WHY NOT A COACHING TANDEM?

Robin Brownlee
May 13 2009 11:27AM

If two heads really are better than one, why does Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini have to settle on a single candidate to replace Craig MacTavish behind the bench?

The short answer is, he doesn't. While most fans and interested onlookers have been satisfied with the assumption Tambellini will hire a head coach, who will in turn appoint his own assistant coaches, I suspect Tambellini is considering going a different route. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Tambellini hire a head coach and an associate coach in tandem, then fill out the bench roster by adding an assistant or two.

Why not Pat Quinn as head coach and Tom Renney as his associate? Both have long resumes as NHL head coaches. Both have history with Tambellini. Both have been interviewed by Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe.

While Tambellini and Lowe could certainly pick one or the other -- I'd give Quinn the nod if I had to choose one -- there's nothing preventing a package approach that would see Quinn and Renney run the show together.

Why not?

DOUBLE UP

The concept of using a head coach-associate coach set-up isn't exactly new. Eight of the NHL's 30 teams went that route this season -- Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Dallas, Montreal, Nashville, Phoenix and Vancouver. The difference between an associate and an assistant coach is more than terminology.

Generally, an associate is more experienced and has more input into decisions. Mike Keenan had Jim Playfair in that role in Calgary. Alain Vigneault had Rick Bowness in Vancouver. Quinn, who has a regular season career coaching record of 657-481-154-26 (.567) and has won the Jack Adams Award twice, is certainly on Tambellini's short list of candidates.

Quinn has interviewed for the GM's job in Minnesota, but beat writer Mike Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune doesn't see him being on the short list in Minny, and big Mike always has the dope. Renney, working as a TV analyst after taking the pipe from the New York Rangers, boasts a career mark of 203-170-9-46 (.539) and stands to be on the short list. So, likely, is Marc Crawford, who has the personality of a shit sandwich but does have a Cup ring and an Jack Adams on his resume.

RIGHT HAND MEN

two3

There are several other names who could fill the associate's role in a two-man set-up, but I'm not sure about the language in the contracts they have with their current teams. Teams have out-clauses in their contracts that allow coaches to take a job with another team if it's a step up, usually to a head coaching position, but I don't know if moving from an assistant's job to associate spot is considered the same thing.

Brent Peterson has history with Tambellini, but he's an associate to Barry Trotz in Nashville. I can't see the Predators letting him make a lateral move. Boston assistant Geoff Ward is highly thought of by the Oilers after several seasons in the organization. Would the San Jose Sharks allow Todd Richards to take an associate's gig here?

Would Mark Messier, who joined Tambellini and Lowe in Europe at the World Championships, take a job in Edmonton as an associate or is he destined to go the management route? And, would plugging Messier into that role with no experience be a good idea? I'm not sure.

What I am sure of is that you can't have too many good hockey minds in an organization. Detroit has proven it for many years by adding sharp people to middle-management positions, and in my mind the same approach can hold true with a coaching staff.

From where I sit, it makes sense.

-- 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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#51 surshot
May 13 2009, 02:34PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: Wanye get your tongue out of Brownlee's....

Oops thats Baggedmilks bit i apoligize for sounding like DB.

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#52 baggedmilk
May 13 2009, 02:50PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ surshot: @ baggedmilk: This sounds like it can only be solved with the age old contest of ghost riding the whip. The one who can go the longest sans falling off and getting a level 47 concussion wins. Or we could go by Seniority and baggedmilk wins, but i want to see baggedmilk ride his 92 tempo down Whyte ave.

It's an 86' Tempo, and that baby is built for ghost riding.

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#53 baggedmilk
May 13 2009, 02:58PM
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RossCreek wrote:

@ baggedmilk Jim Matheson’s wife was my marketing teacher as well. She is a great lady and occasionally talked a little hockey.

She is a beauty. How many times did she bring in Wayne signed aluminum Eastons?

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#54 baggedmilk
May 13 2009, 03:05PM
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surshot wrote:

@ Wanye Gretz: Wanye get your tongue out of Brownlee’s…. Oops thats Baggedmilks bit i apoligize for sounding like DB.

You know that Wanye used to ask this douche bag to write for this website don't you?

Your burns are epic though. Really cutting to the core of me.

*runs away crying*

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#55 surshot
May 13 2009, 03:11PM
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@ baggedmilk: Oh well dear me i had no idea wat i was up against.LOL Sorry i had no clue you were a prospect blogger.LOL

*runs to the mirror and flexes my muscles and screams whose the man thats right Surshot's the man*

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#56 RBK
May 13 2009, 03:14PM
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@ surshot:

(dead silence)

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#57 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 03:17PM
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@ surshot: I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that somebody here used to get a lot of "doesnt play well with others" on his report cards.

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#58 surshot
May 13 2009, 03:33PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ surshot: I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that somebody here used to get a lot of “doesnt play well with others” on his report cards.

Who me? No i love to play well with others of the female gender. Fact is i had no idea who your man was so wat sue me. He is a blogger big deal am i suppost to let him insult me with out insulting him back because he writes some blog that is meant to offend people. Color me oblivious, he is a big boy i am sure he can take it with out your concern. Geez and i am the but kisser.

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#59 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 03:47PM
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surshot wrote:

he is a big boy i am sure he can take it with out your concern.

Settle down kiddo, i didnt realize baggedmilk spilled that jagerbomb you were holding all over your shiny shirt. Let me pay for the dry cleaning.

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#60 Rusty Shackleford
May 13 2009, 03:48PM
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The claws are out today!!! MeeeeeOooOOW. I must say, this is a rare post where 2 people go back and forth in heated debate and I read every single word. Who Saw This Coming?!? *mails Towel Boy a shiny Vancouver 2010 quarter*

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#61 Rusty Shackleford
May 13 2009, 03:50PM
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@ Archaeologuy: Very noble of you, kind sir. You show the class of a true Oiler fan.

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#62 surshot
May 13 2009, 03:52PM
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@ Archaeologuy: Thanks old man dry cleaning is sure expensive for this 32 year old Kiddo. If only i can be as cool as you old men.

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#63 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 03:54PM
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@ Rusty Shackleford</b i did my best to find the rolling eyes and condescending tone button but my Apple II E doesnt have any of that.

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#64 Xavier
May 13 2009, 03:57PM
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surshot wrote:

Thanks old man dry cleaning is sure expensive for this 32 year old Kiddo. If only i can be as cool as you old men.

Christ you're 32 and spell like that?

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#65 Bryan Lerg
May 13 2009, 04:01PM
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Hey Robin,

If Marc Crawford happens to be the coach of this team, will you say to him that he has the personality of a shît sandwich to his face?

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#66 surshot
May 13 2009, 04:02PM
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@ Xavier: There was not one spelling mistake in that post but my grammar is lacking. Never been much of a writer and do not pretend to be. But thanks for your concern.

I am ok with it

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#67 surshot
May 13 2009, 04:05PM
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@ Bryan Lerg: Why not he wrote it so every one can see it. Its not exactly breaking news.

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#68 Xavier
May 13 2009, 04:06PM
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@ surshot: Oh I disagree...

surshot wrote:

so wat

surshot wrote:

suppost

surshot wrote:

with out

surshot wrote:

with out

Again...

Spelling phenom.

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#69 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 04:10PM
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@ surshot: I count at least 4 spelling mistakes in post 53 and your grammar IS pretty bad, but that's not really the point.

The point is you show up here and start acting like a jack@ss calling people douchebags because you cant come up with anything witty to say. Instead of joking around you're taking everything pretty personal. I dont have a problem with it because I can continue to make fun of you and apparently it goes over your head, but it's douchy. I'm sure your response will be equally as lame as surshot wrote:

Who me? No i love to play well with others of the female gender

but I'm waiting.

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#70 surshot
May 13 2009, 04:27PM
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Holy you guys are pretty sensitive bunch. I did not realize giving a compliment to a blogger on this comment section would end up having this effect on you.

Its a comment section i did not realize i was being graded and watched by the grammar police. Perhaps if your looking for proper spelling and grammar may I suggest reading the globe and mail.

And i am the one who does not play well with others? It seems like i am not the only one. Besides the only thing worse then a poster with bad grammar is a poster who thinks he has to correct said poster. Congrats on that.

@ Archaeologuy:

DB is a lot wittier then kiddo so do not act like your some moral authority in this matter as your just as guilty as me. Or do you just have one way streets where you are from?

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#71 Archaeologuy
May 13 2009, 04:42PM
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@ surshot: I'm no moral authority, but I'm not the one raging around ON because his feelings were hurt by baggedmilk. No one cares about you telling Brownlee he's a good writer. Most of us agree with you. But you started crying foul when someone teased you a little. No one even minds that you wanted to go after baggedmilk. re-read the posts again. The whole thing could have ended by post 33. Instead you went after him some more and the whole thing degraded into a p*ssing contest.

And not to nitpick but "DB is a lot wittier then kiddo" is grammatically incorrect. ;)

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#72 surshot
May 13 2009, 04:48PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ surshot: Instead of joking around you’re taking everything pretty personal. I dont have a problem with it because I can continue to make fun of you and apparently it goes over your head

So which is it, am i taking things personal or is going over my head?

You assume i am taking things personal but fail to realize i find you entertaining like a cat pawing at some catnip mouse. There was not one thing i took personal so your ASSumption is laughable. And the only angry person is you.

Do i make your blood boil?

does your heart beat faster with every spelling mistake i make?

Do you slam the keyboard with your fingers as you try to protect your beloved blogger from being called DB?

I can not wait to hear your witty reply as you must be someone who is lacking in the penile department for you to actually care what i type or think. Your anger is not becoming when your trying to state that i am taking things personal. I love my catnip mouse.

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#73 David S
May 13 2009, 05:01PM
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In before the lock!

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#74 Robin Brownlee
May 13 2009, 06:23PM
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Bryan Lerg wrote:

Hey Robin, If Marc Crawford happens to be the coach of this team, will you say to him that he has the personality of a shît sandwich to his face?

I already have. Funny how that works. You say things and you write things. Then you show up at the rink and see what happens.

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#75 Dan
May 13 2009, 06:41PM
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I agree on going with Pat Quinn. but if Tom Renney is going to be the sidekick why not cut to the chase and have Rob Daum roll there. It's essentially what we would be grooming him for anyway.

I think Pat Quinn and Rob Daum would be solid, we'd just need to find a asst coach to run the D.

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#76 Robin Brownlee
May 13 2009, 07:06PM
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Dan wrote:

I agree on going with Pat Quinn. but if Tom Renney is going to be the sidekick why not cut to the chase and have Rob Daum roll there. It’s essentially what we would be grooming him for anyway. I think Pat Quinn and Rob Daum would be solid, we’d just need to find a asst coach to run the D.

Personally, I'd like to see Daum on the staff as well, but if Tambellini is leaning toward experience at the NHL level, he'd be a longshot. He could certainly be an assistant coach with Quinn and Renney, but what factors into that scenario is Daum will likely be offered the job as the AHL head coach.

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#77 ShaunDoe
May 13 2009, 07:14PM
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Am I the only one here in outrage over the fact that Baggedmilk said, "two headed FROGS and snakes"? I mean they may have two heads but they are still Turtles man! Don't take away their namesake just because God took away their dignity!

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#78 Chris
May 13 2009, 07:26PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You say things and you write things. Then you show up at the rink and see what happens.

This gives you INSTANT cred! Nobody here has to stand behind what they write the same way you and Gregor do. As for myself, sometimes it feels kind of cruddy commenting about players I have never had the opportunity to meet. When I'm critical of Hemsky on this site, it kind of feels like I'm talking about a buddy behind his back...

Fortunately I'm strong enough to fight past these feelings of shame...

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#79 Dan
May 13 2009, 08:19PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Do you think that Charlie Huddy could stay on to run the D, or do you think he'll follow MacT wherever he ends up? I can't think of too many names that would be more qualified.

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#80 Robin Brownlee
May 13 2009, 08:38PM
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Dan wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: Do you think that Charlie Huddy could stay on to run the D, or do you think he’ll follow MacT wherever he ends up? I can’t think of too many names that would be more qualified.

I don't know. I can't see asking a new coach or, in the scenario I've suggested, coaches, with having to keep any of the former assistants. I've put in a call to Charlie and Billy Moores but haven't heard back, which isn't surprising given the circumstances. Huddy is a good man and a good coach. He'll work somewhere.

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#81 RossCreek
May 13 2009, 10:33PM
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I'd like to see a scenario where Geoff Ward comes in with an experienced associate in Charlie Huddy or Perry Pearn and a couple of younger assistants, maybe Rob Daum and Willie Desjardins for instance. I'd ask Geoff (only because he's had a prior relationship with the organization) to keep at least 1 of Huddy, Daum or Bucky (in that order) on his staff and let him hire 2 other assistants of his choosing. Huddy could serve as an associate coach, but the other 2 would fit in only as assistants. In the case Ward decided to keep 1 of the latter 2 as an assistant, he could hire his own associate coach if he wanted. I wonder if Charlie's presence would overshadow Ward tho? Would Ward feel like he's kinda looking over his shoulder?

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#82 Chief
May 13 2009, 11:01PM
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Maybe we could hire three coaches. I sort of miss all the three headed monster talk. I wanted Tortorella, but they didn't FMNF in time.

@ surshot

Let it go. You got caught giving Brownlee a rim job and Baggedmilk rightly called you on it. That being said, Robert Tychkowski kind of sucks. Unlike Brownlee who taught his dog to clean up its own sh!t cause Brownlee doesn't take sh!t from anybody!

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#83 yo
May 13 2009, 11:08PM
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Robin - 1260am callers and posters here continue to suggest that Oiler management will tell their new head coach(es) who their associates or assistants will be. In all your experience are you aware of a single instance of this? How would that go down with any credible candidate when he is told who he has to work with?

Gregor must have told a hundred callers that makes no sense and still people suggest it.

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#84 Robin Brownlee
May 13 2009, 11:31PM
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@ yo: Well, as I've said before, indications I have are Kelly Buchberger will survive the turnover and stay with the organization. I don't know if that will be as a bench coach, but expect him to be in the mix.

There are instances where new head coaches adopt or inherit assistant coaches from previous staffs, but it's not the usual practice.

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#85 surshot
May 13 2009, 11:51PM
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Chief wrote:

@ surshot Let it go. You got caught giving Brownlee a rim job and Baggedmilk rightly called you on it. That being said, Robert Tychkowski kind of sucks. Unlike Brownlee who taught his dog to clean up its own sh!t cause Brownlee doesn’t take sh!t from anybody!

LOL u post this at 11:07 and my last post was at 4:48 meaning you are like exactly 6 hours and 21 minutes late for the party. Its safe to say i have let it go by now but then you go and give Brownlee a rim job of your own. LMAO you like my sloppy seconds i guess.

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#86 Chief
May 14 2009, 12:17AM
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surshot wrote:

Its safe to say i have let it go by now but then you go and give Brownlee a rim job of your own. LMAO you like my sloppy seconds i guess.

True, but I am not embarrassed of my Brownlee man-crush. I like the Avery quote though.

"When Superman goes to bed, he puts on Brownlee pyjamas."

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#87 Archaeologuy
May 14 2009, 12:24AM
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@ Chief: I would buy Brownlee pyjamas from ON. Get it done ON!

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#88 RossCreek
May 14 2009, 05:51AM
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@ yo if that was directed at me, i will say i agree with you. I also said i'd only ask Geoff Ward to do this because he's been with the organization before, and like i said i would only ask him to keep 1 of those guys on board. If he didn't want to keep any, all the more power to him. Ask him/suggest to him, don't tell him, i guess you could say.

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#89 RossCreek
May 14 2009, 05:56AM
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@ yo Its not like it hasn't happened before. In calgary, Mike Keenan kept the same staff as before him including the former head coach Jim Playfair. In Colorado, Tony Granato stayed on as an assistant after a year of head coach. What about those old Oiler teams. There was continuity with Slats, Muck, Green, Low, etc.

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#90 Dennis
May 14 2009, 07:13AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Bryan Lerg wrote: Hey Robin, If Marc Crawford happens to be the coach of this team, will you say to him that he has the personality of a shît sandwich to his face? I already have. Funny how that works. You say things and you write things. Then you show up at the rink and see what happens.

It's too bad we can't substitute Crawford for Kevin Lowe!

I had to take that shot, RB. The slider was hanging right in the middle of the plate:)

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#91 Robin Brownlee
May 14 2009, 08:24AM
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@ surshot: @ Archaeologuy: Men: how did we go from a hockey discussion about the Oilers coaching situation to rimjobs and pajamas? And, really, given the cliches about bloggers, do we want to talk about ON pajamas? Will ON be offering a limited WIC (write-in-comfort) series featuring the finest flannel with JW or WG embroidered on the cuff?

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#92 Archaeologuy
May 14 2009, 08:35AM
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@ Robin Brownlee: you make it, we'll buy it. And I wrote that at 12:30, it was bed time. You guys are missing out on some nerdly impulse buys over there. I'm assuming that Wanye has been working his loom for about 8 hours by now and should have the first batch ready to ship by Friday.

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#93 Robin Brownlee
May 14 2009, 09:08AM
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@ Archaeologuy: Most nerds don't buy on impulse. Everything is carefully calculated. Still, it's worth a shot. While we're at it, I'm sure Wanye sees the value in trying to squeeze some money out of the deal. ON should try to get some sponsorship happening -- Tim Horton's, Doritos, E-Harmony, that kind of thing.

As this is the first day of a $60,000 renovation on my estate -- really -- let me get things started with a mention of BEAUTIFUL BASEMENTS of St. Albert. If you want quality work at a reasonable rate, call BEAUTIFUL BASEMENTS of St. Albert. Remember, that's BEAUTIFUL BASEMENTS of St. Albert. They'll build you a dark, little room, including a beverage fridge, snack storage and pajama locker, custom-fit to your needs. Call them today. That's BEAUTIFUL BASEMENTS of St. Albert. There, that'll knock about 5K off the estimate.

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#94 Archaeologuy
May 14 2009, 09:19AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Most nerds don’t buy on impulse. Everything is carefully calculated.

hmmm, it seems you've done your homework on the nerd community. Though i think you're pushing it with E-Harmony. Dating?! That sounds like it might lead to actual human contact. Until Beautiful Basements revamps their respective caves I dont think too many Nerdites will be ready to have company over.

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#95 Robin Brownlee
May 14 2009, 09:25AM
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@ Archaeologuy: Yes, first nerds must call BEAUTIFUL BASEMENTS of St. Albert. BEAUTIFUL BASEMENTS of St. Albert can tackle any remodel or development. That's BEAUTIFUL BASEMENTS of St. Albert. Once the work is done, those E-Harmony girls will be lining up to share a jug of Coke and play Twister after a little dirty chatroom talk.

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#96 Archaeologuy
May 14 2009, 09:32AM
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@ Robin Brownlee: I think we just wrote the next commercial for Beautiful Basements. Seriously, this has been more entertaining than half the crap that passes for Canadian TV. The only thing more entertaining than this will be the Media Room that Beautiful Basements will build for you at a reasonable price...and perhaps the E-Harmony dirty chatroom talk that will come AFTER you call Beautiful Basements.

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#97 Dennis
May 15 2009, 12:24PM
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There are a couple of good hockey writers in Edmonton but doesn't it bother anyone else that Lowe's made so many bad moves but no one seems to be allowed to, have the sack to and/or are oblivious to it?

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#98 Archaeologuy
May 15 2009, 12:46PM
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@ Dennis: Lowe also had some great moves that almost resulted in a Stanley Cup. The last few years were filled with more bad moves than good ones and now he's been taken out of the position to make those decisions (they tell us). I dont think that it's in the best interest of the writers themselves to trash one of the guys in charge of the club though. Especially when the Oilers have been slowly but surely trying to be their own media outlet.

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#99 Dennis
May 15 2009, 02:09PM
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Arch: that could be true, no doubt. But if it is, it means there isn't a real media in Edm.

I think one point supports the other.

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#100 Archaeologuy
May 15 2009, 02:25PM
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@ Dennis: with the state of newspapers these days, the teams have the media by the tenders. The next 3-4 years might see a radical change in how much access and critical assessment MSM will have, especially in a market that isnt used to a sharp tongued media.

DAMN YOU CAPITALISM!

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