The Rift In The Dressing Room

Jonathan Willis
June 05 2009 11:48PM

Orr Esposito

All season long there have been rumours about a rift, a root dysfunction in the dressing room. Respected names in the Edmonton sports media, people like Dan Barnes and John Short, have reported the problems.

Here’s what Short said on May 17th:

If you swallowed all that kool-aid about the incredible harmony that existed last season in the Edmonton Oilers dressing room, it's time for you to scan the Carolina Hurricanes roster. It's worth remembering the recent fact that Erik Cole, Sergei Samsonov and Joni Pitkanen were at least a little unhappy as Oilers. Now they're happy in the Carolinas…. A warm and welcoming dressing room climate can overcome a host of problems. That comfort didn't exist here -- not for these guys, anyway -- and the record shows that it was non-existent for others, as well.

Short placed much of the blame on the veteran leadership of the Oilers. It was a theme that Dan Barnes had touched on back in April:

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. "It's got to change. It's not healthy. There is way too much negativity. It seems nothing was positive all year. It's tough to play that way. The product on the ice hasn't been as good. We've got to find a way to get that positive environment back."

Both Robin Brownlee and Jason Gregor here at OilersNation have touched on the rift, with Gregor calling it “overblown”, and Brownlee said that he hadn’t seen it either. There’s a lot of truth to the conclusion that Brownlee came to – namely that winning covers over a lot of problems, while losing has the opposite effect.

I completely agree. I was reminded of all this while I was reading Stephen Brunt’s excellent book, Searching For Bobby Orr, where he talked about the divide in the Boston dressing room between Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. Here’s what Brunt said:

On the ice, anyone outside of the team itself would have been hard-pressed to see any evidence of their differences, though there were times, especially when the two were duelling for the NHL scoring championship, when Orr confided to those closest to him that he thought the “Chicago guys” were quietly conspiring against him, whether they were feeding Espo an extra pass or denying Orr one, just to make sure their long-time buddy came out on top.

The Esposito/Orr Bruins won two Stanley Cups and won twice as many games as they lost (384-192-108); and while it’s just one example, there are plenty more. It’s hard to put it better than Brunt himself did:

There’s a truth that applies to all teams in all professionl sports: harmony is way overrated. Many a championship has been won with players who didn’t socialize away from the park or the rink, who didn’t say a lot to each other in any circumstance, whose personalities naturally clashed, who came from backgrounds that were irreconcilable, who rubbed each other the wrong way, who hated each other’s guts. Talent goes a long way toward patching over those kinds of differences.

And while I completely agree with that statement, Brunt follows it with one that sounds a lot like the conclusion Brownlee came to back in April:

[A] team spiralling downward will invariably begin to pick at itself, to magnify its rifts and tensions and jealousies. There is a long, long list of jerks who won many a championship, and of nice guys who finished last.

Coming back to the present, if we can agree that there isn’t a need to have a completely harmonious dressing room, than it’s probably equally fair to say that overhauling the Oilers’ leadership core shouldn’t be a priority. It is important to upgrade the team in other ways (which probably don’t need rehashing right now) but I don’t think team leaders should be traded for no other reason than because certain people have concerns about the team’s culture.

I’ve touched on this before, but this team has been radically changed since the disaster of 2006-07; in only two seasons two-thirds of the roster has been changed over. When we also consider that nearly the entire coaching staff has also been changed (with Kelly Buchberger being the lone holdover), I think change for the sake of change is pointless.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Sandra Blood
June 06 2009, 12:21AM
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@Robin Brownlee Is there truth to the rumour that Souray wants one more person "traded" for him to stay as an Oiler? this is going around the Res.

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#2 dragosn
June 06 2009, 12:44AM
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nice try, but I don't think Steve T. will leave the nonperforming leadership untouched. whether losing changed the culture or the changed culture lost games, still the existing leadership core has nothing to show for. (except for losing the playoffs and changing the coach) and not too many people disagree that the effort was just not there when needed. leadership has to take some blame for that...I'm sure Quinn/Renney will play a more active role in re-shaping that, so the vets may get a second (4th - if you look at the guys that are still here, on your list) chance. Either way, it makes for a very interesting summer.

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#3 oilerzz
June 06 2009, 02:25AM
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Sandra Blood wrote:

@Robin Brownlee Is there truth to the rumour that Souray wants one more person “traded” for him to stay as an Oiler? this is going around the Res.

if its penner im all for it

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#4 humantorch
June 06 2009, 02:32AM
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Getting rid of a mediocre coach who consistently played favorites with "his guys" regardless of how terribly they played should go a long way towards patching things up.

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#5 99thoilerfan
June 06 2009, 06:45AM
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I was also wondering about who was leading in the dressing room, this year. Who was our leader(s)?

It really seemed this year, we were missing that leader that grabs the Oil flag, and yells out to the others " Come on boys, follow me, let get this done! "

The Oil has had some great leaders in the past... 99, 94, 11 , a few examples of the player I mean.

After reading a lot of blogs/news stories, I think there was a rift (Us vs. Them),in the room.

I work in a busy office, and I have been at my job for about 15 years. I want to guide or tutor, some of the younger crew members on the team, but there is one guy, who will never ask for help, who will not listen to my suggestions, and he will be happy to tell you how smart he is, even as he screws up yet another order....

I am not his Boss. I have no way of " cracking " the whip, and after a few months of working with him..... Well, now I do not offer to help, Why should I ? He never listens to any suggestions, and continues to mess up, and even as I tell the management what a yahoo this guy is ( Un coachable, I guess is the word ) the management team seems to over look the mess he made.

Why all this background? What am I driving at ?

The Oil dressing room might have the same thing.... Young "Star" players, who have now made the show ( have the fat, long term contract to prove it ) not listening to the Vets on the team, as they try to explain the type of drive needed to get the job done. ( Shut up Old timer ! I know what I'm Doing )

The Vets on the team might have tried to get the message into the younger team mates head, but who to say if they were listening ?

I think this is where the Coaching change will make a impact. Will Quinn walk in the room, crack the whip, and read the riot act ?

**** ACTUAL CONVO ****

Quinn: Morning all, I'm your new Lord and Master Team: Good Morning Coach ! Quinn: Ok, Good Start ! Now.. What is that smell ? Capt: Coach, that smells like a Donair... Quinn: WHAT IN THE HELL ! No Food in the Locker room! Capt: Coach, I have tried to tell him that but.... Quinn: Next guy that brings in Food, will be gone! Team: Sure thing coach !( Wow! What a hard ass ! )

****

GO OIL!

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#6 Dan
June 06 2009, 07:41AM
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Sandra Blood wrote:

@Robin Brownlee Is there truth to the rumour that Souray wants one more person “traded” for him to stay as an Oiler? this is going around the Res.

I was just thinking about that and wouldn't doubt if it was Ethan.

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#7 BigE57
June 06 2009, 07:54AM
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The first thing the team needs to do is get rid of the multiple assistant captains, you know the ones where hemsky and souray wear 'A's on the road and someone else wears the letter at home. Your leadership needs to be defined and prominent. This team has always been more successful when it's leaders were also the stars, Gretzky, Messier, even Weight to a certain extent, the lone exception being Jason Smith who played with his heart on his sleeve and I don't think was afraid to call guys out in a locker room situation.

Moreau has always been a hard nosed player but his 2 seasons as captain have come across as fairly soft, injury prone and highly unproductive. Maybe he is one of those players who doesn't do well under the light.

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#8 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 08:48AM
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@ BigE57:

Agreed on the Assistant Captains. How hard is it to pick one captain, and two A's? That seems like a typical theme these last couple of years for their on-ice philosophy: "Okay, we're going in this direction from now on here we goWAIT! No, let's go that way instead".

As I've said before, Moreau has been a good soldier for this team, but my guess is that the younger players don't respect him because he's frankly kind of an average player. Maybe the feeling is that he was made captain in the first place because he was a MacT guy who got away with at least one bad penalty per game...anyway, it doesn't matter now.

@ Jonathan Willis:

Good point, Jonathan, about chemistry being overrated. Have you ever read "The Bad Guys Won"? It's about the '86 Mets. Absolutely fascinating read.@ BigE57:

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#9 B-rad
June 06 2009, 08:49AM
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I like Ethan as el capitan... other than Zach he is the only forward that bled for us on a regular basis... He took penaties but he has a higher compete level than most.

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#10 myteammytown
June 06 2009, 08:57AM
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@ Dan:

it has been reported that souray and moreau are very good friends. If true, its probably not moreau

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#11 Jonathan Willis
June 06 2009, 09:36AM
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dragosn wrote:

not too many people disagree that the effort was just not there when needed.

There's a funny thing about effort; it's often in the eye of the beholder. Big guys always seem to look lazy; from Mahovlich on down, because of their skating.

There were at least a half-dozen games this year where one of the local print columnists was raging about a "lack of effort" and was way off the mark; players were making poor decisions with the puck - ugly turnovers, that sort of thing - but the effort was there.

A team needs effort to win, but many a poorly built team has lost despite the effort and been pilloried for it anyway. The root problem with the 2008-09 Oilers wasn't a lack of effort; it was a roster built too much on hope and too little on established track record. Coaching mistakes were a part of the formula - I'm not going to recite the list but we all know it. Players were asked to do too much - Pisani was asked to learn a new position, Horcoff was expected to be both the #1 offensive centre and the #1 defensive centre, all of the kids without exception were expected to improve on their breakout seasons, Dustin Penner was expected to put up 30 goals while at the same time he was punted off the top line and the top powerplay unit, Erik Cole was expected to score in the Northwest like he had scored in the Southeast, Mathieu Garon was expected to repeat his career-best season, Ales Hemsky was expected to take the next step on a team with very little offensive support, Kyle Brodziak was expected to score despite being run out almost exclusively for defensive zone faceoffs, and the penalty-kill was expected to thrive despite the fact that three major components of it had been moved.

Only things like a career-best season from Sheldon Souray and a return to form from Dwayne Roloson turned out as expected.

If you want to pick effort as the problem that's your business, but the simple fact of the matter is that this team wasn't built to win. "Lack of effort" is simply the easiest possible attack, and allows the columnist to scapegoat whichever players he's decided he doesn't like and it's an attack that too often gets used out of laziness and vested self-interest. After all, if someone figured they could win the division, is it easier to say "I was wrong" or "the team had the talent but underachieved".

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#12 Jonathan Willis
June 06 2009, 09:38AM
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dragosn wrote:

nice try, but I don’t think Steve T. will leave the nonperforming leadership untouched.

Also, please note:

1) I haven't exactly been a vocal supporter of Moreau/Staios/Souray, three guys generally listed in the leaders column, so it isn't like I'm trying to defend players that I'm enamoured with.

2) While Moreau's public quotes are often galling - they just are - I haven't seen him in the dressing room, and neither have you.

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#13 patty
June 06 2009, 09:46AM
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myteammytown wrote:

@ Dan: it has been reported that souray and moreau are very good friends. If true, its probably not moreau

I've heard they are basically BFF, I think Brownlee has mentioned something similar previously. I doubt it's Penner (if this rumor is true...) either as he's apparently very well liked by the guys in the room.

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#14 Heazues
June 06 2009, 09:57AM
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Sandra Blood wrote:

@Robin Brownlee Is there truth to the rumour that Souray wants one more person “traded” for him to stay as an Oiler? this is going around the Res.

Dan wrote:

Sandra Blood wrote: @Robin Brownlee Is there truth to the rumour that Souray wants one more person “traded” for him to stay as an Oiler? this is going around the Res. I was just thinking about that and wouldn’t doubt if it was Ethan.

im not sure WHO it would be. my guess is that it had to do with coaching. even in the interviews it almost seemed like the players were relieved to see him gone. respectful, but the common "we knew changed were coming....not really a surprise....excited to see what the new coach will bring...etc..."

not like the hawks when people (wont name names lol) were crying and didnt really agree with the firing....

but IF souray was holding tambi hostage, saying "trade this guy or trade me" it is kind of a dick move. and if i were tambi i wouldnt even give it a second thought. or i might be inclined to trade souray anyway as it is that exact attitude that makes a locker room uncomfortable for everyone. i sure hope if souray or ANYONE else demands a trade, it is dealt with better than pronger was.

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#15 Austin Ayala
June 06 2009, 09:58AM
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Mike Grier, Shawn Brown, Joaquin Gage, Georges Laraque, Anson Carter...

I remember when we had all these guys at the same time and they were all such spirited and hard workers that really lit up the dressing room. We need to bring back hard workers like this again because I think that's what the Oilers are missing. If Souray wants out... good, trade him away for heart and soul player.

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#16 roughneck
June 06 2009, 10:03AM
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8 years that redefined a game, in spite of the best efforts of plow horses like the new oiler coach. For all the failings of that old dump, the garden was an awesome place to watch a game, she was a bit of a hazard walking up and down those near vertical steps; with a load on and two more in hand: well worth the adventure.

*small tear*

they just dont build em like that anymore... (4)

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#17 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 10:05AM
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@ Austin Ayala: Sigh. I liked all those guys (except Gage who's a jerk and Carter who's lazy), but I think our strategy needs to be a little better thought out than "Let's get black players".

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#18 Austin Ayala
June 06 2009, 10:08AM
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I didn't mean it like that. I really miss Raffi Torres as well. And Stoll. A Stoll-Torres 2nd line is the type of spark we needed last year.

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#19 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 10:08AM
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Heazues wrote:

not like the hawks when people (wont name names lol) were crying and didnt really agree with the firing….

I know it's crazy, but when I heard about Kane crying I felt kind of moved. At least it was something other than the usual 'hockey player' talk. That being said, I'm sure he gets bugged mercilessly by his team for it. Haha.

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#20 Heazues
June 06 2009, 10:16AM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Heazues wrote: not like the hawks when people (wont name names lol) were crying and didnt really agree with the firing…. I know it’s crazy, but when I heard about Kane crying I felt kind of moved. At least it was something other than the usual ‘hockey player’ talk. That being said, I’m sure he gets bugged mercilessly by his team for it. Haha.

haha, at least for a while. but im sure he's grown a bit, and realized that "hockey talk" is the safe route in those cases and if he is upset about something, keep it behind closed doors.

my point was that it almost seemed that when the oilers were interviewed, they didnt JUST stick to the "we didnt see it coming, but the GM know's whats best" kind of talk. body language and the tone of the comments seemed to indicate that they were more relieved than upset about it.

could have been my own imagination :) but it looked different to me than most other interviews after a firing.

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#21 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 10:23AM
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@ Heazues: Oh, totally. I also got the vibe that some of the players were biting their tongues from adding "...and don't let the door hit your a$$ on the way out."

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#22 MrOiler
June 06 2009, 10:25AM
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Nice article. Finally, someone tones down the drama volume on the dressing room rift thing. It was so over-blown.

This whole situation was caused by an unbalanced team - too many kids and small/soft players.

Change that and I bet you will see more wins and that the rift in the dressing room goes away.

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#23 Archaeologuy
June 06 2009, 10:36AM
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I was a big supporter of getting rid of most of the "leadership" core all year. Moreau has been a good 3rd liner his whole career, but that means very little to me. He has crumbled under the pressure of being the Captain. IMO, Moreau feels the weight of the C on his chest and starts running around like a goof late in games trying to make a difference out there. Of course he's a bit player on the 3rd line so chances are he cant actually make a difference in a positive way and unsurprisingly he took untimely penalties all year long because being "physical" was his only card to play in pressure situations. Honestly, what is the point of having a Captain who averages less than 16 minutes a night?

Horcoff as an A, maybe before this past year I wouldnt have minded this, but the guy signs a MASSIVE contract in the off-season and then disappears all season long. Leadership? Not likely. Now he MIGHT have some excuses. He had season ending shoulder surgery the year before and maybe he wasnt 100% all season (mentally or physically), so maybe he comes back full force next season. The coach over-used him all year, forcing him into dual roles. More than half of his points came from the PP (goals AND assists). That fact might suggest that 5 on 5 he's useless, but he was deployed in a defensive role quite a bit (so maybe that's an excuse for his absolutely attrocious 5 on 5 production). However, his PP production also suggests that in a purely offensive role he can still play. It can be a double edged sword.

Either way, I dont think that after 3 years out of the playoffs changing the leadership core would be "change for the sake of change".

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#24 Librarian Mike
June 06 2009, 10:50AM
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@ Archaeologuy:

To add to that, I would argue that 'change for its own sake' is when you have 3 coaches in 4 years (i.e. Calgary). 3 years is a significant chunk of a typical player/coach's career and I agree that if you can't get a result in that time, it's worth it to try something else.

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#25 RossCreek
June 06 2009, 10:55AM
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Rift, Shmift! They still gotta look at moving some of the older vets and replacing them with younger vets. No disrespect intendedto Moreau, Staios or Pisani, but by the time this club is ready to win, these guys won't be here. Replace them with similar guys that are 4 years younger.

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#26 Death Metal Nightmare
June 06 2009, 11:24AM
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theres not enough evidence or details here to even talk about this in a practical manner.

that said, pinpointing the rift between "young" and "old" is limited. whats really missing is any sense of structure to execute the game. and both "demographics" fail to be consistent in that. the older players are way too average (or crappy) for the most part to carry teams or be exemplary models for the youth and the youth isnt ready to take on the role... or is usually moderately passive in grabbing this team by the horns and going.

someone like Hemsky (who seems too passive in this role) and whoever they bring in to actually help him need to bridge that gap.

also eliminating "leadership" would be a good idea, if this group of players stays similar to what it is. rotating leadership is more important since leadership is always cycling over the season and it levels ego and the symbolic order of who is "leader".

that being said, theres a lot of maturing both ends of the spectrum ("young" and "old") need to do to be a solid team. it goes to show how immature this team is off the ice, and on the ice at executing simple systems.

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#27 Jason Gregor
June 06 2009, 11:38AM
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Sandra Blood wrote:

Is there truth to the rumour that Souray wants one more person “traded” for him to stay as an Oiler? this is going around the Res.

You really think that Souray has that much power to say, "Trade this guy or I'm out". No chance.

Dan wrote:

I was just thinking about that and wouldn’t doubt if it was Ethan.

Way off. Souray and Moreau drove to every home game together. They ate their pregame meals together. They are very tight, Souray and Moreau don't have an issue with one another at all.

I know it is June and there is nothing going on in Oilerland, but tossing out an opinion based on your bias about hating the captain is stupid and a waste of time.

I've said it on my show countless times and wrote it countless times. SOURAY and MOREAU get along. They led the team together. All of you who think that if Souray had the C that somehow things would be different are living in a dream world.

They led as a team, and both were in the same boat when it came to not being on the same page as the coach. Which seems weird because they played a lot. But in the end the communication between coach and the team wasn't at the level it needed to be.

Sure Souray's house is on the market, but Moreau's has been for almost two years, it doesn't mean they want to get traded. Yes, Souray was annoyed during the season, but like JW pointed out when you win most of the off-ice issues become less important.

Tambellini would like to trade a vet or two, because they haven't won crap with them, but not because they are cancer's in the room. I would argue that at times this team gets along too well and there is no uneasiness.

When the OIlers won their championships, Kevin Mclelland and Esa Tikkanen were not the most well-liked guys off the ice, but on the ice their teammates loved them because they played hard.

A team doesn't have to be in perfect harmony to win, they just have to know that in tough times on the ice their teammates will be there for them, and Moreau and Souray have great respect from their teammates because of that alone.

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#28 Sandra Blood
June 06 2009, 11:59AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Sandra Blood wrote: Is there truth to the rumour that Souray wants one more person “traded” for him to stay as an Oiler? this is going around the Res. You really think that Souray has that much power to say, “Trade this guy or I’m out”. No chance. Dan wrote: I was just thinking about that and wouldn’t doubt if it was Ethan. Way off. Souray and Moreau drove to every home game together. They ate their pregame meals together. They are very tight, Souray and Moreau don’t have an issue with one another at all. I know it is June and there is nothing going on in Oilerland, but tossing out an opinion based on your bias about hating the captain is stupid and a waste of time. I’ve said it on my show countless times and wrote it countless times. SOURAY and MOREAU get along. They led the team together. All of you who think that if Souray had the C that somehow things would be different are living in a dream world. They led as a team, and both were in the same boat when it came to not being on the same page as the coach. Which seems weird because they played a lot. But in the end the communication between coach and the team wasn’t at the level it needed to be. Sure Souray’s house is on the market, but Moreau’s has been for almost two years, it doesn’t mean they want to get traded. Yes, Souray was annoyed during the season, but like JW pointed out when you win most of the off-ice issues become less important. Tambellini would like to trade a vet or two, because they haven’t won crap with them, but not because they are cancer’s in the room. I would argue that at times this team gets along too well and there is no uneasiness. When the OIlers won their championships, Kevin Mclelland and Esa Tikkanen were not the most well-liked guys off the ice, but on the ice their teammates loved them because they played hard. A team doesn’t have to be in perfect harmony to win, they just have to know that in tough times on the ice their teammates will be there for them, and Moreau and Souray have great respect from their teammates because of that alone.

But this is why no player will take a "home town discount" to play or stay here. When it's not fun going to work, do you want to go? No. Even Havlat had fun in Chicago, that he is willing to take a discount to stay there. A fun enviroment makes players happy and makes them close to a family which translates to wins. I keep hearing that a coach only has 20% or less influence in the room(Dan Tencer and Robert Stauffer), the rest of the onis is on the players, so there must have been some thing going on in the room. with the talent that the Oil had they should have been ahead of the Canucks.

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#29 Sandra Blood
June 06 2009, 12:04PM
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oilerzz wrote:

Sandra Blood wrote: @Robin Brownlee Is there truth to the rumour that Souray wants one more person “traded” for him to stay as an Oiler? this is going around the Res. if its penner im all for it

Penner was the most liked guy in the room.

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#30 Austin Ayala
June 06 2009, 12:15PM
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Sandra Blood wrote Penner was the most liked guy in the room.

I know for a fact this is a pile of dung. Jason Strudwick was the most liked guy in the room.

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#31 Archaeologuy
June 06 2009, 12:33PM
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The rumour in discussion wasnt even brought up by credible sources and any assertion as to who was liked more in the dressing room is complete speculation. There is absolutely nothing behind any of it.

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#32 B-rad
June 06 2009, 01:20PM
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very true. unless you played for the oilers, you really wouldn't know for certain, who would win the popularity contest. lol.

\\ @ Archaeologuy:

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#33 Jonathan Willis
June 06 2009, 01:37PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

I linked to this in the article above, but with most of the previous leadership core already out the door, I don't think axing the few survivors is automatically the answer.

Smyth - gone. Stoll - gone. Reasoner - gone. Smith - gone. Greene - gone.

That's a lot of character this team has lost over the past two seasons (and the actual list of players is much, much longer - 19 total).

People act like "well, this team has missed the playoffs since 2005-06, everyone's expendable" but the fact is that this isn't the same team that's missed the playoffs over the past two years; there have already been substantial changes, and a lot of heart-and-soul guys were sent away over those years.

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#34 Harrison
June 06 2009, 02:06PM
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So Dan says no rift existed between the players. How about a rift between the players and the coaches? I am not just talking about MacT either. Could Moores - Huddy or Buchberger have been the problem?

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#35 Archaeologuy
June 06 2009, 02:44PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

People act like “well, this team has missed the playoffs since 2005-06, everyone’s expendable” but the fact is that this isn’t the same team that’s missed the playoffs over the past two years; there have already been substantial changes, and a lot of heart-and-soul guys were sent away over those years.

I didnt say every player is expendable, just that changing the leadership core would not be change for the sake of change. Moreau should likely only be a stop-gap or transitional Captain that was called to duty because there was no better choice at the time. Think Desjardins in Philly. Moreau can stay on the team, but he's a poor Captain. If its too much for his ego to take (being stripped of the C) then too bad for him. He's an easily replaceable part of a broken machine. How many Captains in the NHL average less than 16 minutes a night? He isnt an impact player on the ice so why give the guy a C and tell him he's more important than he really is.

IMO a Captain ought to be able to make an impact on AND off the ice, and as "good" as Moreau may be off of the ice, he wont be taking any games by the throat and changing the course of momentum by sitting in the penalty box or the bench. At least Smith made his presence be known while he was here, Moreau disapeared almost as much as Horc did down the stretch.

I know the team has lost a lot of the old leadership group, but that doesnt mean they should desperately hold on to the leftovers that remain. Staios and Moreau, their time has passed. Its time to cultivate a new leadership group. I dont know how that should be done. Maybe they go the route of LA, Chicago, and Pittsburg and slap the C on one of the young guys and forget the vets that are on team. Maybe they give the C to an actual impact vet like Souray and wait for the Kids to develop. All i know/believe is that the "leadership" group that's in place here now has accomplished nothing and fostered a poor environment to play in.

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#36 Jonathan Willis
June 06 2009, 02:51PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Dave Andreychuk's team won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Personally, I thought Jason Smith was a great captain too.

Frankly, if a player doesn't respect the captain because he's not an all-star, that says a lot about that particular player.

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#37 Harrison
June 06 2009, 03:02PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Archaeologuy: Dave Andreychuk’s team won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Personally, I thought Jason Smith was a great captain too. Frankly, if a player doesn’t respect the captain because he’s not an all-star, that says a lot about that particular player.

On the same token when I played (just for example) I looked up to guys that had more skill than I and was happy to get the advice from them. I didn't listen to the 6'6" 240 pound 4th liners who had no skill and were trying to advise me on what to do in certain situations. Why should I? They couldn't do what they were preaching so how was I to know if there advise was good or bad?

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#38 Archaeologuy
June 06 2009, 03:12PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Andreychuk was playing a more limited role in 2004 (although he did score more goals that year than Horc did this year), but he will be in the Hall of Fame. He also average more than 17 minutes of Ice Time a night. He earned his respect and showed up with 5 game winning goals that season.

I dont think the Captain needs to be an All-Star, but he needs to be valuable to his team. Smith wasnt the best defenseman on the team, but he played so hard when the chips were down that it seemed like guys would follow him through a brick wall. It just seems fake when Moreau tries it, whereas when Souray had that fire it seemed real. He would be my choice right now. Keep Moreau around if you must, but he isnt even close to Dave Andreychuk.

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#39 humantorch
June 06 2009, 04:14PM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

Mike Grier, Shawn Brown, Joaquin Gage, Georges Laraque, Anson Carter… I remember when we had all these guys at the same time and they were all such spirited and hard workers that really lit up the dressing room. We need to bring back hard workers like this again because I think that’s what the Oilers are missing. If Souray wants out… good, trade him away for heart and soul player.

I'm confused.

Either you're saying that the Oilers need more African/American players on their team, or you're calling Anson Carter a hard worker.

Either way... I'm, um, not following the logical progression you're after here.

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#40 Dan
June 06 2009, 05:49PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Just because two guys are all buddy-buddy doesn't mean he doesn't get pissed when they take stupid penalties or make impatient plays. I like the way Ethan plays as much as anyone, but I'd be pissed too if he put my team in bad situations constantly.

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#41 Sandra Blood
June 06 2009, 07:18PM
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@ Austin Ayala: Deep oil?

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#42 David S
June 06 2009, 08:11PM
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humantorch wrote:

Either way… I’m, um, not following the logical progression you’re after here.

Torch - don't worry. Logic isn't AA's strong suit.

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#43 Seans
June 06 2009, 10:20PM
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Harrison wrote:

Jonathan Willis wrote: @ Archaeologuy: Dave Andreychuk’s team won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Personally, I thought Jason Smith was a great captain too. Frankly, if a player doesn’t respect the captain because he’s not an all-star, that says a lot about that particular player. On the same token when I played (just for example) I looked up to guys that had more skill than I and was happy to get the advice from them. I didn’t listen to the 6′6″ 240 pound 4th liners who had no skill and were trying to advise me on what to do in certain situations. Why should I? They couldn’t do what they were preaching so how was I to know if there advise was good or bad?

Is that why you are no longer playing hockey? There are people with all the skill in the world that can not teach it, and people with no skill what so ever but great teachers. If you are only willing to take advise from someone "better" then you then I highly doubt you could be successful in any field you work in whether it is hockey or somewhere else.

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#44 Antony Ta
June 07 2009, 01:00AM
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Sandra Blood wrote: Penner was the most liked guy in the room.

Austin Ayala wrote: I know for a fact this is a pile of dung. Jason Strudwick was the most liked guy in the room.

This is the most pointless argument ever.

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#45 Jason Gregor
June 07 2009, 09:07AM
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Dan wrote:

Just because two guys are all buddy-buddy doesn’t mean he doesn’t get pissed when they take stupid penalties or make impatient plays. I like the way Ethan plays as much as anyone, but I’d be pissed too if he put my team in bad situations constantly.

Getting pissed now and then is not the same as having a rift. Most of you guys know how buddies react to one another. If we do get pissed off, we say and then move it. Rarely do real men hold a grudge for a long time, unless maybe a guy shagged your lady ( which is against the guy code anyways).

If Souray was that mad at the guy, do you think he would keep car pooling to games with him???Sandra Blood wrote:

the rest of the onis is on the players, so there must have been some thing going on in the room. with the talent that the Oil had they should have been ahead of the Canucks.

Yes the Oilers have two guys who are point a game players, and they have a top two goalie in the world don't they.

The Oilers also have gritty guys who can score like Burrows don't they?

You thinking the Oilers had more proven talent than the Canucks shows you might be a touch biased. The Canucks had a many players up their game this past season, how many Oilers did that???

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#46 Antony Ta
June 07 2009, 10:13AM
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Dan wrote:

@ Jason Gregor: Just because two guys are all buddy-buddy doesn’t mean he doesn’t get pissed when they take stupid penalties or make impatient plays. I like the way Ethan plays as much as anyone, but I’d be pissed too if he put my team in bad situations constantly.

Just because somebody is pissed at you doesn't mean they want you traded. This is an example of jumping to conclusions at its finest.

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#47 Dan
June 07 2009, 10:18AM
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@ Jason Gregor:

What I'm saying is, if Ethan suffers the same brain cramps, he will get thrown under the bus and run over with every wheel, and rightfully so. Needs to be some serious accountibilty issues resolved here, which I'm thinking is a major concern to Souray.

Ethan is like the big brother on this hockey team, and I'm sure others feel like he should know better. We need him to play a more cerebral game since he is one of the major vets on this team.

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#48 Dan
June 07 2009, 10:28AM
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@ Antony Ta:

I'm not jumping to any conclusions. I just threw out Ethan's name, because he is the captain and he has to take responsibility for his own actions, as well as that of the teams. So, far the only people that have taken the fall are the coaches, we'll soon find out which players will be getting the axe.

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#49 Greg MC
June 07 2009, 12:55PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Smyth - gone. Stoll - gone. Reasoner - gone. Smith - gone. Greene - gone.

Smyth had to go because of his contract demands. Stoll hasn't been the same since his concussion. Reasoner was a mistake to let go for the past season. Smith was pretty slow when he was dealt. Greene was a leader? I like this player but he's not a team leader at this point of his career.

We need the right combination of players.

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#50 Jonathan Willis
June 07 2009, 04:59PM
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@ Greg MC:

I'm not arguing whether guys had to go (because I'm sick of the smyth debate) but the fact is that a lot of players considered leaders have been shipped out over the past two years.

As for Greene, I'd like to hear Gregor/Brownlee's take, but everything I've heard tells me he was either already in that role or getting close to it, despite his age.

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