RE 14-15 CRAIG MACTAVISH: HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS

Charged with massive repairs due to the neglect of previous management, Craig MacTavish was aggressive in free agency and in the trade market this summer. Some say too aggressive, but the two long-term deals are with younger men who should be able to deliver during their contracts. The results this season are important, but perhaps even more important is the recognition among the fan base that capable men are in charge of the team. I believe that to be true, your mileage may vary.

  1. Name the good moves this summer. Mark Fayne, Benoit Pouliot in free agency and he traded for Nikita Nikitin and Teddy Purcell. Four actual NHL players, and one of them a legit defenseman who is badly needed along the blue.
  2. Has he done well in his two years negotiating with NHL GM’s? Yes. Fayne and Perron, Pouliot and Gordon, adding Purcell and of course overhauling the goaltending mid-season.
  3. He made some big errors. The largest negative didn’t actually happen. MacT dodged a bullet when the Toronto Maple Leafs went over top of Edmonton to sign David Clarkson.
  4. Nikitin was an error. I don’t agree. Seems to me MacTavish wanted two NHL defensemen, went into the free agency window and had a good feeling about Fayne. He didn’t get the second guy (or guys) he was after and his assistant GM was likely swearing up and down that Nikitin could play. I’ll admit this isn’t an advanced stat move, but that doesn’t automatically make it a bad one. Nikitin is a player I have liked for Edmonton in the past, looking forward to seeing him here.
  5. He isn’t the top pairing guy Edmonton needed. Top 4D, he’s certainly behind Fayne, Petry and I would suggest Marincin. I think he’ll play 20+ minutes a night, including significant special teams time.
  6. He also blew the bank on Pouliot. I think BP is a much better bet than Clarkson, a better player.
  7. Too much for a 3line player, you know this. Pouliot can play higher up in the batting order, but serves as a really good bat at the end of the offense. Plus he can serve as mentor to (possibly) Yakupov and Draisaitl.
  8. His biggest mistake was hiring Dallas Eakins. Agree that a lot of the trouble Edmonton encountered this season surrounded the coach. It was a learning year, and a year Edmonton’s management spent on changing culture and introducing a new coach with grand ideas. It did not work out well, and I think it’s completely reasonable to place that at the feet of the GM.
  9. Why didn’t he fire Eakins? At some point, you need continuity. The lessons learned by Eakins last season can be applied to this season. Eakins paid a dear price to his reputation and should return a more humble, less stubborn kind of fellow.
  10. How does MacT’s 2013 draft look one year gone? There have been some positives in year one. Darnell Nurse had a fine season, Bogdan Yakimov made enough strides to earn a contract and a job as one of the team’s 8 NA pro centermen this coming season. Greg Chase looks like a flat out home run. Jackson Houck also deserves mention. Marco Roy needs to have a strong season but is a talented player.
  11. How does MacT’s 2014 draft look one month gone? I thought the Oilers received excellent value with the No. 3 overall pick, Draisaitl is a top flight prospect. Lagesson and Nagelvoort look worthy, and then it gets blurry after the fourth round (which is predictable).
  12. You were bitching and moaning about the fifth round most of the summer! Well, I do think there’s a wonky pick or two in there, but we’ll see how it rolls out. I like Nagelvoort at No. 111 this season far more than Kyle Platzer a year ago at No. 96, so there’s a story.
  13. No Greg Chase in there? No obvious Chase, but Keven Bouchard is worth keeping an eye on.
  14. We should talk about his mistakes, like the Smid trade and the Gagner contract. I’m no longer convinced the Smid trade was a mistake, smart Flames observers like Kent Wilson are openly wondering about him. As for Gagner, he did sign him to a big contract, but that was a reflection of 89′s experience at a young age. I’ll give MacT credit for getting solid value for him. I don’t consider that a negative.
  15. What DO you consider to be questionable moves? For me, the down arrows for MacTavish are the Clarkson offer (one hopes he’s learned, the more astute Pouliot deal suggests that to be true) and his inability to improve center this summer. One is a curio, the other is yet another indication that Oilers’ management doesn’t understand the word balance and its importance to the beginning of each season.
  16. Will either move get him fired? No, but there should be harsh criticism and I feel very strongly about this issue. Balance is not impossible, other teams manage it consistently each offseason. Not acquiring a center this summer leaves MacTavish and Eakins extremely vulnerable. I don’t think this team slides into the ocean in October again, but once again the Edmonton Oilers have talked themselves into silly. If the Oilers start off slowly, the center position is very likely to be a big part of that problem, and the inertia this summer once again speaks to the Oilers firm belief they are the smartest men in hockey. The results suggest otherwise.
  17. You’re serious? If anything happens to RNH, the team is basically screwed. That’s the manager’s job. I’m onside with Craig MacTavish, want him to succeed and win a Stanley as a GM because he deserved one as a coach. However, if (as an example) Steve Tambellini left the center position this exposed we’d all be screaming bloody murder.
  18. They have options. No they don’t. The Oilers have five centers on the roster. Nuge and Gordon are quality, no quarrel at all there. Mark Arcobello should be a useful player, as has been well-argued by Woodguy. However, Arcobello is miles from a proven option and the other two available centers (Draisaitl and Lander) are even less proven. I love MacT, but his terrible power plays and his weird “we’ll make everyone a center” tendency have hindered him as coach and now as manager. The center position, as it stands, is unacceptable.
  19. Is that the only problem? I was also alarmed by the team’s knee-jerk reaction to the Gagner injury and the added truculence, and the verbal at the end of the season that suggested a corner had been turned. However, the summer’s activity was very good, save center. If they can fix that problem before the season begins, music!
  20. They’ll find a center if he’s needed. IF HE’S NEEDED? Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Are you kidding me. They just traded Gagner because he had one year’s experience seven times, and now they are committed to Leon Draisaitl no matter how quickly he learns on the job. It’s a flaw in the Oilers program, it just is. And that flaw is extremely disappointing for me as a fan. If Leon earns the job, fine. But for heaven sakes don’t give it to him in August! That’s just a terrible terrible risk to take, and I submit no one is so smart they absolutely know. It’s an error in judgement, and Craig MacTavish the GM re-commits the error that Craig MacTavish the coach made in 2007 fall. It is beyond frustrating to see this happen again. Just absolutely crushing.
  21. What about Justin Schultz? I’m pleased they’re holding a hard line on him, and would be in favor of trading Schultz at this point in time. I’m always onside with skill, but the young man has enough flaws for us to question his long term ability at the position. Dealing him now seems like a reasonable bet.
  22. Why this song? It’s my favorite song from my favorite Joni Mitchell album. It’s about a person trapped in a world they allowed to form and in need of breaking away and reinventing themselves. It’s about desperation and the need to change, but perhaps lacking the strength and vision to do it. It reminds me so much of this Edmonton Oilers team and management, secure and safe and impervious. which allows them to make decisions that seem strange to the world around them, and keeps them from their stated goal. One year’s experience, how many times? Do we accuse Gagner of it without accusing MacTavish of same? The Hissing of Summer Lawns.

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59 Responses to "RE 14-15 CRAIG MACTAVISH: HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS"

  1. cdean says:

    I totally agree with the fact that the center position is left incomplete. From MacT’s own words from the beginning of the summer is that they were still looking for center. So you know that he is aware that the position is left open, the only question is if he can find someone to fill it. He is left with little that he wants to trade or that people want from him in return for a center. He does not want to take from the exising roster an the prospects and picks do not seem enough or we would have already seen a trade. I am hoping that he has patience and taht something will squeeze out.

    I do not mind giving Draisaitl a chance, possibly a 9 game audition or more, but counting on him is not good business. Arcobello I beleive can hold the 2C or 3C for a year with lander as a back up, but have in all three: Draisaitl, Arcobello and Lander, all questionable for 2 spots is ludicrous.

  2. cdean says:

    As it sits now
    Worst case scenario:

    2C – Arcobello
    3C – Gordon
    4C – Lander
    with Draisaitl back to Junior

    Best case scenario:

    2C – Arcobello
    3C – Draisaitl
    4C – Gordon
    with Lander as an extra fill in

    After writing I’m not sure if I have the categories mixed up or not….

  3. Hammers says:

    I am more disappointed in not giving Petry a decent offer than Leon/ Arco or Lander . We will loose a decent “D” due to the over valuing of Schultz . That concerns me . As for the “C” Leon will probably surprise many and I think you may see him get 45-50 points . As for Arco & Lander they both deserve a shot but I will not be surprised to see another center added . If Arco gets Pouliot & Purcell he will be fine .For me McT has done more in 15 months than Tambo did his whole time here . He dumped what needed to go and has added 3 good wingers , Perron , Pouliot , Purcell and 3 “D” Schultz , Fayne , Nikitan plus gives us a better chance with Scrivens & Fasth . He also got Gordon & Hendricks . That’s 10 NHL players .For a so called rookie GM that’s damn good .

  4. Lowetide says:

    I think there’s a difference between giving Draisaitl a chance (which I agree with) and handing him the job. Maybe MacT has something up his sleeve, but as of now it looks for all the world as though the 5C on the current roster (including LD) will make the team and we can state that now.

    That’s just not a good idea imo.

  5. thejonrmcleod says:

    How do we know that MacTavish didn’t give Petry a decent offer? Maybe the reluctance to sign a longer term contract mostly belongs to Petry? Petry might have been reluctant to sign longer than 1 year because (1) he saw how much money other defensemen had received as UFAs, and (2) playing for the Oilers hasn’t been much fun so far. I think it’s possible that if both Petry and the Oilers play well during the first half of the season, both parties might be willing to do an extension.

  6. teddyturnbuckle says:

    I agree if Nuge misses just 10 games then we have zero chance of making the playoffs. I’m hoping MacT is keeping his powder dry here to see who shakes loose at training camp when teams are up against the cap. This might be the time to trade J Shultz also. If he doesn’t have a good year then we have another Gagner on our hands. I’m not sold on Justin as a player at all. His inability to stop the cycle or strip players of the puck is a major red flag. He doesn’t have enough nasty. His value may never go up.

  7. Hammers says:

    Lowetide:
    I think there’s a difference between giving Draisaitl a chance (which I agree with) and handing him the job. Maybe MacT has something up his sleeve, but as of now it looks for all the world as though the 5C on the current roster (including LD) will make the team and we can state that now.

    That’s just not a good idea imo.

    So it was OK to give Hall ,RNH & Yak a pass but not Leon . Basically those 3 got the green light and everyone thought they should be on the team . As good/great as Hall is Seguin has been as good and now he is at the at the “C” position .The answer isn’t they are #1 picks but are they good enough . Obviously McT thinks Leon is and I tend to give him the edge over any bloggers . I also think his smart enough to move him to the wing if he has to .Should he go back ? Maybe but then so should RNH & Yak have let alone Gags or Lander . Like everything we will know where this player and this team are at by Christmas.

  8. WeirsBeard says:

    Lowetide:
    I think there’s a difference between giving Draisaitl a chance (which I agree with) and handing him the job. Maybe MacT has something up his sleeve, but as of now it looks for all the world as though the 5C on the current roster (including LD) will make the team and we can state that now.

    That’s just not a good idea imo.

    My hope is still that someone shakes loose from a team over the cap. There are still, what, six teams over the cap right now?

    My feeling was MacT’s experiences as a coach would teach him the importance of providing a full roster to Eakins. The rational adds this summer just doesn’t jive with the inaction at centre. Even adding another Gordon type would have really helped.

    Are we getting an ownership RE? Always my favourite.

    I am anxiously awaiting leaks from Dellow on what they ask him to look at this year. Will maybe provide good context for next year’s management/coaching REs.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Hammers: So it was OK to give Hall ,RNH & Yak a pass but not Leon . Basically those 3 got the green light and everyone thought they should be on the team . As good/great as Hall is Seguin has been as good and now he is at the at the “C” position .The answer isn’t they are #1 picks but are they good enough . Obviously McT thinks Leon is and I tend to give him the edge over any bloggers . I also think his smart enough to move him to the wing if he has to .Should he go back ? Maybe but then so should RNH & Yak have let alone Gags or Lander . Like everything we will know where this player and this team are at by Christmas.

    Hall is a different story but we absolutely debated Nuge and Yak and their readiness. And I do believe that in year 5 of the rebuild it might be an idea to pursue balance at all positions. If Leon is ready, fabulous. The Oilers are assuming it to be so, and that’s careless.

  10. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Still can’t believe he didn’t pick Mayo. Never forget, never forgive. Just imagine the puns Gene could come up with on a Mayo-Nurse pairing.

  11. VanOil says:

    thejonrmcleod,

    Not signing Petry long term is the biggest flaw I have seen from MacT so far. It is not an end game yet just a worrying sign. You are right though we do not know Petry’s motivations in the signing.

  12. Big Dan says:

    Everyone is wanting to trade Schultz for a 2C, it seems. What they need is to trade Schultz for a third-pairing puck-moving defenseman like Yandle. We don’t have that – but Schultz is going to become that, or so we hope. So we wait.

    So MacT’s good moves are the one he isn’t doing. Patience is a virtue. Us fans are all so trigger happy. Especially after eight years of agony. But we’re almost over the finish line and I am glad MacT isn’t going to wreck it now.

    I think NOT getting a 2C was a success. Mark Arcobello showed in his first 10 games (before Eakins flushed him when Gagner returned) and in the AHL that he is darned good. I think he will be great this year and be a great stop-gap until Draisaitl is ready to go all Kopitar in Year Two or Three.

    I am so excited for Arcobello and the chance he’s about to seize. 47 points and we’ll be buying his jerseys and patting MacT on the back for avoiding a knee jerk move.

    I think NOT getting a Winnik was a good move. Lander earned his chance. He’ll be a useful, affordable, 4th line center. Not much offense (think 12 points in 57 games, something like that). But he’s hard working, physical, and strong defensively.

    MacT is not overrating his players like us fans too either. I kept reading on this board how we could get so much for Dubnyk, Smid, Gagner, Hemsky… turns out they were worthless and he was able to get a great return (imo) for them anyways. Guys like Horak, Hendricks, Purcell, Scrivens (through an indirect swap of 3rd rounders). He borrowed Bryz and then used the draft pick he got in return to help grab Fasth. I like the fact MacT works the phones and makes things happen. I am so glad the downtrodden tragedy of watching Tambo hesitate to do ANYTHING for so many years – and then when he did it was a Gilbert/Schultz of Visnovsky/Whitney meh move – is finally over.

    Speaking of Oiler fans overrating a guy, Petry is the next in line. He is NOT worth $5M and a lot of dynamite prospects like Marincin, Klefbom, Simpson, Nurse are a year away from being valuable NHLers. So NOT signing him was a good move. One of those kids will be ready at the trade deadline and MacT’s get decent value.

    MacT is a smart guy. I’m glad he is the one “hissing on the lawns”. In my mind, he was terrible from April to October (except for the Perron trade). Worst GM in the league. Since November, I would say he is in the top 5-10. Quick learner, that chap. Let’s hope Eakin is the same way for everybody’s sake.

  13. Ducey says:

    Petry (and Schultz) are following the Subban model. They won’t sign long term deals unless it involves an overpay. Petry has not shown enough to prove he is worth that.

  14. Woodguy says:

    LT,

    Which C line up do you rate better?

    RNH
    Arco
    Gordon
    DrySaddle

    Sedin
    Bonino
    Mathias
    Richardson

  15. godot10 says:

    //The lessons learned by Eakins last season can be applied to this season. Eakins paid a dear price to his reputation and should return a more humble, less stubborn kind of fellow.//

    So many Oiler fans are like young women who believe they can fix their “bad boy” boyfriends.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWmQbk5h86w

  16. BG14 says:

    Great to see this ice bucket challenge. My girlfriends dad recently passed away after 6 years with the disease and the amount of support and donations have been incredible. He made a short comedy about his condition to raise awareness before he passed, if LT or anyone wants to check it out or share it on the Al Gore to get it some more exposure that would be awesome. It won an audiences choice award at an indie film fest as well as an award from ALS Canada for the effort. Here’s the link for anyone interested.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WX60P_GwS9c

    czar:
    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/watch-bettman-completes-ice-bucket-challenge/

    Good on you Gary.

  17. Lowetide says:

    godot10:
    //The lessons learned by Eakins last season can be applied to this season. Eakins paid a dear price to his reputation and should return a more humble, less stubborn kind of fellow.//

    So many Oiler fans are like young women who believe they can fix their “bad boy” boyfriends.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWmQbk5h86w

    This is the kind of post that usually causes a stir around these parts, but that was funny!

  18. Woodguy says:

    godot10:
    //The lessons learned by Eakins last season can be applied to this season. Eakins paid a dear price to his reputation and should return a more humble, less stubborn kind of fellow.//

    So many Oiler fans are like young women who believe they can fix their “bad boy” boyfriends.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWmQbk5h86w

    And you’re convinced that Eakins can’t learn from experience even though he changed most of his assistant coaches and visited key players in the summer to talk to them.

  19. godot10 says:

    Woodguy:
    LT,

    Which C line up do you rate better?

    RNH
    Arco
    Gordon
    DrySaddle

    Sedin
    Bonino
    Mathias
    Richardson

    If Draisaitl is in the list, shouldn’t Horvat be on the Canucks list?

    Vey and Lander probably cancel each other out.

  20. VanOil says:

    godot10:
    //The lessons learned by Eakins last season can be applied to this season. Eakins paid a dear price to his reputation and should return a more humble, less stubborn kind of fellow.//

    So many Oiler fans are like young women who believe they can fix their “bad boy” boyfriends.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWmQbk5h86w

    I am so that girl!!!

  21. John Chambers says:

    Getting out from under the Horcoff, Smid, and Gagner contracts are under-heralded as moves. So far this has allowed us to commit to Pouliot, absorb Purcell’s contract, and have room to add another big salary if the opportunity arises.

    Both Horcoff’s and Smid’s may be their respective teams’ worst contracts, while if Gagner plays like rookie-caliber centre again …

  22. czar says:

    BG14,

    Outstanding and I’ll make a point of passing it along!

  23. godot10 says:

    John Chambers:
    Getting out from under the Horcoff, Smid, and Gagner contracts are under-heralded as moves. So far this has allowed us to commit to Pouliot, absorb Purcell’s contract, and have room to add another big salary if the opportunity arises.

    Both Horcoff’s and Smid’s may be their respective teams’ worst contracts, while if Gagner plays like rookie-caliber centre again …

    Horcoff’s contract was not a problem. MacT had one unused compliance buyout left (which he failed to monetize), and since Horcoff’s contract was front-loaded, it would have been a cheap buyout in actual dollars.

    Trading Horcoff was also a mistake. It left no glue in the room between the new coach and new guys last year and the old guys. That plus Nugent-Hopkins injury.

  24. blainer says:

    I can see the Hendricks moving into the center spot in case of injury. I do agree we are in deep trouble if nuge goes down. I think MacT makes a trade if an injury occurs or bad play from arco and or Draisaitl.

  25. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Woodguy: And you’re convinced that Eakins can’t learn from experience even though he changed most of his assistant coaches and visited key players in the summer to talk to them.

    That’s not at all what he said.

  26. Pouzar says:

    Unheralded move = Keeping Todd Nelson in OKC for at least another year.

  27. Woodguy says:

    godot10: If Draisaitl is in the list, shouldn’t Horvat be on the Canucks list?

    Vey and Lander probably cancel each other out.

    Good point.

    Where would you slot him on the Dys?

    I think 2C is Bonino’s.

    They may slide Matthias down to “tough minute 4C” like Gordon, but he ends up 3rd in 5v5 TOI/gm

    I don’t like Matthias or Richardson for that role though.

  28. Woodguy says:

    Marcus Oilerius: That’s not at all what he said.

    I’m responding to cumulative Godot posts, not this one in particular.

    :)

  29. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Pouzar:
    Unheralded move = Keeping Todd Nelson in OKC for at least another year.

    This is pure windfall as far as I’m concerned. Nelson couldn’t find the NHL work he was after (tough gig to land!) and decided to stay pat.

    But, I completely agree, it’s a good damn thing.

  30. Younger Oil says:

    While I agree getting a #2C would help this team immensely, as of now I’m giving MacT the benefit of the doubt, as he has done almost everything else right so far.

    The biggest thing about acquiring a #2C is that teams aren’t giving them out for free, and odds are getting one would open up another significant hole in our lineup that we would have to give up yet another significant piece to fill, and so on and so forth. It also hurts to give up a significant longterm piece for someone that will be pushed down the lineup by Draisiatl within a couple of years.

    Another point is that there haven’t been any trades of note since Spezza got traded on the first day of free agency. This may indicate that most teams aren’t wanting to make trades, let alone significant pieces like a #2C. Maybe MacT, like other GM’s, is waiting until training camp and preseason to evaluate what he truly has in Arco and Draisaitl, and will make decisions from there. After Arco’s great first 20 games last year, people were loving his play in the top 6, and were screaming for him to play #2C instead of Gagner. Ever since Draisaitl got drafted, people have been raving about the idea of having him on a soft minutes line with Yakupov.

    I think with all that MacT has done, we owe it to him to see how Arco and Draisaitl do over training camp and preseason. Hell, maybe even give them a handful of regular season games. If it is painfully clear that they won’t be able to get the job done, we lose some games as a result, and MacT does nothing, then he definitely deserves to be criticized. But as of now, I’m definitely willing to give the lineup we have now a chance to show what it is capable of.

  31. Woodguy says:

    Pouzar:
    Unheralded move = Keeping Todd Nelson in OKC for at least another year.

    Signed a 3 year contract too.

    Unless he gets a NHL HC job he’s there for a while.

  32. BrazilianOil says:

    If Eakins go with Gordon- Hendrics – Lander on defense zone starts, probably they ‘ll be the 2 or at least 3 line in ice time. That let Leon , Yak and iI expect Pouliot as a 4 line with OZS and easy competition. I fully believe they can handle that.

  33. supernova says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: This is pure windfall as far as I’m concerned. Nelson couldn’t find the NHL work he was after (tough gig to land!) and decided to stay pat.

    But, I completely agree, it’s a good damn thing.

    Continuity on the farm team could be even more important at this stage then on the big club.

    Interesting stage for the farm team as they play more and more true prospects.

    I value continuity on the big club as well, having the same message spoken about 2 years in a row at the GM level. NHL HC, and AHL HC level should be positive and maybe show benefits years down the road.

  34. buddyboe says:

    VanOil,

    Agreed. I think we have all seen this story play out in the past, develop a young player to the point where they start showing real value and then move them before having to pay what they are worth. This is part of why the Oilers are viewed by some as a farm team for the rest of the NHL. Develop, and then pay them. I’d rather see Petry paid appropriately and give us something we can rely on than bank on Shultz who appears unproven. Hear me loud and clear though, i would prefer that Shultz was the keeper but we will see how it plays out.

    Petry should not be assumed dealt, value your developed players!

  35. Pouzar says:

    Younger Oil:
    While I agree getting a #2C would help this team immensely, as of now I’m giving MacT the benefit of the doubt, as he has done almost everything else right so far.

    The biggest thing about acquiring a #2C is that teams aren’t giving them out for free, and odds are getting one would open up another significant hole in our lineup that we would have to give up yet another significant piece to fill, and so on and so forth. It also hurts to give up a significant longterm piece for someone that will be pushed down the lineup by Draisiatl within a couple of years.

    Another point is that there haven’t been any trades of note since Spezza got traded on the first day of free agency. This may indicate that most teams aren’t wanting to make trades, let alone significant pieces like a #2C. Maybe MacT, like other GM’s, is waiting until training camp and preseason to evaluate what he truly has in Arco and Draisaitl, and will make decisions from there. After Arco’s great first 20 games last year, people were loving his play in the top 6, and were screaming for him to play #2C instead of Gagner. Ever since Draisaitl got drafted, people have been raving about the idea of having him on a soft minutes line with Yakupov.

    I think with all that MacT has done, we owe it to him to see how Arco and Draisaitl do over training camp and preseason. Hell, maybe even give them a handful of regular season games. If it is painfully clear that they won’t be able to get the job done, we lose some games as a result, and MacT does nothing, then he definitely deserves to be criticized. But as of now, I’m definitely willing to give the lineup we have now a chance to show what it is capable of.

    Good post.

  36. Pouzar says:

    Check out the ice bucket montage on http://oilers.nhl.com/

    Captain quads.
    Nuge is getting in shape and Hall is jacked.
    Ebs stole his Dad’s VHS video recorder for his vid.
    Gazdic is a cool dude.

  37. gd says:

    I am happy that MacT at least seems like he is a competent NHL GM, that learned a lot in one year and could even become an above average GM. I wish this deep into the rebuild we didn’t have a GM learning on the job and after last year I didn’t think he was competent, but he has won me over this offseason. I think every offseason personnel move both on and off the ice are at least defensible and at least get the rebuild back on track.

    I believe MacT’s longterm plan is to be in the top4 in the West by 2016-17 and the bets I believe he is making are;

    -he is 90% confident that Leon will be a legit top 6 F by then and a legit top 9F this year. They probably have more info on him then any prospect in history both due to advances in statistical analysis and the fact the WHL team they own played him in the playoffs. He is only two months younger than Kopitar was when he made his debut and he is only two months younger than Barkov. He is the same age as Monahan and Landeskog when they debut, with much worse CHL stats.

    -he is 90% confident that two of Nurse, Marancin and Klefbom will be legit top 4 Dmen by then and one or two of the other D prospects will be legit top 6 guys and that is why he is cautious about over-committing to Petry and Schultz. I hope that the biggest focus for the org is to make sure they are developing these guys properly as I think Nurse/Klefbom are true high risk/high reward prospects.

    -he is 75% confident that Arco is a legit top 3 C and he knows he is not a top 2 C. I think he thinks Arco is better than Roy/Ribiero and Legwand/Jokinen were worth $2M and not $3M.

    -he is about 50% confident that Eakins is the right coach. He thinks he is the right coach, but I am pretty sure he has Bylsma’s agent’s number on speed dial and Nicholson/Lowe and anyone else with Hockey Canada connections are having the odd off the record conversation with Babcock until he is resigned in Detroit.

    I hope that now that they have better size and depth that next year they are in position to sign the $1.5Mill effective depth players instead of the Nikitin/Pouliot size contracts and they can focus only on BPA at the draft and not filling needs. I also believe that both the Pro and Amateur Scouting departments are an area in his sights to figure out how to improve them in the next year or so.

    I think the rebuild is about a year behind where it should be because they should have got rid of Tambo after 2012 and I think the lockout hurt the young guys’ development more than they realized. I wish they had at least interviewed Nill, but as good as he’s been, the Gonchar signing was not good, they are set up to be a contender, but that D is pretty mediocre, and while he had the balls to do the Seguin/Spezza trades, the key to doing them were the 2nd/3rd round draft picks, by his predecessor that panned out. That said I am happy that the other team in the West with lots of elite young talent (Colorado) has management that I believe are not strong, and most of the other GMs hired in the last two years, besides Nill, do not seem any better then MacT/Howsom.

  38. dawgtoy says:

    Younger Oil:
    While I agree getting a #2C would help this team immensely, as of now I’m giving MacT the benefit of the doubt, as he has done almost everything else right so far.

    The biggest thing about acquiring a #2C is that teams aren’t giving them out for free, and odds are getting one would open up another significant hole in our lineup that we would have to give up yet another significant piece to fill, and so on and so forth. It also hurts to give up a significant longterm piece for someone that will be pushed down the lineup by Draisiatl within a couple of years.

    Another point is that there haven’t been any trades of note since Spezza got traded on the first day of free agency. This may indicate that most teams aren’t wanting to make trades, let alone significant pieces like a #2C. Maybe MacT, like other GM’s, is waiting until training camp and preseason to evaluate what he truly has in Arco and Draisaitl, and will make decisions from there. After Arco’s great first 20 games last year, people were loving his play in the top 6, and were screaming for him to play #2C instead of Gagner. Ever since Draisaitl got drafted, people have been raving about the idea of having him on a soft minutes line with Yakupov.

    I think with all that MacT has done, we owe it to him to see how Arco and Draisaitl do over training camp and preseason. Hell, maybe even give them a handful of regular season games. If it is painfully clear that they won’t be able to get the job done, we lose some games as a result, and MacT does nothing, then he definitely deserves to be criticized. But as of now, I’m definitely willing to give the lineup we have now a chance to show what it is capable of.

    Yes, this all day. Thanks.

  39. Bruce McCurdy says:

    BG14:
    Great to see this ice bucket challenge. My girlfriends dad recently passed away after 6 years with the disease and the amount of support and donations have been incredible. He made a short comedy about his condition to raise awareness before he passed, if LT or anyone wants to check it out or share it on the Al Gore to get it some more exposure that would be awesome. It won an audiences choice award at an indie film fest as well as an award from ALS Canada for the effort. Here’s the link for anyone interested.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WX60P_GwS9c

    Thanks for that, BG.

  40. jp says:

    thejonrmcleod:
    How do we know that MacTavish didn’t give Petry a decent offer? Maybe the reluctance to sign a longer term contract mostly belongs to Petry? Petry might have been reluctant to sign longer than 1 year because (1) he saw how much money other defensemen had received as UFAs, and (2) playing for the Oilers hasn’t been much fun so far. I think it’s possible that if both Petry and the Oilers play well during the first half of the season, both parties might be willing to do an extension.

    I think there’s a decent chance this is true. Signing Gagner to an inflated deal under similar circumstances last summer didn’t go so well… Not having Petry locked up long term is a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily on MacT.

  41. jp says:

    Younger Oil:
    While I agree getting a #2C would help this team immensely, as of now I’m giving MacT the benefit of the doubt, as he has done almost everything else right so far.

    The biggest thing about acquiring a #2C is that teams aren’t giving them out for free, and odds are getting one would open up another significant hole in our lineup that we would have to give up yet another significant piece to fill, and so on and so forth. It also hurts to give up a significant longterm piece for someone that will be pushed down the lineup by Draisiatl within a couple of years.

    Another point is that there haven’t been any trades of note since Spezza got traded on the first day of free agency. This may indicate that most teams aren’t wanting to make trades, let alone significant pieces like a #2C. Maybe MacT, like other GM’s, is waiting until training camp and preseason to evaluate what he truly has in Arco and Draisaitl, and will make decisions from there. After Arco’s great first 20 games last year, people were loving his play in the top 6, and were screaming for him to play #2C instead of Gagner. Ever since Draisaitl got drafted, people have been raving about the idea of having him on a soft minutes line with Yakupov.

    I think with all that MacT has done, we owe it to him to see how Arco and Draisaitl do over training camp and preseason. Hell, maybe even give them a handful of regular season games. If it is painfully clear that they won’t be able to get the job done, we lose some games as a result, and MacT does nothing, then he definitely deserves to be criticized. But as of now, I’m definitely willing to give the lineup we have now a chance to show what it is capable of.

    Nice post, and I agree for the most part.

    But what’s up with the “Hell, maybe even give them a handful of regular season games” part? You do realize (I’m sure you do) that Arcobello and Draisaitl are penciled in (or is it pen?) as 2C and 3C/4C? They ARE going to be playing 25 prime minutes a night until one or both falls hard on their face.

    They might be able to handle it, but if they can’t MacT is going to have to to do some damage control, and fast. Maybe he does have a deal for a 2C in his back pocket, but this is a very dangerous situation if not. For a team that’s a long shot to make the playoffs as it is, throwing any points away needlessly isn’t a smart move.

    I’m optimistic the current C depth will be passable, but not at all confident.

  42. bassguy says:

    Hi Lowetide!..really enjoyed this series and your choices of Joni songs..Thanks!..I got you this link to read the Rolling Stone review from 1976..I have always thought this guy had panned the record and he does in a round about way..but after coming from “Court and Spark”and a substantial hit record this was deemed an appraoch to a more jazzy type of record..I love this record too!
    https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rollingstone.com%2Fmusic%2Falbumreviews%2Fthe-hissing-of-summer-lawns-19760115&ei=39fvU6W_ApDwoATduID4Bg&usg=AFQjCNEC-o13i3R66WCefPjzv_XrIgzDkQ

  43. Lowetide says:

    bassguy:
    Hi Lowetide!..really enjoyed this series and your choices of Joni songs..Thanks!..I got you this link to read the Rolling Stone review from 1976..I have always thought this guy had panned the record and he does in a round about way..but after coming from “Court and Spark”and a substantial hit record this was deemed an appraoch to a more jazzy type of record..I love this record too!
    https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rollingstone.com%2Fmusic%2Falbumreviews%2Fthe-hissing-of-summer-lawns-19760115&ei=39fvU6W_ApDwoATduID4Bg&usg=AFQjCNEC-o13i3R66WCefPjzv_XrIgzDkQ

    Huh. I used to read Rolling Stone religiously but honestly don’t remember the review. I grew to like Joni Mitchell’s early 70s stuff later, but it was on the radio so often growing up it wasn’t really necessary to go buy an album. I met a girl who loved her music later, so Blue and the others came into play. I grew up watching Canadian television in the 60s, so Circle Game etc were all known to me.

    Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira and Don Juan were out when I had enough money to buy records that weren’t necessarily in my wheelhouse. I liked her more because he voice was different, and lordy she’s always had great melodies, no idea what that fellow is talking about.

  44. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    LT,

    Which C line up do you rate better?

    RNH
    Arco
    Gordon
    DrySaddle

    Sedin
    Bonino
    Mathias
    Richardson

    Sorry WG, I read this way early today but was working and am just getting back to it now. I am a Sedin man and like Bonino, so would probably go with VAN for this season, but the day is coming. And I do think (as you go on to mention below) that Matthias and Richardson are not well suited to the role that Gordon will play. Horvat and others will be in the mix, I think the Canucks have more depth and options, so would prefer their group for this season—or the next Sedin injury.

  45. bassguy says:

    I agree that this guy is just too wordy and ‘trying” so hard to find something wrong with the album…good point about buying records when you had money(haha) but when you didnt hear the music on the radio!..what a concept(hearing music on the radio i mean)

    Lowetide: Huh. I used to read Rolling Stone religiously but honestly don’t remember the review. I grew to like Joni Mitchell’s early 70s stuff later, but it was on the radio so often growing up it wasn’t really necessary to go buy an album. I met a girl who loved her music later, so Blue and the others came into play. I grew up watching Canadian television in the 60s, so Circle Game etc were all known to me.

    Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira and Don Juan were out when I had enough money to buy records that weren’t necessarily in my wheelhouse. I liked her more because he voice was different, and lordy she’s always had great melodies, no idea what that fellow is talking about.

  46. raventalon40 says:

    Sorry to go off topic, but I was on the Wikipedia page for Chris Pronger (yeah, I know…) and I found the following tidbits interesting:

    Hartford Whalers

    He made his debut in the 1993–94 NHL season, playing 81 games for the Whalers and earning a spot on the NHL All-Rookie Team. However, Pronger was one of multiple Whalers that season with off-ice issues, being one of six Whalers players arrested for a barroom brawl in Buffalo in late March (the brawl also involved a Whalers assistant coach), and then being arrested for drunk driving in Ohio three days after his rookie season ended, leading some to consider Pronger impatient and immature.[4] On his rookie season, then-teammate Kelly Chase noted, “You could see [Pronger] had talent, but it was a ho-hum thing. He really didn’t have any direction. He was under a lot of pressure and just wasn’t ready for the responsibility. Of course that team wasn’t exactly overloaded with players who knew how to win” (the Whalers finished next-to-last in the Eastern Conference that season).[5] After a second season in Hartford, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues for star forward Brendan Shanahan on July 27, 1995.

    St. Louis Blues

    In the early years of his St. Louis career, Pronger played under coach and general manager Mike Keenan who insisted on Pronger improving his conditioning and reducing his mistakes. Late in his first season, the acquisition of Wayne Gretzky took pressure off of Pronger, which combined with Keenan’s practices, allowed Pronger to concentrate on improving his defensive play.[5]

  47. bassguy says:

    I forgot to mention LT, if you have never heard the album by Herbie Hancock ” River: the joni letters” its worth a listen(more than that!)..exceptional take of Edith and the Kingpin featuring the great Tina Turner!..I think there are at least 3 songs from hissing on this album so there you go!

  48. Hammers says:

    Lowetide: Sorry WG, I read this way early today but was working and am just getting back to it now. I am a Sedin man and like Bonino, so would probably go with VAN for this season, but the day is coming. And I do think (as you go on to mention below) that Matthias and Richardson are not well suited to the role that Gordon will play. Horvat and others will be in the mix, I think the Canucks have more depth and options, so would prefer their group for this season—or the next Sedin injury.

    Trouble is both of the twins need a huge bounce back year and after last year + older I’m not sure they will . No way they get back to leading the scoring but should post 60-65 points .For me its a toss up between them & us but both will just miss the playoffs .

  49. rickithebear says:

    Might want to look at the top 175 scoring last 2 years by forwards.

    look at scoring depth of each team:

    Top 25 – top 50 – top 75 – (1st line)
    top 100 – top 125 – top 150 – top 175 (2nd Line)
    Cummulative to 175

    CHI
    2 (kane, Toews) – 4 (Sharp, Hossa) – 5 (B. Richards) –
    6 (Saad) – 6 – 6 – 7 (Shaw)
    COL
    2 (Duschene, McKinnon) – 3 (Iginla) – 5 (O Rielly, Landeskog) –
    5 – 5 – 6 (McGinn) – 7 (Mitchell
    EDM
    2 (Hall, Eberle) – 2 – 5 (Perron, RNH, Purcell) –
    5 – 5 – 5 – 7 (Pouliot, Yakupov)
    BOS
    0 – 2 (Krejci, Bergeron – 4 (Marchand, Lucic) –
    4 – 5 (Erickson) – 6 (Smith) – 6
    STL
    0 – 0- 4 (Steen, Backes, Statsny, Oshie) –
    4 – 5 (Schwartz) – 7 (Tarasenko, Berglund) – 7
    PIT
    3 (crosby, kunitz, Malkin) – 3 – 3 –
    3 – 4 (Hornquist) – 5 (dupuis) – 5
    SJS
    2 (Thorton Pavelski) – 4 (Marleau, Couture) – 4 –
    4 – 4 – 4 – 4
    MIN
    1 (Vanek) – 4 (Parise, Pomm, Koivu) – 4 –
    4 – 4 – 4 -5 (Granlund)
    PHI
    2 (giroux, Voracek) – 3 (Simmonds) – 3 –
    3 – 6 (Lecavalier, Schenn, Read) – 6 – 7(couturier)
    NYR
    1 (St. louis) – 2 (Stepan) – 3 (Nash) –
    4 (Brassard)- 6 (Zucarello, Stempniak) – 7 (Hagelin)
    WPG
    1 (Wheeler) – 3 (Ladd, Little) – 3 –
    4 (Kane) – 4 – 5 (Perrault) – 6(Frolik)
    NJD
    0 – 1 (Jagr) – 3 (Elias Cammalerri) –
    3 – 5 (Ryder, Zajac) – 6 (henrique) –
    TOR
    1 (Kessel) – 3 (Kadri, JVR) – 3 –
    4 (Bozak)- 4 – 5 (lupul) – 5
    WSH
    2 (OVI, Backstrom) – 2 – 2 –
    3 (Brouwer)- 5 (Ward, Johansson) – 5 – 6 (Chimera)
    LAK 1 (Kopitar) – 1 – 2 (Carter) –
    4 (Williams, Richards) – 4 – 5 (gaborik) – 6(Brown)
    DAL
    2 (Seguin Benn) – 2 – 2 –
    3 (Spezza) – 3 – 5 (Hemsky, Eakin) – 5
    ANA
    2 (getz, Perry) – 2 – 2 –
    2 – 3 (Cogliano) – 5 (Kesler, Palmieri
    CAR
    1 (E Staal) – 1 – 2 (Semin) –
    4 (Skinner, J. Staal) – 5 (Tlusty) – 5 – 5
    NYI
    1 (Tavares) – 1 – 2 (Nielson) – 2 –
    2 – 2 – 3 (Bailey) – 4 (Conacher)
    MTL
    0 – 1 (pacioretty) – 2 (desharnais) –
    4 (parenteau, Plekanec) – 5 (Gallagher) – 6 (Galchenyk) – 7 (Eller)
    NSH
    0 – 2 (Neal, Riebero) – 2 –
    2 – 5 (cullen, Roy, Smith) – 5 – 6 (O. jokinen)
    TMP
    0 – 1 (Stamkos) – 1 –
    1 – 2 (Callahan) – 4 (Palat, Kilorn) – (Johnson
    DET 0 – 1 (Zetterberg) – 2 (Datsyuk) –
    3 (Franzen) – 3 – (Nyquist-
    BUF
    0 – 1 (Moulson0 – 2 (Hodgson) –
    3 (Ennis) – 4 (Gionta) – 6 (Stewart, Stafford)
    VCR
    0 – 1 (H. sedin) – 3 (D. Sedin, Vrbata) –
    3 – 3 -4 (Bonino) – 5(higgins)
    OTT
    0 – 0 – 1 (Turris) –
    4 (Ryan, Legwand, Macarthur) – 4 – 4 – 6(michalek, ZIbanejad)
    FLD
    0 – 0 – 1 (J. Jokinen) – 3 (Fillpula, Boyes) -
    4 (Flieschmen) – 5 (Hubredeau)
    CGY
    0 – 0 – 1 (Hudler) –
    1 – 2 (Raymond) – 5(Stajan, Backlund, Glencross)
    ARZ
    0 – 0 – 0 -
    3 (Boedker, Gagner, Doan) – 4 (Vermette) – 5 (Hanzal) – 6 (Erat)
    CBJ
    0 – 0 – 0 –
    1 (Johansen) – 2 (Dubinsky) – 7 (Hartnell, Letestu, Atkinson, Foligno, Anisimov) – 7

    It drives me nuts.
    Based on last 2 years production.
    1st line – 2nd line (Non prospect) scoring depth in the league.
    Yak, Nyquist…. have 2 years in but are not Veterans. (non Prospect)

    1. CHI 5 – 7
    2. COL 5 – 7
    3. EDM 5 – 7
    4. BOS 4 – 7
    5. STL 4 – 7
    6. SJS 4 – 4
    7. PIT 3 – 5
    8. MIN 4 – 5
    9. PHI 3 – 7
    10. WPG 3 – 6

    Bottom 5
    26. OTT 1-6
    FLD 1 – 5
    CGY 1-5
    ARZ 0-6
    CBJ 0-6

  50. jp says:

    rickithebear,

    I suspect this is interesting, but I honestly don’t know what’s going on above.

  51. rickithebear says:

    MacT changed 16 of 23 roster positions in 13 months.
    Added Established
    Perron Top 75 for MP
    Purcell Top 75 for Gagner top 100

    1 heck of scoring depth.
    5 hall, RNH, Eberle, PERRON, PURCELL
    2 – Yakupov, POULIOT
    with the Pouliot-XXX- Purcell paired in tampa for the 2nd tough ZS unit.

    Our concern is 2C from a young set-up center wjho was 2.00 PPG AHL
    and 14p in 24 games at his natural position.

    and A battle

    For 3C between
    a 6’5″ Center who scored like Semin, Malkin, Ovechkin @ 18
    and
    6’2″ 18 year old

    who will be protected by strong winger depth
    1- top 3 W
    1 top 15 W
    1 top 30 W
    1 top 40 W
    2 top 100 W

    Added a top 5 SAVE % in chance area goalie.

    Addded 4 strong Box protection Dmne.

    Ference
    Nikitin
    Fayne
    Aulie

    The only unsigned Dnman is the poor box protection Dmen.

  52. Deadman Waiting says:

    Younger Oil:
    The biggest thing about acquiring a #2C is that teams aren’t giving them out for free, and odds are getting one would open up another significant hole in our lineup that we would have to give up yet another significant piece to fill, and so on and so forth.

    This is exactly the problem. Until MacT sees the team on the ice as a group, with all the significant change already made, he has no idea which alternate wound he can best afford. One does not want to play blind man’s bluff no matter how great the need. When the GM discovers he fixed 2C at the expense of some other position, which has itself now become a tragic flaw of similar magnitude, and then he iterates with the whack-a-mole Action Jackson (in fine, aggressive, horse-trading GM fashion) pretty soon LT is posting a monthly update to the top fifty and half the prospects in our system have no continuity with the team—not even a prized coffee mug. That’s no way to captain a steady ship.

    Clearly MacT believes he’s got the chips to force an acquisition mid-stride, should the nearly inevitable come to pass. Once. It’ll come dear, but at a price we can afford if the move is exact on both sides of the coin: from the greatest surplus (presently a murky Horsehead nebula) to the greatest need (Supernova 1006 as recorded by the Abbey of Saint Gall).

    “The intensity of its light was a little more than a quarter that of Moon light.” Like all other observers, Ali ibn Ridwan noted that the new star was low on the southern horizon. Some astrologers interpreted the event as a portent of plague and famine.

  53. rickithebear says:

    jp:
    rickithebear,

    I suspect this is interesting, but I honestly don’t know what’s going on above.

    A look at point production last 2 years.
    top 75 1st line in cumulative totals
    top 175 2nd line Cummulative totals.
    Example Chicago.
    top 25 2 Toews and Kane 2 top 25
    top 50 2 Hossa, Sharp 4 top 50 2- 4
    Top 75 Richards 5 top 75 2 – 4 – 5
    top 100 Saad 6 top 100 2- 4- 5- 6
    Top 125 0 6 top 125 2-4-5-6-6
    top 150 0 6 top 150 fwd 2-4-5-6-6-6
    top 175 Shaw 7 tool 75 2-4-5-6-6-6-7
    We see they have
    5 top 75 1st line 2 -2-1

    Edmonton
    25 Hall eberle
    50 none
    75 Perron RNH Purcell
    2-0-3
    both teams 5 but Chicago superior production.

    Our 2nd line
    None
    None
    None
    2 Pouliot Yakupov
    5-5-5-7

    So while we are concerned about our C depth.

    We have the 3rd best non prospect Forward depth.
    Based on Last 2 years play.

    What is funny is when you look at unsigned UFA forwards
    There point production depth is Superior to CGY.

    We have been watching Honda civics and now we have 7 lambo’s and
    Some on this site want Ferrari’s
    Fuck sakes People.

  54. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Sorry WG, I read this way early today but was working and am just getting back to it now. I am a Sedin man and like Bonino, so would probably go with VAN for this season, but the day is coming. And I do think (as you go on to mention below) that Matthias and Richardson are not well suited to the role that Gordon will play. Horvat and others will be in the mix, I think the Canucks have more depth and options, so would prefer their group for this season—or the next Sedin injury.

    No worries LT, you’re not my answer monkey.

    I’d take Sedin over RNH, but the day is coming soon where it’s a pick em.

    Bonino is good, but he’s not established as a 2C. His WOWYs up the roster aren’t great. I think it may be a saw off with Arco if Arco can repeat his 2C results.

    I think the Oilers win the bottom 2 spot.

    It’s pretty close I think.

    VAN has better D.

    Oilers have better wings.

    Goalies should be close.

    I think those two are in a fight all year for 4th in the divison.

    If ANA gets some injuries maybe 3rd.

    I don’t like ANA’s D past Fowler, Lindholm and Beauchimin, and Beauchimin is getting old.

    I think this will be a very interesting year.

  55. Lowetide says:

    WG: Yep. I agree with all of that. Man I wish they could fall into something good. Just one time, a Pitlick showing up and adding another gear. Maybe it’s Arco. MacT likes him, and he played the position.

  56. jp says:

    rickithebear,

    OK, your use of 1-75 as 1st line and 76-175 as 2nd line was/is confusing. And the summing of the numbers (2-2-5-5-5-5-7) really threw me off, but I understand now.

    That is interesting. And the Oil really do have some scoring depth. Still only one C who’s ever scored 30 points in a season though!

  57. Deadman Waiting says:

    This post is out-of-band, by which I mean I’m taking on a larger topic than the daily thread, though it rotates though often enough.

    ———

    This morning I cracked open Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and finished it in a single go (rare for me, but King’s style is inherently narrative) and then pressed on to Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (2012) and barely made it through the preface; though it promises to be a decent read, he’s already blundered big time, in quoting Dr Amy Plowman, whose interpretation of monkey entropy doesn’t not add up to what she thinks it doesn’t add up to: monkey Shakespeare.

    Here is the BBC reporting the same story: A bizarre experiment by a group of students has found monkeys cannot write Shakespeare.

    A quick definition here. Any positive quantity multiplied by infinity yields infinity.

    But what if the positive quantity is extra, super duper closer to zero?

    Uh, let’s back up and revisit the word “any” as mathematicians grasp the concept. A “proof” is an argument that remains valid for extraordinarily comprehensive definitions of “any”. Mathematicians do not toy with the word “any”.

    So, notwithstanding that your particular group of crested macques displayed an inordinate preference for repeating the letter “s” we have not let the piss out of the word “infinite” just yet.

    To begin with, a disproof requires—as just the first stepping stone—that there exists some finite sequence of letters with a ZERO probability of ever being typed, for some highly distinguished value of zero bearing no similarity whatsoever to its infinitesimally nearest neighbour.

    Any set of finite strings contains a subset of strings of shortest length (possibly many, but all having the same minimal length). If you truncate the last letter off of any of these minimal strings, the resulting string has positive probability (otherwise the string you started with wouldn’t be considered minimal).

    Thus, there has to be contexts—sequences of letters already typed—where the probability of at least one particular letter occurring next is Stone Cold Zero.

    If there’s a key that the monkey never types … foreverandever … then every context has a next-key probability of zero for that key: this being a permanently and eternally forbidden key. But that’s a dopey experiment, so let’s assume the monkeys mash every key from time to time. There thus has to be some key with a non-zero probability in one context (probably most contexts) and a ZERO probability in another context (or many contexts). To discriminate context, one must model the monkey as a system with memory. Memory can be internal to the monkey, or it can reside on the printed page (to which the monkey refers) but memory of some kind must exist.

    It’s pretty easy to come up with stories about monkey cognition in which the monkey exhibits memory (it’s far harder not to). Perhaps every five minutes the monkey has a spaz fit and mashes a single key until ten repetitions come out. Then we note that the monkey remembers the clock (which inheres in the number of symbols recently typed).

    I think Pam is trying to argue this way: if it takes a memory-less monkey an infinite amount of time to type Hamlet and we have shown that a monkey with memory is less (usefully) random, and would take even longer than the infinity-gifted amnesiac monkey, then infinity isn’t enough. QED

    Uh, hello. Let’s try again.

    If every letter in Hamlet has a known non-zero probability in a memoryless generator, it’s an easy task to estimate the expected Hamlet completion length (there are tiny, mind-numbing corrections to the simple formula if the sequence is prefixed with a repeated substring, such as Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo; if the money types “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo B” you don’t go all the way back to Go).

    Once you add memory to an entropic source, it might well begin to perseverate in bursts of its favorite letter. So now it takes 1000 years for the holographic monkeys to type just the first word (we use holographic monkeys, because real monkeys might evolve) … infinity doesn’t give a shit—not until there’s some finite string followed by a hard, cold zero. I don’t know of many inductive demonstrations of a zero base rate, notwithstanding that a Heisenberg monkey will—in exceeding rare instances (entirely unlike zero)—just tunnel right on through the probability barrier.

    Mathematical inference is inherently Totalitarian. Many apparently reasonable premises are rendered specious by the totalitarian nature of proof, and I mean here “specious” in the metaphorical sense, as having any bearing on the reality from which the premise was originally extracted.

    It’s a non-trivial art form to write down any premise which is both formally true (in the hard mathematical sense) and still meaningful in human affairs.

    Arrow’s impossibility theorem is a good example, but note that its statement has more moving parts that this silly monkey business. (Note also that socially relevant “impossibility” theorems almost always have a sub-clause containing the word “deterministic”; determinism is something humans think we have far more often than we actually do, so we strive for this in our formal systems even though we always got along just fine without it before the first equation was penned—we tend to strive for determinism when what we’re actually after is to inoculate a political system against exploitable forms of bias, but then we find it impossible to stop ourselves from throwing “God does not play dice” into the resulting Martini on a toothpick.)

    ———

    That will have to serve for now as my first instalment in some comments I wish to direct to Staples recent article on Cult:

    Perhaps it’s because I’m trained in writing, journalism and semantics that this is an issue for me, and not so much for those trained in math. But the mistake the math guys are making on a semantic level is as basic as claiming 2 + 2 = 5.

  58. Lois Lowe says:

    Deadman Waiting,

    Great stuff, DMW.

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