Deep Thoughts V

Robin Brownlee
January 12 2009 11:33AM

In the real world and in real life, there are times when honesty is not always the best policy.

Like when your wife asks you, "Do these jeans make me look fat?" And you say, "No honey. Those jeans don't make you look fat. Your big ass makes you look fat."

Like when you're a hockey coach with absolutely no intention of giving a particular player a chance as long as you're calling the shots because you don't like the way he plays and you'd rather see him traded -- or just go away -- so you don't have to think about him any more.

And you say: "I guess every time we call somebody up, we've got to defend it, why it's not Robbie. I think the bottom line is it's up to Robbie to be a decent player down there.

"We all know what he can do. He's got decent hands. He can work a power play OK. But he's slow. He's not a physical player. He's soft at this level. There are a lot of things in the game he needs to address to be that guy who gets called up. It's getting to the point where, I've got to be honest, he's not helping them, particularly, down there right now. There's no reason to think he's going to come up here and help us, given those circumstances."

The truth hurts

As everybody has heard by now, so said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish about Rob Schremp Sunday when Chris Cuthbert of TSN asked why Ryan Potulny and not Schremp had been promoted from Springfield of the AHL.

Now, contrary to what some fervent backers of Captain America believe, I can't say with a straight face that much of what MacTavish said isn't true. It is true of course, but that, like telling your better half she has a bum as big as bus, probably isn't very smart.

It's abundantly clear, if it wasn't before, that no matter what Schremp does, he's not going to make it with the Oilers while MacTavish is the coach. Not his kind of player. Not his kind of personality. We get it.

But instead of pointing out Schremp's flaws publicly and diminishing what little value he has as an asset, MacTavish should have played it smart and fibbed a little bit.

"Robbie's made a lot of progress and we liked what we saw when he was up here in December, but we're a little bit small up front right now, so we'd like to add a bit more size. Besides, Potulny has done everything we've asked of him and he's earned a look-see."

How difficult would that have been? MacTavish is a sharp guy and he usually plays it smart. For whatever reason -- maybe he's feeling the heat of what's been a disappointing first half -- he played this one like a, well, big ass.

Are we there yet?

As always in any edition of DT, some random thoughts and questions rattling around that spacious cranium of mine:

  • Did Gilbert Brule show enough in Sunday's 2-1 win over St. Louis to start in Washington Tuesday with somebody other than Kyle Brodziak and Steve MacIntyre? Of course he did. Fact is, MacTavish should end his infatuation with Liam Reddox and start Brule alongside Shawn Horcoff and Dustin Penner for as long as Ales Hemsky is out. ??The Oilers have eight games to make a definitive call on Brule. Once he hit’s the 160-game mark in the NHL, he needs waivers to be demoted or recalled.
  • Pucker up all of you whose lips were stained with copper-coloured Kool-Aid during the pre-season. At 20-18-3 for 43 points at the halfway mark of the schedule, you can kiss a Northwest Division title goodbye.
  • Nice home record, fellas. The Oilers are 9-8-3 at home and 11-10-0 on the road through 41 games. After surviving a brutal road schedule, they've piddled away too many points at Rexall Place. Now, they've got 20 games on the road and 21 at home in the second half.

And...

  • Schremp has "decent hands" and can work a power play "OK?" Schremp has amazing hands. What grates me about what MacTavish said isn't that he showed up Schremp by pointing out his weaknesses, he also downplayed his strengths.?? Would MacTavish ever dissect the shortcomings of, say, Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios or Sheldon Souray in the same fashion? Uh, no.
  • With Jeff Deslauriers due back from his "We-can't-make-up-our-minds-on-which-two-goaltenders-we-want-to-keep stint in Springfield, can we expect GM Steve Tambellini to make a move this week?
  • Does my mug shot make me look pissed off and balding?

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 02:42PM
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@ Colin: Rob has never played for the oil - next question.

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#52 The Towel Boy
January 12 2009, 02:45PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

hmmmm what is your email address so I can let you in on some off the record rumors

...and how to fashion an aluminum foil hat that can stop "them" from listening to your thoughts.

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#53 RobinB
January 12 2009, 02:46PM
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@ Colin: I have a lot of respect for Daum and the perspective he brought to the coaching staff last season. Realistically, he needs several years (3-5) as an assistant coach at the NHL level before the Oilers or any team will short-list him as a head coach. That's just how it works.

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#54 Colin
January 12 2009, 02:48PM
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Interesting, thanks Robin.

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#55 baggedmilk
January 12 2009, 02:48PM
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@ Deep Oil:

I'm in for some rumours. I quite enjoy your tirades. Get over to the righteous sack beating and click the link.

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#56 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 02:53PM
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@ Travis Dakin: Heading for a late lunch - I will think hard about any new material - most of my contacts were EIG based during the Katz takeover and beyond back to the mid eighties - cup parties, low salaries (slave labor), pocklington extracting cash, atb money missing from the puck / Eva kidnapping; I knew about Katz kicking the tires a few weeks prior to the story breaking - but my EIG source laughed it off - give me some direction Travis.... my red friend.

Bottom line if the oil continue to lose for lets say two seasons, I will be very happy to see the position DK puts himself in - as the financial numbers on a new barn will be so tight, that it may not happen unless the three levels of government bend to both Edmonton and Calgary.

The NHL is a pyramid scheme and a few cards are starting to fall this spring - with 120 NHL jobs on the line if 5 teams go bankrupt..... Katz is just playing a different game in a different market.

Everyone thinks that this new owner is the messiah to all of problems - when in fact we have an absentee - mute owner leaving the store for KLOWE and LAFORGE to run.

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#57 The Towel Boy
January 12 2009, 02:55PM
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Ohhh... I get it. Deep Oil=Deep Throat.

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#58 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 02:57PM
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@ Eric V.: Thank you for the compliment Eric - I have received many private kudos for my work on Oilernation.....

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#59 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 02:58PM
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@ The Towel Boy: idiot - it took you this long

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#60 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 02:58PM
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You need to be deep oil to swallow what Katz is serving and the Oilers are selling

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#61 Travis Dakin
January 12 2009, 02:59PM
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@ Deep Oil:

I don't even know where to begin. I love it though. Just keep letting them fly.

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#62 Rev
January 12 2009, 02:59PM
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Soup wrote:

Toby Reddox

Best quote today...somehow at least we can find some humour in this...

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#63 dawgbone
January 12 2009, 03:03PM
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@soup - The 1st line started doing the job of the 3rd line about 12 years ago when Detroit started wrecking everyone by playing their first line (Specifically Fedorov) against the other teams best players. The checking line in hockey is a dying breed, has been for years, especially among the elite teams.

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#64 The Towel Boy
January 12 2009, 03:06PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

@ The Towel Boy: idiot - it took you this long

hahaha.

*looks for sarcasm button*

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#65 swany
January 12 2009, 03:19PM
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Robin, both Dregor and Mackinze say that Vinny could be avalible, would this be one of the blockbusters that Lowebelli was talking about, do the Oilers have enough to offer TBL, and what would you do to get Vinny.

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#66 Chris
January 12 2009, 03:22PM
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@ Deep Oil: Listened to the whole clip. (comment #25) How about Bobby Ryan in Anaheim? Scored a natural hat-trick the other night, and has 26 points in 26 games... Just reminded me of the time Lowe called the kid a "bust"...

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#67 Travis Dakin
January 12 2009, 03:28PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Deep Oil: Listened to the whole clip. (comment #25) How about Bobby Ryan in Anaheim? Scored a natural hat-trick the other night, and has 26 points in 26 games… Just reminded me of the time Lowe called the kid a “bust”…

It's nice how some enticing words from our executives can light a fire under the ass of other teams players. Wouldn't it be nice to see that happen to Nilsson/Penner/Pouliot?

Can someone on another team call out one of our players please? Look what happened to Storts after Laperrier made fun of him. He is a chucker now and was far more effective hockey wise.

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#68 RobinB
January 12 2009, 03:35PM
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swany wrote:

Robin, both Dregor and Mackinze say that Vinny could be avalible, would this be one of the blockbusters that Lowebelli was talking about, do the Oilers have enough to offer TBL, and what would you do to get Vinny.

The Oilers don't have enough to get Lecavalier unless you are willing to make Hemsky part of the trade.

Who is Lowebelli?

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#69 Chris
January 12 2009, 03:37PM
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@ swany: Anyone but Hemskey. Unfortunately, I doubt Tampa wants any of the contracts that come with our quality assets... How awesome would it be to see Vinny play defensively responsible MacT hockey?

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#70 Jack Bauer
January 12 2009, 03:39PM
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Lowe and Tambo

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#71 Jack Bauer
January 12 2009, 03:40PM
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Oh and for everyone who thinks Vinny would be a good fit for this team, im sure he would be good, but Maccrappish would ruin that guys career faster than Tommy Salo's marriage after a one nighter with Comrie.

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#72 Jonathan Willis
January 12 2009, 03:42PM
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The print journalists get mentioned from time to time around the internet, and usually in a bad way, but Edmonton actually has a prety decent crew, I think.

Tychowski, Van Diest, and Ireland all seem to be capable reporters (Tychowski's had a bit of a rough stretch in the factual error department, but then, I once thought Steve Tambellini ran the Moose, so I don't deserve to take shots at that). Matheson is insanely well-connected (based on what he writes and what other reporters say) and is usually a good read. I'll second Brownlee's thoughts on Dan Barnes too. The only guy whose writing I actively dislike is Terry Jones.

And maybe I'm biased, but I'd say we have two of the best here at ON; this site is hands-down the best place to get stuff as it happens, and both Brownlee and Gregor do a tremendous job interacting with the rest of us out-of-the-loop folk.

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#73 RobinB
January 12 2009, 03:43PM
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@ Jack Bauer: Yes, I know. Lowe and Tambellini? Let's say that then, or this Cult of Hockey?

-- RobBro

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#74 Dennis
January 12 2009, 03:47PM
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1: I don't have any problem with questioning MacT but it rings hollow when you give Lowe a free pass.

2: If you're still using 27-10 to play tough competition than it's Pouliot that you should be using on the RW and not Reddox or Brule. Let Brule play lesser comp with 18-13.

3: agreed that it's the columnist that needs to shoot straight and that Barnes is the most likely to show any nuts. He was the only guy who came close to calling Lowe on all his post Smyth garbage.

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#75 Travis Dakin
January 12 2009, 03:51PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

And maybe I’m biased, but I’d say we have two of the best here at ON; this site is hands-down the best place to get stuff as it happens, and both Brownlee and Gregor do a tremendous job interacting with the rest of us out-of-the-loop folk.

Careful, your're going to piss off the geek squad at Lowetides site. What's your beef with Terry Jones? I don't really pay any attention to who writes what in the paper, I just try to get my hands on anything Oil realted to fill my day.

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#76 Travis Dakin
January 12 2009, 03:52PM
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p.s. I know that there should be an apostrophy at the end of Lowetide's and related is the proper way to spell. Stupid no edit.

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#77 RobinB
January 12 2009, 03:53PM
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Dennis wrote:

1: I don’t have any problem with questioning MacT but it rings hollow when you give Lowe a free pass.

From my column in today's Metro . . .

BILL OF GOODS? "The focus on the Oilers shortcomings has been on the players and the way MacTavish has used them, but let's not forget the bigger picture. While Kevin Lowe has stepped back from day-to-day dealings since being named president of hockey operations, leaving Steve Tambellini to take over as GM, this is the team he built. Every player on the roster, with the exception of Ethan Moreau, arrived after Lowe took over as GM June 9, 2000. The collection of players here has been drafted on Lowe's watch, traded for or acquired by Lowe and signed to contracts with him calling the shots. With optimism abounding in pre-season, we were led to believe Tambellini was being handed the keys to a shiny new sports car and that fans were in for quite a ride. Instead, it looks like Tambellini's got a clunker in need of a full-scale rebuild. That falls on Lowe."

That's not a free pass.

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#78 Jonathan Willis
January 12 2009, 03:56PM
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@ Travis Dakin:

I don't always agree with either Brownlee or Gregor, but both are:

a) smart b) way better connected than me

I don't think there's anything bad, from a fan's perspective, to having two well-connected media guys who are willing to interact with the fanbase, answer questions, and debate different points. They won't always be right (and for that matter, nobody else will be either) but they certainly further the discussion, and that's a very good thing.

As for Jones, frankly he's so wrong on so many things that I don't place much value on his opinion.

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#79 Travis Dakin
January 12 2009, 03:58PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don’t think there’s anything bad, from a fan’s perspective, to having two well-connected media guys who are willing to interact with the fanbase, answer questions, and debate different points. They won’t always be right (and for that matter, nobody else will be either) but they certainly further the discussion, and that’s a very good thing.

And that's what makes this site so great.

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#80 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 03:59PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Deep Oil: Listened to the whole clip. (comment #25) How about Bobby Ryan in Anaheim? Scored a natural hat-trick the other night, and has 26 points in 26 games… Just reminded me of the time Lowe called the kid a “bust”…

Not fair to cherry pick other teams jewels that lowe has bad mouthed (have to be fair) - but the amount of troubled players that have moved on from the oil and succeded afterwards is exponentially high - on the golf tournament circuit - one former oiler told me at Red Tail that the word was out and MACT was the problem - Edmonton was an old boys club and to avoid Edmonton - CAUSE AND AFFECT.

DREAMS - LOWE could of picked up cammalleri, kept glencross (DAMN)- my dream is to have an oiler team all from Saskatchewan (WHL team pool) or to be born in the RIDER NATION -the team would have grit and give you an honest days work - just like a farmer with no watch.

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#81 Travis Dakin
January 12 2009, 03:59PM
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@ Travis Dakin:

Well, that and you Jonathan. I can't forget you.

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#82 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 04:00PM
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@ Travis Dakin: second that

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#83 Mike T
January 12 2009, 04:01PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Thank God you actually have an opinion that coincides with the fan base that actually knows something about hockey.

Really do we? These are the same knowlegdeable fans who clamour for Rob Schremp, hated on Marty Reasoner and Jarret Stoll last season, and now beg for them to return. I don't think the fans are as smart as some of us claim to be. Passionate yes, knowledgeable not so much.

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#84 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 04:07PM
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Jack Bauer wrote:

Oh and for everyone who thinks Vinny would be a good fit for this team, im sure he would be good, but Maccrappish would ruin that guys career faster than Tommy Salo’s marriage after a one nighter with Comrie.

Tommy got married in Vegas - enough said - how many vegas weddings last - how many marriages last in general - 50%?

Comrie has been accused time and time again of this off ice issue - no substance except locker room gossip - not interested.

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#85 Jack Bauer
January 12 2009, 04:11PM
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I was being sarcastic as a way to make a point of what I think of Maccrappish's coaching, not that I give 2 craps about where Tommy Salo got married or who his wife banged.

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#86 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 04:13PM
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@ Jack Bauer: point was lost and your argument was weakened with that topic mention

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#87 Wanye Gretz
January 12 2009, 04:14PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

my dream is to have an oiler team all from Saskatchewan (WHL team pool) or to be born in the RIDER NATION -the team would have grit and give you an honest days work - just like a farmer with no watch.

(mutters to self) Oh great Deep Oil likes Saskatchewan too....

If only we could teach him punctuation ....

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#88 Dennis
January 12 2009, 04:14PM
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RB: Sir, I apologize. I don't have access to that paper so there was no way I'd be able to read that.

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#89 BUCK75
January 12 2009, 04:15PM
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Pierre LeBrun talking about Lecavalier...look at the contract. You want him for 11 years?!?!?

Technically, Lecavalier doesn't have a no-movement clause until July 1, when his 11-year, $85 million contract extension kicks in. especially in these economic times. "That contract is problematic for most of us," an NHL GM said. Why? For starters, although the salary-cap hit starting next season will be $7.73 million (the average of the deal), the actual real-money salary is $10 million a year for the first seven seasons of the deal. "For teams with budgets, that's going to be too much," the GM said. Here's how the contract will play out: 2009-10: $10 million 2010-11: $10 million 2011-12: $10 million 2012-13: $10 million 2013-14: $10 million 2014-15: $10 million 2015-16: $10 million 2016-17: $8.5 million 2017-18: $4 million 2018-19: $1.5 million 2019-20: $1 million

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3827457&searchName=lebrun_pierre&campaign=rsssrch&source=lebrun_pierre&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fespn%2fblog%2findex%3fentryID%3d3827457%26searchName%3dlebrun_pierre%26campaign%3drsssrch%26source%3dlebrun_pierre

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#90 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 04:16PM
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@ Wanye Gretz:

That is what I tell the mirror everyday

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#91 baggedmilk
January 12 2009, 04:17PM
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Mike T wrote:

Really do we? These are the same knowlegdeable fans who clamour for Rob Schremp, hated on Marty Reasoner and Jarret Stoll last season, and now beg for them to return. I don’t think the fans are as smart as some of us claim to be. Passionate yes, knowledgeable not so much.

I always liked Stoll so don't lump me in with people that had a hate on with him. Reasoner I liked but wasn't sad to see him go. I was more upset about losing Matt Greene, although Vish has become a favorite of mine. The dude has some mad skills that only a scientist could replicate.

As for Rob Schremp, he deserved better than to get thrown under the bus when he's not even on the team.

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#92 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 04:21PM
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@ BUCK75: Is this contract the catalyst for Tampa declaring bankruptcy and should the league be responsible for insuring, bonding contracts under the current NHLPA agreement - ouch - in the past 66 lost $40 million and now has to own to Penguins by force as Bettman would not allow Basillie to relieve Mario's pain of having to live and invest in PITS, PA

Could you imagine the fun if you could above board - trade, borrow from past unused cap space, purchase cap space - or have a hybrid formula of taking a player in a trade and the cap space possibly could stay with the original team - this would get MONTY HALL back on the air.

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#93 Mike
January 12 2009, 04:22PM
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Soup wrote:

Funny. When I played hockey a million years ago, the third line was the one a coach trotted out against the other team’s first line.

I'm late to the party on this one, but this actually has become really common the last few years. Most teams now run power-versus-power and play their top lines against each other (see Z in Detroit shutting down Crosby in the SCF).

The traditional "checking" line is actually the exception. Besides maybe Madden's line in Jersey and Pahlsson in Anaheim, you don't see it a whole lot. I think the biggest reason is that when you match 3rd line versus 1st, the very best you can hope for is to break even. If you play power-versus-power you give your best players a chance to not only break even against the other team but hopefully come out ahead.

At least, that's what I assume the reason is. Most coaches run that way now, so there must be something to it.

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#94 Deep Oil
January 12 2009, 04:22PM
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@ baggedmilk: Stoll is from Yorkton - he can do wrong and I love his faceoff percentage and grit.

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#95 Chris
January 12 2009, 04:32PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Would you trade Hemskey for Lecavlier straight accross?

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#96 Jonathan Willis
January 12 2009, 04:38PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: Would you trade Hemskey for Lecavlier straight accross?

Not a chance in hell.

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#97 Jack Bauer
January 12 2009, 04:45PM
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"Would you trade Hemskey for Lecavlier straight accross?"

Hell Yes!!!

Vince is exponentially a better player than Hemsky. He can score, make plays, fight, score 120 points a year, captain a team, you name it.

Hemsky is a great player, especially for this team. But he isnt in Vince's league. Hemsky's main benefit is how cheap he is for his skill-set.

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#98 Jonathan Willis
January 12 2009, 04:45PM
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@ Chris:

Because of the difference in their contracts. Aside from the first Chris Pronger trade, Hemsky's contract is the best thing Lowe has done as a GM.

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#99 Jonathan Willis
January 12 2009, 04:48PM
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Jack Bauer wrote:

Vince is exponentially a better player than Hemsky. He can score, make plays, fight, score 120 points a year, captain a team, you name it.

Lecavalier's career high (108 points) came against second-tier opponents, as Tortorella ran Richards out against power. Last season Lecavalier had 92 points (and a -17 rating) against top-tier guys.

He's a great player, to be sure, but not at close to three times the salary of Hemsky. Unless Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin is coming back, Hemsky doesn't get dealt on his current contract.

And don't for a minute think that Lecavalier would single-handedly turn this team around. The Lightning haven't been very good the past few seasons.

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#100 Darcy
January 12 2009, 04:58PM
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Dennis wrote:

2: If you’re still using 27-10 to play tough competition than it’s Pouliot that you should be using on the RW and not Reddox or Brule. Let Brule play lesser comp with 18-13.

Moreau would veto that. Captain Awesome would miss not ever passing to 78, and kicking him out of faceoff circles.

Good point Dennis.

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