Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Thoughts On The Trade

1. It is clear that Smyth wanted a 5 year contract in excess of 25 million dollars.

2. Despite his heroics this season, his loyalty to the team and his ability to play tough minutes, Ryan Smyth is not worth in excess of 25 million dollars over 5 years.

3. On an open market, Smyth will more than likely be offered a 5 year deal in excess of 25 million dollars; however, unless you define worth as what the highest bidder is willing to pay, point 2 still stands.

4. It is unfortunate that Ryan's career year in terms of production is coincided with his first shot at unrestricted free agency. Taking into account past production, at best what Smyth can be counted on is an average of 35 goals and 70 points per year over the span of a 5 year contract. Is that kind of production worth nearly 6 million dollars per season? I don't think so.

5. The return is on par with what Forsberg garnered, and I have no reason to believe that the market would yield anything more in terms of asset value. Sure, at this point neither O'Marra nor Nilsson are sure fire NHLers; however, they both have significant upside and are more likely than not to become regulars in the big show. Matt would have rather seen a single prospect of a greater pedigree than the two we picked up. However, there is no evidence to suggest that such a prospect was available, nor do I think many teams would be willing to part with a guy that is pretty much a lock to be an impact player at the NHL level for 20 games of Ryan Smyth. I am thus forced to conclude that Lower garnered as much value as the market would procure.

6. It is better to get something than nothing.

7. Whether or not Lowe used up funds by overpaying members of this team is immaterial. Even if he did, one overpay does not justify another.

8. Thus I simply conclude that Lowe made the right deal.

LiveBlogging From The Frog #3: Yotes @ Oil

Messier's retirement went a bit long, got here an hour late and they still haven't done the anthem.

- Nice retro jerseys, too bad we can't see Smytty in Oiler orange.

- Roenick looks like he wants to cry. Nobody wants you JR, nobody wants you.

- Pisani on the left, odd.

- First 5 minutes have been pretty much devoid of any sort of flow. Ceremonies tend to have that effect.

- Nice chance for Pouliot, the kid has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He really seems to see the lanes well. (1st @ 14)

- First line looks good, even without Smyth. Nice pressure shift (1st @ 10)

- Svret takes a hooking penalty without negating the scoring chance, yikes. (1st @ 8)

- JR Slew foots Roloson, no call. 1-0 Coyotes.

- I really hope this game gets some flow, it has been a real snoozer so far.

- Phoenix just looked like they were on the powerplay circling in our zone against a tired fourth line (1st @ 3)

- Joffrey Lupul with a pathetic looking spin move. That's the Joffrey I know. )1st @ 2)

- Good scoring chance as the period comes to a close. Nice defensive play by Morris.

- I guess I should air in on how I feel about the trade. It seems to be clear that a 25 over 5 deal was on the table, and it is also clear that Smyth was not willing to sign for that price. When dealing with that length of a contract, it's fairly irresponsible to tie up anything more than that kind of money for that many years in a player like Smyth. Now don't get me wrong, Smyth is a great player that can put up very good numbers playing in a tough minutes environment. But he also plays the type of game that is very hard on the body. Whether or not Smyth will be a 5.75m dollar player 5 years down the road is a fairly easy question to answer. No. Up to this point in his career, has Smyth ever been a player that commands that much money? Also no. The guys career year coincides with his first shot and unrestricted free agency. Smyth is NOT a top 10 goal scorer in this league, nor is he any better than a point per game guy. He does not generate offense on his own; he is not a game breaker; he is not a player that commands close to 6 million a year. Lowe made the right deal.

- Oilers come out flying in the second, great chances for Hemsky and Lupul (2nd @ 20)

- Couple fights, nice to see that the Oilers give a shit.

- 2-0 Yotes, bad bounce right to some prospect. PK looks a bit sketchy tonight.

- Either that was a dangerous shot by Roy, or Cujo just plain sucks. (2nd @ 14)

- Nice stick by Greene breaks up a 2-1. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he's dealt over the summer for defensive help. (2nd @ 12)

- 3-0 Yotes. Hejda gets turned inside out by Steve Reinprecht. This could get ugly.

- Stevie takes a bad penalty. So far the Yotes PP has been tearing us up. This is like watching a lit cartoon bomb. The Oiler's fuse is getting real low. (2nd @ 10)

- Thoreson with a good chance on the PP. I still like this kid. (2nd @ 9)

- This is a pretty terrible game. (2nd @ 4)

- Jacques with the TKO on Boynton. Wow, he really landed a couple solid shots. (2nd @ 2)

- Did Gratton really just punch Jason Smith from the bench? That's crazy. (2nd @ 1)

Well, that's all for now, the battery is toast.

Friday, February 23, 2007

LiveBlogging #2 @ The Black Frog

Cam and Matt here again, doin' some live commentary from the Black Frog.

- Let's hope this game doesn't work out like the last back to back we played in Detroit.

- How was that not interference? Horcoff gets thrown down going to the net and the ref stands there looking stupid. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. Matt thinks that we just got away with a holding the stick (Staios) so I guess it's a wash.

- At least Horcoff's hooking penalty was in the defensive zone for once.

- Great, Reasoner puts us down two men for almost a full two minutes. Sigh.

- 1-0 Wings, Zetterberg makes no mistake and Holmstrom does his best Smyth impression. Hopefully we kill off the rest of this penalty.

- Let's see what kind of mettle the Oilers show. Down 1-0 on the road on the back end of a back to back, facing a very good team.

- Wow, what a weak call. "If that's roughing, then everyone should wear a skirt" - Ferraro.

- 2-0 Wings, I call shenanigans. Holmstrom with a great deflection on a well placed Lidstrom shot.

- Penalties are killing us, I've heard this story before.

- Hemsky draws a penalty and the Oilers 2nd unit hits the ice. A goal would be huge here.

- Hemsky heading to the dressing room, let's hope it's an equipment issue.

- 2-1 Wings, Thoreson makes a great play. Good pass by Horc... I got six million dollars... I got six million dollars.

- Kronwall leaves his feet and lays a pretty cheap hit on Lupul. Hopefully the Oilers powerplay wasn't negated by the ensuing scrum.

- Oilers on the PP, Lebda holds up Smyth for a few too many seconds.

- A Sean Avery-esque dive by Zetterberg negates the Oilers powerplay.

-I got six millions dollars... I got six million dollars. Ryan Smyth almost scores a shorty and draws a penalty.

- First period is over. If I were asked to sum up the period in two words, I would go with "terrible officiating". Hemsky still not back on the ice, I think safe to say he's hurt. Great.

- Yaa Hemsky!


- Lupul concussed on an ILLEGAL hit. I want Stortini in this game.

- Petr Sykora with some solid defense on a two on one there. The pass came across and Sykora got a stick on it to tip it away.

- Hasek is crazy.

- Oilers need to get the 5 on 5 going again. There's been too much running around in the defensive zone the last few minutes.

- Torres! Tie game. Good effort all around. Good pressure by that line leads to the goal. Thoresen is having a very strong game playing in Lupul's spot.

- Thoresen with a brutal giveaway at his own blueline. Leads to an unfortunate bounce off of Smith's leg and a goal against. Boo.

- Great save by Roloson at the end of the period. They've been resilient tonight, but I still think of these Oilers as the kind of team that will pack it in if enough things go wrong. If that one had gone in it could have been really demoralizing.

- Oilers go on the powerplay, First unit hits the ice, I'll settle for a good looking PP and some momentum.

- Ales Hemsky pulls a "Joffrey Lupul' as he skates the puck to his own blue line then proceeds to give it away. Second unit hits the ice and doesn't look so good.

- 3-3 Oilers score. Pouliot out waits Hasek and Reasoner puts it away. Nice work by the kid.

- Hejda ties up Holmstrom on a dangerous looking shift. If you look carefully, as the shot comes to Roli, Holmstrom is paying more attention to fighting Hejda than putting the puck in the net. That's how to play a guy like that.

- Regulation over, Oilers heading to OT. Wonder if we'll see Toby Petersen out there in the 4on4 situations. Frankly, I don't think it's such a bad move. We are not a great shootout team, so ending it in a 4on4 situation is probably our best chance at coming away with 2 points.

- This officiating is FUCKING terrible. Bush league NHL at its worst.

- Shoot out, Matt just commented that he was glad we decided to take in this game, I agree.

- I got 6 million dollars... I got 6 million dollars.

- Roli goes 3/3 and the Mullet Man comes through yet again.

- You know, intellectually I conceded that the Oilers would miss the playoffs two weeks ago, but emotionally I can't make myself feel that way. Every win is still so satisfying. The last two games this team has looked a lot more like the team that I spent last spring cheering. Not in skill, but in that they refuse to give up. Much better.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Just Close Eyes and Shoot

Usually I am just scoring during the practice.

LiveBlogging @ The Black Frog

Cam and Matt here, doin' some commentary from the Black Frog.

- We just arrived as the 2nd goal was scored on the PP. Smyth reminds me of Wayne and Garth in Wayne's World when they get their record company advancement. I got six million dollars... I got six million dollars.

- Shelly hit on Gilbert, Matt thinks he saw an elbow, I'm not convinced. Roy shows some 'mash' and lands some solid shots on Shelly. Shelly got the take down but considering who he's fighting, Matt and I give the decision to Roy.

- I fucking hate the instigator.

- Matt is happy the refs ruled that a high stick, he thinks the replay was inconclusive.

- Hitchcock is trying to turn Rick Nash into Mike Modano, good luck with that.

- Smid saves the day by clearing a sure goal out of the crease on the PK. It helps that Modin is not Ryan Smyth

- Pouliot looks good. Making good plays in both ends. Makes some mistakes, but he's young, it happens. Lupul finally gets his playmaking centre.

- Hemsky makes one too many moves, gives up the puck, goes for a 3 on 2. Story of his year, but I still love him.

- Thoresen vs. Nash? What the hell? Thoresen clipped him knee on knee. Can't fault Nash for going after him, but I'll take that trade any time.

- The broadcast just asked what the Oilers need at the deadline, a goal scorer, offensive defenseman, goalie, first round pick, or nothing. WE vote D.

- Cam told me not to be negative, so I'm not going to say anything about the Oilers' power play right now.

- Good first, I think. We only saw 1/2 of it, but we're happy.

- Cam is complaining that the broadcast guys are talking up the first goal stat. Considering how many leads the Oilers blow, he's probably got a point.

- Kevin Lowe apparently looks like Cam's grandpa at 48.

- Pay-per-view puts on a piece about a Zamboni obstacle course. People pay for this shit?

- 2nd period under way. Matt loved the stretch pass that turned into an icing. The Oilers should just concede the last 4 seconds and perform a proper break out (by proper I mean one that you generally see while other teams play).

- Lupul is really really ridiculously good at 'hanging out' on the opposing team's blue line.

- I thought for a second Jacques was gonna hit Norrena; Matt also thought he was lining him up. Imagine the shit show that would cause.

- Wow. Just wow. Hemsky fights off his check, gets inside into the slot and makes a great scoring chance out of nothing. I don't even mind that little 8 inch pass instead of a shot. That kid just has flashes of absolute brilliance.

- Hot damn, 3-0 Oilers, the play starts with a great defensive play by Joffrey 'Really Really Ridiculously' Lupul, and ends with Smid's first NHL goal. Sandwiched between those two unlikely events was an equally unlikely dangle and pass by Torres. What a goal.

- "Wow, this is actually looking like an NHL calibre powerplay, that's weird" - Matt

- What's with the goddamn spotlights. Every time Columbus has a scoring chance their lighting team jumps the gun. Reminds of that Calgary game (2nd in the season) where they ran that stupid red spot light for like 8 seconds on a shot that missed the net by 4 ft.

- Joffrey Lupul makes his second awesome play of the game; what the hell is going on?

- Horcoff with the DDT on the powerplay. Sean Horcoff don't take no crap from nobody, especially Norwegians named Olaf.

- Great shift on the PK for Petersen and Pouliot. Petersen gets in and puts a good shot on net for the rebound, then Pouliot kills 15 seconds fighting for the puck in the CBJ zone.

- That's the Joffrey Lupul we all know. Gets the puck right at the line and doesn't clear it.

- Nice to see Raffi Torres playing with confidence, dangling and making plays.

- End of the second. Another good period. Smid finally gets a goal. He was the last Oiler dman to get his first. Even Gilbert and Roy had scored before now.

- Cam is downloading Beauty and the Geek right now. I don't think I can respect him anymore.

- A gift on the PP right there. Good pass by Roli, Norrena trips on his own goal post and merry Christmas Horcoff.

- Hemsky looked like Superman on that shift "Get outta my way, Columbus!" - Cam

- The Oilers are a much better team without Nedved in the lineup.

- All the young guys doing their jobs tonight. Smid with his first goal, Pouliot playing well, and there goes Jacques causing some chaos on the forecheck.

- Unfortunately, the laptop battery is toast, and the barkeep only has plugs behind the bar. So with 13 minutes left, Matt and I are signing off. Matt's final comment: "it's nice not to be cheering for a bunch of losers for once."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dr. Defense or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hejda

I first saw Hejda play way back in the last game of the preseason that a friend and I attended in Vancouver. I really liked his game:

"Hejda was great, stopped Naslund 1on1 without taking a penalty. Best defender on the ice."

Since then I talked about Hejda after the Montreal game:

"Jan Hejda is the real thing. He's physical, can shoot and most importantly, his outlet passing has been VERY good. I know it's only two games, but with what I have seen so far, Hejda has been our best defenseman at moving the puck. If I had the choice between Tjarnqvist and Hejda, I would have to go with the latter. He has played with a lot of heart in his first two games, and shouldn't be taken out of the lineup while he continues to do so."

I thought Hejda played great against the Panthers, and I was worred about him drawing out in favour of one of the real rookies:

"Jan Hejda should stay in the line up. There is no reason why this guy should be sitting in the press box while we field Smid, Greene, and Tjarnqvist. He played a solid game tonight, just like every other game he's played this season. His key pinch led to the all important first goal of the game, and he covered very nicely for Greene's mess up by forcing Jokinen to the outside."

I was happy that Hejda wouldn't draw out when Smid got hurt in the Dallas game:

"Smid is out 7-10 days, at least that means Hejda stays in the line up."

Now, what I love about Jan Hejda is his ability to win battles in corners. The guy gives 100 percent effort when he goes in there, whether it be one on one or two on one. More often than not he is the guy that comes out with the puck. He's actually one of the best defenseman I have ever seen at winning puck battles.

On top of that, the guy has above average offensive tools. He can pass, and seems to grasp the concept that a weak shot ON NET from the point is more valuable than a rocket that misses by 10 ft (clearly he does not subscribe to the Jason Smith school of defense in this category). Moreover, as a 27 year old rookie, he's playing the 2nd toughest minutes on the squad behind Jason Smith, and still putting up a solid plus/minus.

I would love to see Hejda locked up for 3 years at 1.2m/yr, I think it would be a brilliant contract for Lowe to offer him. If you're looking for something to cheer about from this disappointing season, look no farther than the case of Jan Hejda.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bergeron Dealt To NYI

The Oilers sent defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron and a third-round draft pick in 2008 to the New York Islanders in exchange for blue-liner Denis Grebeshkov.


Let's face it, MAB has been given plenty of opportunities to succeed in his time with the Oilers, and with the exception of the odd top corner slap shot, he failed miserably.

He had a real tough start to the season, but he managed to get his shit together around game 10. For the next 20 odd games, he looked like a genuine NHL defenseman and powerplay threat. However, his last stretch of games have been nothing short of terrible.

Last 18 Oiler games (Up to and including January 8th):

Smith: 18 Games, EVEN
Hejda: 18 Games, EVEN
Staios: 11 Games, EVEN
Smid: 16 Games, +1
Greene: 17 Games, -3
Bergeron: 18 Games, -11

Also, it's not like he put up those numbers against quality NHL competition. According to Behindthenet, MAB has been playing extremely soft minutes this year:

Jason Smith: 16th
Jan Hejda: 28th
Ladislav Smid: 95th
Steve Staios: 122th
Matt Greene: 457th
Marc-Andre Bergeron: 517th

I think MABs recent stretch of poor play was the nail in his Oiler coffin. There's a point where you just have to say to yourself "this guy isn't going to get any better" and move on. Bergeron is a 26 year old bottom pairing defenseman, who possesses good tools but just can't seem to get his head in the game. Generally, if a player reaches that age and has not at the very least shown progress in his ability to think the game, I think it's time to move on.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Matt Greene Wants To Go On The Road.

Glad to see Matt is in good spirits.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rabble Rabble Rabble.

Rabble rabble John Stamos rabble chicken fries rabble rabble Jetsons rabble scroll lock rabble...

In all seriousness, it's time to realistic think about selling the valuable parts of the this team come the trade deadline.

The value variable is my estimation of their overall trade value on a scale from 1-10 (1 being nothing, 10 being multiple picks and/or quality prospects)

UFA assets and their value:

Sykora - Second round pick (7.5)
Smyth - First round pick or top 10 prospect (8.5)
Markkanen - Third round pick (6)
Tjarnqvist - Third round pick (6)
Petersen - Nothing (1)
Nedved - Nothing (1)
Hejda - Almost nothing (3)

RFA assets and their value:

Torres - 1st round pick and top 10 prospect (9)
Winchester - Almost nothing (3)
Greene - 1st round pick (8)

1 year left (UFA) assets and their value:

Smith - 1st round pick and roster player (9.5)

I think we should sell whatever UFAs we can, and try and sign Hejda to a cheap extension. Beyond that, the rest shouldn't be dealt unless a significant veteran defenseman is coming to the Oil as part of the deal.