Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Oops, he's done it again....

Yup folks, Katz is offering to buy the Oilers again. Although this time, he's shooting for the pie, not a piece. I am majorly in favor of this, and hope the EIG takes the offer. In my mind, one owner is better than 30. This guy has the money, has the profile, has the business sense to take this team and make it not only profitable (which it has become recently. Did it make money last year...does anyone know? The previous year it obviously did owing to the huge playoff run) but also successful.

I'm heading out of town today for three weeks. I probably won't be hearing too much hockey news in England or Ireland, but I hope to return to new ownership!!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reversal of Fortune

Guess who is an Edmonton Oiler?? Yes this guy, Sheldon Souray. I don't know details of the contract yet, but this is a surprising signing. Wikipedia has info on the contract already but not sure if it's accurate (they say it's a 5 year deal 27 million which averages to $5.4 mill). So what do we think? Yes, we might actually have a successful powerplay this year. Although, we give up something even strength.

Some facts on Souray:

- 19 of 26 goals came on the powerplay last year, so he is almost one-dimensional in his scoring
- plus/minus last year was -28 (damn, Lupul had a -29)
- he'll win the next Hot Off easily

So is the bad outweighed by the good? Also, how was this guy not signed sooner? Is it his even strength play that kept some teams on the sidelines?

So our defense is set. It's a complete reversal from last year. Now we'll watch Kevin Lowe wait until February to fix our offense.

Update: Is Patrick LaForge an idiot? Here are some of his comments on Primetime Sports today (sportsnet):

- Edmonton is not a great city. It's a fine city
- You need to budget for snow tires
- We wouldn't want another franchise in our background (in reference to the Hamilton issue and more Canadian NHL teams)

And many more gems of wisdom from him. And basically the dude on the show kept asking about the Hamilton issue and nothing much about the Oilers themselves. Nice to see Toronto being Toronto: self-centered!!! Also, the Canadian teams don't want to share their television contract with another Canadian team: Laforge basically admitted that. Good one!

AND, we now have two replacements for the number 44: Souray and Pitkanen. Who gets the number?

AND a nice quote from Souray:

"If no one else wants to be associated with the organization, believe me, there's one guy here who does."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Making Waves!!

The Oilers have made one helleva splash....offer sheet for Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. It's a 7 year, $50 million offer for Vanek who scored 43 goals last year (and 84 points).

The Oilers would have to give up FOUR first round draft picks. Damn, that's crazy but to get this guy, maybe not so crazy after all?? But how can Buffalo not match this offer? They lost Drury and Briere to free agency. They must have a huge amount of space to accomondate this contract. I'd be surprised if Buffalo doesn't match. But I like this move....aggressive and he's going after the right player. Good move.

Update: Never mind. Buffalo has matched the offer. Next time Kevin, go after a team that is in cap trouble.

From the Edm Journal:

"You can't blame the blame player, you can't blame the agent," said managing partner Larry Quinn. "It's not doing the Edmonton Oilers any good to do what they did today. It's not the New York Rangers, the Philadelphia Flyers, preying on Buffalo. It's the Edmonton Oilers."

Yes cause this is the same as Philly's offer sheet to Kessler. No, it's not. Kessler was highballed, but Vanek was not. The rules are in place to make offers on restricted free agents. When a team cannot sign free agents, what else are they supposed to do? This is not wrong. It was not preying. The Oilers made a good move, but it didn't work out.

Update: A good bit from the Big Dude at Sportsnet who defended KLowe's move perfectly:

Spurned by free agents in search of a beach, and Michael Nylander in search of a backbone, K-Lowe was forced onto a road less traveled. It's his job as a general manager to do whatever it takes to build a competitive hockey team, and what Lowe did Friday is show that he's not afraid to go in the corners and get the puck to make something happen in order to win hockey games.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I Pity the Fool....

Yes I actually am pitying Kevin Lowe now following this. However, the rest of the Oilogosphere is hitting him hard. Is it his fault this team can't attract free agents? Maybe but lately it seems to be the reputation of Edmonton that is distracting players (thanks Pronger). Oh the travel sucks, oooh the winter sucks. Not really. I chose to live here over anywhere in Canada. Hell, I wouldn't step foot in the United States. No offence to Americans, but that is not exactly the ideal place to live. Kevin Lowe can't be blamed for all this, not entirely.

Lowe needs to dangle Ales Hemsky in front of these elite free agents. He has to say, hey look how good this kid was when playing with B+ players (sorry, Smyth is not an elite player. In addition, he's not the ideal linemate for a player with Hemmer's skill. Smitty stands in front of the net....that's all. He's not a strong skater, doesn't have a big shot and I don't care what kind of intangibles he brings). Hemmer has the potential to be a superstar, he needs to find better linemates (and of course shoot more often). Hemmer is the team now. There must be someone out there licking their chops to play on a line with him. Come on!!!

However, even though I pity Lowe and don't blame this entire fiasco on him (hello EIG, we know you play a part in all of this, people forget they hold the purse), I think it's time he moved on and took the entire coaching staff with him. Aside from a three month period, Lowe's tenure has not been successful in years. April to June 2006 notwithstanding, this team has struggled endlessly. I think Lowe is a great GM but he's hit the wall. It's time to bring in new more former Oilers. I adore the fact this team is linked to the past, but it's time to try something new.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Slippery Bugger

So early Monday or late Sunday, it was being reported that the Oilers had signed Michael Nylander. Later that day, it was announced that the Washington Capitals had signed him for $19.5-million, four-years. So what happened?

According to the Edm Sun,
Despite rumours and an erroneous radio report and the allegedly waiting all day for returned paperwork, Michael Nylander did not become an Edmonton Oiler yesterday.

So upset at whatever transpired when the Washington Capitals announced they'd signed the free agent to a four year deal yesterday afternoon, Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe was said to be so livid he refused to talk about it, even to a Sun Media reporter parked outside the team officies for two hours.

So what happened? Nylander was probably playing the Oilers off against the Capitals, trying to get a better deal. It looks like Lowe thought this was a done deal until the Caps announced the signing. Seems pretty underhanded by Nylander at least and maybe even the Caps. I'd like to know exactly what happened here.

Update: Oilers statement regarding this whole mess is below. It looks like they have been wronged big time here. I'm no legal expert, but if the agent wrote a letter of agreement, would that be binding and his subsequent contract with Washington null and void? Probably not, because the agent signed something, I would think the NHL must have rules in place for this.

The Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is compelled to clarify the unfortunate and unprecedented circumstances surrounding the Edmonton Oilers and Michael Nylander.

On Sunday, July 1, 2007, Kevin Lowe, Oilers General Manager, and Mr. Mike Gillis, Certified Agent for Michael Nylander, negotiated and agreed to a multi-year NHL Standard Players Contract, starting in 2007/08. Mr. Gillis confirmed same to the Oilers in writing.

The Oilers then proceeded with preparations to announce Mr. Nylander’s
contract agreement on July 2, and concurrently continued with the process of
negotiating with other free agents based upon Mr. Nylander being an important roster ingredient for the future.

However, while the Oilers were expecting the returned, signed agreements from Mr. Nylander and Mr. Gillis, the Oilers discovered through public announcements made mid-afternoon on July 2, that Mr. Nylander had subsequently entered into a long-term contract with the Capitals.

The Oilers can find no precedent for such conduct in our history. The Oilers are examining and pursuing every course of action available in the best interest of the team and our fans. For legal reasons, the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club will not be discussing the details any further at this time.

Wow, very interesting developments!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Canada Day: Oilers Trade their Captain!

Yes, Jason Smith has been traded to Philadelphia. That's the bad news folks. Good news is we finally get that puck-moving defenseman in Joni Pitkanen. Also included in the trade was Geoff Sanderson (who is apparently happy to be here. At least someone is!), a veteran forward whom I'm not sure is of any help for the Oilers, and a 3rd round pick in 2009. Even better news, joining Smith in Philly is pylon Joffrey Lupul. I'll make sure the door hits your useless and lazy ass on the way out! Good riddance!!

Thank god there was a big trade cause the early returns on signings were not promising! Dick Tarnstrom and Denis Grebeshkov signed one year deals. Good I guess, but that's our only free agent signings so far. That is pathetic. Are we not ponying up the dough or is it that they do not want to play in Edmonton (which I think might be more the case)? How do you fight that? Make trades.

Other news: stupid money being thrown at tier 2 players again. Briere getting an 8 year deal worth $6.5 mill a year (10 mill in the first year) from Philly. He has one good year (95 pts) and he's getting this kind of money?? Geesh. Everyone keeps saying Philly is now a contender? Yeah right. With Buffalo losing a couple big players, Ottawa owns the East now. Sorry, might make the playoffs but contenders you are not! Is Bobby Clarke still in charge over there cause guys are making the same mistakes as in the past. You're throwing too much money at a guy again, but also the length of the deal is ridiculous.

Rumours are flying that Ryan Smyth is being offered a 7 year deal from Colorado worth $7 mill a year. If that is accurate, holy hell. $7 mill for someone who has hit 70 or more points only ONCE! Yes, once in his entire career. His leadership or intangibles aren't worth that much!

Rafalski ends up in Detroit, Anaheim overpays for Schneider since Niedermeyer is probably retiring (what an retard), Blake in Toronto, Gomez is a Ranger, and other minor signings.

I'm still wondering what the point of the strike was? More overpays again!

Update: Gomez and Drury end up in Rangerland. Gomez gets 7.3 per year for 7 years and Drury gets 7 mill for 5 years. These are two guys who had 60 and 69 pts respectively. Briere's deal that averages 6.5 is looking like a freakin' steal right now. Sure it's front loaded with 10 mill his first year, but it averages out beautifully. And he had 95 pts last year.....35 more than Gomez who is getting $7.3/yr.

Update: Ryan Smyth ends up in Colorado for $6.25 mill/yr for 5 years. A little more reasonable BUT once again, only got 70 pts once and yet is only just under Briere's average of $6.5 and he got 95 pts last year. Strange! Another overpay!

Update: Oilers have apparently signed Michael Nylander. No details of the contract yet, but I don't mind this move. He had 83 pts last year, but was on a line with Jagr so his numbers are inflated a bit. But not a bad move on a day where money was being thrown around like it was candy and the Oil couldn't reel in any of the big guys! And Sykora has signed in Pittsburgh. How sad, I did enjoy ogling him!

Update: I think the Oilers need a winger (damn, we're deep at centre now with the signing of Nylander. Hemmer needs a winger for his line). I'll throw this out there....why not Bertuzzi? I'd love to see the Oilers go after him. He showed in the playoffs that he still has game (if healthy) and he'd probably be getable for a decent price. (Update: Bert has signed in Anaheim, damn)

Update: Capitals have signed Michael Nylander. I have no idea what the hell happened here. It's almost 5 mill a year for 4 years. For that price, I don't mind the Oilers missing out on this one. He's 34 yrs old....too old for that kind of money. So now what do the Oilers do?

Here is the link of the free agent signings.....not much left out there for the Oilers. Thus far, our only free agent signing is Dick (I'm not counting Grebeshkov). ONE PLAYER SO FAR....nice!

Saw this on Edm Journal, "Lowe said he called Smyth's agent (Don Meehan) first thing Sunday morning to put in Edmonton's bid. Lowe never received a call back." All I have to say, fuck you Smyth. You refused to sign a deal for damn good money in Edm so the Oilers had to trade you, and you wouldn't even have the decency to call back? I'm happy to get the chance to boo your money-grubbing ass 4 times this year. I hope to see you in the playoffs too so I can boo some more. Ass!!