How to split a fan base…

Wow, its been a while since I had the over whelming urge to write about hockey. I mean,its the middle of summer and all. The biggest urge I get these days is for a cold beer as soon as the big hand goes past 12. However, as an Oiler fan and nerd, I have a routine that consists of coffee and several hockey sites/blogs every morning. The constant bombardment of Sam Gagner pictures and articles is becoming very disturbing, and I figured, what’s one more opinion? It’s not like anyone will read this one anyway…..

Since the free agent slowdown, the hockey world has fallen into the summer slumber, where speculation over everything runs rampant. Olympic rosters, opening night lineups, and everything in between is dissected to the point of absurdity. Really though, what’s with these guys thinking they get any time off at all? Give us something to talk about already!!! Enter RFA Sam Gagner…..

Oiler fans have been growing increasingly uneasy as Gagner gets closer and closer to arbitration. While most people expected him to be signed by now, the fact that his salary demands were leaked and he’s less than 48 hours away from his second one year deal, has the masses in a panic. Half the fans want him gone for anything over 5/season, and the other would give him 5+ for eight years yesterday. Some would point out he’s too small, gets pushed off the puck too easy, is lousy at faceoffs, isn’t great defensively, and gets too many second assists (whatever that means). Others would point out his offensive consistentsy, maturity, his willingness to drop the mitts and ability to play with other skilled players. The messed up thing? Both groups are right. I can never nail down my true feelings about the guy, because he seems to display all those qualities, all the time. He makes a bone headed play that leads to a turnover and a chance against-trade this guy! Too small, too weak, get him outta here! Same game, he dangles two defenders and makes a seeing eye pass onto his teammates stick for a grade A sortie-holy cow! What hands and vision, what is he, 23? Sign this guy long term already! Whatever MacT chooses to do, he’ll piss off 50% of his fanbase. Nice position for a new GM to be in…

If I were GM, I would not go over 5 million. That’s my line in the sand. I don’t think he accepts a penny less, however, and there lies the rub. Gagner knows exactly where he stands. He is a second generation NHLer, and his dad now works in the front office. He has a plan and knows he has the hammer. If MacTavish doesn’t offer him what he wants, he simply goes to the arbitrator and gets a one year deal. He doesn’t care what the money is if that happens. The next year, he walks and finds the highest bidder. Easy peasy. The real work is on MacT’s side of things. He already came out and publicly stated he likes Gagner as a leader and player. He knows what the center depth is, and he just traded Shawn Horcoff, which doesn’t help matters either. A few of the Oilgosphere blame Tambellinni for this mess. If he had just signed Gagner to a long term deallast year they say. A lot of ifs in that scenario. I wouldn’t doubt that Gagner had this planned out for a while. I mean, when a guys stuck at Shawshank, he eventually finds a way to tunnel out, right?

I think Gagner goes to arbitration and gets dealt sometime this year. I think that’s the smart way to go for both sides as well. If Gagner really wanted to play here, he would have signed already. He’s going for the money and that scenario lets him get it. The only shitty deal is he probably has less trade value, but, beats losing him for nothing I suppose. Maybe if we throw in the rights to Omark we get a top 4 dman? Anyone?

-TSN threw out an article with some Olympic line-up possiblilties. I’ll just say that what’s wrong with Team Canada probably starts in the front office and the media does not help things. Not a lot of young names on their list. In fact, it pretty much looks like a carbon copy of 2010’s team, save the goalies. (remember when Steve Mason was talked about for 2010? Good times.) Just to show you how little effort they put into it, they still have Patrice Bergeron as a spare forward. All he’s done since Vancouver is play in two Cup finals and win a Selke. Why is Eric Staal ahead of him again? team Canada has too many options to limit themselves to ‘the same old guys’. Pick the players that are playing the best at the time. If Matt Moulson is potting goals crazy with Tavares, send him over. I don’t care about name bars on the back of the jersey, just wins. I’ll just come out and say right now, that Taylor Hall forces his way onto the team. He will be going supernova this year and will look good in red and white……

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