Friday, March 16, 2007

Good luck signing all of those UFAs

Generally speaking, sports teams are supposed to boost civic pride, not destroy it.

From Mark Spector in the Post:

"This was the last place I wanted to go, Edmonton," admitted goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who came here at the 2006 trade deadline, then signed a threeyear deal here last summer. "But once I got here, it's great. The school system's great here, everything is great. Obviously it's not a balmy 80 [degrees] every day. But at least in the wintertime when it is cold you still get the sun, and that makes you feel good.
In the short lifespan of the new CBA we've seen Pronger, Peca, and Spacek leave in a hurry, along with top-tier UFAs like Zdeno Chara spurn offers from the Oilers. With a shopping list that includes about three defenceman, a first line winger, maybe a centre, plus all of the restricted free agents that need to be signed on the Oilers roster, Kevin Lowe is gonna have to be a miracle worker in the off-season.


Scarlett said...

I do agree. This team needs to get the word out that the city is NOT the end of the earth and actually a kickass place to live. How about hiring some marketing people? Yeah that's too obvious.

James Mirtle said...

Isn't it kind of bizarre that hockey players don't want to live anywhere cold?

Besides, it's not as if Calgary or Ottawa are anymore cultural meccas than Oiltown. I always kind of liked the summer I spent in and around Edmonton (although, then again, I'm from that neck of the woods).

young d said...

After the Jets left Winnipeg, Teemu Selanne was quoted as saying something to about how hockey should be played in northern cities with winter and snow and the like.
He was available a couple years ago and probably would have wanted to stay.
There are some players that don't mind the travel, love the game they play and want to be around others who do and aren't impressed with nightlife and other amenities.
I don't know why the city you are in is such a big deal. Half of the season you spend on the road. The off-season you can afford to be anywhere.

Jim said...

If suburban sprawl, a crap-ass transit system, and ugly architecture is your idea of a "kick-ass place to live", then Edmonton is for you!

I'm half-joking. Of course I love Edmonton, and what it has to offer, but I could understand why it wouldn't suit all. My preference, for example, is for cities with a big, bustling urban city centre core. Edmonton is very lacking in this area.

Loxy said...

I bitch and moan about Edmonton, but the moment someone badmouths it, I'll be the first one to defend it.

I guess most of the people dead-set against Edmonton haven't actually lived there. And if you have, then you have concrete reasons outside of the temperature to dislike it.

Andy Grabia said...

Generally speaking, sports teams are supposed to boost civic pride, not destroy it.

Same could be said for sports blogs.

Edmonton rocks. And I'm not just being a homer. Great arts scene, great schools, great health care, great university, great sports scene, four seasons, the works.

Achtungbaby said...

With all the complaining about how the national media paints Edmonton as a bad place to play hockey, the Oilers Blogs aren't doing much to help.

This town is getting as ugly as Montreal.

Julian said...

Yeah, is the fact that hockey players don't want to live in a cold place basically the epitome of irony?

If anyone should be able to suck it up, I mean.... fucking appreciate what the cold has given you.

I'd kick a kitten for an ice rink out here.

Pleasure Motors said...

Edmonton is very much like an ex-girlfriend: I'll badmouth the city until I'm blue in the face, but if anyone else says boo, I'll tear their lungs out. You have to get to know her before you start picking faults.

With that in mind, say what you will, but Edmonton is a sad, cold, delusions-of-grandeur little city: the "arts scene" is fine but ignored by anyone who doesn't live in Ward 4, the university is really good (the fifth-best in Canada, in fact!), and we've got great weather if you like the sun, but not if you like leaving your house between October and April.

That said, as much as a person like me might have mixed feelings about the city, I can't understand why hockey players wouldn't love it: so long as you stay on management's good side, you'll be revered as a golden god, if not the second coming. Maybe that's a bad thing if you don't like the spotlight, but try getting into a bar in New York (and having every woman in the place throw themselves at you) with, "Hi, I'm Raffi Torres and I've scored 13 goals this year."

Black Dog said...

Never been (though this is going to change this year) but I've heard naught by good things.


Who knows what goes on in these guys' heads though?

A lot of ball players (base and basket) don't want to come to Toronto. They'd rather play in Oakland, say.

Lowe is going to be trading anyhow so I wouldn't worry about the big UFAs.

Stuey said...

andy, you listed some nice things for regular people. But athletes make a lot more money, and are looking for more high-end things from a city, things that will impress their buddies around the league when they're chatting: 5 star restaurants, private clubs, golf, golf, and golf.

D. said...

young d, I totally agree.

Katie O'D said...

I want to live in Edmonton; Alberta's my top choice for school next year. I mean, part of that is just because they have the program I want (paleontology) but part of it is Edmonton. I couldn't tell you why. I took a week-long swing of Edmonton and Vancouver in the fall, and as far as first impressions go Vancouver was breathtaking and Edmonton not so much. But the more time I spent there, the more at home I felt. I'm not someone who needs a place to be "cool" (as you can tell by the whole dinosaur thing). All I really want is a place that's cold, loves hockey, and will make me happy. Also Andy, you just made my day by saying that there are "four seasons". The idea of static weather terrifies me.
All that being said, a lot of athletes want a little more than that. Even so, they are on the road, and probably living elsewhere in the offseason, so that shouldn't be a problem.

pdan - the p is silent. said...

Can we PLEASE fire Craig Simpson???????? There's a chimp at the zoo who could do better coaching our PP. I'd even put up with his throwing of feces.

Anonymous said...

"great health care"

But that said - I moved here 7 years ago because a couple trips west convinced me it was a great place to live.

But I don't have multi millions to shop at Prada.

Guys like Roli, Reasoner, Horcoff, Sykora do seem to speak highly of the place now that they live here. Maybe the key is to look for family types with sort of normal wives.


mike w said...

Heh. The more a hockey player talks about how important his family is, the less I believe it's true.

Especially on the road (cough).

Temujin said...

I've only been to Edmonton once, and a cab driver said to me "There are two seasons in Edmonton: Construction season, and Winter"

He was right.

I enjoyed the three days I spent there. How do you not like a place that has Tim Horton's on every other street?

Anonymous said...

Edmonton does suck and it is boring. But boring is safe, and statisticly speaking, its one of the safest places in north america. i am a young person, i like to travel (in the off season) and everytime i come back i appreciate how "sucky and boring" it is with no train/bus bombs and random drive by shootings and such. Ah boring is good. I guess i could see if i was a millionare or something i would want to live elsewhere, but right here in the Park(suburbs of Edmonton)is fine.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dwayne, shut your cake hole or you wont have any good D-men next year either jerk.

Jim said...

Okay, we may technically have "four seasons", but fall is over in the blink of an eye (and it certainly sucked to go trick-or-treating in the snow every year as a kid), and spring is pretty short itself.

The summers here are great, though--it never gets blisteringly hot (due to lack of humidity) unlike NYC or most other U.S. cities, and you've got a ton of cool shit going on, the best of which is the Heritage Fest.

Anonymous said...

Long time Onion Town refugee. Been about 4 years(?) since I was last there, and all I did was pinball between the Black Dog and the Strath (not 'Strat', btw).

From all the reports the city seems to have changed quite a bit recently. People tell me I wouldn't recognize Downtown, especially the Grant MacKewan side.

At the risk of sounding somewhat pompous, I have lived in numerous cities around the world. I also travel extensively (occupational hazard). For what it's worth I still rank the city as number one.

A place is what you make it. For all the culture, activities, boutiques, etc, it's the reasons why you are somewhere that make it special.

True story. I was in Taipei recently at a bar and ordered a pint. Half joking I said to the bartender "Do you have any Trad?", and the guy next to me asked me if I was from Calgary (I'm not). He recognized the "Alberta Accent" and we ended up having a great night out.

Anyway, if you're still there enjoy and appreciate it(In spite of K-Lowe). If not give it a try sometime, it might compare favourably from where you come from.


Anonymous said...

I think ultimately, the thing that Lowe has to realize is that he will need to pay more to attract players to Edmonton.I know he's a stickler about not over-paying, but when you're competing with New York, LA and Vancouver you need to have an "edge".

After this crap-tastic season that edge will certainly not be the Edmonton Oilers winning ways. And as much as everyone would like to defend the city, it is cold, has very few direct flights to anywhere and is essentially pretty crappy.

So money it is. Time quit with the "we won't overpay" mentality.

Stuey said...

duke, with all due respect, "a place is what you make it" is only so true. There are also quantifiable factors involved, such as weather, proximity to other metro areas, entertainment options, easy access to international flights (important for European players), etc. I'm not trying to dump on Edmonton, as for many people it's a great place to live. That's not the issue; the issue is, is it a BETTER place to live than other markets that woo players, like NY, LA, Vancouver, and the southern teams that have started to snare free agents, like Nashville and Atlanta. Off-ice lifestyle seems much more important to players today than a generation ago.

Anonymous said...

Where does Edmonton realistically rank - as a city - among most players with unrestricted choice about where to play home games and park the family/score chicks?
I'd bet all of EIG's money that The Gravel Pit is in the bottom with Buffalo, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, St.Paul/Minneapolis.

Anonymous said...

Reading back maybe I was being a little over sentimental, but I think CoilerVille still has lot's of upside that most other places don't have.

For example players with young kids would like the safety and good family environment.

Also, where else can 3rd liners score literally at will with the home town sauce? Being a big fish in a little bowl can be a big consideration.


Darien said...

Looks like the oil really are pushing for that franchise record! One 1st pick coming right up!

Anonymous said...

losing streaks like this always result is someone getting fired. Let's hope it's Craig Simpson and not MacT!

-- Bob

Lowetide said...

EDM's a great city. I think eastern Canada takes shots at the west for several reasons, including relative wealth and the fact that at least in hockey it's been hard times for clubs like Toronto.

I remember McKown on Rogers in the spring saying something like "Edmonton has about 200,000 people in it" or some such. Well clearly it's just to get a reaction, which is all good. I have no problem with that, it's kind of fun.

What I don't like is Edmontonians shitting on the city. Don't like it? Move! It's a free world folks, you don't have to live here if you don't want to. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Plus the Finns love Edmonton, and they're the only ufa's worth pursuing. :-)

Anonymous said...

Generalization: Neither the arts nor academia (nor a "river valley") are priorities to hockey players.

Conclusion: Edmonton's chief assets have no purchase with hockey players.

Fair, no? There is no necessary correlation between: a) a good city and b) a city that appeals to millionaire jocks.

Edmonton's not bad. But it's a long ways from anything monumentally beautiful (mountains, ocean) and it, itself, is fucking ugly.

I was born and raised here, did 2 university degrees here, and I will not be sticking around.

T.C. said...

I've been in Vancouver for three years (yeah, OK, the weather was part of that), but I love that hometown of mine, warts and all. What I miss most is being able to skate any time I want to. Edmonton is a Hockey City. Any player who'd rather not play in a Hockey City isn't worth the effort to sign, period. Besides, why sign a jackass who goes on about what the city means to him in the off-season, anyway. The irony is, of course, that the Oil will be golfing sooner than most teams this season. Uhh... Go Canucks...?

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in Edmonton, as soon as I got my University diploma I bolted. Its my hometown, and I'll always love it...That doesn't mean I have to like it.

As a franchise Edmonton is competing with far more desirable locales and management needs to recognize that. If that means paying more to attract players so be it.

Sure, Edmonton's a "hockey city" but I say that if you are a professional hockey player, dedicating the better part of your year to conditioning for and playing the game, wherever you play is a "hockey city". Players likely take in to account the non hockey aspects of a city more seriously when choosing where to settle down.

One only has to look at Joffrey Lupul's miserable year (and listen to his angst ridden, self-flagelating remarks) to determine that the limelight is not all it's cracked up to be.

Calydon said...

Well said Big Duke.

All things considered I think once I hitch my wagon I'd like to see it roll West. (maybe all the way back to the East) Sad to say, although the Big Onion is the best place to be when $'s tight and oil prices are low.

It's a shitty place to be without a playoff run to look forward to.

LittleFury said...

Yeah, is the fact that hockey players don't want to live in a cold place basically the epitome of irony?

I thought they stopped playing outside ages ago.

Greg said...

"private clubs, golf, golf, and golf."

Jarome Ignla is a member at the Glendale Golf and Country Club in West Edmonton. I've even seen him there. Edmonton's golf courses are pretty nice in the Hockey off season.

squall said...

The way the Oilers played last year, the golf courses opened right on time. This year they'll still be covered in snow! But they're beautiful when they're open.

A pro hockey player's career these days is a series of three or four year stops, until he's about 35. Edmonton is a great place for kids, but if thier mom has higher priorities than Sears and Toy r' Us then she won't like it. It's all in individual taste.

Joffrey Lupul doesn't have a Big Fish bone in his body.

A seven letter word verification? Please.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in northern Alberta and now live in pretty much the opposite climate with unbearably hot summers and winters like Edmonton's summers. I don't think Phoenix's summers are any better than Edmonton's winters. Only an idiot spends any time outside when its 118, or -30 C. As for lousy weather. Hate to break it to you the BC'ers but Vancouvers blows as bad if not worse. Rain for 250 straight days is good? I will take the cold and sunshine after 5 days of clouds I can touch spitting on me all the time. Every city north of St Louis has lousy winter weather. Only Tampa Bay, Florida, Atlanta, Phoenix and LA/Anaheim have decent winter weather. Any telling you elsewise is pretty much lying...look at new york city this year, snow for Easter in April? Thats great weather? Its spring....

The grass is always greener on the other side....