Wednesday, March 14, 2007


And Then There's....

...Matheson. Of interest to me:

1) The questions are actually pretty damn good. I can sense the frustration and anger in them. I'm sitting in my black robe, shooting blue bolts of energy into the air, cackling with glee.
2) The Oilers won't tell him their budget for next year. But how hard is he asking, and why isn't their refusal to go on record an actual story in and of itself?
3) He thinks the budget will be between $43 and $44 million.
4) The Oilers should look at signing Scott Hartnell because he's from Lloydminster. Great. That worked so well with Joffrey Zoolander. Super idea.
5) He doesn't think anyone will give Ryan Smyth $30 million for five. I think he's terribly wrong. Plus, why does he suggest that the Oilers will have to overpay to get a big free agent to sign here, and then deny that other teams will give what he calls an overpayment to Smytty? Disconnect, thine name is Jim.
6) Eight place is awesome, according to Matheson. This answer is an absolute cop-out. It totally avoids answering what was really asked, which is "why hasn't cost certainty helped us win more games and keep more guys, like the EIG, LaForge, and Kevin Lowe promised us it would?"


And props to the Oilogosphere commenter/poster who snuck a question in there. Now go have a shower.


Oh man, sppeds sets up Matheson to look like a toady. It really isn't even sporting.

I think they are telling Matheson about the budget. They're telling him to say $43-$44 million unconfirmed. And like a good bitch he's toeing the line.

And Sykora will have to take less to play here? Damn, you couldn't make this shit up.

Somebody should ask about Tjarnqvist. How happy is he about the fact that when he was injured earlier this season the Oilers declared him a healthy scratch? (Leading all the idiots, and even Lowetide (yikes!) to the inevitable conclusion that Shaggy sucked and Smid rocked). Sweet baby Jesus.

Matty, a two parter: Was Tjarnqvist's agent acting alone in trying to find some fucker here in Lawrence, Nebraska to acknowledge that the player was really injured? Do you think he wants to be an Oiler next year?

I have to say. I'm actually enjoying watching this franchise Wirtz it's fans. And I know that's not healthy. :)

I'm kind of enjoying the Wirtzing too but anyone who has academic access to the Journal archives should read the lengthy story about Nichols published in October of either 2005 or 2006. It paints him as unrelentingly honest etc. He comes off as a very, very good guy and a lot of the stuff in the book is verifiably true - his involvement with selling seats before he bought the team, for instance.

I'm not sure what to make of the unrelentingly honest part myself. I've collected some stuff from their archives on the Oilers finances that is contradictory but it's hard to figure it all out. Nichols is a tough guy to get a solid read on, from the papers at least. Seems to have a bit of a bullying streak in him but to also feel a sense of duty to the community where he makes his money.

LaForge, on the other hand...distilled evil.

Cal Nichols did save the franchise, no doubt. And he is owed credit for that. Even though in hindsight I think it would have been best if the team had moved to Houston.

He is now a minority stakeholder in a limited partnership. And he is the right choice for front man.

His Andy Griffiths routine in interviews is a tad condescending though. He is a shrewd businessman, not some "gee whiz" and "gosh" yokel who loves the game, cares about the fans and is confused by "fancy financial stuff". And hearing him wax on about how Bill Wirtz is blessed with an uncommon amount of common sense, well that's more than I can bear.

Even though in hindsight I think it would have been best if the team had moved to Houston.

From what perspective Vic? Your own "sick of these clowns whining about money" perspective?

Of course from my own perspective mudcrutch. I could have gotten to the same endpoint (not watching the games and taking the piss out of their nonsense for sport) a lot quicker with time saved.

Now it's just a sick game of predicting their next move, which is kind of fun, I have to admit.

I think that they do NOT sign any significant UFAs (I imagine they are leaning on Laforge big time to get those season tix renewals in, pronto).

I suspect that they trade for a name player. Something like Horcoff+Torres for Pitkanen, LT mentions Redden as a possibility and if Ottawa is squeezed by the cap it may make sense. A lot has to go the other way in terms of player and salary though. Either way it will make them worse.

I predict that the Oilers will ice a team next October that Matheson will project "should win a lot of 6-5 games!". And that Oiler fandom will scream for MacTavish's head when they inevitably lose a lot of 3-1 games instead.

This comment has been removed by the author.

I think the business term for thie piece is "managing expaectations." Don't expect anything better than 8th place. Don't expect any big UFA signings. Don't expect them to spend to the cap. What can we expect? A possible splurge on a mid-tier "name" player and the dim possibility of another miracle Cup run.

These guys must think we're idiots.

For fun, the paragraph I submitted to Matheson as a group of questions read:

In Mar. 7,2007's Ask Matty column you say "The Oilers ownership group feels $40M is plenty for now". Does now mean next season? What are the Oilers budgeting for a payroll next season, 2007/8? To what extent are fans justified in asking for an answer to the payroll question, even if only to inform their decision making process regarding the purchase of season tickets for next season?

Like everyone, I'm kind of curious if about Matheson stating "Nobody's telling me" iin response to my questions. Does this mean he's asked, but they won't tell him? That they've told him but not on the record? That he hasn't asked? If not, why not?

Also, he didn't at all respond to the latter question, which is fine I guess but I'm wondering why he included it in the question if he wasn't interested in answering it.

BTW, when I wrote my previous reply in the this thread I wasn't meaning to imply that I was unhappy with the way Matheson edited my questions, as his way took less words than mine. But I thought I'd post it anyways because the questions being asked might be slightly different after the editing for brevity.

"It would be nice, just once, to get back to the glory days when the Oilers had the playoffs clinched at Christmas, but, don't forget the Oilers are still comfortably under the NHL cap if it goes up to $48M next year"

Parsing is fun
“Lowe will not be sitting on his butt at the draft”
I hope he’s not sitting on his shoulders.

I think they are telling Matheson about the budget.

Oh, I agree. Just the way the two sentences are contrsucted tells me they've told him. "They aren't telling me, but I think..." tells me he knows. SweatyO is correct. It's all about managing expectations.

I wondered if some of these questions were from the Oilogosphere, rather than the Hagioilgraphers. Good to see Speeds on point. And yes, I too am wondering how a newspaper isn't writing a story about the Oilers not going pubic with their budget estimates. In fact, there should be a story in the paper about how the paper doesn't go with hard-hitting stories in their paper.

To be fair, I would have a helluva lot more respect for this team's owners and managment if they just told us what their magical plan is, its real goals and what kind of budget they are working under. Don't piss in our ears and tell us it's raining by swearing up and down that everything is part of a plan and that you want to win a Cup when the evidence points to the contrary.

It's the lack of forthrightness and the nagging feeling that these guys are putting one over on us that comes from being subjected to a endless barrage of spin, combined with the audacity of their season ticket campaign, that really rankles.

Any other business with this kind of communications strategy and apparent contempt for their customers would have gone tits up ages ago. But these guys just don't give a fuck.

Question: what do y'all think of the $43-44M budget number? highball or Loweball?


Unless a really big dog - Redden or Vinny is brought into the fold

I think it's great that some of the owners are pushing or would push to have certain guys sign here. That's awesome. Do you think local Rob Tallas has any boosters because we might be able to use another backup tender!!!

Also: should we just pencil in Zdlicky already? He's cheaper than Timmonen and Matty keeps pushing him so mark it down I say. Same with 71 coming back. He doesn't have an agent, he wants to come back and somehow no matter how bad things get no one ever slams him in print. And now Matty's comfortable enough to tell us he's gonna take a paycut. Yep, mark him down as well and that means Torres is out the door for a D or a bad contract forward like Peca...just as long as that D or F doesn't cost TOO much money

The payroll number thing is interesting and I think it's being done for damage control. It's interesting that after the 94 deal ron maclean, fresh off emceeing the mess deal, and jason gregor is saying 39 mill, a week later gregor's up to 42 and now today Matty's saying 43-44.

My guess is that they're hearing a lot of grumbling in the public so they're lying and saying the payroll's gonna rise. All the while knowing that just like last year when Lowe said he had room to move to augment the D, and didn't, they'll come in light again this year after "no one wanted to sign here" and "we couldn't make a trade to add salary because the other teams wanted too much".

And Vic coming from a guy that saw both the NFL Oilers and the Expos move, I can tell you that the more you love a team the more it hurts to see them go. I can turn it off and on for the Oilers/Titans, when they suck it hurts but I can turn away but as soon as they came back good, like early this winter, I get involved again and all the good and bad come back. The Expos were always my #1 team and I stuck with them in year one in Wsh but then last year I lost it. Maybe that was because the Oilers season went long and when I did turn to the nats they had a suck team with poor mgmt in place. I'm wondering what would happen if they started contending again, would I get the love and death thing going again? Probably because I'm still reading the wsh post and checking out how their team's gonna shape up but it's hard to love them again with Bowden as their GM. Doesn't that sound familar though?;)

So, I'm sure I'd start following the Oilers if they moved but would I live and die with them like I do? You know I think I would. I think a big part of why I got so sick of the Nats so fast was reading the papers and seeing them take shots at the Expos and their fans when they really didn't have a fucking clue what they were talking about. That killed me, it was like I gave them my team but I still wanted to visit them on the weekends but when I got there they told me about how bad of a fan I'd been;) Boswell is the Post's columnist and the first two season was nothing but shots at everything Mtl related and lies at that and you guys know how some of us like being lied to. We're in the information age and the time of the smart fan who's long left blind faith behind so when you read things that you know to be dead wrong it drives you nuts.

I doubt the Oilers are moving though because they'll get the go-ahead for the new stade and that will keep them placated until some more money rolls in. It's an interesting time though because KC's out there looking to give up everything in order to get a franny and Nichols and Co has some real leverage there.

Jesus Dennis, that's too much good commentary to respond to all at once. Hell maybe too much to respond to at all. But I'll take a short kick at expressing my side ...

Personally, I guess it's just easier for me to tell my home team to fuck itself. Bullshit is bullshit, in any language, in any sport. And I'm sick of it.

Thanks Vic;)

The thing is that I had more to say too..because well I always do and that's me I guess:)

I'm a funny guy when it comes to my rooting interest. I stuck with the Expos when there was seriously no hope and I'm not talking "Lowe fucks up the Pronger and Smyth situations and we're gonna be in 10 place or worst in '08 with nothing more than excuses" no hope either. I'm talking 67 win seasons and knowing that anyone good would be ushered out and the owners were making an absolute killing on Steinbrenner's dime, ie Expos spending 9 fucking mill on the payroll and collecting like 30 odd mill in rev sharing. Just break your heart times if you grew up with a team. Yet I stayed with them and I rememeber once I was working graveyard shifts at a TV station and almost showed up late for work because I was watching Jeremy Powell make his pitching debut at Coors Field. By then I was getting to be a numbers guy and Powell's numbers didn't scream he'd be good. But he was a new guy and he was young and maybe just maybe we had something you know? It's not like I'm an optimist because my friends know me to be the opposite but there's this piece of me when it comes to fandom that always wants to believe. It erodes by the year and the lie but it can never be fully destroyed. I was always one of the ones on the old Expos board on Fanhome, which was an awesome board populated by members of the local media and even some players, who couldn't wait for the team to move because they'd have money and no longer would we trade Pedro for Armas Jr and Pavano. I know you don't follow baseball closely but Pedro started a string with the Expos in '96 and then '97 and continued on with the Sox for three or four more years that would put him on par and maybe above what Messier did for the Oil. Seriously. Yet when he was dealt I went to the bar to watch Armas make his debut in SF and I stayed home to watch Pavano do the same at the Owe vs Schilling and the Phillies. I never gave up on them. So it shocked me that I could give up on them a little last spring. But like I said I just couldn't handle Boswell smacking the Expos fans over the head. Yes they averaged 8 K but who'd be stupid enough to go and watch? There was no hope. There used to be and there used to be over 2 mill turn out to watch and the Expos once had MLB's most lucrative local TV deal until the regional sports network was born in the US. Fuck there once was enough money that back in '77 Bronfman actually outbid the Yanks for Reggie Jackson's services but he didn't want to play in Canada. Does Boswell know this stuff? Maybe. Was he intersted in talking about it? NO. Why did he insist on kicking the fans who were out there trying to still follow the team? I don't know and it started to get on my nerves and this is why I can only put up with so much bullshit.

But just like the Expos the Oilers have me. They don't have me to the point where I'd hold season tickets because I don't like wasting money and I know enough to know when the owners aren't being up front. But they have me to the point that last night I turned off the Isles and 94 after 40 min and watched a movie instead. Will I still root for ryan as long as he doesn't play for a team that I hate? Damn right. But now I've gotten back to the point where I'd rather watch some new kid wearing the Oil drop then an old Oiler who's still fucking awesome.

But they did almost lose me over the 94 thing. It took me a long time to get over that and I'm still not totally over it. And the way the team controls the media, and let's be honest some guys are new to that theory but you know I've been saying that since Lowe had hair, that keeps me angry.

You can fuck me over and assume I'm stupid but don't keep bringing it up all the time. That's where I stand with the Oilers and the local media.

BTW, there's a good Brunt piece available on the globe's online section talking about KC and Vegas as leverage and the NHL once again gearing up for expansion. check that out

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