Michael Parkatti points out something interesting from Pat LaForge:
Oilers’ president and CEO Patrick Laforge notes how NHL teams pay their players in US dollars. He says a one-cent fluctuation, either way, can be worth $4-5 million, for a team with a payroll in the neighbourhood of $60 million.
Now…I’d like to hear the audio on this. If anyone knows where it is, by all means provide a link. The quote is so goofy (and it’s not presented as a direct quote) that I’d like to hear it before whacking Laforge too much for it.
With that said, if it is an accurate quote, it’s not the first time that the Oilers have played games with numbers. The statement is technically accurate – if the Canadian dollar was valued at between 44 and 34 cents US, a one cent drop would cost the team between $4MM and $5MM but, of course, the Canadian dollar is worth substantially more at the moment. If this is an accurate summary of what he said, well, it’s pretty terrible.
I thought the next bit was interesting too:
We don’t sell tickets daily, we sell them in advance, so people pay for their Edmonton Oilers’ season tickets back when the dollar was $1.05, US, and everybody was thinking life’s beautiful,” says Laforge. “We can’t go surcharge everybody for a crumbling Canadian dollar, so it is a big risk on (Oilers’ owner) Daryl Katz’ back.”
Now, I don’t live in Edmonton, so I don’t know precisely how payment for Oilers’ tickets work but if people pay for them in advance, when the dollar is US$1.05, doesn’t that mean that the Oilers have a large chunk of their 2011-12 revenue in the bank and can choose to hedge the currency risk as much as they want? If Katz wants no risk, he can just take the money and buy US$. If he’s adventurous, he can let it ride. They’d be in a worse position if they sold tickets daily than they are getting their money up front. Simple financial rule: getting your money now is always better than a promise that you’ll get your money later.
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Interesting story about the Canucks gaming the CBA’s rules on pre-season games on Puck Daddy. If you had tickets to the Oilers-Canucks game the other night, you might have noticed that the Canucks’ roster was horrible. Harrison Mooney explains that the Canucks have brought in a bunch of guys who meet the definition of veterans who they use to meet the CBA mandated minimums. I can’t blame the Canucks too much – they’re in the business of winning hockey games, not ensuring that Edmonton’s fans get value for the dollar (nobody, as far as I can tell, is in that business).
It strikes me that this is a case in which Oilers’ fans might benefit from a decent supporters’ group, one that would put some pressure on the organization to tell the Canucks that there won’t be any exhibition games for them in Edmonton next year but that Minnesota is probably available. A few years of that might convince the Canucks that complying with the spirit of the CBA might be wise in some circumstances. The Oilers presumably sold out or came close to selling out this game; they don’t really care who the Canucks ice. The only people who suffer from not seeing anything close to a respectable lineup from Vancouver are the people footing the bill.
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It looks like there are a couple of interesting stories developing in training camp as far as who makes the team. I’m a firm believer that training camp is largely uninteresting in that the team is basically already set; to me, it’s not much more than a chance to eyeball some guys who might be interesting down the road.
Up front, the following guys are on one-way contracts or spent last year in the NHL: Smyth, Horcoff, Hall, Eberle, MPS, Belanger, Eager, Hemsky, Hordichuk, Jones, Brule and Gagner. That leaves two holes into which to cram Hartikainen, Omark, Lennart Petrell, RNH and Lander.
Personally, I think Omark has to be a lock for the team. Which leaves one spot for the other four guys. If you assume that RNH gets that spot to start, there are three guys who are knocking on the door who are going to be stuck in the American League (two if Gagner is injured). I don’t have a major issue with that in the cases of Hartikainen and Lander; there’s nothing wrong with a year or two in the AHL for young guys, but in the case of Petrell, it’s a little frustrating, as he sure sounds like he might be an actual honest to goodness hockey player and, at 27, it’s not like there’s much to be gained by sending him down and waiting.
On the one hand, I’m thrilled to see the Oilers going out and signing guys from Europe; sifting coal, to use Tom Benjamin’s expression. The roadblocks of last year’s training camp have been reduced. On the other hand, it’s a little frustrating to see the roster spots that those guys might potentially fill being taken up by guys like Brule, Eager and Jones. Eager’s a bit different – in signing him for three years, the Oilers have basically made a statement that they see him playing a role on a team that does something other than take beatings between September and April and then see how the lottery goes – but Brule and Jones are both players whose signings were defended by supporters of them, at least in part, on the grounds that it didn’t matter too much if they couldn’t live up to their contracts because they’d be gone before the Oilers were competitive.
The problem with that (just like it was the problem with JDD and Jacques, to pick two recent examples) is that they soak up roster spots that could be used to take a look at other players, guys who might actually play a role in the bottom half of a competitive team. If Petrell has some game – and Renney seems to think he might – he’s going to have to rely on injury in order to get a chance to show it at the NHL level.