JUST ASKING: ITEMS RATTLING AROUND MY BIG HEAD

Robin Brownlee
June 06 2009 03:28PM

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Forget the buzz surrounding rumours Sheldon Souray has put his house on the market -- it means nothing in the context of whether or not he wants to be traded by the Edmonton Oilers. Besides, I don't even know for sure if it's true.

The question for me, given the payroll the Oilers have invested in the back end and the fact Souray's value is as high as I can imagine it'll be at any point in what remains of his career, is: should GM Steve Tambellini be asking Souray to waive his no-movement clause so he can explore the possibility of a trade?

In my mind, the answer is yes -- if for no other reason than it never hurts to see what's out there. I'm always talking about Tom Gilbert being the guy to move when Tambellini goes fishing for a forward, and I still think he makes the most sense, but there's no downside to taking calls on Souray.

If some of those calls came from, say, Phoenix, San Jose, Anaheim or Los Angeles, where Souray's daughters live with former wife Angelica Bridges, is there a chance he'd happily waive the NMC?

I think so.

IS THAT NO?

The rumour I passed along at the end of the season about the possibility Souray asked the Oilers for a trade, and his response to it, still nags me.

You've likely heard or read Souray's "denial" after reporters tracked him down a few days after he'd cleaned out his stall and left without talking to the media. Here's excerpts of what he said:

"I've been getting phone calls from here ... my mom called me to ask about it. Who knows where it's coming from?

"Our stalls aren't even cold yet. I'm not worrying about it (the rumour). I don't think it deserves talking about. It doesn't deserve a no or deserve a yes. It's fodder for the media. "If it was something I was feeling, I wouldn't voice it through the media anyway."

Like I said, I've read the accounts and watched the interview on TV more than once, and all I can say is unless I'm missing something, what Souray said falls well short of being a vehement denial. No?

Did Souray, at any point, say, "No. That's not true?" He denied talking to Tambellini, but did he deny asking for a trade? What do you make of, "It doesn't deserve a no and doesn't deserve a yes?"

And the last quote . . . isn't Souray saying he wouldn't tell the media he'd asked for a trade even if it was the case?

Just asking. It's what I do.

I LIKE IT

There's nothing like a positive comment from somebody you respect to make your day. I got one from Lowetide the other day. He wrote:

"I love the annual NHL entry draft and specifically all of the lists and predictions that come from various sources on the Al Gore. I've come to believe Bob McKenzie is some kind of savant when it comes to predicting the top 30 and in fact when he posts his list, I print it and wait for the draft instead of buying all the publications (on line and in newsstands) that have become money making productions.

"The other guy we need to pay attention to this time of year is Robin Brownlee. Back when he wrote for the Sun (who stepped into an elevator shaft coverage wise when Brownlee left and have not yet recovered), Brownlee's annual "prediction" article on the weekend of the draft was possibly the most anticipated single daily article in my home. I seriously raced out of the house to buy the Edmonton Sun on that one day each year."

That's high praise from a high place. I'm flattered Lowetide remembers all the educated guesswork I did leading up to the Entry Draft. Getting the dope took a lot of phone calls and a lot of beer. I'm not sure if I can replicate that here, but I'll probably give it a shot between now and draft day.

WHILE I'M AT IT

-- People on fansites like to crap on Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun for the rumours he churns out, but people eat up the stuff, If they didn't, Garrioch wouldn't be doing it.

The thing is, he's connected, whether you believe that or not. He just doesn't lock everything down before he runs it, but that's what the newspaper wants. Fans read it, so he produces it.

Here's one example from a few years back: I'd written that Kevin Lowe had talked to the Florida Panthers about trading Jason Smith. Lowe and I almost got into a fistfight over the story -- one I stand by to this day -- when he got in my face at the rink and swore up and down it was bogus.

Garrioch phones me up and asks about the Smith item. I told Bruce, "Lowe says it's a bogus rumour and I'm full of shit." Garrioch replied, "But it WAS a rumour, right?" Two days later the item appears in his Sunday column. The Sun wants it. Garrioch delivers.

-- Unless I'm out to lunch, Rob Daum is the obvious choice to coach the Springfield Falcons this coming season. My sense is Tambellini agrees. What I want to know is why it's taking so long for an announcement?

-- I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I'm told by somebody I trust the Oilers will definitely add a second assistant coach. The only question, and it's a big one, is who?

-- 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 Travis Dakin
June 07 2009, 10:41AM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

Can you imagine the feeling of being beaten by the same team two years in a row? Not only that, there’s a decent chance it could happen in your own building both years.

And the best part of that is being pissed off at Hossa for abandoning you and then having proven him right. Remember those commercials at the beginning of the season? The ones where the player steps out of the photograph... Crosby's was him looking sad after losing out last year. "I never want to be in this picture again" he says. Damn.

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#52 ted alexander
June 07 2009, 11:12AM
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Assessing the teams in the SW corner of NA, SJ seems to have the package at F, D, G and with Blake nearly done they would probably like a couple proven playoff dudes. LA needs everything except young forwards and goalie prospects and is possibly willing to move J Johnson I've heard. Phoenix needs a superstar to fill seats, unfortunately d men don't come to mind.

Phoenix needs souray basically not at all, they'll probably offer back the least. LA could use him, maybe they think they need more old school locker room alpha male stuff and would offer a bit more. Souray could maybe best fit in SJ, though I think they'd rather have Staios and/or Fernie to be honest.

I'm not sure any of those teams really think they need Souray, and while they may be happy to sign him up, all may likely be unwilling to return value Tambo perceives as 'fair'. They simply may not want an aging vet coming off a career year. If their plan is to compete in five years, trading for souray has little merit at all. If the Oiler's plan is to compete in five years, keeping him seems about just as good.

Mostly I think that Lowe wanted to blow it up real good after 06 but public perception forced Lowe to pick up some FA's that he didn't actually want thereby costing himself a real good shot at a few great picks. Because the collective self esteem of edmontonians forced the sports franchise to prove to the world that someone, anyone, wanted to come here we may be relegated to a few more years of first round match ups against noticably superior teams. Maybe with perfectly aligned management stars we can watch a decent team over achieve into the second and maybe third round, really though I am geared for ten more years of above average play.

I'd love to see Taylor Hall in Oiler blue but I don't see how we the fans would let that happen. Quinn's presence seems to say the Katz plan is to try and win now. Seems to me that all sports dynasties were really really bad about ten years prior, however our collective need to compete right now will more likely force the Oilers to look like the Rangers for the entire foreseeable future.

Living near Foxborough the year Bledsoe was drafted has been my solace lately, having left then returned to Edmonton could prove to be my demise.

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#53 Sven44
June 07 2009, 11:26AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Thanks for the reply JW.

No question with Souray you will have defensive doubts, however I'm a helluva lot more comfortable with him back there based on last season. He seemed to work hard on that aspect of his game. That's why I think it is fair to say his stock is as high as it is right now.

I think Souray is proven in that he has a mean streak in him every night which means he comes to play every night. He has arguably the best shot from the point on the PP in the league so he should produce offensively given the opportunity.

I do not know at all how he is taken in the locker room, but I find his play more inspiring from a leadership perspective than other A's & the C on this team. And those are the reasons I keep him.

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#54 BigE57
June 07 2009, 01:06PM
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@ RossCreek:

Actually if you check the injury report he missed 9 games as a healthy?? scratch last season and 27 due to injury. The previous year was 26 games due to injury. The definition of mid-level is pretty broad as opposed to your first line players or your 4th liners.

As I said before I'm not sold on either Afinoganov or Cammalleri, the answer for the Oilers is probably down the trade route but if Afinoganov was healthy and motivated he's still got the potential to play on the second line and score 20-30 goals.

If he's in Russia this fall I'll give you your props...I'm just not sure we arm chair GMs are qualified to decide when a guy is done in the league. With the exception of Mats Sundin.

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#55 David S
June 07 2009, 03:26PM
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I'm not sure we can make a qualified statement that Sundin is done. He missed half a season at least and took the balance of it to get back in shape. Crazy contract numbers aside, what if he came to the Oilers TC ready to go?

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#56 Robin Brownlee
June 07 2009, 03:59PM
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David S wrote:

I’m not sure we can make a qualified statement that Sundin is done. He missed half a season at least and took the balance of it to get back in shape. Crazy contract numbers aside, what if he came to the Oilers TC ready to go?

Crazy contract numbers aside? In a cap world, that's like saying, "I know my daughter has a unibrow, Mr. Ed teeth, smells bad and is overweight, but, that aside, I'd think she'd make a great Miss Universe." No?

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#57 Librarian Mike
June 07 2009, 04:52PM
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@ David S:

I think I might die a little bit inside if the Oilers picked up Sundin. It's bad enough that we're halfway towards beoming the Leafs in terms of living off of past glory.

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#58 Librarian Mike
June 07 2009, 05:06PM
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...becoming the Leafs, I mean...

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#59 West Coast Oil
June 07 2009, 06:04PM
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What if u can get Sundin for around 2.5 mil do u do it and use him on your 3rd line? He might be a great option to throw out on the pp to change it up a bit.

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#60 Robin Brownlee
June 07 2009, 07:09PM
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West Coast Oil wrote:

What if u can get Sundin for around 2.5 mil do u do it and use him on your 3rd line? He might be a great option to throw out on the pp to change it up a bit.

Why this dogged insistence on clinging to the past? Think higher than squeezing the last remaining drop from has-beens and hoping they might be worth it at a big discount. Let it go.

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#61 Cory Dakin
June 07 2009, 07:24PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: THANK YOU! Why try to get blood from a turnip? It's not like he would be the one piece to bring the team a Stanley Cup (you hear that Vancouver?). Why waste money on someone who was once pretty good? And yeah I said it, he was once pretty good. He's never been GREAT.

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#62 West Coast Oil
June 07 2009, 09:07PM
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I was just throwing Sundins name out if we couldnt find a younger better option. Personally Im not sure of his defensive abilities and cant be bothered to research it. I was thinking that he is a big body, pretty good in the circle and can add a playmaker ability from behind the net during the PP. Last good player we had who could work from behind the net is a distant memory. But I dont think he is a first or second line player anymore just more of a specialty situation player kind of like Kotalik but more rounded.

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#63 cave
June 07 2009, 09:53PM
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How about Rob Daum as an assistant, and Kelly Buchberger as his assistant so he can learn something about the X's and O's of the game. So Quinn head coach, Renney associate, Daum assistant and Buchberger can be the resident old Oiler on the staff, because truly what is an oilers staff without one of the boys.

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#64 Robin Brownlee
June 07 2009, 09:59PM
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cave wrote:

How about Rob Daum as an assistant, and Kelly Buchberger as his assistant so he can learn something about the X’s and O’s of the game. So Quinn head coach, Renney associate, Daum assistant and Buchberger can be the resident old Oiler on the staff, because truly what is an oilers staff without one of the boys.

I'd love to see Daum as an assistant here. But the question is -- and I don't know the answer -- is what's better for Daum and his aspirations to be an NHL head coach one day -- assistant in the NHL or head coach in the AHL?

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#65 Robin Brownlee
June 07 2009, 10:13PM
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Tyler wrote:

@Robin - On the Smith thing, you think that there was a chance your sources were wrong? From my perspective, I’ve always thought that Lowe was on the honest end of the GM continuum. When he’s denying something that’s true, you get these bizarre non-denial denials, like the bit about Jagr being under contract.

No chance. My source in Florida at the time doesn't guess. Lowe was upset that I got wind of him looking at trades for his captain in a deal that was discussed but not completed. That left Smith knowing he'd been made avaialable and Lowe didn't like it one bit.

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#66 myteammytown
June 08 2009, 07:53AM
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@ West Coast Oil:

what if you could trade stortini and MAP for malkin?

any talk of sundin signing here is comical, and now its at 2.5mil? good god.

you have a better chance of getting kidnapped by 6 1 legged midgets and forced into the dark and dirty underground world of dirty midget pornos..

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#67 Librarian Mike
June 08 2009, 08:05AM
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@ myteammytown:

Yeah. What you said... Seriously though, if Sundin comes back for another year, he's going to try to leech onto a team that has a legitimate shot next year. And that is fine with me, let him drag someone else down.

After reading about the mess in Phoenix, I all of a sudden I don't feel so bad about the Oilers' problems. I mean, $8 million for Gretzky? To COACH?

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#68 patty
June 08 2009, 08:39AM
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Why not think about Phil Kessel instead of Sundin? According to Garrioch, Kessel and the B's are far apart on negotiations. He wants 5+ and the Bruins want him more in line with Krejci's 3.75. I'm not going to make a retarded trade proposal, but if Sundin is being discussed, turn your sights to Kessel instead.

I think Sundin is a terrible terrible idea at any cost but would love to have Kessel. He'd cost a lot and the Bruins would bot likely get rid of him anyways,but he makes a hell of a lot more sense than Sundin.

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#69 jeff
June 08 2009, 11:28AM
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Bruce Garrioch= Eklund

They are both the same. They fire out as much crap as possible.

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#70 David S
June 08 2009, 11:47AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Crazy contract numbers aside? In a cap world, that’s like saying, “I know my daughter has a unibrow, Mr. Ed teeth, smells bad and is overweight, but, that aside, I’d think she’d make a great Miss Universe.” No?

OK. Yes I get that. Sorry - maybe it was a bit of a stretch. So how about putting it this way. We know the Oilers are at least somewhat interested in Jagr. So if you had to choose between the two, assuming both were available and could be had for the same money, who would you take?

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#71 charlieangels
June 08 2009, 12:55PM
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I like the idea of shopping Sourey around. The deal would have to include the team taking either Horcoff or Penner as a salary dump.

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#72 Jack Bauer
June 08 2009, 01:23PM
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Who is lowetide anyways?

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#73 Robin Brownlee
June 08 2009, 01:42PM
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David S wrote:

Robin Brownlee wrote: Crazy contract numbers aside? In a cap world, that’s like saying, “I know my daughter has a unibrow, Mr. Ed teeth, smells bad and is overweight, but, that aside, I’d think she’d make a great Miss Universe.” No? OK. Yes I get that. Sorry - maybe it was a bit of a stretch. So how about putting it this way. We know the Oilers are at least somewhat interested in Jagr. So if you had to choose between the two, assuming both were available and could be had for the same money, who would you take?

If you read what I wrote about Jagr, then you know this: I don't want Jagr and I don't want Sundin. And I don't have to take either of them. NCFOM.

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#74 Robin Brownlee
June 08 2009, 01:43PM
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Jack Bauer wrote:

Who is lowetide anyways?

A prolific and astute blogger with unquestionably good judgment when it comes to assessing other writers.

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#75 David S
June 08 2009, 03:13PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

NCFOM.

Well then. That settles it I guess. NCFOM it is!

Thanks Robin for another great post.

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#76 West Coast Oil
June 08 2009, 03:42PM
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Okay I get the no to Sundin. But in my eyes its just as crazy as getting rid of Souray who had a great offensive year. Where people get the idea to trade someone because their value is high is beyond me. Do we see Detroit trying to get rid of Zetterberg and Franzen or Lindstrom because their value is high right now? You keep your best players and get rid of the nonperformers and Souray is currently one of our best.

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#77 Robin Brownlee
June 08 2009, 05:31PM
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West Coast Oil wrote:

Okay I get the no to Sundin. But in my eyes its just as crazy as getting rid of Souray who had a great offensive year. Where people get the idea to trade someone because their value is high is beyond me. Do we see Detroit trying to get rid of Zetterberg and Franzen or Lindstrom because their value is high right now? You keep your best players and get rid of the nonperformers and Souray is currently one of our best.

That's fair enough. The question, though, about Souray becomes different IF there's something to the talk he might prefer to be elsewhere to be closer to his children. I'd prefer to move Gilbert but, IF Souray has quietly let management know he'd be "open to a trade," then you have to see what's out there. That's the premise my Souray item was written on, but people don't take the time to read before bashing off a response.

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#78 Hocknee Fann
June 08 2009, 11:28PM
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Robin - Oilers' second assistant coach will be Rick Ley! He follows Paddy everywhere!

Quinn even mentioned his name the day he was announced the new Oilers head man. I'm sure Pat's working on the Oilers brass to get his buddy back in the game.

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