A superstar is coming to Edmonton

Jason Gregor
July 07 2009 08:54AM

Sorry Oiler fans but it isn’t Dany Heatley, at least not yet, but the Edmonton Rush will have arguably the best lacrosse player in the world on their team today. I know this isn’t hockey related, but Edmonton fans have been dying for a superstar and they’ll get one today.

Brodie Merrill is one of the faces of Lacrosse in the US as Reebok uses him in all of their ads. Merrill is a 6’4”, 215-lb beast. He was transition player of the year in the NLL this past season, has made the all-star team in all four of his seasons, and is easily the best all-around player in the game.

He would be similar to Scott Niedermayer, except he is tough as nails. Merrill can score, runs like a deer and is a great defender.

The Portland Lumberjaxs were rumoured to be relocating to Seattle, but that won’t be happening, and they will fold instead. This means a dispersal draft of their players, and Merrill is their best player. The Rush has the first pick in the draft, and with former Lumberjax coach and GM, Derek Keenan, now the coach and GM of the Rush it’s a lock Merrill will chosen by the Rush.

In the NLL, if a player is based in the west, there’s a better chance he’d rather play in the west division. The season is only four months, and many of the players fly in for games and practices, so if your guys are based out west it is easier and cheaper to get them to Edmonton, than say Toronto or Philly, and it works the same for eastern based guys.

Scott Self was one of the Rush’s best defenders last year, and he’d have lots of cache on the market. With Merrill coming in, I think Self is expendable, because he could land you a proven sniper, something the Rush, just like Oilers, are in dire need of.

Look for the Rush to make a splash today. Keenan knows the Portland players better than anyone, since he coached them the past four years. The Rush clearly needs more offence, but they also need some guys with size. (Another similarity to the Oilers offensive woes.)

Peter Morgan is 6’6” 230 pound forward who has 175 goals in 102 career games. Cory Conway is only 22 years old, has good size at 6’2, and has good speed and a great stick. Ryan Powell led the Lumberjaxs in scoring last year, but he is more of a passer than a finisher. After Keenan takes Merrill at #1 you can bet he will try and trade for a few more picks in the dispersal draft today.

Ryan Benesch is currently leading the OLA (summer lacrosse) in scoring and while he struggled in Edmonton last year, he will be an attractive player to a team like Toronto (2nd pick) Minnesota (3rd pick), Rochester (4th pick), Philly (5th pick) or Minnesota (6th pick).

I can see the Rush trying hard to get three of the first six picks, and Keenan’s fingerprints will be all over this team.

Minnesota has the 3rd and 6th pick, and Self and Benesch would help the Swarm and give the Rush two picks with one trade. This seems like the most likely scenario.

Last year Toronto wanted Self, but the Rush wouldn’t move him, but they might with the 2nd pick.

In the second round if Pat Jones is available Keenan should grab him. Ball possession is vital in lacrosse, but the Rush has never had a decent faceoff man. Jones is consistently around 54% and the Rush could use him.

While the Rush doesn’t come close to garnering the attention of the Oilers, it is fascinating to see the similarities amongst the two. Both need a sniper, more size on offence and both need help on faceoffs.

Both have missed the playoffs the past three seasons and now both will have a new coach this coming season.

The Rush will get their star player today, and how eerie would it be if the Oilers followed suit sometime this summer?

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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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#51 Robin Brownlee
July 07 2009, 10:28AM
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To the sister-boys beefing about a lacrosse update here: boxla is the manliest of games. If you've played it, you can drink any beer you want -- hell, you can swig mint julips if you like -- and woe is the dummy who says a word about it. If you watch it, you'll like it. You, too, can sip sissy drinks without rebuke. Just tell 'em Brownlee says so . . .

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#52 Steve
July 07 2009, 10:30AM
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Gregor, I understand your desire to try and push the rush as much as you can, on the Team 1260 it all sports so great. But isn't this a Oiler Fansite? I think getting people to read about a superstar coming when it's on everyone's mind and then advertising the rush is a little cheesy from a credible reporter like yourself.

Just my opinion

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#53 ronaldo
July 07 2009, 10:31AM
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@ Robin Brownlee So all we have to do is watch Lacrosse and we can down umbrella drinks in public....hmmmm. Goodbye former shame.

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#54 The Menace
July 07 2009, 10:35AM
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blu wrote:

I love you Gregor, but Information Architects everywhere are crying. Bit of a Cincinnati Handshake if you ask me.

I'm not familiar with that. Is it at all similar tyo to the Cincinnati Bowtie?

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#55 Chaz
July 07 2009, 10:36AM
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So let me get this straight:

All the complainers not only read the story, but then they took the time to post a comment bemoaning the fact this article isn't about the Oilers?!?

Do you guys want some cheese with your Whine?

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#56 sittingatmydesk
July 07 2009, 10:37AM
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@ Doug: Great, now he wont come to Edmonton Whats wrong with these people!!!!!

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#57 OvenChicken8
July 07 2009, 10:38AM
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Chaz wrote:

So let me get this straight: All the complainers not only read the story, but then they took the time to post a comment bemoaning the fact this article isn’t about the Oilers?!? Do you guys want some cheese with your Whine?

mmm cheese.

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#58 roughneck
July 07 2009, 10:40AM
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Doug wrote:

hmmm…. BeerNation.com?

Cool!

rush games rock...well the dames in the hot tub could do some yoga or something to trim down the cottage cheese legs and bud light bellies but overall ....... wicked. Plus there are these heavily implanted, slightly threadbare, hunnys that troll around in exceedingly tight t's advertising fine drinking establishments throughout our fair city.

And they play loud and proud music of aggressive nature during the game which is also quite uplifting. Did I mention the cheerleaders? Beer? Line Brawls? Golds for 40 bucks? Wanye, you cheat yourself, a rush game is a most excellent party.

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#59 Bob Cob
July 07 2009, 10:47AM
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Never have been to an NLL game will have to check one out as it seems the atmosphere would be awesome. Its a fast, rough game, where you are allowed to go over the line the odd time, I can see how it easy to get a hate on for the other team.

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#60 Chester Copperpot
July 07 2009, 10:50AM
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ronaldo wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee So all we have to do is watch Lacrosse and we can down umbrella drinks in public….hmmmm. Goodbye former shame.

If Kids in the Hall tought us anything, it's that you don't want to enter the relm of fruity umbrella drinks because it's a slippery slope and the next thing you know you're a "Girl drink drunk".

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#61 ronaldo
July 07 2009, 10:54AM
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@ Chester Copperpot That and stay away from chicken ladies riding kid rides at the mall.

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#62 ineptflux
July 07 2009, 10:57AM
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good read, jason. thank-you.

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#63 blu
July 07 2009, 10:59AM
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@ The Menace: Y'know, I don't even know. It doesn't mean anything, but it sounds great. It works all over the place really.

Cincinnati Handshake Ottawa Bitchslap Amsterdam Wake-up Stuttgart Surprise

Anything works really. Try it yourself!

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#64 Wanye Gretz
July 07 2009, 11:00AM
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In light of this hilarious back and forthing on the topic I would like to share a conversation between me and Gregor last night. Directly copied and pasted from blackberry messanger:

Pre Story Note:

Gregor always yells at me for never having been to a Rush game. He thinks its ridiculous that I only follow the Oilers and the Red Sox. I don't attend Eskimo games either for the record. It's not that I hate them or anything, I just don't follow the other teams.

Convo

Gregor: "Did you hear that the Rush are going to pick up Merrill tomorrow?"

Wanye: "Gee, no I didn't Gregor. Did you hear about the Crackercats having three unforced errors in the fourteenth inning last night?"

Gregor: "It's the Capitals. You know it amazes me how ignorant you are about local sports. There are a lot of great teams in Edmonton other than the Oilers you know."

Wanye: "I'm sure there are. I just don't pay attention to any of them. I don't hate them, I just don't follow them."

Gregor: "You cheer for the underdog though. How can you not care about a team like the Rush where guys are slugging it out night after night for the love of the game."

Wanye: "While I'm at it, why don't I attend the Edmonton Journal Games track meet for Elementary School Children? I hear there is a hot shot 10 year old from St. Thomas Moore that runs a hell of a 4x100 relay."

Gregor: "You would think you would show some support for other City teams. I go out of my way to make sure local sports get some coverage. They are important too"

Then the conversation devolved into name calling and accusations. It ended with Gregor and I placing a gentleman's wager how an article on a major move by the Rush would be received on OilersNation.

I see I win.

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#65 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 11:03AM
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Steve wrote:

I think getting people to read about a superstar coming when it’s on everyone’s mind and then advertising the rush is a little cheesy from a credible reporter like yourself.

What was the first line of the story...ON the front page. It was pretty clear it wasn't Heatley. It is a big story for Lacrosse, and because you don't follow the game doesn't mean it isn't big. I suggest you go watch him play live before you say it is cheesy. And considering the editor gave it the green light I don't see it being a problem.

We've had many NHL stories on here, and a few of Esks now and then...one story about the Rush is not a problem. I loved Bingofuel's pic...I don't make that stuff up and they make the headlines. He is a veteran and he got you to read it. That is the point, and the first line made it pretty clear it wasn't about Heatley.

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#66 r59
July 07 2009, 11:08AM
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@ Wanye Gretz:

I tend to agree with Gregor Wayne. For a guy who defends the City of Edmonton you would think you would have a more open mind towards local teams.

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#67 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 11:14AM
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DanMan wrote:

What do you think about signing Todd Bertuzzi?

Really? I would say not a great idea. I don't think he can play anymore, plus when was the last time the Oilers signed an ex-flame?

It seems only the Flames take on ex-Oilers.Doug wrote:

Well not to rain on anybody’s parade but NLLinsider.com is reporting Merrill’s people are trying to get him declared a UFA based on a contract dispute with Portland… http://www.nllinsider.com/2009/07/07/breaking-brodie-merrill-seeks-to-become-unrestricted-free-agent/

I would think that Keenan his former coach and GM would know the details of his contract. Second Bruce Urban the Rush owner has deep pockets to match any free agent deal if that came about. Since Portland is defunct, his beef would be with Edmonton. Urban understands the importance of having a star player, and I bet he'd make him comfortable. I doubt the league allows him to be drafted and then declares him a UFA...that would look pretty bushleague.

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#68 peter
July 07 2009, 11:21AM
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r59 wrote:

@ Wanye Gretz: I tend to agree with Gregor Wayne. For a guy who defends the City of Edmonton you would think you would have a more open mind towards local teams.

I would agree. Wanye, your article/speech about E-town being a great place to play got me fired up, I would assume you like everything Edmonton. An update here or there on a good story about Esks or Rush is fine with me. My two cents.

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#69 ronaldo
July 07 2009, 11:21AM
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Solution to lack of interest in Rush: Katz buys team, renames Edmonton Oilers: Lacrosse Edition. They wear Oiler Jersey's. We can't help but show up and cheer for those beautifull jerseys.

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#70 Cam
July 07 2009, 11:27AM
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@ blu: mmmmm... Hoegarden.... mmmmm

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#71 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 11:27AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Really? I would say not a great idea. I don’t think he can play anymore, plus when was the last time the Oilers signed an ex-flame? It seems only the Flames take on ex-Oilers.

Outside of Kent Nilsson, I can't recall a former Flame making an impact with the Oilers.

Gelinas, Fuhr, Smith, McAmmon and Glencross, come to mind right away, but I'm betting there are a few names I'm missing.

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#72 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 11:28AM
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McAmmond

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#73 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 11:31AM
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@ Wanye Gretz:

You left out most of the juicy parts...ha.. And the fact you've been too a few games, but forgot what happened due to the heroin beer on tap...

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#74 Chester Copperpot
July 07 2009, 11:37AM
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@ Jason Gregor:

No love for Frank Musil?

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#75 Steve
July 07 2009, 11:39AM
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@ Jason Gregor: I hear what your saying, and I appreciate the personal reply. I'm just pointing out that I'm not a Lacrosse fan, a golf fan, MMA fan or Indy fan. I am a hockey fan and a CFL fan. So I come to this website for Oiler news. That's all, no personal attacks on you, I know that you're just trying to help the Rush cause. I just wasn't a fan of seeing it on an Oiler forum where I come to so I don't have to read about other sports.

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#76 Cam
July 07 2009, 11:47AM
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@ Jason Gregor: Uh - Roloson played for the Flames...

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#77 scorecoff hemmercules
July 07 2009, 11:51AM
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@ Cam:

Did he play or sit on his ass?

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#78 Peter Pan
July 07 2009, 12:05PM
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UNBELIEVABLE! Typical Edmontonian reaction; but now since no players will come to the City of Chumps, you dumb asses turn on gregor?!?! They love you one minute, but at the drop of a dime will rip you apart. It's no wonder why nobody wants to come here. You irrational idiots need to chill. Gregor makes dozens of "Breaking News" announcements, but as soon as he makes one mistake because his source corked him, you f***heads turn all exorcist on him? And now that he makes another announcement (God forbid its not about the Oilers!) he gets lit up again? What a great sports city! Way to represent. Wow!

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#79 jeanshorts
July 07 2009, 12:11PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Maybe he could wear broomball shoes.

hahaha, god dammit. Something about broomball always makes me laugh. Maybe it's the fact that we used to play it in my Jr. High parking lot for gym.

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#80 IgorUlanov
July 07 2009, 12:15PM
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1. Everybody relax.

2. It's JULY. The fact that there has been a daily update on the Oilers during 'summer' is remarkable in itself. Tossing in a big lacrosse update when there isn't much hockey talk going on is totally understandable.

3. Bitching about said article after reading the first 3 lines that CLEARLY indicated it wasn't a hockey topic indicates how unproductive your Tuesday has been. Most people don't walk into a porn shop that clearly states 'XXX Bondage' in the window and then bitch at the proprietor for not selling doritos.

4. Repeat # 1

5. Go about your grumpy day and continue wasting company dollars surfing the 'net for the latest Heatley rumour. (I'll save you some time and pass on the brilliant Eklund insight that he's going to Columbus any minute now).

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#81 jeanshorts
July 07 2009, 12:17PM
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And like it's been said 345908 times already, everyone just needs to settle the hell down. Would you really rather read yet another article on how Heatly STILL isn't an Oiler? Yeah that seems way more fun and productive.

Did someone mention Jesse Lumsden earlier on? I don't follow CFL whatsoever but I did happen to be watching that game last week. Is Jesse Lumsden the CFL's version of Marian Gaborik or something? He's made of glass that guy.

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#82 Chester Copperpot
July 07 2009, 12:22PM
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@ IgorUlanov:

You had me until you mentioned porn and doritos. Combining orange dorito fingers and porn is a recipie for disaster.

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#83 Rachel
July 07 2009, 12:23PM
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Gregor, you think you would of learned the first time about jumping the gun before a deal is done. For your sake, I hope the new coach doesn't go in a different direction.

But I have no problems about reading Rush news on this site. They attract the same demographic, and there's not much else going on in the City of Champs these days.

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#84 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 12:24PM
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Chester Copperpot wrote:

@ Jason Gregor: No love for Frank Musil?

b>Cam wrote:

@ Jason Gregor: Uh - Roloson played for the Flames…

I knew I'd forget some....that's why I asked.

@ Steve:

That is fair, and it won't be a regular occurence. Just like what I'm doing now. Sitting at home watching the Michael Jackson funeral. I used to me a huge MJ fan, but not so much lately, yet I find myself watching intently. Watching a funeral is somewhat morbid, but this is quite the celebration.

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#85 IgorUlanov
July 07 2009, 12:26PM
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@ Chester Copperpot:

You just need to think outside the box. Later, on the way into the shower, you can pretend you got a handsky from one of those bar-star 18 year olds at Oil City who use the spray on tanner.

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#86 Jason Gregor
July 07 2009, 12:30PM
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Rachel wrote:

Gregor, you think you would of learned the first time about jumping the gun before a deal is done. For your sake, I hope the new coach doesn’t go in a different direction

They took him. And then they took goalie Matt Disher in 2nd round, and like I thought they would they also took Pat Jones cause he is a faceoff guy.

If you think that jumping the gun once in eight years means I will change how I report things, you have no idea what reporting is about. No reporter is always right, that is part of the business. And your lame ass attempts to try and soil my reputation is laughable.

Merrill and his camp are posturing for a better contract. But there is a cap on what a single player can earn, it's not like another team can out bid the Rush. Other players have tried to get out of contracts before and ended staying with their team, how is this different.

If the Rush trade him now it would be a big mistake in my opinion, unless they get a 50-goal scorer in return, and those are rare.

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#87 IgorUlanov
July 07 2009, 12:36PM
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Rachel wrote:

Gregor, you think you would of learned the first time about jumping the gun before a deal is done. For your sake, I hope the new coach doesn’t go in a different direction.

Sooo...if Terry Jones were to say the Oilers got a young stud in Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and then we can't sign him Terry Jones is unreliable and 'jumps the gun too early?'

The Heatley thing and the Rush thing are 100% different. And it's not like Gregor was wrong with the Heatley deal. The trade was accepted by both parties. The Oilers did indeed, trade for the guy. Nobody, Tambellini and Murray included, expected the snot to pull his 'asshole' card out and nix the deal. So that's a reporter's fault how? Don't take your frustrations that the Oilers haven't improved to your liking out on a scribe.

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#88 jeanshorts
July 07 2009, 12:38PM
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@ Rachel:

Isn't really contradictory to come to the website featuring and read the articles written by someone you apparently loathe?

If Gregor has left such a bad taste in your mouth, and not just the taste he left after he picked you up at The Ranch that one night, why continue to read his stuff?

Go listen to CHED and read Lowetide.

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#89 David S
July 07 2009, 12:42PM
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Chester Copperpot wrote:

If Kids in the Hall tought us anything, it’s that you don’t want to enter the relm of fruity umbrella drinks because it’s a slippery slope and the next thing you know you’re a “Girl drink drunk”.

"Girl drink drunk". Hahaha! Kids in the hall FTW!

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#90 RobInALab
July 07 2009, 12:44PM
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Damnit Gregor, you got me all excited with that title. I thought maybe Michael Jackson's will stated that he be buried in Edmonton. ;)

So I wonder what Little Mike thinks of this move. Hopefully the kid isn't off camping somewhere and unaware of this big change to his favorite Edmonton team.

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#91 NonMint
July 07 2009, 12:45PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Rachel wrote: Gregor, you think you would of learned the first time about jumping the gun before a deal is done. For your sake, I hope the new coach doesn’t go in a different direction They took him. And then they took goalie Matt Disher in 2nd round, and like I thought they would they also took Pat Jones cause he is a faceoff guy. If you think that jumping the gun once in eight years means I will change how I report things, you have no idea what reporting is about. No reporter is always right, that is part of the business. And your lame ass attempts to try and soil my reputation is laughable. Merrill and his camp are posturing for a better contract. But there is a cap on what a single player can earn, it’s not like another team can out bid the Rush. Other players have tried to get out of contracts before and ended staying with their team, how is this different. If the Rush trade him now it would be a big mistake in my opinion, unless they get a 50-goal scorer in return, and those are rare.

Merrill for Heatley?

ZOMG E(5)!

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#92 Peter Pan
July 07 2009, 12:48PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

@ Rachel: If Gregor has left such a bad taste in your mouth, and not just the taste he left after he picked you up at The Ranch that one night, why continue to read his stuff?

Cool...ON has a personal team bike!

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#93 Rival
July 07 2009, 12:49PM
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Steve wrote:

@ Jason Gregor: I hear what your saying, and I appreciate the personal reply. I’m just pointing out that I’m not a Lacrosse fan, a golf fan, MMA fan or Indy fan. I am a hockey fan and a CFL fan. So I come to this website for Oiler news. That’s all, no personal attacks on you, I know that you’re just trying to help the Rush cause. I just wasn’t a fan of seeing it on an Oiler forum where I come to so I don’t have to read about other sports.

Who cares man....your acting like this site owes you something? It's July and this is big news for Edmonton and the Rush. I'm just glad that Gregor is out there letting us know of new information and it involves the Edmonton sports scene. It seems like yesterday that our only option was 630 CHED. I see this as a total non issue.

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#94 The Menace
July 07 2009, 12:50PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Would you really rather read yet another article on how Heatly STILL isn’t an Oiler? Yeah that seems way more fun and productive.

Do you have a link to such an article? I would probably look it over, just in case it said anything I haven't already read 1000 times.

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#95 jeanshorts
July 07 2009, 12:53PM
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@ The Menace:

Well, now that you bring it up....

hxxp://www.jeanshortsandbaggedmilk.com/2009/07/dany-heatly-still-isnt-oiler.html

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#96 SquidRx
July 07 2009, 12:53PM
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I've been procrastinating with sending in my Rush season ticket renewal. The arrival of someone of Merrill's ilk would certainly help me to hurry things along.

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#97 Ogden Brother
July 07 2009, 12:55PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Just let it slide man, every rebuttal simply fuels the cockroaches that think they sit on some high moral ground.

Everyone with a lick of common sense understands that theirs a margin of error when breaking a story. You'd think a fan base that is constantly clamouring for the inside scoup would realize their are potential hurdles.

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#98 Steve
July 07 2009, 12:55PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Thanks Gregor, I'm a big fan of your show and enjoy listening to your interviews. I agree about the Michael Jackson thing, I was a big MJ fan too when I was a kid, and still enjoy his music...reminds me of my youth.

Anyway I starting to think maybe a good option for the mighty Oil would be to liquidate, and start from scratch with more youth. If we can't land a top 3 forward, I'd rather miss the playoffs with a bunch of rookies and youth than straddle the 8th place line. What do you think?

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#99 Harlie
July 07 2009, 01:00PM
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The Menace wrote:

blu wrote: I love you Gregor, but Information Architects everywhere are crying. Bit of a Cincinnati Handshake if you ask me. I’m not familiar with that. Is it at all similar to to the Cincinnati Bowtie?

Or is it any relation to a "Cleveland Steamer"?

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#100 The Menace
July 07 2009, 01:00PM
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@ jeanshorts: Thanks! I've been lusting after an update all morning.

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