GDB 43.0: THE BATTLE BEGINS…UPDATE

The original Clash of the Titans (1981) was an awesome movie. Harry Hamlin (Perseus) battled the revolting Medusa and the Kraken monster while trying to save Princess Andromeda. It was stellar stuff. The remake was good, but I’m a sucker for the orignal movies. My favourite part was when I realized Mickey, I mean Burgess Meredith was Ammon. Meredith was a great actor and everytime I see him I instantly think of him as Mickey, Rocky Balboa’s trainer.

The Oilers could use Mickey’s take-no-BS-attitude tonight, when they face the surging Anaheim Ducks, and they could use Perseus’ fearlessness as well.

In the last week the Ducks have crept to within three points of the Oilers. The Ducks are 3-0-1 in their last four, while the Oilers are 0-3-1. The Oilers are in 28th place this morning with 36 points while the Ducks sit in 29th with 33. This clash of the leap and non-leap year Februarys might not look like much to the rest of the league, but tonight’s tilt is the first of four between these two, and those four games will play a huge role in who wins, err loses, their lottery position.

With all their injuries, the Oilers can’t match the offensive potential of the Ducks. The Oilers are going to need another Herculean effort from Taylor Hall to win. Hall has been phenomenal since returning to the lineup, and he’ll need some help from Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner if the Oilers are going to stay ahead of the Ducks.

QUICK HITS

  • We all know Eric Belanger is struggling, and it seems like he’s getting worse in the offensive zone. He’s been exceptional in the dot and solid on the PK, but once he enters the offensive zone he leaves fragments of the puck all over the ice. Dennis Bonvie could handle the puck better right now.  The good news it is impossible for Belanger to be this bad next year. I’ll say it now, next year at this time he’ll have five goals, but until he scores I’d keep him away from the kids.
     
  • It makes no sense that the Ducks are this bad. Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan, Selanne, Koivu, Visnovsky and Fowler have loads of talent, but this team has been a mess all year. They’ve been better lately, I don’t see them ending up as a lottery. They are just too talented.
     
  • Cam Barker skated today and said he might be shooting to back after the break. No definite time, but he’s very happy with his progress. Alex Plante also skated and he’s also hoping to return before the break. He wants to be ready for the AHL all-star game, which is the Monday after the NHL AS game.
     
  • I noticed a lot of empty seats on Wednesday. I understand fans are frustrated and some of you will stay home. Don’t waste your tickets. Many people would love to go. If you don’t feel like going and your circle of friends are the same, send me your tickets and I will get them to people who have never gone. Email me gregor@theteam1260.com and I can help you out. I’ve seen kids and adults faces light up when they get to go, because many of them have never stepped inside Rexall Place. Just a friendly reminder.  

ASK PLAYERS IF IT MATTERS?

I don’t have any expectations when it comes to the all-star game. It doesn’t bother me that the game is a no-hitter and lacks intensity. I wouldn’t expect it to. The selection process is flawed due to fan voting, but I understand why they get fans involved.

However, I find it funny how so many have said it doesn’t matter than Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins weren’t named to the team. I guarantee you it matters to them.
 
Here is the outline of the bonuses for entry level contracts. Keep in mind that not every player has the same bonuses, but Nugent-Hopkins has every bonus clause in his contract. 

Individual "A" Bonuses Paid by CIubs

 The maximum amount payable for any single category ofIndividual "A" Bonuses identified below is $212,500 per season. (For example, an Entry Level SPC may not contain bonuses of $212,500 for 20 goals and an additional $212,500 for 30 goals, provided, however, it may contain a bonus of$100,000 for 20 goals and $112,500 for 30 goals). An Entry Level SPC may contain any number of Individual "A" Bonuses; however, a Player may not receive more than $850,000 in total aggregate Individual "A"

Bonuses per season. Individual "A" Bonuses are payable by the Clubs (as opposed to the
League).
 
(a) Forwards
(i) Ice time (aggregate and/or per Game). Player must be among top
six (6) forwards on the Club (minimum 42 Regular Season Games
played by Player and comparison group). (Note: an Entry Level
SPC may contain bonuses for both aggregate and per Game ice
time; however, the maximum aggregate amount the Player may
receive on account of the ice time category is $212,500.)
(ii) Goals: 20 Goal Minimum
(iii) Assists: 35 Assist Minimum
(iv) Points: 60 Point Minimum
(v) Points Per Game: .73 Points Per Game Minimum (minimum 42
Regular Season Games played)
(vi) Plus-Minus Rating: Among top three (3) forwards on the Club
(minimum 42 Regular Season Games played by Player and
comparison group).
(vii) End-of-Season NHL All-Rookie Team
(viii) NHL All-Star Game (selected to play or plays)
(xi) NHL All-star game MVP

 

If RNH was selected to the team and played in the game he would have earned $212,500. If he was selected, but couldn’t play due to a hockey related injury, then he would get a bonus of $100,000.

So don’t tell me that this doesn’t matter. You don’t think $100,000 matters to an 18-year-old. He’ll likely participate in numerous AS games, but that’s not the point. If he deserved to make the team, which according to the Oilers PR staff, the league told them he would have if he wasn’t injured; then he should have been named to the team.
 
It’s a farce that people are buying the league’s reasoning on this. They just cost him a $100,000 bonus, not to mention the honour of being recognized by NHL people as one of the elite players in the game. Supposedly Brendan Shanahan and Rob Blake and a few others select the extra skaters. How many games have those two watched? I’m guessing not many if they didn’t name Eberle to the team.
He was 7th in the league scoring when he got injured, and yesterday when the team was announced he was still 10th. The "if he was healthy he would have made the team," argument is bogus. Dustin Byfuglien made the team and he’s missed the Jets’ last eight games and is 50/50 if he’ll play before the AS game. 
 
Tell the truth. They didn’t pick Eberle because he is young. Sure he’s a bit banged up, but the recognition of being one of the elite players in the game is important. Don’t say injuries are a factor, yet from the other side of your mouth name Byfuglien to the team. It makes the AS game even less appealing to watch.
 
Eberle is in a bit of different bonus situation. He can only make $312,500 in performance bonuses this year, so the AS snub likely won’t cost him, because he’ll reach his bonuses based on his regular season totals. He still got short-changed in being recognized and that isn’t right.
 

LINEUP

Hall – Gagner – Hemsky
Smyth – Horcoff – Jones
Paajarvi – Belanger – Lander
Eager – O’Marra – Green

Smid Petry
Peckham Potter
Sutton Tuebert

Khabibulin

Nikolai Khabibulin turns 39 today and Tom Renney is hoping his team will give him a win for his birthday. He could battle former Oiler Jeff Deslauriers. No official word if JDD or Jonas Hiller will start, but Hiller played last night. Will the Ducks consider this a big game and play him, or give the former Oiler a shot?

Deslauriers has struggled mightily in the minors this year with a gaudy 3.86 GAA and .877 SV%, but he played well in his only NHL start with a 2.00 GAA and .929 SV%. Renney acknowledged they were aware of JDD’s struggles in the AHL and suggested it was due to how the games differ. Maybe that means Eric Belanger will light him up tonight, because offensively Belanger has looked like a 3rd line AHLer so far this year. This might be the goalie he needs to get out of his funk.

If the 3rd line continues to produce nothing, I don’t see why the coaching staff doesn’t move Eager up and give him more minutes. After a slow start, he’s been good over the last 15 games. He needs some icetime, and when given some he has produced more goals than Lander, Belanger and Paajarvi combined.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: After a correct OT loss prediction, I see the Oilers on the wrong end again tonight. They’ve played decent in their previous four losses, and they have to win sometime, but the Ducks forwards will love this matchup. The Ducks have won seven straight in Edmonton, and they’ll keep that going tonight with a 3-2 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Andrew Cogliano scores. He’s a former Oiler, and he only has one goal on the road this year, so he’s due against his former team.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Josh Green hasn”t played a game in Edmonton since March 21st, 2006 when he was a member of the Canucks. Former Oilers always score v. the Oilers, so watch Green score his first goal at Rexall since December 26th, 2001. He’s due.

TOUGH JOB

Today at 5:20 I will be joined live at the Pint Off Whyte by 2009 Playmate Crystal McCahill. She’s a big Hawks and Cubs fans and she cheers for the University of Wisconsin. Stop by and say hi, take some pics and you can win Club Seats to the Oilers/Avs game January 31st.

  • Shaun Doe

    Sooooo… Does anyone else notice how simply terrible this game is so far? I mean, I can accept the fact that the Oilers are a pretty terrible team on most nights but this display, well that’s something else. Someone for the love of all things holy, complete a pass please!

  • Shaun Doe

    And with the 1st overall pick for the 3rd year in a row, the Edmonton Oilers, are so proud to select, Nail Yakupov.

    Wow you guys are terrible. I know you have lots of injuries but still, yeeesh.

    Quick question: What exactly do you guys want Tambo to do between now and the deadline? Stand pat or make some moves?

  • John Chambers

    Has anyone seen Horcoff? When was the last time Horc dropped the gloves for a teammate?Man is that cat making some easy dough or what? Kipper just said Getzlaf to Buffalo for Myers . Dithers you hear that $#! T we need them both.

  • Shaun Doe

    Gotta love the refs.

    First that Sammy penalty that wasnt a penalty then calling off Landers goal.

    All in all a pretty depressing game, good on Sammy though.

  • Shaun Doe

    Sick of seeing guys just wind and fire blindly, tired of watching guys do fly bys while waving their sticks at opposing puck carriers. I guess I am happy that players are taking shots on net period, but try a wrister occasionally. Try and pick a corner or something. As for the fly bys, it would be nice to see someone get physical and try to force an error. Oh and great decision to put the two ahlers with eager….

    • Douche Nietzsche

      Renney Rules.!..Don’t you dare question anything he blueprints.

      It seems that players care more about doing what the coach asks for the game plan than doing the right things to make some plays.
      It is as if they all skate off the ice with the I did what you asked attitude, don’t look at me.

  • Captain Obvious

    So Hall is run, Hemsky takes some hard knocks and Gagner is the guy to show some heart. Where is Eager? Where is Peckham? Even Teubert? Sutton, hello, you there? Now I am not the harbinger, but this has to be proof that Tambellini needs to do something now. He needs to make a statement. Even though the team has many injuries, play with some pride and heart. This team needs a shakeup and it isn’t coaching. Players need to move, it has to be shown that this isn’t acceptable. Be proud of the jersey you wear.

  • Slapshot

    Why do I have the feeling we are headed for 29th place,I can see the Tambellini season ending press conference already,”We are making progress, our plan was not to finsih dead last and we accomplished that” (as he pats himself on the back).Making coaching and management moves now will not help, but Katz better clean house at the end of the year or I wont renew my season tickets. I am tired of wasting my $$$$ watching this crap!!!

  • Slapshot

    gregor,

    I think you have your facts a little mixed up on the Bonuses. I agree that Ebs and RNH kind of got the short end of the stick on this one, but I don’t think it will actually affect their earnings.

    In RNH’s situation he probably has a bonus for $215,500 for all 8 category “A” bonuses. The most he can collect in cat “A” bonuses is $850,000, or 4 categories paying maximum amounts. If he has a good agent I would imagine that all of his bonuses are triggered at the minimum achievements which means all he needs is a 20 goal 35 assist 60 point season to earn 3 of the 8 bonus categories. His injury doesn’t help but he should make those numbers. He can also eclipse the .73 Points Per Game Minimum (minimum 42 Regular Season Games played) to receive a 4th bonus, he’s way above it at this point. this would max him out and make him ineligible to receive any more “A” bonuses. He also has a chance at the +/- bonus. The End-of-Season NHL All-Rookie Team is a no brainer.

    So likely he will earn his full cat “A” bonuses without receiving the ASG bonus and won’t miss out on anything.

    In Eberle’s case it could be a bit more murky as he has less bonuses so we aren’t sure what they are for. its possible that he doesn’t even have an ASG bonus in his contract. Although since the most you can earn in cat “A” bonuses is $850,000 he very well could have one as well. With his amazing season he has going he will probably max out his cat “A” bonuses as well.

    I guess its possible that these kids might not get their full cat “A” bonuses seeing as they are both injured but I see it as unlikely.

    So in the end this is all about recognition. They deserve it and it should have been given to them, but I don;t think it will be a financial injustice.