December 19 2008 06:00AM
Toronto journalist Damian Cox compares the Toronto Maple Leafs to other Canadian teams in his latest column. Along the way, he decides that he need not confine his lack of knowledge to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but that he should also comment on the Edmonton Oilers. The following is an actual quote:
Lowe seemed to have a magic touch when he organized a team that made it to the '06 Stanley Cup final, but not these days. Over the summer, he traded for Lubomir Visnovsky and Erik Cole and apparently believed the goaltending was sound, which has not been the case. Long-term commitments to Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff appear, at the moment, to be less than visionary.
Cox isn’t entirely wrong. Erik Cole has been a disappointment, and while two out of three goaltenders have been good, Mathieu Garon has been very disappointing after a strong 2007-08. Finally, the merits of Shawn Horcoff’s contract are certainly debatable.
With that said, there are two enormously stupid comments in that quotation:
- The implication that Lubomir Visnovsky has been sub-par.
- The long-term commitment to Ales Hemsky was a mistake.
For starters, Lubomir Visnovsky has been solid in every aspect of the game. With Visnovsky on the ice at even strength, the Oilers have outscored their opponents 14 to 7. His Corsi rating is +44. He’s on pace for eight powerplay goals and 41 points. He’s carrying a +4 rating, all while averaging over 23 minutes a night. There has been nothing wrong with the play of Lubomir Visnovsky.
The second statement is mind-boggling. Ales Hemsky is on pace for a 27-goal, 85-point season. He’s one of the best offensive weapons in the Western Conference, and an elite option on the powerplay. When he’s on the ice, the Oilers outscore their opponents 19-15 at even strength, and he has a +72 Corsi rating. All of this, and he has an average cap hit just over $4 million for this season and the next three. To suggest that Hemsky’s contract is a bad thing for the Edmonton Oilers shows nothing less than either an ignorance of the basic facts, or stupidity too great to comprehend them.