Goons, Fighters, and Thugs (and a couple Pests)

So the Oilers have picked up Steve MacIntyre off waivers today. Just a little bit about him well he is not little 6’6” and 265lbs. That’s all I knew, so I went to the Oilers web site and Mr. Prendergast had only nice things to say about him, like: “Well he’s big”

“With his size and with background as far as the fighting goes, and as far as being a deterrent it wouldn’t hurt to have a look at him”

“Here is a guy who’s 6’6” and 250lbs and has a reputation as being a super heavy weight and the worse scenario is that we but him back on waivers and see where he goes . . .”

Not one word on any other qualities he has (can he skate, can he hit- I know these are related because it is hard to hit someone whom can skate circles around you, how is his shot). It seems we have a fighter here or in the words of Robin Brownlee “He’s a palooka. A meathead.”

Well how many fighters, agitators, goons, and pest can you have on one team? By my count there is now three in camp (Guillaume Lefebvre, Huggy Bear –aka Stortini, and MacIntyre), as well as three in the AHL (Garet Hunt, Sean McMorrow, and Geoff Paukovich). There cannot be room for all of these players in the Oilers’ system, somethings got to give. Well here is a look at Lefebvre’s, Stortini’s, and MacIntyre’s numbers over their careers as a place to start, but should be noted that MacIntyre plays defense and the other two forward (Lefebvre’s and Huggy Bear’s stats from Hockey-Reference.com, and MacIntyre’s from Hockey Data Base.com):

Lefebvre has better QMJHL numbers:

GP 196, G 62, A 91, PTS 153, PTS/Game 0.78, PIM 343

Then Huggy Bear's OHL:

GP 247, G 55, A 65, PTS 120, PTS/Game 0.49, PIM 746

MacIntyre’s WHL:

GP 123, G 3, A 1, PTS 4, PTS/Game 0.033, PIM 355

And Lefebvre AHL:

GP 290, G 50, A 55, PTS 105, PTS/Game 0.36, PIM 491

Then Stortini's AHL:

GP 117, G 14, A 16, PTS 30, PTS/Game 0.26, PIM 484

And lastly (and I mean lastly) MacIntyre’s:

GP 90, G 3, A 4, PTS 7, PTS/Game 0.078, PIM 420

It seems clear that both Lefebvre and Stortini have far superior numbers and skills then MacIntyre. His junior and AHL career was also shorter then the other two; he spend more time in the press box and the ECHL. Between the two forwards, these numbers show a stronger offensive game for Lefebvre reflected in PTS/Game, while Stortini seems to have more PIM and is more natural inclined to mix it up (if you can say that from stats).

Also, Huggy Bear's NHL stats:

GP95, G4, A9, PTS13, PTS/Game0.14, PIM306

Are close to the same as Lefebvre's:

GP38, G2, A4, PTS6, PTS/Game0.16, PIM 13

Well MacIntyre does not have any NHL games to his name.

Both Huggy Bear and Lefebvre have similar offensive numbers to each other: expressed best between their PTS/Games. But at this level they are only suppose to bring offensive as a secondly (or possible a lot lower then that). The important stats in this conversation are games played and PIMs both which Huggy Bear dominates. Only going by the numbers, I would say that Stortini is a far superior player at the NHL level.

I would add to that, Lefebvre has played in the Quebec Senior league for the last two years, and MacIntyre has spent another 6 seasons in different leagues (which I didn’t include into the analysis: because those leagues are not as good, and I am trying to asses them at the NHL level).

Since these numbers reflect offensive ability rather then what their role is I thought I would do some calculations and add PIM/Game (I ignored number of penalties drawn since I could not find that data for MacIntyre or Lefebvre, but admit it is as important part of their role):

Stortini

OHL: 3.02 PIM/Game

AHL: 4.14 PIM/Game

NHL: 3.22 PIM/Game

Lefebvre:

QMJHL: 1.75 PIM/Game

AHL: 1.69 PIM/Game

NHL: 0.34 PIM/Game

MacIntyre:

WHL: 2.89 PIM/Game

AHL: 4.67 PIM/Game

It seems that both Stortini and MacIntyre fight and take more penalties a game them Lefebvre does. That both of them seem more inclined to be mean and play a rough game, and that it has always been secondary to Lefebvre (which in all likelihood has changed since fighting and being rough is his only way into the NHL). Still, I like Huggy Bear’s consistency on this stat: he doesn’t seem to change his game all that much and it’s a mean son of a bitch.

MacIntyre and Lefebvre seem to be more a thrower, and less of a hugger, when they’re fighting so that helps them- I base this off youtube fights I’ve seen, never in person. But Zach seems to have a more complete game, at every level he has played at.

I think Stortini has demonstrated his role on the Oilers (that of a pest whom can fight, rather then a heavy weight), and that he is a lock to start the season. He will not be replaced by Lefebvre, but it seems that MacT/k-lowe/tambo would like more toughness in the PB and sometimes on the ice: and MacIntyre and Lefebvre are competing for one position that of a truer fighter. I think based on the numbers (and positions they play) Lefebvre has a better chance of making the Oilers, and may be able to play more minutes when he does.

If MacIntyre does make the Oilers: I think he’ll have to be converted to a LW or a RW, since there is not enough room on the backend. Also, he have to out play Lefebvre in the next few pre-season games, and most likely show that he can hit, be mean as a wolverine on crack, and skate a little too. I just don’t think there is room on the Oilers for a player whom can only play 4 minutes a night and has no upside in the long run; the Oilers would do better keeping Lefebvre and running with two light/middle- heavy weights, if they are playing Dallas, Minnesota, Anaheim, Calgary, Philadelphia, or Vancouver.

go to hell, fat man

Last week, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (pictured) accused the IIHF of being completely and utterly seduced by the sexy Russian KHL boss Alexander Medvedev. Citing reports that Rene Fasel, head of the IIHF, was seen running down the streets of Berne chasing after a ruble-throwing Medvedev, it is clear that Daly is accusing Fasel of prostitution.

Of course, that's not really true at all. But Daly did say that "there is a real concern that the IIHF as an organization has been co-opted by Medvedev and the KHL." Why would Daly say this? Because "there is no other explanation for their recent behaviour and for refusing to uphold their principles." Wow, with logic like that, the NHL is gonna win every time.

Except maybe this time.

Unfortunately, Daly is going to bat for arguably one of the weakest franchises in the NHL, the Nashville Predators. While the team has made impressive strides since their inception, making the playoffs four years in a row and finishing 3rd overall in 2006-07, it has struggled at times to sell tickets in a town where hockey simply will never be that popular. Add to that the Del Biaggio debacle where the NHL sold 27% of the team to a dude about to go bankrupt, and the loss of Radulov becomes a little more serious.

But what I really suspect is the issue is that the NHL is fucked and it knows it. Thus all the macho posturing.

Radulov, after leading the Remparts de Quebec to the Memorial Cup in 2006 and scoring 26-32-58 with the Preds last season, signed a three-year deal with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League with one year remaining on his contract to the Predators. Clearly the Predators expected and needed Radulov and his talent if they look to compete this year.

The cause for all this concern, of course, is that no agreement exists between the KHL and the NHL. After several attempts at coming to an agreement, one was apparently reached over this summer which had both leagues respecting each other's contracts. However, two days before reaching this agreement, Radulov signed with Ufa. Therefore, in Medvedev's eyes, the KHL has done nothing wrong. And could we really blame the Russians even if they had? Should the KHL just content itself with being a feeder league and losing its best players after investing in them for years and raising them to be superstars only to see them leave for paltry compensation?

The IIHF did, in fact, suspend Radulov from ''international transfers and competitions.'' The article also mentions five other players who were under investigation: Nikita Filatov, Thomas Mojzis, Jason Krog, Fedor Fedorov and Viktor Tikhonov. These players, you see, were under contract to Russian teams and subsequently signed deals with various NHL teams, including 6th overall pick, Filatov.

Russia has since withdrawn its claims pertaining to these 5 players and is now disputing the signings of Andrei Loktionov, Vyacheslav Voinov and Andrei Mayorov. These players, it is alleged, were under contract to their Russian clubs when they signed NHL contracts and bolted for freedom-country. Loktionov and Voinov were both signed by the Los Angeles Kings despite the moratorium established in July between the NHL and KHL. Now, it is of yet uncertain whether or not Loktionov and Voinov will return to Russia this season. Both are only 18 and are longshots to make the NHL. Although, without a transfer agreement, would Los Angeles risk them going back here? [click this one, it's good]

As for Radulov, the KHL has said it is willing to accept binding arbitration as long as it's in Russia. The NHL has said it is willing to accept binding arbitration as long as it's anywhere other than Russia. Now, obviously both leagues want Radulov. And both leagues have legal arguments. But what is lost here, I believe, is what the player wants. Yes, Radulov did sign a contract to play with the Predators in the NHL. But he doesn't want to play in the NHL. It's not like he's at Detroit's camp demanding a trade. He's just a young hockey player who wants to play in Ufa. Now before, we assume that he's crazy to want to play in god-forsaken Russia, let's remember that Nashville may not be the most appealing place for a 22 year-old Russian. Maybe, just maybe, living in his native country where he can speak his own language, with family close by and a 56 game regular season isn't all that bad. I mean, he did come to North America as an 18 year-old kid. Maybe he's had enough of it for now.

Of course, all of this is lost on NHL GMs and coaches. Why would anyone not want to play in the self-proclaimed 'best league in the world'? Even NHLPA head, Paul Kelly, went so far as to say that Radulov ''very much wants to return and play in the NHL.'' The implication being that its the dirty russian mobsters who run the KHL that aren't allowing him to. Obviously, Kelly is more concerned about doing his job as PA head and making sure his members honour their contracts. But to suggest that Radulov wants to return because the quality of hockey is so very low smacks a little smug.

In response to this, Radulov responded: “I am satisfied with everything in Russia. If someone believes that we have a weak league here, let them come and try to play here. I am not going anywhere in the next three years. And after that, I will look for a team in my native country rather than in America.” (NY Times)

So, while Preds GM David Poile waits for Radulov to mature, it seems that Radulov is going to keep on doing what he wants to do. Why, David, you're absolutely right! How immature of a man to make is own decision!

The Unknown Kid: what you get for a bag of pucks (no not Mathieu Schneider)


This is Ryan Potulny in his nice University of Minnesota uniform: nice colours but I can't believe the U.S.A. makes their collage kids wear full visor (how do they fight, oh wait they don't, wimps).  He was picked up by the Edmonton Oilers this summer in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers, exchange for Danny Syvret.  At the time this trade seemed great to me, we got rid of a player that had seemed to stop developing and we got something for him.  Also, we have a lot of blue liner prospects (all of Chorney, Peckhan, Harabel, Wild, Motin, and Young would all have seen NHL time before Syvret) and don’t need another small, puck moving, chaos defenders (since we have Vishnovsky, Gilbert, and Grebrshkov who all can move the puck better: also see Chorney).

 

Well, what did we get for the bag of pucks named Syvret?  Another failed prospect, or a reclamation project.

 

Ryan Potulny was draft in the third round of 2003 (87th overall).  He went on to play for the Minnesota Golden Gophers (shout out to Jeff:  Did you see him? Was he any good?), and in 2005-06 was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.  In  2006 he signed to play in the big leagues and here are his stats:

 

NHL 2006-2007 35gp, 7g, 5a, 12pts, 22pim, 56 shots19 hits, 12:09 min/game

AHL 2006-2007 30gp, 12g, 14a, 26pts, 34pim

NHL 2007-2008 7gp, 0g, 1a, 1pts, 4pim, 5 shots, 3 hits, 7:22 min/game

AHL 2007-2008 58gp, 21g, 26a, 47pts, 51pim, 201 shots

Overall NHL: 44gp, 7g, 7a, 14 pts, 26pim, 61 shots, 21 hits

*I tried to highlight what I saw as the important numbers*

 

At first it may look that Potulny had taken a step back, but we have to remember that the 2006-2007 Flyers were a worse team then say the 1993-1994 Oilers and were significantly better in 2007-2008.  I think it is reasonable to assume that he did not regress in his second season but rather the players around him got better, and hence his numbers and playing time suffered.

 

So according to the hit and shot stats, I thought the Oilers had traded Syvret for this year’s Glencross.  Last year it cost us Tarnstrom, and this year it only costs us a crappy AHL defenseman.  I thought K-Lowe was a genius: we got a player whom could hit and shoot to play on the fourth line, plus we got Syvret out of the system and could give his minutes to develop a defenseman whom might play for the Oilers one day.

 

Well, I was reading Coming Down the Pipe today and Guy Flaming had some very disappointing things to say about my future fourth liner: basically no-one is talking about Potulny and no-one thinks he’ll play for the Oilers this Oct.  Well, I understand there is a love in for Schremp, and both him and Brule were first round drafts, but this kid has a one-way contract.  Granted Potulny has only played one game this pre-season, so maybe he will get in a couple more and impress: but why not give Polulney a few more chances to impress, and not dress O’Marra and Paukovich since they were not going to make the team anyway.

 

If Potulny is sent down and doesn’t clear waivers then the Oilers will have displayed their worst example of asset management this season:  trade a bag of pucks (that Lowe and Holmgrem seem to think has some value) for a good fourth line player whom can shoot and hit, only to loss him after training camp for nothing = Syvret for nothing.  Well I hope the Oiler Brass has a great idea on how to slip him through waivers or trade him again, because he doesn’t look like he start with the Oilers.

The NHLPA Hires Labour Traitor


On Wednesday September 24, the NHLPA named Buzz Hargrove to its advisory board.  First I thought it was a grown up Canadian kid realizing his dreams of being in the NHL (in a sick twisted way: similar to how an agent is in the NHL).  But after that flight of romanticism got shit kick by my working –class sense of self worth, I had a different perspective.

Buzz’ coup d’atat was signing the controversial deal with Manga: removing the unions right to strike and the company’s lock out privileges, as well as making it a voluntary agreement with the company (just like CLAC) which takes away the workers democratic choice over whether they want this (or any future) agreement.  I thought maybe the NHLPA was setting up for a pre-emptive strike in case the owners decide to open up the CBA.

The NHLPA could use Buzz’s expertise (sic) in negotiating agreements without having to strike or being locked out.  The players would be guaranteed their pay cheques, and not have to look like the bad guys in the next (inevitable) labour dispute.  But what advantage would the NHLPA have in giving up their right to strike: they would be giving the owners the power to set the salary cap to what ever percentage they wanted, and their only response could be going to Russia.  A Magna-like deal for the NHLPA would only allow the owners to whittle away from the base percentage (of the leagues gross income) salary cap:  the players would have no chance to get rid of the cap or radically restructure the CBA next round of bargaining.

Maybe the NHLPA has their sights on something bigger (aka: the players in the KHL).  They could use Buzz to help sign voluntary agreements with the Russia oligarchs and forcing the players in Russia to have an agreement that they had no input or say in.  This could be the way the KHL and the NHL come to agreements with player transfer fees: by putting all the players in the same union and giving the power to the players (through the NHLPA) rather then their respective leagues.

Buzz was always critical of the UAW (United Auto Workers) decision to give into two tiered wage and benefit contract structures.  What does Buzz think about the salary structure of the AHL/ECHL?  If that isn’t a two-tiered structure, I don’t know what is.  These lower leagues have collective bargaining agreements through the PHPA (Professional Hockey Players’ Association) which do not have a salary structure based on the overall income, or profit, of the league but just minimum salaries and Per Diem allowances.  Maybe Buzz could bring out the traditional business union model of raiding:  which he could rationalize by the player movement between leagues which logically means the players in lower leagues are in the sector which the NHLPA has rights over.  In this way Buzz could be the champion of universal equality of workers in the ugly face of two-tiered wage structures (I almost puked all over my work boots as I wrote that).

I could be wrong and all my speculating is for nothing, and Buzz just took the job to get the letters “NHL” on his business cards, and collect another pay cheque.  But you think if he was interested in a fat pay cheque he take on of those lobbying or consulting jobs business created as the carrot for class traitors and turn coats.  Well best luck to the players, since your going to need now that you have Buzz on board.