Back at it: are we there yet?

Robin Brownlee
February 24 2010 11:34PM

Happy to get away in the first place and less thrilled than that to be back with good reason, the Edmonton Oilers returned to the ice at Rexall Place Wednesday afternoon, marking an end to their Olympic break.

Sitting dead-last in NHL standings at 19-36-6 for 44 points after a 7-3 thrashing from the Anaheim Ducks before the break, the Oilers did some drills to knock the rust off with a full complement of coaches, including Pat Quinn, just returned from Vancouver, looking on.

Suffice to say, it was a less-than brisk workout and the dictionary definition of non-descript, as you'd expect from a bunch of players getting back at it with 21 games remaining and little left to play for -- aside from securing a lottery pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.

Hey, I don't make the news, I just report it.

Of note...

-- Sam Gagner's sore knee hasn't responded as well to rest over the break as he'd hoped it would and he didn't skate.

"I feel a lot better," Gagner said. "We just talked it over with the doctors and we're just going to take a little time. Tomorrow, I'm going to do some on-ice testing and see where it is.

"Hopefully, the next day I’ll get back practising with the team and be ready for our first game."

Gagner has already had two MRIs on the knee. While neither one has shown any structural damage, he's still experiencing some stiffness and pain.

-- Future Mr. Duff, a.k.a.  Mike Comrie, obviously isn't a kiss-and-tell kind of guy, as he made it clear before practice even started he wouldn't be taking questions about his engagement to Hillary Duff.

Comrie, who popped the question to Duff in Hawaii during the break, filed out of the dressing room, called over one of the Oilers media relations guys and told him to inform the unwashed masses he wouldn't be taking inquiries about the engagement. That was that. For now.

-- With the trade deadline looming, it's nail-biting time for the players between now and March 3. While there's plenty of buzz -- I'll get into that in coming days -- most of it is of the unsubstantiated rumour variety.

The objects of most of the talk in these parts we know -- Ethan Moreau, Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios and Fernando Pisani.

Pisani couldn't help himself: "What are you hearing?" he asked me. "About you?" I answered. "Well . . ." So it goes, and will go, between now and deadline day. Reminded me of Raffi Torres, who was always as nervous as a blushing bride when trade day neared and was always leaning on the media guys for the inside dope.

-- No sign of Souray around the rink, but I didn't ask if he was here. In any case, he's done until late-March, at the earliest after surgery to repair a broken wrist at the end of January. J.F. Jacques (sore back) didn't skate either.

-- Nikolai Khabibulin, who had his mugshot posted around the internet after failing a roadside sobriety test on Super Bowl weekend in Arizona, remains at home, ahem, rehabbing his back. Khabibulin will face a DUI charge in court Friday.

Generation gap

Patrick Garland, second-banana to J.J. Hebert in the Oilers media department, was sporting the best tan at practice, so I asked him if he'd been someplace warm.

"Cabo San Lucas," said Garland, who is Twenty-Something.

"Oh, did you bump into Barry?" I asked.

"Barry who?" Garland said.

"Barry Fraser."

"Who's Barry Fraser?"

— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show 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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#51 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
February 25 2010, 12:46PM
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Uh, I'm missing out on the Barry Fraser/Mexico/beach reference. Anyone care to enlighten?

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#52 OilFan
February 25 2010, 12:50PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

You know, I think I just figured something out:

(1994-phone conversation between Sather and Fraser on draft day)

Sather: Barry. Who should we pick with the #4?

Fraser: (to waiter) Senor! Get me another Mojito!

Sather: Senor...Bonsignore? Okay. (hangs up)

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#53 Librarian Mike
February 25 2010, 12:51PM
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Max Powers - Team HME Evans wrote:

Uh, I'm missing out on the Barry Fraser/Mexico/beach reference. Anyone care to enlighten?

Barry Fraser was the Oilers' head scout up until around 2000 or so. He was notorious for not bothering to show up at the draft, but instead phoned in his picks from his beach house in Cabo.

While he hit a few home runs early on (i.e. Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr), he is mostly remembered for Jason Bonsignore, Peter Soberlak, Steve Kelly, etc. etc.

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#54 Jonathan Willis
February 25 2010, 12:54PM
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Wow on the Barry Fraser comment.

I'm now picturing an MIB-style memory flasher being used on all new Oilers employees.

Rick Olczyk: "So, you're an Oilers fan..."

Applicant: "Yeah, I thought it would help me get this job; it's my dream to work for the team."

Olczyk: "And what do you know about Steve Kelly?"

Applicant: (angrily) "I know he isn't Shane Doan!"

Olczyk: "Good, good. Do you remember the 2002 Draft?"

Applicant: "$%%&( NIINIMAKI!!11!"

Olczyk: "Congratulations, you're eveyrthing we've come to expect from years of following this team. Now if you'll just follow me, I have one more test to administer: an eye exam."

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#55 Travis Dakin
February 25 2010, 01:13PM
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@Jonathan Willis

haha well done.

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#56 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 25 2010, 01:43PM
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Tracie wrote:

Yesterday?? Wow, you must live in a cave! they did a story on it last year I think. Struds made funnies saying it was hard for the Neidermayers to always live in his shadow of success but they cope. I don't remember if they were close or not but I remember the article...Sorry i can't find it on the internet anymore!

Careful, I'll konk you over the head and drag you back to my cave.

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#57 Brandon
February 25 2010, 01:43PM
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What could kill the Oilers? Having the worst season ever and losing the draft loto.. getting pick #2.

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#58 Archaeologuy
February 25 2010, 01:54PM
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@Brandon

still get Seguin. Not going to jump off a bridge if that happens.

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#59 Dan the Man
February 25 2010, 02:31PM
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Speaking of the first overall pick...

Lets say the Oilers finish dead last ( I know it's a bit of a stretch) and they retain the first overall pick BUT they have decided that Seguin is their man.

What are the chances that they could make a deal with the Bruins (assuming they own the number 2 pick) to take Seguin and leave Hall for the Bruins if the Bruins gave up a pick to the Oilers?

I guess it would all depend on who the Bruins prefer but if Hall is the guy they want then maybe?

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#60 Nick Dynasty
February 25 2010, 02:39PM
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I wouldn't mind Seguin at all at this point. He leads Hall by 9 points (although he's played 4 more games) and has scored 45 goals compared to Hall's 34. Seguin has also played one less year than Hall but is already matching him offensively and on a worse team too.

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#61 Bucknuck
February 25 2010, 02:50PM
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Nick Dynasty wrote:

I wouldn't mind Seguin at all at this point. He leads Hall by 9 points (although he's played 4 more games) and has scored 45 goals compared to Hall's 34. Seguin has also played one less year than Hall but is already matching him offensively and on a worse team too.

I completely agree. I am leaning towards Sequin as well.

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#62 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 25 2010, 03:18PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Speaking of the first overall pick...

Lets say the Oilers finish dead last ( I know it's a bit of a stretch) and they retain the first overall pick BUT they have decided that Seguin is their man.

What are the chances that they could make a deal with the Bruins (assuming they own the number 2 pick) to take Seguin and leave Hall for the Bruins if the Bruins gave up a pick to the Oilers?

I guess it would all depend on who the Bruins prefer but if Hall is the guy they want then maybe?

I was thinking about that the other day. With Bergeron/Savard/Krejci signed and now missing Kessel, I'd think the Bruins would prefer the scoring winger over the all around center. Maybe we could get the Bruins own 1st rounder as compensation for them moving up?

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#63 DoubleJ
February 25 2010, 03:24PM
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Nick Dynasty wrote:

I wouldn't mind Seguin at all at this point. He leads Hall by 9 points (although he's played 4 more games) and has scored 45 goals compared to Hall's 34. Seguin has also played one less year than Hall but is already matching him offensively and on a worse team too.

Hall plays with 4 other forwards in the top 25 scoring in the OHL, and has three top ten in scoring on the d. This has to be helping his numbers because he's on a very stacked team. Sequin has one other forward in the top forty that's it. Also no one on the D helping the scoring.

It seems Seguin is carrying the team by himself. Seguin seems like a perfect fit for the Oilers (no one to play with)

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#64 Dan the Man
February 25 2010, 04:15PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I was thinking about that the other day. With Bergeron/Savard/Krejci signed and now missing Kessel, I'd think the Bruins would prefer the scoring winger over the all around center. Maybe we could get the Bruins own 1st rounder as compensation for them moving up?

That would be pretty sweet even if it was a 2nd rounder.

When Florida and Columbus swapped draft positons in 2002 all Florida got in return was the option to switch picks with Columbus in 2003 though.

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#65 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 25 2010, 04:38PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

That would be pretty sweet even if it was a 2nd rounder.

When Florida and Columbus swapped draft positons in 2002 all Florida got in return was the option to switch picks with Columbus in 2003 though.

Crappy deal for Florida, TO payed a pretty penny to move up twice to grab Schenn.

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#66 Shawner
February 27 2010, 10:50PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:
see you in 3 - 5 yrs.

promise?

honestly, anyone with half a brain knew this season wasnt going to be pretty. however, anyone with half a brain is also able to see that this SHOULD be an opportunity to shake some things up AND give the team a legit shot at drafting a potential superstar.

yes, the team sucks dirty dirty man balls. yes, the hockey is painful to watch. get off of your short term thinking little soapbox and try and look long term.

you say you dont want your kids to be influenced by these amateurs. interesting. so you are going to teach your kids to run when things get tough? when things arent fun?

see you in 3-5 years. i will be the one still driving the same bandwagon i have been on since 1980. i bet in 3 years when this team "should" be competitive again, you will be the first knob on here saying they believed all along..

I know your Just as upset as i am but no need to get you panties in a knot.

My comments have completly nothing to do about perserverance above toughness!! Or Giving up. If anything my comments are about making tough decisions as a family, as i have sold my 4 season seats and will not renew until we can justify the cost (i.e A competative team)(and yes we CAN afford it)

Believe me the games are a great oppurtunity to spend time with my family. Therfore WE will be cheering for hockey as an entire sport not just 1 team fans anymore because there is nothing to cheer about at this time, If you would have read what i said with Properly and not with an ignorant approach you would have recognized the sarcasm through out the entire post. I understand the that this (tanking) is the best for the team and that it will be exciting when they draft #1/2 in June, That being said, we will not be pay for mediocrity anymore and we will funnel that money to another deserving party. (ajhl/whl),

Take care and have fun at the quietest barn in the league!

P.S WE prefer satellite

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