Six Degrees of Separation

Lowetide
July 14 2010 08:20AM

Earlier this week, I was listening to NHL radio on XM/Sirius. They're running old playoff series during the summer, and this particular day it was G1 SCF 2006. I turned the radio so quickly it startled the passengers. I don't know that I'll ever be able to watch or listen to G1 SCF 2006. However, there are some things to be learned from that hockey club.

The 2006 Edmonton Oilers had a lot of very good players before the trade deadline. Pronger and Peca arrived in summer, and they had an immediate impact on the team. The deadline (adding Roloson, Spacek, Tarnstrom, Samsonov) marked Oiler management's high water mark for the decade and we all enjoyed that wonderful team and their terrific run to the Stanley cup finals. Many look back on that team's regular season (barely won 8th in the conference) and suggest it was a weak team that got hot at the right time. Rubbish. It was an outstanding team in search of goaltending until the deadline. Anyone who watched that spring knew this team could win a playoff round or more.

It would be a mistake to give too much credit to the hired guns that season. The 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers were blessed with 6 stunning "value contracts" and their presence gave the team exceptional depth (especially up front) and more than one line capable of outscoring the best opposition. Here are the players, their contracts and their accomplishments that season (in alpha order):

  • Marc Andre Bergeron ($931k). Bergeron played 1600 minutes in the 05-06 season, 350 of that on the powerplay. He delivered 2.74/60 with the man advantage but was pretty solid at EVs (1/60) and his 15-20-35 for the season was exceptional for the price.
  • Ales Hemsky ($901,740). Hemsky played 1375 minutes in the 05-06 season, slightly over 400 of them on the powerplay. His PP/60 number (6.17) was very nice, his EV number 2.25 was a little better than he managed this past season (2.09); that PP number helped him lead the team in scoring (19-58-77) and he delivered 6-11-17 in the playoffs too. A wonderful payoff for less than a million, a season to remember.
  • Shawn Horcoff ($1M). Horcoff played almost 1600 minutes, almost 300 on the PP and 225 on the PK. In 05-06 he went 3-3-6 on the PK (about 1.6/60), went 4.82/60 on the PP and then 2.44 at EVs and this was against the other team's good players. A very underrated season when all was said and done.
  • Fernando Pisani ($611,800). In 05-06 he was excellent in the regular year and ridiculous in the postseason. Pisani played 1100 minutes in 05-06, 150 on the PP. He did a lot of heavy lifting at EVs and still managed to score 1.84/60 and 3.59 on the PP. Pisani was Guy Lafleur in the post season, 14-4-18 in a run I will never forget. At $611,800 he was ridiculous value.
  • Jarret Stoll ($501,600). Stoll played 1500 minutes in 05-06, 410 on the PP and 200 on the PK. He was a pretty valuable hockey player. On the PP he was 4.53 and at EVs he was 2.35 on the way to 82gp, 22-46-68 totals. At the price, he was extremely valuable.
  • Raffi Torres ($875,000). Raffi played 1100 minutes in 05-06, 224 of them on the PP. He's pretty famous for wandering out there but his results have always been solid. His EV number in 05-06 (2.07) and his PP number (2.95) were very good considering he spent little time on the club's top line or #1 PP. Torres' biggest moments in the season came during the playoffs when he made some massive hits (one of which had an impact on the SJS series). At this price, he was a bargain.
     

Taylor Hall is a huge part of the Edmonton Oilers future, but his entry level contract (with bonuses) is $3.75 million dollars a year. Since the club will no doubt start burning that entry level deal this fall, chances are that Hall won't over-deliver on that contract based on expectations for a teenager in the NHL. A young man like Tyler Pitlick--should he stay in junior and sign at age 20--has an excellent chance of being a "value contract" at a time when the Oilers should be pushing for a deep run into the playoffs (2012, 2013, 2014).

Which players could deliver the most value this season? Colin Fraser (.825M); Smid (1.3M); Dubnyk (.800M). RFA's Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Gilbert Brule could also deliver more than their contracts, but we don't know their cap number yet. The rookies mentioned here are unlikely to outperform their cap hits as rookies, but in year two and three it is entirely possible.

With Pääjärvi (1.525M), Eberle (1.158M) and Linus Omark (.875M) joining Hall as possible rookies, years two and three of their entry-level contracts offer a real opportunity for creating a list similar to the 2006 group above (although Hall will have his work cut out for him). Add Vande Velde, Peckham, Lander, Plante, Petry and a host of young pro level kids, plus Pitlick, Marincin and a few other quality picks (should they develop) and this team should have a nice group of value contracts in the next few seasons. We can only hope for a group as strong as the 2006 six.

This is the most important area for the team. Big name free agents, high cost offer sheets, even #1 overall picks bring their own cap hits and a team must pay 100 cents on the dollar. Those value contracts--like the ones we saw in 2006--will allow the Edmonton Oilers some separation from the rest of the NW division.

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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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#1 Mowgli
July 14 2010, 08:37AM
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Great article, and yummy picture :)

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#2 MWA1991
July 14 2010, 08:43AM
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God I love that picture. You've used it a few other times. Delicious!

I think Petry is going to end up being our #1 defensive prospect by the end of the year. If I'm not mistaken, his contract is below 1M. And if he puts up solid numbers and gets in the show, he could be an excellent value contract.

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#3 DBO
July 14 2010, 08:43AM
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Great post LT. Nice to revisit the "value" contracts that every team needs. Look at the hawks this past year, and what happens in a cap world when they all come up for renewal together. I expect Brule to get Kulemin money ($2.0 mill at least) and Gagner to get slightly more ($2.5 or so). I think they'll hit their mark this year, but Cogliano, while he has no "spot" in the lineup may be in for a value deal around $1.25 or so and has a big chance to outperform. If he hits 18 goals like the past, $1.25 mill is a value deal in my opinion, espcially if it's all done at EV (because he will get no PP time on this roster).

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#4 freeze
July 14 2010, 09:11AM
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I had trouble getting to the article with the "Read Article" link. I had a "Bad Gateway" message. Going straight to the comments worked though.

Edit: seems to be all good now. move along, nothing to see here.

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#5 Boreal
July 14 2010, 09:12AM
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Lowetide:

Thanks for bringing her back. Those legs are always a sight for tired eyes.

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#6 Quicksilver ballet
July 14 2010, 09:20AM
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Someone should tell that broad to put some pants on, it's too early in the morning to put her ham wallet out for tender like that.

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#7 DC
July 14 2010, 09:21AM
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Nate Full of Hate wrote:

Girl could use some work...

6.8 at best..

And $$$ should mean nothing to the Oil for the next 2 seasons as long as contracts don't extend into the future RFA's Edmonton will have.

LT step your game up!

I don't think I have ever read a post from you were you aren't bitching, whining, and complaining. Can we include you in the Souray trade?

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#8 @Oilanderp
July 14 2010, 09:22AM
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I couldn't help but notice the rubber gloves and blue plastic funnel on the morgue-like stainless steel furniture. You know what that means!*

Hooray for value contracts!

* (I do not know and am actually afraid to think about what that means)

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#9 Robin Brownlee
July 14 2010, 09:36AM
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LT: A minor point on your reference to the deadline deals -- Spacek and Tarnstrom were acquired in separate deals on Jan. 29 while the Oilers were in Los Angeles.

Roloson (March 8) and Samsonov (March 9) were acquired at the deadline.

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#10 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
July 14 2010, 09:39AM
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DC wrote:

I don't think I have ever read a post from you were you aren't bitching, whining, and complaining. Can we include you in the Souray trade?

A buyout would be preferable. I'm not sure we could handle the garbage coming back our way if Nate was on his way out.

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#11 ubermiguel
July 14 2010, 09:44AM
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G1 SCF 2006 was painful to watch at the time, in retrospect it's the most heart-breaking game in Oilers history IMHO. It will take way more Jill Hennessy to mitigate that pain.

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#12 David S
July 14 2010, 09:50AM
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"Shawn Horcoff ($1M)"

*sigh*

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#13 Wanye
July 14 2010, 09:50AM
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If I'm not mistaken LT is that picture a young Catherine Zeta Jones?

*rushes off to double check theory*

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#14 Wanye
July 14 2010, 09:52AM
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DC wrote:

I don't think I have ever read a post from you were you aren't bitching, whining, and complaining. Can we include you in the Souray trade?

He posted the same comment twice. As punishment I deleted them both.

*smiles smugly*

*goes back to researching Catherine Zeta Jones*

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#15 Velo
July 14 2010, 09:53AM
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What about the Steve Smith tragedy...that hurt just as bad.

Good point about paying 100 cents on the dollar for high draft picks LT...kinda assumes they will be as good as projected. Whereas a 3+million dollar player with a track record might be a better deal.

Q: What would Hall have to to to be considered a "value" contract?

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#16 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
July 14 2010, 09:53AM
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Wanye wrote:

He posted the same comment twice. As punishment I deleted them both.

*smiles smugly*

*goes back to researching Catherine Zeta Jones*

The site posting rules mention 'disemvoweling' as a punishment for being a d!ck, but I've never seen it done.

One day... one day.

*sigh*

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#18 Keep Mike Comrie
July 14 2010, 10:26AM
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LT, very insightful article, I hadnt really thought about that angle before. Any Stanley Cup winner needs to have a number of good value contracts. Look at Chicago with Toews and Kane, that enabled them to also have Buff, Versteeg, Campbell, Hossa, etc all on the team. I didn't realize the Oilers had so many good value contracts back then. Must have had a brilliant GM.......

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#19 madjam
July 14 2010, 10:38AM
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SUGGESTIVE SELLING . Sure a lot easier selling our brand new OILERMOBILE to the Oiler fans than the old familiar truckster with old parts and stressed out rebuild refurbished parts that were two bitting us to death . It was time for a new vehicle more representative of the times with brand new parts .

The aging delapitated vehicle has seen it's day , not let it rest in the scrapyard where it now belongs .

Finally we are trashing the old mode of transportation and building a new sleek auto with only a miniscule use of still useable parts . I like it . Can hardly wait to see the new OILERMOBILE when TAMS and company put the detailing ,polish and finising touches on our new product ! A lot easier to sell the image of hope with a brand new product no doubt .

Poor Calgary fans stuck with the old way of building their old aging vehicle with old tiring rebuilt and partly refurbished parts . I'm sure the FLAMES are excited to watch their old vehicle two bit them to death again this season as each part falls by wayside again .

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#20 Chris.
July 14 2010, 10:43AM
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The Bergeron "value contract" cost us the cup.

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#21 Ender
July 14 2010, 10:54AM
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@Chris.

This isn't about hockey; I'm just curious about stupid stuff. Your handle - is the period representitive of something? Why are you 'Chris.' instead of just 'Chris'?

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#22 Chris.
July 14 2010, 11:04AM
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Ender wrote:

This isn't about hockey; I'm just curious about stupid stuff. Your handle - is the period representitive of something? Why are you 'Chris.' instead of just 'Chris'?

I changed my name from Chris to: Chris. Team MacGregor! during the Taylor/Tyler debate. When Hall was chosen I shortened my handle but missed the period.

I left the period intact because now my name is a statement (sort of)... and I'm lazy.

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#23 Wanye
July 14 2010, 11:20AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Robin: Right you are. That was a nice run by Lowe, people have forgotten but the Oilers made some outstanding moves that season.

Wanye: Actually, it's Jill Hennessy. Born in Edmonton! A beauty.

Jill Hennessy.

*runs off to google images so fast he trips and knocks himself out*

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#24 Senator Theo
July 14 2010, 11:20AM
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Law & Order's own Jill Hennessy. **swoon**

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#25 danjo1
July 14 2010, 11:29AM
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Senator Theo wrote:

Law & Order's own Jill Hennessy. **swoon**

dude... she was in her own show... Crossing Jordan

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#26 Harlie
July 14 2010, 11:29AM
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ahhh Jill Hennessy...a good ole Edmonton girl.

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#27 Senator Theo
July 14 2010, 11:32AM
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@danjo1

Crossing Jordan was a terrible show though - Law & Order put her on the map!

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#28 Peter Griffin
July 14 2010, 12:01PM
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Ask Quagmire would say, " Giggity Giggity " to Jill.

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#29 SirFozz
July 14 2010, 12:07PM
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She looks like that woman from men in black. Yummy.

Was there a hockey article in there somewhere?

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#30 SurfacetoAirMissile
July 14 2010, 12:11PM
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If any of you guys/girls were the GM of the Oilers what position would you build your team around? NJ won their cups with Brodeur as their cornerstone yet Detroit won theirs reserecting older goalie projects. Pitsburg primary success has been from it's two exceptional centers they built around and Chicago started with defence until Toews and Kane fell in their laps. I am certainly not looking for an exact formula to building a championship team. I just want some input on where you would start if you stripped down the Oilers and started again. Goalie, Defence or Forwards? I guess what I'm asking is if you had the cap space to sign one guy to a long term contract and had your pick of the litter what position would deem most important?

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#31 SweetJibs
July 14 2010, 12:16PM
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Chris. wrote:

The Bergeron "value contract" cost us the cup.

Steve Staios not being able to clear the puck when he had complete control cost us the cup.

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#32 SweetJibs
July 14 2010, 12:18PM
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@SweetJibs

But we are to never speak of that game again. Ever.

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#33 HardBoiledOil
July 14 2010, 12:18PM
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@SurfacetoAirMissile--

i would sign a goalie.

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#34 NewAlgier
July 14 2010, 12:20PM
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Thanks for this article. It infuriates me when people talk about "so and so is a crappy player" without talking about the cap hit at all. In a salary cap era, it's all about price. Hall may outperform, even at 3.5 bucks he should outperform, but it sure isn't like Hemsky at $1 million.

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#35 BBOil
July 14 2010, 12:29PM
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@SurfacetoAirMissile

I say Defence. Reason being that if you can land that elite Dman like a Keith, Seabrook, Pronger, etc..... you have a guy that can be playing at an elite level upwards of 30mins a night in various situations.

I think you need balance and quality throughout your line up, but if you have that elite Dman, it can cover alot of holes elsewhere in your lineup.

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#36 Senator Theo
July 14 2010, 12:34PM
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SurfacetoAirMissile wrote:

If any of you guys/girls were the GM of the Oilers what position would you build your team around? NJ won their cups with Brodeur as their cornerstone yet Detroit won theirs reserecting older goalie projects. Pitsburg primary success has been from it's two exceptional centers they built around and Chicago started with defence until Toews and Kane fell in their laps. I am certainly not looking for an exact formula to building a championship team. I just want some input on where you would start if you stripped down the Oilers and started again. Goalie, Defence or Forwards? I guess what I'm asking is if you had the cap space to sign one guy to a long term contract and had your pick of the litter what position would deem most important?

I would stay away from spending your cap $$ on a goalie - the league has changed since NJ had success doing that. Now teams don't seem to win if you have too much $$ tied up in that position (see Vancouver, or Calgary).

It seems like you can get by with a good goalie that you haven't spent the farm on. Examples Are Roloson in 2006, Ward same year, Niemi this year.

SCFs seem to follow Chris F'n Pronger around regardless of what team he's on, so a stud d-man might be a good place to start, IMO.

EDIT TO ADD: A great d-man makes your goaltender look better, and makes life easier for your forwards too, so that might be another reason to start on D.

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#37 @Oilanderp
July 14 2010, 12:42PM
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@SurfacetoAirMissile

@SurfacetoAirMissile

I am a firm believer that 'defense wins championships. Thus, I would try to procure a well-rounded defense with a stud or two to put out there to handle the critical situations. Secondly, I would spend money on a solid consistent goaltender - doesn't have to be a superstar - just one with excellent positional play to take advantage of the stingy defense. Last would be my forwards, with the most important thing being a world class faceoff winner and penalty killing center. Yes, fwds are important but I really believe that 'anyone' can score given opportunities created by a stifling defense. D, G, F (in that order).

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#38 DJ Dynasty Handbag
July 14 2010, 12:43PM
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Hay In, Fleming Out?

according to dan tencer, the oilers are looking at bringing in vancouver giants head coach don hay as an assistant to renney.

here's the link:

http://www.630ched.com/Channels/Reg/LocalSports/Story.aspx?ID=1252647

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#39 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 14 2010, 12:47PM
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SurfacetoAirMissile wrote:

If any of you guys/girls were the GM of the Oilers what position would you build your team around? NJ won their cups with Brodeur as their cornerstone yet Detroit won theirs reserecting older goalie projects. Pitsburg primary success has been from it's two exceptional centers they built around and Chicago started with defence until Toews and Kane fell in their laps. I am certainly not looking for an exact formula to building a championship team. I just want some input on where you would start if you stripped down the Oilers and started again. Goalie, Defence or Forwards? I guess what I'm asking is if you had the cap space to sign one guy to a long term contract and had your pick of the litter what position would deem most important?

Your three examples kind of prove that it doesn't really matter which way you go (position wise) simply that you put together the deepest, most talented (200 foot hockey talent)team possible.

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#40 RossCreekNation
July 14 2010, 12:49PM
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@DJ Dynasty Handbag

No surprise that Don Hay would be joining the staff. Pretty sure he was among the 1st few names tossed out there, even before Quinn was officially "promoted". Hay & Renney go back quite a ways. Bucky over Fleming is no surprise either, given Bucky's relationship with Kay-Z. Sounds like no Bonner though... that seems more surprising given that it was considered a formality not that long ago... http://thepipelineshow.blogspot.com/2010/07/bonner-not-joining-edmonton-as-asstgm.html?spref=tw

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#41 Chris.
July 14 2010, 12:56PM
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SweetJibs wrote:

Steve Staios not being able to clear the puck when he had complete control cost us the cup.

Respectfully disagree. Staios may have cost us a goal, or the game.... It was Bergeron dumping Ladd on Roli that cost us the cup. Stupid stupid play. Like Lowetide said, "It was an outstanding team in search of goaltending..."

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#42 DJ Dynasty Handbag
July 14 2010, 12:56PM
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that's what i found odd...in the beginning of the process it seemed like "bonner with a chance of hay", now it seems as if it's the other way around.

i do like the thought of bringing hay in. he's had amazing success working with kids in the whl (not so much in the nhl), so hopefully that will translate into positives with such a young group of oilers.

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#43 The Other John
July 14 2010, 12:58PM
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Salary Cap is an area that the Oilers completely ignored from 06 forward. To our detriment. Now the Oilers are saying it was because the EIG were pressuring Lowe, etc to spend.

Let me call BS!!

At no time did anyone sit down and come up with a detailed plan so as not to overpay in $$$ or term such that the Oilers did not cause a problem down the road.

An example of exactly that type of lack of foresight.....Toews and Kane's bonuses that become payable for winning the Stanley Cup. Those bonuses reduces the Hawks salary cap for 10/11 to $54 million

At least now ST is looking at our Cap figure as a real asset moving forward

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#44 RossCreekNation
July 14 2010, 01:04PM
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@DJ Dynasty Handbag

I think Hay was rushed at the NHL level. I'm sure he'll make a great assistant, though.

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#45 ubermiguel
July 14 2010, 01:11PM
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@Chris.

Jussi played just as well as Rollie when given the task. Their stats from the playoffs show it:

Rollie: 2.33 GAA, .927

Jussi: 2.17 GAA, .905

I blame Conklin for gift wrapping the puck and giving it to Brind'Amour.

I blame MacT for dressing Conklin who was clearly the lesser goalie.

If they won Game 1 it would have been a whole different series, so I'm ok with saying the mistakes made Game 1 cost the Cup.

Not that I'm still bitter or anything.

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#46 danjo1
July 14 2010, 01:14PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

Crossing Jordan was a terrible show though - Law & Order put her on the map!

lol well there was only one reason I watched Crossing Jordan ;)

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#47 RossCreekNation
July 14 2010, 01:35PM
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Via the Edmonton Journal...

Sources say former Atlanta Thrashers assistant coach Todd Nelson will likely be the new Oklahoma City Barons head coach.
The Edmonton Oilers’ American League farm club has been looking for a coach since not rehiring Rob Daum.
Nelson was interviewed for the head coach job with the Edmonton Oil Kings but Derek Laxdal was hired instead. Nelson was on John Anderson’s staff in Atlanta until they cleaned house at the end of the NHL season.

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#48 HardBoiledOil
July 14 2010, 01:36PM
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@ubermiguel...if we won game 1 of the '06 finals, we would have won the cup. blowing a 3-0 lead is what cost us the cup, not Bergeron dumping a guy on Roli, though fans blame this incident for us not winning the cup.

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#49 rindog
July 14 2010, 01:36PM
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Chris. wrote:

The Bergeron "value contract" cost us the cup.

I can't stand people that blame MAB for that play.

He played that perfectly. He covered for his D partner that got totally beat. He tried to play the man and not just swipe at the puck.

It was just unlucky that Roli got hurt.

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#50 rindog
July 14 2010, 01:41PM
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Go watch the video again.

If MAB didn't come across and hit the guy the coaching staff would have been up in arms for not playing the man.

It was a great hockey play that ended up with a bad result.

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