Wouldn’t it be nice if you could blame your legal problems on the Oilers? For example, any kind of driving under the influence could be blamed on the team, win or lose. If the Oilers win, you were carried away in the moment. If they lose, you were in crisis mode, and like the frail human being you are, you turned to the substance of your choice.
Or, like Theresa Schneider, you could blame the fact that you offered sex to an undercover cop in exchange for money on the “festive air” caused by the Oilers run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
That’s the best of the news stories I’ve seen today, but it’s hardly the only one worth noting.
LaBarbera Plays Poorly –- Sanford Waived Anyway
It was such a nice change watching the Oilers win last night that I barely took any note of the other games going on in the NHL –- particularly the 5-3 loss the Vancouver Canucks suffered at the hands of the Devils. The Vancouver Sun, however, was paying attention and caught up with Jason Labarbera after the game. They opened the story with this:
When the latest Vancouver Canuck debacle was over Tuesday, goalie Jason LaBarbera looked like a man who had lost his dog, or even worse, maybe his job. LaBarbera lasted only 3:29 into the first period and was gone after two New Jersey goals on six shots.
Curtis Sanford made 19 saves while allowing two goals (with New Jersey adding an empty-netter), but this morning, it wasn’t Jason Labarbera who was sent to the NHL’s equivalent of limbo. Sanford was placed on waivers, and if unclaimed will be assigned to the Manitoba Moose. Sanford’s numbers are superior to those of Labarbera this season, but I think the Canucks deserve credit for making the right call here; Labarbera’s been a dominant goalie in the ECHL and was an underrated starter last season, posting a .910 SV% on a miserable Kings team. I wonder if the Oilers would have made the decision to send out the marginally inferior player with more history with the organization.
In any case, Sanford is a decent backup goaltender, and was excellent with St. Louis in 2005-06. He has a 7-8-0 record with a 2.59 GAA and .906 SV% this season, and given that his contract has a very affordable 650K cap hit (and is in its final season), I’d expect that Sanford is claimed, probably by the Islanders or Stars.
An All-Star Game Worth Watching?
The Central Hockey League All-Star game goes tonight –- and instead of the typical conference vs. conference format, a selection of the best players in the CHL will take on the league’s best team, the Colorado Eagles.
There’s an Edmonton connection here too –- the Eagles (27-6-1) are coached by ex-Oiler Kevin McClelland, who is taking part in his first ever All-Star game. Asked about it, McClelland said, “I wasn’t the kind of player who was ever going to make an All-Star team.”
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned second-year pro Sebastien Bisaillon to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, along with forward Adam Huxley. While the demotion of Huxley was unsurprising, Bisaillon’s is. Bisaillon is currently tied for third among Springfield defencemen with a +2 rating (the team is led by Cody Wild’s +4) and his 11 points in 27 games is eclipsed only by Theo Peckham (16 points in 36 games).
Regarding the demotions, Falcons coach Jeff Truitt said, “We haven’t been able to get them the playing time they need. They’ll get it with Stockton.”
I don’t want to tell Jeff Truitt how to coach his hockey team, but is there any possibility that Taylor Chorney (-21 and 10 points in 37 games), Mathieu Roy (-21 and 8 points in 30 games) or Bryan Young (-7, 2 points in 23 games) could have been bumped down the line-up to find the needed minutes for Bisaillon?
Rand Simon, an NHLPA-certified player agent, is a semi-regular blogger over at The Hockey News’ website. On Tuesday, he cheerfully mocked the farce that is NHL All-Star voting, and included some interesting statistics on NHL players. He’s an intelligent writer with a surprisingly open mind, and offers us a glimpse into how player agents think and evaluate players.