Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jim Matheson: Oilers Minister Of Disinformation

Recently I've promised myself that I'll get all the real Oilers news and insights from blogs or people who write for other papers and aren't worried that Kevin Lowe might not like them. But here lately Jim Matheson has been really getting under my skin and I don't mind that I'm more agitated than usual these past few days with Chris Pronger being back in town and pretending that he's Christ.

This isn't exactly the slowest of news days when it comes to the Oil;) and I'm sure I could've saved this for a day when things were quiet but my Matheson hatred has been building for awhile now and today my cup finally ranneth over.

I'd been sitting on a link of his for awhile now and I was going to post it with a title of "If you ever scored a point in the NHL then the Oilers wanted to draft you". It's basically the 114th of a long running series of where Matheson pines away for other team's draft picks and blurbs on them while assuring us that dadgummit the Oilers really wanted to take them!!! I've been laughing and grinding my teeth about this for years. Basically here's the way it goes: heading into draft day Matty will let it "slip" that the Oilers are looking to move up in the draft if anyone will deal with them. And then when they don't he'll drop in later on with the details of how the Oilers wanted this guy or that guy but it just didn't work out for them. Of course the killer is that the Oilers have always targeted guys who go on to be productive players so somehow the Oilers always want a Joni Pitkanen but never a Hugh Jessiman. It's really funny how that works isn't it? So heading into the Oilers game in Montreal I opined that Matheson would say the Oilers wanted the Habs super sophmore instead of their real pick Jesse Niinimakki and dammit the old Journal schill didn't disappoint me.

Here's a piece of the piece he would go on to write:

Oilers draft wish-list leader in '02 sidelined with sprained ankle
Jim Matheson, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2006
EDMONTON -- The Canadiens' most consistent player, Chris Higgins, who fell into the boards when hit by New Jersey defenceman Colin White Saturday, left the Bell

Center on crutches Monday with a badly sprained left ankle.

Higgins -- who was one of three players the Oilers targeted as their first-round pick in 2002 (Montreal got him at 14th, one ahead of the Oilers, who took a chance on Jesse Niinimaki, who bombed) -- plays on Saku Koivu's left side. He has 24 goals in his last 39 games and 35 points, and he's tied for the NHL lead in short-handed goals with three.

The Oilers badly wanted Finnish defenceman Joni Pitkanen that year and apparently were prepared to Mike Grier and their first-round pick to Tampa, but the Flyers got the pick, trading Ruslan Fedotenko and two second-round picks. The Oilers also were after Joffrey Lupul, but he went seventh to Anaheim.

There's something else I should dig up too and I'm sure it's still available and it's a blurb from Matheson's question and awnser period where he talks about how the Oilers didn't take Parise in MAP's draft year because they were pretty small at centre at the time. He then tries to cover it up by saying that a couple of years later the Oilers might've corrected their mistake by going small in selecting Cogliano.

So that brings me to the latest evidence of Matheson typing while Kevin Lowe's hand's up his ass:


I really don't have a problem with Smid besides the fact that A: he shouldn't be anywhere near being the focal point in a trade for Pronger and B: he shouldn't be playing 20 min a night for any team that claims they want a division title. Does Smid look good on occasion? Yes. Is he playing tougher minutes than guys like Greene and Bergeron? Yes. But is he a guy that's deserving of such effusive praise by a seemingly battle tested HOF..haha..journalist like Matheson? No he's certainly not.

Smid shouldn't be playing more than 12 mintues a night and he should never be on the PP and he should never kill penalties unless enough of his D brethern are either hurt or penalized to faciliate such a move. You look at how tonight's opponents from Ana treat their 5th and 6th D, ie Dipenta and O'Brien, and that's what the Oilers should be doing with Smid.

Funny I should mention Ana though because with Pronger in town now's the perfect time to write a fluff piece stroking one of the kids who came back in the very trade that has the town alight. The Oilers may be doing well in Chris's absence but it has little to do with the "bounty" Lowe received in return for the big man.

But I guess Lowe thought today was a good time for Matheson to extoll the virtues of guys who came the other way in the latest lopsided trade in the Oilers history and like a good schill Matheson did what he was told.

Matheson though should know better and maybe he does but as long as he keeps ignoring reality and instead toeing the party line of the local team then Mike Comrie's refrain of City Of Champions Communism seems far from being far fetched.


Blogger SweatyO said...

Interesting you cited the Pitkanen "desires" Dennis....that is the one "we wanted this guy" that I actually believed, based on Janne Niinimaa's hyping up of the guy to Lowe prior to the draft that year.

We also do know that the Oilers were trying to dance and move a forward (supposedly Comrie) to grab the 8th overall pick in 2003 from Atlanta, but that never materialized. Now, I don't recall hearing who the Oil would have drafted with that pick, I would be more than willing to call bullshit if Matheson ever said anything to the extent that the Oilers were looking to draft Phaneuf - I think they would have fucked up (like Atlanta did, at least in hindsight) and taken Coburn over "The Dion".

They wanted Gaborik in 2001? Bullshit. Higgins in 2002? Now, I'm not sure about this, but for some reason I believe that Montreal and Edmonton swapped 1st rounders in 2002 on draft day (the Oilers originally had the 14th pick), so if the Oilers TRULY wanted Higgins, they could have had him.

11/28/2006 5:10 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

Unless I'm mistaken (and I'm not), the Oilers actually traded that pick to Montreal (the Higgins pick) for the next pick (Niinimaki) and a later choice.

Found it: Edmonton trades the 14th overall pick (Habs choose Higgins) to Montreal for the 15th overall pick (Niinimaki) and an 8th round pick (245-Tomas Micka).

11/28/2006 8:06 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Wow...that's ultra sloppy...even for Jim Matheson that's sloppy.

Yeah you old schill...if the Oilers liked Higgins that much why would they drop down?

11/28/2006 8:21 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Yeah you old schill...if the Oilers liked Higgins that much why would they drop down?

They were setting up for a play on Jaroslav Balastik and needed that 8th rounder. Columbus just snuck in in front of them.

11/28/2006 9:25 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Nice work Ty:)

Not totally surprised that SOM, Senile Old Matheson, forgot something like that but it certainly adds to his "legend"

11/29/2006 10:10 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Good stuff Dennis. Of course the Journal is one of the EIG investors (keep your eyes peeled for pro-NewPubiclyFundedStadium articles on a newstand near you soon!).

It's the "He's a hall of famer!" cries that kill me. Back during the Comrie saga when Matheson was dutifully filing stories that we now know were a complete load of shit ... that's all you heard from the apologists. Damn, I know Jim gets to stay home drinking instead of looking for real stories, so there is an upside ... still, it must be taking it's toll on him personally, or so I would guess.

BTW: Al Strachan was voted to the same annex of the hall of fame several years previous to Matheson. And the voters were other media members, NOT the HHOF committee (I'll leave LoweTide to roast that bunch ;) ).

11/30/2006 4:01 pm  

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