Honest, it's almost hockey season

Jean Lefebvre
August 31 2009 04:55PM

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On the eve of the month when business finally picks up in the NHL, let's bid farewell to a few topics that determined fans will now be able to forget about and concentrate on more important matters. You know, things like the No. 1 defence pairing in Abbotsford, Liam Reddox's potential linemates and the over-under for the number of times in the coming weeks and months that the words "Luongo" and "extension" will appear in the same story on the pages of the Vancouver Sun or the Province.

Issue 1: The forgotten sons

As August gives way to September, let the record show that the list of those who remain NHL contract-less — and in most cases, it's not the players' idea — includes Mats Sundin, Mike Comrie, Robert Lang, Rob Niedermayer, Radek Bonk, Manny Malhotra, Michael Peca, Chris Gratton, Dean McAmmond, Dan Fritsche, Jiri Novotny, Eric Perrin, Blair Betts, Josh Green, Craig MacDonald, Krys Kolanos, Ben Guite, Maxim Afinogenov, Miroslav Satan, Petr Sykora, Michel Ouellet, Dan Hinote, Ryan Bayda, Dominic Moore, Taylor Pyatt, Kyle Calder, Andy Hilbert, Martin Skoula, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Christian Backman, Philippe Boucher, Francis Bouillon, Patrice Brisebois, Jassen Cullimore, Darryl Sydor, Dennis Seidenberg, Manny Fernandez, Olaf Kolzig, Curtis Joseph, Manny Legace, Kevin Weekes and Marc Denis.

Some of the above are gone from the NHL for good and some will eventually sign on somewhere or other. Others may get an NHL tryout and others yet may end up in Europe or in the minors. In any event, it's just another reminder that for every Raymond Bourque, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky who gets a star-spangled farewell from the game, there are dozens of others who exit stage right with barely a whimper.

Issue 2: Where's Dany?

L'Affaire Heater is far from over, of course, but at least the summer-long game of "Where's Dany" is behind us now that the mercurial winger has finally made public comments on the matter of his discontent in the Nation's Capital. Based on what he said, you have to wonder why he bothered. If weeks of seclusion in his B.C. summer getaway could produce no better explanation than "I'm not happy with my declining role with the Senators" and "I'm not very happy with the way the media has portrayed me in a bad light" then get this fellow and his handlers to Spin Doctoring 101 classes as soon as possible. Then again, for an increasingly unsympathetic figure who has burned his bridges with at least three NHL franchises while playing only for two, public relations has never been a forte.

By way of contrast, one thinks back to Darren McCarty during his time with the Flames when fresh word leaked of his financial troubles, the situation being so dire that his Stanley Cup rings were being put up for auction. There was all sorts of emotional and legal baggage associated with that little revelation but instead of hiding, McCarty agreed to face the media en masse to issue explanations and answer questions. He even managed to preface the session with a joke, innocently looking at the media mob and asking: "Did you want to talk to me about something?" Whatever sins McCarty has committed, his handling of the unpleasant situation had a lot more people rooting for him then than Heatley does now.

Issue 3: The Phoenix Coyotes

The Never-ending Saga of the Phoenix Coyotes is another story that ain't going away anytime soon, but at least it will soon be a pleasant diversion to sprinkle in some references to Mikkel Boedker, Peter Mueller, Kyle Turris, Keith Yandle, Shane Doan et al when discussing the Desert Dogs. The topic of actual hockey can't come soon enough, especially since the ownership/bankruptcy wars has degenerated into a nasty game of besmirching the character of that would-be owner or any number of current owners. Taken to its logical conclusion, that game would result in the hockey world noticing an awful lot of unclothed emperors and, well, let's just say that even Derek Boogaard's skating is a more visually appealing image.

On that note, we say good riddance to August and welcome September. Let the first "Ha, nobody wants to play in your city/Oh yeah, how many Cup banners do YOU have?" exchange of the season begin.

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Lefebvre is in that awkward stage of hockey following -- old enough to fondly remember the Cleveland Barons and too set in his ways to accept charity points and games where there's a winner but apparently no loser. As a long-time ink-stained wretch, he's also a firm believer in the old Bobby Knight quote about journalists: "All of us learn to write in second grade, but most of us go on to better things."
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#51 BigE57
September 01 2009, 12:22PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

What about the current Oilers who could added to that list?

ROBERT!

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#52 Oilersordeath
September 01 2009, 12:23PM
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As much as I agree with you guys on hatin Flamers, I have to say I'd rather see the Canucks plain crash and burn!! And their prick ass mother effin fans have to be the worst sh$t talkers ever. A couple years ago I went to a game of course sporting Oiler colors and wow I got called some of the craziest most classless names ever! I almost got into a couple fights cuz of it. Bastards! Oh yeah I pulled out the 5 STANLEY CUPS BITCHES card they hate that!!

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#53 socaldave
September 01 2009, 12:32PM
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~looks again, more closely, at Gagner pic and sighs~

and a small forward gets knocked off the puck (AGAIN), and there's still talk about bringing back MC?

that makes me a saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad panda

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#54 ronaldo
September 01 2009, 12:40PM
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@ socaldave: If you look at it from the other direction it looks like little Sam is delivering a devastating open-ice hit and taking the puck away. (You just have to squint.)

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#55 BingBong
September 01 2009, 12:42PM
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A lot of negativity surrounding Bobby Nilsson on these boards...does nobody want to give him another chance under Quinn?? I know he's looked pretty useless the past couple of years, but you can't deny his skill is unreal...maybe Quinn will bring out his work ethic?? In any event, I'm willing to give him a fresh start this year... if he still can't do anything under Quinn , then let the hate begin.

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#56 Word
September 01 2009, 12:50PM
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@ BingBong:

I'm with you Bongwater. Nilsson is one of those guys that, if traded/waived, would come back and become an Oiler-Killer.

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#57 cableguy
September 01 2009, 12:56PM
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BingBong wrote:

A lot of negativity surrounding Bobby Nilsson on these boards…does nobody want to give him another chance under Quinn?? I know he’s looked pretty useless the past couple of years, but you can’t deny his skill is unreal…maybe Quinn will bring out his work ethic?? In any event, I’m willing to give him a fresh start this year… if he still can’t do anything under Quinn , then let the hate begin.

i suppose anything is possible.

i, for example, could have 8 playmates show up at my door with a keg of beer and demand we go upstairs.

is it likely? hells no. but, apparently, anything is possible.

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#58 Chris.
September 01 2009, 01:10PM
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The only time... and I mean ONLY time I exploded out of my seat last year: was when MacIntyre ~skated~ nearly the entire sheet of ice to crush Dustin Boyd... and then beat up Prust as a bonus...

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#59 Cam
September 01 2009, 01:19PM
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BingBong wrote:

A lot of negativity surrounding Bobby Nilsson on these boards…does nobody want to give him another chance under Quinn?? I know he’s looked pretty useless the past couple of years, but you can’t deny his skill is unreal…maybe Quinn will bring out his work ethic?? In any event, I’m willing to give him a fresh start this year… if he still can’t do anything under Quinn , then let the hate begin.

I think the first third of a season will be very telling for guys like Nilsson and Penner. Either they come out firing on all cylinders or they will be sitting/gone.

I figure it doesn't hurt to wait since they aren't worth much in a trade right now anyways. If they play well then woo hoo

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#60 Oilersordeath
September 01 2009, 01:27PM
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Chris. wrote:

The only time… and I mean ONLY time I exploded out of my seat last year: was when MacIntyre ~skated~ nearly the entire sheet of ice to crush Dustin Boyd… and then beat up Prust as a bonus…

What about Gagner's end to end rush goal againts Luogno!

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#61 Dallas
September 01 2009, 01:39PM
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Chris. wrote:

The only time… and I mean ONLY time I exploded out of my seat last year: was when MacIntyre ~skated~ nearly the entire sheet of ice to crush Dustin Boyd… and then beat up Prust as a bonus…

Yah that was Fricken awsome.smackintyre really changed the momentum for us a few times last year. That Dude can hit. And back it up. Im hoping to see a rematch with Godard this year though. I think he can take him

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#62 risto
September 01 2009, 01:48PM
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Calgary-Edmonton is compelling hockey, and it will be great watching 'Bulin Wall up the Flames. There is a growing respect, coupled with a lifetime of shenanigans and taunting. Best rivalry ever.

Iginla is a fantastic player, we can watch him skate for Canada with pride. Horcoff would be a nice addition to team Canada as the 13th guy, as Stevie y should reject Heatley from the squad - karma counts.

The Canucks are a cesspool of dirty players and are worth being loathed, as they also have the least knowledgeable fans in the country. they choke harder than the Flegms.

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#63 socaldave
September 01 2009, 01:56PM
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ronaldo wrote:

@ socaldave: If you look at it from the other direction it looks like little Sam is delivering a devastating open-ice hit and taking the puck away. (You just have to squint.)

nicely done!

~HAPPY PANDA DANCE~

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#64 humantorch
September 01 2009, 04:11PM
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Dallas wrote:

humantorch wrote: Still, with names like Comrie, Afinogenov, Sykora, Satan, Peca, and Malhotra on that list, I’m wondering why the hell Nilsson is still on our roster. Because Bobby has the ability to be a better offensive player than any player on that list. And we have to see what he can do with an allstar coaching staff. And you don’t just throw that type of player away.

Why don't you go back and look to see how many goals Satan and Sykora had last season before you say Nilsson's a better offensive player than they are. I'll wait.

And sure, Nilsson might be a better offensive player than Peca, Malhotra, or Betts, but there's no way on God's green earth that Nilsson helps you win as many games as those guys do.

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#65 allan
September 03 2009, 11:23AM
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mikecomrie AGAIN looks like darryl katz and bill comrie are friends after all.

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#66 dollar
September 27 2009, 04:50PM
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#69 dance
September 27 2009, 05:13PM
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#70 meat
September 27 2009, 05:19PM
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#72 trouble
September 29 2009, 11:54PM
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#73 took
September 30 2009, 12:53AM
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edge; acomplia,; viagra;

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#74 feel
September 30 2009, 01:51AM
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mountain; xenical; banta;

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#75 mean
September 30 2009, 02:51AM
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develop; cialis; tamiflu,; propecia;

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