Patty O: Back to square one

Robin Brownlee
September 03 2009 10:06PM

I'm not sure exactly where Patrick O'Sullivan will fit among the Edmonton Oilers top six forwards this coming season, but I'd be willing to wager he'll look like he belongs in the mix somewhere.

What I do know for certain is that circumstances alone dictate Oilers fans are likely to see a lot more from the talented 24-year-old than he showed in the 18 games he played after coming over from the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline last season.

Players acquired at the deadline often have difficulty settling in and making an impact in the stretch drive. It was no different for O'Sullivan, who produced a decidedly underwhelming 2-4-6 and was a minus-7 in Oilers silks after tallying 14-23-37 with a plus-1 rating in 62 games with Los Angeles.

Talking to O'Sullivan Thursday, it's obvious he's shaken off his disappointing debut with the Oilers, has settled over the summer and will be ready to roll when training camp begins later this month.

I get the feeling he'll put that disappointment behind him in a hurry.

GETTING STARTED

All eyes were on O'Sullivan when he arrived in a three-way trade with Los Angels and Carolina, and that's understandable when a player the calibre of Erik Cole -- despite his struggles here -- gets dealt away.

O'Sullivan, coming off a 22-goal season with the Kings in 2007-08, endured the usual challenges -- getting used to new teammates, new linemates, new systems and a new city. All that with the Oilers scrambling for a playoff position. He spent the end of the season living in a hotel.

Those adjustments out of the way, O'Sullivan can concentrate on doing what he does and regaining his form. He bought a house in Edmonton over the summer and his fiance is here with him.

Most important, he'll be starting at square one with this teammates by attending training camp. That's something he missed last season as the Kings kept him out of camp while a new contract was being negotiated.

"For me, getting a start right from training camp with a new team is something I've been looking forward to this summer," O'Sullivan said. "Coming over late (last season), it was tough.

"I want to have a good start. With my contract problem with L.A., I didn't even get to go to camp. I'm looking forward to have the full experience just like everybody else.

"There's so many things about training camp that are important. Obviously, the conditioning, but it's starting out at the same point with everybody else and you kind of build together as a team. That's important."

A CLEAN SLATE

O'Sullivan, and every other Oiler player for that matter, will start with a clean slate under the new coaching tandem of Pat Quinn and Tom Renney, who have a gaggle of undersized forwards to sort out.

"You have to show the new coaches exactly what you can do," O'Sullivan said. "I think it’s great for our whole team to be in that situation. We have pressure to do well.

"To have that intensity right from camp is going to help make our team better. Individually, it's going to be the first time the coaches are going to see us."

What makes the five-foot-11, 190-pound O'Sullivan tough to peg in terms of where he'll fit is he can play all three forward positions. Will he be a fit on left wing with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky? On the right side on the second line? In the middle?

His versatility can only help as Quinn and Renney try to assemble a top six that'll have O'Sullivan, Horcoff, Hemsky, Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and maybe Robert Nilsson in the mix.

"I know I can kill penalties and be good defensively," O'Sullivan said. "I've done it the last two or three years.

"I certainly don't just look at myself as just a finesse and offensive player at all. Obviously, I know I'll need to contribute offensively, and I'll be relied upon to do that, but I can be out there in lots of situations."

-- 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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#51 Jorge
September 04 2009, 10:38AM
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Racki wrote:

RossCreek wrote: Ideal 2nd line: Penner-Gagner-O’Sullivan Now, if only they could put together an ideal 1st line. Yah honestly, our second line has a wealth of combinations. But there’s almost no one really that magically fits in the top line LW.

we will just have to trade nilson and staios for a player like kovalchuk then we are set

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#52 Chris.
September 04 2009, 11:17AM
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RossCreek wrote:

Ideal 2nd line: Penner-Gagner-O’Sullivan Now, if only they could put together an ideal 1st line.

Heatley-Horcoff-Hemsky...

DAMN YOU DANNY!

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#53 BGH
September 04 2009, 11:18AM
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RossCreek wrote:

Ideal 2nd line: Penner-Gagner-O’Sullivan Now, if only they could put together an ideal 1st line.

I would rather see them go for broke and go with

1st Line : Cogliano Gagner Hemsky 2nd Line : O'Sullivan Horcoff Penner 3rd Line : Moreau Brule Pisani

2nd line can go head to head with other top line, pot you a few and be responsible defensively.

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#54 kingsblade
September 04 2009, 11:25AM
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scorecoff hemmercules wrote:

kingsblade wrote: a newly signed Comrie. An article in the journal today with some quotes from Tambellini makes it sound like this won’t be happening, thank God. Sadly Tambo said we haven’t been actively after anyone else either but I guess that’s no big suprise. I think the current team is what were rollin with for most of this year.

Yeah, I was just considering possibilities. I wont be terribly upset if Comrie doesn't sign. However that wasn't really the point of my post.

I was mainly posing the thought of a Horcoff-O'Sullivan-Moreau/Pisani (or Pouliot?) line.

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#55 SkinnyD
September 04 2009, 11:50AM
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Racki wrote:

I’m a fan of O’Sullivan. Love what he brings to the team at both ends of the rink. He was snakebitten last year, but many players here were. We definitely need to keep him around though. I’d prefer to see him on the top line LW just so that Penner’s size can be added to line 2. But I still have a lot of faith in Penner turning things around and being a near-30 goal scorer again.

Yes, yes, yes.

If O'Sullivan's a shooter that plays LW - this is a nice top line with Horcoff and Hemsky. Lots of speed here...tenacity...and they won't get pushed around. Patty plays bigger than his frame and his Irish disposition serves him well in the corners. Horcoff has a good nose for the net and would put in Patty's rebounds from his gazillion shots.

I've always liked Penner and Gagner together - there's just an 'I don't know what' with them - plus Cogliano. Nice 2nd line, a bit small, but Penner has shown he will go toe-to-toe with evil doers. Plus, you have to catch Cogliano to hit him. ;)

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#56 Oiler icon
September 04 2009, 12:04PM
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we will just have to trade nilson and staios for a player like kovalchuk then we are set

geez why didn't tambo think of that (slaps forehead), someone make a phonecall

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#57 LOIL
September 04 2009, 12:19PM
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OvenChicken8 wrote:

LOIL wrote: The guy scored 20 some goals playing with Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, the list goes on. We dont have ONE player in that category. We do have one, Hemsky.

You are comparing Hemsky to Getzlaf and Perry? Really? In my opinion that is absolutely crazy.

Hemsky has never averaged 1 pt/gm and only broken the 20 goal plateau once in his 6 years in the NHL.

And you cant say "hes a playmaker, hes not supposed to score" because Getzlaf gets many more assists than hemsky does every year and still manages to pot around 25 goals. Getzlaf is also well above 1 pt/gm.

Perry scores around 30 goals a year and puts up similar points to Hemsky. But perry is tough as nails and gets 100+ PIMS a year. So he is a non-finesse player putting up simlar point totals to Hemsky but also adding toughness and 10 more goals a year than hemsky.

Nobody in their right mind would take Hemsky over either of those two guys and especially over Selanne when he was scoring 90+ pts.

Dont get me wrong. I love Hemsky, and hope he is in oiler colors for a long time but I'm not naive enough to think that just because he is the best player on my favorite team that he is a superstar. He is a good first line winger and I am happy with that. The oilers have no Getzlaf's...im sorry.

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#58 ScubaSteve
September 04 2009, 12:23PM
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BGH wrote:

1st Line : Cogliano Gagner Hemsky

A lot of skill here, but this line gets destroyed by any defence pairing in the West. (or East)

I would rather see:

O'Sully-Horc-Hemsky Penner-Gagner-Cogs

IMO that's our best top 6

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#59 RossCreek
September 04 2009, 12:43PM
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LOIL wrote:

You are comparing Hemsky to Getzlaf and Perry? Really? In my opinion that is absolutely crazy.

x2

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#60 Travis Dakin
September 04 2009, 12:47PM
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@ LOIL: @ RossCreek:

In fairness, Getzlaf and Perry have each other to play with. Not to mention up until this year they had Niedermeyer and Pronger behind them anchoring the offence. This can't be understated. That team made Penner a 29 goal scorer and won the cup.

Hemsky has been blessed to play with..... uh.... damn.

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#61 ronaldo
September 04 2009, 12:52PM
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@ Travis Dakin .....Horcoff?

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#62 OvenChicken8
September 04 2009, 12:55PM
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@ LOIL: No I wouldn't say that Hemsky is in Getzlaf's league but to say that you can't compare him to Perry is ridiculous. Hemsky goes into all the tough spots on the ice and never backs down from contact. Just because Hemsky doesn't take stupid penalties and rack up over 100pim's per year doesn't make him any less gritty. Can Perry change the flow of the game every time he's on the ice like Hemsky can? I'd say no, because Perry is too busy clinging on to Getzlaf's coat tails. Career ppg: Perry = 0.68 Hemsky = 0.78

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#63 Travis Dakin
September 04 2009, 12:58PM
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@ OvenChicken8: OvenChicken8 wrote:

Can Perry change the flow of the game every time he’s on the ice like Hemsky can? I’d say no, because Perry is too busy clinging on to Getzlaf’s coat tails.

what is it the kids are saying now?

x2 ???

I think that's it. x2

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#64 BGH
September 04 2009, 01:16PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

BGH wrote: 1st Line : Cogliano Gagner Hemsky A lot of skill here, but this line gets destroyed by any defence pairing in the West. (or East) I would rather see: O’Sully-Horc-Hemsky Penner-Gagner-Cogs IMO that’s our best top 6

My worry is we still don't have an effective center outside of Horc for penalty kills. By moving him down to second line and fewer 5 v 5 mins, he can go back to being a force on the PK for us.

I freely admit my suggested first line would take some lumps and give up some goals, but I think that they would score a bunch as well.

Also, I thin Gagner is a battler despite his size, we all know Hemsky can take a beating. Cog's brings a lot of speed to the line. If defence aren't careful, they could find those 3 behind them moving in on goal.

That is just my opinion though....

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#65 Racki
September 04 2009, 01:54PM
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I'm with Scuba Steve on this one.

O'Sully Horcoff Hemsky Cogs Gagner Penner

You throw Cogs Gagner Hemsky together and you're asking for trouble.

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#66 SkinnyD
September 04 2009, 02:12PM
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Racki wrote:

I’m with Scuba Steve on this one. O’Sully Horcoff Hemsky Cogs Gagner Penner You throw Cogs Gagner Hemsky together and you’re asking for trouble.

Great, so it's decided. I'll text Quenney and let them know that's what we're going with. :)

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#67 Pedro
September 04 2009, 02:44PM
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Racki wrote:

RossCreek wrote: Ideal 2nd line: Penner-Gagner-O’Sullivan Now, if only they could put together an ideal 1st line. Yah honestly, our second line has a wealth of combinations. But there’s almost no one really that magically fits in the top line LW.

I have to wonder if Cogliano is going to play with a chip on his shoulder, if he plays his best hockey then he would be a good fit on that line.

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#68 Racki
September 04 2009, 03:01PM
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SkinnyD wrote:

Great, so it’s decided. I’ll text Quenney and let them know that’s what we’re going with.

LOL, sounds good ;)

Pedro wrote:

I have to wonder if Cogliano is going to play with a chip on his shoulder, if he plays his best hockey then he would be a good fit on that line.

I would be equally fine with that. I just really want to see Penner on line 2 this year. It'll take some pressure off him, but also give a boost to the smaller guys on that line (presumably OSullivan and Gagner if Cogs is on line 1).

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#69 ScubaSteve
September 04 2009, 04:48PM
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SkinnyD wrote:

Great, so it’s decided. I’ll text Quenney and let them know that’s what we’re going with.

~Don't bother, Pat's been checking this site on an hourly basis waiting for us to get our act together and nail down the lines.~

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#70 Oilersordeath
September 04 2009, 05:27PM
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I can tell you guys being true die hard Oiler fan first and Kings being my #2 I've watched almost all of their games and I can tell you that O'sully is gonna be just fine. A fresh start in TC with the boys he will fit in just fine, not sure what line combo yet though. The guy can pick the top corner as good as anyone.

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#71 Antony Ta
September 04 2009, 06:58PM
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LOIL wrote:

OvenChicken8 wrote: You are comparing Hemsky to Getzlaf and Perry? Really? In my opinion that is absolutely crazy.

In 2005-06 Hemsky was finally given prime ice time and prime teammates. It hasn't been the same since but has he been given a chance to succeed? Not really. He's probably not as good as a guy like Kovalchuk I'd bet anything Hemsky outperforms Perry or Getzlaf playing in Anaheim.

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#72 kingsblade
September 04 2009, 07:39PM
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LOIL wrote:

Hemsky has never averaged 1 pt/gm and only broken the 20 goal plateau once in his 6 years in the NHL.

Perry has never put up a point a game either, and he has the benefit of playing with Getzlaf.

LOIL wrote:

Perry scores around 30 goals a year and puts up similar points to Hemsky.

Perry has only put up points at Hemsky's pace once. Furthermore, implying that a guy who has scored about 30 goals twice is now a regular 30 goal scorer is a stretch. Maybe he is maybe not, but he hasn't proven it and I would love to see him try and score 30 with Horcoff instead of Getzlaf.

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#73 RossCreek
September 04 2009, 08:15PM
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Antony Ta wrote:

He’s probably not as good as a guy like Kovalchuk I’d bet anything Hemsky outperforms Perry or Getzlaf playing in Anaheim.

Getzlaf is one of the premier superstars in this league. There are FEW GM's out there that wouldn't trade any player off their roster to acquire him.

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#74 Chris.
September 06 2009, 09:07AM
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@ Antony Ta: @ OvenChicken8:

Hemsky to Perry? Apples To Oranges. Two totally different types of player.

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#75 kingsblade
September 06 2009, 01:49PM
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Chris. wrote:

@ Antony Ta: @ OvenChicken8: Hemsky to Perry? Apples To Oranges. Two totally different types of player.

No one would argue that. That wasn't the question being discussed.

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#76 Mr. Entertainment
September 07 2009, 10:40AM
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Yeah I think that Patty O' Sullivan will do well as an Oiler, after all he has the luck of the Irish with him. But on a serious note, and I mean really serious, who thinks that Robin Brownlee is one sexy biatch.....I personally do,,,, DO YOU???

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#77 Mr. Entertainment
September 07 2009, 10:46AM
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I'm just joking, honestly I think that O' Sullivan will do well, the players to watch for is Moreau and Pisani, the reason why is because with the new Coaching staff that we have these players may get weeded out, and Souray may eventually become the Captain of the Oilers within a year.

By the way I was joking around about Robin Brownlee. Robin, you are a very knoledgeable person when it comes to Hockey. And it really is too bad that you don't have a radio show because you could do quite well. Take Care

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#78 Stonedole
September 07 2009, 12:06PM
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War Hemmer winning the Hart

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#79 Robin Brownlee
September 07 2009, 03:33PM
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Mr. Entertainment wrote:

Yeah I think that Patty O’ Sullivan will do well as an Oiler, after all he has the luck of the Irish with him. But on a serious note, and I mean really serious, who thinks that Robin Brownlee is one sexy biatch…..I personally do,,,, DO YOU???

Seeing as you've got "Mr." in front of your name, I'm confident in a saying couple of things. First, Packer fan, you're barking up the wrong tree. Second, I'm completely capable of setting myself up for ridicule with what I write. I don't need some pansy seeking comments on a limp-wristed question like that.

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#80 Mr. Entertainment
September 07 2009, 06:33PM
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Yeah I just want to completely apologize for that remark, had a few too many drinks. I completely didn't mean it at all. Again my apologies. If it makes it any better I am not a pansy just a smart-ass.

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#81 David S
September 07 2009, 11:30PM
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Holy crap. Alot of you guys are penciling in O'Sully on the first line? Based on what? Penner looks to be the logical option right now, but even Cogliano, Gagner or Comrie (?) would seem to be be more productive. Not to mention that Nilsson is coming back pissed off and ready to rock (OK - so he says - but its his last at bat).

Yeah. O'Sully is a "shooter"alright, but I've yet to see if he's a "scorer". Man. Jason Strudwick has a better shot %. Looks like the Schremp blind spot is spreading around here.

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#82 SkinnyD
September 08 2009, 09:56AM
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David S wrote:

Holy crap. Alot of you guys are penciling in O’Sully on the first line? Based on what? Penner looks to be the logical option right now, but even Cogliano, Gagner or Comrie (?) would seem to be be more productive. Not to mention that Nilsson is coming back pissed off and ready to rock (OK - so he says - but its his last at bat). Yeah. O’Sully is a “shooter”alright, but I’ve yet to see if he’s a “scorer”. Man. Jason Strudwick has a better shot %. Looks like the Schremp blind spot is spreading around here.

Why is Penner more 'logical'? IMO, it's also logical to spread out the size given that we've got our share of smurfs, no? Not to mention he doesn't necessarily perform the best under pressure.

Horcoff has a decent nose for the net - maybe he and Hemsky could benefit from some juicy rebounds thanks to a LW that shoots before he asks questions.

It's all conjecture - but unless we get someone else proven brought in for the job, I don't think it's any less logical than what you're suggesting...

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#83 LOIL
September 08 2009, 04:40PM
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Ross Creek...you dont happen to be a Renegade do you?

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#84 RossCreek
September 08 2009, 04:56PM
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LOIL wrote:

Ross Creek…you dont happen to be a Renegade do you?

?

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#85 LOIL
September 09 2009, 09:28AM
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NM...guy in my hockey pool named Ross Creek Renegades.

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