Monday, June 18, 2012

Choices



I spend a lot of time thinking about being a good father. I am of the opinion, which I have often stated here, that when you are a parent you have to believe 100% in what you are doing all of the time, that this is the best way to raise your kids. And with that said I think you should always look to be doing a better job. Does that make sense? No, of course not. Its because I have three kids and I'm exhausted to the point of a mental breakdown lol.

In any case I work constantly on my 'dad skillz' which rhymes with 'mad skillz' which they are yo. Yo yo. My big issue, for a while, was my temper. I have a bit of one, not vicious or anything, but just enough that I can blow my top when pushed enough. And when you have kids you're always getting pushed. I've worked at it though, I really try and remember that they're little and having their old man blow up at them is so counterproductive in almost every way. I can't even recall my Dad raising his voice at me once. And I'm a better father because of it. Calm, cool, trying to always remember that I'm setting an example for them and also that to a little person a big person going mental is probably a bit terrifying. Not helpful.

One of my big things when it comes to the kids is getting them to learn how to make their own choices. I want them to learn how to think critically and have perspective and all of that good stuff. Now I'm not one of those people who treats their kids like little adults because that's stupid imo. They're kids. They are literally mentally deficient and if you don't believe me you should hear my almost four year old, super bright and all that, talk to her feet. The word immature applies, you know.

But at the same time I want them to think. They are smart, all three of them, and so when we talk about sex I'm not going to talk about the wee wee and the pee pee and all that. I lay it all out there and I tell the boy, who wants to see the world, that he can choose to get his knob out there all he wants but if he's a dummy about it (or for that matter just plain unlucky) then those trips may have to wait or may never happen. And I tell my oldest daughter, who has expensive tastes and wants to open her own business, that both of those goals will be hard (not impossible mind but a lot more difficult) if she ends up as a teen mom.

They each get 5.00 a week to do their chores and its their money to spend (although we have the caveat that they must always have twice on hand as what they want to spend) and so they have gotten themselves DSes and the boy went out and blew a wad on LEGO a couple of weeks ago and quite often they have wanted something and we will make a deal that we will pay for part of it but they have to chip in. Sometimes they say fine, sometimes not. As long as they aren't spending it on the crank we're ok with the whole deal.

I give them as much information as they can handle (and they're sponges - they can handle a lot) and let them know that in the end they will have the choice, because that's the case. I'm not going to be there all of the time.

It might be fruitless but they're bright kids and hopefully they will do the right thing.

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Finally finally the draft is here. One of the big problems with being an Oilers' fan is that the offseason starts in November pretty well and so you end up with essentially eight months of speculation about what has gone wrong and what needs fixing and how it can be fixed and the draft is a huge part of this, especially when the team is as shitty as it has been for these past six seasons (again why do Lowe and Tambellini have their jobs? My God.).

 So we have been talking about the draft since probably Christmas and its been talked to death. This will end this weekend and then we will spend a week parsing what happened at the draft as well as what free agency may bring. And then we will have a week to talk about the free agents and then two months to talk about the upcoming season and bitch about what management did or did not do to turn this sorry state of affairs around.

 It would be nice to talk about a playoff race one winter and spring and then about the playoffs for at least April or part of May one year. Fack.

 Now what I know about the draft is what most people know about the draft. Very little. I usually see a few of the top guys play at the WJC and in the Memorial Cup tournament. I read the work that LT does over at his site and I read various rankings. That's about it. I believe in a few ideas when it comes to the draft.

1/ You always always always draft the best player available. If you have a couple of smallish centres and decide not to draft Zach Parise because of this and then end up with Marc Poulot JF Jacques and no smallish centres a year or so later its what you deserve because you are an idiot. Don't draft for need because your need can change in a heartbeat.

2/ Don't spend draftpicks on guys who project to be nothing more than replacement level guys. Lets call this the Abney rule. Drafting a goon when you can get a goon for nothing at any time is ridiculous.

3/ Don't waste your high picks on goalies. Here's a list of the goalies who have been in the Finals since 2006 - Ward, Roloson, Giguere, Emery, Osgood, Fleury, Niemi, Leighton, Thomas, Luongo, Quick, Brodeur. Luongo and Fleury were high picks and a couple of others went late in the first round but the percentage of first round goalie busts, I suspect, is higher than the overall percentage.

4/ If you have a chance to move up to a higher round by packaging a couple of lower round picks then you do so, the math shows that as you go later in the draft the chances of picking a guy who makes it drops off a cliff.

5/ Go by your board but man you had better have a good reason if your board is off the board, so to speak. If you're picking a guy like Niinimaki in a spot where nobody else has him then you had better be sure that you are the smartest guy in the room because most likely you are not.

 That's it. Genius shit, right?

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 I think the Oilers' amateur scouting has improved. I did a series of posts on the Prendergast era last summer and the end result was that I found the Oilers to be, imo, around 20th in the league during that time period with a chance to move up the list depending on how guys like Dubnyk, Petry, Peckham, Gagner, Omark and so on perform.

 Under the present regime I think they could be better than this. Of course there are the lottery picks but really where a scouting department makes its bones is after those high picks. We probably won't be able to judge Stu MacGregor for another decade really but for now the fact is that he has so many picks with good arrows, as LT likes to say. Many (most) of these guys will fall by the wayside (Ryan Martindale already has by the looks of it) but the reality is that things look good for the Oilers if you look at the kids they have accumulated over the past few years.

 The draft this week and what may happen has been beaten to death already, there's not even a rusty smear on the pavement where the horse once was. I once made a joke that the Toronto media would go through Paul Maurice's shit, trying to divine intent from the pieces of corn therein. Well so it is that the combination of the internet and way too much time to look at the draft for Oiler fans has lent itself to entire swaths of cyber forest to be clearcut as fans and media debate what will happen, what Tambellini's wink or Lowe's twitch or Yakupov's grin meant.

 What do I think? Does it matter? Do you care? Of course you do, this is why you are here!

1/ Every scouting service/draft list/talking head has Yakupov number one and then seven or eight guys in the next grouping. He is the best player available. This is the consensus. Unless the Oilers get a young first line centre or top pairing defenceman in exchange then they need to make the pick. No team is going to move that for Yakupov so really its a moot point imo. Yakupov is the best player available. Take him.

2/ Kyle Woodlief mentioned that the Oilers might be the first team to be disappointed at winning the lottery and Jim Matheson tweeted recently that second place would have been a lot easier for the Oilers. If Woodlief's statement is correct (and I'm not saying it is) then Oilers' management should be fired en masse. And Matheson is out to lunch imo. You know what's easy? Getting the number one pick in a year where the number one guy is a clearcut choice. Its like manna from the skies. The Oilers were both bad (they are exceptional at this) and lucky (something they often are not). Take advantage.

3/ No idea what happens Friday. There is a lot of talk about teams trading down, about a flurry of movement. Every year there is talk of a lot about a ton of movement and every year we are disappointed. It might happen. What I do find amusing is that four of the five teams in the lottery are probably four of the five worst clubs of the past decade. Definitely since the lockout if you were to list the top five jokes in the NHL you would have to include the Islanders, the Leafs, the BJs (lol BJs) and your Edmonton Oilers. The idea that these teams are all flailing about trying to trade down makes me laugh somehow. I can just see the likes of Yakupov, Grigorenko and Galchenyuk falling into the laps of the Flyers, the Bruins and the Canucks and going on to long productive careers. Haha. (sobs)

4/ Every year these is talk that its a weak draft and this year is no different, especially because so many of the big boys suffered injuries. I would bet that this year will be like every other year. Most of the lottery picks will be stars. One or two of the top ten outside of the lottery will end up being better players than lottery guys and there will be guys picked later in the first round and in the second round who will become stars. It happens every year, the business of selecting teenagers and projecting how they will play in the NHL for the next fifteen to twenty years is a crazy one.

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So what does it all mean?

Well I think the Oilers should take Yakupov. They are thin everywhere and yes that includes on the wings, still. He is the consensus bpa. Not taking him would be pretty dumb unless you think you're smarter than everyone else. Having finished out of the playoffs six years running (despite spending to the cap many of those years) and 30, 30, 29 these past three years I can say confidently that the Oilers are not smarter than everyone else.

What do I think will happen? No idea but I think they take Yakupov. They love Murray but they are a conservative organization and I really can't see them out of step with everyone else. A lot of what we have been hearing is noise, some of it created by the media, some of it created by the Oilers themselves. I think they take the Russian and also that Matheson will, shockingly, write a column on how the Oilers desparately tried to move up but were unable to do so.

;)

3 comments:

Shawn McMann said...

You could make a list of rules for a cup winning team just as easily - 1. a good goalie that catches fire at the right time 2. the best defenceman on the ice for either team 3. reliable, consistent special teams 4. a hard-nosed no nonsense coach.

The end, no more discussion, no experiments with co-coaches and 35 year has-beens and wingers trying to be centremen etc etc blah blah blah blah. #FireTambo

Black Dog said...

Shawn - except in 2006 when Pronger was the best Dman. And probably the same in 2010.

And Niemi was pretty good in 2010 but the team in front of him was just so good.

And so on.

Always exceptions.

But your second paragraph I absolutely agree with. Stop goofing around. Same as the carrying three goalies thing. How many teams do that? Oilers did in two and almost three of last seven years. Dumb.

Druds said...

Oh man that Toronto media comment is gold... pure gold. you nailed that.