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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#1 Clarkenstein
September 03 2009, 10:07PM
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He didn't show me much last year but I'm hoping a fresh start with a new staff will be the tonic.

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#2 DangerMan
September 03 2009, 10:13PM
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The question is how will the coaching staff utilize him? is he a shooter, a playmaker, a checker? O'Sullivan brings a lot of tools to the game but hasn't shown the ability to excel at any of them yet at the NHL level. The challenge will be to pull one of these aspects out of O'Sullivan and get him to excel at it.

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#3 Jonathan Willis
September 03 2009, 10:18PM
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@ DangerMan:

He's a shooter. He fires the puck more than anyone else on the roster.

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#4 Jonathan Willis
September 03 2009, 10:21PM
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And yes, I'm a big believer in O'Sullivan.

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#5 jono
September 03 2009, 10:21PM
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Didn't Stoll call him one of the best penalty killers he had played with? I remember reading a quote like that,and imho that means something coming from him. He also referred to him as "scary aggresive" in regards to penaly killing. Anyway, just excited to see what Patty can do.

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#6 DangerMan
September 03 2009, 10:24PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

The point I'm bringing up is, at least if one aspect of his game falters, he can play in other positions doing different things, his versatility will keep in the NHL.

Obviously this team is bereft of shooters and he would be a good start.

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#7 DangerMan
September 03 2009, 10:28PM
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Hopefully O'Sullivan can improve on the 3% shooting percentage he had with the Oilers. He just wasn't shooting the puck with any conviction when he came over from the Kings.

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#8 Death Metal Nightmare
September 03 2009, 10:28PM
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i love how most of the posters have no idea what sort of game guys have unless they have Oilers jerseys on. "duh?!? dugh dugh dugh!? duh checker?! fart."

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#9 Death Metal Nightmare
September 03 2009, 10:31PM
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@ DangerMan:

WTF does that even mean. a 3% shooting accuracy is based on "conviction"? how did you measure his conviction? your convictometer? you people need to just realize he didnt mesh well in the short amount of time he had and stop microscopically looking for stats while making up other fake categories you cant measure - like "shot conviction".

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#10 DangerMan
September 03 2009, 10:33PM
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@ Death Metal Nightmare: I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Re-read my post and try again,

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#11 rickithebear
September 03 2009, 10:35PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ DangerMan: He’s a shooter. He fires the puck more than anyone else on the roster.

JW: he is a career 7.5% shooter. Which means he requires 333 shot to get 25 goals. A team only has so many shots in a game.

I would like to see those 333 shots spread out between Cogliano 15.5% Pisani 13.3% Horcoff 12.8% Penner 12.4%

That would be 20 more goals than what O'sullivan gets you.

Just saying!

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#12 Archaeologuy
September 03 2009, 10:40PM
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he shoots and guys like gagner and penner will be there to bury the rebound. i hope he has a good camp and comes out guns a blazin.

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#13 freeze
September 03 2009, 10:46PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

he shoots and guys like gagner and penner will be there to bury the rebound. i hope he has a good camp and comes out guns a blazin.

that would be mighty nice.

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#14 jeanshorts
September 03 2009, 10:46PM
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I personally think that Sully is going to bust out this year. I'm going go ahead and pencil him in as my Champ for Wanye Gretz's second annual "Edmonton Oilers Champ And Goat Picks".

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#15 Archaeologuy
September 03 2009, 10:52PM
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@ jeanshorts: Really? I think that a lot will be made of Horc if he cant pull his crap together and play like he did pre-shoulder injury/massive contract. My dark horses for the Goat (!?) will be Nilsson and Moreau.

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#16 Robin Brownlee
September 03 2009, 10:53PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I personally think that Sully is going to bust out this year. I’m going go ahead and pencil him in as my Champ for Wanye Gretz’s second annual “Edmonton Oilers Champ And Goat Picks”.

Read the fifth paragraph, pencil neck. I already did that.

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#17 jeanshorts
September 03 2009, 11:17PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Pencil neck. Clearly you've never seen me pull up to a buffet. And excuse me sir, but I clearly did not see anything about Wanye Gretz's second annual Edmonton Oilers Champ And Goat Picks. And shouldn't you be yelling at the people that disagree with you? I know you make the rules, but by god man, at least stick to a pattern!

*boards up his apartment and hides in the bathtub, praying to himself that this will all blow over*

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#18 jeanshorts
September 03 2009, 11:21PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

I agree. Horc is probably going to be a lot of people's Goat this year. But I really don't see how he can be any more of a disappointment then last year. I'm still mulling over my goat pick, but right now I'm leaning towards Buzz Hargrove. Shortened season anyone?

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#19 jeanshorts
September 03 2009, 11:22PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Ohhhhh and by bust out, I meant have a stellar year. Bust out of his post trade deadline funk from last year.

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#20 Shapeman
September 03 2009, 11:22PM
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Jeanshorts just make sure you don't have any fake bull balls hangin from your truck hitch or RB is gonna blow his cap. As to regards to Patty O i think he will do better this year but i still don't know where hes gonna fit in this year.

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#21 Archaeologuy
September 03 2009, 11:23PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

*boards up his apartment and hides in the bathtub, praying to himself that this will all blow over*

That's how i made it through Will Smith's "Wild Wild West"

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#22 Archaeologuy
September 03 2009, 11:26PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Ohhhhh and by bust out, I meant have a stellar year. Bust out of his post trade deadline funk from last year.

I figured that out after I posted my reply, no backsies on the interwebs though.

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#23 ScubaSteve
September 03 2009, 11:34PM
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rickithebear wrote:

Jonathan Willis wrote: @ DangerMan: He’s a shooter. He fires the puck more than anyone else on the roster. JW: he is a career 7.5% shooter. Which means he requires 333 shot to get 25 goals. A team only has so many shots in a game. I would like to see those 333 shots spread out between Cogliano 15.5% Pisani 13.3% Horcoff 12.8% Penner 12.4% That would be 20 more goals than what O’sullivan gets you. Just saying!

What a ridiculous statement. O'Sullivan takes more shots than most other players, which is why his % is lower.

No, a team does not "only have so many shots in a game" if they take 25 without Sully, they could have 30 with him, it doesn't take away from other shooters. By that same logic, let's have Stortini take all our shots - 26% baby!

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#24 vern
September 04 2009, 12:01AM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

By that same logic, let’s have Stortini take all our shots - 26% baby!

Alright just get Stortini to take more than 200 shots. 50 goal scorer found.

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#25 kingsblade
September 04 2009, 12:02AM
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@ DangerMan: DangerMan wrote:

@ Death Metal Nightmare: I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Re-read my post and try again,

DangerMan wrote:

Hopefully O’Sullivan can improve on the 3% shooting percentage he had with the Oilers. He just wasn’t shooting the puck with any conviction when he came over from the Kings.

seems pretty clear what he meant. You tried to explain a number with rubbish.

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#26 kingsblade
September 04 2009, 12:11AM
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I've been thinking a bit about how to use O'Sullivan.

I don't know what anyone else thinks of this, but what about using him with Horcoff and maybe either Pisani or Moreau as a sort of all-purpose line?

They could function as a respectable checking line with the ability to score some goals.

That would give you a scoring line of Hemsky-Penner-Gagner and a second scoring line of Cogliano-Nilsson-and a newly signed Comrie.

I know the first thing people will want to say is that they are way to expensive for a 3rd line, but I don't see that as a 3rd line. That would be a line that could potentially play in any possible situation and likely tread water, while hopefully allowing the other lines to play softer opposition.

Just thinking out loud I guess.

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#27 Tayranchula
September 04 2009, 12:42AM
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Would anybody be upset if the first line looked like Ganger O'Sullivan Hemsky Could be dangerous? and second line be Nilson Horcoff Cogs? just a thought

also Nilson and Hemsky have made some sleek passing plays in the past just never finished and Nilson and Ganger are prime together i think (ie them making Boston look silly)

Nilson Ganger Hemsky?

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#28 ShaunDoe
September 04 2009, 02:18AM
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jeanshorts wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: Pencil neck. Clearly you’ve never seen me pull up to a buffet. And excuse me sir, but I clearly did not see anything about Wanye Gretz’s second annual Edmonton Oilers Champ And Goat Picks. And shouldn’t you be yelling at the people that disagree with you? I know you make the rules, but by god man, at least stick to a pattern! *boards up his apartment and hides in the bathtub, praying to himself that this will all blow over*

You're screwed! Brownlee, just like bears, can smell the menstruation

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#29 Lofty
September 04 2009, 07:55AM
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Patty O had a positive +/- on an team that wasnt very good in LA. So maybe all that shooting benefits his teammates more than it does his own stats.

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#30 Lofty
September 04 2009, 07:56AM
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Tayranchula wrote:

Would anybody be upset if the first line looked like Ganger O’Sullivan Hemsky Could be dangerous? and second line be Nilson Horcoff Cogs? just a thought

Who's gonna dig pucks out of the corners and create turnovers?

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#31 ronaldo
September 04 2009, 08:02AM
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I agree with those that agree that O'sully is going to be an important player for us this year. (Huh?) Just having someone out there who wants to shoot the puck will make a difference- good thinks happen when you put the puck on net right? Plus, he's Irish. Anyone else new to the organization Irish- that's right- plenty O'icetime.

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#32 OvenChicken8
September 04 2009, 08:09AM
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Tayranchula wrote:

Would anybody be upset if the first line looked like Ganger O’Sullivan Hemsky

Yes. I can't see those three being able to be more than just mediocre while playing against the other teams top checkers.

ScubaSteve wrote:

By that same logic, let’s have Stortini take all our shots - 26% baby!

Storts is gold, mark him down as my champ this year.

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#33 scorecoff hemmercules
September 04 2009, 08:12AM
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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.

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#34 Robin Brownlee
September 04 2009, 08:18AM
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I'm thinking Cogliano-Gagner-O'Sullivan.

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#35 Lofty
September 04 2009, 08:22AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I’m thinking Cogliano-Gagner-O’Sullivan.

Not very sexy

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#36 Travis Dakin
September 04 2009, 08:33AM
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@ Robin Brownlee: I'm thinking....

Penner-Comrie-Hemsky Cogliano-Horcoff-Pisani Nilsson-Gagner-O'Sullivan Moreau-Pouliot-Stortini

Three scoring lines (Pisani can score as we've all seen before) with one of them being a reasonably effective checking line. Not a 3rd line but more of a 2A and 2B.... Holy crap that's a small line-up but... oh man this team is in trouble.

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#37 Heazues
September 04 2009, 08:45AM
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Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

@ DangerMan: WTF does that even mean. a 3% shooting accuracy is based on “conviction”? how did you measure his conviction? your convictometer? you people need to just realize he didnt mesh well in the short amount of time he had and stop microscopically looking for stats while making up other fake categories you cant measure - like “shot conviction”.

it was actually a pretty simplistic way of describing the way o'sully was playing when he got here. i didnt see any "new made up stat" in there. i saw someone describing the way o'sully looked when he got here.

it may have been a poor choice in words, but it meant the same thing you said. he just simply didnt get his game going in the time he was here. some call it confidence, some call it hard work, others call it conviction. it all means the same thing.

in any case.

i think o'sully will have a much better year this year. he will want to prove his worth just as much as anyone else. i really hope they find a way to use him and maximize his strengths.

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#38 rickithebear
September 04 2009, 08:45AM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

rickithebear wrote: Jonathan Willis wrote: @ DangerMan: He’s a shooter. He fires the puck more than anyone else on the roster. JW: he is a career 7.5% shooter. Which means he requires 333 shot to get 25 goals. A team only has so many shots in a game. I would like to see those 333 shots spread out between Cogliano 15.5% Pisani 13.3% Horcoff 12.8% Penner 12.4% That would be 20 more goals than what O’sullivan gets you. Just saying! What a ridiculous statement. O’Sullivan takes more shots than most other players, which is why his % is lower. No, a team does not “only have so many shots in a game” if they take 25 without Sully, they could have 30 with him, it doesn’t take away from other shooters. By that same logic, let’s have Stortini take all our shots - 26% baby!

Saying Storts is comparable to Cogliano in shooting ability. There is a top one.

Explain to me how we retain control of the puck after O'sullivan has shot from out wide to the keepers chest. Refer to last part of hockey season. Sure does not look like the way to increased team shot count. All that does is get less goals.

Oh wait there is a majical puck pocession fairy that you keep in your pocket for special players like O'sullivan.

Get rid of O'sullivan.

Give the prime Offensive zone minutes to the four guys who can shoot efficiently.

Oh steve! Educate yourself on the scoring % of shots on the offensive zone surface.

Its like a basketball court. Heck espn even gives a shot chart for most NHL games with who shot and context.

Do you take the shots on the side boards or the shots fromt the center top of faceoff circle box.

Remmber the lower precentage side board shot does not get you an extra point.

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#39 quicksilver ballet
September 04 2009, 09:01AM
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The Oilers roster is plumb full of guys like Sully, we just need half of them to have good years before the team realizes any level of success. It didn't happen under the old coaching staff and by Christmas this year we'll know if we're being force fed the same bill of hope as last year.

These are difficult times for us late forty'ish guys. We've grown up watching some of the best hockey ever played and now it seems we're forced to take Jr. High all over again.

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#40 Racki
September 04 2009, 09:29AM
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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.

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#41 Fish
September 04 2009, 09:32AM
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@ rickithebear: Very confusing diatribe.

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#42 Jorge
September 04 2009, 09:43AM
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Id love to try out the top two lines as Cogs - Horc - Hemsky Penner - GaGs - O-Sul

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#43 venue
September 04 2009, 09:47AM
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@ rickithebear: Give your head a shake.

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#44 LOIL
September 04 2009, 09:55AM
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I love the oilers. But I want some of whatever you guys are smoking who keep thinking penner is going to "turn it around". The guy scored 20 some goals playing with Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, the list goes on. We dont have ONE player in that category. There is a reason he wasnt drafted. He is fat and lazy and slow. He hasnt shown up for camp in shape for 4 or 5 years in the NHL why would he start now that he has a long term contract and wants out of edmonton? Give your heads a shake!!

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#45 LOIL
September 04 2009, 09:58AM
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I spend most of my days down in Calgary, since I moved from Edmonton, making fun of co-workers who call the Flames players by a nick name they made up for them like Jiginla or Bouwy. You are not friends with these guys and never will be so stop it so I dont look like a fool if they read some of these posts.

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#46 ronaldo
September 04 2009, 10:11AM
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@ LOILmyster Sorry, nicknames are shorter and thus easier to type for us lazy posters. Poor basterd, surrounded by the enemy- keep representing.

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#47 OvenChicken8
September 04 2009, 10:14AM
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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.

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#48 ronaldo
September 04 2009, 10:15AM
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@ Jorge I would like to see those 2 lines as well, if Cogs (sorry LOIL) can handle it and we have someone to play 3C.

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#49 RossCreek
September 04 2009, 10:24AM
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Ideal 2nd line:

Penner-Gagner-O'Sullivan

Now, if only they could put together an ideal 1st line.

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#50 Racki
September 04 2009, 10:26AM
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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.

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