3 Thoughts – Free Agency, Hockey Insiders, & Grabbing Ass

I'm a thinker

When I’m not busy putting my feet up and pretending to be busy, I’m a deep thinker. I always have something rolling around in my brain. Usually these things have to do with the female anatomy and jelly beans, but once per week I bang my head against the desk and see what falls out. This week I offer my wisdoms on Oilers free agency, rumours, and Claude Giroux.



After the Pouliot and Fayne signings, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were surprised that Edmonton had to overpay guys to come here. For Pouliot, I agree that both the money and the term are higher than ideal, but what else was MacT supposed to do? For him, it really is a situation of ‘you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.’ If MacT didn’t sign a single player yesterday the Nation would have been in an uproar, but that’s not what happened. MacT signed guys that made the team better. For a lot of people, getting better wasn’t good enough because the contracts weren’t ideal.

The truth is that guys aren’t signing in Edmonton for below market value. Hell, they’re not even signing here FOR market value. To get guys to come to a team that finished in a lottery position for the 300th time, the GM has to overspend – plain and simple. Until Edmonton can challenge for a playoff spot, year in and year out, guys are going to sign with teams that give them a better chance to win unless they get paid. Think about it, if you were let go from your job today would you sign on to be a fry cook at McDonalds for minimum wage? No. Would you do it if they were going to pay you 6-figures? I know I would. I hate to break it to you, but the Oilers are the McDonald’s fry cooks of the NHL right now.

While I agree that overpaying for free agents is not an ideal (or smart) business plan in the long term, the Oilers have to get better now. They need to surround guys like Hall, Eberle, and Nugent-Hopkins with players that can actually play the game. To do that, MacT had to spend Katz’s money. Trust me, it won’t always be this way. If this rebuild can actually amount to anything (stop laughing) then the Oilers WILL be able to sign guys at a fair price. Right now, we’re just not there. But at least we’re a little better today than we were a week ago.



All I could think of yesterday, as the free agents were unloading Brink’s trucks, was how awesome it would be to be an insider. I watched the TSN coverage and all day guys like Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger were taking calls and breaking signings that they heard from their sources around the league. What I want to know is, how does a person become a hockey insider? Last I checked, it wasn’t an available career path that the guidance councillor at my high school made me aware of.

It’s not just the insiders though, there are an endless parade of guys that are making cash on hockey rumours without ever naming sources. Yeah, I get that if you name your source than the chances are that you’ll never get any info from that person again, but what’s to stop a guy like me from throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks?  If I came up with a cool new pseudonym and started posting rumours here at the Nation would anyone be the wiser? (Probably… people would recognize me by my poor spelling and terrible grammar).

All I know for sure is that being a hockey insider seems like one of the greatest jobs in the world. If anyone knows how we can get to be one (without that whole pesky years of journalism part) let me know. Being a hockey insider, in Canada, is like being a rockstar with a Blackberry instead of a guitar, and that’s a pretty cool job to have. 


This morning, reports surfaced about Flyers captain Claude Giroux getting arrested for allegedly “grabbing the male police officer’s butt during an incident at a downtown Ottawa bar.” I’m not sure why Giroux thought it would be a good idea to check the cop’s glutes for shape and firmness, but that’s apparently what happened, and I love this story. One of my favourite parts of the article was when it said “alcohol may have been a factor” – NO WAY?!?  I know that cops have a tough job and I’m not suggesting that it’s ever a good idea to grab a police officer’s ass, but I’m surprised that Giroux got arrested for it.

Anyone that knows me personally knows that I can be a handful when I’m drinking. I’ve done my fair share of stupid things when I’ve been wasted, and Giroux’s tale of Canada Day shenanigans reminds me of one of my own stories from Canada Day. When we were about 19-20 years old, a bunch of us went down to Whyte Ave to celebrate Canada Day, people watch, and get blasted. After bouncing around various bars, we were ready to grab something to eat and head home. On the way to Queen Donair, we were crossing the street and I thought it would be funny to visibly lay down in the crosswalk and block traffic. Cars were honking, everyone was angry, and I thought I was hilarious. (yes I realize that this is very stupid and not funny at all).

When I looked up, there were two cops standing over me telling me to get the hell out of the way because I was being a jackass and impeding traffic. I made up an excuse as to why I couldn’t move and, without missing a beat, one of the cops told me I could get up or I could go to jail. Up and attem! I went back to the sidewalk and as I arrived the other cop was already writing me a ticket for public intoxication. I did not want this ticket. I tried everything under the sun to get out of the ticket, including refusing to take the ticket from the officer’s hand. The cop decided to drop the ticket at my feet and told me to pick it up. Instead of picking up the ticket, I reached for the cop’s ticket book and told him I was writing him a ticket for littering. Out came the handcuffs.

Luckily, our DD for the evening was able to talk the officers out of throwing me in the drunk tank for the night and I was let go, albeit with a $175 ticket in my pocket. Was it a smart idea? No. Did I get off? Yes. The reason the cops decided to let me go is that they told my buddy they didn’t want to have to take me in and do the paperwork required when you bring someone in. That’s why I’m almost surprised that the cops decided to arrest Giroux for, what amounts to, being drunk and annoying. Unless he was repeatedly grabbing ass, and they kept telling him to stop, I’m surprised it got as far as it did. Did he not have a buddy that was able to diffuse the situation, the way my DD did 10 odd years ago?

Regardless, it’s never a good idea to put hands on a police officer. These guys have a hard enough job as it is without drunken assholes bothering them with their stupid ideas. In my experience, cops will give you more than enough chances to go home (safely of course) at the end of the night, so I’m wondering if there’s more to the story than a pat on the ass?  Either way, the Giroux story was a hilarious read this morning and I’m sure he won’t hear the end of it for a long time, from both his teammates and guys around the league.  But I guess that’s what he gets… when you put your hands on cop, you’ll either end up in the back of a cop car or with a few less shillings in your wallet.