• It was the right decision

    by Tyler Dellow • April 3, 2009 • Uncategorized • 42 Comments

    I have almost nothing to say about this. It’s virtually beyond mockery. The part that really hits me though, is that only an organization with a rock solid expectation of the local media dealing with stories in an Oiler friendly manner would be insane enough to run a press conference like this. Also, if you’re going to release a statement as vague as “MacTavish isn’t going anywhere” and then take questions, you might want to come up with an answer to “Will he be back as coach?” Plus, the bit where he hammered CHED reminded me of Michael yelling “In my home! In my bedroom, were my wife sleeps! Where my children come and play with their toys. In my home!” in The Godfather, Part II after Fredo set him up.

    Also: Katz thinks that the Oilers are in the middle of a playoff race? I guess they don’t have www.sportsclubstats.com in the Bat Cave.

    Oh, and what’s Terry Jones’ obsession with speaking directly to Katz? It’s kind of weird. Also worth mentioning: Jones pointed out that Lowe was initially to speak first, followed by MacTavish. One would think that they told MacTavish what was going to be said and MacT indicated he’d much rather not to have to follow that statement.

    Enough with that. Craig MacTavish has been getting hammered for his decision to try to tag Teemu Selanne with the illegal stick penalty with 2:11 remaining in a 4-3 game. I’ve been watching hockey for a long time and I’ve never seen a hockey game end like that. It’s a loss that’s going to go into the pantheon of famous Oilers losses, somewhere below the Steve Smith game and G1 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals but certainly somewhere above the famous HNiC loss to Los Angeles in 2004. A memorable way to lose a hockey game and, if this is the end of MacT as coach, an unusual capstone to his run as Oilers head coach.

    I caught a bit of Bob Stauffer and Dan Tencer after the game and Tencer, oddly, suggested that he figured the reward wasn’t worth the risk. He also suggested he’s got some facility with odds. I can’t reconcile those two statements. As I understood his reasoning, he didn’t think that the risk of the Ducks having an empty net to shoot at and no risk of icing made any sense and he preferred the relative safety of the Ducks having to risk an icing to get the empty net chance.

    Tencer’s premise kind of strikes me as insane. If you accept that the goalie was coming out regardless, the question is how much risk is added by the Ducks being able to shoot at the empty net from the wrong side of centre without risk of an icing. Given that they’re going to be down two men and not have time to take aim, I don’t see this as being a serious issue. In any event, in this situation, a coach should be willing to take on more risk in exchange for a higher potential of a goal. The goal against costs you virtually nothing, as a loss is almost certain.

    The jey question though is how much offence would be added by the 6 on 4. We don’t have data on 6 on 4 versus 6 on 5. There is, however, considerable data available about 5 v 4 versus 5 v 3. It shows that the effect is considerable. JavaGeek’s data is typical of the numbers I’ve seen: 6 GF/60 at 5 v 4, 23 GF/60 at 5 v 3. It’s an incredible swing. My rule of thumb has always been that going to a 5 v 3 makes you about three times more likely to score a goal, say a 6.5 GF/60 to a 20 GF/60, or thereabouts. You’ll appreciate that those numbers are more conservative. 4 v 3, by the way, slots in between 5 v 3 and 5 v 4, at around 10.5 GF/60 last I looked at this year’s numbers.

    I’ve thrown all of this into a chart, so that you can kind of get a sense of what I’m talking about here. Five key numbers are listed there – the probability of goals for at 4 v 5, 5 v 5, 5 v 4, 4 v 3 and 5 v 3.

    MacT1

    MacT was faced with four options and six potential outcomes.

    1. Don’t pull the goalie at all, don’t call the stick measurement and play out the game at 5 v 5.
    2. Pull the goalie, don’t call the stick measurement and play out the game at 6 v 5.
    3. Pull the goalie and call for the stick measurement, with two potential outcomes: Ducks penalty or Oilers penalty.
    4. Don’t pull the goalie and call for the stick measurement, with two potential outcomes: Ducks penalty or Oilers penalty.

    It seems pretty clear that the goalie was going to be coming out and, based on the academic research into when that should be done, that’s probably the right call. The decision I’m interested in though is the decision to call for the stick measurement. MacT indicated after the game both that he was pretty sure the stick was illegal and that he thought he had good information but also that he was of the view that he had to be certain before making the call. I’m not so sure that that’s true.

    I’ve put together a decision chart that considers how “sure” the coach has to be that he’ll get the call in order for it to make sense. To evaluate this, you need to know three things: 1) the rate at which teams score 6 v 5, the rate at which they score 6 v 4 and the rate at which they score 4 v 5. Those are the potential outcomes. I don’t have solid information about how teams score 6 v 4 versus how they score 6 v 5 but I would suspect that 6 v 5 slots in somewhere below the 6.5 GF/60 5 v 4 rate and above the 2.5 GF/60 5 v 5 GF rate, while 6 v 4 slots in somewhere above the 6.5 GF/60 5 v 4 rate. I set the Oilers SH GF number at .75 GF/60, which is below the league average.

    In effect, what I’m asking is what the expected value of the decision to call for the penalty is at various levels of certainty that Selanne’s stick was illegal. Where the probability of a goal, accounting for the risk of a penalty is increased by the decision, the decision to take the risk makes sense.

    Assume, for example, that the average team scores 5.0 GF/60 at 6 v 5. Further assume that they score 12.5 GF/60 at 6 v 4 and 0.75 GF/60 at 4 v 5. If you apply Ryder’s poisson method, the probability of a goal in two minutes of 6 v 5 is 15.4%. The probability of a goal in two minutes of 6 v 4 is 34.1%. The probability of a goal in two minutes of 5 v 4 is 2.5%. In order to determine the breakeven point, you need to solve for x*.341+(1-x)*.025=.154, where x equals the chance that you’re right about Selanne’s stick being illegal. As it so happens, in that case, x is 40%. If MacT is 40% sure and makes the call, the Oilers probability of a goal is unchanged by the call.

    I ran that calculation for various scoring rates at 6 v 5 and 6 v 4, using a constant scoring rate of 0.75 GF/60 at 4 v 5. Here’s what the chart looks like.

    MacT2

    In effect, you can basically decide for yourself what you think the Oilers 6 v 5 scoring rate is, what their 6 v 4 scoring rate is and what degree of certainty MacTavish needed to make that call. I’m inclined to think that the numbers referenced above are something near correct (5.0 GF/60 at 6 v 5, 12.5 GF/60 at 6 v 4) and that he didn’t need to be particularly certain in order for it to be the right call.

    One caveat for my chart – I didn’t consider the possibility of scoring a goal at 5 v 5 with the goalie pulled, which would presumably drop the necessary certainty level because I would think that a team is more likely to score a goal at 5 v 5 with the goalie pulled than they are at 4 v 5 with the goalie in and, therefore, the cost of getting it wrong is lower than it would seem. You can run this a number of different ways, and if I was the Oilers employee in charge of putting together information for the coaching staff dealing with the management of the probabilities of various situations, I would, but for my purposes, this seems pretty cut and dry: if MacT was as confident in his information as he seemed to be after the game, he should make the decision again. The issue he should be worrying about here isn’t the decision but, rather, his information gathering systems and whether they are as reliable as he thought they were.

    The fact of the matter is, scoring another goal against the Ducks was an unlikely proposition, even with the goalie pulled. The coach’s job is to do things that drive the probability of winning up. The fact that those might lead to the effective loss of the game instantly if the gamble blows up doesn’t matter – if taking the risk has a better expected outcome than not taking the risk, the coach should take the risk. If MacT had been offered the chance to flip a coin to decide the game at that point, and the coin was weighted 80% Ducks and 20% Oilers, taking the coin flip would have been the right thing to do. If he was as comfortable with his information as he seemed to be, gambling on this call was the right thing to do.

    If it blows up as it did, it looks terrible and it’s easy for those not faced with the choice to criticize but doing nothing is a decision in and of itself. If he was 80% sure that Selanne’s stick was illegal, a decision to do nothing would not be maximizing the Oilers’ chances of winning the game. Personally, I like a coach who’s willing to risk some bad headlines on the right decision. This decision may well prove to be part of his epitaph as Oilers’ head coach, right beside “Didn’t have Jussi Markkanen on the bench for G1 of the Stanley Cup Finals” but unless someone can point to some flaw in his information gathering, it strikes me as probably being an unimpeachable decision.

    About Tyler Dellow

    42 Responses to It was the right decision

    1. April 3, 2009 at

      I was particularly amused by the suggestion that the “momentum was going the Oilers way” and that MacT “sabotaged the comeback attempt.” MacT even said so himself, although he may have been deflecting blame from the player(s) who presumably told him they thought Selanne’s stick was illegal – I doubt MacT makes that call entirely on his own.

      Even if you accept momentum as a Real Thing, it’s done nothing for Edmonton in nearly every game this season in which they were behind by a goal or two and mounted a furious comeback attempt in the final 5 minutes. That’s why they’re in the boat they’re in right now. I’d rather not need momentum on my side to have a chance at winning games, thank you very much; I’d rather have a nice two or five goal cushion, and hang momentum.

      I liked the decision at the time, and I still do. MacT gets criticized for not taking enough chances, and then when he does, he gets hung out to dry. Hockey fans are insane.

    2. April 3, 2009 at

      As a kid who lived and died with the Wayne Gretzky-led LA Kings, I wish Jacques Demers was worrying more about the Montreal media’s reaction about guessing wrong on a stick challenge than actually winning the game. McSorley was brilliant that whole playoff but it’s still hard to forgive him.

    3. mc79hockey
      April 3, 2009 at

      MacT gets criticized for not taking enough chances, and then when he does, he gets hung out to dry.

      Edmonton fans apparently prefer higher risk, lower reward decisions, like running Rob Schremp out there for 18 minutes a night.

    4. Greg
      April 3, 2009 at

      This is some really great stuff.

      How many teams have this kind of stuff documented in their coaching manual? It’s a serious question and wasn’t intended to come off as snarky.

      How many ‘good hockey people’ would really understand the concept of quantifying risk and reward, let alone how to do it?

    5. jdrevenge
      April 3, 2009 at

      Great post. He did make the right call. Everybody on the ice thought it was illegal so obviously something was up.

      I was reading and wondering to myself when the last time Cmac has mentioned the hockey gods… which have seemed to have all but abandoned him and the team. First the stick call, the post party last night and the fact that the snake bitten o’sullivan got his but in the way of the tying goal in the third.

      This season has been strange back to front and someone better start praying right away so that next season will calm down into lesser expectations followed by a strong run at the end.

    6. mc79hockey
      April 3, 2009 at

      Gabe Desjardins just emailed me and told me that this year, you see the following:

      6 v 5: 7.27 GF/60 and 19.21 GA/60
      6 v 4: 9.22 GF/60 and 12.8 GA/60

      Now, I’m sure that the sample size is pretty small. I have a hard time, in particular, accepting that the true odds of scoring in a 6 skaters versus 5 situation are better than the true odds of scoring in a 5 skaters versus 4 situation. This would probably be an interesting question to back through a couple of years of data on.

      IF that’s right though, assuming that they don’t pull the goalie if they lose the call, the breakeven goes up to 80%.

    7. April 3, 2009 at

      I thought it was the right call as well but its all based on the information being somewhat accurate.

      My only thought was that waiting a minute (with Roli in net) and hoping momentum carried them might be a better option because the sucks were reeling. But your wasting a minute and mathematically (ignoring momentum) cutting your chances of scoring in almost half. Your also risking the chance of no stoppages in play.

    8. April 3, 2009 at

      I have a hard time, in particular, accepting that the true odds of scoring in a 6 skaters versus 5 situation are better than the true odds of scoring in a 5 skaters versus 4 situation. This would probably be an interesting question to back through a couple of years of data on.

      6 on 5 play is late in the game and full of risk. For 6 on 5 hockey, the puck would always start in the opponents end something that in previous years would be even less so 5on4.

    9. PDO
      April 3, 2009 at

      Tyler,

      Just trying to figure this out.. the Oilers PK this year has allowed 19 more goals (and 4 goals less for) this season.

      23 goals… how many goals = a point again? 3? I honestly wanna know roughly how many games it cost us…

    10. PDO
      April 3, 2009 at

      BTW, I’m not putting on my tinfoil hat here; but did anyone else find it extremely strange that took Ketchup’s stick from him, put it behind the penalty box (at which point, after a few wobbly pops, I was seen jumping out of a chair and high fiving), made him get a new stick…

      … and then called it legal?

      Just saying. It was VERY strange.

    11. mc79hockey
      April 3, 2009 at

      Yeah, about 3 goals a point, 2.5, thereabouts.

      Probably best not to think about it.

      And I thought it was weird too. Why does Selanne get a new stick, after giving MacT the “You blew it” smirk?

    12. David S
      April 3, 2009 at

      Very concise post MC. I thought about the idea of “risk-reward” as well, but on a purely superficial level. It’s one of those moments that take huge huge balls because you know darn well the consequences if you’re wrong. MacT was right to make that call, but I give him the props for having the guts to make it given the controversy surrounding him already.

    13. Schitzo
      April 3, 2009 at

      Maybe he gets a new stick so that the old one can be re-examined after the game? Just in case the refs get called out for doing the measurement wrong?

    14. April 3, 2009 at

      I could’ve sworn he got his stick back, though. It was an odd scenario, I remember the Ducks announcers talking about how Selanne was getting a new stick which meant bad news for the Ducks… and then they called him over, gave the stick back, and Penner went to the box.

    15. dawgbone
      April 3, 2009 at

      Sean, the other issue is that if Selanne isn’t on the ice to make the call with 1 minute left, you’ve lost the chance to make the call.

    16. David S
      April 3, 2009 at

      I wonder if the whole “killing the momentum” thing is overblown because the Ducks would have called a time-out anyways to rest their guys and counteract the momentum swing (assuming that they had one left to call).

    17. April 3, 2009 at

      DW, didn’t know the player had to be on the ice. Makes sense that MacT had to make that call there if he was going to.

      David S, very likely. There is definitely momentum within games but scoring in hockey is Poisson distribution so the impact is probably minimal. Tyler could likely answer that one better. Either way, with a timeout and veterans like Pronger, Neidermayer (2) and Marchant the Ducks stood a good chance to hold down the fort.

    18. April 3, 2009 at

      I was really glad to see all the media in this city converge on Katz today, and attack him for trying to suppress the way they cover the team. Oh wait, none of that happened. What a bunch of sycophants.

    19. Paul O
      April 3, 2009 at

      You’d be sycophantic too if the difference between having a job and not having one required maintaining good relations with the only organization that makes newspapers money in this town (besides, of course, Denny Andrews Ford).

    20. April 3, 2009 at

      Wow, I feel uncomfortable watching that. Like George Costanza whenever he went from being funny to kind of creepy.

      Yikes, I’m squirming in my seat here.

    21. David S
      April 3, 2009 at

      Every time I look at that video, I’m reminded of a scolded dog that crapped on the new rug. I can just imagine it. Katz hears the radio in his limo, flips out, sends a text to Stauffer and it’s on.

      What we didn’t hear about is the next part where Katz texts Lowe telling him he’ll be in the building in ten minutes and he wants to see him right frakkin’ now. That would have been some meeting with alot of “buts” and “yes sir, I’ll get right on it” on behalf of Lowe.

    22. April 3, 2009 at

      At least Staples took the time to remind us what’s REALLY important:

      Katz can do more good for the Oilers and for the city of Edmonton with his plan to build a downtown arena than he can by firing the coach or the general manager. That is the real prize here, and real target. A first-class hockey rink — perhaps the best of its kind in the world — will be a crucial recruiting tool in this capped-up NHL.

      I don’t suppose Covering The Oilers From Home has prevented him from finding one iota of evidence for the claim that Rexall (with its extensively refurbished player facilities) is hindering talent recruitment, or for the boyish fantasy that the “best” arena in the world is likely to be built in a city that has yet to produce a single building of internationally recognized architectural merit.

    23. April 3, 2009 at

      Aw Colby, that’s a whole lot of negativity there. Its “fans” like you that are going to ruin this club’s run for the Cup!

      So, where can I get playoff tickets?

    24. April 4, 2009 at

      Is “first-class” the new “world-class?” Or does Scott McKeen own the Journal rights to “world-class,” forcing David to come up with his own vapid, vacuous adjectives?

    25. April 4, 2009 at

      The decision to try for a illegal stick penalty is much more complicated than your simple explanation.

      Players use illegal sticks (I think everyone can agree with that), however when they use them is a little more complicated.

      Basically the illegal stick rule makes for an interesting game theory problem. The way I see it, if MacT knew the stick was illegal then wouldn’t there be a number of other players on both sides who knew this as well. If the Anaheim players realize the same thing MacT does (Edmonton has a 20% chance of scoring if get illegal stick call) they’ll make sure that Selanne picks up one of his legal sticks the next time he goes on the ice. Interestingly when it is in Edmonton’s best interest to make the call, the incentive for Selanne to use an illegal stick is at its lowest. (If you have a 97% chance of winning the game, how does an illegal stick really help). This is why most coaches/players have come to the conclusion that there is never a good time to make a illegal stick call (and the call is rarely made…)

      3-4x per season.

    26. macndub
      April 4, 2009 at

      What JavaGeek said. I can’t see how the probability of Selanne having an illegal stick at that point of the game is any greater than 25% (basically, the probability of a brain cramp on the Ducks’ bench).

      I think that the rationale for the MacT call is more similar to that of AIG FP traders in early 2008: he’s fired if the Oilers don’t make the playoffs, and they can’t double-fire him for making a bad call in this game. His payoff is a call option, in other words: win, and he saves his job. That results in a lot of suboptimal decision making.

      By the way, I’m not implying that MacT lacks integrity. This behaviour in the face of a call option payoff is often unconscious.

    27. April 4, 2009 at

      I think that what JavaGeek says is true but I would really like for more coaches to make illegal stick calls if they think they have good information at the start of a PP. Surely, the gap between a 5v3 for two minutes and a 5v4 for two minutes is large enough that this would be an acceptable strategy at least some of the time when players are more likely to be carrying illegal sticks.

    28. mc79hockey
      April 4, 2009 at

      Macndub and Java are talking about something entirely different than I am. In effect, they’re taking the position that MacT couldn’t or shouldn’t have been confident enough in his information to make the call. That may be right, it may be wrong, but it’s not what I’m getting at. I’m assuming that it’s possible for a coach to have good enough information that a guy has an illegal stick at that stage of the game.

    29. Vic Ferrari
      April 4, 2009 at

      Good stuff again Tyler. I have always thought on this issue that the teams should be able to tell if the stick is illegal with a few photographs and a bit of math. All within seconds.

      Maybe watching CSI has just tricked me into believing that this stuff is easier than it really is, but couldn’t somebody drift around the catwalk at Rexall (nee SkyReach) and take a few photos of Selanne’s stick from different angles? Then I’m sure that JavaGeek could write up a program to calculate the probablity of his stick having too much bend.

      I know for a fact that nearly twenty years ago this was doable with key replication, granted not quickly. But Christ, hockey stick curves should be a walk in the park, no?

    30. Vic Ferrari
      April 4, 2009 at

      Also, Twitter is creepy, I hope it passes.

      Then again, I thought we were all sick and tired of reality TV at least six years ago, it was doomed I thought. So there you go.

    31. April 4, 2009 at

      Then I’m sure that JavaGeek could write up a program to calculate the probablity of his stick having too much bend.

      Pretty sure it was the width, not the curve, that was the issue.

    32. April 5, 2009 at

      Edmonton fans apparently prefer higher risk, lower reward decisions

      I didn’t mean just the fans. :)

      Vic, your first instinct is correct; you probably watch too much CSI. Your tolerance for failure is pretty low on something like that. Sure, it’s technically feasible – I used to measure people with nothing but a video camera, a PC, and a line of a known length marked on a wall for party tricks at my mother’s college open house. But I suspect the best you can come up with is a confidence interval, and I bet good ol eyeballing the stick on a faceoff is just as good.

      Besides, as Javageek says, it’s situational. It doesn’t really do you much good to know that Selanne uses an illegal stick as often as not in the first period, unless you want to really irritate him by calling it every time you play the Ducks.

    33. Vic Ferrari
      April 5, 2009 at

      MikeP:

      On the situational aspect, this was simply too obvious to mention. It is common knowledge that players who knowingly use illegal sticks usually change back to legal ones late in the game. Not always though.

      On the issue of converting several two dimensional images into a three dimensional image, this is entirely doable. The difficult bit would be developing the software that could perform the human task of identifying a bunch of unique points on the stick blade over a variety of photographs. From there it would be fairly straightforward, though computationally it may be cumbersome.

      And though this may be too obvious to mention, you’d want to be sure that the player didn’t switch his stick before you played this card.

      Generally I think that the best time to make this call would be earlier in the game, 2nd period or first half of the 3rd, because you’ve got more guys playing with the groovy sticks then. And just as you are about to go onto a PP, if you are lucky enough for one of those guys to have been on the ice when the original penalty was called. As MC, Gabe and others have shown before, the gain then is the most significant.

      The NHL subculture does seem to frown on the stick call though, at all but the most desperate times it seems to be considered an repulsive tactic by the players. At least by the player being tested.

    34. Vic Ferrari
      April 5, 2009 at

      Colby:

      Thanks, I didn’t know that as I hadn’t seen the game.

      That would be even easier though. I mean if you knew the size of the lettering on the stick shaft, in the lengthwise direction, and if you knew the lie of the stick, or thereabouts … you could probably estimate the height of the blade at any point on it’s length within a fraction of a millimetre. This just using a standard digital camera, laptop and MSpaint.

      It would be a safe-side measurement as well, presuming that the NHL measures blade height prependicular to any point on the blade, as opposed to in the plane of the stick shaft.

      The proof is in the pudding, but if someone tried this at the next game they watched live (kids or friends playing), where they knew the lettering dimensions on the stick … I think that they would surprise themselves with how accurately they could measure the blade height from the crowd using those everyday tools.

      And surely a playoff berth is worth a lot of scratch to the Oilers … you’d think that they would make the effort to do this sort of thing.

    35. Ryan
      April 5, 2009 at

      Re: Vic’s rates. 5-on-4s certainly are more dangerous than 6-on-5s, all things being equal, but not all things are equal. Fatigue and timeouts could both help or hurt one team more than the other. Teams practice 6-on-5 less often, which could hypothetically hurt the defenders disproportionately. But by far the biggest factor is that most 6-on-5 icetime is spent with the best players on the ice–the first PP unit, essentially. Most teams have a huge drop-off from their first unit PP to their second unit, so average 6-on-5 rates could easily nestle in between average 5-on-4 rates and first unit 5-on-4 rates.

      Also, your analysis ignores goals against, which isn’t accurate. Using Vic’s rates, teams are much less likely to score 4-on-6 than 5-on-6 (contrary to Tencer’s intuition). That matters because you’re less likely to lose the game before you tie it. In other words, on average you’ll have more time to score the tying goal. For what it’s worth, you also get a free offensive zone faceoff with a 6-on-4, but I’m not sure how much difference that would make relative to the average rates.

      As for the game theory aspect of it, I’d love to see a coach call for a measurement in the second period in the playoffs. Or better yet, call for two measurements at the same time (is that allowed?). If you get a little lucky, it’s a free 5-on-3. As long as you have reasonable intel, you’d have to get pretty dang unlucky to get both measurements wrong. But then at least you’ll be remembered, right?

    36. David Staples
      April 8, 2009 at

      Colby, Andy. Oh, you’re right.

      Rexall Place is, simply put, the finest ice palace in the world, and you guys know that from your wide travels and close inspection of rival NHL rinks.

      My bad for being such a home body.

    37. April 9, 2009 at

      I haven’t seen many NHL rinks, but the Lord gave me enough common sense not to lavish praise on an imaginary one.

    38. David Staples
      April 9, 2009 at

      You got me. One should never be enthused about plans for things that have yet to be built, that are only just imagined (or maybe has architectural drawings done up).

      I mean, who do those folks with their foolish internal combustion engine think they are anyway!

      Anyway, let’s me now address this head on:

      Colby, I support public money for the new art gallery. I’d love to see the LRT fast-tracked. I think it was a massive failing of the Klein government that it lacked that vision to build rapid transit in the 1990s. I’m also in favour of a new provincial museum.

      I support these things because in the best cities I’ve visited, these things are integral.

      If the plans are right, and only if they are right, I will also be in favour of the city or province finding the right way to support the downtown arena. It’s clear some kind of private/public partnership is needed to get it done. And it’s clear to me that — if done correctly — such a project could be a huge boon to the quality of life in the downtown.

      Not an economic boon, but one that will make life better in this city for many, many Edmontonians — if it the project is the right project.

      So if you’re against all this, and you think I am the enemy on this issue, I likely am.

      I declare myself.

    39. April 9, 2009 at

      I’m sorry if you felt like you were being sorted into some “enemy” box because of an offhanded non-sequitur. You wrote one indefensible sentence, that’s all. Lord knows I’ve done it fifty times. Given the conditionals now affixed to your credo–the plans have to be approached with skepticism (I assume this means they have to exist before we can reasonably talk them up to the skies) and there must be evidence of positive externalities worth contributing to publicly–I’m not opposed to a new arena either. (Note: claiming that quality-of-life or psychological benefits are somehow not “economic” is just really bad economics.)

      But I have to admit that were the conditions met, I would still wonder why a presumptive zero is being assigned to the marketing and recruitment value of a heritage building that enjoys advantages as an concert and rodeo venue that may be impossible to reproduce in the downtown, is supported by zillions of dollars in existing infrastructure, and is NOT like 27 or 28 other buildings in the league. And it should probably be acknowledged that the public and the ownership is unlikely to get together and build some hyper-innovative Model T of hockey rinks, as opposed to an HOK hockey-mallpark passed through the lower intestine of Cohos Evamy. My imagination is not privy to the details of a potential super-arena; I’m afraid someone will have to come along and satisfy my reasoning mind instead. That’s the part I’ve left in charge of economic and policy judgments.

    40. David Staples
      April 10, 2009 at

      Fair comment on your part, Colby.

      It’s all about the plans. . . And it’s not like I.M. Pei is going to build the new arena. . . .So we’ll see what they come up with, and then make up our minds . . .

    41. May 28, 2009 at

      Hello Guru, what entice you to post an article. This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

    42. October 30, 2010 at

      Best you should edit the blog title
      mc79hockey.com – Where we can tell that the Oilers are reading our site, even if they won’t talk to us » It was the right decision to something more generic for your webpage you write. I enjoyed the post yet.

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