The Edmonton Oilers End of Camp Roster

Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009 04:16PM

Looking at the current contracts and waiver eligibility of the group of players assembled at the Oilers’ training camp, I believe we can say with near certainty (barring a trade or injury) who will be playing with the team to start the season.

Forwards

Let’s start by considering the locks:

  • Shawn Horcoff
  • Dustin Penner
  • Ales Hemsky
  • Patrick O’Sullivan
  • Fernando Pisani
  • Ethan Moreau
  • Sam Gagner
  • Andrew Cogliano
  • Zack Stortini

That’s a list of nine players who will be with the team. I think we can add five more players with a reasonable degree of certainty:

  • Robert Nilsson
  • Mike Comrie
  • Marc Pouliot
  • Gilbert Brule
  • Jean-Francois Jacques

There are very few question marks even with those six players. Robert Nilsson is a leading candidate to be dealt based on skill-set and cap space. Some have suggested Marc Pouliot is as well, but at 6’1” he adds some size to the lineup and can play a defensive role – both skills which are in short supply on this roster. Gilbert Brule would need to clear waivers and given the cost to acquire him (Raffi Torres) and his pedigree I think it’s extremely unlikely that the Oilers would risk it.

In reality, the only player whose spot is in any real danger (with the possible exception of Nilsson) is J-F Jacques, but his numbers (6’4”, 217lbs) and the fact that he would need to clear waivers make it extremely unlikely that he’ll lose his job.

All this means that it’s a good bet that Jordan Eberle will be returned to junior, guys like Potulny, Reddox, Minard and Stone will go back to Springfield, and that Rob Schremp will disappear on the waiver wire or join that foursome in the AHL.

Defense

Again, let’s start by considering the locks:

  • Lubomir Visnovsky
  • Sheldon Souray
  • Tom Gilbert
  • Denis Grebeshkov
  • Steve Staios
  • Ladislav Smid

Some might argue with the inclusion of Staios, but while his contract is hefty and the returns are diminishing I think there’s very, very little chance he ends up anywhere else on opening night. That leaves Jason Strudwick on the bubble, but given that the player with the best chance of passing him (Theo Peckham) was injured to start camp, I’d say he’s pretty safe too.

Goaltenders

Everybody’s a lock here. Nikolai Khabibulin is the team’s designated starter and there isn’t anyone who can challenge him for that role at this point. Meanwhile, Devan Dubnyk can clear wiavers and Jeff Deslauriers can’t. Honestly, Dubnyk probably has as good a shot at any of the guys on the outside of forcing his way on to the roster, since the Oilers need to make a choice on these two before next season, but it remains highly unlikely that he’ll be able to do it out of training camp.

That’s it. The only real mystery that remains is the line combinations.

Oh, and just to forestall the inevitable complaints (why is Hemsky listed third?) the players above are ranked by cap hit.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#151 RossCreek
September 18 2009, 12:24PM
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~clearly there is no bias here~ Arguments about how dumb or ugly Phaneuf is are immediately dismissed. Weak. It was a clean hit. Could he have let up - ya. Should he have - no. Thats his game. Whats the point of even playing preseason if you can't hit? ~oh he shouda let up, its just exhibition~ Lesson 1 kid: keep your head up. FIVEANDAGAME has had the best take on it. I understand the hate for not backing his game up at times, but do you really want your 6.5 million dollar players busting there hands? Is it really a good trade-off from the Flames perspective for Phaneuf to fight Moreau? Souray to fight Nystrom? Ya it happens from time to time, but to you wanna see your stars droppin the flippers with regularity, especially with lesser players? Souray lost a season over Rick Rypien for crying out loud. Was it really worth it? You could live with it if it was with Iginla or Mitchell or anyone among the top half of their team. Hits are part of the game.

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#152 Dallas
September 18 2009, 12:37PM
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@ EddieEdmonton: Nice comment gotta work on your spelling though my friend no offence. But I agree with you alot

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#153 The Menace
September 18 2009, 12:55PM
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@ RossCreek: of course there is a bias - ~this is an oilers fan blog~ What else would you be expecting my friend? His general ugliness is well documented though - not just by oiler fans.

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#154 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 01:07PM
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@ RossCreek:

your speaking/typing/argueing if's a great poet once said and i qoute "if your if was a spliff, we'd be all fcuked up." (please dont reply to say you dont have many ifs in your comment, im fully aware of that) we was talking about the hit and the oilers we dont need you biased two cents about our biased two cents ok souray fighting nystrom is fine with me, just one more flamer getting his punched in your keep your head up kid comment pisses me off KEEP YOUR HEAD UP KID (did you highlighted to make sure OKOPOSO read it when he came on the site) look up macintyre hits kris letang thats a keep your head up kid hit what dion did was lame at best enought said GO OILERS GO (read that Okoposo)

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#155 Chris.
September 18 2009, 01:08PM
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@ RossCreek:

I was a Phaneuf fan...

But the fact remains, if Moreau can threaten or intimidate Phaneuf into backing away from a physical game... what use is Phaneuf? Is it worth 6.5 million dollars for as guy who is reduced to headhunting young players out of the eastern conference?

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#156 RossCreek
September 18 2009, 01:23PM
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Haven't heard any talk of a dirty hit from TSN, Sportsnet, Gregor, Stauffer, Rishaugh, so clearly the only people that think it was dirty are Oiler blowhards because he's a Flame. Read the comments and you'll see there are some Oil fans here that don't use their bias and are able to admit it was clean and nothing wrong. I'm a hockey fan. I don't bring my bias here. What's the point? To get into a name calling spat with some of you? Not interested. I'm around Edmonton, I hear Oil, I read Oil, but my voice doesn't count because I don't wear copper & blue glasses?

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#157 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 01:30PM
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@ RossCreek: your are bias, you call that a clean hit. enough already please please what are you waiting for bob mackenzie or pierre mcwhateverthefcuk to call it dirty so you can see it that way or was the last message transmited to you from them a KEEP YOUR HEAD UP KID

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#158 BigE57
September 18 2009, 01:41PM
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@ RossCreek:

While the hit may fall in within the league parameters of legal. (I believe Phaneuf leaves his feet to make the hit).

It's dirty and you know it, take your Pierre Mcguire, Phanuef mancrush FLame goggles off and watch the whole play it's more than just the hit. Okposo is clearly looking to beat #3's defence partner and is being pursued by #15 who knocks Okposo off balance moments before Phaneuf finishes him off, head up, head down, Okposo had no chance on that play.

And just becuase Gregor, Brownlee or any of the hockey insiders haven't passed judgement doesn't make it clean.

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#159 RossCreek
September 18 2009, 01:45PM
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@ Fast Eddie Psshh... Please. When an overwhelming portion of the MSM considers it clean, when experienced professional hockey minds think its clean, it validates my thoughts. If there was an overwhelming cry that it wasn't clean, then I would back off. It might not completely change my mind, but I wouldn't sit here arguing about it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. As Mr. John Short always used to say, everyone has a democratic right to be wrong. And what was so offensive about the keep your head statement? It wasn't in CAPS the way you put it and it wasn't bolded. Whats your beef?

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#160 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 01:52PM
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@ RossCreek: i dont have a beef per say i meant to type you should have highlighted it but i cant go back and edit as you can tell by my spelling the hit wasnt clean and you know it no one saw the game but a few flamer fans so no one cares for it plus its preseason that hit happens in regular season and all your so called hockey gurus from pierre to kolonicewhateverthefcuk would be discussing it so if i do have any beef is that you keep insisting that that was so clean and not cowardly at all please give it up already i want to talk hockey get off the oilersnation and go back to your flamingvillage.com no really i dont mean to come across rude and disrespcetfull but i dodnt like your comments or opinions they are about as lame as dions hit last night

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#161 bingofuel
September 18 2009, 01:57PM
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@ EddieEdmonton:

I'm going to ask you to show a little bit of respect, please. RossCreek might be a Flames fan, but he's [mostly ;)] very well behaved here and contributes to discussion positively. Because he thinks the Phaneuf hit wasn't cheap and you do is nothing more than a difference of opinion.

If you don't mean to come across rude or disrepectful, you've failed. Dial it back a bit, and keep it civil.

Thanks, - bingofuel, the ghost in the OilersNation machine.

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#162 bingofuel
September 18 2009, 02:01PM
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@ RossCreek:

Furthermore, Phaneuf is a douche. :P

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#163 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 02:01PM
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@ bingofuel: where exactly did i disrecpect him? give me a break im simply stating my diffrence in opinion he likes him self i dont like him .

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#164 bingofuel
September 18 2009, 02:05PM
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@ EddieEdmonton:

By not accepting what he said at face value, and then telling him to go back to flamingvillage.com. To me, that's disrespect.

It's Friday, the Oil play tonight, and we should all be thrilled there's actually hockey to watch.

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#165 The Menace
September 18 2009, 02:07PM
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@ RossCreek: I'd like to weigh in here and say that I also said the hit was clean, but unnessesary. Also, that Dion's ugly mug has no equal.

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#166 Dan the Man
September 18 2009, 02:08PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

You guys don’t think Souray would have stepped up and made a hit like that after some young punk in a pre season game took a run at Horcoff? Cause thats what happened. Jokinen got ran early and Phaneuf picked his spot.

No I don't think he would have. If someone took a run at Horcoff or Hemsky or Gagner or whoever I think an Oiler (Moreau, Stortini, Smid..etc...) would have squared off with the "young punk" rather than laying a cheap hit on him.

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#167 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 02:10PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

No I don’t think he would have. If someone took a run at Horcoff or Hemsky or Gagner or whoever I think an Oiler (Moreau, Stortini, Smid..etc…) would have squared off with the “young punk” rather than laying a cheap hit on him.

i agree

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#168 The Menace
September 18 2009, 02:11PM
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it looks like PTI is going to discuss that hit on the show today. although those guys know less about hockey than most sports shows out there, it's still interesting to get an outside take.

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#169 RossCreek
September 18 2009, 02:12PM
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Disliking and dismissing someone because they cheer for a different team = lame Calling the Flames Lames or Flamers/Flaming = lame Calling the Oilers Coilers = lame Bad spelling/grammar when arguing= lame

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#170 RossCreek
September 18 2009, 02:21PM
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*oh gosh, bingo, my hero* ;-) Yes, everything would point in the direction of Dion being an ugly D-bag. I do not have a man crush on him. He played pretty poorly last year and to see that he indeed still has a pulse is a good sign (for the Flames).

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#171 ScubaSteve
September 18 2009, 02:22PM
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@ RossCreek:

I agree with you that the hit was clean, but that's not the issue I have with it.

Did the hit change the momentum of the game? No. Did the hit jar the puck loose so the Flames could go on the offensive? No. Was the only point of the hit to headhunt? Yes, and that's the issue I have with it.

I don't care who threw the hit, or who took the hit, the point is, it's a classless play when you do that in the preseason.

The fact that it's Dion (who has a history of being a classless player) only amplifies the criticism.

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#172 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 02:34PM
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Do not speak to fools; they scorn the wisdom of your words My heart is wise, bloodshot eyes, the saga never dies GO Oilers GO

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#173 rubbertrout
September 18 2009, 02:48PM
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Dion Phanuef = unfrozen caveman lawyer from SNL in the 80's

Let's all focus on the Phaneuf hat trick:

1 bad turnover 1 bad penalty 1 broken stick

(can also be -1 for the night)

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#174 bingofuel
September 18 2009, 02:49PM
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@ rubbertrout:

You're right, except that unfrozen caveman lawyer was at least funny.

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#175 RossCreek
September 18 2009, 03:05PM
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On a lighter note, could the Flames 2 prized d men have any less personality?

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#176 The Menace
September 18 2009, 03:23PM
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RossCreek wrote:

On a lighter note, could the Flames 2 prized d men have any less personality?

It blends well with the coach and GM! ;)

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#177 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 03:36PM
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without there being a trade who are Hemsky's linemates for most of the season?

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#178 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 03:38PM
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EddieEdmonton wrote:

comrie gagner hemsky sullivan horcoff nillson penner cogliano pisani ( ) ( )moreau that is my take it on first three lines or top nine forwards so what do u do on the forth line with moreau switch between toughness and speed on diffrent nights? if you put schremp on the fourth you would need another someone there to balance him out, who ? pouliot could go there too but the again who do you put with him ? i cant see pouliot and schremp playin on the team at the same time expecially on the same line and one more thing before i go souray grebeshkov vishnovsky gilbert staios smid on my nhl2k10 franchise i got smid and pechkam on my third d-line im a fan of both kids and the heart and effort they put in the game(real not my videogame) i know they are both young and not mature enough but how good would it be if pechkam and smido was on the third line holding it down beating the crap out of those heartlees female dogs down south and every othere direction also im not a big fan of staios( my goat) he is getting old and he makes a good 3 mill plus late last season he was developing the fossil hip syndrome and take it forever to turn i think he is too old for the new faster game i just wish theo didnt get injured and oh that we trade staios(my goat) so with that id liek to ask what u guys have invisioned for the following seasoon?
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#179 RossCreek
September 18 2009, 03:46PM
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@ The Menace. I'm a big fan of Daryl's and actually find him quite humourous. Always liked his teams.

Not too sure I can have quite the same hate on for the Oil with Tambellini & Quinn runnin the ship. A certain aura of arrogance has been lifted. I'm sure Oct. 3rd will spark the fire ;-)

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#180 BigE57
September 18 2009, 04:36PM
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@ RossCreek:

By the way, I forgot to mention that even though I thought the hit was dirty it looked also to be a by-product of a defensive scheme/system Calgary might be employing where the defenceman and backcheking forward isolate the puck carrier to one side of the ice and the other d-man (Phaneuf in this case) seperates the player from the puck.

Something to watch for when guys who like to carry the puck through the neutral zone (Ales) play Calgary.

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#181 Jimmy
September 18 2009, 05:11PM
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BigE57 wrote:

Something to watch for when guys who like to carry the puck through the neutral zone (Ales) play Calgary.

I think Phaneuf knows better than to steamroll Hemsky right on top of the Oilers logo. He might be classless, but he'd have to be an idiot to pull something like that.

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#182 BigE57
September 18 2009, 05:46PM
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@ Jimmy:

Hemsky has been a favorite target of theirs for years, his willingness to take the puck in traffic brings some of that on.

And there is a reason the Flames picked up Brian McGrattan. I'm fully expecting the Alberta to heat up this year and hoping for Souray to one punch Phaneuf or anybody else wearing the Flaming C.

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#183 Jimmy
September 18 2009, 05:55PM
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I'm not saying Hemsky's off-limits, but a hit like that one on Okposo wouldn't fly if Hemsky was the target.

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#184 Archaeologuy
September 18 2009, 07:27PM
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The Hit was clean. Was it necessary? It doesnt matter because it is allowed. Phaneuf may be a knuckle dragging clown without a personality, but those hits are amazing. I wish the Oilers had someone who did that with enough regularity to scare opposing forwards. I would be pissed if Phaneuf laid that hit on Hemsky, but its not dirty.

The only knock against the hit was that it happened in pre-season. Too bad for Okposo. This isnt like the Downie hit on McAmmond where it was obviously a dirty play, it was a legit play.

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#185 ryan
September 18 2009, 09:55PM
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i love my oilers but that hit phanuef layed on that guy was totally clean. Buddy had his head down and was tied up, like some one said earlier 'phanuef could have backed off a bit but why ?' that guy should have had his head up

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#186 ryan
September 18 2009, 10:00PM
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After watching the game tonight I really don't know if pisani or pouliot are a lock any more. I liked stone and think he would replace pisani nicely for a 1/4 of the price and I've always thought pouliot was a waste of skin. penner-horcoff-hemsky sully-comrie-stone cogs-gagner-neilson jacques-moreau-stortini

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#187 ryan
September 18 2009, 10:05PM
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hell even get ride of neilson and put brule on that line to free up more cap room. At least brule would go get the puck, and get ride of staois he was invisible tonight, replace him with peckham or plante.

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#188 EddieEdmonton
September 18 2009, 10:59PM
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please get rid of staios chorney didnt look bad either o'marra is a big boy id take him over pouliot staios sucked i think they throw nillson or schremp on the line with sullivan and comrie eventually kip is not to be fcuked with he ran over two guys tonight and florida players acted and played on like nothing occured staios cant make a right decision for the life of him very enjoyable game

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#189 cableguy
September 19 2009, 07:34AM
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RossCreek wrote:

@ Fast Eddie Psshh… Please. When an overwhelming portion of the MSM considers it clean, when experienced professional hockey minds think its clean, it validates my thoughts. If there was an overwhelming cry that it wasn’t clean, then I would back off. It might not completely change my mind, but I wouldn’t sit here arguing about it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. As Mr. John Short always used to say, everyone has a democratic right to be wrong. And what was so offensive about the keep your head statement? It wasn’t in CAPS the way you put it and it wasn’t bolded. Whats your beef?

the hit itself wasnt overly dirty. contrary to popular belief, he didnt leave his feet or throw an elbow. there was a still frame "impact" shot on the hfboards, and the leap/elbow were after impact (from what i could see)

regardless, anyone with half a brain knows if you throw that kind of hit in todays NHL, you are going to have to fight, especially in preseason.

to watch phaneuf make the hit, and start looking around for the people coming at him, and try and skate away, was comical.

if it was souray who did the same thing, i would say the same thing in regards to him not standing up to what was coming after the hit.

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#190 RossCreek
September 19 2009, 09:12AM
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OK, one last comment on Phaneuf. For those stating it was clean but he should've fought, did Scott Stevens have to fight after he knocked Lindros senseless? Paul Kariya? Ron Francis? Hey, if I was an Islander player, I'm sure I would of been going after him as well... but does that make it right? Why bust your hand in a preseason tilt with some no name? On another note, just like I said it was nice to see Fleury win the game the other night in his return to Calgary, it was nice to see Comrie get the fans back on his side in his return to eTown. Kinda funny to watch the haters transform back into fans like that. Enjoy your crow. I've stated on here even b4 the rumors of him returning that I would've liked to see Calgary land him. Oh well... I guess I have to transform now. F you Mike Comrie. Lol.

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#191 The guessing game: what’s the big hurry? - OilersNation.com
September 21 2009, 03:58PM
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[...] premature as their clairvoyance is, they’re a week late compared to Jonathan Willis, who laid everything out for Quinn and his coaching staff Sept. 17 after the Oilers had played two pre-season games. [...]

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#192 vntsfiqdki
October 10 2009, 06:52AM
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