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Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out.

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Old
12-24-2003, 10:02 AM
  #1
Lowetide
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Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out.

One is fairly certain that Craig MacTavish doesn't have a bag skate scheduled for tomorrow, so this is probably a good time to look at what this team can accomplish in the next 50 games or so.

Kevin Lowe said in the 1260 interview the other night with Bob Stauffer that giving up on the playoffs was not an option. He may have no choice in the matter, and that might be the best thing for this organization.

From my perspective the season has turned on 4 main things:

1. Comrie not being on the team.

2. Tommy Salo's career spiralling downward.

3. The letdown from the Heritage Classic.

4. The injury to Reasoner.


Goals haven't been a problem, but timely goals have been difficult, especially on the powerplay. Seems to me that Comrie's not being here was covered off well enough early; curiously, after the signing of Adam Oates the team has not been effective.

Salo hasn't been the same since the Olympics/birth of his daughter, and there's clearly something wrong here. Goalies seldom lose their skills in an 18month span around their 30th birthday unless there's a medical reason. Last night he allowed 2 goals on 21 shots, probably his best spn since the start of the season, and yet I can't find one Oiler fan looking forward to his next game.

I think it was g2k who mentioned "no more heritage classics" and it does seem that the season was geared to that one moment. I have no idea if it had any effect on the team per se, and there were holes before that game. However, since then this team can't tie its own shoes and management has also experienced inertia in terms of what to do about it.

There's no need to overblow Reasoner's value to the team, it's pretty damn obvious every night. Many of us are fond of him because we saw him grow up in one eventful season, and go from failed prospect to valued player. This team is dying for the guy, and the Oilers haven't been the same since he hit the boards that night.

So the question: WHAT can this team accomplish in the next 50 games?

Here's my list:

1. Find out if Ty Conklin can pay 40 games or more in the NHL and flourish He's played well enough, and deserves the chance to run with it. Salo is getting his shot now, which the organization kind of has to give him since he's making 12% of the team's budget.

After that, though, time for the Conklin midway.

2. Find out about Semenov and Bergeron I think we pretty much know about Semenov, but he's showing signs of another step forward right now. Bergeron is going to make mistakes, and may not be an NHL regular, but there's 50 games ahead an no really good reason to hold him back in any one of them.

3. Pick a line, any line. I'm still on MacTavish's side, but it's obvious these line pukes of his every 5 shifts is just disabling to the roster as a whole. Last night's lines had some good moments, but they can't build on it because it'll be completely different Saturday.

4. Stop the bag skates already Remember the old line "the beatings will continue until morale improves?" Well, after awhile people just tune it out, take their medicine and wait for the day the guy gets fired. There is some evidence that MacT has lost this club, and he better figure out a way to motivate them, because they've had more bag skates this season than Carter has pills.

5. Callup up some replacements It's a mystery to me that this hasn't happened. Call up Rita, or Salmelainen, or Bobby Allen. Have a long look at these guys, because the team will change year over year, it always does.

6. Don't trade the high end prospects I worry about a guy like Semenov, who despite excellent strides still has a long way to go. Unless the return is mammoth, trading Semenov (or any prospect with a high ceiling) is the worst thing to do.

7. Find solutions to the special teams The power play looked better last night, several rapid passes, making the Flames run around a little. It's not much, but there's at least a pulse now. The pk is showing signs of coming out of it, they seem to be more aggressive on the forecheck, and it's not 100% guaranteed the opponent will score when they set up on the pp now.

8. Closely scout the top of the draft If I'm in Vegas now, I'd put money down on this team getting a top 10 pick. Cam Barker anyone?


Anything else to look forward to in the next 50?


Last edited by Lowetide: 12-24-2003 at 10:10 AM.
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12-24-2003, 10:34 AM
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
Kevin Lowe said in the 1260 interview the other night with Bob Stauffer that giving up on the playoffs was not an option. He may have no choice in the matter, and that might be the best thing for this organization.
The mark of any good GM is the ability to look at the big picture. Now when you are a club capable of winning the Cup now, then the big picture is right now, not long term.

For the Oilers, right now is not what Lowe should be looking at. I can appreciate that what Lowe thinks privately and what Lowe states publicly are probably quite different. At least, I hope so/it should be.

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12-24-2003, 10:48 AM
  #3
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I think we have everything to look forward to in the last 50 games of this year. It's been a bit of a weird year for the team thus far. I think the whole comrie 'fiasco' or whatever you want to call it had a major impact. Of course every player will tell you until they're blue in the face that it doesn't affect them, but it does. I know I wouldn't play my best if in the back of my mind I wondered if I might be traded the next day - in a package deal with Mikey. The Heritage classic also seems to have played a major factor. I think if we win that game this whole season could be a lot different. It seemed to utterly deflate this team, despite almost beating or at least tying Montreal on that bad ice.

Lowe really needs to 'shake the sugar tree' and will probably make at least a few deals. I don't expect Oates to finish the season here, J. Smith also could easily go.

I look forward to the next 50 games, but not as much as next year (next hockey year anyway) without Salo, Craig Simpson, and maybe MacT.

MD

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12-24-2003, 11:31 AM
  #4
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Agreed LT. The most important thing on that list is for Lowe to realize what he must do to better this team and that does not necessarily mean for this year. It is vital that he can keep the top prospects in the fold because they are essentially the future of this club and not some of the veterans we have signed at the moment.

Anyone remember when MacT started coaching? He was adamant at not changing his lines no matter the situation. Now, he's gungho with the concept of blindly throwing out every combination. One would think moderation would be key.

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12-24-2003, 11:47 AM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackdogs

I look forward to the next 50 games, but not as much as next year (next hockey year anyway) without Salo, Craig Simpson, and maybe MacT.

MD
The thing is, there are a lot of people spending their hard-earned money to watch these guys play hockey. We have had a "good" team since 96/97 and have made the playoffs in 6 of the last 7 seasons (the season we missed was still a 90pt year and not a wash). Fans PAY more now than ever before. Emphasis on NOW. It's all well and good for we prospect junkies to look at the future but the paying public is paying for the NOW. If we end up being a lottery team the cries from season's ticket holders will be defining to fire the coach and make big changes to the team.

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12-24-2003, 11:53 AM
  #6
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Thing is, no one was talking rebuilding and "wait 'til after 2004" when the team was 5th in the conference after the successful eastern road trip a few weeks back. This team is good enough to atleast make the playoffs. Things are just not clicking right now.

I do agree that a trade should be made as long as it doesn't mortgage the future. I think Lowe was thinking just that when he got those pick for the goblin along with Woywitka. Knowing Lowe, I'm pretty confident the OIlers' season is not over at all because he won't let it be.

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12-24-2003, 11:57 AM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemsky4PM
The thing is, there are a lot of people spending their hard-earned money to watch these guys play hockey. We have had a "good" team since 96/97 and have made the playoffs in 6 of the last 7 seasons (the season we missed was still a 90pt year and not a wash). Fans PAY more now than ever before. Emphasis on NOW. It's all well and good for we prospect junkies to look at the future but the paying public is paying for the NOW. If we end up being a lottery team the cries from season's ticket holders will be defining to fire the coach and make big changes to the team.

I agree, that's why a planned, long re-do of the roster hasn't happened recently (with all due respect to Mizral's three re-build theory).

However, this team is like a 747 losing scrap iron every 500 feet and I don't know if Ilya freaking Kovalchuk could help it.

So, as speeds said, Lowe's ob is to look farther into the future than April. If he doesnt, he'll make his Miro Satan trade and the fanbase will still be hoping for 8th five years from now.

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12-24-2003, 01:13 PM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemsky4PM
The thing is, there are a lot of people spending their hard-earned money to watch these guys play hockey. We have had a "good" team since 96/97 and have made the playoffs in 6 of the last 7 seasons (the season we missed was still a 90pt year and not a wash). Fans PAY more now than ever before. Emphasis on NOW. It's all well and good for we prospect junkies to look at the future but the paying public is paying for the NOW. If we end up being a lottery team the cries from season's ticket holders will be defining to fire the coach and make big changes to the team.
boo hoo, Lowe already has their money.

ticket sales will probably drop this summer anyways, with the potential lockout (I'm sure there are some fans who won't be too excited about dropping 6-7 grand just to watch EDM not play that sesaon because of the lockout, even if it would be credited for the following season). And if it's settled, then the marketing crew can use the new CBA to sell season's tickets. People will eat it up once Lowe says "now we're on a more even playing field."

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12-24-2003, 03:04 PM
  #9
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I mentioned in another post the lineup needs a little shake, either a callup or a Reasoner return should spark something off. I'd place Rita there and say to him the jobs yours to lose in the next 5 games, show us what you can do.

Just to say its admirable that Smith has shown some sign of life by picking his game up, but isn't this where Oates veteran leadership should come into play? in order to help the kids keep their chins up and break the slump? i'm sure he's helping in his way but he needs to spark an on-ice comeback, perhaps he isnt ready yet. so for me the next 50 games would be Reasoner's return to the lineup, the play of suspect players (ie. laraque), and the on-ice production of Dvorak, Oates and Smyth.

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12-24-2003, 03:15 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speeds
boo hoo, Lowe already has their money.

ticket sales will probably drop this summer anyways, with the potential lockout (I'm sure there are some fans who won't be too excited about dropping 6-7 grand just to watch EDM not play that sesaon because of the lockout, even if it would be credited for the following season). And if it's settled, then the marketing crew can use the new CBA to sell season's tickets. People will eat it up once Lowe says "now we're on a more even playing field."
Assuming of course that the new CBA works out for the Oilers. There is just as good of a chance that it kills them.

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12-25-2003, 08:01 AM
  #11
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I think struggling to make 8th spot and then out in the first round is a total waste again. We get a crappy pick and still dont know what our guys in TO can do. I think you make at least a couple of trades involving BG and Smith. Fergusson can ride the PB. Lets insert some youth and trade what cant help us in two years like smith and BG to move up in the draft. I know it would be a risk and I have no idea if it would be enough but Atlanta is doing pretty well without Heatly and who knows if he can ever recover from his terrible summer vacation but they could make some serious noise in the playoffs this year without Heatly, imagine what their chances would be with BG and Smith. Call it a rebuild if you want, I think Oiler fans will back Lowe if he at least shows he has a credible plan.

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12-26-2003, 08:00 AM
  #12
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I doubt 15,000 fans are gonna buy season ticks next year should they start dumping players and miss the playoffs all in the vain hope the new CBA "put's us on a level playing field". The Oilers depend on good attendence for their support finacially.

Speeds- Thats a great way to treat your customers. "Too bad for you we already got your money". I know I'd sign up for some more tickets after that.

This team has been in the same spot for the last 6 years. Pretty good but not able to advance in the playoffs. Now I'm not advocating trade away the future but a trade to help the Oilers make the playoffs and possibly advance would be good IMO. Missing the playoffs to hopefully get a high pick doesn't assure us anything in terms of definate good future players. Vancouver and Ottawa have passed us by not because they never went for a trade for the present or that they kept all their young players, its that their players they had or aquired have excelled and become great players. If the Oilers had a Nausland or a Hossa they'd prob be around the 4th or 5th in the confernce. The Oilers don't have a legit superstarm (hell star for that matter) that can carry them or win a game on their own.

I like the future of this team very much but I also want to enjoy some sucess now. Hopeffuly they can turn it around cause I think they have some good players on the team already.

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12-26-2003, 09:22 AM
  #13
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lowtide - once in a while someone posts something so good that it makes the Board worth visiting. Great post!

My vote is that Lowe and MacT do all of what you suggest - with one twist. The fans deserve to be entertained by a team that puts it all out there every night - so load up with our young prospects and turn them loose to experiment, show their stuff, be creative. Quit making everyone look over their shoulder at the bench every time they make a mistake, and quit trying to make the team play like the Wild.

If we aren't good enough to win often, lets at least make it fun again. And if the result is to raise the stock of some of the kids and make them tradeable for high draft choices, or a goalie, or whatever, so be it.

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12-26-2003, 12:13 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by future consideration
I doubt 15,000 fans are gonna buy season ticks next year should they start dumping players and miss the playoffs all in the vain hope the new CBA "put's us on a level playing field". The Oilers depend on good attendence for their support finacially.

Speeds- Thats a great way to treat your customers. "Too bad for you we already got your money". I know I'd sign up for some more tickets after that.
Lowe's not going to come out and tell his fan base this, even if he thinks it, which he probably doesn't.

Quote:
This team has been in the same spot for the last 6 years. Pretty good but not able to advance in the playoffs. Now I'm not advocating trade away the future but a trade to help the Oilers make the playoffs and possibly advance would be good IMO.
how can you help the team now without trading away some piece of the future? If it can be done great, but I'm sure Lowe's looked. He w/couldn't even trade Comrie, a proven NHLer, for any talent that would help the team now.

Quote:
Missing the playoffs to hopefully get a high pick doesn't assure us anything in terms of definate good future players.
Absolutely agree. Doesn't guarantee anything. But the chances are certainly better, plus the kids get more ice while you'd be attempting this strategy.

Quote:
Vancouver and Ottawa have passed us by not because they never went for a trade for the present or that they kept all their young players, its that their players they had or aquired have excelled and become great players. If the Oilers had a Nausland or a Hossa they'd prob be around the 4th or 5th in the confernce.
OTT drafted Hossa (12 overall 97) and PITT drafted Naslund (16 overall 91). VAN made arguably the steal of the last 10 years with that trade, while OTT developed Hossa from within. The OTT route is much easier to follow, but if Lowe can trade Jani Rita for Brad Richards, by all means.



Quote:
I like the future of this team very much but I also want to enjoy some sucess now. Hopeffuly they can turn it around cause I think they have some good players on the team already.
Wanting success now doesn't make it possible, or the "right move". They'll have to turn it around to the tune of becoming a top 5 team the rest of the year to make the playoffs. Can it be done, maybe? Would I count on it?

We'll know more in 4 games. If EDM loses both to MINN and splits with CAL/VAN,, or loses all 4, I think you could safely say their season is over. Just too far to make the comeback.

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12-26-2003, 02:32 PM
  #15
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Originally Posted by speeds
Lowe's not going to come out and tell his fan base this, even if he thinks it, which he probably doesn't.



how can you help the team now without trading away some piece of the future? If it can be done great, but I'm sure Lowe's looked. He w/couldn't even trade Comrie, a proven NHLer, for any talent that would help the team now.



Absolutely agree. Doesn't guarantee anything. But the chances are certainly better, plus the kids get more ice while you'd be attempting this strategy.



OTT drafted Hossa (12 overall 97) and PITT drafted Naslund (16 overall 91). VAN made arguably the steal of the last 10 years with that trade, while OTT developed Hossa from within. The OTT route is much easier to follow, but if Lowe can trade Jani Rita for Brad Richards, by all means.





Wanting success now doesn't make it possible, or the "right move". They'll have to turn it around to the tune of becoming a top 5 team the rest of the year to make the playoffs. Can it be done, maybe? Would I count on it?

We'll know more in 4 games. If EDM loses both to MINN and splits with CAL/VAN,, or loses all 4, I think you could safely say their season is over. Just too far to make the comeback.
Why is wanting sucess now not possible while still having a good future? The Oilers are one of the youngest teams in the league and have a decent amount of good prospects where they could afford to aquire a player now. And who says that player has to be a 35 year old rental or something? Is impossible to trade for a mid 20's player and can contribute for some years yet? Rita and Salmo are arguably ready right now.

Did Ottawa mortage their future when they traded their former first round pick for Varada? Is Vancouver in danger since they traded a second round pick for May? Right now the Oilers have a extra 1st rounder and possibly a roster or minor league player to deal all for someone while not destroying the future.

My whole position is that if they're in the playoff mix or up in the standing that a trade to improve the team right now should be considered.

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12-26-2003, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by future consideration

Did Ottawa mortage their future when they traded their former first round pick for Varada? Is Vancouver in danger since they traded a second round pick for May? Right now the Oilers have a extra 1st rounder and possibly a roster or minor league player to deal all for someone while not destroying the future.
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the team acquiring a guy who can help now and in the future. but comparing EDM now with OTT and VAN of last year is really not all that fair.

Quote:
My whole position is that if they're in the playoff mix or up in the standing that a trade to improve the team right now should be considered.
I still wouldn't like to see part of the future cast aside just to finish 8th, but if they get in a position where they have a reasonable chance of making the playoffs then I would at least understand it. If they lose 3 of the next 4, and then move a Semenov, or a Pouliot, for a 27-28 year old in hopes that will force them into the playoffs, then I wouldn't be pleased at all.

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04-11-2004, 01:31 AM
  #17
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Since its a little slow I thought it might be an idea to bump this one from Xmastime. I don't think they got as much as they should have out of the last 50, but Bergeron did well after a trip to AAA and Conklin got the job.

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04-11-2004, 02:28 AM
  #18
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Nice pickup LT.

Interesting to pull back these old threads and see my mindset back then, though I must confess that I didn't really address your initial thread way back when.

But, no reason not to now:

Here's my list:

1. Find out if Ty Conklin can pay 40 games or more in the NHL and flourish He's played well enough, and deserves the chance to run with it. Salo is getting his shot now, which the organization kind of has to give him since he's making 12% of the team's budget.

After that, though, time for the Conklin midway.

They gave Conklin a shot, he looked decent. My concern is whether or not they will do the same with Jussi if he appears to be outplaying Ty in the future. Markkanen outplayed Salo in his time here, statistically, never got a shot, but Conklin did. Why?

2. Find out about Semenov and Bergeron I think we pretty much know about Semenov, but he's showing signs of another step forward right now. Bergeron is going to make mistakes, and may not be an NHL regular, but there's 50 games ahead an no really good reason to hold him back in any one of them.

I can't say I like the way Semenov was handled down the stretch, but they sat him down for SO long I have to think something might have been going on behind the scenes. D is ready for the trade of a veteran, since that Ulanov option has to be exercised (the value is simply too good to let him walk for nothing even if you end up trading Ulanov, though why would you as well as he can partner with Ulanov or Bergeron)

3. Pick a line, any line. I'm still on MacTavish's side, but it's obvious these line pukes of his every 5 shifts is just disabling to the roster as a whole. Last night's lines had some good moments, but they can't build on it because it'll be completely different Saturday.

not much to say that hasn't been said, good or bad

4. Stop the bag skates already Remember the old line "the beatings will continue until morale improves?" Well, after awhile people just tune it out, take their medicine and wait for the day the guy gets fired. There is some evidence that MacT has lost this club, and he better figure out a way to motivate them, because they've had more bag skates this season than Carter has pills.

Sounds like they were playing for the coach at the end of the year, as opposed to in spite of. Good sign for MacT, no question, but it HAS to be asked why they can't play better in the middle of the season, and why they have these horrible stretchs year after year. It might just be the young team, but it has to be asked anyways.

5. Callup up some replacements It's a mystery to me that this hasn't happened. Call up Rita, or Salmelainen, or Bobby Allen. Have a long look at these guys, because the team will change year over year, it always does.

I wish they'd have found out if Allen was ready, but how many rookies can you have I suppose? I'd have been happy to end the year with him and Luoma playing a regular ****, having dumped Cross, Ulanov, Smith, and Ferguson, but clearly Lowe disagreed.

6. Don't trade the high end prospects I worry about a guy like Semenov, who despite excellent strides still has a long way to go. Unless the return is mammoth, trading Semenov (or any prospect with a high ceiling) is the worst thing to do.

no argument here. I don't like having moved the second or helminen, but what can you do? Not "brutal losses" to the org or anything

7. Find solutions to the special teams The power play looked better last night, several rapid passes, making the Flames run around a little. It's not much, but there's at least a pulse now. The pk is showing signs of coming out of it, they seem to be more aggressive on the forecheck, and it's not 100% guaranteed the opponent will score when they set up on the pp now.

starting to be a big believer in igor's personel thoughts regarding the PP, and the need for 4F and 1D, at least a bit more often than we currently see it

8. Closely scout the top of the draft If I'm in Vegas now, I'd put money down on this team getting a top 10 pick. Cam Barker anyone?


Hard to handicap who they will take. The goalies will tell the story at 14 (do the Oilers scouts like them, are they still there - Montoya and Schwartz specifically, would they rather a skater available anyways?, etc), and once you get down to the PHI pick BPA could be anyone so who knows?

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04-11-2004, 08:15 AM
  #19
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i honestly dont think Ulanov is going to make the same mistake twice and leave the Oilers, he left before and basically ended up bounced out of the NHL in no time. Ever since he's been back he's enjoyed himself and found a regular NHL job, sure there is no doubt in my mind that Igor wants to come back, if that was a player option it would already have been activated so I don't think Kevin Lowe has too much of an issue regarding Ulanov's status I just don't see him leaving, even if a New York Rangers style offer comes in he'll actually think more about it.

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04-11-2004, 08:35 AM
  #20
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It's interesting to look back isn't it? The question of MacT's authority was certainly answered by season's end. That was a helluva run and you have to give him credit for it, no doubt.

imo, there's still something missing from what we know about this team. From the Carter deal to today, with the Comrie thing included, there just seemed to be some kind of rift/clique thing happening (I have no personal knowledge of anything, just reading between the lines).

Hopefully the trade of Comrie ends the turmoil.

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04-13-2004, 07:31 AM
  #21
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Originally Posted by lowetide
It's interesting to look back isn't it? The question of MacT's authority was certainly answered by season's end. That was a helluva run and you have to give him credit for it, no doubt.
Yup, I think most of us were starting to wonder if the players had tuned MacTavish out. With his 3-year contract you knew he wouldn't be canned, but the situation looked pretty grim at the time. But it turns out we didn't need to worry.

Quote:
imo, there's still something missing from what we know about this team. From the Carter deal to today, with the Comrie thing included, there just seemed to be some kind of rift/clique thing happening (I have no personal knowledge of anything, just reading between the lines).

Hopefully the trade of Comrie ends the turmoil.
Ahhh ... the "Poison Dwarf Theory". :lol

But you know ... and based on absolutely nothing tangible at all ... I have the same feeling.

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