What go-to guys?

Robin Brownlee
March 06 2009 12:00PM

newhope2

When the Edmonton Oilers miss the playoffs, they'll look back on losses like Thursday's indifferent 4-2 shoulder shrug against the feeble Ottawa Senators and untimely no-shows by their best players as the reason why.

It's fine and good that GM Steve Tambellini did what he could to address the Oilers lack of secondary scoring with the acquisitions of Patrick O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik Wednesday.

But, really, doesn't that amount to an exercise in futility when the primary scoring has gone south faster than a charter bus loaded with grey-haired grannies packing cupfuls of quarters destined for Reno?

Having welcomed O'Sullivan and Kotalik with Thursday's gritty, determined throw-down against the Senators in a game they absolutely had to win, the Oilers didn't get much out of the new guys. Understandable.

But what's the excuse for Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner and Sheldon Souray? Craig MacTavish's go-to guys haven't done much of late in the name of a playoff push, just when the team needs them most.

The go-to-guys have gone away.

No-shows

O'Sullivan and Kotalik can fill the net -- they won't -- but it won't be enough unless Horcoff, Hemsky, Penner and Souray start producing again.

Horcoff has one assist in his last five games. Hemsky has two goals in his last eight games. Penner doesn't have a point in eight games. Souray has been held off the sheet in four straight games.

Fernando Pisani has one assist in the four games he's played since returning from a broken ankle. Robert Nilsson had no sniff in seven straight games before MacTavish yanked him from the line-up three games ago.

The only veteran who has consistently pulled his weight of late is Dwayne Roloson, and he looked like he's wearing down against the Senators after making 20 straight starts.

With the deadline come and gone and 18 games to play, there's no help on the way as the Oilers cling to eighth place, for now, going into games against Toronto and Montreal to wrap-up a four-game road trip.

Early tee times beckon.

It takes time

Expecting a player acquired at the deadline to contribute offensively right away is a risky proposition, even when a team's supposed go-to guys haven't had their hands turn into frozen blocks of wood.

As often as a player comes in an makes an immediate impact the way Olli Jokinen did with Calgary, it takes players a handful of games to settle in. That's why O'Sullivan and Kotalik, who hadn't exactly been tearing up the pea patch when acquired, are in a tough spot.

Some players have arrived at the deadline and contributed right away. Sergei Samsonov comes to mind during the 2006 Stanley Cup run. Sammy scored 5-11-16 in 19 games down the stretch.

Petr Nedved also lit it up on his first tour after being acquired in 2004 from the New York Rangers. Nedved tallied 5-10-15 in 16 games, although he wasn't enough to get the Oilers into the post-season.

For others, the transition hasn't been as seamless. In 2003, Radek Dvorak managed 4-4-8 in 12 games, but Brad Isbister didn't pack as much punch with 3-2-5 in 13 games. In 2002, Mike York arrived from Manhattan and struggled to 2-2-4 in 12 games.

While it's not like Erik Cole was burning out bulbs in goal lights when he got his return ticket home, the glare of the spotlight on O'Sullivan and Kotalik will be intensified as long as Hemsky and Co. are impersonating Todd Marchant in a non-contract year.

Just asking...

  • If a player's name is "O'Sullivan," is there something wrong with referring to him as, well, "O'Sullivan?" What is this debate between "Patty-O" and "Sully?" Both are so witty, so brilliant, does it matter which one you use?
  • With almost two full seasons in the books since Penner hit the Oiler version of the Pay Day Lottery, is there anybody out there who still thinks he's going to earn his salary during the life of the contract? Anybody?
  • What's this I hear about Ladislav Smid and his agent asking for a trade on two separate occasions?

-- 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 Librarian Mike
March 06 2009, 02:32PM
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@ CurtisS: Oh yeah, no question that was a bad call on his part. That's seriously dangerous. It just makes me wonder though how much of that behavior is as a result of frustration at his place in the organization. To be clear, he was wrong to do it but I can understand that feeling.

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#52 misfit
March 06 2009, 02:38PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

In 2003, Radek Dvorak managed 4-4-8 in 12 games, but Brad Isbister didn’t pack as much punch with 3-2-5 in 13 games.

It's funny you mention these guys. After we made the deals at the deadline, all I could think of was how familiar all the things people have been saying about Kotalik were, and how the exact things were said about Isbister.

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#53 Bruno
March 06 2009, 02:40PM
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socaldave wrote:

the glare of the spotlight on O’Sullivan and Kotalik will be intensified as long as Hemsky and Co. are impersonating Todd Marchant in a non-contract year. HA!

Hemsky and Marchant should NEVER be compared or used in the same sentence. Shame on you socaldave Shame on you!!! Marchant can skate faster than all three of those guys.........................deep breath...........BLLAAAAAAAA!!! come on MANG!

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#54 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 02:41PM
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@ Librarian Mike: I totally agree. Look at the season down there. THan look at Mact ripping you in public while your not even playing for him. Still gotta be professional though.

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#55 Librarian Mike
March 06 2009, 02:52PM
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@ CurtisS: You know what the worst thing about this is? Now MacT can go and say "See, I was right about this guy all along."

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#56 Robin Brownlee
March 06 2009, 02:56PM
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@ Librarian Mike: I'm not sure who the writer of this item is, or if the item that was posted here is an actual sidebar or just made to look like one, but I talked to Springfield coach Rob Daum minutes ago and he says the account is overblown.

Dam told me: "He (Schremp) was in the neutral zone. He went to clear the puck out so he could get a change and their door was open. He didn't fire it in their bench. "I didn't see it that way. Why would he shoot the puck at their coach?"

I've know Daum a long time. I take him at his word.

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#57 The Towel Boy
March 06 2009, 02:57PM
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Ok, in regards to the picture in the article above: Who the hell is Princess Leia? Just wondering.

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#58 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 06 2009, 02:57PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Of course the coach for Steve Downie's team said that slashing incident was an "accident" too.

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#59 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 06 2009, 02:58PM
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@ The Towel Boy:

That looks like Kotalik.

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#60 Colin
March 06 2009, 02:59PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer:

Steve Downie has a history of being a douche.

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#61 Librarian Mike
March 06 2009, 03:04PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Fair enough. Thanks for checking.

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#62 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 06 2009, 03:08PM
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@ Colin:

And RS is a poster child for the lady bing?

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#63 Robin Brownlee
March 06 2009, 03:08PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: Of course the coach for Steve Downie’s team said that slashing incident was an “accident” too.

Robin Brownlee wrote:

I’ve know Daum a long time. I take him at his word.

When I take the time to actually phone the coach and then back up what he says based on my belief he's an honest guy, does that mean anything or could you just not resist displaying your wit with the Downie reference? If you want answers, I'll get them. If you don't, then don't ask.

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#64 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 03:12PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Ill get the story link

http://blogs.unionleader.com/monarchs/?p=53

You can also watch the video

http://ahl.neulion.com/team/console.jsp

Go to free highlites than click on the Falcons vs Monarchs game

I watched it multiple times. Just check it out and see for yourself.

Btw....Im a huge Rob Schremp fan. Just watch it though.

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#65 DK0
March 06 2009, 03:13PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Ok, in regards to the picture in the article above: Who the hell is Princess Leia? Just wondering.

I thought it was Ryan Smyth, I thought that was the joke....

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#66 The Towel Boy
March 06 2009, 03:13PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

@ The Towel Boy: That looks like Kotalik.

I think Luke Skywalker is Kotalik. I think.

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#67 Librarian Mike
March 06 2009, 03:14PM
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@ DK0: Duh! It's Sarah Jessica Parker.

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#68 The Towel Boy
March 06 2009, 03:16PM
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DK0 wrote:

I thought it was Ryan Smyth, I thought that was the joke….

Ohh...maybe it is Ryan Smyth. I guess I didn't get the joke then.

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#69 The Towel Boy
March 06 2009, 03:17PM
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@ Librarian Mike:

YES! SJP all the way. The nose, the close together eyes...it all fits.

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#70 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 03:17PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: I posted all the links you need to see but its awaiting moderation

Anyways, go to the ahl site. Go to neulion. Go to free highlites. Go to Falcons vs Monarchs game.

Watch for yourself. Than tell me what you think. Im a huge fan of RS but it was on purpose. Take the time to watch

Thanks

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#71 GSC
March 06 2009, 03:19PM
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This is why Staios and one of Grebeshkov/Gilbert needs to go, the development of a future top 4 shutdown defenceman is being F'ed with by placing Smid in the 3rd pair.

When will this organization stop mismanaging their assets?

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#72 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 03:20PM
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My links are now posted.

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#73 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 06 2009, 03:23PM
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I couldnt resist displaying my wit because what else is the coach going to say? "Yeah he was pretty frustrated so he decided to take off the head of the coach."

It sounds like a pretty confusing situation. How does the door being open cause the puck to be swatted down by a gloved hand on the bench. Without seeing the video Its hard to make a definite opinion. But the fact remains were a day removed from a fairly intentional incident against an offical, and the organization and coaching staff are pleading innocent despite all evidence to the contrary. It happens where coaches see things a bit differently because they are attached emotionally to their own player.

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#74 bingofuel
March 06 2009, 03:23PM
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@ The Towel Boy: Princess Leia is a badly-stretched Dustin Penner.

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#75 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 03:24PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer: Watch the video. IMO it was intentional.

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#76 Robin Brownlee
March 06 2009, 03:25PM
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@ CurtisS: Watched it. Doesn't tell me anything -- except that the Manchester announcer has homerism mastered. Clearly, you're more adept than I at being able to read motive into a play and know what Schremp is thinking.

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#77 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 03:25PM
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Its at the 3:15 mark of the Video

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#78 The Towel Boy
March 06 2009, 03:28PM
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bingofuel wrote:

@ The Towel Boy: Princess Leia is a badly-stretched Dustin Penner.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Ok. So it's sorta what he'd look like if he would stop drinking melted butter instead of just plain water during games then. Alright.

RE: Rob Schremp Video

Looked like he was trying to pass to the winger there...but, possibly in anger of sucking, got a bit too much of the puck. Cuz there was a Falcon player right there where the puck was shot... Just sayin..

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#79 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 03:28PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Not at all, I love Schremp. In my honest opinion do I think it was intentional. I do. I hate to say it but i do. The way he looks up and pauses than puts some zip on it. More than coincedence.

Anyways I hope nothing happens and it all gets thrown under the rug. I would hate for anything to become of it cause there is no proving what Rob was thinking.

Just thought I would bring it to your attention to see what you thought. Thanks for talking to Duam. Im glad nothing more is going to come of it.

Thanks

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#80 bingofuel
March 06 2009, 03:30PM
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@ CurtisS: I think it's impossible to tell from that video.

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#81 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 03:32PM
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@ bingofuel: I have been watching Rob for years. His stick skills are way to good to say "that one slipped"

Anyways Im honestly glad to hear its not going to be a big deal. As a Robbie fan I was a little worried.

Ill move on now.

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#82 woody
March 06 2009, 03:35PM
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Robin:

Are you on board with Lowetide in thinking that if the Oilers miss the dance that MacTavish will undoubtedly be let go?

If you are of the same mind, who do you envision the Oilers hiring to replace MacT? I've been a regular in the SportsNet forum for a while and the "Fire MacT" contingent has been LOUD for more than a year now but the thing is, when you put the question to these folks, "who do you replace him with?", the standard pat answer is either "ex-nhl coach A,B or C" or "uhh...I dunno...that's a toughie!".

So, I'm really curious what your thoughts might be. If MacT is let go does the other bench staff go with him? Does letting the coach go set off more dominoes? Where does it end?

My thoughts are if I'm Lowe and I do indeed have to let my friend go I immediately ask permission from NJ to talk to Brent Sutter. I remember hearing a while back he was homesick. No nepotism. Not a boy from the bus. Good pedigree.

If you have any ideas of your own I'd love to hear them.

-Woody

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#83 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 06 2009, 03:37PM
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That video is inconclusive. What exactly was he aiming at if it wasnt the bench? If your going to clear the puck for a line change, you shoot it....into the neutral zone?

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#84 CurtisS
March 06 2009, 03:41PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer: No use arguing about it

I just wanted some clarifacation from a guy with some Oilers sources as to whats happening.

Brownlee said its all over blown. As a Robbie fan Im glad nothing is going to come of it.

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#85 Jeff
March 06 2009, 03:56PM
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MAP, Mr. Poiliot is garbage. Him and Neilsen need to get shipped out of town. Try and trade them at the draft or put them on waivers. These guys are not winners and will NEVER be consistent contributors and will NEVER play with enough intensity to be difference-makers for the Oil.

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#86 Robin Brownlee
March 06 2009, 04:03PM
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@ woody: I don't know what Katz will do because he is firmly in MacTavish's corner and there's a relationship there. I do think MacTavish and his coaches should be fired if the team misses the playoffs. The other guy I'd be looking at is Kevin Lowe, but he's already stepped back and has a broader role with Rexall Sports, to that might be a pound of flesh fans never get.

As for replacements, I haven't thought that far ahead, but I would be looking at newer blood, not receycled old guys. The significant exceptions would be Ken Hitchcock or Mike Babcock, but that's not going to happen. For younger guys, I'd be looking at Geoff Ward (Boston) or maybe somebody like Perry Pearn.

By the way, you can't get permission to talk to a guy like Sutter because head coach to head coach is a lateral move. Most assistants around the league have an out that allows them to move up with another team, but you can't just phone up another team and say, "We like your head coach, can we talk to him?"

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#87 W.T.
March 06 2009, 04:04PM
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W.T. suggests that the players have stop listening/playing for MacT. W.T. has never once said to let MacT go, but after another poor effort last night, what is left to do? If your top players aren't putting in the effort then that should tell everyone something.

W.T. also suggests that everyone laughed at him when he suggested Smid was involved in trade talks with Atlanta. You all still laughing now?

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#88 Robin Brownlee
March 06 2009, 04:20PM
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@ W.T.: Howard, there's a big difference between a trade request -- that to my knowledge wasn't set in motion from Edmonton's end -- and having Smid involved in trade talks with Atlanta. That's a quantum leap.

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#89 Dennis
March 06 2009, 04:48PM
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27 might not be covering the bet but he's still the best option at LW; unless 19 makes an early splash.

So, MacT can keep punishing him or moving him around or he can wucking around and put him back with 10-83 and re-unite our best line of the season.

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#90 the Menace
March 06 2009, 04:59PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ W.T.: Howard, there’s a big difference between a trade request — that to my knowledge wasn’t set in motion from Edmonton’s end — and having Smid involved in trade talks with Atlanta. That’s a quantum leap.

"howard"? that's awesome.

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#91 B-rad
March 06 2009, 05:01PM
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W.T.......stop talking in third person you moron. I hope he oilers make the playoffs and I never have to read one of your George Castanza wanna be posts.

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#92 bingofuel
March 06 2009, 05:08PM
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But W.T. likes his chicken spicy!

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#93 B-rad
March 06 2009, 05:13PM
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@ bingofuel:

haha...

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#94 West Coast Oil
March 06 2009, 05:14PM
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The scary thing with the Oilers that people need to realise is we have not played to full potential this year and are still in a playoff position. If the team had played balls to the wall hockey for at least 70% of the season rather than 30% where in the standings would we be right now? Based on this I do not think the team is untalented like many state I think they need a new motivator and that is why I have been an advocate of getting rid of MacT..

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#95 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 06 2009, 05:21PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer thinks the Oilers are an average team that plays with no fire. Jack "FMNF" Bauer thinks that the idea of "The Oilers are a playoff team, therefore just wait" is pretty bogus.

Jack "FMNF" Bauer thinks this team acts like a bunch of pansies and will get run off the ice should it make the playoffs.

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#96 B-rad
March 06 2009, 05:31PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

Jack “FMNF” Bauer thinks the Oilers are an average team that plays with no fire. Jack “FMNF” Bauer thinks that the idea of “The Oilers are a playoff team, therefore just wait” is pretty bogus. Jack “FMNF” Bauer thinks this team acts like a bunch of pansies and will get run off the ice should it make the playoffs.

I just threw up in my mouth...a little bit.

haha

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#97 W.T.
March 06 2009, 05:38PM
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@ B-rad: This from a person that doesn't know how to spell"the"

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#98 Librarian Mike
March 06 2009, 06:00PM
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@ W.T.: But doesn't W.T. stand for 'Warrior The'?

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#99 Bruno
March 06 2009, 06:13PM
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W.T. wrote:

W.T. also suggests that everyone laughed at him when he suggested Smid was involved in trade talks with Atlanta. You all still laughing now?

See, Warrior in Texas> How are we laughing at anything other than you. You still fail to back up your "Knowing it all" come on mang!

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#100 KayleW
March 06 2009, 06:14PM
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@librarian mike F**king priceless!!

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