Carolina Calling?

Robin Brownlee
February 17 2009 07:46PM

There's plenty of debate about whether the Edmonton Oilers should trade Erik Cole, and lots of buzz he'll be dealt to the Boston Bruins, but I'm told that if the Oilers decide to move Cole by the March 4 trade deadline, a likely scenario is he'll get a return ticket to the Carolina Hurricanes.

While Kevin Dupont of the Boston Globe, who is as connected as any newspaperman in the NHL, and other scribes in-the-know have written about the possibility GM Steve Tambellini will send Cole to Beantown for prospects, I'm led to believe Cole could again be a Hurricane -- the team he spent six seasons with.

I'm not discounting interest in Cole by the Bruins, who are believed to be offering Vladimir Sobotka and Matt Lashoff, because the guys writing about the possibility are as credible as they come.

Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald wrote today: "Rumours persist that the Bruins will acquire gritty veteran winger Erik Cole from the Edmonton Oilers, with one NHL source saying Cole is telling friends he expects to be a Bruin soon. Most speculation focused on Sobotka and defenseman Matt Lashoff as trade bait for the unrestricted free agent-to-be."

Still, I'm told Carolina is in play.

Another conversation?

The Oilers and Hurricanes did business when Kevin Lowe and Carolina counterpart Jim Rutherford did the Cole for Joni Pitkanen swap, and there's every reason to believe Tambellini and Rutherford are talking now.

Cole, as everybody knows, will be an unrestricted free agent this July after earning $4 million this season. I don't see the Oilers making a big pitch to keep him. Even if they do, I don't see Cole accepting it.

So, Tambellini either lets him walk for nothing at the end of the season or gets down to business now. Cole's ties to Tobacco Road aside, a move back to Carolina makes sense.

The Hurricanes just lost forward Justin Williams to a broken hand that'll keep him out at least a month, and Rutherford needs help up front. Cole, despite his offensive struggles here, is a proven commodity on Tobacco Road.

The Oilers, meanwhile, could use help on the back end with Lubomir Visnovsky gone for the season after shoulder surgery and Denis Grebeshkov on the shelf with a high-ankle sprain.

Name game

The interesting thing about a potential Carolina-Edmonton deal is I'm not hearing names who'd fill that void, namely blueliners like Dennis Seidenberg and Anton Babchuk. Then again, the prospects being mentioned in the trade with Boston don't offer an immediate fix, either.

For what it's worth, the name I'm hearing is Tuomo Ruutu, who the Oilers could have had in a swap for Jarret Stoll last summer in a deal Lowe passed on before sending Stoll and Matt Greene to Los Angeles for Visnovsky.

Ruutu, 26, selected ninth overall by Chicago in the 2001 Entry Draft, will be a restricted free agent next season. Ruutu, who has scored 16-17-33 and is a minus-5 in 54 games this season, makes $2.25 million.

On the face of it, moving a young player like Ruutu for Cole looks like an overpayment even if Rutherford is confident he can re-sign him, but perhaps there's other names in play here as well.

Stay tuned.

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm 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 misfit
February 18 2009, 11:40AM
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I'm wondering if Ruutu's increased scoring rates after moving to the SE division (surprise, surprise) isn't seeing him asking for quite a bit more than the $2.25M he's making in an extension that's causing Rutherford to consider moving him to get Cole back.

Speaking of which, why are people still surprised when a player doesn't put up the same numbers after leaving the SE division (Jokinen, Cole, Prospal, Sutherby, and to some extent Richards)? Or when you see their production increase after being traded to, or sign in, the SE (Samsonov, White, Corvo, Clarke, Whitney, Ruutu, Halpern, even Marty Reasoner)? You'd think people would clue in after a while.

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#52 Wanye Gretz
February 18 2009, 12:22PM
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Dennis wrote:

Lastly, anyone see the irony in someone ripping off an ON piece?;)

No Dennis I don't. Would you care to explain it to me?

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#53 Wanye Gretz
February 18 2009, 12:24PM
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@ BUCK75 - FMNF:

Holy crap! You did???? I attended SCFG6 and still have the scar from the kidney I had to sell to get in.

What did you have to part with to see Game 7? I can't believe you had to attend that. One day far in the future I will regale you with the tale of "The Wanye Gretz post SCF06G7 game show."

I get very vulnerable thinking about it. Let's just say it's a good thing the Oil don't lose in game seven of the finals every year.

Please b75 tell us your tale of woe...

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#54 R Eyre
February 18 2009, 12:45PM
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Is Ruutu really that better than Cole? All these dime a dozen players being offered for other dime a dozen players. I know its easy to say this from where I sit but the Oilers need to find a deal that gets them a top six forward that is a proven point producer. Now with Hemsky playing as good as he ever has it would be ludicris to trade him. Or is it... Hemsky does great things but to me still plays when he wants and when thats not the case he seems to play only as good as Horcoff and Penner. Unlike many other elite forwards in the NHL, Hemsky rarely if at all plays the PK. I find this hard to swallow. If Vinnie or Malkin are up for grabs I would start with Hemsky going the other direction. Hemsky is a great bargin but the loss in losing his contract is no greater than the losses in the Penner, Horcoff and Pisani contracts.

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#55 Robin B
February 18 2009, 01:00PM
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@ R Eyre: You don't get a top six forward by dumping Cole at this point. You can, however, get a decent return and then make your pitch for the player you're talking about at the deadline or over the summer.

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#56 Fiveandagame
February 18 2009, 01:05PM
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Robin B wrote:

You’re right. Maybe the Oilers should just pee their pants and curl up in the fetal position until April 11 comes and goes then . . .

HA! thats freakin hilarious! Too funny Mr. Brownlee!

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#57 Mike
February 18 2009, 01:07PM
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R Eyre wrote:

Hemsky is a great bargin but the loss in losing his contract is no greater than the losses in the Penner, Horcoff and Pisani contracts.

Hrmm, how did I end up in this hole?

Oh well, I've got a shovel. I'll just keep digging, that should solve the problem.

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#58 R Eyre
February 18 2009, 01:34PM
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Hemsky (and some) getting traded for Lecavalier wouldn't be the shovel, I know that. Vinnie scores goals, fights, and plays ALL situations. This is a major pipe dream and I'm not saying this would or will happen. I just think making the Oilers better long/short term is to pull the trigger now while the kettle is hot.

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#59 swany
February 18 2009, 01:49PM
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Before last nights games Hemsky was the highest scoring RW in the NHL on a ppg basis, that's right top in the whole NHL I think that is enough to dispell these rumours of him beeing moved for anyone not named Malkin or Crosby. They need to find someone to PLAY with Hemmer not trade the guy, and what do you think of Cole for Kovalev swap If Kovalev could get his game back he would look good with Nilsson and Gagner.

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#60 Travis Dakin
February 18 2009, 01:56PM
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@ R Eyre: The reason you trade Cole now and get hardly anything in return is because he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Get something now before he walks away for nothing. Getting rid of Hemsky is stupid. It's a lack of supporting cast he has that is the issue. You could bring in Malkin or Crosby and we would still be in the samen boat. Wait... Pittsburgh has both those guys and still suck.... See my point? Team needs are a scoring LW, a face-off taking/penatly killing veteran third line center, and a shut down d-man and.... an idea of what the goaltending plan is going forward.

Get rid of Hemsky indeed... ha.

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#61 Robin B
February 18 2009, 01:56PM
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@ swany: What rumours about Hemsky being moved? I must not be getting my information from the same places you do because I've NEVER heard anybody with any say in the matter even suggest Hemsky could be traded.

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#62 Travis Dakin
February 18 2009, 01:59PM
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@ R Eyre: And why in the sweet hell would you want Hemsky killing penalties? Oh that's good, used up some of his icetime on not creating scoring chances. Yup, and blocking shots too. He is more than capable of doing it... It would just be completely stupid and a waste of his skills to have him there. The only reason Horcoff does it so much is because nobody else on the team can win faceoffs or is as sound defensively as him.

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#63 airdawg
February 18 2009, 02:11PM
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@ swany: You would trade Hemsky only for Malkin or Crosby.HMMMM. Kovalev...big salary...aging...trying to get his name back...HMMMM. Penner better give up his number.

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#64 airdawg
February 18 2009, 02:15PM
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Loo@ Travis Dakin: Look around the league. Kovalchuk kills penalties for crying out loud. The best players should play. Today's game is a skating game. Hemsky couldn't draw a penalty while kiling one?

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#65 swany
February 18 2009, 02:16PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: What rumours about Hemsky being moved? I must not be getting my information from the same places you do because I’ve NEVER heard anybody with any say in the matter even suggest Hemsky could be traded.

Robin post #58 is what I was responding to, maybe I misunderstood what he was saying, but I would never include Hemmer for VL and what do you think of Cole for Kovalev

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#66 Travis Dakin
February 18 2009, 02:19PM
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@ airdawg: Kovalchuk kills penalties for the Thrashers. What other option do they have? he is not the player Hemsky is. He is a goal scorer who needs a Hemsky. It is so friggin stupid to have your best skill player out blocking shots and risking broken ankles and burning himself out on the PK when you have Reddox's and Brodziaks to do it. I seriously fail to see why you want him to do that so much. You think he can't? I guarantee he can. But I sure as f*ck am glad they don't have him doing it.

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#67 Robin B
February 18 2009, 02:25PM
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@ swany: Get serious. Kovalev? If you look hard enough you might find an aging player whose skills are fading as fast as Kovalev's for a big salary, but you'll have to look a long time.

What the Oilers don't need is the mindset that they can somehow coax another great year or two out of a 30-something has-been -- Adam Oates, Jiri Dopita, Petr Nedved -- when every indication is the best days are long gone. It's short-sighted and death in a CAP world.

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#68 swany
February 18 2009, 02:27PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

@ R Eyre: The reason you trade Cole now and get hardly anything in return is because he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Get something now before he walks away for nothing. Getting rid of Hemsky is stupid. It’s a lack of supporting cast he has that is the issue. You could bring in Malkin or Crosby and we would still be in the samen boat. Wait… Pittsburgh has both those guys and still suck…. See my point? Team needs are a scoring LW, a face-off taking/penatly killing veteran third line center, and a shut down d-man and…. an idea of what the goaltending plan is going forward. Get rid of Hemsky indeed… ha.

I agree completly, I misread your post #58 sorry.

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#69 swany
February 18 2009, 02:30PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: Get serious. Kovalev? If you look hard enough you might find an aging player whose skills are fading as fast as Kovalev’s for a big salary, but you’ll have to look a long time. What the Oilers don’t need is the mindset that they can somehow coax another great year or two out of a 30-something has-been — Adam Oates, Jiri Dopita, Petr Nedved — when every indication is the best days are long gone. It’s short-sighted and death in a CAP world.

He is a UFA at seasons end Robin his cap hit is 4.5mil so what's left for this year and then let him walk, the reports on Hemsky "which I never would trade him" are www.hockeyleaks.com on feb13/09

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#70 yo
February 18 2009, 03:23PM
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@ swany: Jagr also fits in that group as well??

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#71 swany
February 18 2009, 03:28PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: Get serious. Kovalev? If you look hard enough you might find an aging player whose skills are fading as fast as Kovalev’s for a big salary, but you’ll have to look a long time. What the Oilers don’t need is the mindset that they can somehow coax another great year or two out of a 30-something has-been — Adam Oates, Jiri Dopita, Petr Nedved — when every indication is the best days are long gone. It’s short-sighted and death in a CAP world.

Listing to 1260 Robin even Gregor says Cole for Kovalev might be a good deal

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#72 Travis Dakin
February 18 2009, 03:31PM
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swany wrote:

He is a UFA at seasons end Robin his cap hit is 4.5mil so what’s left for this year and then let him walk,

So then what are we gaining? The point of getting rid of Cole would be to get something in return so he isn't a lost asset. If they are both UFA's then we still get nothing in return and if it is run to the playoffs you are concerned about... I would much rather keep Cole. The last thing we need is another No try.

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#73 Ducey
February 18 2009, 03:31PM
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I notice that the Cole for Sobotaka was published in the Hockey News at the store today. It was a suggestion by the author. Maybe this is the start of the rumours?

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#74 Wanye Gretz
February 18 2009, 03:37PM
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Robin B wrote:

What the Oilers don’t need is the mindset that they can somehow coax another great year or two out of a 30-something has-been — Adam Oates, Jiri Dopita, Petr Nedved — when every indication is the best days are long gone. It’s short-sighted and death in a CAP world.

Pip pip! Well said.

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#75 swany
February 18 2009, 03:38PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

swany wrote: He is a UFA at seasons end Robin his cap hit is 4.5mil so what’s left for this year and then let him walk, So then what are we gaining? The point of getting rid of Cole would be to get something in return so he isn’t a lost asset. If they are both UFA’s then we still get nothing in return and if it is run to the playoffs you are concerned about… I would much rather keep Cole. The last thing we need is another No try.

I think they want the cap space we were after Hossa he signed a one year deal in Detroit, then we trade for Cole with one year left on his contract see what I'm getting at that frees up 4 mil to try and go after Hossa in the summer and if he is signed there's Gabby, Jay-Bo the Oilers want the cap space. And if and it's a big if you get Kovalev to play up to his skills he murders Cole in ability, also as pointed out on the team 1260 Klowe and Mact played with him in 94 cup run, he is hard to knock off the puck can stick hand and finish when he wants to. I think Nilsson, Gagner and Kovalev would be a great second line.

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#76 Robin B
February 18 2009, 03:40PM
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@ swany Well, if Gregor says so . . . what would the Oilers be gaining by bringing in Kovalev over Cole for the final 20 or so games? Nothing. What would they be losing? Why do it?

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#77 airdawg
February 18 2009, 03:41PM
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I myself wouldn't trade Hemsky. The Oilers wouldn't trade Hemsky. My point is that the Oilers need to do something bigger than move Cole to really see some results and getting rid of a well liked, talented player may be the sacrifice.

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#78 Robin B
February 18 2009, 03:42PM
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@ swany: Uh, the 94 Cup run was 15 years ago . . .

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#79 swany
February 18 2009, 03:44PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Robin B wrote: What the Oilers don’t need is the mindset that they can somehow coax another great year or two out of a 30-something has-been — Adam Oates, Jiri Dopita, Petr Nedved — when every indication is the best days are long gone. It’s short-sighted and death in a CAP world. Pip pip! Well said.

First it doesn't effect the cap as he is a UFA same as Cole and second his high end ability puts Coles to shame, yes he is playing badly, is Cole playing good, he got a gimmy goal off the boards lastnight but has done squat this year outside off a 12 game stretch. And if I recall right Nedveds first stint here just about put us in the playoffs.

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#80 BUCK75 - FMNF
February 18 2009, 03:45PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: Look at the pix in my facebook. But here is the story:

I went to just about every play-off home game that year. Clients loved it going to the games. When SCF came up my uncle in NC saidget your ass down here. I went & watched games 1 (Watched our chances dashed by MAB), game 2, flew home for games 3 & 4.

Decided I wasn't going to another game so watched games 5 started getting worked up again after Fernando scored in OT. Game 6 second period me & buddy decided to fly down for game 7. Booked our flights & decided to find tix when we got there. Drove to YYC, slept in airport & flew to RDU for game 7. Flew back home in a stunned haze the next morning (after my uncle woke up & came downstairs to see my buddy taking a piss in his kitchen).

Life experience - my life the spring of 2006 was a mastercard commercial. Tickets for game 7 were cheap - 2 club seats for $200 on ebay. WAY cheaper than if it was in Edmonton.

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#81 swany
February 18 2009, 03:49PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: Uh, the 94 Cup run was 15 years ago . . .

He was an allstar this year and no one complained about him untill AFTER the allstar game. Kovalev has 39 points in 57 games and Cole has 23 points in 57 games, all I am saying IF you get the Kovalev of the first half that's a big upgrade on the RW second line over Cole. And if he sucks like he is now well that's no worse than Cole, plus you have tried to upgrade your offence for this run and if it doesn't work out you have 4 mil to spend in the summer, Katz's splash

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#82 airdawg
February 18 2009, 03:53PM
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The kids need to learn what it takes to play at a high level every night and how to cope with the highs and lows of a long season. Kovelev has been consistantly inconsistant his whole carrer.

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#83 swany
February 18 2009, 03:54PM
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airdawg wrote:

I myself wouldn’t trade Hemsky. The Oilers wouldn’t trade Hemsky. My point is that the Oilers need to do something bigger than move Cole to really see some results and getting rid of a well liked, talented player may be the sacrifice.

How do you trade the leading PPG RW in the NHL, he should command as much as VL, VL is averaging .91 ppg and Hemmer is averaging 1.08 ppg in a tougher division, you will never get enough back to justify trading Hemmer.

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#84 nutsandgum
February 18 2009, 03:54PM
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@ Travis Dakin: What about Pav & Hank w/ the Wings? They play PP, PK & even strength. Or are they the exception that proves the rule? If you look at last year's finals, while they were on the ice for all occasions, Sid & esp. Gino were sucking wind & riding the pine during the PK.

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#85 swany
February 18 2009, 03:56PM
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airdawg wrote:

The kids need to learn what it takes to play at a high level every night and how to cope with the highs and lows of a long season. Kovelev has been consistantly inconsistant his whole carrer.

See Penner, and if Kovalev comes in and picks up like the first half would there be anyone better to learn from. Remember it's only 2 months of this guy and playoffs. If he's crap I can't see it effecting the kids all that much

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#86 airdawg
February 18 2009, 03:58PM
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@ swany: You are a statistical genius. At some point your nose has to come out of the book.

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#87 Robin B
February 18 2009, 03:58PM
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@ swany: You can try to upgrade your offence without making the mistake of looking at Kovalev and screwing up your team for the playoff push you're talking about. Keep insisting it's worth a try if you must, but it's a bad idea.

Kovalev will bring nothing, zero, in any remaining games. He'll need lots of time to adjust to a new team. He'll have to buy a warmer jacket. He'll want Shawn Horcoff's dressing room stall and insist Penner give up No. 27. Then he'll f*ck the dog until the season is done and he can move on. Get over the pre-CBA mentality that the Oilers must takes somebody else's scraps to compete.

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#88 swany
February 18 2009, 04:00PM
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nutsandgum wrote:

@ Travis Dakin: What about Pav & Hank w/ the Wings? They play PP, PK & even strength. Or are they the exception that proves the rule? If you look at last year’s finals, while they were on the ice for all occasions, Sid & esp. Gino were sucking wind & riding the pine during the PK.

I would say yes they are the exception, find some other first line players that play the PK, Does VL,OV and the like I don't know but with Hemmer do you really want him blocking shots and going hard in the boards to get the puck out. I could just see the boards if Mact put Hemmer on the PK and he got hit by a shot and broke his ankle, holy crap Mact might get shot if that happened.

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#89 airdawg
February 18 2009, 04:00PM
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@ nutsandgum: Sucking wind in the finals...hard to believe. There're players here sucking wind after seven games into the season. Hemsky wasn't one.

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#90 swany
February 18 2009, 04:02PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: You can try to upgrade your offence without making the mistake of looking at Kovalev and screwing up your team for the playoff push you’re talking about. Keep insisting it’s worth a try if you must, but it’s a bad idea. Kovalev will bring nothing, zero, in any remaining games. He’ll need lots of time to adjust to a new team. He’ll have to buy a warmer jacket. He’ll want Shawn Horcoff’s dressing room stall and insist Penner give up No. 27. Then he’ll f*ck the dog until the season is done and he can move on. Get over the pre-CBA mentality that the Oilers must takes somebody else’s scraps to compete.

I'm taking my Ques from Gregor (haha) he said Edmonton would make that trade in a heart beat, who would you take then Robin there are reports of Jordon Staal is beeing shopped, but I would like to hear what you would do.

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#91 Robin B
February 18 2009, 04:11PM
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@ swany: Well, then start thinking for yourself. And even if the Oilers would do it in a heartbeat, that doesn't make it smart.

What "reports" about Staal? Are you differentiating between MSM beat writers with inside-knowledge who talk to GMs and front office types or some fan boy writing under the name HOCKEYFREAK69?

If you want an old guy who can still play a little and won't stick around here any longer than he has to, why not keep after Jagr? That scenario, by the way, isn't completely dead. And that's not from HOCKEYFREAK 69, that's from somebody who knows.

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#92 swany
February 18 2009, 04:17PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: Well, then start thinking for yourself. And even if the Oilers would do it in a heartbeat, that doesn’t make it smart. What “reports” about Staal? Are you differentiating between MSM beat writers with inside-knowledge who talk to GMs and front office types or some fan boy writing under the name HOCKEYFREAK69? If you want an old guy who can still play a little and won’t stick around here any longer than he has to, why not keep after Jagr? That scenario, by the way, isn’t completely dead. And that’s not from HOCKEYFREAK 69, that’s from somebody who knows.

Is that for this year, I though away around waivers, sign Jagr to a 2 year deal then get him to tell all the other teams if they pick him up he will retire then said team will be on the hook for his cap hit, I doubt any team takes the chance, what's the out look can he come over this year for the stretch run and playoff, him and Hemmer would be dynamite

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#93 nutsandgum
February 18 2009, 04:17PM
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airdawg wrote:

@ nutsandgum: There’re players here sucking wind after seven games into the season.

Let's leave Fatty out of this one - at least for now :)

But I do distinctly remember Gino being caught flat-footed and at-times looking pretty winded in the series. And of course, no PK time.

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#94 swany
February 18 2009, 04:20PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: Well, then start thinking for yourself. And even if the Oilers would do it in a heartbeat, that doesn’t make it smart. What “reports” about Staal? Are you differentiating between MSM beat writers with inside-knowledge who talk to GMs and front office types or some fan boy writing under the name HOCKEYFREAK69? If you want an old guy who can still play a little and won’t stick around here any longer than he has to, why not keep after Jagr? That scenario, by the way, isn’t completely dead. And that’s not from HOCKEYFREAK 69, that’s from somebody who knows.

Jordon Staal from Fred Poulin at the Bleacher Report

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#95 Robin B
February 18 2009, 04:32PM
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@ swany: This Fred Poulin?

"Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 30, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he's also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish."

That changes everything.

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#96 BUCK75 - FMNF
February 18 2009, 04:40PM
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@ Robin B:

Oh I think you mean the 34th ranked contributor to NHL hockey on the bleacher report.

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#97 swany
February 18 2009, 04:48PM
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Robin B wrote:

@ swany: This Fred Poulin? “Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 30, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he’s also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish.” That changes everything.

I am commenting on what I read, I didn't do a background check on the guy, but you can explain your comments on Jagr, that would be nice and will my idea work for waivers?

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#98 Travis Dakin - FMNF
February 18 2009, 04:50PM
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swany wrote:

also as pointed out on the team 1260 Klowe and Mact played with him in 94 cup run,

Yeah.... It's 2009 now. That's an awfully long time ago.

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#99 Travis Dakin - FMNF
February 18 2009, 04:52PM
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Travis Dakin - FMNF wrote:

swany wrote: also as pointed out on the team 1260 Klowe and Mact played with him in 94 cup run, Yeah…. It’s 2009 now. That’s an awfully long time ago.

Dammit! I gotta read ahead.

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#100 swany
February 18 2009, 04:54PM
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Travis Dakin - FMNF wrote:

swany wrote: also as pointed out on the team 1260 Klowe and Mact played with him in 94 cup run, Yeah…. It’s 2009 now. That’s an awfully long time ago.

That comment is from the team 1260 and there point was they KNOW the guy that's all. No one is saying because they played with him then they are expecting the same player from 94 I expect they and everyone knows he is no where near the same play now. (shakes head)

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