Horcoff and Die

Lowetide
October 06 2010 05:38PM

The first time I noticed Shawn Horcoff, a pretty pass was zipping through the slot in a fall 2000 scrimmage. The intended target didn't get the pass, as his stick had been raised by his shadow; the two skaters faded from the scene, the puck safely out of harm's way. The shadow? Shawn Horcoff. His mark on that play? Long forgotten. Shawn Horcoff showed everyone early on he had the ability to play a complete game.

The fall 2000 Oilers had a plethora of new hires up front. An entire line (the Bulldog line: Brian Swanson, Michel Riesen, Dan Cleary) were joined by Dan Lacouture and Dom Pittis; Horcoff and Mike Comrie were sent away. Comrie forced the issue and made the grade mid-season, but by that time Horcoff was already there.

Horcoff's early years included many struggles (he had a galling tendency to pass the puck along his own blueline) and early in his NHL career it wasn't clear he was going to score enough to play a major role. However, "Horc" answered every request from the coach and eventually moved up the depth chart to the top line C job (Doug Weight owned it when he arrived, Nugent-Hopkins will probably own it when he leaves) and has had his share of good times and bad since taking on that difficult role.

Many Oiler fans consider Shawn Horcoff an overpaid, undertalented fraud; don't count me among them. Shawn Horcoff is a throwback type, a player who doesn't see himself as a special case and doesn't press for a specific role that suits his skills best. No sir. He's a two-way center with heart, a solid option for a team that hasn't enjoyed an impact player up the middle since Weight was sent to St. Louis years ago.

Today, the Oilers named Shawn Horcoff captain. His coach said that as part of the selection process he had asked all of the players for their choice. Horcoff's name was front and center throughout the conversations. Ales Hemsky said "they couldn't have picked a better guy" and I'm inclined to agree. There are things a fan like me can't know about the inner workings of a hockey team; however, anyone who has watched this team since fall 2000 can tell you Shawn Horcoff answered every call, left it all out on the ice and delivered to the best of his ability.

I can't think of a better man for these young kids to look up to as they grow into NHL players over the next few seasons. Horcoff will no doubt play the "Stan Weir" role on the ice, and will deliver in very important off-ice roles as well. Good choice, Tom Renney. And for those who don't appreciate Horcoff's talents, I offer the title of this post as a friendly suggestion.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Mason Storm
October 06 2010, 06:53PM
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I also can't wait for the season to start. If for no other reason than to get rid of the 7-2 beat down from Anaheim as our last game.

*shudders thinking of last year*

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#2 Clay
October 06 2010, 09:48PM
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Being in Calgary, I'm literally the only Oiler Fan in a building full of Flames fans. Most of them are the typical bandwagoners ("Is Lanny coming back soon? I think he could turn this around!"), but there are a handful of real hockey hounds, and we have some good natured back-and-forth about our teams.

To a man, they all sincerely like Horcoff.

The one guy I get into it most with always says that the best part of the Oilers '06 run (besides that they didn't add to their cup total) was Horcoff sticking his face in front of Lidstrom's shot, and MacT running out on the ice to check on him.

If you want a leader to set example for the youngin's, who better than a guy who never complains, always gives it his all, plays through injury, and does everything asked of him.

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#3 Cru Jones
October 06 2010, 05:46PM
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Scored the biggest goal I've ever seen in person in triple OT against the Sharks. I remember him laying on the ice in another playoff game after blocking a shot (with his face?) to secure the win. Those are the two things I remember every time I hear some moron bash the guy. Then I sit quietly and think to myself "It's okay, they just don't understand the sport."

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#4 jake
October 06 2010, 06:04PM
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I am ok with the choice. I like the fact the captain will be on a regular shift and won't be in the penalty box when games are on the line.

My hope is if a younger player will emerge in next few years and a smooth transition will take place with Horcoff handing over the C.

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#5 Westcoastoil
October 06 2010, 06:53PM
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The clear and obvious choice. One thing that rarely gets mentioned is Horcoff's intelligence - when you hear him speak it's clear he's a smart man. 2 thoughts: Pretty hard to take a night off when your captain buries his head and plays as hard as he does game in, game out; my guess is most guys on the team would go through a wall for him. 2 important characteristics you like to see in your captain (vs. another effin penalty in the last minute%^!!...)

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#6 Paq Twinn
October 06 2010, 09:51PM
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I like most fans believe his 70 point season was an abberation, but I also believe last year falls in the same catagory. Horc has always been a consistant, heart and soul trooper. Plus he was the only logical choice due to the above statement and the length of his tenure here in Edmonton. He'll bounce back and make every Oiler fan forget about his sub par performance of 09/10.

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#7 PhiDelt
October 06 2010, 05:41PM
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I think he will do a decent job, new players , new coach, new out look on the oilers will all make it alot better year for Horcoff.

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#8 BUCK75
October 06 2010, 05:51PM
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As long as he doesn't turn into Shayne Corson this is a great move & a no brainer. A guy who has played his ass off here for the past 10 seasons. Ryan Whitney may have been another good choice, but his body of work doesn't even come close to #10's.

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#9 Dan the Man
October 06 2010, 05:53PM
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If anyone whines about the choice of Horcoff as Captain I am forwarding them this article.

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#10 Chunklets
October 06 2010, 05:55PM
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Nice post, Mr. Lowetide!

Yeah, I'm definitely ok with Horcoff being C16 around here; I've never jumped onto or even really understood the anti-Horcoff bandwagon.

In fact, I really can't see who Renney could have picked over him. There are guys (Whitney, eg) there who would be decent choices in and of themselves, but none better than Horcoff given his veteran status and his apparently exemplary work ethic. I particularly like the fact that Hall is already talking him up as a guiding influence.

I only hope that the guy can find a way to get the leather-lungs off his back!

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#11 brocktw
October 06 2010, 05:58PM
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Excellent read, LT.

***Horcoff and die***

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#12 9 Inches Uncut
October 06 2010, 06:01PM
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I'm on board. Here's to Shawn having a strong, healthy season.

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#13 Tha Legion
October 06 2010, 06:06PM
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Definitely my choice for C13. Still working on my funny comment for previous thread.

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#14 magisterrex
October 06 2010, 06:11PM
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Horcoff will be a great captain. 'Nuff said.

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#15 master of my domain
October 06 2010, 06:13PM
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I just wish people could forget about Shawn Horcoff the contract and concentrate on Shawn Horcoff the player.

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#16 @NateInVegas
October 06 2010, 06:15PM
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May 10, 2006

SanJose V Edmonton

OT3 Horcoff scores the winner & moment shifts to the Oil all the way to the finals.

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#17 Racki
October 06 2010, 06:27PM
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I don't hide the fact that I'm a Horcoff fan and always have been. Very happy that he was made captain today.

I've always conceded that the $5.5M contract wasn't a very good one made by Lowe, although I understand his reasoning. He's the type that probably listens to fans a bit too much and probably thought he was making up for what happened with Ryan Smyth.

Anyways, I don't focus on the numbers, since I'm not paying the bills. And well, given that we now have a tremendous amount of cap space, for once, I don't think many people even care about it for the next two years.

I just hope he can have a better season this year, and from what I've seen so far, I really think he will.

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#18 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 06 2010, 06:30PM
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I just love snug fitting black T-shirts like that, what were we talking about again....

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#19 fuck off
October 06 2010, 06:33PM
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Excellent again LT, however I have to disagree on your side note: Couturier should be the one taking over for Horcs in a few years. That is of course if the Oilers get that option after this season but if I had to choose I think SC is a better option than RN-H.

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#21 @NateInVegas
October 06 2010, 06:49PM
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Lowetide wrote:

mxke: You could be right, I haven't looked at it that closely yet. I know RNH is pretty small, right?

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is like Daniel Briere sans Flintstones vitamins.

Hope things sour between FLA & Gudbranson so the Oil make a swap...

Dare to dream.

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#22 Mason Storm
October 06 2010, 06:50PM
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I would love to see Courturier take over for Horcs but I think Gagner already did that.

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#23 The Other John
October 06 2010, 06:51PM
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Absolutely HATE Horcoff's contract (most particularly term) but if I had to select a captain off this roster there is absolutely no question in my mind that he is the only and best choice. He is, quite simply, a pro's pro and will be a good leader for young players

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#24 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 06 2010, 06:55PM
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What would Shaun Horcoff have netted this past summer if he was an unrestricted free agent, 1.5-2.5 per season? The only reason he's still an Oiler is because of his untradeable salary. If Tambellini could've had it his way he would've swept Horcoff out with Moreau, Staios and Souray. Seems to be alot of man love for Horcoff here lately, i just wanted to temper it a little. He's still the worst contract ever givin to an Oilers player.

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#25 hohell
October 06 2010, 06:56PM
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Excellent choice for the Oilers - I am most pleased. He will be an excellent role-model for the fresh faces of the future.

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#26 Oilchange64
October 06 2010, 07:01PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

What would Shaun Horcoff have netted this past summer if he was an unrestricted free agent, 1.5-2.5 per season? The only reason he's still an Oiler is because of his untradeable salary. If Tambellini could've had it his way he would've swept Horcoff out with Moreau, Staios and Souray. Seems to be alot of man love for Horcoff here lately, i just wanted to temper it a little. He's still the worst contract ever givin to an Oilers player.

Oh...I don't know about that. I seem to remember this goalie....

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#27 Steve
October 06 2010, 07:02PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

What would Shaun Horcoff have netted this past summer if he was an unrestricted free agent, 1.5-2.5 per season? The only reason he's still an Oiler is because of his untradeable salary. If Tambellini could've had it his way he would've swept Horcoff out with Moreau, Staios and Souray. Seems to be alot of man love for Horcoff here lately, i just wanted to temper it a little. He's still the worst contract ever givin to an Oilers player.

Horcoff's contract is bad, but it's not even the worst contract held by a current Oiler: Khabibulin's unquestionably worse. With the benefit of hindsight, Souray's is worse too, though without that bad blood it would probably have been roughly as bad, and possibly even a little better.

Any team that could get Horcoff for 1.5-2.5 per season would be in pretty terrific shape.

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#28 philbert
October 06 2010, 07:10PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

What would Shaun Horcoff have netted this past summer if he was an unrestricted free agent, 1.5-2.5 per season? The only reason he's still an Oiler is because of his untradeable salary. If Tambellini could've had it his way he would've swept Horcoff out with Moreau, Staios and Souray. Seems to be alot of man love for Horcoff here lately, i just wanted to temper it a little. He's still the worst contract ever givin to an Oilers player.

i guess the only thing to point out is that you can't blame him for the contract. sure it seems a bit of an over pay, but if some one came knocking on your door and offered you that money would you knock it back? i think not. so sure man love for horc all the way, to the bank.

also best player available to steal a line from a recent draft

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#29 fuck off
October 06 2010, 07:10PM
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@Lowetide

Yeah RN-H is smaller and cerebral. Excellent skill and talent but not ideal IMO. Couturier however is a better size befitting a 1C and he is Mr. Shutdown. Night in and night out he lines up against the opposition's first line and blanks their stat sheets all the while posting points of his own.

Bob MacKenzie had this to say about him:
"Couturier is a rangy, point-producing centre who won the Quebec League scoring title last season as a 17-year-old. In addition to putting up impressive offensive numbers, Couturier has a fairly well developed defensive game and has been used by Canadian national under-18 teams as a "shutdown" type centre who reads the game as well without the puck as with it. Not surprisingly, with his size, skill and ability to play without the puck, Couturier is said to have some Staal-like qualities -- Eric or Jordan, take your pick."

I'm sure everyone else enjoys the zing that leaves in their mouth as we continue to drool for a true 1C.

DAMN! I just noticed TSN has SC towering at 6'4 and 193lbs already! Last year's QMJHL box cars are: 68-41-55-96 +62. RN-H is sized up at 6'0 and 155lbs. Seems like an easy option to me, that is of course if they get that chance.

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#30 Brian V
October 06 2010, 07:20PM
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Mason Storm wrote:

I also can't wait for the season to start. If for no other reason than to get rid of the 7-2 beat down from Anaheim as our last game.

*shudders thinking of last year*

It is always funny how they leave the score up all offseason. Two years in a row the Oilers were beat down in Game 82 if my memory serves me correctly.

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#31 ubermiguel
October 06 2010, 07:21PM
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Well said Lowetide. Love the player, can't blame him for Lowe's "generous" contract.

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#32 Oilchange64
October 06 2010, 07:27PM
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Props to all the writers for trying to keep us entertained through a very long offseason, but I am looking forward to having some actual meaningful hockey to discuss instead of contracts and fantasy trades.

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#33 Westcoastoil
October 06 2010, 07:28PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

What would Shaun Horcoff have netted this past summer if he was an unrestricted free agent, 1.5-2.5 per season? The only reason he's still an Oiler is because of his untradeable salary. If Tambellini could've had it his way he would've swept Horcoff out with Moreau, Staios and Souray. Seems to be alot of man love for Horcoff here lately, i just wanted to temper it a little. He's still the worst contract ever givin to an Oilers player.

His contract is is irrelevant to his captaincy and you can cherry pick crappy contracts on just about every team in the league.

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#34 The Other John
October 06 2010, 07:28PM
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QSB

Not sure why the hatred for Horcoff...........he's overpaid. But is smart, plays without ego and works his bag off.

Why not take anger out on whoever signed him to said bad contract. Speaking about bad contracts .... what about the guy we are paying $9 million dollars to play for another teams AHL franchise.......who signed that contract?

And you are mad at Horcoff? The anger I get, but suggest the target of your anger is misdirected

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#35 @NateInVegas
October 06 2010, 07:35PM
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What's the connection between Oilers & Hershey/Caps?

Steckle talk..Giroux..Souray

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#36 The Other John
October 06 2010, 07:39PM
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Westcoastoil

Name me the 5 teams in the NHL with 3 contracts as bad as Horcoff's, Khabby and Souray? I suspect with exception of Glenn Sather (I think he has pictures of Charles Dolan) that the offending GM's have all been fired

With Sather keep in mind the Knicks, same owners as the Rangers, in 08/09 had horrible team, missed playoffs, had a 95 million dollar payroll and paid the NBA 40 million dollars in luxury tax. So to some extent Sather just looks good by comparison

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#37 Steve
October 06 2010, 07:55PM
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The Other John wrote:

Westcoastoil

Name me the 5 teams in the NHL with 3 contracts as bad as Horcoff's, Khabby and Souray? I suspect with exception of Glenn Sather (I think he has pictures of Charles Dolan) that the offending GM's have all been fired

With Sather keep in mind the Knicks, same owners as the Rangers, in 08/09 had horrible team, missed playoffs, had a 95 million dollar payroll and paid the NBA 40 million dollars in luxury tax. So to some extent Sather just looks good by comparison

Though I think your point is broadly correct, Khabibulin was signed by a different GM from the one that signed Horcoff and Souray.

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#38 a lg dubl dubl
October 06 2010, 08:03PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

What would Shaun Horcoff have netted this past summer if he was an unrestricted free agent, 1.5-2.5 per season? The only reason he's still an Oiler is because of his untradeable salary. If Tambellini could've had it his way he would've swept Horcoff out with Moreau, Staios and Souray. Seems to be alot of man love for Horcoff here lately, i just wanted to temper it a little. He's still the worst contract ever givin to an Oilers player.

IMO the worst contract ever by given by the oilers is: Tom Gilbert 4mil over the next 3 yrs

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#39 Steve
October 06 2010, 08:05PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

IMO the worst contract ever by given by the oilers is: Tom Gilbert 4mil over the next 3 yrs

Well, everyone is entitled to her/his opinion, as any sane person reading your comment will have to keep reminding him/herself.

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#40 R.A. Slapshotzky
October 06 2010, 08:10PM
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Twas the night before Christmas....

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#41 Hemmertime
October 06 2010, 08:19PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

Sheldon Sourays is worse. 5x5.4 for 1 season

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#42 andrewmk20
October 06 2010, 08:22PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

But even guys like Daymond Langkow get 4M a year long term. And I prefer Horcoff over Langkow.

Harping on his contract is moot. People go back again and again to it. It's done, it is a bad contract, and if they had to do it again they wouldn't. But I don't think this club would get rid of him if he had a reasonable contract. So if he had a 3-4M a year deal he'd still be here. He has a massive 5.5M/year deal and he's here. So it's a completely moot point.

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#43 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 06 2010, 08:27PM
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Lowetide wrote:

mxke: You could be right, I haven't looked at it that closely yet. I know RNH is pretty small, right?

He's a new level of smurf (though still very young so obviously could fill out).

I go to a fair amount of Rebel games, RNH reminds me alot of Hemsky. That said, I wouldn't be banking on him to be a #1C one day. Guy seems extremly high risk to me.

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#44 fuck off
October 06 2010, 08:39PM
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@NateInVegas wrote:

What's the connection between Oilers & Hershey/Caps?

Steckle talk..Giroux..Souray

No connection except to let East coast NHL teams take a look at him. Souray to Hershey is the same spin as Nylander to Florida's AHL affiliate; another angle at trying to achieve a trade.

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#45 fuck off
October 06 2010, 08:41PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

A 6'0 17 year old isn't exactly a smurf but it is true that he's weak at only 155lbs; which in time can fill out.

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#46 oilking91
October 06 2010, 08:42PM
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I became an Oilers fan in 1997 because they were an underdog team. Horcoff is the ultimate underdog. I am stoked that he was given the "C" and was the right choice.

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#47 fuck off
October 06 2010, 08:44PM
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@a lg dubl dubl

Tommy G is a 40+ point D-man. 4mil/year sounds pretty reasonable for that considering that only this past July 1st saw a trend of GMs spending less on top pair defenders.

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#48 AL
October 06 2010, 09:19PM
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The Other John wrote:

QSB

Not sure why the hatred for Horcoff...........he's overpaid. But is smart, plays without ego and works his bag off.

Why not take anger out on whoever signed him to said bad contract. Speaking about bad contracts .... what about the guy we are paying $9 million dollars to play for another teams AHL franchise.......who signed that contract?

And you are mad at Horcoff? The anger I get, but suggest the target of your anger is misdirected

I agree but would add that if Horcoff plays without ego and works as hard as he does, he should be one of the higher paid players (and lets not kid ourselves, he has contributed offensively as well, just not as a bona-fide no 1 center).

I'm more inclined to say that Souray is overpaid, not because he didn't work hard, but because he treated it as something he did not have to deliver on in Edmonton if he felt like leaving on a whim. Some players seem to treat a contract as if it is intended to be transferable to a different market.

I suggest that Horcoff is a great example to the young players - work your ass off, be loyal, and act like a professional. Oh, and get paid insane amounts of money to do it. If any number of these kids learn that attitude and ethic from Horcoff, with their skill, they could be amazing!

AL

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#49 Steve
October 06 2010, 09:35PM
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@AL

"Some players seem to treat a contract as if it is intended to be transferable to a different market."

Um, it is - that's called a "trade".

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#50 6 ring circus
October 06 2010, 09:39PM
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Horcoff is the right choice for captain for the next few years,he can then pass it on to one of the young guns when its their turn.Souray wanted out of Edmonton,lets ask him in April how he likes Hershey after he has played the year there.

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