Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Somewhere, Earl Sleek is Laughing

After the Oilers beat the Ducks my post title was "Eat Me Joffrey Lupul".

I thought he was a good young player who would likely become a great player.

I also thought he was a punk.

Well, now he's our punk.

Pronger fatigue hit me this weekend and I'd had it - spent the weekend away from the TV and away from the computer for the most part.

And now the deal is done. Finally.

I haven't yet checked out anyone's site except for a quick look at Lowetide's yesterday. Some pretty angry reaction from some quarters.


1/ The idea that Lowe could have waited is not a reasonable one. Teams set their budgets and plans now. No teams were going to leave a spot open based on the possibility they might get Pronger come September. What if they lost out? How would they replace the guys they moved to get him? The idea that Lowe could have and should have waited is nice but not realistic. The next time he might have been able to move him would be around Christmas. His value likely would have decreased. And the Oilers would have watched the season (with one huge distraction) probably go down the tubes. He had to do the deal now.

2/ His hands were tied. And when teams began to drop out of the running then the bidding war he'd hoped for disappeared. There were two trains of thought - that he would get two quality players plus a pick or that he would get a good young NHL player, a blue chip prospect and a high pick. It turns out that #2 was what he ended up with. And the fact that we as fans looked at possible returns (Bouwmeester/Horton - Pitkanen/Carter) and got worked up about those possibilities (and happy about them, mind you - Bouwmeester and Horton - give me that deal in a second) tells you they weren't going to happen. In Florida's case, for example, Keenan looked at it and figured why give up two guys who are already damn good players for a guy ten years older and more expensive then the two combined.

3/ Was the deal a good one? Well, of course Anaheim won the deal. Unless Lowe was able to get a bidding war he wasn't going to win this one. But he got a shooter, something the Oilers need, and he's a 22 year old who scored 28 goals playing with, who, Todd Marchant?? That's a nice pickup. The young Dman is a top prospect. If he becomes a player then this deal looks pretty good. Throw in the picks and Lowe received some pretty good assets.

I think he got the best he could get.

He's added to a nice core of forwards and we'll see what Smid can do. The big issue for this team, obviously, is the blueline. Lowe has to add someone, maybe two someones. It will be interesting to see if they go really young early or if he picks up two veterans. I don't think he's done dealing and there are already teams bumping up against the cap so he'll get this team the help they need.

Its just too bad it ended the way it did. I don't blame Pronger for putting his family first. You can say whatever you will but whatever the real reason, whether his wife didn't want to live in Edmonton or it was something a little more, as many believe, you have to put your family first. Nothing is more important.

It was a terrific year and he was a huge part of it. A lot of great memories.

And now its time to move along. Nothing to see here.



Bart said...

"you have to put your family first. Nothing is more important."

Well, I love my wife and children too, and would do all sorts of things for them, but I wouldn't sacrifice my good name and sense of honour to them for just anything whatsoever, no matter how frivolous. Maybe Pronger has a legitimate reason for leaving, but as he's not saying, it's reasonable to assume he perhaps doesn't. How bad can it have been that they couldn't have taken it for 8 or 10 months a year for 4 more years?

But your main point is right--the sooner Lowe did something the better, and if this was the best deal, well, dang, but that's that.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

bart - I don't know - put it this way - if his wife came to him and said - "I hate it here and I'm taking the kids and moving - you can come with or not" then what could he say - give up his family? no.

if that was the reason, well, of course to me its not a great reason and I think its unfair of her to put him in that position (obviously this is all conjecture) but if my wife told me tomorrow she hated it here (T.O.) and I had to give up my job and move the family to PEI becuase she missed her family I would try and convince her otherwise and I would be unhappy about it but I wouldn't break up my marriage or lose my kids over it - not a chance

whatever the reason behind the reason (she hated it in Edmonton, wanted to be closer to her family, he was a bad boy etc.) if the move was to save his marriage then I cannot condemn him; I think it sucks but I can't throw a stone at the guy other then his handling of it in terms of going to Mexico etc etc

Swabbubba said...

Pronger is gone. For Marketing the Oilers should have the number 44 printed on the piss pucks for Rexall. But I like what we got and who knows what will shake out with the picks, they are worth there weight in gold. We did sign Reasoner back.. no numbers yet but hey I always liked Marty.

bart said...


Okay, I take your point. Obviously, everything depends on the circumstances. Maybe it's just because I'm so choked that the Prongers have chosen to tarnish the whole playoff run the way they have, but I have this nagging feeling that Pronger has at least a bit of a sense of shame, and that's why he's not saying why they want to leave. That is, by giving the real reason we'd all think even less of him than we already do. I just can't imagine my wife making a public spectacle of me like this, not in a million years. (Hey, to all you young kids out there, marry wisely! Beauty, eh!)

On the other hand, I live in Calgary, so if my wife came to me tomorrow and said she couldn't stand the sight of another Flames jersey or another Flames flag, hey, well, you gotta take care of your family....

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Bart - Al Maki at the Globe sums up my main problem with this whole situation and that is how Pronger handled the whole situation after the playoffs ended (and his handling up it up to then was exemplary - no Vince Carter in him) - if only he had held a press conference on Tuesday or Wednesday and said "here is the deal" He didn't even have to say anything more then "its private", as far as I am concerned - its not my business, even as a fan, what goes on within his household

I think people would have been upset still but not so bitter - at least he would be standing up and acknowledging something

Its hard to say but as you said it is hard to take - to me it doesn't tarnish the run itself but it really brings us back to the bad old days - we aren't there really but it feels like it with him leaving - the team will be fine but it just sours everything

Wardo said...

I disagree with some of your Pronger assessment.

I believe that after all the big D-men were signed after the free-agency period opened last weekend, the urgency to trade Pronger disappeared. Teams who missed out on Chara, for instance, are now doing things like signing bargain-bin players who spent last year in the Russian leagues. Once that supply is exhausted, Pronger stands alone as the premium asset to acquire. I feel Lowe should have waited. It's not like an offer of picks and one NHL-proven player wouldn't still be available for the big guy in three months.

I think he should have traded him BEFORE the UFA season opened, and failing that, wait for his value to simmer up again (why expedite matters just to convenience Pronger, by the way? Let him squirm awhile) and get maximum value. Like, if I'm an Oiler fan, I'd rate getting an NHL-experienced D-man back in any deal for Pronger, and Lowe didn't manage it.

You mention that Pronger's value "probably would have decreased." How, concretely, would Pronger be worth less by the start of the season? Again, I believe it would have done nothing but increase by then.

You mentioned that teams wouldn't leave a 6.25 million dollar hole in their lineup hoping to land Pronger - of course they wouldn't. Any interested team would have to make room. And you know as well as I how valuable Pronger is - you don't think such a team would start throwing bodies overboard in an effort to land Pronger?

You're right though, you never get full value in a deal like this, not when Pronger put a gun to Lowe's head and said, "trade me."

An Oiler fan would only be happy if they get a guy back like Lidstrom or Chara, and everybody knows that wasn't happening.


Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

have to agree to disagree Wardo, I guess - I think the best time to trade him was right after Chara etc were signed, mainly because at that point teams are still putting together their teams and for those whose plans depended on adding Chara, Jovo, Redden etc Pronger would be the next logical choice as a premier defenceman

I guess I would agree with you that his vale may not have decreased come September but teams would not be looking at adding a guy like that come the fall - now is when they are putting their temas together - imagine Bobby Clarke missing out on Pronger come October and having to go to Ed Snider and say - well here was my plan but I have no plan B

as for being able to jettison players in order to add Pronger - easier said then done - at that point you have most teams set in budget - either they are at the floor by choice or pushing the cap for the most part - not too many trading partners - you're giving up some salary to the Oielrs but likely not 6M worth so you have to essentially salary dump another guy or two and find the team willing to take them

and finally Lowe has to move on as well - keeping Pronger around for training camp, into the season etc would have made this season a writeoff - too big a distraction.

Thats the cap era - teams set their budgets and have to abide - back in the day Lowe likely may have gotten better value (although pronger would not have been an Oiler in the first place) because the Leafs, Flyers, Avs, Wings etc etc would have all been in the bidding - no constraints - and Lowe could have waited into the season.