Onward and upward

Robin Brownlee
July 17 2009 10:55PM

heatley-done

Now that I've had a good cry after hearing Edmonton Oilers assistant GM Kevin Prendergast admit the team has "given up hope" in its pursuit of Dany Heatley, I will wring out my notepad and try to move on.

So, rest assured, will GM Steve Tambellini. Like Jonathan Willis, I'm not of the mind Tambellini has curled up in the fetal position muttering "Dany, Dany, Dany," paralyzed into inaction after being spurned. Not even close.

I don't believe that, while there remains a need for a finisher on left wing alongside Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, the Oilers can't fill the other holes they had in the line-up last season and make up for the devastating additional losses of Kyle Brodziak. Ales Kotalik and Liam Reddox.

Nor do I buy the argument Tambellini, Pat Quinn and Tom Renney will have a problem with Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid in terms of mending fences.

Yes, it would've been a bonus to dump Penner's contract, but I can't believe he won't be better, even sulking, under Quinn and Renney than he was after being repeatedly shown up and mis-used by Craig MacTavish.

Likewise, I see finding a way to better utilize Cogliano more of a challenge than soothing any hurt feelings. As for Smid, well, he had issues before he was tossed into the Heatley package. I'm led to believe he's past what had him contemplating a trade early in the season. He'll get past this.

So must the faithful.

ON THE TELEPHONE

What Tambellini needs to do, and is doing, now is work the phones to fill the holes that are obvious to everybody.

As for left wing on the top line, I'd like to see Tambellini place a call to Pennsylvania and inquire about Simon Gagne or Scott Hartnell. Or maybe he should ring L.A. about Dustin Brown. Alex Tanguay? Not so much.

Nothing that's happened so far has changed the fact Tambellini has assets on the back end he can trade. Denis Grebeshkov going to arbitration is a minor distraction, nothing more.

As for finding a handy, defensive-minded centre who can win face-offs and kill penalties, Manny Malhotra, as I pitched earlier this off-season, remains the best option, even if it'll take an overpay -- like that's stopped the Oilers in the past three seasons.

I'm led to believe Tambellini is looking to make a move to address that need and that, despite being focused on Heatley for weeks, he's kicking some tires. I don't have a name for you, but if he hasn't put a call into Malhotra, I'd be flabbergasted.

Free agent Blair Betts is sitting there, and has said he'd be happy to don Oilers silks. The Oilers have a passing interest, but they already have a centre who can kill penalties and win less than 50 per cent of his face-offs. His name is Gilbert Brule.

COUNT TO 10

I'm not going to take a "don't worry, be happy" stance here because I don't believe that signing Nikolai Khabibulin to a 14-year contract and jettisoning Brodziak to open things up for Brule puts the Oilers into a playoff spot in 2009-10. How much of an upgrade, really, is Khabibulin over Dwayne Roloson?

At the same time, I'm not going to lose any sleep over the swing-and-miss on Heatley, but you already knew that. And, as previously mentioned, I'm not willing to write-off PDP despite all the ragging I've done on him. If Quinn and Renney stroke him the right way, he could shove it to the critics in the coming season. Not likely, but possible.

The challenges we know, as does Tambellini. I'd suggest a step back and a deep breath over the next couple of weeks. Take the kids to Capital Ex. Go to Commonwealth Stadium and boo the Eskimos. Anything.

Let Tambellini do his job.

WHILE I'M AT IT . . .

-- Without face-to-face interaction on the internet, bafflegab has become the secret pinkie handshake among fans on message boards. In addition to nerd-speak like "playing the toughs" and "doing the heavy lifting" and "butter-soft minutes," we get the following lingo from somebody named PDO over at HF Boards in the ongoing debate about the value of acquiring Heatley: "Yes. We're a better team if he comes here," opines PDO. "Second he goes top cheddar on Luongo we all forget about how long it took to get him here."

Yes, the second Heatley goes "top cheddar" -- a shooter picking the top corner has morphed from going top shelf to top cheese -- on Luongo, I'll be buying his jersey. Can Heatley go "top havarti" or "top feta" on Luongo?

-- While I'm at it, is there room for interpretation of "butter-soft minutes," given the difference in texture between room temperature butter and refrigerator butter?

-- 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 Antony Ta
July 17 2009, 11:13PM
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Depends on whether or not you think liquids can be hard or soft.

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#2 Garett
July 17 2009, 11:27PM
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Just when we all think the ball has been dropped, and those of us who voted yes to heatley (yes, lower cased "h", deserves nothing more) sulk with a pint of ale at the local pub is when we will be caught with our face on the table at the announcing that dFh will be wearing Oiler silks for the next half decade+. This kind of move is exactly what this team needs. A controvercial one that will keep this awesome website ticking for years to come. I frequent this site up to a dozen times a day and absolutely love what it has to offer. We can run the gammet(sp)of emotions on a daily basis, highs and Lowes, although mostly Lowes these days. *tips his glass of ale to those who make this site possible, "Here is to Oilersnation and all who support it"*

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#3 surshot
July 17 2009, 11:42PM
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They are not done and i believe there are some real good players on the trade market right now. I would love to get Hartnell and keep Penner. He would make us so much tougher to play against and he is under utilized in Philly IMO.

Hartnell-Horcoff-Hemsky O'sullivan-Gagner-Penner

I would be happy with that top six. Penner needs to be playing RW to be most effective something Mact really never realized other then the short stint playing the RW on the third line. He has to be on the second line period also something Mact could not get thru his thick layer of curly locks.

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#4 misfit
July 17 2009, 11:44PM
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I don't even know if you can consider not bringing Kotalik back a "loss". That isn't so much a comment on Kotalik as a player as it is the fact that he was a rental. We've already replaced the one regular we lost in Cole with O'Sullivan.

Though the comment about Tambellini looking to make a move to address the gaping defensive center hole is the best news I've heard since the season ended. I don't even care if it takes until September for him to actually fill it. Just knowing that he understands that it's a need is good enough for me (provided he does eventually do something about it).

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#5 Peter Pan
July 17 2009, 11:49PM
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REBUILD!!! Its the only way.

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#6 Garett
July 17 2009, 11:57PM
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I don't think "rebuild" is in our owners vocab!

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#7 lenny
July 18 2009, 12:18AM
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Are you wondering why Oilers can’t get any good players? It’s because of writers like you who think like a small town boys. Oilers don’t need Heatley, they don’t need J. Bo., and so on. Don’t you realize that those players have names because they are good and can make Oilers better? You are happy that Heatley is not coming? Do you want Oilers to win? Don’t you understand that to win they need Heatley? Malhotra is not going to get them a Stanley Cup? You think Tambellini is working the phones like you assured us? Maybe and maybe not because nobody wants to come here. This town was good for Gretzky, Kurri, Mess, Anderson, Simpson and many more but now nobody wants to come here because of K. Lowe and small town mentality by the press who don’t want or not capable to think big.

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#8 Dallas
July 18 2009, 12:23AM
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I'm sick of missing the playoffs and listening to the flameouts and canuckleheads stomp on us rebuilding would totally suck a$$ Hartnell would be awsome and is Dustin Brown actually available if so I would so love to have him on this team

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#9 Archaeologuy
July 18 2009, 12:28AM
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lenny wrote:

Are you wondering why Oilers can’t get any good players? It’s because of writers like you who think like a small town boys

Yeah, Heatley was totally going to agree to come here then he thought, "wait! that Brownlee guy lives in Edmonton and he might say things about me on the internet!" Yeah. Thats exactly how it played out.

DAMN YOU BROWNLEE! Damn you and your wordsmithery!

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#10 Sandra
July 18 2009, 12:33AM
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Predergast did say we gave up "But" if it there we will take it. He is still on the merry-go-round, They never gave up and they won't. Lowe screwed this team and we will not get out of it for 7 years. You either have a mentality of win now or win later. The Management sits in the middle. Khabby for 4 years throws a screw into Desjarlais and Dubnyk, who both are on one year contracts, DO they both get one way deals next year are we going to see Garon all over again? Man this team is in shambels, and we wpnder why no players want to come here. Betts has no other options. Even Harvey ripped good old E-Town. Lowe would have never been a Snow or Hextal, they have class.

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#11 Robin Brownlee
July 18 2009, 12:35AM
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misfit wrote:

Just knowing that he understands that it’s a need is good enough for me (provided he does eventually do something about it).

Obviously, no guarantees, but the hunt continues. Dallas wrote:

Hartnell would be awsome and is Dustin Brown actually available

I don't know if Brown is available, but I like him and I think the Oilers have a defenceman who wouldn't kick up a fuss about going the other way.

lenny wrote:

Are you wondering why Oilers can’t get any good players? It’s because of writers like you

Yes, it's because of writers like me. Are you wearing a helmet right now?

lenny wrote:

You are happy that Heatley is not coming?

Yes. That's pretty much on the record. lenny wrote:

You think Tambellini is working the phones like you assured us? Maybe and maybe not because nobody wants to come here.

Please, don't play the pity card. Fold your hand.

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#12 lenny
July 18 2009, 12:35AM
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Archaeologuy You think you are funny? Did I mantion the fans from that little town who think like it too? Keep joking and mayby in a year 2037 Oilers will make playoffs just to go 4 and out.

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#13 Archaeologuy
July 18 2009, 12:41AM
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lenny wrote:

You think you are funny? Did I mantion the fans from that little town who think like it too? Keep joking and mayby in a year 2037 Oilers will make playoffs just to go 4 and out.

I dont think you "mantioned" much of interest. Although I am a pretty funny guy.

I'm also pretty sure that Dany Heatley or Marion Hossa have no idea who Archaeologuy is, and i doubt they care whether or not i think they would be good additions to the club. However, "Mayby" I'm under-estimating my celebrity.

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#14 Robin Brownlee
July 18 2009, 12:41AM
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He's not funny. You're funny.

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#15 lenny
July 18 2009, 12:47AM
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Robin Brownlee I know its on the record that you are against every good player coming here. Is Vancouver your team or Calgary? We know that its olso on the record that you will newer say anything about the reason players will not come here because you will lose your sorce of information that is wrong 90% of the time because he likes to say "expect the unexpected". Do you know who I am talking about? No? Small town!!!

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#16 GLoKz0r
July 18 2009, 12:49AM
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lenny wrote:

Archaeologuy You think you are funny? Did I mantion the fans from that little town who think like it too? Keep joking and mayby in a year 2037 Oilers will make playoffs just to go 4 and out.

So, right around the time you properly learn to spell "maybe"?

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#17 Dallas
July 18 2009, 12:50AM
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Thanks for the reply robin you are the celebrity in my books lol yah I would love to have brown here to he is captain material plus he has some chemistry with osully who I really like as well tambo did good on that one

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#18 lenny
July 18 2009, 12:52AM
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GLoKz0r, Archaeologuy And what does correct spelling of maybe have to do with the Oilers win games?

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#19 Robin Brownlee
July 18 2009, 12:55AM
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lenny wrote:

Robin Brownlee I know its on the record that you are against every good player coming here. Is Vancouver your team or Calgary? We know that its olso on the record that you will newer say anything about the reason players will not come here because you will lose your sorce of information that is wrong 90% of the time because he likes to say “expect the unexpected”. Do you know who I am talking about? No? Small town!!!

You've got a great big blunt blazing right now, don't you?

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#20 kingsblade
July 18 2009, 01:00AM
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lenny wrote:

You think Tambellini is working the phones like you assured us? Maybe and maybe not because nobody wants to come here.

Right. He has completely abandoned the telephone. Why bother.

It's like when your dad decided to stop wearing a condom because your mom swore she couldn't have a kid even if she wanted one.

I'm amazed you can find the letter on a keyboard.

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#21 Dallas
July 18 2009, 01:01AM
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@ lenny: I smell a troll sniff sniff

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#22 Dallas
July 18 2009, 01:02AM
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@ kingsblade: Lmao

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#23 Archaeologuy
July 18 2009, 01:03AM
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@ lenny: How exactly does my opinion or even the opinion of Brownlee affect the actual outcome of the regular or post season? It doesnt. So outside of you calling me and Robin "small town" what is the aim of your post? To prove that interfamily relationships really do produce inviable offspring? Were you simply trying to find a way to challenge the commonly accepted rules of grammar? Am i just feeding the troll here or is there an actual point to be made somewhere in your ramblings?

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#24 kingsblade
July 18 2009, 01:05AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

How exactly does my opinion or even the opinion of Brownlee affect the actual outcome of the regular or post season? It doesnt. So outside of you calling me and Robin “small town” what is the aim of your post?

As far as I can tell he's comparing the two of you to Larry Bird. Seems odd for a hockey site, but if the shoe fits...

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#25 lenny
July 18 2009, 01:13AM
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Yes, thats good, go against me everybody if you think we don't need good players here but remember one thing I can take it but can the Oilers take to much more of that small town thinking? Any good free agents left that would like to come here? Would you find problems with Ovechkin if he asked to be traded to Edmonton? I think Brownlee will find the reason why he is not a good fit here.

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#26 Dallas
July 18 2009, 01:25AM
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@ lenny: Buddy I am sure brownlee would not have one problem with heatley coming here if he didn't carry so much baggage.The oilers dressing room is just too fragile as is.

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#27 Jonathan Willis
July 18 2009, 01:27AM
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Nice article, Robin. It's good to hear that Tambellini's been kicking tires, and I can't disagree on any of the things you've said about the team.

Two questions, if you'll indulge me:

1) What do you make of Prendergast's comments (specifically running out the same team as last year)? Is he out of the loop, talking nonsense, or deviously hoping to attract free agents by talking about how the team doesn't have them in their plans?

2) Do you think Brule's a lock (or close to it) for a roster spot?

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#28 Jonathan Willis
July 18 2009, 01:29AM
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As for "small town" thinking, it's high time for people to get over their inferiority complex.

Signed, Someone who lives in Fort St. John, B.C.

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#29 kingsblade
July 18 2009, 02:00AM
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lenny wrote:

go against me everybody if you think we don’t need good players here

Precisely. Every one of us has a problem with good players. Hatred might be the most appropriate word. I know I, for one, despise them.

Now that you've solved our dark secret we can spend less time on the therapist's couch and more time dreaming of the home run deal while ignoring the little things that are still necessary to improve the team and don't include groveling or debasing ourselves.

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#30 kingsblade
July 18 2009, 02:06AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Although I am a pretty funny guy.

Yes lovers of Thucydides, Tacitus, and Cicero everywhere are very amused by your comedic stylings. ;P

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#31 Hemmertime
July 18 2009, 02:27AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Obviously, no guarantees, but the hunt continues.

Sigh, when even RB was resigned to the fact we were getting Heatley I got my hopes up. The hunt continues, a phrase I dread now. Simon Gagne would be adequate, but he is nowhere near the caliber player. A Heatley off year is a good Gagne year.

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#32 Hemmertime
July 18 2009, 02:30AM
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@ lenny: Is there a factory upstream of your SMALL TOWN!!!'s water supply? Something of the chemical persuasion?

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#33 humantorch
July 18 2009, 03:18AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You’ve got a great big blunt blazing right now, don’t you?

Amsterdam says "hi."

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#34 chuck
July 18 2009, 03:39AM
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@lenny

Are you ESL?

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#35 Death Metal Nightmare
July 18 2009, 04:29AM
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i heard Butter-Soft and Top Cheese makes a hell of a Grilled Cheese Cure for PDP.

(...my god, make it stop)

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#36 Death Metal Nightmare
July 18 2009, 04:29AM
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my bad, "TOP CHEDDAR" haha

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#37 Garett
July 18 2009, 04:49AM
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Who is this Dejarlais guy so many people speak of, sounds like he is a goalie, never heard of him. How do u get Dejarlais from Deslauriers? Simple phonics would breakdown the difference between these two words, sorry, guess I'm just incredibly irritable these days about the sh*t show that is this hockey club...*hopes he has not himself made a spelling error in this post...*

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#38 Garett
July 18 2009, 04:52AM
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Desjarlais sorry (sp?) LMAO!!!

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#39 Garett
July 18 2009, 04:56AM
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LOL, never spelled an word wrong that was spelled wrong to begin with...

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#40 SumOil
July 18 2009, 06:05AM
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Why not go for Phil Kessel? Cheaper, younger, faster 35 goal scorer

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#41 99thoilerfan
July 18 2009, 06:20AM
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Ladies and Gents...

Just a few comments..

Heatley? Dam, too bad.. but his loss. ( NOT the Oilers )

Working the phone? Of course Tambo takes & makes calls.

Khabibulin? Looking forward.. Move at trading deadline? (A playoff team may want him for a playoff run,one day)

Lenny? Troll... ( Stupid is, as Stupid does )

Butter & Cheese ? I'm so hungry!( High, Amsterdam ) ( My Doc says I have to watch my waistline ) To Sum up..

No Heatley = Sad A visit to Amsterdam = Hungry. Lenny's comments = Stupid

Go Oil !

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#42 hatecrime
July 18 2009, 06:46AM
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is anyone else upset at the fact we are going to suck worse than we did last year.all we've done is lose people,not sign any real help.it felt like a real shot to the gut when they said they gave up on heatley.here is to another year of being outskilled by most of the western confrence.but wait we have kids in the system.WHO CARES!!contending once in a while would be much better.

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#43 Garett
July 18 2009, 06:59AM
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I agree, this team is gonna not be too good. I'm even tired of fighting for that 8th spot. What it must feel like to cheer for a great team like the Red Wings, no stress... Coaching might be able to get us to 9th/10th this year instead of 11th/12th. I cannot see this roster as is making the playoffs at all this year, 83 points for this coming season is my guess. *thinks about if he should get his 4 month old son an Oiler jersey or spare him the stress and grief and just get him a Pens or Red Wing jersey*

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#44 lenny
July 18 2009, 07:46AM
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@ hatecrime: You are exectley right.

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#45 B-Rad
July 18 2009, 08:10AM
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DEEP OIL?

@ lenny:

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#46 Hemmertime
July 18 2009, 08:48AM
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@ Garett: Dont worry, by the time your 4 month old understands what offsides are the Pens will suck again. Detroit may be a good bet for longevity but you know he will be just like daddy. You cant change teams, not saying for any moral reasons - but in your heart watching the games would be a lie.

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#47 Robin Brownlee
July 18 2009, 08:53AM
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hatecrime wrote:

is anyone else upset at the fact we are going to suck worse than we did last year

Don't necessarily agree -- even if not one more roster move is made. To contend, though, the holes that have been discussed need to be filled.

Hemmertime wrote:

Sigh, when even RB was resigned to the fact we were getting Heatley I got my hopes up.

I got the sense -- my take based on a conversation -- there was a 48-hour or so window when another push would be made and it was 50-50. That's come and gone.

Jonathan Willis wrote:

Nice article, Robin. It’s good to hear that Tambellini’s been kicking tires, and I can’t disagree on any of the things you’ve said about the team. Two questions, if you’ll indulge me: 1) What do you make of Prendergast’s comments (specifically running out the same team as last year)? Is he out of the loop, talking nonsense, or deviously hoping to attract free agents by talking about how the team doesn’t have them in their plans? 2) Do you think Brule’s a lock (or close to it) for a roster spot?

I think KP is trying to divert attention from the team's attempts at addressing other needs. If KP says, "Maybe Heatley is out, but we're still busy blah, blah, blah," then the next questions are: "Busy doing what and who are you talking to?" My guess is Tambellini has issued a shaddup order, no doubt miffed about the Heatley stuff coming to light.

I'd hope nobody with as short an NHL track record as Brule is guaranteed a roster spot, but the Brodziak move was clearly made to improve his chances. I think he can play. He's more skilled, a better skater and more physical than Brodziak.

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#48 oil for life 99
July 18 2009, 09:05AM
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PLEASE ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!! LET TAMBALINI DO HIS JOB...

THE OIL WILL BE FINE! AND JUST TO REMIND YOU IDIOTS THAT THE OIL HAVE WON MORE CUPS THEN ANTONE IN THE LEAGUE SINCE THEY ENTERED 31 YEARS AGO WITH 5!!!!!

CALGARY -1

VANCOUVER- 0

JUST SHUT UP AND LET THE CARDS UNFOLD THEY WILL BE FINE AND WE WILL WIN AGAIN SOON.

PENNER SCORES 30 THIS YEAR COGS SCORES 20 THIS YEAR

AND SMID WILL BE THE 5- OR SIX D-MAN

IS THAT SO BAD?

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#49 Garett
July 18 2009, 09:15AM
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Penner scores 30?????!!!!! The league still has the offside rule ther "oil for life 99!" Penner would only be able to score 30 if he got to hang around the oppositions net, dropping donair sauce in the goalie's crease causing him to slip and fall, then Penner could bump the puck in with his gut! Penner will never score 30 goals in this league, wake up and leave the 80's. Cut the "99" from the back of your name and get with reality! We are not in the glory days anymore and this team going into training camp as KP says will be battling it out for last in the Northwest with the "rebuilding" Avalanche. Only difference is we will be near the cap in doing so!

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#50 Robin Brownlee
July 18 2009, 09:18AM
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Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

i heard Butter-Soft and Top Cheese makes a hell of a Grilled Cheese Cure for PDP. (…my god, make it stop)

Mmmm grilled cheese . . . As a writer (jump in here, Lenny) language is a big part of my business. Everybody uses lingo. Certain words or phrases become common within certain groups, whether you're talking hockey fans or accountants or sports writers. It can get a bit much, though, especially for a casual reader who isn't familiar with the inside talk. I've had deskers ask me countless times WTF I was writing about when I'd send them stuff that included terms that were perfectly clear to me.

"Joe Blow struggled for the first four innings, but when he got behind Sam Smith 0-3, battled back and sat him down with a wicked hammer to end the fifth, the Trappers rallied." The Coles notes on that is "struck him out with a curveball."

Or, "Scotty Olson was in trouble in the sixth round when he turned the fight around, intoducing Carbajal to Suzy Q, starching him for what could have been a count of 50." Olson knocked out Carbajal with a looping right hand and he stayed down well after the count.

Lingo is fun, but we all get carred away.

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