Hindsight

Jason Gregor
July 31 2009 11:38AM

guesshwo

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and many of us would look a hell of a lot smarter if we were able to go back in time and change some of our more dubious decisions. Remember that high school picture that you hoped would be quickly forgotten? Remember how you used to dress in those days? Did you think your favorite striped blue shirt would be gazed upon by millions of people on the internet years later when you became a massive celebrity? Looking back, probably not. 

Yes, hindsight is often 20/20, particularly when it comes to hairstyles, tattoos and free agent signings.

If we could go back in time, many of us would do things a little differently. Considering what NHL players are signing for these days, you wonder if some teams also wish that they could go back in time and wait until August 1st to sign guys, rather that having made all their moves on July 1st. It’s way easier to say today how money should have been spent than it was a mere 30 days ago. But then again, who am I to talk? I once said that the Oilers won the Pouliot/Jacques for Parise trade right after it happened. Could I have been more right?

When you look at how frugal teams have become in the past few weeks, you can’t help but wonder why so many felt the need to overspend a few weeks ago.

Unrestricted free agents generally get overpaid

It’s a fact. And it isn’t just the Oilers who need to overpay to get a player to come here. Controversial columnist, Larry Brooks wrote on July 26th that the Oilers were being desperate in their need to overpay star players to join the team.

Here’s a snippet of what he wrote:

Don't the Oilers get it? Their city is the last place in North America (other than presumably Ottawa and perhaps Atlanta) that Heatley wants to live, and their team is the last one in the NHL (insert a disclaimer or two) for which he wants to play. Enough already with the bribery and the convincing. The team and the city look more than desperate. They are beginning to appear pathetic with their continued pursuit of the player who for good reason has become hockey's most disdained individual. We know. The Oilers have to overpay in order to entice players of Heatley's on-ice pedigree to come to their city, and that's the reason why Nik Khabibulin was able to get an over-35 contract worth $15 million over four years on July 1.

What I find laughable here is Brooks' suggestion the Oilers have to overpay, because of the City. C'mon Larry - wake the f**k up. In the City that never sleeps all the Rangers seem to do is over pay guys to report to the team.

Scott Gomez gets $7.3 million a year for five years. Chris Drury got $7 million, Wade Redden is a $6.5 million cap hit on the books and injury-prone Marian Gaborik takes home a cool $7.5 million. Larry, do you really think these aren’t overpayments too?

The fact is teams overpay for UFAs all the time, especially in the first few days of July, and normally throughout the summer. But not this year. This year it would seem the well has dried up.

Looking back now...

I wonder if the Habs are re-thinking offering Brian Gionta $5 million a year, when it looks like they could get Alex Tanguay for less than half of that now? Mike Comrie made $4 million last year, and while he struggled with only 10 goals, the three previous seasons he tallied 21, 20 and 30. He turns 29 in September and he’ll probably sign for $1.5 million at the most.

Proven checkers like Mike Peca, Manny Malhotra and Blair Betts are still on the market, and if they get a deal it could be close to $750,000 or less. I spoke with Betts yesterday at a golf tourney and the phone hasn’t been ringing at all lately. He is a proven veteran, who kills penalties and is good in the room, yet no interest. I know the Oilers have too many contracts but signing Betts to a one-year deal for $650,000 wouldn’t hurt. Hell, some veterans might accept two-way deals at this point, just to get to camp. I bet Dominic Moore is regretting not signing the Leafs offer of close to $2 million back in June, because when he signs it will be for half of that.

I think many teams blew their wad in early July, and while they might have interest in a player, they simply have no money left to spend today. One positive should be that fans will see a lot of desperate players playing just to maintain, or get a new contract next year. That should make the dog days of the season a bit more competitive - or at least you would think it would.

Did the Oilers over pay for Khabibulin? You bet they did. But it is hilarious to suggest that it is only cities like Edmonton desperate to overpay players into bring them into the organization. New York City - the "supposed" best city in North America overpays players more often than most.

And they win all the time don't they?

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Curious
July 31 2009, 04:14PM
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@ wiggs22:

If you know Heatley is not happy and you will have to eventually move him (either before the season or sometime during it) why would you trade Spezza? That makes no sense

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#102 Ender the Dragon
July 31 2009, 04:15PM
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@ wiggs22

With the potential train wreck Ottawa is riding bringing Heater back in, the last thing they want to do right now to further destabalize the franchise by shipping out their next-most visible player. Ottawa fans have enough to hate already. It will be a quiet summer in the nation's capital until camp is my bet.

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#103 Archaeologuy
July 31 2009, 04:15PM
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I missed the conference. Did it go something like this?

Tambi- "hey guys, The Oilers arent doing anything else right now and wont be doing anything else in the future...including landing Heatley."

Terry Jones- "ndgehfkwejm,ffjeudmmmfff *inaudible noises muffled by the Donair he's still chewing*

Robin Brownlee- "So you really decided to waste my time by having a conference to report that you havent done anything?"

Tambi- "Yes, but in a good way."

Robin Brownlee- "I'm Robin F*cking Brownlee, dont bother me until you've actually done something."

Tambi- "We just wanted to address the media regarding our inability to land someone who could put the Biscuit Top Cheese."

Robin Brownlee- "You're dead to me."

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#104 wiggs22
July 31 2009, 04:18PM
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@ Curious: All i'm saying is that if the sens were interested in our players. Would they be willing to give us someone else. Personally, i'd break up the guys and see what i could get for one or two of them... I love frolov from LA. I wonder how much it would take to get him. ~Staios, penner and a third?~

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#105 Ender the Dragon
July 31 2009, 04:18PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Pretty close, except the 'dead to me' comment was actually Gregor.

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#106 Bruthah
July 31 2009, 04:18PM
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@ Archaeologuy: lawl, nice one!

"I'M ROBIN FARKING BROWNLEE!"

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#107 Hemmertime
July 31 2009, 04:22PM
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Kovalchuk to the Oilers. (E3)

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#108 Ender the Dragon
July 31 2009, 04:25PM
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@ wiggs22:

Except for this one situation where Ottawa was desperate ('Damn you, Heatley camp, for leaking that you'd demanded a trade'), you will not find another home for Penner until he has a breakout season and proves that he's worth his contract. We're stuck with him. Staios, God love him, is getting pretty long-in-the-tooth and isn't attractive trade-bait.

Yeah, you could trade our good players, like Cogs and Smid, but what are you expecting back for them? GM's know these guys, and they're probably not making deals right now just to make deals. If we try to improve at all between now and training camp, it will probably be by taking on someone else's Penner that they need to clear to make the cap. Ain't that joyous?

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#109 Bruthah
July 31 2009, 04:29PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: wiggs22 wrote:

~Staios, penner and a third?~

he used the tilde (~), meaning sarcasm.

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#110 Ender the Dragon
July 31 2009, 04:31PM
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@ Bruthah:

Good call. Reading too fast.

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#111 Spot The Loon
July 31 2009, 04:39PM
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I got several things out of what Tambo said.

1. The Oilers, along with a lot of other teams, are in a state of paralysis because they are carrying too many contracts and can't move them. Teams are trying to get rid of contracts so player movement is greatly hampered by this state of affairs.

2. The team addressed their perceived greatest need by signing the West Edmonton Wall. (Can't remember who came up with this line but it is pretty good). Essentially, it went down similar to a trade in that Roli signed with the Islanders (one contract out) and the team signed the Bulin Wall (one contract in). There was no net impact on the team in terms of contracts being brought in.

Given the paralysis that seems to exist within the NHL right now in terms of significant trades, the team is determined to go with what they have. Largely, this appears to be because they don't have a lot of choice right now. I do think that we are underestimating the Oilers this year which is inversely proportionate to how much we overestimated them last year.

I still think that the team will sign one free agent and that would be a third line center who can skate, kill penalties and is good in the face off circle.

I actually think that the team will be interesting to watch this year, assuming that there is an established system in place from the coaching staff that the players can buy into. I think the coaching change may end up being the biggest signing of the off season.

I howled laughing though at the comment about the presser being about Quinn announcing Hemsky being moved from center to the wing. :-)

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#112 Ender the Dragon
July 31 2009, 04:53PM
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Spot The Loon wrote:

I still think that the team will sign one free agent and that would be a third line center who can skate, kill penalties and is good in the face off circle.

What is this guy's name? Inquiring minds want to know. Tambo was asked about Blair Betts straight out and you'd have thought Tambo was auditioning for 'So You Think You Can Dance' the way he went around that question.

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#113 Dallas
July 31 2009, 04:57PM
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Somewhere I missed somthing that Quinn thinks hemsky is a center.Is this true?

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#114 Spot The Loon
July 31 2009, 05:00PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

What is this guy’s name? Inquiring minds want to know. Tambo was asked about Blair Betts straight out and you’d have thought Tambo was auditioning for ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ the way he went around that question.

Yeah, he did do a mighty fine job of tap dancing around that question. I am not sure that there is one person the Oilers are targeting for third line center. It could be Betts or Malhotra or someone else. Someone with size who can play tough. I think the decision will ultimately boil down to which player in that mold is willing to accept a one year contact with a reasonable salary. Given the number of free agents left out there, who knows, you may even see someone like that here on a tryout basis in training camp. But I think the decision will be made based on the logic of term and salary as opposed to targeting a specific player at this point. That is my guess anyhow.

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#115 DSG
July 31 2009, 05:02PM
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Here is how I see it.

It is a loss for the Oilers that we did not get Heatley. A 50 goal scorer doesn't come around everyday. Indeed, the Oilers haven't had a 50 goal scorer since 87-88 (Craig Simpson). In fact, it was a good deal all around. Oilers give up 3 contracts to get 1 primetime player. And the 3 guys they give up are never going to amount to 1 Heatley. Cogliano is Todd Marchant part 2 and should be traded now before other teams realize that. Smid wants out anyways. And Penner is a useful player who needs a lot of micromanagement to be effective.

As a result if we go into the season with the current lineup we can expect the same result. And that result is definitely out of the playoffs There are so many things wrong with this team's makeup and while I do think Tambo does see the problems. I think he realizes that flushing everyone that is a problem is not the best strategy. I think he is waiting for other teams to approach him and make the mistake of overvaluing some of our lower end talent. In this category, I would put Nilsson, Pouliot, Reddox, Schremp, Staios (he had his day but is clearly on the downhill slide).

So what do I expect. I expect Tambo to at least jettison some of these guys for draft picks and aim to package up some of our useful mediocre talent for a specific skill, matching the Smid, Penner, and Cogs to Ottawa trade. Problem is who do you get? There really is no one. Kovalchuk is a huge liability. He scores yes but he also is a major defensive softy. And may not be available. Otherwise NHL scorers are largely spoken for.

Gagner, Hemsky and Lubo are no ticket to the promised land. Plus we now have a goalie that could break down in the middle of the year.

Could anyone do better than Tambo right now? The answer is for sure NO. Those that think they can are going to choose 1 path and that is flush the team and aim for 5 years of top 5 draft picks. Anyone else who thinks they are in a position to procure talent with this group of players as your bargaining chip is kidding themselves and being totally unrealistic. Chances are they are the same people looking to trade for Malkin last year... Laughable.

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#116 gdawg
July 31 2009, 05:03PM
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Props to Gregor for calling July 1st what it is, a bunch of GMs spending like drunken sailors then regreting it later. But slowly Im seeing a trend to more prudence on the 1st. There just isnt the return on investment for a lot of these July 1st signings. Good on Tambo not throwing away millions for some diva that wont be good for the oilers. As for Heatley, I dont even know why this city is still talking about him. Move on and let him rot in Ottawa

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#117 gdawg
July 31 2009, 05:14PM
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Hey, what do you guys think about the new guy on the TEAM 1260? It seems like they are turning more open air time over to the callers. Thats a nice change. Kinda of got tired of listening to the same droning of old hosts. But in my opinion they should keep segments with Scott Taylor and Bob Mckenzie, but do away with Wilkie and the guy from the U of A.

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#118 Spot The Loon
July 31 2009, 05:16PM
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DSG wrote:

Here is how I see it. In fact, it was a good deal all around. Oilers give up 3 contracts to get 1 primetime player. And the 3 guys they give up are never going to amount to 1 Heatley.

I agree with the logic behind this statement. Being able to send three contracts the other way for one does make a certain amount of sense, to be sure. It gives you a scorer and provides you with greater flexibility to add players based on the total number of contracts the team has. The salary cap is another issue but it does address some issues within the organization.

That said, I am glad that Heatley isn't coming to Edmonton. Although I think there was some upside in terms of the business of operational management as I noted above, I wouldn't like to see Heatley in the dressing room. I mean, he is alleged to not return calls from his current team captain, didn't attend a team mates wedding and who knows what else. Whether it is Heatley himself or those advising him on how to proceed, his actions have spoken very clearly that he is much more concerned with himself to the exclusion of consideration for his team. That is something the Oilers don't need in the room. There were rumors of tensions in the room last year and, hopefully, with a coaching change, we will see an end to that.

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#119 DSG
July 31 2009, 05:26PM
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Spot The Loon wrote:

I mean, he is alleged to not return calls from his current team captain, didn’t attend a team mates wedding and who knows what else. Whether it is Heatley himself or those advising him on how to proceed, his actions have spoken very clearly that he is much more concerned with himself to the exclusion of consideration for his team. That is something the Oilers don’t need in the room. blockquote> A very valid point and definitely something that would have to be discussed with Heatley. As you alluded to, the dude has been very ill advised or is himself acting in a poor fashion. Not saying Heatley was alone propelling us into the SCF either but a guy of his skill set would be a step in the right direction.
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#120 Dallas
July 31 2009, 05:46PM
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@ DSG: You my friend if you think cogliano is Todd marchant 2 do not know a thing about hockey cogliano has better hands now and more of a nose for the net then marchant ever had.How many top shelf goals has cogliano put in the net playing with very mediocre players that is the only argument I have with your post though do not undervalue our true talent

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#121 gdawg
July 31 2009, 05:49PM
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@ Dallas: but in hindsight, can cogs grow a grizzly adams beard like todd marchant? doubt it. jk jk

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#122 Dallas
July 31 2009, 06:02PM
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gdawg wrote:

@ Dallas: but in hindsight, can cogs grow a grizzly adams beard like todd marchant? doubt it. jk jk

Lol lol

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#123 oilerdiehard
July 31 2009, 06:23PM
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So waiting was good because you get some nice bargains?

I can certainly buy that. The Oil then at this point would seem to silly not to sign a guy like Malhotra or even a Betts that would go a long way to helping shore up major weak areas on this team. Like face offs, PK, experienced center in the bottom six etc...

Since the start of this off-season I (as well as many Oiler fans) have wanted just that as much and maybe more than that scorer.

But I get the feeling when Tambo was talking that they plan to do nothing else on this front. They are lucky at this point there are a few guys that fit the bill still floating around and should come at a cheaper price. But they may just not bother.

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#124 Jason Gregor
July 31 2009, 06:51PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

What is this guy’s name? Inquiring minds want to know. Tambo was asked about Blair Betts straight out and you’d have thought Tambo was auditioning for ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ the way he went around that question.

I talked with Betts yesterday the Oilers have not contacted him or his agent to this point.

DSG wrote:

Cogliano is Todd Marchant part 2 and should be traded now before other teams realize that.

You are way off here. The only comparison is that in their second full season they both had 38 points. Marchant had 19 goals his second year, then got 20 in 2003 before striking it rich with Columbus. He hasn't reached ten goals since.

Marchant is way grittier than Cogliano, but Cogliano has way more skill. Sure he missed breakaways his first year like Marchant, but he didn't last year. Cogliano has way more natural skill. Don't be surprised if he surpasses Marchant's career high of 20 goals this season.

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#125 d.visscher
July 31 2009, 07:04PM
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I don't care what anybody says the Oilers are not going to be a playoff team with the current roster they have, is the management fooling themselves? didn't they have a plan B if Heatley did not sign? all there is are excuses and window dressing "The Future is bright for the Oliers, or the year before that which is my favorite Kevin Lowe's "We all have egg on our face", Well wipe it off and go after someone else.

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#126 ScubaSteve
July 31 2009, 07:23PM
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d.visscher wrote:

I don’t care what anybody says

Then why are you on a blog site, reading and posting comments?

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#127 gdawg
July 31 2009, 07:23PM
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@ d.visscher: the egg never stuck to lowe's face. the guy is covered in teflon. good timing last year for lowe to be "promoted". Looked more like a lets get this guys hands off the steering wheel before everything is totally f@#ked up move.

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#128 David S
July 31 2009, 07:40PM
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Dallas wrote:

How many top shelf goals has cogliano put in the net

I believe the kids these days use the phrase "top cheddar".

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#129 Librarian Mike
July 31 2009, 07:45PM
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David S wrote:

I believe the kids these days use the phrase “top cheddar”.

The best expression I've heard is "top shelf, where dad hides the porno!"

I have no idea where I heard it, but to this day I laugh whenever I see the goalie's water bottle fly off the net.

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#130 Hemmertime
July 31 2009, 07:49PM
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David S wrote:

I believe the kids these days use the phrase “top cheddar”.

Ugh, a bad video game term that we shouldnt help spread

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#131 d.visscher
July 31 2009, 08:06PM
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@ ScubaSteve: Because I am a die hard Oiler fan since 1979

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#132 DanMan
July 31 2009, 08:26PM
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Hahahahah Tambellini just made Tencer his bitch!

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#133 gdawg
July 31 2009, 09:20PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

d.visscher wrote: I don’t care what anybody says Then why are you on a blog site, reading and posting comments?

sounds like d. visscher isnt wearing rose colored glasses like most people. He's calling it the way he sees it, and i couldnt agree more. The team we see now doesn't have the grit or talent to do any damage in the conference, let alone the division.

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#134 West Coast Oil
July 31 2009, 10:49PM
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I think people tend to forget it takes 2 teans to trade. If no one is trading players of value for dead weight then what else can Tambellini do? Force Atlanta to trade Kovy for Schremp, Nillson and Staois? Or the other great suggestion send players to the minors so we can sign someone else for several years and still stay right up to the cap before it falls next year? Unfortunately Tambo is doing the right thing by letting the contracts run their course so we can get rid of them. Our players are still young and I would rather keep a Nilson at 2 mil and hope he produces this year than send him down pay his full salary sign another player and hope he produces so you dont waste more money there.

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#135 Batman34
August 01 2009, 12:04AM
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@ gdawg: Look at Nashiville they have awful team and they still make the playoffs.

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#136 gdawg
August 01 2009, 11:52AM
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@ Batman34: is it the divisions they are in or is nashville just a little better than the oilers? Or maybe its the half a dozen games or so every season the oilers seem to piss away.

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#137 David S
August 01 2009, 04:12PM
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DanMan wrote:

Hahahahah Tambellini just made Tencer his bitch!

Just heard the interview on the Oilers site. I was imagining little Dan crying just a little bit as Tambellini responded. He (Tambo) sounded pretty pissed when Dan asked him to go over the Heatley trade. I bet Dan sent apology flowers to Steve's house this morning.

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#138 Phil
August 01 2009, 09:05PM
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chiming in quite late, just wanted to say great piece by you JG.

i heard your comments on Brooksy the other day on Just a Game. truer words have never been spoken.

dude is a f*cking clown.

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#139 HOZ
August 01 2009, 09:46PM
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Oilers look like fools for the contracts they have handed out or have taken on. We have over paid on far too many guys. This isn't just one or two guys.

Horcoff 6.5 (Lowe negotiated this after downing a bottle of rye, I am sure) Pisani 2.5 Penner 4.25 Souray 5.5 (now) Lubomir 7 (we didn't give this but we did take it) Staios 2.9 (He was a horse in his time but this contract was too much for a 6-8th guy) Gilbert 3.5 (5.5 next season)

- Too many soft, unproductive, or oft-injured guys there.

Now we are paying 35 year old Khabibulin 3.75. Hope he stays healthy!!

These contracts didn't need

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