With the Canucks finally ending their Ramadan-like hockey fast, and actually playing more than one game in ten days, we all finally have something to look at, argue about and dissect to death. Instead, let’s dust off the the ole calculators and take a look at the Canucks last two opponents by the numbers.
First, we’ve got the new New Jersey Devils and their sainted GM Lou Lamoriello, who has spent the better part of my hockey watching life cementing his reputation as one of, if not the best GMs in hockey. This year, not so much. Now anyone with his track record is a due an off year or two, but his decisions have Mike Milbury-level bizarre. In a time when numbers in the form off dollar signs matter the most, Lou seems to have thrown out his calculator and smashed his abacus.
We all know the numbers. There’s Kovalchuk’s horrific 9 figure deal for the phoniest of phony superstars. I used to think that the worst kind of deal you could make in the salary cap era was paying a star like a superstar (Scott Gomez, Wade Redden et al). Turns out, paying a lazy "superstar" like he’s the best player in the world might be a tad worse. At least the Kovalchuk deal doesn’t last too long, will have no effect on their ability to sign the much better Zach Parise, or ice a complete lineup for a given game(Sarcasm doesn’t always come across in the written word, so for those wondering, that was it).
I’d like to say I could applaud the wit and wisdom of most other GMs for not tendering an offer, but for the most part it was their own inept managing of the salary cap that prevented most teams from even tabling on offer for Ilya. So, their boneheaded mistakes prevented them from making an even larger, more boneheaded mistake, which leads me to the Canucks last opponent, the Edmonton Oilers.
The number on the Oilers’ side is youth (I know it’s not exactly a number, but go with me). The Oilers have, seemingly through very little planning, fallen ass-backwards into a team that looks like a future Western Conference powerhouse. Sure, they’ve drafted well, picking up Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson-Sedin-Sedin-Forsberg, but they get no credit for the Taylor Hall pick. The lack of planning comes in with Edmonton’s desire to sign one of those so-called star players to superstar money. Marion Hossa? Michael Nylander?!? Even rumours of a Jaromir Jagr infatuation? The only hitch (a hitch that seemingly saved their asses) was that players eventually remembered that the Oilers played in Edmonton. How much better off would the Oilers have been if Sheldon Souray or Dustin Penner had just remembered that. So, all those players saying no to the millions of dollars that the Oilers were desperate to throw away, has given them the youngest, fastest and most promising team in the league chock full of players who seem more than happy to be there. Go figure.