• Dan Shaugnessy weeps at the opportunity lost

    by  • December 20, 2008 • Uncategorized • 20 Comments

    “They’re both great prospects. Actually, I’ll forget that – we won’t call them prospects anymore we’ll call them players because people get fearful of prospects.”

    Kevin Lowe, immediately following the Ryan Smyth trade

    “No competitiveness,” MacTavish said in his post game comments when asked about benching [Robert] Nilsson in the third period.

    “We try and coddle the competitiveness out of him, but he just didn’t have any again tonight. I’ve had enough and seen enough of it.”

    Craig MacTavish, December 19, 2008

    22 GP 0 G 3 A 3 P

    -Robert O’Marra’s 2008-09 scoring line in the AHL

    Q: You’re back in the NHL now and your Islanders look primed to get back to the playoffs. How were you able to make a deal for Ryan Smyth?

    A: So many names were coming up, like Billy Guerin’s name came up. Then, all of a sudden, Ryan Smyth’s name came up. We put the same offer up to Edmonton that we had put up to other teams and they went for it. Give [Islanders GM] Garth Snow credit — he just stuck with it. When Garth called me at 3 o’clock and told me we got the deal done, I couldn’t believe he pulled that deal off.

    Ted Nolan

    Following the Oilers would be so much more fun if Edmonton had a more vicious press corps. Whether he was right to let him go or not, savaging Lowe for the way that the Smyth trade (let alone the Pronger trade) went down should be the most popular sports in Edmonton.

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    20 Responses to Dan Shaugnessy weeps at the opportunity lost

    1. RiversQ
      December 20, 2008 at

      Beautiful.

      I won’t lie – I was choked after the Pronger trade, but I didn’t tip over the edge until Lowe fucked up the Smyth negotiation with the kind of upper/middle management clusterfuckery that even David Simon couldn’t dream up. I haven’t been “all in” since.

      Frankly, if you consider Lowe’s post-SCF performance and the arena travesty, it’s pretty hard for a thinking person to be an Oiler fan these days.

      I say post-SCF performance because it has been Doug MacLean-esque, but overall Lowe’s entire tenure has been pretty poor. I think you have to hang this season on Lowe as well, because Tambellini had this roster handed to him with little cap space and no time to make changes so it’s hard to say he’s really had much opportunity. On top of that, the Hockey Operations Dept has followed the Kevin Lowe Modus Operandi as purely as possible so far this year.

      If they miss again this year, and I see no reason why that won’t happen, will anyone in the Edm media acknowledge Lowe’s record as a hockey exec this summer? I think not.

      MacT is in line for his head on a pike this time. I’m not sure firing him after the season is a bad move, but he’ll get scapegoated and that will be wrong. There’s no Pronger-gate, or Smyth, or injuries, or “nobody wants to play in Edmonton,” conveniently available this year so the coach is next into the breach as far as I can tell.

    2. Mike
      December 21, 2008 at

      I have to wonder (especially given the history of quality trades by the Isles) – did they truly pull the plug on O’Marra at the right time because they knew he was a bum? Or is this a case of a blind squirrel finding a nut and coming out looking smart?

    3. December 21, 2008 at

      Beware the wrath of Robin Brownlee!!

      He already lost it on me over at ON and you could be next, Ty;)

    4. Lord Bob
      December 21, 2008 at

      Maybe somebody else here can help me out. I was looking through your archives for the post on how great that trade was when Nilsson was piling on the points and Smyth was spending more time in the hospital than on the ice, but I couldn’t find it. Could somebody point me to a link?

      Or are we trying to judge a long-term deal based entirely on the immediate present rather than the past and future? :P

    5. Alex Plante
      December 21, 2008 at

      I think you forgot a pick/player in the trade.

    6. mc79hockey
      December 21, 2008 at

      @Alex – Sure but Lowe didn’t know who you were at the time that he traded for you. He was talking about O’Marra and Row-bear.

      @Lord Bob – I think that the right time to judge a deal is based on what’s known at the time the deal is made. For what it’s worth, Lowe obviously got more than 20 games of Smyth was worth. The problem I have is with how it was handled – I mean, Lowe could have run an auction here but chose not to. Do I think it’s fair to make this post today? Not particularly. Shaughnessy would make it though and it was timely, what with Nilsson getting crapped on by MacT.

    7. mc79hockey
      December 21, 2008 at

      Just to add – Lowe obviously got more than 20 games of Smyth was worth but the teams trading players always get more back then 20 games of that player would be to the team making the trade.

    8. RiversQ
      December 21, 2008 at

      I’d say NYI got a little lucky. The deal with O’Marra is probably injuries. Some guys are like Pouliot where they mostly just lose the ice time. Other guys lose a step, or lose their shit, and never get to a reasonable approximation of what they would have been. NYI deserves some credit I guess – at the least they knew more about him and his med records than the Oilers probably did.

    9. December 21, 2008 at

      Alex Plante says:
      I think you forgot a pick/player in the trade.

      For the record, I swear that isn’t me.

    10. Vic Ferrari
      December 21, 2008 at

      I think that Nilsson is maybe getting harshed on a bit too much here. The Oilers have a lot of players with holes in their games, too many of those on one roster and it’s difficult.

      And on this subject, and speaking of the Isles, SEE the decline of Mike Comrie since the arrival of Doug Weight.

      Funny thing, if Brodziak and Nilsson alone had managed to maintain their wonderful on-ice EV shooting%s from the back third of last season, then the Oilers would be the best EV+/- team in the conference, edging out San Jose. They would still be as exactly mediocre as they are at playing the game of hockey in this conference, but the results would be elite.

      And though the dice have no memory, that was always damn unlikely.

      The Oilers are a better team now than they were at the tail end of last season though. At least I think so (PK aside). If Dennis had been tracking the scoring chances then, I’m sure we would have seen a crazy number of goals relative to the number of chances. Add in some OT and shootout luck and it’s a magical cocktail recipe for wide-eyed optimism.

      Welcome to the hangover, folks.

      They still have a lot of young players who will get better. It won’t happen on it’s own, and it will cost some coaches their hair colour and possibly their jobs, but I imagine that most of the young players will get there eventually.

      I’m feeling RQ’s comment though. I’m not “all in” either, for the same reasons. It would be easier to skip the pain and come back in a year to see how things have shaken out. But I’ll probably still keep watching them for the most part, probably Rivers and the hundreds like him will do the same. Pat has a new post up on the subject that is very good, also.

      Still, it would be nice if this organization would give us a reason to start loving them again. A call for ‘reduced douchebaggery’ doesn’t seem like an outlandish request from where I’m sitting.

    11. December 21, 2008 at

      I won’t lie – I was choked after the Pronger trade, but I didn’t tip over the edge until Lowe fucked up the Smyth negotiation with the kind of upper/middle management clusterfuckery that even David Simon couldn’t dream up. I haven’t been “all in” since.

      Frankly, if you consider Lowe’s post-SCF performance and the arena travesty, it’s pretty hard for a thinking person to be an Oiler fan these days.

      Couldn’t have said it any better.

      But I’ll probably still keep watching them for the most part, probably Rivers and the hundreds like him will do the same.

      I thought I would be the same way, but I haven’t. I actually think I’ve broken free. I’ve watched five games this year, max. And you know what? I feel fine. Turns out I can spend my time and resources in a lot of other areas. Try it, my friends. No stress from poor performance and management. No frustration with a meaningless media. No rage over an arrogant organization that gets rich at your expense. The freedom is exhilarating.

    12. December 21, 2008 at

      It was a simple enough phrase typed by Riv but it seems to have rung true with more than just myself.

      Laforge is a douche, the EIG lied about how poor they were and now that Lowe’s moved on to hassling people for public dollars, he’ll never get the sack for what he did to the on-ice product.

      I just about checked out last season just before they got on their run. Of course there were games like the punch-out at Van and the back-and-forth OT win in Chi that really brought me back but overall I just wasn’t feeling it like I used to. I just chalked it up to getting older and finding new things to do or prioritizing but I think a large portion of the surprising apathy comes from the fact that certain bills never did or never will come due.

      Plus, the Oilers are an especially arrogant org considering their track record over the last 18 years.

    13. slipper
      December 21, 2008 at

      I tried picking another team once. It wasn’t the same for me. If I let the Oilers go I think it would rapidly progress to not watching any sports at all. Fuck, maybe I’d become an artist or something, or one of those guys who read five newspapers a day from front to back, or religous.

      I’m thankful so many of you have shown through example how not to become a jaded sports fan.

    14. mc79hockey
      December 22, 2008 at

      Ah, I can’t break free. For me, it’s not that I don’t care as much about the Oil at the moment, it’s more that I’m paying attention to other stuff or looking into other stuff related to hockey because I have zero faith in this team. The warts get a little easier to ignore when you’ve got a team in the playoff hunt to distract you. As an aside, that Zamboni story is brutal. I can’t believe it didn’t get more play in the local press.

      The Oilers are a better team now than they were at the tail end of last season though. At least I think so (PK aside). If Dennis had been tracking the scoring chances then, I’m sure we would have seen a crazy number of goals relative to the number of chances. Add in some OT and shootout luck and it’s a magical cocktail recipe for wide-eyed optimism.

      Welcome to the hangover, folks.

      They still have a lot of young players who will get better. It won’t happen on it’s own, and it will cost some coaches their hair colour and possibly their jobs, but I imagine that most of the young players will get there eventually.

      I’m feeling RQ’s comment though. I’m not “all in” either, for the same reasons. It would be easier to skip the pain and come back in a year to see how things have shaken out. But I’ll probably still keep watching them for the most part, probably Rivers and the hundreds like him will do the same. Pat has a new post up on the subject that is very good, also.

      This pretty much sums up my position; I’m in the process of doing a post that pretty much says the same thing. The PK is pretty much Chernobyl at this point though – we’re talking about one of the worst PK units in the last five years in terms of preventing shots.

    15. Vic Ferrari
      December 22, 2008 at

      Back to Nilsson:

      On the subject of making the players be accountable, that never happens, in any league, if they don’t think that the coach has the hammer.

      I think that Ron Wilson can carry on pulling this shit forever with BFF and fellow clinical hardass Brian Burke at the helm. But this is exactly the last time that MacTavish can do it, UNLESS Nilsson is made an example of; traded if possible, or more likely, sent to the minors. He’d clear waivers no problem. I mean Jokinen is a better player on a similar contract and nobody nabbed him.

      Hell, with the way the league is now, and with the prospect of a dropping salary cap, I think that the significant majority of NHLers would clear waivers.

    16. Vic Ferrari
      December 22, 2008 at

      Tyler

      On your PK stuff, be sure to use missed and blocked shots. It’s a strange thing in a way, I mean while PKing; blocking a higher percentage of the shots directed at your net should be expected to have a positive relationship with the rate that you allow goals, and it does.

      But the number of shots directed at net by the opposition, well that tells the future a lot better than the number of shots on net. Follow?

      And the PKcorsi- and PPcorsi+ are more repeatable as well.

      This just using 0708 5v4 results, per minute, and randomly breaking the seasons into two halves for the teams over and over.

      Same goes for powerplays, so the correlation of two randomly split seasons, of ‘PP Goals scored per hour of 5v4 PP time in the other half of the season’ to:

      the same: .16
      Shooting%: .01
      shots rate: .24
      corsi+: .39

      Randomness is just enormous here with so little time spent on special teams, causing overall results tend to drift toward the league average with gusto, the only adjustment to be made seems to be the number of shots being directed at net. Though surely there are other things I’m missing.

      So if we have two average PK teams that both are allowing the same number of shots/hr at 5v4 … if team A is blocking way more shots than average, and team C far fewer … the smart money is on team C getting better and team B getting worse. Which admittedly is a bit counterintuitive at first blush.

      Again, I’ve just taken a rough cut at this, I don’t have a model or anything. But that’s pretty clearly the way it shook out in 07/08, over and over with the season sliced up 11 different ways.

    17. December 22, 2008 at

      Obviously, as the only immediately useful piece of the Smyth deal, Nilsson becomes the barometer of that deal’s relative worth, but it bears pointing out here that MacT’s recent comments hardly mean that he’s on his way out of town (though if he could bring back something nice, I think it would make a few people feel better). I mean, what he said about Penner was arguably even more negative, and after a couple of games upstairs, all was (apparently) forgiven, and 27 finally got put in a position to succeed. Of course there’s a limit to how often you can do this, to a player and to a team, but I’m not yet at the point where I totally write off either.

      Of course, the other question is, would this necessarily be the news item it was if the PK had its head out of its ass and was clicking along at its usual top-ten pace? By the simple percentage metric, that’s at least 12 PPGA difference, which would bring us from -11 to +1 (factoring out SO “goals”). How many points’ difference is that?

    18. mc79hockey
      December 22, 2008 at

      @Vic – Great stuff. I may need to go back and check for the earlier years. It makes sense, although it would seem to imply that shot blocking isn’t particularly repeatable.

      @Doogie – Oh yeah, agreed. If there was a vicious media in this town, who lacked a sense of fair play (or who were just tired of getting treated like they’re stupid by the organization), someone would have had some fun with MacT’s comments about Nilsson.

      My rule of thumb: three GD = 1 point. That’s probably conservative though.

    19. December 22, 2008 at

      For the record, my numbers above were mistaken: it’d be -13 to -1; read the wrong set of columns.

      In any case, a change of 12 GD, by MC’s rule of thumb, is four points, or the difference between 13th-place Edmonton and 8th-place Nashville. (With a game in hand, for whatever that’s worth.)

    20. May 6, 2014 at

      ssec, you’ve mentioned this idea a few times about cotutrscnion inflation. I don’t think that’s how things work. The way I see it is that it currently costs a certain amount to build a house (say $X) and a certain amount to buy an established house (say, $Y). Obviously, Y needs to be > X to stimulate housing investment, which I think needs to happen. Your objection seems to be that X is already too high and so monetary stimulus will simply make X higher and houses more unaffordable. But there are two things going on here the level of house prices and people’s expectations of their future nominal income growth. I don’t want to pay X now if I expect my income will be flat or at most rising with inflation over the next 10 years. But I don’t mind paying X+10% (say) if I know my income will be rising by 5% pa over the next 10 years. The problem we have at the moment is that people have made decisions over the last 5-10 years based on the expectation that their nominal incomes will rise at 5-7% pa whereas now they are rising at 3-4%. If the RBA avoids recession, we will eventually reach a new equilibrium with lower interest rates accommodating lower wage growth expectations and broadly stable asset prices. That hasn’t quite happened yet. The alternative (which I advocate) is to move part-way back to the higher nominal growth path we used to have. This will help keep up from the lower bound and minimise adjustment costs to the post-mining investment world.

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