Deep thoughts XI: Making due

Robin Brownlee
August 05 2009 11:45PM

the-gambler

Making the best of a bad situation is usually easier said than done, but when it's the only option, you can either play the cards you're dealt and suck it up or fold your hand, pee your pants and curl up in a corner sobbing at the injustice of it all.

That's pretty much where Steve Tambellini sits today after failing to get Dany Heatley to stop sucking his thumb long enough to agree to a trade that would make him an Edmonton Oiler during a summer in which he's managed exactly one notable player personnel move -- the overpayment that is the four-year contract inked by Nikolai Khabibulin.

Tambellini still hasn't addressed the need for a first-line left-winger, hasn't added a checking centre who can kill penalties and win face-offs and he hasn't done anything to replace the production lost when Ales Kotalik was allowed to walk as an unrestricted free agent.

That said, and with the challenges obvious to anybody with a functioning brain stem, I don't see any need for fans make like Mr. Leahy and assume a prone position with a big pee stain on the front of their pants.

Call me naïve, or a rights holder even, but there's got to be a way to turn a fistful of jokers into a decent hand, or at least something to bluff with. What could possibly go wrong?

THE PDP SOLUTION

The way I see it, Dustin Penner remains the best option from the personnel under contract now as this team's first-line left-winger.

I don't think being included in the Ottawa package for Heatley with Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid is going to bother Penner a bit -- at least not as much as the subtraction of Craig MacTavish behind the bench is going to help him.

If I'm Pat Quinn and Tom Renney, I've already made a call to Penner that he better arrive for training camp in the best shape of his life because I'm going to play his ass off in the first 20 games of the season and see what happens. First-line time. First-unit power play time. The works.

Will Penner score 40-50 goals even under optimum circumstances? Not a chance. Could he manage 35? If PDP has any spine and even one shred of pride under that spare tire, I think so. How better to shove it to MacT than succeed in his absence?

If Penner can't succeed here this year after cashing cheques he hasn't earned for two seasons, he can't succeed here at all.

What's the option? Sit him out? Bury him on the fourth line? Bury him in the minors? That's cutting off your nose to spite your face.

OUTSIDE THE BOX

-- I never got caught up in the YouTube ga-ga over the offensive wizardry of Rob Schremp, but if I'm Quinn and Renney I'm giving the kid a real look this pre-season in a position where he can succeed.

Schremp was never going to get a sniff here under MacTavish. If he isn't too far gone, if he isn't sulking at how he's been treated and if he wasn't wrecked by the horrid season he just had in Springfield, maybe there's a chance he can show something.

While I'm not betting the house on it, Schremp might surprise his critics if he's encouraged for being what he is, a creator of offence, instead of being criticized for what he's not. Nothing to lose. It's time.

-- Gilbert Brule has a job to lose at training camp. He's faster, more skilled and grittier than Kyle Brodziak. Is there any reason he shouldn't be able to fill his spot and role on this roster?

-- If J.F. Jacques and a draft pick or prospect won't get it done, offer the Washington Capitals Cogliano for David Steckel.

-- Let teams know Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios are available, cheap. Let a handful of teams know that Tom Gilbert or Denis Grebeshkov are available, not cheap.

AND...

-- So Michael Nylander, on the outs in Washington, thinks Edmonton might be a good place to play? Really? Is that so? Is that right? Nothing personal about the way you flipped off the Oilers the first time and pulled a fast one on Kevin Lowe, eh? No chance.

-- Charlie Huddy should still be employed here.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#201 rick
August 06 2009, 08:50PM
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this line up looks good to me for a top 5 draft pick wake up folks this is a really bad team no matter how you mix the lines same group of duds no heart no face off taker no first line center so prepare yourself for another year of rebuiding and excuses after the 20games and this team is 2-18 then what? Big things talked about by the front office as usual nothing done. We have a gm who says we have too many forwards and contrats then sign red ox and poultuny? bad team thanks to Lowe but the last time i checked all is well in oilerville cause suckers like me buy tickets and season ones at that. @ oilFan:

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#202 Robin Brownlee
August 06 2009, 09:06PM
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rick wrote:

this line up looks good to me for a top 5 draft pick wake up folks

Everybody is asleep but you? And 2-18? This is logic and reason giving way to panic and, obviously, bitterness.

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#203 idrinkPilsner
August 06 2009, 09:28PM
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The Fish wrote:

I would hate to get into a battle of wits with you, Robin. You can write some very clever/funny sh!t.

Well said. Sometimes I think Robin can be a.... but then I give my head a shake and realize, this guy makes a living writing about Hockey, so it must be frustrating for some shmuck like me telling him what's what about hockey. Keep up the great work Robin (and everyone else)! I know I'd give me an awesome one liner to put me in my place if I were in your shoes. (if that makes any sense!) lol.

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#204 Robin Brownlee
August 06 2009, 09:39PM
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@ idrinkPilsner: Writing about hockey for a living doesn't make you smart. There are no sections to fill out for IQ, common sense and hockey knowledge when applying for a press pass.

As an aside, you do sound dimmer than most.

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#205 BigE57
August 06 2009, 10:18PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Thanks for the response, I had read your previous article, I missed or forgot about the fact the Caps were calling around......~There has been so much Oiler news lately, you can see how it could happen~

Do you think Jacques and Nillson would be an overpay? Or is Nilsson an Oiler untouchable for all the wrong reasons?

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#206 idrinkPilsner
August 06 2009, 10:22PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: zing. I will now continue reading and listening to my Let It Be Lp, instead of commenting.

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#207 Ogden Brother
August 06 2009, 10:47PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: People need to separate Horcoff the player from his contract. He’s overpaid, but “effortless” is not a word I’ve ever associated with him. I’ve seen first-hand how hard he works on and off the ice. There is more substance than style to his game.

Bingo, this team is (far) better with him then without him. 5.5 million price tag or not.

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#208 Ogden Brother
August 06 2009, 10:52PM
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rick wrote:

this line up looks good to me for a top 5 draft pick wake up folks this is a really bad team no matter how you mix the lines same group of duds no heart no face off taker no first line center so prepare yourself for another year of rebuiding and excuses after the 20games and this team is 2-18 then what? Big things talked about by the front office as usual nothing done. We have a gm who says we have too many forwards and contrats then sign red ox and poultuny? bad team thanks to Lowe but the last time i checked all is well in oilerville cause suckers like me buy tickets and season ones at that. @ oilFan:

Right right, and I'm sure you thought the (almost) exact same line-up was going to win the division last year.

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#209 Hemmertime
August 06 2009, 11:10PM
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23 hours 10 mins. 209 Comments, it is August 5th...

One comment every 6.5 mins basically for 24 straight hours since first comment... on AUGUST 5th.

I love it, Oiler passion.

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#210 Hemmertime
August 06 2009, 11:14PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The Coles Notes version is the Caps have called around because they are interested in adding grit and toughness

Cogliano doesnt fit the bill, but would light up their eyes I am sure.

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#211 Hemmertime
August 06 2009, 11:16PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Writing about hockey for a living doesn’t make you smart.

Ya but you write smartly about hockey, and for an Oiler fan that puts you in the realm of surgeon.

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#212 Smokin' Ray
August 06 2009, 11:27PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

No cheering. Copious amounts of ale when deadline is done (that’s the norm anyway), but no cheering. You aren’t there as a fan. You aren’t there to cheerlead.

Really? No cheering at all? I can't remember who you liked as a kid, so we shall say the Bruins for the questions sake.

So here you are, it's 1988 and your a strapping, young and good looking reporter. You are in the Boston Gardens and the Bruins score a big goal against their rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. Your telling me you won't/can't/shouldn't cheer in the press box? Who made that rule and why not?

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#213 Hemmertime
August 07 2009, 01:59AM
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@ Smokin' Ray: I agree with it, seems unprofessional. A lot of the people who pay to read the material are not Oiler fans, stating your view like you would if it was NYI with a slight slant (inevitable like he says) is the best.

I doubt that there wasn't a few wide ass grins and ribbing the oppositions reporters when we won a big game or Laraque laid a whooping on someone. But you kind of look like a douche when everyone just doing their jobs and there you are hooting and hollering.

I think there would be a few things they would have cheered, Gretzky's goal that broke the record, Yzerman retirement and such, even then just clapping and restrained cheering.

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#214 Robin Brownlee
August 07 2009, 07:18AM
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@ Hemmertime: Showing respect and applauding a brilliant career on a jersey retirement night doesn't count. You aren't reacting to a result or a play, you're saluting a career just like the players and coaches and fans from both teams are. Big difference. Then we have beer.

Smokin' Ray wrote:

So here you are, it’s 1988 and your a strapping, young and good looking reporter. You are in the Boston Gardens and the Bruins score a big goal against their rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. Your telling me you won’t/can’t/shouldn’t cheer in the press box?

I was never young and good looking . . . it was 1989, and, no, I didn't cheer.

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#215 Constance
August 07 2009, 09:39AM
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Sorry Robyn... no dice... Penner 35 goals not happening.

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#216 Chris.
August 07 2009, 10:13AM
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Dominoiler wrote:

Oh.. and your hypothetical scenario (Chris) that consists of Tambo slow-playing the FA market is laughable…

I don't know what Tambellini is up to...

And neither do you.

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#217 rick
August 09 2009, 10:39PM
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no i have been in oilerville for years i don't drink oiler kool aide i never once thought this was a division winner as long as we try to sell this group to the public like i say top 5 draft pick here we come.Ogden Brother wrote:

rick wrote: this line up looks good to me for a top 5 draft pick wake up folks this is a really bad team no matter how you mix the lines same group of duds no heart no face off taker no first line center so prepare yourself for another year of rebuiding and excuses after the 20games and this team is 2-18 then what? Big things talked about by the front office as usual nothing done. We have a gm who says we have too many forwards and contrats then sign red ox and poultuny? bad team thanks to Lowe but the last time i checked all is well in oilerville cause suckers like me buy tickets and season ones at that. @ oilFan: Right right, and I’m sure you thought the (almost) exact same line-up was going to win the division last year.
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#218 rick
August 09 2009, 10:44PM
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perhaps but i have been a fan for years now tell me i'm wrong??????@ Robin Brownlee:

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