Deep Thoughts VII: sick and tired


I was going to go out to Millennium Place today and watch the Edmonton Oilers, but I’ve come down with whatever’s laid the rest of my family low and decided to stay home. Besides, cold sweats, aching joints, fever and the urge to puke or crap myself is more appealing.

With Thursday’s uninspired 1-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the books, the NHL trade deadline looming and my fat head thicker than usual, I’ve got to admit I don’t have any answers.

Not for what ails the Oilers. Not for GM Steve Tambellini. Not for fans still shaking their heads after watching their heroes get outclassed at every turn by the Blue Jackets. I did, however, have a retort for the adult-proof cap on the medicine bottle containing the drugs I hope will lessen the urge I have to establish a new record for projectile vomiting. It’s called a pair of vice-grips.

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No, all I’ve got are questions, observations and complaints, each tainted by nausea and torqued by a ring of fire that makes it difficult to be the positive, care-free guy I usually am.

Still, I’d rather be me than Tambellini.

Just asking…

  • What does it say about the character of the Oilers when a 39-year-old goaltender, who was pegged by many to be kicked to the curb when the season began, is your best player against Columbus? And where would this team, the one that was supposed to be a Northwest Division contender, be without Dwayne Roloson?
  • Anybody who bought the load of bologna offered by Craig MacTavish in pre-season — when he talked about finishing atop the Northwest Division and feeling the need to quell all the optimism he felt — into self-loathing now like a rube roped into a pyramid scheme?
  • Between bloated contracts for the likes of Shawn Horcoff and Dustin Penner and being saddled with under-achievers like Erik Cole and Robert Nilsson, does Tambellini have a player over the age of 22 not named Ales Hemsky who anybody would want at the deadline?
  • Anybody with a functioning brain steam who thinks tweaking this line-up, even with a rental forward good enough to play top six minutes, will be enough to get the Oilers into the playoffs and past Detroit or San Jose in the first round?

Getting here

  • I know this is heresy, but is there anybody from the group of Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Nilsson, Ladislav Smid and Theo Peckham a lock to be more than a good player? Is there a franchise building block in there?
  • Do the Oilers have as much young talent in the above group as Columbus? How about Chicago? Or Anaheim? Phoenix? Nashville? So, is the future, say the next three or four years, really that rosy?
  • How do the Oilers five best players — let’s go with Hemsky, Sheldon Souray, Horcoff, Lubomir Visnovsky and Tom Gilbert — stack up against the top five in San Jose and Detroit? How about Vancouver? Calgary? So, how promising is the immediate future?
  • If Hemsky’s contract is Kevin Lowe’s finest moment, does his offer-sheet to Penner and the stack of dough thrown at Horcoff rate as his biggest gaffes? I know, it’s a rhetorical question…
  • Criticized as a tool, an oaf and a mouth-breathing stooge in his war of words with Lowe, and with reason in terms of STFU Quotient, is bombastic Brian Burke looking a little smarter now? How’s that Bobby Ryan kid?

And another thing…

  • How much, if any, will past moves by Lowe affect Tambellini in trying to make trades? Will Darcy Regier answer Tambellini’s calls? Will Burke, his old boss in Vancouver, talk trade with the Oilers?
  • With the deadline approaching and Marc Pouliot (not to mention JF Jacques and Nilsson) available as a sweetener in deals to anybody who wants them, do you ever imagine Zach Parise in Edmonton silks? And how does someone NOT get fired over that?
  • How much help is on the way when you look at Springfield and prospects still in major junior or college hockey? And, while you’re answering that, are you among the 90 per cent of fans who overvalue the Oilers young talent? Oh, you just wait until Jordan Eberle gets here, Buster. It’ll be different.
  • Is a playoff spot and five-and-out against the Red Wings or the Sharks really enough to make you shrug at the answers to the above questions? Good luck with that.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • yo

    Peter Pan wrote:

    Hey Deep Throat. As smart as you try to make yourself sound, please explain to me the last 17 years prior to Rexall owning the team, which hasn’t even been a full year yet? Quit trying to be smart. Everyone has access to a thesaurus.

    Hey, what's a Thesaurus?? I think I saw one of those at the Tyrell Museum a couple of years ago. Quit trying to be so smart you guys, you are going to leave about 90% of us behind.

  • Robin B wrote:

    Between archival systems at SLAM that require people to pay for internet stories once they’re past a few months old

    Robin, don't have Lexis/Nexis? Maybe a friendly with such access could do some digging for you, although I frankly wonder why you bother justifying yourself to people with obvious agendas. Whatever you dig up will be insufficient or wrong anyway, so just ignore the axegrinders.

    (end of unsolicited advice)

  • Sing A Song For SingSing

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    And sorry Jonathan W., but with all the statistical prowess you exhibit on this site, could you please prove to me how Shawn Horcoff is a "far superior" player to Daniel Briere?

    Despite having an excellent half-a-season playing beside Hemsky last year, he is not a proven offensive player. 05-06 regular season and playoff run aside (again, a contract year), the guy is just not made to really produce offense.

    Sure he's wonderful defensively, but that's why he's better suited in a checking role. If he was a 2nd line or 3rd line center on this team, the Oilers would be 10x better for it. He just doesn't have the offensive skill set to be on a 1st line.

    I appreciate his backchecking ability and solid overall game, but he has displayed hands of stone this year. Virtually all the points he picks up are a result of playing with Hemsky, and he has done nothing on the powerplay all year.

    I'm not denying he's a good player, I'm simply stating that without another quality winger, that first line is doomed and won't win any championships with Horc centering it. That's not even a slag against him.

    Anyways I'm just curious really, how you think Daniel Briere isn't as good a player as Shawn Horcoff. And for the most part, I don't disagree with you.

  • David S

    yo wrote:

    All I’ve seen so far this year is inconsistency and lack of battle. I am just fed up with what passes for effort about every game or two…aren’t you?

    I too have been puzzled by the lack of competitiveness from this team on more than one ocassion. You'd think as pros, that would be one thing they WOULD bring every night. If anybody ever uncovered what that was all about, it would make one heck of a story.

    The other thing is that alot of us vastly overestimate how good this team is. Could it be that what we see as lack of compete might be the fact that some teams make us look bad because they're simply alot better than us? I mean, there's alot of pissed off people on here every time Detroit or San Jose kicks our ass when the fact is we should be surprised if they don't.

  • Sing A Song For SingSing

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    Thing is though, they're mediocre with superior talent on paper, both offensively and defensively. At least that's what most people thought.

    Add all those horrific contracts into the mix, and the whole "it's parity" and "we're about league average" arguments get forgotten awfully quick.

    And rightfully so.

  • Deep Oil

    Cam wrote:

    #70 Deep Oil February 27 2009, 5:36 pm.
    APE – FMNF wrote:
    @ Cam:
    What color is the kool-aid today?
    simple one – copper and blue

    is this a compliment that other nation are repeating my posts…….

    #70 Deep Oil February 27 2009, 5:36 pm.

    APE – FMNF wrote:

    @ Cam:
    What color is the kool-aid today?

    simple one – copper and blue

  • W.T.

    W.T. suggests you must take off your rose coloured glasses or maybe they are pink Jonathan Willis.

    How many of the Oiler top six great forwards are in the top say 25 scoring in the NHL? How many of the Oiler top six forwards are in the top 25 in goals or assists.
    How many of the Oiler top six great forwards have been selected as 1st star of the game over the past 25 games. How many of the top six fowards have played the entire season as a top six forward.

    And W.T. says please remember these top six forwards are on a team that is not in a playoff spot right now.

    So logic suggests that if they are a top 6 forward on a non playoff team, what makes you think other than #83 any of them would be in the top six forward positions on a playoff team.

    One more note from W.T., of your top 6 forwards, who battles hard every night and you live the rink knowing they earned their money that night, gee Penner, Horcshit,Gagne,Nilsson,Cole???????????

  • yo

    David S wrote:

    So I guess if they DO make the playoffs, your whole argument is pretty much blown outta the water, right?

    Absolutely. I hope to hell I am wrong. All I've seen so far this year is inconsistency and lack of battle. I am just fed up with what passes for effort about every game or two…aren't you?

  • @ Cam:

    That's just it – there are plenty of potential top-six guys in the lineup, but not that many top-three guys.

    Then again, some of those top-six guys (Gagner, Nilsson, Cole) haven't played like top-six guys for good portions of the year, either.

  • Cam

    @ Jonathan Willis:
    You are on fire this morning JW.

    I would like to chime in here again on the note about top six forwards. I think the problem is that we have 1 (and a half if you count Horc) first line forwards and six second line forwards. If we could trade off a few of those second line guys for some first line talent then I think it would be better for the team.

    and PS… the koolaid is copper and blue.

  • Deep Oil

    Peter Pan wrote:

    deepoil wrote:
    sorry oilers can lose a portion of funds as long as the nj accountants approve the cross branding of the conglomerate – when you have a company called rexall that is profitable and is paying corporate tax – rexall sports is the ying to the yang and sometimes the expenses of an entertainment entity are positive to have in the term of checks and balances – making money is not primary – capturing the brand name and association with non taxable benefit is KEY – you can hide a lot of cash in a hockey team with losses – great tax avoidance vehicle…. really
    Hey Deep Throat. As smart as you try to make yourself sound, please explain to me the last 17 years prior to Rexall owning the team, which hasn’t even been a full year yet? Quit trying to be smart. Everyone has access to a thesaurus.

    I have been a season ticket holder since 1979 and went to all the WHA games – even saw Norm Ulman score a historic goal where they distributed black and white photos later in the period to the fans. I will go back farther than the 17 years….

    Bill Hunter has a dream – it is stolen by Zane Feldman
    Hunter is a dreamer with no cash – he is also a leader.
    Feldman and Dr. Allard (Allarco sell the team to PUCK)

    Pocklington extracts cash from Oilers to prop up Palm
    dairies and uses mostly government regulated businesses
    to acquire, divert and hide cash – Fidelty and try's to become leader of our country – using 99.

    After winning the cups, the economy and support after selling 99 wanes….. push comes to shove and the team is seized by his ally / nemesis ATB…. scotiabank floats Bean, Saville and a bunch a locals. Slats is given his walking papers and LOWE is annointed with a lifetime contract to make up for lost wages as a player.

    Mediocrity and Ligtning in a bottle occur simultaneously.

    EIG gets old, cranky and want to retire and take advantage of tax issues – as most were given a 1.6 tax credit for investing in Canada under this arrangement.
    If they die and do not plan correctly – the tax payable is harsh.

    A son of a pharmacist from Capilano (one store) with ties to a community that could not afford to be part of EIG suddenly has billions of dollars to buy the team….
    with the help of McKesson, Cit Group – floats a $200mm loan or less – as EIG got less than $200mm for the team… trust me… and is welcomed by Bettmans – who let Boots Del Bagio into the league, while every other owner is arrested on security charges back dating options…. Batman makes one peep at an August press conference and lets KLOWE destroy the team with signings that are questionable at the time and are the nail in the coffin after the fact.

    Oiler fans lose interest and Katz has to deal with this failure and answer to his creditors once the team starts to lose the maximum revenue in this equation.

    Katz wants to ride the 2006 cup run and pressure government, fans into RX2 for a new development that he can control for $100mm in downtown Edmonton with other "community" members such as Mandel – a property developer.

    I am not a season ticket holder anymore – and I tickled how Edmontonian's have the wool pulled over their eyes with this farce. Smoke and mirrors – now shut up and keep buying the oiler tickets – MacT stays, Lowe is here forever and by the way – do you want to buy some baseball tickets.