A PAWN FOR A KING?

As the Oilers march through a bitter winter, the weak and the lucky are being snapped off like twigs set free through the Black Sea. Devan Dubnyk is a free man today, wandering Nashville and perhaps enjoying the sounds in the Blue Bird cafe. Ladislav Smid can drive to Lake Louise in just past one hour, and there’s a promise of a bright day with sunshine for some of these Oil men in the coming days.

  •  Bob McKenzie discussing LAK trade options: “interesting name: Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers. He’s got two years left, not a rental, at a $4.8 million cap hit. It will be tough to make the numbers work on a cap-heavy team like the Los Angeles Kings, but he is a player of interest.” (Source)

Trading Gagner to the Kings won’t be easy, there’s a massive cap problem. The young center is making $4.8M and the club isn’t going to give up anything of use before their playoff run. I don’t see a match. Will the Kings trade Dwight King?  Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin? Jordan Nolan or Kyle Clifford don’t begin to satisfy the Gagner asset, so if it isn’t King there’s nothing to build on. I’m not thrilled with King as the centerpiece of a deal, imagine how Clifford and a pick would look for Gagner.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER

kinglak

The Sledgehammer shows the situation: all the guys of interest aren’t going anywhere. Dwight King isn’t my idea of equal value, but he’s the only guy on this graph that gives Edmonton that big player they covet and somewhat satisfies trading 89. I don’t like the Kings for Gagner.

DWIGHT KING PLAYER CARD

dwight king player card28 points in his last 84 games, this isn’t a quality offensive player. He’s a big man and he can crash and bang, but that Corsi for % at 5×5 comes with help from guys like Kopitar and Carter.

SAM GAGNER PLAYER CARDgagner player card

61 points in his last 92 games, this guy can help an offense—little damn wonder the Kings have interest. I know he’s not perfect, but trading when the value is low (for me) is a terrible idea. The chances of getting your ass kicked are around 100% on this kind of a deal. Gagner’s been with Yakupov a lot this season, but when he’s with Hemsky they are around 50% Corsi For % 5×5.

I’m probably overvaluing Gagner, but I don’t see a match with the Kings.

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77 Responses to "A PAWN FOR A KING?"

  1. Henry says:

    We could have received Justin Williams for Eric Cole years ago. Instead we got POS and Ales Kotalik.

    Jeez.

  2. Henry says:

    The Kings seem to start an awful lot in the offensive zone. How do they not score more?

  3. fifthcartel says:

    Wouldn’t Muzzin be of some interest?

  4. unca miltie says:

    I saw Scarlett kiss Penelope Cruz on Bravo today..yikes

  5. Lowetide says:

    fifthcartel:
    Wouldn’t Muzzin be of some interest?

    Sure, mentioned him in the piece. I just don’t think LAK trade him.

  6. Ben says:

    Maybe Gagner doesn’t get you a player of equivalent impact right now (and I agree with you completely about selling low), but what might he garner that could be an important part of that mythical 3 for 1 in the offseason?

    If the Kings give up a first for him (which I’m not sure they would), can we treat that as an immediately tradable asset, rather than a magic bean?

    Of course – then why not just keep Sam until the summer at least. Which is what I bet they do.

  7. RexLibris says:

    The Kings expressing interest does not equal MacTavish following through.

    My guess is that if a deal were there, it would be explored at the draft, when the cap is a moot point and GMs forget some of the little things about players X and Y.

    The question of what Gagner is worth I believe needs to be framed also in the context of what the Oilers need, because he is MacTavish’s last big asset outside of the core and 1st rounders to address those needs.

    They are a 1D (either today or soon to become) and a 2C (see above).

    So moving Gagner most likely is going to be for a piece that either addresses one of those or is then used as leverage to attain those assets.

    Based on MacT’s trades thus far, I think this is a reasonable expectation.

  8. SpotTheLoon says:

    Do you think the Kings would consider trading their captain, Dustin Brown, for Gagner? He is under performing this year and from a cap perspective, the deal would work. I understand that Brown is a leader and brings other dimensions to his game beside boxcar numbers. But with the Kings sliding, it allows them to trade a player who is under performing this season who they had made a long term commitment to. Just a thought but an interesting one to discuss, I think.

  9. Lowetide says:

    SpotTheLoon:
    Do you think the Kings would consider trading their captain, Dustin Brown, for Gagner?He is under performing this year and from a cap perspective, the deal would work.I understand that Brown is a leader and brings other dimensions to his game beside boxcar numbers.But with the Kings sliding, it allows them to trade a player who is under performing this season who they had made a long term commitment to.Just a thought but an interesting one to discuss, I think.

    I don’t think I could cheer for Dustin Brown. Seriously.

  10. SpotTheLoon says:

    Lowetide,

    I’m not saying that I necessarily like Brown. But, that said, he does bring a different element to the line up with greater size, sandpaper and truculence. It is something that, if you ignore the player’s name, that most agree the Oilers need more of. As I say, just a thought.

  11. The Great One says:

    More likely targets for the Kings are Matt Moulson and Mike Cammalleri.

    Both are former Kings and both are on expiring contracts.

    I would imagine the Kings would move their 1st round pick for either one.

    The 2 years at $4.8M remaining on Gagner’s contract is an anchor for teams looking for a playoff rental.

  12. Younger Oil says:

    Lowetide: I don’t think I could cheer for Dustin Brown. Seriously.

    I’m a bit surprised that you couldn’t! He’s the example of a true underdog story:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fqqvj4G4Bbg

    It must be hard being the smartest guy on the bench.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Younger Oil: I’m a bit surprised that you couldn’t! He’s the example of a true underdog story:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fqqvj4G4Bbg

    It must be hard being the smartest guy on the bench.

    Ha! THAT is classic.

  14. Gerta Rauss says:

    RexLibris,

    Oilers need another G for next year as well. Is WASH a fit..?

    Neuvirth and Erat for Gagner..?

    Gives us a goalie and RW for next year, WASH gets a little cap space.

  15. Pouzar says:

    The Great One: Mike Cammalleri

    Can someone tell me on what planet Mike Cammalleri is worth a 1st rd draft pick while MSM thinks Hemsky is barely worth a 3rd rounder? Am I missing something? Their career PPG’s are virtually identical.

  16. The Great One says:

    Pouzar,

    Cammalleri has 223 career goals.

    Hemsky has 140 career goals.

    Goal scoring is the hardest thing to do in hockey and has much more value than assists since, potentially, two assists are awarded for every goal.

    The Kings need a goal scorer, not another setup man.

  17. Ducey says:

    Gagner for Forbort, Matt Greene, and a second?

    I am assuming Greene is less than desirable and would be the salary coming back. If they don’t want to give him up then I don’t see any other salary dumps. Its not like the Kings are run by Mike Gillis :)

    Forbort is in his first year in the AHL and seems to be doing ok. 6’5″and known for his good decision making. Plus his name makes him sound like a Cyborg.

  18. Pouzar says:

    The Great One:
    Pouzar,

    Cammalleri has 223 career goals.

    Hemsky has 140 career goals.

    Goal scoring is the hardest thing to do in hockey and has much more value than assists since, potentially, two assists are awarded for every goal.

    The Kings need a goal scorer, not another setup man.

    I get what you are seeing but neither one of these guys have been goal scorers the last few years. MC is coming off a concussion as well. I just don’t believe that MC is worth more than Hemsky and I maybe a homer on this but I think Hemsky is the superior player right now.

  19. steveb12344 says:

    Ducey:
    Gagner for Forbort, Matt Greene, and a second?

    I am assuming Greene is less than desirable and would be the salary coming back.If they don’t want to give him up then I don’t see any other salary dumps.Its not like the Kings are run by Mike Gillis

    Forbot is in his first year in the AHL and seems to be doing ok.6’5″and known for his good decision making.

    They already unloaded a Teubert on us. Are you sure you want to double-down and try a Forbert?

  20. Ducey says:

    steveb12344: They already unloaded a Teubert on us.Are you sure you want to double-down and try a Forbert?

    I think Teubert was supposed to be the tough guy who might learn to play hockey. Forbort is a guy who can play good defense who might learn to be tough.

  21. The Great One says:

    Pouzar: I get what you are seeing but neither one of these guys have been goal scorers the last few years. MC is coming off a concussion as well. I just don’t believe that MC is worth more than Hemsky and I maybe a homer on this but I think Hemsky is the superior player right now.

    I would think Cammalleri’s concussion issues would be a concern to the Kings but:

    2013/14

    MC – 37GP 13 goals

    AH – 49GP 7 goals

  22. Woodguy says:

    I think Gagner’s deal is why he won’t be dealt in-season to a playoff team.

    None of them can afford to lose someone making that type of $$.

    I think looking at a physical winger who brings less offence than Gagner is the right track for what MacTavish is going to do.

    He knows he can can’t get point for point on this deal, so he’ll need to trade offence for size.

    As poor as Gagner has played, there is a very good chance MacT loses this trade.

    I don’t want to watch Gagner on the Oilers anymore.

    Waited for years for him to stop losing battles, get his man strength, and make his way like a lot of undersized forwards with skill do, but he’s not getting there.

    We can argue what the injury did to him or not, but the bottom line is that he’s still the same Sam Gagner who skated for the Oilers as an 18 year old.

    Doesn’t win battles, not good defesively, sublime skill when the puck is on his stick.

    Problem with him is that he needs others to get him the puck and others to defend the dzone.

    When those are your problems the value of the points your bring get discounted heavily in trade.

  23. steveb12344 says:

    Ducey: I think Teubert was supposed to be the tough guy who might learn to play hockey.Forbort is a guy who can play good defense who might learn to be tough.

    I’m still not sold. But if they come up with a guy named Sixbert who is tough, and plays Hockey, then I’m in.

  24. The Great One says:

    Woodguy:
    I think Gagner’s deal is why he won’t be dealt in-season to a playoff team.

    None of them can afford to lose someone making that type of $$.

    I think looking at a physical winger who brings less offence than Gagner is the right track for what MacTavish is going to do.

    He knows he can can’t get point for point on this deal, so he’ll need to trade offence for size.

    As poor as Gagner has played, there is a very good chance MacT loses this trade.

    I don’t want to watch Gagner on the Oilers anymore.

    Waited for years for him to stop losing battles, get his man strength, and make his way like a lot of undersized forwards with skill do, but he’s not getting there.

    We can argue what the injury did to him or not, but the bottom line is that he’s still the same Sam Gagner who skated for the Oilers as an 18 year old.

    Doesn’t win battles, not good defesively, sublime skill when the puck is on his stick.

    Problem with him is that he needs others to get him the puck and others to defend the dzone.

    When those are your problems the value of the points your bring get discounted heavily in trade.

    Sounds like a capsule description of Kyle Wellwood.

    Wellwood also had a serious injury in his 23 year old season and was never the same again.

    48GP 12G 30A 42P

    Then the wheels fell off.

  25. VanOil says:

    I don’t see anything the Oilers would want coming back from the Kings for Gagner.

    NYI seems to be the best fit for me, especially if they ship out Vanek at the deadline. Gagner gets to play with Tarves just like he did in his back yard as a kid and would light it up for NYI. NYI have loads of young centers so could spare one. My choice would be Gagner for Brock Nelson + 2nd round pick.
    Brock’s blue bubble would have to pop should he want to fit in with the Oilers http://www.extraskater.com/team/new-york-islanders/2013

    My guess is Gagner and Hemsky go no where but that might be conditioning from Dithers and not a realistic observation of the regime.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Nurse with a goal tonight, he’s 50, 11-31-41 +7. The NHLE on that is 82, 5-15-20, which is pretty good production from a defenseman.

  27. steveb12344 says:

    The Great One: Sounds like a capsule description of Kyle Wellwood.

    Wellwood also had a serious injury in his 23 year old season and was never the same again.

    48GP 12G 30A 42P

    Then the wheels fell off.

    You know what?

    Fuck Kyle Wellwood!

    There. I said it.

  28. Lowetide says:

    Steve wins.

  29. The Great One says:

    Lowetide:
    Nurse with a goal tonight, he’s 50, 11-31-41 +7. The NHLE on that is 82, 5-15-20, which is pretty good production from a defenseman.

    Given the year difference, would you rank Nurse ahead of Ekblad?

    Ekblad – 38GP 16G 21A 37P +- 0

  30. The Great One says:

    Lowetide:
    Steve wins.

    And I’m sure he feels much better.

  31. Pouzar says:

    RANT:

    I hate hate hate yahoo sports revamped website. F^ck why is change for the sake of change a good thing. Not to mention the f^cking thing doesn’t work worth a shit…where do people here go for their boxscores?

  32. The Great One says:

    Pouzar,

    NHL.com

  33. sliderule says:

    Ekblad with a Gordie Howe hat trick.

  34. leadfarmer says:

    Gagner has been one of my favorite players, but is not an NHL player this year. The kings might be asking, but I doubt they are offering anything of value other than a draft pick. And yes Ekblad is far superior as a player to Nurse. For some reason people listen to poor online scouts, guys that say Landenskog will be a good 3rd line center, and Ryan Murray may become as good as Tom Gilbert one day.

  35. admiralmark says:

    I think we are at the point where we have to come to terms with the fact Gagner is not going anywhere. His value has to be so incredibly low that what is likely to be offered in a trade will look like a major loss for MacT and i’m not sure he or the fanbase has the stomach for this?

  36. anonymous says:

    I hate Eakins.

  37. sliderule says:

    I don’t know whether this means much but Sam Bennett after 44 games has 28-44-72 pts.

    Nate only played 44 regular season games and had 32-43- 75 pts.

    Reinhart is playing his 40 th game and has 24-39-63 pts.

    Just from the boxes you would hope for similar offence from both.

  38. The Great One says:

    admiralmark:
    I think we are at the point where we have to come to terms with the fact Gagner is not going anywhere. His value has to be so incredibly low that what is likely to be offered in a trade will look like a major loss for MacT and i’m not sure he or the fanbase has the stomach for this?

    Someone earlier suggested Gagner is worth Forbort, Greene and a second round pick.

    I would be very surprised if any team would offer more than a second round pick nevermind a roster player, a good prospect and a pick.

    Gagner might get a second round pick and a toxic contract.

  39. Lowetide says:

    The Great One: Someone earlier suggested Gagner is worth Forbort, Greene and a second round pick.

    I would be very surprised if any team would offer more than a second round pick nevermind a roster player, a good prospect and a pick.

    Gagner might get a second round pick and a toxic contract.

    Nah. MacT won’t trade him for that, DSF.

  40. leadfarmer says:

    Lowetide,

    No, but he’s not going to get much more for him. This team can’t afford to start next season with a 2nd line center playing like a waiver pickup. When this team is ready to compete, they will have to trade 2 of Gagner, Yak, or Eberle. Can’t compete in their division without the ability to win puck battles.

  41. leadfarmer says:

    I know some people have become attached to some of the players on this team, but there is a reason they are in the lottery again

  42. The Great One says:

    Lowetide: Nah. MacT won’t trade him for that, DSF.

    I wouldn’t either.

    So the Oilers have to deal with him for another 2 seasons.

  43. oilersfan says:

    Scouts have compared sam Bennett to Doug gilmour, ekblad to Shea weber and draisaitl to Getzlaf. For the sake of discussion lets assume the scouts are right and all three are available which player would help the current roster of the oilers win the most cups in the next ten years? A young Doug Gilmour, a young Getzlaf or a young Shea weber?

  44. Derek says:

    Wheres Ron? Who’s this joker? Where the hell is Andi!?!

    Why can’t we have nice things?

  45. The Great One says:

    Derek:
    Wheres Ron?Who’s this joker?Where the hell is Andi!?!

    Why can’t we have nice things?

    The answer is Kevin Lowe.

  46. fifthcartel says:

    http://www.ottawasun.com/2014/02/01/canucks-go-2-4-without-john-tortorella-behind-the-bench

    “Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish has been the most active this season. He’s finally started to deliver on his promise to make moves. He isn’t done by any stretch. Expect to see left winger Ryan Jones, defenceman Nick Schultz, defenceman Corey Potter and right wing Ales Hemsky moved. The Penguins may have some interest in Hemsky. GM Ray Shero hasn’t been afraid to make moves to bring in help. ”

    Nothing really shocking.

  47. The Great One says:

    fifthcartel,

    Hemsky to Pittsburgh makes lot of sense.

    Simon DePres?

  48. David says:

    Moroz 2 goals tonight. 51-29-24-53.

  49. flyfish1168 says:

    I have not heard any rumours from NJD. They are only 2 pts out of PFs. One of the lowest scoring teams. Lots of CAP space. I would like to get Adam Larson who is down in the AHL. Gagner for Larson. If they want Hemsky I would include him too. Will probably have to take back a player or CAP to make it work then.

  50. flyfish1168 says:

    VanOil: Nelson

    Aim high and go for Ryan Strome straight up. Strome was in RNH draft class.

  51. jp says:

    Lowetide: Nah. MacT won’t trade him for that, DSF.

    Should have held off on the Wellwood talk a little longer. :)

  52. stevezie says:

    fifthcartel: Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish has been the most active this season.

    MacT gets a lot of shit, and some of it is earned, but I think a lot of fans are comparing him to what they would do if they were GM. Compared to what actual NHL GMs do, MacT has been mind-bendingly active.

    So, to me, he still has some rope.

  53. Lois Lowe says:

    oilersfan,

    So Bennet is a 1982 draft pick, Ekblad is a 2003 pick, and Drasiatl is another 2003 pick?

  54. mumbai max says:

    Woodguy:
    I think Gagner’s deal is why he won’t be dealt in-season to a playoff team.

    None of them can afford to lose someone making that type of $$.

    I think looking at a physical winger who brings less offence than Gagner is the right track for what MacTavish is going to do.

    He knows he can can’t get point for point on this deal, so he’ll need to trade offence for size.

    As poor as Gagner has played, there is a very good chance MacT loses this trade.

    I don’t want to watch Gagner on the Oilers anymore.

    Waited for years for him to stop losing battles, get his man strength, and make his way like a lot of undersized forwards with skill do, but he’s not getting there.

    We can argue what the injury did to him or not, but the bottom line is that he’s still the same Sam Gagner who skated for the Oilers as an 18 year old.

    Doesn’t win battles, not good defesively, sublime skill when the puck is on his stick.

    Problem with him is that he needs others to get him the puck and others to defend the dzone.

    When those are your problems the value of the points your bring get discounted heavily in trade.

    I agree. I do not watch Gagner anymore either. 2nd Bruin goal yesterday. Everyone in the building could see Hamilton about to do the wrap around, but Gagner could not be bothered to check him. Watched while doing a fly by. Disgusting. Get what we can. Addition by subtraction.

  55. Zelepukin says:

    I don’t blame MacT for the contract he had to sign Gagner to and I won’t blame him if he only gets a bag of puck back for him. His contract is now an albatross in the same way Horcoffs was. If MacT can’t fool someone into taking him, then we can only hope by some way of praying to the hockey gods in the offseason, Gagner learns some hockey sense as an nhl centerman.

  56. hunter1909 says:

    Tough to win in the NHL against former champions, particularly when depending on 21-22 year olds to be the team’s go to guys.

  57. hunter1909 says:

    The start of this season: Oilers to my lame eye easily look like a potential playoff team, maybe top 6 in the West predicted.

    After 10 games; Astonishingly, the season is heading for the rocks; something normally accomplished in the new year. It’s like walking out the door one fine morning and straight into a tsunami.

    After 20 games: You hope they turn a corner, but they haven’t.

    After 40 games; You start looking ahead to the draft, while consoling yourself with the great prospects coming up to supplement the kids, hopefully before the team implodes.

    After 50 games: The coach appears to be on 3mm of ice, then they go on a 3 game W streak and everything looks rosy. Playoffs are long gone, the draft pick looks like it will be another great one, and they’ve just added a great new goalie.

    Last Night: They lose, and everyone says it’s hopeless. As a fan, you realize you’re insane. A feeling of total apathy resumes.

  58. Marc says:

    Woodguy:
    I think Gagner’s deal is why he won’t be dealt in-season to a playoff team.

    None of them can afford to lose someone making that type of $$.

    I think looking at a physical winger who brings less offence than Gagner is the right track for what MacTavish is going to do.

    He knows he can can’t get point for point on this deal, so he’ll need to trade offence for size.

    As poor as Gagner has played, there is a very good chance MacT loses this trade.

    I don’t want to watch Gagner on the Oilers anymore.

    Waited for years for him to stop losing battles, get his man strength, and make his way like a lot of undersized forwards with skill do, but he’s not getting there.

    We can argue what the injury did to him or not, but the bottom line is that he’s still the same Sam Gagner who skated for the Oilers as an 18 year old.

    Doesn’t win battles, not good defesively, sublime skill when the puck is on his stick.

    Problem with him is that he needs others to get him the puck and others to defend the dzone.

    When those are your problems the value of the points your bring get discounted heavily in trade.

    Agreed.

    The best chance of getting something close to fair value is not now, when most teams are against the cap and Gagner is in the midst of a particularly bad season, but in the summer.

    All the teams that need scoring – Nashville, Carolina, New Jersey etc – will look at the UFA list and find it full of guys like Heatley, Cammalleri, Gaborik and Hemsky. They’re all on the wrong side of 30 and have been in decline for years. They’ll be looking for top 6 money though, and term, as this will be their last big contract. They will probably get it too.

    2 x $4.8M for 24 year old Sam Gagner looks a lot more appealing in that context. At least he’s unlikely to get much worse over the term of the contract, and it’s only for 2 years in any event.

  59. hunter1909 says:

    Marc: Agreed.

    The best chance of getting something close to fair value is not now, when most teams are against the cap and Gagner is in the midst of a particularly bad season, but in the summer.

    All the teams that need scoring – Nashville, Carolina, New Jersey etc – will look at the UFA list and find it full of guys like Heatley, Cammalleri, Gaborik and Hemsky.They’re all on the wrong side of 30 and have been in decline for years.They’ll be looking for top 6 money though, and term, as this will be their last big contract. They will probably get it too.

    2 x $4.8M for 24 year old Sam Gagner looks a lot more appealing in that context. At least he’s unlikely to get much worse over the term of the contract, and it’s only for 2 years in any event.

    So basically MacT has to take responsibility for giving this no trade clause. Which means, management has just lost a perfectly decent player who given another season might either turn the corner or totally bust, instead of having to give him away to some astute Sather like GM who will instantly make off like a bandit.

    That will make the first very good player to be lost by this “new” GM.

    Then what? Hall/Eberle/RNH/Yakupov demand to be traded away from the Rexall shiteshow, before they end up like Gagner?

  60. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    stevezie: MacT gets a lot of shit, and some of it is earned, but I think a lot of fans are comparing him to what they would do if they were GM. Compared to what actual NHL GMs do, MacT has been mind-bendingly active.

    So, to me, he still has some rope.

    Ya, he’s the best GM at acquiring 5-6-7th defensemen and not to bad at getting those overpaid 4th liners, throw in a father & son combo and you have a great GM.

  61. PhrankLee says:

    I have nobody left to blame except the person who started all this cult of failure: Jan Reimer.

  62. verdad says:

    Can everyone on this forum smply realize the obvious – Gagner has been one of the greatest reasons this rebuild has been “eternal”. He is utterly useless. He epitomizes every wrong with this team .
    He can’t play NHL hockey. He never has been able to. Foolishly, the Oilers didn’t realize this five years ago. (RIngette is probably his calling)
    He represents true dis-synergy for this team . If another team will offer “anything”, take it. If that “anything” is a phydicsl competent NHL winger , take it and run.
    Gagner deserves no sympathy. He has been worse than a just a player that didn’t pan out. He is A real barier to any improvement on the Oilers. How Arcobello isn’t playing in place of him is hard to understand. Playing Gagner goes to the crisis of accountability within the Oilers.
    Trade him assp, stop playing him, buy him out.
    Otherwise savor endless defensive cluelessnees, no phydicality, never einning a face off, rtc,etc.
    Finally, the contract given to Gagner is a real negative to anyone who wants argue for MacTavish’s competence.

  63. Halfwise says:

    verdad,

    Well that’s a switch. I thought you told us that firing Lowe would cure everything. Pretty sure you said that more than once.

  64. gcw_rocks says:

    stevezie,

    Active and effective are not the same thing. MacT is the first. He is not the second.

  65. gcw_rocks says:

    Wes Mantooth-11,

    Well said, sir.

  66. Lowetide says:

    hunter1909:
    The start of this season: Oilers to my lame eye easily look like a potential playoff team, maybe top 6 in the West predicted.

    After 10 games; Astonishingly, the season is heading for the rocks; something normally accomplished in the new year. It’s like walking out the door one fine morning and straight into a tsunami.

    After 20 games: You hope they turn a corner, but they haven’t.

    After 40 games; You start looking ahead to the draft, while consoling yourself with the great prospects coming up to supplement the kids, hopefully before the team implodes.

    After 50 games: The coach appears to be on 3mm of ice, then they go on a 3 game W streak and everything looks rosy. Playoffs are long gone, the draft pick looks like it will be another great one, andthey’ve just added a great new goalie.

    Last Night: They lose, and everyone says it’s hopeless. As a fan, you realize you’re insane. A feeling of total apathy resumes.

    This is perfect. There’s not one word out of place.

  67. Ryan says:

    The Great One,

    DSF, it’s been a little boring here without you. Some of us missed you during your hiatus.

  68. Ryan says:

    Marc,

    There’s the rub though.

    While I agree that Gagner’s contract is unlikely to look worse down the road and more likely to look better…

    I think we’re talking more like an incremental increase rather than anything of great significance.

    You’d have to think you take any deal that gets his cap hit off the book for next season if you have that chance.

    I’d say a good comp for Gagner’s value would be Jussi Jokinen. Jokinen sailed through waivers last year with a cap hit of $3m.

  69. Chris says:

    Of the players listed there as possible trade bait for Gagner the only one of any real seeming interest is Muzzin. I don’t think Gagner is a good long term fit here but at the same time if you have to hold off until the draft to get good value from moving him, do so.

    I don’t have a huge issue with what MacT has done. His trades have generally been okayish. Its in the offseason where he left defensemen who could help go to other camps on tryouts and didn’t pick up another vetran forward when they were attending camps as tryouts that I found disappointing.

  70. DeadmanWaking says:

    My insight into the genre-war around firing Lowe led me to exhume a dusty book of criticism from the local library, originally published in 1984, containing essays penned in isolation from the other side of the Iron Curtain, around the time when “Tretiak” so abruptly entered the Canadian zeitgeist.

    From Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans by Stanislaw Lem, who was far from a happy camper about the downward arc of the SF genre as a whole:

    Is creative work without mystification possible in such an environment?

    An answer to this question is given by the stories of Philip K. Dick. While these stand out from the background against which they have originated, it is not easy to capture the ways in which they do, since Dick employs the same materials and theatrical props as other American writers. From the warehouse that has long since become their common property, he takes the whole threadbare lot of telepaths, cosmic wars, parallel worlds, and time travel.

    In his stories terrible catastrophes happen, but this, too, is no exception to the rule; lengthening the list of sophisticated ways in which the world can end is among the standard preoccupations of science fiction. But where other science-fiction writers explicitly name and delimit the source of the disaster, whether social (terrestrial or cosmic war) or natural (elemental forces of nature), the world of Dick’s stories suffers dire changes for reasons that remain unascertainable to the end.

    People perish not because a nova or a war has erupted, not because of flood, famine, plague, draught, or sterility, not because the Martians have landed on our doorstep; rather, there is some inscrutable factor at work that is visible in its manifestations but not at its source, and the world behaves as if it has fallen prey to a malignant cancer, which through metastases attacks one area of life after another.

    This is, be it said forthwith, apposite as a castigation of historiographic diagnostics, since in fact humanity does not as a rule succeed in exhaustively or conclusively diagnosing the causes of the afflictions that befall it. It is sufficient to recall how many diverse and in part mutually exclusive factors are nowadays adduced by experts as sources of the crisis of civilization.

    This somewhat abstruse critical essay continues on p. 124 of my hardbound copy of Microworlds:

    A second characteristic trait of Dick’s work, after its ambiguity as to genre, is its tawdriness which is not without a certain charm, being reminiscent of the goods offered at county fairs by primitive craftsmen who are at once clever and naive, possessed of more talent than self-knowledge.

    Dick has as a rule taken over a rubble of building materials from the run-of-the-mill American professionals of SF, frequently adding a true gleam of originality to already worn-out concepts and, what is surely more important, erecting with such material constructions truly his own. The world gone mad, with a spasmodic flow of time and a network of causes and effects which wriggles as if nauseated, the world of frenzied physics, is unquestionably his invention, being an inversion of our familiar standard according to which only we, but never our environment, may fall victim to psychosis.

    Ordinarily, the heroes of SF are overtaken only by two kinds of calamities: the social, such as the “infernos of police state tyranny,” and the physical, such as catastrophes caused by Nature. Evil is thus inflicted on people either by other people (invaders from the stars are merely people in monstrous disguises), or by the blind forces of matter.

    With Dick the very basis of such a clear-cut articulation of the proposed diagnosis comes to grief.

    My emph. in both passages (plus some extra paragraph breaks for readability).

    This immediately resonated with me, because I’m less inclined than most to place blame on individuals. One could argue without too much difficulty that NHL work-stoppages are a form of psychotic episode, one that leaves a giant mass of psychological scar tissue–an amyloid tangle known as the CBA–from which the patient returns to normative function only after long years of intensive rehabilitation, adaptation, and accommodation.

    That was a week ago. Yesterday I chanced upon a discount table with The Fall marked down to the price of a rental viewing. The Fall is an offbeat, genre-busting vanity project filmed and financed by the talented Mr Tarsem out of his own pockets (whose emptied wallet remains stuffed, one presumes, with airline fulfillment cards in platinum trim).

    Many depict this movie as a kind of hallucinatory Princess Bride, but my first approximation would be The Time Bandits (Greek pantheon edition) time-jumping into the middle of The English Patient and taking the place over, as conceived by a dimple-cheeked Romanian cherub–with a fragmentary command of the English language–who enjoys throwing oranges at the infirmary’s priest.

    The girl is so young she doesn’t understand guilt, through she is surrounded by Catholic trappings. The paraplegic who seeks to guile her into his sad scheme–he’s his own foremost target–constantly lapses into Christian conceptions–there are scenes centered around lying, stealing, salvation, guilt, and despair–which she completely fails to grasp on his level as she simply lacks the Christian genre-apparatus to enter into the world of his psychological pathology.

    The girl actress (age six) was visibly upset by the angry outbursts in several key scenes. Tarsem says (he discusses her emotional well-being in interviews and on the commentary track) that her reactions would last for twenty minutes and then she’d be asking what was for lunch (although in one case, it took three days of wheedling to get her back into her part); he observes that it’s really more of a thing for older children adults to eternalize grief or dismay. As he tells it, the girl’s mother agreed with him on this point, that these brief emotional traumas were transitory (genre-captive disciples of the DSM might vehemently disagree).

    The manipulative, self-absorbed, self-destructive paraplegic is extremely fixated on his blame/pity narrative, especially after the girl nearly dies as a consequence of his association with her. In the aftermath he’s positively desperate to get her to buy into his Christian framework of failure and blame–a genre in which all sin originates in the human heart–but she’s having none of it; she has by then–unwisely from an adult perspective–bonded with him as a parental figure. In her small world the question “What happens next?” leads either to a proper story or an abusive story. Abuse for her is not a durative concept. She mainly conceives of abuse at the level of the “next action” and the twenty-minute emotional squall it might precipitate. He’s so fixated on decay-from-within as the one true explanatory frame–the genre convention that Dick subverts–he can’t even grasp how she relates.

    The problem for Tarsem is that by choosing a story structure that undermines the Western tradition of metaphysical accountability/atonement/salvation he also undermines the traditional narrative drive that we’re accustomed to find in a movie. Some critics described this movie as extremely boring.

    As for myself, I got the point of the movie immediately, and found plenty to think about as the extravagant visuals meandered the globe. In the oral mode of telling stories, improvisation runs both ways: how the person hears a story (even if mistakenly) is echoed back through body language, which an attentive story teller uses to guide his or her telling. I’m familiar with the embrace of improvisation. As one example, Hunter once wrote “Gazdic” (presumably a type) which prompted me to incorporate “Gadzooks!” into my reply, a phrase which has subsequently echoed around (not that this kind of thing necessarily has a single father). Long ago (certainly the old site) I wrote a “magic bean” post not having previously noticed that phrase in common currency. A while back I recall some speculation about where that phrase originated. I stayed out of that exchange. Some other possibilities were mooted. Neither of these inventions are particularly momentous. The larger accomplishment is to capture the imagination in such a way that the phrase sticks, but this too falls under “reasons that remain unascertainable to the end”. Often what sticks is what we encounter twice in short succession, in some bizarre life juxtaposition.

    The Fall plays with this, too, by having a character named Darwin who furtively carries around a monkey named Wallace, who chitters from the bottom of a gym bag with a draw-string top and supplies Darwin with all his best ideas. This movie’s Darwin is an etch-a-sketch Dr Dolittle, who is also a dab hand at mystic sign language with brown men who erupt from trees.

    The other day I passed a copy of Galapagos to my lemon tree, as she had thoroughly enjoyed Bluebeard (which I regard as the mature flower of the stylistic change Vonnegut began to explore with novels such as Galapagos.) Vonnegut writes G. from the perspective of a narrator set one million years into the future:

    It is hard to believe nowadays that people could ever have been as brilliantly duplicitous as James Wait–until I remind myself that just about every adult human being back then had a brain weighing about three kilograms! There was no end to the evil schemes that a thought machine that oversized couldn’t imagine and execute.

    So I raise this question, although there is nobody around to answer it: Can it be doubted that three-kilogram brains were once nearly fatal defects in the evolution of the human race?

    A second query: What source was there back then, save for our overelaborate nervous circuitry, for the evils we were seeing or hearing about simply everywhere?

    My answer: There was no other source. This was a very innocent planet, except for those great big brains.

    Here Vonnegut splits the difference. Failure is neither internal to the spirit, nor external to the environment, but situated in an excess of wet wire; he’s a populist dystopian of the middle-kind. Vonnegut is being a bit coy here. It’s left a tiny bit less than absolute in that passage whether the proliferation consists in evil acts as such (as seen), or of narratives compulsively relating those acts (as heard about), once set in motion–in their limitless complexity–by bad apples such as his focal character James Wait, who travels under cover of a forged Canadian passport.

    Note how this passage hinges on the word “innocent” with its echoes of the Catholic genre as we had in The Fall. Vonnegut is not so naive as to think that nature is anything less than red in tooth and claw, certainly not after naming his doomed passenger ship to Galapagos the Bahai de Darwin, Spanish for “Darwin Bay” as the narrator explains.

    Would Dick fire Lowe? Yes. It’s the right thing to do; nevertheless, soon thereafter decline accelerates.

    Would Tarsem fire Lowe? No. The love of the child rehabilitates the failed father figure (in The Fall this is not the salvation of forgiveness, but the salvation of refusing to even conceptualise blame, which for me is far more innocent than Catholic innocence).

    Would Vonnegut fire Lowe? No–at least not until long after he fires MacT–by which point he’d get on a binge and continue the firings until the last man standing was Joey Moss.

    In part, it was my attempted hiatus that shook all this out of the tree. I certainly needed to distance myself from the firing of Lowe as a proposition of logical debate.

    With that out of the way, now I face another problem: I don’t feel properly “dead” any more. I’m outgrowing my moniker. As this point, I’d much rather be Hinde “Indy” Balrog–Hindenburg for the sprouting flames, Indiana Jones for the long whip–only I think sometimes I push that mode too far already.

    I’m fairly sure I wrote once–exactly once, if I managed personal matters as I prefer it–that my presence at Lowetide served in part as a way for me to revisit things I hadn’t done when they should have been done, concerning aspects of my identity that formed in my high school years. I had already drilled through the rubble of my women troubles long ago, yet that didn’t seem to quite be the end of it. Women troubles don’t begin in a vacuum.

    Strangely, this genre insight into our recent group dynamics feels like a form of closure on that distant revisitation; for the first time it gives me a positive context to relate to my reluctance to jump into the fray of hotly contested opinion–which I could never bring myself to do–as I generally felt that these things were falsely intellectualised; to win an argument by logic which isn’t based in logic in the first place only serves to buttress the shared falsehood, which might actually be the agenda of the other party drawing you into the debate in the first place. Flashback city.

    I guess I was a man out of time. My chosen approach didn’t become viable until a little more than a decade later when the Internet came to pass. It’s a weird thing, because I definitely started my list, back in the early 1980s, of things I would sort out just as soon as something resembling the darn Internet got around to becoming invented. I’ve since worked through almost the whole list. Much of this was stupid stuff. For example, a big light came on when I discovered that Mork and Mindy was a character spin-off from Happy Days. It was an era with a tremendously fatuous handling of sexuality. Just to name a few there was Charlie’s Angels, Three’s Company, Eight is Enough, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. One Day at a Time was still airing with that moron Schneider. (Yes, my memory serves me well, Lowetide once wrote “Christ. Schneider from One Day at a Time was more entertaining than this game.”)

    One show that rose above this morass of sexual fatuousity, was the rarely recalled James at 15, which I could tell was a cut above that other stuff in what it was tying to take on, even though it still embarrassed me enough to never confess I sort of liked to watch it. It still does.

    Critics also approved of its handling of James’ first sexual experience, with a Swedish exchange student (Kirsten Baker) in the episode which aired February 9, 1978—at which point the show assumed the name James at 16. However, head writer Wakefield quit in a dispute with NBC over the use of the euphemism responsible for ‘birth control’ in the episode, as well as the network’s insistence that James should feel remorse over his decision.

    Touchdown! No good, clean American girls were knocked up in the production of this episode. Somehow I knew instinctively it was almost there, yet still not quite.

    James looks forward to his upcoming 16th birthday and hopes to get a car as a gift. His uncle decides to give him a night with a call-girl instead. Shunning that situation, James falls in love with a Swedish foreign exchange student and loses his virginity.

    Oh, god. I’d forgotten about that part. Such a stupid framing device to make his randy behaviour seem virtuous by comparison to his corrupting environment. I’m sure there were other shows that dealt with sex in a more serious way, but I wasn’t yet worldly enough to decode all the indirect language, which only really works if you already know what they’re talking about–which was the whole point of that particular moral code.

    Explanations that have been offered as to why relatively few films pass the Bechdel test … A scriptwriting student at UCLA wrote in 2008 that she was told by professors that the audience “only wanted white, straight, male leads” and not, as she quoted a male industry professional as saying, “a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about”.

    They’re talking about what a fifteen year-old-boy thinks about to himself alone after his first sexual experience, which is neither Porky’s nor American Pie. Whatever it is–and we certainly don’t want it polluting our movies–”remorse” is not the first word that leaps to mind (unless you’re Billy Bibbit, whose aggressive remorse is realistic enough for a man screwed tight to the nth degree).

    Lem writes this in the autobiographical essay that begins the collection I quoted above:

    As an eight-year-old boy, I fell in love with a girl. I never uttered as much as a word to the girl, but I observed her often in a public garden near our house. The girl had no inkling of my feelings, and most probably never even noticed me. It was a burning, long-lasting love affair dissected, as it were, from all actual circumstances–even from the sphere of wishful thinking. I was not interested in becoming her friend. My emotions were restricted to worshipping her from afar; aside from that, there was absolutely nothing.

    I can identify with that well enough much further along, though I confess I did stray into wishful thinking. Somehow my response to the fatuous moral culture seemingly dominated by network television was to retreat into a highly attentive, yet also warily disengaged shell. At some level I was convinced the life wasn’t nearly so banal as it seemed, yet I had little clue about how to find out where this planet had hidden all the good stuff.

    We had one book lying around the house that seemed written with an adult sensibility on sexual matters: Gestalt Therapy Verbatim by Fritz Perls, the original hippie psychiatrist. He had some interesting stuff about defensive behaviours, but I didn’t trust this book, either. Here’s a line from a review of this book on Goodreads, which doesn’t surprise me one bit from what I recall:

    Just for the record, a human being is the only creature in the world that interferes with his own growth.

    Surprise, I just found a web page that lists Dianetics as one of Gestalt Therapy’s formative influences, along with George Gurdjieff, whom I recently encountered as one of Keith Jarrett’s prominent influences. Man, 1980 was a weird time. All this stuff was still floating around. The cure hadn’t been invented yet, but you could smell it baking. I became a kind of weird bubble-boy in the thoroughness of my rejection of genre norms, biding my time and waiting for Al Gore to pull the bullshit death-rabbit out of his hat (batteries not included).

    I get it now. Genre wasn’t just a way to slice up the mass audience. It also sliced people up into different modes of thinking, in various subtle ways.

    At some level this post is a kind of “sail on, DMW”. To where I can’t yet say.

  71. verdad says:

    Just to clarify, three things immediate improve the Oilers: fire Lowe, never play Gagner again and thrirdle and sadly, fire Eakins.
    If people want to change the Oiler culture, the moves to address accountability hsve to be msde.
    Every cosch in the NHL has out coached Eakins . J ust look at Calgary, Florida and Buffalo.

  72. Bruce McCurdy says:

    DeadmanWaking: At some level this post is a kind of “sail on, DMW”. To where I can’t yet say.

    Happy travels. See you around, I hope.

  73. hunter1909 says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    Seriously. Hire a pro editor.

  74. Lowetide says:

    DMW: Don’t change a thing.

  75. Maggie the Monkey says:

    Wait, DSF comes back and DMW leaves in the same thread? Why do I feel like Mike Milbury arranged this trade for us?

    (For the record, I value DSF’s input. His counter balance may be extreme at times, but if nothing else it’s a representation of how some shiny Oiler things are perceived elsewhere.)

  76. Gary69Roberts69 says:

    Gagner’s been over-hyped since day 1 Budz. Little guy, that makes little plays, (way too easy too push him off the puck). BUDDDZZZZZZZZ

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