Monday, November 05, 2007
A couple of great items out there, here from Vic Ferrari and here from Dennis. Dennis is looking at Journal blogger Staples whilst reviewing some of Lowe's errors over the past sixteen months while Vic looks at a guy who was a nice coup for Lowe, Jan Hejda, a guy who is now plying his trade for the Ohio BJs.
What is killing me about this season is the fact that it did NOT have to be this way and both of these guys bring up some good points.
Lets for a moment disregard the return in the Pronger and Smyth deals - lets give Lowe the benefit of the doubt there. Seriously. We don't know what was out there in either case. We think that he may have gotten better but lets suspend disbelief and not speculate that he may have gotten, say, Pitkanen, Richards and a first or Bouwmeester, Weiss and same. We don't know what was out there.
So, you're coming off a trip to the finals and you can't keep the team together and on top of that Pronger walks. So the reality is you're likely not getting back to the SCF right away - you can't replace Pronger and Peca, Spacek and Dvorak are gone as well. However you have a solid corps of veterans and younger guys coming off a run to the SCF. You should be competitive as long as you fill those holes and you can ease your youngsters into the lineup.
Instead of signing a guy like Markov or picking up an equivalent you go with the interesting choice of playing twenty year old Laddy Smid in the top four, at the expense of Jan Hejda. So three of your top six are Smid, Greene and Bergeron. The result is predictable.
If Lowe had added Markov or an equivalent, lets say, and given Hejda a spot immediately in place of Smid then their D could have looked like this:
Throw them out there anyway you want. Everyone knew this team needed a veteran Dman last season from July on but Lowe sat on his hands.
When the team went down the tubes Lowe moved Smyth. Of course, Lowe's apologists are quick to point out that Smyth was not an elite player etc etc. Of course he happened to be the Oilers' best player and one they have not replaced. What kills me is that while I love Smyth I could get on board with the trade for the reason that to me the way of the league now is to spend the big money on the younger guys. Just as I hated moving Smith but could see the reasoning behind it, I thought that moving Smyth made sense - I would rather that money go to pay guys like Hemsky.
Of course this all went to hell when Lowe signed a surprised Souray who said that the Oilers' offer came out of nowhere (just after Katz's big offer - coincidence?). Why you would pay an injury prone, aging Dman the money you would not pay Smyth is beyond me and puts the lie to everything the organization said about why they would not sign Smyth. You can argue about Smyth being an elite player - it depends on where you draw the line at elite - but Souray surely does not pass that sniff test. He is nowhere near the player Smyth is. And that contract had better not handcuff this club down the line but it likely will.
But some fans say things like "its a rebuild" and "be patient - its short term pain" and the media go along with it - its a rebuild they say, failing to mention that its a rebuild that didn't have to be, that a rebuilding team has no business spending huge coin on Sheldon Souray and that looking at Columbus and St. Louis might lead one to believe that an elite level coach can do a lot to turn around fading fortunes.
Instead we get Terry Jones talking about how this team lacks toughness (the same Terry Jones who made an impassioned plea that Edmonton get behind EIG in its battle with the devil (ie/ Katz) and how Dustin Penner is a big fatty. Pot, meet kettle, this guy is like Johnny Pavorotti in the old SCTV skit, telling Joe Flaherty he'll do anything for him and then refusing to give him any of his gigantic provolone. "Its Johnny Pavorotti - My God - he's making a beeline for the lasagna!"
Its quality journalism like this that sees Lowe and MacT get a free ride as they ride this franchise into the ground. Mistakes like pissing away last season for want of a move or two, signing big Souray to a ridiculous contract, playing Smid over Hejda last season and then Roy over Tarnstrom this season, letting Hejda go this past summer.
3-0 Minnesota at the end of the first. Can't wait to hear about the injury bug again tomorrow. This team is sliding fast - we're not talking lottery territory anymore, we're talking first pick overall. Only problem is its no longer the Oilers' pick, in case anyone out there forgot.
Will anyone call Lowe on this disaster?
Posted by Black Dog at 8:05 PM