June 25 2014 03:07PM
For the past seven days I have literally had nothing rolling around in my head except beef jerky and jellybeans. It wasn't until yesterday where the machinery in my brain (picture a device similar to a cotton gin) started rolling around and figuring things out. This week, I give my thoughts on the Nikita Nikitin signing, Cuba Gooding Jr. at the NHL Awards, and Charity Week here at the Nation.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and your debates.
1) NIKITA NIKITIN
This morning, news broke that the Oilers had signed Nikita Nikitin to a two-year deal. The thing that surprised me most was not that the Oilers overpaid for his services, but how much they overpaid. There were various reports from around the Interwebz that Nikitin wanted a 4-year deal, so I guess having him sign a two-year deal is a win. But $4.5 million? I guess we can count our blessings that the contract is only for two years. Luckily, the Oilers have $20 million in cap space, so signing Nikitin doesn't mean they're strapped for cash. Is it a great business practice to overspend just because you can? Of course not, but that's where we're at.
As we know, the Oilers have more problems signing quality UFAs than any of the other team in the league. There are a lot of reasons that contribute to that. Weather and geography aside, the team sucks and has since dial up Internet. Making trades and finding ways to win hockey games will change this. NHL players can get their money anywhere, but a chance at winning has to be a part of the deal. At this point, in the 12th rebuild, the Oilers have to overpay for veteran players to even answer the phone. If/when the Oilers ever start to click and make a push for the playoffs (I'll give you a minute to stop laughing) players like Nikitin will sign here for less money.
Would I have preferred to see Nikitin sign a two-year deal for $3 million rather than signing a deal worth 200% more than what he made last year? Obviously. Unfortunately, when you're a UFA you call the shots. Even more unfortunate, the Oilers are perennial suck knob breakers and their options are limited as far as attracting quality free agents. Fortunately, for Oilers fans, D-Katz has deep pockets and a willingness to spend the dough. The reality of the Nikitin signing is that the Oilers defence is better today than it was yesterday. Yes they overpaid and no he is not a 1st pairing defenceman, (even though they'll likely play him as one) but let's see where the rest of the summer takes us. The Oilers have the cash, let them spend it.
2) CUBA GOODING JR.
What the hell happened last night with Cuba Gooding Jr? The guy was on TV for about 10 minutes and he could have been the most interesting part of the entire award show. Nothing about his appearance made sense. I'm still not even sure why he was there? Is Cuba Gooding Jr an actual hockey fan or was he just pumped to get on TV for a few minutes? If I were to guess, the NHL awards had an open bar and the guy took to it like an Oilers fans drowning his/her sorrows.
Allegedly in my opinion, the dude seemed wasted. Why else would he rub the Moose's head like he was hoping for wishes and close talk Andrew Ference like he was going in for a goodnight kiss? I'm not sure there was another person on the planet quite as uncomfortable as Mark Messier was with Cuba's sweet cuddles. I can only imagine that Messier would have loved nothing more than to toss a circa 1989 elbow right to the chops - oh what great TV that would have been. On a few different occasions, Adam Graves looked at him like he was developing horns right before his eyes.
I hope that the NHL brings Cuba back next year - the guy was amazing. There were soft touches on the back, there were hugs, there was general awkwardness and it was amazing to watch. I'm still not sure what was going on with Cuba Gooding Jr, but I salute his efforts to weird out NHLers both current and legendary. It takes a real man to act like a crazy person on national TV, and for that I salute him. If you haven't seen the video, check it out - it's hilarious.
3) CHARITY TALK
Anyone that has been reading the Nation for a long time knows that raising money for charity is a big part of what we do around here. This week we've got a few different opportunities to make a difference and we need your help. On Friday, we're hosting the annual (ugh) Draft Party at the Pint Downtown. Tickets are $20 and for the price of admission you'll get a Draft Party t-shirt, a $20 Pint GC, and a $10 Oodle Noodle GC. We're basically paying you to show up and drink Nation Beer all night. All ticket proceeds will be split between the Inner City Children's Program and the Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton. If you need a ticket, you can get it by clicking here or you can get one at the door on Friday night.
The 2nd charity item we have this week is for our friend Kelty. Starting tomorrow, we'll be auctioning off items that Nation fans have donated to help her reach and surpass the goal needed for an expensive surgery down south. We've already pried a signed Eberle jersey away from Wanye and I'm working on some other great auction items as well. If you have an item you'd like to donate to the auction, email me a description of the item along with some pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don't have the cash to give, but you do have a few shillings rolling around in your tear-aways, you can make a donation through PayPal on Kelty's website - www.keltycan.com.