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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't Let It Hit You On The Way Out



This is one of Edmonton's prodigal sons. His name is Jay Bouwmeester, one of the most highly touted defenseman in his decade, let alone in his draft year.

I've decided to make a post of all the players who have ever avoided playing in Edmonton or wanted "out," either because the city had a bad reputation over things other people said about the city, the team, the hardcore fans, or the media here. Here is the list and feel free to comment if you feel I've forgotten some:

1. Chris Pronger

Pronger-gate was a fiasco that involved everything from illegitimate love affairs to conspiracy theories. More maddening was the fact that Chris Pronger wanted out days after a heated run at the Cup that had brought the city together in one giant circle of community identity.

What did we get out of it: Lupul, Smid, and some 1st rounders
What did we lose: 2 years to developing a new D-core
What that means today: Smid, Plante, Cole, etc., C.P. plays for the "Not-so-mighty" Ducks of Anaheim

2. Jay Bouwmeester

Edmonton's prodigal son has been quoted time and time again as having rejected any plans to play in Edmonton. This past summer some were circulating rumours that he has had a change of heart. I believe that to be more fiction than fact.

I watched him at practice at the U of A in September and he is a beauty of a player: crisp oulet passes, great skating, and always attentive. That being said, he's got great skills and all that, but if he can't handle the pressure of the media and fans in Edmonton (as some have suggested) then it is plausible to suggest he can't handle it in any major market like Montreal, Toronto, New York, Detroit, or Dallas, and will spend the rest of his toiling days in the bowels of the NHL - the Southeast Division (though the rejuvenated Caps would have something to say about that).

I believe that to be untrue. Anybody who wants to play in the NHL will undoubtedly be in the spotlight even if at a limited role. Perhaps it's his way of avoiding Lupul-syndrome or Daigle-disease or a bout of Legein-itis: he was highly touted coming in and perhaps he's still adjusting to a career in the big leagues.

Whatever the case, it would be great to get a quote directly from Jay-Bo about why he doesn't want to play here instead of hearing the same old Eklund-based speculations.

What did we get out of it: Speculation
What did we lose: Nothing
What that means today: The Oilers are 4-0 without Jay-Bo, imagine with him in the lineup!

I have class now, I'll post more tonight.

3. Jaroslav Spacek

With Pronger tee-ing it up for him, Spacek's one-timer was nasty - almost as nasty as Marc-Andre Bergeron's one-timer. He was a great passer, though a bit dangerous in his own end at times.

What did we get out of it: Nothing
What did we lose: Tony Salmelainen
What that means today: Tony plays for the Swiss-A league on Sevette Geneve, Jaro Spacek is one of the mainstays on the Sabres' blueline

4. Mike Peca

He wanted out of Edmonton - and who could blame him? His family (according to word of mouth) wanted to be in the Toronto area and he needed to oblige. This also was another nail in the coffin of the 05-06 team.

Mike Peca recently got suspended for "touching" a referee. Would he consider a return to Edmonton as our 3rd line center?

What did we get out of it: Nothing
What did we lose: Mike York
What that means today: Peca traded in his maple leaf for a bluejacket, Mike York is playing for the Syracruse Crunch of the AHL (CBJ)

5. Mike Comrie

Now here's a touchy subject. Another victim of conspiracy theories, combined with a contract dispute, meant Comrie was torn out of the pages of "hometown hero" and tossed to the wolves. How fair that is now is still a question in my mind. But if the rumours were true about what he did, then I'm all for it. Tommy Salo was my favorite, after all.

What did we get out of it: Jeff Woywitka and some draft picks
What did we lose: team chemistry, that season ended with a crazy 16-game run at the end of the year w/Petr Nedved that almost ended with us sneaking into the playoffs
What that means today: Jeff Woywitka, Rob Schremp, Ryan Potulny

6. Mike Comrie

Now here's a touchy subject. Another victim of conspiracy theories, combined with a contract dispute, meant Comrie was torn out of the pages of "hometown hero" and tossed to the wolves. How fair that is now is still a question in my mind. But if the rumours were true about what he did, then I'm all for it. Tommy Salo was my favorite, after all.

What did we get out of it: Jeff Woywitka and some draft picks
What did we lose: team chemistry, that season ended with a crazy 16-game run at the end of the year w/Petr Nedved that almost ended with us sneaking into the playoffs
What that means today: Jeff Woywitka, Rob Schremp, Ryan Potulny

7. Sergei Samsonov

He was a key addition for the playoff run that culminated in Hemsky's goal against Anaheim on the 2nd last game of the 05-06 season. Samsonov wasn't as equally effective in the playoffs but he was still a key offensive player. The question of intangibles always lingers around Samsonov and has followed him even after he left to play in Montreal, Chicago, etc.

What did we get out of it: Nothing
What did we lose: Marty Reasoner
What that means today: Reasoner signed in ATL, Samsonov was dealt to Carolina where he is restarting his career

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2 Comments:

Blogger Addicted-to-oil said...

I picked J-bow in both my hockey pools - my keeper league and my fantasy pool. I really hope he gets out of Florida soon...
I would love to see him come to Edmonton. I actually crunched the numbers earlier in the summer, and I think it could be done - although I'd have to go back to the numbers and check again.

Also, just a question on the layout - I find the type a bit small. It might be because I'm on a Mac and using firefox - I know my blog looks a lot different on my work computer than my home computer - but just a note. I don't know what others think...

October 21, 2008 at 9:34 PM

 
Blogger Bruce said...

Going back a couple decades, there were a few famous holdouts in the late 1980s.

Paul Coffey: After his contract expired at the end of the 1987 playoffs, wanted a raise from (IIRC) ~$200,000 to $600,000. His timing was lousy, coming off an injury-plagued year after scoring 570 points the previous five seasons and winning two Norris Trophies in the process. In part due to Coffey's injuries, the Oilers used 10 defencemen in 1986-87 who collectively played over 10,000 (!!) NHL games. There was quality sitting in the PB every night. So Sather let Coffey dangle for a few weeks while the potential trading partners upped the ante, then ultimately traded him and Dave Hunter to Pittsburgh, for Craig Simpson, Chris Joseph, Dave Hannan and Moe Mantha. Simpson would go on to score 56 goals that year -- over the course of his dream season Simpson's three centres were Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, and Mark Messier! -- and the Oil would win their fourth Cup. Simpson also was the leading scorer of the 1990 playoffs in which the Oil won their fifth Cup. Coffey meanwhile would become the first ex-Oiler great to win a Cup elsewhere, with the Penguins in 1991.

Andy Moog: Moog tired of being the #1A goalie during the season and then #2 in the playoffs. And not without justification: from 1984 when Fuhr became the playoff starter through 1987, Moog posted a playoff W-L record of 7-0. After he won Games 2 and 3 against the Kings in '87 (posting a horrible .784 Sv% in the process; those Oilers were good!) he never got off the bench again. So he wanted out. In 1987-88 Moog played for Canadian Olympic team in preparation for, and at, the Calgary Olympics; once the Games were over Sather dealt him to the Bruins for Bill Ranford and Geoff Courtnall. Fuhr would go on to play 75 games that season in winning the Vezina Trophy, then post a sparkling 16-2-1 in the post-season that included a four-game sweep over Moog's Bruins in the SCF. Game 1, a 2-1 Oiler victory, was one of the more compelling goaltender duels in Oiler history.
In 1990 the Oilers would again beat Moog's Bruins in the SCF, this time with Ranford emerging as the hero and winning the Smythe.
And in 1997 the Oilers would beat Moog yet a third time, on the strength of Todd Marchant's G7 OT goal in Dallas that marked the beginning of the end for Andy as a top rank goalie.

Jimmy Carson: The centrepiece of the Oilers return for Wayne Gretzky, the trade involved the only two teenage 50-goal scorers in NHL history, as Carson had scored 55 at age 19 in his sophomore season. An average-to-poor skater, Carson nonetheless had a strong 1988-89 season for the Oilers, scoring 49 goals and 100 points primarily in Gretzky's old spot between Kurri and Tikkanen. But the pressure to be "the next one" mounted on the young man, and early in the 1989-90 season he walked out and demanded a trade. Sather held out for a few weeks before unloading Carson on Detroit along with Kevin mcClelland in return for Adam Graves, Joe Murphy, Petr Klima and Jeff sharples. Graves and Murphy played a huge role on the so-called Kid Line (with Marty Gelinas, also acquired in the Gretzky trade) in the Oilers unexpected run to the 1990 Cup. Klima contributed a huge goal that resolved what remains the longest game in SCF history. Despite a couple more 30+ goal seasons Carson never really recovered his early promise, or from his Edmonton experience. After scoring 254 goals by the age of 24, he managed just 21 more as his career petered out. As a result of his third trade, from Detroit back to L.A., Carson does co-hold, with Bob Kudelski, the NHL record for GP in a season with 86.

The common thread was that players Sather acquired in all three holdouts -- Ranford, Simpson, Graves, Murphy, Klima -- all played huge roles in that last Cup triumph.

October 22, 2008 at 1:35 PM

 

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