Wednesday, March 14, 2007

February 16th, 2005

NHL history buffs will remember this as the day that Gary Bettman cancelled the 04/05 season.

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.

11 Comments:

Blogger Kyle said...

It's really a shame that Edmonton doesn't have any paper that will print this kind of stuff.

3/14/2007 1:01 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Yeah that was an awesome HF thread. Here's another link of interest:

http://www.camagazine.com/index.cfm/ci_id/5896/la_id/1.htm

3/14/2007 1:34 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Vic.. Canadian dollar?

Just the first thought that came to mind. $80,000,000 of profit in CDN in 03-04 would've been $52,000,000 with a $0.65 (?) dollar.

$52,000,000 * .75 = $39,000,000.

Just saying..

3/14/2007 2:18 pm  
Blogger godot10 said...

Are they talking about operating cash flow?
Are they talking about EBITDA?
Or are they talking actual earnings with everything included?

In the last year before the strike, the Oilers had a abnormally low payroll (which was why they could go out and sign Pronger and take-on Peca's contract) coming out of the strike/lockout.

I must be pretty much the only person that believes Lowe will spend when he has something worthwhile to spend it on. It is better to be conservative going into the cap system than to get oneself into cap trouble. I think Lowe is ahead of the game.

Pronger f^%$#d up the short term. We should get over it.

The EIG is going to have to fork over at least $50 million for the new arena. As a group, they aren't that wealthy (compared to the oilmen who own the Flames) and that $50 million will be a challenge.

3/14/2007 2:24 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

PDO said...
Vic.. Canadian dollar?

Just the first thought that came to mind. $80,000,000 of profit in CDN in 03-04 would've been $52,000,000 with a $0.65 (?) dollar.

$52,000,000 * .75 = $39,000,000.

Just saying..


Well, I've got the Canadian dollar around US$0.72-0.76 for most of the 03/04 season. So that's US$59.2MM gross revenue (not profit) and the payroll was $33.4MM.

$33.4MM/$59.2MM = 56%

So yeah he was off by about 20%.

3/14/2007 7:40 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Just a wild guess... This is probably a CDN$100MM revenue business now correct?

They make US$44MM in gate revenue alone now.

3/14/2007 7:42 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Are they talking about operating cash flow?
Are they talking about EBITDA?
Or are they talking actual earnings with everything included?


You've got to be kidding. Tell me you're kidding, godot. Sweet Mother of Christ.

3/14/2007 8:09 pm  
Blogger Doogie said...

Sigh...one more reason to hate the EIG, I guess. Oh, well.

In other news, I'm using IOF metrics in a vain effort to talk some sense into some forum tards (Sportsnet), but I need to check something: is Selanne really at 7.31 PPP/H? That seems awfully high, even for playing with the modern equivalent of Robinson and Lapointe on the PP.

3/14/2007 8:13 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Well, I've got the Canadian dollar around US$0.72-0.76 for most of the 03/04 season. So that's US$59.2MM gross revenue (not profit) and the payroll was $33.4MM.

$33.4MM/$59.2MM = 56%

So yeah he was off by about 20%.


I'm aware it's revenue... brain fart.

Either way though, at least it's not quite as bad as it looked originally.

At this point I don't need more reasons to hate EIG.

3/14/2007 8:16 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

doogie:

Selanne has been knocking it out of the park for a couple of years. I remember him shivering past Staios on the sidewall and just busting in behind the net, this in last yuear's playoffs ... the guy is quick like he hasn't been in ages, Staios is a very hard guy to beat wide.

Granted the whole game plan seems to be built around Teemu. And a wise man doesn't bet on those kind of PP numbers repeating.

But fuck it, I like Selanne. I still remember how he was the one guy who stood up and said it sucked that the Jets were being moved (that earned his trade BTW, AFAIK he never played in the new town, Phoenix).

Still, when the Oilers were in danger of being moved way back when, not one of them had the balls or motivation to say a thing. I remember Mike Grier really pussying out on a question ... the rest were probably worse, but there are some people you hold to higher standards, so he's the one I remember. Disappointing.

3/14/2007 10:38 pm  
Blogger Doogie said...

I always wondered why the Jets traded Selanne. Never made sense to me. Good to see he's got his groove back, because that year in Colorado hurt me and I hate the Avs.

Yeah, I think my argument was successful, because no one actually called me out on any of it. Basically, someone said that Selanne was an elite free agent, and Smyth was not. Enter difficulty of opposition and PIM +/- from Desjardins, ESP/H and shift chart analysis from here (I can't believe I forgot SH numbers -- oh well). It just struck me that even with the Ducks' PP being stacked and the Oilers' PP being awful, that a 3.05 PPP/H difference between Selanne and Smyth was a hell of a lot. Guess it makes sense, though.

3/15/2007 3:37 pm  

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