Fresh Meat

Robin Brownlee
April 04 2009 03:59PM

bones

Now that the bones of the Edmonton Oilers have been pretty much picked clean as the season's slid into the sewer, you get the kind of stories we've had in the last week or so.

With no potential playoff match-ups to discuss, no gritty roll down the stretch in high gear and coach Craig MacTavish's future, or lack of same, written to death, you get reports like those that suggest there is much unhappiness in the Oilers dressing room.

I would hope, the way the Oilers have staggered down the stretch, gassed any real hope of a playoff spot and made MacTavish look like a buffoon for picking his team to contend for a Northwest Division title, that's the case.

What, three seasons removed from playoffs, captain Ethan Moreau is supposed to be leading a chorus of Ring Around The Rosy while teammates skip around the joint like the lead trombone player in the Easter parade? I think not. There should be some discontent. That said, it's a stretch to suggest there's a rift or a split in the dressing room, but that's exactly what's been hinted at of late, by respected insider Bob McKenzie of TSN and by columnist Dan Barnes of The Journal.

I guess I missed it.

WHERE'S THE BEEF?

In today's editions, Barnes wrote:

"There is chatter around the league that Edmonton's tight-knit dressing room is changing and not for the better, that the obvious divide between the younger players and senior leadership cadre has not been bridged easily. Captain Ethan Moreau addressed that issue Friday, saying he didn't think it was a problem.

"It's still a really good room, just with different personalities and different demographics," said Moreau, who did admit this year has been a challenge made more difficult by the mood their lousy record has created in the community."

Last week, McKenzie, who is plugged in around the NHL but hasn't been near Edmonton's dressing room more than a day or two in the past five years as far I recall, said much the same thing on TSN's website.

Between the two, Moreau found himself back in front of the notepads and camera lights today putting out another fire instead of talking about tonight's game against the Vancouver Canucks.

"There's enough things to write about and report that are negative with our team. You can't just make up things," Moreau said. "It's just totally false. You can talk to anybody in the room. You can talk to an older guy, a younger guy, talk to guys other teams. Like I said, there's enough stories out there. You can't just make up one about a rift in the room. "It's unfortunate. Then, it gets legs. It's just not very responsible to report on that, especially if it's not true."

GENERATION GAP?

This so-called rift, which was hinted at earlier this season as well, is supposedly based on the gap between older players and younger players, with the suggestion this isn't as tight knit a group as in seasons past.

I haven't seen it, and while I'm not around the room for hours every day like I used to be, I've still got enough eyes and ears around the team to pick up anything I've missed. I don't need to take Moreau's word for it, I've talked to players -- on and off the record. I haven't heard anything about division or dysfunction within the team.

"I think you guys have a pretty good idea what goes on in our locker room," Moreau continued. "You just have to talk to guys. You can get a sense when you ask a question if they're telling you the truth. "That's your job. Our room is great. It's different, and it's going to be different every year, that's the challenge you have in this league. There's so much turnover, there's always different personalities. The dynamic of your team is going to change every year."

One more time, then. A bum rap?

"It's not true," Moreau said. "You want to say our special teams are bad? Yeh, they are . . . but you can't just make up a story there's a rift in the room. Like I said, it's not responsible."

THE ANSWER

There's a simple solution to all these journalistic tempests in the Oilers tea pot -- MacTavish's future, text messages by Daryl Katz to radio hosts and images of Sheldon Souray and Sam Gagner snarling at each other over who used the last dollop of hair product. It's called winning. That's provides fresh meat, even when the bones have been pretty much picked over.

Unfortunately for the Oilers, it's a little late even for that.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. 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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#1 deepoil
April 04 2009, 04:28PM
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Fresh Meat - Another NHL Owner Is On The Verge of Bankruptcy

According to PTS - McKown stated that George Gillette's buddy Tom Hicks has defaulted on $525 million dollars and has hocked 49% of everything he owns.

Note buying a soccer football team on credit and hooping to flip it to the country of Dubai - panned out as well as speculating on condos in Scottsdale.

Moyes - lost the team to Dell Financing at 18% Nashville - boots up on fraud - student of McNall Khoules - Barrie - no cake - fantasy owners Gillette - former bankrupt owner heading south Hicks - help Samueli - up on stock option charges

Where's the beef - fresh meat at every NHL corner....

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#2 R-DAWG
April 04 2009, 04:28PM
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I think it is fair to say that even if the Oil make big strides to patch things up with the fans, we will all go into the season with guarded optimism. We all jumped on the bandwagon last fall and everybody's ankles are now shattered! I fell for it like everybody else and now we have 6 months to listen to the management tell us how good the team will be next year...yeah right. If Hemsky is here to start the season I'd be surprised, I doubt Roli will be here,Kotalik...bye,bye! I smell a few rebuilding seasons in the works. Pretty tough to get big names here when all you hear is bitching!

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#3 Antony Ta
April 04 2009, 04:39PM
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It would take a miracle now for the Oilers to make it. I still hold out hope but St. Louis needs to do some major losing for that to happen.

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#4 albundy
April 04 2009, 04:49PM
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Maybe the dressing room is divided not by age but by performance. Hemsky and Souray and Cogs on the offence and Moureau, Statio and Pisani on the defence side????? Just from watching, it appears Moreau and Sourey don't get along as they rarely say the same thing.

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#5 Robin Brownlee
April 04 2009, 04:56PM
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albundy wrote:

Maybe the dressing room is divided not by age but by performance. Hemsky and Souray and Cogs on the offence and Moureau, Statio and Pisani on the defence side????? Just from watching, it appears Moreau and Sourey don’t get along as they rarely say the same thing.

Moreau and Souray are the best of friends. They hang out together, drive to practice together etc. Appearances, obviously, can be deceiving.

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#6 c-bass
April 04 2009, 05:45PM
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Thanks Robin for calming all this BS down. All these so called journalists are losing credibility faster then they know. It amuses me that the ones on the payroll seem to be the farthest away from the truth.

And to all you so called Oiler fans: quit with all the negativity. If Katz wants to keep Mac-T he can, its his effing team. If you don't like it make a bazillion dollars and buy your own team and fire the coach after every loss. Otherwise go and cheer for calgary.

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#7 wiggs22
April 04 2009, 05:51PM
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@ R-DAWG: Do you really think Hemmer will ask for a trade?

This will be a really hard off season....you know... rehabing my ankles and all : )

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#8 David S
April 04 2009, 06:26PM
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deepoil wrote:

Fresh Meat - Another NHL Owner Is On The Verge of Bankruptcy According to PTS - McKown stated that George Gillette’s buddy Tom Hicks has defaulted on $525 million dollars and has hocked 49% of everything he owns. Note buying a soccer football team on credit and hooping to flip it to the country of Dubai - panned out as well as speculating on condos in Scottsdale. Moyes - lost the team to Dell Financing at 18% Nashville - boots up on fraud - student of McNall Khoules - Barrie - no cake - fantasy owners Gillette - former bankrupt owner heading south Hicks - help Samueli - up on stock option charges Where’s the beef - fresh meat at every NHL corner….

And your point is...?

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#9 R-DAWG
April 04 2009, 06:26PM
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@ wiggs22: I think so. He looks tired of being in Edmonton,tired of not having some support and tired of a role that he doesn't need to be a part of. I will say however that if they get a new coach...and I strongly think they won't, maybe he will look at that and give it another go.If Mac-T is back next year then Hemmer will want out,question is ,who wants a player that when things get bad he practically is a no show!

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#10 albundy
April 04 2009, 07:56PM
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Thanks Robin, so, then,who do you think is causing the division please?@ Robin Brownlee:

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#11 albundy
April 04 2009, 08:03PM
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Did anyone hear if the 400 facebook freaks showed up to show their respect to Mact

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#12 Sandra
April 04 2009, 08:09PM
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Go OIlers GO 4-3 oil

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#13 Sandra
April 04 2009, 08:11PM
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Yes 1-0

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#14 Sandra
April 04 2009, 08:13PM
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Rolison looks shakey

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#15 albundy
April 04 2009, 08:22PM
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Oilers have lots of jump tonight, going to win big, lets go oilers lets go

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#16 Sandra
April 04 2009, 08:49PM
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Stortini got a licken , poor guy was caught off guard by a lefty

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#17 albundy
April 04 2009, 08:51PM
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wow, that guy has a great left hand. Hey, you at Don Cherry's tonight, I hear that is the place to be

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#18 Robin Brownlee
April 04 2009, 09:52PM
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albundy wrote:

Thanks Robin, so, then,who do you think is causing the division please?@ Robin Brownlee:

Pay attention. The whole item I wrote says there isn't a division in the room.

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#19 MikeP
April 05 2009, 08:33AM
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albundy wrote:

Just from watching, it appears Moreau and Sourey don’t get along as they rarely say the same thing.

What Robin said, plus: do you always agree with your friends? I know you said "rarely say the same thing," but I've rarely seen them both quoted on the same thing.

I've friends at work with whom I frequently disagree. It doesn't stop us from being friends. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes they're right, no big whoop, we still eat lunch together.

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#20 AlBundy
April 05 2009, 10:18AM
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I have A-D-D what you you expect@ Robin Brownlee:

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#21 SiD
April 05 2009, 11:30AM
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I mean come on realistically the oilers will not trade Hemsky, it makes no sense. Kevin Lowe signed him to that deal with all intention of keeping him and there is no way, with the possibility of the salary cap going down in the next couple years, they will trade him its just not logical. For his salary you will not find someone to replace the talent he brings to the team. And with the supposid push this off-season for a goal scoring foward to pair up with Hemsky why would he get traded, like i said in no way does trading Hemsky make a lick of sense.

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#22 Robin Brownlee
April 05 2009, 01:16PM
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Beat Los Angeles Tuesday and maybe there'll be something to talk about, at least for a day or two, instead of a bunch of meaningless stuff.

-- Trade Hemsky? Not unless he demands a trade and refuses to budge on that. -- Text messages? Whatever. Much moaning from the MSM about nothing because Stauffer has an inside track. It did strike me today though: how many media guys in this town would have been calling him the ultimate fartcatcher and company man if he DIDN'T reveal the text and kept it under wraps? -- Divisions in the room? Looked pretty unified against the Canucks, no?

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#23 Ogden Brother
April 06 2009, 08:42AM
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SiD wrote:

I mean come on realistically the oilers will not trade Hemsky, it makes no sense. Kevin Lowe signed him to that deal with all intention of keeping him and there is no way, with the possibility of the salary cap going down in the next couple years, they will trade him its just not logical. For his salary you will not find someone to replace the talent he brings to the team. And with the supposid push this off-season for a goal scoring foward to pair up with Hemsky why would he get traded, like i said in no way does trading Hemsky make a lick of sense.

Depends who's coming back. If an extended Kovalchuk is on the table and Hemsky is the key to landing him... bye bye Ales.

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#24 Robin Brownlee
April 06 2009, 08:53AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

SiD wrote: I mean come on realistically the oilers will not trade Hemsky, it makes no sense. Kevin Lowe signed him to that deal with all intention of keeping him and there is no way, with the possibility of the salary cap going down in the next couple years, they will trade him its just not logical. For his salary you will not find someone to replace the talent he brings to the team. And with the supposid push this off-season for a goal scoring foward to pair up with Hemsky why would he get traded, like i said in no way does trading Hemsky make a lick of sense. Depends who’s coming back. If an extended Kovalchuk is on the table and Hemsky is the key to landing him… bye bye Ales.

That's ridiculous. Taking away Hemsky to add whoever -- Kovalchuk, Hossa, etc -- defeats the purpose. The whole idea of big-game hunting for another proven offensive talent is to find somebody to complement Hemsky. Take Hemsky away, and the Oilers are right back to having just one elite talent up front, even if that talent is an upgrade. Makes no sense.

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#25 Ogden Brother
April 06 2009, 08:57AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Makes no sense to get the better player in the deal? I'd try anything to get the deal done without involving Hemmer, but for an elite, scoring talent I'd pull the triger every time.

Exagerating for effect: If AO was offerd and it was going to take Hemsky to get the deal done, you wouldn't take it?

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#26 Quicksilver balette
April 06 2009, 11:19AM
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Kinda like to see Katz further endorse Mact. Tell that part of the fanbase thats responsible for all this BS that we don't want or need you in our building (ala Bob Gainey) Shut all those whinney biotches up for good. When did the fans in Edmonton earned the right the run coaches out of town on a regular basis (Higgins, Maciocia etc)

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#27 Quicksilver ballett
April 06 2009, 12:01PM
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How about dumping Jason Gregor on the show Robin and bring in Murph (NFL guy)

More humour vs there's way too much starch in Jasons boxers man.

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#28 Robin Brownlee
April 06 2009, 12:35PM
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Quicksilver ballett wrote:

How about dumping Jason Gregor on the show Robin and bring in Murph (NFL guy) More humour vs there’s way too much starch in Jasons boxers man.

Get serious. It's Jason's show, not mine. If you have a problem with his take on something, that's OK with him as long as you can make an argument to back up your point.

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#29 Quicksilver ballett
April 06 2009, 01:01PM
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I find him a little frustrating to listen to, appreciated Bob before he had his spine radically removed.

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#30 RossCreek
April 06 2009, 01:16PM
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Quicksilver ballett wrote:

I find him a little frustrating to listen to, appreciated Bob before he had his spine radically removed.

Cuz I'm sure you badmouth the man that signs your paycheque frequently in front of him.

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#31 Quicksilver ballett
April 06 2009, 01:26PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Quicksilver ballett wrote: I find him a little frustrating to listen to, appreciated Bob before he had his spine radically removed. Cuz I’m sure you badmouth the man that signs your paycheque frequently in front of him.

I built my own job/career for over 20 yrs now, i sign my own paycheque putz, am i at the end of a lesson here sir?[insert winking smiley here]

Jason just takes himself way to serious, would like to listen in on more than just Thursdays.

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