Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Giving The Dog Your Entire Dinner

When I moved to the Island in 1997 I didn't know a soul. That didn't last long at all. I walked across the tarmac at Charlottetown Airport on February 9th and five days later a girl I worked with and her friend came and took me out to dinner. It was Valentine's Day and they weren't doing anything and they knew I was alone and though they didn't know me they thought I might not be the type who would want to be alone on Valentine's Day.

It was in the next few days that I began to get around with a young guy whose desk was right near mine. He lived just around the corner from the hotel where I was living and so he began to take me to and from work. ( I hadn't a car but didn't mind the walk to work though it was mid February - it was only about a half hour and I was used to walking - the Islanders thought I was mental.) It would probably have been the last day of February that he asked if I wanted to drop up to his place for a few beers that night, after which we would go out.

Charlottetown has changed since those days when your options for going out were limited to Myron's and The Old Dublin in the winter and the same plus Peake's during the summer. When I was there a few weeks ago we hit a half dozen pubs and bars and still had a couple we missed. Anyhow that night the coin came up heads and we decided on Myron's.

So I picked up some beer and wandered up a couple of crooked back streets, the old white narrow houses wood siding leaning here and there until I got to his place, a typical old downtown pad where he lived with a few buddies from university.

Now Trev and I hit it off right away and we're cut from the same cloth, bullshitters both of us, and always into the mischief. That night it started and it hasn't ended yet, all of these years later. There were the two of us and his roommates and then it became clear that this house was one of those places where people gathered, as there were comings and goings through the evening, reminding me of my friend Frank's parents' place back in the day.

One of the guys who came by brought his brother along. Now your man was friends with all concerned and had gotten around with the whole crew for years but his brother was cut from different cloth. A little serious, a little full of himself, a little bit of a dink, he did not impress me and I soon was taking out the needle and beginning to use it. Someone turned to me and asked me how I liked the Island. I said I liked it just fine and that while it was different from Toronto I figured I'd be alright.

You know what they say. When in Ireland.

Buddy perks up and informs me that that isn't the saying. Its 'When in Rome'. I laugh and turn to Trev and ask him if this was an Island saying, 'when in Rome' I'd never heard that before and he all deadpan says nosir I have never heard of that one before, of course he knows 'When in Ireland' that's pretty standard.

Well your man gets a little indignant and we argue back and forth a little bit. He's a little hot under the collar but he cools off until I begin to talk about the Bermuda Circle and how all of those planes and ships used to disappear into it.

You can see where this is going.

Well again the arguing and then I let up a little and we soon we put on our coats and head out into the chill. We're talking about investments and buddy pipes up about the only rule he follows is that he never puts all of his eggs in one basket.

What the hell does that mean? I say

And he begins to turn purple. It means you don't put everything in one place, he sputters, for fear that something goes wrong.

So, says I, with an innocent look, that makes no sense now. What the hell are you doing with a basket and why the hell would you put a bunch of eggs into it anyhow?

And as he grunts and churns and bumps I opine

What you meant to say is that you don't give the dog all of your dinner. That would be a bad move. If he eats all of your dinner well then you have no dinner and you're hungry.

You could hear him shouting in New Brunswick likely.

The dink.


Its becoming clear that other than the goaltending plan (bah) and the farmteam plan (looks good) the Oilers had one other idea when Strong. Muscular. Thighs. raised the Cup. Crosby. Get Dany Heatley. If that fails trust in Quinn.

Well that failed and all that Tambellini has done since is let Kotalik and Brodziak go. Kotalik was an NHL veteran which this team has few of but I'm not horrified considering his contract. Brodziak was a kid but a kid who could do a few things and who they had invested some time in. Pouliot, if he is his replacement, might be able to do what Brodziak did. Brule, I think, is not there yet.

So we have a team that has still not yet recovered from Lowe's foolishness since June 19th, 2006 (three years now), who have finished out of the playoffs three years running and who have stayed the course on the back end while getting weaker up front and between the pipes (regardless of Khabibulin's play its likely that JDD is going to get some twenty to thirty starts - I don't know anybody who thinks that this is a good idea). And they are right up against the cap. And they have to worry about Gagner, Grebeshkov and Cogliano next summer with very little relief in terms of shedding salary and the possibility of a dropping cap.

They are not in a good way. I liked it better when they had no money and were at least efficiently run (relatively speaking I mean - some better drafting might have been nice when they were the little organization that could). Now they are the Rangers lite - lots of money and no clue on what to do with it, just a long string of big bets that are bound to fail.

There is a lot that ails this club. They can use a proven veteran backup goalie and another vet who can PK on the blueline and a couple more vets still to muck it up and kill penalties and win a draw or two. And the skill guys are mostly too young and too inconsistent and some may never get there. And they still haven't replaced Ryan Smyth.

Amongst others.

And there's the contracts.

So its going to be up to Quinn who can be fabulously grumpy. This could be good.

Especially considering that your gruff Irishman is an astute political man, is experienced as a team builder and is a famous famous man. If Tambellini has given him a big pile of chicken shit (likely) and wants him to make chicken salad out of it I would place good money on Quinn being GM sooner than you might think. If you've thought of it at all.


Scott Reynolds said...

Another wonderful read BD.

I'm not on board with the Quinn as GM possibility. The reason he was hired was likely that Tambellini feels comfortable with him (and Renney) so it would take a pretty special set of circumstances for Quinn to make it to the GM chair. Add to the fact that the man is already 66 years old and it would need to happen pretty darn quick. I can't see it happening. Even if the Oilers are a massive failure this year, the men above Tambellini (Lowe, Katz) were very much on board the Heatley train so I'd think that Tambellini should be able to survive.

boopronger said...

great read BD. Sometimes its just too easy to piss people off.

Black Dog said...

Thanks guys.

Yeah Scott I'm just throwing it out there. I don't know that Quinn would want it but if it occurred to him and if he ends up getting a roster short on talent I could see him talking to Katz and impressing on him what has gone wrong. Quinn is famous and has an impressive resume. If this club finishes out of the playoffs again I think Katz might wonder if the problem is with who is building these rosters rather than who is coaching them.

David S said...

"IF" he ends up getting a roster short on talent?

Right now this is the same type of hole-laden, out-of-balance squad MacT got killed with last year. Looks like Quinn's a lock for GM in 10/11.

Black Dog said...

David S - yeah but the summer is not over yet, we all know that for sure Tambellini is fixing this mess as we speak!


Right ....

mattwatt said...

Here is my query. Can they buy out contracts, similar to my limited understanding of baseball? And how do these buyouts affect the cap?

uni said...

No to Pat Quinn as GM. Sullivan on waivers, the Nolan trade...just say no. That said he seems to have learned from the Nolan SNAFU and might be wiser for it, and the McCabe and Tucker trades were good.

And it could have been worse than the Lowe fallout post 2006. Imagine what John Ferguson Jr. could have done in those 3 years *shudder*. The Leafs are still recovering from his tenure.

Black Dog said...

uni - and Jason Smith too

as a GM though Quinn was alright - they were trying to take that last step and he ran the club that way - he made a few mistakes but they pretty well all do

mattwatt - so a buyout, and I may be wrong, means that two thirds of the salary is counted against the cap over twice the length of the contract. So say you have a guy owed 3 million with one year left and you buy him out.

Its a cap hit of 2 million (two thirds) spread over two years, so 1 million per year.

So Penner say with ~ 12 million left over three years would be eight million spread over six years if they bought him out

I'm pretty sure that's it.

So if you can afford to spend the money and take the cap hit and can replace the guy for a lot less then it makes sense. But otherwise its pretty dicey, a lot more than people think

Traktor said...

JDD rocks.

Robert... said...

Thats a funny read. I dont even look at your hockey stuff anymore. You know what they say...

"Tease the cow and the calves will follow"