• I had to look up Joseph de Maistre

    by  • February 28, 2011 • Uncategorized • 12 Comments

    Pointing out cretinous stuff in the media was kind of fun in the aftermath of the Smyth trade and, while the last four years have gone a long way to stomp the care about this team out of me, I can still take joy in hammering at the reasoning that graces the pages of the local fishwraps. First up: Terry Jones.

    I follow ol’ TJ on Twitter – he’s great, particularly in comparison to Jim Matheson, who is a trainwreck – but Jones’ take on this deal is crazy. He probably gives the game away with a tweet: “OK. Got trade column wrestled. Obviously, having written ‘Trade Penner. Keep Hemsky’ column, I was in favor of it” but it’s been a while since I’ve jumped all over a local journalist, so what the hell – I’ll examine his pretend rationale.

    And the Oilers have, remarkably, managed to get back what they gave up for Penner in the first place.

    That’s the thing to keep in mind here.

    Penner cost the Oilers a first, second and a third round draft choice as a restricted free agent signing.

    The Oilers sent him back to California for two firsts and a third (2012) that could turn into a second-round pick if — cringe — Penner, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene lead the Kings to the Stanley Cup.

    I’ve written at some length about how Lowe is basically a creature of his own past. He vacillates between extreme courses of action based, apparently, solely on how things went last time. The Comrie situation didn’t work out? Trade Pronger now, return be damned. Leaving Ryan Smyth to the last minute didn’t increase his leverage? Pay Shawn Horcoff coming off a shooting percentage driven season so that he doesn’t get leverage!

    In this case, making a deal with the Ducks that returned a draft pick if they won the Conference in the Pronger trade means that we get another crafty looking conditional pick here. Only, really, the chance of the Kings winning the Cup is pretty remote. Betfair puts that at about a 4% chance of happening. And, if the Kings win the Cup, that first round pick is thirtieth overall. As an insurance policy, or a piece of hedging, it kind of stinks.

    That’s not the real problem here though. The real problem is this pernicious idea that the Oilers have somehow managed to get back what they gave up for Penner. It’s garbage. First of all, Jones acts as if a “first round draft pick” is a “first round draft pick.” It’s not. The Oilers gave up the 12th, 42nd and 72nd pick to get Penner. Of note as well is that their choice could well have been in the lottery without Penner – the Oilers missed the lottery by nine points, after playing and winning an astronomical number of OT/SO games. They weren’t as good as their record and the loss of goals from Penner could easily have seen them plummet. Do you trade, say, the 5th, 35th and 65th picks for these?

    Jones is missing something else too: I don’t see the last four years I’ve spent following this team coming back in the package and I’m not even an Oilers season ticket holder, in which case I’d be wondering where my $16K was too. I’m four years closer to the grave and the rebuild stretches as far as the eye can see. His “count the picks” analysis doesn’t allow for that. If you were to chart the value that comes from draft picks, the curve on those 2008 picks would be starting to ramp upwards around now. If Tambellini was getting back what the Oilers gave up, he’d be getting something along the lines of Luke Schenn plus two other twenty year old prospects back. Instead, he gets one question mark and picks that are expected to be less for the future.

    Lowetide’s as respected an analyst of the Oilers as anyone else in the mainstream media, so his analysis is worth paying some attention to as well. He set it up as what he thought they needed to get, and then his thoughts:

    If the Oilers are convinced Penner won’t sign for a good number, this might be the time to deal him. Penner is having a good season, he’s healthy and it isn’t beyond reasonable for another team to believe he can help them go deep this spring. Return: A very good young player in his entry level contract or an outstanding prospect, plus a pick.

    I think the Oilers covered that return.

    Again, all due respect to LT, but five defencemen picked after Teubert in the first round have already played 56 or more NHL games. I’m not going to pretend to have an opinion about someone I haven’t seen but there are warning signs with Teubert already. An outstanding prospect? I don’t know that you can reasonably say that today, considering where he’s fallen relative to his draft class. It is, of course, way too early to write him off but I don’t think anyone can reasonably claim to know much about him beyond bland quotes. We know that he hasn’t lit the AHL on fire and that he’s fallen behind people picked after him. That’s it. For this you basically kick the competitiveness ball another year or two down the field?

    In following the meltdown of the American economy, I’ve understood how much some of the people want blood, even at the expense of their own best interests. There are people advocating the collapse of banks and letting the cards fall where they might, even when that would visit all sorts of hardship on the American people. It just pisses them off that the rational move involves letting many of the bastards who are responsible for the crisis off the hook. I get that urge, although I try to be a pretty coldly rational guy, and I have a hard time understanding why you’d want to punish people if it hurt your interests. If it doesn’t hurt your interests though? How can you not want them put to the sword or, at least, kept far from the levers of power?

    The Penner move was ill-conceived from the moment it was made – as I said at the time:

    The fact of the matter is, the moves that Lowe needs to make to fix this team aren’t there right now and probably, with the exception of the Lupul trade, haven’t been there since the beginning of the summer. It’s circumstance, it sucks that but that’s it. If you aren’t willing to spend five years in the tank, building an elite club requires a long series of making smart bets and having some of them hit bigger than you’ve got any right to expect them too. Lowe’s moves this summer have, with the exception of Vanek, been devoid of that possibility. The Oilers might be better next year with Penner than without, but limiting the exposure to a finish in the real depths of the league has come at the cost of future possibilities to finish higher.

    Lowetide mentioned in his comments that he didn’t like the Penner move when it was made either and it’s true:

    he’s going to cost the Oilers their first round pick in a deep, deep draft. A pick that could be a lottery selection. Are you going to be happy if the Oilers lose an impact player rolling out past 2020 for this guy? I know the answer will come back “these picks are a crapshoot” and I call Bull Durham. The Oilers are (from my pov) a team with an excellent shot at a top 10 pick WITH Penner, and that pick goes to Anaheim should Burke pass on the opportunity to match. That pick in this draft should mean an outstanding prospect, easily the best in the Oilers organization.

    The Edmonton Oilers have some nice things, but they aren’t going to win the division and they aren’t going to make the playoffs. And THEN we’ll get to watch as Brian Burke drafts a fine young piece for his Anaheim Ducks who will play long past Dustin Penner.

    As bad as it felt to lose the SCF, or endure Pronger being dealt, or even to watch Ryan Smyth crying at the airport, this takes the cake. Kevin Lowe has mortgaged the future in his search for mediocrity.

    If you like average, you’ll love the Oilers.

    Average is, to borrow a phrase, a distant bell at the moment. Why would you want the same regime making decisions?

    I am by no means sold that this is the right trade for the Oilers right now, although I can at least see the rationale behind it. It requires a frank acknowledgment that signing Penner in the first place was an asinine strategy that a millionaire hockey executive should not have concocted and that this is nothing more than an attempt to undo some of the damage. The continued employment of that executive should be indefensible.

    What galls me is that the brain trust responsible for executing the previous ill conceived plan not only gets to try again despite being demonstrably inept, they’ve got the deans of the local media lining up to offer shaky justifications and rationalizations that fall apart with the slightest of thought. The most notable blogger in town, who predicted exactly how it would play out, still defends the regime, on the basis of a description of Colten Teubert that is probably fairly described as “charitable.” I mean, so what if Stu McGregor likes him? He’s a guy who got a few draft picks right, it looks like – lets not set him up in a villa in Mexico yet and just wait for his pronouncements as to who will be an NHLer and who won’t, other evidence be damned. I’m genuinely baffled that people can defend them, given that there’s no consequences attached to replacing them with someone, anyone, who isn’t responsible for what went on before. The banks aren’t going to fail if Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe don’t have jobs tomorrow. But they’ll be gone.

    Joseph de Maistre said that every country has the government it deserves. Edmonton, with the rink full every night to watch a terrible team and a media that exists to rationalize and justify the decisions of people like Lowe and Tambellini by way of terrible logic and faulty reasoning, has the hockey team that it deserves. It might get lucky and have a decent team in a few years time if a bunch of these young players turn out but that won’t be the team that it deserves – it will be the team that the NHL’s cartel policies gift them with. Don’t get too used to it – they’ll screw it up again. And Edmonton will deserve it.


    12 Responses to I had to look up Joseph de Maistre

    1. RiversQ
      March 1, 2011 at

      Well said Tyler. I was really confused by LT’s assessment of the deal as well. I’m really not sure how it’s possible to rectify his expectations for a proper return on Penner with what they actually received.

      Yes, Edmonton deserves this team. 100%. The best possible outcome would be for fans to stop showing up at least long enough for Lowe and Tambo to get canned. It seems possible to me. Surely, in 2012-2013 when the Oilers are staring a fourth straight bottom three finish, people will give up. I find it hard to believe that even this stretch run will see good attendance either.

    2. chartleys
      March 1, 2011 at

      I still say we start some magic bean protests. Offer a lifetimes supply of them if they will stop managing the oilers.

    3. Chris
      March 1, 2011 at

      I don’t think too many people have any reason to be satisfied with this trade. I can accept that trading Penner now or at the next deadline may be a rational course of action. But Colin Teubert and a late first rounder really aren’t an acceptable return.

      You know Penner is going to play the remainder of this season and all of next season. He’ll likely clock in at another 25-30 goals next year. The number of players who will produce at a similair clip is a limited number. Given that we have a relatively rare asset to peddle presuming you have no confidence that he will resign here, you have to hold out for a return that you can say with reasonable confidence will turn into actual NHL games played.

      What bothers me most about this trade is that no one replaces Penner in the line up from the LA kings. Nor is anyone likely to be inserted into the line up next season as the return on this trade. What we now have is two big maybes that two to three years ago we may see one or two places in the line up as a result of this. That’s one huge if!

      Tambellini is the anti-Tupac, he’s hard at work trying to turn a dollar into two pennies. We turned a year and a half of a thirty goal scorer into what I’m going to charitably call a 60% chance (I’m rounding up from a 1st round pick at 27% x 2…yes that might be generous towards Teubert)of someone who plays more than those 100 NHL games.

      If Dennis ever starts his own website it really should be called “Lowe and the Beanstalk” because lord does our management ever love “magic beans”.

    4. The Other John
      March 1, 2011 at


      I do not think it was fair of you in the Tyler’s other thread to suggest that LT has joined the MSM …following the Oiler line of drivel. He simply deserves better. For his incredibly hard work, his sense of fairness and his commitment to our team. When I read his Iacta alea est post I actually thought: Wow way better man than me, he is disappointed but is truly looking to see how the Oilers get through this moving forward.

      Me, I think I am like Woodguy. I actually think I am not renewing my tickets. Pretty sad day

      I do disagree with both LT and Terry Jones’s analysis. Bad trade! Potentially really bad trade. It will only be redeemed by a very very lucky draft pick. Picking a star in the 20 – 25 slot this summer. Very tough to do

      Tuebert has all sorts of flags up: not having played a a single game in the NHL when 10 of the defencemen drafted in 2008 have already played 70 games or more. Five of whom were drafted after Tuebert. He is the 3rd or 4th best defensive prospect the Kings had. That would make him the 7th or 8th best prospect overall they had (Schenn, Loktionov and Moller) in the system. Lombardi is still laughing….”my 8th best prospect”

      The MSM will fall all over themselves parroting whatever line the Oilers tell them.
      If they spent 20 minutes looking at the 2008 draft they would know he was a bad pick. Actually somewhat similar to Ryan O’Marra.

      I also expect we will not see Tuebert this year in NHL. That way we will not be exposed to what a shitty deal it is till next October.

      It is always fun to be in a room and try to determine who the smartest and stupidest guy in the room is. Oiler senior hockey management is definitely one of the two.

    5. Chris
      March 1, 2011 at

      I think the most frustrating thing about this team is that it wouldn’t be all that hard to fix. For all the ink that gets spilled about how no one wants to play here, its absolute bullshit. We may have to pay a premium but if players are even semi-rational we put enough money on the table and people will be hard pressed to say no.

      Overpay on one to two year deals to bring the young players we have along and hell by the time they’re ready we ought to have a good team and lo and behold players will genuinely want to play here as besides money players like winning. All this non-sense about needing better dressing rooms, new arenas and the like is just that bloody non-sense and excuses for completely incompetent management.

      Just put the money on the table – you could bring back Eric Brewer for two years at 5 million a year. You could add Marty Reasoner for 4 million over two years. Pay Jan Hedja 3 million dollars a year for the next two years. Pay Jussi Jokinen or Tanguay 3.5 million over two to bring them on board. Hell pay them 4 million.

      In the short term there is capspace to burn and we have at least two years before any of the kids are going to get paid. Our young players will be better if we don’t have the team in a death spiral.

    6. Jon K
      March 1, 2011 at

      Arguably, it’s been apparent since the summer of 2006 that this management regime has no idea how to cope with the added intracies of the (“new”) CBA. Despite this, Oilers fans have continued to tolerate their incompetence. One would think that at some point the public will lose faith in management and ownership will make decisions that reflect that. I mean, logically that has to be the inevitable conclusion to this regime, right? At this point I’m beginning to doubt whether that day is coming.

      I’ve always felt badly for Jets fans. If Bettman swallows his pride and gives them a team again I might follow that with great interest.

    7. Бохолого
      March 1, 2011 at

      MC, you sound a little too pissed off to be coldly rational on this; maybe that’s why you’re too hard on Lowetide, who I submit is no MSM lapdog.

      That aside, I’m pissed off too. Pretending for a moment, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Oilers management has a plan: sustained scorched earth to realize serial lottery pick status that will transmute to Glory Days II.

      I am cherry picking here, but given this year’s standings and what can only be next year’s cellar dwelling finish, let’s assess the utility of cratering for consecutive seasons. Here’s one example:
      1992-#2 Alexei Yashin
      1993-#1 Alex Daigle
      1994-#3 Radek Bonk
      1995-#1 Bryan Berard
      1996-#1 Chris Phillips
      That was a long, long streak of futility that I got to witness first hand one year-the Sens were dreadful. The result? Not one Hall of Fame player in any of those drafts, and only one star, who later demanded a trade.

      Another streak of crushing futility:
      1992-#4 Todd Warriner
      1991-#1 Eric Lindros
      1990-#1 Owen Nolan
      1989-#1 Mats Sundin
      1988-#3 Curtis Lyschshyn

      Two possible HOFers, one all star out of that bunch. Not a bad haul for such a prolonged period of suck. And you may point out the Cup in Denver not long afterwards. But not one of these guys had much to do with that Cup: Lindros was in Philly, Nolan was in SJ, and Sundin was in TO by the time that happened. So I would put that down to good asset management in Denver, plus the serendipity of a Patrick Roy tantrum that resulted in a good goalie getting shipped to a team in a trade that wouldn’t have happened if the team was still playing at Le Colisee.

      So even if the Oilers happen to run the table on a series of lottery picks, what are the odds that a) any will turn out to be generational talents like Lindros, b) that none of them will demand trades like Yashin or Lindros, and c) that the Oilers braintrust will have the savvy to properly manage these assets to build a balanced, Cup worthy squad?

      Anyway, Joseph de Maistre, I suspect, didn’t spend much time in Burma. Most Burmese are Buddhist, and there’s a joke there: in past lives all Burmese were Americans and all Americans were Burmese.

    8. Doogie2K
      March 1, 2011 at

      Two possible HOFers, one all star out of that bunch. Not a bad haul for such a prolonged period of suck. And you may point out the Cup in Denver not long afterwards. But not one of these guys had much to do with that Cup: Lindros was in Philly, Nolan was in SJ, and Sundin was in TO by the time that happened. So I would put that down to good asset management in Denver, plus the serendipity of a Patrick Roy tantrum that resulted in a good goalie getting shipped to a team in a trade that wouldn’t have happened if the team was still playing at Le Colisee.

      No, but the Lindros trade begat Forsberg, Ricci, Simon, and Duchene, as well as the pick that became Thibault, who was one of the key players (ugh) in the Roy deal, while Sundin begat Wendel Clark who begat Claude Lemieux, and Nolan became Ozolinsh. So while the picks themselves weren’t there, the bounty ultimately formed the core of that team.

    9. RiversQ
      March 1, 2011 at


      I do not think it was fair of you in the Tyler’s other thread to suggest that LT has joined the MSM …following the Oiler line of drivel.

      To be fair that was mostly tongue in cheek.

      He simply deserves better. For his incredibly hard work, his sense of fairness and his commitment to our team.

      No, he should get it right. When his take is nonsensical it should be pointed out.

      When I read his Iacta alea est post I actually thought: Wow way better man than me, he is disappointed but is truly looking to see how the Oilers get through this moving forward.

      I thought the same thing along with “How can he get this so fucking wrong?” and “Why does he directly contradict himself?”

    10. Garnet
      March 2, 2011 at

      I think there are some people who just need to be an optimist about things they care about. Lowetide might be one such person. And, honestly, this issue boils down to one player. If Teubert were truly a top prospect, there’d be no beef about the trade. If someone on the order of Schenn or Cody Hodgson were the player included with the picks, we’d all like this deal, no? Lowetide is just expressing hope that Teubert turns into a good NHL player. There’s no proving him wrong, yet.

    11. March 3, 2011 at

      Бохолого, while I don’t disagree with your assesment of Oilers management, the value of cratering for consecutive seasons is undeniable.

      How about:
      2002 – #5 Ryan Whitney
      2003 – #1 Marc-Andre Fleury
      2004 – #2 Evgeni Malkin
      2005 – #1 Sidney Crosby
      2006 – #2 Jordan Staal

      or even just:
      2006 – #3 Jonathan Toews
      2007 – #1 Patrick Kane

      We all agree that Pittsburgh is the exception and Chicago got some lucky drafts otherwise, but there’s no point aiming for average. If you’re not one of the 10 best teams you should be one of the 5 worst.

    12. Hambone
      March 4, 2011 at

      Tyler, wow. Full of well-placed venom, but all of it fair. “Four years closer to the grave” has kind of a grim tone. Are you ready to give up on being an Edmonton Oilers blogger and going back to other, less fruitless pursuits? As much as I like the blog, I can’t say I would blame ya.

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