Ryan Whitney: No roses for Randy

Robin Brownlee
March 25 2010 04:09PM

Ryan Whitney might find his way to the visitors dressing room when the Anaheim Ducks come calling at Rexall Place Friday to have a chat with old friends and teammates, but don't expect coach Randy Carlyle to be part of the conversation.

Whitney and Carlyle, it's clear, won't be reminiscing about their time together when the Ducks face the Oilers for the first time since GM Bob Murray sent Whitney packing to Edmonton for Lubomir Visnovsky at the March 3 trade deadline.

Suffice to say, Whitney and Carlyle won't be toddling down memory lane together hand in hand. I'm guessing they won't even take time to wave at each other -- at least not using all their fingers.

Sometimes, that's how it goes.

NO FIT IN DUCK COUNTRY

"Not that he necessarily didn't like me as a guy, but I don't know if he liked me as a player that much," Whitney said of Carlyle this morning. "I kind of got that vibe."

"I was playing a lot. There was never any issue with ice time or anything, but I just didn't really seem to fit his mould. Because of that, I kind of felt like something . . . then, you hear rumours and stuff like that."

While a lot of Oilers fans initially lamented the move that brought the 27-year-old Whitney and a sixth-round draft pick here for Visnovsky, the lanky blueliner has found a fit in Edmonton alongside Tom Gilbert.

Whitney's won over a lot of those fans, not to mention coach Pat Quinn, associate Tom Renney, the rest of the bench staff and his teammates in the 10 games he's played since the trade

That's a page Whitney and Carlyle never got on together in parts of two seasons after Whitney was dealt to the Ducks by the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2008-09 season.

"I enjoyed my time there," Whitney said. "I became friends with a lot of guys and really liked playing there. Bob Murray said it when he called me -- it just wasn't working."

After tallying 4-24-28 in 62 games with Anaheim, Whitney has 1-2-3 in his 10 games here, logging a load of ice time and playing with a more physical edge than most expected. More important, Whitney's happy to be here.

"Obviously, it's tough not to be in the playoffs this year, but I think that next year we can, at least at this point in the year, be still battling for a spot," Whitney said.

"With rebuilding, you never expect to jump from worst to first, but at the same time, you get some good, young guys in here and you get a new start and I think that we'll be a much better team next year. That's what is exciting."

WRONG CALL, RANDY

When it comes to Quinn and Renney, Whitney feels there's a fit.

"I honestly haven't really spoken to Pat that much, but Tom runs the D and I think we've got along pretty well," Whitney said.

"I appreciated when I got here that he said, 'I think you're a really good player and you'll be a good player for us.' He's shown a lot of confidence in me. Any player will tell you, when you have confidence, it's everything."

As for facing the Ducks, Whitney isn't offering the usual, "It's just another game" pablum. Far from it.

"It definitely is. No question," said Whitney when asked if facing Carlyle and the Ducks provides motivation. "I really want to prove them wrong. "There's a big difference between getting traded from Anaheim and when I got traded from Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, they had Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang. They were younger defenceman and they were cheaper and they needed a winger (Chris Kunitz), so that was an understandable trade.

"This one was because they didn't like me there. Because of that, I have a lot to prove, to prove that they were wrong."

— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#151 Matt Henderson
March 27 2010, 03:13PM
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@Crash

Just because you think it's a meaningless stat, doesnt make it meaningless. It just means that it wont sway you one way or the other. Some people might look at the % of team offense and raise an eyebrow that Lubo's was more than Whitney's, others wont.

This argument is getting tired. I'm not Robin, I dont have access to players, I dont really have any more insight into the intangibles than you do. All I have is access to the numbers.

Dont you think that as an Oiler fan I would love to be wrong in 3 years? The fact that it's not a slam dunk is the reason I chimed in in the first place when people were raving about how much better Whitney is than Lubo in categories that simple statistics prove to be wrong.

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#152 Crash
March 27 2010, 04:35PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Just because you think it's a meaningless stat, doesnt make it meaningless. It just means that it wont sway you one way or the other. Some people might look at the % of team offense and raise an eyebrow that Lubo's was more than Whitney's, others wont.

This argument is getting tired. I'm not Robin, I dont have access to players, I dont really have any more insight into the intangibles than you do. All I have is access to the numbers.

Dont you think that as an Oiler fan I would love to be wrong in 3 years? The fact that it's not a slam dunk is the reason I chimed in in the first place when people were raving about how much better Whitney is than Lubo in categories that simple statistics prove to be wrong.

Just because you think it's meaningful doesn't make it so...

Since this all started you've belittled anyone that has said that Whitney for Lubo is a good trade and you've tried to ram down the throat of anyone who disagrees with you that Lubo is a superior defenseman to Whitney...you don't say it's close or say it's not a slam dunk. In fact you do say it is a slam dunk that Lubo is vastly superior.

I don't think I've read much about people here raving how much better Whitney is than Lubo it's been more you raving how much better you think Lubo is and how bad of a trade the Oilers made.

As far as simple statistics go...you keep going deeper and deeper to try to find statistics that somehow show you are correct just as Robin pointed out. The fact is the simple statistics show that both of the players we are talking about are fairly close. That's what the simple statistics show. The only difference is that Lubo has been around longer and has more career statistics. So the fact is that this makes Whitney younger. He is also bigger, plays meaner, seems to be a leader, is cheaper and is happy to be here...

As an Oiler fan, shouldn't you be embracing these points instead of shooting down the move to acquire him?

Just because you think the Oilers could have got more for Lubo doesn't make it fact.

You're right the arguement is getting tired so over to you now for the last word.

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#153 Clyde Frog
March 27 2010, 05:44PM
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I see it as moot trying to disect the merits on future performance. We are sitting in the dark little holes we call home, mother's basements, hidden corners of the 7-11, cheeto infested dens in our one bedroom studio apartment predicting the future.

I for one really don't think its possible, but you really seem to have invested a lot of time to try and find a clincher to say who shall one day rule them all!

Lubo while being a relatively fit guy was more of one to be hit than one to drop a boom. While Whitney has shown an aversion to phaneufing unsuspecting people he definitly seems to get hit less and is able to stand up for himself.

That wins the argument for me right there, older players are prone to injury : FACT The Oil drop has become a roving target for anybody with a stick looking to make an impact in the nhl for the past couple years : FACT If Whitney doesn't get pasted, seperate his shoulder and miss 20-40 games we win! Even his mediocre .01 less point per game and 10% less take of a teams overall offensive pie. (Which no-one has pointed out propably largely amounts to Whitney being on teams with big offensive dynamo forwards churning pucks down low and firing it back to a winger in the slot taking away his second assist and Vis getting to be the go to cannon when they are on the powerplay)

Whitney is a bigger body who can hopefully play an entire season and become a vocal leader for the young kids hoping to make our team. He has played with 2 teams that have had a "winning" culture and a plethora of talent. He has seen that although a city can be much nicer, it means bunk if you don't get along with the coaching staff/management. If he can impart just 10% of that onto the kids, we win!

Trying to stat two players playing under different systems, with different players and different expectations and then project future worth is not a great measurement in my humble cheeto filled mind.

Lubo was a great guy, I'll miss him for sure. But I think Whitney is a nice little gem, the kind of trade we used to be famous for, much like finding Billy Guerin, Raffi Torres or Dwayne Roloson.

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#154 Robin Brownlee
March 27 2010, 06:25PM
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@Clyde Frog

WE are not sitting in our our Cheeto infested dens crunching numbers, projecting what might happen next based on past numbers. You might be. I am not.

I'm basing my opinion on Whitney over the next three seasons based on what I've seen of him, what I hear about him from other players and what he tells me about the opportunity he sees here. I'm basing my opinion on what Whitney tells me about how his genetic foot condition affected him in the past and that he plans to have his other foot corrected this off-season before it hobbles him like the other one did after his 59-point season. I'm basing my opinion on Whitney on what people with the Oilers organization -- coaches etc -- tell me his role with this team will be moving forward.

I toss all the above in with what I've seen over 26 years of covering hockey, then I try to figure out if Whitney's best season in Pittsburgh was a one-off, like many players I've seen before or he's better than that, and then I say what I've got to say.

None of the above guarantees I'll be right, but here's not a bag of Cheetos or a jug of Sprite anywhere to be found.

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#155 Matt Henderson
March 27 2010, 06:44PM
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@Crash

Do you have an original point or do you just read what Robin writes and re-hash what he says?

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#156 Crash
March 27 2010, 11:14PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Do you have an original point or do you just read what Robin writes and re-hash what he says?

I started in on this before Robin did...you're pretty high on yourself aren't you?

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#157 Crash
March 27 2010, 11:22PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Do you have an original point or do you just read what Robin writes and re-hash what he says?

I don't like to take credit for what others say so when I agree with a point I may include it in my post...I suppose you've never done that...we all should bow down to you.

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#158 Crash
March 27 2010, 11:26PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

I see it as moot trying to disect the merits on future performance. We are sitting in the dark little holes we call home, mother's basements, hidden corners of the 7-11, cheeto infested dens in our one bedroom studio apartment predicting the future.

I for one really don't think its possible, but you really seem to have invested a lot of time to try and find a clincher to say who shall one day rule them all!

Lubo while being a relatively fit guy was more of one to be hit than one to drop a boom. While Whitney has shown an aversion to phaneufing unsuspecting people he definitly seems to get hit less and is able to stand up for himself.

That wins the argument for me right there, older players are prone to injury : FACT The Oil drop has become a roving target for anybody with a stick looking to make an impact in the nhl for the past couple years : FACT If Whitney doesn't get pasted, seperate his shoulder and miss 20-40 games we win! Even his mediocre .01 less point per game and 10% less take of a teams overall offensive pie. (Which no-one has pointed out propably largely amounts to Whitney being on teams with big offensive dynamo forwards churning pucks down low and firing it back to a winger in the slot taking away his second assist and Vis getting to be the go to cannon when they are on the powerplay)

Whitney is a bigger body who can hopefully play an entire season and become a vocal leader for the young kids hoping to make our team. He has played with 2 teams that have had a "winning" culture and a plethora of talent. He has seen that although a city can be much nicer, it means bunk if you don't get along with the coaching staff/management. If he can impart just 10% of that onto the kids, we win!

Trying to stat two players playing under different systems, with different players and different expectations and then project future worth is not a great measurement in my humble cheeto filled mind.

Lubo was a great guy, I'll miss him for sure. But I think Whitney is a nice little gem, the kind of trade we used to be famous for, much like finding Billy Guerin, Raffi Torres or Dwayne Roloson.

And my opinion is based partly on career stats and partly on what I've seen of both players at Rexall and what they've both brought to the table while being Oilers....

Being at the games gives you the opportunity to see things that happen in a game that you can't see on TV and that's where I drew my opinion of the intangibles I've noticed that aren't stat related.

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#159 Crash
March 27 2010, 11:36PM
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Crash wrote:

I started in on this before Robin did...you're pretty high on yourself aren't you?

By that I mean back when the trade happened

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#160 Crash
March 28 2010, 12:07AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Do you have an original point or do you just read what Robin writes and re-hash what he says?

Looking back and reading the blog, I make many of my own points in my posts, in fact most of my posts have my own points in them but I suppose your statement above was you once again looking down on another poster and was meant to belittle me...so be it.

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#161 Robin Brownlee
March 28 2010, 08:36AM
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An update from Jim Matheson in The Journal today on the item a did a couple of weeks ago that Whitney will likely need off-season foot surgery:

"Defenceman Ryan Whitney has put his best foot forward since he came to the Edmonton Oilers from the Anaheim Ducks at the NHL trade deadline weeks ago.

But his misshapen right foot will need surgery when the season ends, which will eliminate him from playing for the United States in the world hockey championship in Cologne, Germany, from May 7-23 . . ."

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#162 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
March 29 2010, 09:14AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

An update from Jim Matheson in The Journal today on the item a did a couple of weeks ago that Whitney will likely need off-season foot surgery:

"Defenceman Ryan Whitney has put his best foot forward since he came to the Edmonton Oilers from the Anaheim Ducks at the NHL trade deadline weeks ago.

But his misshapen right foot will need surgery when the season ends, which will eliminate him from playing for the United States in the world hockey championship in Cologne, Germany, from May 7-23 . . ."

If he can recover like he did with his other foot, this should really be a non-issue. Other then maybe the first month or so where he might still be getting into game shape.

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