Friday, July 01, 2011

Every Dog Has His Day

Jenn started a three day work weekend today so its Me and The Animals, a classic sitcom (cue the laughtrack as Daddy drinks while the kids run wild). We hit the beach for Canada Day, the kids built sand castles and splashed in the shallows while I looked at the girls and followed the happenings on Overpay Day on Twitter.

On the hike down we ran into a couple in the park walking a beautiful dog, its one of these newer 'breeds' called a Labradoodle, basically its a mutt although I'm sure it won't be long before they're a recognized breed, if they aren't already. I've heard of the Golden Doodle, one of our neighbours has one as does a buddy of mine, never heard of a Labradoodle though, which is weird becuase its BASICALLY THE SAME THING!

Fack me. Remember the other day when I said I knew nothing about music or a lot of other new shit? Well apparently you can add dogs to that as well and I'm a dog guy.

Anyhow I think we've found the dog we're going to get if we ever get another dog. Three different sizes, smart, gentle and no shedding. As we walked to the beach I told the kids that when Mommy asked them about the beach they were to mention that their favourite part was the dog they saw and I told our youngest to repeat after me:

Mummy I want a puppy.

Once she nailed it with the sad eyes I told her to say that to my wife every second day until we had a dog. Can't lose. ;)


OK so UFA day is absolutely ridiculous. Even with the cap going up up up and away paying insane amounts of money for mediocre players can destroy your team. We knew it would be goofy today with clubs NEEDING to add guys and the available player pool shrinking by the minute and parity in the league meaning that any season a good team might get lucky and go a long way.

As of tonight Richards remains unsigned and apparently this is going to be the mother of all contracts. Interesting too that Tomas Vokuon, a guy who could totally help a team, remains unsigned, and Simon Gagne is also out there although in his case I think he can pick his club pretty well.

But the number of ridiculous signings that boggle the mind? Oh my God.

And here's the thing. After the dust has settled, the clubs who have been the biggest movers for the most part are actually worse than they were before (Philadelphia or Phoenix) or still really bad (Florida). Mike Gillis was smart and Boston stood pat and I really liked what San Jose and Chicago did (Montador's deal was a bit long for my taste but overall the Hawks did quite well I think). Washington too. And Carolina. Notice that we're talking some pretty good clubs here. Of course they're dealing from a position of strength, no need to sign Sean Bergenheim to a four year deal when you've just won the Cup I guess.

Two other teams who did pretty well? The Leafs. Seriously. Sounds like there's some panic and some media memebers are ranting and raving already but what do the Leafs need? A number one centre. If they don't get Richards should they pay someone else ridiculous money? No. Could they use a goalie? I think so and maybe they can grab Vokoun at a nice deal but again what should they do otherwise? Be cool. Relax. Pick up a guy getting dumped to fill your holes for a year or two.

The Leafs are getting better and I would bet that they are not done this offseason but this idea that they NEED to add players, that they NEED to get into the pool, well that idea is a bad idea.

You know who else had a good day? The Edmonton Oilers. Seriously. I was joking with Dennis King earlier today that Tambellini was having his best day ever. This was before Belanger too. Low bar right? :)

But really look at the week he has had.

He has added two top nine forwards in Smyth and Belanger. Both are good players who can handle the toughs at evens and who can PK and who can do the little things that help win hockey games.

Before this week the top nine included Cogliano and Ryan Jones. Now its as follows:

Hall-Horcoff-Eberle Smyth-Gagner-Hemsky Paajarvi-Belanger-Omark

He's added two fourth liners. Ben Eager is an upgrade on Jacques and while he is a fourth liner (that is, not very good) he scored nine goals last year, he is fast and he's a fucker who will hit anyone. Hordichuk is shittier but he's an upgrade on MacIntyre who could barely get on the ice for a shift. We knew we were getting a goon. I prefer Hordichuk to the incumbent.

So the fourth line presently is Eager and Jones and Cogliano or Brule or either Vandevelde or O'Marra or another player not yet on the radar. Maybe Lander?

Its better than last year.

And Andy Sutton comes in for Kurtis Foster. Sutton is old and apparently he is no longer what he was but he's an upgrade on Foster imo.

And finally there is Cam Barker. One year. Its not our money folks. If he gets it together, a big if absolutely, then its a win for the Oilers, they get a young Dman and they have his rights. If he's terrible then they can release him or walk away in a year. Its a gamble and there is no risk. Is the money goofy? Sure it is. But if Barker gets it together and realizes his career is on the line and actually performs? Then its well spent.

Smyth. Belanger. Eager. Hordichuk. Barker. Sutton.

At the cost of Fraser and Foster and a seventh round pick.

Four of these guys are UFA in a year and the two longest contracts are three years and at money that can be dumped easily.

I cannot believe I am saying this but Steve Tambellini did a good job today. The Oilers still need help on the blue and I'd love to see an upgrade in net. This isn't a playoff team but a series of bets that are low risk and upgrade your club? That's good management.


Woodguy said...

Very good day for the Oilers.

Apparently 3C, 1PKC was a hole (who knew?) and not only did Tambellini fill, but got a good $ amount and an ok term (for a 33 year old)

I like taking a 1 year chance on a former lottery pick who seems to have lost his way. He sounded motivated in an interview with Gregor, so there is a lot of positive and not much negative with giving Barker a try. Having his RFA rights if he breaks out again is golden.

If you need to employ tough guys, then they better at least be mean. Having a Laraque or Smac on the roster is useless as they intimidate no one because all they do is fight.

Eager ("TAKE THAT BEN EAGER!!- Jim Hughson) at least takes matters in his own hands. After Bieksa cheaped Marleua into a fight, he cheaps Sedin as retribution.

Archaic, brutal, no place in hockey? Maybe, but if you are going to employ a tough guy, he needs to be the type to do what Eager does. Term too long, but $ are ok and he can skate and shoot.

Hordichuck. Seems redundant after getting Eager, not a fan of heavy weights. He did express hatred towards Calgary and Vancouver in his interview with Gregor, so he's got that going for him. He looks forward to seeing Kesler, so I like him.

Smytty - all has been said about that.

Its interesting that the rumor is that Oilers called Vokoun and he dismissed them out of hand, then after COL gave away the farm for Varlamov his agent called the Oilers back.

In Tambellini's interview he mentioned how each player wanted to be an Oiler. With Vokoun's earlier dismissal, I doubt he re-visits it.

They still need a 1/2D and 1G. They are a lot of forwards, a trade is coming.

Currently for top 9 forwards they have:

4,14,10,83,89,94,91,23, Belanger.

Dammit, that's not bad at all.

Sure beats the shit out of last year when we were lamenting how bad everyone was that they signed.

Anonymous said...

Flames blogs are chirping the Barker deal. They are happy that the Oil got him before Feaster did.
Course some of them are also saying that Sutter had a pretty good summer last year. So take it with a grain of salt.

Swabbubba said...

I gotta say these a pretty slick moves buy Tambo. Big Ups... dude deserved a nice steak and a beer after his day.
The dog thing they will doodle anything. I think it French poodle crossed with anything. I have seem them all at the dog park. My sister i law have a golden doodle... u know that dog is just homely to me. Then I have seen the same version and it looks ok. Using the kids now that is darn right strategic... but remember the wife can coach them too so the war will be on.
All in all good day for most teams.. I wonder what how it will all shake out. But the Oilers are getting some form

Black Dog said...

Woodguy - agreed agreed agreed

And it sounds like they aren't done. If they could get Voloun on the cheap and add a Dman well ....

Anon - well there was a lot of chirping from amongst our own as well about Barker

I guess they may have gotten him for less but really I don't care at all. Its a low risk bet. They have the money and the cap space. If it turns out its a double or a triple. If it doesn't then they walk away.

RiversQ said...

Smyth was a good move. The other moves are a little so-so. Belanger is a decent pickup and certainly fills a need although probably not as big a role as Smyth. The term is a year longer than I would have liked, but the salary is low enough.

Eager and Hordichuk are only OK moves. I suppose they are upgrades over JFJ and MacIntyre but that isn't saying much. I really don't know why they want two of these types either. Why exactly do the Oilers have to ice two players every night with questionable ability? Is this part of that culture change we've been hearing so much about? I've never liked Sutton. He's a dirty player IMO and I think he has lost a step he never had. Barker sounds like trouble. The best you can say about these moves is that the risk is low across the board. It better be though, because the return won't be much.

Vic Ferrari said...

I'm with RiversQ. Belanger is a good pickup at the price, the term is a year longer than you'd like ... then again, he could've gotten two years on the same deal from a playoff bound team. So you can't complain.

He's Horcoff Light. Most Oiler fans won't like him this season, I suspect. They should though, he's a good player. Derogatory nicknames are in his future at Lowetide and HFBoards, I suspect. The sensible will try to defend him, but their use of "facts" (Damn them to hell!) will only force the other side to dig in deeper.

Round, round we go.

I've read through some of the comments at the Lowetide board. They love these moves, then again they've loved every move for years. Tambelowe is nothing if not a populist.

The applauded acquisitions from last year get punted out the door with an 'atta boy, Tambs!'. To be replaced by their doppelgangers from other teams.

Eager is a 4th liner at best, Hordichuk not even that. Sutton and Barker are bottom pairing defenders. Though the latter is probably a gamble worth trying.

Bottom line, another year in the tank, boyos.

The best case scenario is a freaky season where all the bounces go the Oilers way. That way we'd get a round of playoffs. The expectations would be very high for the next season, and when they crapped the bed in 12/13 we'd have a realistic chance of Katz clearing out management.

Then there would be hope. Could happen, too.

Black Dog said...

Vic - I think there may be more moves coming, could be wrong though. If they shore up the D and the goaltending then I could see a season similar to the Avs had two years back.

But they need goaltending for that so its not likely.

I don't think anyone expected even this much though guys did you? I certainly didn't. Smyth may have forced their hand a bit although if they did not want him they could have just walked away.

The bar is set low for Tambellini but he cleared it imo. Smyth and Belanger are quality. Barker will probably not pan out but its only money and if he does work out then its a hit. Low risk gamble.

As for the three goons they are upgrades over JFJ MacIntyre and Strudwick. End of the roster junk although Eager at least can play a bit.

I'd maintain its a good day. Two longer deals but at low dollars. Essentially very little risk and the team is better.

Still not a playoff team but they need way more than Smyth and Belanger for that.

Murat said...

I think the forwards are essentially set, depending on what trades become available between now and the end of the summer. For better or for worse, many of the forward spots are committed to kids who aren't yet huge difference makers. Filling around them with Horcoff, Hemsky, Smyth, Belanger, and even a 4th line guy like Eager is all you can do without a major shake-up. Also, Zona (I think it was Zona) demonstrated reasonably well that Edmonton's top-6 was mostly capable last season while its bottom-6 got killed. I think this past week solidifies Edmonton's forwards to a completely average level. If a guy like Hall steps up his offense quickly, it's gravy.

The defense, IMO, sucks and Barker/Sutton doesn't change that. If you're comfortable with calling a guy a #1 or #2 or #3 etc, it would take a legit #1 and #2 playing ahead of Whitney/Gilbert for me to think Edmonton's D was good.

People are panicking about goal and I'm not sure why. If management has decided to add pieces then it's probably "try to win" time and if so then Dubnyk will play more and the position will suck less and that probably makes for average goaltending on the season which is fine for now isn't it?

Anyway, I have to say I like the moves that have been made but my guess would be that EDM chooses 8 or 9 overall in June 2012. High as 5th, low as 15th if I get to guess at a range.

Murat said...

Apologies for the complete disregard for proper English in that post. I hope it's readable for most.

Jordan said...

I said it once and I'll say it again Pat - Labrador-Poodle crosses end up with the Energy of the Lab and the bouncy playfulness of the poodle. Depending on whether you get a standard, mini or teacupIts like having a 20 - 70 lb 2 year old, but instead of them calming down by year 3-4, it lasts until they reach 7 to 11, depending on the dog.

Of course, maybe that's right up your alley. I'll still recommend a Golden Doodle though. I like a Dog that will let me sleep when I want to.

Black Dog said...

Jordan - yeah we have neighbours who have a Golden and that's exactly it.

Murat - yeah that pick will be anywhere in there as long as they don't get destroyed by injuries

I'm not panicked by the goaltending per se but Khabi is going to get ~30 starts and that's below average goaltending for a lot of games. A stopgap upgrade on him for a year would help the club be competitive