OilersNation: The way we do it

Robin Brownlee
June 27 2010 12:51PM

Robin Brownlee at the NHL Entry Draft in LA

Let me take off my Grumpy Old Man hat for one day and say this -- I'm more blogger than MSM hockey writer now, and I'm just fine with it after coming to that realization at the NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles.

I don't mind saying I had a helluva lot of fun in L.A., and it's not because I was out drinking like a pig with my old ink-stained buddies at The Conga Room or some other joint. I got all that carrying on while on the road out of my system a long time ago. I was legend.

I didn't get sh*tfaced the night before to the point where I had to puke in a garbage can in the Staples Center the morning after. Hell, truth be told, and risking never getting a PHWA card again, I didn't have a single drink. Not one. Tequila ain't on the diet plan I've undertaken.

The reason I had a great time in Tinseltown was because I was able to write what I wanted and how I wanted for OilersNation. I could play things straight, as I often still do, like in my newspaper days, or have some fun, which is why I got into this writing business almost 30 years ago -- back when it was a lot of laughs -- in the first place.

I thought of that a lot when I looked out over the media riser in L.A., seeing a lot of the same old crew I used to run with hacking away at their laptops with this deadline or that deadline to meet.

I know a lot of great writers and damn good guys -- Jim Matheson from The Journal, Iain MacIntyre from the Vancouver Sun, big Mike Russo from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Eric Duhatschek from The Globe and Mail, to name just a handful -- in this business.

It's a business that has been slow to change, a business that spit me out three years ago, even though I'd like to think there's a lot of good writing left in me. They're still at the same old thing. Having been pushed, I'm on to something new -- OilersNation.

I like it. I like it a lot.

The New Way

The MSM dailies are slowly changing to meet the demands of the consumer and the appetite for immediate news-on-demand via the internet. They all have blogs and most have live updating.

Long gone are the days when you'd write something at 5pm Thursday and have it still be relevant the next morning. That stuff is DOA by the time it hits the doorstep now. They're getting it, slowly. I'm almost as late to the party as they are, but here I am.

I like not having editors. I like not having my words re-written by some desker editing my copy and stuffing it into a news hole that's usually been allotted before the story is even written. I always believed if that person was qualified to change my stuff, he'd be a writer.

While I haven't come off the rails and abandoned all of the newspaper conventions I grew up with dating back to J-school -- I know I often still play it too staid for a lot of you out there -- I like being able to make jokes about Jesse Niinimaki. I like writing "fartcatcher."

I enjoy saying what I have to say, then hitting the send button, knowing nobody will mess with it. I like the goofy pictures Bingofuel runs with my stories. I especially like it when Wanye writes because it reminds our readers how friggin' good I really am. I like hacking on our readers when they hack on me, which is often. And I still like getting the story first and getting it right before my MSM peers do. I can do all that at OilersNation.

After contemplating getting out of the business altogether just a few months ago to concentrate on raising Sam and help my wife run the business we're in the process of buying, I like it enough that I've decided I'll stick around awhile. I made that call in L.A. I still like chasing a story, cornering a GM, getting the dope.

Sticker Shock

I've got an OilersNation sticker on my laptop and I was absolutely astounded by how many times people -- old pals from the dailies, fans, team PR guys, scouts, GMs etc -- at the draft commented on it. "I love that site," or "Did they actually send you here?" or "WTF is OilersNation?"

I can tell you this: fans and hockey people out there are finding out fast about OilersNation, and websites like it. Being shoulder-to-shoulder in scrums, hotel lobbies and GMs meetings with the old MSM will do that.

I have no clue how our traffic or page views -- fancy interweb terms I've learned -- add up leading into and through the draft, but I'm guessing that interest will be reflected when we crunch the numbers.

With the mix of writers we've got at OilersNation (Jason Gregor has proven to me a radio guy is actually capable of writing, which is a revelation in itself) and the interaction -- good and bad -- we've got with an expanding legion of readers, we're a going and a growing concern. That's a good thing.

I don't know if the owners of this website will ever figure out how to make any real money at it, but I hope so because I think we're on to something here. And I think they deserve it for taking the chance.

One of my old MSM pals, one of those damn good writers still on the newspaper treadmill, asked me over the weekend, "Brownlee, who are writing for these days?"

"OilersNation," I said.

"You like it?" he said.

"I like it. I like it a lot."

Damn straight.

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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#151 Archaeologuy
June 28 2010, 02:41PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

pffft, it is brewers back thats made of glass...not his shoulder..

~step yo game up!~

My bad, it was bad shoulders that required surgery a few years ago, it was a bad back that required surgery more recently.

~How could we pass that up?~

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#152 Archaeologuy
June 28 2010, 02:43PM
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DC wrote:

Bury Horcoff on OKC sign Potulny. Way more cap room that way. Same production. Horcoff= 13G-23A=36pts @ Milllllioonnnssss of $$ Potulny= 15G-17A=32pts @ NOT milllions of $$

From what I understand Horc has a no movement clause. So burying him in the minors isnt even an option...le sigh.

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#153 Dyckster
June 28 2010, 02:46PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

My bad, it was bad shoulders that required surgery a few years ago, it was a bad back that required surgery more recently.

~How could we pass that up?~

Basically trading a bruised ego for a bad back..

I'll take the bad back cuz it only injures one player, a bruised ego on the other hand can potentially f up a whole team. Make it happen Stevey!

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#154 rubbertrout
June 28 2010, 02:47PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

From what I've heard, its not all that likely that he signs before July 1st. Obviously, he's got the connection to former Preds Assistant GM & current Pens GM Ray Shero & the team is good, so I would think its a nice landing spot, too. But from what the likes of McKenzie/Lebrun/etc are saying, he's likely to wait til the 1st.

Also, there's some thought that he wants to play in western Canada, Vancouver specifically (being a BC boy). I'd think he'd be a nice target for the Oilers & Flames as well. Oil need a legitimate top 3 d-man that's under 30 & can play 22+ min; could free Flames up to move one of White/Regehr for a F or prospects; could easily allow Van to move Bieksa for F.

They won't get much of anything for Regher. A one dimensional player with a big contract (for what he brings to the table)and a no movement clause (isn't that everyone on the flames?) doesn't have much value.

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#155 rubbertrout
June 28 2010, 02:52PM
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DC wrote:

Bury Horcoff on OKC sign Potulny. Way more cap room that way. Same production. Horcoff= 13G-23A=36pts @ Milllllioonnnssss of $$ Potulny= 15G-17A=32pts @ NOT milllions of $$

Just looking at it this way truly underestimates the value that Horc has to the team. This team with Potulny playing Horc's minutes is far worse than it was last year and that's saying something.

I still think they should have qualified him but equating Horc to Potulny is ridiculous.

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#156 Archaeologuy
June 28 2010, 02:53PM
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DJ Dynasty Handbag wrote:

Oilers qualify 10 players: Brule, Cogliano, Deslauriers, Dubnyk, Fraser, Gagner, Jacques, O'Marra, Peckham, Reddox

*edit* sorry, looks like i'm a little late with the info. balls-ish.

Qualifying O'Marra but not Pouliot doesnt make sense to me. At the very least we know that Pouliot CAN make an NHL club. We've had O'Marra for long enough that it should be clear he isnt doing much of anything in the minors.

Whatever, Fraser in Pouliot out.

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#157 hoil
June 28 2010, 02:55PM
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Not a big Poo' fan, and am pretty "meh" on Potulny, but keeping Jacques & O'Marra around ahead of them is a little odd.

When the guys cut loose are obviously better than what's left behind, then you know they are just cleaning house. Jacques may have some miniscule value in a future trade since big bodies always seem to get extra chances, but O'Marra hasn't even proved himself in the AHL (despite his 1st round pedigree).

Either way, neither of those guys is likely to ever have an impact on the Oilers.

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#158 DC
June 28 2010, 02:58PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

From what I understand Horc has a no movement clause. So burying him in the minors isnt even an option...le sigh.

Duh stupid NMC!!

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#159 Skidplate
June 28 2010, 03:00PM
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hoil wrote:

Not a big Poo' fan, and am pretty "meh" on Potulny, but keeping Jacques & O'Marra around ahead of them is a little odd.

When the guys cut loose are obviously better than what's left behind, then you know they are just cleaning house. Jacques may have some miniscule value in a future trade since big bodies always seem to get extra chances, but O'Marra hasn't even proved himself in the AHL (despite his 1st round pedigree).

Either way, neither of those guys is likely to ever have an impact on the Oilers.

We need playas for Oklahoma as well. I suspect both Black Jacques Shellac and O'Marra will have 2 way contracts. Jacques will be on the IR to start the season more than likely.

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#160 Hemmertime
June 28 2010, 03:03PM
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@DC

Why do we need salary cap space? We have 14 mil avail to sign a handful of players. Maybe more if MPS goes to OKC. Its not like if we bury Horc we're signing Kovalchuk.

Why not have Horc on the team to play the tough minutes against teams best lines so we can cushion our young players with better minutes? If the alternative would be burying him in the minors ... frankly thats absolutely retarded.

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#161 DC
June 28 2010, 03:05PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Just looking at it this way truly underestimates the value that Horc has to the team. This team with Potulny playing Horc's minutes is far worse than it was last year and that's saying something.

I still think they should have qualified him but equating Horc to Potulny is ridiculous.

Giving Horc that many minutes is discouraging. Not saying Potulny has to get all Horc's time. but if it was split between Gags, Pots, and Fraser. The cap space is worth it.

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#162 DC
June 28 2010, 03:06PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

Why do we need salary cap space? We have 14 mil avail to sign a handful of players. Maybe more if MPS goes to OKC. Its not like if we bury Horc we're signing Kovalchuk.

Why not have Horc on the team to play the tough minutes against teams best lines so we can cushion our young players with better minutes? If the alternative would be burying him in the minors ... frankly thats absolutely retarded.

This reply is a more valid arguement. Sir I accept your reply. 2 shay!

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#163 Let's Rebuild
June 28 2010, 03:07PM
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FYI Jacques had 158 hit in 49 games last year that's 3.2 hits per game. If he played all 82 games he would have had around 264 hits. That's Chris Niel, Steve Ott, Matt Green (top ten) territory. This is why he got a qualifying offer.

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#164 DC
June 28 2010, 03:18PM
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This statement may be all we need to know:

Ryan Potulny had a great rookie year after coming over from the Flyers, but he's got a habit of performing well on bad teams. When part of a competitive lineup, his production tends to vanish and the Oilers must feel they'll be more competitive in terms of similar players with the prospects coming to this years camp.

from oilersinsider.

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#165 Bookie
June 28 2010, 03:26PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Just looking at it this way truly underestimates the value that Horc has to the team. This team with Potulny playing Horc's minutes is far worse than it was last year and that's saying something.

I still think they should have qualified him but equating Horc to Potulny is ridiculous.

Its beyond rediculous - it demonstrates a sheer failure to comprehend reality.

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#166 hoil
June 28 2010, 03:30PM
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Let's Rebuild wrote:

FYI Jacques had 158 hit in 49 games last year that's 3.2 hits per game. If he played all 82 games he would have had around 264 hits. That's Chris Niel, Steve Ott, Matt Green (top ten) territory. This is why he got a qualifying offer.

Too bad that a pro-rated hit chart is all he shares with Chris Neil, Steve Ott or Matt Greene. With a hockey skill/IQ level below the Great Stortini, and a injury history that makes Souray look like Norm Ullman, he isn't likely to ever reach the top 10 in anything NHL related by the end of a season.

Of course, since we are comparing him to Pouliot, the injury point is moot...

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#167 R.A. Slapshotzky
June 28 2010, 03:37PM
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Gagner to Hall....he scores!

And now for some Onion news:

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Eklund/Heating-up-source3-trades-close-Major-trade-could-go-down-tonight/1/29079

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#168 Jodes
June 28 2010, 03:42PM
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Interesting.. I'm thinking the same reason why they resigned JFJ = protection of the guys on the farm team.

O'Marra, this I'm surprised at, since I thought he was all but gone from the Oilers AHL franchise.

Potulny reminds me a lot of other guys we've brought in, thrived short term and then.. nothing. Too many bodies, not enough room.

Pouliot, the trading to get Fraser pretty much sealed his fate, and have to say I called that one (YAY lol).

Now bring on the Buyouts!

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#169 Mike Modano's Dog
June 28 2010, 08:31PM
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Damned straight, R.B. - that's why I read!

You are the reason I keep coming back to this site, Robin! I've enjoyed reading all of the sports-writers in this town since the glory days of the early 80's, but you are the best, by far!

Keep up the good work! =D

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#170 alk16
June 29 2010, 05:36PM
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How do I get my hands on some of those stickers?

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