Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Nothing but Shattered Dreams

Gary Bettman and the NHLPA opened their mouths again, but nothing new or intelligent came out of them (surprise, surprise).

Even though the NHLPA is prepared to propose a luxury that may be reasonable, Der Komissar Bettman will have none of it:

"Most franchises are doing better than they were, but franchises like this franchise and Calgary don't have a future if we don't fix this the right way," he said.

According to the NHLPA's Ted Saskin, Bettman is talking out of his ass (Well, his face does look like as ass...)

"What Gary Bettman failed to tell his audience in Edmonton was that the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames were among the most profitable teams in the NHL last year when the (Canadian) dollar averaged 74 cents (US) and they were operating under our recently expired CBA," Ted Saskin, NHLPA senior director, said from Toronto.

"With the dollar consistently over 80 cents this year, and the significant concessions we have already offered in our proposals, they would have been far more profitable."

I can understand that franchises like Florida (Especially Florida), Atlanta, Carolina, and Pittsburgh are in deep financial trouble with shoddy attendance and a indifferent markets. When it comes to Canada, however, the argument is weak because the CDN dollar continues to get annoying strong agaisnt the US greenback and we enjoy much better fan and corporate support in Canada for our NHL teams.

It's time Edmonton stop playing the 'small market' card when it comes to trying to explain their franchise failures. I know it works for the sheeple who believe it, but its obvious to me that the Oilers have suffered more from just plain mismanagement and corrupt ownership rather than the 'small market' curse.

Also from Saskin: Some NHL GM's may work without a cap.
Sure, teams like the Rangers and Flyers and Red Wings don't want a salary cap. A luxury tax is something they could afford to pay and it would still allow them to buy players from other teams. Bettman has done a great job gagging the owners, so you won't be hearing too many complaints from the rich boys just yet.


As I speculated a few days ago, Andrew Ference will be heading to Ceske Budejovice of the Czech 1st Division and it's fully confirmed.

Something from that link really surprised me:
Ference also had an offer from Tappara for more money but he chose the Czech Republic because he has distant relatives from Slovakia and the Ukraine and also because of Turek.

Now Ference (Ferenc) is a very common Hungarian surname, but it's not very often that a North-American NHLer acknowledges his Central European roots.

Other North American players with Central European surnames and roots:

Daryl Sydor
Joey Kocur
Wade Belak
Brad Ference
Dave Andreychuk
Dale Hawerchuk
Brent Sopel
Keith Tkachuk
Joe Sakic (the Croatian Sensation)
Scott Stevens (he acknowledged his grandmother's roots in a Slovak article/feature once)


Not great days for Dukla Trencin of the Slovak Extraleague.
First, Marian Hossa leaves for a little vacation in Sweden (and he may go to Russia, yet), then Marian Gaborik misses a pile of games with a sore groin. Trencin has fallen to 3rd place, and everyone in Trencin wants coach Robert Spisak (Which sounds awfully close to a Slovak swear word) fired.
Trencin's management has also not denied rumours that Russian teams (like Omsk) are trying to sign Gaborik with their oil money. They won't confirm the rumours, but they won't deny read between the lines.

Now, for your updates from the last round of games.



According to Wings' senior vice president, Jimmy Devellano, the Wings are in fact looking for a salary cap. They lost $16.2 million last year because of their early playoff exit and would like to see a system which forces player prices down to where they can turn a profit in the regular season. If that's how the Wings feel, I doubt the other big market teams are too much different.

I'd figure with the high oil prices that some oil tycoon would take over one of the Alberta teams, sort of like how Russian oil revenues fuels some of the RSL teams like Omsk. Just a thought.


It's Big Dan from the FOC.

Regarding your comment about the Oilers...

I agree that Kevin Lowe has made some blunders. He is probably a middle-of-the-pack GM. The Oilers could be more competitive without the nepotism.

But the Oilers do not do much more than break even. Their owners have had to shell out of their pockets more than once to keep the team afloat. What is this corruption you speak of? Just curious...

Remember that the Oilers were one of the most "profitable" teams because they stick to a budget.

The Oilers have made the playoffs six of the past eight years. They consistently average around 90 points and are have the 10th best record throughout that time.

You can argue they are consistently mediocre, which is true. You can also argue that they have been able to ice a consistently competitive team on a low budget. The Oilers rank always among the bottom five teams in payroll yet squeeze into the top 16.

The Oielrs just haven't had the breaks. They always run into the one team that totally knows how to beat them, the Dallas Stars.

They came close in 2001 in maybe the best series I have ever watched. Five 1-goal games, four decided in overtime. That series could have went either way but a bad line change by MacTavish and a bad giveaway by Ulanov sealed their fate.

The Oilers would have beaten the Stars in 2003 had Salo not let his play stagnate due to personal problems (divorce because his wife had an affair with Mike Comrie). Salo really blew it and sucked even worse in 2004.

The Flames, unlike the Oilers, got nothing but luck this year. You and I both know they would not have beaten the Canucks in the first round had Bertuzzi been around, Naslund been healthy, and Cloutier not injured.

The Flames also would not have beaten the Wings had Hull, Yzerman, Land, Chelios, et al not been hurting.

After that, the underdog Flames got on a roll and rode their terribly boring style all the way to Game 7 before the better team won.

The Oilers could have been the Flames one of those years had they had a hot goalie. Now, without a #1 goalie and #1 center (unless they replace Nedved), they will be fortunate if they can squeeze into the playoffs and lose in 5-6 games again....

but Cinderella teams like the Minnesota Wild give the Oilers hope. There is always a chance if you have luck on your side.

So, in summary, I wouldn't say the Oilers are THAT rich. They are still a small market relatively speaking.
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