I have very little understanding what the Oilers are doing.

1) What is going on with the 'systems' play?

I was under the impression that the Tambo v.3 got rid of Quinn and brought in Renney since he thought Renney would try and play players positionally and with some sense of contemporary strategy. Then I started watching the Oilers play, and I have to say that I do not understand the point of the new system of positional play. It is not working either, so that makes it even harder to watch. I am starting to think that Renney is trying out a system of his that only existed theoretically in his mind because there was not sense in trying to rewrite 20 veteran’s mindsets and instincts. No really I think this, Renney (might be crazy, but he) is trying to re-invent the game and be far ahead of the curve. I have a lot of weird beliefs.

So why did Renney hire Ralph Krueger as Associate Coach? What is an Associate Coach anyway, what difference between that and an Assistant Coach? Aren’t coaches from central European countries supposed to be good at the Trap and other elements of excellent positioning and counter-attack strategies? No really, please remember the kind of game he coached as the Swiss National team Head Coach: they weren’t pretty and did upset better teams on occasion. Where is his expected tight positioning play, and thinking man’s game plan? I am at a loss. What does Krueger bring to the Oilers’ bench other then a respectable pair of eyes in the press box and some with experience running practices (I mean that is how under qualified Smith and the meathead are as coaches)?

2) Isn’t winning suppose to be the point of the game?

Well I have come to a very different conclusion about hockey then the brain thrust of the Edmonton Oilers: I thought the point of hockey was supposed to be better then all the other teams. I know that is not normally possible for a team like the Oilers, but trying to be better then some of the other teams should at least look possible. I read somewhere on the Blogosphere, that Kevin Lowe knows defenseman (and he does, lets all admit that he has one talent as a GM) and our line of rearguards is designed for failure.

This ‘rebuilding’ of the Oilers looks very much like tanking the season. I mean the Oilers have tanked the last four seasons but they where at least trying to win (for all their mistakes and terrible ideas). Now, it looks like the Brass is selling losing as watching the kids. I would rather the kids be surround by veterans, learning their position, and getting some playoff experience—not 10+ games a year, but at least make the first round matter—for the next couple years. It makes watching the Oilers more exciting (since they ain’t going to beat Chicago 7-4 often) if the Oilers have a decent chance of winning the game I am watching. If the Oilers would have gone out and got veterans in the off-season, then they might not look like a team that was attempting to tank out the season, hence shitty to watch.

So I am lost on what to do this season . . . I mean my Aggressive and Lazy Penalty Project doesn’t bring much value (and it is boring to do, and only useful at the end of the season once there is enough data) . . . The Oilers aren’t trying to win . . . What is the point of being an Oilers fan this season? I know I should just love watching the kids grow up, and that it is a ‘special’ time. Lowetide is doing his best to convince me of this, but even he has just started talking about the prospects for game-day posts. It is generally accepted that the Oilers are looking to get a Lottery Pick this year and then start trying to complete the next, and by 2012-12 to be in a position to start really completing in the second season. What am I going to do about this? Nothing, what can I do? I am going to just accept this, and I am going to start writing a series on Actualities. Each time, I hope to include a little dialectical theory, something topical about the Oil, and a ‘Chance’ or possible idea how the Oilers could do this ‘rebuild’ better.

3) Possibilities vs. Actualities

Hegel has this idea about the relationship between possibility and actuality, in which there is not a 1 to 1 (or A=A) relationship of causality. Just how Hegel sees the mind as the unity of form and content, there is an analogous unity of possibility and actuality. “By the possible in general we understand what is still inward, what has not come to expression, to revelation . . . Actuality, which consists just in mind’s revelation, therefore belongs to the concept” (Philosophy of Mind, 2007. §383). Possibility is being that has an object in-itself, as conscious of only of itself and not in contact with others. It is a form of thought, because a thought could take many possible forms. Actuality is being that has an object both in and for itself, that it is self-conscious of itself in relation to others. In thought it is the form linked to the concept; that the thought is possible is many forms, but it takes place, as a complete process with content, only in one modality (or form) of thought. But why can actuality only be the one (or ‘true’) form of possibility? Because “What is reasonable is actual and What is actual is reasonable.” (Hegel’s Logic: Being Part One of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. §6). Most people will recognize it as the saying “What is rational is real and What is real is rational.” This needless to say is an incorrect translation, which is hilarious on multiple levels (i.e. read the ‘real’ in that sentence with Lacan ‘Real’ for a good laugh). But back to the actual (pun intended) quotation: That what exists in reality (for Hegel what is actual) is always a part of the logic between possibility and actuality. The logic, what is reasonably possible, will always become part of reality, it is actual, because the fact something is in reality, which we experience it as actual then it must be from logic of it being possibly reasonable. There is a tautological line of reasoning here when explained as poorly as I did.

This can simply explained by using the metaphor of an acorn and an oak. The acorn is the possibility, as it contains the possibility of the oak tree in the concept (the mixture between form and content) of the acorn. That the acorn can only become an oak tree, and not a fern, scrub, or flower is the idea that there is only one possibility in each actuality. The fact that the oak tree might never grow, depending on whether the acorn gets eaten, lands on concrete, or in a farmers field, is part of the potentiality. So while there is many potentiality of the oak tree in the acorn, if it becomes part of reality then it must express its actuality.

What does this have to do with the Oilers? If the Oilers are going to be an actual Stanley Cup Champion tem, then there are many possibilities that could get them to that reality. An since the Oilers are not attempting to win, but are pursuing some strange strategy to win in the future, we need to be talking about what possibilities could actually lead to that goal. I am going to talk a little bit over some crazy possibilities, over the next couple months, which could possible lead to the Oilers achieving this prolonged goal of theirs. It is important to remember that only one of these possibilities could lead to the actuality of being future Champions, but even the right possibility is still not assured. I am going to call a single one of these situations ‘chance’, in reference to the idea that each transforming possibility is tenuous at best.

Chance One: Trading Hemsky for the Future!

I know that people are always bringing this up: Hemsky is just not an elite/1st line player/etc, he doesn’t really like it here and his contract is up in two years, he is the wrong age group for the core, more repetitive rebuild mantra, and the list goes on. I’ll be the first to say this is not my opinion: I think that Hemsky is one of the most important parts of the ‘rebuild’ (outside of the Holy Trinity), that he is an elite first line player, that he is one of the most electric right-wingers in the league, and is the one out of Penner and himself that Hemsky needs to resigned.

So why am I bringing up his name as trade bait in this chance? Because he is our best player (right now) and has the potential to bring back the biggest return on the trade market; also because he is only player (outside the Holy Trinity) that cold bring back the return that this possibility is about. Also Hemsky has two years left on a very reasonable contract, and I think this makes his value more then it would be at the trade line of next season. Since the Oilers are not looking to win this year or realistically next year, it is obviously the goal should be assembling a package of youngsters and draft picks. Since young players need to develop before they become actual NHL players, draft picks are not going to be as helpful to a rebuild (which wants to start peaking in about two years) as much as young talented partially developed players (players that are 21 to 24 and would be entering there prime in two years). This idea being thought out loud dictates that a central component of a Hemsky trade must be a very talented youngest or two.

Since all draft picks—outside lottery picks—will most likely take three to four years, minimum, to develop into players: what would be the point of thee Oilers wanting a bunch of draft picks that might pan out in 2015 far before they would want to peak? Well, one side of my brain, says that the Oilers will need a stable of decent prospects to either trade for the missing parts at the deadline, or make up for the picks that will have to be traded then. The other side of my brain says, “get as many picks as possible and developing from within is always a good thing. But that last third past of my brain has another suggestion: What if we had extra draft picks in those supposed peak years? Wouldn’t that solve a lot of problems? I mean instead of trading Hemsky for draft picks next spring and maybe the following, why not demand the trade package for Hemsky has multiple lower round picks in multiple years.

For example Hemsky is trade for X (young developing player, necessity) + Y (a nice AHL prospect) + A first 2011 Round Draft pick + A first round draft pick in the following season. Or,

To Team Random:


To Edmonton

Player X, Prospect Y, 2011’s and 2012’s first round selections in the draft.

This is not an unreasonable deal, I think: it has some basis in what we have seen for a superstar on an under-valued contract (it is light on the NHL players, to be dealt with later, but heavy on the high draft picks). Instead of focusing on just the high position of the draft pick, that will most likely not end up playing in the years you want to complete as a team (a 2011 draft pick would not be ready till earliest 2014 and a 2012 till 2015); attempt to stock pile picks in later years . . . I mean trade instead of demanding the 2011 first round pick attempt to get the 2013 First round pick, or instead of focusing on the 2012 first round pick attempt to get the 2012 second round pick, the 2014 second round pick, 2011 fifth round pick, and 2013 fourth round pick. So instead of trading Hemsky for X, Y, the 2011 & 2012 first round selections, we would get X, Y, 2011’s fifth round pick, 2012’s second round pick, as well as 2013’s first round and forth round picks, and then 2014’s second round pick. That is five picks instead of two and they are spread out over four years (or the period in which we are leaving the rebuild and starting to actually complete).

We also have talked about the salary cap and how this trade leaves a serious problem of not have enough NHL players. This is fine because a trade such that I am promoting for Chance 1 works fantastic as a salary dump for the team getting Hemsky. I mean the Oilers are sitting over 13 million dollars under the cap and are in a prefect position to absorb extra salary. So we could take on more salary back if the other team is going to throw in a few more draft picks. But it is super important that we do not take on salary past 2012-13, as we have to renegotiate the Holy Trinities’ contracts that year. So here is another suggestion, Salary dump of 4 million dollars for two season (exactly to fit Hemsky’s salary, and the team still gets to rid themselves of player X’s salary against the cap) for another 3rd round pick in 2011, 5th round pick in 2012, and a 4th round pick in 2014. I’d say that is pretty cheap

To Team Random:

Hemsky, roster player (in the AHL, to make the roster spots fit)

To Edmonton:

Player X, Prospect Y, Salary Dump Z (say four million over two seasons) for 2011’s third and fifth round picks, 2012’s second and fifth round pick, as well as 2013’s first round and forth round picks, and then 2014’s second and fourth round picks.

Well isn’t that crazy! When you write it all up like that, it stops being possibly hence if it is not logical then it could not be actual, right? That first trade you suggested is possible, but the one you end up with is crazy, I mean which GM would trade that much of the ‘future’ for two years of a semi-superstar in the prime? Well, those which want to win now. But the difference between the logical first trade and the second is only the draft picks. So if we change the situation that it occurs in could you make that draft pick? I mean if you are a GM and they say I’ll trade you my first round selections in the next two years and our million in contracts for eight of your draft picks over the next four years: would you think about it? (If not sign it right then and there, once you realized it is that only four of them are in the first three rounds and four of them are in the latter rounds.) The trade is not illogical but just improbable: that I think it is a trade out of Left field not one that has been made but one that could be made. If the Devil’s had not lost two more draft picks in the Kovalchuk debauchery, I would have thought they would be a team open to this type of Trade. It is a trade that works for either a team close to the cap, or a team sitting behind a self-imposed salary structure. It is also a strategy for the team picking up Hemsky to not lose two first rounder’s right away but slowly stretch the loss over multiple years (where the Rival GM is not so concerned about since he has to win now) and mitigated by lower picks overall.

Chance 1 would greatly improve the Oilers both now and in the future, according to the plan that the Oilers can be an actual champion not in the next two years but in the two after that. It removed the best player and offensive motor of the Oilers in Hemsky, and has a small blood letting in the minors (for a player to make the roster spots work). This would have a major impact on the Oilers’ level of competitiveness over the next two years, but these are not the years we want to win. The holy trinity should be coming into their own in their third year (plus we have Gagner, Penner, Horcoff, Omark, and that is about it, to help them in the coming two). We can add a good young NHL player in a position of weakness—defense or goal—and still put another prospect in the stable—which might be ready in three or four years. It provides draft picks for the future not for the right now approach that the Oilers Brass is supposed to be avoiding. I mean having an extra first round pick to dangle on the trade deadline of the year the Oilers should possibly be ready (and the last year of the Holy Trinity’s entry level contracts) cannot be a bad thing. Since it appears that Tambo v.3 is playing GM for the future, lets be daring and really go after the future.

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