The Lewinsky Effect

Robin Brownlee
March 08 2009 11:48AM

"I did not have sex with that woman." What else did you expect Bill Clinton to say after he got caught with his pants around his ankles and Monica Lewinsky under his desk in the Oval Office several years ago? "She was polishing my shoes?"

And, what else do you expect Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid to say now that it's come to light he requested a trade -- or at the very least suggested the possibility -- on at least two occasions, and perhaps as many as four times, since last season?

Well, to hear Joanne Ireland of The Journal tell it, neither I nor broadsheet colleague David Staples at the Cult Of Hockey know what we're talking about. Ireland chimed in with an item atop her Oilspills notebook today after I broke the news of Smid's trade request last week and Staples confirmed it Saturday.

After I made multiple mentions of Smid's trade request on this site. Staples reported: "At Oilers Nation, reporter Robin Brownlee has hinted that Ladislav Smid has asked to be traded twice this year. A reliable source has confirmed this for me, and said the actual number is four."

Two? Four? None?

The D&D Ploy

Under the subhead "Trade Talk Surprise," Ireland's take is...

"If Ladislav Smid's camp has made a recent trade request, it's news to the defenceman -- and to the Oilers. "Some guy is just writing some (crap) on the Internet about me asking to be traded," he said after Saturday's morning skate. "You know Edmonton. There's lots of rumours. I don't even pay attention to it, but my girlfriend called me yesterday to tell me I wanted to be traded. Smid had said in the off-season that, if he wasn't going to fit into their plans, management could consider moving him. It has not been ceaseless "begging," as one blogger suggested."

I guess Ireland could make an argument on two fronts. One is the definition of "recent." The other is the term "begging." I'm not sure what blogger wrote about ceaseless "begging," but it wasn't me.

Either way, it's splitting hairs and a classic case of "downplay and deny" when you're writing the beat and somebody gets the jump on you when it comes to something you're supposed to know first.

I was guilty of that more than once during my time as the beat man at the Journal and the Sun. The worst case of that was the time I got waxed on the Oilers interest in having Bill Ranford return for a second tour. Clearly beaten on the story by Mario Annicchiarico while I was at the Journal, I not only downplayed it, I wrote several items suggesting there was NO WAY it would happen. I took the big time egg facial on that one.

Understandable Position

Look, it's never been suggested that Smid and agent Ritch Winter were in GM Steve Tambellini's ear right up to the trade deadline demanding a trade. That's not the case.

Likewise, Smid doesn't deserve to be lumped in with Chris Pronger, who took a big stack of money from the Oilers and then bailed a year into his contract because his wife didn't want to be here.

That would be grossly unfair to Smid and, given how raw Oilers fans are already at being shunned by some players, would put him in a bad light, to say the least. Smid doesn't deserve that, especially with him contributing to the playoff effort in the stretch drive.

I can see how Smid would look at Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky, Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov ahead of him on the depth chart and wonder if he's ever going to get a shot at being more than a third-pairing guy here. I mean, when he was being scratched or played up on the wing earlier this season, that's a reasonable question.

What Smid wants is an opportunity to grow into a bigger role, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with. In fact, there'd be something wrong if he DIDN'T want that opportunity.

I'd suggest that if Smid continues to develop, keeps playing as he has in the stretch drive and some other cards fall as they might this summer, he'll get the opportunity he seeks.

For what it's worth, I'd like nothing more than to see the situation unfold that way because I think Smid can be a top-four guy. I hope the feelings he has expressed in the past -- that it might be better to move on -- aren't written in stone.

That doesn't, however, change the fact that he and his agent did raise the possibility of a trade with Oilers management -- no matter how anybody spins it now.

-- 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 alphah
March 08 2009, 06:30PM
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For the record, Did Pronger demand a trade or request a trade?

He requested it. He never issued an ultimatum. (at least as far as the public was made aware) He never went as far as to suggest that he wouldn't play if he was not moved. That may have wound up being the case, but he didn't have the audacity to say it. Whats the difference between a Pronger request and a Smid request? Pronger has more clout, Pronger has a much higher value...?

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#52 Brian Burke
March 08 2009, 06:40PM
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alphah wrote:

For the record, Did Pronger demand a trade or request a trade? He requested it. He never issued an ultimatum. (at least as far as the public was made aware) He never went as far as to suggest that he wouldn’t play if he was not moved. That may have wound up being the case, but he didn’t have the audacity to say it. Whats the difference between a Pronger request and a Smid request? Pronger has more clout, Pronger has a much higher value…?

Not if your Kevin Lowe pulling the trigger in a panick.

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#53 Brian Burke
March 08 2009, 06:41PM
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alphah wrote:

Travis Dakin wrote: alphah wrote: If Smid really demanded a trade, this would in fact mean that he will be a strong candidate for being packaged up and shipped out going forward, right? No once was it said that he DEMANDED a trade. Inquiring about options for your future if you feel under appreciated is a far cry from digging your feet in and giving an ultimatum. In this instance “requested” is very soft language and you are using it to blur the line between something like “inquired about ice time” and wanting to be moved off of the club. Demanded might be too strong a word but at least it is clear and concise in what it represents. The question is: Did Ladislav Smid want out of Edmonton and off of the Oilers? Brownlee says yes, and so I believe him. He didn’t take issue with my choice of words. With Joanne Ireland writing her wishy washy article there isn’t a lot of room for pussyfooting around with soft language. There is either a story here or there isn’t and using a word like “requested” in a context with the word “trade” only serves to blur the lines. Some people may interpret it as a tea-and-crumpets session between player and management where the concept had arisen. To me that does not constitute a trade request. Smid discussing ice time with management does not constitute a trade request. A trade request is official notice. Demand may infer an ultimatum which I do not intend to insinuate at all, but I was just trying to eliminate any room for interpretation and avoid any softer language.

It was due to MacT's flip flop coaching that he wanted out of.

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#54 Travis Dakin
March 08 2009, 06:58PM
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alphah wrote:

The question is: Did Ladislav Smid want out of Edmonton and off of the Oilers? Brownlee says yes, and so I believe him.

No he didn't say he wanted out of the Oilers. In fact, he was very clear that what Smid wanted was to have more of an opportunity. Smid sees who is ahead of him on the depth chart and sees little opportunity so he talked to management about possibilities for the future.

Your wording of "demananded" is concise. It says, "I don't like being here and I want out." Which has never been implied by Brownlee or Staples. What was implies was that he was unhappy with his ice time and responsibilites and wants a more prominent roll.

This is all semantics but to say he demanded a trade puts him in the league of Pronger and that is unfair to him. It also gets people around the town using that kind of language which in turn will vilify Smid to the fanbase.alphah wrote:

For the record, Did Pronger demand a trade or request a trade? He requested it. He never issued an ultimatum

Where asre you getting this? two days after game 7, word came out that he wanted out. The trade was all done behind the scenes and Pronger never got a chance to show how serious he was. Lowe moved him before the opportunity of a hold out occured. He did this to save face for both Pronger and the team. Whether or not that was the right decision reamains debatable.alphah wrote:

Demand may infer an ultimatum which I do not intend to insinuate at all, but I was just trying to eliminate any room for interpretation and avoid any softer language.

That's just it. A demand would not have been denied by Smid. If he wanted out that bad he would make it known. Requesting a trade is not soft language.

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#55 David S
March 08 2009, 07:12PM
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rindog wrote: If you go to the Hurricanes website - you can actually hear the entire interview. There is no hiding his excitement to come back to the Hurricanes. Does that mean he hated it here…who knows?

Look at who he's playing with now. Real, bonafide NHL players who've been around enough to know you bring it every night (like Cole did). Cole's happiness illustrates the core problem of the Oilers - too many kids and guys with limited experience.

Compared to what he was dealing with, this must be like taking a 100 pound weight off his back. No wonder he's happy and no wonder he's lighting it up in Carolina. I bet it's got nothing to do with anything more than that.

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#56 alphah
March 08 2009, 07:14PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

No he didn’t say he wanted out of the Oilers. In fact, he was very clear that what Smid wanted was to have more of an opportunity. Smid sees who is ahead of him on the depth chart and sees little opportunity so he talked to management about possibilities for the future... Which has never been implied by Brownlee or Staples. What was implies was that he was unhappy with his ice time and responsibilites and wants a more prominent roll. This is all semantics but to say he demanded a trade puts him in the league of Pronger and that is unfair to him.

You are right in saying that this is all semantics but semantics seem to be the basis for Ireland's article so they are important here. The motivation for Smid's requests has been established, but we have a gap to close here. If it came to the point of him making a request, then he did in fact want out of the Oilers. If he requested a trade (regardless of the motivation), it means it came to a point where he personally felt that the issues were not being resolved by the organization and he wanted out. Out of Edmonton, off the team. Otherwise he would not procede with requesting a trade.

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#57 Robin Brownlee
March 08 2009, 07:24PM
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@ alphah: Guys. Smid requested a trade on multiple occasions. That's a fact. The motivation for his request was based on what he perceived at the time as absence of opportunity in the context of being able to become more than a third-pairing defenceman.

That's a far cry from requsting or demanding a trade based on not liking the city, hating the travel and the weather, disliking the coach or any other non-performance-based reason.

I really don't see why you're going back and forth on this one.

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#58 Chris
March 08 2009, 08:02PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

No he didn’t say he wanted out of the Oilers. In fact, he was very clear that what Smid wanted was to have more of an opportunity. Smid sees who is ahead of him on the depth chart and sees little opportunity so he talked to management about possibilities for the future.</blockquote Poor Smid has just been suffering from garden variety 'Roid Rage... I mean who really goes from 205 to 225 in one summer?
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#59 Chris
March 08 2009, 08:14PM
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Answer. A Guy who is trying to take the next step. Smid has worked really hard to evolve his game. Smid lacks the big shot but has really developed more bark in his own end... I seiously doubt he is using steriod (poor comment)... but Smid has found an edge... I hope he doesn't leave.

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#60 APE - FMNF
March 08 2009, 08:45PM
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Smid needs to toughen up. He gets hurt every game. He's our very own Calro Coliacavo. Saying all this, I am a fan of his though and I hope they move one of Gilbert/Grebeshkov instead and slide Smid up into the 2nd pairing.

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#61 Mike L
March 08 2009, 09:54PM
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Tyler wrote:

But then I’m not Jason Gregor.

You are so right, because we actually care what Gregor thinks. I read Staples piece when he asked Gregor his thoughts and I agreed with everything he said.

Most bloggers write so much garbage about guys, because they never have to face the person they rip. Guys like you who take pots shots at people from the comfy confines of your desk are a joke. You would never have the guts to say any of that if you had to face the players or even a guy like Gregor I bet.

I find it interesting how guys like you come on here to post. Why? You have your own site don't you? I guess since no one reads it you have to come here and spew your garbage. Do us a favour and don't. If we wanted to read your stuff we'd go to your crap site, but based on the minimal amount of traffic you get it is clear people don't care what you think.

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#62 David S
March 08 2009, 10:46PM
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The reason Tyler's MC79 site doesn't get the traffic this place does is because it's a niche place specializing in the sweet science of stats and the advanced level of inference those guys come up with on a regular basis. It's not meant to be a place for the average kid to spout off about chicks and beers. I'm not a stats guy myself, but Dennis and Tyler come up with some pretty amazing stuff.

As far as Tyler goes, he been fairly level headed with the MSM guys here, while Dennis is the more radical of the two. While I may not agree with how they say things sometimes and the constant digging at the MSM, they do have a point more often than not.

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#63 yo
March 08 2009, 11:30PM
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Joanne Ireland caught my attention last summer around the June/July period when she showed more balls than many other reporters, no offence intended to R.B on this one. She asked Kevin Lowe if his inability to make a significant trade for top six players was impacted by the now infamous offer sheets. If looks could kill...KLowe glared at her and could barely contain his rage. He was fumbling for words to chew her out but couldn't find any in front of the cameras. She stood her ground and I thought that was a question that was a fair one but evidently Lowe didn't like the implication.

I hope the Nation continues to be a voice that isn't pressured by the right's holder's minions to filter the information we read. Great response Robin.

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#64 Dennis
March 08 2009, 11:34PM
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RB: Bloggers defend other bloggers.

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#65 James Mirtle
March 08 2009, 11:42PM
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Mike L wrote:

If we wanted to read your stuff we’d go to your crap site, but based on the minimal amount of traffic you get it is clear people don’t care what you think.

I'm not sure I'd equate traffic with quality on the blogosphere given some of the "successful" stuff out there.

Besides, I hear Tyler has a decent day job.

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#66 Fiveandagame
March 09 2009, 02:39AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

I just listened to the Rick Olczyk interview (and Captain 2 minutes interview BTW) but did Eddy keep calling you Robert?

Dude seriously , this being sunday and all I think Rick Olczyk deserves a righteous sack beating for that continuous blunder.... Sure he doesn't do many interviews but haven't you covered the Oiler since they were born? Sack beating it is....

I also have to say, since I have taken a more pessimistic point of view with this team, I have found your writing to be insightful and accurate. (on a side note I ran into Ethan Moreau at the eye doctors. He's gonna be fine but my rose coloured glasses for 08-09 are totally fubarred... ) Points to you Mr. Brownlee, points to you. You called it in September... you we're as fun to have around as a hornets nest on your easy chair back then.... but you were right.... except about Garon...

and no I will never let that go and that will be a trump card for eternity :)

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#67 Fiveandagame
March 09 2009, 02:40AM
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Dennis wrote:

RB: Bloggers defend other bloggers.

Sweatpants unite!!!!

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#68 Fiveandagame
March 09 2009, 02:43AM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

Dennis wrote: RB: Bloggers defend other bloggers. Sweatpants unite!!!!

Except Willis... He wears Jammers!

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#69 smytty777
March 09 2009, 09:10AM
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I don't really get the animosity between the MSM and bloggers. The MSM guys provide something the bloggers don't and the bloggers provide something the MSM doesn't.

At the end of the day all of it is good reading and provides better overall coverage of the Oilers. I can't imagine going back to the days where the MSM was the only source of Oilers news.

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#70 J-Rock
March 09 2009, 09:50AM
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Just getting back to the MacT issue.

Remember a few years ago when Craig Simpson was our "PP" coach? Our PP sucked and pretty much all in Oil land blamed Simmer.

What happened after he left?

Same crap power play, thats what.

I guess the point I am trying to make is its to easy to blame the coach when things aren't going great, but alot of the times its acutally the players who are going to have the biggest impact on the results.

Is a coaching change ever going to work?

Of course, but its not always the answer. In fact I believe its the lazy mans answer. Instead of looking at each member of the team and the team as a unit, you quickly single out the coach.

Take Lindy Ruff & Barry "I got the" Trotz for example.

- Both have been coachs for their teams for many years. - Both have had good and bad years in their time. - the differnce in those years............the players they had to coach.

Mac T dosent have a great team here.

He doesnt even have a really good team.

Lets all stop pretending he does.

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#71 Milli
March 09 2009, 09:54AM
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This is awesome. I, for one hope that Smid stays and continues to develop. I really like his toughness. I can understand as a young guy wanting to play, and those are the player we should want. If he was satisfied to sit in the press box, that would be a real problem, if he pulled a Donkey and demanded a trade, another problem. I would love to see tambo move one of our top 4 Dmen for a sniper, and move Laddi up into the top 4. Also, sure Cole is happy to go back home, but I don't think that there is any denying what he brought evey game, I miss him. He was tough on the puck, drew a ton of penalties, and ya, look who he played all year with????

Anyone else notice how it looks like Penner could give even less of a sh1t what is going on on the ice? I have never really hated his game, but the last few, it looks like he could care less.

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#72 The Towel Boy
March 09 2009, 10:06AM
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Milli wrote:

Anyone else notice how it looks like Penner could give even less of a sh1t what is going on on the ice? I have never really hated his game, but the last few, it looks like he could care less.

Oh, agreed. He looks to be 7 or 8 ham sandwiches behind the play at all times.

I just wish that big Mack Truck would wake up one day and would play at least one game like Lindros...minus the whining and concussions of course. I just wanna see him plow down the ice and have 3 guys on his back and stick handling one handed to the net. Just once. Then I'd be happy.

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#73 The times they are a changin - OilersNation.com
March 09 2009, 10:19AM
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[...] “Some guy is just writing some (crap) on the Internet about me asking to be traded” –Ladislav Smid on Brownlee reporting that Smid rightly wants an opportunity deserving of his skill. [...]

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#74 Deep Oil
March 09 2009, 11:24AM
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I am taking some steps back here.....

1) Smid according to RB wants to be traded.

2) RB gets smeared in via Ireland - otherwise known as hockeypedia.

3) Trade deadline has come and gone - rosters are frozen - this is much ado about nothing.

4) Must be a slow news day for this $900k defenceman to gather the attention of DanT, RB and a cover up via Ireland - fighting over scraps. As an RFA, does it really matter....today. with the team holding on by it's fingernails and all opportunity to make a change gone until July or his rights - but I do not see a lineup at the door.

If GM's can trade a player without consent in most cases (unless your John Feruson now Burke - no movement being handed out like candy), then asking for a trade is just business. Some comments have been made referencing Pronger - to which I reply..... what was the rush to move Pronger out - was his wife going to throw a temper tantrum or was she making DOHO nervous.... in the end as my belief - LOWE really got bent over on this one by both Pronger and Burke - noting his panic attack that the human rake wanted out of ETOWN....

It just appears that Ladi as an RFA should of just waited it out, but for some reason.... I do not see him being burned in efigy like Mike Comrie - who within his CBA rights did not want to play for DOHO and just move on.

This town is fickle and when a player falls on the wrong side of the Rexall Sheep, time to get out of DODGE.... right HOWARD....

The team must be loving the extra time in Montreal, my villeneuve sources tell me that Sheldon knows his way around there.......

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#75 Deep Oil
March 09 2009, 11:39AM
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Just some more comments from Cole - this was a $4mm experiment gone bad - which wing am I on tonight ?

http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/hurricanes/story/1430911.html

"As I departed Ottawa, it was hard to hide the smile from my face," Cole said. "It's very easy, very comfortable, to come in here."

In this new era of inflated salaries and ego, Edmonton has a challenge based on our mediocre record, boys on the bus politics, weather, and poor social scene - this should be a lesson to Tambo not to follow DOHO in terms of assumptions that every player you trade for is happy to be here.

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#76 Mike L
March 09 2009, 09:23PM
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David S wrote:

As far as Tyler goes, he been fairly level headed with the MSM guys here, while Dennis is the more radical of the two. While I may not agree with how they say things sometimes and the constant digging at the MSM, they do have a point more often than not.

What is his point half the time? That he is jealous of Gregor. His petty little comments annoy the heck out of me and to me they speak of a guy envious of someone else.

James Mirtle wrote:

I’m not sure I’d equate traffic with quality on the blogosphere given some of the “successful” stuff out there. Besides, I hear Tyler has a decent day job.

What does his day job have to do with anything? If you are a doctor or cop or oil tycoon does that allow you to be a douche all the time? I would hope not.

I agree that "successful" stuff doesn't always equate to top notch writing, but if his stuff is as good as you say it is then why haven't more people caught on to it. The Nation seems to be growing all of the time, and I would suspect it is because of the credibility of Brownlee and Gregor. They have mixed blogging and MSM together and that seems to be what must of us hockey fans want. I just sense little whiny Tyler can't handle it that some MSM have taken blogging to a level that he couldn't.

P.S...I enjoy your stuff James.

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