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10-08-2003, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Mizral
Yeah, Lou has been around a while. But actually the Devils were pretty good in the early 90's too. It just took them a while to win their first Cup after that (5 or so years). Lou turned the Devils franchise around in the mid to late 80's after he took the helm, made them into a winner for years, then made them into a champion after that.
If Lou took over in the mid to late 90s, then I guess you're right.

Originally Posted by Mizral
I guess this is where we disagree. I agree that Lowe has 'turned the franchise around', but I feel he turned it backwards, not forwards. The team in '99 looked like a team, to me, that was only a couple peices away from a Stanley Cup winner. Now they feel to me only marginally better than the Columbus Blue Jackets or *gasp* the Flames. Unless Lowe has some major tricks up his sleeves, I feel the Oilers will be struggling to make the playoffs. And with the very tough-to-beat West, I'm not sure if they are better than the teams around them (Ducks, Kings, Wild, etc..).
Well, I agree that we do have disagreements here. As far as the team being iced on a nightly basis, I feel the Oilers are about the same, if not slightly improved during Lowe's regime. The big difference is that Lowe has built up tremendous organizational depth, the kind of which never seen before in this franchise, not even during the glory years. Some will turn into good NHLers, some will be used as trade currency. I strongly feel that, if this current group can be left intact to mature for about 2 more years, then we'll be about a center and a defenseman away from being a strong cup contender (if Salo can still hold up). At that point, assuming a benign CBA can be put in place, we may actually see Lowe do some prospects-for-veterans trade and go for it all. Who knows, he may even sign some mid range UFAs, whatever "mid range" may mean at that time.

As for the '99 team, I don't think they were really that close. Their top 4 Ds looked nice, but Janne and Poti were error prone. They had a very good 1st line and a reliable 3rd line. But the other lines were filled by borderline individuals. They had no money nor organizational depth to address those issues. If we had stuck with that group until the problems are fixed, the most important pieces (Weight, Guerin, Hamrlik) would have become too expensive to keep.

Edm only marginally better than Columbus and Cgy? Hmmm...I think Columbus made some nice moves. We'll see if it's enough. Calgary could make some noises if Iggy rebounds, but I doubt it'll be much more than just noise.

The Ducks will be tough (if Fedorov and Prospal don't go on post contract vacations). LA has a nice team but seems to have some serious injury problems. I'm still not totally sold on Minny but it's hard to bet agains Lemaire.

Originally Posted by Mizral
Let's not forget out big financial muscle, Mr. McCaw, has been trying to sell the team for years now. Although he has resisted some potential buyers which shows me that perhaps he doesn't mind owning the team too much, the franchise has only become stable under Mr. Burke. I wonder - if Burke had never come around and we had not been lucky enough to institute some of the great financial moves under him and still be plagued with a Pat Quinn-like free agency approach ($8 million to Mark Messier? What a twit), do you think Vancouver would be considered any better than Ottawa in terms of financial situations? Burke has done a TON in regards to making the Canucks a more viable franchise. Just recently, for instance, his big hobby-horse, the sports lotteries, finally payed up and will be giving $2+ million to the Canucks organization annually.
I never said that Burke didn't do a good job. I think he did a great job. But it still doesn't change the fact that the Nucks had a bigger budget than the Oilers. The fact that Burke was given this rather large budget increase for the upcoming season indicates that there is (and probably always has been) some financial flexibility on McCaw's side. I think that made Burke's job slightly easier than Lowe's (but defintely not that much).

Originally Posted by Mizral
As for Free Agents, I don't think you can ignore the fact that the Canucks are at the top of ideal free agent destinations (according to a poll by ESPN), and Edmonton is amongst the league worst. Not a shot at Edmonton, more at a shot at the players, since Edmonton isn't the type that pays their players a lot, many players don't want to be here. Vancouver pays them marginally more, but the allure of A) living in Vancouver, and B) playing on a very good young team, are both selling points that at the moment, Edmonton may not have (okay, I hope that didn't sound like I was saying Edmonton was a crap city!)..
Vancouver does have some non-monetary intangibles that attract free agents. Some are created by Burke, some are not. But when it gets to the nitty-gritty, it's mostly about money. Look at a guy like Klatt. Thoroughly enjoyed the city. Universally loved and respected. Raising a big and young family. But nonetheless, jumped ship to a lesser team for a few hundred Gs more. I'm not saying the monetary difference was insignificant. I'm just saying that money talks and Burke has more to work with than Lowe.

This whole issue of a franchise' intangibles really highlights the additional difficulties (besides pure money problems) that Lowe faces when it comes to players acquisition and retention. Fans booing Arnott and Poti outta door certainly doesn't enhance the franchise's image as nice place to be. Neither does the long history of hardline contract negotiations (due to lack of funds). The seeming inevitability of losing the top players (also due to lack of funds) is also a big downer.

Originally Posted by Mizral
The Canucks are no closer to dismantling than the Oilers are. Will Smyth leave when his deal is up? Will Smith? Will Salo? Same questions, same time periods. The only difference is the one tough signing in Todd Bertuzzi. But even that's a year away, and we will likely not have to deal with that until after the CBA drops.

Alright then, are the Sens going to be blowing up anytime soon? Alfredsson could be leaving soon. Lalime might price himself out of their market next contract. Can they afford to sign Hossa to a big fat contract when they can't even come to terms with Havlat now?

Are the Senators 'fading fast'?
The difference is that I think both the Oilers and the Sens have enough top notch and still reasonably priced young talent who can step up even if several of the older stars leave. For the Canucks, I don't see anyone stepping up if Naslund and Bertuzzi leave. I guess it all boils down to our vastly different views of the Sedins' potential, of which we have already agreed to disagree.

Having said all that, I have a gut feeling that McCaw may actually open up his wallet to pay for Naz and Bert when the time comes. Why?
1) He does have the money (though I'm not sure what the financial wreckage, especially in the telecom sector, of the last few years have done to his net worth).
2) He has shown in the past that he's willing to spend big.
3) The good job done by Burke seems to be earning McCaw's approval. This is evidenced by the rather large budget increase this season.

Originally Posted by Mizral
As I noted. The Canucks received an elite defenseman for Pavel Bure. Kevin Lowe received Marty Reasoner for Doug Weight. MASSIVE difference in player value - was Doug Weight really in that good of a situation that he could be dealt for nothing? No. Burke not only maximized the return for Bure, but ended up winning the deal that many pundits said could not be won. Lowe ended up with a bottom 6 checking line centre...
I guess I'm never gonna win this argument. Will just have to wait for Lowe's autobiography to spill the beans on what's really on the table...

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