Fun With Garrioch

Jonathan Willis
October 12 2008 09:53AM

Most teams are a couple of games into their NHL seasons, so it is clearly time to panic, right? According to the Ottawa Sun’s ill-famed rumour-monger Bruce Garrioch, there are a bunch of things that could conceivably happen. Here’s his article, including an Oilers rumour (apparently, the team has a defenceman named Smead). Given that Garrioch’s reputation isn’t especially stellar (see here for one example), I decided to go look for some verification. Fortunately for me, Lyle Richardson (better known as Spector) had also seen the same article, and done some analysis for us already.

Garrioch reports that Ottawa, Colorado and Washington may be interested in Nikolai Khabibulin. Spector put things nicely (“it’s a little early to start speculating”), but I won’t. Let me put it this way: after signing Jose Theodore to a two-year, $9-million contract this summer (a contract that has Washington within $1 million of the salary cap), why would they give up on him after one bad game and one OK game? They wouldn’t. It’s asinine to suggest they would, because it makes no sense whatsoever. Given Khabibulin’s post-lockout level of play (ie, roughly on par with any of Gerber, Auld or Budaj), I can’t imagine anyone being willing to take on his nearly $7-million contract.

Although Colorado may eventually try to cure the insanity of their current goaltending tandem (Budaj-Raycroft) with a nearly as insane pitch for Khabibulin, I for one would be thrilled if that was how they decided to use their cap space.

According to Garrioch, Mike Gillis is still trying to trade Kevin Bieksa for a forward, but he’s having difficulty finding anyone interested. Spector chips in that he’s heard nothing like this (particularly given the recent trade of Krajicek). I have trouble believing that he would have difficulty moving Bieksa, given that Pittsburgh and Philadelphia both have a) a bunch of forwards and b) huge parts of their blueline on injured reserve.

There’s some more nonsense:

  • A Peter Schaefer trade, which won’t happen because he needs to clear re-entry waivers and he will not—besides which, if an offer was out there, wouldn’t Boston have moved him already to keep from paying him $2 million/year to sit in the minors?).
  • A Michael Nylander trade, which won’t happen because a) he’s too expensive, and b) he has a no-move clause, which he is on record as saying he has no plans to waive and hasn’t been asked to.

Garrioch also suggests that Tampa Bay may be looking to sign Marek Malik, which Spector suggests would “surprise” him. I actually came across these articles looking for news on Malik, a player who has been extremely effective statistically since the lockout, but really seems to have been black-listed as far as the NHL goes. I couldn’t find anything in the past month to indicate that any team, particularly Pittsburgh or Philadelphia (two teams desperately in need of defencemen) were looking at signing him.

Garrioch also wonders aloud if there’s “any truth to the talk the Oilers are willing to deal D Ladislav Smead? [sic]” Spector suggests it is possible, which makes sense to me, given the Oilers current situation on the backend. That said, I’d personally be very disappointed if they did move him at this point (something which Lowetide rather pragmatically suggests as a distinct possibility), because I think there’s a bunch of upside there and I doubt that the Oilers are a contending team this year anyway.

Regardless, I’m not any more worried about the move than I was before, given that Garrioch is the guy suggesting it.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#1 1011011
October 12 2008, 11:51AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Garrioch is such a clown. You are 10 times the writer he is Jon

Avatar
#2 Dav
October 12 2008, 12:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I can't see Smid being moved before Roy.

Avatar
#3 Antony Ta
October 12 2008, 12:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

10 times is an undervaluing of Jon's skills.

It's a tough situation with Smid. Most D-men don't come into their own until their mid-twenties... but with our current logjam of D-men in the system we could really use him to deal for a checking centerman.

Avatar
#4 Antony Ta
October 12 2008, 12:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

And Smid has more trade value than a Roy, based on injuries and draft pedigree alone.

Avatar
#5 RobinB
October 12 2008, 12:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jonathan: What's the point of sniping at Garrioch? Because he doesn't know Smead from Smid? That he speculates? That he's wrong more often than he's right?

REALLY. What's your point? Garrioch does what he does because his employer expects him to generate this kind of stuff, even if much of it's little more than bald-faced speculation. So what?

Have you actually checked to see how often he's right? I know, he throws so much stuff against the wall he's bound to be right sometimes.

Between your ongoing crusade for advanced stats -- with obligatory suggestions those who don't swear by them aren't as smart as those who do -- and the potshots you take at writers in the mainstream media, you're starting to sound like you've got a bad case of press pass envy.

If there's so many buffoons in the MSM and you believe you've got the chops to do a better job, pick up a notepad and get out there.

Avatar
#6 Owen
October 12 2008, 12:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

If semi-serious fans can recognize the crap he's pumping out, what's the point of his column in the first place? Half of the trades don't even make sense from a cap point of view. The only way any of his stuff is taken seriously is if it's passed on and the source forgotten. "Oh, Garrioch said that? Nevermind, then."

It may be his job, but it's still to make stuff up.

Avatar
#7 Greg MC
October 12 2008, 01:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Don't be suprised if the Oilers contend this year. The franchise has done it once or twice before when expectations were not high. Believe in the magic!

Avatar
#8 Matt N
October 12 2008, 01:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

RobinB

For someone who is supposed to be a contributor to this website you spend a lot of time bashing the other writers. A quick glance at the bylines (sp?) and I see only a prediction post from you (in which you took Calgary to finish first and Vancouver last in the NW). Aren't you supposed to be the press pass guy of this group? Aren't you supposed to be giving us inside, quotable scoops from the dressing room? Jonathon is the stats nerd of the bunch and you are the MSM dude. Can you please post something that is original, insightful and different instead of bashing the guys you work with?

Avatar
#9 Tyler
October 12 2008, 01:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Between your ongoing crusade for advanced stats — with obligatory suggestions those who don’t swear by them aren’t as smart as those who do — and the potshots you take at writers in the mainstream media, you’re starting to sound like you’ve got a bad case of press pass envy. If there’s so many buffoons in the MSM and you believe you’ve got the chops to do a better job, pick up a notepad and get out there.

This really isn't a great argument. Leaving aside the stats bit, (and I know that you don't need me telling you this), the media field is a tough gig, in terms of job security. My understanding is that too many people want too few jobs.

That doesn't mean that those who do work in the media should be free to butcher stuff without comment, particularly when many of your brethren (Messrs. Rishaug and that guy who used to be on Stauffer's show who sounds like Randall from Clerks spring to mind) are so openly contemptuous of hockey blogs.

I don't think a threshold of "This doesn't even make any sense" is too high to apply. Some of the guys in the media routinely fail to hit that. Terry Jones is like a caricature of Stephen Colbert as a sportswriter. Garrioch's stuff is frequently impossible. If you're pumping that out on a regular basis, it's hardly unfair to get called on that.

Now, is Willis good enough that he can do better than pick such low hanging fruit? I would think so but that's a different issue altogether.

Avatar
#10 Tyler
October 12 2008, 01:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I kind of trailed off in my first paragraph and lost the point I was trying to make which is this - I wouldn't want to work in the media for a number of reasons, one of which is that media convergence seems to be reducing the number of jobs available and that the salaries are driven down by the number of people who want a sexy job. Again, you probably don't need me telling you this.

Avatar
#11 MikeP
October 12 2008, 03:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

What, Garrioch should be left alone to spout bullshit, just because he's got a tough job? Wah wah wah, cry me a freaking river. I have a tough job too, but if I BS my clients they'll tell me so.

Could I do a better job? Probably not. That's why I'm a system administrator, not a journalist.

I can play amateur psychologist too: Robin, I think thou dost protest too much. Could it be that you feel threatened by all the young (and not so young) guys wielding new tools you don't understand?

What's YOUR point? People who disagree with you envy you? Don't think so, go back to psych 101.

Avatar
#12 Jonathan Willis
October 12 2008, 03:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jonathan: What’s the point of sniping at Garrioch? Because he doesn’t know Smead from Smid? That he speculates? That he’s wrong more often than he’s right?

The point of sniping at Garrioch is that there's a market out there starving for inside hockey knowledge and that they generally expect their mainstream media types to provide it. Robin, do you randomly speculate and then claim that "NHL sources are saying" or similar garbage? Because I've never seen you do that - I may not agree with everything you say, but you do shine some light on some of the murkier parts of professional hockey. I don't think it's too much to expect some ethics from professional hockey writers - and really, I don't think that you disagree with me, because you don't do the same kind of cheap "reporting" that Garrioch does.

And if you look at that example above, you'll see I'm not the only one bothered by it - why else would Jim Matheson run a column the next day refuting Garrioch's?

Between your ongoing crusade for advanced stats — with obligatory suggestions those who don’t swear by them aren’t as smart as those who do — and the potshots you take at writers in the mainstream media, you’re starting to sound like you’ve got a bad case of press pass envy. If there’s so many buffoons in the MSM and you believe you’ve got the chops to do a better job, pick up a notepad and get out there.

I don't think I've made that suggestion. I think advanced statistics are a legitimate way to look at the game, and I'd like to see one mainstream media publication start using them. The Hockey News would be the obvious one, but instead they putter about with things like the Goalie Confidence Index. It isn't so much that you can't understand the game without the statistics; but the statistics are a fresh viewpoint, something beyond what's traditionally accepted, and I can't see it as anything other than a negative if someone completely disregards them.

I think I understand where you're coming from, Robin - you've actually done the job, and looking at the media guys covering the Oilers, it's pretty clear that you're at a different end of the pool than a guy like Terry Jones. I've never done the job, and I understand that I don't appreciate how difficult it can be to constantly generate copy over the course of an arduous season. I don't think I'd neccessarily be an especially good sportswriter; I do know that I have enough of an ethical grounding that I'd never publish some of the junk that's routinely run out there by some of the industry's lesser lights.

Anybody can see the difference between a guy like Garrioch and a guy like Bob McKenzie (Or Eric Duhatschek. Or Scott Morrison. Or Jim Matheson. Or for that matter, between him and guys like you and Gregor.) I don't think that kind of garbage should get a free pass just because the guy who proffered it happens to be paid to do so.

Avatar
#13 Jonathan Willis
October 12 2008, 03:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Robin: Incidentally, what's Lyle Richardson's motivation for dismantling Garrioch's column? Press pass envy? Or is it that he doesn't like seeing garbage passed off as hockey news?

Avatar
#14 RobinB
October 12 2008, 03:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Matt: Please cite examples of all the time I spend "bashing" other writers on this site. That's flat out wrong. It tells me you aren't paying attention. Consider this: taking issue with somebody's angle on a particular subject isn't "bashing," it's called debate.

Insight? Quotable scoops? Please, do more than a "quick glance" and go back more than one or two pages of posts before you get too carried away with that stance.

There's lots of tidbits and insight that come out of the dressing room every day. If our set-up here at ON allowed for me to post two or three items a day every day now that the season has started -- my hope is that we'll get to that point -- you'd have your fill. Anyway, here's one from today . . .

Rod Phillips, Jim Matheson and I were given a preview of the Oilers new scoreboard video opening by Don Metz, and I've got to say it's very catchy and well done.

It's a homage to 30 years of Oilers hockey and it's done in the manner in which many of the scenes in Forrest Gump -- the ones where Gump is spliced in to appear with president Kennedy etc -- were edited together. With slick editing and voice-overs, there's scenes where Oilers from various seasons and eras appear to be playing together. There's a pass from Hemsky to Kevin Lowe for a goal. A three-way passing play involving Mike Grier, Gretzky and Robert Nilsson. Another with Guerin and Cogliano, one with Niiniima and Hemsky and yet another with Visnovsky to Coffey. Phillips did voice-overs to make it all work.

I think it's the Offspring providing the background music. It kicks better than anything since the Kickstart My Heart opening. There, you have it.

Avatar
#15 Tyler
October 12 2008, 03:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

There’s a pass from Hemsky to Kevin Lowe for a goal. A three-way passing play involving Mike Grier, Gretzky and Robert Nilsson. Another with Guerin and Cogliano, one with Niiniima and Hemsky and yet another with Visnovsky to Coffey. Phillips did voice-overs to make it all work.

Were they able to put together something that showed the Oilers scoring on a 5 on 3 in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals or were the technical difficulties to much to overcome?

Avatar
#16 RobinB
October 12 2008, 03:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jonathan: Advanced statistics are a legitimate way to analyze the game and should be (and sooner or later will be) used as a tool to bolster/disprove etc what is seen and what is said. No argument.

What Bruce G does isn't for me. I didn't do things that way, but, then again, that wasn't my mandate. He does as he's told. Readers eat it up. It's gossip. Maybe it's all the time I've spent in the business, but hacking at a guy like Bruce for rumour-mongering gets tired after awhile. Take it for what it's worth -- which often is nothing more than a laugh.

Avatar
#17 therealdeal
October 12 2008, 06:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Robin,

I've made it a point on my site to not be too critical of the MSM be it a writer or a commentator. I know these guys have to make a living and as much as I disagree with their opinions or methods I know they're people who are more than likely doing the best they can.

On the other hand, the press is supposed to hold accountable whatever or whoever they are covering. They are supposed to be held accountable by other writers by way of market competition (stating a broad principle here). Now we both know that over the past 20 years competition between media outlets has pretty much died because about 5 people combined own every media outlet in the western world.

My point is this; what's wrong with the average Joe holding the press accountable? Any one of us is free to intelligently debate or refute anything Jonathan has said here, and I think if you have a problem with any of his facts that's one thing, but simply asking an inane question like 'what's your problem??' should be below the level of discourse here. It's not even like Jonathan attacked the guy personally (which I would personally have a problem with). Garrioch is frequently derided by regular reasons and probably with just cause. If people get really tired of posts like this then readership will drop off and the free market of ideas will have spoken.

As for the cool introduction, I just saw it and I agree, looked fantastic. The whole on-ice presentation has been pretty cool as well.

Avatar
#18 Antony Ta
October 13 2008, 12:25AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Bottom line: if you can't spell the player's name right - if you have the audacity to call yourself a journalist and you can't even take the 5 seconds to Google it and COPY AND PASTE THE RIGHT NAME into your article (something a high school student could figure out for chrissakes), then you are a joke of a reporter. We're not talking about a simple keyboard mistake where he spelled Smid's name "Simd," or "Smud," or "Smdi," or even "Smod." We're talking about him sounding out an unfamiliar name and spelling it wrong. If you're a Sports journalist covering Canadian hockey teams and hockey rumours that you're supposed taken seriously as a trusted "insider," should their be any "unfamiliar names" that you can't sound out or Google properly? The answer should probably be no.

I know you're trying to protect the profession, Robin, but Garrioch is not professional.

Avatar
#19 Doogie2K
October 13 2008, 01:35AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Garrioch does what he does because his employer expects him to generate this kind of stuff, even if much of it’s little more than bald-faced speculation. So what?

He uses the pretense of being an insider to fling a bunch of shit at the wall to see what sticks. It's misleading at best and disingenuous at worst. Oh, and any idiot with a browser, never mind a media guide, can find Smid's name spelt correctly. We are talking about a professional journalist here, for Christ's sake.

Avatar
#20 RobinB
October 13 2008, 07:29AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Anthony and Doogie2K: You're right, of course. There's no excuse for botched names. Kind of knocks the legs out from under any argument that you've got inside information when you know so little about a player you can't get the basics right.

Avatar
#21 Jerry MacWire
October 13 2008, 08:17AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Robin B

Mainstsream media? LOL Now that was funny.

Avatar
#22 Dennis
October 13 2008, 09:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Is press pass envy even remotely replated to that awful condition of being passed over for Journalism school?;)

Avatar
#23 RobinB
October 13 2008, 10:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Dennis: Yes, it's closely "replated" to being passed over and/or ducking out on your own.

Avatar
#24 Antony Ta
October 14 2008, 01:24AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The word "replated" is an example of a legitimate spelling mistake, by the way.

Salt in the wounds Robin! Have a nice day :-D

Avatar
#25 Dennis
October 14 2008, 05:22AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Robin: With spelling like that, I would make a fine lemming for the Oil!

Not that you yourself would know anything like that, of course;)

Avatar
#26 David S
October 14 2008, 06:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jeez you guys. You're hacking on the one guy here who doesn't need stats to make himself look like he actually knows what he's talking about. Maybe he doesn't always say something that you agree with, but I'd put his intuition and experience (first-hand I'll add) over the latest version of EA Sports any day.

We lose this guy and it'll be just another fan site. HF boards pt. deux anybody?

Avatar
#27 Garrioch right on part of this
October 15 2008, 06:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=252644

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed unrestricted free agent defenceman Marek Malik to a one-year contract, worth a pro-rated $1.2-million for the 2008-2009 season.

Comments are closed for this article.