Do You See What I See, volume II

lookingglass

Yes it is still relatively quiet around Hockeytown up here in Canada, but there is lots going on in hockey and the sports world.

>> A source close to the Oilers revealed to me that the Oilers have interviewed five coaches: Pat Quinn, Marc Crawford, Todd Richards, Rob Daum and Tom Renney. I still see Daum as the head man in Springfield next year, so I wonder if his interview was for the Oilers’ job or more of a “See where his head is at” type of conversation. Now that Geoff Ward’s Bruins are out expect him to get an interview soon, and Scott Arniel will get one when his Moose are done in the AHL playoffs. I wasn’t able to get confirmation whether or not the Devils will let Brent Sutter interview for the job.

>> Last year I was told by a few different scouts that the Springfield blueline was one of the worst they’d ever seen in over 20 years of covering the AHL. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. The Oilers are well aware of this blatant weakness and will address it over the summer. The signing of Johan Motin is a decent first step. Motin signed a three-year deal for a cap hit of $637,500.00. Motin won’t bring a lot of offence but reports are he is a decent first passer and a solid stay-at-home guy. Don’t expect to see him in Edmonton next year, but if he progresses the way they expect him to he might play a few games in 2010/2011.

>> I think Ovechkin is the best player in the game. He scores, hits, brings raw emotion and most of all he is the most entertaining. But Sidney Crosby’s performance in the playoff’s has put him right back in the conversation. Crosby is a better playmaker, and is just as competitive if not more.

The area he lacks, and this has nothing to do with greatness, but is hugely important from an entertainment aspect. Ovechkin is way more marketable and gives fans a glimpse of who he is. Crosby never seems happy. He rarely smiles or jokes during an interview or even in the game. Crosby’s personality makes him hard to like. He is great, but needs to show that he enjoys the game a bit more.

Lebron James’s persona is larger than life. Casual fans are attracted to that. Peyton Manning’s acting made him more acceptable in many fan’s eyes. Crosby needs to relax and let his guard down now and then. He is well on his way to being considered one of the all-time greats, but he needs to become more personable. More importantly the league needs it. If hockey wants to keep growing in the States, even at a turtle’s pace, they need their best players to be just as exciting off the ice as they are on the ice.

>> Say What? On Tuesday I had PJ Stock on my show, and he threw out this comment, “I don’t think Crosby is in the top-five best players in the game right now.” I know that guys like to be controversial at times, but there is no way Crosby isn’t a top-five player in today’s game. No way.

>> Say What Part II? Also on Tuesday, Bill Watters said this about Erik Cole, “He’s a perfect playoff type player. Hard and gritty.” I have no idea how people see Cole as this great playoff player. He has a whopping three assists in 15 games this year, and now has a sub-par six goals and 12 points in 40 career playoff games. How is that the perfect playoff performer?

Which begs the question, Is Wanye related to Bill Watters? Because they both are drinking the Cole-Aid.

>> The last year there wasn’t at least one player with two OT goals in the playoff was in 1999/2000 when there was a paltry nine OT games the entire playoffs. This year there has been 14 OT games, but no one has lit the lamp twice so far.

>> Does the winning goaltender of the Eastern conference final become the 3rd goalie for Canada at the 2010 Olympics? Cam Ward and Marc-Andre Fleury will both be making their 2nd Stanley Cup final if they win.

>> The teams with the least wiggle room under the cap heading into the summer are:

  • Philly is committed to 19 players at $53.9 million. (although if Rathje can’t play then they have 18 at $50.4 million.)
  • Detroit is committed to 16 players at $51.2 million.
  • Ottawa has 20 players at $50.9 million.
  • Pittsburgh has 14 players at $46.8 million.
  • Boston has 14 players at $46.7 million.
  • Washington has 14 players at $45.9 million.
  • San Jose has 13 players at $46.7 million.
  • Edmonton has 18 players at $46.9 million.
  • Calgary has 15 players at $46.8 million.
  • Buffalo has 15 players at $45.5 million.
  • The Rangers have 11 guys at $42.8 million.

>> If the Wings sign Hossa like many assume they will, and they get him for a $6 million cap hit, that puts them at the limit. Not only will they lose Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Kocepky to free agency, they will have to sign and trade Jiri Hudler and probably one of their top four D-men. Brad Stuart will be the most likely to move.

Although maybe someone is willing to take Brian Rafalski and his $6 million ticket. This will be the first summer that Ken Holland will have to part with players he’d rather keep.

>> Some “character” free agents that should interest the Oilers, and any team that needs grit, and wouldn’t cost much include Dan Hinote, Rick Rypien, Travis Moen, Chris Neil, Scott Nichol and Ian Laperriere.

>> Players who should take a pay cut: Brian Gionta. Since his 48 goal season he has followed with 25, 22 and 20 goal seasons. He made $4 million last year, so I can’t see the Devils or anyone offering him that money again.

Alex Tangauy: Will someone pay him $5.25 million again? What about Saku Koivu at $4.75 million or Kovalev at $4.5 million. I can’t see how anyone signs them for that money. Erik Cole will take a home town discount from Carolina and will probably get les than the $4 million he made. Martin Havlat will be sought after, but I don’t see someone giving him $6 million again, but he’ll get something close.

>> And it looks like one of the best to ever play will hang them up this summer. Andy Lindahl from KOA radio in Denver said this yesterday on Just A Game on the TEAM 1260, “It sounds like Joe will retire once the Stanley Cup is awarded. He doesn’t want to take any of the hype away from the playoffs.” For my money Sakic is a first ballot hall-of-famer, and one of the classiest guys to ever play. He will be missed.

  • lj

    Chris wrote:

    @ Mikey:
    Yes. I am probably over-rating Hemsky’s skill set… but not his overall contribution/importance to the Oilers. I’d trade him for a guy like Dustin Brown; though most posters here wouldn’t.
    At the end of the day, all that really matters, is that Lombardi would NEVER trade his young captain for a floater like Hemmer.

    FYI: Wasn't the rumour that Lombardi was dangling Brown(+) for Hemsky.

  • lj

    Chris wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    It’s kind of funny how my knock on Hemsky is his failure to shift his focus to scoring goals…
    But last season he did a nice job of doing just that:
    Carreer AVG: 2.79 assists for every goal.
    Last season: 1.89 assists for every goal.
    Maybe I’m just wrong to think he can be a thirty goal guy… Maybe we are all crazy to get so worked up about just another twenty goal scorer. I don’t know…

    This year I seen a decisive effort to score more goals out of Hemmer. He started so promisingly to, I think at one time he was 2nd to only Hossa for PPG amoungs RW and was in the top 5 for GPG amoungst RW, unfortunatly he tailed off a little. He certainly has the skill set to score 35. The question is: does he have the drive.

  • lj

    @ Chris:
    I don't know if I'd go so far as to call him a floater.

    @ Ogden Brother:
    I agree. I think he is capable of reaching those totals. As we mentioned before, he is still only 25 years old and just entering his prime… I hope.

  • lj

    airdawg wrote:

    On another note, trade Hemsky. He’s the next Petr Klima.

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    I know that guys like to be controversial at times, but there is no way…

    'Nuff said.

  • lj

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Wasn’t the rumour that Lombardi was dangling Brown(+) for Hemsky?

    The rumour de'jour was Brown and Greene for Hemsky. I remember because, being completely ridiculous aside, it was so colourful. 🙂

  • lj

    Sorry to hear Pierre McGuire didn't land the Minny job. Would've been interesting to see the people he surrounded himself with. Perhaps the Avs will give him a look.

  • lj

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    FYI: Wasn’t the rumour that Lombardi was dangling Brown(+) for Hemsky.

    It was more of a trade proposal and not an actual rumour. I seriously doubt L.A. would make that deal… unless something else big happened… like Lombardi aquiring LeCavalier. Many here at Oilersnation (myself included) immediately rejected the idea of Brown for Hemmer… (That was a fun discussion) During the blogroll, the notion arose, that Oilers management may be using the Journal piece to gauge fan reaction to the possibility of moving Hemmer… Or, to take it a step further, some feared Tambellini was using the Journal to prepare fans for the inevibility of such a move. I don't know… Discussions revolving around Hemsky make me flip flop more than Paul Martin at a policy convention… What can I say, Hemsky related discussions always illicit an emotional reponse: I get drawn in EVERY time… And why not? Hemsky is a WAY more interesting player than Pouliot.

    Fortunately Tambellini is infinately more qualified and informed than myself to make such decisions. One thing I do know; Tambellini keeps his cards pretty close to his chest; so it's hard to guess the future of ANY current roster player…

  • lj

    @ Gregor:

    One quick comment about the eleven teams who are tight under the cap:

    Other than Ottawa (who has multiple high-end players they can move), and Buffalo (who beat the Oil 10-2) all the other teams were in the playoffs. There is nothing wrong with being at the cap if you are winning.

  • lj

    Word wrote:

    I’m probably gonna regret stooping to the simian level of poop-hurling… but Airdawg, you’re an idiot.

    Word to your mother, Word. In fact, lets take a poll. If anyone else seriously agrees with airdawg's trade proposal of Hemsky for Zajac I will eat the poop that Word just hurled.

  • lj

    @ Chris:

    The big difference is how many players those teams have locked up. Oil and Flames for example both have 47 locked up, but the flames need 3 more players. Other then Ott all the other teams have far more holes to fill for very little.

    6 bodies for a million each leaves pretty thin depth.

  • lj

    @ Ogden Brother:

    I won't defend Sutter… But what I AM saying, is that Oilers management has a lot of money tied up in 18 players who aren't good enough. (Playoffs, anyone?) If Tambellini had 18 guys signed at 47 million and only needed to shop for a backup goalie, a depth defenseman, and a fourth line forward… no harm done.

  • lj

    Chris wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    I won’t defend Sutter… But what I AM saying, is that Oilers management has a lot of money tied up in 18 players who aren’t good enough. (Playoffs, anyone?) If Tambellini had 18 guys signed at 47 million and only needed to shop for a backup goalie, a depth defenseman, and a fourth line forward… no harm done.

    Calgary was just an example, most of the teams up their have the same story, depth is highly underated.

    I'd be willing to bet that for the most part our core is younger then most of the above, and should naturally improve while some of the other, older teams naturally digress.

    I've repeated it a million times, but this team will live and die with the development of Gagner/Cogs etc.

  • lj

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    I’ve repeated it a million times, but this team will live and die with the development of Gagner/Cogs etc.

    Totally agree… But will this team be ready to win BEFORE these guys are at RFA status? The Oilers aren't the only team to have good young players… Seems to me Gagner has been around as long as Kane… Besides, I'm not seeing a good foundation of prospects in the system.

  • lj

    Chris wrote:

    Ogden Brother wrote:
    I’ve repeated it a million times, but this team will live and die with the development of Gagner/Cogs etc.
    Totally agree… But will this team be ready to win BEFORE these guys are at RFA status? The Oilers aren’t the only team to have good young players… Seems to me Gagner has been around as long as Kane… Besides, I’m not seeing a good foundation of prospects in the system.

    well their RFA's after this coming year, so I doubt it. If anything, a small step forward next year would be good for the long term progress of the team as we'd probably get them both cheaper.

    We've got enough good young players on the roster that I'm not overly worried about the current prospect depth.

  • lj

    @ Ogden Brother:

    Don't mind me brother… I'm always cynical and bitter this time of year. Once the new coach is hired, and the hammer falls on a few deals, I'll drink up whatever KoolAid Tencer, and Tambellini serve…

    If Cole were to sign a six year forty million dollar contract, and Tambellini traded Hemsky for his rights… I'd somehow convince myself that Cole needed to be on the FIRST line RW… and Hemsky was poison… and Tambellini is a genius… and, and, and…

    At least till Christmas anyway. This year I'm trying EXTRA hard to not swallow the B.S. hook, line, and sinker; hence my negativity.

  • lj

    Crosby's been coached to 'say the right thing' and be entirely politically correct when doing interviews for so long that he probably wouldn't even think of doing anything else. 'I better stick to my tired and true hockey cliches or else I could *gasp* offend a teammate or even worse, the NHL suits!'

    I find it sickening that every player is coached to say and do the same things in interviews. It's gotten to the point where interviews are all virtually interchangeable. I turn it off because it's too predictable. No original thought necessary, no lucid observations. Just the same old barf coming out of every hockey player.

  • lj

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    So what’s the % then? Remember, each time you bump the coaching credit/blame notch up you reduce the 20 players actually on the ice.

    I dont know what's fair to give to the coach. If coaching wasnt important teams wouldnt be firing them so often for under-performing. The coach has a lot to do with systems in general, but less to do with individual faceoff %. A new coach wont come in and all of a sudden Hemsky will double his shooting %, but he might increase his offensive chances. I dont want to take away blame from the players. But I dont want to complain that Hemsky doesnt get enough chances if even he feels that he's been handcuffed by his coach.

    How are the Oilers supposed to know which problems are related to coaching and which are player short comings if they never tried a new coach? 3 of the 4 conference finalists have fired their coaches this season. A tactic that the Oilers apparently decided they would not do. There have been a non stop carousel of players in here for the last 4 or 5 years but that hasnt seemed to fix anything. So, like I said, how many of the problems us fans have had with these players were really a product of player ineptitude or coaching ineptitude?

  • lj

    Chris wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    Don’t mind me brother… I’m always cynical and bitter this time of year. Once the new coach is hired, and the hammer falls on a few deals, I’ll drink up whatever KoolAid Tencer, and Tambellini serve…
    If Cole were to sign a six year forty million dollar contract, and Tambellini traded Hemsky for his rights… I’d somehow convince myself that Cole needed to be on the FIRST line RW… and Hemsky was poison… and Tambellini is a genius… and, and, and…
    At least till Christmas anyway. This year I’m trying EXTRA hard to not swallow the B.S. hook, line, and sinker; hence my negativity.

    Ha – ha, no worries.

  • lj

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Ogden Brother wrote:
    So what’s the % then? Remember, each time you bump the coaching credit/blame notch up you reduce the 20 players actually on the ice.
    I dont know what’s fair to give to the coach. If coaching wasnt important teams wouldnt be firing them so often for under-performing. The coach has a lot to do with systems in general, but less to do with individual faceoff %. A new coach wont come in and all of a sudden Hemsky will double his shooting %, but he might increase his offensive chances. I dont want to take away blame from the players. But I dont want to complain that Hemsky doesnt get enough chances if even he feels that he’s been handcuffed by his coach.
    How are the Oilers supposed to know which problems are related to coaching and which are player short comings if they never tried a new coach? 3 of the 4 conference finalists have fired their coaches this season. A tactic that the Oilers apparently decided they would not do. There have been a non stop carousel of players in here for the last 4 or 5 years but that hasnt seemed to fix anything. So, like I said, how many of the problems us fans have had with these players were really a product of player ineptitude or coaching ineptitude?

    I'm not saying it wasn't time for a change, it clearly was. It's the constant imply that MacT is an incompetent coach.

    People want to lump the whole 8 years together and claim he was a horrible coach, but the reality is their were multiple years where the team over achieved vs what they had on paper, including 07/08.

    In fact, take a look at what the Blues did this past year vs the year before and what the circumstances were… that got Andy Murray a Jack Adams nomination. Now look what the Oil did 07/08 vs 06/07 and the circumstances around that season.

  • lj

    @ Archaeologuy:

    others such as the leafs, islanders, sens, thrashers, panthers, kings, sharks, flames,habs etc etc have also changed their coaches over the last few years and what did it get them?

    if your team is sh*t, the coach wont really matter.