More on the trade

I just got the Edmonton Oilers Pipeline email regarding the trade, which includes comments from Kevin Lowe and Patrick LaForge. Lowe says:

I want to be very clear that making this trade today is a hockey decision. It was not financial.

I want everyone to know that our decision was much more to do with a plan than a reaction.

A hockey decision?! Trading your top player who you can clearly afford is not a good hockey decision in my book. And LaForge had this to say:

We can afford to spend the money necessary to have the kind of elite players expected.

Is that right? Then why not spend the money to keep Ryan Smyth?

I also think the headline on EdmontonOilers.com proves just how bad a deal this is.

Oilers obtain Nilsson and O’Marra

Nuh uh. “Oilers fuck up and trade Ryan Smyth” should be the headline.

Oilers trade Smyth

Post ImageMegan just sent me a text message, asking if I had heard that the Edmonton Oilers traded Ryan Smyth. No, I had not heard. But now that I have, I am upset. As my Dad said on MSN just now:

as a fan I am hurt

That about sums it up. Smyth was traded to the New York Islanders for Ryan O’Marra, Robert Nilsson, and a first round pick in 2007. My Dad points out that “Robert Nilsson is the son of ex-Oiler and ex-Flame Kent Nilsson.” What a shitty deal. They might be good prospects, but I think this will be regarded as a bad trade for Kevin Lowe and the Oilers.

When my Dad and my brother were in town this past week, we talked about the trade deadline approaching. We agreed that it didn’t matter who the Oilers traded, as long as it wasn’t Smyth, Moreau, Stoll, or Hemsky. Anyone else would have been fine, even Roloson.

TSN and the Oilers site are horribly slow, and I haven’t found a link for this yet, but my Dad is listening to the guys on TSN and says:

It appears that there are lots of GMs pissed at Kevin. they didn’t think Ryan was available and if he was they would definitely have made good offers. it appears this was rushed together when Ryan didn’t sign today

You’ll have to check out my Dad’s blog later tonight, he’s got some good comments. We are chatting as I type this, and he just made a good point: wasn’t the new CBA supposed to prevent something like this from happening?

Evidently not. I guess the Oilers have given up on the season. It’ll be interesting to see how the crowd reacts tonight, given that it is Mark Messier night.

Read: TSN

NHL schedule change failed by one vote

Post ImageTurns out the proposed NHL schedule change failed today, receiving 19 of 30 votes (a two-thirds majority would have been required for it to pass). Edmonton Oilers chairman Cal Nicols wasn’t happy with the decision:

“The politics seem to always enter into it,” Nichols said after the meeting. “I think we should be more concerned about the future of the game than specific interests or it’s going to cost me a few more thousand dollars to travel a few extra miles. This shouldn’t be about that. It’s about the game.”

According to the TSN article, Montreal is believed to have been the only Canadian team to vote against the change.

I think the board of governors made a mistake today. Hopefully they change their minds for the 2008-09 season.

Read: TSN

NHL likely to revert to pre-lockout sked

Post ImageThe NHL schedule is a hot topic here in the west, and according to TSN it is likely that the league will revert to the pre-lockout format in which all 30 teams play each other at least once per season. This means that teams like the Oilers would be guaranteed to have at least one game with the NHL’s hottest stars like Ovechkin and Crosby who can draw big numbers to games.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has not taken a stand on the issue so far and has basically allowed teams to make their cases, but one source said it might be time for the league to step in. The feeling is that if there is an appetite for change, Bettman will facilitate it.

Apparently New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello favors the current schedule and is leading the charge for eastern teams who would prefer not to change. The league’s board of governors meets tomorrow to discuss the schedule and the Penguins situation, among other things.

Read: TSN

The NHL needs to fire McGeough

Post ImageWhenever Michael McGeough is assigned to officiate an Oiler game, I cringe. Tonight he proved exactly why. The Oilers just lost to the Dallas Stars by a final score of 3-2, but the Stars were helped immensely by the officials in this one.

The first Stars goal should not have been allowed. Roloson was in his crease and was interfered with, which according to NHL rule #78 should have been immediately disallowed. Neither official on the ice made a peep, and the goal was allowed to stand.

Late in the third period, with the score 3-1 for the Stars, the Oilers pulled Roloson and managed to get to within one. Then, with less than half a minute to go, Hemsky scored. This time though, McGeough immediately waved it off, very emphatically I might add. He claimed that Horcoff made a glove pass off the draw. First of all, it’s really not hard to distinguish between a glove and a stick, and Horcoff clearly used his stick. The play was entirely legal. Secondly, McGeough was horribly out of position and could not possibly have had a good look at the draw. Which leads to the question – why did he wave it off?

Because he’s a fucking idiot, that’s why. The play could not be reviewed apparently, and the Oilers were robbed of one, possibly two points by the sheer stupidity of McGeough. I don’t blame the fans for throwing anything and everything on the ice.

Seriously, the NHL needs to review this game and make sure McGeough never officiates again in the league. This kind of atrocious stupidity cannot be tolerated.

Penguins to add a little Canadian red?

Post ImageHockey season has started again! And what a great start it was, with Toronto losing 4-1 to the Senators. Edmonton’s first game is tomorrow night against the very red, very evil Calgary Flames. I can’t wait!

Perhaps the biggest news of the day, however, is that RIM’s top executive Jim Balsillie has purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins for $175 million USD (via Darren):

A source familiar with the discussions told globesports that Balsillie is expected to keep the team in Pittsburgh and he has no intention of moving it to Hamilton, Ont. There had been speculation that Balsillie wanted to buy a franchise and move it to Hamilton, which is close to his home and RIM’s head office in Waterloo.

Move them north! It would be such excellent news for Canadian hockey if he did. Like Darren says:

If I live in Hamilton or Winnipeg, Im getting on my Blackberry and starting an email campaign to get Mr. Balsillie to move the team north.

I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Read: Sportsnet

Edmonton Oilers Tribute

Post ImageToday during the lunch hour was the Oilers Community Appreciation event downtown at city hall. There were thousands of people packed into Churchill Square to catch a glimpse of the Oilers. After losing out in the Stanley Cup Finals, I can totally understand why the Oilers would want a low key event, with only a select few present:

Attending the rally will be Oilers Captain Jason Smith, Assistant Captain’s Ryan Smyth and Ethan Moreau, Georges Laraque, and hometown hero Fernando Pisani. Also present will be Oilers General Manager Kevin Lowe, President & CEO Patrick LaForge, and Chairman Cal Nichols.

The event kicked off with Paul Lorieau singing the national anthem (and yes, he sang the whole thing). Various dignitaries and Oilers organization bigwigs made speeches, after which the palyers answered some questions from Sportsnet’s Gene Principe. During his speech, Kevin Lowe said the team considers losing the Stanley Cup a failure, to which he received a quiet boo that quickly turned into a “we’re number one” chant. He’s right though, they set out to do something and didn’t quite accomplish it. That said, I’m really glad the Oilers organization took the time come out and allow the fans one more hurrah.

I took about 70 pictures at the event, most of which turned out okay. It was one of the rare opportunities I’ve had to use my zoom lens! Anyway, I’ve added the photos to my Edmonton Oilers Playoffs 2006 photo set. This one is my favorite.

Read: Edmonton Oilers

One win left, go Oilers go!

Post ImageEdmonton played an absolutely amazing game tonight, easily shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes with a final score of 4-0. That means that for the third time in a row, the Stanley Cup Final is going to game 7. The 16,839+ in attendance at Rexall were super loud, and thousands more flooded Whyte Ave and Jasper Ave after the game (no doubt the partying is just getting under way!). Jasper Ave was especially noisy tonight, with some intense honking (here are some pictures)! Some notes on the game:

  • Hurricanes forward Erik Cole made a surprising return to the lineup for Carolina tonight after missing several months with a fractured vertebra. Doug Weight was out with an upper-body injury, creating the lineup opening.
  • Pisani’s goal moved him into the league lead with 13 in these playoffs. His assist on the Torres goal tied him with Chris Pronger for the team lead in multiple-point games these playoffs with seven.
  • Terrible officiating once again – really, is it so hard to get some decent calls? Tonight was harder for the referees, I admit, as you could barely hear the whistle half the time. A few times tonight they called penalties against a team when they still hadn’t touched the puck, drives me crazy! I am glad they finally called a diving penalty though, first of the playoffs if I am not mistaken.
  • Finally, finally, finally – Horcoff and Dvorak (and Smyth) did something in this series! Horc was my MVP until this series began, after which he was largely invisible until tonight. Dvorak should be elevating his game, as he’s fighting for a chance to stay in Edmonton as far as I am concerned, so it was good to see him get a point tonight.
  • Spacek and Pisani had great games, with two points each. Jussi played good, but wasn’t really tested with only 16 shots on goal from the ‘Canes.
  • Three powerplay goals! That’s the biggest story of the night as far as I am concerned. The Oilers are clearly the better team at even strength, and have been all series long. Tonight was the first night that the Hurricanes powerplay sucked, and ours clicked.
  • I think Torres had an awesome game tonight, with a goal, two shots, three hits, and one takeaway. He set the tempo early and kept it up all game long.

So it all comes down to Monday. One game, for all the glory. I am confident the Oilers are bringing the cup back to Edmonton!

Carolina didn’t look like a team hungry for the win tonight. Not only have they lost two games in a row now, they’ve missed two chances to win the cup. The Hurricanes looked tired, beat up, and ready to call it quits. If Edmonton plays on Monday like they did tonight, bringing the body, shooting lots of pucks, and driving for the net, I think we’ll handily take the win. The powerplay/penalty kill will also be important, so they need to continue to do whatever it is they did tonight that turned the tables on special teams.

Number six is coming in 2006!!

Oilers force game 6!

Post ImageI just got back from Whyte Ave where Tom and I were walking around high-fiving everyone and of course, filming it all. The Oilers won tonite 4-3, and will now come back to Edmonton for Game 6. I’ll post that video later (also got more footage of craziness in the cars on Jasper Ave) but for now, let’s take a look at the game:

  • The Oilers won in overtime, on a breakaway goal by Fernando Pisani (shorthanded no less). I am so glad he got the breakaway, because he can actually score!
  • We got off to a good start tonite too, scoring just 16 seconds in.
  • Carolina scored all three of their goals on the powerplay. And really, if it wasn’t for the referees, they wouldn’t have even come close to forcing OT. The officiating was absolutely horrendous tonight – the NHL should be ashamed. If the new NHL is calling non-existent penalties and not calling the blatant ones, I don’t want it.
  • I also don’t like that they called a penalty against us in overtime. At that point in a knock-out game in the Stanley Cup Finals, you swallow the whistles! Only extremely horrible penalties should be called, otherwise, there’s no way the refs should be deciding a game.
  • Boo hoo, the ‘Canes had to deal with a time change for once. Cry me a goddamn river.
  • They also appear to be hurting, with lots of guys in and out of the dressing room tonight. Keep up the good work Torres!
  • Stellar game tonight for Pronger, who finished a +3. Hemsky also played very well. And no, Greene did not play badly at all. The penalties he was called for (especially one of them) were not penalties. I’m so glad Charlie Huddy was there to pump him back up on the bench.
  • Thank goodness MacT finally came to his senses and replaced Laraque with Harvey. He didn’t contribute offensively tonight, but he only played nine shifts. I think he’ll have a bigger impact in game 6.
  • Once again, Markkanen was awesome, making the key saves we needed him to make to keep the score close.

The other thing I wanted to mention – CBC blows. Bob Cole and Harry Neil are clearly Toronto fans, who do nothing but make the Oilers seem crappy when calling the game. They can’t say enough nice things about Carolina. But it wasn’t just them tonite, it was the whole broadcast. They only spoke to Oilers after the third and after the win, though they spoke to the injured Eric Cole and a few other Hurricanes like Brind’a-whore. They usually show a “back in time” clip, and what did they choose to show this evening? That’s right, a clip of the New York Islanders defeating the old Oilers. No footage of Rexall. No footage of Whyte. I got the general feeling that they expected, or maybe even wanted, Carolina to win as the broadcast just wasn’t balanced. The only redeeming quality of CBC is Ron Maclean. No, not Cherry, who is a complete idiot most of the time – stick to hockey Don. Coach’s Corner is not the time or place to be making political statements. And who cares if the scoring leaders are all Canadian? And how many times did we have to see Staal’s goal!? Jeez.

So the next game will be here in Edmonton. I know the hometown crowd is going to be crazy, so let’s hope the boys give it all they’ve got again. I think they outplayed Carolina tonight, despite what the scoresheet says (thanks alot you idiot referees) or what the announcers said (Bob and Harry are morons anyway).

Go Oilers Go!

REVIEW: Game 2

Post ImageIt hasn’t been a great week for the Edmonton Oilers, who lost again to the Hurricanes tonight. Actually, they got slaughtered 5-0. Here are some thoughts on the game:

  • Jussi Markkanen played goal for us tonight, and he did a good job. Even though he let in five goals, it was a product of the team sucking hard, not Jussi failing to make saves. He’s no Cam Ward, but at least he handled the puck well and didn’t have any blunders like Conklin did.
  • Ryan Smyth gets my vote for worst Oiler of the game. He continually missed pucks, and was no where near the front of the net where he is most effective. As the leader on a team in desperate need of some momentum, Smyth really needed to produce tonight and he didn’t. He was -1 tonight, after a -2 performance last game. His only bright spot tonight was that his 4 shots on goal turned out to be more than any other Oiler.
  • Why is Georges Laraque playing in this series? Unless you’re gonna stick him in front of the net to cause trouble for Ward, we don’t need him. I agree with my Dad, bring Todd Harvey back into the lineup!
  • All of the Oilers need to learn to hit the net! So many shots were not even close tonight, it was sad. And on top of that, we need shoot more! And for crying out loud, get the puck high! Ward always seems to be down, so start shooting above him.
  • We were in the penalty box way too many times, and for some reason, our usually amazing penalty kill was terrible. Not all of the calls were our fault (I thought the officials made some really questionable ones on us, and missed some blatant ones on them).
  • On a related note, our power play totally sucked. No other way to say it.
  • I don’t know what game Kelly Hrudey was watching, but I completely disagree with him – the Oilers did not do a good enough job of sending a message to the ‘Canes when it was clear the game had been lost. We were in the penalty box a lot, sure, but for stupid calls, not for rough play that would be considered “sending a message.”
  • I think we gave up way too many odd man rushes tonight.

Now the series shifts back to Edmonton, where I expect the Oilers to fare much better. I am hoping this will be a repeat of the San Jose series, where both teams win their first set of home games. The puck drops at 6 PM MDT on Saturday. Go Oilers Go!