• Stories the EDM media won’t tell, Vol. MX

    by Tyler Dellow • February 21, 2012 • Hockey • 22 Comments

    A few years back I ran a table with the Oilers’ results between 2006-10, pointing out that they were the worst team in the NHL over that period. I happened across that today and started wondering – with the NHL CBA expiring, where do the Oilers sit in the NHL during the life of this CBA? As many of you will recall, this CBA was presented as absolutely essential to the continued existence of the Oilers, who were prevented from even being close to competitive by the awful old CBA, which let the rich teams buy all of the good players. Remember this from Cal Nichols?

    “It (the new CBA) allows for the competitive balance we’ve been seeking,” Nichols said. “If everything that we’re hearing is what it actually is, I think this could be the solution that we’ve been seeking.”

    The whining from the Edmonton media (and the Oilers) about how the CBA was holding the Oilers back was, in a word, overwhelming. It went on and on and on. There wasn’t a media guy in Edmonton who wasn’t spouting some variant of the line that the Oilers were getting killed by the CBA. They just needed a new CBA and then, then they would compete.

    I actually think that the new CBA made the NHL much more a game of managerial skill than it used to be. For all the talk about money being such a big deal, lots of guys are shadows of what they once were at 31, which is when they became unrestricted free agents. By imposing a salary cap and reducing the advantage of drafting well, it became about how good your management was at finding players and negotiating. Just sucking was no longer enough – a high end talent who came into the league at 18 was no longer yours until he turned 31 but just until he turned 25. It’s become much more a test at how good your management is at developing a plan and adapting as you go along. How have the Oilers fared?

    Disastrously. In the competition for the title of “Worst Team of the CBA”, they’ve managed to mathematically eliminate 27 teams from the competition, with 24 games left in the life of this CBA. The Oilers magic number to eliminate the Islanders and Blue Jackets and clinch the title is 42 points – any number of Oilers points dropped and Isles and Jackets points gained adding up to 42 and the Oilers clinch.

    Glorious to look at, isn’t it? All that talk about how the Oilers just needed a CBA to be competitive, they got their CBA and this was the result. Currently, they’re averaging 76.4 pts/82 games under this CBA; before this CBA, the last time they’d had a single season that bad was in 1995-96. Keep in mind, they’ve only deliberately punted a single season under this CBA; the rest of the time they were trying to win.

    I’m going to follow this and will draw some attention if and when the Oilers clinch this title. Prediction: despite the obviously interesting connection with what the Oilers were telling us about how a new CBA would fix everything during the last lockout, nobody in the mainstream media will mention this. It’s Edmonton; as Dennis used to say, excuses in lieu of success. If one excuse no longer works, move on to the other. It’s about the only thing the franchise is good at.

    About Tyler Dellow

    22 Responses to Stories the EDM media won’t tell, Vol. MX

    1. Cam Charron
      February 21, 2012 at

      Actually, you’re ignoring the parity here, Tyler. By my count, there are only three post-lockout teams under .500.

      • February 21, 2012 at

        While I agree that it does appear silly that 90% of the league is over .500, I don’t see how that changes the main point of the post. Everyone has access to those bonus points, and in a game rigged for 90% of the league to be over 0.500, the Oilers still suck so much that they can’t hit that mark. It’s not like he’s comparing the Oilers without bonus points to the rest of the league with bonus points. It’s a stupid system, but everyone gets the same crack at it, including the Oil. They just suck within this system.

      • February 21, 2012 at

        By my definition, .500 means as many wins as losses, that way putting approximately half of any league above that line, and half below. So it SHOULD include overtime losses and shootout losses, and whenever I’m quoting a win-loss record, it always does. I.e., the Oilers are not 22-30-6, they are 22-36. Phoenix is not above .500 at 29-21-9, but are one game below, at 29-30. Which is why they’re just barely in a playoff position right now.

        • dawgbone
          February 22, 2012 at

          But that’s completely useless because not all losses are the same.

          I don’t get what everyone’s problem is with just using points percentage? I mean it’s been done since 1999, why obsess with what .500 means or doesn’t mean? It’s not applicable to the NHL so stop fretting over it.

          • Doogie2K
            February 22, 2012 at

            Because people still talk about it as though it does, because that’s how the standings worked for the first hundred-odd years of organized hockey.

            • dawgbone
              February 22, 2012 at

              It isn’t though.

              If you go 35-35-12 that’s 35/82 which is a .426 winning percentage (wins/gp), but is considered .500.

              The NHL has always used points %, which is points earned/points available.

              Winning percentage only matters in sports where there is a win and a loss awarded (i.e. baseball, basketball).

    2. PDO
      February 21, 2012 at

      Cam, that’s largely due to Bettman points.

      Same table with shootouts eliminated and just wins/losses would be interesting.

      • Cam Charron
        February 21, 2012 at

        That was the point of my comment. It irks me how many talking heads mistake win percentage for points percentage.

        • Bruce McCurdy
          February 21, 2012 at

          90% of all teams with over 50% of available points.

          Thank you very much, Mr. Bettman. FFS.

    3. The Other John
      February 21, 2012 at

      Three surprising things that jump out at me: (1) How the bleep has Nashville been able to be this consistently good over the course of this CBA with no money (lead off with this one because Dan Tencer on drive home show after another loss this year said of Nashville; Edm is too sophisticated a hockey market we would not put up with just making playoffs), (2) how is anyone even close to Edm we have been really really bad for so long, and how does Burke not realize that he has the deepest pockets in a game rigged in favor of the team with most money or at least it does until CBA changes so a team can’t bury mistake contracts in AHL

      • thor
        February 21, 2012 at

        The myth that hockey market sophistication translates into low ticket sales was destroyed by the Leafs years ago. I used to have “pity” for the leafs fans since they didn’t seem to understand winning cups. Now I don’t see much difference…except that the sports journalists in Toronto aren’t afraid to call the owners or team management to account.

    4. Bruce McCurdy
      February 21, 2012 at

      Good post and points, Tyler.

      I was concerned when the first thing the Oilers did after being one of the leading hawks during the lockout and ultimately achieving “the competitive balance we’ve been seeking” was to scuttle their AHL franchise. So how’d that work out?

      A sign of things to come.

    5. James
      February 21, 2012 at

      Here’s another gem from that linked article

      “And it should put an end to the parade of players like Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, Janne Niinimaa and Curtis Joseph who were traded as salary dumps or left via free agency for greener pastures.

    6. mkyeg
      February 21, 2012 at

      This table will look even worse if you add two more columns: total salary $ spent over the life of the CBA, and the percentage of the salary cap that represented.

      • February 21, 2012 at

        Ooooh, I second this. It would be interesting to see throughout the rest of the standings there, but that would be hugely glaring down there at the bottom of the list.

      • Maestro Fresh Mess
        February 21, 2012 at

        Yes. That is what really seals the case for the incompetence of this teams management. Being near the top in payroll while simultaniously being near the bottom of the standings. A strong manager would only spend to the cap once a contending team is built.

    7. Graham
      February 21, 2012 at

      Unrestricted Free Agents at 25, not 35, right?

    8. Maestro Fresh Mess
      February 21, 2012 at

      The Oilers will probably promote Tambo to ‘president of hockey operations’. Lowe will then be named Supreme Grand Master in Principal of hockey operations.

      Ricky O will named GM.

      Katz will raise beer and ticket prices.

    9. February 21, 2012 at

      It’s interesting to see how many of the consistently good teams haven’t won the Stanley Cup. Teams 2-7 didn’t win (although one might this year), and only Vancouver has made the Finals. Also interesting that among those teams only Vancouver has changed managers (another thing that might change at the end of this year).

    10. Hambone
      February 22, 2012 at

      The Islanders are the “Oilers of the East”.

    11. Silver
      February 22, 2012 at

      Lowe wins this hands down. The guy in charge of the abortion that is CBJ? Yeah, his NHL management career germinated with Lowe and the Oilers.

    12. Art V
      February 23, 2012 at

      The Oilers will be competitive under the new CBA with a new building.

      David Staples told me so.

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