Trade Deadline: Last Season

Jonathan Willis
February 26 2009 09:43AM

Penguin Hossa

With trade deadline nearly upon us, it’s probably useful to revisit last season’s moves. First, let’s consider the team standings from late February of last season. I’ve taken the liberty of dividing the teams in each conference into three categories, based on accumulated points totals: Stanley Cup contenders, playoff contenders, also-rans. Any team more than five points ahead of eighth is considered a Cup contender, while any team more than five points below eighth is considered an also-ran.

Western Conference

1. Detroit – 62GP – 89 PTS 2. Dallas – 63GP – 79 PTS 3. Minnesota – 59GP – 72 PTS 4. Anaheim – 63GP – 73 PTS -- 5. San Jose – 59GP – 70 PTS 6. Nashville – 61GP – 69 PTS 7. Phoenix – 64GP – 66 PTS 8. Calgary – 59GP – 66 PTS 9. Vancouver – 59GP – 66 PTS 10. Colorado – 64GP – 65 PTS 11. Columbus – 61GP – 63 PTS 12. St. Louis – 58GP – 63 PTS -- 13. Chicago – 58GP – 60 PTS 14. Edmonton – 60GP – 59 PTS 15. Los Angeles – 62GP – 53 PTS

Eastern Conference

1. Ottawa – 59GP – 73 PTS 2. New Jersey – 60 GP – 73 PTS 3. Montreal – 60 GP – 73 PTS 4. Pittsburgh – 59 GP – 71 PTS -- 5. NY Rangers – 61GP – 67 PTS 6. Philadelphia – 59GP – 65 PTS 7. Boston – 58GP – 64 PTS 8. Carolina – 62GP – 64 PTS 9. Buffalo – 59GP – 64 PTS 10. Atlanta – 61GP – 62 PTS 11. NY Islanders – 59GP – 62 PTS 12. Washington – 60GP – 62 PTS 13. Florida – 61GP – 60 PTS -- 14. Tampa Bay – 59 GP – 56 PTS 15. Toronto – 57GP – 54 PTS

Based on these standings, it would seem that there were only five teams that were locks, or near-locks to sell, while eight teams would certainly be buying. The other seventeen teams could go either way, but based on the fact that more than half the teams in the league make the playoffs, and that nearly all teams on the bubble seem to buy rather than sell (playoff revenue being all-important to most clubs on the verge of break-even), the notion that the number of sellers would far outweigh the number of buyers seems like a usable working hypothesis. Let’s consider first what the Cup Contenders (again, based solely on points in the standings) did.

Cup Contenders

Last Season: Detroit, Dallas, Ottawa, New Jersey, Montreal, Anaheim, Minnesota, Pittsburgh This Season: San Jose, Detroit, Boston, Washington, New Jersey, Calgary, Chicago

Detroit

- Traded a 2nd and 4th round pick to LA for Brad Stuart

Dallas

- Traded Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith and a 4th round pick to TB for Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist

Ottawa

- Traded a 6th round pick to CHI for Martin Lapointe - Traded Patrick Eaves and Joe Corvo to CAR for Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore

New Jersey

- Traded Cam Janssen to STL for Bryce Salvador

Montreal

- Traded Cristobal Huet to WSH for a 2nd round pick

Anaheim

- Traded a 3rd round pick to NYI for Marc-Andre Bergeron - Traded Brandon Bochenski to NSH for future considerations - Traded Brandon Segal and a conditional draft pick to TB for Jay Leach - Traded a 7th round pick to LA for Jean-Sebastien Aubin

Minnesota

- Traded a 6th round pick to NYI for Chris Simon

Pittsburgh

- Traded Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 1st round pick to ATL for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis - Traded a 2nd and 5th round pick to TOR for Hal Gill

Analysis: Surprisingly enough, most of these top teams did not make big acquisitions. Minnesota, Anaheim and New Jersey made low-cost acquisitions, and even Detroit didn’t make a big splash to acquire Brad Stuart. Of the teams that did make big moves, Pittsburgh and Dallas both had lengthy runs, but paid dearly for the players they acquired, while Ottawa made big moves but were knocked out in the first round.

In the case of Pittsburgh and Dallas, it could certainly be argued that they received value on their trades, although both teams have suffered for it this season. Pittsburgh was unable to hang on to Hossa, and could certainly use some of the young players they dealt, while Dallas was forced to ride Marty Turco at the start of the year for lack of another option; something that put them into a deep hole they’ve only recently emerged from.

While in most cases, a team like Ottawa would have been well-advised to buy, Bryan Murray should have recognized how many of his team’s points came from an early season run, and how badly they faltered down the stretch. Trying to re-energize the team with mercenaries did not pay off.

Montreal decided to stand pat for the most part, but Bob Gainey refused to allow Cristobal Huet to depart for nothing and sent him to Washington for a draft pick. As much as I’m a fan of keeping an eye on the big picture and maximizing assets, this move was a major surprise and turned out to be a mistake. Montreal looked like a contender early on, but Carey Price faltered in net and Montreal had no option to fall back on. Had Gainey retained Huet, the 2008 playoffs might have turned out a little differently.

This season, with the top-three teams well clear of everybody else, I think that teams need to think long and hard before buying. Any of New Jersey, Calgary or Chicago could go on cup runs, but I’d suggest that they would do well not to mortgage the future on a marquis addition, choosing instead to add role players to improve their depth and shore up areas of weakness. Washington won’t need to play one of the big three until the Conference Finals; I’d argue that they might do well to buy this season. I’d be surprised to see big additions to Detroit or San Jose given how close to the cap they sit, but Boston might surprise and could do themselves a service by picking up a big name.

Playoff Contenders

Last Season: San Jose, Nashville, NY Rangers, Phoenix, Calgary, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Colorado, Boston, Carolina, Buffalo, Columbus, St. Louis, Atlanta, NY Islanders, Washington, Florida This Season: Philadelphia, Montreal, NY Rangers, Vancouver, Florida, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Minnesota, Dallas, Edmonton, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Los Angeles, St. Louis

San Jose

- Traded Rob Davison to NYI for a 7th round pick - Traded Steve Bernier and a 1st round pick to BUF for Brian Campbell and a 7th round pick - Traded future considerations to CAR for Justin Forrest - Traded a 6th round pick to CBJ for Jody Shelley

Nashville

- Traded a 7th round pick to TB for Jan Hlavac - Traded future considerations to ANA for Brandon Bochenski

NY Rangers

- Traded Marcel Hossa, Al Montoya and a conditional draft pick to PHX for David LeNeveu, Fredrik Sjostrom and Josh Gratton - Traded a 4th round pick to STL for Christian Backman

Phoenix

- Traded David LeNeveu, Fredrik Sjostrom and Josh Gratton to NYR for Marcel Hossa, Al Montoya and a conditional draft pick

Calgary

- Traded a 3rd round pick to PHI for Jim Vandermeer

Vancouver

- Traded Matt Cooke to WSH for Matt Pettinger

Philadelphia

- Traded Alexandre Pickard and a conditional pick to TB for Vaclav Prospal - Traded Jim Vandermeer to CGY for a 3rd round pick - Traded a 3rd round pick to LA for Jaroslav Modry

Colorado

- Traded a 1st round pick to CBJ for Adam Foote - Traded Karlis Skrastins to FLA for Ruslan Salei

Carolina

- Traded Andrew Ladd to CHI for Tuomo Ruutu - Traded Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore to OTT for Patrick Eaves and Joe Corvo - Traded Justin Forrest to SJ for future considerations

Columbus

- Traded Adam Foote to COL for a 1st round pick - Traded Sergei Fedorov to WSH for Tedd Ruth - Traded Curtis Glencross to EDM for Dick Tarnstrom - Traded Jody Shelley to SJ for a 6th round pick

St. Louis

- Traded Bryce Salvador to NJ for Cam Janssen

Atlanta

- Traded Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 1st round draft pick

NY Islanders

- Traded Chris Simon to MIN for a 6th round draft pick - Traded Marc-Andre Bergeron to ANA for a 3rd round pick - Traded a 7th round pick to SJ for Rob Davison

Washington

- Traded Matt Pettinger to VAN for Matt Cooke - Traded Tedd Ruth to CBJ for Sergei Fedorov - Traded a 2nd round pick to MTL for Cristobal Huet

Florida

- Traded Ruslan Salei to COL for Karlis Skrastins - Traded a 5th round pick to TOR for Wade Belak

Analysis: Of the seventeen teams in this range, 4 were out-and-out buyers, 5 were out-and-out sellers, and 8 teams either stood pat or made moves of minimal impact. Of the four buyers, one was knocked out in the first round (Washington), two in the second (San Jose, Colorado) and the last in the Conference Finals (Philadelphia).

Of the eight teams that did little, four (PHO, VAN, CAR, STL) missed the playoffs, three (NSH, CGY, BOS)were knocked out in the first round, and one (NYR) made the second round. None of the sellers made the playoffs. On the other hand, it’s dangerous to read too much into this, as the selling teams were near the bottom of this range, and the buying teams near the top for the most part; in other words the success of these teams has more to do with their original strength than their moves at the trade deadline.

It is worth noting that most of these teams did a combination of buying and selling – presumably filling holes from positions of strength. It’s likely that most of the teams in this range this year will do the same. In my article yesterday, I suggested that the Oilers acquire a third line centre and move away some veterans on long-term contracts. Based on last season, it seems probable that the Oilers will do something along these lines. Likely, the teams at the top end of this group will become buyers, while the teams at the bottom end drop off and become sellers.

Also-Rans

Last Season: Chicago, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Los Angeles This Season: Phoenix, Colorado, Toronto, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, NY Islanders

Chicago

- Traded Martin Lapointe to OTT for a 6th round draft pick - Traded Andrew Ladd to CAR for Tuomo Ruutu

Edmonton

- Traded Dick Tarnstorm to CBJ for Curtis Glencross

Tampa Bay

- Traded Jan Hlavac to NSH for a 7th round draft pick - Traded Jay Leach to ANA for Brandon Segal and a conditional draft pick - Traded Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to DAL for Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern and a 1st round draft pick - Traded Vaclav Prospal to PHI for Alexandre Picard and a conditional draft pick

Toronto

- Traded Hal Gill to PIT for a 2nd and 5th round draft pick - Traded Wade Belak to FLA for a 5th round draft pick

Los Angeles

- Traded Brad Stuart to DET for a 2nd and 4th round draft pick - Traded Jean-Sebastien Aubin to ANA for a 7th round draft pick - Traded Jaroslav Modry to PHI for a 3rd round draft pick

Analysis: This is probably the most interesting bit to last season’s trade deadline. Chicago and Edmonton, two young teams coming off rebuilding seasons, made few moves, with Chicago sending out one pending UFA for a draft pick and making a player for player swap, while Edmonton sent off one pending UFA for another pending UFA. Even Toronto and LA only sent away role players, making the Lightning the only seller having a full-out fire-sale.

That likely suggests that the sellers this season won’t be parting with nearly as many marquis pieces as fans (and people like Eklund) would like – they may settle for sending off lower-profile free agents and taking lower draft picks in return.

Conclusion

It seems likely to me that trade deadline this year will be disappointing for the majority of fans out there; last season very few elite players moved, and most of those to a handful of top teams. The stronger teams in the middle range tend to turn into buyers, while the weaker teams drop further out of the playoffs and turn into sellers.

I’ve always been a little dubious as to the value of deadline acquisitions, but last season the teams that picked up pieces at the deadline seemed to do quite well for themselves, and there’s no denying that some of the names on this list were big factors down the stretch and in the playoffs.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Ender the Dragon
February 26 2009, 02:33PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

Is it safe to say that Atlanta is the walking dead

I wouldn't go quite that far, but they definitely have their work cut out for them getting back on track. I think it can be done, but they'll need some good PR guys and Kovy's help to do it.

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#52 Ender the Dragon
February 26 2009, 02:37PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Couldn't have said it better myself.

(and I mean that, seriously)

Well put.

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#53 APE - FMNF
February 26 2009, 02:40PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: and they need to win some games..

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#54 Deep Oil
February 26 2009, 02:49PM
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swany wrote:

sittingatmydesk wrote: BUCK75 - FMNF wrote: Come on Tambo - get moving lol… Pens trade Whitney to Ducks for Kunitz & Tangradi As if pittsburgh did that trade….idiots!!!! Yes they did do that trade The Ducks must be trading away salary Prongs next ?????

Here is pronger's blog pleading for his hockey life not to be traded out of socal - here is the man child stating his case - Laura must love it there with all the shopping and fine dining.....

http://www.chrispronger.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=51&Itemid=140

By the way for all oiler fans that still have a man crush on the Human Rake - you can still get a signed oiler jersey for $399 USD from his website..... wonder if allan watt knows that his logo is on a website without permission - go collect your pennies allan - someone is making money without Rexall Sports getting it's fair share.....

Click the link to see the jersey for sale.....

http://www.chrispronger.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=12213&category_id=353&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=153

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#55 Ender the Dragon
February 26 2009, 02:58PM
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@ APE - FMNF:

Agreed, that certainly couldn't hurt. :)

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#56 Deep Oil
February 26 2009, 03:02PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Deep Oil: Agreed that 1.2M is not an expensive contract; on the other hand, that likely wasn’t the contract the Oilers would have signed to get him. It’s hilarious that you can complain about the 2M/yr Nilsson deal and argue a few posts later that anything 2M or under isn’t really a risk. You ever see that demonstration that self-help folks do sometimes with rocks, sand and a glass jar? If you put the sand in first, you can’t fit in the rocks, but if you put the rocks in first the sand fits in around it. In other words, you need priorities, and on the priority scale Hossa >>> Glencross. If, as reported, Glencross was asking for significantly more money until UFA period actually struck, then Lowe was right to prioritize the way he did. And btw, the fact that Atlanta is averaging just over 14K fans/game doesn’t make it a crappy market; just last season they were hovering around the 16K mark, and they were higher before that. Losing drives fans away everywhere.

Sorry Mr. Willis if you read Mirtles posts - the Thrashers are papering the house - as is all of NHL USA cities with 4 tickets, free hot dogs, beer wine for $40 - $60 with free parking and NHL licensed caps. At the end of the day discounting your product long term can drastically affect season ticket sales as there is no scarcity.

How would you like to a be Rush Season Ticket Holder that dropped $30 - $40 a ticket x (2) and Urban drops his shorts to boost the barn with a sellout..... maybe a $1 deal on motorhomes would make sense too (LOL)..... bottom line this practise be in Atlanta, Tampa, PHX hurts long terms if the club can survive.....

I am not complaining about the money on Nilsson - but the fact that MACT throws both LOWE and the player under the bus with the exact reference that his lazy attitudes from the island are surfacing here - don't GM and Coach discuss long term player development before signing a player to a multi year deal - stop the problem before it blows up in your face - and get Nilsson a flipping alarm clock so he doesn't miss any more practises..... maybe he needs some memory FX from Rexall drugs or a wakeup call from Rexall Reminder.

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#57 Ender the Dragon
February 26 2009, 03:03PM
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@ Deep Oil:

I was going to ask why you hated this Allan Watt guy so much, but then I realized:

A) You don't need a reason, and B) I really don't care anyway.

Sorry, false alarm.

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#58 SquidRx
February 26 2009, 03:07PM
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@ Deep Oil: Did you realize that in it's infancy Rexall Drugs was whole or in part responsible for the worldwide distribution of DDT and Agent Orange? Rumor also has it that there was some fringe involvement with the whole Socrates and hemlock incident. That one has been more difficult to prove though. Now Rexall is involved in sports, coincidence?

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#59 Deep Oil
February 26 2009, 03:10PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

Deep Oil wrote: Is it safe to say that Atlanta is the walking dead I wouldn’t go quite that far, but they definitely have their work cut out for them getting back on track. I think it can be done, but they’ll need some good PR guys and Kovy’s help to do it.

How can management and employees focus on the task at hand when the owners are fighting to the death in court. When legal is the MO - you do nothing to preserve your job - trust me - I have seen corporate takeovers where people were getting two paycheques from both parties just to keep peace. As long as the ownership group is fighting tooth and nail - the PR department will be on a professional sabatical. No one makes a move - no one loses their job - just like in Radio when Astral took over the team 1260 - it was in idle and now you finally see some changes as they have a new GM with initiative and action - RE: WEBSITE / PODCASTS

Interesting that KATZ radio is rumored to be on it's way..... I didn't know that silent radio was the IN thing these days - as CHURCH MOUSE KATZ seems to chatter and not know that the license is worth more than the station and is part of a conglomerate not to be sold garage sale style.....

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#60 SquidRx
February 26 2009, 03:16PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

Interesting that KATZ radio is rumored to be on it’s way….. I didn’t know that silent radio was the IN thing these days - as CHURCH MOUSE KATZ seems to chatter and not know that the license is worth more than the station and is part of a conglomerate not to be sold garage sale style…..

Time for another dose of Seroquel my friend. Your trolly is floating farther and farther away from the tracks with every post you make.

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#61 dw
February 26 2009, 03:17PM
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Deep Oil You keep criticizing Katz as being silent. Why would he need to be vocal in the media about matters that pertain to the Oilers? That is not his function.

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#62 Deep Oil
February 26 2009, 03:17PM
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SquidRx wrote:

@ Deep Oil: Did you realize that in it’s infancy Rexall Drugs was whole or in part responsible for the worldwide distribution of DDT and Agent Orange? Rumor also has it that there was some fringe involvement with the whole Socrates and hemlock incident. That one has been more difficult to prove though. Now Rexall is involved in sports, coincidence?

Sorry Agent Orange was produced in Fort Saskatchewan under the DOW brand and distributed to major CHEMICAL corporations such as Univar here in Edmonton and around the world to the US Army.... the mess left in FS in terms of environmental damage is beyond comprehension.

Having one store in Capilano mall with father barry and becoming the cash flow reverse synergy via McKesson is more interesting as MBO and LBO are stated to be all Darryl's doing when it is known that DK could not even merge companies as a lawyer - seems like Barry is the power player with the eastern corporations of generics and pharms - such as Rexall Brands much like LIFE brands in Shoppers - using the Home Depot inventory model - Rexall is profitable - but who is entitled to the net funds - DK is just a front man and paid handsomely to keep it very private.

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#63 Ender the Dragon
February 26 2009, 03:19PM
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@ Deep Oil:

I can't believe I bother to reply to you, and yet I fear somhow that someone will be fooled into thinking you know something, so I must . . .

The ownership dispute in Atlanta boils down to an ownership group buying out one guy and quibbling over how much his shares are worth. Not nothing, but not anything that will bring the organization to it's knees, either. The Thrashers know where their checks are coming from; the Atlanta Spirit group isn't going anywhere, just one owner.

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#64 Ender the Dragon
February 26 2009, 03:20PM
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@ dw:

Amen, and thank you.

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#65 Deep Oil
February 26 2009, 03:33PM
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dw wrote:

Deep Oil You keep criticizing Katz as being silent. Why would he need to be vocal in the media about matters that pertain to the Oilers? That is not his function.

What is the function of an owner???

Leader, Guide, Visionary, Systems Management and Communication - the keys have been given to LaForge with Lowe holding fort as even Nicholls who is now employed by Rexall Sports to recoup his losses over the years has been mute - must be the corporate mantra from above Katz who lent him the other $100 million in addition to CIT group.

Example of a billionaire that answers to himself and not a pharmaceutical board in NJ - East River that has ties to questionable business practises.... Gene Melnyk is the opposite of Daryl Katz.

All Katz can do is spend to the cap - this is not unique.

He has personally failed in his mission to meet with UFA's and turn the tide to his persuasion.

What leadership has Katz installed within the season ticket base or fan base (television print revenue) - he is more Howard Hughes than hockey owner..... he trotted out his father due to his vacation in Europe this fall to avoid having the limelight on himself.... Have you noticed that RX2 is loudly silent these days. Where are the parties that have to come to the table Where is Katz $100mm that he promised - in trust - NO

What is the personal seat license charge ? Is this a one time fee or renewable every 10 years....

Cheers, Deep

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#66 Deep Oil
February 26 2009, 03:43PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

@ Deep Oil: I can’t believe I bother to reply to you, and yet I fear somhow that someone will be fooled into thinking you know something, so I must . . . The ownership dispute in Atlanta boils down to an ownership group buying out one guy and quibbling over how much his shares are worth. Not nothing, but not anything that will bring the organization to it’s knees, either. The Thrashers know where their checks are coming from; the Atlanta Spirit group isn’t going anywhere, just one owner.

Then why does respected hockey blogger Mirtle give them last rights - seems to me that people in Atlanta don't like hockey - plain and simple as as long as the owners are fighting legally - the disease leaks out corporately and amongst the staff / management - Don Wadell has kept his job based on the inaction of the ownership group - in the SPIRIT of Hogan's Heroes - I KNOW NOTHING - and that is the motto of Wadell....

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#67 dw
February 26 2009, 03:46PM
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@ Deep Oil: random irrelevant nonsense...

However, you're right that Katz is not Melnyk. Katz's team has a shot to make the playoffs this year...

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#68 Ender the Dragon
February 26 2009, 03:48PM
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Deep Oil; guy in the know, or guy who yells at stop signs? You be the judge.

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#69 SquidRx
February 26 2009, 03:48PM
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@ Deep Oil: I don't understand what you want from Darryl Katz. How can he do all these things you suggest when he is so busy sneaking through the Mir space station sabotaging it, heading a coup d'etat in lictenbabwayenburg, plotting to overthrow the Swiss banking industry, and chasing your dog around the backyard trying to kick it? He is only human.....or is he?????

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#70 Wanye Gretz
February 26 2009, 03:55PM
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I love it when Deep Oil shows up.

@ Deep Oil

Your writing is improving. I mean this. Good job.

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#71 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
February 26 2009, 04:08PM
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@ SquidRx:

Hes a time traveling alien from the 5th dimenision. Hell bent on keeping the agents of evil from altering our timeline.

http://startrekreview.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/gary_seven.jpg

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#72 dw
February 26 2009, 04:08PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: If by "improving" you mean "barely coherent" and by "I mean this" you mean "Holy crap you're crazy".

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#73 SquidRx
February 26 2009, 04:26PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

@ SquidRx: Hes a time traveling alien from the 5th dimenision. Hell bent on keeping the agents of evil from altering our timeline. http://startrekreview.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/gary_seven.jpg

Hmmmmmmm....I do see the resemblance.

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#74 Ender the Dragon
February 26 2009, 04:48PM
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@ dw:

Indubitably.

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#75 Bruno
February 26 2009, 05:04PM
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Are there ANY! Flames Fans here?

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#76 Travis Dakin
February 26 2009, 05:57PM
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Reading Deep Oils comments make me feel like I am in a movie or a dream or something. It's just so surreal. I don't know how to feel about it.

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#77 99thOilfan
February 26 2009, 09:42PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

I love it when Deep Oil shows up. @ Deep Oil Your writing is improving. I mean this. Good job.

You were always his "special" one. You will feel the pull of the dark side. Next you will be... "Darth Oil"

* Actually, I think that one might be taken - Sorry *

Comments are closed for this article.