What will we wrap fish with when newspapers are gone?

Robin Brownlee
June 18 2009 03:16PM

entrydraft

Short of a Stanley Cup final, covering the NHL Entry Draft used to be the highlight of the season during my newspaper days.

Likewise, between chasing down trade rumours, trying to get the inside dope on who was talking to whom and buzz about top prospects, it was obvious fans couldn't get enough of what scribes would tap out.

Update: By popular demand, we're taking donations to fund Brownlee's Gregor's trip... When you're donating, feel free to suggest what he should do while he's out there. Just click the orange pill thingy.


I can't imagine fan interest, particularly in puck hotbeds like Edmonton, has waned since the days when I'd jet to Toronto or Miami or Nashville, but it's getting more difficult for fans to get their fix -- at least as delivered by their local beat men, the people who cover the team on a daily basis.

Tough economic times have newspapers, like a lot of businesses, slashing budgets. Compounding matters, newspapers have been dying a slow death for years now -- the reasons are many.

The result? For the Entry Draft in Montreal, Oilers fans won't have anybody from either daily newspaper documenting the day. There won't be any inside stuff from Jim Matheson, who knows the Oilers better than anybody on the planet, unless he picks up the telephone.

Pool coverage

Instead of Matheson's insights or the acidic sarcasm of a Rob Tychkowski over at The Sun, fans here will have to get their dope on the Oilers from the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun or the Montreal Gazette. Well, that or from TSN or Sportsnet.

There might be a local sports director from Edmonton who grabs the trip as a junket and does a few stand-ups to justify the expense -- maybe Dave Mitchell can do a piece where he pretends to be drafted -- but the newsprint guys are getting shutout as far as I know.

Because of Bob MacKenzie and Darren Dreger, national outlets like TSN are second-to-none in terms of big-picture blanket coverage, but they've got their Blackberries buzzing with 30 teams to cover. Their focus is not the Oilers.

The problem with newspapers, of course, is they don't hit the doorstep until the next morning, so everything they have to offer is old news by the time the black-and-white finds the step.

But even the dustiest old daily has one of those interweb sites now, where updates come be made within minutes of a player being selected or a trade being completed. There's value in that, no?

Wouldn't it make sense to have a beat guy there? Apparently not, because I'm hearing scribes from Vancouver aren't going, either.

Priorities

You'd think with Edmonton, with the Oilers having a top-10 pick, a new GM, a new coaching staff and the team reportedly in the hunt for sulking Dany Heatley, there'd be plenty of angles worth pursuing. Anybody with half-a-brain can see that. But, nooooooooooooooo.

Instead, we get The Journal sending columnist Dan Barnes to Las Vegas for the NHL Awards, where he's expected to produce for the entire CanWest chain of newspapers. Barnes will do a helluva job, and Ethan Moreau is getting the King Clancy Memorial Award, so...

Even so, if there's a choice to be made by the bean-counters, and it's obvious there is -- Jason Gregor broke the news about Moreau and I did a follow-up piece here Tuesday, so it's old news -- isn't the Entry Draft and everything that comes with it more compelling to fans? Of course it is.

That's one of many problems with my beloved old hard copy in newsrooms across the country and the continent -- the bean-counters call the shots, not the editorial staff. Who cares if Matheson can provide the best insight? How much does it cost?

That's one of the reasons newspapers, despite some blips of recovery in a time of declining circulation, are half on the slab right now and websites like Oilersnation are making inroads.

Now, if cheap screw Wanye will only get off his wallet and provide yours truly with a travel budget, we'll really be on to something.

-- 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 humantorch
June 18 2009, 03:33PM
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I'm only half-joking here, and it's probably too late to do it for this year, but if the Oilers Nation Powers That Be™ put a paypal donation link to raise the scratch to send someone like Brownlee or Gregor to the draft next year to liveblog or Twitter or what-have-you the event right here on these pages, it wouldn't surprise me to see an assload of cash get raised.

Hell, I'd chip in.

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#2 Zwantinus
June 18 2009, 03:42PM
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Heck Yeah!!! First time on, but I'll pony up for the Greyhound ticket. Let's represent Edmonton.

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#3 willy fisterbotom
June 18 2009, 03:44PM
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i'll throw a few bucks the way of oilersnation if they buck up and send RB to montreal

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#4 Andrew W
June 18 2009, 03:46PM
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Despite understanding some of the economic causes, it sucks that there won't be any exclusive Oiler coverage at the draft.

Count me as another who'd chip in. It wouldn't take a big chunk of change if a decent percentage of Nation readers contributed, and why wouldn't we if there's no other way to hear the juiciest rumours?

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#5 Librarian Mike
June 18 2009, 03:51PM
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Robin and Wanye on a road trip to the draft? I'd throw in just to read the stories of the journey.

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#6 charlieangels
June 18 2009, 03:51PM
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Robin, you can't go to the draft just in case you start your new gig at Team 1260.

Hey, whoever is doing this sight, can we take off the score of the last game of the year, it drives me crazy.

Bruke says he is upset with Heatly going to the media, he must of forgot about Pronger deal.

Robin, you just can't go.

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#7 Wanye Gretz
June 18 2009, 03:55PM
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@ humantorch: @ Zwantinus: @ willy fisterbotom: @ Andrew W:

Wow. I am witnessing the power of suggestion on here.

We can't be sending people off all willy nilly to the draft and the like. Do you know the travel standards to which Brownlee is accustomed? He flies in 5 star hotels somehow!

Where is the draft anyways? The moon?

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#8 oilguyry
June 18 2009, 03:56PM
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I'm in for a twenty for sure

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#9 Wanye Gretz
June 18 2009, 03:56PM
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@ charlieangels:

Oh and no we can't take the score off. If the Oilers didn't want us to remember a 4-1 loss all summer they should have won their last game of the year.

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#10 Jason Gregor
June 18 2009, 03:57PM
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Brownlee just broke on air that Daum will be hired as head coach in Springfield. Expect announcement possibly later today or tomorrow.

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#11 willy fisterbotom
June 18 2009, 04:05PM
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RB loves his caddy i wuz chippin in for gas money. he can drive his ass to quebec

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#12 Cam
June 18 2009, 04:06PM
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humantorch wrote:

I’m only half-joking here, and it’s probably too late to do it for this year, but if the Oilers Nation Powers That Be™ put a paypal donation link to raise the scratch to send someone like Brownlee or Gregor to the draft next year to liveblog or Twitter or what-have-you the event right here on these pages, it wouldn’t surprise me to see an assload of cash get raised. Hell, I’d chip in.

Count on me for twenty!

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#13 jeff
June 18 2009, 04:08PM
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Hmmm, less people at the draft will result in less BS for me to read the nexr day.

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#14 OvenChicken8
June 18 2009, 04:17PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Brownlee just broke on air that Daum will be hired as head coach in Springfield. Expect announcement possibly later today or tomorrow.

That's great news for the Falcons.

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#15 Andrew W
June 18 2009, 04:19PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Wow. I am witnessing the power of suggestion on here. We can’t be sending people off all willy nilly to the draft and the like. Do you know the travel standards to which Brownlee is accustomed? He flies in 5 star hotels somehow! Where is the draft anyways? The moon?

I have stayed at a fantastic hostel in Montreal which is very reasonably priced. It's a better place to meet young impressionable European women, too, which should be enough compensation for Mr. Brownlee's compromises from 5 star hotels.

Wayne, we're all counting on you to make this work. Please pull it together better than you did with your pick for Oiler stud of the year.

ps: When will you admit that your stud and your goat were backwards, anyway?

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#16 Cam
June 18 2009, 04:22PM
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$603.00 plus airport charges and tax to get to and from Montreal (fly out June 25 and fly back June 28)

Three nights at hotels and meals - 250 a day? does that sound about right?

So approximately 1500 to get the scoop. That woudl require 300 people to chip in 5 bucks... or 75 people to chip in 20...

pretty steep I guess

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#17 Milli
June 18 2009, 04:25PM
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I'll kick in too, but, if it's spent on hookers, I demand picures....

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#18 Andrew W
June 18 2009, 04:28PM
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@ Milli:

Well done sir.

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#19 toprightcorner
June 18 2009, 04:28PM
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If RB had enough passion for his career and team, he would drive his Escalade to Montreal, sleep in the back and give us all at the nation an update every 5 min, he could even add video clips with his blackberry!

I'll chip in for gas and fast food!

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#20 toprightcorner
June 18 2009, 04:33PM
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Cam wrote:

$603.00 plus airport charges and tax to get to and from Montreal (fly out June 25 and fly back June 28) Three nights at hotels and meals - 250 a day? does that sound about right? So approximately 1500 to get the scoop. That woudl require 300 people to chip in 5 bucks… or 75 people to chip in 20… pretty steep I guess

It would be a good investment for the Team 1260 and advertise the only station with a host on site with live coverage. This would give them a step up on the other guys down the dial. Hook it up with Twitter through 1260 and you could gain a larger fan base.

Just a thought.

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#21 Ducey
June 18 2009, 04:35PM
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Who wraps fish in newspapers anymore? I didn't realize you were around in the Depression, Brownlee.

And no offence newspaper guys, but a Bloggers like Lowetide or Willis do a better job than any newspaper guy has ever done at analysing the draft(likely to a limited amount of fishwrap and or/ brain power).

As for who is talking to who - newspapers have generally been too slow anyway.

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#22 Cam
June 18 2009, 04:39PM
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@ Ducey: Having someone on site that is telling me the Tambellini and Murray have their heads together half of the morning would be more powerful for me than a statistical analysis of picks already made...

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#23 Word
June 18 2009, 04:44PM
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Don't know if someone else has brought this up...

Brian Burke quote regarding Heatley from Dan Barnes' article today:

"For a player to pop off and say he wants out, or leak it, in my mind now you're no longer interested in your team. If you've done that, you've handicapped them and handcuffed the GM. ... As long as you're on that team, you owe them to maximize the asset, and once you've taken that step, sorry, I don't accept that."

He should keep his yap shut seeing as how he earned that big fancy ring on the back of one such player.

To be fair, Burke also stated that it's possibly Heatley's agent's fault. Regardless, the dude talks too much.

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#24 Vaughn
June 18 2009, 04:54PM
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Word wrote:

He should keep his yap shut seeing as how he earned that big fancy ring on the back of one such player.

Well said!

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#25 Mowzie
June 18 2009, 05:01PM
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I'll chip in $250.00 to get this ball rolling.

Browlee has to whore himself though and plug my business five times.

No seriously though, I'm in for $250, go get 'em Robin!

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#26 Chris
June 18 2009, 05:32PM
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I love how everyone just assumes Brownlee hasn't got anything better to do this weekend than to travel to Montreal (without pay) just to keep us informed on how the Oilers made no moves draft day... again.

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#27 Mowzie
June 18 2009, 05:40PM
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@ Chris:

Unless he's got a cardboard cut out of Kim Kardashian in the mail, I think he'd be able to clear his schedule for a free trip to Montreal for the draft.

ON: Hey Robin, how would you like a free trip to Montreal to watch the draft?

Robin: Hmmm... I'm actually staining my deck that weekend, I'm gonna have to turn it down.

ON: Really, a free trip. to the draft. in Montreal. Are you retarded.

Robin: Sorry, I've got a busy weekend, I have to move some boxes from over here to over there.

ON: OK, Jason what about you, do you want...

*Sound of airplane taking off for Montreal*

Nine hours later...

Text from Jason: Ya sure, I'll go.

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#28 Ender the Dragon
June 18 2009, 05:42PM
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Chris wrote:

I love how everyone just assumes Brownlee hasn’t got anything better to do this weekend than to travel to Montreal (without pay) just to keep us informed on how the Oilers made no moves draft day… again.

The guy responds to my comments here. I'm going to put it out there that he has somehow got time on his hands.

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#29 bingofuel
June 18 2009, 05:45PM
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@ humantorch: @ Milli: @ Cam: @ Mowzie:

Guys, and all Nationeers. I would love nothing more than to ship Brownlee away and out of our hair for the weekend... Wanye and I are violently debating the possibility deep in our underground bunker (ie, our parents' basement, like any self-respecting blogger) right now.

I'll keep you informed.

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#30 bingofuel
June 18 2009, 05:45PM
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@ Mowzie: Also, since when does it take 9 hours to fly to Montreal? :)

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#31 Mowzie
June 18 2009, 05:51PM
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@ bingofuel:

Well I assumed he would need a couple hours to eat a poutine and hit on a French women using the french skills that George Laraque taught him during commercials on The Team. Then depending on how the women reacted, maybe an extra 15 minutes to consummate the friendship. He would then send the text while the french woman brushed her teeth vigorously.

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#32 bingofuel
June 18 2009, 05:56PM
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@ Mowzie:

But then he'd spend the rest of the weekend at a medi-centre, or, as the French say "Une Médi-céntréz," to ensure he was, ahem, touched by the lovely lady.

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#33 Librarian Mike
June 18 2009, 06:00PM
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bingofuel wrote:

@ humantorch: @ Milli: @ Cam: @ Mowzie: Guys, and all Nationeers. I would love nothing more than to ship Brownlee away and out of our hair for the weekend… Wanye and I are violently debating the possibility deep in our underground bunker (ie, our parents’ basement, like any self-respecting blogger) right now. I’ll keep you informed.

Thanks Bingofuel. Maybe my dream of seeing Robin cornering Brian Jurke and hammering him so hard that he pees his pants and ends up in the corner, crying and rocking back and forth in the fetal position will come true.

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#34 The Gloved One
June 18 2009, 06:17PM
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Guys..we forgot one thing! What will Brownlee's tobacco bill be? I vote for him to fly cuz if he drives he'll suck back pack after pack of lawn darts and we'll all be broke!

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#35 The Gloved One
June 18 2009, 06:18PM
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haha! I meant lung darts! If Brownlee could suck back pack after pack of LAWN darts then that would pay his way across Canada as a side show no probs! ;)

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#36 Hoodlum
June 18 2009, 06:20PM
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There is a great place(or so I'm told) off Crescent street called "Octopussy". Lets give Robin all our money and let him report from there. We get the story and he comes back in maybe a more pleasant mood. 2 birds with 1 stone. Just a thought

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#37 Mowzie
June 18 2009, 06:26PM
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@ bingofuel:

That's fine, I'm sure the ON faithful will chip in to pay for the perscription bug killers.

You can have two paypal buttons.

1. Draft

2. Bad Choice Medication

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#38 David S
June 18 2009, 06:47PM
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I'm actually a bit amazed the Team 1260 doesn't realize the opportunity to send both Gregor and Brownlee. They'd scoop every station in town. Of course Gregor would be there primarily for the chicks, but still, a JAG special remote from the draft? NO BRAINER.

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#39 Dominoiler
June 18 2009, 06:53PM
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ahhh...

but really...

does having someone there change the outcome?.. we'll all see what goes down, without the need for hitting the refresh button for a blog (at best) when the 'news' will be readily available (excluding the off chance of some global cataclysm)... newspaper articles are so generic anyways, like gregor (i think it was him) said in his blog vs. print piece - they are just relaying the facts without the opinionated flavour we appreciate...

pass...

(although i'll still be keeping up with the ol refreshed blogs)

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#40 Travis Dakin
June 18 2009, 06:54PM
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Hoodlum wrote:

There is a great place(or so I’m told) off Crescent street called “Octopussy”. Lets give Robin all our money and let him report from there. We get the story and he comes back in maybe a more pleasant mood. 2 birds with 1 stone. Just a thought

Just tell them Scott sent ya right? haha

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#41 Dominoiler
June 18 2009, 06:55PM
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ahh.. but that idea of having radio there is pretty good.. (just not continous stream - gawd that would be dull...)

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#42 Librarian Mike
June 18 2009, 06:55PM
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Hoodlum wrote:

There is a great place(or so I’m told) off Crescent street called “Octopussy”. Lets give Robin all our money and let him report from there. We get the story and he comes back in maybe a more pleasant mood. 2 birds with 1 stone. Just a thought

I never knew Robin was a cat person...

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#43 Robin Brownlee
June 18 2009, 06:56PM
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toprightcorner wrote:

Cam wrote: $603.00 plus airport charges and tax to get to and from Montreal (fly out June 25 and fly back June 28) Three nights at hotels and meals - 250 a day? does that sound about right? So approximately 1500 to get the scoop. That woudl require 300 people to chip in 5 bucks… or 75 people to chip in 20… pretty steep I guess It would be a good investment for the Team 1260 and advertise the only station with a host on site with live coverage. This would give them a step up on the other guys down the dial. Hook it up with Twitter through 1260 and you could gain a larger fan base. Just a thought.

Stauffer is going for 630 CHED

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#44 charlieangels
June 18 2009, 07:16PM
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o.k., if Bob is going you have to go to represent us and TEAM 1260. Come on Robin, break the news that you are in with the TEAM and bring your no holds bar approach to radio

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#45 roughneck
June 18 2009, 07:21PM
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I think its a cool idea, sort of precedence setting and in a warped way legitimizes some of the time I spend on here. So yah

Ill invest

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#46 OILER86
June 18 2009, 07:22PM
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I actually think there will be Oiler involvement in a small wheel and deal at the draft. Our track record in years past, in my opinion, should not be the measuring stick as far as what to expect this year. Tambo has already put his stamp on the team with the Quinn/Renney hiring and he's just warming up.

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#47 Shanye Gretz
June 18 2009, 08:14PM
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Put me down for some scratch. Considering how much time I spend at work getting paid while I read this site I might as well invest some in it...so that I can waste more time at work.

/great idea humantorch. And if you're actually Brownlee just trying to scam a free trip...genius!

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#48 Harlie
June 18 2009, 08:20PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Stauffer is going for 630 CHED

Thanks. I'll be tuning in to Ched.

Ched 1 - Team 0

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#49 Robin Brownlee
June 18 2009, 08:41PM
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WELL . . . I thought this item might spark some deep discussion about the impending death of newspapers and the slow but steady shift of meaningful sports news to sites like Oilersnation, but instead it's turned into a raise funds to get Brownlee to Montreal campaign.

Do you have any idea what the expenses would be for the "coat check" room at The Chez and copious amounts of Molson on Crescent Street? Obviously not. And that's without taking into account toonies for tossing, smoked meat sandwiches and possibly bail. It would break the ON bank and force Wanye to put off his upcoming "change of life" surgery because, frankly, slumming it like I do on the road takes a lot of scratch. Still, I salute the sentiment. I love this place.

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#50 Matt N
June 18 2009, 08:42PM
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Harlie wrote:

Robin Brownlee wrote: Stauffer is going for 630 CHED Thanks. I’ll be tuning in to Ched. Ched 1 - Team 0

+ 1

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