'Suitcase' packs his bags for Oil City

Jason Gregor
September 03 2009 02:47PM

mike-sillinger

The Oilers filled the void of Bob Mancini with Mike Sillinger, who spent 17 years in the NHL. "Suitcase" Sillinger, a nickname he earned after playing for 12 different NHL teams, will start immediately.

Here is a quote from the Oilers press release.

"We are very excited to have Mike fill such an important role with us," said Tambellini. "We know his experience of 1,000-plus NHL games will benefit our younger players and the development of their careers."

As a member of the Oilers Hockey Management Team, Sillinger will work closely with all Oiler draft picks in the junior, college and European ranks. He will also be working with Edmonton’s prospects in the AHL and ECHL.

Sillinger has seen action with 12 NHL clubs, most recently suiting up for the New York Islanders last year. Originally drafted 11th overall in 1990 by the Detroit Red Wings, Sillinger began his NHL career in Detroit before continuing on to play for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders.

Mancini returned to the Oilers as Development Coach in 2007, but was let go earlier this year. He was also previously a member of Edmonton’s scouting staff for four seasons between 2000-01 and 2003-04. He left the Oilers after that to become the General Manager and head coach of the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

Sillinger has lots of NHL experience, and should be able to help the young kids through different transitions of their career, since he moved around so often, but this is his first venture into management so we’ll how he fares in this role. I guess this ends the ridiculous rumblings yesterday that stated Jason Smith would take this job. Smith will stay in Ottawa for at least another year.

Oil tidbits

I spoke with Robert Nilsson today after his skate at the Kinsmen Arenas and he looks like he has gained a few pounds and says he feels much stronger and in much better shape than previous seasons. He changed his off-season program and spent time working with a coach every day, rather than working out by himself.

"What I used to accomplish in two hours by myself, I would get done in 20 minutes with my coach this summer. I feel much better and certain I will make a good impression from the start of camp," said Nilsson.

What is interesting is that as we spoke Mike Comrie strolled by and didn’t talk to the media today. When I asked Nilsson if he was concerned about a player like Comrie coming into camp he replied, "Not at all. He is a good player and we all want to win, if he helps us that is great."

What Nilsson might not know is, that if Comrie comes in he could push Nilsson out of a job. I’d rather roll the dice with Nilsson over Comrie at this points, but we'll see.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 HoNich
September 03 2009, 02:55PM
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Heard anything on the Kessel front? Is there even a chance of it happening?

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#2 RyanB
September 03 2009, 03:07PM
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I'm not the biggest Nilsson fan but yeah you go with him over Comrie for sure. Seems like a no brainer to me, almost guarantees the Oil do the opposite.

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#3 SkinnyD
September 03 2009, 03:08PM
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With Comrie you know what you're getting.

With Nilsson you don't.

Not always better to go with the devil you know?

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#4 Coprnblue
September 03 2009, 03:12PM
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We don't need Comrie, another small forward is not the answer. Plus, I think, a lot of players (ie. Penner & Nilsson) are going to be turning things around under the new regime.

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#5 mrzael
September 03 2009, 03:15PM
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I think that if indeed the lights gdo go on for Kenta's kid he'll be all and more than Bill Comrie's kid.

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#6 Hunter
September 03 2009, 03:17PM
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Why not spend the 1.5 M on Malhotra? Anybody know the reason we don't like him? Isn't he more of what we need in a player at this point if we're bringing somebody else in?

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#7 Ned Flanders
September 03 2009, 03:19PM
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Comrie in, Nilsson out. Comrie can help mentor Gagner and Cogliano*

*Gagner will be sleeping with Bulin's wife in 5..4..3..2...

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#8 Bill Rizer
September 03 2009, 03:20PM
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Woo Silly the Suitcase is coming to Etown. I can thank him in person for the run he went on a couple years ago to carry me to fantasy glory.

As for Comrie I don't deny he's got some skills, but where is he going to fit? We seem pretty set (unfortunately) with Horcoff and Gagne down the middle on the top two lines. Comrie isn't a third or fourth line presence.

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#9 SkinnyD
September 03 2009, 03:20PM
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Coprnblue wrote:

We don’t need Comrie, another small forward is not the answer. Plus, I think, a lot of players (ie. Penner & Nilsson) are going to be turning things around under the new regime.

Nilsson's had plenty of chances - hopefully the new coaching will help him - but ultimately a player's fate lies in his own hands.

I'd take Comrie over Nilsson in a heartbeat right now. Of course yes..we could use some size instead - but we don't see the big picture (that hopefully management IS looking at) and perhaps there is a trade or 12 in the works for some addition by subtraction and Nilsson is halfway out the door already...

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#10 GSC
September 03 2009, 03:23PM
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Comrie > Nilsson.

Less money, proven past performance. I'll take Mike for Robert to go, please.

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#11 Ender the Dragon
September 03 2009, 03:25PM
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It's been reported that Comrie was skating with a number of Oilers in pre-camp conditioning sessions. The dirt today is that it's maybe more than that. My courier just let me know that Comrie's game equipment was delivered to Rexall this afternoon. Does that signal at least a try-out? Comrie wouldn't have game equipment delivered to Rexall via courier if he was just skating with the boys, would he?

Regarding Sillinger, I'm kind of disappointed that he won't be working more closely with the boys on the big club. In 122 face-offs with NYI last season, he went better than 58% on the dot. I wish he could teach our centers, be they Comrie or otherwise, how he did that.

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#12 Legion
September 03 2009, 03:26PM
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I thought I read that comrie isn't in the cards straight from tambo today

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#13 Jonathan Willis
September 03 2009, 03:26PM
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The difference - the key, most important difference - between Comrie and Nilsson is simply this:

Robert Nilsson is under contract, and will cost something to dispose of. Mike Comrie is not under contract, and will cost something to acquire.

If the difference in performance is not large, then the course of action is obvious in a choice between the two.

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#14 Gunner
September 03 2009, 03:30PM
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Replacing Bobby with Mike would be ok if it doesn't cost us anything...

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#15 Legion
September 03 2009, 03:30PM
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It was Dan barnes of the journal

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#16 GSC
September 03 2009, 03:30PM
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Can't wait for Brownlee to get on the air...

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#17 I'm a Scientist!
September 03 2009, 03:44PM
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Er... so Tambo says there are no plans to take on Comrie. I guess that means Mike Comrie is an Oiler. Dang.

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#18 Ender the Dragon
September 03 2009, 03:51PM
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@ Legion:

Tambo didn't exactly say Comrie wasn't in the cards. He said:

“No decisions have been made to add any player to our roster. We’ve got a full roster, we’ve got salary cap issues. Nothing’s been decided at this point.

That's a dance around the question with a healthy sprinkling of spin. Add to this the fact that Tambo is reportedly (and justifiably) not happy with this move Katz has instrumented, and I can see why he answered the question the way he did.

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#19 SkinnyD
September 03 2009, 04:04PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The difference - the key, most important difference - between Comrie and Nilsson is simply this: Robert Nilsson is under contract, and will cost something to dispose of. Mike Comrie is not under contract, and will cost something to acquire. If the difference in performance is not large, then the course of action is obvious in a choice between the two.

Would it be unbelievably bad business to put Nilsson on waivers and sign Comrie? If Nilsson gets picked up, I suppose we've 'disposed' of him for nothing - but indirectly gained someone that's perhaps a step ahead and cheaper.

I know you always want to get a return on investment, and at least get a pick. Maybe management gets forced into a move like this if Katz is forcing the Comrie thing?

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#20 quicksilver ballet
September 03 2009, 04:25PM
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Was he a good face-off guy?

Maybe he could be here for training camp and work with our centers on draws.

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#21 gogliano
September 03 2009, 04:38PM
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So if you role the dice does that mean you are playing the dice in a role playing game?

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#22 Westcoastoil
September 03 2009, 04:39PM
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If they sign Comrie and go into the season with 8 french fries (Gagne, Cogs, Sully, Nilsson, Hemsky, Comrie, Brule, Pouliot) I may get physically sick to my stomach. That line-up will get eaten alive.

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#23 ChiliChunk
September 03 2009, 04:47PM
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quicksilver ballet wrote:

Was he a good face-off guy?

2008-09 = 58.2% (only 7gp) 2007-08 = 56.3% (52gp) 2006-07 = 58.8% (82gp)

so that would be a yes

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#24 HoNich
September 03 2009, 04:53PM
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Westcoastoil wrote:

If they sign Comrie and go into the season with 8 french fries (Gagne, Cogs, Sully, Nilsson, Hemsky, Comrie, Brule, Pouliot) I may get physically sick to my stomach. That line-up will get eaten alive.

Montreal thinks that kinda lineup gets you a cup.

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#25 Word
September 03 2009, 05:38PM
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Losing Nilsson would be regretted....

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#26 Cam
September 03 2009, 05:44PM
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You guys sure get excited.

Kotalik out, Brule in Brodziak out, Comrie in

Doesn't seem earth shattering to me... we won't get pushed around more than last year with comrie int he line up since Brodziak played smaller than Comrie does.

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#27 Jason Gregor
September 03 2009, 06:08PM
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gogliano wrote:

So if you role the dice does that mean you are playing the dice in a role playing game?

Mistype....ripped that off in a few minutes before my show. Relax. And now the wonderous BingoFuel has fixed it.

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#28 Travis Dakin
September 03 2009, 06:08PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Is this what we are reduced too? Their -Posessive ie: They took THEIR ball home They're- short for THEY ARE ie: THEY'RE doing something There- location description ie: Put it over

THERE "THEY'RE palying with THEIR ball over THERE."

How about "of" or "have"..... It's "Comrie should not HAVE left to begin with" Not "Comrie should not OF left to begin with"

We all make spelling and Grammar mistakes from time to time.... Especially on the Nation with it's lack of a damn edit button.

Oh look at this post from Jonathan Willis on September 1st titled, "Powerplay Options"

"Because so little of the game is spent on the powerplay, it’s difficult to get a good idea of a player’s proficiency on the powerplay from a single year – the numbers are just to small."

It should be TOO. This could be a spelling mistake or a grammar mistake and it doesn't really matter but for whatever reason it drives me nuts a little. BOOYA!!!! hahaha you know I love you Willis!

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#29 Travis Dakin
September 03 2009, 06:11PM
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Oh come on!! I spend all that time working on a rebuttle and then you erase your post? haha take mine down now too.... please.

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#30 Travis Dakin
September 03 2009, 06:13PM
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And furthur more, I hate it when I type something in this little box using spaces and jumping lines and it looks good but when I press enter and post it, it all gets mixed up and I look like an idiot..... HAHA

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#31 -30-
September 03 2009, 07:47PM
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Does it really make sense to add another contract and get even closer to the cap with a player like Comrie?

Wouldn't an executive who is looking beyond immediate returns keep a little roster and cap space room so that a few weeks into the season when a better, bigger player becomes available the Oil wouldn't be hamstrung?

The philosophy the team seems to have is that if you've got money, spend it. Why is this cap money burning a hole in the pocket of Lowe?

We're going to be stuck in mediocre land until Lowe is gone.

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#32 Jonathan Willis
September 03 2009, 07:50PM
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@ Travis Dakin:

I dint actuly erase it Im asuming bignofuel did for my owne good, cause pickin on grammar makes me look pety ;)

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#33 Jonathan Willis
September 03 2009, 07:51PM
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@ Travis Dakin:

And ouch ;)

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#34 Kam
September 03 2009, 07:57PM
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Seems like the Oilers are looking pretty good in the coaching department and upstairs except Klowe, I would think they could come up with something better then Mike Comrie. Sure would love to see Kessel here. Hey Greger are you and your man purse heading down to Telus Field to see Bryan Adams Tomorrow night?

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#35 Archaeologuy
September 03 2009, 08:48PM
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@ Travis Dakin: Sir, you wield grammar like a knife in the back alley of the interwebs. Now, if only the education system could explain "then" and "than" sufficiently.

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#36 Antony Ta
September 03 2009, 09:05PM
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Ned Flanders wrote:

Comrie in, Nilsson out. Comrie can help mentor Gagner and Cogliano* *Gagner will be sleeping with Bulin’s wife in 5..4..3..2…

You left out the diddly-dum-doodily.

I put as much stock in the Comrie rumours as I do in the Pronger rumours.

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#37 wazy08
September 03 2009, 09:12PM
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Hey Gregor what was the shot at "Clareview" guys as not being tough? LOL. Us NS boys fight fair, with fists, bats, and beer bottles, not like them southsiders with drive bys, molotov cocktails, and guns? Cheap asses....just kidding buddy

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#38 ronaldo
September 03 2009, 09:15PM
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@ Anthony Ta No dude, the Pronger rumours are totally true. I heard it from a friend of a friend whose second cousin was dating a neighbor of one of the 2006 Oilers.

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#39 ronaldo
September 03 2009, 09:19PM
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@ wazy08 That's because the southsiders can afford cars. ZING!

PS Joking, don't stab me

PPS Joking about the stabbing thing. Seriously though, don't hurt me.

*backs away slowly*

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#40 Travis Dakin
September 03 2009, 09:53PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: HAHA I only said something because I got ripped a couple of days ago about the Roll/Role thing,

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#41 wazy08
September 03 2009, 11:32PM
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@ ronaldo: Whats the difference between southsiders having cars you can afford, and us northsiders affording ourselves to your car? besides I dont bring a knife to a gun fight anyways...lol

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#42 Joey Moss
September 03 2009, 11:54PM
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my first thought was that the team had signed him as a player... i almost sh*t.

this can't hurt to have another new face with the club.

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#43 Hemmertime
September 04 2009, 01:07AM
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ronaldo wrote:

@ wazy08 PS Joking, don’t stab me PPS Joking about the stabbing thing. Seriously though, don’t hurt me.

lol. I dont feel safe on the north side, the south side people get shot, you assume it was for a reason. The North Side they will stab you for your shoes.

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#44 Pouzar
September 04 2009, 08:50AM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

If Tambi is truly butting heads to some degree with Katz over Comrie, at least we know he has a mind of his own and is not a puppet.

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