Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Not Making Good Time

 Heading to PEI tomorrow, our twelfth trip if you can believe it. I could do the trip blindfolded I am sure.

 So let's talk about Pete Chiarelli our wonderful GM.

 Did you see what I did there?

 When I got up this morning I tweeted that while I trusted Chia (despite Reinhart and Korpse, his body of work has been pretty good I think) a decade of suffering has made me a pessimistic worrier about the Oilers and it would take a lot to change that. I'm the most positive guy in the world but when it comes to the Oilers I'm a broken man drinking a nice cold beer, a Cup I'll never see I fear ...

 Oh I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!

 Lowe, Tambo and MacT took a house and turned it into a paper clip. That is a very difficult thing to do but slowly but surely they turned a Stanley Cup finallist with great underlying numbers into a last place team that spent to the cap. Can you imagine the incompetence necessary to pull that off? But they did it. They lurched from trading their best two players for futures (rebuild!) to sending out futures and young players and money for veterans (we're going to contend!), all the while sending out quality players for literally nothing for ten years. I won't go through the moves because it's a litany of failure and it's terribly depressing is what it is. That's all it is. Very very sad. So hard to take.

 There was one silver lining. The kids. The Oilers managed to screw up with Gagner and Paajarvi and Yakupov and they shipped out Cogliano, Brodziak, Dubnyk, Gilbert and Petry for literally nothing and (see I told you it was depressing) their drafting outside of the guys in the top ten was generally atrocious but they still managed to load up on some nice talent - Klefbom and Nurse and Davidson on the back end, Draisatl and Eberle and Ted up front.

 And of course the crown jewels - McDavid and Hall. The book end number ones to the cluster and the best two players on the team. Hall had established himself as one of the best left wingers in the game when the Oilers won the golden ticket last summer. A passionate speedster who has won everywhere but in Edmonton (he's a loser mumbles the stupid idiot on the couch as he reaches for his pork rinds and screams at the TV, moaning as he suddenly sprains his fat) - an under 18 gold, WJC silver, two Memorial Cups, two Memorial Cup MVPS, two World Championship Golds - Hall is a throwback to the Oilers of the 80s, he played with speed and heart and most importantly elan.

 This being the Oilers there were always grumblings, Oiler fans are pissed off at anyone who doesn't play like Gordie Howe basically, a combination of sheer talent and viciousness that we saw in Messier and Pronger and of course we are tired of the losing and so while Hall's teams had no goaltending usually and no defence ever and basically no bottom six forwards either it became his fault (him and Ted and Eberle, the latest golden boys) that management continued to fail to build any sort of team around them.

 It became clear after last season that the D needed shoring up most of all and so we waited for Chia to make his move. At the draft the Oilers got lucky again when Columbus, perhaps the only franchise as bad as Edmonton, screwed up again and gifted them. And then the talks with UFAs began and Lucic and Demers came to town and the Oilers were definitely front runners on the former and in the game on the latter and suddenly, suddenly things were looking up. Sign Demers for cash only and find one more D and ... we might have a real team.

 We knew that likely someone was going but the feeling was it might be Draisatl or Ted or Eberle. We didn't want to give them away, sure, but you need to do what you need to do and you have to give to get. There were rumours that Hall's name was out there too but the fair return for a player of that calibre was rare. We were talking about guys like Subban and Ekman-Larsen and Lindholm and that ilk. Established young top pairing guys. The media was talking Hamonic or Fowler (love that Matheson parody account, oh man, the guy running that plays the senile out of touch joker so well it's amazing!) and we laughed. Check out Draisatl's numbers when he wasn't playing with Taylor Hall and weep. Our man number four drives play, he can carry a line as Jason Strudwick said the other day.

 And then today the storm broke. Rishaug set the table, fed his lines by management surely, and Twitter blew up and then Bob broke the news and you knew it was true.

 One for one deal for Adam Larsson.

Chiarelli seemed a man defeated at the presser and I guess now we know that maybe Neely wasn't behind that Seguin move after all eh? Of course Boston got a Cup out of it before Seguin got moved even if they are heading for the dumpster now. He kept coming back to having to pay a price but I have never seen a move like this honestly. An elite winger for Adam Larsson.

 A couple of guys I trust, Dennis King and Darcy McLeod, like Larsson and that means something. They're not dummies and Darcy said he would have traded Ted for Larsson so there is that. He is a legit top four guy in the league.

 But he's not worth Taylor Hall.

 The Oilers will try and couch this as Hall for Larssen and Lucic but of course that is bullshit. Lucic costs money, probably too much money and term, like all UFAs. He's a good player but he is no Hall and his signing here has nothing to do with Hall other than he plays left wing.

 Hall was traded for Adam Larssen. Full stop.

 I don't know if I will be back in the fall to watch this team. I may be, of course, I'm not saying I am out but knowing that the new guy is basically the same as the old guy, that is he gets back fifty cents for a dollar when he makes a move, well that says a lot about his lack of ability to gauge talent and negotiate. This strikes me as a man panicking is how it strikes me. And after ten years of this club being the worst team in history, a run of historical awfulness, well it is very difficult to take, a trade that many are calling one of the worst in hockey history, a trade that brought laughter from fans of twenty nine other teams (the laughter stopped soon after in Montreal though).

 It's brutal is what it is. Absolutely brutal. It's a bad day to be an Oilers' fan and Gord knows we've seen a decade of them and this, along with the Pronger and Smyth deals is right up there for a kick in the nuts. Just devastated.


MacT's Neglected Helmet said...

I'll be back in the fall because McDavid. But this hurts.

This reminds me of Ales Hemsky, who worked his ass off night in and night out for a loser club with loser management only to be shat on by loser local media and a small, but vocal, subset of loser fans. And then have management turn a blind eye to all this unwarranted criticism. And then have management actually start to believe this unwarranted criticism. And then have management stupidly undervalue the asset and ship him away for magic beans.

This hurts even more because Taylor IS the real deal and an exponentially better and more consistent player than Hemsky, who was brilliant, ever was. And Taylor is literally in his prime of PRIMES. Not only that but Taylor was genuinely a very good kid who embraced Edmonton, just like that PK Subban fellow who embraced Montreal.

Get good players. Keep them. It's not hard. Unless you're fucking stupid.

n said...

Christ, I don't even know what to say anymore. This feels actually worse than two summers ago, because b/w McDavid & Hall, there was some promise again. Now? What was that Clay Davis line from The Wire? "Sheeeeeeeeeit"

Maybe I'll start following some slightly less inept team - TFC?

Anyway, hope you make 'good time' on the drive. There's a new-ish bakery (Scapes) after Confederation Bridge with solid meatpies and butter tarts. Not enough to make up for Hall, but...

Chappy said...

this is...the worst i've felt as a fan in almost a decade. i'm afraid to see what they're going to offer out to lucic on friday. maybe they've got demers lined up. it's better than nothing, right?


safe travels on your trip!

Anonymous said...

10 years of incompetence has lead to this, blame the organization not Chia. They don't know how to draft or develop players. This is the result. Finally a GM that is trying to build a team. Sure Hall is worth more if you compare players today. But this is not about that it is about building a team.

Anonymous said...

Where the F--- was Dellow during negotiations?

Gord said...

I am turning 60 in July. My friends and I partied during the Gretzky years - none of us are upset with the trade. As one pointed out, when you have six Ferrari's parked in the garage and you need a Lamborghini, make the trade.

If you need a good tractor, make the trade.

Andrew W said...

I keep reading tonight, whatever I can find about this deal, trying to find words that will bring understanding. It's a fool's errand.

Tomorrow I'll wake up to discover this nightmare is still real. What then?

Dylan Berry said...

Oilers? Never heard of them. I sure hope the Jays get their bullpen straightened out.

Black Dog said...

ah Gord, they need that Lamborghini though, trade the Ferrari for that. Need a tractor? Then trade another tractor ;)

Great comments all, sorry was on the road when these came in.

Anon2 - I suspect he gave his input and it was weighed but they just took it as part of the whole picture.

Maudite said...

Muck the flush draw to chase a straight...

Maudite said...

Muck the flush draw to chase a straight...