CATTLE CROSSING

Lowetide
September 23 2012 07:50AM

Back when the NHL played in arenas across North America, we could talk about games and statistics and trades and things. Nowadays, the subject involves lockouts and buildings, and "hockey" talk has given way to business and empre building. This week, a couple of missteps at least gave us something else to discuss.

This is one of my favorite books. In it, Jimmy Devellano painstakingly details the errors he made while representing the Detroit Red Wings as General Manager. He also reveals how Mike Illitch--the owner--at some point decided to move Jimmy D as far from the levers of power as possible. He FURTHER explains how Illitch did it, without ever giving the reader the impression that he--Devellano--saw it happening to him, then or now. Devellano and Illitch formed a relationship and stuck by it, and succeeded the moment Illitch started bringing people in to handle things like procurement and coaching decisions.

Devellano is a delight for fans, because--at 69--he's reached a point in his life where 'filter' is a part of his car. Jimmy D says what he thinks, and this week he lightened the Illitch pocketbook with two grand quotes. Lets take them one at a time.

  • Jimmy D:“The owners can basically be viewed as the ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle. The owners own the ranch and allow the players to eat there. That’s the way it’s always been, and that(’s) the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren’t going to let a union push them around. It’s not going to happen.”

The great thing about Devellano here is that you know he isn't being a sinister dick, he's just stating the facts as he sees them. It's a wonderful look into the 30-man gentlemen's club that is NHL ownership and their entourages. It is also a major tell about where this season is headed--down the toilet. The NHL owners know that the NHL players have no desire to lose a season and are acting in kind. In a negotiation, indifference to the outcome is the gold standard for positioning. NHL owners have reached that point and may have talked themselves into another lost season with little input from the players. Hey, who's to know what 30 quirky rich guys can come up with in 7 years?

  • Jimmy D: “There is a hard cap in place as we all know. You can’t go over that .... period. If Weber gets this much, then another player gets less. Now does that mean it’s right for another team to do that? My answer is this: They (the Flyers) operated within the CBA and it’s totally legit to do. Having said that, I will tell you there is an unwritten rule that you don’t do that, but they did, and just like everything else in life, some people are great to deal with, some aren’t.

This is Devellano discussing the Weber deal and he's probably a little sour grapes on the entire summer (his ranch didn't get Suter or Weber, meaning a bad winter for all the cattle). The problem is that he's made public what everyone knew but couldn't prove--NHL teams don't use offer sheets because of a gentlemen's agreement. Now, I'm not smart enough to get that quote and build a thread from it to collusion, but you know who is? Donald Fehr.

Anyway, Jimmy Devellano is more entertaining that the owners and God love him for running his mouth this week.

MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH

The Edmonton Oilers official twitter had this up last night:

I know it's just a retweet, and I've generally stayed out of this debate, but "loss of nhl club" on their timeline is a bad idea from here. Old timers like myself know all about being threatened, and there's some sensitivity at this point in time. I don't believe for a second the Oilers are leaving town and don't think Daryl Katz is manning the retweet button on a Saturday night,

Still,  I think the Oilers would be wise to avoid doing this for the near future. Just my two cents.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The NHL is forcing us to find our own entertainment. Quick--can you think of anything?

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.
Avatar
#51 Butters
September 23 2012, 10:52AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Bigger hockey market is a dicey topic. Seattle may be bigger, with a bigger corporate presence, but Seattle has; the Mariners, Seahawks, college football and will likely get an NBA team back. Edmonton may be a bigger hockey market by tradition, and the fact that the Oilers are pretty much the only game in town, save the Eskimos I guess.

Up for debate I guess...

Avatar
#52 Canada 72
September 23 2012, 11:34AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

As a non-Edmontonian who rarely makes it to a live game, I say let them rattle their sabres. Even if a move came to be, with the state of technology I can follow the Seattle Sabre Rattlers just as easily as the Oilers, as long as you keep posting Lowetide. An occasional trip to Seattle in January to take in a game and dodge some flying fish at Pike's would break up the winter nicely. I know we might not all agree on that, but I think we can all be thankful that Raquel was never locked out. That truly would have been tragic. Carry on.

Avatar
#53 Morgie99
September 23 2012, 11:54AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Spartacus wrote:

Ya, Katz is subtle in his negotiating tactics. A lot like this guy...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsW9MlYu31g&feature=related

F-ing hilarious!

Thank you :)

Avatar
#54 OilLeak
September 23 2012, 12:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
RexLibris wrote:

Fort McMurray?

;-)

You know what? If Fort Mac had 200,000 people instead of the 100,000 or so (with the surrounding areas) the city could support an NHL team. The problem is that no NHL player in thei right mind would come here. Plus the location for an arena and infrastructure surrounding it would also be an issue, but in terms of financial viability it could work.

Avatar
#55 TonyT
September 23 2012, 01:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

While I'm not about to slag Daryl Katz, it's interesting how this once heralded saviour to Oilers hockey has evolved into this. Whether you agree or disagree over who should fit the bill, the fact still remains that the Oilers have the 2nd oldest arena in the NHL. Granted city council has been extraordinarily slow to leave a downtown legacy, his PR has left alot to be desired. Lastly, what really has me irked is the constant raise of ticket prices. While I'm not necessarily complaining about the price of tickets (i.e. $65 SRO), the context (3 near last place finishes) makes a ticket price increase (in my opinion) is completely unjustified. Granted, he can get away with it in this market, but what other product on earth can you be of such poor quality and charge near the highest?

Avatar
#56 Kaiser Wilhelm
September 23 2012, 01:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Lowetide wrote:

Dawn: Why would Katz leave Edmonton--an exceptional NHL market--for a lesser one? Where is the available city that is superior to Edmonton? And don't say Seattle because it isn't a better hockey market.

Quebec city is just a ruse; no way Katz would move the team there, since Pierre whats-his-nuts (the Quebecor owner) controlls the arena. However, I believe Markham could be a legitimate option; we already know Ontario hockey fans would cheer for the Washington Generals if they had Leafs jersies on (oh, wait. . . they do), and you don't think ONT. fans wouldn't be over the mooon to get a team with the nucleus we have?

I think the relocation talk is a bit of a smokeshow too, but I also think we shouldn't be so arrogant as to think we're safe no matter what.

Avatar
#58 Butters
September 23 2012, 01:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I think DSF is right. No arena, no Oilers. Katz will sell the team to either Seattle or Quebec City. Heck, he might be able to get a bidding war going between the two.

Avatar
#59 common sense
September 23 2012, 03:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
David S wrote:

If it came down to it I'm becoming more of the mind Katz would sell the team rather than relocate. $17 Million before tax considerations is not nearly enough to get excited about for a guy like Katz if owning the team causes as much grief as it seems to be doing.

Yeah, its not that much to a billonaire. But that 17 million EBITA is top 5 in the entire league. Don't underestimate Edmonton as an NHL hockey market. There aren't that many destinations better than Edmonton as far as the NHL is concerned and a lot of that has to do with the fact that there really are limited hockey markets in the USA.

Avatar
#60 Butters
September 23 2012, 03:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

How about this... Instead of 2 million per to the Oilers how about 2 million per to Northlands to stay out of the big concert market. Lady Ga Ga goes to RX2, Roxette to RX1.

Everybody loves Northlands for some reason so maybe this might more palatable.

Avatar
#61 RexLibris
September 23 2012, 03:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@OilLeak

Yeah, the jab wasn't at the size of the place, but rather the infrastructure and environment.

You know what would be fun? Draggin Ilya Bryzgalov's butt up there two or three times a year for a road game. You want to complain about Edmonton? Here you go, my friend.

The first person to get a WHL or even AHL team to that city will have a mint in their own basement. The place is crying out for some social venues.

Avatar
#62 Hair bag
September 23 2012, 04:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Lowetide wrote:

Dawn: Why would Katz leave Edmonton--an exceptional NHL market--for a lesser one? Where is the available city that is superior to Edmonton? And don't say Seattle because it isn't a better hockey market.

Lowetide, now you're the one being naive...Quebec, Markam just to name two! Both are just as strong Canadian markets as Edmonton that are in the process of building new rinks. I am not saying the Oilers are going to move but you're a fool if you think Katz doesn't have other options.... I certainly hope that this game of economics on who's going to pay what doesn't lead to him exploring those avenues but the possibility is there even if it is slim.

Avatar
#63 Hair bag
September 23 2012, 04:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
DSF wrote:

And he would make it back in spades.

The TV revenue alone in that market would dwarf anything Edmonton could offer never mind the corporate sponsorships, bigger arena and merchandise sales in a huge market.

Totally agree

Avatar
#64 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
September 23 2012, 04:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Can someone please explain to me how the Oilers would be relocated anywhere before Phoenix, Florida or even the Isles would??

It's 100 times more likely a suitable place to play hockey will be built before the Oilers relocating becomes a viable option.

Avatar
#65 Sliderule
September 23 2012, 05:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Some of you aces who think Seattle is a great hockey market should come down to Phoenix and go to a game. The corporate boxes are empty.The arena is half full with giveaway seats. There is a huge market in Phoenix and Seattle but it is divided among college football,college basketball ,NFL football and when the arena is built in Seattle NBA basketball. The NHL is not going to let the oilers move anywhere.Seattle if it gets a franchise It will be an expansion team Everybody keeps saying we are a small market.At 1750000 people in northern Alberta we are not a small HOCKEY market. The NHL will back up Katz threats and say it looks bad just like they did in Pittsburgh.In the end Katz will work a deal with the city and the arena will get built. There is just too much money to be made in our city to try to walk away.

Avatar
#66 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
September 23 2012, 05:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Max Powers - Team HME Evans wrote:

Can someone please explain to me how the Oilers would be relocated anywhere before Phoenix, Florida or even the Isles would??

It's 100 times more likely a suitable place to play hockey will be built before the Oilers relocating becomes a viable option.

you need to start thinking 4th dimensionally marty

Avatar
#67 Sliderule
September 23 2012, 05:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Well said LT .

Avatar
#68 Wanyes bastard child
September 23 2012, 05:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!

Avatar
#69 Sliderule
September 23 2012, 06:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

DSF you made my point.You added in the soccer team and baseball team. You carve the market up even more.There are only so many dollars to go around for sports.

I would challenge anybody to be season ticket holders for the NFL , NBA ,MLS College football and NHL hockey.

The oilers are the only major league sport in town.They don't have to compete with other sports. You add in the fact we are hockey mad and this market is better than any market in the states other than those who were original six.

Avatar
#70 Wäx Män Riley
September 23 2012, 07:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Sliderule wrote:

DSF you made my point.You added in the soccer team and baseball team. You carve the market up even more.There are only so many dollars to go around for sports.

I would challenge anybody to be season ticket holders for the NFL , NBA ,MLS College football and NHL hockey.

The oilers are the only major league sport in town.They don't have to compete with other sports. You add in the fact we are hockey mad and this market is better than any market in the states other than those who were original six.

I have to agree. There is no other market in North America except maybe Toronto or Montreal that can charge the ticket prices that Rexall charges, be sold out 2000 games in a row, all while being a last place team 17 years in a row.

Edmonton is one of the best market in the world for hockey and any "astute" business person would have to be an idiot move.

Avatar
#71 Wäx Män Riley
September 23 2012, 07:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

With the above being said, who ever said that Katz is an "astute" business person?

He is a supposed billionaire, I'll give him that, but rumour has it he was gifted $400 million dollars to get started.

Much easer to be a billionaire when someone gets you half way there.

Avatar
#72 yawto
September 23 2012, 07:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Also forgot to say, funny how players won't take a 10% cut to play at home in luxury where they are treated like gods. Yet they will go to europe and play for a fraction of their salary to prove a point. Seems asanine.

Avatar
#73 common sense
September 23 2012, 08:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Hair bag wrote:

Totally agree

Yes, big tv market but how much of that would tune into the NHL. 50% of 1.75 million is more than 10% of 5 million. The Oilers have amongst the highest ticket prices in the league. If you listen to the Seattle news stations, a NHL team is a small afterthought compared to the big fish for them which is another NBA team. Personally I want to see a new arena in Edmonton but I find it laughable that so many people think that there are so many great NHL markets out there....there aren't very many and most of us overestimate what 90% of Americans think of ice hockey.

Avatar
#74 Archaeologuy
September 23 2012, 08:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

X 2!!

Avatar
#75 David S
September 23 2012, 08:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Wow. Gregor is officially a MSM'er.

Congrats man!

Avatar
#76 Senhor
September 23 2012, 09:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Oilers rep dubnyk was quoted in the journal as saying "this does not make sense", or words to that effect. If the player rep can't make sense of it, then just sign a deal, collect the millions then back to your stalls.

Avatar
#77 DSF
September 23 2012, 09:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
T-Roy wrote:

Um, you are assuming that Seattle will sell out every game. I don't think you can simply assume that. we have evidence that Edmonton will sell out for a loosing team. The non traditional hockey markets don't seem to be such a sure thing

Um, you are assuming they won't.

I don't think you can simply assume that.

We have evidence that the Oilers DON'T sell out for a losing team.

Molson half price singles are always available.

Do you think Molson pays full price for those tickets?

Trust me, they don't.

Avatar
#78 common sense
September 23 2012, 11:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
DSF wrote:

Um, you are assuming they won't.

I don't think you can simply assume that.

We have evidence that the Oilers DON'T sell out for a losing team.

Molson half price singles are always available.

Do you think Molson pays full price for those tickets?

Trust me, they don't.

Didn't see many Molson Half price singles this past season. And yes, I'll bet my new tablet Microsoft Surface that Seattle doesn't sellout their NHL games. And no I don't think the maple leaves or the buffalo bills will let Markham get a franchise. And yes I didn't misspell the above.

Avatar
#79 OilClog
September 24 2012, 12:00AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

DSF is on my island.. If any has a hit to make.. Just saying.

Avatar
#80 Woody
September 24 2012, 12:28AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

The threat to move the Oilers is just grandstanding and a deliberate attempt to sway public opinion.

I can't fathom the depths of pure hatred and wishes of ill-will that would wash over Darryl Katz if he tried to move the Oilers. In an instant, Darryl Katz would become Edmonton public enemy number one by a galactic mile. Pocklington, Pronger, Comrie and all other Oilers persona from the past that scorned the franchise and the city would be forgotten in the blink of an eye if DK moved this team.

DK would not be able to live in Edmonton anymore and I honestly feel like we could see a break down in society, at least in the 780, if DK pulled the plug. Can you imagine KLowe and MacT hitching their wagons to the DK train if it left for another city? Seriously, if DK moved the Oilers the public backlash would be a gruesome, swift apocalypse.

Darryl Katz, local boy done good, Lifelong Oiler fan, franchise savior, architect of the rebuild, city of Edmonton advocate and cheerleader, this guy is gonna move the team? C'mon.

No effing way. I can't see anyway a purported stand up guy and lover of all things Edmonton and Oilers would willfully sign up to become public enemy number one. His only legacy in western Canada would be that of the biggest dickhead in history for lack of a better description regardless of how much money or Stanley's his former oilers playing in a new city accumulated for him.

His name would be dirt. Forever. I can't see him pushing all in if it meant he could never have his Edmonton life back for him and his family.

Not gonna happen.

Avatar
#81 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
September 24 2012, 06:55AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
DSF wrote:

Um, you are assuming they won't.

I don't think you can simply assume that.

We have evidence that the Oilers DON'T sell out for a losing team.

Molson half price singles are always available.

Do you think Molson pays full price for those tickets?

Trust me, they don't.

yeah well my dad is bigger than your dad.

Avatar
#82 pelhem grenville
September 24 2012, 07:35AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

...i don't recall THOSE puzzles but i do imagine a lot of DNA samples were collected on a few 1962 Honey Ryder posters back when...

...and t'think Raquel replaced her more or less

Avatar
#83 michael
September 24 2012, 07:48AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Seattle is pie in the sky. The NHL would be foolish to go into a market that is already saturated with big league sports like the NFL,MLB and NHL. Hockey market? Questionable. Think more recent. Hartford. They would be a more sensible market. They would need a new arena but there is money there to be had from the City and the State and UConn. Who currently play there home games at the Hartford Civic center along with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL. The front runners are easy to identify. Quebec City and Southern Ontario. If we are looking to add a western based franchise would Saskatoon not be an easier sell for the NHL? There arena is equal to that of Winnipeg and it would be small market only in the sense of where they would play. They would have an entire province to draw from. Ala the RoughRiders. Just sayin.

Avatar
#84 mayorpoop
September 24 2012, 07:58AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

thought Devellano used a valid analogy and it unfortunate the players got their feelings hurt.

i'm part of the cattle at my work along with my fellow employees. it's ok i get it. doesn't change who i am.

at first i despised both sides but now primarily the players. which will make it harder, actually, to come back to the game and watch these entitled...

Avatar
#85 Rick
September 24 2012, 08:22AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

The images of Pocklingon and Katz are starting to blurr together for me.

Too bad 2.0 is only mimicking the later years of 1.0 only and skipped right past those exciting early successful years.

Avatar
#86 Spartacus
September 24 2012, 08:35AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
mayorpoop wrote:

thought Devellano used a valid analogy and it unfortunate the players got their feelings hurt.

i'm part of the cattle at my work along with my fellow employees. it's ok i get it. doesn't change who i am.

at first i despised both sides but now primarily the players. which will make it harder, actually, to come back to the game and watch these entitled...

If the owners are the ranchers and the cattle are the players, where do the fans fit in this analogy?

Are we the cattle feed?

The pigs, perhaps?

Avatar
#87 Dave Lumley
September 24 2012, 08:45AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Spartacus

We are paying the beef.

Avatar
#88 Dave Lumley
September 24 2012, 09:13AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Woody wrote:

The threat to move the Oilers is just grandstanding and a deliberate attempt to sway public opinion.

I can't fathom the depths of pure hatred and wishes of ill-will that would wash over Darryl Katz if he tried to move the Oilers. In an instant, Darryl Katz would become Edmonton public enemy number one by a galactic mile. Pocklington, Pronger, Comrie and all other Oilers persona from the past that scorned the franchise and the city would be forgotten in the blink of an eye if DK moved this team.

DK would not be able to live in Edmonton anymore and I honestly feel like we could see a break down in society, at least in the 780, if DK pulled the plug. Can you imagine KLowe and MacT hitching their wagons to the DK train if it left for another city? Seriously, if DK moved the Oilers the public backlash would be a gruesome, swift apocalypse.

Darryl Katz, local boy done good, Lifelong Oiler fan, franchise savior, architect of the rebuild, city of Edmonton advocate and cheerleader, this guy is gonna move the team? C'mon.

No effing way. I can't see anyway a purported stand up guy and lover of all things Edmonton and Oilers would willfully sign up to become public enemy number one. His only legacy in western Canada would be that of the biggest dickhead in history for lack of a better description regardless of how much money or Stanley's his former oilers playing in a new city accumulated for him.

His name would be dirt. Forever. I can't see him pushing all in if it meant he could never have his Edmonton life back for him and his family.

Not gonna happen.

It seems that to a big bunch of people he already is Public Enemy Number One.

The great crime, besides being wealthy and from Edmonton, that he wants a similar deal to all the other guys in the league (except Toronto). He doesn't want to go bust on the arena like Ottawa did.

And if the stituation forces him to sell, what about all the people that made conditions such that he can't stay except at a great cost to himself. Please remember that this "excellent marketplace" is one that has literally sunk two previous sets of owners.

Avatar
#89 Truth
September 24 2012, 09:56AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

For anyone wondering Yakupov is playing Malkin right now. Easy to find on the web. 1-0 team Malkin in the 1st. Yak looks pretty good.

Avatar
#90 VMR
September 24 2012, 02:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
mayorpoop wrote:

thought Devellano used a valid analogy and it unfortunate the players got their feelings hurt.

i'm part of the cattle at my work along with my fellow employees. it's ok i get it. doesn't change who i am.

at first i despised both sides but now primarily the players. which will make it harder, actually, to come back to the game and watch these entitled...

Well if you take that analogy further, you know what happens to those cows once the ranch has fattened them up right?

Avatar
#91 pelhem grenville
September 24 2012, 02:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

...michael

The 'green' Riders are the team that spells its' name in ONE word [saskatchewan]

Roughriders

...i'm not a flatlander but Ottawa is the other team called RoughRiders...when they exist

Avatar
#92 DSF
September 24 2012, 07:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Katz, Oilers brass, Gretzky and Messier tour Seattle and Key arena.

Who knew? :)

Avatar
#93 DSF
September 24 2012, 08:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

the real question is: did they make it from victoria to seattle in under an hour?

Not their route...but they could if they wanted to.

Only 40 minutes via Alaska Airlines.

Of course, the Victoria Clipper ferry is a much nicer ride.

Avatar
#94 Reg Dunlop
September 24 2012, 08:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
DSF wrote:

Katz, Oilers brass, Gretzky and Messier tour Seattle and Key arena.

Who knew? :)

Messier touring Seattle? Maybe the Rangers are looking to move to a better hockey market.

Avatar
#95 DSF
September 24 2012, 10:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Reg Dunlop wrote:

Messier touring Seattle? Maybe the Rangers are looking to move to a better hockey market.

Or maybe Messier is supporting Gretzky, Lowe, MacTavish and Katz in their new venture.

Once an Oiler...always a Totem.

Avatar
#96 pelhem grenville
September 25 2012, 06:44AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
DSF wrote:

Katz, Oilers brass, Gretzky and Messier tour Seattle and Key arena.

Who knew? :)

...we'd [i] need some photographic evidence of that event with a two source story with quotes backing up this claim of yours...

Comments are closed for this article.