Happy Canada Day! There are reasons to celebrate! For such a small population, mighty Canada scores well in the important disciplines (wine, women and song) and most of us wake up today enjoying peaceful waters.
Canada does well in beer sales, "girl next door" females, fabulous lyric writers and hockey players. Hockey TEAMS in Canada have had a dry spell, with the last outstanding NHL team from Canada being the Oilers Boys On The Bus era. It’s a helpless feeling, watching your monied NHL team enter free agency without an real urge to improve the team today.
There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.
Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Helpless, helpless, helpless
Baby can you hear me now?
The chains are locked
and tied across the door,
Baby, sing with me somehow.
The Oilers have had successful July 1 signings since the lockout. They’ve also had some boners. Borrowing the verbal from Steve’s Oilers website:
- July 1, 2006: Oilers re-sign goaltender Dwayne Roloson to a three-year, $11 million contract. Roloson, who would have become an unrestricted free agent at noon, will earn $4 million in each of the first two years of the deal, and $3 million in the final year. He had a record of 8-7-4 with a 2.42 GAA and a .905 save percentage in 19 regular season games with the Oilers. In 18 playoff games, Roloson had a record of 12-5 with a 2.33 GAA and 1 .927 save percentage.Notice that although it was a July 1 signing, Roloson didn’t make it to the free agent market.
- July 1, 2007: Oilers sign defencemen Dick Tarnstrom to a one-year contracts. Tarnstrom, an unrestricted free agent, makes his return to Edmonton after a year with HC Lugano of the Swiss League last season. Last season he scored 3-26-29 with 90 PIM in 44 regular season games and added 1-6-7 with 8 PIM in five playoff games. In 258 career NHL games, Tarnstrom has scored 32-94-126 with 202 PIM.
- July 1, 2009: Oilers sign unrestricted free agent goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $15 million contract. In 42 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, Khabibulin had a record of 25-8-7 with a 2.33 GAA and a .919 save percentage. In 678 regular games, he has a record of 299-267-58 with a 2.67 GAA and a .908 save percentage. He also won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.
- July 1, 2010: Oilers sign free agent defenceman Kurtis Foster on a two-year contract worth $1.8 million per season Foster, scored 8-34-42 with 48 PIM in 71 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.
Steve Tambellini’s federal government media conference yesterday night (whenever the government has some horrible thing to tell Canada, they do it by calling a later afternoon/early evening media conference on a Friday of a long weekend so that no one will attend and it won’t last the cycle. The sports cycle–like the news cycle–needs audience consistency so it’s hard to reach everyone when they’re scattering for the long weekend) gave us today’s roadmap: don’t look for the big signing, expect something later in the week. A Zenon Konopka, a Jan Hejda.
Frankly, I’m relieved. I don’t think Steve Tambellini has shown the ability to pull the big levers on Canada Day. I understand the desire to overpay because Everyone Knows this is Nowhere, but the Oilers have money in pocket and some kids who are going to cost real money in a couple of years.