and Gernat.

    I think I recall reading somewhere recently that Myers is still considered an untouchable and that management there had lots of time to give him still when analysing his still relative youth and comparing it to a player like Chara at similar ages and how he developed.

    That being said, even if he was available, I’m sure it would take considerably more than that to get both of those players, especially because Myers has been playing much better lately.

  46. stevezie says:

    As to Grigs, we would be lazy, crazy and stupid not to kick tires, but I wouldn’t pay full price.

    I think we can get something more certain for Gagner, but I am very open to trading a bright young D-man or something.

    Related note: How can Anaheim have such a wealth of goaltending and not trade anybody? If they plan on letting Hiller walk that cancels out any hope, but with his record this season they have to at least be considering keeping him, right? If they do that I think you could get one of their young tenders for D prospects/Nick Schultz (they are gearing up for a cup run…), then you could trade Dubs and Gagner to NYI for Macdonald and Brock Nelson, a fantasy proposal which I like more and more.

    The reason that note was related is I think there are more solid things to spend Gagner on than Girgs, unless you know something about him no one else does, and I can’t call that likely.

  47. gr8one says:

    stevezie: Sir, this is my Robbie Schremp idea. If you insist on pressing the issue I am open to settling this through trial by combat. I like Indian Leg Wrestling, best two out of three format, but it is only fair we both agree on the specifics.

    If that doesn’t settle it, you can always go the old standby…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ayKiFYi9-w

  48. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Marcus Oilerius:
    Part of me dreams of Grigorenko and Myers for Gagner and Gernat.

    gr8one: I think I recall reading somewhere recently that Myers is still considered an untouchable and that management there had lots of time to give him still when analysing his still relative youth and comparing it to a player like Chara at similar ages and how he developed.

    That being said, even if he was available, I’m sure it would take considerably more than that to get both of those players, especially because Myers has been playing much better lately.

    … and the other, sober-minded part of me thinks like you do and remembers why there are so few trades these days. Teams are so hesitant to deal potential. It’s as if the lessons of Sather and Milbury have been somehow absorbed.

  49. Bos8 says:

    I was hoping that LT would hark back to the Sather era and the bad boys including MacTavish. He and Eakins are the great communicators, here’s a challenge.

    I’m sure a creative trade with an escalating clause based on returns could be worked out. It’s a tragedy going on. A lot depends on the kid’s profile. Is he sincere? I’m partial to cases like this because I’ve seen too many kids fall by the wayside due to circumstance.

    Unfortunately any team is at a handicap trying to trade for the him as gathering information would come close to tampering. He has to go down to a junior team, that’s in the books this year. A possible scenario would be a possible trade with the Oil Kings and that’s a murky proposition. I don’t even know if it’s feasible.

  50. fifthcartel says:

    Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 1m
    Barrie D Aaron Ekblad has scored FOUR goals (3 on PP/1 SHG) through 35 minutes tonight as the Colts lead Kingston 5-1.

  51. striatic says:

    Lowetide: Great post. Frank Mahovlich was always “lazy” but he was a great, great player. Big guys often get tagged with that, Penner being a recent example from Oilers history.

    That’s the other thing – there are different flavors of laziness.

    Penner has been demonstrably lazy over the course of his career – eer bellies don’t just “happen” – but he’s also come into training camp in absolutely amazing shape. He’s erratic, but he is clearly, demonstrably able to get himself into good condition. It has happened in the past. The potential is there.

    Some people aren’t so much lazy as they need structure. Grigorenko took 5 times a week english classes. That speaks to a lot of effort but it also speaks to a lot of structure. He might not be lazy, but he might not be the kind of player who responds well to being told to do something and then just doing it. This might not even be obstinance or selfishness, he might just need to go through the physical motions in a highly structured, highly scheduled practice environment.

    Thinking about it a different way. If the *coaching staff* is lazy, too lazy to set up that structure, it sets up a relationship where the coaching staff is going to call the player lazy to cover their own reputations.

  52. stevezie says:

    gr8one,

    I prefer Batman-Jesus-Gandhi. It’s like bear-ninja-cowboy, but once you spin around and assume your chosen form, you and your opponent quickly realise that though you are very different, your essential goals are the same and much more can be accomplished if you work together.

    I made that up just now. Who would be better to use than Gandhi? Obviously there is no improving on Batman or Jesus, but I think Gandhi could be stronger…

  53. Lowetide says:

    Platzer got traded to Owen Sound at the deadline, 1-1-2 so far tonight. A player to watch for the second half.

  54. Lowetide says:

    Gernat scores. Nice prospect

  55. Ryan says:

    Lowetide: Great post. Frank Mahovlich was always “lazy” but he was a great, great player. Big guys often get tagged with that, Penner being a recent example from Oilers history.

    Byfuglien also shares the lazy reputation…. Struds said he won’t touch him because of that and other issues.

    Well gents… you can’t have it all (unless you draft it)

    I’ll take big, lazy, talented, and overall effective (Byfuglien) any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    It’s not like anyone’s ever going to trade you a Getzlaf or Backes (in their prime)…

  56. stevezie says:

    Ryan,

    If you have “overall effective” I think other concerns are largely irrelevant.

  57. striatic says:

    Anyway, despite the the posts above I think the guy the Oilers need out of Buffalo is Erhoff, not Grigorenko. Man what a steal that would be, talk about a good player in a bad situation.

  58. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    stevezie: Sir, this is my Robbie Schremp idea. If you insist on pressing the issue I am open to settling this through trial by combat. I like Indian Leg Wrestling, best two out of three format, but it is only fair we both agree on the specifics.

    I withdraw the comment and acknowledge your Schrempiness.

    ———
    “Cornet appears to be bleeding from the mouth.”

  59. Wolfie says:

    Rumour out of Winnipeg has the Oilers offering Gagner for Ladd…

  60. Derek says:

    bookje: Someday I will need to figure out how to fix that, though I kind of like bookje – sounds Nordic.

    Uh oh.

    Bookje is a floaty, enigmatic Euro and he needs to go. This blog clearly needs more pugnacity, more truculence!

  61. Brackenburied says:

    stevezie:
    gr8one,

    I prefer Batman-Jesus-Gandhi. It’s like bear-ninja-cowboy, but once you spin around and assume your chosen form, you and your opponent quickly realise that though you are very different, your essential goals are the same and much more can be accomplished if you work together.

    I made that up just now. Who would be better to use than Gandhi? Obviously there is no improving on Batman or Jesus, but I think Gandhi could be stronger…

    Spoons would be quicker. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VTKfRTkekP4

  62. gr8one says:

    stevezie:
    gr8one,

    I prefer Batman-Jesus-Gandhi. It’s like bear-ninja-cowboy, but once you spin around and assume your chosen form, you and your opponent quickly realise that though you are very different, your essential goals are the same and much more can be accomplished if you work together.

    I made that up just now. Who would be better to use than Gandhi? Obviously there is no improving on Batman or Jesus, but I think Gandhi could be stronger…

    haha…that’s pure GOLD.

  63. PunjabiOil says:

    Slats was a beauty. He admitted to it that he asked the Edmonton’s stat tracking crew to inflate Dan McGillis’s hits.

    Bobby Clarke took bait and gave up Niinimaa in doing so.

    http://articles.philly.com/1998-03-25/sports/25746808_1_dan-mcgillis-janne-niinimaa-puck

    This article alludes to it.

  64. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I tell ya… the shit they do in between periods in OKC looks hilarious every time.

  65. bookje says:

    Derek: Uh oh.

    Bookje is a floaty, enigmatic Euro and he needs to go.This blog clearly needs more pugnacity, more truculence!

    I no take this troubles! I going to KHL!

  66. Logan91 says:

    In the interview with Nolan stated that there’s only 3 players from that draft playing in the NHL right now, and that one of them (Yakupov) also isn’t playing that great. He also said how development is crucial.

    I don’t think they want to trade Grigs, but it’s looking like they might not have a choice now.

  67. stevezie says:

    Brackenburied,

    If all I do the rest of my life is get someone to play the spoon game- well my life will have been a dissappointment, but not a major one, you know?

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Oh. No combat then. Good.

    I enjoyed your use of the word “hagiography” in the last thread. A fine, fine word.

  68. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Logan91:
    In the interview with Nolan stated that there’s only 3 players from that draft playing in the NHL right now, and that one of them (Yakupov) also isn’t playing that great. He also said how development is crucial.

    I don’t think they want to trade Grigs, but it’s looking like they might not have a choice now.

    Agreed.

    But depending on what he meant there are more than 3 players from that draft in the NHL right now:

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2012e.html

  69. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    BTW….I’ve tweeted and maybe even posted for a few weeks now that I fear MacT trading a significant piece for Quick.

    He’s been a .903 goalie in the regular season since October 2012 and has re-occurring groin problems.

    I can see Lombardi off loading him if he falters again this year.

    Pretty good the 3 games since he came back from injury.

    Maybe he can regain his early 2012 form.

  70. jp says:

    As always, it depends on the price point for Grigorenko, but at a real discount I’d definitely take a shot. Big skilled C who doesn’t give 100% sure brings Bonsignore to mind though, so I wouldn’t sell the farm for him. He’s not the big C we’ve envisioned to fill out the Oilers top 6, but if things go right he could be one hell of a piece.

  71. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “As Travis Ewanyk had a painful moment at the side of the net”

    sometimes these OKC broadcasts are the best.

  72. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    BTW….I’ve tweeted and maybe even posted for a few weeks now that I fear MacT trading a significant piece for Quick.

    He’s been a .903 goalie in the regular season since October 2012 and has re-occurring groin problems.

    I can see Lombardi off loading him if he falters again this year.

    Pretty good the 3 games since he came back from injury.

    Maybe he can regain his early 2012 form.

    That’s why I hi-lighted that part of the interview for you…

    It’s like MacT has been following you but drawing all the wrong conclusions!

  73. VanOil says:

    I love that Buffalo fans are as crazy feed up as Oilers fans. A selection of comments from http://sabrenoise.com/2014/01/11/mikhail-grigorenko-refusing-report-quebec/

    Jes DrewL • 3 hours ago −
    Like the idea. What would be coming back?
    Maybe even Edmonton would be interested. The whole connection with Yakupov would do some good for them. Throw in a 2nd, Ehrhoff and Weber as well and get us there 1st and Hemsky?

    JHizzle75 Jes • 2 hours ago
    I agree that Ehrhoff for Hemsky would be a good trade, straight up.
    If I understand you correctly you would be offering Grigo, Weber and a 2nd rounder for the Oil’s first rounder? If you agree Ehrhoff for Hemsky would be a good trade, that is. Take Weber out of the deal and I’m on board, Jes.

    Jes JHizzle75 • 2 hours ago
    Ehrhoff for Hemsky? We’d be giving up way to much for him in that trade. My trade was…

    To Oilers
    A Weber or McBain type
    Ehrhoff
    Grigorenko
    2nd Rounder

    To Buffalo
    Hemsky
    1st Rounder

    Why not Weber? He’s one of the worst in the league IMO.

    Might have to throw in McNabb just because of Ekblad.

  74. justDOit says:

    Woodguy,

    I think his sv % from last playoff season was still pretty good (.930-ish?), but you’re correct that he seems to have hit his zenith already.

  75. justDOit says:

    Grigs, Yak, Yak II, and Sleepychef. Hmmm…

  76. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    stevezie: I enjoyed your use of the word “hagiography” in the last thread. A fine, fine word.

    It’s a fun word to say.

    I’m at an advantage though. My wife works on such things with some regularity. Recently, I heard a lot about this lady:

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

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/macrina.asp

  77. FastOil says:

    Me, myself and I, we don’t want anything to do with anybody not motivated by realizing their greatest passion, dream and becoming an instant millionaire.

    Times change. Guys like Weir and Hamilton had cash compared to Joe Shmo, but today’s players get paid huge. In a materialistic time is this not enough? Set the tone for low crap tolerance. Plenty more not already good players to try out.

    This is at the heart if the matter. The Oilers fought hard for marginal players, will they fight hard for established players now that this ‘experiment’ didn’t work out?

    As for Grig, I think Eakins has enough on his plate with Yak. These boys come from a different postal code and should not be expected to be like NA boys. Handle with care. Big risk, big reward.

    Maybe as a giveaway, not for value.

  78. stevezie says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Did you say, “Younger compared to what? The Seas? Dirt? The Primordial Ooze?

    (But seriously I know how these titles work. Quite the family she’s got. I thought I was cool because my cousin played Junior B, but… good mercy.)
    VanOil,

    Get this to MacT. He needs to make some calls.

  79. jp says:

    justDOit:
    Grigs, Yak, Yak II, and Sleepychef. Hmmm…

    And Belov hopefully.

  80. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Shug and Jenks…

    sounds like an fan club for the Insane Clown Posse

  81. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Shit.

    Bleeding from the mouth Cornet just basically ended it… after the Barons basically owned the final few minutes.

  82. VanOil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Shug and Jenks…

    sounds like an fan club for the Insane Clown Posse

    Wouldn’t that make them wanted by the FBI?

  83. jp says:

    VanOil:
    I love that Buffalo fans are as crazy feed up as Oilers fans. A selection of comments from http://sabrenoise.com/2014/01/11/mikhail-grigorenko-refusing-report-quebec/

    Wow. Get this to MacT indeed.

    Then re-sign Hemsky in the summer :)

  84. Tarkus says:

    More fuel for the Ekblad hype machine:

    Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 20m

    Quite a night for 2014 draft eligible Aaron Ekblad. Big d-man had 4 goals and one assist in BAR’s 8-5 win over KGN.

    In addition to the “Breaking Bad for Ekblad”, may I suggest “Errin’ for Aaron”?

  85. Thinker says:

    Sorry, but I don’t feel sorry fro him financially. Buddy made 925000 last year. I’m sorry for him having a childhood like that, but thats 9 years of good pay, he could buy his family a lot with that.
    I can’t believe he is being sent to junior though, that is a low blow by the sabres. I would absolutely pick him up. Something like a sixth rounder or kellen jones. Or alternatively have him as a throw in in a bigger deal.

  86. Ducey says:

    I guess I am in the minority but I am not excited at bringing in Grigs.

    There are 210 guys drafted every year and the vast majority (like 170 of them) never make it. Some are just not good enough. Some get hurt. Some get sidelined by life.

    There are lots of them that have a ton of talent but don’t have it mentally. They don’t have the confidence, courage, or desire.

    For every Arcobello who seems to be impossible to keep down, there are dozens of guys who just don’t have IT. The Oilers have had lots: Brule, Schremp, Jimmy Carson, Nilson, being ones that come to mind.

    Being an NHL player is tough. If a guy like Grigs had a problem with “effort” before he was drafted, has a problem with “effort” now that he has been drafted, didn’t really shine at the World Juniors, can go back to the KHL, then you have to have some serious concerns about him.

    The is no way any of us knows what the problem is but there would have to be some very good evidence that Grigs is likely to turn things and not just be another bust before I would be interested.

  87. Fixall with Rexall says:

    Wow I don’t wanna jinx it but Calgary is halfway to another one.

  88. Andy P says:

    I’d jump through hoops to get Alex Galchenyuk, but would have no interest in Mikhail Grigorenko, with his work effort issues, Oh, and lack of scoring.

    We need a person that is a viable future #1C or #2C, not a bigger project than Yak. Not even as a gift.

  89. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Kharia with an assist; Moroz 0-0-0 +2

  90. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Ducey: Brule, Schremp, Jimmy Carson, Nilson

    One of these is not like the others.

  91. Andy P says:

    Just flipped to the Flames Pens games, looks like the Flames are keeping their goaless run intact.

  92. Brackenburied says:

    Ladi Smid’s Dad medaled at the 64 Olympics in Innsbruck!! Cool.
    As per HNIC.

  93. Halfwise says:

    Don’t they already have Martindale? I don’t see the prize.

  94. gogliano says:

    I was loling at the Flames’ drought and then noticed that Buffalo is on pace for 143 goals for the entire season, which sets a new millenium record by something like 25 goals or so. So it could be worse.

    Funfact: 5 teams have already beat the 143 goal mark. And Chicago is on pace to score double 143 + 10 goals.

  95. David says:

    Things that I’ve “learned” from bitter jaded Oiler fans: 1.) Kevin Lowe is responsible for the fortunes of the team even after moving on to President of Hockey operations.

    Things I’ve learned from time of being an Oilers fan: 1.)Building a good team isn’t as simple as drafting high for several years. 2.) Lowe isn’t going anywhere.

    Question: When the Oilers start winning again and are a contender will any of the credit be given to Lowe?

    Answer: Nope, because Oiler fans.

  96. Fixall with Rexall says:

    Terrible penalty by Cammalleri.

  97. Ryan says:

    Ducey:
    I guess I am in the minority but I am not excited at bringing in Grigs.

    There are 210 guys drafted every year and the vast majority (like 170 of them) never make it.Some are just not good enough.Some get hurt. Some get sidelined by life.

    There are lots of them that have a ton of talent but don’t have it mentally.They don’t have the confidence, courage, or desire.

    For every Arcobello who seems to be impossible to keep down, there are dozens of guys who just don’t have IT.The Oilers have had lots:Brule, Schremp, Jimmy Carson, Nilson, being ones that come to mind.

    Being an NHL player is tough.If a guy like Grigs had a problem with “effort” before he was drafted, has a problem with “effort” now that he has been drafted, didn’t really shine at the World Juniors, can go back to the KHL, then you have to have some serious concerns about him.

    The is no way any of us knows what the problem is but there would have to be some very good evidence that Grigs is likely to turn things and not just be another bust before I would be interested.

    I’m with you on this one.

  98. Ducey says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: One of these is not like the others.

    Carson obviously had a big year with the Oilers but then asked for a trade because he didn’t like the pressure. He never really was the same again. He is an example of a guy who had problems with the mental part of the game.

    Unless you were talking about Schremp, who was obviously the most talented player of his generation and just never got a fair shake.

  99. "Steve Smith" says:

    David,

    So help us out here – is it your position that Kevin Lowe, who either made the hockey decisions or hired (and hung on to) the people who did, does not bear responsibility for the on-ice fortunes of the team? If that is your position, do you have any sort of support for it?

    It appears to me that, at absolute minimum, Kevin Lowe bears responsibility for Steve Tambellini having been the general manager of the Oilers for nearly five years, despite being terrible – and this is if you reject the hypothesis that Lowe continues to be directly involved in decisions traditionally made by a GM. If you adopt that hypothesis, his responsibility only increases.

  100. Ryan says:

    Wolfie:
    Rumour out of Winnipeg has the Oilers offering Gagner for Ladd…

    Staples had already been speculating about that.

    I don’t know much about Ladd but the Vollman likes him.

  101. R¡bs says:

    bookje: Someday I will need to figure out how to fix that, though I kind of like bookje – sounds Nordic.

    1. Click on your name Where it says “LOGGED IN AS BOOKJE, LOG OUT?” (atop comment box)
    2. Replace “j” in the “Nickname” box with “&#1X1;” (no quotations, replace “X” with a “6″)
    3. Select the new nickname from the “Display name publicly as” pulldown menu.
    4, Press “Update Profile” button at bottom of page.

    Tada!

  102. Ryan says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    Dude, you’re getting all ‘Matlock’ on the poor kid. :)

    Yeah, Lowe’s record speaks for itself though any way you slice it.

  103. stevezie says:

    Ryan,

    I would think the Jets would want more than a struggling Gagner, but maybe his reputation is better than I know?

    I would do that deal in a heartbeat.

  104. "Steve Smith" says:

    Ryan:
    “Steve Smith”,

    Dude, you’re getting all ‘Matlock’ on the poor kid.

    Poor “kid”? He’s 54 years old, having been born April 15, 1959 in Lachute, Quebec.

  105. hunter1909 says:

    David:
    Things that I’ve “learned” from bitter jaded Oiler fans: 1.) Kevin Lowe is responsible for the fortunes of the team even after moving on to President of Hockey operations.

    Things I’ve learned from time of being an Oilers fan: 1.)Building a good team isn’t as simple as drafting high for several years. 2.) Lowe isn’t going anywhere.

    Question: When the Oilers start winning again and are a contender will any of the credit be given to Lowe?

    Answer: Nope, because Oiler fans.

    Methinks they’re going for the hybrid East + West model. Instead of icing a team of pylons like the LAKings(terrible terrible cup winners imo other than the fact the fans deserved a winner) or else a soft dreamy team like the Penguins(1 cup win might never win another), Lowe and his crew will not rest until they have the Yak/Hall/Nuge/Eberle/J.Schultz + Gag/Perron types lining up with a 2001 Ethan Moreau, Mike Grier, George Laraque etc.

    On the other hand they might decide to start trading away the Eberle’s and Yakupov’s to appease the 13 year olds.

    PS: 400+ goals! Avast!

  106. flyfish1168 says:

    2011 draft we took RNH. Adam Larson I believe was also on the Oilers radar. He too has fallen on hard time. He is playing down in the A for Albany Devils. 3 assists tonight in only his 2nd game. Maybe worth inquiring about.

  107. art vandelay says:

    I love that Buffalo fans are as crazy feed up as Oilers fans.

  108. David says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    David,

    So help us out here – is it your position that Kevin Lowe, who either made the hockey decisions or hired (and hung on to) the people who did, does not bear responsibility for the on-ice fortunes of the team?If that is your position, do you have any sort of support for it?

    It appears to me that, at absolute minimum, Kevin Lowe bears responsibility for Steve Tambellini having been the general manager of the Oilers for nearly five years, despite being terrible – and this is if you reject the hypothesis that Lowe continues to be directly involved in decisions traditionally made by a GM.If you adopt that hypothesis, his responsibility only increases.

    That is my point. If he is responsible for how the team performs then if the team turns it around and goes on a ten year spree of dominance then he deserves the credit for that because he is responsible.

  109. "Steve Smith" says:

    David,

    Sure. And by the same token, if any of that had happened when Steve Tambellini was in charge, he should have been given the credit.

    You will note that it did not happen with Steve Tambellini in charge.

  110. justDOit says:

    David: That is my point. If he is responsible for how the team performs then if the team turns it around and goes on a ten year spree of dominance then he deserves the credit for that because he is responsible.

    Ouch.

  111. jp says:

    “Steve Smith”: Poor “kid”?He’s 54 years old, having been born April 15, 1959 in Lachute, Quebec.

    Are you saying the kid has no upside?

  112. jp says:

    flyfish1168:
    2011 draft we took RNH. Adam Larson I believe was also on the Oilers radar. He too has fallen on hard time. He is playing down in the A for Albany Devils. 3 assists tonight in only his 2nd game. Maybe worth inquiring about.

    It appears to be a conditioning stint following a knee injury, so nothing to get too worked up about (http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2014/01/devils_assign_defenseman_adam_larsson_to_albany_ahl.html).

    You’re right that he has struggled some though (playing ~18 min in years 2 and 3 after 20+ as a rookie; mediocre corsi). If there’s a buy low opportunity he’d be a great target.

  113. Andy P says:

    jp: It appears to be a conditioning stint following a knee injury, so nothing to get too worked up about (http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2014/01/devils_assign_defenseman_adam_larsson_to_albany_ahl.html). You’re right that he has struggled some though (playing ~18 min in years 2 and 3 after 20+ as a rookie; mediocre corsi). If there’s a buy low opportunity he’d be a great target.

    Why would he be a good target, because he was a high draft pick that hasn’t worked out yet as expected, or because he fills the 1/2D holes? Is he any better than Nurse, Klefbom etc?

  114. zilong says:

    Andy P: Why would he be a good target, because he was a high draft pick that hasn’t worked out yet as expected, or because he fills the 1/2D holes? Is he any better than Nurse, Klefbom etc?

    The young(-ish) defenseman out of NJ I’d take a chance on is Mark Fayne: 26yo (entering prime for D), 6’3″, 215lbs, RH, going UFA (1.3M this year), college grad (which mgmt has liked recently). His bubble has been blue every year and his WOWY is good. Played 82 games in 11-12, but otherwise has bounced in and out of the lineup.

  115. DeadmanWaking says:

    striatic:
    performative

    I first encountered this word in J. L. Austen, How to Do Things With Words. The canonical examples were “I pronounce you man and wife” and “I christen thee the Wonkatania”. The point is that the utterance itself actually constitutes the “doing”.

    stevezie:
    hagiography

    This is one of those words like “Maimonides” that you might see in print more often than you think, but somehow it never sinks in (certain demographics excepted). “Hagiography” is heavily used in Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy, to the point where not finally relenting and figuring out what the word means is akin to reading LoTR the first time without clearly distinguishing Sauron from Saruman. That was the downside of reading all three books in one weekend at the age of thirteen.

    When I wrote the SAT in grade 12, vocabulary was my principal weakness. Surface vocabulary.

    Here’s a recent passage from a podcast on EconTalk, Doug Lemov on Teaching, right before it segues into teaching how to hit a baseball (look in the transcript for “Can you believe that back foot, they are not squishing the bug …”)

    I think one of the key skills that is behind the reading gap between students of privilege and students who don’t have the opportunity, or between strong readers and weak readers of any type is vocabulary. Vocabulary–the strength of your vocabulary, and interestingly the depth of your vocabulary–correlates very strongly to achievement. Better than almost anything.

    And interestingly, depth of word knowledge correlates better than breadth of word knowledge. In other words, if you really know your words and how to use them in sixteen different scenarios and you know what words go with them and you know what nuance the words have, you do better than if you know a little bit about a lot of words. And so to really master a word, how many times do you need to practice a word to own it? … And so one of the things that we realized was really powerful to do with vocabulary instruction–and I think you can do this whether you are a teacher or you are a parent–is that word play is deeply important. And I think that for a lot of teachers and parents, spend waste their time on vocabulary trying to arrive at the definition.

    Well, he didn’t have to sell me.

    There were two distinct problems with my high school vocabulary. One is that I was busy reading books that were good for my mind rather than good for my SAT score. Hard science fiction is about ideas more than anything else. That was my primary genre. The rest was eclectic. I would read things like Gloria Steinem’s expose on being a Playboy bunny–biting, but I don’t think it taught me any new words; a recount of the Mengele trials alternating between tedious and harrowing–no shortage of new words, of the kind rarely needed; The Kinsey Report; Roots; a massive tome entitled The Arms of Krupp; and plenty of Stephen J. Gould, where the Latin roots roamed free, in between mentions of America’s favourite game. Things like that. None of this amounted to a traditional training ground for the white-bread SAT.

    A second factor concerned my stubbornness about trading in mere definitions. I figured if an author used a word well enough, you’d get it soon enough by perceptive osmosis. If the author was using the word just for show, it wasn’t a word you wanted to pick up for the home team, regardless. In any event, a trip to the dictionary was useless squared for what mattered most. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: What is a dictionary? A book that knows the definition of everything and the sense of nothing.

    There are some words I remain bitter about. “Hegemony” is close to the top of my bitter list. I’ve encountered that word countless times–almost always in some humanities screed that adheres to the formula of waxing vacuously in the middle act. In almost every occurrence it strikes me as a place-holder to get from one end of the sentence (or thesis) to the other without engaging a real thought.

    The problem with “hegemony” is that it’s not performative: it’s a word designed to permanently fluff the issue about whether an alignment of interests is overt or inadvertent. For example, there are situations at the poker table where it feels like the other players have entered into a hegemonic compact, but the reality is that the table dynamic has you situated to bleed chips. Maybe the big stack is sitting on your left, preventing you from really moving, and everyone else is enjoying your plight. Or maybe they just don’t like the cut of your jib. The calculus of cannibalism is extremely opaque … one might almost say hegemonic.

    When I look up words it’s mainly to confirm that I’ve arrived at the right presumption. A good example of this is “detritus”. We all know about party detritus: concert tickets, beer caps, cigarette butts, and used condoms. But no, actually, this sense is just the metaphorical spin. It primarily means a worn or eroded fragment; in geology, of rocks; in biology, of living organisms. This is where a dictionary can usefully open your eyes. The word is rooted in senescence and decay, and doesn’t apply with the gravity of the grim reaper to strip mall litterbugs (according to the dictionary, the former is two words, the later is one–for the time being; inconstancy, thy name is Webster).

    Just a few days ago I tried to look up “epigone” after a rare encounter. Google failed to pull up a single instance of the word’s actual use: the first two pages of search results are crammed with useless definitions (useless to the higher power of their vast server farm), definitions in foreign languages, translations between foreign languages, some dude who styles himself “The Audacious Epigone”; a further page of search results delves into Scrabble-finders, song titles, and a learned paper concerning The Funerary Relief of Ulpia Epigone; yet another dredges up the Epigone WoW players guide, and the Epigone wine company. Still no sentences containing the actual word.

    Perhaps soon my present post will find its way to the fifth search results page, and almost amount to the most useful hit concerning its actual usage. Sorry, Google, you’ve soiled your diaper on this one–and that’s not good for a teenager.

    Here’s another passage from that superlative EconTalk exchange:

    Yeah. If you’ll suffer me geeking out on this a little more, if you spend your time trying to guess the definition, you have kids with imperfect knowledge trying to guess the definition. But if you give them the definition in the beginning and spend those five or ten minutes practicing, you know, playing with the word–When might you mimic something? What is the difference between mimicking and imitating? Can you think of a time when you mimicked? Would a tyrant ever mimic? What would happen if you mimicked a tyrant? Lots and lots of word play like that.

    Kids are much more likely to understand the word and its nuance and depth. [] Isabel Beck points out in … Bringing Words to Life [that words often overlap] in meaning by 80% or 90%. ‘Mimic’ and ‘imitate’, say. We tend to teach them as synonyms. But what’s important for reading perspective is the difference in the words. That ‘mimic’ means to imitate but in a pejorative sense, that you are making fun of someone. And so if you teach those words as synonyms when you come across them in the reading you won’t get the implication of the text, and it will fail to help you from a reading comprehension respect. [my emph.]

    There’s nothing pejorative about biological mimicry, but we’ll ignore that.

    The mark of intelligence is to both affirm and subvert the accepted implication of things. If a writer feels that every available word perfectly mirrors his every available thought, he’s not speaking on his own behalf, he (or Sarah) is merely echoing the hegemonic vacuum of received language.

    These schools fill these kid’s minds with shallow definitions (SAT testable) and then moan about the kids engaging in casual sex.

    Womanhood:

    1. The state or time of being a woman.
    2. The composite of qualities thought to be appropriate to or representative of women.
    3. Women considered as a group.

    Literature: The Devil’s Dictionary

    According to its author, it is intended to be used as a school textbook.

    Imagine what Ambrose might have added to the above definition about that most perplexing condition.

    By an almost literary coincidence, the only two significant American writers to serve in the Civil War and live to tell about it, Ambrose Bierce and Sidney Lanier, both married women named Mary Day.

    Interesting plurality.

    I always wanted to figure out the Bierceness of a word before I looked it up. I was like that with people, too. I had to form a sense of the person inside before I could remember anyone’s name.

    The other day I looked up The Koln Concert. It was one of those things that came to my attention when I started dating, and learned there were wider worlds out there. I knew then (and now) nothing at all about Keith Jarrett, except for that one recording.

    What I found was Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation.

    For him, improvisation is going from zero to zero, and never having a clue what comes next. I love that feeling, when I can obtain it, shuffling words.

    Audiences, beware: Keith Jarrett is the wild man of jazz

    “He always says he has no idea what is going to happen in the concert,” Shipton relates. “And with the neurotic perfectionism that only he could apply, he records all his performances, listens back to them, then says he tries to erase them from his mind so that they won’t affect his future ones.”

    About his Vienna Concert he says this:

    I have courted the fire for a very long time, and many sparks have flown in the past, but the music on this recording speaks, finally, the language of the flame itself.

    Growing up, I never had much luck with role models. Einstein is hard to emulate. There’s this modern idiom about “bucket lists”, things to do before you die. I tend to draw a blank on that kind of thing. I’m guess I’m not that aspirational or I’m completely missing the selfieness gene, or something dire like that.

    But then the other day when I was playing with Shakespeare and Jabberwocky I had the feeling that it really would be cool to invent just one new word that becomes a permanent part of the English language. “Chortle” for example. I could happily notch my belt with “chortle”.

    And then, just a few days later this phrase: “speaking, finally, the language of the flame itself”. So now that makes two. It’s not actually as hard as it seems, to make these lists, is it?

    The thing about erasing his past performances also resonates. I have a hard time returning to anything I’ve written. The ones I care about are the ones that went from zero to zero. This post is a bit dull because I had a fair idea of where I was going. It’s somewhat saved by linking disparate beads.

    When people talk about improvisation, the word “exposure” often comes up. I was thinking about that a few weeks back. The problem is that this word is often understood in the wrong direction. There’s the exposure of revealing your true nature. But what of it? Some of us have come to terms with our human imperfections. It’s a bit alarming when first you begin to dish your own dirt. You don’t know how it’s going to redound. If you’re like most people, you learned about the cannibal calculus back in high school, and it’s not a lesson plan you wish to resume. But really, it’s just a zit. Terrifying yet insignificant. Just squeeze it and move along.

    It’s the other half of exposure that’s far more difficult to cope with: the baring of the inner layers of your nervous system to all the shit people say, whether it’s good shit or bad shit. The pink inner layers of selfhood are highly over-sensitized when bared to the social elements. The attitudes and opinions of others dig into the soft pink flesh, and plant their squirming larvae. Later these larvae hatch and eat your ants. If you can’t hear your ants, you can’t go from zero to zero. Developing a thick skin is exactly the problem.

    From an interview with Terry Gross:

    [W]hen I heard them play, Miles would play these beautiful short solos, then he’d go to the bar. Then the rest of the band would do their thing. And when I listened to everyone else in the band, it sounded like they were trying so hard to be themselves.

    There it is again: selfieness.

    And I thought, `You know, if I had to guess why Miles was leaving the stage for so long, it might be something to do with what was happening when he wasn’t playing.’ It was just a very vague feeling that I had that he actually was waiting for somebody he could stay on stage for longer, playing and listening.

    Everyone was playing like they were in a little box. Herbie was in his little box. And they all sounded like they could be in soundproofed booths; that they weren’t really listening to each other that much. And I think that was the day I thought, `Well, when I have free time and I’m not doing my music with the trio, or whatever I might be doing, I want to play with this man because he still sounds the best.’

    In addition to not having a bucket list, I’ve never entirely figured out my taste in music either. Bach and Bartok and some eclectic stuff. But unifying element, I’ve gradually managed to identify, is that the performer needs to sound like he or she is listening to something, and actually reacting in mid-performance with some element of rhythm or tone.

    With this season going down the crapper so quickly, I find my listening process impeded. It’s hard to riff on bleak narratives. In past seasons, I would strive to be more on-topic when I could manage it. This season, being off-topic is almost a sanctuary. Whether it’s the Pittsburgh W or MacT facing the music, it was nice to see some pink cheeks here again.

  116. zilong says:

    zilong,

    Here’s a nice summary of the player from In Lou We Trust:
    http://www.inlouwetrust.com/2013/9/11/4718046/what-does-the-present-and-future-hold-in-new-jersey-for-mark-fayne

    The article also contains a link to a Hockey Prospectus article reviewing zone exits by D, in which Fayne ranks 11th in the NHL. Other notables on the list mentioned around here as trade targets are Gardiner at 14th and Ehrhoff at 17th. Now Yandle is 2nd… great passer out of the zone, but not known to be a great defender; obviously exits are just a piece of the pie, but I just take from it that Fayne can move the puck with the best of them, and his Vollman says he does it against top comp.

    As an aside, Nultz is

  117. zilong says:

    zilong,

    computer trouble…

    Nultz is 10th worst, and Smid 19th worst.

  118. Colieo87 says:

    What a waste of time talking about this guy Lowe tide. He’s he none proformer. On to something new and fresh like Todd Nelson. You think he’s going to land a contract next year.

  119. Colieo87 says:

    An nhl contract that is.

  120. "Steve Smith" says:

    Colieo87,

    I’m certain that you’re satirizing something, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what.

  121. Colieo87 says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    No satirizing from me, just would like to hear Lowe tide case on tod Nelson. Big fan of the coach loved what he accomplished in all and his due diligence as a couch and his he should be rewarded for his work. He’s a Jack of all trades coach and I really admire and respect him.

  122. bookje says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Colieo87,

    I’m certain that you’re satirizing something, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what.

    Ambiguous satire is the best satire!

  123. bookje says:

    I’d like to point out that if The Oilers land a manned mission on the moon while Kevin Lowe is in charge, Steve Smith should get the credit.

  124. bookje says:

    R¡bs,

    Thanks Ribs – I will give it a try when I am at my computer.

  125. Halfwise says:

    bookje: I’d like to point out that if The Oilers land a manned mission on the moon while Kevin Lowe is in charge, Steve Smith should get the credit.

    The advanced math would like a moon landing, I bet.

  126. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Ducey: Carson obviously had a big year with the Oilers but then asked for a trade because he didn’t like the pressure.He never really was the same again.He is an example of a guy who had problems with the mental part of the game.

    Unless you were talking about Schremp, who was obviously the most talented player of his generation and just never got a fair shake.

    I got where you were going with your comment. But there are busts and then there are busts

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=71793

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=72051

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=70767

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=845

    I mean one of these guys managed over 600 gps and over 550 points. No disrespect to those other 3, but Carson doesn’t belong in their grouping.

  127. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookje:
    I’d like to point out that if The Oilers land a manned mission on the moon while Kevin Lowe is in charge, Steve Smith should get the credit.

    What if, when the dust settles, the “moon mission” was all merely the result of a bad case of “Steve Smith?”

    bookje:
    R¡bs,

    Thanks Ribs – I will give it a try when I am at my computer.

    Be sure to rub it with avocado oil before you turn it on in the morning.

  128. Halfwise says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    I bought and read “Arms of Krupp” to find where Manchester had described the Krupp bureaucracy as having continued issuing weekly production reports even when the factories lay in bombed ruins and there was no production. I couldn’t find any such passage, despite it being clearly described in some other management foolishness that I was reading at the time.

    Maybe the copy you read was the one I dropped off at the used book store.

  129. Spydyr says:

    Move the age of the draft to 19. That way once you are pro you are pro ,AHL eligible. Allow the first three teams picking each year to draft an 18 year old.The one caveat being if you draft a 18 year old he has to stay in the NHL that year..

    This gives teams a better idea of a player at 19 instead of 18 and removes the he has to go back to junior component.

  130. zatch says:

    I was a varisty swimmer in university. Our coach preferred distance swimmers (400m, 800m, 1500m) over sprinters (50m, 100m). Sprinters tend to get mostly mock hate from the other areas because your training is more short distance all out instead of high effort for many km on end, tendency to need high muscle mass etc. As a result, if a recruit came in a sprinter, Coach would typically immediately try to turn the swimmer into a longer distance swimmer (although rarely more than middle distance (200m). The thing is, his dislike was irrational. The points for a win in a 50 are the exact same as a 1500. What’s more, relays are mostly sprints, and those were worth double points. The experiments rarely ended well, and there was usually no real point in doing them. Instead of having a sprint stud, you trained the guy/girl into middle distance mediocrity and didn’t play to their strengths. Other than mule-headed BS about “toughness” and “discipline” there was no logical reason to try it so often and past the point where it made sense. I see this in sports everywhere and it just makes me shake my head.

    tl;dr You can use a knife as a screwdriver in a pinch but it rarely works as well and it’s hard on the knife.

  131. jp says:

    Andy P: Why would he be a good target, because he was a high draft pick that hasn’t worked out yet as expected, or because he fills the 1/2D holes? Is he any better than Nurse, Klefbom etc?

    Defensemen take time to develop. You might remember how long Smid (a top 10 pick 100 years ago) took to become useful. Larsson is 21 years old, has been an NHL regular for 3 years and is not a failure. He’s not a 1/2D right now, but could become one (and will most likely be at least a very nice top 4). Is he better than Nurse, Klefbom et al? Very likely, though Nurse has a crazy good ceiling if everything breaks right.

  132. VanOil says:

    zilong,

    Thanks Zilong for bringing the player Fayne and the article on Zone Exists to my attention. I had bought into the Zone Exit play as an important trait in a defense already but it was nice to see a league wide comparison.

    It would seems to provide a shopping list for MacT for the defense Eakins espouses to want to play. Does any one know if behindthenet or extraskater are providing on going tracking of this?

    Here is a direct link to the Hockey Prospectus article http://www.hockeyprospectus.com/puck/article.php?articleid=1467

  133. Ribs says:

    bookje:
    R¡bs,

    Thanks Ribs – I will give it a try when I am at my computer.

    No problem!

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