Skip to main content


Got any good books to recommend?

Greatest Hits from Working the Net:

Harlow Salon - one of the very best hair salons in Nashville TN.

Three Cheers for Kevin Lowe!

Edmonton Oiler fans haven't had much to celebrate this July, having missed out on the major unrestricted free agents (especially that painful Michael Nylander episode), and it would appear that GM Kevin Lowe's ship is foundering. What's painful for Edmonton might turn into something exciting for fans around the league, however.

The SS Lowe

Perhaps partially in response to his dire situation, Lowe pitched a resounding 7-year, $50 million offer sheet to Buffalo Sabres restricted free agent Tomas Vanek, who was then retained by Buffalo which had the option of matching the contract. While Sabres GM Darcy Regier predictably whined about Lowe's offer, calling it "an exercise in futility," the fact is that it achieved two legitimate goals on Lowe's part.

First, he had the chance to land a promising young winger in case the Sabres were bluffing and not prepared to dole out that $50 million. Secondly, he's forced Buffalo to pay more than they would have otherwise to Vanek, giving them less room under the cap for the next several years. That is sound, competitive management practice in a salary cap era. Game-changing players are a scarce commodity, and now that teams have a limited amount of money to throw around, these RFA offer sheets become much more critical to the long-term formation of a team than they had been previously.

Last year, then-Flyers GM Bobby Clarke was widely criticized for making an over-sized offer to Vancouver RFA Ryan Kesler, but in reality that criticism is just the echo of a bygone era when owners and management colluded to keep players in the dark about their overall situation. In today's world, both supply and demand are constrained, and the economically savvy GM can use that to his advantage. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more offer sheets getting signed in the next few weeks, particularly between divisional rivals. Soaking up a little cap room in Buffalo isn't as nice for Edmonton as if they had forced Calgary or Vancouver to overpay in a similar fashion.

We've come a long ways from 1991, when the Brendan Shanahan signing by St. Louis cost them Scott Stevens in return, which pretty much killed off the restricted free agent offer sheet as a mechanism for player movement from team to team. GM's were terrified of the potential cost, and while draft picks are still used as compensation when one team swipes another's RFA away via an offer sheet, the win-it-now mentality prevalent in so many markets makes that an easier pill to swallow for a GM on the hot seat.

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Hooray for PythagenPuck

Back in November, around the quarter-mark of the NHL regular season, I wrote a piece looking at Expected Winning Percentages for each team, based on their Goals For/Goals Against ratio, using the PythagenPuck method as outlined in Alan Ryder's "Win Probabilities" article over at Hockey Analytics. Since we're approaching the end of the campaign, I thought it worth revisiting the two assertions I made back in November - that the Ottawa Senators were capable of getting back into the playoff race, and that the Boston Bruins were in danger of a freefall to the bottom of the standings.

Just to review, the basic idea behind win probability models like PythagenPuck is that over the course of a season, the Goals For and Goals Against numbers can be used to derive a team's winning percentage, within a a surprisingly narrow margin of error. For instance, if you only had GF/GA information, you could make a very good stab at projecting what the standings would look like. The w…

Where are my tickets, Mr. Holland?

While working on a piece about the 10th anniversary of the great Colorado/Detroit game at Joe Louis Arena, I caught myself reflecting on some of the great games I've had the fortune of seeing in Detroit during the 1990's, through a variety of means. Then another thing came to mind - when I'm in attendance, the Red Wings win. I'm on a huge personal winning streak here, so perhaps the Red Wings front office would want to bolster their chances during the upcoming playoffs and make sure I'm in the house for those critical games? I can make myself available...

June 4, 1995: Detroit takes Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals from Chicago, 3-2 (although the Hawks put one of the goalpost as the final horn sounds). Wow, has it been that long since the Blackhawks achieved anything? Ticket courtesy of a college buddy who had a spare.

October 13, 1995: The Wings pummel the Edmonton Oilers in their home opener, 9-0. After the painful Finals sweep against New Jersey the…