Saturday, November 17, 2007

Battle of Alberta: the latest skirmish

A bunch of Oilers: "We scored! How terrific!"
Tonight's a Battle of Alberta, so I'll defer to Battle of Alberta.

But I'll say this: Calgary is only two points up on the Oilers in the standings. While they may have a game in hand, it's still amusing to think that Calgary has been essentially just as bad as the Oilers, despite Kevin Lowe's campaign of utter self-destruction.

(Also: whenever I think of Calgarians, I tend to think of this)

Thinks to look for tonight: sometimes confusing Dustin Penner for Allan Rourke (this is not a good thing), unforced turnovers, Mathieu Garon between the pipes, Ethan Moreau and Sheldon Souray eating Northlands burgers together in the press box, the bafflingly prolonged NHL career of Zack Stortini, and the debut of a little snot-nosed punkster named Liam Reddox.

In the words of an illiterate poster on the Oilers' website message board:

"i predict a 2nd strate win against the flames."

And, a small item: I often spot PunjabiOil slaying dinks and mouthbreathers on HF Boards, a tireless and thankless task. Over at his blog he's got a nice little post refuting the most common arguments heard from Loweapologists (coined by Dennis), a kind of fan that will defend any and every move made by the GM, no matter how terrible the team has been in the last two years.

It's one thing to talk up the young players and the need for patience when the team is "rebuilding," (okay, sure, whatever) but it's another to also realize that the good teams in this league generally don't need to rebuild in the first place. The biggest piece of advice I have for Oilers fans that actually want to see their team win a Stanley Cup: when bad management decisions lead to a poor on-ice product, don't buy tickets and/or merchandise. This is what psychologists call enabling.

Nevertheless: GOILERS.


jon said...

Not to be too down on the guy, but some of those arguments are pretty tenuous.

Looking forward though, it might be interesting to analyze Colorado's situation after the Smyth signing. Are they going to re-sign Hejduk, and if so for how much? Is Sakic going to retire? How much are Wolski and Stastny going to get as RFAs? Are they going to re-sign Liles?

I think Hejduk and Sakic will be gone soon, and subject to Budaj's development I could still see them picking up a good goalie and centreman in the next two years, possibly even from the UFA market again. At the very least they will need to pick up another centre once Sakic goes.

Anyway, it's good thing Theodore is coming off the books, because like it or not they're still going to be paying 6.25 mill on average for a 60 point scorer (current season pace is 59) for 5 more years. I liked Smytty being an Oiler as much as the next guy but in 2 seasons he's going to be 6.25 million dollar version of Moreau.

Souray signing is still indefensible however.

mike w said...

I liked Smytty being an Oiler as much as the next guy but in 2 seasons he's going to be 6.25 million dollar version of Moreau.

I disagree. Plus we could have had him for $5 million... and then when we missed that boat, $5.5 million.

Also Nylander at 4 years was clearly the work of a GM furiously mashing his palms on the panic button, late in the off-season.

Less panic. More plans. I like plans.

jon said...

I guess that's what it will come down to, seeing the kind of player Smyth is in the next seasons.

Also, Nylander is one of the most underrated forwards in the league. He's certainly skilled, but he doesn't get credit for being strong on the puck and a hard worker.

He's putting up more points than Smyth with less support and for less money right now, by the way. Further, he stated that his reason for not coming to Edmonton was that... he and his wife didn't want to come to Edmonton. He then promptly went to another bottom-dwelling team.

jon said...

Err, I should have stated, his reason for not coming to the Oilers.

mike w said...

I guess that's what it will come down to, seeing the kind of player Smyth is in the next seasons.

Yep. There are no guarantees, and a long-term deal is always a gamble (and therefore, a deal-maker for players).

As a betting man, I'd still take Smyth at 31 then Nylander at 35. Or hell, BOTH. It was possible at one point.

Coluch said...

Regarding tonight's loss... I can only say that we didn't win because I didn't have amazing birthday cupcakes like I did last week...

Coluch said...

sorry, hotlink.

mike w said...


I usually have about a half dozen of those every morning for breakfast, washed down by Gatorade Rain(TM).

jon said...

Jesus, the Oilers are terrible. Injuries only cover so much. By my eye Smid was responsible for two goals against.

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Jonathan said...

Well, I made a trip to Edmonton specifically to watch this game and ouch. I agree with Jon on Smid as well. I was tempted to blame the second goal on him too, although I don't think he was even on the ice. He just looked brutal all-night and was the single biggest reason the Oilers lost (although there were many to chose from).
I was surprised at how dependable Allan Rourke looked. Whenever the injured guys start coming back, I really hope Smid gets the bus ticket over Rourke.