Playing Centre & The Top Nine

Jonathan Willis
August 15 2009 01:42PM

The centre-ice position was not a strength for the Oilers last season. Despite being blessed with an abundance of natural centres, the vast majority of them were either young, inept in the faceoff circle, or both. In a recent interview with Dan Tencer, Oilers G.M. Steve Tambellini talked about what his team’s options were for the coming season.

The full interview is linked above, but here are the most relevant excerpts:

Tambellini: We’ve got a lot of people that can play centre, with Horcoff and Gagner and Cogliano and you mentioned Brule, and Patrick O’Sullivan, who headed up the top line as a centreman for Team USA at the World Championships with Dustin Brown reminded us how well he plays centre.

Tencer: When you look at the centre position - and you mentioned Patrick O’Sullivan - Marc Pouliot’s another guy who’s played a lot out of position, he’s a natural centre going back to his days in Rimouski when he was playing on Sidney Crosby’s line. Do you think about maybe moving Cogliano to the wing given his numbers in the faceoff dot last year, and moving O’Sullivan or Pouliot back to a natural position at centre? Is that an option? Tambellini: Yeah, I think it’s an option. I think at times it will be a situation maybe that changes depending on performance like any other year… Pouliot gives you that little extra size and the right-handed draw also, so I know that he’s going to get a look there also. O’Sullivan, he’s a heady guy who can make the nifty pass and he can shoot. Like I said, he reminded us when he was playing on the top Team USA line that he plays very well there.

There isn’t any reading between the lines required to get the idea that Patrick O’Sullivan is going to get a shot up the middle, and despite a lukewarm debut with the Oilers the idea that he might be a fit with Ales Hemsky remains a strong one. To quote Lowetide’s “Reasonable Expectations” post:

Today's post is brought to you by the number 259. That's the number of shots Patrick O'Sullivan posted this past season in the National Hockey League. That's 74 more shots than Ales Hemsky managed (Hemsky's total led team forwards); the last time the Oilers had a forward with more shots it was 1998-99 and Billy Guerin was scoring 30 goals on 261 shots.

That shooter’s mentality remains O’Sullivan’s greatest strength to the team; it’s a unique gift among Oilers forwards. So far, it hasn’t translated into a ton of NHL goals (O’Sullivan’s had totals of 22 and 16 goals over full NHL seasons) but it has at every other level: the four-time 30+ goal scorer in the OHL (with a miserable Mississauga team) scored 47 goals as an AHL rookie in 2005-06.

What would the Oilers’ top-nine look like if we assume O’Sullivan as Hemsky’s centre and Andrew Cogliano as a LW?

The players in the mix seem fairly clear-cut:

  • RW: Hemsky, Pisani, Nilsson/Gagner
  • C: Horcoff, O’Sullivan, Gagner/Pouliot
  • LW: Penner, Cogliano, Moreau

Frankly, I think the most likely top-nine if O’Sullivan slots into the top-line spot is as follows:

  1. Penner – O’Sullivan – Hemsky
  2. Cogliano – Gagner – Nilsson
  3. Moreau – Horcoff – Pisani

There are a bunch of possible variations; Horcoff flanked by Cogliano/Gagner, Cogliano and Penner switching spots, etc. Still, that should be close, since I imagine the organization would like to keep Gagner up the middle as well, since that’s where his NHL future lies.

There are a couple of other points worth noting about moving O’Sullivan to centre:

  1. O’Sullivan’s best NHL season (2007-08) came while he was playing centre. It may be coincidental, but his point totals went down when he moved to the wing.
  2. O’Sullivan is, at best, a very vanilla faceoff option. Excluding last year, where he got very few draws (and many of them were probably of the more-difficult-to-win replacement variety) he’s averaged 44.6% over 588 faceoffs. That’s better than Cogliano, but not worth getting excited about.

I do believe we’ll see Andrew Cogliano move to the port side regardless. He’s been miserable on faceoffs, and the lessened defensive responsibilities have t be regarded as a good thing at this stage in his career. If that happens, and O’Sullivan also stays on left wing, I imagine we’ll see Penner move to RW. He played it a bit under MacTavish as part of the former coach’s ill-fated third line (Moreau – Pisani – Penner) and that would allow him to slot into the second-line wing spot with Sam Gagner – something that seems like a natural fit. That would give the Oilers’ the following top-nine:

  1. O’Sullivan/Cogliano – Horcoff - Hemsky
  2. Cogliano/O’Sullivan – Gagner – Penner
  3. Moreau – Pouliot - Pisani

I think that’s a reasonable group of forwards, although of course I’d prefer a more established option than Marc Pouliot for the third line and it also means the team will be banking on scoring by committee and steps forward from Cogliano/Gagner. Unfortunately, both seem inevitable, but fortunately both could work out for the team. It’s a gamble.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 jeanshorts
August 15 2009, 01:47PM
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I definitely like the looks of the final set of lines you threw out there. It will be interesting to see who fits where, and how long it's going to take for Quenny and company to figure it all out.

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#2 froese
August 15 2009, 02:05PM
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Just a thought.. Looking at that second set of top 9 forwards, nilsson isn't there. That would mean that his 2MM is gone, via AHL or trade, if the oilers run with that lineup. To me, it seems as if this would allow the oilers to sign a decent 3C such as Malholtra. I like it.

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#3 Woogie
August 15 2009, 02:10PM
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Honestly, I seriously hope we get rid of the waste of skin Pouliot and put in Brule.

Nilsson has no choice but to step it up because if he does not I would not be at all surprise if Schremp or Potulny gets a shot and if they play well will replace him for good.

I'm so thankful I am not on the coaching staff because we have 1 1st liner and about 7 2nd line forwards.

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#4 Sandra
August 15 2009, 02:14PM
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You have to admit, tencer does good interviews, I would love to see him interview Heatly, but he loves MacT so he won't do a good interview there.

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#5 Sandra
August 15 2009, 02:16PM
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Woogie wrote:

Honestly, I seriously hope we get rid of the waste of skin Pouliot and put in Brule. Nilsson has no choice but to step it up because if he does not I would not be at all surprise if Schremp or Potulny gets a shot and if they play well will replace him for good. I’m so thankful I am not on the coaching staff because we have 1 1st liner and about 7 2nd line forwards.

Schemp would fit well on as a winger with Gagner, they have practiced a lot together and would know where each other is. As for Nillson, put him on waivers, no onw will take him, send him down and lose his cap hit.

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#6 Chris
August 15 2009, 03:03PM
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The fact that Lowe didn't offer Reasoner a contract; AND Tambellini traded Brodziak; AND Betts/Malhotra have not been signed; indicates to me that Oilers management believes they have sufficient organizational depth at center... A troubling thought.

I see an insufficient level of size, experience, and high end skill down the middle. A guy like Malhotra would help... but does anyone belive that Malhotra is the one key ingrediant to launch the Oilers into cup contention?

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#7 Librarian Mike
August 15 2009, 03:16PM
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Chris wrote:

A guy like Malhotra would help… but does anyone belive that Malhotra is the one key ingrediant to launch the Oilers into cup contention?

By all accounts, Malhotra would be a nice addition to this team. However, cup contention? Personally, I'm happy if the Oilers get into the playoffs this year. Anything more is icing, especially if it means knocking out the Calgary Cro-mags.

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#8 Fiveandagame
August 15 2009, 04:04PM
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I gotta say when you put them up like that.. I really like this team.

You know how fast our front 9 are? you put Brule on the 4th line and we are the fastest team in the league.... you could blow us over with a pin wheel but we're freaky fast.

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#9 mike smith
August 15 2009, 04:46PM
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I think this is a pretty decent blog....One thing I would like to comment on, is that nobody seems to be giving any credibitlity to the Oilers as a team that could make the playoffs....In my opinion, this is almost a DREAM TEAM...If you include Gibert Brule, and Robbie Shremp, the Oilers have 10 first round picks on their starting roster....Show me ANY other team in the NHL....past or present that can actually boast that as a stat. Now, I agree that a lot of these guys are unproven and, somewhat inconsistent, but I do believe this to be a radical year where Pat Quinn and Tom Renney can and will bring out the best in every player on this roster. Are they Stanley Cup Champions?....seriously doubt it....will they be competitive enough to make it to the playoffs?....I think it's quite likely. This team has an almost unlimited ceiling of potential and I, for one, am pretty excited to see what happens this season. I am content with the roster's depth and am pretty happy the way things turned out so far this off-season. I hope Tambi sticks to his comments about going in to training camp with this roster.

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#10 Jonathan Willis
August 15 2009, 04:53PM
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mike smith wrote:

If you include Gibert Brule, and Robbie Shremp, the Oilers have 10 first round picks on their starting roster….Show me ANY other team in the NHL….past or present that can actually boast that as a stat.

Well, the 2003-04 Pittsburgh Penguins had seven first-round draft picks.

Dick Tarnstrom led the team in scoring with 52 points.

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#11 Jonathan Willis
August 15 2009, 04:54PM
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Woogie wrote:

I seriously hope we get rid of the waste of skin Pouliot

Pouliot's a perfectly serviceable 4th-liner.

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#12 Robin Brownlee
August 15 2009, 04:59PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I seriously hope we get rid of the waste of skin Pouliot

I'm with Willis. You might think the "waste of skin" line is witty (it's not), but it's hyperbole. While he's destined to be a bottom-six forward, Pouliot doesn't exactly qualify as Jesse Niinimaki or Alexei Mihknov.

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#13 Josh
August 15 2009, 05:19PM
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Pouliot should not even be in the NHL, lucky for him he may be able to scratch out a living playing in Europe. He wont make the team this year, Brule and Schremp are coming into camp hungry for a spot and will have no problem out competing Marc. the only reason he played for us was because of the retard Mac T.

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#14 Robin Brownlee
August 15 2009, 05:22PM
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Josh wrote:

Pouliot should not even be in the NHL, lucky for him he may be able to scratch out a living playing in Europe. He wont make the team this year, Brule and Schremp are coming into camp hungry for a spot and will have no problem out competing Marc. the only reason he played for us was because of the retard Mac T.

Sorry, Woogie, there's a new hyperbole champ in town -- calling MacTavish a retard is even more mindless than calling Pouliot a waste of skin -- and his name is Josh.

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#15 Chris
August 15 2009, 05:38PM
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Josh wrote:

Brule and Schremp are coming into camp hungry for a spot

If Schremp had a "Perfect Camp"... I'd still send him down. One NHL camp is too small a sample size by which to hand out a roster spot. It drives me nuts when guys move way up a draft list on the strength of a single tournament (Like the above mentioned Niinimaki)... Why make the same mistake at camp? Ryan Stone scored at a greater pace than Schremp last AHL season and can also drop the gloves, and create energy in a bottom six role: and who expects HIM to make the team? Schremp hasn't been prolific enough as a pro to deserve a top six spot; and let's face it... he doesn't bring enough of anything else to stick on the bottm six.

If, against all odds, Schremp dominates (and I mean dominates) at camp, send him to the AHL and let him prove he can dominate there also. Then, make him your next callup. Shining for a few weeks alongside, AHLers, and recent draft picks just isn't enough.

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#16 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
August 15 2009, 05:45PM
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In a few weeks most of our questions will be answered.The players are starting to arrive from their off season homes,training camp is a few weeks away and the regular season starts in 7 weeks.Cant wait for the season to begin,either Tambalini is a genious or im going to be pissed cause I wasted good money on season tickets again!

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#17 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
August 15 2009, 05:55PM
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@ Chris: I am sure glad your not the GM or coach,If a player comes into camp and dominates, He does not deserve to be sent down he should be here,the players that are ready to compete should play, the ones that are not prepared should be sent down and or released,It makes no difference if their name is Schremp and or Staios,that was one of Mac Ts biggest problems was he kept on playing the veterans and his favorites,they could never do wrong,yet if Penner or Schremp farted in the wrong direction Mac t was sending them to the press box.

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#18 Chris
August 15 2009, 06:08PM
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@ oilersseasonticketholdersince99:

Yes. Giving Thoresen a spot out of camp a few seasons back made a lot more sense than signing a proven NHL vetran. Players have to know that it is their TOTAL resume that EARNS them a regular roster spot at the NHL level.

Maybe, if YOU were the GM or coach, you'd hand out roster spots to unproven players who had a few good PRESEASON games... then be surprised when their play tailed off after a few weeks... and even more surprised when your team misses the playoffs again...

Wait. Oilersseasonticketholdersince99... are you really Kevin Lowe?

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#19 viss.99
August 15 2009, 06:10PM
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We have young fast forwards but they are gonna get pasted by bigger defenders, I still think there might still trades coming (I hope).

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#20 Kev
August 15 2009, 06:18PM
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it's felt like fall this week here in the Okanagan, and man I've got the hockey itch. Even had my kids trying on their skates today to see if they'll last another winter. Played roller hockey on the street today, and am starting to think about my backyard rink. Checking the Shaw website to renew my Centre Ice package (only way to see all the Oil games here in BC)

I know this isn't the topic, but I can't wait for the season to get going.

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#21 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
August 15 2009, 06:25PM
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@ Chris: The reason Mactavish is not here is cause he made retarded comments,played the wrong players and also had players playing in the wrong position,he also lost the room,Thoresen played well for us and he also was traded to the Flyers and even played in the play offs.

Chris you are the one who needs to come clean or should I just call you Craig Mactavish

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#22 viss.99
August 15 2009, 06:28PM
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Chris wrote:

@ oilersseasonticketholdersince99: Yes. Giving Thoresen a spot out of camp a few seasons back made a lot more sense than signing a proven NHL vetran. Players have to know that it is their TOTAL resume that EARNS them a regular roster spot at the NHL level. Maybe, if YOU were the GM or coach, you’d hand out roster spots to unproven players who had a few good PRESEASON games… then be surprised when their play tailed off after a few weeks… and even more surprised when your team misses the playoffs again… Wait. Oilersseasonticketholdersince99… are you really Kevin Lowe?

Kevin Lowe doesn't have the balls to enter this form, besides he's to busy hiding from everybody for the cap mess he has gotten the team in.

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#23 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
August 15 2009, 06:47PM
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@ viss.99: I agree with you,but MacTavish has alot of time on his hands is that not right Chris?

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#24 Chris
August 15 2009, 07:05PM
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@ oilersseasonticketholdersince99:

I'm not a MacT apologist. I was calling for his head all last season as he became increasingly desperate and bizarre. But lets not forget that MacT took a team of MEN to within a hair of Stanley Cup glory...So it's not surprising he favored experienced, mature vetrans. It takes a roster full of legit, established, consistant NHL players to win at the NHL level. (It's surprising how few people actually understans this most basic of concepts)

Thoresen was a nightmare. He scored four goals in 64 games playing against soft opposition. He was never able to sustain a high enough level game to deserve a regular spot. Shame on the Oilers for wasting the roster spot... I'm sure there were piles of role players around who could have eaten up Thoresen's minutes in a more consistant and professional manner for similar dollars... Let's face it, vetran teams win. Aren't you tired of always cheering for a "young" team that never makes the playoffs with home ice?

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#25 Arek Gruszowski
August 15 2009, 07:10PM
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I like your second set of lines:

1. Penner – O’Sullivan – Hemsky 2. Cogliano – Gagner – Nilsson 3. Moreau – Horcoff – Pisani

This keeps the kid line together who seem to click well together and have a lot of speed down the wing (Cogs and Nilsson). This also gives O'Sullivan a chance to prove his fist line center position and Horcoff being a shut down forward fits very nicely with Moreau and Pisani. The 3rd line would be a very good line to have against opposing team 1st lines, all three forwards are good shutdown guys and Horcoff has enough speed to counter attack on a turnover so that line should still be able to put up some points.

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#26 Chris
August 15 2009, 07:16PM
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oilersseasonticketholdersince99 wrote:

Using your common sense approach Chris,they should have also sent Sam Gagner to the minors as well.

Yes. They should have. This is a MENS league. NHL coaches shouldn't have to hide players in their lineups... NHL fans paying NHL prices shouldn't have to watch immature players bleed chances against saying things like, "He's gonna be real good one day", or "You got to remember he's still just a teenager..." Thanks to Oiler mismanagement, Gagner will be an RFA by 21, and already making millions of dollars just when he's no longer a liability... Wouldn't it be nice if Gagner put up fifty points against legit opposition this season on the first year of an entry level contract? Or how about Brule? Good job Columbus!

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#27 typol99
August 15 2009, 07:21PM
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im glad mac t is gone... i liked him but he was to much of a players coach.. vetrans that played 4 him got the idea that it was allright to put their feet up and take a night off.quinn will not let it stand..not at all shape up or ship out

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#28 Chris
August 15 2009, 07:24PM
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@ typol99:

Quinn likes vetrans too.

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#29 Hockey Noob
August 15 2009, 07:28PM
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@Sandra,

Yeah, I have to admit that Dan Tencer does conduct very good interviews. He's helped me to 'rediscover' AM radio, lol. For the most part, he's not only knowledgeable and well-spoken, but he occasionally varies from his usual engaging and polite style to ask difficult questions.

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#30 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
August 15 2009, 07:33PM
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@ Chris: Beleive me I would be more than happy if we made the playoffs,I will not continue buying tickets if this team does not start improving wether it is with veterens or rookies, me and my family will go on a nice holiday every winter in stead of wasting our money on season tickets.

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#31 Chris
August 15 2009, 07:34PM
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@ Hockey Noob:

I thought Tambellini was going to lose it two interviews back when Tencer pointed out that the Oilers were going to camp with essentially the same team... Radio Gold!

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#32 Wanye Gretz
August 15 2009, 07:49PM
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typol99 wrote:

strait up NO HE LICKS BALLS

You clearly have interesting things to say. Why must you end every post with something like this? Just when I decide I like you like a Mary Kate Olsen you say something boneheaded like this and I realize you are her annoying twin Ashley.

C'mon dude.

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#33 Tayranchula
August 15 2009, 07:53PM
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Who has better trade value Nilson or Schremp? Because which ever one does the Oilers should find a team willing to take one of them and maybe they can shore up some holes missing or collect draft pick(s). I personally think Schremp is going to be better than Nilson and they should have Schremp second line with Ganger and Cogs Cog-Ganger-Schremp would be sexy I think. And fourth line should have JFJ, I love the way he plays and he is a perfect 4th liner. Stortini-Brule-JFJ The first line of your article is the only spot that looks to be having a hole. Penner-O'S-Hemsky is 2/3 good just Penner doesnt seem to have the speed these two guys have. I like Penner as a third liner personally, so maybe the Oilers should trade Moreau or Pisani?

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#34 Chris
August 15 2009, 07:56PM
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@ oilersseasonticketholdersince99:

I'm also a season ticket holder. I'm also very frusterated. When you sign a guy like Strudwick, you know what you're going to get. If Chorney has a better camp than Strudwick, it doesn't mean that Chorney will have a better season. Oiler fans like to dream about the high end potential of their players, forgetting that this is poor compensation for the on-ice product we are witnessing in the NOW. Twenty year old bodies simply aren't as strong; and don't take well to 82 games of physical abuse by grown men. Twenty year old minds are even more fragile... let the kids barhop, make mistakes, and ride the confidence roller coaster in Springfield. When, and only when, they learn to perform CONSISTANTLY at the AHL level, are they ready to earn a spot out of camp.

Horcoff worked his way up the lineup from a fourth line role...This should be the model. A first or second line player who can work their way up from the bottom six is often a better overall player. First, it's a right of passsage. The culture of any good club should be that everything is EARNED. Second, players who develop this way are more versatile... I like first liners who know how to kill penalties, hit, and generally get dirty...even when they have moved on to better things. Third, when a player ages, and his skills begin to fade, a guy who worked his way up can similarly work his way back down. (Remember Yzerman?) A guy like Schremp, who will NEVER be able to contribute in a bottom six role, will always be a marginal NHL'er even if he does get his offensive game going. The regular season is a grind... the playoffs are a war! I don't want a team with too many smallish offensive specialists... particularly ones who don't score.

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#35 Dallas
August 15 2009, 08:30PM
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Do not feed the loserville flameout first round fan he is a troll who deserves nothing but first round playoff exits. Obviously nothing exciting happening in flameoutville let's let albertas provincial team speak for itself this year

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#36 Chris
August 15 2009, 08:56PM
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@ Everyone:

It's too easy... Don't feed the trolls.

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#37 Chris
August 15 2009, 08:59PM
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@ Everyone:

Rather, I should say:

I don't "indorse" opening a dialogue with another typical Calgarian of limited intellect.

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#38 Archaeologuy
August 15 2009, 09:04PM
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I heard Renney mention, very quickly after he was hired, that he thought Horc was a very good defensive centre that could play against the best opposition. I wouldnt be overly surprised if this

Jonathan Willis wrote:

1. Penner – O’Sullivan – Hemsky 2. Cogliano – Gagner – Nilsson 3. Moreau – Horcoff – Pisani

becomes the top 9 at some point in the season. It also might be why Manny Malhotra or some other player of his ilk isnt being signed when everyone and their mom's cougar friends know that the Oilers need a better checking forward.

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#39 Archaeologuy
August 15 2009, 09:12PM
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@ FlamesRule:

What University taught you to type in bold and not put a space after your sentences? The U of C? Figures. And would it kill you to put an apostrophe in the word "thats"? I would ask for a refund for whatever Arby's placemat they printed your degree on.

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#40 Chris
August 15 2009, 09:12PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

I like that O'Sully shoots lots, but I'm leery of his low overall shooting percentage...

Can't wait to see if/how Quinn can assemble this logjam of smallish, inexperienced forwards into four working lines.

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#41 FlamesRule
August 15 2009, 09:14PM
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@ Everyone

I know all you losers have nothing better to do on a Saturday night,I on the other hand need to go out and enjoy Calgarys night life, so long and let the battle of Alberta begin.I cannot wait to watch my Flames kick you Oilers ass!!!

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#42 Chris
August 15 2009, 09:16PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

I think it's funny that the troll "is sorry to disappoint me"...

Poor little fella barks loud; but secretly craves our approval. How cute.

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#43 typol99
August 15 2009, 09:17PM
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@ FlamesRule: FlamesRule wrote:

@ Everyone I know all you losers have nothing better to do on a Saturday night,I on the other hand need to go out and enjoy Calgarys night life, so long and let the battle of Alberta begin.I cannot wait to watch my Flames kick you Oilers ass!!!

how many cups u got in cowtown ya stupid ass..we have 5 times the championships u got...jesus u suck at dissing the enemy..u give us momentum and make us stronger and prouder to be united as oil

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#44 Archaeologuy
August 15 2009, 09:17PM
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@ Chris: Me too. Beyond my disgust at Horc this past season, if a defined role can let him get back on track to where he was 2 seasons ago then he could really help the team win. The ball is in Gagner's court this year though. The 3rd year is a young guy's time to sink or swim, IMO.

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#45 FlamesRule
August 15 2009, 09:19PM
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@ Chris: The Oilers are hard pressed to put one line together never mind four.

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#46 Librarian Mike
August 15 2009, 09:22PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Archaeologuy: I like that O’Sully shoots lots, but I’m leery of his low overall shooting percentage… Can’t wait to see if/how Quinn can assemble this logjam of smallish, inexperienced forwards into four working lines.

It's going to be quite a season. I'm kind of excited to see what the new coaching staff can do. I hope Penner shows up with a chip the size of Don Cherry's ego on his shoulder.

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#47 Chris
August 15 2009, 09:23PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

I worry about Gagner's speed transitioning with Hemsky... particularly if Penner is on the same line. I also worry, that if Gagner does work out on line one; Tambellini will be paying out the A$$ on Gagner's RFA contract. Damned either way.

Ever imagine Cogliano with Hemmer?

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#48 FlamesRule
August 15 2009, 09:25PM
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@ typol99: Quit living in the past that was 18 years ago when you won your last cup, I am talking about today and now, you can take your Oil and stick up your A$$.

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#49 Chris
August 15 2009, 09:27PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Sorry. Re-read your comment. I thought you were maybe suggesting Gagner may be ready to leap to first line duty... I should read more carefully. It's a peeve of mine when people comment on stuff I've written without carefully reading it. Again, I'm sorry.

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#50 Librarian Mike
August 15 2009, 09:32PM
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@ Everyone:

To reiterate (especially you, typo):

hxxp://www.zagura.ro/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/god-kills-kitten-troll.jpg

@ Chris:

I'm a little concerned about what happens when Cogliano and Gagner become RFAs as well. I'm just going to be shocked when the lines are the same at the end of a game. haha.

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