Friday, May 05, 2006

 

and Backward...

You'd have to be crazy not to see the Sea of Red as a physical manifestation of groupthink right now: every time Darryl Sutter made a strange move or said something completely incomprehensible, Calgarians were there to offer unblinking Stepford-esque justifications. They crowed continually about their '04 Stanley Cup run, yet they nodded with every stroke of the knife as Sutter filleted the '04 roster.

That's Colby Cosh, dancing on the grave of the Flames' season. As usual when discussing anything Calgary, he's found a kernel of truth, then called it a cornfield.

For starters, the guy came in as coach halfway through what would be their 7th consecutive season out of the playoffs. He was named GM as well after that season, and in his first season as coach/GM, the Flames came within one win of the Stanley Cup. What would be crazy is not giving him some benefit of the doubt. Under his dictatorial watch, the Flames turned from a bad team into a good team. He deserves credit, period.

In this past season, Sutter's 2nd as coach/GM, the Flames were as good or better as the team that won the Western Conference. They had a slightly better regular season and a slightly worse playoff. Before the season, I looked at the changes in the lineup and came to this conclusion: the backup goaltending was worse, the defense was better, and the forwards were cause for concern. This, I'd say understatedly, was roughly borne out by events.

Was Sutter careless about ditching players from the West Champions' roster? I don't think so, but it's a good question. I've taken a look at the roster changes for four teams, comparing how many players were the same between their final game of the 2004 season and their first game of the 2006 playoffs. I chose Tampa Bay, because they won last time and were clearly worse this season; San Jose, because they were good last time and remain good; Edmonton, because they had a very similar regular season and better playoffs (and on account of the name of this site), and Calgary.
At first blush, it looks like Cosh is objectively correct, although injuries are a factor. Both Lombardi and Donovan were injured in the 2004 game, and certainly would have been in the lineup; likewise for Marcus Nilson this year, which would have put the Flames at 12/20. But then maybe if those guys are healthy Simon doesn't draw into one of the games (or maybe it's fair to fully count the turnover in pressbox guys). I'd give them a "score" of 11/20.

In other words, the real outlier here is the Lightning, which is a real eye-opener, and might independently bust Cosh's argument. It is freaking remarkable that they iced virtually the same team this season as when they won the President's Trophy, and yet were considerably worse. Everyone's temptation here is to attribute this to the loss of Khabibulin, but as mudcrutch has shown, that simply ain't the case: the Lightning were worse because they suddenly became (A) average offensively, and (B) worse defensively, particularly on the PK. It's stunning, really.

Hanging with mc79hockey for a second, Tyler frequently makes reference to my dismissal, or denial, of the fact that the Flames' record through most of the season was better than they deserved. Obviously I'm in no position at the moment to deny that he was right, but the change in the Lightning makes a point that I never did, at least well enough.

I was never indifferent about the Flames' goal differential because I thought they were immune to the statistical laws of nature. It was because past performance has limited use in predicting the future. There was no earthly way in September that you could have looked at the Lightning's '03/04 performance, and their limited roster changes, and the ages of their top players, and the changes in the rules & enforcement, and concluded that their scoring relative to the league would drop by half a goal per game. And yet it happened: they were mediocre all year, right up until being bounced from the playoffs.

I doubt that there's a bigger fan than me of the work Tyler has done on his site (this is a whole other post). But all statistical analysis is based on shit that has already happened. I didn't think that the Flames G.D. at midseason was necessarily an intractable feature of the roster. As it happens, it looks like it was, but it wasn't necessarily so, as Marty, Vinny & friends have amply demonstrated.

Anyway, back to Sutter! The glaring roster losses, at least at forward, were Conroy and Gelinas. I loved Conroy, and thought he was allowed to leave (as a UFA) too casually, but it was defensible, at least at the time. He got offered a 4-year, $12.6M contract by the Kings, after a season in which he scored 8 goals in 66 games. This was before the CBA/salary rollback, and no clubs had too great a clue as to what their financial position would be after the lockout. (Laff from the Past: radio broadcaster Peter Maher said frequently during the lockout, somewhat plausibly at the time, that "no team would be hurt by the lockout as much as the Calgary Flames"). Today, you look at Conroy's skills, and intangibles, and his $2.39M/yr contract and say, "Hell, how did we let him go?" As for Gelinas, if you know a guy's going to score three series-winning goals, you sign him at any price, but without knowing that, it's a lot less obvious.

ALL THIS SAID: Darryl Sutter made one terrible error that I'm not willing to give him a pass on simply because "hindsight is 20/20". The whole fooferaw with Phillipe Sauve in late January, that ended with he and Steven Reinprecht being traded away for Brian Boucher and Mike Leclerc, was a horrible disaster in every respect. Actually, it wasn't one error, it was some or most of the following errors (a few are mutually-exclusive, but you should be able to sort that out):
- Coach Sutter humiliated a young player in the media
- Coach Sutter called out a player without then giving him a chance to redeem himself
- Coach Sutter lied about the work ethic of a player
- Coach Sutter talked down the value of a potentially desirable player in advance of a trade
- GM Sutter compounded his coach's ill-advised diatribe by trading the player away
- GM Sutter traded away one of his better offensive players for a guy who couldn't even make the playoff lineup
- GM Sutter lied to the fans about why the trade was made (to improve their backup goaltending)
- GM Sutter downgraded the team at forward in order to make a meaningless change in backup goalie
- Coach Sutter failed to get the best out of, or failed to give an opportunity to, an experienced playoff-tested forward who ought to have been a more useful player
- Coach Sutter failed to give his (upgraded!) backup goalie any more starts (3 in 33 games) than the previous one, denying his All-Star starting goalie some (and I don't care what anyone else says about this) much-needed breaks
- Coach Sutter and GM Sutter made the team worse. Up to and including that blowout loss to the Avs that set Sutter off on Sauve, the team was 29-20. Since, they went 20-20. This is slightly more obvious to (say) baseball fans, but the difference between a .600 Win% and a .500 Win% is significant.
- And finally, Sutter might have done himself, and the team and the organization, not-easily-reparable harm. Part of the attraction, such as it is, of playing for Sutter and the Flames is Sutter's consistency: clear expectations and fair treatment, for everyone, all the time. What Sutter did to Sauve (and Reinprecht) might make both potential free agents and current Flames players less attracted to being part of the organization. Especially in a cap era, with a fixed sum of money available to the Players, this stuff is important.

I don't know where the Flames are going from here. It sounds like better than even-money that Sutter will assume the duties of GM only in the coming weeks, and hand the coaching reins over to someone else (probably Jim Playfair). If you're guessing that I'm in favour of this move, you're right.

I think Sutter is a good coach; better than average in a league with a lot of good ones. But the laundry-list above is basically the ne plus ultra of What Bad Things Can Happen When The Same Guy is Both GM and Coach. The best and easiest way to mitigate any other (or further) harm is to promote Jim Playfair and announce loudly and clearly that he's ready, and it's His Team.

Developing...

Comments:

OK, so leaving aside Tampa, you chose to compare the Campbell Conference Champs to a) a team that missed the playoffs in '04 and b) a team that was dying the piteous death of a gutshot Rottweiler and then had a mass trade for Joe Thornton dangled unexpectedly in front of it. Oh, but in roster consistency they still came out ahead of the team that was one win (though a million lightyears) away from the Stanley Cup. Stack the deck much?

I also find the sudden embrace of nihilist epistemology fascinating. Sure, Mr. Hume, maybe the world is quintessentially unknowable because we only have data from the past to guide us, but if that's so then you cannot possibly go around defending Sutter on the grounds that his roster moves looked good at the time. What, if not accumulated experience and principles formed from them, would anyone use to make such a judgment?

Oh yeah, and there are these twin peas in the mattress: the roster moves didn't look good to everybody when they were made, and the people who criticized them were right in the end. Was this dumb luck? I dunno: seems to me that Calgary's season died of impoverishment at centre and of heart disease. Studies show that nine out of ten family physicians recommend Gelinas™ and Conroy™ as a gold-standard treatment.

I fear that far from refuting my point, your case would rather seem to drive it home.
 


Hee Hee.
 


Well there's plenty here to agree with but I also got some quibbles. First, I'd agree that the Flames were 'constructed' (using the term to describe the myriad details, not all of them purposeful or willed that resulted in the Flames roster) in the waning days of a doomed CBA that handcuffed small market Canadian (remember the .66 dollar!) teams that were having trouble competing against the large market teams. The Flames couldn't compete with talent so they brought in DSutter and his basic strategy of 'don't work hard, work harder' mindset, that the existing Flames were predisposed to buy into PLUS the dominant goaltender that probably was Sutter's shining moment of GMsmanship when they got Kipper. Now it must be said that the team did have success and did have some magic and were basically one disallowed goal from holding the Cup, BUT NOW, we exist in a different universe, one where Calgary is suddenly a big market(or at least a cap max capable) team, the dollar is .90, new rules encourage speed not strength, and the Flames are out of step. Where to go from here? Unfortunately I think Sutter is a better bench boss than a GM, but I could be wrong about that. Can GM Sutter adapt to begin to draft, sign, and trade for the kind of players that the new system demands? I don't know, but I'd agree he's earned a shot at it. But for the record, the reason we got bounced from the first round wasn't because we didn't have Reinprecht. In retrospect Conroy was probably synergistically more important than we knew, and Gelinas caught lightning in a bottle for one glorious run, but I agree that he wasn't a likely candidate to do so.
 


Geez... you "leave aside" a primo example of how roster consistency is no guarantee of anything, and I'M the one who's stacking the deck. Rich... I could also point out that the San Jose team that was "dying the piteous death" was doing so with a roster substantially similar to the one that achieved a 2nd place finish and conference final placing. Oh, and that they weren't actually much better until about 40 games AFTER the Thornton trade. If I'm missing your proof (example, anecdote, anything) that "keeping a good team together" is objectively worth anything at all, go ahead and clue me in again.

There's a lot to scoff at in this comment, but mainly I have to first wonder: what part of the word "limited" is confusing to you? You seem to be reading it as "no", and thus have taken "past performance has limited use in predicting the future" as a sign of nihilism.

This is nutty; it appears that you are the one cherry-picking data out of the past to suit your biases, rather than looking at all the available information (accumulated experience, etc.). How else to account for your belief that roster decisions should be made based mostly on one very good 26-game stretch, where the Flames went 15-11?

I'm also not at all clear why this season's Game 7 loss proves that anyone who criticized Sutter's roster moves was "right". Where would the Flames have finished with Conroy in the lineup, God? Related: I'm presently holding a rock that keeps grizzly bears away. Perhaps I could interest you in purchasing this rock?

I almost can't believe that I'm responding to an argument from Colby Cosh that my team's problem was that it lacked heart. Next up: Cosh uninstalls MS Excel from his computer, discovers a love for five-tool baseball players.
 


I realize they don't go heavy on Bayes in engineering, but you do realize that for your analogy to work, you'd already have to have been eaten by the grizzly bear immediately after selling the rock? Did you want us to gather up your bleached bones and put "Non, je ne regrette rien" on your tombstone?

Also, who had "about 40 hours" in the pool for "first time a Calgary fan attempts to shove Game Seven down the memory hole"? Look in the mirror and say the words, Fenwick: "My team gave up."
 


Well, I shoved game 7 down the memory hole about 40 seconds after the final buzzer, but whatever.

Last year's Flames were a game 7 overtime goal from martin gelinas from standing in the same spot this year's Flames are now. I don't know what it is about my team, but they have been jittery in the first round since they were playing in the Omni in downtown Atlanta. I've little doubt that had they managed to eke their way past Anaheim they would have got back past these mysterious first round jitters, began playing their game and kicked the snot out of the Oil in round 2. Then we'd all agree that Sutter is a genius and buy some more car flags (now 50% off, stock up for next season).

In retrospect, Sutter probably wasn't as brilliant as we all thought in the summer of '04; but he's probably a smarter hockey man than we are giving him credit for during the mourning of '06.

This team just needs to sign a shooter or two and it certainly has the resources to do that. Hopefully GM only Sutter will do that now.
 


More importantly, has anyone seen or heard from jhuck lately? The boy seems to have gone quiet.

My theory is that he's in some parallel universe where Jarmoe earned his money this year, but I'm open to alternatives.
 


More importantly, has anyone seen or heard from jhuck lately?

I'm thinking that his mum disconnected the intarweb in her basement.
 


Cosh, it's like an uncle in a Flames jersey molested you as a child or something, because your typical powers of reasoning and observation seem to vanish at the sight of the Flaming C. Have you noticed, by any chance, that your Game 7 take that "the Ducks looked dreadfully soft" or that "14 of the other 15 teams in the playoff tournament, and many of those that were not invited, could have beaten the Quacks tonight" has been echoed by precisely no one on any TV program, website, blog, anything? You're picking the Avalanche to win the next series now, right -- after that soft Ducks performance?

These are clues that you aren't able to look at anything related to the Flames rationally, and this isn't even to mention your preference of seeing the Flames lose to the Oilers win. Seek help, or maybe that mirror.
 


...he's found a kernel of truth, then called it a cornfield.

Well, exactly. I think that can be the running theme song of Cosh's Oiler analysis for the rest of these playoffs.

Non-Cosh comment: Chris Pronger had a great first round!
Cosh: Pronger should win the Hart, the Norris and a Golden Glove!

The thing is — as someone already pointed out — the Flames won in overtime in Game 7 in the first round in 2004, and this year they lost in Game 7 of the first round. It's by mere inches they didn't advance, so a complete overhaul isn't necessary. Conroy and Gelinas are older players and weren't nearly as effective as in past years.

And, as much fun as the Oilers are having with this celebratory overkill, I think the Ducks would have beaten them in the first round had they matched up.
 


And, as much fun as the Oilers are having with this celebratory overkill, I think the Ducks would have beaten them in the first round had they matched up.

Who says that people in Toronto aren't disconnected from reality?

The Oilers took everything that Detroit could throw at them and wiped them out in six. It's pointless to get into the whole "X would have beat Y" but we've got two points of evidence here:

1. Edmonton beat a better team in the first round than Anaheim did (there was no Wiggumesque point where you could say that you could actually see the Wings give up). Your own blog has been the site of heated discussion relating to how Detroit was good this year.

2. Edmonton went 4-0 against the Ducks this year, outscoring them 17-11. Three of the beatdowns were after the Ducks pulled their shit together.

Opinions are like assholes but facts aren't. There aren't a lot of facts that back up your bald assertion that the Ducks would have beat the Oilers.
 


You're right Calculator; no one is greater than the Oilers. No one could beat them in a first-round series either. My apologies for suggesting such.

Edmonton beat a better team in the first round than Anaheim did.

You win one playoff round and suddenly this team is invincible! The Oilers beat the best team in the league in one round so therefore... no faulty reasoning will follow... Edmonton is twice as good as all remaining playoff teams. They're in fact better than any assembled team of hockey players, living or dead. MacTavish even cut the undead Joe Malone in training camp.

Ah, wild assertions. Even more plentiful than opinions or facts — but not assholes — and certainly around here.

If only Vancouver could have gotten three more points over that 2-5-1 final eight-game stretch. How different this all would be.
 


Three of the beatdowns were after the Ducks pulled their shit together.

I'm not really into this fantasy debate either, but I will dispute this one fact.

I think the second game of the season series, Giguere was the exact opposite of 'pulling his shit together'.

ANA, V. VISHNEVSKI, 08:50 - Boarding (maj)
ANA, V. VISHNEVSKI, 08:50 - Game misconduct
ANA, S. NIEDERMAYER, 09:13 - Cross check
ANA, J. GIGUERE, 10:17 - Roughing
ANA, J. GIGUERE, 10:45 - Misconduct (10 min)
ANA, J. GIGUERE, 10:45 - Roughing
ANA, J. GIGUERE, 10:45 - Tripping

And the other two Oiler victories involved a shootout and a last-minute goal.

Other than that, I abstain from comment.
 


Edmonton went 4-0 against the Ducks this year, outscoring them 17-11. Three of the beatdowns were after the Ducks pulled their shit together.

Speaking of which, what was Calgary's record against Edmonton this year again?**

So... by this logic, there would have been a Battle of Alberta beatdown of the Oilers in the second round had the Flames beat the Ducks?

** The Flames were 5-1-2. Which is odd considering the Oilers are such an obviously superior team that the Ducks wouldn't have had a chance against them. I really can't understand it, to tell you the truth. Although, I don't have my calculator with me.
 


You win one playoff round and suddenly this team is invincible!

It's more sound than the "Count the guys from the Okanagan and that team's better" approach. I'm not saying that the Oilers are indomitable, only that the Ducks didn't really enjoy much luck against E-town this year and the Oilers took down the better team in round 1. You wrote a lot of words here without challenging either of those assertions. You also said a bunch of shit I didn't say. That's Toronto Star reporting my friend...I expect more from the Globe.
 


So... by this logic, there would have been a Battle of Alberta beatdown of the Oilers in the second round had the Flames beat the Ducks?

Not necessarily. But then, only a moron would fail to acknowledge that the Oilers didn't achieve much in the way of success against the Flames this year so different grounds would have to be found upon which to base the argument. In this case, the Oilers played two games against the Flames with a goalie and split them. No such caveat applies to Anaheim.
 


I think the Sharks have more Okanagan guys than the Oil, and I picked Edmonton.

No such caveat applies to Anaheim.

Not only does it apply, that caveat has a name: Ilya Bryzgalov.
 


Gentlemen, gentlemen. Why get so bent out of shape over hypotheticals when you can just wait a couple of weeks for the impending Oilers-Ducks Conference Final?
 


Now that is a fantastic point.
 


Mirtle, learn from this... Stick your neck out with a real opinion and you'll get killed with it.

Here's hoping the editor business goes down better for you than your comments on this thread.

By the way, the Flames are heading in dangerous territory. They're talking about spending more money to fix an obvious problem of not being able to draft and develop decent scoring forwards. Is the dismal offence going to fixed by a Teemu or a change in coaching philosophy?

Flames fans want the club to simply spend more money going after aging free-agents and wasting draft picks signing RFA's to offer sheets. Sounds like a big market mentality to me. Matt is right afterall, this is a big market now.

There aren't a whole lot of decent goal scorers coming out of their system anytime soon. Keep the draft picks Sutter.
 


I admit I can't account for how impressed everyone was by the Ducks in Game Seven; I gather that an awful lot of people tuned in for the second period and skipped the first. However, most of the world does agree that Calgary turned in a bafflingly pathetic performance. There is absolutely no contradiction between thinking that Anaheim is a good team--I've devoted a thousand words or so to explaining on Covered in Oil that I do regard them as a good team--and thinking that Anaheim backed over a corpse into the second round.

I wouldn't, however, dream of denying Fenwick access to the new, exotic Southern Alberta conventional wisdom that Game Seven was a glorious struggle fought with all the bitterness and sacrifice of World War I, and that the Flames succumbed to an unstoppable talent juggernaut. Apparently Mirtle, despite his troubles recognizing humourous hyperbole, is willing to endorse this view.
 


There's one way to account for you giving the Flames more blame and the Ducks less credit than everyone else Cosh, and I think we've already covered that ground.

The Flames got waxed in Game 7. I'm not clear why you're unsatisfied by this sentence, and I'm not clear what underlying truth it fails to acknowledge. I was critical of Sutter in the original post, but not enough apparently. I guess I'm supposed to be telling anyone who'll listen that "Sutter cost us the Cup by not bringing Conroy and Gelinas back". Is that about right?

I watched the game too - the Flames were the better team for roughly the first 5 minutes, and the Ducks for roughly the final 55. Again, I'm not clear what you're claiming is the enduring truth of that fact.

My team gave up? Get serious. Also, I just fired up the VCR, and watched the last 5 minutes of the 2nd period of EDM-DET Game 6 amongst the supportive Reachall fans. THE SOUND ON MY SYSTEM MUST BE REALLY CRAPPY OR SOMETHING. PROBABLY A RECORDING PROBLEM.
 


DON'T WORRY, THE HEADS ON YOUR HISTORY-REWRITER ARE CLEAN AS A WHISTLE.
 


Good stuff Cosh. This guy has been on fire! Teach us the way.
 


After watching Anaheim absolutely dismember the Avalanche last night, I'm pretty sure that James called it right that they would have dismembered the Oielrs too, had they met in the first round. Indeed, the Ducks appear to be the class of the Conference right now.

I'm still scratching my head about how the Oilers beat the Wings. I know some of the memory rewriters here believe it resulted from utter dominance by the Oil from one end of the ice to the other, but I seem to recall it being more along the lines of "We stole a game Detroit should have won". "Once again we stole a game Detroit should have won"'. "And again". "Whoops, that's four we stole, and now the Wings are out".

I don't know how many times the Oilers can beat the Sharks using that strategy. But my unhappy experience with the Ducks over the last two weeks is you can't do it four times against that team.
 


Here's hoping the editor business goes down better for you than your comments on this thread.

I'd say it's going rather well.

All I'm trying to say here is that this Oilers are God hyperbole has gone a little overboard. (Although this probably isn't the friendliest forum to spread that message.)

Of the four teams we're kicking around here — Calgary, Anaheim, Detroit and Edmonton — the Red Wings had the worst first round.
 


Of the four teams we're kicking around here — Calgary, Anaheim, Detroit and Edmonton — the Red Wings had the worst first round.

I don't know how you can say this. Is it because they went out in six? I recall the Wings putting up a tough fight in I'm certainly not making the argument that the Oilers dominated the Wings-my position has been clear all along that the Oilers benefitted from some breaks that the Wings didn't get. I'm not completely with Cosh on the Anaheim sucked, Calgary sucked worse wagon but the Flames offence was simply pathetic in the last two games. You can't say that about Detroit.

That said, I agree with Sacamano-we'll get to see how this plays out in the conference finals.
 


Mainly because Legace was rather mediocre and had his little meltdown. (Thinking about it now, you wonder why, perhaps, they didn't think about going with Osbad. They did, after all, win a Cup with the guy.)

Anyway, yes, the conference finals will decide this. I suppose that means I was killed with my opinion. (Not that I'm outnumbered here or anything.)
 


I'm still waiting for you to actually point to any "Oilers are God hyperbole" in the material we're actually discussing. You mentioned the joke headline from a week-old entry--one in which I actually proceeded to dump about a metric ton of offal on the Oilers' playoff performance. And, again, in the entry Matt is actually responding to, I talk almost entirely about the Flames--concerning the Oilers organization, there is literally nothing but criticism in the piece.
 


(Oh, yeah, and I also said the Flames had a good track record of developing talent and that they might be better next year. Clearly I'm just incapable of being fair.)
 


And, again, in the entry Matt is actually responding to, I talk almost entirely about the Flames...

You're right — how in the world could that be coloured by the fact you're an Oilers fan?

When you say things like "14 of the other 15 teams in the playoff tournament, and many of those that were not invited, could have beaten the Quacks tonight" it's just fanboy garbage. Which is fine, but let's not pretend it's not.

Your Oiler analysis has been, for the most part, very good. (As you'll see, the 'Oilers are God' statement wasn't directed at you.) And while Pronger's season wasn't even deserving of a Norris nomination (payback for a slow start, perhaps?), he's looking like a Conn Smythe candidate. You were right there.
 


And of course it's not like you have any particular reason to jump in with the Flames fans who are retrospectively inflating the reputation of the Ducks. Oh, wait, didn't you pick the Ducks to go to the conference final?

Being a fan is a powerful source of bias, but so is staking your rep on an underdog at the outset of a playoff tournament. The pick looks good right now because Anaheim got seeded against Colorado, but don't sit there and tell me the Ducks played like the fuckin' '85 Oilers in that game seven. Warning: your cloak of objectivity doesn't do up all the way in the back.
 


Warning: your cloak of objectivity doesn't do up all the way in the back.

I said the Ducks were good at the outset, and they've played that way. I've only continued to say they're better than many think they are because I think that's actually true.

Game 7 wasn't a model of the way that team can play, no, but then again, it didn't have to be. It's commonly acknowledged Anaheim was the better team throughout that series, and I doubt it even goes to seven if Giguere doesn't flame out like that.

Your statement seems to mean teams like the Islanders and Maple Leafs would have beaten the Ducks in that Game 7. Hyperbole again?

Besides, half of my picks were garbage anyway (see: Flyers), so the "rep" is gasping for air as it is.

You know, all of this is rather silly, as I think almost all of the Western Conference playoff teams were within striking distance of one another. We might as well be arguing bitterly over coin flips.
 


We might as well be arguing bitterly over coin flips.

Way to give away my summer plans for my site.

Asshole.

I do want to know James though, who the "Oilers 4-eva!!!!11!" bloggers are. Cosh has pointed out instances where he's ripped them. I just spent 4 months documenting the epic suck of their goaltending and now say that things are a coin flip. The CinO boyz are pretty hard on them from time to time as well.

Just who are the fanboyz you're alluding to here?
 


I've heard 'second-best team in the Conference' a few too many times, and it's not coming from the non-Oiler sect.
 


I've heard 'second-best team in the Conference' a few too many times, and it's not coming from the non-Oiler sect.

I've made that argument. It's a reasonable argument backed up by numbers. I'm not exactly sure why you would take issue with it. Basically, there's no right answer for this stuff outside of the really obvious stuff-Detroit was the best team in the conference. It wasn't an argument I was making before Lowe fixed the goaltending.

I can't help it if the non-Oiler sect (and let's be honest-the non-Oiler sect ain't that large) just counts the famous guys on San Jose or Colorado and concludes that they're better.
 


Your statement seems to mean teams like the Islanders and Maple Leafs would have beaten the Ducks in that Game 7. Hyperbole again?

Er, the Leafs actually did pretty well once they decided to give Aubin a shot.

Your argument is that you can't possibly have exhibited a bias in favour of the Ducks because your belief that they are good is honestly formed. This is hilarious because (a) it's irrelevant to the issue, (b) if your pre-playoff prediction was predicated on Giguere falling apart and Bryzgalov being terrific, you probably should have mentioned that, and (c) get a load of who's asking to be judged by what he actually said. Intellectual courtesy cuts both ways, champ.
 


You're saying I have something substantial invested in Anaheim — and am, therefore, overstating their abilities — and I'm saying I don't. A hard argument for you to win, no?

All I've been saying is that the Ducks deserved more respect and the Oilers less on this forum. If that's a discourtesy to you, my apologies.

This... Well, exactly. I think that can be the running theme song of Cosh's Oiler analysis for the rest of these playoffs.... was wrong. You've got the Edmonton side of things down well; it's the other teams being undercut. (I mean, I get it, it's poking fun at Calgarians, etc., but don't get so testy when it's pointed out.)

Speaking of which... where's Matt anyway? I have a feeling this site became The Battle of Edmonton and Whoever They're Playing ten seconds after the Flamers burned out in Game 7.
 

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