UPDATED: It's lonely at the bottom

Jason Gregor
January 25 2010 09:19AM

“It is possible to fail in many ways... while to succeed is possible only in one way.”

The legendary Greek philosopher, Aristotle, uttered these words well before hockey was played, but today they seem fitting in Oilerville.

A few months ago many felt the Dive for Five was the only way the Oilers could begin the long trek back to the top of the NHL standings. But not even the most optimistic Oiler fan felt the Copper and Blue could give themselves a 48.1% chance to get the first overall pick in 2010.

Well all of you doubting Thomases, this morning the Oilers sit in 30th place and they are 32 games away from having the best chance of being the first team to step up to the microphone on June 25th in Los Angeles.

Before you get too excited let’s look at the hurdles they face between before June.

They can’t keep losing every game. It just won’t happen, especially when you consider that their last two games have been two of their best in the past month. Losing streaks normally come to an end when a team loses a few games that they deserved to win.

Toronto is only six points behind the Oilers, and the Oilers have three games in hand on the centre of the universe. Only Chicago has a longer Stanley Cup drought than the Leafs’ 42-year stretch, so very few teams are better at being losers than the Leafs.

The Oilers have only gained three points on the Leafs in the past ten games, and they didn’t even win a game. How bad will the Oilers have to be if they want to fend of the hard-diving Leafs?

Carolina is playing better, but Jim Rutherford is an expert at overseeing his team fluctuate from contender to pretender season-to-season, so the Oilers can’t underestimate the Canes’ ability to lose games.

The good news for the Oilers is that 17 of the Leafs’ final 29 games are at home. They are 9-10-5 at home, compared to their horrendous 8-16-5 road record. The Oilers have 18 road games remaining and with only seven wins in 21 road games the THIRST for FIRST is realistic.

Gagner improving

Sam Gagner might derail the train to #1 if he keeps playing like he has in the past ten games. He has four goals and nine points in the last ten games and it looks like he’s found his offensive game again.

Gagner had ten points in the first ten games this season, but only had eleven in the next 30 before getting hot again. Ideally for Oiler fans Gagner will keep playing well and gain more confidence, but the Oilers will keep losing.

The Oilers will need more than the first overall pick to turn their fortunes around, so young players like Gagner, Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano need to keep improving if fans expect to see the playoffs before 2015.

Who would you keep?

With Mike Comrie set to return to the lineup this week I wonder who the Oilers will bring back next season out of Robert Nilsson, Patrick O’Sullivan or Comrie.

If you could only bring one player back who would you keep?

O’Sullivan at $2.9 million, Nilsson at $2 million or Comrie at $1.5 million?

Souray gives his list

Sheldon Souray has given the Oilers a list of teams he’d be willing to go to. I will say this about the situation. I spoke with Souray about the family angle and moving closer to his kids. He said that Edmonton was great because his children get to see their grandma, aunts and cousins when they come to Edmonton and no other city can match that.

He said he understand the situation and would be happy to stay in Edmonton, but also that a move could make sense for both sides. I think this is more of a hockey decision than a family one for Souray. His kids live in Las Vegas, and yes LA and San Jose are closer, but there is no extended family there.

Souray is not a dumb guy. He sees the landscape of this team, and considering he has a no movement clause until July 2nd (remember last year we learned that July 1st isn’t the actual day) why wouldn’t he submit a list?

I still say the Kings are the front runner and I know they are on the list. San Jose and Anaheim would be some other obvious destinations. And don’t rule out an Eastern based team. When you consider that you have to be at the airport two hours earlier, then clear customs for his kids to come to Canada, would the entire trip be much longer if they had to fly out east to see him? Probably very close.

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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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#51 common sense
January 25 2010, 12:23PM
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There is a reason Lombardi traded Sully and why no one wanted Brickboy. Tambo needs to extricate this team from all three of those players. Won't be easy especially Sully and Nils Jr.

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#52 Petr's Jofa
January 25 2010, 12:25PM
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@Jason Gregor

My biggest fear is what the bad teams will look like after the trade deadline.

Worst case, Tambellini makes a few trades to improve the balance of this team which promps a bit of a run and the Lightning, Canes, and Columbus throw in the towel and go on a post trade dealine losing streak to rival the 2006-07 Oilers.

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#53 Dyckster
January 25 2010, 12:26PM
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common sense wrote:

There is a reason Lombardi traded Sully and why no one wanted Brickboy. Tambo needs to extricate this team from all three of those players. Won't be easy especially Sully and Nils Jr.

I respectfully disagree (in theory). Not all players are traded from teams because those same teams didn't want them. More often than not, trades are made to fill percieved holes in the line-up, not to unload dead weight.

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#54 Jmask5
January 25 2010, 12:29PM
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Buffalo Fans for some reason want to get rid of Stafford maybe management feels the same way. I know the Oilers like this player. Maybe there is a deal there.

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#55 Archaeologuy
January 25 2010, 12:29PM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

My biggest fear is what the bad teams will look like after the trade deadline.

Worst case, Tambellini makes a few trades to improve the balance of this team which promps a bit of a run and the Lightning, Canes, and Columbus throw in the towel and go on a post trade dealine losing streak to rival the 2006-07 Oilers.

ugh, good point. I've never watched a Trade Deadline show with that in mind. This DFF is offering up so many new experiences for me.

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#56 TonyDanzaPervo
January 25 2010, 12:37PM
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It's times like this I'm glad I have Angela.

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#57 LBH
January 25 2010, 12:38PM
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David S wrote:

~Did you guys see Comrie's ridiculous shootout move in the skills competition? I'd keep him just to see us win us games in the OT shootouts with "MC's" (previously unknown) shootout sickness, NBA stylez~

All Comrie tried to do is bite Omark/Datsyuks move and although it had the same result, it didn't have the same show , was no where near as cool as the aforementioned guys version.

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#58 Librarian Mike
January 25 2010, 12:44PM
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David S wrote:

~Did you guys see Comrie's ridiculous shootout move in the skills competition? I'd keep him just to see us win us games in the OT shootouts with "MC's" (previously unknown) shootout sickness, NBA stylez~

~I heard that Schremp guy in New York is really good as well. We will RULE the shootout if we can get him.~

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#59 Jmask5
January 25 2010, 12:44PM
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Omark's move is off the cross bar and in. Until I see someone do exactly that then it is solely Omark's move.

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#60 Harlie
January 25 2010, 12:45PM
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@TonyDanzaPervo

You dig the visor she's wearing? Dibs out!

http://www.serienoldies.de/images4/wer_boss_angela.jpg

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#61 Librarian Mike
January 25 2010, 12:47PM
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TonyDanzaPervo wrote:

It's times like this I'm glad I have Angela.

Hold me closer, Tony Danza...

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#62 Harlie
January 25 2010, 12:50PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Hold me closer, Tony Danza...

thanks for replacing my images of Kate Hudson in Almost Famous to Tony Fricken Danza from Who's the Boss when I hear Tiny Dancer. Damnnn you!

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#63 Dan the Man
January 25 2010, 12:50PM
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common sense wrote:

There is a reason Lombardi traded Sully and why no one wanted Brickboy. Tambo needs to extricate this team from all three of those players. Won't be easy especially Sully and Nils Jr.

Is it possible that L.A traded O'Sullivan because they wanted Justin Williams? Or maybe Carolina really wanted Cole back and this was the way to get that done?

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#64 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 25 2010, 01:15PM
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@ Gregor

What type of return would you expect for Souray? Brownlee mentioned Johnson from the Kings the other day.

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#65 Milli
January 25 2010, 01:18PM
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I keep none of the three unless Comrie will take less!!! And that I think is a possibility at this point. Souray, now that is a move I am torn over. I think at this point, it would have to be a very signifigant offer to deal him. We still need leaders through the rebiuld. Gagner get the C next year?

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#66 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 25 2010, 01:18PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

You think Cogliano is thrown in there as well? I can't see us getting Johnson straight up for Souray. Johnson is LA's #2 used d-man behind Doughty, can't see him being that cheap to obtain.

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#67 Librarian Mike
January 25 2010, 01:18PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Is it possible that L.A traded O'Sullivan because they wanted Justin Williams? Or maybe Carolina really wanted Cole back and this was the way to get that done?

Based on what he's accomplished here, I suspect the Kings traded O'Sullivan so they wouldn't have O'Sullivan anymore.

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#68 Dan the Man
January 25 2010, 01:22PM
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Anyone see Souray's haircut in the skills competition? What's up with that? Is he growing a mullet?

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#69 Dan the Man
January 25 2010, 01:22PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Based on what he's accomplished here, I suspect the Kings traded O'Sullivan so they wouldn't have O'Sullivan anymore.

~You're being too hard on him, he's had at least 9 solid games.~

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#70 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 25 2010, 01:32PM
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On the update, excellent point on the customs. So really is any team really out of the running except for non-playoff teams?

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#71 RossCreekNation
January 25 2010, 01:38PM
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Patty O sure is getting more love on here than I've seen all season. Just sayin. I never thought he was as bad as many often said, but he is playing better lately.

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#72 rubbertrout
January 25 2010, 01:43PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I really like POS potential and his quick release. He just seems like he has that potential to be a 30 goal scorer. But his 2.9mil is a tough contract to swallow.

Don't want Nilsson back as he is too up and down and really doesn't bring that much to a healthy club.

I'd like to see what Comrie does when he comes back, but he is another injury prone player. I'm thinking we need to stay away from guys like him, although if he could be had for the same amount as this year then keep him.

O'Sullivan is my pick if it has to be one.

I'm not sure if "injury prone" is what I'd use to describe Comrie. Mono isn't exactly like having a glass groin or bad shoulder. it is just one of those freaky things that happens from time to time.

Comrie looked great early on and with the price being right I'd hang onto Comrie.

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#74 rubbertrout
January 25 2010, 01:49PM
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Jmask5 wrote:

The Oilers only have 1 ludicrous contract and that's Horcoff. Lubo's isn't bad, Staios and Moreau are not amazing but you can easily buy them out since they end after next year. Souray is meh. Last year he was underpaid this year he is way overpaid. It depends on how he is playing. If I have noticed something about Souray is that one year he is an all star the next year he is abysmal. Maybe the Oilers should keep since next year he should be awesome again.

I'll save my comments about Horc's contract for another day. My position has been outlined here time and again.

What I don't get is how you can skip looking at Khabby. That contract was absolutely boneheaded from the start (the term not the number) given his age and the number of other goalie options out there. Throw in the fact that he's injury prone and over 35 and you have real trouble.

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#76 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 25 2010, 01:53PM
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@rubbertrout

He really hasn't played that many full seasons over his career. I know mono is a freak thing, but why do these freak things seem to happen to the same guys all the time?

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#77 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 25 2010, 01:53PM
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@rubbertrout

double post

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#78 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 25 2010, 01:57PM
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@Jason Gregor

You can add players that help you, but coaching can off set that.

If the Oilers move Souray, just give all his mintues to the worse possible option.

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#79 Reggie
January 25 2010, 01:58PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It depends what the market is for the three of them, but given that the Oilers probably want to break in Omark and Eberle, plus they already have Gagner and Cogliano, I'd suggest moving all three of O'Sullivan, Comrie and Nilsson.

My bet is even if Comrie is making $1.25M this season, if they Oilers are looking to have him back he would be looking for a 2 year deal for sure and possibly closer to the $2M mark. But definitely +1.5M+ for 2 years.

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#80 Jamie B.
January 25 2010, 02:02PM
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Anything about Gagner's knee? Will he play tomorrow?

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#81 Mr DeBakey
January 25 2010, 02:04PM
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"The Oilers won't be adding guys that will make them that much better."

The needs are the same now as last summer, nothing has really changed. The same guys need to go: Patrick O'Sullivan, Robert Nilsson, Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Taylor Chorney, Jason Strudwick

And the same guys need to arrive: Two or three decent veteran forwards; at least one who can win face-offs and a good left-wing. One or two Arsene-type defensemen - cheaper than Staios and faster then Strudwick.

If they do that, the additions will make them better.

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#82 Archaeologuy
January 25 2010, 02:05PM
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@Mr DeBakey

Why does Chorney need to go? He hasnt done anything to the Oilers' Cap hit or on ice play. He's a prospect developing in the minors.

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#83 Mr DeBakey
January 25 2010, 02:08PM
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"Why does Chorney need to go?"

1. Petry & Peckham [despite being slowed by injuries]

2. Isn't it the consensus that the Oilers are already too unphysical at the back?

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#84 David S
January 25 2010, 02:16PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I can tell you that Tambellini won't make any moves to salvage this season. It will all be moves that will help down the road.

The Bolts are in the hunt in the East so, if anything, they will add a piece or two. The Oilers are already 11 points behind Columbus so they'd have to make up a lot of ground.

The Leafs are the biggest concern, but you have to think Brian Burke will do everything not to give up the first overall pick.

The Oilers won't be adding guys that will make them that much better. At least they shouldn't be.

Do we play the leafs anymore this season? If we do, I suppose we should expect to see team mascots in goal on both sides. The outcome will be decided by a heated battle in which each team ups the losing ante. Maybe The Oilers will switch Strudwick and DD for the last period, deftly out-strategizing the Leafs in a brilliant managerial coup.

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#85 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 25 2010, 02:16PM
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Mr DeBakey wrote:

"Why does Chorney need to go?"

1. Petry & Peckham [despite being slowed by injuries]

2. Isn't it the consensus that the Oilers are already too unphysical at the back?

Until Petry and Peckham win a job at training camp you don't worry about moving Chorney. What do you get for Chorney via a trade anyway? Let him grow in the AHL.

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#86 Archaeologuy
January 25 2010, 02:19PM
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Mr DeBakey wrote:

"Why does Chorney need to go?"

1. Petry & Peckham [despite being slowed by injuries]

2. Isn't it the consensus that the Oilers are already too unphysical at the back?

A lot of people think the Oilers are too small as well. So by that logic the Oil should trade away Eberle because he is also small.

Why would the Oilers get rid of a prospect just because they have other prospects? It costs relatively little to keep him and develop him in the AHL. Petry and Peckham arent exactly sure-fire prospects either. If all 3 played in the AHL next year it wouldnt exactly hurt any of them or the Oilers.

Plus, getting rid of players in the system because they dont exactly match the needs of the big club for a season isnt the best model for developing talent. Needs change constantly. There is no telling what the needs of the Oilers will be by the time the trade deadline is over. Let alone next season or the season after that.

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#87 Bucknuck
January 25 2010, 02:21PM
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David S wrote:

Do we play the leafs anymore this season? If we do, I suppose we should expect to see team mascots in goal on both sides. The outcome will be decided by a heated battle in which each team ups the losing ante. Maybe The Oilers will switch Strudwick and DD for the last period, deftly out-strategizing the Leafs in a brilliant managerial coup.

I can at least take solace in the draft pick as a carrot after this miserable season.

It makes me laugh to think that Boston has both of Toronto's 1st round picks in 2010 and 2011. Toronto management has absolutely no solace in sucking. They suck really bad and get to watch an eastern rival get better.

That must burn.

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#88 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 25 2010, 02:22PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

You can add players that help you, but coaching can off set that.

If the Oilers move Souray, just give all his mintues to the worse possible option.

Hey wait, I know! Let's just make sure Strudwick is on the ice for 22 minutes a night, making him a mainstay in the final 10 minutes of a game where the Oil are up by a goal.

On paper, a move like this should be good for a 10+ game losing streak. I wonder how that would work if they actually tried it.

What's that? They did? WTFizzle?

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#89 jeanshorts
January 25 2010, 02:26PM
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I don't want to alarm anyone, but I had a dream last night that the Oilers actually won a 60 minute NHL hockey competition.

Although none of my dreams have ever come true.

*still waiting for the Angels to win the pennant so my biker dad will come back and we can be a family again*

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#90 jeanshorts
January 25 2010, 02:29PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I can at least take solace in the draft pick as a carrot after this miserable season.

It makes me laugh to think that Boston has both of Toronto's 1st round picks in 2010 and 2011. Toronto management has absolutely no solace in sucking. They suck really bad and get to watch an eastern rival get better.

That must burn.

I also love that a small section of Leaf fans are slowly starting to turn on The Hockey Guru himself. At least our GM has stopped talking about the playoffs like it's a legitimate outcome for this season.

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#91 The Towel Boy
January 25 2010, 02:30PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I had a dream last night that the Oilers actually won a 60 minute NHL hockey competition.

Although none of my dreams have ever come true.

*still waiting for the Angels to win the pennant so my biker dad will come back and we can be a family again*

Jeanshorts...you're confusing your dreams with the Tony Danza movie "Angels in the Outfield" again.

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#92 dunciano
January 25 2010, 02:31PM
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Hey looky looky,

As of today - with about 10 games to go to the trade deadline, there are only 4 sellers.

That means there are 26 buyers!

a lack of supply for a great demand = higher prices for Oiler players!

Let's hope St. Louis, Tampa Bay etc. don't drop out of the playoff race before the deadline.

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#93 jeanshorts
January 25 2010, 02:31PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

A lot of people think the Oilers are too small as well. So by that logic the Oil should trade away Eberle because he is also small.

Why would the Oilers get rid of a prospect just because they have other prospects? It costs relatively little to keep him and develop him in the AHL. Petry and Peckham arent exactly sure-fire prospects either. If all 3 played in the AHL next year it wouldnt exactly hurt any of them or the Oilers.

Plus, getting rid of players in the system because they dont exactly match the needs of the big club for a season isnt the best model for developing talent. Needs change constantly. There is no telling what the needs of the Oilers will be by the time the trade deadline is over. Let alone next season or the season after that.

Agreed. Although, I really hope a d-man sitting with a sterling -29 in the AHL and a career -11 in the NHL isn't one of the Oilers "needs" anytime soon. I'm all for the DFF, but, come on.

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#94 dragon
January 25 2010, 02:35PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I can tell you that Tambellini won't make any moves to salvage this season. It will all be moves that will help down the road.

The Bolts are in the hunt in the East so, if anything, they will add a piece or two. The Oilers are already 11 points behind Columbus so they'd have to make up a lot of ground.

The Leafs are the biggest concern, but you have to think Brian Burke will do everything not to give up the first overall pick.

The Oilers won't be adding guys that will make them that much better. At least they shouldn't be.

with Bruins struggling lately, do you see any Oilers assets that will be able to pry the Leafs pick out of Bruins' hands?

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#95 jeanshorts
January 25 2010, 02:37PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Jeanshorts...you're confusing your dreams with the Tony Danza movie "Angels in the Outfield" again.

*pulls his face out of a paper bag filled with spray paint*

WHO SAID THAT??????????

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#96 Crash
January 25 2010, 02:37PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I can tell you that Tambellini won't make any moves to salvage this season. It will all be moves that will help down the road.

The Bolts are in the hunt in the East so, if anything, they will add a piece or two. The Oilers are already 11 points behind Columbus so they'd have to make up a lot of ground.

The Leafs are the biggest concern, but you have to think Brian Burke will do everything not to give up the first overall pick.

The Oilers won't be adding guys that will make them that much better. At least they shouldn't be.

Also as you mentioned before the Leafs have a whole whack of home games at the end and one extra bonus is they are in the eastern conference which presumably is easier than the west...which also gives Carolina a leg up...as much as losing is sad, knowing you have Hall or Seguin as a guarantee would be a good thing IMO.

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#97 Archaeologuy
January 25 2010, 02:39PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Agreed. Although, I really hope a d-man sitting with a sterling -29 in the AHL and a career -11 in the NHL isn't one of the Oilers "needs" anytime soon. I'm all for the DFF, but, come on.

All the more reason to keep him in the minors. Clearly the guy needs more seasoning, but all the coaches down there think he has real talent. So what could the Oilers gain by trading or releasing Chorney that outweighs the potential he has? It's very unlikely that his trade value is higher than his potential anyway

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#98 Phil
January 25 2010, 02:41PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

My point is they won't lose every game. They will win some at some point. But if they win lets say 10 or 12 of their remaining games that still might be too many considering how the Leafs are playing.

I don't think they'll beat Chicago either. Wasn't my point. I just said that no team will win only five of their final 50 games. They are the Washington Capitals of 1974/1975...

No I know, you're right. Alls I'm sayin' is I doubt they win in January. My prediction was that after the Columbus loss earlier this month, looking ahead on the schedule, I figured the streak had potential to stretch to 13-14 games. Yeah they play St.Louis at home, but I think they drop that one as well. Lose to Calgary on Saturday (Edmonton is just the shot in the arm that that team needs), then play Carolina on Monday and get their first WIN of 2010.

Then another 6 game slide ensues, starting with Philly on the following Wednesday (they head out on a 5 game road swing, play some tough teams).

My point here is that yes, although they have to start winning some games sooner or later - that they're not going to go 0-35 to finish the season... I still see the Oilers winning only a handful of games from now until the end of the year. Their spirit is completely broken, the injuries, the down years for several guys... all things considered, they are most likely the worst team in the NHL and are going to play like it foir the remainder of the season.

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#99 Mr DeBakey
January 25 2010, 02:47PM
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"Why would the Oilers get rid of a prospect just because they have other prospects?"

The theory is that something would be coming in return, maybe even something good.

I believe Peckham has to pass thru waivers starting next season.

Kevin Prendergast talks about Petry like he’s the Second Coming.

Taylor Chorney – prospect or suspect?

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#100 Archaeologuy
January 25 2010, 02:56PM
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@Mr DeBakey

Peckham has to pass through waivers next season so the Oilers should trade away the Defenseman that would most likely be playing in the AHL?

Peckham passing through waivers has no bearing on Chorney at all. Neither does getting Petry into the AHL.

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