In a season that’s seen a lot of misery for the Oilers, it would be such a nice moment for Taylor Hall to be named to the Olympic team. I don’t think he gets it, but will cheer like hell for #4. If he doesn’t make it, my hope is that Hall takes it out on other NHL teams, and I think he might.
The St. Louis Blues weren’t my favorite team as a kid, but I followed them closely and the team was always about hockey. Oakland was about money, Minnesota was about trading draft picks to Montreal, Pittsburgh was about old men with Dad haircuts, Los Angeles was about gold uniforms, and Philadelphia was about Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent along with all those Bullies.
St. Louis was about bullies too, and goals, and making the playoffs and trying to win. Most seasons of my childhood the St. Louis Blues made the playoffs, which meant the Hockey News had weekly coverage all through spring, and their stats were updated for playoff scoring. A lot of the magazines would have articles like “The Plagers Fighting St. Louis into Respectability” and “Red Berenson Keeps Blues In Contention” so the general idea I got of the Blues was positive.
They’ve never won. That’s incredible. Seriously. From the time I pulled my Danny O’Shea hockey card from the bubblegum package in the Allan Store parking lot until this very day, someone has had a light on in St. Louis trying to win Stanley.
Train in Vain.
I could tell you stories forever about St. Louis Blues of my youth, but the truth is the men who lived it told it well way back then, for those listening and with access. It was a different world, I won’t say better because it isn’t true, but it was a different world back then.
TRAVIS YOST, CORSI CLOSE %, AFTER GAME 21
FRIEDMAN’S SPECIFICS ON GAGNER
- 5. Sam Gagner: He was not eligible for a no-trade clause when he signed his three-year extension last summer (It kicks-in next season). Craig MacTavish graciously promised to honour it this season, but as Edmonton searches for answers, it sounds like both sides believe it is time for a change, not that anyone is commenting. Should a deal happen, no doubt MacTavish will try to make it a soft landing.
Lavoie’s quote on the Penguins looking for a winger to replace Lavoie might dovetail nicely with Gagner. Dupuis has played 400 EV minutes with Crosby and Kunitz this season and isn’t bringing the boxcars (39, 7-13-20) is about what Gagner’s been doing without Crosby (32, 5-11-16). In the interests of not being a dink, this idea is lifted from this man (duh duh duh dun DUN!)
MARINCIN TO THE OLYMPICS
Martin Marincin will be playing for Slovakia at the Olympics in Sochi. In a breakthrough season it’s just one more good arrow for the long, lean defender. The youngster still needs to add some weight, but he’s showing well and this is another indication that things are coming together for him. We don’t count prospects as graduated around here until game 50, so Marincin won’t graduate before the end of this season. However, he’s 48.4% Corsi For % in about 100 5×5 minutes and looks like he’s settling in. A good chapter from a nightmare season.
BARONS LAST 5 GAMES
Sometimes prospects take off in the middle of the season, owing to opportunities and overhead lightbulbs turning on. I’ll be speaking to Neal Livingston from Tend The Farm today and he’s going to have a lot to say. Consider the last 5 games and who’s zooming who:
- Curtis Hamilton 5, 5-1-6 even
- Martin Gernat 5, 2-2-4 +2
- Tyler Pitlick 5, 0-3-3 +1
- Taylor Fedun 3, 1-2-3 +5
- Andrew Miller 5, 0-2-2 -1
- Ryan Martindale 5, 0-2-2 -2
- Roman Horak 2, 1-1-2 +2
- Anton Lander 1, 1-1-2 +3
This is just the prospect group, I haven’t included any AHL veterans. Look at this! Incredible. We were told in summer that MacT was changing the thrust of the minor league team from results (wins over losses) to development (prospect at-bats) and it looks like these young men are enjoying the opportunity. Music! Wonderful news.
Gary Lawless wants Dustin Byfuglien out of Winnipeg on a fast train. Article is here, Willis wrote all the words here (Jesus Murphy, Willis! Sleep in!) and of course he’d be one helluva addition to the Oilers. Just one item, though: remember when we talked about Bill James stats analysis exposing certain players (Jesus Alou) while also revealing true value where it was warranted (Cliff Johnson, Darrell Evans)? Buff is Darrell Evans here.
Terry Jones has an article up with quotes from MacT about the WJ’s and the value of a high draft pick. The money quote is this:
- MacT: “Certainly we’ll be in a position of listening, but when you are drafting that high, it’s tough to pass on skill and youth like that. We’re certainly scouting like we’re going to be picking.”
The article is here. I don’t think we should read too much into it, MacTavish is just using sound reasoning. If they trade the pick now, thinking it’s #3, and it turns out to be #1 overall then that’s a problem. Also, getting value is his #1 job—remember, MacT has made exactly zero #1 draft picks in his time as Oiler GM—so drafting bpa (I would go with Reinhart) is probably going to be the result.
If someone wants that pick, make them pay. No sense tipping your hand until someone overwhelms you.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Today’s show will be fluid, so we’ll have at least one surprise guest maybe more (the Canada Olympic team announcement will dominate). Scheduled to appear beginning at 10 on TSN 1260:
- Dave Jamieson, TSN1260 noon to 2 host and extensive background in the sports industry. Dave will be by to talk about the Olympic selection, but I will also ask his opinions on the rebuild and the Gagner leak (from an organization’s point of view).
- Neal Livingston from Tend the Farm. It’s been awhile, I’m very much looking forward to Neal’s take on a crazy season in OKC and the recent upturn for the prospects.
- Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey. Oilers, Olympics, Gagner leak.
- Brad Lee from St. Louis Game Time. Input on a team that could win Stanley.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter.