"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," is actually a paraphrase of the following statement:
"Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may."
Plato, the Greek philosopher and mathmatician, uttered the statement many years ago, and it is clear the paraphrased version holds true today; especially when it comes to hockey fans/media/people discussing the virtues of players.
It isn’t a great time to be an Oiler fan.
The Oil is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the 5th straight season, only Florida and Toronto,
if, when, they miss again, have longer playoff droughts. The Leafs and Panthers are the only teams who haven’t made the playoffs post lockout. The Leafs have finished 9th twice, while the Panthers lost out on a tiebreaker in 2009 to Montreal.
The Oilers have finished 12th, 9th, 11th, 15th and 15th in the west since their run to the Cup, and the last few years have been excruciatingly hard to stomach. Just when it looks the Oilers are making progress, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi making the team, reality hits and you realize that three players won’t fix the state of the Oilers.
It is getting so bad in Edmonton that the fans have started battling one another. You were all on board for the "PROCESS" in October, but the process isn’t progressing like many had hoped, and lately the debates over a player’s true value have intensified.
If the Oilers could match the passion of the debates that rage on in the Nation, they’d be a playoff contender next season.
Here are a few of my favourites.
Don’t over pay Ryan Jones, because his shooting % is too high.
Jones has 16 goals on 105 shots and sits with a 15.2 shooting percentage. In his first two seasons, where he played 41 and 49 games Jones had a SH% of 11.1 and 12.7. In his first year he averaged 1.36 shots/game, 1.26 last year and he is up to 1.53 shots/game this season. He is also getting more icetime, which has resulted in a few more shots and more goals.
Are you sitting down, because here is where it gets crazy.
If Jones had only 14 goals this year, instead of 16, his shooting %, would be 13.3. OMG…He’d only be a 13.3, instead of a 15.2 shooter and he’d have 14 goals instead of 16, so clearly he would be a failure. What no one mentions is how Jones has fewer assists this year compared to previous seasons, and while his goal totals might drop by one or three, he’d likely increase his assists by the same margin and his point totals, if he stays healthy, will be close.
Jones is producing. His style of play hasn’t changed all season. He doesn’t waste shots from the outside. He scores most of his goals on rebounds, deflections or breakaways. He scores more ugly goals than flashy goals, and considering very few forwards seem willing or capable of doing that, why wouldn’t you re-sign him for two years at $1.2 to $1.4 million per season?
Is a two or three goal differential and a dip of about two or three points in SH% really that much of a set back to worry about paying him just over a million bucks? I sure as hell hope not.
Tom Gilbert is SOFT…no he ISN’T
The debate over Gilbert’s toughness, or lack there of, has gotten so intense that even our resident stats guru, Jonathon Willis questioned the validity of stats. I almost passed out when I read this retort from JW yesterday in the comments section of his article.
“I was simply trying to point out that a raw giveaway number is essentially meaningless.” Did I just read a stats guy suggesting that a raw stat might not be completely accurate. Things are really getting crazy in Oilersnation if an accomplished stats guy like JW, is questioning the validity of stats; even for a moment. JW was debating that the giveaway stat can be misleading, which I agree with, because guys who touch the puck more will likely have more giveaways.
However, can’t you say the same thing about blocked shots, which JW was using to show that Gilbert isn’t soft.
How can giveways be meaningless, but blocked shots be accurate?
Did Gilbert deliberately put himself in line with the puck? How many went off his stick and into the corner? How many "hit" him while he was standing in front of the net? I don’t mind Gilbert’s game. I think he gets ripped on, because fans need someone to blame when the team is as sucky as the Oilers have been for the past few years, and since Gilbert plays every game, and lots of minutes, he is a logical target.
I just don’t understand why people debate his level of toughness. Gilbert doesn’t play tough, and he never will. That doesn’t mean he can’t be an effective NHL D-man, but any suggestions that Gilbert isn’t soft are virtually impossible to defend. Being soft doesn’t mean he doesn’t care, because he wants to win, but when it comes to one-on-one battles or defending himself and a teammate, Gilbert comes up short.
I’m sure JW is producing a rebuttle as I type this that will re-align the obvious off kilter axis of the Nation.
THE PROCESS IS WORKING
Does anyone not in the Oilers organization honestly believe that this has been a productive first year of the process? Sure getting Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi NHL experience was effective, but outside of Theo Peckham, and possibly Devan Dubnyk, has any other young Oiler made significant progress? I know injuries have played a major role, but I’d argue the rash of injuries just illustrates the major weakness of the team — too small, especially the top-nine forwards, to compete over 82 games.
If the Oilers expect the three kids to lead this team out of the basement and into the
promised playoff land then the process will take much longer than anyone expected. The toughest part of the process will be patience.The main thing they should have learned from this season is that they still have too many players not skilled enough and not hungry enough to want to improve. Hall’s desire was consistent in every game, and unfortunately for the Oilers only a few players could look in the mirror and say their will and drive was noticeable on a nightly or even bi-nightly basis.
The only way this season becomes an effective first step of the process is with the realization that they can’t compete, or stay healthy with so many physically small players. Look at the size, not necessarily flat out toughness, of the top teams and the Oilers don’t come close to measuring up. They should have recognized this before October, but they better realize it now, or the next few seasons will be just as painful as the last two.
It has been a long five years in Edmonton, moreso for the paying fans, and while a few Nation readers have shown some apathy and disdain towards the team, many are still surprisingly holding out hope that someday soon you will actually be able to draft an Oiler in your playoff pool. Imagine how good it would for you to call out Hall in your playoff draft rather than Iginla, Kesler or Sedin.
Realistically that probably won’t happen for a few more years, so until then stay strong, keep the debates going and for the love of Wanye — Don’t stop caring!