Framing the Issue

Lowetide
October 20 2010 08:08AM

This is Henry Fonda in "12 Angry Men." Along with wonderful phrases like "the New Jersey hair-splitting convention" the movie is a compelling look into the meaning of reasonable doubt and the power of bias and prejudice. It's one of my favorite movies. 

There a slight disconnect between most of the msm and the blogosphere on a very important issue involving the Edmonton Oilers. Bloggers have been spending a lot of time discussing Taylor Hall's future, going into great detail in regard to important issues. Keeping Taylor Hall in the NHL now allows him to leave via free agency (if he wishes) at age 25; if he's sent back now the Oilers would enjoy his playing rights until age 27. That's a big deal.

Also, many secondary issues (why on earth can't these kids play in the AHL at age 18? that is something the league needs to adjust) have been brought up across the blogosphere and at the very least make for an interesting discussion.

The mainstream media appears to be using this discussion as a platform to call out "crazy fans" for being fickle. The radio has been full of diatribes about the silliness of sending Hall away ("give your head a shake") and not at all discussing the actual issue: are the Edmonton Oilers better off starting the contract clock a year (or two years) down the line. For the record, I haven't talked to one fan in panic nor a crazy person about Taylor Hall. The Edmonton fanbase is taking a kicking here, and they don't deserve it.

The fact is that there is an issue here that should be addressed: should Taylor Hall be sent to junior in order for the Oilers to get the most out of his pre-UFA career?

My own opinion is here. In that post (and quoting myself, good grief) I said:

  • I've always believed (and Earl Weaver taught me) that when a young player is ready to compete at a certain level the best thing to do is elevate him to that level immediately. Don't put him in a position to fail, but rather take the things he does well and place him in ideal circumstances at the higher level. I think the monetary argument is a secondary consideration (honestly) and that player development should be the only real concern. If Taylor Hall is ready to score 20 goals in the NHL at his age, I believe he'll be a better player one year from now because he was able to handle the extreme challenges at speed. It is a major step, and if he can do it at this age we may be staring at a Steven Stamkos. That's what I believe.

Still do. If the Oilers are any good at all when Hall turns 25 he may well sign here again, and the Oilers are going to pay through the nose if he develops so here's hoping. This is an issue that has enjoyed a longer than normal shelf life--certainly longer than it warrants--partly because the msm isn't listening.

So let me be clear: these are not panic stricken thoughts of youngsters who hold their hockey cards in their hands while drifting off to sleep, these are not the idiot ramblings of unemployed, middle aged men with Cheesie bags and giants bottles of Coca-Cola.

These are well thought out arguments by adults that have benefits and are worthy of discussion.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#251 David S
October 21 2010, 12:45PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Defense isnt just played by defensemen. The forwards have a say in that too. Note the -3 performance by both Eberle and Hall last game.

The team was not built to contend this year. It was clearly built with the aim to get the kids their experience. The team purposely kept the defenseman with the most experience away from the NHL and Smid was given a bigger role.

This year isnt about winning. It's about development. Developing penalty killers, developing centres so they can win more faceoffs.

What? Which players are they keeping in OKL that have the most NHL experience? More than Smid? Huh?

While I agree there's no desire to contend this year (duh!), I DON'T agree with intentional suckage. How are we properly developing players by NOT surrounding them with decent role models and a winning attitude? Not that we should expect them to win, but I do expect them to bring their best, most competitive game every night. THAT'S how you learn to win. Certainly not by practicing and playing with AHL-level talent and borderline NHL'ers.

Strudwick I get, because he provides an intangible (and very important) element to the team. But he's not playing very much. Foster, Vandermeer, Jones, SMAC, DD and JDD on the other hand are living, breathing facepalm generators in Oiler uniforms.

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#252 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 21 2010, 12:48PM
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madjam wrote:

Arch -are you serious ? "Oil Change " last nite was about winning this year and so the players also feel likewise . Yet you say (or seem to imply )it's about development and losing deliberately this season . Just what year in this development plan do they intend on doing a defensive makeover ? This sort of development you seem to think is happening could go on forever and we may never see the playoffs again .

MANAGEMENT THINKS THIS PRESENT TEAM CAN WIN AND CONTEND THIS YEAR BY the OIL CHANGE spiel i heard last nite ! I ask you once again whose right - you or the players and" Oil Change" spiel ? Maybe i'm being naieve thinking they just might want to win more than lose this season .

I think you are taking Oil change a little too seriously.

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#253 TigerUnderGlass
October 21 2010, 04:13PM
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@David S

What? Which players are they keeping in OKL that have the most NHL experience? More than Smid? Huh?

Do you really not know what he's talking about?

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#254 Archaeologuy
October 21 2010, 11:03PM
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@madjam

Am I serious? Uh, yes. Yes I am serious. The Oilers are not icing a team that was meant to contend this season. Too many glaring holes and not enough veterans.

You cant possibly be serious that the show "Oil Change" convinced you that the Oilers were going to contend this year. No one, not even you, can drink that much kool-aid.

The kind of losing that I'm talking about is the same kind of losing that teams like Pittsburgh and Washington did AFTER they drafted Crosby and Ovechkin respectively.

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#255 Archaeologuy
October 21 2010, 11:06PM
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@David S

I'm giving Foster a VERY long leash this year. 2 weeks after he lost his baby, mine was born. I cant imagine what he and his family are going through. Moving, new team, grieving a terrible loss. If he's a wreck in his own zone for a bit then I'll live with that.

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