Khabibulin To Have Surgery

Jonathan Willis
January 13 2010 11:25AM

The Edmonton Oilers have finally announced what we all suspected was going to happen: Nikolai Khabibulin will undergo surgery to repair the herniated disc in his back.

I don't really have all that much to say at this juncture.  I've contended that this was a poor signing from day one, for a variety of reasons, despite the popular acclaim that Tambellini received around these parts for finally dumping that cantankerous old Roloson and adding a Stanley cup-winning goalie.

Last week I referenced a Pat Quinn comment - that Khabibulin went through something similar last season in Chicago - and concluded the following:

This is about risk management. Had Steve Tambellini signed Khabibulin to a one-year contract, I couldn’t argue forcefully that he’d made a poor decision; it would have been a short-term bet on a player coming off a fine season. If Khabibulin’s performance wasn’t all that good, or a long-term injury issue popped up, come summer the Oilers would have been free and clear.
Tambellini didn’t sign Khabibulin to a one-year contract. He signed him to a four-year contract, despite the player’s age and injury history. It was a reckless move that showed an utter inability to effectively manage risks – and despite Tambellini’s rather short time at the helm, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if it turned out to be a move that led to his dismissal.

My opinion hasn't changed since then; this was an egregious error on the part of the general manager and it, combined with his other errors, has left me with absolutely no confidence that Tambellini can turn this franchise around. Say what you will about Kevin Lowe; he never iced the worst team in the Western Conference.

Anyone interested in a rehash of the other reasons this was such a poor signing can read any or all of the links below:

  • A Bad Day/Where Do We Go From Here: July 1
  • The Official 2009 NHL Free Agent Thread: July 1
  • A Loser Move For A Loser Franchise: July 1
  • Loser Move, Part II: July 1
  • Relentless Incompetence: July 3
  • As The Dust Clears: July 10
  • NHL Games Missed Due To Injury Since The Lockout: July 12
  • Building A Tandem: July 23
  • The (Almost) top 50 Goalies Over The Last Three Seasons: July 23
  • Most Injury-Prone Starters in the NHL: July 24
  • The Goalie Market And Excuses: July 25
  • Testing Ken Holland: July 26
  • The Best Goalies Since The Lockout: July 28
  • Yet Another Angle on Khabibulin: July 29
  • At Least He's Not Likely To Play On Any Warm Days: September 24
  • Is The President 90 Feet Tall: December 13
  • Fool Me Once: December 16
  • Other Than That, How Did You Enjoy The Play, Mrs. Lincoln: December 19

Signing Khabibulin was a bad decision.  The fact that it was a bad decision was painfully obvious from the moment it was announced.  It's a decision that should probably cost Steve Tambellini his job.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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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#103 Dyckster
January 13 2010, 02:55PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Rick:

I'm not crazy about Rutherford as a G.M., but there's no doubt the man's accountable.

Maybe Tambellini should ask Deslauriers how that works.

~you could also ask thecaptainethanmoreau~

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#104 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 13 2010, 03:05PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ogden Brother Jr.

Unsurprising, though. We expect stupidity from Eklund. We shouldn't expect it from our G.M.

(I agree on the humour)

It'll be interesting to see what this team does before the start of next year. Tambo could very well make 2 or 3 moves and been liked once again.

Realistically 4-5 trades/signings and drafting top 3 and we could be fighting for the playoffs next year. And I'm not talking about trading for a top all-around d-man and signing kovalchuk

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#105 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 13 2010, 03:10PM
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Looks like I'm a little late to the party, but I think I remember that cap conversation with Gregor from awhile back.

Iirc, the cap hit stays to discourage front-loaded contracts for aging players who are unlikely to see their contract to term.

The restriction does not apply to 1-year contracts because by definition they cannot be front-loaded. I think this is where some of the confusion regarding the first year of the contract has come from.

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#107 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 13 2010, 03:19PM
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Why are we supposed to be mad about what Tambs says publicly?

We're mad when he wont rip his team, but should be happy if he said he's going to trade half the team?

Why do we care what he says, what he does is what shapes the team.

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#108 danjo1
January 13 2010, 03:21PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

RE: Cap Hit

I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not a CBA expert, but as I understand it Dan's comment #39 is correct.

CBA Article 50.2 (c) (iv) is the relevant portion. Khabibulin's cap hit is his cap hit no matter what happens - the Oilers can exceed the salary cap by the amount of the cap hit if Khabibulin is medically unfit to play, and they can save 100K by assigning him to the minors - but either way, Nikolai Khabibulin will count against the cap.

Which is why signing an injury-prone goaltender older than 35 to a four year contract was a stupid idea.

oh... poop...

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#109 Bucknuck
January 13 2010, 03:33PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Why are we supposed to be mad about what Tambs says publicly?

We're mad when he wont rip his team, but should be happy if he said he's going to trade half the team?

Why do we care what he says, what he does is what shapes the team.

x2

It's his lack of action that makes me want to scream.

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#111 danjo1
January 13 2010, 03:41PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I'd like to hope he's trying to do something at least. If he's dismantling the team, I understand not criticizing anyone publicly just because of trade value... But then again, to think that the Oilers can win their way out of this mess is just naive.

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#113 JorgeR
January 13 2010, 03:51PM
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I just found out its Prongers fault this team sucks! I should have known!

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#114 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 13 2010, 03:52PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I wouldn't be mad in the least if, at any point over his year and a half as Oilers hockey czar, he'd proven he knows how to be an effective G.M.

He hasn't. He's shown a woeful lack of ability and now he's refusing to discuss the future for reasons that insult the intelligence of anyone paying anything approaching a reasonable amount of attention.

I don't especially want to see him rip on the team. I do want to see him acknowledge the problem.

I don't know, the team is clearly in a fragile state. Even though the majority of the fans now want them the lose, and I'm sure managment realizes it's best for them to lose, their job is still to win hockey games. I can see why he would not want to do something that could decreas the likelyhood of them doing their jobs (which saying he's going to trade X, Y and Z amount of players would do).

He's already said he's looking at who he wants long term, now isn't the time to make rash decisions so who cares if he wants to evaluate individual players for another 20 games before he moves or keeps player X.

I guess I just don't see why we care if he acknowledges certain problems or not. As long as he knows what they are. (and he may not...but that will be refleted in his actions)

I am a firm believer that Tambillini is responsible for the vast majority of the Oilers problems, I just don't see "what he says publicly" as a tangible problem.

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#115 dunciano
January 13 2010, 03:53PM
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Ethan Moreau is a penis.

Asked by Dave Mitchell about his penalty last night he says, "I don't give it a second thought".

Again no ownership of his mistakes, failures.

No, "I let my teammates down".

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#116 Dyckster
January 13 2010, 03:56PM
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dunciano wrote:

Ethan Moreau is a penis.

Asked by Dave Mitchell about his penalty last night he says, "I don't give it a second thought".

Again no ownership of his mistakes, failures.

No, "I let my teammates down".

Wow, if that's true (link please), he is the biggest douche to wear the "C" in the history of sports.

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#117 Rigger
January 13 2010, 04:01PM
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Racki wrote:

hopefully they install a water cooler in his back while they're in there to keep Rehabibulin fully hydrated.

Ok, I am guttin myself over this. Well played sir!

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#119 danjo1
January 13 2010, 04:03PM
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@dunciano

If that's true, then that guy has to be removed from this team ASAP. He's turning into a cancer(I don't use that term loosely) that's destroying whatever is left player's attitudes on this team.

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#120 dunciano
January 13 2010, 04:09PM
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Dyckster wrote:

Wow, if that's true (link please), he is the biggest douche to wear the "C" in the history of sports.

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=513410&navid=DL|EDM|home

Moreau the arrogant.

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#121 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 13 2010, 04:10PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I don't know, the team is clearly in a fragile state. Even though the majority of the fans now want them the lose, and I'm sure managment realizes it's best for them to lose, their job is still to win hockey games. I can see why he would not want to do something that could decreas the likelyhood of them doing their jobs (which saying he's going to trade X, Y and Z amount of players would do).

He's already said he's looking at who he wants long term, now isn't the time to make rash decisions so who cares if he wants to evaluate individual players for another 20 games before he moves or keeps player X.

I guess I just don't see why we care if he acknowledges certain problems or not. As long as he knows what they are. (and he may not...but that will be refleted in his actions)

I am a firm believer that Tambillini is responsible for the vast majority of the Oilers problems, I just don't see "what he says publicly" as a tangible problem.

People equate 'acknowledging the problem' with the likelihood that Tambo's going to do something other than what he's done for the past 18 months.

We don't have any reason to believe that he will trade player X at all because he hasn't said anything to that effect, and his track record suggests he might try to sign X to a long-term extension that causes cap issues.

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#122 SirFozz
January 13 2010, 04:11PM
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dunciano wrote:

Ethan Moreau is a penis.

Asked by Dave Mitchell about his penalty last night he says, "I don't give it a second thought".

Again no ownership of his mistakes, failures.

No, "I let my teammates down".

We don't need this kind of attitude from someone with this much stroke in the organization. Really, someone needs to beat off the C right from his chest. How hard is it to grasp not to keep taking these stupid penalties. He provides Corson with stiff competition as worst captain ever. Ok, I'll stop.

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#123 rubbertrout
January 13 2010, 04:11PM
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AO wrote:

There is no way that is a bad signing. Yes he is aged... But you cannot say that he wasn't playing to the value of his contract prior to the injury. If he career is done, you have free cap space to sign another UFA goalie.

Everyone is pining for Roloson but he is 40 and if he got injured I am sure the blogs would be filled with the cry of it being a bad signing.

They chose the best goalie available and he was doing the job, injury was unfortunate. Injury risk something every player faces, you can't hedge against that.

Nobody signed Roli to a long term deal.

I'd rather have taken Roli at two years that Khabby at this debacle. I've said that all along.

Is Khabby better than Roli? Absolutely when healthy this is a slam dunk. Would signing Roli to a 2 year deal been better for the team? Absolutely.

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#124 Archaeologuy
January 13 2010, 04:12PM
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@SirFozz

Corson didnt pilot the team to last in the West.

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#125 rubbertrout
January 13 2010, 04:13PM
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danjo1 wrote:

I could swear I saw an article by Jason Gregor saying that if he were to retire in the first year of his contract due to injury, his salary doesn't count against the cap... I just can't find the article.

Gregor has been known to make mistakes in cap related topics.

I understand that is if he is on LTIR they get releif but not otherwise because he was over 35 when he signed.

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#126 Rick
January 13 2010, 04:22PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

You're probably right about that. I find the Oilers' public statements to be, as a rule, salt in the wound but they're certainly not a primary concern.

They just annoy me.

That's a large part of it for me as well.

It offends me as a fan that they will ass kiss the paying public by talking about how knowledgeable, passionate and committed we are when it comes time to pry the money out of our jeans and yet now that it's evident to even the thirstiest kool-aid drinker that the team is a mess and changes need to be made they seem to be taking the approach that suggests they figure we actually don't get it, understand the situation or can comprehend what needs to be done.

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#127 dunciano
January 13 2010, 04:29PM
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SirFozz wrote:

We don't need this kind of attitude from someone with this much stroke in the organization. Really, someone needs to beat off the C right from his chest. How hard is it to grasp not to keep taking these stupid penalties. He provides Corson with stiff competition as worst captain ever. Ok, I'll stop.

On the other hand I am VERY impressed with Souray!

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#128 dunciano
January 13 2010, 04:30PM
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http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=513410&navid=DL|EDM|home

For Souray comments

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#129 Fiveandagame
January 13 2010, 04:58PM
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@dunciano

I picked him as my goat for the year. But I was wrong.

thecaptainmoreau is not a goat.

He's an Ass

Check out this interview with him and Patrick O'Sullivan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac2yP_DbHxc

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#130 Senator Theo
January 13 2010, 05:02PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

I suspect we'll here from our old friend sooner than later.

Do you have him hidden in your trunk?

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#131 RossCreekNation
January 13 2010, 05:03PM
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@Fiveandagame

LOL. When I saw who posted it, I knew I had to check it out and I knew what to expect. You didn't disappoint sir.

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#132 Dan the Man
January 13 2010, 05:05PM
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dunciano wrote:

Ethan Moreau is a penis.

Asked by Dave Mitchell about his penalty last night he says, "I don't give it a second thought".

Again no ownership of his mistakes, failures.

No, "I let my teammates down".

I have to say that I didn't believe it until I heard it myself. Now I want to punch him in the spine.

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#133 RossCreekNation
January 13 2010, 05:06PM
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Bob Cobb wrote:

Well apparently Halak is coming to Edmonton, along with the Kostitsyn brothers, for one of Souray and Stortini, or Cogliano or Smid. Its from Eklund and is considered to be done but Eklund is an idiot who lacks common sense something I have realized isn't as common as I once thought.

Where'd you see that? All I see is...

A source has told me that Halak (plus a draft pick) could be heading to Edmonton and that Cogliano and Jeff Petry (Michigan State D-man) could be headed to Montreal

Not that it makes it any more credible.

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#134 dunciano
January 13 2010, 05:06PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

I picked him as my goat for the year. But I was wrong.

thecaptainmoreau is not a goat.

He's an Ass

Check out this interview with him and Patrick O'Sullivan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac2yP_DbHxc

Hahahaha

NICE!

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#135 Chris.
January 13 2010, 05:10PM
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I must admit I'm surprised by the mood here today. Apparently all that DFF talk was a lot of hot air. Last night was the best possible DFF scenario: Minicamp...ineffective; Carolina....another win; Khabibulin....out indefinately... So all you self professed DFFers: Where is all your false bravado? Where is all the phoney joy?

Let's face it... It hurts to lose again and again.

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#136 Chris.
January 13 2010, 05:10PM
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Accidental double post: edited.

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#137 Canadian Maniac
January 13 2010, 05:11PM
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I only bring this up because discussing Eklund rumors is only slightly less depressing than discussing the Oil's play this season, but he's updated the details on the trade rumor. He's mentioned that Cogliano and Halak are involved, amongst (unnamed) others.

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#138 madjam
January 13 2010, 05:18PM
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Welcome to the world of C.Y.A.(Cover your Asses) management practice !! How convenient it is to send for surgery now (Khabby) - well played Tams and company : you should have done this along time ago not wait till season is basically tanked . That should make management happy , as they can now blame season on the goaltenders and not themselves !! Why some of these clowns in upper management still have a job with how they have performed is truly a mystery ? Excuses, excuses , excuses with these guys . Chances Khabby will return ,with form after ,are iffy at best and may be short term only . It's annoying they waited so long with what looked like an obvious choice after a couple of weeks .

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#139 Tambo's Spin Doktor
January 13 2010, 05:18PM
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"The goal of this franchise has always been to ice a competitive team of the highest calibre. While management as a whole still has the utmost confidence in the players that we have and their abilities on an individual scale, it has become clear that the team that has been assembled as a unit doesn't have the depth in all positions to contend with the number of injuries we've seen this year. It's going to require some significant changes to ensure that going forward, we ice a team of players whose varying skill sets cover all facets of the game needed to succeed at this level.

"And I want to make myself abundantly clear on that point. Our current problems aren't from a lack of talent, skill or drive on the part of individual players that are wearing the jersey game in and game out, but instead from holes in the overall composition of the team that have unfortunately become clear over the course of this season; holes that we fully intend to fill over the coming year, whether that be by trade or free agency or from within the organization."

Accountability, excuse, and plan all rolled into one without devaluing the bums all of us fans hope get traded as soon as f*ck1n possible.

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#140 fiveandagame
January 13 2010, 05:19PM
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@RossCreekNation

Well thank you fine sir. A little levity around Oil country is sadly needed.

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#141 Archaeologuy
January 13 2010, 05:27PM
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@Chris.

Just because we think it's the best thing for us doesnt mean we like it, nor does it mean we think Tambi can competently use the tools available to maximize this opportunity to rebuild.

Losing sucks, but like Buckley's sometimes it's what you need.

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#142 SirFozz
January 13 2010, 05:29PM
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Chris. wrote:

I must admit I'm surprised by the mood here today. Apparently all that DFF talk was a lot of hot air. Last night was the best possible DFF scenario: Minicamp...ineffective; Carolina....another win; Khabibulin....out indefinately... So all you self professed DFFers: Where is all your false bravado? Where is all the phoney joy?

Let's face it... It hurts to lose again and again.

You mean Fall for Hall. We DFFers have set our sights higher and are quite pleased how things are going. Would we rather see the Oilers leading the West? Of course. But this beats another 10th place finish. Or maybe you're happy watching that year in and year out.

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#143 Chris.
January 13 2010, 05:30PM
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@Tambo's Spin Doktor

Holes readily identified by many regular fans and media all last season/offseason... Holes that were inexplicably never addressed. Thanks for another great year of evaluation Tambo!

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#144 RossCreekNation
January 13 2010, 05:35PM
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Dive for five.

Fall for Hall.

Beggin for Seguin.

Failure for Fowler.

Neilson & Chase had Central Scouting head man EJ McGuire on this morning. He stated that its his belief that nothing separates the three right now, and that all 3 are likely to be in the NHL next season.

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#145 RossCreekNation
January 13 2010, 05:35PM
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Holy. has the site color changed for everyone else?

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#146 Chris.
January 13 2010, 05:36PM
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@RossCreekNation

Even OilersNation has given up on blue.

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#148 Chris.
January 13 2010, 05:38PM
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I like Seguin... (Unless everyone here wants to see three more years of Horcoff being the number one center)

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#150 RossCreekNation
January 13 2010, 05:39PM
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Chris. wrote:

Even OilersNation has given up on blue.

Haha. Thats what I was thinkin. Perhaps Wanye just got home and pulled the plug.

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