Both the NHL and NHLPA are clearly dedicated to their cause as we reach day 86 of the lockout. For hockey fans the lockout is like the Grinch, and fittingly day 100 of the lockout lands on Christmas Eve. Something tells me Santa won’t be giving you hockey for Christmas.

I still believe we will have NHL hockey in 2013. Earlier this morning the NHL surprised no one and cancelled games through to December 30th, meaning there is still a chance you can ring in the New Year with an Oiler/Flames match up.

If Gary Bettman was honest when he said he couldn’t picture the league playing fewer than 48 games, the NHL only has one more two-week cancellation to go before they wipe out the entire season. This is great news for fans, because we all know the NHL world functions better when presssured with a deadline.

I still think January 11th is the unofficial deadline for cancelling the season, meaning we still have an agonizing 36 days of potential lockout talk. God helps us.

While we wait for another riveting round of rhetoric, grandstanding and soap opera worthy performances from Bettman and Donald Fehr here’s some thoughts about the hockey and sports world that might only interest me.


  • If the NHL starts playing in early January, I wonder if those Oiler fans who thought it was a great idea for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to play in the WJC will feel that way when if he misses the first few games of the season because he’s playing in Russia? That is a possibility, albeit slim, and I suspect that some might not like idea as much if it costs the Oilers their first-line centre for a few games.
  • There is no official deal in place yet between the NHL and hockey Canada, but I doubt they will allow teams to remove players from the tournament once they’ve started playing. It could be a very touchy situation, and considering how the NHL has handled this lockout, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the lockout end during the tourney and cause some confusion.
  • If the lockout lasts an entire season will it be easier for the NHL to negotiate? I calculated all the pending UFAs at and they combined for $337.7 million. I then added up the players who have new contracts starting in 2013/2014 and they totaled $111.2 million. That means the NHL has $226.5 million less in guaranteed contracts after June 30th.
  • When the lockout ends the Oilers will still need some size in their top-six. I keep hearing/reading everyone saying they will have an advantage because their projected top-six forwards, Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yakupov, Hemsky and Gagner, are all playing. That is true, but until they add some size into that mix I don’t see that advantage helping in the playoffs.
  • During the lockout-shortened 1995 season 14 of the 16 playoff teams made it in 1993/1994. Only Quebec and Philly, led by Joe Sakic and Eric Lindros respectively improved enough to make the post-season. All eight of the Western conference teams were the same. While the Oilers might have an advantage, it will still be very difficult to leap frog six teams and make the playoffs.
  • Now we are hearing about the NHLPA possibly filing a "disclaimer of interest." Don’t be alarmed into believing this guarantees the lockout lasts an entire season. Keep in mind the NBA players filed a "disclaimer of interest" on November 14th last year, but onn November 26th the NBA lockout ended. We can only hope the NHL would be so lucky.
  • The Oilers will be much better when NHL hockey returns, I don’t think anyone debates that, but to become a legit contender they are still missing a few pieces. Most notably some size and grit up front.
  • Congrats to Ed Hervey on being named new GM of the Edmonton Eskimos. Press conference at 2 p.m. Smart guy, but his biggest asset is he won’t BS people. They’ve had too much of that recently.
  • If you Seattle’s DEF on your fantasy football team this week and still lost, the rest of your team must be brutal.
  • I spoke to Ladislav Smid today. He is back in Edmonton getting his knee checked out. The doctor told him it is only a sprain and he should be back playing in a few weeks. He won’t rush it, and will stay in Edmonton until after Christmas. If there is no progress in the lockout he will return to the the Czech republic to play.
  • When the season starts a 30-goal season in 48 games (.625 goals-per-game) could be considered equal to a 50 goals in an 82 games season (.61GPG). However, when you look at the five players who tallied 30+ goals only one of them ever had a better GPG rate in any other season.

    Peter Bondra scored 34 goals in 47 games. Pro-rated over an 82 games that is 59. His career best was 52.
    Jaromir Jagr scored 32 in 48 games. Pro-rated over 82 games that is 55. He only beat that once, 62 in 1996.
    Ray Sheppard scored 30 in 43 games. Pro-rated that is 57. His career-high was 52 in 1994. He was a great sniper for two seasons.
    Owen Nolan tallied 30 in 46 games. Pro-rated that is 53. His career-best was 44 goals in 2000.
    Alex Zhamnov scored 30 in 48 games. Pro-rated that is 51. He never scored 30 in a full season.

  • Ralph Krueger will join me on air at 2:05 MST to talk Oilers. You can listen on TEAM 1260 or on line here.


On Friday we raised $4,200 thanks to Emil and his generous bid for the RNH signed jersey package.

Today’s package includes…

  • Winter  Tire & Wheel Package for any vehicle with 16"-20".
  • It includes mount balance, TPS sensors if required and installation.
  • Thanks to Southgate Buick GMC

Bidding starts at 2 p.m. today and all the proceeds go to Santas Anonymous. Last week we raised over $12,200.


  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    Jason the power forward that you suggest we need……..could Hartikainen not fill this role.

    I do not trust Tamby’s ability to pull off such a trade.

  • 24% body fat

    Hemsky, whilst I like him, is the obvious for trade bait. Ya his value is low, but his 5M could be disastorous in the new CBA, he is older than the core, and right wing is our best depth. LW is our lowest. So Hemsky out Harski in.

    Hall-Gagner- Yak, Hartsky-Nuge-Eberle.

    Not bad for a 30th place team pushing its ways out.

    • 24% body fat

      I also think Gagner is very likely to be moved to bring in size and grit. Other than Hemsky none of the other wingers are going anywhere. And there is no way in hell the Nuge gets moved. Gagner is the only option. And while many think Tambo isn’t able to pull off a trade for the team needs, they forget that MacT is more than able.

      While the top of the roster is looking pretty good, I’m more worried about the bottom 6. They simply need to provide a little more. Whether they need to makes major changes or not is very debatable but the fact remains that they need more from them.

      • 24% body fat

        He may very well be moved. The arguments I see against it though are.

        -gagner does what he has too and has the heart, he sticks up for his team mates and fights when he feels he needs to

        -dont know where you are going to get a big center from that outputs at the production level gagner is at or better

        -dont know how you pay the guy in the point above if you do find him through a trade

        -martindale and pitlick are not likely to be the number two, so unless we get barkov we are years away, and as I said no one is giving up a big number two producing center. An if we get Barkov, he will not be able to handle the minutes gagner is currently. So he might make the team but is a season away from number two duty

        -He is good friends with Hall and Eberle, oilers are big on chemistry in the locker room

        -Next to smid, if we get our wish and horcoff is gone and hemsky and whitney move on, he and Smid would be the tenured oilers.

        Not saying dont move him. But unless we end up with Mckinnon, you dont trade him yet.

        The fan base is split, would you take gagner at 50pts a season for 4M or a 35-40pt center who is two inches bigger.

        I still think playing with yak he is 60pts.

        But than again since about Dec 2008, the debate has been raging on this site about him. And all articles including this one turn into it. LOL

        • Oilertown

          Well on the note of how to pay the guy, if your moving Hemsky and Gagner and giving Hemmer’s spot to Harti, that frees up more than enough to pay for that type of player. Who is a lot harder because its hard to know is a player will actually fill that role or not. Bos will have three centers making 5 mill or more and I think SJS is the same as well. Do any of the centers they would be willing to move fit the bill???? They are taller but not too sure if they play any different than Gags. I like Gagner and I really don’t want to see him go but if the team is going to make moves him and hemsky seem like the only top 6 the team would be willing to move. I think Yak will push him and maybe he will get more physical as he continues to mature. Should be very interesting once we get a season going.

          • 24% body fat

            yup comes down to CBA, if there are no cap roll backs we are hosed.

            Nuge, yak, hall, eberle 32M
            Schultz 5M
            Big second line center puttin up 50pts, 5M
            Harsky after ELC 2.5

            Top 6 plus 39.5
            bottom 6 average 1.5 = 9
            schultz 5, Smid 4, Petry 4, Klef 1.5 (assuming bonuses) Schultz 3.5 Tuebert or marancin or whoever 1.5.

            your looking at 65 or 66M for our team with out a 13th forward, a seventh D or goalies.

            Will be tough.

          • 24% body fat

            True but with the cap going down they are going to be offering smaller contracts as well. And the 4th line should be a group of guys all making 900k or less. Also going to depend how much the Cap goes up every year. Its really going to be interesting.

          • 24% body fat

            The only issue here is the eberle contract. Ya he is good but one good season warrants 6M. (not comparing him and horcoff) but go look at there pre contract extension year stats. BTW Eberle is waaaaay better.

            We now set a precedent for Yak and Nuge to make 6M and possibly Schultz.

            So are the contracts really going to go down. And really the problem becomes the smaller market teams that are competitive (nashville) taking all the complimentary guys because they can not afford the top tier and paying them a little extra because teams with elite players wont have the space.

            We better get good soon if we wanna attract the top third and fourth line guys.

            And yes it will be interesting, but I would rather be comfortable when it comes to our top six under contract.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I think the cap floor will prevent teams like NSH just getting all complementary players. And ya the Eberle contract does worry me a bit but so does Hall’s. He didn’t put up points like Eberle and he still got the same contract. I’m not saying he wont get better or be better than Eberle its just that you don’t really have to until they prove their worth it.

            I think the Oilers have also established that no one is going to be making more than 6 million a season which is also good but potentially problematic when a star wants more.

            The nice thing with Yak and Schultz is at least they have three years before they need new contracts. Larger Salary Cap down the road could help them in that regard.

          • 24% body fat

            Rather be worrying about what hall and eberles contracts do to this team, and how to resign nuge, yak and schultz than worrying about how much we need to pay backlund to be our number one center after a big year in swedish second tier league, or if baertschi breaks out to be a 55pt player.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I agree that the deal will get done and the season will not be lost.

    I bet negotiations will pick up right before the holidays, but the deal will not be agreed on until after the new year. Negotiations will die down during the holidays but will pick up later in the first week of January. Deal will be done the week of January 7 – 13.

    PS. Excellent bid package! Good job, Jason.

  • The Soup Fascist

    You only trade Hemmer or Gagner if your getting a big top six forward! So you potentially have Hartikainen – Hopkins – Ebs on one line & Hall with either Gagner or Hemsky on the other line with the new ‘big’ top six forwad! Nothing wrong with Yakupov being mentored by Smyth & Horcoff on the third line. Eager, Belanger & Jones on the 4th line! Might need some movement on the 4th line if Eager & Belanger don’t play better than last year? Vandevelde, Byers & Hordichuk might be an answer?

  • Oilertown

    Just reading that Hallsy took Tyson Strachan outta the game yesterday with a good hard body check beautiful to see the power forward coming out in him Messier ala 2?

      • Truth

        Ott would be a nice addition too.

        Clowe has averaged approximately 20 goals, 50 points and 100 PIMS in the last 3 seasons. He’s also 6’2 220ish.

        Ott is around 16 goals, 35 points and 165 PIMS in the last 3 seasons. 6’0′ 195.

        From what I can recall Ott takes the dumber penalties and is less of a deterrent, more of a pest. Clowe is more than willing to drop the gloves with someone who steps out of line (again, from what I remember). The Oilers could probably use both. Clutterbuck is another guy I would love to see in an Oilers jersey.

        On another topic, what happens if the lockout lasts until this time next year? I would be willing to bet none of the Russians capable of making the Olympic team would be coming back until the games are over. It would be an interesting dynamic.

  • Truth

    The Hall and Eberle contracts were unnecessary overpays under the old system. Under any new system they have the potential to be team killers unless they take another big step forward.

  • Oilertown

    @ DSF what will we ever do with you if you don’t think PPG players are still going to be worth 6+ a year well quite frankly you need to start following another sport because you have totally lost this one.

    • The Soup Fascist

      And how many are younger than Eberle? … One. #1 overall John Tavares. Some nice company.

      Ebs “value” is not an issue.

      Sorry Oilerguy. This was responding to DSF’s nonsense, not your wisdom.

  • Good Read Gregor.

    I know you mentioned RNH playing over in Europe for the WJC but you have to also include Yakupov, there is no way the Oilers let them continue unless there both playing in the final championship game, the Oilers pull both players out.

    As for the Oilers being better, I can not share the same optimism, marginally better maybe I’ll give you that, quick start, I’ll concede that as well. Long road this is the exact same team that finished 30,30,29 with limited improvement.

    Still a lottery team.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    I don’t think Belanger, or Gagner are overpaid.

    I also think, if Nail or RNH decide to score 50 goals and get 120 points, they won’t be settling for 6M per.

  • If anyone could help me out on this that would be great:

    If the Lockout last all year does that burn a year off the players contracts? If it doesnt, does that mean players in the AHL burn a year off there entry level deals ie. Schultz?

  • DSF

    It appears the cap coming out of the lockout will be set at around $60 million.

    Considering how much HRR has been lost, it’s more than likely that the cap in 13/14 will be around $57 million.

    The Oilers already have about $34 million committed to 9 forwards and another 9 million committed to 4 defensemen.

    Throw in the $3.5 million they have committed to Dubnyk, and they have almost $48 million committed to 14 players.

    That leaves about $9 million to pay another 9 players.

    The Oilers could have, and should have, waited until the new CBA was in place before re-signing Hall and Eberle.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Won’t their caps reduce with the salary cap? Isn’t that what the whole make-whole thing is about?

      It seems like a waste and we should have been more patient, but i don’t think it will seriously affect our team.

      • DSF

        I haven’t seen anything on how make whole will result in lower cap hits but I suspect, if the owners are paying out that money, the league won’t want it outside the system and cap hits will remain the same.

    • Not sure how this is going to play out or not, question is, will the cap have a transitional year?

      It doesn’t solve the Oilers problem but my understanding is that coming out of the lockout the cap will be set at 70.1 all teams have a year to bring the rosters to 60.0, not sure if that includes the lockout year or a full year?

      This is where the aministy will enter and cuts to the roster won’t effect the team cap.

      At least that’s my interpretation of it is.

      • DSF

        No one really knows about this season but the real concern is 2013/14 and the year after when Schultz and Hopkins will need new deals.

        I expect this season, if there is one, will have some sort of transitional mechanism but after that chaos will reign.

        The teams that are currently near or under the $60 million dollars cap now, will have a huge competitive advantage since the market will likely be flooded with free agents.

        A team like Pittsburgh which is currently sitting juts over $60 million will be in a fantastic position.