Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Kevin Lowe and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 8 Months

As a hockey weblogger, here's the interesting thing about Deadline Day to me: with so, so much media attention and dozens of people on TV and radio offering their immediate opinions on everything, it's almost impossible to find an original thought of your own. To determine what's sensible, though, you do have to do a bit of sifting. Friend of the BoA Avi Schaumberg had an excellent comment on the previous post:
If this was a well-managed team, in the manner of Billy Beane, I'd be applauding the decision. Smyth was great, but he's 31. That alone says it's time to sell. If Lowe had a reputation as a brilliant GM, I think we'd be sad but supportive. What's causing the outrage, I think, is the doubt we all feel about the competence of the front office. We've had a decade and a half of useless drafting, a pre-CBA exodus of elite UFA talent, an '06 summer of signings that were above market-price for middling talent, and the loss of two major players despite being in a post-CBA world. There is no reason to think this team is well-managed, and that's the part that burns. A well-managed team could afford to keep a sentimental team leader who's entering his decline years, or move him and turn a first-round pick into a real return. A poorly-managed team doesn’t even know which to try, much less have the ability to give itself the option.

These things are true:
  1. Ryan Smyth's abilities will decline over the next 5 years
  2. There will be at least one (likely more) occasion over the next 5+ years -- when Smyth is out with a persistent back or groin injury, or has scored 2 goals in the previous 23 games -- when Oil fans will be palpably relieved that the team isn't on the hook for another $10+ Million going forward.
  3. The organization will be forgiven by most next time they go on a winning streak, which could easily happen before the end of this 06/07 season.
In that sense, it's extremely unlikely that the organization will be haunted by this move. However, if you sense my nodding approval, you are incorrect, as this is precisely my criticism of Lowe. I actually laughed out loud this afternoon when I heard Flames radio guy Rob Kerr say that this took cojones by Kevin Lowe. No. This is the common thread through virtually every move (or, not trivially, non-move) that Kevin Lowe makes.

With the notable exception of the Pronger panic deal, you can't look back on any individual move that Lowe has made (ever?) and say, "Wow, he cocked that up!" No prospects that blossomed after he dealt them, no draft picks that someone else turned into a top-flight NHLer, no contracts that seem ludicrously large. He never does anything that might look bad on him in the future, whether to his bosses or to the "smart guys" around the NHL.

It would seem that taking very few risks results in a 7th-10th place finish every single season. That's good for some, worse for others. If he was managing my stock portfolio, I'd probably be ecstatic. If I were a major fan of the Oilers' chief rival, I'm perfectly happy (P.S. I'm perfectly happy). But it's a mighty timid strategy for the GM of a pro sports team.

I like Smytty. I hope he has a nice run this spring, and finds a loving home on July 1. Good luck to you, sir.


You could have not said it any better. Kevin Lowe is a guy who always thinks the risk does outweigh the reward, therefore you should take very few risks. But sometime he has to learn, to get all the chips on the table, you have to make a move all in.

Is that the best you could come up with Matt? Kevin Lowe is a bad GM because he doesn't take risks? Bad because he settles for mediocrity?

Thanks for the laugh.

- kinger

C'mon Oil fans, walk it off, rub some dirt on it!

"Kevin Lowe and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 8 Months"

I loved that book when I was a kid. Now I know why.

No prospects that blossomed after he dealt them, no draft picks that someone else turned into a top-flight NHLer, no contracts that seem ludicrously large.

I argue that the Pisani signing was a contract that was ludicrously large. Pisani is a third liner. A very good third liner, and a I'm a big fan of Pisani, but he's not worth $2.5 million. Stoll makes $2.2 million and I think Still is equal or better than Pisani on EVERY single metric there is.

Moreover, wasn't Lowe's rookie defenseman strategy this year really a mistake that was kind of obvious?

I think Lowe's made his share of stupid decisions. he just hasn't blown a really big decision.

Also, I think I've grudgingly come to the realization that this trading Smyth was the right decision. If anything, maybe Lowe has learned from his mistake of signing Pisani and others to obscenely large contracts.


For those of us trying to move on... will we be privy to a gameday post. A little Mark Messier tug-job just because?

Please BoA. I need it (the gameday post I mean).

I like Matt's take, reading it as a critique of Lowe taking the safe route and acting like a mediocre GM at the worst possible times.

With Ryan Smyth's trade, we are now paying for Staios, Pisani and Moreau's contracts during Lowe's utterly Columbus Blue Jacket-esque off season. I would have prefered a hardline back in July and some indulgence today. Or better yet, why not sign Smyth for $5 million last summer?

I also think that Smyth has at least four solid 20-30 goal years ahead of him. His goalmouth skills and hockey sense give him the durability that might decline in other similarly-aged finesse wingers (kind of like Andreychuk, who was slower than anything else on the ice for most of his thirties)

A story that's been neglected in the Smyth furor is the fact that Eklund was exposed today. I guess that has to count for something, right?

I like Fenwick's take as well because it ties into my own theory that Lowe's job isn't to build a winning team for the city, but a financially sustainable business for the owners. Thus, the important thing is to field a team that is just competitive enough to fill the rink and maybe grab a few extra post-season dates, but doesn't do so well so that the cost of doing business (ie. player salaries) gets too high.

Oh and Mustafa: the question is not "Is Ryan Smyth worth $5.5M?" He is, and we'll see that this summer. The question is: given Ryan Smyth's value, did Lowe get the best return he could? It's a safe bet that the answer to that is no.

That's right Andy, I almost forgot about our "Ryan Smyth close to signing for $22 million over 5 years" pal Eklund.

I wanted to write about how utterly embarrassing it was to watch Sportsnet today, even for seconds at a time. Hooters girls? The practically-embalmed Hanson brothers?

Eklund was just the cherry on top, really.

"A story that's been neglected in the Smyth furor is the fact that Eklund was exposed today"

It is funny that almost two years ago, Eric McErlain and others began pulling back the curtain on this guy during the lockout. Now he's managed to drag Sportsnet's credibility down with him. Surely they realize they've been had?

Is that the best you could come up with Matt? Kevin Lowe is a bad GM because he doesn't take risks? Bad because he settles for mediocrity?

Thanks for the laugh.

And you find this laughable because...?

I can't believe they had Messier bring the Cup out. Shameful.

Boy have they ever skipped around Lowe's name all night. They've mentioned every single player that played with him except Lowe.

Yeah funny how Kevin Lowe's is not being mentioned one iota. I used to think he was a good GM, but in the words of Reggie Dunlop, "You're fucked! You're garbage!"

Nothing more awkward than being unable to mention the guy who's like the third part of the Gretz/Messier/Lowe trilogy.

Bettman and Nichols in the same building. That's like Cheney in Afghanistan.

Nothing more awkward than being unable to mention the guy who's like the third part of the Gretz/Messier/Lowe trilogy.

The head coach just asked that the banner be raised. That says it all.


Geez I hate to take away from such a memorable night, so I'll let the moment savour.........

Ok, Kevin Lowe, you are fucked. You could have made a decent deal, but you let your best player walk out the door for little in return.

I hate to say it, but I'm really doubting the Oilers right now. They have pissed me off so much.

Fire Lowe and the rest of the fucking alumni. They have taken a great team and run it like a third rate junior team. Good GM's and coaches don't have a playing pedigree.

LOwe you fuckwad!

Do any of us even care if we win this game? Honestly.

at least they're rockin' those throwbacks...

...sorry, that's all I can muster.

We must care. We are Oiler fans. And we must win.

Like we needed to win without Gretz.

So will this be our game thread?

They look waay faster in those throwbacks. Plus, I'm convinced Horc looks like Tikkanen.

I don’t know if this is the right thread, but I have a question. Did anyone at the press conference ask Lowe when the expected window of success is projected to take place? Giving up your best players for magic beans only works if the magic beans become real hockey players, or it is just a shell game.
Also , did anyone ask him why he didn’t move Sykora?

Oilfan in Calgary

31 is not the watermark for geriatric decline in performance. A player like Smyth, who trains and works harder than his fellows will be scoring 20+ goals until he's 36. At least.

did anyone else expect MacT to finish his comment to Glen Sather "back to where he belongs" statement with "Because he would never make me coach a team with 3 rookie defensemen and then trade my best player for no roster players and actually say that we expect to make the playoffs" or was it just me?
oilfan in cowtown

Hahaha, did I just see "Loyalty Matters"?????

Oh that's just funny.

Loved that MacT had to read Lowe's speech. For a guy who can give an off-the-cuff post-game interview like he was birthed in the middle of a media scrum, he is in some serious need of some time in Toastmasters.

But I suppose if my boss shit his pants and asked me to give a last minute speech, quickly re-worked for me, I'd probably stumble too.

Cheer up everyone! San Fernando is now a bonafide top liner!

Also, I must point out that Smyth must have done something to piss Lowe off. His punishment is being sent off to a place where he can stand in his office and redirect with his face some more beauty shoulder high PP point shots from MABergeron.

I'm convinced Horc looks like Tikkanen.

Morley Scott agrees with you.

Can this day get any better? Kevin Lowe waves the white flag on the season, the Oilers are down 1-0 (and being badly outshot by a team of Coyote minor leaguers) and the Canucks finally lose.

What a great night.


If you're a shit-disturber in the NHL do you breathlessly count down the days till you can play against Roloson? Man, its worth it to take a penalty just to see him explode. Easiest guy to get off his game in the league.

Le Who?

3-0 to the Coyotes AHL team. Now the retro-uniforms are recalling a whole other time in Oiler history.

Hey, I just realized that there is a number 94 of that retro jersey that was made for tonight. I wonder if they'll send it off to Africa like the NFL does with the Superbowl loser's shirts?

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

His jersey is on the auction site. $705 at this time.


Ha Ha... They're actually billing it as a warm-up worn jersey.

God, Gene Principe is shameless. And, terrible.

Sad day for oil fans.
Go flames!!!

And now the Oilers lose to the Coyotes.

I want Kevin Lowe's head on a platter!

On the plus side, now we can finally put an end to the ridiculous pipe dreams of the Oilers getting Pitkanen. The Oilers are going to either be big players for FAs this summer, or EIG is going to pocket the dough saved and work on 'building with good young prospects'. Of course long before they're ready you're going to have to get a new goalie, so you might as well start seeing if Deslauriers has any sack at all.

I can't believe they had Messier bring the Cup out. Shameful.

And the crying act he put on was rather unfortunate also. Was anybody really thinking about 1990 tonight?

Did anybody else half expect them at the end of the game to announce the first star as:

"For the Phoenix Coyotes, Garth Snow!"

well I'm ready for the fantanking.

let's get this season over with and start the playoffs already, I wanna see the Flames get crushed by the Sharks.




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