Albert Und Ernst (And Other Great Duos Through Time)

Unknown facts that may only interest me but may or not be true are that in the early thirties, Berlin saw a play called Albert Und Ernst had a short run at Deutsches Nationaltheater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin. Hans Schultz, a young man, wrote the story about Albert and Ernst, two young men who fall in love during difficult times. The Nazi takeover meant that the play was only short-lived. Hitler and his thugs would not have liked it. Schultz would serve as a sergeant in Wehrmacht’s POW camp. However, he was unable to survive the war and was exiled from history in 1945.

While little is known about Hans Schultz, his work survives to this day, as the popular Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie were based on the original Albert and Ernst …

Dynamic duos man … we love them. Robin and Batman. Jordan and Pippen. McCartney, Lennon. Simon and Garfunkel. Phineas and Ferb. The list goes on. There is nothing more exciting than watching a hockey team with not one but two superstars who can lead the show. All the generational talents had a sidekick. Sometimes, they were almost equal in stature. Lindsay and Howe. Orr and Esposito. Gretzky and Messier. Lemieux and Jagr. Crosby and Malkin. Backstrom and Ovechkin.

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McDavid, Draisaitl are also included.

Oilers have the best player in the world and a guy who is, what?, top five. They also have a contract for three more seasons, which means one thing. The time is now to win.

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I’m of the opinion that the Oilers have blown it in a lot of ways in the McDavid era. Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews had won the Cup by now. Patrick Kane also won the Cup. In a salary cap league you only have so many chances to win with your stars, this is not the old days when a star player basically didn’t go anywhere (I remember looking at an early 70s Chicago roster and being amazed at how the vast majority of players on the club either played their entire career or all but one season with the Hawks) and the Oilers management teams either completely botched it (Chiarelli) or dithered (Holland). We are now here, with Leon being UFA for three seasons and Connor having four. And we have nothing to prove it.

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(Of course Connor and Leon could end up like Ovie and Backstrom and ride it out together to the end … dare to dream).

Water under the bridge. Spilled milk and all. Here we are. It has been three years. What does this mean? It is essential that EVERYTHING be about winning in this window.

Picks, why do we need them? While we all want the Oilers as the Red Wings and actual contenders for three decades, for three years the Oilers need those picks to be supplementing their lineup and, where necessary, to move weight. Fortunately, there is very little of that available or to create sufficient cap space.

Prospects who can play on the other hand … the first thing that happens when a team gets good is that guys get paid and right now the Oilers are a year or two away from a lot of guys starting to get paid. They can be bridged, sure, but eventually you will have to pay the kids. This means you will need other kids who are cheaper and who can help. This is why Broberg, Holloway, and others are so important.

The Oilers need to get more efficient, which means more Kulaks and fewer Kassian’s. They need to be more efficient with their money and focus on guys who provide great value, rather than overpaying the bottom-ofthe-lineup guys that are easily replaced or redundant. (Actually, this one the Oilers could follow forever … we had over a decade of overpaying poor players and letting good value walk for nothing. Do not forget the NHL Guide and Record Book. Spend money on staff that can give you a different perspective.

And finally, a wise guy, er, man, once said ‘get good players, keep good players. OK, that was me. It’s not a mind-blowing theory, but it is a good idea for a team that has made paperclips out of houses for years. I find it mind-blowing that Jesse is being talked about as a cap compliant player by being thrown in for Foegele or Barrie.

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Yes, I did and don’t get me wrong, Foegele is a decent player who had a bad year and Barrie can bring offence but of the three who is the guy who is going to be the biggest contributor over the next three years? Jesse’s year was wrecked by COVID and injury and he still scored more than Foegele, in fewer games, for less money, while making every line he played on better and playing defensive hockey better than most players in the league. He is a top-six forward and even if you don’t believe that, he is a great third liner. He can also slide up the lineup when necessary.

(By and by, he’s a top-six forward. To quote my pal Sid:

With Puljujarvi on ice, the McDavid line out-scored opponents 35 – 14, while the Draisaitl line out-scored opponents 24 – 15. Without Puljujarvi, McDavid’s line out-scored opponents at an inferior ratio of 39 – 35, while Draisaitl’s line was at 43 – 42. To clarify, these aren’t any complex or advanced metrics; they’re plain, traditional goals for and against.

The top-six performs best with him at 1RW / 2RW, and Edmonton doesn’t possess six superior producers at 5v5. Not to mention, Edmonton’s top-six isn’t anything spectacular defensively, and a player like Puljujarvi will help in that regard.)

Personally, I would keep Foegele if I can, at least until Holloway shows that he can play in the league, which should be around Thanksgiving 😉 but still, all joking aside, I keep him until someone takes his spot in the lineup.

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Bouchard has made Barrie obsolete. And if they manage to find a way to keep Barrie … well, I keep him too, until I can’t anymore. Why? Because despite all his flaws, he is still an NHL veteran defenceman who is superior to the rest. They should keep him if they can afford it. Only if they cannot, should they move him.

Yes, I want my cake. Damn right I do.

Because the Oilers must be 100% in. Why would they give up a player who is a good player, when they should be building their roster to support their dynamic team? Well that would be silly, wouldn’t it?

Three years.

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