• How many abo-digitals do you see killing penalties?

    by Tyler Dellow • December 28, 2007 • Uncategorized • 73 Comments

    Longtime Oiler fave Joffrey Lupul explained his difficulties playing for Craig MacTavish to NHL.com:

    “He was the type of coach that had a couple guys he was really comfortable with and he played them 23, 24 minutes a game,” Lupul said. “The other guys had to scrap it out for the bottom 12 minutes. I never really got into that comfort zone with him. He never really trusted me as far as John Stevens does, as far as penalty killing and four-on-four play and last minutes of periods. It gives you a lot of confidence when you come in and a coach shows that much confidence in you.”

    There are really two complaints here: first, that MacT runs a top heavy bench and second that young Lups wasn’t getting the opportunities to build his confidence by killing penalties, playing four on four and playing in the last minute of the period. I have to admit that I was a bit stunned by the comment about the top heavy bench – I’ve always thought that liking a deep bench was something of a MacT trademark, never more noticeable than the Oilers run in 2005-06 when they, you know, beat Lupul’s Ducks in five. The numbers, I think, bear this out.

    Here’s what I did: I have an Excel spreadsheet with all of the event summaries from last year, which includes the time that each player played. I tagged each guy game by game as getting the 1st to 12th most minutes on his team amongst forwards. I then compiled the averages for each team for the forward with the most, second most etc. ice time. While I’ve presented the information for each spot in the lineup, I’ve also tabulated 1-3 as first line, 4-6 as second line, 7-9 as third line and 10-12 as fourth line. In my view, this largely confirms what I thought about how MacT runs his bench, at least for last year:

    So the grouping of Oilers forwards that played the least, relative to the corresponding forward groups on other teams was players number 1-3. This would be exactly the opposite of what Lupul said. In all honesty, I don’t know how you can play for MacT for a year and be surprised this – I’ve always just noticed it from the TV. Lups got top nine minutes in 73 of the 81 games that he played (despite being a highly paid constant reminder that the Pronger deal was oh so bad). He played more than 12 minutes in 73 games, more than 13 minutes in 67 games, more than 14 minutes in 56 games, more than 15 minutes in 49 games and more than 16 minutes in 37 games. He got a large push in the first half of the season, averaging 16.34 minutes in ice time (with little in the way of numbers killing, onerous penalty killing duties) scoring 12 goals and adding 5 assists in that time. The guy got a reasonable push, particularly at the start of the year – this included time when the Oilers needed a goal, as his 5 ENG against attest to – and just didn’t get it done. Pointing at the coach and poor mouthing him about ice time, particularly when that complaint appears to have no basis in fact seems like awfully poor form to me – the guy just did not get it done in Edmonton. You can advance the argument that he should have had more of a shot if you want but it’s hard to argue that he deserved it. In Lupul’s defence (I think that you can put those words in that order and have it be grammatically correct) it looks like Anaheim may be an even more egalitarian – the Ducks of the past two years shared the ice time pretty well, although my vague recollection is that 2005-06 was more top heavy, with Lupul in the group getting the minutes.

    As for his other complaints – killing penalties, playing four on four and playing in the last minute of the period – I’d like to know who exactly he thinks that he should have been playing in front of. Until the Smyth trade signalled the Oilers descent into the abyss, I can’t see how the guy has any sort of an argument to be on the ice in the last minute of the period unless Smyth, Horcoff and Hemsky and Pisani, Stoll and Torres were unavailable. At least for the first part of the year, Lupul was getting long looks when it was a late situation in which the Oilers needed a goal – what did he want, more defensive minutes? Who does he think that he should have been playing ahead of?

    Four on four? Easiest way for me to take a peak at this is by looking at the Oilers OT and SO games:

    November 7, 2006 v. MTL – Played about 1:30 in a SO loss
    November 18, 2006 v. DET – Played about 2:00 in a SO loss
    November 28, 2006 v. ANA – Played about 1:00 in an OT game that ended at 2:19
    January 4, 2007 v. DAL – Played about 2:00 in an SO loss
    January 5, 2007 v. VAN – Played 0:00 in an OT loss that ended at 1:24
    January 8, 2007 v. LA – Played 0:00 in an OT win that ended at 1:14 (Dan F. Hejda!)
    February 15, 2007 v. BUF – Played 0:00 in an OT loss that ended at 1:02 (Thanks again, pizza lady who made me miss the Horcoff goal)
    February 20, 2007 v. OTT – Played 0:00 in a SO loss
    February 23, 2007 v. DET – Got injured and missed most of the game
    March 17, 2007 v. STL – Healthy scratch? Not on the shift chart
    March 23, 2007 v. COL – Played 1:30 of OT after tying game at 18:13 of third period; Colorado subsequently misses playoffs by two points and Flames make it.

    Looking over the whole thing, I see one game in which there wasn’t a quick end to the game and Lupul didn’t get any 4 on 4 time. In keeping with his time on the Oilers, Lupul got a big push early on. For whatever reason, the coach grew disenchanted with him.

    Finally the penalties. This is pretty simple again – who does he think he should have been playing in front of? What’s the argument here in his favour? By the way, it bears mention that for all the talk about Lupul killing penalties, he’s the seventh choice in Philly amongst forwards in PK TOI/G and he’s got the worst PKGA/60 on the Flyers, who have the 21st ranked PK in the league. The Oilers, who suck, are somehow struggling along in his absence at 9th on the PK. They can’t score a goal to save their lives but they couldn’t with Lupul sucking down minutes either.

    One more fun quote from the piece:

    Last year I got too worried about the score sheet,” Lupul said. “Everyone was talking about goals and goals and goals, and I said I had to get some points. For me, I don’t think I’m a top-end offensive guy, I’m more of a hard-working, physical player.”

    Unbelievable. I swear to god this guy was pulling up on the forecheck last year to avoid being the first to the puck and being forced to take a hit. Now he’s a physical player?

    It’s funny but Lupul’s newfound focus on being Ethan Moreau seems to have coincided with skyrocketing shooting percentages when he’s on the ice. The Flyers are over 20% with him on the PP – the best team in the NHL was at about 15% last year – and at 13.4% at ES – the best team in the NHL last year was at 11.4%. I don’t have his shooting percentages handy, although I suspect that they’re high – that bastard Desjardins doesn’t seem to track this stuff.

    In any event, I’m still nowhere sold on this guy, although I’ll acknowledge that he’s the kind of guy who just irritates me when I read his quotes.  His commentary on MacT’s coaching seems almost entirely specious to me and his underlying numbers this year in Philly all scream fluke. The Flyers have been sliding since November 17 – 6-8-4 in their last 18 and the numbers still don’t say that they’re a good team. My money is on them to miss the playoffs and Lupul to end up in the red. I don’t think that you can win with him filling any kind of a significant role on your team at this stage in his career. Time will tell if he can get off the Anson Carter career path or not but I have serious doubts.

    *Tip of the cap to PunjabiOil for pointing this story out.

    About Tyler Dellow

    73 Responses to How many abo-digitals do you see killing penalties?

    1. December 28, 2007 at

      Unbelievable. While I’ve seen a few Philly games (watching for him and Smith specifically) and noted he seems a lot more physical this year than last, he’ll never be confused for Ethan Moreau or even Ales Hemsky.

      Sounds like sour grapes to me, a young man who can’t believe that his poor performance could possibly be attributed to anything he’d done.

    2. mc79hockey
      December 28, 2007 at

      I don’t know if you listen to Bob Stauffer’s show Mike, but there’s a funny thing here. Stauffer (who is apparently buddies with Lupul) has been saying a lot of what Lupul got quoted as saying about confidence and playing in all situations almost word for word this year. I wish I had some clips of Stauffer talking about this – it sure sounds to me like this was just Lupul going public with something that he’s been saying in private to his friends for a while.

    3. Dennis
      December 28, 2007 at

      Hopefully, coming soon to a scrum near us, will be MacT’s reactions to these comments. The coach isn’t afraid to take guys on, lately we’ve seen him take on George and his propaganda machine, and I imagine he’s gonna have a field day when he hears what Lupul had to say about him.

      It’s one thing for Lupul to be too lazy to get himself into shape and to basically say he doesn’t give a fuck about his new team, it’s quite another for him to lie about why things went wrong. The numbers say that Lupul’s either delusional and he threw out some lies knowing it was for NHL.com and that the guy didn’t care enough to do his research before printing said comments.

      Either way, Lupul comes off as an even bigger arsehole than we thought he was and that, folks, is no mean feat.

    4. mc79hockey
      December 28, 2007 at

      Dennis – speaking of Bob Stauffer, that bit about George and his propaganda machine was priceless; it had to be a direct jab at Stauffer. I know that you don’t listen to his show but you should make a point of doing so a couple of times a month if you get a chance – the lack of toughness directly correlating with injuries is one of his big themes.

    5. sketchy
      December 28, 2007 at

      Wasn’t Stauffer the same guy who ragged on Georges for two seasons because he wasn’t answering the bell?

      Laraqueaganda?

    6. December 28, 2007 at

      Tyler, nope, I avoid radio shows like I would .50 calibre bullets.

      Dennis, I doubt MacT will address it, unless he’s asked about it directly, and even then it’ll either be a funny one-liner or something along the lines of “opinions are like assholes, and he’s entitled to his.” What would he have to gain by it?

      If that’s Loop’s take on his time in Edmonton, I’m glad he’s gone – I don’t care if he scores 50 goals three seasons running, he sounds like a coach’s nightmare.

    7. December 28, 2007 at

      Forgot to add…

      The lack of toughness correlating with injuries is something I intend to address, although I’ve NFC how just yet.

      I’ve got a starter post here, wouldn’t mind some input.

    8. sketchy
      December 28, 2007 at

      do teams lacking a “deterrent” in a big fighter like Laraque or Derek Boogard really lose more man-games to injury?

      Why not look at team fighting majors v. man games lost.

    9. Dennis
      December 28, 2007 at

      I try and listen to it on occasion, Ty, but my problem is that Stauffer likes to talk about two things that I don’t consider to be real: CIS sports and the CFL. When he’s talking hockey, I can handle it. Then again, when he has Spector on, it’s like a gong show.

      I understand that part of this whole deal is to have guys on playing a role as to promote discussion but I have to tune it out after awhile. One of Stauffer’s platforms is his dislike of MacT, by the by, no other media member in Edm hates Lowe like Stauff does with macT, and when I listen, it’s Laraque this and Lupul that.

    10. mc79hockey
      December 28, 2007 at

      I understand that part of this whole deal is to have guys on playing a role as to promote discussion but I have to tune it out after awhile.

      Yeah I get the same way. I kind of go through spurts with his show – periods of freqent listening followed by long lulls. With all the stuff out there about which there can be reasonable disagreement, I’m baffled that they feel the need to set up debates that seemingly involve one person taking the position that no rational person would hold. He’s pretty Oiler-centric these days though.

      I should clarify something about the post – I don’t think that Lupul was lying or trying to put one over on the reporter. I think he probably honestly believes what he said. People are notoriously bad at this sort of stuff. I just found it glaring because it’s so different that what I think the reality with MacT is.

    11. Bob Stauffer
      December 28, 2007 at

      Make sure you read tomorrow’s Edmonton Sun…LOL!
      It’s funny that a know it all from Toronto and a know it all from ?(where the hell are you from anyways Dennis?), seem to have all the answers.
      This is very annoying to know it all from an Edmonton like me who actually is in the fire with Mactavish on a daily basis.
      Georges’ time had come but the Oilers should have replaced him. Instead they are getting the crap run out of them.
      As for Lupul, the Oilers got the best player in the Philly deal, but it cost them three guys-’cause they had to take Sanderson’s contract.
      And they still have to sign Pitkanen, too.
      You guys better hope Lupul hasn’t just regained his confidence and ends up with a 30 goal-65 point season.
      Seems to me he was a useful player for the Ducks in the playoffs too.
      Just remember… he sure as shit didn’t ask to be traded for Pronger, that I can gaurantee you

    12. mc79hockey
      December 28, 2007 at

      It’s funny that a know it all from Toronto and a know it all from ?(where the hell are you from anyways Dennis?), seem to have all the answers.

      After I defended your honour in one of the various HF media threads and everything…

      Georges’ time had come but the Oilers should have replaced him. Instead they are getting the crap run out of them.

      The problem that I have with this is that they used to get hit before Georges left too. The main difference since he left seems to be that Hemsky is a bag of hurt. I don’t quite know what to make of that but I’m not nearly as willing to make the jump to assume the correlation. For one, Hemsky has become more and more of a puck handler to my eye – he carries the puck a hell of a lot more now and he’s become a lot more willing over the course of his career to go to dangerous areas on the ice. Guys like that are going to get drilled from time to time.

      With all that said, if they’re going to burn a spot on a tough guy – and there’s no conceivable other reason for Stortini to be on the roster – they might as well get the equivalent of the American military deterrent rather than the Canadian version.

      As for Lupul, the Oilers got the best player in the Philly deal, but it cost them three guys-’cause they had to take Sanderson’s contract.

      Fair enough, but this is the sort of thing that bad teams in crummy locations with money to spend should be doing. Taking Sanderson’s contract and giving up Smith, who wasn’t getting them to the playoffs, gets them four years of Joni or compensation in lieu of. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than giving up your (damned likely to be high) draft picks to acquire a player. That’s not a shot at Penner, who’s played toward the north end of my expectations by the way, just a point that the price could be unbelievably high in terms of foregone talent and that this was obvious at the time that the move was made, at least to the non-Edmonton know it alls. (Actually, the Newfoundlanders may have had some poor judgment there too…)

      Oh, and it sent Lupul’s albatross contract out of town too. As far as cleaning up his messes goes, I think it was a pretty good move by Lowe.

      You guys better hope Lupul hasn’t just regained his confidence and ends up with a 30 goal-65 point season.

      Two propositions there Bob. (1) Lupul has regained his confidence and (2) Lupul ends up with a 30 goal 65 point season. The first is completely irrelevant to me. I don’t really care about the second to be quite honest – I’ll regret that trade when he starts posting shot differentials that don’t require shooting percentage streaks to sustain GF/GA anywhere near even.

      That’s the funniest thing about all of this – Lupul was never a percentage guy, not even in Anaheim. His big year there he had a simply ridiculous volume of shots. The shooting percentage is masking the fact that his underlying numbers are a lot more Edmonton than Anaheim. Those are just the facts.

      Seems to me he was a useful player for the Ducks in the playoffs too.

      He did just fine playing against teams with no depth although his results were so good that he was pretty obviously having a run of puck luck, which is fair enough – most teams that win playoffs are riding some puck luck. Things got a little rougher once the Ducks ran into a team with multiple lines and the puck luck dried up.

      He’s a guy who’s always gonna get paid because he’s gonna score enough goals. He bleeds too many to be anywhere near worth the money. Maybe my view is different because I’m not in the fire (no smoke in my eyes) but when reading quotes like the one that prompted this post don’t really prompt me to rethink my position that I wasn’t sad to see him go.

      Lowetide said it over on his site – the Smith quote is really the one that makes sense here:

      He came in with a new attitude this year,” Smith said. “He was refreshed and looking for the opportunity to prove himself again this year. He’s taking that challenge. He came to training camp in great shape and he’s working as hard as he can every night.

      In any event, I look forward to reading your story tomorrow – I for one wholeheartedly support a more antagonistic relationship between the Oilers and the media, if only because it would be entertaining as all get out. I’d be leery myself of taking on MacTavish though – he’s got some game in the one liner department, as evidenced by the propaganda machine jab.

    13. Bob Stauffer
      December 28, 2007 at

      Tyler,

      I was on George pretty hard in his final two years as an Oiler, until he told me that he was not given carte blanche to fight; this hindered his performance.
      He is the best fighter in the NHL, but not the best enforcer.
      He doesn ‘t totally understand his role like a Dave Brown did, but trust me he has respect from his peers.

      As for Stortini…you are right, and the scary thing is MacT tries to justify his presence by talking about his other contributions as a player.

      He works hard in practise, and this generation of Oilers management is all about try-harders, so he will given every chance to succeed, but let’s face it, he is a terrible player.

      Do you think MacT’s love-in for Huggy Bear has anyhting to do with Georges calling MacT out?

      As for Lupul.
      The Oilers knew what they were getting in Lupul, he is a complimentary scorer…needs a good center, who can get him the puck.

      They tried to change him into a Smyth-clone he is not that guy.

      I knew from the moment the Oilers signed Sykora that he was hooped.

      Lupul played two games all season with Hemsky, and the fact is Horcoff is not a playmaker and Stoll is a shooter, which explains a lot.

      Mistakes eat MacTavish alive, Stevens appears to have more patience.

      Lupul is playing with the best guy in Philly, Richards is a modern-day Bobby Clarke.

      One more thing, regarding Jason Smith’s comments.

      The Oilers are big into symbolism…kind of like working hard in practise, even if you are not working smart.

      Anyways, symbolism.

      They ask Lupul to be more committed to the city, etc.

      He buys a house, schedules a golf tourney (the only one an Oilers players was going to do) and Moreau, Smith and Staois work on him in May and June.

      He buys in and then gets moved with Smith for Pitkanen.

      Two Alberta born guys for a guy who is intriguing, but with baggage.

      Trust me, the players felt for what Lupul was going through last season, and not pleased their captain and Lupul was being moved.

      Pitkanen will cost the Oilers big-north of 5 million a year, already turned down a substantial offer from the Oil.

    14. December 29, 2007 at

      sketchy, I can see a problem with that already, at least from Edmonton’s perspective. They’ve lost massive amounts of man-games this season because of various injuries to Greene, Moreau, Pitkanen, Souray, and now Torres. With the exception of Souray, none of those were because of getting run; Souray hurt himself *in a fight*. I guess you could say that means Edmonton needs an enforcer so Souray doesn’t have to fight, but IMO if Souray doesn’t play with that edge, he’s not on his game. Only injury from being run, to my eye, is Hemsky – and the jury’s still out on that one. (I also think that injury still happens with or without Dave Brown or Georges Laraque or anybody else in the lineup, just Lapointe’s counting teeth after the fight instead.)

      I’m willing to accept that the Oilers are the exception and not the rule, but unless a model can account for injuries due to being run as opposed to injuries from accidents like Greene’s, I just don’t think it’s a very good one.

      Bob, the Oilers players were upset that Smith was traded? Good, they should be, and for more reasons than JS is well-liked. It’s an indictment of the way the team played in 2006-07. They sucked out loud. If they were expecting no changes after that suckfest, they should hang up their skates right now. As they said every time an Oiler blew town for a fat paycheque somewhere else, it’s a business, and one in which they are extremely well compensated. While I understand they’d be upset, it’s just tough noogies. One of my favourite co-workers left for a better job elsewhere, I don’t get radio show hosts trying to drum up sympathy for me; I lumped up and am carrying on. It happens in all walks of life.

      Lupul buys in to the city and gets moved shortly after? Yeah, well, that sucks. See above. Who gives a crap how well he does or doesn’t do in Philly? He had a full season to show what he could do in Edmonton, and the answer was: not much. Maybe it was confidence. Who says he would have regained it as an Oiler? mc’s nailed it as far as Loops goes.

      Lowe made the move he thought he needed to in order to improve the team, and between Pitkanen and Lupul, I know who makes the Oilers a better team this season. (At least Pitkanen goes into corners to clear a puck from the defensive zone.) But if Joni thinks he’s worth Souray money, he’s got another think coming.

    15. mc79hockey
      December 29, 2007 at

      …if Joni thinks he’s worth Souray money, he’s got another think coming.

      It’s hard to blame him for thinking that he’s worth Souray money, given that Souray isn’t worth Souray money but is somehow getting Souray money.

      I’ve got some serious doubts about Joni getting $5MM. The highest contract that involves RFA years that I see on NHL numbers is Ryan Whitney’s, with a $4MM cap hit. I would think that that’s going to be Pitkanen’s realistic top end, barring an RFA offersheet. Even then, Whitney signed until he was 29 – one would think that Pitkanen’s number drops if he wants shorter term. The recent contract bonanza doesn’t seem to have extended to young defencemen. It’s somewhat concerning that the Oil can’t take him to arbitration but it seems to me that they’re in a decent position to negotiate hard with him.

      Bob. I don’t think that we actually disagree on all that much. I’m willing to take Georges at his word. It strikes me as odd that he was fighting a lot more early in his time with MacT though – did MacT just change his mind on the subject? I also notice that Georges didn’t really fight much more, if he did at all, last year, when MacT wasn’t calling the shots, although he’s on pace for a big year this year.

      You’re not going to get an argument out of me that the Oilers sometimes say one thing and do another. You’re in a better position to know what went down with Lupul than I am but I have no reason not to believe what you’re saying and I’m probably a bit more jaded about the group running the Oilers than the average Oilers fan. That’s unfortunate how that went down – I assume that they had no plans to trade him when they told him that they wanted him to get more involved in the community and that they then changed their minds, which explains but doesn’t excuse it. I guess the time to ask guys to become more committed is probably after you’ve done your planning for the coming year. I’m not sure what you mean by Moreau, Staios and Smith working on him in May and June though – working on him to do what? To become more involved in the community?

      Agreed completely on the Oilers love of symbolism – I’ve been saying that for years.

      As for the not playing with Hemsky…my memory fails me as to what wing Lupul generally plays but I always thought that he and Hemsky weren’t a particularly good fit, particularly on the PP, because they both shot right. If they’re playing togetehr, you’re going to have someone playing his offwing on the breakout and having a trickier time digging pucks out of his feet. I can understand why you wouldn’t play them together, particularly since that’s not the best part of either player’s game and it’s not like the team was blessed with D who could make that process easier last year.

      On MacT and talent. Here’s the thing. I’m not willing to bury the guy for it when his choices are between “talent” that isn’t good enough to win anyway and hard workers. If he’s going to go down anyway, I don’t particularly care how he divvies up the minutes. He makes few decisions on the allocation of ice time that are completely indefensible – the first one that I can remember is last year’s decision to play Toby Peterson on the PP instead of MAB but again, I hear that he’d just had enough MAB and it’s not like MAB is very good on the PP, just that he was a better option than Peterson. As was Jason Smith but that’s another problem. Once the Oilers ran up the white flag, Peterson was getting fewer minutes than the kids, which is as it should have been.

      I’m going to do a post on Horcoff so I’ll leave your comments on him. Suffice it to say that I’m pretty sure that you’re underrating his playmaking skills. The only reason he doesn’t have bigger assist numbers is because the PP doesn’t flow through him and he gets dicked around on the time. As I’ll show, his ES numbers are very solid and, whether he’s a classical passer or not, whether he looks like a playmaker or not…he’s the second last guy to touch the puck on a very respectable amount of goals.

    16. December 29, 2007 at

      I think you’re right, Tyler. Lupul isn’t lying- he’s just delusional. If a player isn’t producing points, he has to be doing other things to be valuable to his team (a PJ Axelsson type, for example). Seems like Joff, with the absence of offensive production last year, is just trying to rationalize his value by claiming he’s “more of a hard-working, physical player”. And he can blame uselessness on THAT front on a lack of opportunity and poor coaching style from MacT. Now it’s not his fault at all! Wow!
      I like to see players do well, and actually felt pretty bad for Lupul with all his struggles last year, but coming out and blaming MacT- without basis- shows a lack of both personal responsibility and class. It’s one thing if the coach really is the problem (to use another B’s example, Brad Boyes vs Dave Lewis last year), but Lupul’s improved numbers are probably due mostly to overall team circumstances and luck. If he really believes that coaching was the problem, he’s got another thing coming to him.

    17. Pat H
      December 29, 2007 at

      mc79It’s hard to blame [Pitkanen] for thinking that he’s worth Souray money, given that Souray isn’t worth Souray money but is somehow getting Souray money.

      Yikes, is that ever true.

      I agree with the symbolism stuff you guys (Bob, MC) mention. And clearly it relates to the role that guys like MacT, Lowe, Huddy, and Bucky have in the organization. I’m probably beating a dead horse here, but the fan perception of having these old war heroes (they won a lot of cups!) is seemingly more important then the actual qualifications they bring to the table.

    18. December 29, 2007 at

      but my problem is that Stauffer likes to talk about two things that I don’t consider to be real: CIS sports and the CFL

      You’d love Bears hockey, Dennis, but I agree about the CFL. For some reason, people in this country still like that product. Then again, they like the Oilers product, so what can I say? To each his own.

      I’m intrigued by the MacT comment on the “Laraque agenda” not because of what he might be saying about Laraque, but because of what he might be saying about the media in this town. If he was criticizing Bob, then that’s the second time he’s taken a jab at local media this year (Rishaug being the other one I remember. There could be others). He doesn’t seem to be responding well to criticism. Then again, I haven’t heard much about how bad the Oilers PP is since he snapped at Rishaug, so maybe it’s effective.

      Good discussion, guys.

    19. mc79hockey
      December 29, 2007 at

      The funny thing about that Pat H is that they’ve made some great hires elsewhere. As much as I’m not a fan of Pat LaForge, he seems pretty brilliant at what he does. Why isn’t Ron Chipperfield or someone similar in that position? Probably because they correctly realized that playing hockey for the Oilers doesn’t qualify you for that type of role. I don’t think that the argument that playing hockey for the Oilers qualifies you to be coach or GM is any better (keeping in mind that I’m generally fine with MacT) but there it is.

    20. December 29, 2007 at

      I’m probably beating a dead horse here, but the fan perception of having these old war heroes (they won a lot of cups!) is seemingly more important then the actual qualifications they bring to the table.

      That’s common to every single team in professional sports, including the Philadelphia Flyers. See Bobby Clarke. I don’t buy the argument that there is more pressure for Lupul to conform to a “proper Oilers identity” than to a “proper Flyers identity.” The fans in that town have very strict demands about their athletes, and the Flyers have a particular culture of their own. Lupul may not be expected run at opposing players every night, but there are expectations.

    21. mc79hockey
      December 29, 2007 at

      One point of disagreement Andy – I have a hard time believing that the fishbowl is worse anywhere than in Edmonton. In Toronto, there’s a huge chunk of the population that is new to Canada and doesn’t give a shot about hockey. I assume most major cities are like that. Edmonton’s like a Green Bay with a much larger media.

    22. Pat H
      December 29, 2007 at

      Andy:

      While I definitely acknowledge that the situation isn’t unique to Edmonton, I wonder if you’re overstating it a little. The Bob Clarke example is bang on the money, sure. But how often do we see it, really? And how often can we be sure that the guys have NO qualifications other than their experience as players (I say this to remove certain guys from the equation, e.g.,a guy like Burke, who has an LLB, or even a guy like Snow, who I think has a M.A. in business administration.). And besides all of that, how many examples do we see where there is systemic entrenchment? Lowe, MacT, Huddy, and Bucky is 4 guys. All blind to each others shortcomings, it seems. If Simpson were still here it would be 5. We could probably add a few more if we looked to the scouting staff, though the presence of alumni on the scouting staff is probably benign, or arguably even useful.

      And I suppose this kind of leads to MC’s mention of LaForge, as a notable exception (Daum and Moores seem like a few obvious others, to me, but even they have the Edmonton connection (UofA). I share your disdain for the guy, mc, just as much as a grudgingly admit that he’s effective at what he does. I don’t know what else to say on that one. I can’t remember, who did LaForge take over from? Maybe it’s a scenario where the EIG is way smarter than I thought – they knew they’d need an outside guy like LaForge to spin matters, since Lowe et. al. weren’t adept at such things. But my, how Lowe has proven to be an apt pupil.

    23. mc79hockey
      December 29, 2007 at

      Pat – I think you’re in law school. If you’ve got access to a university’s electronic access to old newspapers, Staples did a fantastic story about him that included the quintessential quote from LaForge, something about the EIG’s image as white knights being his greatest asset or some such. If I recall correctly, that may also be the story in which the arena story got out of the bag, which I don’t think Nichols was wild about.

      ANYWAY, I believe that LaForge had ties to Nichols early in his career, although I’m not 100% sure. As was noted by Vic Ferrari (check out the post and comments here. LaForge spent some time at Alpine Canada – I’m sure you can think of someone with similar connections who also has the ear of an Oiler front office type.

      As an aside, here’s an interesting piece on Lowe I came across while Googling that people might find interesting.

    24. mc79hockey
      December 29, 2007 at

      …they knew they’d need an outside guy like LaForge to spin matters, since Lowe et. al. weren’t adept at such things. But my, how Lowe has proven to be an apt pupil.

      Is Lowe really an apt pupil? I generally think that he believes what he’s saying, which makes me sad.

    25. lowetide
      December 29, 2007 at

      REMEMBER THE GUM!!!!

    26. Pat H
      December 29, 2007 at

      MC:

      The apt pupil bit was just a bit of rhetoric. I think you’re right, and I’ve had similar exchanges with LT: Lowe generally believes what he’s saying (which IS sad, as you indicate).

      Did I mention law school to you before, or are you just that perceptive? Or do law school types stink that bad? To clarify, I do have an LLB, but am not really intending to get called to the bar, as I’m still (naively) hoping to retain my soul. Good luck with yours :P

      Thanks for the links.

    27. mc79hockey
      December 29, 2007 at

      Good luck with that Pat – generally, a law student’s soul dies during first year, when he’s thinking about watertight compartments and the ship of federalism.

    28. Dennis
      December 29, 2007 at

      This whole gum thing, does that mean Lowe was telling the truth when he said he didn’t know the cap was going up in ’08? Because I’d rather Lowe be a liar then a dummy;)

      You know, I sometimes feel bad slamming Bob because he’s the closest we have in the media to a guy that will actually criticize something or somebody. In his case, he’s chosen MacT as his whipping boy, which I think is flat out foolish considering he’s following the fortunes of a GM who tried spending Smyth money on Nylander and then gave it to Souray, but the point is that Bob’s heart’s nearly in the right place. And considering what we have to read and listen to every day, that counts for something.

      In any case, I side with Bob on the BG thing. I remember watching the game from SJ when Mush took Weight out at the knees and later on I read where MacT said he told BG not to tear him apart even if that’s what George had fully intended to do. And, I’m sick to death of Hemsky taking tough hits but I don’t want a guy that’s going to retaliate by fighting the other tough guy, I want a guy that’s going to take out Gaborik in return. I don’t think a guy like that exists, though.

      As for Lupul, it’s unfortunate that he finally committed just as they dealt him but, fuck it, he should’ve done that before LAST season. My enduring memorys of Lupul’s time as an Oiler go like this:

      - Not only did he fail to score, the guy even failed to produce scoring chances, for fucksakes. Stoll’s having a pisspoor season to date but I’ve been waiting for him to break through goals wise for awhile now because at the very least he’s creating chances. I never saw nearly enough of that from Lupul.

      - How many bloody times he failed to get the puck out on the boards and/or how many times he flat out didn’t even care enough to compete. There’s no defense for that.

      BTW, Bob, I’m from Newfoundland. It’s hard to be a know it all from such a distance, I know;) but the CI package allows me the chance to watch all the Oilers games so I do what I can:)

    29. December 29, 2007 at

      And besides all of that, how many examples do we see where there is systemic entrenchment?

      Philly has Paul Holmgren as GM, Bobby Clarke as Senior Vice President, John Stevens as Head Coach, Terry Murray as Assistant Coach, Jack McIlhargey as Assistant Coach. and Dave Brown (!) as Director of Player Personnel. Every single one of those guys is a former Flyer player. They also have Reggie Lemelin as goalie coach, Joe Mullen as Assistant Coach, Don Luce as Director of Player Development and Chris Pryor as Director of Hockey Operations. All are former NHLers. Keith Allen, their Executive VP, has been with the team for over 40 years, including time as their GM. And I haven’t even looked at the scouts, who are likely all former players, and probably former Flyers. If that isn’t systemic entrenchment, I don’t know what is.

      One point of disagreement Andy – I have a hard time believing that the fishbowl is worse anywhere than in Edmonton… Edmonton’s like a Green Bay with a much larger media.

      I’d say Montreal is worse, for sure. I don’t remember any politicians from Edmonton suggesting the team’s captain had “violated” the rights of Albertans by not speaking in a certain language. And the media is benign here. Nothing bad gets said about these guys in print, unless it’s Barnes. I also think the fan base in Philly is waaay more demanding about all their athletes and their teams. There’s a reason the first ever stadium jail appeared in the City of Brotherly Love. Donovan McNabb gets booed every three minutes in Philly, and he took them to three straight NFC Championships and a Superbowl. Mike Schmidt was treated like Pronger, and he never left town. You are right in saying that the Oil are basically the only show in town–similar to Green Bay– but I still think the demands are harsher in Philly.

      FYI, Lupul added three more points today. Course, they were playing the Lightning. I could get three points on those goalies.

    30. December 29, 2007 at

      mc, agreed, Souray’s overpaid – but at least he’s scored 20 goals and is (was) a UFA. Pitkanen’s 0/2 on those fronts. If somebody makes a ridiculous RFA offer to him, well, maybe Lowe loses out on Stamkos or Doughty but pots Tavares instead.

      • Gloria
        May 31, 2013 at

        That’s what I’m saying, ry-man: “He can hit,” and uinladong Redden would be a miracle. I’m not really tired of this rumor because I’d like to have a big body to keep the crease clear, and Souray could do that. We don’t really need another offensive defenseman, do we? You can count Del Zotto, Gilroy if he gets comfortable, and Staal has some offense developing. I didn’t think our D was strong enough last year and I don’t mind taking on a stay at home guy. We’ll see . . .

    31. Pat H
      December 30, 2007 at

      Andy,

      I appreciate the info on Philadelphia entrenchment, and take your correction. I did not know that. Nonetheless, I suspect that we cannot say the same of many other NHL teams (maybe Montreal?). Are there really any others (again bearing in mind the stipulation that the people involved have no training apart from being ex-players)? At the very, very least, I really question whether we could find another example of systemic entrenchment wherein one could make a good case for linking such entrenchment to the woes of the team. I mean, even with Philly right now, things are looking reasonably respectable. As proof of this, we need look no further than the concluding remark on Holmgren’s wikipedia entry, which states, “Paul Holmgren has turned around the Flyers. He has made several key moves, and has turned around the team.” (Now there’s a entry that needs an edit).

      In any case, I take your point, but still stand by the general notion that the systemic entrenchment we have here is a rarity (especially the Lowe/Mact GM/coach relation), and it has become detrimental to the franchise.

    32. December 30, 2007 at

      Pitkanen will cost the Oilers big-north of 5 million a year, already turned down a substantial offer from the Oil.

      Damn, it’d be nice to find out how substantial that offer was that he rejected.

      That being said, it’s part of negotiations. Rejecting offers is normal.

      There are concerns though. Lots of good young players have been paid as they are approaching Restricted Free Agency, and I have to imagine the threat of offersheets is a possible reason why. In other words, Pitkanen will have some leverage during negotiations – that’s why I feel it will be north of 4.0M, especially iwth a cap set to be around 55M.

      Another question is suppose Pitkanen signs an offersheet elsewhere at 6M. With a rising cap, the compensation is 2 1st rounders, 1 2nd, and 1 third. You don’t really want the picks unless they’re of the Washington or LA variety – and you’d rather not constantly rebuild – but boy, paying 6.0M would be hard to swallow. Of course there are only so many teams in a position to throw away that type of money, but you hate thinking of the possibility.

      I’m not a big fan of short term contracts. The Oilers had opportunities to lock up guys like Horcoff, Smyth, Stoll, Hemsky, after the lockout, and all were signed to a 1 year contract, except Smyth [2 years]. Meanwhile, Calgary locked up Langkow, Kiprusoff, and Iginla for 3 years. I guess Lowe realized his mistake, and had hopes that Lupul would perform much better than he last year, which lead to a 3 year contract.

      Converse to the general opinion in this thread, I don’t really see it as Lupul badmouthing MacTavish. Lupul has acknowledged he should have been better prepared – he’s seemingly more discussing how his new coach is a better fit for him and showing more confidence in him. Confidence can go a long way for a young player. Let’s be honest – playing on a line with Toby Peterson and Petr Sykora isn’t going to generate chemistry. I don’t think he’s a jerk or anything – he certainly hasn’t come across as one in my opinion – he’s human, and he couldn’t really get over Anaheim early on. I believe him when he says that no matter where he was going to play, he was going to come to play with a fresh attitude.

      Here are some of his quotes from a previous interview

      http://punjabsoil.blogspot.com/2007/12/lupulov-reflects-back-on-time-in.html

      So in that sense, I can understand where Bob Stauffer is coming from. You’re not just giving up player that has the ability to put the puck in the net [I'm not quick to agree with the opinion that he'll never be a guy who can't outscore], you’re giving up your captain as well. I’d have preferred Staios going over Smith, and that 2.9M, 2.9, 2.8 and 2.2M paid over the next 4 years has the chance of looking ugly if Staios doesn’t find his game. I guess it’s one of those deals that both sides have the opportunity to do well on, but Pitkanen’s salary in his next contract will be a telling sign on how much value he’s providing to the Oilers.

      By the way, thanks for showing up here Bob. It’s always nice to get some extra information the general public is typically unaware of.

    33. December 30, 2007 at

      It’s funny that a know it all from Toronto and a know it all from ?(where the hell are you from anyways Dennis?), seem to have all the answers.

      That’s a lame line Bob.

      Not to kiss any butt, but there’s no doubt Dennis knows his hockey. More so than a Edmontonian Joe Hockey Fan. Just read some of his game threads on Lowetide’s and you’ll see what I mean. He’s been around for a while now, and he knows a thing or two about matchups. Stubborn? Hell yeah. I would be too if I were staying up until 1 or 2am to watch the Oilers, only to see them win an astonishing 7 games in regulation over the past 59 contests [Newfoundland Standard time is 3.5 Hours ahead of Alberta's MST]

      MC79 [Tyler] isn’t from Edmonton, but I don’t recall the Edmonton media digging up the fact the EIG under the previous CBA, chose Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa [all strong teams] as the 3 optional out-of-conference opponents, in an effort to make a few more dollars and cents.

      And while the common Edmonton Joe Hockey Fan was excited that Sheldon Souray will BOOST THE OILERS POWWAPLAY!, Tyler did the dirty work finding and aligning the numbers to suggest that the Oilers would be no better than league average. Today, they’re 30th in the league.

      Just saying

    34. December 30, 2007 at

      In fairness to Bob, Tyler is on the record as starting out as a Flames fan. That’s just gross.

    35. December 30, 2007 at

      Pat H:

      I have always assumed that Laforge was Lowe’s man. I remember seeing Lowe and Simpson in a restaurant shortly after I moved to Edmonton, ’97 or ’98, they were dining with a bunch of people, mostly women. These women were, I was told, members of Canada’s National Alpine Ski Team. Kevin Lowe’s wife is former downhill skier Karen Percy.

      Pat Laforge was the CEO of Alpine Canada at this time, from 1996 to 1998 according to this site.

      Nick Wilson, the Oilers Manager of Licensing and Merchandising, was formerly a VP with Alpine Canada.

      If these are coincidences, they are big ones.

      • Ilnur
        May 31, 2013 at

        Mar23whoanelly Okay first of all, this picture was taken over 4 years ago. I have no idea how this got to where it is, but it is just a frednis picture that must have been posted on myspace or something. The girl is not his girlfriend, the whole idea of the picture was to just be funny. Just the same when you all go out with your frednis. And no it is not at Ezzies. And yes I know this because it is ME giving the camera the finger.

    36. December 30, 2007 at

      Edit for above:

      “this site” should read canadiansport.com

    37. Pat H
      December 30, 2007 at

      Vic:

      Thanks. I did check out the link to your March 21st entry (and the comments) that MC posted above. Interesting stuff. It would be neat to see more info about his hiring/prior relation to Lowe come to light. I’m sure it’s out there, but I for one am too lazy to look. Regardless, your stuff is more or less sufficient for me – like you say, if they’re coincidences, they’re big ones. Then again, I’m not naive enough to think that this sort of thing is an aberration in the corporate world.

      But geez, I can’t stand Laforge. Sycophant. Good at his job, though, like MC says.

    38. cynical joe
      December 30, 2007 at

      I don’t think that there is anything more to Lupul’s answers than just simple push-back about some negative press to last years play. Did Lupul get a bum deal in Edmonton? Yeah he probably did a bit, some of it, his own fault, some of it his age, maturity, hometown pressure, and yes, some of it MacT not getting more out of him. We can bemoan all we like about soft minutes in Philly, but he’s being productive with those minutes and he’s almost a point a game player; a steal at about a cap hit of 2.3. (Hemsky’s about twice the cap hit with less points). Was the dump for Pitkanen a good one? If Pitkanen can’t be resigned its a bad deal for the Oil, even if Lupul was held pointless this year. If Lupes ends up with 65-75 points, the deal really starts looking bad.

    39. December 30, 2007 at

      joe – that’s begging the question. I addressed that in a previous comment. Lupul scoring 65-75 points in Philly doesn’t mean he’d have gotten the same in Edmonton. Different coaches, different conferences, different co-players.

      I see your Lupul scoring 70 points in Philly and counter with Sergei Samsonov’s complete collapse after the 2006 playoffs.

      Pat – we can make unfounded assertions all day. You stick to your idea that the Oilers are somehow special, despite a sample size of one demonstrating that they aren’t. I’ll stick to the idea that they’re no more incestuous than most teams. Want another example? Dallas. Dave Tippett went right from playing in the IHL to a single season as an assistant. Granted, he had 3 seasons as an a-coach in LA before his head coach gig began in Dallas, but the IHL team? Houston. Mark Lamb has Houston history too (as well as being an Oiler a-coach for a year). Ulf Dahlen, same deal minus the Edmonton connection – Stars player for several years. Andy Moog’s an assistant to the GM. They also have Dave Taylor. Frank Provenzano’s the only one without a prior Texas connection.

      If you want to rebut, I challenge you to come up with two counterexamples. There’s 27 other teams, it shouldn’t be hard if Edmonton, Dallas, and Philadelphia are the only teams doing it.

    40. Bruce
      December 30, 2007 at

      Not sure if this is an example or a counterexample, but the Minnesota Wild have GM Doug Risebrough, Coach Jacques Lemaire, Assistant Coach Mario Tremblay,and Coordinator of Amateur Scouting Guy Lapointe, all of the Canadiens four-in-a-row dynasty of the late 70s. Is an OBC still an OBC in a different organization?

      BTW, the Wild’s website says that last night was the first time ever the Wild has overcome a three-goal deficit to win a home game. The Edmonton Oilers: the Xmas gift that keeps on giving …

    41. Bob Stauffer
      December 30, 2007 at

      A quote from an earlier post.
      Lupul buys in to the city and gets moved shortly after? Yeah, well, that sucks.

      Fans can’t have it both ways in my opinion.

      You can’t be pissed off at Pronger for requesting a trade out of town and then turn around and say tough crap when a guy takes a step forward in buying into the city, by purchasing a home or putting on a tournament…and he subsequently gets moved.

      It’s business you are right, but if you are going to big league a 23 year-old kid, you shouldn’t be indignant when a 30-year old player big league’s Edmonton.

    42. December 30, 2007 at

      It’s business you are right, but if you are going to big league a 23 year-old kid, you shouldn’t be indignant when a 30-year old player big league’s Edmonton.

      This is a really good point. Personally, I didn’t begrudge Pronger requesting a trade, though I think there is room for criticism of Lowe for obliging him so promptly.

      More than anything though, this is yet another item of evidence that suggests that either Lowe had/has no plan, or that it changed dramatically sometime in between Game 82 and Canada Day.

      I mean why in hell would you prompt the kid to get more involved in the community if you thought you might be moving him?

    43. December 30, 2007 at

      If you want to rebut, I challenge you to come up with two counterexamples.

      I’m actually going to do a team-by-team breakdown on this issue. Give me a couple days, lads.

    44. December 30, 2007 at

      You can’t be pissed off at Pronger for requesting a trade out of town and then turn around and say tough crap when a guy takes a step forward in buying into the city, by purchasing a home or putting on a tournament…and he subsequently gets moved.

      Sure, but I can be pissed when he subsequently sucks. I would have been happy if he’d taken a step forward in playing defence, finishing hits, making hits, scoring goals, getting assists, forehecking, going into the corners…any of it. You and Joffrey can blame the coach and the pressure as much as you want, Bob, but I watched at least 70 Oilers games last year. Most of us did. We saw what he did with the ice-time he got, and it was nothing. Other than Mike Peca, I can’t think of an Oiler who was more overrated. He can have his 40 goals a year against the Mickey Mouse Conference, for all I care.

    45. cynical joe
      December 30, 2007 at

      I’m not saying Joffrey is an under appreciated superstar, but if you look at his last three years, which year is the aberration? So the Oil punt on the Lupul experiment after one year, cause he didn’t work hard, apparently, the better to institute the ‘work hard, no goals’ regime that it now enjoys. I know how Oilfanz love the blue-collar ‘mystique’ about the team, but not every player is Pisani. (Crosby.)

    46. December 30, 2007 at

      cause he didn’t work hard, apparently, the better to institute the ‘work hard, no goals’ regime that it now enjoys.

      Um, was he scoring goals? Seems to me keeping him would have kept half that equation consistent.

    47. cynical joe
      December 30, 2007 at

      He scored as many as Horcoff, who also had a sub standard year. Horcoff wasn’t ridden out of town on a rail, though. I’m not saying Lupul is the answer to a better Oiler team, I’m saying Lowe et al pulled the chute too early on this kid.

    48. Pat H
      December 30, 2007 at

      Mike P:

      I’m unclear as to why you’re making a big deal out of this. Yeah, I think our situation is a rarity, but also bear in mind the caveats I’ve included: 1. I’m speaking of systemic entrenchment that is arguably linked to a team’s poor state of affairs; and 2. entrenchment involving guys whose ONLY experience is as ex-players.

      I admitted that, apart from Philly (which Andy explicated), Montreal might stand as another example. You cited Dallas. Someone cited Minnesota. But are these franchises in the same state as ours? Minnesota and Dallas aren’t hurting. And are they as committed as we are to maintaining the GM/coach status quo? I mean, while there’s still arguably incestuous activity going on, at least Philly and Dallas did make a recent changes at the GM level.

      Regardless, I’m relieved to hear that Andy is looking into it more. If his results demonstrate that I’m way off base, then so be it. I’m corrigible. Thanks Andy.

      • Zubeida
        May 31, 2013 at

        Apr09Xolite So if it is you giving the figner then where is it? Funny how you have the story the way it is to be told, but no proof otherwise, your figner? Sure . where is it? I agree with it being funny, all my buddies go out on the weekend and ram our tongues down girls throats for the camera to be funny. I mean thats how we joke around and stuff, one day we will take it that one step futher. Oh and thats me by the pool table passed out on the floor.

    49. December 30, 2007 at

      It’s actually a huge project, because so many people in coaching, management and scouting are former players. And then there are all the connections. If you wanted to do that, it would likely take months. It’s a giant, incestuous family tree.

    50. Bob Stauffer
      December 30, 2007 at

      Hey boys…
      The Oilers got the best player in the Pitkanen deal…bottom line. But now they have get him signed.
      Lupul was ripped ad nauseum on the various fan sites for last year, guys said he was a crappy player.
      As this year’s numbers prove with Philly; he was a decent player who had a crappy year in Edmonton.

      Very interesting post on the Kevin Lowe, Karen Percy, Pat Laforge, Nick Wilson connection.
      But Laforge is Cal Nichol’s guy.

      Here is how it is going to play out with the media.

      Nobody will REALLY criticize Lowe and MacT until they are gone, and then will not happen with an ownership change, unless the Oilers only win five more games this season.

      But, when the time comes that Lowe and MacT move along then all the media will come out of the woodwork, just like they did with Sather.

      IMO this is the same way they handled Comrie, Pronger, Laraque and Lupul when they left town.
      Only one guy got in Pronger’s grill when he was actually here for being a pompous dick at times…you can guess who that was.

      As for Lupul. Eight games into last season I was told from a veteran media type who shall remain nameless that Lupul was not an Oiler.
      Well, let’s just say I knew where that was coming from.

      Have a happy new year, it ain’t going to get better anytime soon.

      Stauffer

    51. Bruce
      December 30, 2007 at

      I’m not saying Joffrey is an under appreciated superstar, but if you look at his last three years, which year is the aberration?

      Cynical Joe:

      2005-06 ANA -13
      2006-07 EDM -29
      2007-07 PHI +3

      I’d say this (half-)year is the aberration.

      PS: Get back to me in April.

    52. Bruce
      December 31, 2007 at

      But, when the time comes that Lowe and MacT move along then all the media will come out of the woodwork, just like they did with Sather.
      IMO this is the same way they handled Comrie, Pronger, Laraque and Lupul when they left town.

      Too true, Bob. The media in this town put the “sick” in “sycophant”. Don’t forget the players (e.g. Cujo, Marchant, Smyth) who get pilloried after the fact for not accepting a home-town discount. Sometimes they start badmouthing targeted players (e.g. Arnott, Satan, Poti, Guerin) a few weeks or months before they get traded, as if they’ve been tipped off to grease the skids to make the player’s subsequent departure seem palatable to the fans. If the evaluation of any deal begins with the idea of “addition by subtraction”, then management is home free even if they got Barrie Moore and Craig Millar in return.

    53. cynical joe
      December 31, 2007 at

      I’d say this (half-)year is the aberration.

      05-06 53points
      06-07 28points
      07-08 on pace for 70+ points

      I’d say the Edmonton year is the aberration. Maybe you think plus/minus is more important than counting numbers, I don’t think that.

    54. December 31, 2007 at

      In fairness to Bob, Tyler is on the record as starting out as a Flames fan. That’s just gross.

      Your BoA predecessor, Sacamano, is also on the record, repeatedly, about his dark past. Forgive those who have seen the light.

      It’s actually a huge project, because so many people in coaching, management and scouting are former players. And then there are all the connections. If you wanted to do that, it would likely take months. It’s a giant, incestuous family tree.

      How much data is out there about people’s relative qualifications? Just out of curiosity (since I’m sure it comes up in your research).

    55. mc79hockey
      December 31, 2007 at

      He scored as many as Horcoff, who also had a sub standard year. Horcoff wasn’t ridden out of town on a rail, though.

      Horcoff brings other things to the table. For one, goal scoring is really his thing – he is, despite Stauffer’s assertions, much more of a playmaker. Lupul has been a Cy Young candidate type guy until this year, when he’s suddenly racking up the assists…with the help of a sky high shooting percentage when he’s on the ice.

    56. Bob Stauffer
      December 31, 2007 at

      I have seen most of Philly’s games, be the first to admit that Lupul has garnered some very lucky assists.

      Lupul has benefitted tremendously from playing first-unit pp time in Philly since Gagne went down; just as Stoll’s numbers have dropped after being moved to the second unit.

      Horcoff is a pro. A class act, and the most important Oilers player moving forward to help secure free agents because of his involvement on the NHLPA.

      However, teams try to isolate hime on the half-boards on the powerplay because he is prone to coughing the puck up.

    57. mc79hockey
      December 31, 2007 at

      …Personally, I didn’t begrudge Pronger requesting a trade, though I think there is room for criticism of Lowe for obliging him so promptly.

      More than anything though, this is yet another item of evidence that suggests that either Lowe had/has no plan, or that it changed dramatically sometime in between Game 82 and Canada Day.

      I mean why in hell would you prompt the kid to get more involved in the community if you thought you might be moving him?

      People can go back through the archives and check if they doubt this but I was with you on the point about Pronger. Of course, I think that Lowe should have explored suspending and suing him, so I’m also completely in agreement with you on the whole thing about not necessarily needing to cater to his wishes.

      I don’t know that I buy Bob’s point that you can’t complain about Pronger screwing the Oilers and simultaneously not take offence to them jerking Lupul around though. For one thing, that’s the nature of the relationship that hockey players and hockey teams have agreed to. Players sign a contract, that contract permits them to be traded. It doesn’t permit them to demand trades because their wives don’t like the city. Lowe was more onside than Pronger was, in my view. I’m assuming, of course, that Lowe wasn’t acting in bad faith – his plans just changed.

      It’s tough to disagree with your point about the lack of a plan though.

    58. cynical joe
      December 31, 2007 at

      Lupul has been a Cy Young candidate type guy until this year, when he’s suddenly racking up the assists

      Actually, historically his scoring has been fairly well balanced between goals and assists. He’s usually heavier in goals but the difference is small. Of course Horcoff brings other things to the Oilers, but he’s an older, more developed player, you’d expect that. My point is that Lupul had the potential to be a 50 point man in the Oiler system; you’re not getting Marcel Pronovost, so you’re going to give up some goals too, I guess Lowe thought a minutes-eating point generating defenseman was more important, as of right now I think Edmonton made the wrong bet, but maybe Joni will prove me wrong.

    59. Bruce
      December 31, 2007 at

      Maybe you think plus/minus is more important than counting numbers, I don’t think that.

      I value both, but am very aware both stats have to be taken in context. Counting numbers are greatly affected by opportunity, esp. on the powerplay. As for +/-, it’s not uncommon for a good player on a bad team to rack up a large minus — in general, the more ice time, the larger the minus (although certainly not in Lupul’s case in racking up a team-worst -29 with Edmonton last year despite finishing behind five other guys in ES TOI). But a large minus on a plus team is a danger signal, unless the guy is Brett Hull or Tim Kerr on the PP.

      Let’s have a look at Lupul’s 2005-06 season, shall we? Superficially his counting numbers look good; 81 GP, 28-25-53. Lupul played 376:01 PP TOI, third among Ducks forwards, and scored 23 PPP, fourth on the team — the rookie Ryan Getzlaf scored one more PPP in about 60% of Lupul’s ice time — but Joffrey made a decent contribution (3.67 PPP/60) to a middle of the road powerplay (15th in the NHL). Decent, but not exactly Tim Kerr.

      Discounting PPGF/A, the Ducks scored 164 goals and allowed 138 for a net +26. Lupul, for all of his 53 points, was a -13. Unfortunately Desjardins’ archives don’t go back quite that far, so I can’t find gross numbers for and against with Soft Joff on the ice.

      So let’s guesstimate. Lupul finished 7th among Anaheim forwards in ES TOI, so it’s reasonable to conclude that he played roughly a quarter of the time the teams were at evens. He finished tied for fourth in ES scoring with 28 points, so it’s still reasonable to assume he was on for a quarter, or slightly more, of those 164 ES GF. Let’s call it 41 goals. But the inevitable conclusion is that team GA were a mess with Lupul on the ice. Further estimating for SHGF/SHGA (+2/-6, based on SHP and PP TOI respectively), that puts him right at 50 GA at evens. So on the ice for 25% of the ESGF, and 36% of the ESGA. I don’t think that’s very good.

      I do remember when Oilers got Lupul, looking at that -13 on a solid team with great prejudice, and going on the record as saying we got (for Chris F. Pronger) the sixth best prospect among Anaheim’s young forwards, behind Getzlaf, Perry, Penner, Kunitz and arguably Ryan. Do you think I was wrong?

    60. Bruce
      December 31, 2007 at

      Cynical Joe:

      Slight correction to the above, thinking things through a little further, since I adjusted for Lupul’s SHGF/A I should have done the same for the Ducks. The team was +9/-13 in that category, making the 2005-06 Ducks +155/-125 = +30 at ES. As detailed above Lupul was somewhere around -9, and I’ll stick with my +41/-50 as a reasonable guess. So that puts him on the ice for 26% of team ESGF, and 40% of the ESGA, even worse than previously estimated. He bled GA at about 1.5 the expected rate for an ’05-06 Duck.

      BTW, if anybody has access to the real numbers I’d be very interested to see how close my estimates are. But there’s no way that Lupul was even close to a decent defensive player in Anaheim, as we saw all too often in Edmonton the following season. Given his contract status and counting numbers I daresay Burke wasn’t unhappy to send him on his way, esp. with CFP going the other way. What a steal.

    61. Bruce
      December 31, 2007 at

      One last thing and I’ll shut the hell up. In ’05-06 Lupul was nothing special as an offensive player, his presumed strength. He was 56th in PP TOI among NHL forwards, and finished in a six-way tie for 90th in PPP. At ES he was 86th in TOI, and finished in a 14-way tie for 124th in ESP. The Ducks gave him all sorts of ice time and opportunity, and the results were fair at best in the offensive zone, and much worse than that at the other end of the ice.

      • Arunima
        May 31, 2013 at

        it before and I’ll say it again- good to be fdienrs with Joffrey Lupul. That friend/his gal freak me out almost as much as the fact that it appears Joff has his hand like around his friend’s back (holding a beer?). I don’t know. People aregetting angry with me that I still read about hockey when I’m drunk it’s a goddamn addiction. St.Paddy’s Day- much love Ty!

    62. December 31, 2007 at

      How much data is out there about people’s relative qualifications? Just out of curiosity (since I’m sure it comes up in your research).

      Pretty much what the team websites can give me, along with some cross-referencing on HockeyDB and good old Google searches. I’m regretting it already. :)

    63. cynical joe
      December 31, 2007 at

      Bruce, appreciate all the data, but what it really seems to show me is that over the years Lupul is improving. Sure his numbers in Anaheim were cultured by being on a very good young team, that most of us had no idea would go on to win a Cup with CFP, his next year in Edmonton, he struggled like a lot of players on that team, this year in Philly he’s rebounded from that and is a piece of a team thats gone from worst in the league to flirting with the final couple of playoff slots. I’m not arguing that Lupul isn’t a secondary player, but the skill set he possesses is the hardest one in hockey to coach: goal scoring. He’s never going to lead his team in plus/minus, I’ll grant you that point, but I don’t think that alone justifies Edmonton’s decision to move him without replacing some of that scoring. In fairness I guess that was what Lowe was doing with the Vanek/Penner offer sheets, but I still think Lupul could have given the Oil at least Penner numbers at about half the price.

    64. Mr DeBakey
      December 31, 2007 at

      Why didn’t MacT trust Lupul last year?
      Compare his Road +/- to his Home +/-,
      the guy was a disaster.

      And despite the extra goals, I’m not sure he’s really better this year.

      The Flyers are getting outshot sumthin terrible when Lupul is on the ice.

    65. December 31, 2007 at

      Bruce:

      Lupul was EV +35/-39 as a Duck in 05/06, that doesn’t include empty netters. He was then what he still is now methinks; a talented young player with some holes in his game.

      Bear in mind that Carlyle really ran Selanne for offense, the guy would often sub onto the ice if ANA won a draw cleanly and moved the puck forward. I remember Selanne bolting off the ice after the Ducks lost an offensive zone draw, and that was against Stoll’s line, a match-up that Carlyle wanted, having jumped through hoops to avoid a Selanne vs Horcoff/Smyth. It was taking Bowman’s “the right players out in the right situations” axiom to an absurd extreme, but results be results, clearly it worked for ANA.

      The point, though, is that hurts everyone else’s numbers. Not Lupul’s in particular, The Pahlsson line’s mostly, but everyone to some extent.

      I remember one of the numbers guys on the internet pimping Selanne for the Selke. Apparently he had crazy-low goals against and shots-against numbers at evens. I’m sure that’s NOT because Selanne was great defensively, he’s average at best in his own end and takes chances moving forward IMO, I think it has everything to do with the way that Carlyle managed him.

    66. Johnson
      December 31, 2007 at

      Wow, this post should have been entitled, “NHL Ice Time and why Lupul Sucks.”

      1.) Lupul was a valuable contributing forward in Anaheim, before being traded to Edmonton.

      2.) Lupul had a poor year in Edmonton.

      3.) Lupul is playing in all situations in Philly, and surprise surprise, is playing very well.

      I conclude that whatever the problem was, it was with Edmonton, not Lupul.

      Unless all these players who won’t sign there as FA’s and guys who want to be traded are just a pure coincidence.

      Suck it up – Edmonton blows.

    67. December 31, 2007 at

      Pat, I’m making a big deal of it because it’s constantly pointed out as the reason the Oilers suck.

      You just made my point for me, thank you.

      Philly, Minny, Dallas, and Montreal all Old Boys it, and aren’t hurting. (You’re conveniently forgetting last year for the Flyers though, and Montreal’s hardly been a powerhouse for the last decade.)

      Clearly, A (an OBC) does not imply B (team sucks). If anything, using your own argument, A implies not B.

      Argue over the actual personnel chosen if you like, but don’t take the lazy way out and say they suck *because* they choose ex-players.

      For that matter, that’s the way big businesses work – they’ll always prefer somebody they know over somebody they don’t.

      Bob – I got over Pronger about a month afterwards. Like Vic, my problem isn’t that he requested a trade, it’s that Lowe felt an obligation to immediately do it. I would have been perfectly happy had Pronger sat all summer. Sorry, you’ll have to give that strawman back to the guys who own it.

    68. Dennis
      December 31, 2007 at

      Obviously Ty doesn’t watch the show because the perfect title for this post would’ve been “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”

      Bob, I like it when you throw in some inside gear so can you elaborate further on your discourse with Pronger?

      BTW, I think it’s a bad deal for Lupul that he got moved after buying into the community, as it were, but the guy put himself in the hole by showing up out of shape and unprepared the previous season. The guy wasn’t interested in hard work in the last and it was there for all to see.

      BTW, you won’t find much water here for your Pronger ship. He had the right to ask for a trade just as Lowe had to right to tell him to suck it up and play while he looked for the Best deal available, ie not one where you believe in Smid or somehow come away with Lupul from the available pile of forward prospects.

      BTW, Bob, I’m not sure where the hell you’re from but with your inside info, I hope you’ll stick around.

    69. Bruce
      December 31, 2007 at

      Lupul was EV +35/-39 as a Duck in 05/06, that doesn’t include empty netters.

      Thanks Vic. I had considered the possiblity of a few ENGA, with pretty much zero likelihood that Joffer would have collected any cheap plusses by being on the ice late with the other guys’ goalie on the bench. In fairness I probably should have mentioned it, but I was already pretty far out on the speculative limb w.r.t. estimated SHGA and the like so didn’t bother. That said, just because the awarding of minusses to guys who play on the PP and 6v5 isn’t fair, doesn’t mean that a poor defensive player might not nonetheless be responsible for some of those minusses. It’s never going to be a perfect science, that’s for sure.

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