• This post works better if you read it with a Cockney accent

    by  • February 20, 2007 • Uncategorized • 15 Comments

    Listened to the Lowe interviews tonight.  He did interviews with both 630 CHED and the TEAM 1260.  I love it – it’s like the Queen hanging out in the East End of London during the Blitz, just showing her face.  Lowe doesn’t know his history though – people were throwing garbage at the Queen when she showed up there.  If I was him, I think I’d have just written the column that will appear under Jim Matheson’s byline in tomorrow’s Journal (anyone care to bet that Matheson mentions the Oilers were after Forsberg?) and then spent my day sitting in the sun in Naples, far from the pissed off people in Edmonton and Oilers team that’s going to get butchered in Ottawa.  Some choice bits:

    Bryn: Kevin, over the course of the last 19 games, Marc-Andre Bergeron as an Oiler was -11…did it get to the point where the organization maybe felt you’d gone as far as you could with Bergeron?

    Lowe: Yes.  You know…you hate to trade guys when they’re maybe not playing their best, you want to maximize the return and his game had started going down a little bit…and I’m not going to get beating up the player…

    Man, I wish I was in the media and could do my research on Hockey’s Future.  A huge softball question from Bryn.  I expect such things from Eklund’s rosy cheeked employee at the CHED division of the Oilers PR department, but Bryn should know better.

    Why is it a huge softball question?  MAB was apparently -11 in his last 19 games.  Three of those were ENG’s though; is -8 bad enough that you need to give up on a guy?  As I pointed out yesterday, MAB has done very well in Edmonton up until the last 30 games or so.  It seems more than a little unfair to put the boots to the guy for his bad 20 game stretch when he’s been a solid performer up until that point.  Bryn’s been known as one Lupul’s defenders too – there’s a guy pulling down twice MAB’s dollars and contributing less.  For some reason, the “bad 20 game” rule doesn’t apply there, I guess.  Bryn is giving Lowe outs here.

    Incidentally, I don’t know enough about Grebeshov to say one way or the other whether this works as a hockey deal – his stats seem promising, according to Desjardins.  Sell it like that though – don’t sell it like MAB isn’t good enough to have a spot on this team.

    “Bergeron’s greatest use was on the power play and with us going with five forwards and the power play being ranked 27th, it’s not like we’re breaking up a great PP plus he’s losing his spot”

    “…the fact of the matter is Marc-Andre hadn’t been playing too much on the PP recently…we could take him out of the lineup at this point and maybe not impact our team all that much…”

    It’s unfortunate that nobody posted anything insightful about this on HF recently because Bryn would have benefitted from someone doing the research for him here so that he could take Lowe to task for this nonsense.  Some cross-examination would have been appropriate once Lowe started talking about the five man PP and Bergeron losing his spot:

    Q.  The Oilers have 45 PP goals this year?
    A.   Yes.

    Q.  MAB has been on the ice for 24 of them?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  Toby Petersen has been on the ice for 1 PP goal?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  MAB has played 222:28 on the PP?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  Toby Petersen has played 55:25 on the PP?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  MAB scored 16 points on the PP?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  Petersen has none?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  So when MAB is on the ice for the PP, the Oilers have scored 6.47 PPG/60 and he’s scored 4.32 PPP/60?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  And when Petersen is on the ice, the Oilers have scored 1.08 PPG/60 and he’s scored 0.00 PPP/60?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  Toby Petersen is 28 years old, correct?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  And over the course of his career, he’s scored 3 points on the power play in 170.30 minutes of PP TOI, which works out to 1.06 PPP/60, correct?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  MAB has scored 1.02 even strength points per 60 minutes of even strength ice time over the course of his career, hasn’t he?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  In fact, it’s fair to say that MAB, over the course of his NHL career has been almost as good offensively at even strength as Toby Petersen has been on the PP?

    A.  Yes.

    Q.  Are you people crazy or stupid?

    The last question is poor cross examination technique because it isn’t leading but holy shit.  It’s not like Petersen was ripping up the AHL on the PP or anything either – he had just 26 points on the PP there last year.  Feeding him minutes isn’t backed up by any information I can find and for Lowe to slide that in there as a justification for cutting Bergeron loose – well it begs the question of why he isn’t getting PP minutes.

    Like I said, it’s a shame that nobody posted that on HF.  It seems like a pretty salient question.

    “I thought that our defencemen performed above expectations at the start of the season and as the season waned on, struggled a little bit, we anticipated that we would be able to make a deal and that didn’t happen.”

    I’m a little cheesed off about the defence still.  There was no reason that they couldn’t pick up an extra cheap veteran to fill the role of that fourth defenceman.  I can accept that you don’t give away the farm for someone crappy in December but in the summer the flotsam just costs you money on a one year deal.

    “We were talking to Philadelphia about Peter Forsberg some months ago.”

    I’m kind of assuming that Lowe did a bunch of print media today too.  I really suspect we’ll see that in Matheson’s column tomorrow – he’s the master of reporting players in whom the Oilers were really interested after the fact, although the draft is really more of his forte.

    “We added Nedved a while ago on waivers because it didn’t cost us anything.”

    TINSTAAFL.  Of course, when you have a realistic belief that there is such a thing as a free arena, I guess it’s easy to see how you fall into this trap.

    “I’m trying to win the Stanley Cup and I’m trying to acquire the best possible players for us to do that.”

    When?  2015?  If you’re trying to win the Stanley Cup now, you don’t run Laco and Greene out there.  At some point Lupul gets held accountable.  You don’t acquire Petr Nedved.  If you’re trying to win the Cup in three or four years, you don’t sign Moreau and Staios to fat contracts.  There’s a disconnect here between the words and actions.

    “The discussions with Meehan were promising and at no time have we ever speculated about trading Ryan Smyth.”

    “I don’t think that anyone would even get to a point where, with Ryan, that would give us the courage to move a guy like that because of what he means to this city and this organization.”

    “What it really boils down is Ryan really wanting to stay here…by the time the season ends and he gathers a little time to himself, if we didn’t get him signed before the deadline, I suspect if really wants to remain here that he would end up doing that because I don’t see us being that far apart.”

    I’d like to hear what Smyth has to say about this.  On the one hand, it’s nice to see that Lowe seems to acknowledge that people are going to be pissed off if they deal Smyth and that he sounds almost afraid to do it.  On the other, he used the phrase “really wanting to stay here” more than once in his last little bit about him.  You wonder why Ryan Smyth has to really want to stay here while guys like Ethan Moreau are just getting $1MM cheques because they were on cheap contracts before.  Why the double standard?

    “Having given us four assets last summer for Chris Pronger, he [Brian Burke] doesn’t have as much to give in a deal.”

    If the performance that the Oilers got on the return for Pronger this year is any indication, Brian Burke doesn’t need much more than something shiny, a piece of string and Kevin Lowe on the other end of the line to get something useful.

    “I fully understand Joff’s situation when you’re a young guy like that and being involved in the Chris Pronger deal…it can’t do anything but affect you.  It’s interesting because you analyze player performance and you sort of grade it on expecations and there’s criticism of Joffrey’s year and yet I look and he still has 15 goals which is more than a number of guys on our team and not too far off some pretty good players in the league.  I would expect that however Joffrey finishes this year that he’ll have a much better season next year.”

    It couldn’t get much worse.  I’m shocked to now learn that there was pressure on Lupul – there was basically nothing negative written about him until January.  He got a plum spot with Horcoff and Smyth.  About the only thing separating him from Jason Arnott’s last days at this point is an illegitimate child, a quote like “I just wasn’t into it tonight” and a willingness to take a hit to make a play.
    Like I said above, I assume that Lowe is going to have a bunch of stuff in the print media tomorrow as well.  We’ll see how that all goes but if it’s like this, I won’t be impressed.  He should learn from the Queen Mother.  After Buckingham Palace got bombed, she said that she now felt like she could look the East End in the face.  There should be more pain for Lowe than just some radio appearances – there should be consequences for people that he’s probably good friends with.  There’ve been enough questionable coaching decisions this year that there should be some changes behind the bench, with Craig Simpson moving on at the very least.  Maybe once some of that happens, I’ll be able to take Lowe a bit more seriously when he comes on the radio and talks about how Marc Andre Bergeron lost his spot to Toby Petersen, Petr Nedved was a good move because he was free, Ryan Smyth has to want to be here and Joffrey Lupul just had a tough time with all of the criticism.


    15 Responses to This post works better if you read it with a Cockney accent

    1. speeds
      February 20, 2007 at

      so, anything else you want to get off your chest?

      The biggest thing that I don’t understand (from the quotes you’ve got here, I haven’t heard the interviews) is the ostrich with its head in the sand approach to the Smyth situation.

      What if he just doesn’t want to stay here? You’re just going to pretend that “Ahh, it’ll work itself out over the summer”

      If I’m Smyth, and I wait until June, why not wait another month and see what’s out there?

      Chances are good that he knows if he wants to stay here already. If he does, great. If he doesn’t or is unsure you may as well trade him and get something for him, and then reapproach him over the summer, but make it clear to him before you trade him that you want to resign him this summer.

      Why not, if you haven’t got a deal done by the 24th, go to Smyth and his agent and say ” If we don’t get you signed by the trade deadline we’ll look at offers for you, and move you. We’d rather keep you, and want to sign you right now, but if you won’t sign now we have no reason to believe you’ll sign with us before July 1st when you hear what’s out there, so we might as well get something for you.”

    2. sketchy
      February 20, 2007 at

      I hope that the Brynterview today is not an indicator of things to come. The last thing Oiler fans need is another sycophantic pseudo-objective talking head. Someone has to ask the tough questions and not just lob meatballs over the plate so Kevin Lowe can look like Barry Bonds taking Little League BP. If it’s rebuilding, just say so.

      The second last thing the Oiler fan needs is a repeat of the years between 1993-1996 with a procession of promises to compete while trading away every last bit of talent on that team for malingerers and malcontents. Nicholls, Damphousse, Corson are a long way from Hemsky, Stoll, and Lupul, but the latter three certainly have something to prove.

      Trade Horcoff, Smyth, Smith, and Roloson. Resign Sykora, release Nedved.

    3. February 20, 2007 at

      The -11 in 20 games is quite the anomaly [or a really bad sign...]. And actually Bergeron was even in the 3-0 loss to Boston [ESPN says he was -1], so it’s -10 (+9, -19) and (+7, -15) if you exclude PP+, SH-, EN.

      What’s interesting is that his +’s are -1.6 standard deviations from average (6.2%) anomaly and his minuses are a -0.7 (25%) standard deviations away from normal, combined that’s 1.5% (of course + and – rates are correlated so 1.5% isn’t the best estimate). If a player has 30 “19 game” [he was plus in game 20] stretches (570 game NHL career…) he’d average 0.45 bad (1.5%) stretches/career. It seems rather stupid to trade a player at that time as the question above asks…

      There are three possibilities I see:
      1. The organization feels these 20 games are a better predictor of future performance than his previous 169 games and therefor dumped him.
      2. The organization was waiting for an opportunity to move him without fan backlash and they got it.
      3. And of course the scapegoat.

      Of course people critical in those 19 games should look at the 8 in which Bergeron played with great -3.6/HR Roy. Bergeron was the ONLY guy (88% of Roy time) he played with.

    4. Bob Smith
      February 20, 2007 at

      TANSTAAFL is the preferred spelling.

    5. Jeremy
      February 20, 2007 at

      What I wanna know is: how did Peterson get a hold of those photos of Craig Simpson?

    6. riversq
      February 20, 2007 at

      Don’t forget Petersen’s PPGF was actually on a 6V4 PP and he’s been on for a SHGA, so his PPGD is zero.

    7. mc79hockey
      February 20, 2007 at

      And actually Bergeron was even in the 3-0 loss to Boston [ESPN says he was -1], so it’s -10 (+9, -19) and (+7, -15) if you exclude PP+, SH-, EN.

      Thanks for pointing that out Chris. I was pretty sure that the stat as cited was wrong because it didn’t agree with my own information but I didn’t have time to confirm.

    8. February 20, 2007 at

      The organization was waiting for an opportunity to move him…

      This is starting to look like the meat of the issue to me. Considering the deal that was made and the specious reasons offered to explain it, I’m starting to come to the conclusion that a decision maker in the organization just really didn’t like MAyBe all that much.

    9. PDO
      February 20, 2007 at

      Riversq, wasn’t Petersen on the ice for the Smyth goal against Atlanta? Petersen “shot” it, Sykora tipped it, Horcoff jammed it to Smyth and Smyth scored?

      I don’t remember a 6th man on the ice in that situation?

      MC… the sad part was, it was probably one of the toughest interviews Lowe has ever taken. He was actually caught off guard occasionally. I took it as a very small step in the right direction towards accountability.

    10. February 20, 2007 at

      Nothing he said makes me feel any better about anything. Especially:
      “I suspect if really wants to remain here that he would end up doing that”.
      Dear lord. Was Lowe trying to make things worse for himself? Because I’m the opposite of comforted. Unless he announces in the next 5 minutes that Smytty is signed, he’s lost me.

    11. riversq
      February 20, 2007 at

      Yeah PDO, you’re right. I haven’t updated my individual PP stats in awhile so I just skimmed the game sheets. That makes Petersen +2/-1 on the PP which is pretty amazingly bad

    12. mc79hockey
      February 20, 2007 at

      I’m confused. I have Petersen with just the one PP+, in the Atlanta game. When was the other one?

    13. macndub
      February 20, 2007 at

      Smyth is gone. I’ve seen numbers like $5 million for him to resign on these blogs–knowing KLowe’s propensity to overpay, I think if $5 million would do it, it would have been done.

      His wife and agent are complete frickin’ morons if he doesn’t test the market this summer. Smitty ought to feel good about the heartburn he’s probably causing Lowe, because it’s a totally evil position that Lowe’s in.

      I’ve said before that Smyth can’t be moved before the deadline because no value could possibly be received for him, but I expected the Oilers to be closer at this point, frankly. They are so hopeless right now that a first round pick and conditional might be worth it. I got an idea: why not send him to Anaheim? Give him a Cup. (Tongue firmly in cheek).

    14. March 10, 2007 at

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