Numbers game: pass it on, Kevin

Robin Brownlee
July 05 2010 09:21AM

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: President of Hockey Operations for the Edmonton Oilers, Kevin Lowe, looks on during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If Kevin Lowe has any sense of timing and drama, announcing Taylor Hall's first contract with the Edmonton Oilers won't be the only matter of business on the agenda at Rexall Place today.

Hall let the cat out of the bag when he told reporters yesterday at Commonwealth Stadium he expects to have his three-year, entry-level deal signed today, and that's something Bob Stauffer confirmed on TEAM 1260 this morning. The announcement will be made at noon.

The numbers on Hall's contract aside -- the allowable rookie maximum salary and bonuses under the CBA -- the digit I'm thinking about is No. 4, which, as everybody knows, is Lowe's old jersey number.

Could there be a better time for Lowe to hand over his old number, which hasn't been worn by anybody but him in Edmonton, to Hall in a symbolic gesture of passing the torch?

I think not.

Give it to the kid

Hall, 18, has already suggested he isn't going to ask for No. 4, out of respect for Lowe, the first player ever selected by the Oilers in the NHL Entry Draft. That's understandable. It's not like he's Rob Schremp.

Like I said this spring, it's up to Lowe, then, to make the gesture -- take the onus off the kid and offer Hall the jersey number he wore with the Windsor Spitfires and Team Canada.

In the broader scope of things, of course, it doesn't really matter what number Hall wears with the Oilers. Still, Lowe could make a splash by delivering his jersey along with that new contract today.

What better way to send a message? "History and tradition mean a lot to this organization, but you're the future, kid." "It's time for us to look ahead instead of back." Hall isn't going to fuss and make an issue of it, but Lowe should.

Why keep No. 4 in mothballs? It's not like it's headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame and, thus, the rafters at Rexall Place. Lowe was a very good player who won five Stanley Cups in Edmonton and another in New York with the Rangers, but he's not headed to the HHOF.

If Lowe wants to make a statement today, he should find out where Sparky Kulchisky hid his linen, dust it off and hand it over to Hall at high noon with that new contract today. There's a time and place for symbolism, and this is it.

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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#101 DC
July 05 2010, 04:12PM
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BBOil wrote:

So if Kovy stays in NJ, and they have to shed salary, is there a chance we could make a move.

Wouldn't mind seeing Zajac in Oiler silks. He's a proven NHL center with really good numbers. At 25, and a cap hit just under 4mil for the next 3 yrs he may fit the bill of our top center.

EDIT: Nevermind, he wears 19, and POS has it with the potential for Hall to have second dibs.

POS does NOT have #19 for he is now a free agent sir. But Hall can have it for sure.

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#103 DC
July 05 2010, 04:21PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You're going to bugger up all this deep thinking and desire to disagree with your needless emphasis on the facts.

Maybe so RB. On another note, great read as always, but I think Hall will wear his own shiny new # that we can hang up in the rafters on its own right. Probably beside #4 or possibly #94 depending what happens with Smitty.

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#104 DC
July 05 2010, 04:22PM
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Well thats better, now I am blue!!! (logged in!) BBG!

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#105 mike
July 05 2010, 04:23PM
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"As far as I understand it, those jersey's mentioned are not actually retired. They are 'honored'."

Toronto has honoured 13 players that way. But the Mtl, NYR, Chi examples are apparently retired.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NHL_retired_numbers

The Mtl web site back this up for #12. See players/retired jerseys at:

http://ourhistory.canadiens.com

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#106 Oil_Loc8or
July 05 2010, 04:23PM
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@Robin Brownlee

So you think that Hall needs the number 4 to feel welcomed by the Oilers and the city ? Hall may play with number 4 not for that reason, we are all looking way to far into this.

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#108 DC
July 05 2010, 04:28PM
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mike wrote:

"As far as I understand it, those jersey's mentioned are not actually retired. They are 'honored'."

Toronto has honoured 13 players that way. But the Mtl, NYR, Chi examples are apparently retired.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NHL_retired_numbers

The Mtl web site back this up for #12. See players/retired jerseys at:

http://ourhistory.canadiens.com

Good to know as it was at the last Toronto honoring that I first heard that. As for the rest of the teams I was making a educated (or lack there of) guess. Thanks for the links, I will store this info away in my brain until the next pointless hockey discussion that I'll need it. Now I think I forgot how to drive! Doh! BBG!

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#109 Aleslav Smidsky
July 05 2010, 04:30PM
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@Robin Brownlee

You start of by saying that Kevin Lowe has no sense of timing. You're thinking about #4 and how Kevin Lowe should hand it over already.

Pass the torch from an average hard nosed defenceman to (what is suppose to be) an elite future NHL HHOF? WTF is that suppose to symbolize?

Once again, how do you know he didn't already offer it to him in previous conversations. Maybe the situation is not what you have visualized and/or maybe Hall already saw him self in another number, or maybe he just didn't want to take it like he says.

Why did you suggest he doesnt feel as welcome as he wants to and that he doesn't want to make a fuss?

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#110 DC
July 05 2010, 04:30PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

No, you are looking way too far into this.

Like I said, it would be a timely symbolic gesture. Nothing more, nothing less. Are we really having so much difficulty with this concept or is there something else at play here? Really.

Exactly!! For the umpteenth time, just a symbolic gesture. No conspiracy theory here. BBG!

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#111 Oil_Loc8or
July 05 2010, 04:34PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I think Hall will be happy with the logo on the front and his number isn't a issue at all. Unless you have some insider information I don't know.

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#112 Oil_Loc8or
July 05 2010, 04:37PM
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@Aleslav Smidsky

I article started out with "If Kevin Lowe has any sense of timing and drama, announcing Taylor Hall's first contract with the Edmonton Oilers won't be the only matter of business on the agenda at Rexall Place today." not he has no sense of timing. I don't think this is a diss on K Lowe.

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#114 DC
July 05 2010, 04:43PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Are you still replying in defense RB. Waste of time. I believe most of the Nation understood what you were going for. Keep em' coming. BBG!

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#115 DC
July 05 2010, 04:47PM
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ATTN Nation: There is NO fuss. Taylor Hall isn't starting crap. Kevin Lowe isn't staring crap, and Robin Brownlee is NOT starting crap. End of Story. BBG!

EDIT: Where did the original #115 go?

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#116 Aleslav Smidsky
July 05 2010, 04:48PM
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@DC

I didn't. So, I asked him to tell me what he was going for and he got Mad.

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#117 DC
July 05 2010, 04:50PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

I didn't. So, I asked him to tell me what he was going for and he got Mad.

RB mad? No!?...Really?

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#118 Aleslav Smidsky
July 05 2010, 04:50PM
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DC wrote:

Are you still replying in defense RB. Waste of time. I believe most of the Nation understood what you were going for. Keep em' coming. BBG!

Want lube with that shake?

I hope that BBG is programed, otherwise your the best groupie the Nation has ever seen.

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#119 DC
July 05 2010, 04:52PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Want lube with that shake?

I hope that BBG is programed, otherwise your the best groupie the Nation has ever seen.

Just enjoy good blogging man. BBG = Bring back Gator.

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#120 Aleslav Smidsky
July 05 2010, 04:53PM
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DC wrote:

ATTN Nation: There is NO fuss. Taylor Hall isn't starting crap. Kevin Lowe isn't staring crap, and Robin Brownlee is NOT starting crap. End of Story. BBG!

EDIT: Where did the original #115 go?

Can you ask him for me, why he deleted my reply? He knows it wasn't offensive. Thats weak.

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#121 Aleslav Smidsky
July 05 2010, 04:53PM
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@DC

I know, I'm just busting your balls.

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#122 DC
July 05 2010, 04:55PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Want lube with that shake?

I hope that BBG is programed, otherwise your the best groupie the Nation has ever seen.

Thats funny though, felt like that's how it was coming across as I was typing it too. and ... that's right.....BBG!

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#123 DanMan
July 05 2010, 05:06PM
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Isn't O'Sullivan on the 'Yotes now? He's not a UFA...

Sorry Brownlee, I think he should at least be at training camp before jersey #'s are discussed. You can't just give him a spot and give him a #.

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#124 Oil_Loc8or
July 05 2010, 05:09PM
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Any one going to the rookie camp ? It would be awesome if Wayne posted a couple videos on the nation. This is the first site I check in the morning, I know the oilers site will have some but a video from the nation would be kick a$$

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#125 DC
July 05 2010, 05:09PM
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DanMan wrote:

Isn't O'Sullivan on the 'Yotes now? He's not a UFA...

Sorry Brownlee, I think he should at least be at training camp before jersey #'s are discussed. You can't just give him a spot and give him a #.

'Yotes bought him out the second that they could. He is a ufa now.

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#126 Oil_Loc8or
July 05 2010, 05:11PM
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@DC

They bought him out ? hahahhahahhahahahaha

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#127 Matt Henderson
July 05 2010, 05:12PM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

Any one going to the rookie camp ? It would be awesome if Wayne posted a couple videos on the nation. This is the first site I check in the morning, I know the oilers site will have some but a video from the nation would be kick a$$

it would be good if *cough* WANYE *it'swanyenotwaynecough* would do that. I bet the Oilers official website will have stuff though.

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#128 Oil_Loc8or
July 05 2010, 05:15PM
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@Matt Henderson

Props good buddy props

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#129 Nate Full of Hate
July 05 2010, 05:31PM
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If Lowe were to pass #4 to Hall it would reduce the negativity many Oilers fans currently have towards him.

61? It's never been worn in Edmonton... or 98 cuz it's close the Gretzky.

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#131 Nate Full of Hate
July 05 2010, 08:56PM
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Kevin Lowe to Taylor Hall,

May the 4 be with you...

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#132 Don't Do it Len... think of the children
July 05 2010, 09:21PM
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It would have been more symbolic if it was done on the 4th of July... too late now.

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#133 JohnQPublic
July 05 2010, 09:27PM
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A) I think that the Oilers should give Hall #4

B) However, they should wait until after training camp and Hall has made the team - giving out uniforms before Hall has even attended day 1 of training camp sends a poor message to those who are fighting for jobs

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#134 Summary
July 06 2010, 11:46AM
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That's a very arrogant assumption to think you can say Kevin Lowe's jersey won't hang in the rafters. Find someone else who scored the Oiler's first EVER goal. Or maybe another Oiler who won as many stanley cups as he did and then came back to retire an Oiler (I know, people retire as Oilers all the time, no big deal eh) Then returns as coach, Gm, and Lord overseer of all things Oilers, orchestrating a western conference championship along the way.

The guy's jersey hangs in the rafters one day. Book It!

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