Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Still Here

As per tradition, your Covered in Oil correspondents have been AWOL for a few days, letting the ol' blog collect some dust and a few cobwebs. For anyone who thinks we've been doing nothing except downing Appletinis together and re-watching a bittorrented copy of The Devil Wears Prada, nothing can be further from the truth (although, admittedly, I do have a DVD of Disney's Ice Princess for some reason).

Although I'm up to my gills in school and work, I still keep a close eye on my beloved Oil, and an even closer eye on that jerk John-Michael Liles. Blogger erased a huge post of mine on Sunday, and I felt too sulky to re-type it. But I have to say that I'm not all that horny for the Oilers these days, since they've kinda sucked. But the Colorado matchup was as good a game as I've seen from the Oil in a while, so I'm hoping they can string out some half-decent games and make a push in a surprisingly soft Northwest Division.

Nice to see
Grabia jump on the not-so-subtle push by Oilers ownership for a new arena, via Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons (it should be pointed out, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, that the Journal owns a small percentage of the Oilers).

Shortly after winning their stupid new CBA, I mentioned the possibility of EIG's next big step: blackmailing taxpayers into buying them
a new arena. At least to this one Oilers fan, the EIG has dinked with Edmontonians enough, and, having used the "small market" scare to get what they want before (even threatening to move the team), I fully expect them to do it again.

PS: For poolies out there, I picked up Brad Winchester for my team. Look for him to immediately suck.

15 comments:

Andy Grabia said...

I always forget about the Journal being part of the EIG. And I'm totally choked about Winchester. I was going to pick him up and have him suck for MY team. WINTERSSSSSSSS!!!

fish said...

Give me my fucking Ice Princess back.

Randy in the Med Hizzo said...

Due to the numerous replies to the Arena issue, I'll make a few points here:
- I've always liked Simmons for her ability to cut through bullshit and agendas. Remember when she roasted the Edmonton Cops for just about everything?
- In the grand scheme, Edmonton probably does need a new rink. Crips. And one located outside of stab-land.
- Prepare to pay $500 million for it.
- Do NOT, not-not-not-not, based the design on Edmonton City Hall. It's a dated monstrosity.

namflashback said...

mike,

it sounds like Ralph gets to spend north of a 1B on whatever he wants. there is mention of chunks for stadiums and arenas in Cal and Edm.

It's begun.

Next up:
- some ridiculous tax concessions will now be made by the municipality
- some asbestos clean-up company gets big contract to deal with the demo of the Canada Post Building

Chris! said...

We haven't finished watching all the commentaries yet, Fish. Lay the FUCK OFF.

Anonymous said...

You haven't watched the Director's commentary yet? He reveals the identity of Kaiser Soze during the discussion of the set up shots for the ice dancing finale...

I think Onion Town could use a new arena, and yes, best not put the new one in the center of Skid Village. Planning for parking might actually be a good idea too. One of the biggest annoyances at Northlands is turning you car over to a gypsy or walking a mile in 30 below.

Duke

Ed Muntin said...

According to the Downtown Business Association of The Edmonites

there are 45,000 parking stalls downtown

many covered and heated!

Rod said...

EIG has dinked with Edmontonians enough, and, having used the "small market" scare to get what they want before (even threatening to move the team), I fully expect them to do it again.

Couldn't disagree more. Cal Nichols apparently worked for several months to get that group together with the sole purpose of keeping the team here. EIG did *not* threaten to move them. EIG kept the team here. Period.

Understandably their stated concern right from day one was the existing CBA. They talked about being able to withstand that system until 2004. Just a year into the new CBA, and we've already forgotten how horrible the previous system was? Unreal.

The only time I recall Cal talking about moving the team was during the lock out. Something along the lines of, "Without a new system in which salaries are tied to revenue, we'll have to move or sell the team." Rewind the tape a little further to the Peter Puck years (after the Gretzky sale). Those were threats. Puck blamed fan support, building conditions, lease conditions, Northlands, etc. Puck mentioned specific cities he'd move to, specific owners he'd sell to. Anything to get a better deal from Edmontonians or the city or Northlands. Cal blamed the system. That's not a threat to move the Oilers. Give me a break.

- Rod

Achtungbaby said...

Appletini, easy on the tini.

mike w said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mike w said...

>EIG did *not* threaten to move them. EIG kept the team here. Period.

Rod, you admit that the Oilers talked about leaving Edmonton if they didn't get the CBA they wanted, and then say
"that's not a threat to move the Oilers. Give me a break."

Sir, which is it? A threat, whether it be sugar-coated or ham-fisted, is a threat. I'll grant you that Pocklington pulled it off with much more Railroad Tycoon flourish, but EIG is basically using the same card that sports owners always play to get better deals with taxpayer's money. You may think of them as saviours, but they're still business men; getting the best deal is what they're supposed to do. No self-respecting owner is above scare tactics to get what he wants.

The real question is whether you believe everything EIG says, especially the about being a "small market" team that can apparently sell out a lot of games, double the team's value and are willing to spend up to the upper limits of the cap.

If the lockout was supposed to accomplish anything, at least accroding to the EIG, it was to "level the playing field" and allow teams like the Oilers to stay economically viable. On the heels of wasting a hockey season (to the detriment of the game), I'm not exactly all ears to hear this same old yarn once again.

Cal Nichols may have helped keep the Oilers in Edmonton during a low economic ebb, but the honeymoon is over. Either the team works in Edmonton or it doesn't.

Rexall is an old building, but it's a great hockey venue, refurbished and still good for at least another 15 years. Whether the Oilers truly need another arena when they're Rexall lease expires in seven years is worth some debate, but let's not forget where this "blue-sky" idea originated from, and where they're interests lie, especially when it's chatted up by Pat LaForge as a "community issue."

Kyle said...

Firstly, I would not consider that a threat, that was a fact. Both Alberta organizations made statements to the effect that their continuing operation in Alberta was based on a new workable CBA.

If you consider that a threat, consider it a threat towards those who were developing the new CBA (aka the PA and the NHL). So even if you consider it a threat, it wasn't directed to Edmontonians.

Regardless, am I the only one who is already getting nostalgic towards Northlands/Skyreach/Rexall? It may be the smallest arena in the league but that also means its the coziest, and there arent many remaining arenas with more history.

mike w said...

>Firstly, I would not consider that a threat, that was a fact.

Not to beat a dead horse, but my point was that this "fact" is debatable.

Rod said...

Rod, you admit that the Oilers talked about leaving Edmonton if they didn't get the CBA they wanted, and then say
"that's not a threat to move the Oilers. Give me a break."

Sir, which is it? A threat, whether it be sugar-coated or ham-fisted, is a threat.


OK, looks like we're arguing semantics. From Cal Nichols comments, I was concerned about the CBA negotiations and what the final agreement entailed. The team was certainly under threat of leaving if the CBA didn't go their way. Both Alberta teams were. So, OK, it was a threat.

To me the difference boils down to the fact *I* didn't feel threatened at all by Cal Nichols comments about the CBA. It wasn't a threat directed at me, a fan, an Edmontonian, a taxpayer. Like Kyle said, Peter Puck pointed the gun at the City, and everybody here. Cal Nichols never did that. His target was the CBA. Fans and taxpayers couldn't do anything about the CBA. Particularly during a lock out.

Do I consider the EIG saviors? No. Not a chance. They did save the team from leaving Edmonton (and that was a real threat, what with Peter bankrupt). But they're not selfless. It was always painted by certain members of the media that the EIG "gave" their money to keep the team here. Who are we to complain about ticket prices. The least we could do was buy tickets....

Well, from day one I was grateful the EIG stepped forward to keep the team here. Also from day one, I maintained the EIG hadn't "given" their money. They invested their money. Not necessarily in the team here, but in an NHL franchise. If the team didn't survive, they'd get their money back upon selling the team. Perhaps even make some money. Fans didn't get that luxury with tickets. Fans money never made a round trip, so it bugged me the EIG were presented that way.

The real question is whether you believe everything EIG says, especially the about being a "small market" team that can apparently sell out a lot of games, double the team's value and are willing to spend up to the upper limits of the cap.

Nice misdirection...but I'll bite.

I don't believe everything the EIG says, but I know Edmonton is a small market. I don't need the EIG to tell me that. Yes, Edmonton is a city of one million people. That's big in some respects. Not in the old CBA system though, and not in terms of big business head offices.

Selling out a smaller arena with lower ticket prices than average does not equate to a big market, or one of the bigger revenue teams. Playoff revenue is what made the difference last year, undoubtedly. (side note: Figures that Calgary could "bank" their playoff gates, while Edmonton had to revenue share...).

Another aspect that screamed small market was the steady stream of star players to bigger payrolls. The Oilers had a budget, and stuck to it (under Lowe anyway). Another was the market of rental players that never included someone coming pulling on the Oil drop.

Fans supported the team, but then again, so did Quebec City and Winnipeg. Fan support or ability to fill a building does not negate small market status.


If the lockout was supposed to accomplish anything, at least accroding to the EIG, it was to "level the playing field" and allow teams like the Oilers to stay economically viable. On the heels of wasting a hockey season (to the detriment of the game), I'm not exactly all ears to hear this same old yarn once again.

The lock out did level the playing field to a certain extent. Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia, Colorado, Rangers, St. Louis, Dallas, etc. can no longer outspend the Oilers by orders of magnitude. The Oilers have a chance to retain players rather than waving goodbye. Well, aside from CFP.

Unless I'm mistaken, revenue sharing is meant to allow a team to spend at the mid-point between mid & max cap numbers. Consequently, I think it's a mistake to assume revenue sharing will always allow the Oilers to spend close to the cap. If revenue league wide is going up, the salary cap goes up. To stay with the cap and stay competitive, the Oilers need to grow their own revenue, not depend on revenue sharing. A larger arena a few years down the road helps achieve that.

Either the team works in Edmonton or it doesn't.

With the current CBA, NHL hockey works in Edmonton. Obviously, or there wouldn't be occasional rumours of a team returning to Winnipeg. ;-)


Rexall is an old building, but it's a great hockey venue, refurbished and still good for at least another 15 years. Whether the Oilers truly need another arena when they're Rexall lease expires in seven years is worth some debate, but let's not forget where this "blue-sky" idea originated from, and where they're interests lie, especially when it's chatted up by Pat LaForge as a "community issue."

Yes, it's a great place to watch a game. However, it's age is starting to show:
- The ice plant is obviously deteriorating. Sure, the winter's are warmer, but Rexall ice is nothing like Northland Coliseum ice from the 80s.
- Rexall doesn't have dehumidifiers to help the ice plant
- the concourse has shrunk during the repeated renovation stages, and is now extremely cramped
- have all the blue seats been replaced yet?

Anyway, like you, I don't think that Rexall needs replacement tomorrow. Whether it has 15 more years is the question. If not, the discussion should start now.

Agreed that the idea probably started with the EIG. Still, compared to the negotiation tactics of a certain Puck, this is the way to do it. In my opinion anyway.

- Rod

mike w said...

Good points, Rod.

I think the only difference between us is that we have different interpretations on what the numbers might mean, without really being allowed to see the numbers.

Plus, I'm probably more paranoid and cranky when it comes to the new CBA.

Oh also: Death to Pocklington!