Off your knees and on your feet

Robin Brownlee
July 02 2009 11:53AM

If you could jab Edmonton Oilers players like Steve MacIntyre and Zack Stortini in the ass with a shot of sodium pentothal, I wonder what they'd say about Dany Heatley?

Would MacIntyre, who thanks his lucky stars every time he pulls on an Oilers jersey after a decade of slugging it out in the minors, say Heatley has acted like a spoiled, petulant child in the last 48 hours or so? Would he talk about being sickened by Heatley's sense of entitlement, how he has screwed over not only the Oilers but the Ottawa Senators?

Would Stortini, who has parlayed modest skills and a Herculean work ethic to a place at the bottom of the NHL pay scale, admit watching GM Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe essentially beg and grovel to get Heatley to accept a trade to Edmonton makes him want to puke? Would he allow that Heatley is the epitome of the me-first player who cares only about a pay cheque and having his own way, somebody who doesn't have the faintest idea what it means to be a team guy?

Do they want him as a teammate? Is Heatley somebody they want to do the dirty work for as part of the job description they happily accept as part of what it takes to call themselves members of the Oilers?

I don't know. But, after the last 48 hours — in which Heatley has rebuffed the Oilers, refused to waive his no-movement clause in a deal for Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid after demanding the Senators trade him — is there any doubt Heatley is the last player the Oilers need?

You know where I stand on that. How about you?

Enough already

If Heatley hasn't used up every shred of any benefit of the doubt Oilers fans have been willing to allow in order to add his 40 goals to their top line, then the faithful at Rexall Place truly are a masochistic lot.

Even now, after Ottawa GM Bryan Murray said today the deal that was on the table is dead because the Senators had to kick-in a $4-million bonus to Heatley last night, some die-hards are still in denial of the obvious.

Maybe the Oilers can take on a couple of contracts in the deal — those of Jason Smith and Christoph Schubert have been mentioned — to offset Ottawa's financial hit and keep talks alive for the right to pay Heatley's $7.5 million cap hit a season. Oh, wouldn't that be something?

Maybe if Tambellini and Lowe, who have already taken the extraordinary step of flying to Kelowna to meet with Heatley, get on bended knee and kiss his Stanley Cup ring — wait, he doesn't have one — Dany will re-think his desire to go anywhere but Edmonton and agree to make his millions here. Besides, he can always change his mind once next season begins.

Are Oilers fans that desperate? Sadly, some are, although I'm guessing the numbers who think an abusive relationship is better than no relationship at all are dwindling.

Move on

I admire the determination of Tambellini and Lowe to do whatever it takes to improve the Oilers after three straight years out of the playoffs. Given the well-documented challenges this city has in attracting marquee players and slights fans have endued in the past, they have to take extraordinary measures.

Lowe tried, without success, with Marian Hossa last summer. He threw out the welcome mat and the Oilers stopped just short of offering up a key to the city. Players called. Owner Daryl Katz waded in. No deal.

At some point, though, enough is enough. At some point, making a case for Edmonton and what it could mean to play for the Oilers, transcends a sales pitch and becomes begging. There is no dignity, 40 goals or not, in that.

At some point, fans have to admit welcoming a player like Heatley into the dressing room, despite his obvious on-ice ability, isn't for the best. At some point, it becomes obvious somebody of Heatley's ilk would be poison to a group of players that already has challenges in terms of cohesiveness.

Does it really take a shot of truth serum in the ass to admit we're well past that point with Dany Heatley?

— 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 Smokin' Ray
July 02 2009, 11:57AM
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Agreed. Let's be done with him already. We need a centermen.

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#2 Doug
July 02 2009, 11:58AM
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A-FREAKING-MEN.

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#3 freeze
July 02 2009, 12:02PM
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Here, here.

At this point offer up Penner and thats it.

Go get Maholtra or something.

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#4 equinox
July 02 2009, 12:03PM
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Not only would it be benfecial to the Oilers to publically state their newly developed lack of interest in continuing with this debacle in terms of a team identity and self respect; but it might actually speed the process along should they secretly still wish Dany Heatley into the fold.

Should there truly be no other offers on the table and Ottawa finally just says "to hell with this and Dany Heatley", Edmonton is likely able to complete this trade offering less in return.

This is now a matter of the lesser of three evils. Would Heatley rather play in Ottowa or Edmonton? Would Murray rather keep a disgruntled player or move him for magic beans or would Tambellini rather search for other options than have a player who obviously is not enthused to be an Oiler?

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#5 dragon
July 02 2009, 12:05PM
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any truth to the noon presser?

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#6 stolly
July 02 2009, 12:05PM
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Robert Lang is someone I feel could help us bid time. A big body that can win draws and be tough to play against.

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#7 Doug
July 02 2009, 12:06PM
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@ dragon:

no mention of it on the Oilers website.

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#8 dumb
July 02 2009, 12:08PM
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This is like telling the pretty girl you love her 65 times before she finally says, "fine I love you too". Does she really love you?

It's almost embarassing at this point that Tamblowe are still chasing this guy. I'm with you Robin, time to move on.

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#9 TIM S
July 02 2009, 12:11PM
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I say stay with it. Keep the offer is the same, and give the Sens and Heatley a deadline to accept it or walk away. In my mind this is not that much different then waiting on a UFA. Do we have such little faith in Oilers managment that we don't think they know when to say enough is enough?

Everything coming out late last night from guys you can trust at TSN, and Stauffer say that this is more about the Sens then about Edmonton. I have not heard him or his agents say no to Edmonton, they have not bad mouthed Edmonton at all. If the Oilers are still in on this thing then they heard something last night that gives them a reason to still be involved.

Talking about how other Edmonton players feel about Heatley dragging his feet about coming to Edmonton, what if we asked them what they thought of Souray and it alleged trade request? Or what they thought of Smid and his desire to no longer play in Edmonton as was reported on this site? Or what they thought of Roloson 2 years ago suggesting the he would welcome a trade? All at one time or another allegedly wanted out of Edmonton for some reason yet they remained and still remain but we can't let this Heatley situation play out for a few days??

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#10 dumb
July 02 2009, 12:14PM
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TIM S wrote:

Everything coming out late last night from guys you can trust at TSN, and Stauffer say that this is more about the Sens then about Edmonton

Doesn't that kind of speak to Dany's character? Is that the kind of guy you'd want to go to war with?

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#11 RossCreek
July 02 2009, 12:15PM
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dantencer Latest update from Oilers: Not set in stone that we hear from the management team today. 4 minutes ago from web

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#12 West Coast Oil
July 02 2009, 12:16PM
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Im in agreement time to move on. When you listen to the Chicago GM talking about how good it now feels to be a market that players want to come to, then you have to think the Blackhawk plan is the best one for the Oilers. Lets build through the draft and youth.

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#13 Doug
July 02 2009, 12:17PM
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Ultimately even if he does come here, I am convinced it would end badly. This is Edmonton, and we are a hockey town. Dany is easily one of the very best talents in the league and in a market like this I think your superstar has to be the face of your team, not just the LW who scores goals.

Nothing about Heatley says he has the class or character to lead our team.

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#14 Westcoastoil
July 02 2009, 12:19PM
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Good Riddance!! Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make. Unless you can pry Frolov out of LA as some kind of package involving Souray. Sign Malhotra, Kotalik save a little cap room and see what the new coaches can get out of your current squad. We've suffered through the growing pains, let's find out what exactly we have.

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#15 Poo Czar
July 02 2009, 12:24PM
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I desperately wanna see another Fire and Brimstone Tambo Press Conference, this time publically throwing 'ol Danny Boy under the bus.

WG said it - this team needs some pride and swagger, two things you can't get whilst on your knees. You don't want us, we don't want you.

I kinda like the idea of sending Smackintyre out for all future negotiations. If he's not satisfied that the incoming oplayer truly wants to be an Oiler, he vetos and/or punches.

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#16 dumb
July 02 2009, 12:25PM
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RossCreek wrote:

dantencer Latest update from Oilers: Not set in stone that we hear from the management team today. 4 minutes ago from web

what?

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#17 Wanye Gretz
July 02 2009, 12:25PM
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Good call Brownlee.

Hands down you are the best writer in the City.

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#18 dumb
July 02 2009, 12:26PM
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@ dumb: I get it. I really am dumb.

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#19 Kyle S
July 02 2009, 12:28PM
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Well said Robin. Agree completely.

Let's focus on improving the team and not destroying it. We were already giving them too much in this trade anyway, let's not keep this charade going and offer them anything more.

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#20 DBO
July 02 2009, 12:30PM
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Just walk away already. If murray wants Penner then deal him for Volchenkov. then deal Cogs and Smid for Gagne from Philly. Sign a cheap 3rd line centre like Moore, and go to war. get guys who want to be here, not guys who are forced to be here.

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#21 JB
July 02 2009, 12:32PM
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It's time to forget this nonsense, go get Malohltra or Bonk and get on with the business of building this team. Heatley clearly doesn't want to be here and seems to be a petulant, immature douchebag on top of it. Let's get on with it, or much like last year when the Oil were c*%k-teased into paralysis by Hossa, we'll end up missing out on some much needed roster depth.

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#22 idrinkPilsner
July 02 2009, 12:32PM
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This is a f--ked up situation. We'd better get some kind of a reaction out of the Management team today.

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#23 ogorr
July 02 2009, 12:34PM
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the@ dumb: dumb wrote:

TIM S wrote: Everything coming out late last night from guys you can trust at TSN, and Stauffer say that this is more about the Sens then about Edmonton Doesn’t that kind of speak to Dany’s character? Is that the kind of guy you’d want to go to war with?

No but luckily they aren't going to war they are playing a game.

Bottom line is he fits a specific need on this team and and using the deal thats been reported allows us to unload a terrible contract and the #5 dman on our depth chart while drastically improving our top line. Cogs is going to be a good player but he won't be in the same league as Heatley. If/when he decides to come here as long as he does his job fans will get over this. The reaction of people here is mind blowing.

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#24 oil_fan_forever
July 02 2009, 12:40PM
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@ Poo Czar: Totally agree. I want Tambo to say word for word "F*ck you Heatley, we are out. Rot in Ottawa". I really would like to have that kinda talent on our first line, but at this point it just isnt worth it. Our management has got to step up and save a bit of their pride.

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#25 dumb
July 02 2009, 12:42PM
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@ ogorr: I meant go to war with as a teammate..not go to war against him. He seems to be quite a selfish lad.

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#26 tkap84
July 02 2009, 12:44PM
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I agree with Brownlee saying it is time to move on. I have been reading and watching this debacle the last 48 hrs+ and think we have to part ways with this deal. I feel bad for Penner/Cogs/Smid in respect to the fact that they were dealt and then that was axed. They hopefully understand that's part of the business.

Heatley- I hope we see him at rexall on an opposing team at some point this year. It will be a bigger boo fest that Pronger or Comrie. I cannot wait.

so... what are the Oil going to do now? Pry Jagr from the KHL??

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#27 Librarian Mike
July 02 2009, 12:45PM
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As usual Robin, you are right on the money. Let's just move on from this and leave Ottawa to sort out their own mess.

Maybe we need to put up a plaque in the opposing team's dressing room saying:

THIS IS EDMONTON. F**K YOU! ESPECIALLY YOU, DANY!

...or we could add a name depending on the team. Anyway, as I mentioned before, thanks for being the voice of reason through all this.

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#28 oilerdago
July 02 2009, 12:54PM
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Robin: What you and Smokin Ray said.

Time to move on and solve the other problems before we wind up in the same boat we did heading into last season - a team w/several key missing ingredients.

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#29 Librarian Mike
July 02 2009, 12:58PM
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Seriously, what balls on Bryan Murray to say "Yeah, we've been screwing around with your team for 2 days. The deal is still on the table but the price has gone up." Good luck with that.

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#30 Rick
July 02 2009, 12:59PM
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Robin;

Are you guys hearing any chatter what so ever about the Oilers persuing anything else?

All this Heatley BS aside the fact remains that the Oilers haven't doen anything to improve themselves and when the dust settles on Heatley I will be more upset that the Oilers, for the second year in a row, failed to get anything done because they got distracted by the big fish they couldn't land.

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#31 Maverick
July 02 2009, 01:00PM
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I agree Robin, Its time for this once proud organization, to hold its head up high and move on. There was a quote from Ron McLean after the Oilers won the Stanley Cup in 1990, "salute the Edmonton Oilers, clearly men who were born with stainless steel beneath their feet and a touch of silver on their lips" I will never forget that moment (good old VHS). Forget Heatley, he doesn't want to be here, but there are players on this team that do and many around the league that might as well. They will do whatever they can with the skills they have for the pride they feel for the jersey on their chest. That is the players we once had and we need. 40 goals from Heatley or 25 - 30 goals from a player who has heart, pride and dignity. I know which one I would choose. Let's hope Tambo and KLowe start to feel the same.

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#32 Peter Pan
July 02 2009, 01:08PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Maybe we need to put up a plaque in the opposing team’s dressing room saying: THIS IS EDMONTON. F**K YOU! ESPECIALLY YOU, DANY!

Why? Let it go buddy.

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#33 surshot
July 02 2009, 01:08PM
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I agree i was big on getting Heatley but know i don't want to even think of him as a Oiler. He is the furthest thing from a Oiler. He is not good enough to be a Oiler he can stick his 50 goal seasons up his ars and spin. What a poor excuse for a canadian. Go to russia Heatley i hear they our hiring crap stains like you.

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#34 Dennis
July 02 2009, 01:14PM
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I have a hard time admiring Kevin Lowe in light of how desperate the org is acting and what Bob Murray got for one year of Pronger as opposed to what Kevin got for four years of Pronger:)

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#35 ogorr
July 02 2009, 01:17PM
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@ dumb:

he may be but anyone that has played any team sport knows that there are players like this on every team. You may think poorly of his character but specific skill sets that attribute to improving the team like his do often come with certain comprimises. If indeed his decision is based on he wants a chance to win then I can't blame him for balking at playing for the oilers if it is a lifestyle choice again I can't blame him for Edmonton being not on the top of the list when other potential destinations are out there.

Seemingly the agent has stated that he feels that there should have been more interest in his client and they feel Murray isn't trying as hard as he should to secure a deal. Again the agent and GM have a vested interest in what is best for their situation, one of them is right and one is wrong, which one I couldn't tell you but if you were in Heatleys position and felt that you were getting jerked around wouldn't you be hesitant, I know I would.

Personally I like the deal that was proposed and I like what Heatley brings to the team. People always talk about the dressing room in Edmonton and how tight it is (before last year). Much has been said about the deterioration of this atmosphere and maybe it has more to do with the attitude in there before last year was of contentment and not winning. Maybe the likes of Souray and Heatley would change that to winning (a lot may of had to do with the coaching staff). I don't care if they are all friends or not as long as they do there job on the ice and are responsible citizens

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#36 Rick
July 02 2009, 01:17PM
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Dennis wrote:

I have a hard time admiring Kevin Lowe in light of how desperate the org is acting and what Bob Murray got for one year of Pronger as opposed to what Kevin got for four years of Pronger:)

Isn't it time to shift your venom Dennis?

Tambellini should be called Bizzaro Lowe considering how drags his feet and how little he actually does.

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#37 jdrevenge
July 02 2009, 01:24PM
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This is freaking embarrasing... as a fan of the Oilers and a fan of hockey. Why do we keep having to publicly beg to have marquee players come here. Why do they not see that its not going to happen. Blow it up and build...

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#38 Ben
July 02 2009, 01:26PM
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Screw Heatley already! He's poison. Just go after Nash in Columbus. They can't sign him longterm, we have a Katzian amount of money to spend, and a buddy-buddy partnership with old Howson. Seems like a potential dance partner IMO.

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#39 Gerald R. Ford
July 02 2009, 01:34PM
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Great write-up, as usual Robin. I think the thing most of us love above SMac and Storts is they WOULDN'T say anything. Ever. Truth serum, or not. They're good, loyal, grateful soldiers of The Nation, and they'd welcome this idiot with open arms, even as he tosses them the keys to his Lambo, and warns them not to scratch the paint when they park it.

It'd be great if Tambo gave up on Heatley, and The Oil held a presser stating something to the effect that: "Our shareholders have requested that we no longer pursue this particular asset."

It'd never happen, but it'd be great.

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#40 RossCreek
July 02 2009, 01:50PM
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Offer a similar package for Spezza instead. Him n Hemsky would be dyn-o-mite together.

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#41 leftwinger9
July 02 2009, 02:03PM
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Wow.

First, I agree with Brownlee on this one. There are players in this league who would be honoured to play for the mighty Oil, and plenty more would would come and do their job even if our city wasn't their first choice. Soending this much time and energy to convince a player to come is embarassing.

However, if any NHL players were to read message boards such as this one (and I'll bet they do), its no wonder Edmonton has difficulty finding willing players. I've been an Oiler fan my whole life and follow as close as anyone, but people are taking things far too personally. The NHL is big business.

The player has a right to refuse a trade based on his contract. If you want to blame someone, blame the NHLPA or the general managers who give out no-movement clauses.

Let's show some class, leave this situation behind, and concentrate on finding player who fit "Oiler Hockey".

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#42 risto
July 02 2009, 02:42PM
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@ equinox: It would also show that this team and market is to be taken seriously, and not the "let's bid up the Oilers and see if we can squeeze more from this other team".

i wonder what management has learned after getting burned summer after summer since the lockout.

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#43 jayoilfan
July 02 2009, 02:49PM
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Well said RB, I totally agree, lets move on and get a real hockey player, one that will help the team.

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#44 BUCK75
July 02 2009, 02:56PM
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This should be one of the biggest reasons why we should have tanked it once in the last 3 seasons. If we can't get established players to play in Edmonton, I guess we have to DRAFT THEM!!!

Exactly why we get pissed off when the GM pulls some magica deal out his ass every trade deadline, only to finish in 9th.

Take your pick of the last 3 drafts of top 3 picks who could become a cornerstone player. Either of the Kanes, Tavares, Duschene, or even Stamkos.

Getting tired of the same old drama every summer.

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#45 Hemmertime
July 02 2009, 03:05PM
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@ BUCK75: How do we Draft them? Respond in one thread. Trade Visnovsky Souray and Hemsky? pfft

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#46 Mintas Ginter
July 02 2009, 03:17PM
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Dany is the first player to have back to back 50 goal seasons since Pavel Bure. Get off your high horses, he is what any team needs, drama or no. Do what it takes, or maybe we keep holding on to our young players until they are not so young, and trade them for more younger unproven talent.

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#47 Hemmertime
July 02 2009, 03:39PM
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@ Mintas Ginter: Exactly, win dirty or lose with pride. Ill take the winner any day

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#48 Hemmertime
July 02 2009, 03:40PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Are you bursting with Pride over the last 20 years of Oiler "success"? Plenty of times to be proud then. Should we disregard our cup run as a disgrace to be ignored because Pronger shunned us after? Hell no

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#49 Ogden Brother
July 02 2009, 03:42PM
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Agreed 100%. Is their anyway to start a grassroots movement to let Oiler brass know we don't want this guy?

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#50 Chris
July 02 2009, 04:37PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Since when are WE the general managers. My gut tells me Tambellini should walk on Heatley also... but I'm not the guy who met with him yesterday; I haven't had private conversations with Quinn and Renny about Heatleys coach-ability... Basically I don't know what they know. Believe me, Lowe, in particular, has no shortage of stubborn Edmonton pride.

Personally, I really don't care if Heatley hates this city... In the end, if he does come here and scores forty goals, he can help the Oilers win. Let's face it, we are already putting up with a malcontent, petulant, incomplete hockey player...But he only scores twenty goals a season.

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