Thursday, July 31, 2008


Tambellini new Oilers GM

Steve Tambellini is the new General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers. Kevin Lowe becomes President of Hockey Operations, and Kevin Prendergast becomes Assistant General Manager.

Early Thoughts

• Tambellini and Lowe were part of the management team for the 2002 Men's Olympic Hockey team, but this is a major surprise. My first thought when I saw this was Brian Burke, actually. There was some talk that Tambellini would move to the Leafs, in anticipation of Burke moving there. I guess that isn't happening. But Tambellini and Burke, I assume, still talk to each other, unlike Burke and Lowe. So does that mean that the Ducks and Oilers are open to trading with each other again?

• Many of us on the Oilogosphere have speculated that Lowe would eventually move up the ladder, but we always figured MacT would take over the GM spot.

• What exactly does Lowe's new job entail?


Great post by Showerhead over at IOF. He asks the right questions:

"1) How much credit can we give Tambellini for thing(s) Vancouver has done well in his tenure?

2) How much blame can we give Tambellini for Vancouver's complete inability to fill in a roster around Roberto Luongo and the twins?"

Loxy also asks an important question over at Hot Oil: How hot is our new GM? I say ask one more question, like how hot is his son?

BDHS also has a good breakdown on Kevin Lowe as GM.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Pensées à minuit

• I miss Bonkers candy.

• Is the pool boy fantasy a male or a female fantasy?

• I am horrified when I go to the ESPN main page and see Rick Reilly's face instead of the face of Bill Simmons.

• Which death will hit the Boomers hardest, the death of Dylan, or the death of the Last Beatle? I think it will be the Last Beatle. I'm so confident of this, I've already started capitalizing the "L."

• I wish we had unofficial national anthems, like the United States does, so that I could belt out "Working for the Weekend" and "Takin' Care of Business" guilt-free at formal events.

• These new smoking doors they've put up in stores, to hide packs of cigarettes from people--presumably the innocent, unwashed minds of young children constantly inundated with sex, violence, alchohol, gambling, unhealthy food and a thousand other things that make living interesting--is my new favorite example of modern puritanism and the nanny-state in action. Someone deserves a medal for this. Making something so idiotic palatable enough that it becomes law takes a special kind of genius, and I think that genius should be recognized.

• This just in: humans are mortal. As such they die.

• Nigella Lawson is my Helen of Troy. I would wage wars for her love and approval.

• Freshco Foods on 66th/75th street, just north of Argyll Road, still serves up the best damn slushes in the city of Edmonton. I'll dream about the one I had tonight. It was like slurping a cloud.

• How can the same road be both 66th street AND 75th street? That is so not world-class.

• Why is it that with every car I own, the check engine light is always on, even when mechanic after mechanic tells me there is nothing wrong with the engine?

• I'd like to be able to do the following impersonations, in the belief that doing any of them well would make me the life of the party and even more attractive to the ladies.

1) Christopher Walken
2) Allan Arkin
3) Jeff Goldblum
4) Jeff Bridges

• I've always thought that Captain Crook got the short end of the stick. Who the hell wants to steal only Filet-O-Fish? Poor guy. Why does the Hamburglar get all the good stuff to himself? What, he can't let Crook have the occasional Quarter Pounder or Big Mac? That's bullshit. Let the dude into the Hamburger Patch sometimes, man.

• Sam Cooke was an extraordinary talent. Matt Cooke is not so much.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Graduation Day

An excellent obituary for Noel MacDonald appeared in today's Globe & Mail, and I think it's something everyone should read. MacDonald was a member of the Edmonton Grads, the most dominant sports team in Edmonton's history, and their all-time leading scorer. I don't know why the obituary appeared today rather than when she passed in May, but I'm sure glad I got the chance to read about this amazing woman. I hope you enjoy it, too.

The obit notes that MacDonald is the third Grad to die in just over a year, and that only four members of the Grads are still alive. This is both amazing, and a little bit sad. When they are gone, so too goes an important part of this city's history. Yet I couldn't tell you who any of those women were, and are, and I wouldn't be the only one. Myself, I'd like to know more about those four living Grads. Here's hoping I get to hear their stories somewhere along the line.

Glove tap to Avi for the link.

Friday, July 25, 2008



Just a reminder to baseball fans that the 2008 IBAF World Junior AAA Championships are being played in Edmonton from today until August 3rd. I just got back from watching the Puerto Ricans defeat the Cubans 5-4, and it was an excellent ball game. Tickets are cheap, there are lots of games going on every day, and you'll get to see plenty of future Major Leaguers (there were at least 20 scouts in attendance at this morning's game). Past players in this tournament include JJ Hardy, Jeremy Bonderman, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Yuniesky Betancourt.

***For any wanting a good primer on Cuban baseball, check out this extraordinary Vanity Fair piece by Moneyball author Michael Lewis.

***Update*** Buck O'Neil finally gets the credit he deserves from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Awesome, oh Wow, ...

Thanks in part to an enjoyable response to Monday's edition, it's: more summer games! Instead of doing the "good" counterparts for the same categories though, we'll vary it a bit. It is summer after all, the time for lighter fare (though I'm not personally big on action/superhero movies). And if you're inclined to be embarrassed at all, best to keep in mind Chuck Klosterman's take on "guilty pleasures". So:

1) Best Teen Movie. Not sure what the precise definition is, but basically any movie where both the main characters and the target audience are teenagers. I'll go with Bring It On, mainly because Kirsten Dunst is to me as Natalie Portman is to Pat, but also because it's damn funny. Close seconds: Ferris Bueller, Breakfast Club, Clueless, Karate Kid, Can't Buy Me Love. Dazed and Confused might be the best of them all, but I disqualified it because I think it's a bit too ambitious to be considered a teen movie.

2) Best Chick Flick. Pretty much any romantic comedy or relationship drama is a suitable answer here, although an answer like The Wedding Singer would be edging pretty close to a cop-out... that's probably an Adam Sandler movie 1st and a romantic comedy 2nd. To be sure I'm nowhere near that line, I'm saying Fried Green Tomatoes. Lots of great performances, including Edmonton's own Gary Basaraba, but it's the Parker/Masterson/1930s parts that make the movie; the Kathy Bates/Jessica Tandy parts are meh.

3) Best Movie Part. As in portion, not role. You see a movie playing on your TV guide, and flip to it hoping you can see that scene or series of scenes. The diner scene (or bank robbery) in Heat; the finale of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World where they're dropping off the building; the car chase in Blues Brothers; etc.

I'm sure I'm missing my actual favourite (memory being what it is), but the one that's fresh is the first 15 minutes or so of The Wedding Crashers; the setup, through the montage of the various crashed weddings, up to (and including) where Owen Wilson tells Rachel McAdams what all the (wrapped) wedding gifts are.

4) Funniest movie made more than 30 years ago. It seems like in movies and TV both, most comedy just doesn't age well, but there is still the odd gem. My favourite classic comedy is Peter Sellers' The Party.

5) Funniest movie, period. Toughest one of all, so I will make a pretty safe pick and say Caddyshack, which moves right along and is funny the whole way. What's one way to know that a movie was extremely funny? When IMDB's "Memorable Quotes" page for it is basically the entire screenplay.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Horse Race Reporting

It's been a while since I ragged on David Staples here, so I don't feel bad pointing out how irritating the opening paragraphs to his Sunday post on Edmonton's downtown arena debate are:
The big stick used by opponents of the downtown Edmonton arena project to bash the proposed project is the notion that taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill for this rich man's dream.

The anti-rink faction argues that no public money should be used to build a money-making machine for a billionaire owner and his multi-millionaire players, not to mention fancy and exclusive seating arrangements for the wealthiest fans.

It is a popular argument, and if the debate over the downtown rink gets framed mainly on those terms, it will also be a winning argument. So it will certainly be a reasonable tactic of opponents of the arena to press this message.

This is so... backwards. Perhaps Staples is overly influenced by his experience covering criminal trials, where the defense lawyer's interest in proving his client "didn't do it" -- even if legitimately innocent -- is quite secondary, or peripheral, to the imperative of getting him acquitted.

I'm confident that I'm not putting words in Andy's mouth when I say that his position does not boil down to Nay Now, Nay Tomorrow, Nay Forever (not in a box, not with a fox, etc.). He doesn't rail against tax money for millionaires because he's against a downtown arena; he's against a downtown arena because it's tax money for millionaires. He's against decommissioning and demolishing a perfectly good facility that taxpayers already paid for.

As far as I know, Andy isn't trying to get elected to local office; nor are Lord Bob, Art Vandelay, or the many many others in Staples' "anti-rink faction" who comment here. In other words, they're not staking out a politically popular position, then bolstering it with whatever "tactics" poll most favourably. They're actually against using taxpayer's money to build a downtown arena.

If Darryl Katz announced tomorrow that he was going to finance the development privately, and that the only thing he expected from the City was the same concessions & accommodations in terms of infrastructure that all commercial developments get, credible opposition would pretty much evaporate. You'd have no one left complaining but the usual gang of idiots who are annoyed when a Rich Man spends his own money on what the Rich Man wants to spend it on rather than what they want him to spend it on.

" public money should be used to build a money-making machine for a billionaire owner and his multi-millionaire players, not to mention fancy and exclusive seating arrangements for the wealthiest fans." -- that's not an argument to advance a position; that is the position.


Monday, July 21, 2008


Darryl Sutter has too much control over my emotions

I've been in the basement for days now, just despondent (dejected? depressed? disconsolate? doleful? downcast? etc.) over the signing of Andre Roy, particularly since I can't find confirmation that (like Jamie Lundmark) it's a two-way deal, which it had bloody well better be.

So taking a cue from John MacKinnon (btw, is there anything more obnoxious than telling other people how to spend their leisure time?), I thought I'd do something different.

McMegan at The Atlantic has been doing "Summer Games" as a bit of a diversion, and I liked one of her topics. Bad movies! Five categories:
  1. Worst well-regarded film
  2. Most overhyped film (note that this is slightly different from above; the first measures the absolute badness level, while the second measures the delta between reputation and actual quality)
  3. Worst film to win a best picture Oscar
  4. Most disappointing film (ie should have been good but wasn't--Godfather III, Phantom Menace, the latest Indiana Jones atrocity)
  5. Worst movie, full stop. (Must have been a major motion picture release--no direct-to-video, or film festival torture tactics, please)
I'm a pretty easy touch when it comes to movies -- I'm entertained by most of them -- but I can probably take a crack at this. We'll go by her "rules", with one addition: any movie that has been on Mystery Science Theater 3000 is disqualified from #5, as it is self-evidently awful. Sorry Mitchell!

Note that I don't watch a ton of movies, and that my definition of regard/acclaim has more to do with the popular consensus rather than the critical one. My list:

1) Any number of 30-60 year old movies qualify here. There are all sorts of great old movies that I love, but how many times have I watched a famous old movie for the first time and thought, "This is in the pantheon? Seriously?" Since I saw it recently, I'll go with Some Like It Hot here, which is on Roger Ebert's list of Great Movies but which I thought was both duller and dumber than at least half the new releases I see.

2) Most of my top candidates here are by directors who are a little too admired... I'll go with Saving Private Ryan, which I basically enjoyed (and had some cool-looking scenes) but was in no way interesting enough to hit 94% on the Tomatometer and isn't one of Spielberg's best all-around, IMO. Note: I have resisted seeing The Departed because I have heard too many people describe it as if it should run away with this category. Also note: #3 below probably deserves my vote here, but I didn't want to double up.

3) No Country For Old Men. This had a few good moments, and I don't have an issue with the ending, but I just didn't like it that much. The violence was too gratuitous, and I didn't think the theme was that interesting.

4) Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Actually, renting a Will Ferrell movie and being unable to laugh was better described as devastating than disappointing.

5) Tough one, mainly because I'm fairly vigilant about avoiding movies that look like garbage (e.g. haven't seen anything with Robin Williams in it for years), or that don't suit my tastes (e.g. most horror movies, "action comedies"). Also the very worst movies arouse only indifference, not hate, as they aren't really aspiring to be anything. And finally, my memory is pretty weak for experiences that are both bad and distant.

So I think my nominee here is American Dreamz, which I saw about a year ago and fails as badly as a movie can. It's supposed to be a satire of American Idol etc., but its caricatures are basically straight impersonations, and it absolutely hates what it's satirizing, which is about the worst mistake a satire can make. Just a horrible flick.

Take a run yourself at any or all of these in the comments. Some time this summer we'll do this with good movies, which is more up my alley -- I am a glass half-full kinda guy, after all.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


Battle Schedule

October 17th: Oilers@ Flames
October 18th: Flames @ Oilers
December 31st: Oilers @ Flames
February 21st: Flames @ Oilers
April 10th: Flames @ Oilers
April 11th: Oilers @ Flames

Not a bad way to start the season: Avs, Ducks, and back-to-back against the hated Flames. It's just too bad Jackie Moon isn't the NHL Commissioner, because I'd pay good money to see Brian Burke and Kevin Lowe in a sparring match after that Ducks game. Just toss in a bear, and let the magic happen.

There are only six games head-to-head against Calgary and Vancouver, but such is the price of a balanced NHL schedule. Plus, it means Oilers fans get to watch another game against the Caps on January 13th, and the Strong, Muscular Crosbies on November 7th at Crosby Arena in Crosbyland (please, please, please let that game be on TSN). Myself, I'm putting down November 13th as the game of the year. That's the night Jeff Finger comes to town. Gonna be quite the show. I guarantee it.

It's hard to believe we are just a couple months from training camp, and less than three away from the start of the regular season. It seems like just yesterday that the Oilers knocked the Canucks out of the playoffs. Oh, where has the time gone?

More on the Oilers schedule here and here. More on the Flames schedule here and here.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008



What a beautiful day to be an Oilers fan.

I'm a little misty-eyed over here. Carry on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Oilers Stuff

...Right next to the bed there's usually a dresser or a bureau of some kind, and there's NO ROOM for your stuff on it. Somebody else's shit is on the dresser.

Have you noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff? God! And you say, "Get that shit offa there and let me put my stuff down!" - George Carlin

Considering they were inactive (and/or struck out) in the UFA market, it looks like the Oilers did pretty well for themselves the past few weeks. From my perch at the south end of the province, my biggest take is that they improved themselves by subtraction.

On Lubo for Stoll/Greene: leaving aside the question of exactly how good, the Oil picked up a good defenseman who the coach can play in all situations comfortably with the knowledge that he'll probably perform well. Those guys aren't rare exactly, but they don't fall out of trees either. A useful acquisition. The real key here, though, was cutting their losses on Stoll and Greene.

Stoll might be missed SH, though MacT & Co. have proven success at coaching guys up to be sound PKers. On the PP, he's good but replaceable. And at EV, I have little doubt that the Oilers will be better for Stoll's departure. I'm not sure exactly how to express this, so perhaps it suffices to say that now that Stoll is gone, Mactavish will find that in all those situations where he leaned on Stoll, there are indeed alternatives, and he will be better off on balance with the alternatives than with Stoll. [Sidebar: can we all agree that MacT's cowbell is faceoffs?]

Matt Greene simply will not be missed. They don't need him. The only reason to keep him around was the sunk cost fallacy, and Lowe smartly avoided that trap. For this contract and at least the next one, Greene looks to be the kind of player who is paid based on who the team hopes he will be, or wishes he was, rather than what he is.

On Cole for Pitkanen: great trade for the Oilers. Erik Cole is a nice solid forward who outscores the opposition; who doesn't need those. And divesting themselves of Pitkanen was almost definitely the right move for the Oilers, particularly given that he wasn't signed yet.

Question: what does Joni Pitkanen do very well that helps your team win? He's an OK defender, but he's not Robyn Regehr. He's OK on the PP -- or at least he looks like he should be -- but he's not good enough to pay as a Big O, PP QB-type defenseman. He skates well with the puck, but isn't always sure what to do with it; he hits but doesn't intimidate. Further to yesterday's post, I think if you're going to hitch your wagon to a defenseman and pay him big dough, he ought to be a really positive difference-maker in at least one area, and I just don't see it. Add in the post-trade rumblings about his attitude (or whatever you want to call it), and trading him seems like the absolute right decision.

On Brule for Torres: the first time I saw Brule play was for the BJs as an 18-year-old, in the 2nd game of the post-lockout season. Partway through the game, brand-new Flame Roman Hamrlik lined him up and broke his breastbone with a shoulder to the chest. Now that is a horrible way to start your pro career. He has shown pretty much squat as a pro, but I think in his case it really is too early to know what he'll be. Apart from Crosby, even the success stories of the '05 draft aren't that far ahead of Brule.

This is a good trade for the Jackets I think, but I'll stop short of saying it's a bad trade for the Oilers. Perhaps they could have gotten a better raffle ticket in exchange, but trading Torres (regardless of cap considerations) has been in the cards for a while now.

Is all this -- in conjunction with the (presumptive) continued improvement of Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, and (possibly) Hemsky -- enough to give the Oil a shot at the NW title, especially given that none of the other 4 teams seem to have made strides? Maybe.

**Dept. of Whoa, whoa, whoa, settle down there: Craig Conroy is a bit overexcited, I think:
"We're not in the offensive mode like we were with Juice (Kristian Huselius) and Tangs (Alex Tanguay), but we're kind of like getting back to the team of '04 with grit," said the veteran Flames centre.

"We'll make it really uncomfortable to play against. Do you really want those guys like (Todd) Bertuzzi and Iggy coming at you and those young guys flying at you, too? I'm starting to see a lot more similarities."

If I can use Bertuzzi and 'grit' in the same sentence next year, I'll be thrilled. And speaking of excitement, I did enjoy this typically frank Craig Mactavish quote, italics mine:
"I can't remember a period of time over the last 15 years where we've been so excited heading into training camp," he said. "We say that every year, mind you, but this year we actually mean it."

Heh. Last season they were despondent heading into training camp, and ecstatic by the end of the pre-season. If it's the opposite this time around, that'd suit me just fine.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Hello, friends

I've been enjoying the heck out of my July, and getting quite a bit of work done too, but I do feel like I missed out on the whole Hot Stove/UFA thing. I hope you've been tuning into Five Hole Fanatics; MG has been doing a solid job of debriefing the Flames' moves.

It's extremely tough to divine what the Flames depth chart at forward looks like right now. Apart from Jarome Iginla being the #1 line RW, it's awfully open. If you made me guess, it'd be something like:

Bertuzzi - Lombardi - Iginla
Moss - Langkow - Cammallieri
Bourque - Conroy - GlenX
Nystrom - Boyd - Primeau

I think Keenan is open to playing the Iginla line power-vs.-power, but he's not intent on it... judging by last season, he prefers some balance between the top two lines, which almost definitely means the Langkow is not next to Iginla, because who the hell else is able to anchor a decent EV line besides those two.

I'm pretty sure Bertuzzi starts the season with Iginla... I assume Lombardi has been tabbed for Top 6 duty, with Conroy centring the 3rd line... Rudy informs us that MikeC played RW for the most part last season, which I think fits with need anyway; it also means that his counting numbers aren't likely to be much better next season than they were last, because the 2line RW never gets to play with Iginla.

I think that 3rd line has a chance to be pretty good against a mix of competition... Moss has limited upside as a point producer, but I think he's actually underrated as a two-way player; based on what I know about them, I think it's more likely that Langkow and Moss are propping up Cammy at EV than Langkow trying futilely to drag both Moss and Cammy up the ice.

Sutter's worst move of July has to have been $2.3M X 3 years for Vandermeer; that's just too much money for too long. I have written before that, while there is no magic formula when it comes to signing free agents, there are pitfalls to be avoided. They include:
Another pitfall, IMO, is paying for offense from more than one defenseman, which is why I'm pretty skeptical about the Brian Campbell signing by the Hawks. On the one hand, their PP was pretty lousy last year (24th), and they don't presently have a clear #1 point man who can shoot, distribute, etc., so maybe he was a smart acquisition, in the same manner as he was an excellent acquisition by the Sharks last season. On the other hand, Seabrook and/or Barker are supposed to be growing into that role, and they already have a "do-it-all" d-man in Keith. The Campbell contract only makes sense if he provides a huge marginal advantage over the alternatives, and I'm not at all sure that he does. (And this is setting aside the too-long term, and the fact that he looked very ordinary in the playoffs.)

Just to flesh out that whole point a bit more: the idea, the way I see it, is that when it comes to goals/points, you really only want to pay defensemen for PP production, not EV. For one, d-men just don't put up numbers at even-strength (last season, only 2 dmen had more than 30 EV points, and only 1 had more than 10 EV goals), and for two, a lot of that is a direct consequence of the forwards they're playing with. Yes, it's nice to have a guy who can make a stretch pass, but the difference points-wise between good offensive defensemen and mediocre ones -- at even-strength -- is pretty marginal. Click here: only Kronwall and Lidstrom played D all season and scored more than 1.2EVpts/60; forwards in that range include the likes of Martin Lapointe, Boyd Gordon, Dan Hinote, and Rene Bourque.

**On the topic of bad contracts, I'm thrilled to see that the NW Division's own Colorado Avalanche gave out two of the worst: $4.5M/2yrs for Darcy Tucker, who looks to be even more cooked than Bertuzzi, and $800k for Andrew Raycroft, who is absolutely not an NHL-calibre goalie. No wonder Joe Sakic is taking his time.
On the good deal side:
I'm going to have to ruminate for a good month before trying to handicap the Northwest in '08/09. Until then, around here, it'll either be fun & frivolity, or dead air. Go Flames.

Monday, July 07, 2008


'cause you're all totally waiting to hear what I have to say about Bertuzzi

ONE. I don't hate Todd Bertuzzi. Don't think I ever have, though I certainly have no love for the guy. If he was likable at all to we the fan, I would have eventually felt bad for the guy in about 2005, when he was still being portrayed as uniquely evil for committing an act that -- while not commonplace -- is equaled on the Senseless Violence Scale about 5 or 10 times an NHL season, and is surpassed on the Tragic Consequences Scale every so often too.

TWO. I'm pretty appalled by the Flames' news release announcing the signing, or more to the point, the GM's comments.
“Todd is a proven scorer with the ability to play both wings,” said Sutter. “He expressed to us that he wanted to play in Canada and that desire along with signing him to a one year deal was important to our philosophy. He wanted to play on a good team and it fit our money.

"Additionally, our captain, Jarome Iginla, was a strong supporter of Todd and wanted him on our team.”

There is absolutely zero chance that this backstory about Iginla being instrumental in bringing Bertuzzi on board would have been ignored, or missed, had Sutter not mentioned it in the primary release. As such, it is sooooo.... chicken? weaselly? something... to use the most popular person in your organization as a human shield against fan and media criticism when the buck stops with YOU.

Also Cosh points out the following via IM:'ve got "proven" in there. A word which, as you know, has a special meaning in sports: "A proven X" = "Somebody who stopped being X quite some time ago"

THREE. Speaking of IM, here's an excerpt from another brief chat with Dellow -- I've edited out all the "haw-haw"s and the like from his end:
10:58 AM me: Why do they keep describing him as a power forward? When's the last time he knocked someone off the puck?
10:59 AM Tyler: Did Moore have the puck?
If not, sometime before that.

He follows with the observation about surely Jarome "looking forward to a year in which he plays Pahlsson type minutes". Well, even-strength, it's sure looking like it.

FOUR. Bertuzzi isn't a power forward, certainly not at this point. He's a big forward, but he's not a power forward. Yeah, he fights the odd time, and he looks like a strip club bouncer, and that one time he really lost his shit, but 90+% of the time he's a taller, more Canadian Huselius. Nice touch passes, but not a guy who you're expecting to win three puck battles for every two he loses.

FIVE. I think this qualifies as a smart bet by Sutter, even if per #2 above, he doesn't sound like he has the courage of his convictions. Pardon me for taunting the hockey gods, but how bad can it turn out? Takes over half the locker room through sheer force of personality? I don't think so -- he's on his fifth team since the lockout now, but the problem hasn't been his "presence", it's been that he wasn't worth his salary. Thousands of fans forswearing the Flames on principle? Don't make me laugh.

Turns out well ~= 25-35-60, on a top 10 PP. That's nice value for $1.95M, for a vet UFA certainly. Turns out poorly ~= misses lots of time due to injury, and is ineffective when he plays. That'd be $1.95M down the tubes. But then it's over.

SIX. I mention the PP specifically, because Bertuzzi has been a horrible EV player since the lockout, and a horrible defensive player basically forever (the few seasons before the lockout, he made up for it with GF). In some ways it's hard to understate just how poor his season with the Ducks was; he put up those crappy numbers despite 3+ mins per game on the PP, lots of time with Getzlaf, and no time against top opposing forwards who, by virtue of their top-ness, were liable to have the puck a lot in the Ducks' end. Was he playing through the final effects of back problems and concussion(s), and now he's good? Or is he simply a broken player now?

SEVEN. I hope he's good. I want him to do well. I know I'll be cheering for him as a Flame, because I cheered for him as a 2006 Olympian (even though I didn't think, on merit, he belonged on the team), and I care about the fortunes of the Flames more than I do about those of Team Canada.

EIGHT. The most recent good impression I have of Bertuzzi is the '07 playoffs, as a Wing playing against the Flames. I thought he made a good contribution for them, and he was better than I expected (I had totally written him off as a Tier 1 player by that point). The most recent bad impression I have of Bertuzzi is from the 2nd Ducks/Flames game in Anaheim this season, the one where the Flames hit the iron about 4 times but couldn't come back. Bertuzzi picked a fight with Phaneuf about 5 minutes in, and ended up getting ejected because his sweater wasn't tied down.

For some reason, that made a major impression on me at the time. You decide not to tie your sweater down, because of comfort or whatever, even though the consequences of being busted is a game misconduct? And then not only that, but, with 55 minutes left in the game, you do basically the only thing that can expose the fact that you made this decision? Your judgment hasn't gotten that much better in the past 4 years, has it?

NINE. Go Flames.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Can't Buy Me Love

Breaking news! The Battle of Alberta has learned that the Edmonton Oilers have anything.

Despite a constant barrage of stories from TSN, Sportsnet, The Edmonton Journal, The Edmonton Sun, National Post, Team 1260, some dude in Philly, my mom, L'Osservatore Romano, TMZ, and The Daily Planet, the Oilers did not sign Marian Hossa, Jaromir Jagr, or Georges Laraque to contracts this week. Oh sure, we all had some good times, pretending that a seven-year, sixty-three million dollar contract to a guy putting up Kristian Huselius-like numbers was a great idea, but in the end it was just some dry humping and a bad case of the blue balls. We never did close any deals.

Coming into this season, the Oilers needed to upgrade in three areas: top six scoring, defensive depth, and team toughness. Looking at Lowetide's depth chart today, it looks to me like we are still lacking in two of those areas. We got our top-six scoring and a big body in Erik Cole, but the current roster is still severely lacking in toughness/physicality. There's Cole, Brodziak, Moreau (if he's healthy), and...that's it up front. Considering rivalries with Calgary, Minny and Anaheim, I was hoping we would have added at least one guy who could drop the gloves (and win, which eliminates Stortini) by now. The team also needs another veteran defenceman, someone who can spell Dennis Grebeshkov, Ladislav Smid or Gilbert Gilbert when they need a game off, or fill in for Sheldon Souray when his inevitable injury comes along. So far? No dice.

Is this bothersome? Not really. The remaining holes didn't need to be filled immediately, as they are more about secondary roles than primary ones. But it's probably about time that management and the new owner stop throwing money at the captain of the cheerleading squad. I've seen the teen comedies. That never works out.

p.s. Thanks to Mike, Dave and Cosh for the good time last night. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Dominion Day/Free Agency Open Thread

"They will overpay."
--Dan Barnes, National Post

June 29th
Out: Jarret Stoll, Matte Greene
In: Ľubomír Višňovský

July 1st
Possibly In: Erik Cole, Marián Hossa
Possibly Out: Joni Pitkanen, Marty Reasoner, Curtis Glencross, Lubomir Visnovsky

I guess that five year plan of Kevin Lowe's consisted of "wait until the cavalry arrives." And it has. Hopefully the Oilers don't just try and spend their way to success. Looks like Mr. Katz might have a fun news conference on Wednesday.

Spector's Trade Rumours
NHL Numbers
James Mirtle

Enjoy the "frenzy," all. Crosby.


Erik Cole and Garnage Gilbert Brule in, Raffi Torres and Joni Pitkanen out.

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