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Wanye
January 15 2010 09:38AM

Ever see that episode of the Twilight Zone when the guy returns to town from a long trip and finds that everyone has disappeared? He wanders around for ages, everything exactly as it should be on the surface, food burning on the stove, phones working, church bells ringing by an unseen hand...

It's slightly unsettling to see him try and make sense of his new reality and it takes him a far lot longer than you would think to realize that everyone has actually disappeared and the world he had become accustomed to was gone. If you want to creep yourselves out, we highly recommend watching these segments as you read the rest of our first article home. We watched them all and freaked ourselves right out. Fear beats depression, just as paper beats rock.

You see, we mention this very first episode of the longtime TV institution because this is exactly how we feel upon our return to Edmonton and the viewing of our first Oilers game. On the surface things appeared the same at first, but it has soon become apparent that things are very wrong.

Have a beer, Wanye

Last night, we sat down at Wanye Manor to watch the Oilers game with our roommate with whom we have literally watched hundreds of games over the years. Fifteen minutes to puck drop, after having watched Leafs hockey for the past hour, our roommate suddenly gets up, dresses and heads for the door.

"Where are you going?" we asked curiously. "The Oil play the Penguins in like 20 minutes!"

Already halfway outside, our roommate paused for a moment, quietly closed the door and came back and sat down beside us.

"Wanye," he creepily began, "things changed while you were gone. People don't watch Oilers games anymore. The team is just too brutal. In fact I had tickets to tonight's game and I could barely give them away. Here, take this beer. You're gonna need it."

And with that ominous warning he walked out the door, off to do heaven only knows what, heaven knows where.

We cracked the beer he had handed us and sat back to ponder his words. When we left the City of Champions, people were routinely screwing each other over for Oilers tickets. We recall a buddy who gave two weekend tickets to another friend of ours with the explanation that he couldn't attend due to a "work thing." Turns out the "work thing" was actually a date he had carefully planned. Then, at some point around Wednesday, the girl broke it off with him and my friend demanded his tickets back. And back they were given. For this was a different time, Nation, when the world was how we remember it and the Oilers were a skilled team playing before sell out crowds.

Where is everybody?

Sparing you a grisly recap of a 3-2, loss we will simply say that this looks nothing like the team we left. With the exception of a handful of players, the Oilers have completely disappeared. We get the impression that if you wandered around the dressing room down at Rexall you would find an empty dressing room, deserted training centre and empty stands. The scoreboard clock still counts down, ticking off the remaining games of the season. But the helm is untended, the ship is empty and adrift. The place is completely abandoned.

Isn't this the same squad that started 6-2 before 99% of the team caught the flu? Didn't they also set a franchise record of wins on the road a couple of short months ago? Now what have we been left with? One win in the past 14 games? How does this happen?

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

"I'm in the middle of a nightmare I can't wake up from. And I've had it, I'd like to wake up from it now" - The Last Man on Earth, episode of the Twilight Zone

As sickening as the 2-0 collapse was, it was even more disturbing to see the manner in which the announcers on TSN carved the team so deftly during the first intermission. The normal polished banter of the TSN hotstove was replaced with genuine shock and dismay for how far the team had fallen.

Someone or other suggested blowing up the roster up and starting again, only to see the normally never-at-a-loss-for-words Bob MacKenzie shake his head with emotion we can only classify as "bewildered disgust pie dusted with shame sugar" and pointed out under his breath that "no one would take half these contracts." Then the rest of the panel nodded bewilderedly and moved on to a more positive topic, like (insert non-funny topic here.)

Well, surely there is a plan at the Oilers offices though right? It isn't as though the 1,205 hockey executives, coaches, and scouts have completely disappeared from the boardrooms, desks and offices on Kingsway Avenue have they? They must have some sort of grip on how bad things are currently and are just waiting for the opportune moment to strike right?

It isn't as though they are so out of touch with reality that Oilers website cheerily summarizes the game as "nipped by the Pens" or try and get us to watch a quick online video of Ladislav Smid sitting at Japanese Village and sheepishly talking about some garbage or other though right?

The Oilers wouldn't try and pass off a load of tripe like this on a fan base in the midst of the greatest crisis this franchise has ever faced would they? Surely there is someone in charge?

*insert shocked silence here*

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Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#51 dragon
January 15 2010, 03:19PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Anyways. The proper, proffesional thing to do is wait it out and trade him when the offer is there. Not to put him in the A.

from a normal perspective you are right.

and I do hope Tambo can still find this nice and easy way out.

it's just my opinion that the time for nice and easy way out is running out. dragging contracts out hoping for a decent trade might put you in the offer sheet position with some of your impending RFA.

and the last thing you want a rebuilding mode with shark circling around.

and, yes, I'm aware they don't have to say anything about anything, but when your team is subject to discussions around the NHL and you sit 8 points behind 14th spot, the decent thing is to address the issue...

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#52 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 15 2010, 03:26PM
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dragon wrote:

from a normal perspective you are right.

and I do hope Tambo can still find this nice and easy way out.

it's just my opinion that the time for nice and easy way out is running out. dragging contracts out hoping for a decent trade might put you in the offer sheet position with some of your impending RFA.

and the last thing you want a rebuilding mode with shark circling around.

and, yes, I'm aware they don't have to say anything about anything, but when your team is subject to discussions around the NHL and you sit 8 points behind 14th spot, the decent thing is to address the issue...

The odds of any of the teams note worthy RFA's (really just Brule/Gagner) are slim to begin with. Tack on that league wide cap space (and budget room for non cap teams) is at it's lowest point since the cap was emplemented and it makes the risk of an offer sheet almost nill.

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#53 misfit
January 15 2010, 03:29PM
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This is the kind of thing that keeps me coming here. You've just managed to combine my two favorite things in the whole world. The Oilers, and The Twilight Zone.

...ok, 2 of my 3 favorte things.

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#54 Travis Dakin
January 15 2010, 03:29PM
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BUCK 75 said

sort of agree with you. You must have been listening to Tencer & Stauffer last night after the game. i have a problem with the spin our GM is putting o this thing. Khabi the team MVP - come on. Since when was this an award that was handed out in November?

In fairness, and damn I can't believe I am defending this prick... But I think he meant the position in general is the defacto MVP.

Now that I am thinking about it.... It's more likely that he is trying to get the masses to believe that he signed an MVP goalie (honest! Really it's for true!!) and is trying to remind us all of it and forget how stupid he was to sign him.

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#55 Bucknuck
January 15 2010, 04:07PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Obviously you are a briliant individual then.

Your application to the brotherhood is in the mail.

Obviously. ;-)

Does membership in the brotherhood grant me a secret decoder ring that will enable me to figure out just what the heck Katz and Tambellini are thinking?

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#56 Lofty
January 15 2010, 04:07PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

I sort of agree with you. You must have been listening to Tencer & Stauffer last night after the game. i have a problem with the spin our GM is putting o this thing. Khabi the team MVP - come on. Since when was this an award that was handed out in November?

While injuries have hurt the team there were lots of holes & question marks before Khabi & Hemsky were out of the line-up. Robin must have wrote 5 or 6 articles pointing out a need for a center iceman who could win a face-off for example.

Many posters were convinced we would just see another 8-12 place team. Maybe good enough to squeak into the play-offs, but good enough not to get some high end young talent. Now we are seeing the kind of depth we have in our organization, evaluating "talent" & most likely going to get a high quality player in the draft.

Get off your soap box - I am sick of hearing about people that are mad with the situation of this team. It is probably the best thing that has happened in the past 10 years, a reality check. I'm not the only person sick of mediocrity, but a tear down was needed a couple years ago.

Welcome back Wanye!

The problem is it is the same people who ran the ship into the ground are now supposed to dig it out. KLowe and to a lesser degree Tambo have done nothing to fix the problems.

As a fan that is committed to staying on the wagon till I'm 6 feet under, I have absolutely no faith in KLowe or Tambo righting this ship. I feel the Oil are poised to be terrible for another decade. The changes need to come from the top, in management, before I will regain my faith.

The Oil have been mediocre to atrociously bad for more than 15 years. When the management and leadership doesn’t change why would the results?

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#57 Lofty
January 15 2010, 04:16PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

The odds of any of the teams note worthy RFA's (really just Brule/Gagner) are slim to begin with. Tack on that league wide cap space (and budget room for non cap teams) is at it's lowest point since the cap was emplemented and it makes the risk of an offer sheet almost nill.

Would it be such a bad thing if a couple got picked off? If we are truely looking at a 3-5 year rebuild the draft picks might not be so bad and could be developed by the time the organization should be "turning the corner."

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#58 dragon
January 15 2010, 04:45PM
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Lofty wrote:

Would it be such a bad thing if a couple got picked off? If we are truely looking at a 3-5 year rebuild the draft picks might not be so bad and could be developed by the time the organization should be "turning the corner."

provided they don't get picked by some Washington or so team...

come to thing about it, i think OOB might be right: they're not hot enough to warrant an offer sheet.

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#59 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 15 2010, 05:07PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Obviously. ;-)

Does membership in the brotherhood grant me a secret decoder ring that will enable me to figure out just what the heck Katz and Tambellini are thinking?

Sadly not even the brothers can figure Tambellini out.

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#60 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 15 2010, 05:09PM
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Lofty wrote:

Would it be such a bad thing if a couple got picked off? If we are truely looking at a 3-5 year rebuild the draft picks might not be so bad and could be developed by the time the organization should be "turning the corner."

Depends which players, which team is making the offer and what the $$ amount is (ie compensation)

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#61 Lofty
January 15 2010, 05:29PM
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True...

But doesn't seem entirely bad and according to Jmask5 they are all only a couple injuries away from being cellar dwellers like the Oil

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#62 Lost in translation
January 15 2010, 05:40PM
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i have read a couple of articles that the writer speculated that Gagner will be looking for $20 mil for 5 years. Gagner is the next Horcoff and it would be amusing if they give him a deal like that. Gagner is way over-rated and it will be the demise of the oilers if they sign this soft kid. Trade him for a young gritty player. He will never score more than 20 goals and will get paid generously for it like all the other dead weight on this team.

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#63 Eddie Shore
January 15 2010, 05:53PM
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Lost in translation wrote:

i have read a couple of articles that the writer speculated that Gagner will be looking for $20 mil for 5 years. Gagner is the next Horcoff and it would be amusing if they give him a deal like that. Gagner is way over-rated and it will be the demise of the oilers if they sign this soft kid. Trade him for a young gritty player. He will never score more than 20 goals and will get paid generously for it like all the other dead weight on this team.

Yeah, sounds like a great plan. Trade away a 20 year old developing offensive player. 20 years old. C'mon man.

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#64 Lofty
January 15 2010, 05:54PM
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Lost in translation wrote:

i have read a couple of articles that the writer speculated that Gagner will be looking for $20 mil for 5 years. Gagner is the next Horcoff and it would be amusing if they give him a deal like that. Gagner is way over-rated and it will be the demise of the oilers if they sign this soft kid. Trade him for a young gritty player. He will never score more than 20 goals and will get paid generously for it like all the other dead weight on this team.

Dont think I would go that far but I am sceptical.

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#65 Lost in translation
January 15 2010, 06:06PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Yeah, sounds like a great plan. Trade away a 20 year old developing offensive player. 20 years old. C'mon man.

So why is everyone so excited to get rid of Cogliano, he has put up the same numbers and a grittier player. He has also put up the same numbers and has played less minutes per game with less talented players. I have not drank the Gagner Kool-aid and in the next year or two people will stop listening to the media and actually watch what he does/does not do on the ice.

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#66 Eddie Shore
January 15 2010, 06:12PM
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Lost in translation wrote:

So why is everyone so excited to get rid of Cogliano, he has put up the same numbers and a grittier player. He has also put up the same numbers and has played less minutes per game with less talented players. I have not drank the Gagner Kool-aid and in the next year or two people will stop listening to the media and actually watch what he does/does not do on the ice.

Ok.

I do watch. I think he will be a good player once he finds some consistency in his game. However, he is 20. This will not happen over night. Unlike others who can find their game in the AHL, his situation didn't allow this.

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#67 Eddie Shore
January 15 2010, 06:15PM
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@Lost in translation

Don't forget everyone basically looks worse when the entire team is playing like garbage. Did you feel this way about him last year? What about the year before?

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#68 lost in translation
January 15 2010, 06:26PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Don't forget everyone basically looks worse when the entire team is playing like garbage. Did you feel this way about him last year? What about the year before?

i have always thought that gagner was given too much credit. He is easily knocked off the puck and gives up the puck at the worst time. He accounts for a lot of give-aways and does not have the defensive skill or strength re-gain puck control. I guess thats why he is a NHL career -28. I think is was brought into the league too soon and he is not to blame for that. That is one of the, so many, mistakes that the management has made.

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#69 Jim
January 15 2010, 06:38PM
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@lost in translation

You are absolutely right. Voracek was available when they picked up Gagner and Oilers passed on him. Now look at him! Why is better? And I was thinking like that last year and year before.

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#70 jim
January 15 2010, 06:42PM
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Why=who is better

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#71 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 15 2010, 07:22PM
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Lost in translation wrote:

i have read a couple of articles that the writer speculated that Gagner will be looking for $20 mil for 5 years. Gagner is the next Horcoff and it would be amusing if they give him a deal like that. Gagner is way over-rated and it will be the demise of the oilers if they sign this soft kid. Trade him for a young gritty player. He will never score more than 20 goals and will get paid generously for it like all the other dead weight on this team.

"A couple of articles where the writer speculates Gagner will be looking for $20 for 5 years"

Well their you go, lets base our opinions on what some un-named writer speculates.

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#72 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 15 2010, 07:23PM
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Lost in translation wrote:

So why is everyone so excited to get rid of Cogliano, he has put up the same numbers and a grittier player. He has also put up the same numbers and has played less minutes per game with less talented players. I have not drank the Gagner Kool-aid and in the next year or two people will stop listening to the media and actually watch what he does/does not do on the ice.

Cogs is grittier?

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#73 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 15 2010, 07:27PM
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Jim wrote:

You are absolutely right. Voracek was available when they picked up Gagner and Oilers passed on him. Now look at him! Why is better? And I was thinking like that last year and year before.

On what metrix is Voracek better? .... He may end up as the better player in the long run, but for now it's at very best a draw and more likely Gagner > Voracek.

Sure, in hindsight he was probably the better fit for the team. But the make up of the team today is far different then it was when Gagner was drafted.

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#74 Cool Beans
January 15 2010, 10:03PM
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@Lost in translation

I have watched plenty of games and Gagne has plenty of grit for his size. He does not shy away and mixes it up quite regularily. I would not give him 4 mil yet but its not too far off. He just needs time and other players to play with.

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#75 RossCreekNation
January 15 2010, 10:13PM
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Welcome home, pal :-)

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#76 RossCreekNation
January 15 2010, 10:44PM
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Just curious if anyone heard what Bob MacKenzie had to say this morning on 1260. He said "he'd be shocked if Andrew Cogliano weren't traded".

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#77 Eddie Shore
January 16 2010, 12:20AM
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lost in translation wrote:

i have always thought that gagner was given too much credit. He is easily knocked off the puck and gives up the puck at the worst time. He accounts for a lot of give-aways and does not have the defensive skill or strength re-gain puck control. I guess thats why he is a NHL career -28. I think is was brought into the league too soon and he is not to blame for that. That is one of the, so many, mistakes that the management has made.

Wow. Grammar anyone?

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#78 HottScarrison
January 16 2010, 08:40AM
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I would try to sign gags for a similar contract as burrows. 2mill per year for maybe 2-3yrs...that gives him a raise. Prob affordable for us assuming we dump $$$. think he'll take that?. Gives him a chance to earn a bigger one plus he'll still only be 22,23,24 and rfa(i think).Long time reader and first time poster. Please be gentle.

~waits for grammar police to kick in doors~

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#79 Smokin' Ray
January 16 2010, 01:32PM
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Welcome back Wanye. Glad your back. *puts on 'Let the Good Times Roll' on the ghetto blaster*

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#80 Pajamah
January 16 2010, 08:18PM
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If Gagner can play like he did today against the Sharks, 50-60 games a year, he'll easily be the first line centre here within a season or two (and I'm talking permanent, not the daily switch with Horcoff stuff)

And although those comments regarding the Oilers are usually prefaced by "He's the best option we have", its more indicative that he'll actually be a 1st line centre , and worthy of it, not just the only option.

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#81 OILHAWK
January 17 2010, 03:28AM
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Lost in translation wrote:

i have read a couple of articles that the writer speculated that Gagner will be looking for $20 mil for 5 years. Gagner is the next Horcoff and it would be amusing if they give him a deal like that. Gagner is way over-rated and it will be the demise of the oilers if they sign this soft kid. Trade him for a young gritty player. He will never score more than 20 goals and will get paid generously for it like all the other dead weight on this team.

Yea, this post has FAIL written all over it. First off, you said writers SPECULATE! We ALL SPECULATE. Second of all, Gagner is underrated, wheover thinks Gagner is overrated should have their heads examined by a psychiatrist. And third of all, don't put Gagner or Horcoff in the same sentence. Gagner has 10x the vision Horcoff has, and has way more skill in his pinky than Horcoff. Sam Gagner is a future building block along with Eberle, and Paajarvi and TAYLOR HALL!

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