Saying goodbye: they come, they go

Robin Brownlee
February 27 2010 08:22PM

Edmonton Oilers v Anaheim Ducks

Sooner or later, everybody moves on. That's true in every walk of life and it's no less so with players in the NHL or for those of us who make a living reporting about them.

Players come. Players go. Be it through trades, free agency or retirement, that's the way it works. Players know it. I know it. I've lost track of exactly how many players have walked out of the dressing room door, as well as those walking in, in the years I've covered the Edmonton Oilers, but it's in the hundreds.

Somewhere along the line, I can't remember when, I began making a habit of trying to spend a little time with a player I believed or knew was on the way out for one reason or another -- whether the player knew it or not. Some time to talk away from the glare of the scrum. To shoot the breeze. To have a laugh and remember when. Essentially, it's my way of saying goodbye and good luck without actually saying it.

With the NHL trade deadline looming Wednesday, I had that talk with Ethan Moreau this morning.

THE CHICAGO FOUR

I was waiting for Moreau to finish treatment on Ken Lowe's table 30 minutes or so after everybody else had left the dressing room today when I started thinking about how long he'd been here.

I sure didn't think it would be parts of 12 seasons and 637 games. When Moreau arrived on March 20, 1999 with the Chicago Four -- Moreau, Chad Kilger, Dan Cleary and Christian Laflamme -- I saw him as a throw-in as part of the deal. Kilger was the keeper. Cleary was the steal.

With all of them long gone, I long ago learned better about the guy who has worn the captain's "C" here since it was passed along to him Oct. 2, 2007 by Jason Smith.

"Sorry to keep you waiting so long, man," Moreau said after escaping Lowe's clutches and emerging from the back. "What's up?" What's up, indeed, I thought. Like Moreau didn't know. "You're the last one left," I said. "By a long time," Moreau smiled.

So began the obligatory interview all reporters do with the deadline approaching. Mostly, though, we just talked. I kept thinking how, a few years back, Moreau was so good on a line with Todd Marchant and Mike Grier. I thought about how he scored 20 goals in 2003-04 and about how so much has changed for him and the Oilers since then.

I thought of the time years ago when I went over to Moreau's house to do an interview about the joys of fatherhood after the arrival of his son, Trey, during a rehab from shoulder surgery. Proud papa. At the time I remember thinking, this is a good man. I still feel that way.

THE TIME COMES

Moreau's performance, or lack of same, has been talked about and written about every which way over the past couple of years, so I'm not going to cover that old ground at length here.

Moreau's leadership has been questioned. He's been criticized for taking stupid penalties. He makes too much money. Fans have been calling for him to be run off for a long time. Trade the bum. Make him go away.

Much of the criticism is warranted. Most of his flaws, while real, I'd argue, have been magnified by this team's abysmal results since the Stanley Cup run of 2006. While Moreau is very much the same blood-and-guts guy he has always been, minus a step, fans have a right to their opinion. It comes with the territory.

I didn't ask Moreau today, at least on the record, if he agrees with the critics that it's well past time for him to move on, or if he'd prefer to be traded by the deadline Wednesday. If that would be better for him and the Oilers. That's like tossing a player a grenade. Besides, I know the answer.

I suspect fans who want Moreau gone will get their wish sooner than later. Good men come and go. That's the nature of the business. As he shook my hand today, I thought again how Moreau is one of them. A good man.

-- 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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#2 Travis Dakin
February 27 2010, 08:31PM
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Classy.

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#3 RossCreekNation
February 27 2010, 08:47PM
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"Hey boys, Brownlee's been chattin me up lately."

"Uh-oh. You know what that means, right?"

"No, what?"

"Umm.... you might wanna start packing your bags, pal. I think you're outta here."

"Naw."

"Ya!"

"Phuuu'c..."

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#4 RossCreekNation
February 27 2010, 09:13PM
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As an Oiler hater, I can say I respect Ethan Moreau and his time here. The guy has been a class act, and he is the epitome of what you want in a hockey player, as far as character goes. The past year or so has been rough on his resume, but I tell you this Oil fan - maybe you can do without Ethan Moreau the hockey player (or at least this past years version anyways), but Ethan Moreau THE PERSON will be heavily missed.

He represents the end of an era. If I'm not mistaken, he was brought in by then GM Glen Sather. He leaves with Steve Tambellini as GM now. In between, we all know who the man in charge was. In my opinion, more than any other player, Ethan Moreau represents the Kevin Lowe era the best. And that's not a bad thing... thats a good thing.

Ironically, both men have received more than their fair share of criticism in recent years, but both should be held in high regard in Oiler history.

Ethan Moreau... good luck, man.

...........................................................

Now, back to hatin the Oil...

*mean mugs bingofuel, Wanye, ronaldo, all past/present/future Ogdens, jeanshorts, thee MENACE to society, my boi Arch and every other ON-Citizen/Scientist/Librarian/cableguy/rigger that looks my way*

**Dakin, you're cool**

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#5 Archaeologuy
February 27 2010, 11:02PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

It'll be dealt with in March.

That's what Brutus said

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#7 6 ring circus
February 28 2010, 06:43PM
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Pajamah wrote:

I guess I should elaborate. Your article wasnt so melodramatic, its just the commenters here practically holding a candlelight vigil for the career of Ethan Moreau.

I take the article as you summarized, being, its time for him to go, and the human side of the business, which is the character of the player in general.

I don't feel the need to mourn the Oilers trading of him, because a)like EVERYONE here, I don't know him, so I can't pretend to feel some sort of player-fan connection to the guy, and b) he isn't that good of a player.

Its seems very pretentious to me, that people who don't know the guy (commenters) can sit here and act as if he's cured cancer, or been more than what most hockey players should be, and that is charitable, hard working, and professional.

His character is completely irrelevant in the business of hockey

I am good friends with a player on the team,who will probabley not be here come Wednesday. I have met some of the players on the team off the ice because of this relationship and out of the hockey enviroment,some of the players are great and they are geniue people who really make you feel good,there are others on the team who will not give you the time of day,but I am not going to come to some Oilers fan site and say that so and so is a jerk or start name dropping.Not all the players on this team donate their time to charity and not all of them are geniue good people off the ice which to me says alot about their character.

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#8 SirFozz
February 27 2010, 09:17PM
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Nice article Brownlee.

It is time but always feels odd when a long-timer moves on. Good luck Ethan, thanks for the years of service.

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#10 6 ring circus
February 28 2010, 09:02AM
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The one thing we are all guilty of as fans is critizing the players performance on the ice,If we take a look at what some of the players contribute off the ice, we would not be so critical,guys like Moreau contribute alot and give up their free time.That will be missed by the community and the organization.Someone like Fernando is a class act both on and off the ice,to continue to battle through his disease and not give up shows alot about his character,I wish the players leaving all the best and hope the ones that we are replacing them with will contribute as much off the ice as they do on the ice.

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#11 Giggsunited
February 27 2010, 08:34PM
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He was a good soldier for us, but sadly its time for the Oil to move on. Good luck Ethan!

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#12 GSC
February 27 2010, 10:25PM
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I used to be a huge Moreau fan.

I definitely can't say that now, but I do remember watching him play in his prime and thinking the Oilers needed more players like him.

I still do feel that way today, the Oil still need more players like Ethan Moreau in his prime.

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#13 Eric Johnson
February 27 2010, 10:34PM
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He bled for this team, he broke for this team.

He endured highs and Low(e)s

This week he may go out a goat.

But he will be remembered as what he was, blood, guts and grit.

Go win that 7th game.

Great article Mr. Brownlee.

Oh and Rosscreek? Flames SUUUUUUUUCK!

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#14 Dan the Man
February 28 2010, 08:06AM
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Nice article Robin, sometimes we are guilty of forgetting the human side of the game and just see a player, his paycheque and the fact that his better days are most likely behind him.

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#15 Pajamah
February 28 2010, 08:57AM
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Whats with the melodrama up in this ma??

@Everyone

Its rare that NHL hockey players are referred to as something other than great people (see:Phaneuf, Avery, the 1970's Philadelphia Flyers)

Sure, he could be a great guy, but that matters not one iota. If you're a fan of the team, you cheer for the jersey, and whatever the management of that team does to improve the team

You can only date "really nice girls", but years later, you realized you only wined and dined a bunch of lecherous sea donkeys.

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#16 Pajamah
February 28 2010, 09:49AM
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I guess I should elaborate. Your article wasnt so melodramatic, its just the commenters here practically holding a candlelight vigil for the career of Ethan Moreau.

I take the article as you summarized, being, its time for him to go, and the human side of the business, which is the character of the player in general.

I don't feel the need to mourn the Oilers trading of him, because a)like EVERYONE here, I don't know him, so I can't pretend to feel some sort of player-fan connection to the guy, and b) he isn't that good of a player.

Its seems very pretentious to me, that people who don't know the guy (commenters) can sit here and act as if he's cured cancer, or been more than what most hockey players should be, and that is charitable, hard working, and professional.

His character is completely irrelevant in the business of hockey

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#18 Pajamah
February 28 2010, 04:41PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

"His character is completely irrelevant in the business of hockey."

That statement shows how little you know.

And, while I'm at it, how do you know that some of the people commenting here haven't seen or experienced Moreau's generosity and commitment to this city off the ice? It's entirely possible, given all the appearances he's made and charitle undertakings he's been a part of that somebody here has first-hand experience.

Hey, I'm not going to argue the fact youve likely forgotten more about this game than I know, but do you honestly expect me to believe Tambellini's decision to trade, or not trade, Ethan Moreau is in any way affected by his character?

Georges Laraque was, if not still is, the best ambassador, most involved, and loyal community guy the Oilers have ever had, but his willingness, or unwillingness to do his job, or ability to do it well lead to him leaving, not his character.

In the game of life, Moreau has been an incredible contributor to many causes, however, I dont see that being in Tambellinis thought process when considering the make up of his hockey team.

And hey, I'm just playing devils advocate for the sake of good discussion, if someone has a personal story of Moreau that has left an impression, great, post away. I just don't see its relevance in his potentially being moved is all

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#19 Pajamah
February 28 2010, 04:42PM
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Edit: Laraque left because of NMC, supposedly, so factually, I should edit, but fact remains, Lowe wasnt willing to give it, because of Laraque's expendability

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#21 Bucknuck
March 01 2010, 09:51AM
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Good bye Ethan.

I hope that you will remember us fondly and not be too bitter about all us folks calling for your head this year.

I was happy when you were named captain, and happy when you won the Clancy. I had a choice of signed ball caps and reached for yours.

I hope you win a cup. Too bad it couldn't have been here.

I know you have to go, but I am happy that some people (mouth berathers excluded) can take a minute to appreciate a good man.

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#22 Dave
February 27 2010, 08:37PM
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Good bye and good luck.

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#23 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 27 2010, 09:09PM
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nerd reacharound props for brownlee!

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#24 SirFozz
February 27 2010, 09:23PM
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@RossCreekNation

Oh no you didn't.

*returns thunderous stink eye*

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#25 Librarian Mike
February 27 2010, 09:25PM
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@RossCreekNation

All it takes is 1 late book, my friend...

*Just kidding. I think you're solid.*

It's too bad how things have turned out with Moreau. He's been a great soldier during some lean years, but I guess that's pro sports; when you're done it's really obvious.

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#26 Harlie
February 27 2010, 09:51PM
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A good man. A good leader. A good bye.

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#27 Red Deerian Convert
February 27 2010, 10:32PM
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he had, and still has heart just doesnt fit in with this franchises plans for the future. i hope he goes and wins a cup

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#28 Librarian Mike
February 27 2010, 10:32PM
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This is unrelated, but maybe when Don Rickles is in town for his gig at River Cree, they should see if he's interested in an available GM position with the local hockey team.

Just imagine his press conferences. I'd PPV just to see him and Brownlee go toe-to-toe...

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#29 Red Deerian Convert
February 27 2010, 10:34PM
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we should be able to give props for an article

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#30 Red Deerian Convert
February 27 2010, 10:35PM
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just a suggestion...

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#31 RossCreekNation
February 27 2010, 10:45PM
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LOL... good ol' Gene Principe tells Teemu they had good Finnish tonight.

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#32 Wanyes bastard child
February 27 2010, 10:58PM
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Khabi's had his day in court correct? Any news on him?

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#33 RossCreekNation
February 27 2010, 11:00PM
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@Robin Brownlee

LOL. Seems the guys all know where to get the scoop. I'd guess the only guy gettin as much action in there as you is Matty...?

*that sounded a lot dirtier the second time I read it... oh well*

**Nice article, btw*

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#35 Larry
February 27 2010, 11:04PM
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uh doesn't trading players involve 2 teams? Is there another GM dumber than Tambo that would trade for Ethan?

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#36 Wanyes bastard child
February 27 2010, 11:05PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Thanks Robin, plus I see in the other article now that Arch says hes been upgraded to an extreme DUI ... I don't know much about the yanks legal system but to me that can't be good. I have a buddy from new york that just got sent to jail for 6 months because he hit a tree with his car, and he wasn't drunk or anything...

I'd ask TLP but hes a big poo head and I don't want to talk to him.~

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#37 RossCreekNation
February 27 2010, 11:05PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I had a little sit down with Fernando as well . . . second time in a few days he asked me what I'm hearing. Guys are eye-balling me like I'm a Revenue Canada agent or something.

Oh... and so? What are you hearing?

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#38 Jamie
February 27 2010, 11:06PM
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Great article Robin, nice to see an article that goes beyond the "Moreau sucks".

There is no doubt in my mind that Moreau's expiration date with the Oilers has come and gone. His play the last two years has drove me crazy but I think the community will miss him.

A friend of the family had a 10 year old boy that developed brain cancer a couple of years ago. He was a huge Oiler and Eskimos fan, so through the Stollery and Make a Wish foundation he was able to meet a number of members of both teams. Ethan and Steve Staios both spent a lot of time with him, custom painted his radiation helmet and had his whole family over to their house a number of times. Unfortunately he lost his battle this December. Ethan and his whole family came to the funeral inspite of it being a game day and told his dad that they were going to try to win the game for him. That was the Toronto game, the only one they won for like a month.

Personally I hope they trade him to a contender that goes on to win the Cup.

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#39 Shaun Doe
February 27 2010, 11:50PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

That's what Brutus said

History burn! That hurts

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#40 Travis Dakin
February 28 2010, 02:48AM
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@RossCreekNation

*wink*

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#41 Reagan
February 28 2010, 07:14AM
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Ethan Moreau : Probably one of the classiest players to play for this organization. Good Luck.

@ RossCreek

Whilst you have made one positive reference to Ethan. You have stayed your welcome, now Piss off!

:)

Oh yeah, that's right Flames Nation has next to no followers...

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#42 jake
February 28 2010, 07:34AM
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His ability on the ice is what it is. These "overpayments" to these players I think are the beginning of the end in terms of their contribution to the team and relationship with fans/media.

The prism through which they are viewed changes IMO because of the $$ they are making. Higher (unrealistic?) expectations from fans, media etc. Good for them though to set themselves/family up financially. Up next, Horcoff and Gilbert.

Good luck to Moreau if he goes, I really wish they had won game 7 in June 2006.

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#43 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 28 2010, 07:47AM
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Larry wrote:

uh doesn't trading players involve 2 teams? Is there another GM dumber than Tambo that would trade for Ethan?

can we get a negative props thing put on this interweb site?

maybe an idiot tab?

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#44 Deep Oil
February 28 2010, 08:01AM
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@Archaeologuy

Extreme DUI - conviction means jail.

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#45 Deep Oil
February 28 2010, 08:03AM
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Sent to me by email, sharing with the nation....

Our Father whom art in Vancouver, hockey be thy name. Thy will be done, the GOLD will be won, on ice as well as in the stands. Give us this day, our hockey sticks, and forgive us our penalties as we forgive those who cross check against us. Lead us not into elimination but deliver us to victory. In the name of the Canadian hockey team, AMEN! GO CANADA GO 3.15 ontario, 4.15 nova scotia

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#46 VK63
February 28 2010, 08:42AM
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A good man indeed! Not every day you can use the word selfless to describe an athlete.

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#47 MattL
February 28 2010, 08:42AM
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Nature's first green is gold Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Ethan sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.

Also, nothing Old can stay. Get rid of everyone over 30 not named Lubo.

Over.

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#48 Matt.N
February 28 2010, 09:17AM
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This team is horrible and the fan base wants to find the easy solve. Last year it was the Coach. This year the Captain. It's like there is some sort of magic fix that will turn this team from a bottom dweller to a contender. Somehow, it's one individuals fault that this team sucks.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the players on this roster are not good enough to be a contender and no one person will change that with his presence or removal. If we traded Moreau straight up for Ovechkin, this would still be a bad team.

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#49 Next Year Country
February 28 2010, 09:42AM
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Moreau has been a good Oiler. He has fought and bled for the team. (In fact I remember he had a fight during his first game here.) I expect that he will be traded, which will be good for him and for the team. I have nothing but good to say about him, but it is time for major changes, and he is part of the equation. What I find reprehensible is how some fans choose to demonize Ethan and a few other players like Horc. They took the money that they were offered. Hey, who wouldn't. Good luck Ethan. I'll cheer for you to be successful wherever you end up.

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#50 Chris.
February 28 2010, 09:48AM
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"Let's put that bum on waivers!" -So has said many ON commentors... (You know who you are.. yet you remain strangely silent on this thread...)

Thanks Robin for putting some flesh and blood on the ongoing personnel debate.

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