Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hamilton and Roy Make The Cut

The loss of Horcoff and Hemsky looks like its going to be enough to get the Oilers into that coveted lottery position. Another month or so of these results should be just enough to get them into a top three spot so they can land a centre or Larsson.

And who knew losing Vandermeer would also help the cause? Well, considering that it means Strudwick draws back in, it looks like his loss (who knew) is going to have a major impact as well.

Patience, my friends, patience. We have seen the last four years wasted as management tried to do it, well, the way the Leafs are trying to do it. Spending big money while also breaking in kids is not a great way to go about rebuilding a franchise. We have suffered through it. You cannot have it both ways.

Of course stockpiling high picks is no guarantee for success either. One only need to look at Gilbert Brule to see how a high pick can end up in the ditch.

Or look at the Islanders.

Having said all of that I prefer that the Oilers have decided to go all in with the kids. I mean, I would prefer if they had maybe augmented them with some penalty killers and guys who can play some defence.

But the news that Curtis Hamilton and Olivier Roy have made the WJC club (not that this is any guarantee in itself but still, positive arrows) is another positive when it comes to the kids this organization is stockpiling. If you have been over at Lowetide's (and I know you have) then you know that he is doing his biannual prospect list and that its a wonderful thing to see. The Oilers have five kids from that list on the roster right now who look to have NHL careers (in a few cases, very good careers) and a bunch of guys in the minors, Europe and junior who look to be players.

You can have your douchebag captain Dion Phaneuf (has there ever been a guy more overrated?) and your best prospect who has not even scored an NHL goal yet, all the while meandering towards a second straight year in the lottery without the pick that comes with such failure. And yes I know this whole Oilers' rebuild may not end up alright. Any thinking fan can see that. But any thinking fan (of which the Leafs have just as many as any other club) can also see that again something is terribly fucking wrong down at the ACC. And in no way is the future bright. Again.

Its a shame. I have quite a few friends who are Leaf fans. Its an awful disgrace what has gone on with that franchise and while the trolls might crow about a 4-1 win, even they must see its an awful mess. A few months ago I posted a picture of my son, just nine months old, and noted that the picture was taken when the Oilers were last in the playoffs, their run to the Finals in 2006.

I am 43 next week and a picture of my Mom just pregnant would be the equivalent for the last time Toronto was even in the Finals.

That is a sad sad thing. They deserve better.


hunter1909 said...

Why do they deserve better?

They have had one of the worst owners in the history of pro sports in Harold Ballard, and now are owned by the Ontario Teacher's pension fund. Hardly a recipe for on ice success.

Like all Canadian teams they yap about how their fans won't tolerate a rebuild, which all by itself has got to be the biggest stretch of rational thinking imaginable.

I don't hate the Leafs at all, btw. After all, grandfather(87, think Mr Burns) still remembers when they were a great hockey team. I think.

Black Dog said...

hunter - the fans deserve better. You have lived through some lean years with the Oilers, its tough to keep the faith. Being a fan is not a rational thing. It just is.

They deserve better than over four decades of not even making the Stanley Cup Final. No team has that record of futility in hockey. We bitch and moan about twenty years without a Cup but even just a few years back we had a damn good shot at it.

I think fans of every team should win once in a while. Well, unless they're from the southern US.


hunter1909 said...

I kind of like the Leafs. I'm just a little pissed after last night, that's all.

Something about checking my rational self at the door when it comes to sports watching.

Talk about over reaction at Hall's comments though. You would have thought he wiped his ass with a maple leaf flag, from the leafs nation response.

I'd quite like to see the Leafs win a cup. But that's just me.

David S said...

I don't care how many young phenoms we stockpile. At some point you need to surround them with competent veteran NHL'ers. You do this to break them in properly so as not to risk turning a promising group into a bunch of guys that buy into the fact that losing is OK, because "it's part of the process".

Once that mental frame of mind is forged, it's pretty hard to break and all you've done is wasted alot of fan patience in the process.

I don't care what anyone says. Obvious tanking is an abomination to pro sport and the fans that support those teams.

Black Dog said...

David - I'd be happier if they had signed some midrange guys to help win some games now but I also think they have enough young guys that they need to see what they have by playing them.

And I'm not too worried about the whole losing culture thing as long as they make their move soon. I think there have been enough teams go from shitty to very good to show that guys can pull through that, its not an issue.

For me I think next summer is when I want to see something happen. We can see what they need now and they will have another lottery pick under their belt so next year is the year to start trending up:

- they need two Dmen
- they need two guys who can play in the top nine to replace 13 and 67, ideally these guys wil be able to PK/win faceoffs
- they need a fourth line that can actually contribute, again I'm talking PK and faceoffs

Do all that and you're probably talking a borderline playoff team on the upswing.

This year doesn't piss me off. Its the last four that do.

Peacecountry said...

I agree.... Next year is when I want to see some mid range vets and obviously some dmen in the 3-5 hole.

This year was going to be a write off as soon as we seen who ST was adding and subtracting. Now all we can do is sit around and enjoy the glimmers of hope

spOILer said...

The one nice thing about going through losing, from a player's perspective, is you learn to hate it even more. I've never under-estimated the effect that Lowe's attitude towards losing had on the Boys on the Bus.

In Hall we have a guy who was brought onto a dismal Windsor team and he turned them around from basement dwellers to penthouse partiers. He knows it's a process.

macaotim said...

Agreed, Dog. I think that with those two you mentioned gone and 2 reasonable replacements we are set up front. I would also like to see Stortini and the Red Ox as fixtures on the 4th line. As you noted, the d needs some fix'n.

We all seem to know this stuff, but is Tambo the right guy for the job? Me thinks not! I could see him Burkeing us into the shithole.

Black Dog said...

My concern is that he's going to go too far with the whole Boys on the Bus thing and just keep on bringing in the kids. I really do think that next summer is the time to move. Not sure if we'll see it though. I agree with Tim, don't know if Tambo is up to the job.

Next summer I would hope that he signs Penner and Hemsky and brings in some of those midrange vets as noted. Let Lander, Hamilton and Pitlick learn on the farm and then bring them up to replace whatever guys they can get in on the fourth line to PK and so on.

And yeah I'd like to see Reddox get another shot. He brings more to the table than JFJ for example.

spOILer said...


We may have to wait for some team success before we can attract the right kind of FAs.

Keeping cap space however may be the key, leaving the team open to improvement by trading for short term bad contracts.

These kids might bring that team success earlier than we expected though.

A big move like sneaking Weber out of budget-conscious Nashville would go a long way to giving this team a leg up, however I think it would like cost us our rightie Gilbert (+).

The dead asset that is Souray is really impacting the balance sheet right now. Yet another major piece that has gone unreplaced.

LittleFury said...

BD- if the kids are good enough, who cares?

The Holy Trinity are obviously going to be the heart of the order. Gagner is in there and Omark is knocking on the door (in a limited sample size) so you've got six guys under 25 with legitimate top-6 potential: it's a nice problem to have.

With that in mind you have to look at moving one of Hemsky or Penner and as much as I love the guy and hate the idea from an emotional standpoint, I think Hemsky's the odd man out. Penner is a guy who can move anywhere in the lineup and make whomever he plays with look good, where as guys just seem to have a hard time clicking with 83. Plus he's hurt all the fuckin' time these days, so maybe you hope he string stogether a nice stretch of games and move him for a D or a C.

On the D, you've got Petry, Plante and Chorney coming up, that Marincin kid around the corner to name a few, plus Teddy Knuckles cementing a bottom-pairing role and things look a little brighter down the road. Hell, I think you can think about sending Suicide Smid out the door for that mythical faceoff winning PKer.

It's a bit of an embarrassment of riches at the momenty and a smart GM could probably use the parts to build something in short order. Since we don't have a smart GM, though, let's hope we get lucky.

Black Dog said...

lol LF, God if Tambellini screws this up ...

But you are right. Looking at the prospects as well as the youth in the lineup now things are definitely bright. Compare our situation with the Leafs - I would take our lineup and prospects going forward any day. Of ocurse I would take the Leafs over the Flaes by a mile so it can always be worse.

Dennis King has made the point that the best thing about this wave is that in Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi you have three top six guys by the looks of it, throw in Omark (sure its a small sample size but he looks like a player) and you have four guys who at worse are top nine guys. Then Gagner and Horcoff and that's a half dozen.

I know a lot of folks are saying trade one of Penner or Hemsky but imo you try and keep both of them if they want to stay and the price is reasonable. Hemsky's injuries are worrisome but keep as many good players as you can is what I say. If you have Horcoff/Hall/Eberle, Omark/Gagner/Hemsky and then a line with Paajarvi and Penner on the wings are I think you have a pretty nice top nine. Find that centre (Lander?) and now you're talking about filling in those last three spots.

That's pretty fucking good. And easier than filling those top spots. Add three guys who can PK, make sure that centre can win draws and now you're talking.

The D is full of holes but if you start with Whitney, Gilbert and Peckham then you're talking about finding two top four guys probably.


Ideally they could find a top pairing guy, a real stopper type. Like Weber as spOILer pointed out. A player like that would go a long way. A guy I might target is Volchenkov especially if NJ is still in cap trouble.

Never in a million years did I expect this much from Hall and Eberle so soon. Paajarvi is pretty well where I think we'd expect and Omark looks like a real find.

Promising stuff.