HOW TO MANAGE MANAGERS

Lowetide
December 17 2012 08:10PM

I'd love to see Ralph Krueger's priority list for the coming season (whatever season that is). Along with convincing Steve Tambellini to pass on the opportunity to sign Nikolai Khabibulin for another 4 years, what should Krueger do? What does his list look like? What would your list look like? Mine is after the break.

RALPH KRUEGER'S FIX IT AND FORGET IT TRAINING CAMP PRIMER

Whether it happens now or next fall or after I'm dead, someday there will be a top level pro hockey league on television and in your local 16,000 seat arena. When that day arrives, Ralph Krueger will take his action plan to his Camaro, turn the key, and rumble down to Rexall with all of the best intentions. I think most of us feel the Oilers will be better--at least a little--when the NHL returns, but can the new coach help this wayward team enough to make a difference in what will likely be a small window?

THINGS TO DO IN A RAIN DELAY

  1. I'm interested in his forward "pairings" and am hopeful he keeps Nuge-Ebs and Gagner-Hall together. Hemsky might fit in well on the Gagner line, and maybe Hartikainen could do some good things with the Burnaby kid and #14. That leaves Horcoff for Yakupov, with Ryan Smyth possibly helping out too. This would leave a veteran 4line of Eric Belanger, Ryan Jones and some combination of Ben Eager, Lennart Petrell and Darcy Hordichuk.
  2. Coach Krueger mentioned the blue in his recent talk with Jason Gregor and Kevin Lowe talked about adding a defenseman when the lockout ends to replace Andy Sutton. Both items are music! The friggin' in the riggin' for this edition of the Oiler defense is that Ryan Whitney's health is still up in the air. If he's fine, then this team has some nice things happening. Krueger's comments in the Gregor piece suggested that the left side might be Smid, Schultz the elder and Whitney, with the RH side Petry, Schultz the younger and then you find a role for Corey Potter and Theo Peckham or Steve Tambellini acquires a Sutton replacement. When it comes to defense, 7 NHL D is a moving target due to injuries--the Oilers seem to order a double helping every season.
  3. In goal, I'm hoping they run Devan Dubnyk out there early and often. He's the future for the organization, and if he isn't better that average better to find out now than later. Nikolai Khabibulin will be 40 in mid-January, and surely to God there's no question about re-signing him in time to suffer through another round of injuries. A hot streak by NK might make people in important places forget about the past 4 years. Not likely, but possible.

HOW TO MANAGE MANAGERS

Krueger might be the smartest man in the room when he gets together with the front office (I'd still put my money on MacT but admit bias). It's his job to use all that charm and brain power to talk the Oilers out of the thought processess that had them settle on Nikolai Khabibulin, Cam Barker and others as the solutions to their problems (I'm not going to lay blame on Belanger, as God as my witness I thought turkeys could fly).

I think Craig MacTavish and Ralph Krueger could be Godsends for an organization badly in need of men with the courage of their conviction, a differing view, and the desire to make this clock work.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers spent a generation in the cellar, and I'm sure they could figure out a way to do it for another season or two. However, I'm also certain Ralph Krueger (and MacT) didn't come to Edmonton in search of Seth Jones.

We'll know where they are headed soonafter the lockout ends. For the sake of Oiler fans, Hall's bunch and the mental health of Edmonton collectively, lets hope it's about winning.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 Team 1260.
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#51 DSF
December 18 2012, 10:24AM
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The Beaker wrote:

Ignoring the fact of course that in signing for a 2 year team had a value in itself and probably got hemsky a bit more in terms of actual dollars.

Coming off a 37 point season, Hemsky had zero leverage.

I'm sure some team would have taken a flyer on him but I seriously doubt he would have received $5 million from any other team.

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#52 Truth
December 18 2012, 10:25AM
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@The Beaker

I understand your analogy. I have always said that those in high paying positions deserve their salary. I do understand that players receive their salaries because of schmucks like me that are willing to pay that much for the entertainment of a hockey game. What I don't understand is how Horcoff is willing to throw away the rest of his contract to do "what's right." He should be well aware of what happened last lockout, there will be a point real soon in which the deal on the table is only going to get worse. On top of that, fans are going to lose interest. Sure, in Edmonton there will always be fans. In Dallas? In Florida? In Phoenix? In Carolina? I'm willing to guess not.

I guess the best way to put it is: I am much less willing to pay a portion of Horcoff's salary today than I was 12 months ago.

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#53 Woodguy
December 18 2012, 10:25AM
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Lowetide wrote:

WG: Who do you play against the other team's best line? Horcoff-Smyth with whoever resembles Pisani?

My thinking for Gagner-Hall-Hemsky is they would attract all of the tough matchups, freeing Nuge and Eberle.

Finally, Nuge carries the puck pretty well, no?

I think you go after their power with:

4-89-83

and

94-10-91

The most important part is having Smid-Petry out there against the power.

Nuge carries the puck fine, but 4 stretches D and that makes top pairing D skate miles and miles. I think Yak will be cut of the same cloth as 4 in that regard. 1 quick pass and flying the zone on 2-3 lines will exhaust opposition D.

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#54 The Beaker
December 18 2012, 10:25AM
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DSF wrote:

Coming off a 37 point season, Hemsky had zero leverage.

I'm sure some team would have taken a flyer on him but I seriously doubt he would have received $5 million from any other team.

No, he wouldn't have. Players generally do have more value to the team they are on than to other teams anyways.

I'm not saying you are wrong, just saying that they Oilers would value other factors than other teams might.

Edit: also not saying the Oilers were right to do so just that I can understand that they might see more value in Hemsky than others.

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#55 The Beaker
December 18 2012, 10:29AM
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Truth wrote:

I understand your analogy. I have always said that those in high paying positions deserve their salary. I do understand that players receive their salaries because of schmucks like me that are willing to pay that much for the entertainment of a hockey game. What I don't understand is how Horcoff is willing to throw away the rest of his contract to do "what's right." He should be well aware of what happened last lockout, there will be a point real soon in which the deal on the table is only going to get worse. On top of that, fans are going to lose interest. Sure, in Edmonton there will always be fans. In Dallas? In Florida? In Phoenix? In Carolina? I'm willing to guess not.

I guess the best way to put it is: I am much less willing to pay a portion of Horcoff's salary today than I was 12 months ago.

Yes, but there are others waiting to replace you. I really just dont think people are acknowledging that the players have a perspective that we might not fully be privy to or capable of truly understanding.

That doesnt make them "right" but i just dont get why people are flailing at them so hard like they dont have a right to look at things differently than the owners.

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#56 vetinari
December 18 2012, 10:41AM
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The lockout has probably extended Tambi's career for at least 2012-13 because if there is a season, he only has a few months to bungle and maim the team roster and they'll probably let him serve out the season before canning him.

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#57 DSF
December 18 2012, 10:44AM
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The Beaker wrote:

No, he wouldn't have. Players generally do have more value to the team they are on than to other teams anyways.

I'm not saying you are wrong, just saying that they Oilers would value other factors than other teams might.

Edit: also not saying the Oilers were right to do so just that I can understand that they might see more value in Hemsky than others.

True.

Unfortunately, the Oilers have a very, very long track record of over paying their players when they re-sign them.

That is a problem in the cap world.

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#58 BURROWSHASCRABS
December 18 2012, 10:48AM
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DSF wrote:

Why not look at a more complete body of work?

Since the last lockout:

Hemsky:

429 GP 106G 261A 387P

Parise:

502GP 194G 215A 410P

Now, take a real close look at those goals scored totals and the fact that Parise is much more durable and has out pointed Hemsky over that 7 year stretch.

Also worth noting is that, over that frame, Hemsky is -25 while Parise is +57.

No question where the value is.

I know you want to look at the total value of the contracts to try and skew the debate, but we'll have to look at Hemsky's subsequent deals for that to make any sense.

In the meantime, we can see that Parise has much more present value.

Hemsky still has better PPG % at .90 versus .81%. And look at the team Parise's played on for Fu_k sakes compared to Hemmers. Imagime Hemmer on the Devils and Parise on the Oilers for all those years.

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#59 DSF
December 18 2012, 11:05AM
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BURROWSHASCRABS wrote:

Hemsky still has better PPG % at .90 versus .81%. And look at the team Parise's played on for Fu_k sakes compared to Hemmers. Imagime Hemmer on the Devils and Parise on the Oilers for all those years.

PPG doesn't matter much when you're not playing because of injury and I think pretty much any knowledgeable hockey observer will tell you that goals are much more valuable than assists since two assists are available on every scoring play.

GPG:

Hemsky .247

Parise: .386

As to your final point, the Devils have always been a low scoring, defensive team getting by on Brodeur and team defense to win.

For example, in the 2007/08 season, the Devils finished 4th in the EC and scored 206 goals.

In that same season, the Oilers scored 235 goals and finished up the track.

Hell, even in the season where the Oilers hit rock bottom, 09/10, the Oilers scored 214 goals finishing 17 points behind Columbus for 30th, while the Devils finished second in the EC and scored only 222 goals.

I would think Hemsky's totals would actually be much lower if he had played for the Devils all those years since he would also have had to play some defense.

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#60 BigDawg
December 18 2012, 11:32AM
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I dont want Horcoff anywhere near a teammate under the age of 24!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#61 David S
December 18 2012, 11:48AM
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DSF wrote:

True.

Unfortunately, the Oilers have a very, very long track record of over paying their players when they re-sign them.

That is a problem in the cap world.

I'm of the mind Hemsky is the trade bait for the "Wow" trade everybody has been talking about. We desperately need some help on D and a decent goalie to compliment Dubnyk would be a wise move too. Also, Hemsky is out of the core group's age range (a la Penner).

It's very possible Hemsky's new contract was a signal to other teams the Oilers thought he was still valuable, thus making him more trade-worthy. If they had given him a garbage offer his worth in the free market would have been sigificantly reduced.

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#62 DSF
December 18 2012, 11:58AM
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David S wrote:

I'm of the mind Hemsky is the trade bait for the "Wow" trade everybody has been talking about. We desperately need some help on D and a decent goalie to compliment Dubnyk would be a wise move too. Also, Hemsky is out of the core group's age range (a la Penner).

It's very possible Hemsky's new contract was a signal to other teams the Oilers thought he was still valuable, thus making him more trade-worthy. If they had given him a garbage offer his worth in the free market would have been sigificantly reduced.

You could be right but it's a strategy that may backfire.

If the cap drops to $60 million or less in the next season, there will likely be a flood of players hitting the market at the same time.

Moving Hemsky could be difficult at that point.

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#63 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
December 18 2012, 12:42PM
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@DSF

Ok, DSF, we can agree that Parise has more present value. Heck I'll even go with you on your opinion that goals are more important than assists (pretty sure Gretzky said different...).

The question remains, is Parise that much more valuable than Hemsky? Like, is he 9.8:1 more valuable.

If you look at goals, no. If you look at overall points, double no.

Even if you take Hemsky's worst season, and compare it to Parise's best, you can't justify 9.8 times more money.

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#64 GVBlackhawk
December 18 2012, 01:22PM
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Will wrote:

Who do you think will have the biggest impact in changing how management has built the team, Mac T or Ralph?

Also, I can't believe some of the comments here about the build of our team, and the atrocity of some of the signings.

Belangier was terrible last year, but at the time he was a great signing. A consistent 40+ point guy with a high faceoff win percentage. And he chose us out of like six teams thus helping to change the culture.

Eager too I think was a good signing, but he wasn't utilized properly by Renny. Same with Hordichuck. Why we wouldn't want an enforcer type, who's not terrible at actually playing hockey, but excels at drawing more penalties than he takes? Our team is going to live or die on the power play so having a guy that is going to frustrate the other team and draw a ton of penalties while protecting our talent is a great player to have. And we pay him peanuts.

I don't think the Oilers are actually that far away from a winning team. We need a tweak or two, but I'd say we have the assets to trade (finally), as well as the talent to build around.

Re: Hordichuk, he drew more penalties than he took but he definitely did not draw 'a ton of penalties'. He only played 43 games and averaged 4 min and 31 sec of ice time per game.

And please show me where he protected the young talent even once. When Hartnell kneed Paajarvi? No. When Regehr took a run at Hall and put him out? No. When Raffi Torres clocked Eberle? Nope.

So where is this protection? IMO his spot on the roster would be better served with someone who can actually play hockey and contribute to some offense.

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#65 DSF
December 18 2012, 02:11PM
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Max Powers - Team HME Evans wrote:

Ok, DSF, we can agree that Parise has more present value. Heck I'll even go with you on your opinion that goals are more important than assists (pretty sure Gretzky said different...).

The question remains, is Parise that much more valuable than Hemsky? Like, is he 9.8:1 more valuable.

If you look at goals, no. If you look at overall points, double no.

Even if you take Hemsky's worst season, and compare it to Parise's best, you can't justify 9.8 times more money.

You can play that silly game with any player on long term contract but its meaningless.

Unless Hemsky retires after his deal is up, comparing them in that fashion is foolish.

Barring injury, I have no doubt Parise has much more value over the next two seasons.

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#66 B S
December 18 2012, 02:25PM
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@GVBlackhawk

Don't blame all that on Hordichuck. From the sounds of him, Peckham, Sutton and Eager in interviews after last season, the lack of enforcement on the ice may rest with Renney.

It's hard to stick up for the kids, or even retaliate when the coach won't let you out on the ice.

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#67 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
December 18 2012, 02:54PM
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@DSF

You find my comparisons foolish?

DSF calling a comparison foolish?!? Could you say that I really reached to try and make myself appear right?

The only thing more foolish would be to incorporate biased opinions into these arguments...

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#68 GVBlackhawk
December 18 2012, 02:59PM
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B S wrote:

Don't blame all that on Hordichuck. From the sounds of him, Peckham, Sutton and Eager in interviews after last season, the lack of enforcement on the ice may rest with Renney.

It's hard to stick up for the kids, or even retaliate when the coach won't let you out on the ice.

Right. So are you suggesting that Hordichuk be given double or triple his ice time to ensure that he might be on the ice if/when one of the kids are creamed by the opposition?

Or do you think Krueger should send him out to 'jump' the offending opposition player later in the game? Are you okay with the opposition getting a 7 minute powerplay for doing that? Because the opponent is not always going to agree to a fight with Hordichuk.

Lastly, I really don't feel like Hordichuk is a deterrent. Most of the time, he gets pummeled by the guy he is fighting.

Most top-end teams do not have a true 'enforcer' anymore. Just team toughness. They are not willing to give up a roster spot for someone who cannot make it in the league for lack of hockey skills.

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#69 druds
December 18 2012, 03:15PM
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Hey LT, Scarlett Johannssen called and she said that your beginning to creep her out....

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#70 Wäx Män Riley
December 18 2012, 05:26PM
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For the record Hemsky is a very good NHL player. Very good. Some would say world-class.

I would still rather have Parise on my team. But hey... Pouliot is just as good.... right?

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#71 DSF
December 18 2012, 05:52PM
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Max Powers - Team HME Evans wrote:

You find my comparisons foolish?

DSF calling a comparison foolish?!? Could you say that I really reached to try and make myself appear right?

The only thing more foolish would be to incorporate biased opinions into these arguments...

Exactly...the facts pretty much speak for themselves.

Last season, both players were coming off serious injuries.

Hemsky: 69GP 10G 26A 36P

Parise: 82GP 31G 38A 69P

Please note that Parise had more assists than Hemsky had points....nevermind the 31 goals.

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#72 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
December 18 2012, 07:18PM
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DSF wrote:

Exactly...the facts pretty much speak for themselves.

Last season, both players were coming off serious injuries.

Hemsky: 69GP 10G 26A 36P

Parise: 82GP 31G 38A 69P

Please note that Parise had more assists than Hemsky had points....nevermind the 31 goals.

What was the original argument again?

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