Dad, Sam and the NHL’s return

by Lowetide

He was born in Radisson, Saskatchewan 1912, I expect he’d recognize it if he drove into town today. He’d be sitting in a Ford, or a Mercury, the country radio playing Hank Williams and about a quarter inch of dust on the dashboard. Dad was always working, so he always smelled like sweat mixed with varsol or soap, even when he put on a suit. He had sad eyes, and he lived a tough life before I met him, his whole generation did and that’s a fact. He worked the land, he built houses—a little crooked if you caught what Mom said under her breath—and he never swore. He wasn’t perfect, if he got mad he could spend the whole damn day being contrary. He didn’t really understand the idea of easing up, he beat our neighbour Alfred Toner so bad in cribbage one Saturday night he never came back to the house. They’d been playing for many years at the time.

Dad froze his hands somewhere along the way, the nails on his fingers were very thick, he said they didn’t hurt and I believed him. I stared at his hands all the time as a kid. He had some kind of nerve damage, maybe from the war, and sometimes when he woke up from a nap he left eyelid wouldn’t open for a time. Used to scare the hell out of me.

Dad lost a lot of his hearing in the war, got sun stroke hacking ties for the railroad and that put him in the hospital for the week. He and Mom always had coffee at 10 and 3, every day they were together, and would talk and laugh and make plans. I loved being around at coffee breaks, it was the time of day when both parents were most content and it had a calming effect on me.

Dad had a way about him, you knew when it was time to go to bed and visitors knew when it was time to go home. One time, when I was maybe 10, it was late and visitors were still at our house. I distinctly remember Dad saying “Lois, let’s go to bed so these people can go home” and everyone laughed and then the visitors left! Holy hell!

He was a loner, but he was kind to my Mom and never gave her a reason to doubt him. His Dad had abused his Mom, so he was sensitive to disrespect to my Mom and to demon liquor, we had none in our home I can recall. He never told me he loved me until he was dying at the Cross Cancer Institute, but I knew every day that he loved me.

My Mom called him “Dammit Ira” 10,000 times, and he called her darling every day. He wasn’t an easy man to have for a Dad, but he was a good one. I can still hear him laugh, I never saw him cry. He badly missed his brother Roy, who he lost in the war. I saw him get his feelings hurt just once, when my brother asked him if we could call him ‘the old man’ as that was a phrase used at the time. The things I fought about with my Dad were few, hair length was one and I’m here to tell you it was the silliest damn thing to argue about in the history of time.

He got a job at Husky when he really needed one, he never forgot it, not ever. He loved working for CN, he worked at a tough job past 60 and worried that CN would eventually retire him (and they did).

A few years after my wife and I were married, we came to visit (Mom and Dad lived in tower three Southgate at the time). Jo had terrible cramps and for some reason they didn’t have a hot water bottle, so Dad and I drove at 2am to the drug store on Jasper Avenue to pick one up. On the way back, driving his Ford, he told me I’d married the right girl and he was proud of me. My best day.

On the night he died (at Mewburn Veterans Centre), I was 31, we lived at West Edmonton Village, and both Jo and I got home late from work and tired. We’d been going up to see Dad every night for two weeks and I was exhausted. Jo put in some laundry and said she’d be ready to go in about 20 minutes, I said I’m not going. We had a helluva fight. She won. I got to Mewburn in time to say goodbye. You don’t choose your Dad, but all children deserve to have someone who loves them, protects them and raises them well. My Dad was a poor farmer from Saskatchewan, he did the best he could with what God gave him. I remain proud to be his son.

Call your Dad.

THE ATHLETIC!

The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of The Athletic, check it out here.

Samwise

Sam Gagner signed his big contract on July 22, 2013. Three years times $4.8 million, and that’s the day I believe he got himself dealt by the Oilers. His 2012-13 season didn’t go as planned. Gagner was 23 and in his sixth NHL season, a point he should have been taking over from Shawn Horcoff and protecting young Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by taking on the tough minutes. His five on five scoring rates had been solid (1.94 in 2011-12), his shot share was 48 percent and goal share 54.65 percent. Here’s what the centers did in 2012-13, leading in to contract negotiations:

Nuge was playing the big minutes, his most common linemates were Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and Hall was the feature player (3.05 five on five per 60) for opponents. So Nuge is 19, Horcoff is 34, Belanger is trying to catch Yakupov to give him what for, and Sam Gagner is 23 and didn’t play the toughest minutes. Not only that, his possession number was poor, meaning that the Kid Line OFF ICE possession number was an absolute disaster. Pretty sure the die was cast on a trade out of town before the ink was dry on that contract.

Gagner’s return in 2019-20 showed a different player. He’s no longer a center, no longer relied on to play big game moments, and his possession numbers were excellent compared to his fellow bottom-six linemates:

Could the Oilers bring Gagner back over Russell? I think it’s possible. He doesn’t PK, but is productive on the power play and his possession numbers have been rock solid for some time. Samwise learned the trade. I’m glad to have seen him again in a different point in his career. So many young Oilers had to move away and get a second opinion. Sam was one.

THE NHL’S RETURN

I’d love to see the NHL return for the playoffs and to see a champion receive Stanley. Only if it’s safe. The news that some NHL players have tested positive was somewhat expected, but if even one of them suffers long-term health issues, then shut it down. Seriously. My being entertained is worth exactly zero lives. I’ll watch Murder, She Wrote and old games until everyone is safe again. No Joe Hall this time. Not a one.

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geowal

My first Father’s Day, but I still need to call my Dad. Well said LT. Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there.

tileguy

You know, If you were to write a book, fiction, non fiction, combination of both, maybe call it “On the Farm”, I would buy it. I can see my fingers running through the dust on the dashboard and can smell the varsol. Your writing reminds me of Cam Cole.

Woodguy v2.0

Love your stories about your Dad.

Reminds me of my Dad.

Thanks LT

Greenberg

Thanks for the Dad story. A touching tribute, Prairie style. Leaves you grateful.

buck yoakam

Very touching and honest story LT..you certainly have a lyrical way of writing that reminds me of many a john prine tune…I am so grateful for this hockey escape daily!…Happy Fathers day to all today!…thanks again LT

leadfarmer

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads.

The players will be alright. It’s all the coaching staff and ancillary workers we have to worry about

dustrock

Happy Father’s Day all.

À great story as always LT.

Enjoy the day.

wheatnoil

Happy Father’s Day LT.

I didn’t know your dad and never met your kids.

But, I feel pretty confident saying he’d be proud of the dad you became.

Cheers. And to all the dads… biological and otherwise.

Oiler_Kiwi97

Thanks for sharing the story about your Dad Alan. He sounded like a top bloke and I can relate a lot of this to my Dad and Mum. I never got the chance to say goodbye to my Dad. I had been transferred away with work and hadn’t seen him for 3 weeks. He died at the age of 56 without seeing any of his grandchildren. As Lowetide says, Phone your Dad.

Harpers Hair

Al…you are a fantastic story teller.

I think you will really appreciate this Dad story I ran across yesterday…the Madness of Men.

https://classic.esquire.com/article/2010/6/1/the-madness-of-men

Jordan

Happy Father’s Day my friends.

Been lurking a lot the last few months, but have remained grateful for the people here, the discourse and the opinions. We’re all pretty awesome, and I feel lucky to be a part of the community.

Will be calling dad soon LT. After 10 am Mountain ( don’t want to wake him up too early on father’s day, right?)

Hope all of your days are full of love and peace (just he kind playing cribbage).

unca miltie

Thank you for another moving family story. The quote about lets go to bed and let these poor folks go home was famous in our home as well. I think that is a Saskatchewan thing. My dad was also a hard working farmer. He lived to be 98 and his mind was going at the end. He often told the story of how they moved from the dust bowl in Southern Saskatchewan to Nipawin in the early 30’s. Everything they owned including cattle in 2 rails cars. he also was a man to be admired. Would do anything to help his neighbors. I truly believe that those of us who grew up in Saskatchewan are very fortunate because we were trained to live the right way, Not something I have always done by the way but a high standard to try to live up to. Happy fathers day all.

jp

Very moving intro LT, just wonderful.

Happy Father’s day to all the fathers!

defmn

From Leavins Nine things.

https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/the-nhl-hub-competition-is-down-to-as-few-as-4-teams-and-the-edmonton-oilers-are-one-of-them-9-things/

6. Do not be surprised if sometime over the next few weeks Jesse Puljujarvi signs a 1-year extension with Karpat of the Finnish Professional League. Expect that such a deal would come with an NHL-out embedded. Puljujarvi’s recent “never say never” comment was taken by some to be a sign that he was open to returning to Edmonton. In reality was it merely an effort to rehabilitate his trade value?

And Happy Daddy Day to everyone.

geowal

My Dad is still farming 75 head of cattle at the age of 69. With School closed hrs getting a lot of help from my nephew, which is great. I can really relate to dusty dashes and cracked hands, sometimes to the bone. But he loved visitors, never one to shut the party down.

alberta bound edmonton

Thank you LT. Your story connects as my dad lived through the tough prairie years and his ongoing give to me is his role model of being a great dad. Hope I am living up to it. Again thanks on this Father’s Day

maudite

My 5 year old niece stayed at farm overnight so she could wake up and make grandad a hot chocolate.

Last photo my mom sent they two of them were outside filling bird feeders. He always seems to be a fan favourite for the younger years.

Short on words but long on action. I hope my dad never tells me he loves me anytime soon.

Thanks LT your description brought a tear to my eye. Prairie boys with rough handed prairie dads us definitely a thing.

jp

LT: “Could the Oilers bring Gagner back over Russell?”

I’d love to see Gagner return as long as it’s under $1M. Maybe he can earn a regular spot. If not he can fill in through the lineup as needed and be 13/14F otherwise. Good guy to have around IMO.

hungoverman

Thanks LT for your writing about your Dad!!! I just called mine. My now 17 year old son just made me breakfast and dammit it was good. He beat cancer and briefly died many years ago. Now…here he (and his sister) make me proud everyday of my life.
PS: Please never stop writing your family stories LT. I look forward to them every year.

godot10

defmn:
From Leavins Nine things.

https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/the-nhl-hub-competition-is-down-to-as-few-as-4-teams-and-the-edmonton-oilers-are-one-of-them-9-things/

6. Do not be surprised if sometime over the next few weeks Jesse Puljujarvi signs a 1-year extension with Karpat of the Finnish Professional League. Expect that such a deal would come with an NHL-out embedded. Puljujarvi’s recent “never say never” comment was taken by some to be a sign that he was open to returning to Edmonton. In reality was it merely an effort to rehabilitate his trade value?

And Happy Daddy Day to everyone.

I believe the Ruotsaleinan Rule applies. If Jesse plays a league game in Europe, other than just practices, he has to clear waivers before returning.

With the Ruotsalainen Rule, there is no NHL out clause unless all 31 NHL teams agree to allow him to pass through waivers.

OriginalPouzar

A few months ago, I was all for bringing Sam Gagner back as a utility guy that can play all over the lineup for apx $1MM.

I then got excited to have Anton Slepyshev in that role until that door closed.

Now I don’t wonder if Tyler Ennis isn’t the better option – a bit quicker with more offensive punch these days I think.

Either way – contending teams don’t have Patrick Russell on their opening night rosters – he’s a 15F/16F on a contending team, in my opinion.

OriginalPouzar

Yes, the health and safety of the players, coaches, personnel, etc. must be paramount.

Positive cases now, as the players are out and about in society.

When you take a step back and think about it, will the members of the quarantine bubble not be safer than those outside it?

I mean, right now, players are out and about in Florida, Arizona, etc. – won’t they be “safer” in a strict quarantine bubble subject to 100 page protocol document?

Woogie63

godot10,

EVERY one of our ELC must sign a second contract. All agents and young players must understand that business decision if they become an Oiler.

Failure to establish this rule, will mean more kids select to play elsewhere or demand huge second contracts, both are bad outcomes for a small market NHL team.

Jesse come an play for the Oilers or stay in Finland until you are irrelevant to the NHL. Those are the choices. Establishing this for all to see is much more valuable than trading you for a second round pick.

OriginalPouzar

defmn:
From Leavins Nine things.

https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/the-nhl-hub-competition-is-down-to-as-few-as-4-teams-and-the-edmonton-oilers-are-one-of-them-9-things/

6. Do not be surprised if sometime over the next few weeks Jesse Puljujarvi signs a 1-year extension with Karpat of the Finnish Professional League. Expect that such a deal would come with an NHL-out embedded. Puljujarvi’s recent “never say never” comment was taken by some to be a sign that he was open to returning to Edmonton. In reality was it merely an effort to rehabilitate his trade value?

And Happy Daddy Day to everyone.

If Jesse signs back in Karpat, to me, its a signal that he’s still interested in coming back to the NHL (and maybe the Oilers) this coming season.

Reason being is the “out clause” that will be included.

From accounts, there are KHL teams interested in Jesse and, if Jesse signed in the KHL, as oppossed to Liiga, it would preclude his NHL return during the term of the contract.

OriginalPouzar

godot10: I believe the Ruotsaleinan Rule applies.If Jesseplays a league game in Europe, other than just practices, he has to clear waivers before returning.

With the Ruotsalainen Rule, there is no NHL out clause unless all 31 NHL teams agree to allow him to pass through waivers.

You are correct but only if he plays in Europe prior to the NHL Regular Season starting:

13.23 In the event a professional or former professional Player plays in a league outside North
America after the start of the NHL Regular Season, other than on Loan from his Club, he may
thereafter play in the NHL during that Playing Season (including Playoffs) only if he has first
either cleared or been obtained via Waivers. For the balance of the Playing Season, any such
Player who has been obtained via Waivers may be Traded or Loaned only after again clearing
Waivers or through Waiver claim. This section shall not apply to a Player on the Reserve List or
Restricted Free Agent List of an NHL Club with whom the Player is signing an NHL SPC or is
party to an existing SPC with such NHL Club.

———-

As an aside, if he signed in the NHL and was loaned to Karpat then waivers wouldn’t be required upon return even if he played after the NHL season started. This likely is NOT an option here.

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar:
Yes, the health and safety of the players, coaches, personnel, etc. must be paramount.

Positive cases now, as the players are out and about in society.

When you take a step back and think about it, will the members of the quarantine bubble not be safer than those outside it?

I mean, right now, players are out and about in Florida, Arizona, etc. – won’t they be “safer” in a strict quarantine bubble subject to 100 page protocol document?

I was thinking the same thing. Wouldn’t the quarantine be one of the safest places in North America? And I know this sounds cold, but I’ll say it again, young people are more likely to get killed or injured driving down the highway than Covid

Woogie63

I like Sam Gagner- but Sail On.

Sam is probably a good 13/14 forward now.

At this stage of his career – I think Cooper Marody can fill that position and it is a good sign for all those NCAA college grads – it is a good choice to sign with Edmonton.

N64

OriginalPouzar: When you take a step back and think about it, will the members of the quarantine bubble not be safer than those outside it?

Absolutely. Unless it gets in and then that high contact cohort is a more dangerous place than the general community #benningeffect.

If they are very serious good chance they keep it out but much much harder if the service staff are living in high transmission.

Vegas? Round robin after 1 week in the bubble? One case slips through any of 31 phase 3 and best of luck. They need to be more serious. If the #benningeffect breaks loose players likely fine but for the playoffs and some staff not so much.

N64

OriginalPouzar: As an aside, if he signed in the NHL and was loaned to Karpat then waivers wouldn’t be required upon return even if he played after the NHL season started. This likely is NOT an option here.

And yet waivers eliminate his trade value during the season.Path should match your goal.

N64

defmn: https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/the-nhl-hub-competition-is-down-to-as-few-as-4-teams-and-the-edmonton-oilers-are-one-of-them-9-things

Interesting that from the player viewpoint 5 agents are pushing for the the Van+Edm solution. I don’t think the NHL can afford all in Canada, but interesting if they can at least push this from Vegas

defmn

N64: Interesting that from the player viewpoint 5 agents are pushing for the the Van+Edm solution. I don’t think the NHL can afford all in Canada, but interesting if they canat least push this from Vegas

Leavins is just speculating, of course, but he has a pretty solid track record.

Ancient Oilers Fan

OriginalPouzar: You are correct but only if he plays in Europe prior to the NHL Regular Season starting:

13.23 In the event a professional or former professional Player plays in a league outside North
America after the start of the NHL Regular Season, other than on Loan from his Club, he may
thereafter play in the NHL during that Playing Season (including Playoffs) only if he has first
either cleared or been obtained via Waivers. For the balance of the Playing Season, any such
Player who has been obtained via Waivers may be Traded or Loaned only after again clearing
Waivers or through Waiver claim. This section shall not apply to a Player on the Reserve List or
Restricted Free Agent List of an NHL Club with whom the Player is signing an NHL SPC or is
party to an existing SPC with such NHL Club.

Doesn’t the part of the section that starts ” This section does not apply…”mean that as long as he signs with the Oilers or any team they trade his rights to waivers are not required.

That was what almost got the Flames in trouble with the RFA offer sheet but they were saved when the Avalanche matched.

The only restriction would be there final signing date, the same as last year.

tileguy

OriginalPouzar:
Yes, the health and safety of the players, coaches, personnel, etc. must be paramount.

Positive cases now, as the players are out and about in society.

When you take a step back and think about it, will the members of the quarantine bubble not be safer than those outside it?

I mean, right now, players are out and about in Florida, Arizona, etc. – won’t they be “safer” in a strict quarantine bubble subject to 100 page protocol document?

Can you imagine what would happen if just one case pops up inside that bubble.

jp

OriginalPouzar: If Jesse signs back in Karpat, to me, its a signal that he’s still interested in coming back to the NHL (and maybe the Oilers) this coming season.

Reason being is the “out clause” that will be included.

From accounts, there are KHL teams interested in Jesse and, if Jesse signed in the KHL, as oppossed to Liiga, it would preclude his NHL return during the term of the contract.

Could a player negotiate an out clause in a KHL deal?

Otherwise I agree signing in Finland is better than the KHL. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a signal he’s interested in returning.

N64

tileguy: Can you imagine what would happen if just one case pops up inside that bubble.

The 2 risks are:

1 of the teams arrives with 1 missed asymptomatic case that spreads quietly and surfaces after the round robin starts. 1 week send short.

Introduction from service worker living outside bubble. Bus driver etc. Lots of precautions but same silent #benneningeffect. In this case host city matters

One case will likely be fine, but hard to imagine one case not being more.

Scungilli Slushy

Another beauty LT Happy Fathers Day to you and all.

Not the easiest day for everyone, for those for whom it isn’t, all the best to you.

Scungilli Slushy

leadfarmer:
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads.

The players will be alright.It’s all the coaching staff and ancillary workers we have to worry about

Thanks for the reasonable words, too few around this pox.

N64

Scungilli Slushy: leadfarmer:
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads.

The players will be alright.It’s all the coaching staff and ancillary workers we have to worry about

Thanks for the reasonable words, too few around this pox.

+1

Harlekiini

It would appear that there is a rumour that Puljujärvi is going to sign a contract with Kärpät some day soon. 1 year, with an option for NHL (which I thought every contract in finnish league automatically has, but now I’m not so sure).

Reja

jp: Could a player negotiate an out clause in a KHL deal?

Otherwise I agree signing in Finland is better than the KHL. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a signal he’s interested in returning.

He still has high hopes Holland will find him a landing spot elsewhere but Holland will not get pennies on the dollar. Jesse could very well see himself in the exact same circumstances one year from now and if he is l say he signs for the moola in the KHL until he’s a free agent. Jesse and his agent tried playing chicken with Holland big mistake, Jesse might of cooked his goose unless someone parts with a first ( Carolina) are something comparable this spring.

jp

JimmyV1965: I was thinking the same thing. Wouldn’t the quarantine be one of the safest places in North America? And I know this sounds cold, but I’ll say it again, young people are more likely to get killed or injured driving down the highway than Covid

I’ll agree about the bubble being safe. But is the bit about car accidents actually true? (I know it’s oft cited)

In Massachusetts there have been 45 covid deaths so far of people in their 20s and 30s.

Massachusetts has roughly 350 traffic related deaths each year but 20-25% of them are pedestrians. So we’re down to roughly 280 total deaths to people in cars, trucks, on motorcycles (if we use the lower 20% pedestrians).

The covid deaths have happened in 1/4 of a year. So there should have been about 70 traffic deaths in that time, compared to 45 covid deaths of 20 and 30 somethings. The traffic numbers are for all ages though, so I guess no more than half of them would be aged 20s/30s, fair? If we agree on half that’s 35 traffic deaths in 3 months vs 45 covid deaths in 3 months. Or 140 traffic vs 180 Covid in a year.

They’re in the same ball park, I’ll agree. Though the Covid numbers are also including a large scale shut down of society and the economy… (the traffic numbers are from earlier years so wouldn’t be reduced due to Covid).

Do you think this is really a reasonable comparison? You do I guess…

fries n gravy

geowal,

Congrats! I’m on Father’s Day year 2 and am happy to report that the nights do get better.

jp

Reja: He still has high hopes Holland will find him a landing spot elsewhere but Holland will not get pennies on the dollar. Jesse could very well see himself in the exact same circumstances one year from nowand if he is l say he signs for the moola in the KHL until he’s a free agent. Jesse and his agent tried playing chicken with Holland big mistake, Jesse might of cooked his goose unless someone parts with a first ( Carolina) are something comparable this spring.

Well we’ll see how it goes this year.

Holland has time to work a deal and Puljujarvi may still re-sign with the Oilers (I don’t think we can read much at all into him re-signing with Karpat, if that actually happens). If there’s no path back to the NHL for him by next off season I do agree a KHL deal is likely.

Bruce McCurdy

Wonderful post, LT, & hair-raising story, HH. Thanks, both, for sharing.

My dad passed in the fall of ’07, the year before I began blogging. I wrote about him twice on my first, solo blog, including this written on Father’s Day, 11 years ago today on 2009 Jun 21.

I revisit this realtively short (for me!) post every Father’s Day, & have chosen to share it again this year because of the comments about race which yet again dominate the news cycle. I was so fortunate to have such an enlightened man to be my Dad. I miss him still, even as many of his principles live on in me, my siblings, & our own kids.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads here. Especially you, GeoWal. That first one is special.

fries n gravy

My vote doesn’t count, but Gagner makes my 2020-21 Oilers team on a low-$ 1-year deal in a heartbeat.

Victoria Oil

LT, thanks so much for sharing your story about your dad as well as your gift of story telling.

By the way, when I first moved away from home, I lived in West Edmonton Village in 1982-83.

jonrmcleod

Very touching tribute to your Dad. Probably your best one yet. Honestly, it almost brought me to tears–and that’s a rare thing.

N64

The Djoker’s no precautions tour has CROWNED (pun very intended) a winner: covid19 nails the final.

Sunnyboy

Sam should retire, has made his stash, has a young family, be a good Dad. A stay in Bakersfield he does not need. No sentiment for playing here, NO.