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.
- 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.