Friday, March 3, 2006

The trigger: will it get pulled?

The Oilers need a goalie and Kevin Lowe has until March 9 to do it. I'm not even sure it's a matter of maybe anymore, either. This a good team, with plenty of scoring (four of our guys have more points than Jarome "Jarmoe" Iginla), a mobile defence and a heap of role players. But the Oilers' goaltending reeks, currently dead last in save percentage (88.7 %). It's almost sad watching Sportsnet broadcasts, in the way Kevin Quinn will compliment Jussi Markkanen as if he were some Make-A-Wish child playing goalie on his big day. In short, the goalies are basket cases and seem to be getting worse, which perhaps has something to do with getting pulled every fifth game.

As Sacamano over at BoA has argued, this is probably Kevin Lowe's moment of truth as a GM. Brownlee in the Sun writes:

The need for help in a crease now cluttered by Ty Conklin, Mike Morrison and Jussi Markkanen is a no-brainer, and Lowe was working the phones long before he got back from Italy at the start of the week and huddled with assistant GM Scott Howson Tuesday.

"It's not a process that started yesterday. It's been ongoing for months. For me, personally, it's probably been the longest season in my career as a manager, but we're going to do everything in our power."
With rare insight, Glen Sather said he always traded his goalies once their Save Percentages got below 90%, and it's something Kevin Lowe should mind when he thinks of trading for a Belfour or Joseph (not fresh off of a loss, I've cooled off on Cujo as The Answer - see Mudcrutch's graph). Blogging Lord Colby Cosh points out that most of us have forgotten about Dwayne Roloson in Minnesota, as if it would be too perfect of a solution to really consider. Could Lowe pull it off? He managed to get Dick Tarnstrom and Jaroslav Spacek for almost nothing, but he's also the same guy who talked up Peca as a scoring centre, so who knows.

Meanwhile, tonight: one of 23 Very Important Games, this time against San Jose, another team nipping at our eighth-place heels. If the Oil lose again I might just have to grab some piano wire and garrot Morley Scott in a fit of rage.


PhantomJoe1920 said...

Wonder if Uncle Slats comes to the rescue on DDay again and sends us Weekes : ) I'd rather have Lundqvist, but that ain't happenin'. I personally think the goaltening issue gets fully resovled in the summer but for now KLo needs to land some sort of an upgrade other the Three Stooges minding goal presently : )

Colby Cosh said...

Well, if you want to target Sather, I still say we should look at shoplifting Al Montoya, who's had the "NYC Goalie of the Future" rug jerked out from under him. My own preferred acquisition would be someone (a) under 30 who (b) hasn't yet failed but (c) has become expendable because of someone else's success. There's a set there of a half-dozen guys, one of whom would be Montoya.

Colby Cosh said...

(Roloson falls into the second preferred category, "Older Rentals Who Are Pretty Much Ironclad Locks To Be Good Down The Stretch." I don't know where Josieve would fall on this scale... "Very Old Rentals Who Could Maybe Hold It Together For One Last Playoff Drive If We're Really Lucky.")

mudcrutch79 said...

...most of us have forgotten about Dwayne Roloson in Minnesota

I believe I was the only person in Toronto watching last night's Wild-Kings game who cheered the late Kings goal because it made Minnesota more likely to be a seller.

That's right-I now watch hockey games on the basis that the result could affect the Oilers attempts to get a goalie.

sacamano said...

Are you guys really convinced about Roloson? I'm deeply suspicious that Minnisota's robotic defensive scheme could make Conky look good in net.

Of course, given that the Oilers give up so damn few shots, perhaps he is just the ticket.

Steve said...

I call bullshit on stats. Grant Fuhr's save percentage didn't exceed 90% until 1995-96 in St. Louis.

It was a different game back then, of course; I'm just saying that it's clearly bull-ish to claim that he's always traded goalies as soon as their save percentages fell short of 90%.

mike w said...

Steve, lick my balls.

No wait. Sorry. I...lost my temper, but I can't stay mad at a man in drag for very long. Yeah well, the 90% was something I read in the late 90s and it stuck with me. For what it's worth.

mike w said...

Update: turns out that I'm right for once. Ahem...

From the Edmonton Journal, Sept. 3, 1999:

"Sather has long felt a netminder's save percentage is more important than goal average; one of the reasons he moved Ranford to Boston was a save percentage well under .900, but he feels he can be reborn here."

Haha. That Ranford Redux worked out well, didn't it? I love Ranford of course, but I think Sather reclamation projects stopped working somewhere around 1985, and yet it's still an Oilers hallmark. In other words: SAY NO TO CUJO

Steve said...

To clarify, I meant to call bullshit on *Slats*, not *stats*. I believed that you were telling the truth; I just think Sather was full of shit.

And if it only takes a third round draft pick, and if nobody better (i.e. Biron) is available, I say pull the trigger pn Cujo. Christ, we need somebody, and Cujo's still playing a few good games, which is more than can be said for the stooges.

Mind you, he's done little to justify my decision to trade Cheechoo for him in the Gateway Cup. Fuck you, Cujo.

mudcrutch79 said...

I sometimes wonder if I'm the only poster/reader here without Gateway connections.