Player X doesn't like Edmonton. So what?

Jonathan Willis
September 03 2013 10:15AM

It’s no secret that Edmonton has had its challenges attracting free agents and retaining top talent, and it’s also no secret that fans have at time struggled to cope with the results of those challenges.

A Long, Sad, Story

The last quarter century has taught Oilers fans not to expect good things to last. The Wayne Gretzky trade is the primary example, but the list of stars that have left town over money is long and varied. It starts with the guys that helped the Oilers to five Stanley Cups, includes the brightest stars on the plucky teams in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, and last demonstrated itself with the tearful departure of Ryan Smyth in 2007. At the same time as Flyers fans were learning that no goaltender would ever excel in Philadelphia, Oilers fans learned that good players left town once they got near the ends of their contracts.

Those departures are one part of the story. Another part is the decisions of individual players. In some cases, those decisions involved departure for reasons other than money – such as in the case of Mike Comrie and Chris Pronger and Petr Nedved and others. In other cases, players simply gave Edmonton a pass to play elsewhere, often in a way that embarrassed the Oilers’ organization and its fans – this is the group that players like Michael Nylander and Dany Heatley belong in.

There’s a long history that I’m summarizing in two paragraphs but it boils down to this: there is a perception that Edmonton is a second-rate destination for hockey players, and that impacts their ability to both acquire and retain talent.

The Good and the Bad

It’s true that Edmonton is far from a perfect destination for unrestricted free agents, and it’s also true that some of the factors in that won’t ever change. However, a) there are things to like about the city and the team and b) most of the suggested ways of dealing with the unchangeable problems are stupid.

Edmonton cannot help being cold in the winter. The Oilers cannot help having a tougher travel routine than an Eastern-based team. A five second glance at a map indicates why: the Oilers are the NHL’s northernmost team and aren’t sitting next door to 17 other teams the way they would be if they played in the northeast. Another absolute: as a world-class city, Edmonton can’t compete with New York. Those things will scare free agents away, and there is nothing to do but accept them and move on.

Acceptance of reality doesn’t mean that the Oilers need to accept an inability to compete for free agents, though. Weather and travel aren’t the only reasons NHL players pick teams. Above all, NHL players as a group seem to like winning hockey games; if the Oilers can find a way to transform their group of young draft picks into the core of a contender they’ll cover a lot of other sins. That’s how the Red Wings continue to land high-end talent, even as Detroit turns into one of the most dangerous cities in America.

The Oilers also have some natural advantages. The fans are as rabid and single-mindedly devoted to hockey as any in the league; a hockey player in Edmonton is a celebrity to a degree he isn’t in the majority of NHL cities. That’s both good and bad as a selling point, but doubtless appeals to some players. Edmonton also lies at the heart of an incredibly fertile hockey player-producing region; some players don’t like playing in the fishbowl but doubtless there are others happy to be playing close to where they grew up (It’s funny; there are lots of ‘X doesn’t want the pressure of playing at home’ stories in Edmonton and few of the ‘I want to play for the team I grew up cheering for’ variety so prevalent in Toronto). Edmonton is also has one of the NHL’s most favourable tax situations, for players that like squeezing every cent out of their contracts. With a wealthy owner and healthy revenues, the Oilers also have significant financial resources.

The Oilers as a destination have good points and bad points. The bad points mean some players will never see Edmonton as an attractive destination, and that’s just the way it is. The good points would be considerably enhanced if the team starts winning games.

Then And Now

The 2013 Edmonton Oilers are a different breed from their predecessors. They don’t face the same financial hardships as previous Oilers teams – the need to ship away players because they cost too much doesn’t impact them more than it does other NHL clubs (because of the salary cap). That section of franchise history is of no relevance when considering the team today.

The Oilers’ struggles to land free agents also need to be seen in context. There are 30 NHL teams; on every free agent signing 29 teams are going to miss out. The difference is that it seems like such a big deal when it happens in Edmonton, and maybe in part that’s because with all the losing so many fans placed big hopes on those free agent signings. When Detroit misses out on Ryan Suter or Pittsburgh fails to land Zach Parise or Boston loses Nathan Horton, it doesn’t prompt the kind of anguish in those cities that it does when a player makes a deliberate choice to leave/not go to Edmonton.

It shouldn’t be that way. Edmonton is a tremendous hockey market, and the Oilers have a rich history. If there’s a cause for an inferiority complex among fans, it should be the team’s record over the last few seasons, not the decision-making of Player X. Player X – whether it’s Justin Schultz signing in Edmonton instead of Anaheim or Chris Pronger going to Anaheim instead of Edmonton - will always make a choice based on criteria unique to him. There’s no sense worrying about him.

Certainly the decision making of a hockey player shouldn't be seen as a black mark on either the team or the city.

Recently around the Nation Network

At Canucks Army, Dimitri Filipovic constructs a hypothetical "All-Undrafted" team. Here's the process:

I scoured the list of all of the players to ever compete in the NHL after passing through the entry draft without being selected. Then, I narrowed it down to all of the players that are currently active in the NHL, and chose the best ones out of the bunch. I created 2 different teams composed of said players. I have to give some credit to Kent Wilson, whose idea of building an "All-UFA Team" a few weeks ago inspired me.

Click the link above to read more or check out some of my recent work:

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 OilClog
September 03 2013, 03:42PM
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Omg a team asked a player to play hurt so we could compete!! What a shame.. Not like it doesn't happen all the freaking time!! Souray is a diva..

Good grief

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#52 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
September 03 2013, 03:45PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

Souray had an incredible season last year.

The point is Lowe took something of value, and turned it into a minus. Yeah, he sure taught Souray a lesson.

This. Lowe's ego has done a lot of damage to this organization. He was a good GM until his ego took over. The Souray situation is a good example of Lowe putting his ego in front of what's good for the team. The Comrie and Smyth trades are also good examples. And he certainly cemented that reputation with the "two types of fans" comment

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#53 Spydyr
September 03 2013, 03:54PM
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OilClog wrote:

Actually Souray didn't request a trade until after the fiasco.. Nice try though..

Quinn - 1yr was a mistake by a rookie GM

Renney - 2yrs wasn't the right fit

Kruger - 48games, should of never been HC.

What do the 3 coaches have in common, a really bad GM. Some of you trolls are out to lunch.

Before that MacT 10yrs!

Now the 10yr coach is the GM, this isn't a coaching carousel.. Just a few hiccups by a baboon.

Good grief

Who hired the GM? Who was in charge through all the coaching changes?

That's right old six rings.Guess what he is still in charge.

Quinn , Renney and Kruger were all the answer the summer they were hired.Now Eakins is the answer.A coach who has never coached an NHL game in his life.

If it is OK I'll hold of on saying he is the answer to he does something.Perhaps lasting more then one season would be a start.

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#54 michael
September 03 2013, 03:59PM
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Those days of Edmonton being a small market city are done. The Capital region has well over a million people living in it. You want to compare apples and oranges. Detroit vs Edmonton. Has any one been to Detroit lately. What a perfect example of urban decay in the post industrial out sourcing era. What a hole. There are worse places to live than Edmonton. Players have their druthers just like everyone. Kovalchuck is a good example. He goes home and makes more money and lives in place that he enjoys.

I for one know a ton of people who would not change living in Edmonton for warmer climates like Pheonix. sure we all like it when it isn`t -35 but on the other hand we get weeks like this where its 28 degrees on September 3rd. Where you can play golf into the twilight at 10 oclock at night or wake up in June and go shoot a round before you head to work. I`ll take our 4 month long festival season. I`ll take our 4 seasons over a Hooba in August. Or a Hurricane in December. I`d rather shovel my moisture than have to bail it out of my basement.

Let them/free agents pooh pah and let them find a paycheque elsewhere.

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#55 pkam
September 03 2013, 04:23PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Who hired the GM? Who was in charge through all the coaching changes?

That's right old six rings.Guess what he is still in charge.

Quinn , Renney and Kruger were all the answer the summer they were hired.Now Eakins is the answer.A coach who has never coached an NHL game in his life.

If it is OK I'll hold of on saying he is the answer to he does something.Perhaps lasting more then one season would be a start.

So who hire Lowe? Is the one who hires Lowe in charge of all the GM and coaching changes?

I guess this person is not only in charge of the GM and coaching changes, but all the player contracts, scouting and drafting decision too.

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#56 Scott in Grande Prairie
September 03 2013, 04:25PM
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Firstly, I don’t have any patience for NHL players who spurn Edmonton because of the climate. To any player who moans about the cold, I’ll always say this: If you didn’t like winter ... why did you choose a winter sport as your vocation?

Yes, I know. The problem isn’t so much that Edmonton’s climate is bad (it’s not – winters are actually fairly lame in Alberta nowadays compared to 25 years ago), it’s that there are places that are just so much better. I get that. But ...again ... winter sport ... played in the winter...in a city that actually has winter. Suck it up, princess.

I guess I’m a little more sympathetic to the travel complaints. Can’t do anything about the distance, other than make the trips more comfortable, which I think the Oilers have done.

As for the quality of the city, Edmonton holds up well. Keep in mind: NHL players don’t live in the “rough sections” of any NHL city, so don’t bother pointing to the gamey areas of Edmonton as a reason why Dan Heatley didn’t want to come to Edmonton. They live in the rich neighbourhoods, in well-appointed condos and houses. If you honestly think that players give a rat’s-rear-end about urban blight or potholes or the number of drunks wandering around town, then the Detroit Red Wings must be a complete mystery to you. They manage to attract free agents, despite playing in arena that's on the doorstep of Detroit-in-the-Robocop-Movies.

That's because the players live out in tony Ann Arbor. On the drive into work, they don’t have to unlock their car doors until they’re inside the parking garage underneath the Joe. Heck, I bet the players in Chicago and Columbus and Buffalo and Raleigh-Durham drive past far more shocking urban blight than anything in Edmonton.

See, I think the problem with the inferiority complex among Edmonton fans is that it’s a reflection of a larger inferiority complex that Edmonton has (and shouldn’t have), period. A BIG part of that is being in the same province as Calgary, which is quickly turning into the Toronto of the West (and that’s not a compliment), in terms of its bellicosity.

Everything in the national media in Canada is so Calgary-focused and Calgary-boosting (can do!) that it can seem like you’re on the outside looking in if you don’t actually live there ... even though the place where you live is pretty much just as good.

The other night, I watched a show in which Maclean’s magazine presented various lists about Canada. It ended up being a 60-minute commercial for Calgary Tourism, pretty much (Maclean's is one of the worst for Calgary boosterism), but there were some pleasant surprises.

One of the lists was the top-five places to live in Canada. Calgary was No. 1 ... but Strathcona County and St. Albert were also in the top-five. Yes, those are suburbs, but I’ve heard that lots of Oilers live in St. Albert. Commuting to Rexall from the ‘burbs is no big deal, even at $1.20-a-litre.

The other thing to keep in mind? If you’re earning $1 million a year, it gives you plenty of options in the off-season. Many of those are material, obviously. Houses. Cars. Possessions. But one of the more under-rated options is travel. You can afford to travel anywhere during the off-season – to the cottage, to Europe, to your hometown, to the quaint little New England burg where you played college hockey. They get away from it all. During the regular season, NHL players probably only spend the night in their NHL city 100 nights a year, if that. The rest of the season, they’re on the road. And, the off-season is a mass exodus.

If there’s one thing that places like Edmonton and Calgary and Winnipeg tends to over-sell as a virtue, it’s the “rabid hockey fanbase.” I think if you sat down in a quiet corner with any NHL player and asked him to be honest, they’d tell you they’d far, far rather go unrecognized at a grocery store or shopping mall than not.

Whenever I hear a player say they signed with a team in part “because there’s such a rabid fanbase and it’s a great hockey town and market,” I generally take that as code-speak for “I couldn’t get Florida, Tampa, Dallas, Nashville, LA, Anaheim or San Jose to make me an offer, so I’m coming here. I just hope and pray everyone leaves me alone.”

Players don’t like fishbowls. Wayne Gretzky loved Edmonton – he lived in E-town in the off-season (sometimes) and even had his wedding there – but I think that’s one thing he would have loved about places like St. Louis and New York and L.A. – the anonymity.

Anyway – I know that there are other places in the league more appealing to a millionaire-athlete than Edmonton. But it would be nice if everyone kept selling it short so much based on assumptions they make. It’s so tiresome.

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#57 Wax Man Riley
September 03 2013, 04:31PM
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oilerjed wrote:

@quicksilver

When Souray went down did he have to claim waivers?

What did we miss out on with anaheim and the comrie deal?

I believe it was Bobby Ryan??

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#58 WinterNightSky
September 03 2013, 04:39PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

I believe it was Bobby Ryan??

That was Corey Perry. Never forget that we would've had Corey Perry if Kevin Lowe hadn't demanded $2M from Mike Comrie.

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#59 Wax Man Riley
September 03 2013, 04:45PM
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WinterNightSky wrote:

That was Corey Perry. Never forget that we would've had Corey Perry if Kevin Lowe hadn't demanded $2M from Mike Comrie.

Perry. Thank you. I knew it was one of the good Anaheim players.

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#60 Spydyr
September 03 2013, 05:40PM
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pkam wrote:

So who hire Lowe? Is the one who hires Lowe in charge of all the GM and coaching changes?

I guess this person is not only in charge of the GM and coaching changes, but all the player contracts, scouting and drafting decision too.

Lowe is in charge of hockey operations. Everything you mentioned has crossed his desk.

The real problem is higher up then coaches and GM's.Even second tier fans can see that.

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#61 beloch
September 03 2013, 07:05PM
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When considering why cities attract NHL players, you shouldn't consider what they're like to live in for the poor. Yes, being poor in Detroit truly does suck, just as being poor in a third-world country also sucks. Being rich in either place actually rocks. Depressed real-estate prices, cheap labor, etc. all conspire to let the rich live that much more lavishly than they would elsewhere on the same funds. In Detroit, an average player's salary probably lets them live in a substantial house (whose value tanked recently) in a gated community with full-time security, while in Edmonton they'd most likely live in a slightly above average house in a white-collar burb where real estate prices never stopped climbing throughout the crisis in the U.S..

Of course, you should also consider what a $2.45M (NHL average) salary can pay for in New York... However, living in New York gives you access to all sorts of experiences that can't be had in Edmonton. I'm sorry, but that's the truth. In addition to not being a major cultural center (and this goes for Calgary too), Alberta is about as remote from major cultural centers as hockey towns get. If you live in Detroit, you can hop in a car, drive 9 hours, and be in a lot of fascinating places (including New York)! Edmonton... Not so much. You can also bet that hockey stars love their road-trips. Driving somewhere from your garage is a lot less stressful than going through airport security and signing autographs, even if it takes longer, and $2.45M isn't really enough to charter a private jet on a regular basis!

I'm not saying that Edmonton (or Calgary) sucks. I'm just saying Detroit has a lot going for it so long as you're not poor.

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#62 oilerjed
September 03 2013, 07:20PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Perry. Thank you. I knew it was one of the good Anaheim players.

Yikes! I feel like in hindsight he would make that deal...........................

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#63 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 03 2013, 07:37PM
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Every now and then you gotta step up and take some heat.....

So here goes...

I agree with DSF 's assessment of the poor handling of Souray by K Lowe...

And, I had no bad feelings about Heatly turning down Edmonton...he was young and rich and single and had a limited no trade clause....he did what I would of done if I was him...

And....people are constantly sh*tting on Peter Pocklington...and while the guy was business man first and felt no civic responsibility to Edmonton.....fans forget that without Pocklington....there is no Gretzky in Edmonton.....

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#64 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 03 2013, 07:44PM
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oilerjed wrote:

Yikes! I feel like in hindsight he would make that deal...........................

The deal in question was for Perry, and 2 first round selections till Lowe ruined it by demanding a 2.5 million dollar payment.

Moments after dealing Comrie to the Philly Flyers......"When you can get a solid defenceman that has the upside that Jeff Woywitka does, you go after him," said Lowe in a statement released by the Oilers.

Kevin will be here, forever.....try the veal!

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#65 DSF
September 03 2013, 08:27PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

The deal in question was for Perry, and 2 first round selections till Lowe ruined it by demanding a 2.5 million dollar payment.

Moments after dealing Comrie to the Philly Flyers......"When you can get a solid defenceman that has the upside that Jeff Woywitka does, you go after him," said Lowe in a statement released by the Oilers.

Kevin will be here, forever.....try the veal!

Best post of the summer right here kids.

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#66 DSF
September 03 2013, 08:34PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Every now and then you gotta step up and take some heat.....

So here goes...

I agree with DSF 's assessment of the poor handling of Souray by K Lowe...

And, I had no bad feelings about Heatly turning down Edmonton...he was young and rich and single and had a limited no trade clause....he did what I would of done if I was him...

And....people are constantly sh*tting on Peter Pocklington...and while the guy was business man first and felt no civic responsibility to Edmonton.....fans forget that without Pocklington....there is no Gretzky in Edmonton.....

Good to see you going into the blue paint.

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#67 Serious Gord
September 03 2013, 09:04PM
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michael wrote:

Those days of Edmonton being a small market city are done. The Capital region has well over a million people living in it. You want to compare apples and oranges. Detroit vs Edmonton. Has any one been to Detroit lately. What a perfect example of urban decay in the post industrial out sourcing era. What a hole. There are worse places to live than Edmonton. Players have their druthers just like everyone. Kovalchuck is a good example. He goes home and makes more money and lives in place that he enjoys.

I for one know a ton of people who would not change living in Edmonton for warmer climates like Pheonix. sure we all like it when it isn`t -35 but on the other hand we get weeks like this where its 28 degrees on September 3rd. Where you can play golf into the twilight at 10 oclock at night or wake up in June and go shoot a round before you head to work. I`ll take our 4 month long festival season. I`ll take our 4 seasons over a Hooba in August. Or a Hurricane in December. I`d rather shovel my moisture than have to bail it out of my basement.

Let them/free agents pooh pah and let them find a paycheque elsewhere.

Spare me.

EDM is still a very small market town - in the bottom five media markets in the NHL - maybe dead last. And that isn't going to change.

As for being a desirable place to live - let's be honest - the primary reason why people live EDM is for the work and money. If everyone on EDM won the lottery tomorrow the place would be a ghost town the day after.

It is also the most remote city in the NHL archipelago.

For the NHL player EDM is the most cloistered fan fishbowl in the league yet coupled with the tiny market it has a relatively small upside for post career ventures.

Couple that with a management that has the reputation - well-deserved - of being sycophantic to the owner and one of the most inept in the league.

That all said - a change in management cures all of the ills. Think Green Bay packers. Think Manchester United. Think Oakland athletics.

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#68 Ryan14
September 03 2013, 10:14PM
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WinterNightSky wrote:

That was Corey Perry. Never forget that we would've had Corey Perry if Kevin Lowe hadn't demanded $2M from Mike Comrie.

That should read the EIG demanded Anaheim pay the signing bonus.

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#69 The Soup Fascist
September 03 2013, 10:48PM
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@ DSF

Surprised Gagner Sr. gave up on chasing the Cup with the ''nucks to look after player development for a player agency?

Strange move, no?

Issue between him and management?

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#70 Woogie63
September 03 2013, 11:07PM
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I grew up in Edmonton, most of our family lives in Edmonton. I really like Edmonton, Work means I don't live there anymore. I am not a hater. BUT

If I was a 24 year old millionaire hockey player I would not choose to live in Edmonton.

1) Way too much travel ... Done at the late hours of the night. 2) The airport is way too far from town, on a snowy road. 3) Really old area in a dumpy area of town, how old is the Forum Inn? 4) Kevin Lowe has a really bad track record, why put your career in his hands? 5) Be honest, the winter is way too cold.

If you won $25M in the lottery would you spend the winters in Edmonton?

Draft well Oilers, Draft well

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#71 Chris.
September 04 2013, 12:13AM
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It's all about the cup. Period. This organization needs to work itself much closer to the cup to attract the right FA's because the right FA's care about the cup and only the cup.

Didn't Hossa leave 91million dollars laying on Katz's coffee table to sign a risky one year deal in Detroit because he wanted another quick shot at the cup? Rich Winter must have had nightmares!

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#72 106 and 106
September 04 2013, 12:15AM
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"With a wealthy owner and healthy revenues, the Oilers also have significant financial resources."

Man, we were fighting for a team a decade ago.

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#73 Reg Dunlop
September 04 2013, 01:58AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Spare me.

EDM is still a very small market town - in the bottom five media markets in the NHL - maybe dead last. And that isn't going to change.

As for being a desirable place to live - let's be honest - the primary reason why people live EDM is for the work and money. If everyone on EDM won the lottery tomorrow the place would be a ghost town the day after.

It is also the most remote city in the NHL archipelago.

For the NHL player EDM is the most cloistered fan fishbowl in the league yet coupled with the tiny market it has a relatively small upside for post career ventures.

Couple that with a management that has the reputation - well-deserved - of being sycophantic to the owner and one of the most inept in the league.

That all said - a change in management cures all of the ills. Think Green Bay packers. Think Manchester United. Think Oakland athletics.

I must agree with everything you wrote until the last paragraph. Comparing small, isolated Edmonton to Oakland, part of the 8 million people in the Bay area? Comparing Edmonton to the 3 million strong Manchester metro area? Comparing Edmonton to Green Bay, which has access to NFL revenue sharing and is 2 hours by car to Chicago, Minneapolis or Milwaukee? Edmonton is 2 hours from, what, Edson? You started strong but you wimped out. Edmonton is unique, well, maybe you could include Calgary. These 2 cities are outposts, off the beaten path. However, that does not mean that the things offered here that are not available elsewhere aren't important. We don't face the threat of gun violence, mainly knife violence. We won't be consumed by tidal waves or face irradiation during nuclear meltdown, only slow death by PCB exposure. Our streets aren't wild with crazed amphetamine addicts, only old fashioned crack heads. Our infrastructure isn't at risk due to middle eastern terrorists, just those loveable homegrown eco-terrorists. I am afraid that even a paradigm shift in Oil management won't save us. We are doomed.

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#74 Serious Gord
September 04 2013, 07:31AM
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@Reg Dunlop

Oakland is the smallest market in the MLB in the worst stadium in a dreadful city with one of the poorest owners. Yes it's close to San Fran but its the closest example to EDM in the MLB. Manchester was an industrial hellhole for decades - light years less pleasant to live in than Barcelona for example. Again the best example of what can be attained in RELATIVELY similar circumstances. Ditto GB - tiny market, ancient stadium - but decades worth of good to great management make it (and Manchester) massively popular outside of their geographic market.

There are crap locations in other leagues that are perennial failures - that have long traditions of sucking - the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Jacksonville jaguars, the islanders. Management makes the difference. And right now EDM is in this pack of losers. And it has very little to do with edms location.

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#75 oilerjed
September 04 2013, 08:54AM
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@Reg Dunlop

I was just reading an article yesterday about the most dangerous cities in the US. Oakland was #3 and 4th highest murders and in the top 5 for forcible rapes. Detroit was number two only behind Flint Michigan and #3 for murders. So is this the kind of thing that is taken intoa ccount if you are a family man looking for a new team. Oakland residents claim living in Oakland is like living in a warzone. Id choose a place where it is way to F^%$ing cold to go outside and shoot somebody.

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#76 IM80
September 04 2013, 10:35AM
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My wife doesn't want to go to Edmonton either......and my family even lives there.....ugh

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#77 michael
September 04 2013, 10:38AM
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oilerjed wrote:

I was just reading an article yesterday about the most dangerous cities in the US. Oakland was #3 and 4th highest murders and in the top 5 for forcible rapes. Detroit was number two only behind Flint Michigan and #3 for murders. So is this the kind of thing that is taken intoa ccount if you are a family man looking for a new team. Oakland residents claim living in Oakland is like living in a warzone. Id choose a place where it is way to F^%$ing cold to go outside and shoot somebody.

Has anyone looked at Edmontons employment numbers lately? Alberta's. Calgary's. How about Ft Mac and Grand Prarie. Folks this is the most prosperous place on the continent. hell it is the place to be in terms of growth. The second place? Saskatchewan. Why. Low corporate tax's and low income tax's. Crime? If it wasn't for the dumbasses growing pot and selling meth our police would be escorting little old ladies across the street and giving out parking tickets. Compare our crime rate to Toronto. Oakland. New York. Cleveland. The instances of gun related crimes are all related to the drug trade. Lye down with dogs you get fleas.

If I won the lottery and had 25 million dollars I would still live here. Why. Because I love this City and its people and its river valley, its festivals. Its -40 dry winter. Its theater. Its concerts. Its hockey, football and University sports. Its the way people hold the door for you when you walk into a 7-11. Or stop and ask if you need help if your hood is up on the Anthony Henday. Its the people who helped build Western Canada's best pediatric hospital at the Stollery. Its the way that people come together at places like Heritage Days or Gay Pride. The people of this City from Mayor Mandel to Daryl Katz feel about our city. Its about living in a city that values its people.From The 630 ched Santas Anonymous to the Christmas Bureau to the Bissel Center.To guys like Jason Gregor who give and give to the less fortunate. To all those who give everyday for seniors at Meals on Wheels.

We are such a great city that the haters hate because they have don't have eyes to see and ears to hear. The haters see only the worst where I see whats best in Edmonton. We are great city. We are defined by where we are going not where we have been. And that to all the haters is being one of the best places in the world to live.

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#78 BillHK
September 04 2013, 11:49AM
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"I`d rather shovel my moisture than have to bail it out of my basement."

Man, how can you be so inconsiderate and trash Calgary like that. In times like this summer, Albertans need to pull together!

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#79 Serious Gord
September 04 2013, 12:02PM
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michael wrote:

Has anyone looked at Edmontons employment numbers lately? Alberta's. Calgary's. How about Ft Mac and Grand Prarie. Folks this is the most prosperous place on the continent. hell it is the place to be in terms of growth. The second place? Saskatchewan. Why. Low corporate tax's and low income tax's. Crime? If it wasn't for the dumbasses growing pot and selling meth our police would be escorting little old ladies across the street and giving out parking tickets. Compare our crime rate to Toronto. Oakland. New York. Cleveland. The instances of gun related crimes are all related to the drug trade. Lye down with dogs you get fleas.

If I won the lottery and had 25 million dollars I would still live here. Why. Because I love this City and its people and its river valley, its festivals. Its -40 dry winter. Its theater. Its concerts. Its hockey, football and University sports. Its the way people hold the door for you when you walk into a 7-11. Or stop and ask if you need help if your hood is up on the Anthony Henday. Its the people who helped build Western Canada's best pediatric hospital at the Stollery. Its the way that people come together at places like Heritage Days or Gay Pride. The people of this City from Mayor Mandel to Daryl Katz feel about our city. Its about living in a city that values its people.From The 630 ched Santas Anonymous to the Christmas Bureau to the Bissel Center.To guys like Jason Gregor who give and give to the less fortunate. To all those who give everyday for seniors at Meals on Wheels.

We are such a great city that the haters hate because they have don't have eyes to see and ears to hear. The haters see only the worst where I see whats best in Edmonton. We are great city. We are defined by where we are going not where we have been. And that to all the haters is being one of the best places in the world to live.

You make the point: EDM and Western Canada are very prosperous - that's why its a desirable place for the average citizen. However, were it not prosperous it would still be poplars and sloughs.

But miss the point: That Pro hockey players can play in one of 30 cities in NA and several more in europe and still make a level of net income that they would have a difficult time spending it all (though some succeed). The surrounding economic conditions are irrelevant to them - RE: Detroit and Buffalo.

As for the lame testimonial of EDMs greatness, I would suggest you get out town and see the world - there are plenty of other places that have the generosity and "values its people" ethic that EDM has. And many of them have very pleasant climates, and far more amenities that EDM has. Carrying on like you do above only makes you look pathetic and needy and a target for derision - much like when the oilers sent Heatley a DVD hailing the features of the city - pathetic - especially in light of the fact that Heatley was born and raised in Calgary.

PS- Daryl Katz doesn't live in Edmonton any more.

And really - you have never fled the city in winter to say Mexico? That's astonishing if you have the means to leave - everyone else who can - does.

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#80 OilDieHard
September 04 2013, 12:15PM
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as far as i'm concerned, UFA player X can kiss my arse! we will and have been home growing our own stars, some of which have been signed and sealed long term, though i do realize that we need a few of the support UFA's here ultimately.

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#81 Scott in Grande Prairie
September 04 2013, 02:30PM
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@Serious Gord

Right, OK but here’s the thing...

There aren’t really 30 teams in the NHL that players can play for. Nowadays, there’s really only one team that a player can play for – and that’s the team that needs a player like him AND can afford a player like him.

Otherwise, the NHL isn’t one big business with one workforce. It’s 30 little businesses with 30 little workforces. Each of those teams has - what? - 25 active roster spots? And, obviously, only so much cap space.

So players have freedom ... but only to the point that the marketplace-of-workforces can bear. Yes, I’m quite certain that, say, Andrew Ference would have quickly chosen the Rangers if Slats offered the same money the Oilers did. But he either couldn’t or didn’t, so poor Andrew had to pick Edmonton. The market spoke. The trade-off is that he’s being very well-compensated for not being able to take his wife to Time Square or Radio City Music Hall on off-nights.

By the way, I should also mention that you’re absolutely right – players don’t give a fiddler’s darn about stuff like employment rates and folk music festivals or Santa’s Anonymous or the Stollery. They care about the amount of travel, the tax rates, the real-estate prices and, if they have a family, the quality of the schools (I also remember reading a story in the early 1990s about a player’s wife demanding the Quebec Nordiques pay for a U.S. cable TV package because all the channels in QC were French – not sure if it’s true or not, but I thought I’d throw that in).

And if they can avoid living in a fishbowl, they almost certainly will.

IMO, nothing else really matters to them. Why not? Well, it’s because the average NHL player is on the road at least 100 nights of the year. He won’t even experience many of the quality-of-life things you’re talking about. NHL players lurch from arenas to hotels to planes to hotels to home to the arena to the plane to the hotel for eight months. And then he flees to his summer haunts the day after his season ends. In other words, they don't live in our world, at all.

At. All.

That brings me to the point I made earlier in this post (and earlier in this thread). Regardless of where they live, players make so much money that they have lifestyle options that none of us have. And that’s exactly why I don’t tend to have much patience for the players (or the media) that rip on Edmonton or Winnipeg (or even Calgary) and its perceived lack of quality-of-life. I know that it’s complete and utter BS – a snow-job or red-herring or whatever you want to call it.

The quality-of-life questions-and-answers that we’re discussing here aren’t even on the radar screen of a fourth-line NHL player. They can make a go of it anywhere during an eight-month NHL season. If things like climate and long-commutes to the rink and hoboes on the streets on the way to the rink actually bother them ... then why did they pick professional hockey as their chosen vocation?

No – if players are avoiding Edmonton, it’s ultimately because of how the team operates and where it’s “perceived” to be heading.

There’s only two things you need to say or do to anyone who rips Edmonton as a marketplace. One, point to Detroit. (‘Nuff said). Two, point to the fact that the Greatest Player of All Time lived in Edmonton in the off-season and even got married in Edmonton – and that’s back when Edmonton wasn’t nearly as nice as it is now. If Edmonton was good enough for Gretz but not good enough for Dany Heatley – then I think you can figure out who I’d go tell to urinate up a rope.

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#82 Nat
September 04 2013, 03:45PM
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I think it's all about winning. Yes, EDM has some negatives from a player's perspective. But players aren't going to care about the cold winters or smallness of the city if they know they have a very good chance at the cup. Right now Edmonton isn't at that point, so they're still vulnerable to players seeing an offer from EDM and an offer from NY and thinking, "I'll go to that world class city with the better travel schedule and a little bit warmer climate".

I think secondary, lifestyle considerations only really come into play if the team isn't one of those cup potential teams.

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#83 Woogie63
September 04 2013, 09:02PM
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I have earned the black card too many times. Travelling +100 segments or over 100,000 miles is brutal (even in a charter plane).

Don't under estimate the kilker travel the Oilers (and a few others have to endure). Didn't Iggy just choose Pittsburg and the Boston.

Why travel all those miles if you don't have to??

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#84 Ari Gold
September 05 2013, 12:48AM
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John Chambers wrote:

This is another major factor why I was on board with Tambellini's scorched-earth, build it from the ground up strategy.

Ultimately Edmonton is a secondary destination for players unless they have a unique asset -that being the potential to seriously compete - which they couldn't boast in the era shortly after the last cup run.

High-quality NHL players will want to play with Hall, Hopkins, Yak, etc once they start dominating, slitting throats, and spilling the other team's blood.

Good. Good! Now let the hate flow through you, young Skywalker.

Brilliant last line!

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