Thursday, July 05, 2007

 

It's you, Kevin

I know it's a cliche, but you'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh 'til it hurts looking back at this old piece Andy dug up in March:
"I would not do this job for another four years under what I just went through the last four years," Lowe told the Journal. "It was too difficult, too difficult emotionally, spiritually, psychologically."

That's K-Lo on November 22, 2004, claiming he'd resign if the new CBA wasn't significantly better for his spirit and psyche. And while I'm sure he's glad he has most of his erectile function back, this past year hasn't been any better for him than those dark pre-lockout days.

I hit this now because, as Tyler points out with no wasted words, Lowe is finally admitting what we all knew already. While the return may or may not have been decent, and you never know when a warrior's body will break down for good, and you can't properly evaluate trades until a few years down the road, and blah blah etc., moving Ryan Smyth out of Edmonton was a financial decision, not a hockey one. And the kicker is, it's a financial decision that he now regrets.

The Matheson piece that Tyler links had a different couple of paragraphs that jumped out at me:
A frustrated Lowe says the Oilers are thinking of hiring a "concierge" to look after player needs in the future, but he can't understand why free agents won't sign here.

He acknowledges the travel out west is harder than in the east, but he says a third of the league's teams travelled more miles than the Oilers last year. He also knows some players don't want to play in Canada.

You can parse this however you want, but you know what it is as a whole? Loser talk. While Godfather analogies are overdone (thanks a lot, Simmons), I'm thinking of glossing Lowe as Johnny Fontane. Alas, there is no Don Corleone in sight to give him the "You can act like a man!" speech.

Instant update: more from Terry Jones today.
Johnny Fontane: Oh, Godfather, I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do.
Don Corleone: [shouts] You can act like a man! [he slaps Johnny]
Don Corleone: What's the matter with you. Is this how you turned out? A Hollywood finocchio that cries like a woman.
Don Corleone: [mock sobbing] What can I do? [camera pans to Tom who is laughing]
Don Corleone: What can I do? What is that nonsense. Ridiculous.

MORE: Metrognome weighs in:
The Circus Comes to Town
"We got more gongs than the break-dancing robot that caught on fire".
[...]
So long, Kevin. We can all plainly see it's a comb-over.

AND MORE: Worth resetting this bit from March, I think:
When the push for public funding of a new arena begins in earnest, you're going to hear plenty (again) about the intangible value of being a "major league city". At that point, someone might want to Ask Matty why the Oilers are so willing to negate this value to anyone who's paying attention by behaving like The Littlest Market That Barely Could.

Comments:

From the Terry Jones story:

Players like 43-goal scorer Thomas Vanek of Buffalo, 31-goal scorer Zach Parise of New Jersey, 29-goal scorer Dustin Penner of Anaheim or 27-goal scorer Lee Stempniak of St. Louis are obvious names.

This, of course, makes Lowe's choice of dealing Pronger for Lupus and not Penner just that much more stupefying.
 


You can parse this however you want, but you know what it is as a whole? Loser talk.

Yup. What is Allan Watt doing to earn a paycheque, exactly? He should be telling Lowe, Laforge and the EIG to shut the hell up. Every thing they say just makes things worse.
 


Bang on! I too was stupefied with K-Lowe's sudden burst of candour in today's Sun and Journal pieces. Until today, I had been extremely irked by the dozens of calls for Lowe's head that I've been reading on Oiler blogs this past week. I don't envy the job he has and the pressure he's under, and it has been painful to watch all his best laid plans come to naught. Until now, I have been in the sympathetic "He's doing well, considering what he's up against" camp. But after today's revelations, it's hard to come to any other conclusion than that the man is simply coming undone. To actually admit at this point, in this context of failure, that letting Smyth go was yet another mistake, strikes me as the height of stupidity and self-immolation. Even if you thought that, why let on now? Act like a man, indeed.

My only other question is, what kind of a marriage are you in when you negotiate a contract that will see you moving your family across a continent and significantly further north, and only THEN do you tell your wife about it. If that's at all anything like what happened with the Nylander situation, who can blame her for freaking out? C'mon guys, let's try and make sure the family is on board first.
 


chris! put it best - this is the beginning of the end for Lowe and that end may be coming sooner then he thinks.

He basically confirms what a lot of people have been saying for a while - he hasn't a clue.

The Smyth comment especially hurts.

Bye Kevin.
 


You forgot the part where Johnny tells the Don he will do anything for him but then he won't even give him a pice of that huge provolone.
 


It's just a damn shame that we let our only GM heir apparent walk to Columbus.

Who's next in line now? Craig Simpson?
 


Did the budget just drop again? It was my understanding that we were going to be spending a minimum of 45.. not 43.. guess I should've known better..
 


Lupus

I can't believe none of this came up before now.

What is Allan Watt doing to earn a paycheque, exactly?

Keeping bloggers at bay.
 


re: a GM heir apparent:

What the Oilers need -- desperately, if you ask me -- is someone from *outside* the organization, who, starting when he's interviewing, can let Laforge and the EIG know just how bushleague they make Edmonton & the Oil sound in the course of justifying this & that to their fans. (That is, they need someone with a bit of cred to give all of them the Act Like A Man speech.)
 


What the Oilers need -- desperately, if you ask me -- is someone from *outside* the organization, who, starting when he's interviewing, can let Laforge and the EIG know just how bushleague they make Edmonton & the Oil sound in the course of justifying this & that to their fans. (That is, they need someone with a bit of cred to give all of them the Act Like A Man speech.)

Agreed. I just hope to god it's not Keenan once he's worn out his welcome in Calgary.

Players like 43-goal scorer Thomas Vanek of Buffalo, 31-goal scorer Zach Parise of New Jersey, 29-goal scorer Dustin Penner of Anaheim or 27-goal scorer Lee Stempniak of St. Louis are obvious names.

This, of course, makes Lowe's choice of dealing Pronger for Lupus and not Penner just that much more stupefying.


I remember watching the 2003 draft, and screaming that the Oilers should draft Parise when he was available and they were on the clock. Instead, they traded picks with Jersey, who took Parise in Edmonton's slot, and the Oil ended up with Marc-Andre Pouliot a few picks later. All in all, they probably ended up with the rights to a European player who never made it to the NHL and a happy meal coupon for their troubles. Now Lowe wants to give up a first and third rounder for a guy he should have taken in the first place?
 


What's more damning is the Maciocia story that follows this one (see link below article).

So I see the last big-screen LCD TV in Future Shop during their latest "Hugest Sale Ever" weekend. I tell the sales guy "OK. I'll take it". He says "Sure". Then I go home to eat a pizza and come in the next day - its gone! Fucking Future Shop!

OK. maybe that's weak. But I can't help but wonder why this wasn't locked up a little tighter and a little faster.

BTW Andy. I think Lowe is just taking the fall for the EIG once again. They know shit about hockey and run the team the only way they know - as a small time business. Lowe may not be perfect, but he's no dope (and I am sure many of you will disagree with me here). You have Cal Nichols (maybe they should get a divorce) and Pat Laforge (Its about me - wonderful me) as the monkeymen NOBODY wants to work (or play) for. And an investor group that collectively knows as much about hockey as I know how they get that goo inside the Caramilk bar. Its not the city players are avoiding - its the old boy's club management.

BTW. They should sell playing in Edmonton as the place where real, hardcore players play - no pussies allowed. Its not for everybody. "Maybe if your wife doesn't like it here you aren't the guy we're looking for". This team should be sold from a place of pride, not desperation!
 


I believe Cal Nichols already tried selling the, "We don't want any pussies who listen to their wives" angle.

Who's next in line now? Craig Simpson?

You know, we could hire outside the franchise and ... uh ... never mind. What do you think Charlie Huddy knows about contracts?
 


Its not what these guys say as much as how they say it. Nichols comes off like a complete cock. He should have said "That's cool. Then you're probably not the type of player we're looking for anyway.".

Pride vs. desperation. Big time vs. bushleague. These guys simply don't get it. If you want to fire somebody, start with these assholes.

Nichols, Laforge and co. are defensive, arrogant pricks.

Ya. That's a team I want to play for.
 


There comes a moment in everyone's career when the only thought in one's head is, "Holy shit. I've fucked everything up. Me. Nobody else."

Clearly, Lowe hit that point yesterday, if not a bit before. I actually applaud him for coming clean. He's probably already finished... that's the number one way that folks realize they've fucked it all up. But, on the slim chance that he's not getting the boot (who do you hire??), I applaud his disclosure.

It's akin to Bush saying, "Maybe that Iraq thing wasn't such a great idea after all." Everyone knows, and the first step is taking responsibility. Saying, "I shouldn't have fucked with Smyth," is taking responsibility in my book.

The real question is, what's the path forward? If the path forward is, "Yeah, we messed it up, but, hey, let's tell our bought media that we're going for all these RFAs and fail and we'll get some credit and keep the ticket sales up for another year," well, we'll have more of the same. If Lowe is genuinely interested in spending some draft picks to raid RFAs--if he's really going to take risks and grab good guys--then there is some hope ahead. A glimmer.

Finally, the Alberta factor. Yeah, that's an issue for a lot of wives, my own included. But Edmonton and Calgary are equivalent in this area, and Calgary can get the job done. Ultimately, players will move to Siberia to be on a winner. Maybe not forever, but for a few productive years.

In other words, the Edmonton factor stems partially from shabby treatment of Smyth, not just the travel, cold, and isolation. Ultimately, a lot of professionals at the height of their careers move to Alberta. It is loser talk to say that you can't win at this game.

In a nutshell, I'm glad that he's depressed. I hope that he actually changes his behaviour, and that the EIG gives him the ability to do that.
 


A couple of things....

After the failure all last season to shore up the blueline, the Oil have shipped Smith out of town, lost Hedja, and received Pikannen and 2 guys who weren't in the NHL last year. Is Tarnstrom enough of a difference maker that the defensive unit isn't an issue? From Jones' article: Lowe admitted he can't take this team to the start of the season without more talent on offence. Offense? Whomever is in net is going to be shell-shocked.

And are these continued woes a roadblock to the new arena, or will this be spun into "needing" a new arena to attract players with superior facilities?

The statement by Nylander, "In a sombre voice, he told me 'I just couldn't do it.' It was like his wife freaked out like she was being shipped to Siberia or something." doesn't sound like a facility issue to me.
 


Wouldn't the heir apparent at this point be the man with the golden blender?
 


Those columns from the evening interview are remarkable on so many levels.

The Smyth decision is indefensible -- everyone knew the cap was going up substantially, and it was pretty easy to forecast where the UFA market was going. It was even easier to forecast the dearth of quality UFAs in the 2007 market -- you just had to look at the list.

As for Nylander, the lack of a signed SPC on the fax machine the next morning, and the unreturned phone calls, would make me think I didn't have a deal -- not that I had one that was waiting for a signature.

And whether it was Nylander's wife, or something else, there is obviously a problem with the Oil's reputation among NHL players. Other FAs were signing with their teams of choice for less money than competitors offered. We couldn't win the contest even though we offered more. Terrible.

What a sad reflection, if it's true, that Briere was happy playing in Buffalo, but wouldn't even consider Edmonton.

Last, but not least, I don't think a player concierge is going to be the difference maker.

--Avi
 


Please see this clever post at a blog called Democratic Space trying to quantify the NHL's worst general manager. Make yourself a bet at where Lowe falls before you check it out.
 


Every night before bed, I say a little prayer for Katz's billions.
 


Seeing how the organization has been run lately makes me ask the following:

Why wouldn't anyone want to play in Edmonton??

If you were to go play there you can be guaranteed money once your playing days are over as an incompetent GM or head coach.
 


Finally, the Alberta factor. Yeah, that's an issue for a lot of wives...But Edmonton and Calgary are equivalent in this area...
Uh, no.
 


Am I the only one that feels bad for Lowe? I just think he's trying his damnest to get players to sign here. Yes he screwed the pooch on the Pronger deal and may have cocked up the Smyth deal (should have had a better backup plan). I guess I'm just a softie!
 


Maybe what the Oilers need is rather than a farm team, get a team hideout in say, Las Vegas. Before and after every road trip they go through their watering hole that the Oilers keep stocked with 'amenities'. Maybe buy an old hotel, fix it up and let the wives live down there by the pool, they could have a separate floor for the beat media to keep the stories 'positive'. They could have training camp, a christmas break, an all-star break, a february break, you know building up the 'Oiler' brand.
 


Stop the presses!

The Oilers have acquired Allan Rourke from the New York Islanders.

If you're like me, your response was "who the fuck is Allan Rourke?"

Also, the price for this career minor leaguer? Swapping the Oil's 2nd rounder next year for New York's 3rd.

I don't get it. Even Kevin Pendergrast admits that this move was done to add to add depth to the AHL club.

Can we please get rid of this regime before they scorch the entire earth in the organization?
 


Edmonton and Calgary are equivalent in this area...

Uh, no.


Yeah, if I were a provincial, cousin-marrying, sisterfucker I'd post it anonymously too.
 


Is it possible the Rourke trade was done to get back their 3rd round pick so they could package it with a 1st round pick and bid for RFAs up to $3.5 million?
 


Stauffer gave a backhanded shout out to PunjabiOil today.

"I don't want to quote a blogger, but..."

nice.

I've often suspected, but now I think it's confirmed that the Edmonton media gets all it's ideas from the blogs. This time he couldn't mask the source if he started listing details so he had to give credit. I'd like to see a real post on that someday. Something like:

"Hello Stauffer, Matheson, and Jones you fat fuck. Here are your talking points for the week:"
 


Maybe that's more of a CinO thing, I don't know...
 


Edmonton and Calgary are equivalent in this area...
Uh, no.
Yeah, if I were a provincial, cousin-marrying, sisterfucker I'd post it anonymously too.


Calgary and Edmonton are not the same. Not in real life. Not in the NHL. They aren't.
 


Calgary and Edmonton are not the same. Not in real life. Not in the NHL. They aren't.

I honestly can't see much of a difference. The only two that I can really see (leaving aside the situations of the teams at the moment) are the fact that Calgary gets the odd chinook in the winter and the skiing is closer. If you have the slightest interest in culture, I can't see how you don't prefer edmonton. Most of these guys have no interest in culture, so I don't think that matters but then most of them don't go skiing in the winter either.
 


I think we're being a bit hard on the Allan Rourke trade. We do need to run an AHL club now and run it well. I think it's fair to build depth there.

Especially if we're going to raid our top AHL talent to play here again.

- Mustafa Hirji
 


"Hello Stauffer, Matheson, and Jones you fat fuck. Here are your talking points for the week:"

Hee hee. Ha ha ha! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Hoo boy.
 


This comment has been removed by the author.
 


I guess we now know who was responsible for Hejda right?
 


I guess we now know who was responsible for Hejda right?

Yeah I thought the same thing when I read that. I don't think Howson was upset by Voracek being available in the draft either.

I'm usually a huge optomist when it comes to the oilers, but I must admit that if the season started today, we'd be terrible. Not sure how it is going to improve much either.

Hopefully Garon can play left wing.
 


http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=212929&hubname=

You can smell the desperation from here.
 


I don't necessarily think that's desperation. I think it's a good move for the Oilers. Looking at vanek's numbers and age it might be a good deal. If he continues scoring 80 points a year I venture to guess it'd be a better signing than spending $6 million a year on Smyth. And I never thought I'd say that.

Now it's waiting impatiently for the Sabres press conference to see if they'll match.

Ironically my word verification is "rtnhl". I wonder what the RT stands for.
 


Holy Shit!

I think I like this move, even though it's a desperate attempt to save face, and not part of plan. Vanek will be a perfect fit for what the Oilers need.
 


alex sounds a bit like Lloyd in Dumb & Dumber when Harry drives up on the scooter:

"Just when I think you couldn't get any dumber, you go and do something like this...and totally redeem yourself!"
 


Hmmm... looks like I got Harry and Lloyd mixed up...
 


Shocking, but I like this.
 


and so the dream ends...buffalo matched the offer.

I figured they would given all the talent they've lost this summer and they had a lot of cap space.

If the Oilers are serious about dipping into the RFA pool, they should look at players with teams without a lot of cap space.
 


Buffalo is PISSED.

They will have no problem going after Oiler RFAs in the future - and ONLY Oiler RFAs.

Why couldn't these teams play each other this year?
 


Hey, the rules are in place to make offers on restricted free agents. If Buffalo is pissed, they shouldn't be. Go cry in your pillow.
 


I love Vanek, but from a pure hockey move, Buffalo should have zigged instead of zagged and taken the draft choices, because lets face it, even with Vanek the Oil are going to be stinky for at least 3 or 4 years and those draft choices will be high ones. But Buffalo is in a similar position to Edmonton POLITICALLY they just can't be seen by their fans as not being able to compete for their best players
 


"Just when I think you couldn't get any dumber, you go and do something like this...and totally redeem yourself!"

haha! Gold.
 


Coming from a Flames fan, my unbiased opinion is that it was a great move. Yes its desparate, but for the right reasons. Vanek can flat out play. Sometimes in order to do the right thing you have to put yourselves out there. IMO, its not about saving face, it was about bringing in a potential superstar. Someone who could've taken advantage of Hemsky's playmaking abilities.

Its about time someone tried to poach a RFA (Kesler doesn't count). I can just hear the wheels churning on the Crosby extension.

Darryl... go get Phaneuf signed!!
 


The problem is that all the other GMs are now worried the cost of all their RFAs just jumped. Arbitration will now need to consider this contract. The ramifications of this don't end with Buffalo matching.

Will other GMs blame the Oilers organization for it? If GMs were leery about trading with Lowe before are they going to be outright hostile now?

I don't blame a GM for trying. I thought the Kesler offer was fine. But for Lowe to go after a team that had recently lost 2 major players, has plenty of cap space, and already told Laforge that they would match any offer, just seems like a reckless and desperate attempt to land an impact player at any cost.
 


I really hope this isn't Lowe's only plan. Unless the overpay is too much to overcome a team isn't going to let a player walk. I simply can't see offer sheets succeeding for a couple of years until the salary cap forces a team to say no.
 


You know what would be funny now? If Buffalo signed Pitkanen to an offer sheet.
 


You know what would be funny now? If Buffalo signed Pitkanen to an offer sheet.

I thought of that, too. Scary thing is, Lowe would probably take it, say Pitkanen wasn't an elite player, and then get Laforge to send out a letter to season ticket holders bragging about how good the picks were going to be.
 


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