Thursday, August 09, 2007



Hi folks. What'd I miss? Lemme chuck out a few random things and maybe I'll gain some momentum.

**I see the reaction to the Penner signing runs the gamut from muted to very negative. Really, this characterizes the reaction to Lowe's entire summer. I hesitate to say that I'm agreeing with Matheson, Jones, et al, because I think my reasons are somewhat distinguishable, but I think Lowe did what he needed to do this summer, and not simply from a PR perspective.

I have no disagreement at all with Tyler's general assessment in his concluding paragraph here; there are a lot of excellent individual points therein. He's quite likely right to say that the Oilers have gotten somewhat better now at the expense of the potential for being a lot better later. But! As I have argued quite a few times on this site, there are issues here that go beyond EV rates, quality of linemates & opposition, and production-per-dollar. This is what I wrote on March 5:
This leads into Lowe's next major failing, which is that he seems to have a poor understanding that his actions have an impact on his team beyond the tangible.
The attitude and actions of leaders affect the people below them.

If you asked me to summarize what went wrong with the Oil last year (leaving injuries aside, directly), I'd say:
  1. Blueline was sub-par from Day 1
  2. The decrease in toughness overall, specifically up front, turned out very badly
  3. The team got discouraged (progressively so) by management's failure -- or unwillingness -- to address their obvious weaknesses.
Whether #1 has been resolved is TBA, but it has been addressed. They traded away their best defenseman, but they got back a guy who might be pretty good, and if Grebeshkov can play then it's possible that Matt Greene will be a healthy scratch on Opening Night -- which is right about where he belongs on merit.

#2 has been improved, as much by subtraction as anything. Getting rid of Lupul was critical, I don't think they'll miss Sykora, and Souray and Penner are huge. (Sidebar: will Souray become a whipping boy of the fans due to his pylon-ness? No time soon, it says here. Is there another example anyone can point to of a guy who can shoot the puck well and fight being derided by a large segment of fans? He'll take his licks around the Oilysphere, but the fans as a whole will love him.)

And #3, whatever you think of the actual moves, has been addressed smack-head-on. Guys like Horcoff, Hemsky, and Roloson (and even MacT) have to be heartened by the fact that Lowe went out and spent money, plenty of money, to try to make the team better. I don't think they're concerned about the draft picks, nor do I think they're concerned that 2nd Full Year Player Dustin Penner will be making more money than them. I think they're psyched by the fact that they'll be arriving at training camp to join a team that should be a lot better than the one they limped out of last season with.

I'm petrified to disagree with Lowetide on a prediction, but I don't think the Oil will be threatening the draft lottery this year, not at all. You shouldn't forget just how historically awful the Oilers were in the last quarter of this past season; at the trade deadline, they were basically out of playoff contention, but certainly not one of the 5 worst teams in the league.

**I enjoyed the podcast, nice work Erin and Andy. I loved Showerhead's comment: " sound friendlier than you read!" FYI, I'm the opposite.

**I was at a family reunion last weekend, and my Uncle Phil -- who hails from London, England since the '70s and knows next to nothing about hockey -- was telling me how he reads and enjoys this site frequently, because the people who write here are ~ funny and interesting. Kudos to Andy, Sacamano, and the commenters.

**Katz: we can't be certain that the Oilers would be better off with him as the owner than with the EIG, but I think we can all agree now that Cal Nichols is, in varying degrees, a charlatan, highwayman, fabulist, and jerk. CiO has had nice running analysis of this. And from Lowetide, something that all Oilers fans ought to internalize: "The EIG have been paid in full in terms of goodwill re: saving the team..."

**There is absolutely nothing going on with the Flames right now ("Hitmen release 2007-08 regular season schedule" is the banner headline at their site). Later.


There is absolutely nothing going on with the Flames right now

That's what you get when you make moves that are conducive to long term stability, like signing Mike Keenan.

What do you mean nothing going on with the flames. They replaced Hammer with Sarich, Stuart with Aucoin and Amonte with Nolan. So while the Oilers got younger and more talented, the Flames got Older and less talented.

Thanks for the Hitmen schedule, actually. Looking forward to the season starting, especially with the giddy remembrance of last year's (somewhat unexpected) conference finals run. Dear Lord, can it be true I'm only four weeks away from real, honest-to-God, preseason hockey?

Very glad you're back!

He'll take his licks around the Oilysphere

That is a loaded line.

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