Things I've Learned Thus Far In The Off-Season

The root of the problem. - Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Is there a fast forward button?

When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Oilerdom and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous off-season.

I'm kidding, of course. The off-season is where lunacy reigns. Fans hit the reset button on their brains and GMs spend money like a Greek politician on holiday in Amsterdam. It cannot end fast enough, especially because of the silly things I've learned thus far:

  • The Kings won because of their size, not their skill - Two seasons ago, it was all about Jonathan Quick - Oilers fans wanted a goaltender and Jordan Nolan. This time, it's purely because they're bigger and the Oilers need Dwight King. Makes sense. Remember when Shawn Thornton was the most valuable player on a Stanley Cup winning team?
  • Sam Gagner is the problem in Edmonton - He's small and soft.  And he's DEFINITELY the real problem in Edmonton, 100% sure of it this time.
  • The Penguins need a "tough guy" in the locker room - Pens fans believe that Dan Bylsma didn't demand toughness from his team and without toughness there was no heart. Installing a dirty player at the helm will drive Sidney Crosby to be a better player, and drive Evgeni Malkin to care.
  • NHL players are most valuable on the wrong side of 30 - See Callahan, Ryan.
  • Scott Howson is just "an advisor" with "input in the process" in Edmonton - This deal was probably going to happen with him around.  And him talking to the Panthers about trading up is because he was the only one not on the phone.
  • Possession is meaningless - Every team bucking the possession trend at games 20 and 30 and even 40 are evidence that possession doesn't matter, and blowhards left and right need to point it out. Outside of a couple of "told you sos" from intrepid bloggers, the inevitable collapse never seems to come up again, so if no one talks about it, it must not exist.
  • Pittsburgh is "right next" to Philadelphia - Well, according to a startling number of Canadians that IM me it is.
  • Signing Andrew Ference was a really good move - Management had to show a commitment to paying veterans and bringing in a "winner" was the way to do it.  Even though the most significant thing he'll ever do in Edmonton is march in a parade, $3.25 million over 4 years for a 34 year-old 3rd-pairing defenseman showed commitment.
  • Brian Burke is a great GM - Burke in Calgary is just the thing to tip the balance of power in the Battle of Alberta southward for a very long time.  Sure, he has no idea how to build a winning team, but the sportswriters he "loathes" are always talking about him, so he must be doing something right.
  • As long as they draft size, the Oilers will do well at the draft - Size is the key.  The team needs to get bigger and they've had tremendous success chasing size in the past.  It doesn't matter who, just get bigger.
  • The next Shea Weber, Jaromir Jagr, Doug Gilmour, Jonathan Toews, Eric Staal, and Dale Hawerchuck are all available in this year's draft - Just read the scouting reports.
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