March 03 2009 06:19PM
I wish I could say the smoking deal I discovered Monday night came by way of a phone tip from Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, but that wouldn't be true, so I'm going to digress before getting back to what's happening, or isn't, with your favourite hockey team.
I've been trying to quit smoking for at least 10 years now, but I don't have the willpower to stick with it. Still, I thought I'd give it another try this week, even if it's bad timing with the NHL trade deadline looming.
Saw an ad about a hypnotist being in town, a dude named Romane, so I coughed up my money and attended his seminar Monday night -- stressed that I might miss the BIG deal we all know Tambellini and Kevin Lowe are working on, which was not a great start.
Smoked about 18 cigars in the hour leading up to the event, then filed into a room with 200 other people like me -- stinking of tobacco and determined to stop spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment each month to turn my lungs into garbage.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the best thing about the seminar was the intermission -- we'd all been HYPNOTIZED by then -- because that gave everybody a chance to go outside and SMOKE.
Then, about an hour later, after we'd been HYPNOTIZED again and separated from more money for CDs and DVDs that would allow us to HYPNOTIZE ourselves at home, it was over. Everybody headed for the parking lot, and not a moment to soon. Time for a SMOKE.
OK, I just wrote 300 words on something that has nothing to do with hockey, but the good news is I didn't miss a damn thing in terms of Oilers trade news by spending an evening getting HYPNOTIZED.
What I know
- Like I said last week, Tambellini can move pending UFA Erik Cole if he wants to, and Carolina would be at the front of the line of teams interested. That's not "new" news, but it's the most solid item I've got and it hasn't gone away since I first heard it. I'm still convinced the Oilers would want to pry Tuomo Ruutu out of Carolina to consider the deal worthwhile.
- According to one source, the Oilers aren't interested in Olli Jokinen, who is being shopped by Phoenix. That runs contrary to what I thought just a week ago. I don't have a reason why the brain trust of the Copper and Blue isn't taking a look at Jokinen, only that, as of yesterday, he's drawing a shoulder shrug from them.
- As suggested by Jim Matheson in The Journal today, the Oilers are interested in Mark Recchi as a rental. It's not the big move Tambellini would like to make, but Recchi would come cheap and he'd help in the stretch.
- The Flyers are as keen about ridding themselves of Daniel Briere's salary as the Coyotes are about trimming Jokinen from the payroll. Lowe made a pitch for Briere before, so... That's a big chunk of salary to take on, but the Oilers see Briere as a better option than Jokinen. Still, a long shot.
- I knew I wasn't HYPNOTIZED when Romane told me my eyelids were so heavy I wouldn't be able to open them and all I could think was that if I didn't have a rocket soon, like in the next 10 minutes, somebody was going to get kicked in the groin.
What I think
- Robert Nilsson won't need a return ticket home from this road trip.
- I said last week Tom Gilbert would be available this summer and I wonder if you can add Ladislav Smid's name to that list. Despite increased ice time in the absence of Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov, I wonder if Smid sees himself here long term. He's got Sheldon Souray, Visnovsky and Gilbert ahead of him on the depth chart and Theo Peckham, Taylor Chorney and Jeff Petry on the way.
- I think Tambellini and Lowe will stand pat rather than make any deal that jeopardizes a playoff spot in the name of future gains. There's no way Craig MacTavish survives a third straight year out of the post-season and there's no way Lowe will have a hand in a deal that gets him bumped.
- Best bet for Wednesday: Oilers dump a contract (Nilsson, Marc Pouliot or JF Jacques) for a rental.
- Even HYPNOTIZED, there's no way MacTavish. Romane or anybody else is going to convince me Liam Reddox is a first-line player. If he is, you've got a bad, bad hockey team.
-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.