The Summer of Steve & playoff picks

Jason Gregor
April 14 2010 12:47PM

Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers.

Here we sit for the 4th straight season, hours away from the opening of the playoffs and once again Edmontonians have to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs on TV. No live games in our city. No chance of “Shirts off for Horcoff” chants in the streets. No chance the boss allows you to show up late because of a series clinching victory the night before. No playoff games sucks, even for the media.

Covering the playoffs is akin to how the fans cheer during the playoffs. It is more intense, fun and exciting. Sure, the quotes can be more cliché than ever, but after one or two games a few players get a good hate on and the mental mind games begin.

The playoffs are like the Olympics, but longer, especially in a Canadian city when their team wins a few rounds. Only Vancouverites will have a chance to rekindle their Olympic spirit, because the Canadiens and Senators are big underdogs.

My buddy Ryan Lambert told me about Whatifsports.com and pointed out that Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, Philly, Detroit and Nashville have ZERO chance of winning the Cup.

“We simulated the entire playoff 2,001 times using the current season rosters and statistics. Home ice advantage is taken into account. Average wins and losses per series are indicated in the bracket.”

Keep in mind that through all of their calculations they didn’t produce one upset in the first round. LA has the best chance at an upset at 30.9% while Detroit, 26.9% and Colorado 23.9% are next.

Before I get to Sheldon Souray and Steve Tambellini’s upcoming press conference later today, here’s my picks for the first round.

SAN/COL

Everyone is scared of the Sharks and their inability to win in the playoffs, but the Avs are too young and the Sharks are flat out better. Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle’s Olympic experience will lead this team past the Avs, and in fact, they will win the Cup this year. Sharks in five.

CHIC/NASH

I like Barry Trotz’ team, and if they were 5th or 6th I’d pick them to win a round, but the Hawks are just too deep. The Preds will continue their streak of never winning a playoff series, but they will give the Hawks a tough series. Hawks in six.

VAN/LA

I’m going with the Kings in an upset, although the Kings have 101 points compared to the Canucks’ 103 so is it really an upset? The Kings like to pressure the puck down low, and they have three solid lines, and the Canucks defence is their weakness. The Sedins have been unreal all year, but Michel Handzus is one of the best checking centres in the league. That will be a great match up with Handzus, Freddy Modin and Wayne Simmonds v. the Sedins and Burrows. Roberto Luongo has looked average down the stretch, but he still has a huge edge over Jonathon Quick. Kings in Seven.

PHO/DET

No team since the 1983-1985 Oilers has made it to the Cup finals three straight seasons and the Wings won’t end that streak. The Wings have been the best team since the Olympic break, 16-3-2, and they have way more playoff experience than the Desert Dogs. The Dogs were 13-5-1 after the Olympics, and they are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NHL; they get no respect. The Coyotes are relentless on their puck pursuit, and they will make life very difficult for the Wings’ defenders. Jimmy Howard is a rookie and Ilya Bryzgalov has lots to prove. The Coyotes have home ice, and they will use it to win in seven. Dogs in Seven.

WASH/MONT

This will be ugly. I don’t care how good Jaroslav Halak was in the Olympics and down the stretch for the Habs, he won’t post a 2.00 GAA this series, and the will need to if the Habs want to win. The Canadiens don’t have the firepower to keep up with the high-scoring Capitals, and the Habs’ defence isn’t big enough to slow down Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and the boys. Capitals in four.

NJ/PHILLY

I really want to pick the Flyers in this one. They won five of six in the regular season, but I don’t put much stock in that. They have to rely on Brian Boucher to win, and he’ll need to recapture the out-of-body experience he had back in 2003/2004 with the Coyotes when he posted five consecutive shutouts and didn’t allow a goal for 332:01. The Flyers have lots of talent up front and on the backend, and they will push the Devils. My gut tells me to pick the Flyers, but stupidly I will pick the Devils in six.

BUFF/BOS

Ryan Miller is good enough to beat the pop-gun offence of the Bruins. Only the Flames (204) scored fewer goals than the Bruins (206) and with Marc Savard out, I don’t see how the Bruins score enough to win. The Sabres have a great goalie, but they aren’t good enough to compete with the Pens or Capitals later on. Peter Chiarelli will be ecstatic drafting Taylor Hall this summer to improve their scoring next year. Sabres in six.

PITT/OTT

Similar to the Wings, I don’t see them making the Cup finals three years in a row, but they will get out of the first round. (Since my gut tells me Philly wins, the Pens will beat the Sabres in the 2nd round, but lose to the Caps in the finals, however I’m dumb and not picking that so the Pens will lose in the 2nd round). I’m guessing Ottawa would have preferred if the Pens won the Atlantic, so they could have faced the Devils instead, and for the first time since 1996, Canada won’t have a team in the 2nd round of the playoffs. (Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Calgary all lost in the first round that year). Pens in Six.

TAMBO SPEAKS

Steve Tambellini has a press conference at 1 p.m. today, where he will address the season, Sheldon Souray and the first overall pick. Yesterday was a monumental day in Oiler history, when it was confirmed they will have the first overall selection in the draft, for the first time in franchise history.

This story should be bigger, but Souray’s comments, and Tambellini’s insistence to wait two days to respond to them, means it will Taylor or Tyler talk will be over-shadowed.

Tambellini and the Oilers should have had an end-of-the-season presser planned on Monday. He could have wrapped up the season, and then luckily he would have been able to address Souray’s comments Monday. This would have allowed the Oilers to focus on the first pick, and just how big of a deal it truly is.

Instead today we will hear what Tambellini’s plans are for the summer, and his thoughts on Souray’s statement.

Last year, Tambellini showed passion and fire when he announced that Craig MacTavish would not be returning, but that the players were just as responsible. He then vowed to make changes. No major changes occurred, and he chose to promote from within with J.F Jacques, Ryan Stone and Gilbert Brule.

Today we should hear what his plan is for the off-season. I’ve said it many times before that this is the most important off-season in Oiler history, and Tambellini’s tenure with the Oilers will ultimately be decided this summer.

He’s in a tough spot, with so many underachievers and he is still trying to clean up Kevin Lowe’s mess, but he knew that when he took the job, and now he needs to make the right moves to turn this organization around.

He can’t trade, buyout or not qualify any players today, but he needs to make it clear that he has a plan moving forward. Being cryptic and not straight forward is unacceptable now.

He needs to show Oiler fans that he is a better communicator than Souray suggested he is.

The SUMMER OF STEVE begins today.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 dragon
April 14 2010, 01:31PM
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BarryS wrote:

It takes two to make a trade, four if you count player agents, enough said.

Trade???

Where are you going to trade Tambelini?

No, I'm hoping for a management change not a simple trade.

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RossCreekNation wrote:

Tambellini: Doesn't want to head into next season with 3 goalies; looks to make a decision between Dubnyk & Deslauriers

While that is all dandy is there really a market for either via trade?

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#53 baggedmilk
April 14 2010, 01:32PM
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Bring back Mike Morrison for the Oilers goalie.

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#54 jeanshorts
April 14 2010, 01:32PM
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I honestly really like the look of where our development is heading. And Tambo has shown he has a solid idea on how it should be properly run by keeping Eberle in the AHL.

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#55 BUCK75
April 14 2010, 01:33PM
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@jeanshorts

Fair enough.

I don't remember the tone of last years interview, but now he is putting it on the line. He is laying out a plan. His execution of the plan is going to be under the microscope now.

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#56 baggedmilk
April 14 2010, 01:33PM
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Here's Brownlee again... My God he sounds thinner!

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#57 BarryS
April 14 2010, 01:33PM
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dragon wrote:

Trade???

Where are you going to trade Tambelini?

No, I'm hoping for a management change not a simple trade.

So buy the team, then you can fire or trade who you want.

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#58 Senator Theo
April 14 2010, 01:33PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Tambellini: "We need to do a better job 'assessing'"... hahaha. This guy is hella nervous. Called Staios "Stay-os".

I actually have done that before too - I can't control it sometimes. I sure am glad he's not here anymore, so I don't have to worry about it.

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#59 yegCopywriter
April 14 2010, 01:35PM
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"Who is better now, who is going to be better later" - He thinks Hall's better now and Seguin's going to be better later. The plan's for later, Seguin's the pick.

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#60 BUCK75
April 14 2010, 01:35PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Tambellini: Doesn't want to head into next season with 3 goalies; looks to make a decision between Dubnyk & Deslauriers

~Can't wait for Bryan Hall's spin on this~

Second worst question "trade khabi"

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#61 Hemmertime
April 14 2010, 01:36PM
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Tambis Smiling too much for the end of season conference of a 30 th place team. Even with the #1.

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#62 baggedmilk
April 14 2010, 01:37PM
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When Dan Tencer asks a question it's like he's reading from a novel. He's atrocious.

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Hemmertime wrote:

Tambis Smiling too much for the end of season conference of a 30 th place team. Even with the #1.

We are probably in better shape now then we were a year ago so I would smile a little too.

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#64 dragon
April 14 2010, 01:38PM
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BarryS wrote:

So buy the team, then you can fire or trade who you want.

~ will do ~

thanks for the advice.

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#65 The Real Scuba Steve
April 14 2010, 01:39PM
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BarryS wrote:

So buy the team, then you can fire or trade who you want.

Here we go again BarryS is picking a fight.

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#66 baggedmilk
April 14 2010, 01:41PM
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Bob Stauffer is asking questions from the food table at the back of the room.

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#67 jeanshorts
April 14 2010, 01:42PM
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Talking about Eberle's package. AAAHHHHH YYYYEEEEAAAAHHHHH!

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#68 RossCreekNation
April 14 2010, 01:42PM
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"Perhaps one of the reasons Souray didn't make himself available to reporters Monday is he didn't want to address speculation that he's asked Tambellini for a trade. Rumours Souray has asked to be dealt began several weeks ago and they've persisted since." - Robin Brownlee EXACTLY one year ago!

http://oilersnation.com/2009/4/14/tuned-out

Robin, STAND UP!

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#69 BarryS
April 14 2010, 01:43PM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

Here we go again BarryS is picking a fight.

Well, Tambo is not the person to fire those above him in the organization. Nor should anyone expect him to say who under him is likely to be let go, until he does the deed, if he does. All we can expect is generalities until something is done, or if it is done.

Changes to anyone above coach belong to the owner. Good luck getting him to talk.

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#70 baggedmilk
April 14 2010, 01:43PM
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I hope they give Jani Rita a chance again next year.

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#71 BUCK75
April 14 2010, 01:44PM
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@RossCreekNation

Nice dig. Robin cryptically writes lots of this stuff...it's funny when it happens. Nostradamus like lol

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#72 baggedmilk
April 14 2010, 01:45PM
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Hahah Brian Hall is worse than Tencer. I'm surprised he didn't toss a plug for Tony Roma's into his question somewhere.

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#73 baggedmilk
April 14 2010, 01:47PM
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Lame press conference. Same old garbage, different day.

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#74 BarryS
April 14 2010, 01:47PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Hahah Brian Hall is worse than Tencer. I'm surprised he didn't toss a plug for Tony Roma's into his question somewhere.

Well Brian never was a sports guy, he was and is an ad salesguy who does sports as a sideline. We used to laugh years ago when he did a sports comment moment at noon on CJCA. If you had access to daily papers from out of town, you could read his speal word for word along with him as he said them.

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#75 Archaeologuy
April 14 2010, 01:48PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Hahah Brian Hall is worse than Tencer. I'm surprised he didn't toss a plug for Tony Roma's into his question somewhere.

It sounded like someone let their senile grandpa ask questions. Pure Trainwreck.

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#76 yegCopywriter
April 14 2010, 01:48PM
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@baggedmilk

"Do you think your players would be grittier if they ate more of the best tasting ribs in North America?"

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#77 RossCreekNation
April 14 2010, 01:48PM
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baggedmilk is gettin mad props today, LOLZ

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#78 Chaz
April 14 2010, 01:49PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

When Dan Tencer asks a question it's like he's reading from a novel. He's atrocious.

That's because he only knows how to ask Leading questions. IE: He answers his own questions by leading the interviewee to the answer he wants, and expects to hear. Let your subject answer their own questions Dan. We don't care what you think!

I actually think a lot of media types are guilty of this. They subconsciously are looking for validations of their own opinions when asking questions.

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#79 BarryS
April 14 2010, 01:54PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Lame press conference. Same old garbage, different day.

You expect a car company to tell their plans for a new model before they release it for sale? Not likely. So why expect Tambo to say who'se coming or going before their gone?

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#80 Twiggs
April 14 2010, 01:54PM
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yegCopywriter wrote:

"Do you think your players would be grittier if they ate more of the best tasting ribs in North America?"

Brilliant! I laughed out loud at my desk!

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#81 Deep Oil
April 14 2010, 01:56PM
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So Tambellini has lost trust in his high end players, as it appears that the new younger, cheaper players can be brainwashed, coached, indoctrinated into the new culture, that he appears to want to control.

Translation: NHL players won't put up with the authoritative, dictatorship oiler culture, so we will have to grow our own, that don't know any better and would rather earn $800k than $80k in the AHL.

Question is.... if you ignore your players who are in hospital suffering from post surgery infection, trust is lost the other way, you can't run an arrogant, ignorant fiefdom and expect all the soliders to fall into line.

In the navy, the end result is mutiny. Seems like the goodship oiler shipmates want to jump rather than take control of this sinking ship.

If you are going to grow your own, this is a 5 year rebuild.

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#82 Twiggs
April 14 2010, 01:57PM
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As a side note, we seriously need a "negative props" button here at the ON.

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#83 RossCreekNation
April 14 2010, 01:58PM
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So does anyone blame Souray? He's been waiting for a deal for a year already. He kept quiet for close to a year. Obviously that wasn't working, so who can blame him for finally going public?

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#84 Archaeologuy
April 14 2010, 02:01PM
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@RossCreekNation

Dont blame him for being upset, wish management had done more to keep him happy. Scratch that, Wish management had done more period.

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#85 jeanshorts
April 14 2010, 02:02PM
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"Robin Brownlee asked if Souray has made a trade request one year ago. "Sheldon asked us for a trade almost about a year ago, I believe it was last spring was the first time I had heard that from him."

haha I like Brownlee validating his own points. You're always right, we get it!

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#86 David S
April 14 2010, 02:03PM
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Twiggs wrote:

As a side note, we seriously need a "negative props" button here at the ON.

I just positively propped your negative props request. Props to you sir. Proppity prop prop prop!

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#87 David S
April 14 2010, 02:04PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

"Robin Brownlee asked if Souray has made a trade request one year ago. "Sheldon asked us for a trade almost about a year ago, I believe it was last spring was the first time I had heard that from him."

haha I like Brownlee validating his own points. You're always right, we get it!

Will you ever learn? Mess with the bull and you'll get the horns.

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#88 jeanshorts
April 14 2010, 02:04PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

So does anyone blame Souray? He's been waiting for a deal for a year already. He kept quiet for close to a year. Obviously that wasn't working, so who can blame him for finally going public?

I think most people were butthurt by the way he did it more so than what he said. At least I hope so anyway. If anyone is willing to fall on their shield for this management group then god help them. They've had way too much Kool-aid.

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#89 BarryS
April 14 2010, 02:04PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

So Tambellini has lost trust in his high end players, as it appears that the new younger, cheaper players can be brainwashed, coached, indoctrinated into the new culture, that he appears to want to control.

Translation: NHL players won't put up with the authoritative, dictatorship oiler culture, so we will have to grow our own, that don't know any better and would rather earn $800k than $80k in the AHL.

Question is.... if you ignore your players who are in hospital suffering from post surgery infection, trust is lost the other way, you can't run an arrogant, ignorant fiefdom and expect all the soliders to fall into line.

In the navy, the end result is mutiny. Seems like the goodship oiler shipmates want to jump rather than take control of this sinking ship.

If you are going to grow your own, this is a 5 year rebuild.

Question is, does your boss visit you when you're in the hospital? Mine never did, didn't even send a flunky to do it either. The team paid for the surgery and jumped to cue to get it done. Funny thing, hockey players don't seem to have to wait weeks to see a doctor or surgeon then weeks to have the work done.

So Tambo should go visit Whitney in LA?

You run a business, you hire people who want to work for you, not those who think they can run it better for you.

Oh yah, the penalty for mutiny was being strapped across a cannon mouth and having your guts blown out.

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#90 baggedmilk
April 14 2010, 02:08PM
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Still listening to Stauffer. He's talking to some geriatric that basically invented hockey. Oldest caller in the history of the world.

RIBS!

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#91 jeanshorts
April 14 2010, 02:08PM
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David S wrote:

Will you ever learn? Mess with the bull and you'll get the horns.

At the very least I hope it stops certain people from other websites that shall not be named from trying to crap all over him every time he brings something like that up. He's been right about pretty much everything so far. Time to cut him a little slack.

*sorry, I just read that Whitney article over on that other site and it seemed like it was a personal attack for no reason other than to be an a-hole*

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#92 BUCK75
April 14 2010, 02:13PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I think most people were butthurt by the way he did it more so than what he said. At least I hope so anyway. If anyone is willing to fall on their shield for this management group then god help them. They've had way too much Kool-aid.

It might speak to how hard it is to trade his salary too. Maybe it will be easier with only 2 years left instead of 3? Kind of sounds like he is moving either way now.

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#93 dragon
April 14 2010, 02:15PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

So Tambellini has lost trust in his high end players, as it appears that the new younger, cheaper players can be brainwashed, coached, indoctrinated into the new culture, that he appears to want to control.

Translation: NHL players won't put up with the authoritative, dictatorship oiler culture, so we will have to grow our own, that don't know any better and would rather earn $800k than $80k in the AHL.

Question is.... if you ignore your players who are in hospital suffering from post surgery infection, trust is lost the other way, you can't run an arrogant, ignorant fiefdom and expect all the soliders to fall into line.

In the navy, the end result is mutiny. Seems like the goodship oiler shipmates want to jump rather than take control of this sinking ship.

If you are going to grow your own, this is a 5 year rebuild.

providing the new ones want to stay...

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#94 David S
April 14 2010, 02:16PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

At the very least I hope it stops certain people from other websites that shall not be named from trying to crap all over him every time he brings something like that up. He's been right about pretty much everything so far. Time to cut him a little slack.

*sorry, I just read that Whitney article over on that other site and it seemed like it was a personal attack for no reason other than to be an a-hole*

Agreed. The jealousy those guys have against Robin is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The thing that kills me is that most of them don't even live in Alberta, let alone Edmonton. I swear to god one of them (last year I believe) even insinuated he knew more about the team than Robin did.

That takes nuts. And stupidity.

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#95 rubbertrout
April 14 2010, 02:18PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

So does anyone blame Souray? He's been waiting for a deal for a year already. He kept quiet for close to a year. Obviously that wasn't working, so who can blame him for finally going public?

So he wants out in the second year of a long term deal (that he was all too happy to sign) at a point in time when the team was in the thick of it to make a push to the playoffs?

What a prick.

Who's to say that Tambi didn't plan to trade him earlier this year? He might have been able to if 44 hadn't been so injured. By the time he was back his stats were so poor that there is no way any value would have been coming back.

EDIT: I hope that isn't construed as me supporting Tambo. I'm still focusing on 44's sucking of a big fat c*&k

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#96 BUCK75
April 14 2010, 02:20PM
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@David S

I totally agree. You can read 100 blogs about the oilers, but this one has 1 really good writer who has a track record. The sooner people realize that a professional writer would have a pretty short career & not many contacts if he 'blew his load' on every scoop he heard.

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#97 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 14 2010, 02:20PM
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Deep Oil wrote:

So Tambellini has lost trust in his high end players, as it appears that the new younger, cheaper players can be brainwashed, coached, indoctrinated into the new culture, that he appears to want to control.

Translation: NHL players won't put up with the authoritative, dictatorship oiler culture, so we will have to grow our own, that don't know any better and would rather earn $800k than $80k in the AHL.

Question is.... if you ignore your players who are in hospital suffering from post surgery infection, trust is lost the other way, you can't run an arrogant, ignorant fiefdom and expect all the soliders to fall into line.

In the navy, the end result is mutiny. Seems like the goodship oiler shipmates want to jump rather than take control of this sinking ship.

If you are going to grow your own, this is a 5 year rebuild.

So I guess the Oilers were mean to you, eh?

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#98 SirFozz
April 14 2010, 02:22PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

So I guess the Oilers were mean to you, eh?

LOL

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#99 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 14 2010, 02:22PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

So does anyone blame Souray? He's been waiting for a deal for a year already. He kept quiet for close to a year. Obviously that wasn't working, so who can blame him for finally going public?

That's kind of what I figured this all was about. He's wanted out for a while and since diplomacy wasn't working he's turned up the heat.

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#100 BarryS
April 14 2010, 02:23PM
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@David S

The world of sports and the world of journalism are not particularly noted for intellectual brilliance. So when you get hold of one more diligent and smarter than most, you treasure him. I'll read Robin over most who claim to be journalists, or even those who don't claim to be. Not saying I believe all his opinions, but I read them and give them consideration. That's about all a writer can ask of a reader.

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