Stomp Heard Around the Hockey World

I was listening to the TEAM 1260 on the way home today and Bob Stauffer stated that he believed that Chris Simon should be kicked out of the league for what he did. Now I agree he should and will be punished, but being kicked out of the league is a bit excessive. With his track record I think that Chris has likely played his last game this year. Which I believe would be a fair enough penalty for the most suspended player in NHL history.


New Generation Oilers

With the team in a rebuild (or not depending on who you ask) there is a new wave of Oilers bringing new blood to this team. But it goes beyond the players as Daryl Katz has made a new offer at 188 million on the Edmonton Oilers. One that is wholly(sp?) endorsed by Cal Nichols and other members of the EIG.

As Cal put it, "it's probably time to pass the torch to a new generation of ownership". So after stomping their feet and scoffing at Mr. Katz's previous offers, the EIG are singing their way to the bank. The third offer Katz made was reported in the previous article as 185 million, so basic dollars has not changed. Why the sudden change of heart? Maybe they are forcasting a rush off the Oiler bandwagon that Chris Pronger built. This team is a non-playoff team for a couple years maybe they expect that to hurt the bottom line where as Katz can handle a couple of tough years with his deep pockets. As one of the richest teams in the NHL with a strong fanbase I just don't see that as a solid reason. Either way Katz has made a solid investment to try and take over the franchise that Gretzky built.

Many EIG haters have applauded the idea of a rich man owning the team over a group of 36 less rich men. I can't tell if its because they like Katz or just hate the EIG, I'll go with the latter. So what does Darryl Katz do for the Oilers that the EIG couldn't (or didn't). He has been quoted as saying that he will invest 100 million of his own money into a new arena along with providing capital so the Oilers could spend to the cap every year. The EIG responded to this by stating they too will provide money into a new arena. This could have been nothing more than a publicity comeback to Katz's remarks but either way they both promised money. Secondly the EIG have responded about team salary by having one of the highest payrolls in the NHL. Lets call it a wash in those two categories.

As for running the team this is where the two ownership parties could vary greatly. For those who like the idea of one wealthy owner running this team you can look at guys like Charles Wang who run the team like the way they want to, not necessarily whats best for the on ice product. You have to be wary of a bored wealthy man treating this team like his toy. When you have a large group of shareholders there are many people that decide on what actions to take thus preventing the problems associated with that. There are downsides to have a larger group of owners as decisions and changes can be long and not always unanimous, which goes hand in hand with democratic groups. Having one owner allows him to act quickly and confidently, which could be the difference between a signing or trade falling through or not.

If Darryl Katz becomes owner of this team will anything change? It will be interesting to see.


What went wrong?

Last night Joffery Lupul was the first Philadelphia Flyer in 10 years to score 6 points in one night. Now, I do not want to open old wounds but, I was wondering why did he have such a bad year last year?

First, I would like to look at his stats from last year compared to this year:

Last year in 81 games Lupul had 16 goals and 12 assists from a grand total of 26 points. He was also a god awful -29.

However, this year in 28 games Lupul has posted 9 goals and 14 assists for 23 points and is +5. That means at his current he is set to have a season of 27 goals and 41 assists for 68 points. That is nearly triple the production from last season.

So now why the sudden jump in production? The main reasons that I have heard are as follows:

1. Playing in the Fish Bowl called Edmonton

Now coming from a team such as the Anaheim Ducks where you could leave the arena and no one would know who you are, to a team such as Edmonton where you could not go and get gas without someone noticing you would be hard for anyone. Now think that you are a 24 year old millionaire who is running around carte blanche with your money and nightlife. Problems in your game will always follow (see Torres and Stoll). As well, the media and fans in Edmonton were on him from the moment that he stepped off the plane. “We got this guy for Pronger”, “Good home-town boy.” Then about 10 games into the season “We are waiting for Lupul to show up.” These are all aspects that could have affected his play.

2. Playing under MacTavish

I believe that the worst thing that a coach can do is what MacTavish does on a constant basis. The MacT blender. He puts lines together for as little as 3 shifts and then starts putting players out in different combinations. A guy like Lupul needs to play with a playmaker or plain and simple he will not score. We saw all last year the play die with Joffery. This seemed due to his inability to create room for himself. However, when in the attacking zone he is able to find spots that goal scorers find to receive passes.

As well, MacT’s offensive system from the last two years is sporadic at best. Some games the Oilers come out hard and forecheck, while other games it seems that if they are not going to be the first one to the puck they peel off and wait for the other team to attempt a break out. Either way one fact rang true, “if you were not defensively responsible” you were bound to ride the pine while Toby the wonder-boy would be getting time on the PP.

3. He came from the Anaheim Ducks

This has been a relatively new argument since Penner arrived in the fact that maybe Duck players are not as well conditioned for the beginning of the season. This could have been a factor as last October and November Lupul registered only 13 points. By that time, with shot confidence, being bounced from line to line, and having fans and media all over him, it might have been too late.

So, what went wrong? No one will likely know. However, I will say that likely you can not single one specific reason, possibly it was. But, I would bet that it was a combination of 2 or possibly all three reasons