Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Don't catch the door with a questionable hit on your way out

Raffi Torres is gone. Joni Pitkänen is also gone. Gilbert Brule and Erik Cole are in.

First off, I'm incredibly glad to see Raffi go. I know he could "keep his head above water" against "tougher opposition," but that doesn't change the fact he was a dirty motherfucker with a chin landing strip who consistently failed to produce offense in almost any situation (excluding the one year he had 27 goals, which I'm convinced is a fluke on his way towards being what he really is, a useful fourth-line plugger). I'm generally of the opinion that there is no such thing as players who you hate to see play for other teams but would love to have on yours: if Raffi Torres had spent the last five years as a Calgary Flame, I'd have had dreams about serving his head to a group of foreign dignitaries with an apple in the mouth and two candied figs for eyes, and I don't think he gets a free pass for being a cheap shot artist just because he wore copper and blue. I am not sad at all that he is no longer an Edmonton Oiler.

That said, I'm not really sure what to make of these two trades. Brule might become something, I guess, but our team is not exactly hurting for young, smallish centres at the moment. Erik Cole is a more consistent, better version of Torres, albeit a version who also broke his neck a little while back and has only scored 30 goals once in his career. That said, he might be a nice fit on a top line, a shooter for Hemsky and Horcoff. Obviously, though, I'm not happy to see Joni Pitkänen go, and I expect him to promptly become a 50+ point defenceman for the next 10 years or so.

Over the last weekend, we've lost Stoll, Greene, Pitkänen and Torres and picked up Visnovsky, Cole and Brule. So, basically, we've got a slightly older version of Torres, a much older version of Pitkanen and another Rob Schremp, and lost two other players who I wasn't really expecting much out of anyway. I don't think I understand this.

But, again, I'm really happy to see Raffi Torres gone. That is all.


Lady_Byng said...

Well said about Torres! I used to love him blindly and defend his sorry ass to fellow Oilers fans when he wasn't really worth defending in the 1st place; but ever since he was out injured earlier this year I didn't miss him on the ice at all.
He's a jackass in person too, so I laughed when I heard he got traded. Bye-bye Tico!

garnet said...

Brule's an Edmonton boy, a factor that seems to count for rather too much with the team.

mike w said...

I dunno, I'd rather have Torres on my team during the playoffs than play against him. Good thing the playoffs are becoming a vague memory.

Although the two trades are all part of the same, I like the Pitkanen deal way more. Erik Cole is a great player, and basically an upgrade on wing, but the UFA status bugs me.

Brule? That pipsqueek? He's young yet, but... don't we have enough of these kinds of prospects?

Some other thoughts:

- That leaves five Oilers left from the 2006 SCF run.

- Remember when the Oilers used to complain about the salary cap being too high? How's 50 mill sound...

- If Brule ever gets clobbered by an open-ice hit, the Edmonton Sun's accompanying headline will undoubtedly be "CREAMED BRULE!"

d-lee said...

Colesy is a great guy. It's been a real joy to be able to watch him over the last six seasons. We're gonna miss him. Please take care of him.

I think both sided benefit from this deal. Pitkanen is a guy we had our eyes on last summer, but we couldn't make the trade.

Cole's neck shouldn't be a major concern. He's tough as nails and the neck is as strong as it could possibly be. You should get 60 points out of him easily.

James L. said...

Cole is an "older version of Torres"??

What an insult to Cole!

Temujin said...

Now who is Darcey Hordichuk going to beat up when the Canucks play the Oilers? Hehehe!

Doogie said...

Wait, the biggest complaint you can find against Raffi Torres is that he laid a couple of questionable hits?

Holy Christ is this hockey or fucking basketball?

NotLeeFogolin said...

Holy shit, CinO has come back to life. The anonymous posters out here in the internets have certain expectations of free blogs that don't produce any revenue, and you, clearly, have met those. Which is to say we don't really have any--


1A LW Cole
1A D Visnovsky
7 C(?) Brule

1 D Pitkanen
3 C Stoll
3 LW Torres
6 D Greene

IMO we won the Kings deal (1A D > 3C,6D), washed on the Jackets deal (inconsistency is one of the worst traits you can have as an NHL player, so good riddance Raffi) and lost on the Pitkanen deal. I'm going to assume that Pitkanen had zero interest in signing here long-term. Or maybe 5 years of Lubo was too sweet to pass up. Either way, we're somewhat better than we were a few days ago, so I guess Lowe has done his job. I really think we kind of undersold ourselves on the Pitkanen exchange though. I felt like he was worth Cole + a pick or two.

DMFB said...

Wait, the biggest complaint you can find against Raffi Torres is that he laid a couple of questionable hits?

As you'll notice on closer reading, I also mentioned his landing strip chin beard and his wild inconsistency.

I also think the insistence of certain Oilogosphere people that he was a top-six forward (at least until he got hurt and people who can actually score with some kind of regularity, like the Kid line, showed up) soured me on him. As said above, I think he's probably going to be an entirely useful utility forward, but that's about it.

Black Dog said...

Agreed PM - over 2 million per for that inconsistency - not money well spent.

Doogie said...

I definitely saw the other complaints, but it was obvious that your primary one was the hits, which I think is a bit over the top. Everyone knows about the diminishing returns and inconsistency, and the rumours that maybe the partying wasn't over after all when he said so last September. That seems a lot more worth celebrating his departure over than catching a couple of guys with their heads down.

Colby Cosh said...

Yeah, no, Visnovsky and Cole aren't just older versions of Pitkanen and Torres. That's just dumb. Visnovsky's a way better defender/shooter, and I don't even know how to compare Cole to Torres... he's like, um, a bigger, smarter, harder-hitting Torres with much better hands and skating? Does that about cover it?

DrFrankLives said...

You guys didn't get a chance to see Colesy play until Game VII.

You will love what he brings to your team. He's aggressive, fast, lloves to hit (though not as much as pre-injury) and if there is a tougher guy in professional sports, that guy is Greco-Roman wrestling shortly after a quadruple amputation. Cole is a beast, and he is going to tear up the Western Conference, who have not yet gotten much exposure to his patented rush up the right side, charge straight at the goalie with three defensemen hanging on him, cross infront of the goalie and drag the puck behind him and slip it by the goalie as he cowers in fear in the corner of the net.

salim919 said...

im from raleigh and i think that we both will benefit from this trade. cole is a great player on and off the ice. as long as he stays consistent yall have a gem.

bout hordichuk here is a recent comment he made,

“I want to play in the west because there are a lot more tough guys and that’s my job every night,” he said. “I’m so excited. I look back at my career and some of my best games have come in front of Canadian fans because that’s my style. I like to run around and hit guys and anybody who’s willing to drop the gloves. I’m the kind of guy who won’t back down. I know my role and any chance I get to fight Georges Laraque and some of the bigger guys out there, I like to test myself against those guys.”

his this the same laraque that just signed with montreal. think this guy has been hit in the head one too many times.

Anonymous said...

I also think the insistence of certain Oilogosphere people that he was a top-six forward (at least until he got hurt and people who can actually score with some kind of regularity, like the Kid line, showed up) soured me on him.

Am I missing something? For the three years preceding 07-08, Torres was a pretty consistent 2.0 ESP/60 guy. The kid line was around that range last year themselves. They've got some PP ability that he doesn't have but other than that...I'm not sure that your complaint is particularly valid. If you don't like the guy, fair enough, but given that his hits fall within the rules (for what it's worth, I'd be fine if the rules were different but that's not the issue here), he scores as much at ES as the kids did and he has a physical element that they didn't, I don't think that there's anything to your complaint that holds water other than "I don't like the guy".

DMFB said...

I think you could make an argument that a true top-six forward should probably be available to produce on the powerplay occasionally as well, or at least put up .5 ppg more than once in his career (something all the kids managed). But I'm also perfectly happy to just say I don't like the guy.