• “Holy mackerel, we’ve recalled a lot of guys from OKC”

    by  • March 30, 2012 • Hockey • 24 Comments

    Another hilarious chapter in the Oilers’ ongoing struggle with the Collective Bargaining Agreement was written on Friday. The Oilers called up Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and then, after he flew from OKC to Edmonton, found out that they couldn’t call him up, as they’d already burned through their four post trade deadline recalls.

    Derek Van Deist had an explanation for what happened on Twitter: “The NHL told them they could, then realized the Oilers couldn’t. VandeVelde was originally an emergency call-up and didn’t count.”

    The Oilers had previously used one of their recalls ensuring that MPS was on the clear day roster in OKC. Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen were called up. That’s three. This brings us to last weekend. Shawn Horcoff’s back started acting up on him. Taylor Hall was already done for the year. Lennart Petrell had a groin problem. That left the Oilers with eleven healthy forwards. Let’s look at the rule, 13.12 in the CBA:

    (l) During the period following 3:00 p. m. New York time of the fortieth (40th) day immediately preceding the final day of the Regular Season no Player may be Recalled from Loan to a club of any league affiliated with the NHL, except that:

    (i) A Club may exercise four Recalls from a club or clubs of any league affiliated with the NHL, of Player(s) listed on its own Reserve List.

    (ii) Players may be Recalled under Article 13.12(m).

    (iii) Players may be Recalled upon completion of the regular season and playoff schedule of the club to which they were Loaned.

    (m) Emergency Recall.

    (i) A Player on Loan to a club of any league affiliated with the League may be Recalled from such Loan under emergency conditions at
    any time for the duration of the emergency only following which he must be returned promptly to the club from which he was Recalled.

    (ii) Emergency conditions shall be established when the playing strength of the Loaning Club, by reason of incapacitating injury or illness or by League suspension to its Players is reduced below the level of two (2) goalkeepers, six (6) defensemen and twelve (12) forwards. Proof of the existence of the emergency conditions including the incapacity shall be furnished to the Commissioner of the League upon request made by him.

    OK, so this straightforward enough. As of last weekend, the Oilers had made three of their four recalls. Their forward strength drops below twelve forwards, so they call up Chris Vande Velde. All perfectly in order with the rule.

    Where I would assume that this gets problematic is that, come Wednesday night, Horcoff and Petrell are good to go. Omark and Vande Velde are healthy scratches. At which point, the Oilers are in breach of 13.12(m)(i) because they haven’t returned Vande Velde promptly to OKC. How do you resolve this? It appears that the NHL took the utterly reasonable route of simply treating Vande Velde as the Oilers fourth recall in the post trade deadline period.

    I’m told (although I didn’t hear it) that one of the Oilers’ radio employees was rather contemptuous of the NHL here, as they supposedly first told the Oilers that it was fine to bring up MPS and then, after he’d started travelling, told them that it wasn’t. With the greatest of respect, this seems nuts. The time for the Oilers to be asking this question was on Monday or Tuesday, before they let Vande Velde hang around. If they asked the NHL then, the NHL said Vande Velde could stay and then it changed its position, I have some sympathy. It was on the Oilers to make sure that they knew what the league’s understanding of “he must be returned promptly to the club from which he was Recalled” though and it sure looks like they failed to do so before committing to Vande Velde by failing to send him down.

    The nice thing is that this means they might as well keep Vande Velde around for the rest of the year. He doesn’t make big money, MPS will over the course of his career, nothing matters this year, so fine – let a guy who won’t make big bucks in his career put $20,000 in his jeans. Of course, if you’re interested in seeing the Oilers win some day, this is just another piece of evidence that the management team is not a particularly detail oriented group.

    Update: Terry Jones has a story with some quotes from Kevin Lowe that has to be read to be believed:

    “It’s ludicrous,” said Kevin Lowe, president of hockey operations.

    “The intent of the rule is to protect the AHL a bit from teams sending down six or eight players at the end of the season.

    “All the general managers feel the same way — it’s a rule that needs to be changed.

    “It wasn’t Tambellini at all. And I’d hate to see Ricky take a hit on this. He is impeccable when it comes to dealing with all of this.”

    Now, it’s not clear what, exactly, Lowe is talking about. It sounds like he’s talking about the clear day roster rule in the AHL – that’s the rule that prevents teams from sending six or eight players down at the end of the season. If you aren’t on the clear day roster, you can’t play. But that’s not really the issue here – the issue here is the fact that the Oilers are limited to four recalls post trade deadline. That’s why MPS wasn’t allowed to play. I think that’s the rule that GMs are up in arms about – Brian Burke was all upset about that immediately post trade deadline.

    Of course, the Oilers burned one of those recalls doing a paper recall with MPS, in which they were effectively trying to game the AHL rules and do what the clear day rule is designed to prevent. So I’ve literally no idea what Lowe’s point is here. The AHL rules are intended to try and make sure that AHLers are the ones play in the AHL playoffs by limiting eligibility to those who were on AHL rosters towards the end of the year. There’s a dodge, the paper demotion/recall, which comes with a cost of burning one of the recalls that the NHL CBA permits you. The Oilers incurred this cost with MPS and then, apparently, were stunned when the bill came due.

    It’s hard to overstate how stupid this defence is. It’s tantamount to saying “Well, we were totally aware of the rules, we just thought that they were stupid and therefore inapplicable.” This is the dumbest defence possible. “We had no idea that there were any rules whatsoever and it never occurred to us to ask” would be a better defence. I don’t understand how the Oilers could possibly have thought that this recall was permissible, based on what Lowe’s said.

    John MacKinnon at the Edmonton Journal basically handwaves all of this away: “…the Paajarvi ‘easy-come-easy-go’ fiasco is mighty small beer in the overall scheme of things. It’s embarrassing, but everybody lived, for example.”

    He has a point: if you have “death” as your standard of failure, then yes, it’s like the 32nd successful season in a row for the Oilers. Sure, it’s six years without a playoff appearance and they’re within spitting distance of clinching the title of “Worst team since the lockout” but NOBODY HAS DIED. For those of us who aim slightly higher, who think “not making the playoffs for six years” should be a measuring stick rather than “nobody died.” this is another sign: the people in the front office have no idea what they’re doing. Picking Hall and RNH is the easy part. Actually, complying with the rules in the CBA is pretty bloody easy too. The hard part is moving from “having a bunch of talented young players” to “being an elite hockey team.” I’ve no idea why, other than hope, people would expect that of this group.


    24 Responses to “Holy mackerel, we’ve recalled a lot of guys from OKC”

    1. March 30, 2012 at

      LOLOLOLOLOLOL *sobs*

    2. March 30, 2012 at

      The “emergency” thing is garbage. Vande Velde is *still* with the team, and they had a healthy forward line of scratches today.

      Stupid stupid stupid.

    3. Dennis
      March 30, 2012 at

      So this is basically the Oilers getting a lend of a guy’s wrench and thinking he guy had forgotten about it and then getting all huffy when he shows up looking for it.

      Oilers assumed VDV didn’t count as a real recall even though they made him a healthy scratch? Christ, this is like making sure you turned off the gas, isn’t it?

      • March 30, 2012 at

        This is a rebuild, Dennis. Sometimes you need a wrench for a little while. Sometimes the wrench wants to stay because it can see you’re getting elite talent.

    4. Dennis
      March 30, 2012 at

      pat: you’re on fire today:)

    5. Woodguy
      March 30, 2012 at

      “I’m told (although I didn’t hear it) that one of the Oilers’ radio employees was rather contemptuous of the NHL here, as they supposedly first told the Oilers that it was fine to bring up MPS and then, after he’d started travelling, told them that it wasn’t.”

      That was the story that first circulated.

      The new one is that the Oilers simply forgot about the PRV up and down thing at the deadline. I’m told Terry Jones will be writing about it.

      Hope he does something with it, its pretty rich.

      Attention to detail isn’t SOP at Oiler HQ.

    6. skinny65
      March 31, 2012 at

      This depresses me beyond belief. Just a basic level of competence. Seriously. It’s not that hard. Hire one of us, we care enough to try.
      I know it’s a pipe dream, but the fact that neither coach or gm contract has been announced yet lets me dream.
      For a couple of weeks anyway, then it’s hard core drinking time as I think about how they will find new ways to screw up the good things already in place in new and super exciting ways!!!
      This sort of idiocy is Tallon like. When he messed up all the rfa stuff. It’s just super basic, do your job, you are getting paid a very good wage. At least check the contract kinda stuff.
      Sigh…okay, its drinking time.
      Why do we like this team again?
      I would pay good money for a half hour sit down with tambo. A list of actual questions a mile long (and more importantly, follow up questions!!). If only that would come to fruition (hey msm!!!)
      Great work as always Tyler!!

      • May 7, 2014 at

        ^. . Background: I’m applying for an MFA in cvaitere writing program, and I’ve never taken a cvaitere writing course. Most of my cvaitere writing knowledge comes from research I did on my own. I’m wondering if during my research I at least learned the basics of cvaitere writing, or if I really do need to take a course before starting the program? What do you think? I know most of the literary elements and how they can be implemented, though I can’t say that I implement them well..

    7. Mike
      March 31, 2012 at

      My hope is that this sort of thing irks Katz. The guy is a lawyer, built an empire by making sure every detail was checked twice, and seems like he monitors his team pretty closely. Fingers crossed that he concludes that Olczyk (as the sacrificial lamb) is not the right man to be guiding his bosses through the intricacies of the CBA.

    8. Art V
      March 31, 2012 at

      Of course MacKinnon waives it off.
      Like Staples and the other unofficial Oilers employees nominally on the payroll of the local fishwrap, he’s not going to hold the hockey team’s management to account.
      When taxpayers have built the billionaire carpet-bagger his new arena, MacKinnon, Staples, et al will be in line for cushy jobs inside the org, where they won’t even have to pretend anymore to be objective.

    9. Ben Carter
      March 31, 2012 at

      How does MacKinnon type that shit with a straight face? Trying to divert attention by bringing up the Gauthier firing. Montreal’s mildly competent ownership fired their moronic GM after several disastrous years. What’s our excuse? I’m sure you’ll come up with something. What a fucking joke of a franchise.

      • Maestro Fresh Mess
        March 31, 2012 at

        If the Habs were the Oilers, Gautier would have been promoted,

    10. Dennis
      March 31, 2012 at

      The death as only symbol of failure is goddamn rich, no? When was the point when John MacKinnon didnt write about this club because i would like to go back there and reclaim some of my sanity.

    11. S931404
      March 31, 2012 at

      I also love the fact that Kevin Lowe decided it was appropriate to throw Rick Olczyk under the bus. Excellent job as the leader of the organization to take responsibility. I can’t wait till Lowe is the gm of team Canada at the worlds. I assume he will declare the fact that we can only have players from Canada as “stupid” when told he can’t have Malkin on his team.

      • Doogie2K
        March 31, 2012 at

        To be fair, the CBA is Olczyk’s fucking job. This is at least three times the Oilers have boned something that more than one fan could’ve told you offhand. Including some who weren’t even lawyers.

    12. FastOil
      March 31, 2012 at

      “It wasn’t Tambellini at all. And I’d hate to see Ricky take a hit on this. He is impeccable when it comes to dealing with all of this.”

      I doubt Lowe actually performs the routine business of the team. If it isn’t Tambellini, and it isn’t “Ricky”, who else could be responsible? Interesting that he calls the GM by his surname, and the CBA expert (who apparently can’t understand it), he calls by his nick name.

      Olczyk has bungled before, and I can’t see any point to his employment if he’s not the resource for these issues. I agree with Mike in that I hope Katz finds these little incidents deeply embarrassing. I’m embarrassed by the apparent professional immaturity of those running team, Katz must be, right?

    13. spOILer
      March 31, 2012 at

      I don’t think “impeccable” means what Lowe thinks it means.

      Perhaps Brule’s agent should explain the definition to him. Or maybe Khabi’s.

    14. Darren
      March 31, 2012 at


      “Such things do happen, mind you. Ask Dale Tallon”
      -Yeah, and he got fired for that.

      “As end-of-season conversation starters, it’s not the sort of thing that will have legs. Not compared to the cannonball the Toronto Maple Leafs have tucked into as season’s end approaches”
      -Unfortunately we live in Edmonton and not Toronto, and quite frankly no one really gives a shit what happens in TO.
      Also, it has legs if you make it have legs

      “In Montreal, Canadiens principal owner Geoff Molson has tried to change the conversation altogether by sacking GM Pierre Gauthier, so fans, sponsors, suite and season-ticket holders can speculate hopefully about who is going to ride to the rescue of that once-great franchise. Good luck with that.”
      -In Edmonton, the Oilers just get their shills in the media to defend every move. Cheaper that way.

      “the Paajarvi redirection play won’t diminish the fact that this remains a promising team in a slow rebuild that has two players up for serious consideration for NHL post-season awards. So there’s that to cling to”
      -Why should I care about personal awards when all indication is that the Oilers will continue to suck and the good players will continue to move out of Edmonton?

      “The Oilers, on the other hand, are attempting to manufacture emotion as the season winds down. It’s apparently not as easy as that might sound.”
      -They sure do a good job of making mind-boggling moves and showing their incompentence.

      Seriously, why does anyone pay attention to MacKinnon? All this ass kissing, and still not even an ‘hall of fame’ reader like Jones.

      That must hurt

      Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Oilers+snafu+forces+call+Paajarvi+back/6389074/story.html#ixzz1qieQpsiA

    15. The Other John
      March 31, 2012 at

      Love the day after the airmile extraganza for MPS and management apologists scrutinize the screw up nine ways from tomorrow and simply end up saying “WTF”. Nearest equivalent moving forward that I can think of will be resigning Cam Barker.

      That edition of Oil Change will include: “Can never have enough D men” “Stu saw Barker 6-7 years ago and thought both he and Alexander Daigle would be real good pros” and,my personal favorite, “Stevie Y really likes Barker” (as an aside, if ST actually says that, can we trade Barker to TB?). Will be fascinating to see what MacKinnon reports of that signing, “Barker resigns with Oil, no one dies”

    16. March 31, 2012 at

      So the Oilers still haven’t clinched the “worst in the CBA” title? What W-L record to they and Columbus need to clinch?

    17. Matt.N
      March 31, 2012 at

      You forgot about the whole “There are two caps” thing. YOU ARE WRONG!

    18. Subversive
      March 31, 2012 at

      Man this is a good blog. I read it despite being a Flames fan. Love your stuff.

    19. Dark Phoenix
      April 2, 2012 at

      “Brian Burke was all upset about that immediately post trade deadline.”

      And I don’t really blame him about this; the 4 callups rule is an incredibly stupid rule. What’s Bettman afraid of, that teams out of the playoffs might treat the last 10 games of the season as a rookie tryout?

    20. Hambone
      April 2, 2012 at

      So the Edmonton Oilers management team is incompetent. In other news, hockey is a game played with sticks on frozen water. As Michael Lewis wrote in Moneyball (paraphrasing), they must surely be judged on something other than competence to be able to hold on to their positions. As a student of management, I find this very strange.

      When I read stories like this, I can’t help but wonder where Daryl Katz is in all of this. We know that the guy is a reclusive billionaire. We also know that he’s something of a jock-sniffing sports team owner, being buddies with Lowe and the rest of the boys on the bus. However, I think it’s doubtful that he became a pharmaceutical magnate by being a poor judge of managerial talent. So we can assume that he has been watching and judging Lowe and Tambellini’s performance, just as he likely scrutinizes the performance of all the other people on his payroll. We can assume that he has as much or better information than the people who read this blog. Anyone with a computer can read Tyler’s or other blogs, and Katz can simply call up Tambo any time he likes.

      So what does Katz think about the third-straight season as a doormat? What does he think of the dismal results in a results-oriented business that sits squarely in the public eye? Surely he knows about the financial missteps; after all, he pays the bills. Would it kill him to get out in front of a microphone and tell us all what he’s thinking?

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