All in the family: Edmonton snubbed again

Robin Brownlee
July 13 2009 09:06AM

David Musil grew up in Edmonton. His dad, Frank, you might remember, played for the Edmonton Oilers for three seasons. He's been employed by the Oilers as a scout since he retired as a player in 2001.

Frank's baby boy used to have the run of Rexall Place when his dad played here. You'd see him around the dressing room. David would throw on his skates and helmet and wobble around out on the ice after practice.

Zip ahead to 2009, and little David is a six-foot-five defenceman projected by some to be a top-five pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and he's coming to North America to play in the Western Hockey League this season.

Call me crazy, but. given the above, I'd have thought the Edmonton Oil Kings, the WHL team owned by the Oilers, might have had a pretty good shot at landing Musil.

Apparently, the Oil Kings had no shot. None. No, David Musil will play the 2009-10 WHL season with the Vancouver Giants. My question is why? My question is how? More on that later.

First. here's the skinny on Musil's convoluted journey from the Czech Republic to Vancouver, the unofficial WHL Welcome Wagon for young Czech players, from Greg Drinnan of the Kamloops Daily News. It's from Drinnan's Taking Note blog this past Saturday.

How it went down

Drinnan writes:

"So, it would seem the WHL gathered its pooh-bahs in a closet and held a draft of some sort to decide for whom D David Musil, the 16-year-old son of former NHLer Frantisek Musil, should play. Even though I’m thinking it already had been decided that he would play for the Vancouver Giants and only the Vancouver Giants. Even with the decision having already been made, it would seem that there was more clandestine activity around this draft than in any of the Jason Bourne movies. Anyway, the Kootenay Ice — as reported by radio voice Jeff Hollick — won the draft, which means, one supposes, that they got the short straw. But wait... there’s more. The Musil family, wanting their son playing major junior hockey, apparently has relocated from Czech Republic to the Lower Mainland area of B.C. Which, if you check a map, isn’t in close proximity to Cranbrook, which is in B.C., but isn’t quite what the Musils had in mind for David, who is said to be one of the top prospects for the NHL's 2011 draft. So, enter the Giants. The Giants apparently have traded a 2010 fifth-round bantam pick and a 2011 first-round bantam pick to the Ice for Musil’s rights. David Musil, who grew up in Edmonton, stands 6-foot-5. He had one assist in 14 games with Dukla Jihlava in the Czech Elite League. Yes, he was the youngest player in the league. He also had six points in nine games with Dukla Jihlava’s junior side. He also had three points in four games with the Czech U-17 team and two in 13 games with the U-18 team. But, as a 1993-born player, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the CHL import draft until 2011. Thus, one supposes, the need to hold this special draft, what with the family having relocated to North America."

Just asking...

So, Frank Musil — did I mention he's an Oilers scout? — wants his son to play major junior hockey. Makes sense. Likewise, its understandable that he wants to be as close to his son as possible.

So, Frank — did I mention he's an Oilers scout? — decided to move his family to the Lower Mainland and not to Edmonton, the city in which the team that employs him, plays. The city in which the WHL team the Oilers own, the Oil Kings, play. Got a problem with that?

It just so happens the Oil Kings made a trade with the Chilliwack Bruins with an eye to taking Musil in the 2011 CHL Import Draft. That, and the same line of thinking — that Musil wants his son to play major junior hockey and would prefer to be close to his son — could have landed the younger Musil in Oil Kings silks, no?

If you believe that somebody at some point told Kootenay management Musil would play for Vancouver and nobody else, thus prompting the trade between the Ice and Giants, could that somebody have not steered Musil to the Oil Kings — did I mention the Oilers own the Oil Kings? — through the same channels?

No sniff for Edmonton

Did Frank Musil ever try to steer his son toward the Oil Kings or did he just take a hands-off approach and leave it to somebody else? Did Frank Musil ever give the Oil Kings a heads-up his son wanted to come west?

What are the odds agent Edmonton Ritch Winter and his Sports Corporation, which used to represent the old man, are that somebody else? Do they represent David Musil? I'm guessing Frank Musil didn't orchestrate this by himself.

Other Sports Corporation clients of Czech origin, notably Marek Schwarz and Andrej Meszaros, also ended up in Vancouver in recent years. Now Musil. Maybe the meal money is better there.

I'm guessing Oil Kings GM is Bob Green isn't too happy right now. Green had a track record of success in Medicine Hat and he's put together a pretty decent team here in just three seasons. Musil would have been a prized recruit and prime addition.

I can't imagine the Oilers, who pay Musil's salary, are overjoyed about how this went down, either.

Nor should they be.

-- 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 swany
July 13 2009, 09:26AM
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Can you say "pink slip" that's what most of us common folk would get if we helped the competition, let alone doing it behind there backs. No heads up that should have been the least he did.

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#2 Ogden Brother
July 13 2009, 09:27AM
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Not sure why people are still suprised when Edmonton gets passed up.

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#3 TonyT
July 13 2009, 09:32AM
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@ Brownlee: somewhat unrelated: what are the odds the Oilers start the season with pretty much the same roster? Exactly how tied are we to this Heatley trade goin' down? Do they have no alternative plans? This lack of news is driving me crazy...

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#4 jenga
July 13 2009, 09:37AM
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TonyT wrote:

@ Brownlee: somewhat unrelated: what are the odds the Oilers start the season with pretty much the same roster? Exactly how tied are we to this Heatley trade goin’ down? Do they have no alternative plans? This lack of news is driving me crazy…

Somewhat unrelated? No. Entirely unrelated yes.

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#5 scorecoff hemmercules
July 13 2009, 09:42AM
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@ Ogden Brother:

My sentiments exactly, a player snubbing Edmonton is par for the course these past few years. Funny how guys that actually want to play here never get offered extensions half the time either.

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#6 dyckster
July 13 2009, 09:46AM
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The optimist in me would like to think Franky boy had nothing to do with this fiasco and let his son and agent(s) deal with everything. Having said that though, if that were the case, he should have shown SOME sort of loyalty to his employer. Like, WTF! In my opinion this is worse than Heatleygate.

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#7 Robin Brownlee
July 13 2009, 09:50AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Not sure why people are still suprised when Edmonton gets passed up.

Who said anything about being surprised? That's a gross simplification in reference to this story when you consider the circumstances.

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#8 Curious
July 13 2009, 09:57AM
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The whole CHL is a big sham when it comes to drafting players. Just look at where some of the top prospects have been drafted and then look by whom and you will see there is a lot of behind the scenes BS that we common folk have no idea about.

That being said with Musil working for the Oilers you would think the behind the scenes stuff would actually work for you.

This kid is suppose to be the best defenceman out of the Czech rep ever. He is big for his age with lots of upside.

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#9 Wanye Gretz
July 13 2009, 09:58AM
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@ Ogden Brother:

You'll have to forgive me if the 12 year old son of a journeyman Oiler from a decade ago doesn't exactly fit the profile of "people I give a crap about."

Why does everyone insist on treating this as some sort of slight to the North Saskatchewan River or the reign of Steven Mandel as Mayor?

Why be such a pussy and make it into some sort of civic problem?

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#10 Jason
July 13 2009, 09:59AM
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I think its pretty shady! In fact as an Oilers scout with a direct affiliation to the Oil Kings it should be his obligation as an employee(especially a scout) to ensure the Oilers/OilKings are aware of this. Its super frustrating that the Oilers embrace a guy into the organization and then he backhands them like this. Now this leads to why? Is there something about the organization that he knows and doesnt want his son to be a part of? Even if that is that case....its his job to report any potential of landing an overseas budding superstar!! Regardless Brownlee good to see that your making waves about this...someone needs to answer a few questions.

Unrelated as well....this Heatley thing has been WAAAAAY to quite lately. Im suprised Ottawa hasnt been pushing harder to get this over with. Are they playing a game of poker to see who folds first?? It is painful to think we may be looking at the exact same roster next year!

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#11 Dodd
July 13 2009, 09:59AM
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Could this be another example of trying too hard to find a snub towards the Oilers?

To me this sounds mostly family related... I read the article twice looking for a semblance of prior commitment from Musil to the Oil Kings with no luck.

Sure the Oil Kings positioned themselves to get him in 2011 but this doesn't sound as much like a snub as it does bad luck.

Are you guys suggesting a pink slip to a dad who didn't force his kid to play for dad's organization? How many Czech players are on the Oil Kings (I ask seriously because I don't know)?

I think you gotta be digging pretty hard to build an Edmonton snubbing out of each player who wants to play elsewhere - Oiler family ties or not.

There are likely alot of farm players who - for whatever reason - choose X instead of Y. The difference is we seem to build a case for "yet another snub" whenever we can.

To me that is a bit sensationalist, and irresponsible.

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#12 Ogden Brother
July 13 2009, 10:04AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Not sure why people are still suprised when Edmonton gets passed up. Who said anything about being surprised? That’s a gross simplification in reference to this story when you consider the circumstances.

Wasn't directed towards you/this article specifically, more towards the overiding theme from the last few years and the fact that people are still suprised/upset when it happens.

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#13 Wyseguy
July 13 2009, 10:06AM
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who cares

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#14 Joey Moss
July 13 2009, 10:10AM
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who cares? the team still has a shot at him when he turns pro. i mean it isn't like hockey players can pick and choose where they get to play these days..........

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#15 Bob Stauffer
July 13 2009, 10:19AM
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Not taking any sides on this.

But Oil Kings GM Bob Green certainly relied on Musil in the last two CHL Import drafts.

From the June 27th, 2008 Edmonton Journal, when the Oil Kings selected Robin Soudek.

Green is quoted.

"We're confident that he will be here," he said. "We're pretty confident because we have good contacts in Europe through the Edmonton Oilers with

(European scout) Frank Musil.

"We know what Frank is telling us is a pretty good evaluation with this kid. That part we're good with. How (the players) react to coming to North America and learning a new language and playing major junior hockey remains to be seen."

And from June 28th, 2007 edition of the Journal just after the Kings selected Tomas Vincour. What Green does have is a recommendation from the Edmonton Oilers...

European scout Frank Musil, who knows Vincour's family, and assurance from the player's Edmonton-based agent, Gerry Johannson, that he'll be in town for training camp in August. That was enough to place him ahead of the rest of the field.

"We're comfortable with the people we're talking to about it," said Green. "They're good hockey people and they know their business, so we're totally comfortable with that."

As an fyi Johannson works with Ritch Winter as a member of the Sports Corporation.

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#16 #13 The Rat
July 13 2009, 10:26AM
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Is it possible that Musil Sr. has the impression that his son will have a more productive development with the Giants? If this is the case, what are the Giants doing that the Oil Kings are not...and why would one of our scouts not point out the perceived areas that are lacking in our current system?

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#17 Mark
July 13 2009, 10:27AM
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I thought we had a bunch of rahhh rahhh posts about not being a bunch of whiners... sounds like sour grapes to me.

Musil is a scout for the Oilers, not the Oil Kings so I don't see how he's done anything to be fired over. If he wants his kid playing in Vancouver that's his choice and having the organization meddling in his personal life is a little bit over the top.

The Oil still have the same shot of getting Musil in 2011 as any other team in the NHL - what's the issue? Oh right, the fact that our GM's trade away every first round draft pick for mediocre crap. Now I see why we're all miffed.

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#18 Ogden Brother
July 13 2009, 10:43AM
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Mark wrote:

Oh right, the fact that our GM’s trade away every first round draft pick for mediocre crap. Now I see why we’re all miffed.

Sarcasm?

Last time I checked the oil were in the top 4-5 teams for 1st round picks taken when Low was GM.

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#19 Ogden Brother
July 13 2009, 10:44AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Mark wrote: Oh right, the fact that our GM’s trade away every first round draft pick for mediocre crap. Now I see why we’re all miffed. Sarcasm? Last time I checked the oil were in the top 4-5 teams for 1st round picks taken when Low was GM.

*Lowe*

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#20 BigE57
July 13 2009, 10:49AM
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Mark wrote:

Oh right, the fact that our GM’s trade away every first round draft pick for mediocre crap.

How long has it been since the Oilers traded away a first round pick?

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#21 Joey Moss
July 13 2009, 10:55AM
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@ BigE57: wasn't it the roli trade?

you might count what was lost in the DP signing also.

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#22 Colin
July 13 2009, 11:04AM
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TonyT wrote:

@ Brownlee: somewhat unrelated: what are the odds the Oilers start the season with pretty much the same roster? Exactly how tied are we to this Heatley trade goin’ down? Do they have no alternative plans? This lack of news is driving me crazy…

I expect they are waiting to see how many Salary cap$$$ are tied up after the results of Greb's salary artibtration is over. (I think that's next week right?)

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#23 Colin
July 13 2009, 11:04AM
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@ Colin: Learn some grammer, geez, that sentence is mangled

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#24 Jonathan Willis
July 13 2009, 11:07AM
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Frank Musil's done a lot of good for the Oilers; Grebeshkov was certainly one of his finds and there have been others.

Regardless, without knowing his reasons for wanting his son to play in Vancouver (random guess: something to do with Don Hay vs. Steve Pleau - nothing against Pleau but Hay's track record is pretty impressive) I wouldn't be quite so quick to call for him to get canned.

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#25 hatecrime
July 13 2009, 11:21AM
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it's pretty sad when even junior players are sticking their noses up at the edmonton experience.sad :(

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#26 BigE57
July 13 2009, 11:24AM
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@ Joey Moss: It was the Roli trade and I can't name who Minnesota took with the pick, but as far as the Penner signing goes the Oilers lost their first round pick but ended up getting another one and taking Eberle. Still they it doesn't seem they've traded away that many picks and I considering his play over the past few years I wouldn't consider Roli mediocre crap as someone put it.

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#27 ScubaSteve
July 13 2009, 11:35AM
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Like someone mentioned, he works for the Oilers, not the Oil Kings, and the Giants are not competition for the Oilers. If he was directed to play for another AHL team and snub Springfield, that would be different.

Maybe Vancouver has bigger czech community, or a better program to integrate Euro kids into the Canadian lifestyle.

I don't see this as a huge problem, if we draft him and he doesn't put the sweater on, and demands a trade? Then it's time to take action.

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#28 hatecrime
July 13 2009, 11:36AM
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@ BigE57: i agree with you roli was a total work horse for us.he kept us in a lot of games that we should of lost because of our lack of talent up front to give him goal support.

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#29 MrOiler
July 13 2009, 11:46AM
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Robin, I think you're trying a little to hard to find some drama for an article. Hey, I know it's the dog days of summer for hockey fans, but "Edmonton as a destination for no one" is getting worn out as a story.

Most of us are starting to shrug and say: "So what."

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#30 Jamie
July 13 2009, 11:50AM
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Katz needs to give Rich Winter the Stauffer treatment and hire him for something. I hate Winter but maybe it'd be worth it.

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#31 David S
July 13 2009, 12:08PM
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For Frank Musil and his family, its a case of "this isn't personal, its business". Having seen this pattern in two other sports, I can tell you that parents of promising European athletes always locate themselves so as to be in proximity to the best opportunity for their kids to succeed (and you wouldn't believe the sacrifices they make to do so!). In Vancouver you have one of the most successful WHL franchises in recent years and Don Hay leading the bench. Its not hard to connect the dots on this one.

Yeah, I totally see Robin's point about local loyalty, but from what I've seen Euro parents with sport backgrounds are all about the success of their athlete kids. When it comes down to it, I'm sure that was all Frank Musil was thinking about. The consequences of Frank's choices for David would probably be acceptable from his point of view.

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#32 Jonathan Willis
July 13 2009, 12:12PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I wouldn’t be quite so quick to call for him to get canned.

Note: I know Robin didn't explicitly state that; this is aimed more at some of the comments here.

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#33 Dodd
July 13 2009, 12:15PM
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hatecrime wrote:

it’s pretty sad when even junior players are sticking their noses up at the edmonton experience.sad

See? This is the snowball effect that these kind of assumptions create. Unless a player publicly states disdain for the Edmonton Oilers, it is irresponsible, Brownlee, to call something a "snubbing".

I can't believe that journalists will rush to the most negative possible scenario when they don't have all the info.

Don't tell us to "get off your knees and on your feet" and have pride in our city and team, while at the same time stirring a pot with a negative spin that may not even exist.

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#34 Harlie
July 13 2009, 12:22PM
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oh no! Frank Musil wants out of Edmonton and he's already bought a home somewhere else!!

...wait a minute, what year is this?

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#35 oil fan
July 13 2009, 12:26PM
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Good read. Interesting that the Oiler brass have not done anything

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#36 oil fan
July 13 2009, 12:33PM
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Why rip on Robin it was a great article and everyone has there opinion.

I do agree with him on this.

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#37 BigE57
July 13 2009, 12:39PM
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oil fan wrote:

Good read. Interesting that the Oiler brass have not done anything

I'm not convinced that scolding, reprimanding, firing or punishing Frank Musil for not guiding his son to the Oil Kings would be the best way for the Oilers to promote their organization.

Sure it would be nice for the Oil Kings to have picked up a big time d-man but what are the odds of him being a part of the Oilers organization down the road? Pretty slim, IMO.

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#38 Dodd
July 13 2009, 12:43PM
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@ oil fan:

I like Brownlee's writing and hockey mind, but I gotta say something when I feel that a negative story is being brewed out of almost nothing.

I find it hypocritical that a hockey writer who has recommended that we stop treating Edmonton as a hated destination would fill in the blanks in this story with the "Oiler snub" angle.

It should be obvious to everyone that this has little or nothing to do with the Oilers, and everything to do with playing on a club that has a lot of NHL draft success stories ( and Czech players).

Oil fans are very sensitive about recent, very REAL snubbings. We don't need any "maybe snubbings".

Again, oil fan, I dig Brownlee. It is with the greatest respect that I weigh in on this.

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#39 Librarian Mike
July 13 2009, 12:43PM
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Robin, I have a question: What the Hell is happening to this team? It seems like they have been flailing from one disaster to another these past few years, and just can't seem to get it together.

Based on your experience being around pro temas, is all this craziness typical or do we need to start sacrificing virgins?

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#40 Librarian Mike
July 13 2009, 12:44PM
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edit: 'pro teams'...

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#41 dyckster
July 13 2009, 12:44PM
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Dodd wrote:

See? This is the snowball effect that these kind of assumptions create. Unless a player publicly states disdain for the Edmonton Oilers, it is irresponsible, Brownlee, to call something a “snubbing”. I can’t believe that journalists will rush to the most negative possible scenario when they don’t have all the info. Don’t tell us to “get off your knees and on your feet” and have pride in our city and team, while at the same time stirring a pot with a negative spin that may not even exist.

The title of the article/blog was pretty indicative of the content, why'd you read it then rip on the writer when you you darn well the direction he was headed? You've just opened yourself up to a massive bitch slapping from RB. I for one can hardly wait to read it.

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#42 OvenChicken8
July 13 2009, 12:49PM
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Meh - his loss.

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#43 Dodd
July 13 2009, 12:52PM
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@ dyckster:

I think I've been respectful and clear. No "bitch slapping " required.

Fact: Nobody knows why Musil moved to Vancouver.

Fact: The Oil Kings wanted him.

Fact: His Dad works for the Oilers.

From this, it has been deemed that the Oilers were snubbed. Why did I read the article? I like Brownlee. I was curious about yet another snubbing of our team.

Dyckster, are you suggesting that if we disagree with something here, we "shouldn't have read it" and need a "massive bitch slap"?

Such language. My eyes and ears.

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#44 Jason
July 13 2009, 12:56PM
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Ummmmm....so how about that Dany Heatley?! :P haha.

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#45 dyckster
July 13 2009, 01:00PM
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Dodd wrote:

Dyckster, are you suggesting that if we disagree with something here, we “shouldn’t have read it” and need a “massive bitch slap”?

I for one take no issue with someone disgreeing with something written on Oilersnation. My concern is when it leads to a personal attack of those who contribute to the site. Calling Brownlee or an action/opinion of his "irresponsible" kinda crosses the line.

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#46 Harlie
July 13 2009, 01:01PM
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maybe the kid had a little say in this? I know when I was around that age and if I wanted to do something that I knew that my rent's would definitely not want me to do I would do it and let them find out the hard way. Sometimes it's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.

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#47 jdrevenge
July 13 2009, 01:05PM
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So how exactly is he going to scout European players from the LML...... Fraser?????

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#48 Robin Brownlee
July 13 2009, 01:30PM
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@ Dodd: I appreciate the feedback. As has been mentioned, I'm not one of those people who crys "poor Edmonton" every time a player refuses to come here or asks to be traded. There are lots of reasons why players choose to play here and reasons why some don't. Using "poor us" as a catch-all crutch makes no sense to me. That said, in this case -- because of the Musil's history with the Oilers as a player and his current employment as a scout -- I find it odd that the Oil Kings got no sniff on one of the best defence prospects ever to come out of the Czech Republic. Just because there's been too many cases where the "poor Edmonton" angle has been played out, doesn't mean there aren't legitimate cases where it applies. I think this is one of them.

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#49 Dodd
July 13 2009, 01:36PM
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@ dyckster:

Wow. Suggesting something is "irresponsible journalism" is crossing a line?

Name calling is crossing a line. Getting personal is crossing a line.

When something is called a "snub" against the Edmonton Oilers while admitting we don't have all of the story, I will suggest there is some spin involved.

If you feel that my posts have been in any way disrespectful towards Brownlee, I apologize. I thought I made myself clear to you dyckster, that I respect and enjoy Brownlee's writing, including all of the ON writers.

Again: Dyckster, if you would like to prove to me that we have all the facts here, and that this is indeed a "snub", please enlighten me.

Truth is, you are forced to agree with me that no player here has said anything negative about the Oilers, and we don't have all the facts.

Exactly how am I crossing a line again?

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#50 ronaldo
July 13 2009, 01:42PM
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While enjoying the back and forth in this thread, couldn't help but think Dodd Dyckster would be a great porn name....just sayin.

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