Fore!: Mind if we play through?

Robin Brownlee
January 04 2010 06:03PM

The Edmonton Oilers had golf and a little rest and relaxation planned for four-day break between games on this upcoming homestand, but coach Pat Quinn has decided the time would be better spent on the ice at a two-day mini-camp than studying putts on lush greens in California.

Nine losses in the last 10 games and a glance at the standings that shows the Oilers sitting 29th overall prompted Quinn to cancel a team golf junket to Palm Springs, like the one hosted by owner Daryl Katz last season, in favour of two days of toil at Rexall Place this weekend.

"There was a plan, and a good one by our management and ownership, to pay attention to some important people in this business," Quinn said.

"That's our fans and our sponsors. And, then, also give the players a little bit of a break, which seemed pretty smart in August, but doesn't feel, as a coach, very smart right now."

Whether Quinn made the call or it actually came from higher up by way of president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, GM Steve Tambellini or even Katz, it doesn't matter. A getaway now would've gone over about as well as diarrhea at a pool party.

It's the right move.

Entitle this...

Optics being what they are, now isn't exactly the best time for the Oilers to take a break from the grind and trade their skates and sticks for spikes and drivers at some swank resort. "What did you have on that hole, Ethan?" Or, "Where's the cart girl, I could use a cold one." You get the drift.

Quinn didn't get into specifics about the cancelled team function when he met with reporters. He instead framed the four-day break as a good time to go back to work and sort some things out.

Given recent events, notably all of the bad press the Oilers got for their run-in with publicity-hungry Maurizio Terrigno, the owner of the Osteria de Medici restaurant in Cowtown, and the ongoing on-ice struggles that have the team sitting 29th in NHL standings, that's not a bad idea.

What fans want, and have every right to expect after 42 games that have the Oilers sitting 15 points out of a playoff spot without any hope of getting back into contention, is a couple days of honest sweat in practice.

If players want to squeal about that, and my guess is they have and will, and Quinn has to wear the black hat, so be it. What, pray tell, could be the possible argument against putting in two days work to try and get things straightened out? Golf season, after all, will be here April 12, which is soon enough.

Say what?

It's mind-boggling to me that it's 42 games into the season and the Oilers, it seems, still haven't grasped the systems Quinn and his coaching staff have been trying to implement since pre-season. At least, that's my take based on what I saw and what Quinn said today.

The Oilers were on the ice for about 90 minutes at Rexall Place, and they spent almost as much time gathered around Quinn and Tom Renney, who diagrammed drills on a white board, as they did practising.

"I'm not copping out here, but we had one practice day before we played an exhibition game," Quinn said. "Never have I not had time to instil the basics. I had more time going to the Olympics than I did with this team.

"We've been working at bringing the system of play in... you saw us 15 minutes at the board at one time, asking questions we've been talking about for three months. You think, holy smoke, we've been working on this for three months? What have we missed here? We're going to do some work."

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#151 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 05 2010, 12:04PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Are we looking for a borderline star or a star? We already have borderline stars in Hemsky, Penner, Souray, Visnovsky and possibly Gagner in a year.

You can add Kovalchuk and Hall to this team, but if you don't fix the other issues that this team has had for 4 years or so, then there is little chance of going anywhere once it makes it to the playoffs.

I would say that once or twice per year for movement of a superstar is actually pretty often. It's definitely often enough for Edmonton to try for one via trades.

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#152 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 05 2010, 12:14PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I would say that once or twice per year for movement of a superstar is actually pretty often. It's definitely often enough for Edmonton to try for one via trades.

They have tried to trade for them, we heard about it with Heatley. How do we know they never tried with others?

Few issues I have, we have tried to sign superstars, we tried to trade for them and have always come up short. Now all of sudden we are to think that it will happen so easily? Fact is most of the guys that will be on the block this year, probably aren't good options.

Kovalchuk-Impending UFA that wants 10 years at 11mil. Give your head a shake if you think he will sign an extension in Edmonton.

Briere/Gagne- NTC/NMC, high unlikely they waive to come here. Plus are either the answer for us?

Rangers- Might be looking to move Drury, Redden or Rosival. Not superstars and neither is the answer.

Chicago- Now here is a team that we can work with, but then again we aren't getting anyone that is better then what we have. Maybe a guy like Sharp to help support Penner and Hemsky?

Washington- Would've been a possible option, but they cleared up quite a bit of space and may no longer need to move a star/superstar.

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#153 babaganoush
January 05 2010, 12:17PM
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Would they have paid full price for the green fees? Or expected a group rate?

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#154 Bucknuck
January 05 2010, 12:17PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

No because even if Bulin retires like Archaeologuy says in the next post, Dubnyk won't be in the NHL next year. What has he shown that would make any team take him?

His performance in the "A" has been exemplary and he is still a prospect with a lot of potential.

I don't think the Oil will risk it which will result in the 3 headed monster. I cannot see Tambo doing anything about it since he hasn't done much about anything since he started.

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#155 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 05 2010, 12:25PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

They have tried to trade for them, we heard about it with Heatley. How do we know they never tried with others?

Few issues I have, we have tried to sign superstars, we tried to trade for them and have always come up short. Now all of sudden we are to think that it will happen so easily? Fact is most of the guys that will be on the block this year, probably aren't good options.

Kovalchuk-Impending UFA that wants 10 years at 11mil. Give your head a shake if you think he will sign an extension in Edmonton.

Briere/Gagne- NTC/NMC, high unlikely they waive to come here. Plus are either the answer for us?

Rangers- Might be looking to move Drury, Redden or Rosival. Not superstars and neither is the answer.

Chicago- Now here is a team that we can work with, but then again we aren't getting anyone that is better then what we have. Maybe a guy like Sharp to help support Penner and Hemsky?

Washington- Would've been a possible option, but they cleared up quite a bit of space and may no longer need to move a star/superstar.

A lot of the time superstar trades happen very abruptly, and it's often due to unforseen circumstances. Heatley ended up in Ottawa largely due to his car crash, for example. Obviously nobody can predict this sort of thing. Why would you give up trying just because the last 5 you've tried for didn't want to live in Edmonton?

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. I think some hockey player said that once.

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#156 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 05 2010, 12:28PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

A lot of the time superstar trades happen very abruptly, and it's often due to unforseen circumstances. Heatley ended up in Ottawa largely due to his car crash, for example. Obviously nobody can predict this sort of thing. Why would you give up trying just because the last 5 you've tried for didn't want to live in Edmonton?

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. I think some hockey player said that once.

And while I'm not disagreeing with that it is time for management to do something else instead of just waiting to make that big splash. There is no reason we can't fix the holes we have and then add the superstar when he becomes available.

You don't stop trying, but at the sametime you can't stop fixing the other areas that the team needs fixed.

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#157 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 05 2010, 12:32PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

And while I'm not disagreeing with that it is time for management to do something else instead of just waiting to make that big splash. There is no reason we can't fix the holes we have and then add the superstar when he becomes available.

You don't stop trying, but at the sametime you can't stop fixing the other areas that the team needs fixed.

There we go. 100% agreement here. The acquisition of a superstar has to remain a goal, but gift baskets for Heatley was excessive when you consider the things they could have been doing while he was sunbathing at his cabin.

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#158 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 05 2010, 12:35PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

There we go. 100% agreement here. The acquisition of a superstar has to remain a goal, but gift baskets for Heatley was excessive when you consider the things they could have been doing while he was sunbathing at his cabin.

I just have to add didn't we almost get Redden a few years back from Ottawa but he rejected the trade? Someone used their NTC that time, so it's not like managament doesn't try do things.

Heatley and the other ottawa ones are only two we have heard about, how many others have there been?

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#159 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 05 2010, 12:38PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I just have to add didn't we almost get Redden a few years back from Ottawa but he rejected the trade? Someone used their NTC that time, so it's not like managament doesn't try do things.

Heatley and the other ottawa ones are only two we have heard about, how many others have there been?

I know they try, and I'm definitely with you that some other (easy to fill) holes need to be patched before a superstar becomes #1 priority. I also think that Edmonton becomes a more attractive prospect for superstars when they see themselves as the last piece of the puzzle on an already winning team.

As much as people complain about not having someone to play with Hemsky, I think snipers would be more than happy to come over and give it a go if we had a solid bottom 6 and could win a faceoff. They want to be a jewel in a crown (a la Heatley in SJ), not a jewel in a pile of garbage (a la Kovalchuk in ATL).

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#160 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 05 2010, 12:42PM
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We've got our star coming in 6 months ;)

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#161 Bucknuck
January 05 2010, 12:47PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

We've got our star coming in 6 months ;)

His name is Eberle... oh wait... Magnus... oh wait... Hall.

Hmm... the future does look friendly.

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#162 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 05 2010, 12:51PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

His name is Eberle... oh wait... Magnus... oh wait... Hall.

Hmm... the future does look friendly.

The only one I'd bank on to be a star is Hall.

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#163 Bucknuck
January 05 2010, 01:05PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

The only one I'd bank on to be a star is Hall.

I am not banking on any of them, in truth. Even Hall (if we got him) is still a prospect. But it's good to have a few pans in the fire.

I can't remember the last time we had a good bank of up and comers in the system. We had a good one in Gagner, and it's been Schremp, Schremp, Schremp since he was drafted (man am I ever glad he is gone), and prior to that the last guy I remember getting excited about was Hemsky.

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#164 rubbertrout
January 05 2010, 01:19PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

you wont have to worry that much when Khabibulin retires due to injury.

Depending on what kind of cap relief we get for any retirement. I have no idea how this works? Anyone?

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#165 RossCreekNation
January 05 2010, 01:21PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I am not banking on any of them, in truth. Even Hall (if we got him) is still a prospect. But it's good to have a few pans in the fire.

I can't remember the last time we had a good bank of up and comers in the system. We had a good one in Gagner, and it's been Schremp, Schremp, Schremp since he was drafted (man am I ever glad he is gone), and prior to that the last guy I remember getting excited about was Hemsky.

You mean you never got excited about Jesse Niinnimaki? lol

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#166 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 05 2010, 01:22PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Depending on what kind of cap relief we get for any retirement. I have no idea how this works? Anyone?

Word on the street is we are stuck with his cap hit if he retires.

I'm hoping theirs a LTIR loop-hole.

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#167 Dan the Man
January 05 2010, 01:22PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Depending on what kind of cap relief we get for any retirement. I have no idea how this works? Anyone?

We get zero cap relief due to the fact that Khabibulin was over 35 when the contract was signed. If he remains on the LTIR instead of retiring however we would be able to exceed the cap by the amount of his salary.

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#168 rubbertrout
January 05 2010, 01:29PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

We get zero cap relief due to the fact that Khabibulin was over 35 when the contract was signed. If he remains on the LTIR instead of retiring however we would be able to exceed the cap by the amount of his salary.

But would there be any real reason why he would opt for retirement instead of staying on LTIR? Financially it is the same. Does he have to be examined by some league doctor who could say "he could play if he wanted to"?

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#169 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 05 2010, 01:32PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

But would there be any real reason why he would opt for retirement instead of staying on LTIR? Financially it is the same. Does he have to be examined by some league doctor who could say "he could play if he wanted to"?

You can leave a player on LTIR if you don't have any space on your roster, I think. I'm not sure if there's a limit on how long you can do it, or if it would affect your eligibility to apply for the extra cap space. Usually teams want players back once they're healthy, so I don't think the issue comes up too often.

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#170 Bucknuck
January 05 2010, 01:48PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

You mean you never got excited about Jesse Niinnimaki? lol

ack... don't remind me. I was so confused when they picked him.

A prospect you hardly ever hear about is Nash. I wonder what he will be like when he gets out of college.

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#171 Dan the Man
January 05 2010, 01:55PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

But would there be any real reason why he would opt for retirement instead of staying on LTIR? Financially it is the same. Does he have to be examined by some league doctor who could say "he could play if he wanted to"?

I don't think the player gets paid if he retires, regardless of age. He does get paid on LTIR though. The league could have a Dr examine him if they suspected something fishy.

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#172 Dan the Man
January 05 2010, 01:56PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

You can leave a player on LTIR if you don't have any space on your roster, I think. I'm not sure if there's a limit on how long you can do it, or if it would affect your eligibility to apply for the extra cap space. Usually teams want players back once they're healthy, so I don't think the issue comes up too often.

I don't believe there is a limit, the Flyers had Rathje on LTIR for a long time.

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#173 Jayman
January 05 2010, 02:28PM
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Dyckster wrote:

Oh dear..... Ok, so your company is building a house, when they stud a 160 inch wall on 16 inch centers, do they use 8 2x4s or 10? THE MATH suggests 10, we at the ON don't "think" when it comes to stats, stats dictate the actual or estimated result. Hence, 9 goals in 38 games leads to a mathematical estimate of 20ish goals for the season. Get it right rookie!

Again, my apologies. Maybe I should have put a disclaimer on my post that it was in no way meant to be derogatory or condescending. Someone said something that triggered a laugh in my own head. It put me in a really good mood, so I said thank you. I don't understand why people always have to take things the wrong way and get their nose out of joint.

I understand your "we at the ON" stats that Horcoff is on pace for 20 goals. I also understand my "here in the real world" stats and history that Horcofff has barely hit 20 goals twice in his NHL career with better players on the team. I do not believe he will hit 20 this year no matter what pace he is on. I guess I deserve to be insulted for believing something else and having a difference of opinion. Sorry for stepping on the toes of your little clique. I'll stay away from this site from now on.

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#174 Bucknuck
January 05 2010, 02:34PM
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Jayman wrote:

Again, my apologies. Maybe I should have put a disclaimer on my post that it was in no way meant to be derogatory or condescending. Someone said something that triggered a laugh in my own head. It put me in a really good mood, so I said thank you. I don't understand why people always have to take things the wrong way and get their nose out of joint.

I understand your "we at the ON" stats that Horcoff is on pace for 20 goals. I also understand my "here in the real world" stats and history that Horcofff has barely hit 20 goals twice in his NHL career with better players on the team. I do not believe he will hit 20 this year no matter what pace he is on. I guess I deserve to be insulted for believing something else and having a difference of opinion. Sorry for stepping on the toes of your little clique. I'll stay away from this site from now on.

I don't think anyone took anything "the wrong way". Your tone was quite clear in your post.

If someone gives their opinion and you laugh at it, that is insulting. If you take the time to write that it made you laugh then your disdain is even more obvious.

If you had written that "Horcofff has barely hit 20 goals twice in his NHL career with better players on the team. I do not believe he will hit 20 this year no matter what pace he is on." in the first place then the responses would have been more respectful.

Stating an opinion is different from stating that someone else's opinion was a joke, no?

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#175 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 05 2010, 02:58PM
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Jayman wrote:

Again, my apologies. Maybe I should have put a disclaimer on my post that it was in no way meant to be derogatory or condescending. Someone said something that triggered a laugh in my own head. It put me in a really good mood, so I said thank you. I don't understand why people always have to take things the wrong way and get their nose out of joint.

I understand your "we at the ON" stats that Horcoff is on pace for 20 goals. I also understand my "here in the real world" stats and history that Horcofff has barely hit 20 goals twice in his NHL career with better players on the team. I do not believe he will hit 20 this year no matter what pace he is on. I guess I deserve to be insulted for believing something else and having a difference of opinion. Sorry for stepping on the toes of your little clique. I'll stay away from this site from now on.

There's a fairly broad spectrum of opinions here. It often results in discussions that last several days or weeks on multiple articles.

I wouldn't have taken offence to the way you reacted to the Horcoff stat, and I don't think you were out of line for laughing (the way we all laugh when people say Ovechkin is on pace for 250 goals 3 games into the season).

Don't be surprised, though, if someone challenges you based on your opinion, especially if the stats don't back it.

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#176 Ball Buster
January 05 2010, 04:38PM
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@Dyckster

<<<Oh dear..... Ok, so your company is building a house, when they stud a 160 inch wall on 16 inch centers, do they use 8 2x4s or 10? THE MATH suggests 10, we at the ON don't "think" when it comes to stats, stats dictate the actual or estimated result. Hence, 9 goals in 38 games leads to a mathematical estimate of 20ish goals for the season. Get it right rookie! >>>

OK. I'll be a jerk . . . You actually need 11 studs to frame that wall.

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#177 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 05 2010, 04:48PM
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Ball Buster wrote:

<<<Oh dear..... Ok, so your company is building a house, when they stud a 160 inch wall on 16 inch centers, do they use 8 2x4s or 10? THE MATH suggests 10, we at the ON don't "think" when it comes to stats, stats dictate the actual or estimated result. Hence, 9 goals in 38 games leads to a mathematical estimate of 20ish goals for the season. Get it right rookie! >>>

OK. I'll be a jerk . . . You actually need 11 studs to frame that wall.

Dividing the width of the wall by width of each segment gives you the number of possible segments, not the number of studs that separate the segments - so yes, you're correct - unless you're not counting the studs at the edges. In that case, the answer would be 9.

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#178 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 05 2010, 04:50PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Then I dont know why you're arguing with me

i mentioned earlier, sometimes i just like being an a$$hole.

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#179 dunciano
January 05 2010, 05:02PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I wrote a week or so ago that my 2010-11 edition of the team would have room for Eberle and Paajarvi-Svensson on it.

Not as saviours, but in an well-defined environment that the team is rebuilding. There's a big difference in expectations based on how the situation is framed.

Players like MPS are often reluctant to leave a comfortable situation in Europe to bus it in the AHL. That said, and seeing the benefit of getting him into the Oilers system as soon as possible -- under the right circumstances -- I can see him being here next season.

Ya and knowing our fans here, when he only gets 30-35 pts his first year everyone will be all over him, "what a bust" and it will be bad for his development.

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#180 WT
January 05 2010, 06:42PM
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As a born again, WT doesn't understand the media today. Why would anyone include a caption of "WTF". What is everyone to tell their little ones that read about their favorite team???

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#181 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 05 2010, 07:13PM
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WT wrote:

As a born again, WT doesn't understand the media today. Why would anyone include a caption of "WTF". What is everyone to tell their little ones that read about their favorite team???

Worse Then Feces????

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