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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#1 Eddie Shore
January 04 2010, 06:22PM
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Anybody catch the news? That d-bag restaurant owner tried to get CTV to pay him $1000 for an interview with the money "going to charity". What a tool.

@ Robin

Will there be garbage cans at each end of the ice?

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#2 Freezing Weather Fan
January 04 2010, 06:34PM
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Heard on Hockeycentral at noon today that if the top 8 in the West continue on their current pace, it's going to take 100 points to get into the playoffs, meaning we'd have to go 32-8-0. We might as well spend the time learning the basics again. Let's let Quinn have a 40 game training camp now for whatever players will be here next season.

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#3 GSC
January 04 2010, 06:52PM
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Nothing like a good bag skate to show the losers who's the boss.

And this team is full of losers, as far as the eye can see. Poor Quinn...

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#4 Hemmertime
January 04 2010, 06:57PM
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@GSC

Sad when MacT can get more outta the players. It was time for him to go, but shows he wasnt truly the problem. Quinn is worse off and you cant tell me Brodziak was the glue holding us together.

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#5 Horcsky
January 04 2010, 07:01PM
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So the players haven't learned the systems yet eh? Well that seems fairly obvious. My question would be why haven't they spent more time working on it, or if they have, why don't they sit the players that refuse to play/learn the system?

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#7 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 04 2010, 07:29PM
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"A getaway now would've gone over about as well as diarrhea at a pool party."

"Golf season, after all, will be here April 12, which is soon enough."

Two beauty lines in one blog.

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#8 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 04 2010, 07:31PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

Sad when MacT can get more outta the players. It was time for him to go, but shows he wasnt truly the problem. Quinn is worse off and you cant tell me Brodziak was the glue holding us together.

I was a firm MacT supporter, but I'm 100% confident this team is a healthy Hemsky/Bulin away from being roughly equivalent to last year.

Niether coach is/was the problem.

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#9 Librarian Mike
January 04 2010, 07:33PM
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@Freezing Weather Fan

it's going to take 100 points to get into the playoffs, meaning we'd have to go 32-8-0.

~...So you're saying there's a chance?~

...and yet a team which spent the past summer as the rope in a game of tug-of-war and whose coach couldn't be bothered to show up for training camp is sniffing at first place. Sigh.

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#10 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 04 2010, 07:34PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

MacT got more out of what players? If you're going to name some, then what about the flipside of the coin like Penner? How about Nilsson? How about Brule?

If you're hanging player performance heavily on coaching, then it works both ways.

To be fair Nilsson had a great run under MacT as well, and Brule spending most of the year in the A was an orginizational decision, was it not?

Quinn can have Penner as a big check mark, but Gilbert/Cogs/Grebs are blemishes.

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#11 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 04 2010, 07:42PM
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Horcsky wrote:

So the players haven't learned the systems yet eh? Well that seems fairly obvious. My question would be why haven't they spent more time working on it, or if they have, why don't they sit the players that refuse to play/learn the system?

sit players? they can barely ice a roster littered with borderline NHLers as it is. who, per say, is going to fill the roster spots if they decide to start sitting players?

anyone down on the farm lighting things up during their barely win a game season? nope

anyone in the press box now ready to play that will make a difference? nope

moving the kernels around in the big pile of sh** doesnt change the fact you are still dealing with a big pile of sh**

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#12 Matt Henderson
January 04 2010, 07:45PM
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They still dont understand the system? So either a man who has been coaching since before most of this team learned to tie their shoes has lost his ability to communicate OR the Oilers players are a group of mental midgets with attention deficit disorder.

Absolutely pathetic.

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#13 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 04 2010, 07:54PM
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@Matt Henderson

a group of mental midgets with attention deficit disorder

~throw nacho hats on them and you have a regular tuesday night at the Purple Onion~

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#14 Nate Full of Hate
January 04 2010, 08:04PM
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.

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#15 Librarian Mike
January 04 2010, 08:04PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

who, per say, is going to fill the roster spots if they decide to start sitting players?

If only it were possible for management to sit these guys, find a ragtag bunch of misfits and never-weres, have a bunch of zany adventures, and win the hearts of an entire city.

It's not realistic in the slightest, but it'd be more entertaining than what we've got this year.

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#16 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 04 2010, 08:07PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

They still dont understand the system? So either a man who has been coaching since before most of this team learned to tie their shoes has lost his ability to communicate OR the Oilers players are a group of mental midgets with attention deficit disorder.

Absolutely pathetic.

Ya that's mind boggling. Hockey really isn't that complex of a sport.

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#17 Matt Henderson
January 04 2010, 08:13PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:
a group of mental midgets with attention deficit disorder

~throw nacho hats on them and you have a regular tuesday night at the Purple Onion~

Throw in that Nacho hat and you have Dustin Penner's previous fitness coach.

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#18 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 04 2010, 08:15PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:
who, per say, is going to fill the roster spots if they decide to start sitting players?

If only it were possible for management to sit these guys, find a ragtag bunch of misfits and never-weres, have a bunch of zany adventures, and win the hearts of an entire city.

It's not realistic in the slightest, but it'd be more entertaining than what we've got this year.

watching a 500lb dude get his a$$ crack waxed would be more exciting than what we are getting this year

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#19 bigrroberto
January 04 2010, 08:23PM
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@Matt Henderson

"OR the Oilers players are a group of mental midgets with attention deficit disorder. "

Maybe they should be wearing their hockey helmets off the ice too...

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#20 Robin Brownlee
January 04 2010, 08:24PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

watching a 500lb dude get his a$$ crack waxed would be more exciting than what we are getting this year

Leave Terry Jones out of it.

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#21 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 04 2010, 08:31PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Leave Terry Jones out of it.

ohhhhhhhh snap!

edit: and while i think of it, does horcoff have a NMC? some sites say yes, some say only a NTC.

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#22 Hemmertime
January 04 2010, 08:44PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

MacT got more out of what players? If you're going to name some, then what about the flipside of the coin like Penner? How about Nilsson? How about Brule?

If you're hanging player performance heavily on coaching, then it works both ways.

Touche, on Penner at least. Nilsson is unlikely to eclipse his 41 pt season 2 years ago under MacT - granted more games played - so Quinn isnt really getting the most out of him. Your other example only played 11 games so is moot point.

JDD isnt Quinn either because hes only playing so much since Khabby down. He may have gotten a handful of more starts but Quinn was riding Khabby like MacT and Roli. Who was able to get more Wins? MacT was. But Hemmer going down is a big blow to the team. My main issue with this is:

With MacT you got the impression that the players weren't listening to the coach.

With Quinn it is flat out stated and obvious that the players are not listening to the coach.

Frustrating.

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#23 Matt Henderson
January 04 2010, 08:46PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Leave Terry Jones out of it.

I have a hard time believing Terry Jones is anything close to "well kept" underneath that mumu.

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#24 StrangePhD
January 04 2010, 08:47PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

Well...that ridiculous contract performs the same function as a NMC.

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#25 jake
January 04 2010, 08:48PM
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Quinn: boy we are not burying the puck right now

What system will cure that? The talent is just not there to get away with halfass efforts.

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#26 Matt Henderson
January 04 2010, 08:49PM
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StrangePhD wrote:

Well...that ridiculous contract performs the same function as a NMC.

the biggest difference is the ability to send him to the minors that isnt available in a NMC.

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#27 easymoney
January 04 2010, 08:52PM
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After 37 years in bizz your not looking for cheap heat .He was looking to get paid what he was owed what the hell is wrong with all of you that think this was a publicly stunt.

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#28 RossCreekNation
January 04 2010, 08:52PM
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@ Robin

Just curious (and I don't mean any disrespect), but why do you give the restaurant owner and restaurant itself publicity by name if you think it was a publicity stunt. Aren't you (and everyone else) giving him what he wants?

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#29 Eddie Shore
January 04 2010, 08:57PM
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Ok easymoney.

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#30 Hemmertime
January 04 2010, 08:59PM
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That and Quinn has a reputation for being bad with young players. A three week stint winning the Jr's with a team that is expected to win it does not change that in my eyes. Nearly every one of our younger guys has taken steps backward from earlier in their careers under Quinn. POS is useless, Sam Gagner hasnt developed much more, Cogliano is crap, Gilbert is much worse. Grebeshkov is lower pt total per game, not by much - but now is one of the worst give-away men in the NHL. Penner is 27, so hes right about where Quinn gets good with people.

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#31 Eddie Shore
January 04 2010, 09:01PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

the biggest difference is the ability to send him to the minors that isnt available in a NMC.

I would be so mad shocked if that ever happened.

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#32 JackBauer
January 04 2010, 09:04PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

@ Robin

Just curious (and I don't mean any disrespect), but why do you give the restaurant owner and restaurant itself publicity by name if you think it was a publicity stunt. Aren't you (and everyone else) giving him what he wants?

I was thinking the exact same thing. Its like, stop mentioning the guys name/business name. The idiot from Calgary will suffice.

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#33 Hemmertime
January 04 2010, 09:05PM
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** Realized Eberle drafted 2 years ago not last ** duh.

This edit brought to you by Coors, the silver bullet.

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#34 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 04 2010, 09:06PM
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easymoney wrote:

After 37 years in bizz your not looking for cheap heat .He was looking to get paid what he was owed what the hell is wrong with all of you that think this was a publicly stunt.

Why would you let them drink right out of the bottle, Maurizio?

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#35 Nate Full of Hate
January 04 2010, 09:06PM
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Daryl Katz elected to cancel the Califonia golf trip because the course wouldn't honor twilight rates even during the offseason...

The Oilers are so inept they probably can't implement a 1-4 trap.

(which they should do the rest of the year).

Crawl before you walk... right coach Quinn?

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#36 JackBauer
January 04 2010, 09:17PM
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We have generally had Phoenix's number so tommorow we will probably win and then do what Toronto does and start planning the parade route.

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#37 Harlie
January 04 2010, 09:17PM
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I heard Lowe today on Oilers Lunch and I gotta say I like how he handled the restaurant incident. He didn't laugh it off yet he didn't take it too seriously and he even related a funny story about Marchant wanting to get steak knives for the whole team when they out for dinner in a place in Chicago or somewhere and when KLowe saw the bill he politely said they would be paying the bill with tip and they would be leaving without the steak knives, thanks.

I also like the decision to turn their mini vacation into a mini camp. A couple of days of sweat will wash the egg off their faces pretty good.

And another thing, it is good to hear that the restaurant they went to is under investigation for overserving. Karma is a you know what.

I still think it would have been better if they sucked it up and paid their tab and then gave it to Lowe to take care of at a later date. The guy could probably get blood from a stone if he wanted to.

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#39 Nate Full of Hate
January 04 2010, 09:22PM
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Haven't the Oilers been on an extended vacation and mini camp for the first 42 games anyway?

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#40 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 04 2010, 09:24PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

the biggest difference is the ability to send him to the minors that isnt available in a NMC.

gold star for you!

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#41 Librarian Mike
January 04 2010, 09:37PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Maybe I'm the tipster who set the bacon on him . . .

If it were you, I salute you.

Upon reflection, I suspect the tipster's name rhymes with 'Bevin Bowe'.

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#42 StrangePhD
January 04 2010, 10:06PM
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@Matt Henderson

That is true. And don't I remember something about Nylander getting sent down with his giant contract? Either way, moot point. I don't think Horcoff will be moved in any direction, but I'm not sure he has a NMC in his contract.

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#43 Matt Henderson
January 04 2010, 10:07PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

gold star for you!

Ive thought about sending Horc to the minors every day since he signed his contract. I've decided that Horc can stay this season in the NHL, as he's helping the Oilers get their top 3 pick, but he's done as early as next season.

Ryan Freakin Potulny is pacing to be a MUCH cheaper replacement. And Faceoffs be damned. Horc's crap shoulder cant take faceoffs like they used to anyway.

Horc isnt the sole reason the Oilers arent winning today, but he wont be helping them win tomorrow either. I'm all but done waiting for him to come back to playing the way he did during a single 50 game stretch. Springfield needs the help anyway. What's the worst that happens? The Oilers lose more? Impossible.

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#44 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 04 2010, 10:50PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Ive thought about sending Horc to the minors every day since he signed his contract. I've decided that Horc can stay this season in the NHL, as he's helping the Oilers get their top 3 pick, but he's done as early as next season.

Ryan Freakin Potulny is pacing to be a MUCH cheaper replacement. And Faceoffs be damned. Horc's crap shoulder cant take faceoffs like they used to anyway.

Horc isnt the sole reason the Oilers arent winning today, but he wont be helping them win tomorrow either. I'm all but done waiting for him to come back to playing the way he did during a single 50 game stretch. Springfield needs the help anyway. What's the worst that happens? The Oilers lose more? Impossible.

Always delusional regarding cap space.

Did you know he's on a 20 goal (82 game) pace. Lupul makes 1.25/less and you were interested in him because he's a 20 goal scorer. Yet 5.5 for 20 should be in the AHL.

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#45 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 04 2010, 10:57PM
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on the plus side, the Bear will have another mission for the really tough contest next year.

the mission? watch all 82 oiler games from this season consecutively.

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#46 Reagan
January 04 2010, 11:11PM
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I mean could the writing be on the wall any clearer at this point? The Oilers are being pampered to wash the season away. This clearly indicated that the wash of the season for the first overall pick is a must! Thinking about it today, thsi leaves the Oilers short of renewing Staios, Moreau, and Pisnai for next season. Also no more Comrie, Pouliot, and some other floaters. Hence makes room for MPS, Eberle, and hopefully Hall. However, I would like to see that siv Grebs (king of turnovers)traded for draft choice, and Ghorney can be slotted full time. Then maybe clear Horcoff for a bag of pucks if Kevin Lowe will bend over his bonuses for the next ten seasons... Oh well, here's to next season, I now have sold 17 of the last home games of my season tickets I still have a few games left. Anyways, not like you all care, but Trade Deadline is coming!

Go Canada Go!

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#47 Reagan
January 05 2010, 06:42AM
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Wow, did not use the proof reader last night sorry about that. The Rum and Cokes didn't help matters. :)

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#48 Reagan
January 05 2010, 06:56AM
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Funny, Once again I'm posting after myself, however one interesting points that keep on showing up in all the posts and forums I have been reading this morning.

"Trade Moreau, Staios, Pisani, Grebeshkov, and find someway of dealing with Horcoffs contract"

The second most popular is everyone is excited about, "Eberle, Svennson, and Lander"

The third most common point is "Make Souray Captain".

The fans are not the GM's. So why doesn't the GM be a GM?

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#49 Bob Cobb
January 05 2010, 07:22AM
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Eberle, Svenson and Lander are not going to be the savior next year. Deal with the outrageous contracts, even if they have to run there course, make some good draft picks and grow a team like that. Don't rush Eberle, Svenson, and Lander, to properly rebuild takes a while especially if you want to do it properly.

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#50 michael clarke
January 05 2010, 07:35AM
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A mini camp to refocus the team? To work on systems? I think the 4 day break would be a good time for alot of the players to reflect on a season that could have been, All is not lost, but it should be if we are going to move forward as a team and as an organization.It is 20 days to the trade deadline. This "break" should give Tambelini the time he needs to evaluate this team going forward and make up his mind as to which assests he is going to offer up at the trade deadline. If this team still has the same players in April as it does now there should be hell to pay. Tambo your on the clock. This is your make it or break it time.

michael

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