The End

Jonathan Willis
October 05 2010 01:24AM

Based on the reaction to Robin Brownlee’s latest post, it appears that the end is near. The 2010-11 Oilers roster has been decided in decisive fashion by a deciding decider, and there will be no further change. Liam Reddox, Linus Omark, and Richard Petiot are banished to the minors forthwith, on pain of death.

Of course, that’s not the way it is. Training camp, for all the hoopla and the weeks of speculation on who will make the team, is simply the first step in the season. Not that it’s an unimportant step, but the reality is that if the coaching staff has made a mistake, they’re going to figure it out in fairly short order, and it’s going to be corrected not long after.

A Bevy Of Training Camp Points

Yes, Ryan Jones remains with the team despite widespread feeling that he was outplayed by Liam Reddox, who now sits on waivers. I’m not nearly as down on this as most are, simply because of Jones’ remarkable penalty-drawing ability. Assuming Jones plays 10 minutes per night for 82 games this season, we’d expect him to generate in the neighbourhood of 25 more power plays for the Oilers than for the opposition, which should result in four to five goals for the Oilers. I doubt that was the deciding factor, but if Jones can bring the same kind of penalty-drawing ability to the Oilers that he did to the Predators, he’ll be a very effective fourth-liner.

Speaking of Reddox, what are the odds he gets claimed on waivers, given the other talent currently on the wire, and the amount of talent that’s already passed through? One in five, maybe?

On that note, I’m having trouble seeing why the Oilers haven’t waived Deslauriers yet. The goaltending market is saturated, guys coming off 30-win/0.911 SV% seasons are signing for the same money, and Nikolai Khabibulin appears healthy.

I want to be clear: I don’t blame Linus Omark for his disappointment at being sent down, and as far as I’m concerned the (thankfully few) people criticizing his candour today need to take a moment and try to picture the situation from his perspective. Has Taylor Hall been any better than Omark, even with the better opportunities to impress that he’s gotten? That sort of thing would irk me, were I in his shoes. That said, politics goes into every NHL training camp, and I don’t think it’s fair to pick on the Oilers for making decisions based on contracts, waiver eligibility, and all the rest of it.

One more minor point on Omark: he was a significantly better scorer than Paajarvi-Svensson in Europe over the last few seasons. That’s not to say he’s the better player, or even that he’s more NHL-ready (given the difference in their respective frames) but I don’t think it would have killed the Oilers to give him one of the top-six jobs held out for the big three, or at least give him an honest shot at unseating one of them. That said, he’ll get an honest chance in Oklahoma, and he has a very real opportunity at earning his way back – particularly if one of the Big Three slumps over the first nine games and Omark’s potting goals in the minors.

I’m a little disappointed the Oilers didn’t look at bringing in a guy like Bill Guerin (released by Philadelphia) or Owen Nolan (working out, hoping for a call). Given the amount of youth on the roster, could the influence of one of those warhorses really be a bad thing?

Would You Like Fries With That?

Normally, I’d leave this particular gem of comment section idiocy, alone, but since it’s a line of attack Mark Spector likes to use (it’s hard to like him, even when he’s right) I’m going to quote JaketheSnake here:

I would like to say to all you whinner on this site "learn a little about the game before you start saying crap you know nothing about". Omark was alright, but what about the rest of the skilled players, should they really keep him over the 3 kids, I don't think so. What do you want to do play little guys on the fourth line. You have been bitching for years that we are to small and now you want to keep the small players and get rid of the bigger guys. You are the same people that forever said give Schremp a chance, well he got his chance and did nothing. Maybe K-Lowe and ST aren't that stupid after all. Maybe some of you armchair GM's should realize you work at Mcdonalds for a reason

Leaving aside the delightful grammatical and spelling choices, the inaccurate generalization that everyone at Oilers Nation is looking for fourth line size, and the inherent irony of criticizing armchair general managing while, well, armchair general managing, let’s look at the logical fallacy at the heart of the argument.

An ad hominem argument is a classical logical fallacy where someone focuses on a person making an argument rather than the argument itself. In this particular case, Jake creates a blanket label for the people disagreeing with the decisions made by the Oilers: they’ve been whining for years, they’re the same ones who loved Schremp, and they work in fast food – the implication being that they’re malcontents forced to work in a job generally deemed undesirable. It goes without saying that Jake has no way of knowing if the people he disagrees with meet these three criteria, and that alone makes his argument decidedly foolish, but even if he was right about that he would still be wrong.

From an article featured at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research:

Among the well-known Americans (hardly dead-enders) who once worked at McDonald’s are Andy Card, White House chief of staff; Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com; astronaut Leroy Chiao; Jay Leno, Tonight Show host, who called the restaurant “a great place to work”; Representative Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio); Carl Lewis, Olympic gold medalist; actress Andie McDowell; architect Maya Lin; former Indiana governor Joe Kernan; Drew Nieporent, owner of Tribeca Grill and other trendy restaurants in New York who started out at McDonald’s, he says, as a “Quarter Pounder grill man”; and Robert Cornog, retired CEO of Snap-On Tools, who worked at the original McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois.

But even leaving aside the (rather obvious) fact that what one does is not who one is, denigrating one’s opponent by attacking something – either real or fictional – about them would still be, at best, lazy. Arguments stand or fall on their own merits, not based on who said them, and anyone forced to retreat to personal attacks is essentially saying they lack either intelligence or the intellectual work ethic to debate the facts.

Or, to put it another way: there are a lot of things that are good about the commentary at this site, but it’s hard to see those positives when people are busy dragging down the quality.

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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.
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#101 DoubleJ
October 05 2010, 04:55PM
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Dawgbone? Are you the Oilers blogger on HockeyBuzz who makes up trade rumours?

You're a good writer, and an Oilers fan so you have that going for you.

But to say only one of the young three make the team. So we can showcase other players. It seems far fetched. If you are the writer of HockeyBuzz it makes some sense. If you're not then forget I said anything.

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#102 GSC
October 05 2010, 04:59PM
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Guerin made it clear that he only wanted to sign with a contender.

Wasn't an option for the Oilers.

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#103 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 05 2010, 05:04PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

So apparently Florida 1st rounder Eric Gudbranson played well enough in camp to make the team by most accounts but is being sent back to Jr because of money.

*GASP* A team besides the Oilers made a personel decision that wasn't based entirely on the players ability!!!!!

Hold up, theirs other teams that treat players so horribly?

I'm sure it wont be long before he's demanding a trade.

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#104 BarryS
October 05 2010, 05:08PM
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@rindog

Re Cogs. The devil you know against one you don't.

Being already on the team, any team, is a great advantage over someone trying to make the team.

The rules for making teams have not changed and are not likely to. All players have benefited from the system at some time in their lived and most hsve also suffered from it.

A rookie player is like anyone looking for a job in business. You have to be two or three times as good to get the job over some guy already in the org who want's to transfer across.

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#105 GSC
October 05 2010, 05:09PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

So apparently Florida 1st rounder Eric Gudbranson played well enough in camp to make the team by most accounts but is being sent back to Jr because of money.

*GASP* A team besides the Oilers made a personel decision that wasn't based entirely on the players ability!!!!!

Hall can still be sent back to juniors within the 9 game window.

Paajarvi and Eberle can be sent down to OKC at any time.

So, what's your problem? Why not see what they can do? Didn't hurt players like Stamkos and Kane to come out of juniors early...

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#106 DoubleJ
October 05 2010, 05:14PM
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@DoubleJ

This wasn't me.

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#107 DoubleJ
October 05 2010, 05:26PM
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I only watched one preseason game, because of Bell (Anyone know if they are fixing this problem?). It was the game MPS took the spot light away from Hall.

So I can't comment on who out played who. All I can go by is what I read. Hall was the only rookie pretty much safe of not getting cut. He has nothing to prove in the OHL anymore.( two MVP awards). If he could play in the AHL that's a whole different story.

Everyone knows this. But the other two played really good MPS and Eberle deserve to be here.

And it's so early who cares. The line ups will probably be completely different by December. I just wish the Oilers would pick up some players off waivers.

No body is picking up goalies off the waiver. Why are we holding onto three?

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#108 dawgbone
October 05 2010, 07:58PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

But Dawgbone......when do the young players get to develop in the NHL? How good will Hall and Pääjärvi get in junior and AHL? And then expected to step in and magically be 90 point players when it's convenient to insert them on the roster? and "If Cogs doesn't score...." or "If Omark does score 25 goals....." If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle....

~If Hall scores 102 points this year, won't you look silly~

In the case of a guy like Eberle (who's clock starts now in terms of service time anyway), now isn't bad. Same with a guy like Omark. His clock starts this year anyways.

And the if's are exactly why you do it. The Oilers lose nothing by trying it but potentially gain a lot.

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#109 dawgbone
October 05 2010, 08:10PM
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Crash wrote:

It may or may not take more than 9 games for Hall to become completely comfortable at the NHL level.

Other 1st overall picks to keep in mind that had slow starts after starting in the NHL immediately after being drafted but didn't go back to their junior teams.

Joe Thornton 7 pts

Vinny Lecavalier 28 pts

Ilya Kovalchuk 51 pts

Rick Nash 39 pts

Steve Stamkos 46 pts

John Tavares 54 pts

Point being, their NHL clubs still felt it was worthwhile for them to stay in the NHL, despite the slow starts and refine their craft in the best league in the world rather than go back to junior.

Of course there were others that were able to step in right away and contribute much more. (ie: Syd Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane)

No forward taken 1st overall has gone back for a full year of junior since Mike Modano back in 1988.

And how many of those players contributed much to their teams success the first 3 or 4 years they were in the NHL?

Kovalchuk, Lecavlaier and Nash took a combined 14 years to play their first playoff games in the NHL (5-4-5 respectively).

Only Joe Thornton in that group was on a playoff team his rookie season.

Most of these clubs brought these guys in because they were desperate to sell tickets or to have a feel good story. Almost none of them did it for actual hockey reasons.

Every one of these players you mentioned also saw the GM who brought them into the NHL right away fired within a few seasons. Not the sort of track record that screams "I know what I'm doing".

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#110 dawgbone
October 05 2010, 08:43PM
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DoubleJ wrote:

Dawgbone? Are you the Oilers blogger on HockeyBuzz who makes up trade rumours?

You're a good writer, and an Oilers fan so you have that going for you.

But to say only one of the young three make the team. So we can showcase other players. It seems far fetched. If you are the writer of HockeyBuzz it makes some sense. If you're not then forget I said anything.

I can safely say the last time I was on hockeybuzz was when Andy Strickland was writing crap about baby furniture being burned.

So no.

And yes it is far fetched, but take a look at teams drafting #1. For every Kane & Crosby (who went on to win cups in a coupe of years) there are teams like Atlanta & Columbus who continue to struggle for years. Teams who eventually pay premium money for players far too soon which ends up costing them depth.

Since The Nordiques had 3 number 1 picks in a row, these are the following teams who have had a #1 pick:

1992 Tampa Bay (Hamrlik) 1993 Ottawa (Daigle) 1994 Florida (Jovanovski) 1995 Ottawa (Berard) 1996 Ottawa (Phillips) 1997 Boston (Thornton) 1998 Tampa Bay (Lecavalier) 1999 Atlanta (Stefan) 2000 NY Islanders (Dipietro) 2001 Atlanta (Kovalchuk) 2002 Columbus (Nash) 2003 Pittsburgh (Fleury) 2004 Washington (Ovechkin) 2005 Pittsburgh (Crosby) 2006 St. Louis (Johnson) 2007 Chicago (Kane) 2008 Tampa Bay (Stamkos) 2009 NY Islanders (Tavares)

We can ignore the Islanders and Tampa bay from the argument because it's not enough time.

Out of all these 1st overall picks only 2 teams have won a cup within the first 5 years of drafting #1 overall (Chicago & Pittsburgh). Only 3 teams have won within the first 6 years of drafting #1 overall (Add Tampa to the teams above).

With the exception of Tampa Bay, both Chicago and Pittsburgh had mutliple top 3 picks in successive years. If we are taking our cues from GM's, it should at least be based on a track record that shows success.

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#111 Dan the Man
October 05 2010, 10:11PM
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GSC wrote:

Hall can still be sent back to juniors within the 9 game window.

Paajarvi and Eberle can be sent down to OKC at any time.

So, what's your problem? Why not see what they can do? Didn't hurt players like Stamkos and Kane to come out of juniors early...

I'm not trying to be a dick but I have no idea what point you're trying to make, or maybe you just misunderstood my point?

My point was that the Oilers made a personnel decision on Omark that wasn't based strictly on his performance and so many people seem to be implying that the Oilers are the only team that would do this.

I was using the Gudbranson situation to illustrate that it happens with other teams as well.

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