Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Kevin Lowe and the Pretty Darn Good 6 Years at the Helm

All you big-rigs out there need to slow your engines.

Losing Smyth sucks, there are no two ways about it. I didn't become an Oilers fan until 1998, and consequently my Oilers Experience is pretty much defined by that big goofy grin and greasy mullet. I love the guy.

And I'm pleased as hell to see that so many other fans are saddened by the trade -- it seems to me that this is the proper reaction from fans when they lose a "heart and soul" guy from their community. To be honest, it depresses me when fans take up the "it's a business" torch and bury their emotions in order to evaluate trades based on dollars saved, cap room, strength of draft years, and all kinds of other impersonal considerations.

Having said that, I'm forced to take up this torch myself in order to defend Kevin Lowe.

In short, I think Matt's post, and Avi's quotation, are pretty much nonsense.

Let's start with Avi's concerns about the management of the team:
Baloney. You can't pin drafts 15 years ago on the current management. As Lowetide points out, in the K-Lowe Era (i.e, since 2000) the Oil have been dynamite at the draft table.
Yep, losing Todd Marchant was a real kick in the cajones. Look, I think it is pretty fair to say that Lowe was one of the best in the league at anticipating the CBA and putting his team in a position to capitalize on the early post-CBA enviroment. The team was young, talented, fair priced, and there was a big pot of money available to sign Peca, Pronger, Spacek, Roloson, etc. They did, afterall, make it to the Cup Final last season. Certainly this season was a disaster, but I'm not sure it can be entirely pinned on "management" as opposed to injuries and the Pronger Screw Job.
What total nonsense! They didn't "lose" them, nevermind lose them owing to some sort of CBA-related issue. The Pronger and Smyth trades weren't about money, folks. Or were you talking about Peca and Samsonov?
This one I'll give him partial marks for; but I'll note that it doesn't seem totally unreasonable to try to keep together a team that was one game away from a Stanley Cup, even if it means slightly overpaying to make it happen.

As for Matt's argument that K-Lowe is "timid" -- I'd be a whole lot more convinced if he could point to any of the last Stanley Cup winners and demonstrate that their greater success was a result of their GM "taking risks". What, exactly, were those risky moves that let them climb the ladder? And did the Oilers make it to the Stanley Cup final only in spite of an, apparently, "timid" management strategy? Afterall, there was only one team last season that was more successful than Edmonton (hint: it wasn't the one run by that crazy risk taking Sutter -- I'd certainly classify signing Jeff Friesen to a contract in which he is expected to play ice hockey a risky endeavour).

I'm not even sure I understand what it means to be a risk taker. Was signing Peca and Pronger risky? Was taking Juri Dopita and Adam Oates risky? Was playing hardball with Comrie risky? Was waiting until last year's trade deadline in order to get a better deal on a goaltender and hoping your team is still in position to capitalize, risky? Was trying to do the same thing this year with defensemen risky? Would signing Smyth to a big, fat, long contract in order to keep him around be risky?

All I know about draft picks and emerging talent comes from Lowetide, who said that "Kevin Lowe got an excellent return today" and Speeds, who said that ". . . this is fantastic value for the Edmonton Oilers".

Seems to me like it was the right move. And given Lowe's track record of making consistently good moves over the last 6 years, I'm not about to throw myself off the Highlevel.

But, man oh man, will I miss Smytty.


The Pronger and Smyth trades weren't about money, folks.

The first wasn't, but the second certainly was. There's no two ways about it.

There are plenty more than two ways about it.

The only way it was about money is that Lowe was unwilling to pay what Smyth wanted.

This is a far different animal than the unable to pay problem citing during the pre-CBA context.

The gap between them was small enough that Lowe had the money. He stated as much in the press conference.

I'm not sure why you seem to think Lowe is lying about this.

I don't see it as being any different Sac. They weren't unable to pay before the lockout. They just weren't willing to give 40% of their payroll to Doug Weight. They're not unable to pay now but they aren't willing to give Ryan Smyth the money. It's closer now than it was but there's still no difference. This is just a cheap team we cheer.

And I'm like you, fan since 1997, so Smytty is the shit.

This is a far different animal than the unable to pay problem citing during the pre-CBA context.

I'm not sure why you seem to think Lowe is lying about this.

You've been away too long, They'll be trotting out the "unable" to pay argument in no time. It goes along with the "Rexall is Expos Stadium" argument we've been hearing from the Mayor's office and his buddies in th EIG since the beginning of winter.

Sacamano: The Oilers have now traded the best defenceman in the world and one of the top 10 LWers for:

Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Robert Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra, two 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick.

That's amazingly poor return for those two assets. Especially if one considers that Lupul has been nothing short of a bust and that Ryan O'Marra has never put up numbers in junior and that Nilsson is now 22 and can't muster up 1 PPG in the AHL.

You also cherry picked speeds' quote - in the comments of that thread in concedes that the return may be similar to the one Sather foisted on the Lightning for Hamrlik many moons ago.

This is a bad hockey decision and a bad financial decision IMHO.

I said in my own blog that Smyth was worth more to Edmonton than just his value as a contributing member of the hockey team, so I do think there was room for an overpay, but it all depends on what the EIG wants to spend, which I suppose is the big debate in the Oilogosphere for the season.

I still think 3 first rounders (all mid-round) are a pretty damn good return for a UFA. Especially if the EIG can take the roughly $800k left on Smyths contract that they saved and throw that in the pot as well when they make their pitch for him on July 1st.

The real wisdom of this trade won't be known till we see what Lowe does this summer with all his cap space and assets in the form of picks and prospects.

Excellent post sacamano - about exactly how I feel.

Congrats Sacamano, you make!

Well I feel lowe did the right thing. as you will see it happen in Calgary next year with iggy and kipper. does anybody think sutter is going to dish out over 8 mil a year for either of these two. doubt it. right but i would say he will do his best to keep iggy..but kipper could be another habi..that went down the tubes once he got a 6 mil plus contract. lots of talent out there and cheap also.. so just rebuilt people will not turn and quit because of one bad move even when it was the proper move right..

I guessing,(and hoping) that this was part of Lowes plan. Trade Smitty for now and get these 3 first rounders, then re-sign him in July. They left on good terms and Smyth loves Edmonton. I say he will resign and be back next year and then we will be calling Lowe a genius.

Hello Alberta fans,
As you have probably guessed, I'm not from Alberta. I am from Detroit and I feel your pain, only yours is more poignant. Welost the great Steve Yzerman last year, but we lost him as a Red Wing. Unfortunately, Ryan won't retire as an Oiler but you'd damn well better retire his number when the time comes.
The other real regret is that the Red Wings didn't get him: my God! Draper, Maltby and Smyth! What a freakin nightmare that would be! How about Bertuzzi and Ryan? Yikes!
Anyway, I feel for you folks, you have lost a very important player who has shown loyalty to that franchise. I hope that this move works out for your team(I like the Oilers almost as much as the Wings). I really hope that when Ryan's contract is up next year, the Wings go and get him.

It has been said before and I will reiterate for all you 'short term' vision people out there....Lowe took a risk to improve the franchise, that takes big brass ones considering how much we all love Smyth, so lets see how this turns out this summer and then decide how dedicated and savvy Lowe is. As for me, heck the man pretty much ensured the Oilers got to the cup final last year! If Pronger hadn't...well....hand't, this year would have been for grabs as well. Kevin Lowe knows his shit, you can't win every year (just ask Carolina) and after this summer I believe the man will provide another dynamite oppertunity for the boys to finish what got started last year. Here's to you, Kevin.

"The only way it was about money is that Lowe was unwilling to pay what Smyth wanted."

Yeah, thus making it ABOUT MONEY. Smyth could have asked for a lot more than he did, and will absolutely get more than $5.75M if he asks for it on the free agent market.

Don't fool yourself. If it wasn't about money, Smyth wouldn't be an Islander.

Anyone thinking that this is a good trade needs to take their Oil colored glasses off. You can't say you got three 1st rounders when 2 of them are already drafted. Jim Sandlak was a first rounder, Andrei Zuzyin was first rounder, Pat Fallon was a forst rounder. There are lots of former first rounders who wouldnt be worth Smyth's jock strap. The only way this works out is if Smyth returns as a free agent. Otherwise Lowe dropped the ball by not holding onto the only player on that team who really mattered.

Okay here is what I am worried about... Edmonton has already got to be one of the least desirable teams to play on in the NHL.

I am not knocking the fan support or the venue, but the Pronger fiasco really injured the towns 'Hockey Reputation'... scratch that, it beat it mercilessly.

I am worried about the clear and strong message Lowe is sending to the potential new hires. Lowe is saying that this franchise is not willing to keep the face, heart and soul of the Edmonton Oilers, arguably of team Canada in the city he loves for X dollars.

Be it 2 million or 50 bucks it doesn't matter, how are you going to sign a Brad Stuart, let alone a Daniel Briere, with no commitment to any player... no matter how key. How excited are these guys going to be to play with a Raffi Torres, or a Jarred Stoll?

I am Afraid as an Oilers Fans, we are back to being the farm team of the NHL, at least until Kevin Lowe steps down.




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