Deep Thoughts XVI: Don't say I don't care

Robin Brownlee
March 08 2010 07:23PM

NHL 2010 - Anaheim Ducks vs Edmonton Oilers

With the Edmonton Oilers winning two straight games to move within four points of the Toronto Maple Leafs atop the Dive For Five, it's time for me to write about how well Jeff Deslauriers has been playing.

Didn't I put it out there a long time ago, to a cacophony of braying by the naysayers, that my considerable gut told me Deslauriers had the stuff to be the Oilers starter for years to come? Well, didn't I?

Now, after his last two starts, a 22-save performance in a 2-0 shutout over New Jersey Sunday and a 28-save gem in a 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota Friday, can there be any question that JDD is the real goods? No. None. He's put doubt so far up the chute we'll need a flashlight and map to find it. I was right. Not the first time.

There. That should pretty much guarantee Deslauriers falls out of his groove and into a clown suit in time to stickhandle his way into all kinds of grief against the Ottawa Senators at Rexall Place Tuesday.

That leaves Devan Dubnyk to get blitzed in Montreal Thursday to kick-off a four-game road trip before Deslauriers returns to the crease to be embarrassed by the Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday.

That's a three-game toot that should just about lock down 30th place and no worse than second pick in the 2010 Entry Draft for the Oilers, which is the whole point of the last 17 games, no?

Don't say I don't care.

WHAT UP, JDD?

As anybody paying attention knows, I'm no frontrunner when it comes to Deslauriers. I've been lauding him as being a capable NHL starter, be it with the Oilers or elsewhere, for a long time -- prematurely, many have argued, and they'd probably have a point.

That said, there's no question in my mind he's shown the ability to be that guy when he's on top of his game. Likewise, Deslauriers has shown an uncanny knack of soiling the sheets every time I sing his praises. It's like clockwork.

Consistency is what eludes Deslauriers, and that's no small matter. Regardless how good JDD is at the top end, he's had too many off-nights to convince those making the decisions he can be the guy. The challenge for him in these final 17 games is to eliminate the huge swings in his performance.

"Consistency is the big thing," Oilers goaltending coach Frederic Chabot said today, stating the obvious. "That's what makes you a No. 1 in this league and in any league."

With a 14-22-3 record, a 3.06 goals-against average and a .903 saves percentage, Deslauriers has been all over the map. Three shutouts in 39 games is pretty good on a team with 21 wins. So was the five-game winning streak he put together in December. The last two games? Looks like a No. 1 to me.

But Deslauriers has also had a six-game losing streak and a pair of four-game skids. Too many bad goals. His worst night, allowing four goals on 11 shots in a 7-3 loss to Vancouver, came in the game before he started his five-game winning streak.

If -- I say when -- Deslauriers consistently tightens up the difference between his best and worst performances, he'll be on to something. Having a handful of nights  stopping pucks at a clip of .940 mirrored by as many nights at .840 keeps everybody guessing.  If he can be around .910 most games for the rest of the season, he'll be fine.

FOOT-IN-MOUTH

The item I wrote about the possibility of Ryan Whitney needing surgery on his right foot at some point to correct the defect he already had repaired in his left foot didn't sit well with some fans.

The item sparked all kinds of name-calling and poop-throwing over at HF Boards, where somebody calling themselves "hockeyaddict101" made a point of being an ass-wipe, even though I was careful with the wording I used.

If I'm not mistaken, this person posted here a few times, but hasn't visited lately. Maybe I was rude. That's a good bet, I suppose. Anyway, maybe that's what prompted this person to go on endlessly about yellow journalism, irresponsible speculation, what a freakin' hack I am and blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

While I doubt Whitney will require surgery before the end of the season, I'm thinking hockeyaddict101 will be eating crow by the end of April. Let's wait and see.

AND...

  • I didn't see Nik Khabibulin at the rink this morning, but at the start of practice there was a table of jerseys and photos laid out for him to sign. By the time reporters wandered down to the dressing room after the skate, the stuff was autographed. And there's no truth to the rumour Khabibulin is changing his jersey number from 35 to .16.
  • Am I reaching for positives, or have Tom Gilbert and Marc Pouliot been playing their best hockey since the Olympic break? I've especially liked Gilbert alongside Whitney, which I didn't see as a match on paper before Pat Quinn put them together.
  • The oddest item I saw left out for a player to sign today was one of the bags the Oilers use to carry their equipment on the road. The well-worn bag in question was that of captain Ethan Moreau.
  • I don't know about the rest of you, but if Fernando Pisani is willing to take a haircut and re-sign here for $750,000, I wouldn't be against Steve Tambellini re-signing him. Not one penny more.

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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#1 Shapeman
March 08 2010, 07:34PM
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Another good read Brownlee and I completely agree about Pisani. While his injuries have limited his effectiveness over the past couple years he posses a fairly good shot and is good in a checking role. Also I dunno if it's just because he's new or what, but Whitnet looks to me like an amazing skater overall.

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#2 Matt Henderson
March 08 2010, 07:37PM
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I dont know when exactly I started hoping for losses, but I cant help but hope that Deslauriers doesnt find that consistency this year. And before anyone yells at me, I dont feel particularly happy about cheering for the L column, and I dont like the idea of hoping a young guy doesnt find his way this season.

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#3 Wanye
March 08 2010, 07:38PM
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Well played Mr. Brownlee.

The lack of bashing Pisani takes on here actually warms my heart. It isn't his fault in the least that he has fallen off his Cup run form and IBS is no joke.

If he came back at the contract you described for a couple of years he could be a servicable 3rd or 4th line player.

It would be nice to see him retire an Oiler*

*Considering this NEVER happens

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#4 Wanye
March 08 2010, 07:38PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

I dont know when exactly I started hoping for losses, but I cant help but hope that Deslauriers doesnt find that consistency this year. And before anyone yells at me, I dont feel particularly happy about cheering for the L column, and I dont like the idea of hoping a young guy doesnt find his way this season.

Do you like the idea of some variety of Beer flavored chewing gum? I sure do.

MMM MMMM!

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#5 Matt Henderson
March 08 2010, 07:40PM
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What about Bubblegum flavoured beer?

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#6 igebadia
March 08 2010, 07:47PM
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Each year you sports writers try to find the best in the Oilers as they miss the playoffs again..which I get cause you have to be an eternal optimist as a writer.. the problem is sometimes you need to be really bad to become really good... losing this year is the best thing that could happen to the Oilers. We need a star.. someone who excites us more than the always loaded potential Alex Hemsky. Our team has lacked that type of player for so long...

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#7 jeanshorts
March 08 2010, 08:03PM
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Is it June 25th yet? No? Okay then.

*crawls back into his pillow and blanket fort to hibernate*

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#8 Eric Johnson
March 08 2010, 08:07PM
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igebadia wrote:

Each year you sports writers try to find the best in the Oilers as they miss the playoffs again..which I get cause you have to be an eternal optimist as a writer.. the problem is sometimes you need to be really bad to become really good... losing this year is the best thing that could happen to the Oilers. We need a star.. someone who excites us more than the always loaded potential Alex Hemsky. Our team has lacked that type of player for so long...

Brownlee and optimist?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH...........HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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#9 dunciano
March 08 2010, 08:13PM
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With 3 goalies that would need waiver clearing next year and not wanting to lose either promising young goalie...

what do you think the chances are of them waiving or trying to trade Khabibulin instead?

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#10 dunciano
March 08 2010, 08:14PM
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Pisani looks SOOO done.

empty tank

no legs

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#11 dunciano
March 08 2010, 08:17PM
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igebadia wrote:

Each year you sports writers try to find the best in the Oilers as they miss the playoffs again..which I get cause you have to be an eternal optimist as a writer.. the problem is sometimes you need to be really bad to become really good... losing this year is the best thing that could happen to the Oilers. We need a star.. someone who excites us more than the always loaded potential Alex Hemsky. Our team has lacked that type of player for so long...

HA!

Our Oiler journalists "eternal optimists"

Ha!

That's a first.

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#12 DSF
March 08 2010, 08:32PM
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Asswipe strikes back:

"Too bad. I know I am still eating crow when I predicted that Daum would not get an assistant coaching job in the NHL too!

When Brownlee went on and on how the Oilers were stupid for not hiring him as assistant coach and how ANY team would be happy to have him.

I predicted that Brownlee was overreacting, got called a witch for my witchhunt and looks like I was right!

No other NHL team ever hired him! He even waited a year!"

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#13 Reggie
March 08 2010, 08:38PM
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Brownlee, I agree with you about Pisani. I like what he can bring to the team, but the only caveat is there's no point signing him if he isn't healthy. If he's healthy I am happy with him to bring his solid two-way game.

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#14 Cutterov
March 08 2010, 08:42PM
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What is the love affair with Pisani hes done as unfortanuality his illness has gotten the better of him, he has also been complaining when he is healthy scratched, not really a team guy. We need to get younger and a heck of a lot more physical all of which Fernando is not. Loved watching you Ferny and will always remember the 06 cup run but we need you cap space. I said right from day 1 when we signed him to 2.5 per for 4 years that was a bad deal as max he should have gotten was 1.7.

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#15 Reggie
March 08 2010, 08:44PM
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@Cutterov

right, that was a bit too much coin, but when you are talking $650K or $750K like Robin suggests. I'm good with that.

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#16 DSF
March 08 2010, 08:46PM
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And again:

"I am sure this response won't last long as all responses to this "article" are being deleted.

But I will have to say that Freedom of speech is an intereesting concept.

Brownlee obviously has that Freedom. Anything I write will be deleted but let me say that Mr. Brownlee's response was very professional and any journalist I am sure would be proud of it."

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#18 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 08 2010, 08:48PM
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Re Pisani: As good of a guy as a seems to be and as valuable 3rd liner he is when healthy, it's just not worth the risk in my mind.

The single biggest issue for this team the last few years has been injuries and injury prone players. It's time to move on and try to find guys that can play most/all of an NHL season.

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#19 Giant Moo
March 08 2010, 08:52PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Take a deep breath, Brownlee. DSF was copy-and-pasting a reply from hockeyaddict101 on HF Boards.

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#22 DSF
March 08 2010, 08:58PM
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You've obviously mistaken me for AW101.

Don't shoot the messenger Robin.

I agree Daum would have been a great fit if the Bucky factor hadn't scuttled it.

And I'm in total agreement the Whitney signing has an odour closely resembling the Khabibulin signing.

Jeebus.

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#23 6 ring circus
March 08 2010, 08:58PM
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Cutterov wrote:

What is the love affair with Pisani hes done as unfortanuality his illness has gotten the better of him, he has also been complaining when he is healthy scratched, not really a team guy. We need to get younger and a heck of a lot more physical all of which Fernando is not. Loved watching you Ferny and will always remember the 06 cup run but we need you cap space. I said right from day 1 when we signed him to 2.5 per for 4 years that was a bad deal as max he should have gotten was 1.7.

If it wasn't for Pisani's heroics in 2006 the Oilers would not have made it to game 7 of the final.If Kevin lowe had not offered that contract at the end of 2006 he would of probabley got more from some other team,And you do not know anything about his illness so unless your his doctor you should not be making comments you know jack sh*t about.He is a class act both on and off the ice,

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#24 rindog
March 08 2010, 08:59PM
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RB,

I don't want to sidetrack your post but I wanted people to check out this Olympic Hockey Gold Video.

It's pretty good.

I understand if you guys yank it off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8PfX4VS_Lo&feature=player_embedded

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#25 Giant Moo
March 08 2010, 09:01PM
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DSF wrote:

You've obviously mistaken me for AW101.

Don't shoot the messenger Robin.

I agree Daum would have been a great fit if the Bucky factor hadn't scuttled it.

And I'm in total agreement the Whitney signing has an odour closely resembling the Khabibulin signing.

Jeebus.

Exactly DSF. As was well pointed out by Highetide:

http://highetide.blogspot.com/2010/03/trade-deadline-goeth.html

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#26 Oilfan
March 08 2010, 09:03PM
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I am not 100% sold on Deslauriers.... yet. Remember when Fleury was a couple of seasons into his career? He was extremely inconsistent as well, it took him a while to find his form.

Granted Deslauriers is a bit older than Fleury was, but I still remain optimistic that he will find the consistency that he needs to be a true number one goaltender.

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#27 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 08 2010, 09:03PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I agree on a lot of levels, especially factoring in the health issue. My thinking Pisani would be acceptable on a cut-rate deal for one year isn't about any great desire to have him back, but to have a handful of veterans to show the kids along.

Fernie is a good pro and respected in the room. His usefulness or lack of same will be largely dictated by which veterans are left to caddie for the kids. If, for argument sake, Moreau, Strudwick and Souray are gone, I see a place for Pisani as a complement to Horcoff, Hemsky, Whitney and maybe Comrie.

True enough, as you said it needs to be looked at it in the context of what else is here. Personally, I'd want explore other options first, trying to find some 26 - 30 year old healthy vets to fill those bottom 6 roles and if at the end of August we still had a spot open I'd happily offer Pie a contract.

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#29 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 08 2010, 09:09PM
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As a fan I am tired of hearing the injury excuse. Every year since the cup run. Its time to really evaluate and see which players are consistantly contributing to the man games lost number,and yes I know that they have no control over injury. But it seems to be the same culprits, every year. Time to cut them loose. Even if it means breaking some hearts. Sorry Fernando, Every love affair comes to an end.

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#30 DSF
March 08 2010, 09:11PM
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No apology necessary but I believe I did use those cute little quotation marks.

Next time I'll use the newspaper convention....

....said AW101.

:)

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#32 DSF
March 08 2010, 09:19PM
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Sure you are.

Just a rather odd hue according to some. :)

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#33 Shawn Cronin
March 08 2010, 09:19PM
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On another note, did Gregor ever address his thing with "reporter/media member/blogger in ethical situations" From his Jan 14th post and mentioned again in his Jan 21st post when he said "I referenced ethics last week in this spot and I haven’t forgot about it, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can discuss it. I think I know what most of you would want, but I could be wrong. We will see."

There was also supposed to be some big announcement earlier in the year from him, (I tried to find it but kept getting distracted by the ice girls of the week......)

Anybody know if those were addressed?

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#34 David S
March 08 2010, 09:34PM
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Every time a reference is made to HF boards around here, I swear the average IQ drops by 20 points. Its like the intellectual version of the "arctic high".

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#35 Evil Ginger
March 08 2010, 09:41PM
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what about the oilers offering pisani some sort of scouting position or community relations? I think it would be a good gesture and a nice way to keep him around without using a roster spot.

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#36 Racki
March 08 2010, 09:54PM
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I'd be happy with Pisani at that month, but for one year only.. one year at a time for guys like him.

As far as Whitney, I'm liking what I see with him and Gilbert together. The two seem to gel together... maybe it's because of the common ground of being American, College players. :P His foot hasn't shown to be an issue yet, but if and when it does, you can give a big "ha!" to those that doubted you ;) Until then, let's just assume we got a reclamation project who might work out well here.

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#37 DonDon
March 08 2010, 09:55PM
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On Fernando Pisani. Besides serious cap problems, the Oilers have contract problems; too many contracts. They will need to make room in their system next season for all the young and promising prospects that are on their way. Combine this with having a pernicious injury-prone roster, it will be hard to re-sign Pisani if another healthy and younger veteran is available at a reasonable contract cost.

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#38 GSC
March 08 2010, 09:57PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Is it June 25th yet? No? Okay then.

*crawls back into his pillow and blanket fort to hibernate*

Can I bring my stuffed animals and a flash light? I'm afraid of the dark.

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#39 Jodes
March 08 2010, 09:59PM
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And there's no truth to the rumour Khabibulin is changing his jersey number from 35 to .16.

Thanks for the laugh Robin!!! That was one of the funniest things I've read in ages!

Kudos!

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#40 misfit
March 08 2010, 10:01PM
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If Tambellini is serious about creating a positive culture in the locker room, and bringing in guys who want to be Oilers, then you've got to think retaining Pisani would be a good move toward that end. Of course, it all depends on how much it's going to cost.

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#41 Matt Henderson
March 08 2010, 10:14PM
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Shawn Cronin wrote:

On another note, did Gregor ever address his thing with "reporter/media member/blogger in ethical situations" From his Jan 14th post and mentioned again in his Jan 21st post when he said "I referenced ethics last week in this spot and I haven’t forgot about it, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can discuss it. I think I know what most of you would want, but I could be wrong. We will see."

There was also supposed to be some big announcement earlier in the year from him, (I tried to find it but kept getting distracted by the ice girls of the week......)

Anybody know if those were addressed?

I totally forgot about those Ice Girls. Thanks for reminding me :)

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#42 Giant Moo
March 08 2010, 10:22PM
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David S wrote:

Every time a reference is made to HF boards around here, I swear the average IQ drops by 20 points. Its like the intellectual version of the "arctic high".

I feel the same way... except replace HF Boards with "Corsi", and 20 with 80.

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#43 Thor
March 08 2010, 10:31PM
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Mr Brownlee I'm curious on your opinion on something.

What do you think it would take to get Boston's (Toronto's) 1st round pick this summer?

Something along the lines of Hemsky and the Oiler's 2011 1st round pick for the Leafs 2010 1st round pick. Seeing as the rumor mill is saying the 2011 draft to be weaker than this years. There is risk involved as there is no guarantee Seguin or Hall become superstars, but what are your thoughts on the matter? Would Boston do it? Would Edmonton do it?

Thanks in advance.

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#44 Cutterov
March 08 2010, 10:32PM
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@Seasonticketholdersince99

If it wasn't for Pisani's heroics in 2006 the Oilers would not have made it to game 7 of the final.If Kevin lowe had not offered that contract at the end of 2006 he would of probabley got more from some other team,And you do not know anything about his illness so unless your his doctor you should not be making comments you know jack sh*t about.He is a class act both on and off the ice,

Thats a fairly harsh statement, when a pro athlete cant perform due to an illness i would say its safe to say his career is in jeopardy. With him complaining about ice time when his performance this yr is more like a performance of a player earning the league minimum he doesnt have much leverage, or strike me as a team guy, why should a guy be entitled to ice time. We need to create our line up based on merit. Him earning 2.5 million over teh last 4 years and being injured, sick and not performing well doesnt serve our goal which to win. Its unfortinuate but there are better fits out there for us at this time. Younger more physical and willing to engage. Fernando has been a step behind all year which is sad to see a player fall from the level he played at in the 07 season.

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#45 Oilitsinyoutogive
March 08 2010, 10:41PM
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Hey Brownlee i am pretty sure TSN.com just watches this site and then just changes the words to your articles. Seems every time you have an article here they post one after and it always about the same topic.

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#46 Matt Henderson
March 08 2010, 10:46PM
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@Oilitsinyoutogive

If it's attributed to the Canadian Press then it's possible that RB actually wrote the piece.

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#47 SirFozz
March 08 2010, 10:58PM
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Thanks for helping with the fall for hall Brownlee. Would hate to see a win streak screw up a season of hard work. I'll be doing my part by going to the game tomorrow. Garanteed loss night when I attend so you're all welcome.

For $750,000, I'd be happy with our cousin staying aboard. Class act, can help mentor the young-ins, and when healthy, a decent player. Plus, IF (imagine gigantic "IF") by some stroke of luck the Oilers make the playoffs next season, we need someone who can grow a wicked beard.

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#49 Wanyes bastard child
March 08 2010, 11:32PM
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rindog wrote:

RB,

I don't want to sidetrack your post but I wanted people to check out this Olympic Hockey Gold Video.

It's pretty good.

I understand if you guys yank it off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8PfX4VS_Lo&feature=player_embedded

Screw that! Im giving you mad props for that awesome video!!!

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#50 Jonathan Willis
March 08 2010, 11:36PM
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I don't know about the rest of you, but if Fernando Pisani is willing to take a haircut and re-sign here for $750,000, I wouldn't be against Steve Tambellini re-signing him. Not one penny more.

Concur.

I'm not much of a sentimentalist, but as long as Pisani's being paid like a fourth liner I see absolutely no reason for the Oilers to send him down the road.

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