Has Tambo eased Souray's fears?

Jason Gregor
April 16 2009 10:49AM

tambopewpew

Now that MacTavish is gone, the focus will switch to who replaces him and which players will not be part of the Tambellini era. Since being announced as GM last summer, Tambellini has been very bland. He was careful with his words, protective of his players and coaches and at times you needed to put a spoon under his nose to see if he was breathing. He showed no emotion until yesterday.

Tambellini opened his press conference with a five-minute statement that was thoughtful, well-planned, to the point and filled with raw emotion. I sat in the front row and saw a side of Tambellini we'd never seen since he landed in Edmonton.

After calmly telling a packed conference room that MacTavish wouldn’t be back, he quickly turned his focus to the players.

“One thing I want to make clear, is that because we are changing our coach and moving in a different direction this DOES NOT absolve the players from their performance, or lack there of. “Do we need to address some of our personnel? Obviously we do. When I think about the Oilers and what they represent and the things that are important to the Oilers, and why there has been success here at times lately, it’s because of a passion, because of a commitment, because of a sacrifice to do anything to win. That’s the part that was the hardest to compete against the Oilers. “People say that maybe we weren’t gritty enough as a team. I agree with that. Do we need to get stronger? Yes we do. The job now is to think about how much of that can we get from what we have now, make that assessment, and if we don’t have that internally then how do we acquire it. One thing I will not put up with is an unemotional game, where we can’t dictate the outcome of the game by energy. “We have some good pieces in place here. We have some good young players, and some good veterans, that hopefully want to be a part of this going forward. But I can tell you things are going to change as far as expectations and preparation from the player’s standpoint and from us (management) to get better for the next step.”

When Tambellini spoke these words and later about MacTavish, his voice and body language showed energy, fire, passion, and frankly a pissed-off attitude. It was refreshing. It was nice to see Tambellini show that finally he is the leader of the ship.

Make no mistake; yesterday it became clear to everyone that this is now his team. He will choose the coach. He will have a major say in which players stay, and who goes. And to me he challenged his veterans to get on board, but also accept that the young kids need to spread their wings and become more of a factor.

NHL experience behind the bench

Near the end of his presser, I asked Tambellini if the next coach needed previous NHL head coaching experience.

“Not necessarily, but he would have to be a special person that you are confident in to walk in the room and command the respect, and have the knowledge that you felt was ready to compete against NHL situations. I think there could be opportunities for some people to be able to do that.”

We have seen that occur recently with Brent Sutter, Bruce Boudreau, Todd Mclellan, Cory Clouston and Dan Bylsma, but I don’t see that happening here. Tambellini will want someone with previous NHL experience.

Pat Quinn, Marc Crawford, Peter Laviolette, Guy Carbonneau, Tom Renney and Bob Hartley are all available. From talking to some people within the organization I don’t think it is a must that Tambellini has a long, or short, standing relationship with his next head coach.

He knows what type of coach he is looking for.

“I have a good idea of the type of coach I’m looking for. It's going to be somebody that matches up with the type of play we want to see here. We want an aggressive type of play, an emotional team, a team that isn’t standing on their heels, we want a team to be proactive because we have people here with skill, and I want to see it.”

Cross Jacques Lemaire off the list.

The other previous six could all fit the mold. Quinn, Hartley and Crawford are all fiery behind the bench, and they coach an up-tempo style. They also like their teams to have an array of sheet disturbers who play with an edge.

MacTavish rarely liked his team to be in your face. Even when the Oilers outworked the opposition, they rarely imposed their will or initiated some tomfoolery. Most Oiler fans hated the Avs and Canucks when Hartley and Crawford were behind the bench because both teams had players who were hard to play against.

Outside of Souray, Stortini, Smid, Strudwick and Moreau at times, do the Oilers have any other players that intimidate or infuriate the opposition? You need forwards who will engage in a face wash, or give a cheap slash when the ref isn’t watching, or a cheap punch in a scrum.

Don’t tell me Detroit wins without those guys, because Holmstrom and Maltby are two of the most hated players in the league.

It is clear the Tambellini wants a coach who will bring a system that combines skill with speed, grit and most of all a willingness to dictate the flow of the game. The Oilers were consistently reactionary during MacTavish’s tenure and expect that to change next October.

Souray looking to leave?

Robin Brownlee first wrote that the rumours about Souray possibly asking for a trade might have some legs. Dan Barnes said on the TEAM 1260 that Souray had told him that this season was tough because he didn’t get to see his kids very often. I believe both of them, so I went fishing for more...

Souray didn’t outright ask for a trade. He stated to his agent that he was frustrated and disappointed with a few areas of the team. Losing was the main one. He had some concerns about the coaching. He missed his kids. A losing environment makes the little things seem bigger and it makes coming to the rink a chore at times.

But according to my source from within the locker room, Souray, through his agent, never demanded a trade. He just wanted his concerns noted. Mission accomplished.

His absence during the final media availability, the same day where his former coach was the hot topic, suggests Souray didn’t want to comment on it, similar to when MacTavish stated he wouldn’t discuss Dustin Penner anymore during his final presser on Monday. Was Souray as frustrated with his coach as the coach was with Penner? “No,” said my source.

But it is clear that coaching was one of his concerns, just not the main one.

Tambellini was asked if the any of the rumours about a player asking for a trade were true. One word, ‘No,” was his response. Of course, I wouldn’t have expected him to saying anything different.

But Tambellini’s comment regarding veterans who “hopefully want to be here,” suggests he heard some discontent. But according to my source it was not a blatant, “I want to be traded.”

A coaching change has given new hope for many here on the Nation, and you can bet that many players have the same renewed optimism. It's human nature. When a change is made you always believe it will lead to better things.

A new coach won’t make Souray miss his kids any less, and if his longing to see them becomes too much for him to handle, then it would be hard not to respect him for wanting out. But a new coach, a new system and some wins might make that separation easier to handle.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#151 Cory Dakin
April 16 2009, 04:32PM
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Did anyone watch Roger Millions on sportsnet about ten minutes ago? Somebody thought he was being taped and let a C**ksucker fly on live tv. You never know what you're going to miss.

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#152 Archaeologuy
April 16 2009, 04:35PM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

Somebody thought he was being taped and let a C**ksucker fly on live tv.

I always miss this stuff! I didnt even see the media guys makin fun of Crawford when they didnt know the camera was on.

Why is it that the more I learn about these MSM guys the more they make Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy look like a documentary?

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#153 Cory Dakin
April 16 2009, 04:37PM
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It was solid gold... Hopefully it hits Youtube at some point.... Roger has a nice bright read tan going, and he looked a little nervous when he came back on for his next piece.

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#154 bingofuel
April 16 2009, 04:52PM
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here it is! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7mfpZvJ9IA&feature=player_embedded

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#155 Cory Dakin
April 16 2009, 04:58PM
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@ bingofuel:

Awesome.

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#156 MattL
April 16 2009, 05:00PM
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topshelf wrote:

I simply provided that link because that is the basis of my argument. If I’m incorrect, sorry for wasting your precious time.

I was trying say that I missed an entire thread discussing this cap issue. I still can't tell if we ever got a definitive answer on cap-hit vs. yearly salary from Rick Olcyk/someone credible.

Not a big deal, there's hockey on, what am I doing worrying about salary caps?

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#157 Jonathan Willis
April 16 2009, 05:15PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

But if the 09/10 Horc is similar to the 08/09 Horc then I dont think he’s good enough in his role to help the Oilers make the playoffs.

Agreed.

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#158 Rusty Shackleford
April 16 2009, 05:27PM
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@ bingofuel: Priceless.

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#159 David S
April 16 2009, 06:51PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

I want a coach that will not hesitate to throw a garbage can or perhaps an entire stick rack out on the ice. That’s what I look for in a coach.

Or the occasional "c*cksucker!".

Jeez.158 comments before 7:00 pm. What, am I the only guy who works around here?

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#160 RossCreek
April 16 2009, 06:52PM
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@ GREGOR

OFF TOPIC, but is it possible to think that Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leiopold, who formerlly owned the Nashville Predators, may take a hard look at his former club for a caoach and/or GM. I'm not necassarily thinking David Poile or Barry Trotz, as I'm thinking both are under contract and likely(?) to return, but moreso Assistant GM Paul Fenton & Associate Coach Brent Petersen.

Thoughts?

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#161 RossCreek
April 16 2009, 07:07PM
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Also, if you (AS THE EDMONTON OILERS SPECIFICALLY) could pick ANY coach currently employed by a playoff team, regardless of how "possible" or "likely" it was, who would it be? Let's exclude Brent Sutter's name from that list too, as his name has already come up. Mike Babcock? Claude Julien? Randy Carlyle? Joel Quenneville?

I'd take Ken Hitchcock (and I think there is a good chance that the Oil would too).

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#162 Robin Brownlee
April 16 2009, 07:40PM
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@ Cory Dakin: Priceless. I've known Roger since our WHL days in the early 1980s and he'll be absolutely frazzled by this.

You wouldn't believe how often that kind of thing happens and what gets said mere moments before the audio or the picture goes live -- or at times like this when it already is and you forget there's no second take.

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#163 Smokin' Ray - NNC
April 16 2009, 08:04PM
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ROFL. Roger made my night. Classic!

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#164 Archaeologuy
April 16 2009, 09:58PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: I'm glad we came to a comprimise of sorts.

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#165 Jason Gregor
April 16 2009, 10:29PM
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BarryS wrote:

Seems to me the PK needs to be made up of the best skaters on the team. Tough means nothing if the red light is on before the defenders gets close to the shooter. One of the reasons Pisani is so good at PK is he can skate like the wind.

Who cares how fast a guy is when he has to battle an opposing big winger in front of the net. Guys who are good stop and starters can help, but there is more to PK than just being a good skater.Jonathan Willis wrote:

Why would the new coach change that when most every top line in the game runs power vs. power?

Not always at home. Of course he will have to do it at times, but in games at home when you have last change the Oilers should use it to their advantage. Andy Murray matches lines more than anyone, and his 3rd line goes against the power right now. It can't happen every game, but they either need another option (true checking centre) or don't be surprised to see Hemsky and Horcoff split up. Horcoff even admitted he played more defensive role this year than in previous years. He said he never played power on power as much last year.

b>RossCreek wrote:

@ GREGOR OFF TOPIC, but is it possible to think that Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leiopold, who formerlly owned the Nashville Predators, may take a hard look at his former club for a caoach and/or GM. I’m not necassarily thinking David Poile or Barry Trotz, as I’m thinking both are under contract and likely(?) to return, but moreso Assistant GM Paul Fenton & Associate Coach Brent Petersen. Thoughts?

Bob Mackenzie already said that Minny could have interest in Poile. I doubt that Leopold would bring in both Fenton and Petersen to be GM and HC. I have no idea what Poile's contract status is, but if it is done at the end of the year, then who knows.

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#166 RossCreek
April 16 2009, 10:45PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Bob Mackenzie already said that Minny could have interest in Poile. I doubt that Leopold would bring in both Fenton and Petersen to be GM and HC. I have no idea what Poile’s contract status is, but if it is done at the end of the year, then who knows.

Just something I thought of. I didn't realize MacKenzie had brought this up yet (been flipping back & forth of course). Perhaps another angle on things could be if Poile & Trotz ended up in Minnesota, Nashville could promote Fenton & Petersen from within. They've already lost Ray Shero and I've heard positive things about Fenton, so they may want to hang on to him. Nothin like a little hoickey talk to get the ol' brainwaves flowing!

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#167 RossCreek
April 16 2009, 10:46PM
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If you (AS THE EDMONTON OILERS SPECIFICALLY) could pick ANY coach currently employed by a playoff team, regardless of how “possible” or “likely” it was, who would it be? Let’s exclude Brent Sutter’s name from that list too, as his name has already come up. Mike Babcokc? Claude Julien? Randy Carlyle? Joel Quenneville?

I’d take Ken Hitchcokc (and I think there is a good chance that the Oil would too).

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#168 RossCreek
April 16 2009, 10:48PM
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Oh... I just realized that the spelling of Babcokc's name or Hitchcokc's name can get you "moderated". I now see my previous post double posted. Oooops.

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#169 Jonathan Willis
April 16 2009, 11:05PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

It would be nice to see a big centre to play with Moreau and Pisani as a checking unit at home and help spread out the duties a bit.

You do make a good point about the difference between home and road matchups.

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#170 esa tikkanen
April 16 2009, 11:22PM
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UFA ideas for third line center: - Manny Malhotra - Sammy Paulson - Radek Bonk - Stefan Yelle

I would prefer Malhotra or BOnk. I really think if the OIlers signed either of those two to play with MOreau and Pisani the Oil would have an elite third line. Fantastic at checking, winning draws, shutting down other lines, and getting some goals. The fourth line of Brodziak, Stortini and either Jacques or Reddox (depending on the size of the opposition) would also be good defensively and create some energy.

I honestly think Horcoff was too bagged to score. how many times did we see a pass to his stick in the slot and he whiffed on the shot? Noone can play forward 25 minutes a night, going at 110% against the others teams top players, killing 1.5 minutes of every penalty and still have enough in the tank to have the eye hand coordination and half a step you need to win the battles to get the goals. I think adding a veteran , physical third liner will add the first line center we missed this season, Sean Horcoff.

As for defence, as much as i would love J Bo, a nice consolation prize to me would be Greg Zanon . We need a professional shut down dman who is an elite penalty killer. Watch that guy bloch shots, he is awesome! with him and Bonk the Oilers would move from 28th to 8th on the pk

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#171 yo
April 16 2009, 11:35PM
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I was checking out the Oiler's website and saw a picture of Moreau there. I don't know for sure but he had a look on his face like his meal ticket got abra-cadabra'd out of town and he didn't leave a forwarding address for poor Ethan. Ditto for Staios.

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#172 Jonathan Willis
April 17 2009, 12:29AM
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esa tikkanen wrote:

- Manny Malhotra - Sammy Paulson - Radek Bonk - Stefan Yelle

Pass on Yelle. I like Malhotra and Pahlsson in particular, mostly because I wonder what kind of reception Bonk would get in this town.

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#173 RossCreek
April 17 2009, 07:45AM
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FROM TSN's BOB MacKENZIE VIA TEAM 1260's MORE ON SPORTS: Here's 2 names to throw in the hat for the Oilers head coaching job that haven't been mentioned a lot:

RYAN McGILL Local product has worked his way up through the coaching ranks since his playing career ended. After serving as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Ice for a season and a half, McGill spent the next 4 1/2 seasons as the head coach with the Ice organization after moving to Kootenay. McGill's assistant there was Cory Clouston who is now coaching in Ottawa. Many thought McGill would get a shot before Clouston, so his time may be coming sooner than later. McGill also served as the head coach for the Rangers affiliate in Hartford for 3 seasons and is currently in his 3rd season as head coach with the Flames affiliate. Probably a long shot, but a name to keep an eye on nontheless.

BRENT PETERSEN I brought up Petersen's name yesterday for the Minnesota gig and Brownlee mentioned he may get consideration here in Edmonton. This morning, MacKenzie said he may receive REAL consideration for the Oilers because when Tambellini was still in Vancouver and they were conducting their last head coaching search (that Alain Vigneault won), Petersen was a finalist right down to the wire. Apparently Tambellini thinks highly of him, and his name has popped up a few times over the past few years with other openings.

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#174 RossCreek
April 17 2009, 07:50AM
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Actually just looked back to Brownlee's comments yesterday, and he didn't mention anything about Petersen getting consideration here. Sorry for the false "accusation" Robin. I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. I don't know where that came from (too much surfing?). I guess I should of checked before I posted it. Anyway, as per MacKenzie, keep an eye on Petersen's name in Edmonton.

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#175 RossCreek
April 17 2009, 07:54AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

esa tikkanen wrote: - Manny Malhotra - Sammy Paulson - Radek Bonk - Stefan Yelle Pass on Yelle. I like Malhotra and Pahlsson in particular, mostly because I wonder what kind of reception Bonk would get in this town.

Agree with Willis. Malhotra, then Pahlsson. No Bonk. No Yelle.

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#176 Dave
April 17 2009, 08:17AM
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RossCreek wrote:

Actually just looked back to Brownlee’s comments yesterday, and he didn’t mention anything about Petersen getting consideration here. Sorry for the false “accusation” Robin. I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. I don’t know where that came from (too much surfing?). I guess I should of checked before I posted it. Anyway, as per MacKenzie, keep an eye on Petersen’s name in Edmonton.

Gregor mentioned his name yesterday on his show. He was talking about assistant coaches who would be good. I never thought anyone could do a better job than Stauffer, but I will admit that Gregor has impressed the hell out of me, and now I think his show is much better.

He gets great guest, asks awesome questions, his interview with Clouston was outstanding. Jason, just wanted to say excellent work. I hadn't heard of this site until you mentioned it on air, and now I come here daily. All of the articles are insightful. You guys have a great site, keep up the good work. Does Wanye only write once a week now?

Dave

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#177 Rick
April 17 2009, 08:33AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Jason Gregor: It would be nice to see a big centre to play with Moreau and Pisani as a checking unit at home and help spread out the duties a bit. You do make a good point about the difference between home and road matchups.

Edmonton used to have one of the best chcking lines in the league and it was centered by Marchant who is the exact same size as Cogliano.

Of course he was flanked by a way more physical RWer than Pisani and could actually win a face off.

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#178 esa tikkanen
April 17 2009, 08:45AM
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nice to see many agree with me on Malhotra and Paulson. What is wrong with Bonk? He owned the oilers this year in faceoffs and once upon a time could score too

i have to agree about how great this site is .. before i go to the Journal or the Sun I come to Oilers nation, I hope you guys are starting to make some money.

the Journal are borderline retarded for keeping Joanne Ireland instead of Brownlee. And for the eskimos vicki hall...these women write stories about players personal lives and their childhood...i want analysis about how the forecheck is not working or about how the offensive line in football is doing...thanks for the site wanye and i hope you guys can make a living off of it

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#179 Slurve
April 17 2009, 10:04AM
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No ex Oilers as head coaches please!

Brent Sutter would be the best coach for the young Oilers but can't see it happening since he will go head to head 6 times coaching against his brother's team- if he leaves NJD.

Not Marc Crawford. He is not as knowledgeable strategist as MacT nor has much successes.

Perhaps Pat Quinn. He likes gritty and tough players as well as skilled ones. He can manage a young squad like the Oilers ex. WJC.

Perhaps one of the younger coaches with fresh and new ideas as well as great strategist who are assistants to successful head coaches currently in the playoffs ex. GARY AGNEW, Assistant Coach of Columbus or Brad Shaw of St Louis or Doug Houda of Boston Bruins... These guys have great coaching successes in the AHL and in their current teams.

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#180 Sandra
April 17 2009, 10:40AM
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Hey Robin, your rumour was confirmed by "Fred" Stauffer on Tencers show last night. So all you nay sayers, Robin would not have wrote it if there was no legs to it.

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#181 Colin
April 17 2009, 03:21PM
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I'd like to know who wrote the article on Souray? He said that you have to respect a guy for wanting to leave Edmonton because he misses his kids? Are you kidding? Lots of guys are missing their kids and are making a hell of a lot less cake than Souray. This is another example of of media members acting like these celebrity figures have terrible emotional problems that mean so much, boo hoo! I say if Souray can't suck it up and play through the pain of not being able to see his kids all the time, to hell with him. Mabye that is the type of personality that has got us in this terrible situation were in now. It is a prevliage to play in the N.H.L and these players have no respect for that, nor the media members who create the sympathy for them.

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#182 RossCreek
April 17 2009, 07:43PM
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Colin wrote:

I’d like to know who wrote the article on Souray? He said that you have to respect a guy for wanting to leave Edmonton because he misses his kids? Are you kidding? Lots of guys are missing their kids and are making a hell of a lot less cake than Souray. This is another example of of media members acting like these celebrity figures have terrible emotional problems that mean so much, boo hoo! I say if Souray can’t suck it up and play through the pain of not being able to see his kids all the time, to hell with him. Mabye that is the type of personality that has got us in this terrible situation were in now. It is a prevliage to play in the N.H.L and these players have no respect for that, nor the media members who create the sympathy for them.

You are "the definition of a joke".

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#183 Shaun
April 17 2009, 11:08PM
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who puts dots in between NHL?

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#184 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
April 18 2009, 11:20AM
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"Not Marc Crawford. He is not as knowledgeable strategist as MacT nor has much success?"

Excuse me? You do know Crawford has won something as a coach right?

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#185 Chris
April 18 2009, 04:31PM
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@ Colin: Souray signed a contract; and I expect he will honor it. This doesn't mean Souray shouldn't have the right to miss his kids. Lowe once said, "When the hockey is good, everything else is good." This team needs to improve, and improve FAST.

Expressing some concerns to his agent doesn't make Souray Chris Pronger. Pronger was a special brand of jacka$$... Don't paint everyone else with the same brush.

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