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ON • Canada • 30 Years Old • Male
I don’t understand how people make the argument that Lowe was trying to make “his” team better. How can any GM make a team better by over paying a player that isn’t worth the money, offering a long term contract with a lot of money tied up in one player. Most will say Penner is worth probably around the same as Ouellet, which turns out to be $1.25-million. That’s $3.05-million more. You could have signed 3 players at one and a quarter million for the same point production, plus a player at league minimum. Ya huh… “better” .. right. That could be an additional 70 goals. But that’s just speculation.

Burke is totally right about Lowe doing this out of desperation for his job. Lowe can’t sign an unrestricted player. Most of that, really couldn’t be blamed on him, however. It seems rich players’ families don’t like the fact that they would be living in a smaller, much smaller city than that of most other NHL cities. The cold whether, lack of activities, long travel distance to a larger destinations. It can all come into play.

Lowe’s team went from squeeking into the playoffs to making the finals. All in the same year. Obviously no one saw that coming. However, if that hadn’t of happened, I don’t think Lowe would have an issue with his job at this point. Nylander chose a team in the Capitals, that doesn’t have much expectation. They have potential to be a great team, and he has the chance to become a star without heavy burden in a hockey market where everyone is on your case, if you don’t play well, or even live up to expectation. I really doubt he cares if the local papers and websites piss on his corn flakes here in Canada or in D.C., he probably doesn’t read them anyway. He put himself in a great situation. Not the greatest city though, but a great situation. Plus, he’s still rich.

Now, think of this – had Lowe gotten Vanek. What would he build the team around? Smyth wanted more money, and Lowe said no. Smyth was traded, and the Oilers got some good return. We all know where Smyth went after that. Now he throws that money into a player who couldn’t give too poops about the city. Then he basically gave up on Lupul after one year. Right, you traded one of the best defensemen in the league, and got an excellent young player back who is actually from the city you are in. Lupul wanted to play there. He had a poor season on a poor team. Now you trade him, plus your captain for a younger, bigger dman. And you only sign him for one year. You traded your leadership and soul for a player who might not even return to the city, ala Pronger (but obviously, not exactly the same situation, Pitkanen is a RFA). Now, how did that improve your team?

He doesn’t have Vanek. And there is a strong possibility that he WILL have Penner. Is Penner honestly the type of player Lowe wants to build his team around? Lets look at Hemsky. In 05-06, he scored 19 goals and 77 points. He’s now making $4.1-million per. The next season, he scores 13 goals and 53 points. Although he did miss 17 games from the year before, he IS the type of player you’d want to build around. Penner was a rookie, and now will be making more money. How does Hemsky feel? Lowe’s answer is probably clear: no one wants to play with you (obviously, “you” isn’t a personal answer), so I’ll have to over pay a bit to find those who will.

Is Lowe thinking in the long run? Should he? That meaning, for his job sake and for the team sake, seeing as many younger players are going to be coming up. If he ends up with Penner, he wont get Perry or Getzlaf. And now, with this, are players going to allow their agents to negotiate with GM’s about their contracts before they become RFA’s or allow them to sign offer sheets and become well rich enough to not even care if their point production is terrible on a non-contending team. Or, get greedy, sign the offer and let their own team match it. Just cause you know you’re that good.

Lowe hasn’t made his team any better. He can’t attract players with soul to play there. He has to go out and throw money at players for them to play there. All that reminds me of is “gangsta” rappers flashing cash in their music videos.

But with that said, I don’t know who is worse – the GM for offering it, or fans accepting a player who signs the offer sheet for that money. Why would Vanek want to play on a non-contending team when he has strong possibility of winning a cup in Buffalo? Surely he couldn’t be thinking Edmonton would end up with another Cinderella story. Or was it that he knew the Sabres would match and he just got greedy? Or did he think he was really THAT good, to get Edmonton far enough as the conference finals?

Personally, I’m waiting for a player with class to tell one of these GM’s to bite the wiener, and that he’s playing for the cup (even if it means, again and again) instead of a bunch of cash thrown at you, and play with a mediocre team in an old building. Just plain out reject the offer sheet.

I just laugh at Edmonton fans that back their GM for presenting offer sheets to these players. He’s looking for a quick fix to a team who needs immediate help and who has no patience for the players coming up through the farm. Edmonton isn’t Toronto. They can, no doubt “rebuild”, even if it’s for a couple years so that their own young stars can establish them selves.

Sure the NHL is a business, not only for teams but for players making an earning. But it’s also for the fans. And if it wasn’t for the fans, you wouldn’t have the money to splash at these players. Anaheim, Tampa, Carolina, Nashville.. all these teams went through terrible seasons to draft the players they did to have a team that wins. Players, young enough to earn the money they deserve to have the chance to win the cup.

The salary cap was put into place to help such teams. And now, it’s coming to bite them in the ass. They draft and win. They pay what they can afford, AND what they deserve in this stage in their career. Tampa and Nashville had [have] excellent teams, but don’t dare spend to the cap, because their owners are not making money. Now, they risk loosing their players that they spent millions on scouting to underachieving teams looking for a quick fix so that they can still earn money in their own building.

Not stealing? Sure Edmonton isn’t taking to feed the poor, but they’re surly taking to please their own. And that’s conniving.
July 29, 2007 9:26 PM ET | Delete
Yeah, God forbid Kevin Lowe does something totally within the rules to help his team in the way he seems fit. I mean we know that the Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Rangers or Flyers never paid anyone over market value. The salary cap was put in place to give each team financial equity and payroll balance, not to keep costs down.
July 29, 2007 9:49 PM ET | Delete
All of this and more from a Leafs fan....I'd rather put my faith in Lowe than whoever has been "rebuilding" the Leafs for the last 40 plus years....when was that last cup again? Brutal!
July 29, 2007 10:24 PM ET | Delete
As much as I hate that people are trying to take RFAs it's in the CBA so why not try for it. If he offered him 1.5 million well then obvisously Anaheim will offer it. Sometimes you have to offer him a little more then he's worth to aquire him. And if it doesn't work well then the other team has more money added to their Cap.
July 30, 2007 2:52 AM ET | Delete
Have you ever watched Ouellet and Penner play? They play a totally different game and Penner got 29 goals vs 19 by Ouellet on a much more offensive Penguin team. The other part of it is Lowe is trying to acquire a LW, not a RW like Ouellet. Vanek and Penner are both LW's and would fit onto the top line with Hemsky. The Oilers biggest weakness last year was the defense's lack of ability to move the puck or create offense from the back end. Adding Pitkanen (Who is skilled and produced even on the worst team in the NHL last year), Souray and Tarnstrom will solve that. Now that Matt Greene has proved he's reliable and can play Jason Smith became expendable. The chance to acquire one of the top young dmen does not come often and you have to give something good to get them. I did enjoy reading your blog because it made me laugh that someone who obviously has no clue about Edmonton, the Oilers or the players you mentioned in your blog would waste so much time writing this. I suggest sticking to something you know about whatever that may be.
July 30, 2007 11:24 AM ET | Delete
This is nothing more than a gamble. There is no desperation or fear of losing one's job. If Penner goes on to score 80 points next year and the remaining years on the contract it will be a bargain for anahiem or edmonton. Then alll of this "overpaid" nonsense would be out the window. If he goes out and stinks the joint out the team is stuck with that salary or the thought of buying out the contract. Why is Burke pissed? One would have to think that Penner is going to be closer to the 80 point range, and he didn't want to open the purse strings this year.
July 30, 2007 11:40 AM ET | Delete
I can't beleive you brought up Hemsky's contract.Considering what guys like Gomez just signed for, Hemsky, at his present contract, is a pretty good signing. And if he hadn't missed those 17 games (and played hurt in another 15-20), his point totals would have been significantly higher.
July 30, 2007 7:16 PM ET | Delete
A Leafs fan preaching about overpaying for talent. Wow! the only difference is that Penner isn't 38 years old.4 Mil for Bertuzzi - come on. 10 mil for Briere or Gomez. Penner can be another Bertuzzi or LeClair in their prime, at 4 mil in 3 years Lowe may look like a genius, besides he has to overpay to not only take cap space from Burke but also to make the compensation look good. We had a lockout to bring salaries in line, the signings lately are crazy and nothing to do with Lowe. Besides Bertuzzi, Gomez, Briere, we have Bill Guerin making 4.5 mil. The lockout just gave the small market teams the opportunity to play the same games. The only ones who win are the players.Read Daniel Tolensky's article http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=8757 he nails the RFA issue on the head and how we are going to see more of it.Thank god for the internet where a story like Chris Pronger wanting out of a team will have legs like this. Every team in every sport has had a major player want to leave. Whether is Chris Pronger or Vince Carter. If we like the player it has to be a problem with the City (Pronger) if we hate the guy it has to be the player (Carter) at the end of the day they (the players) don't care they just want job security, and ego boost, and more money. At the end of the day every Canadian team has a lot to offer any player-not just Toronto.Is Edmonton a small market team in trouble? not really, tickets are sold out, they are top 10 in the league for revenue, and have a stable ownership. Are they as strong as Toronto and Montreal - No but they are as strong or stronger than than Ottawa, Vancouver, and Calgary. Kevin Lowe is a fierce competitor who does not like to lose. At the end of the day he wants to win at all cost - if you ain't cheating you're not trying.You do realize that in Alberta in the past 30 years an Alberta team has played in the Stanley Cup final 10 times (1 in 3). Believe me its not acceptable to make the playoffs here and never will be.
July 30, 2007 10:00 PM ET | Delete
I agree with everyone here, except for the Writer of the article who obviously lives inside a bubble. Wake up buddy, the exact thing has been happening to Edmonton for the last 15 years. I have no issues with Kevin Lowe doing any of this. Kevin may be getting a bad name, but the Oilers Franchise Isnt. Gms are relatively dispensable, even Kevin. I hope he gets a few Killer Franchise players before someone runs him out of town. Hey Kevin, You can always come stay at my place in Calgary. We could watch old hockey reruns over and over again!!!
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