February 16th, 2005
Patrick Laforge called a press conference that same day, and made it more interesting. Out of the blue, as part of a prepared statement, he declared that the Oilers had made a profit of about $6 million in 03/04, that year of the missed playoffs and the low Canadian dollar. It stunned me when I heard him say it.
This caused a stir on message boards and amongst sports talk radio callers. Here is the best thread on the subject that I could find. The information in this thread is passed on by Lowetide's friend Louise, known as Ice Dragoon on this message board, a few posts down from the top. She is a cool lady and was a staunch EIG supporter, but facts be facts.
Note how a young mudcrutch7* is quick to reply, starting with an expletive. :D There was some pretty good hockey talk on that Oiler board during the lost season.
Now the really strange thing is that nobody in the Edmonton print media even acknowledged this, at least not that I remember then or can find now. It would be cool if somebody could dig something up in print. If Grabia had been blogging about the Oilers then it would have given cause for thousands upon thousands of words of verbage, much of it profane.
Now Oiler fans with good memories probably also recall that Oiler players were some of the most outspoken NHLPA members anywhere. By my memory the NHLPA had been provided with the UROs of six teams (the Oilers were one of them, Chicago another ... hopefully someone can fill in the blanks on the rest). Anyhow, I remember Ethan Moreau going on The Team and really crossing the line in revealing details of the Chicago URO. And quite possibly wrongly on Ethan's part as well. Staios, Georges and Brewer all chipped in their thoughts on the lockout at times that winter, maybe other Oilers as well.
What follows is a good little snippet from a Tychkowski article from the February 17th, 2005 edition of the Edmonton Sun. The day after.
- Q: THE EDMONTON MARKET IS ONE WHERE A RESPONSIBLE BUDGET AND REALISTIC PAYROLL WORKS - THE TEAM IS DECENT, EVERYBODY'S MAKING GOOD MONEY. SO WHY HAVE THE OILERS BEEN SOME OF THE MOST OUTSPOKEN PLAYERS AGAINST A CAP?
LOWE: My personal view is that they haven't been given all the information.
LaFORGE: Kevin said it best. I hope that they're informed enough to make these kinds of decisions ... but I'm not so sure. I think there's an opportunity for information upgrade."Things that make you go hmmm.
And as an aside, I was checking on articles from February 16th, 2005 and I came across this archived CBC story, Lowe and Laforge must have been knocking out interviews like movie stars on a film promo junket at the Marriott:
"The Oilers say they're spending more than 75 cents on every dollar earned on player costs."
And of course, everyone's favourite Cal Nichols quote from the Toronto Sun in October 2003 originally, and then bizarrely slapped onto the NHL's own website during the lockout:
"Our gross revenues have exceeded $80 million. Now, if we cannot run a hockey team of 23 players, there's something drastically wrong here."
Yes Cal, something is drastically wrong here, Yes indeed.
So, let me do the arithmetic here: .75 x $80 million = $60 million. $60 million spent on players in 03/04. Ah, those were the halcyon days, Oiler fans.