This Generation's Stan Weir

Lowetide
July 07 2010 07:41AM

This is Stan Weir. He is a very important figure in Oilers history, because of his role on the first three Oiler NHL teams. He was a vital part of the group in 79-80, his role began to fade the following season (as detailed by Peter Gzowski in his classic book The Game of Our Lives).

Weir did the difficult work until the gifted kids could take on the chores, and in that way lives forever in Oiler lore. 

In the past few days, we've heard Steve Tambellini talk about adding a veteran presence (wanted a C, would settle for a W) and the truth is the club could use both of those player types (a Mike Peca and a Fernando Pisani).

Free agents don't flock to 30th place teams, but they will in future years with the opportunity to play alongside more mature versions of Hall, MPS and Eberle.

In the absence of this free agent signing (unlikely this summer as the quality UFA's slowly sign with other teams) the "Stan Weir" role will probably fall to Shawn Horcoff. He is the most complete player among the forwards (which is not the same as most talented) and he has displayed a willingness to do whatever is asked of him.

He has been to a SCF, he blocked a shot with his face in an important playoff game, he is a leader and he can help show the way. He did not (apparently) associate himself too closely with the veteran group (Souray, Moreau) that has been flushed (or will be flushed).

Horcoff will likely start the season on the top two lines, but as the kids develop (and possibly by next year) the trip down the depth chart will begin (as it did with Weir). By this time next season, Sam Gagner might be the 1C, the top 4 wingers might include Hall, MPS and Eberle, and Shawn Horcoff might be on the checking line.

Fans associate Shawn Horcoff with his massive contract and that's human nature. I do hope the boos give way to cheers at some point, as Horcoff's role on the new Oilers will be the most difficult one on the roster.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Gregors dirty 'stash
July 07 2010, 07:53AM
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I am with you on this Lowetide, every teama has acouple if inflated contracts, I still say all you girls "shirts off for Horcoff!"

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#2 9 Inches Uncut
July 07 2010, 07:55AM
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I hope Horcoff has a nice rebound year. The team will need it if they're to go forward.

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#3 Wanye
July 07 2010, 08:09AM
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I am squarely in your corner on this LT. Horcoff may have had a bad year but he deserves far more love than he gets from Oilers Fans.

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#4 The Towel Boy
July 07 2010, 08:10AM
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For this team to be at all successful a guy like Horcoff is invaluable in my opinion. Even if his contract is a bit large, you can't deny that he's smart, articulate and has shown good leadership qualities. What more can you ask for?

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#5 Weirfan
July 07 2010, 08:14AM
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I agree 100%. Stan Weir is a prime example of a role that Horcoff should emulate. Hopefully the kids take enough of the spotlight off of him that he can just go out and do what he does best. The little things.

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#6 Gregors dirty 'stash
July 07 2010, 08:15AM
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@The Towel Boy

50 goals

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#7 the tikk
July 07 2010, 08:17AM
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Work habits.

Horcoff doesn't have Hemmer's skill, but I've always imagined that if Hemmer had Horc's drive he'd have been Forsberg and back again already.

In short, Horc's a selfless, diligent, hardworking player that I'd rather have the kids trying to emulate than Magic Man Ales Hemsky.

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#8 Eddie Shore
July 07 2010, 08:19AM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

For this team to be at all successful a guy like Horcoff is invaluable in my opinion. Even if his contract is a bit large, you can't deny that he's smart, articulate and has shown good leadership qualities. What more can you ask for?

To play better than last year. Plain and simple.

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#9 the tikk
July 07 2010, 08:20AM
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Almost forgot:

Ladies and gentlemen...

Shawn Horcoff!

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#10 Chris.
July 07 2010, 08:26AM
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~But, But, whiffcoffsucks... He's the worst center on the Oilers, makes Hemsky bad, and he makes $7million bucks....~

*Back to vacant slack jawed mouth breathing stance*

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#11 Homie
July 07 2010, 08:29AM
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No one can argue with Horcoff's compete level, but you still have to execute. I think that most fans can stomach his contract if he gets 50 to 60 points, wins most of his faceoffs, is an effective PKer and can shut down some top centres.

The problem is, he failed miserably at all those last year.

I truly hope he can turn his game around because he is a key piece of the puzzle until 2015.

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#12 DC
July 07 2010, 08:32AM
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Chris. wrote:

~But, But, whiffcoffsucks... He's the worst center on the Oilers, makes Hemsky bad, and he makes $7million bucks....~

*Back to vacant slack jawed mouth breathing stance*

Worst center on the team? Are you drunk? Off year = yes. Over paid = yes. Worst center? No chance.

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#13 Tracie
July 07 2010, 08:36AM
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it wouldn't upset me at all if Strudwick and Horcoff took a few of these kids into their homes and under their wing... get some home cooked meals and some great leadership examples instead of bar food and partying!

Any word on what the Oilers plan to do with the kids after hockey practice is over? I mean, Lemieux took Crosby under his wing...i think we need to have these kids house with some veterans instead of leave them out on their own...any thoughts?

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#14 Tracie
July 07 2010, 08:38AM
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DC wrote:

Worst center on the team? Are you drunk? Off year = yes. Over paid = yes. Worst center? No chance.

The "~" marks mean he's being sarcastic...

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#15 Chris.
July 07 2010, 08:40AM
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DC wrote:

Worst center on the team? Are you drunk? Off year = yes. Over paid = yes. Worst center? No chance.

~:Denotes sarcasm.

I'm a Horcoff fan, and have taken a beating on this site over the last two years from the slack jawed mouth breathers who like to write things like: "Horcoff would be an AHLer on any other team."

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#16 Robin Brownlee
July 07 2010, 08:45AM
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LT: You're absolutely right. While there's reason for optimism with the new wave of Hall, Eberle and MPS etc., Horcoff is going to be a key transitional player.

He's well-suited to that role for several reasons, and I won't be surprised if/when he's named captain.

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#17 Archaeologuy
July 07 2010, 08:53AM
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The guy hasnt been healthy for 3 seasons. HOPEFULLY his shoulder is finally 100%, then maybe he can get his mojo back. He finished the year on the 3rd line last year, unless he actually proves to be a better option in the top 2 then he should start the year on the 3rd line.

Contrary to what Chris might believe, I dont hate Horcoff. I just think he will never again be the guy he was in his prime before the shoulder injury.

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#18 Gregors dirty 'stash
July 07 2010, 09:00AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Props to you Brownlee!

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#19 Ender
July 07 2010, 09:02AM
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I won't be surprised when Horcoff is captain either. And if/when that happens, I don't view it as a bad thing. I think the kids could learn a lot from a guy who's willing to play through 3/4 of a season in pain every day, strapped together with duct tape and bailing wire after every game. Horcoff's performance was hampered last season, there is no doubt, but he personifies the term 'heart'. I hope the kids are taking notes.

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#20 Oiler_in_Mexico
July 07 2010, 09:02AM
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Excellent post LT. I sincerely hope Shawn retires as an Oiler. He is a smart man, a great player and an excellent member of the Edmonton community that we can all be proud of.

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#21 MrCondor
July 07 2010, 09:06AM
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Prediction: Spends the season 70/30 between the 2nd and 1st lines respectively. 60 points for this year but will still be a minus player because his young wingers will not be defensively responsible.

That might be optimistic, but I really want him to bounce back - He's a character guy and shows a lot of class.

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#22 GSC
July 07 2010, 09:20AM
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Horcoff will continue to be associated with his massively inflated contract, as he should be.

He's the highest paid forward on the club, and he was paid because of points put up in the prime of his career. Point being, he was paid to score. As Lowetide has argued time and time again, Horcoff is supposedly a 1st line centre. So, once he produces like a top centre, then I'll stop considering his $5.5 MIL cap hit.

I do agree that he will likely be named captain, however.

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#23 Senator Theo
July 07 2010, 09:25AM
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I really hope Horcoff has healed up somewhat over last year and we see a bounce back from him. Like others have said here, he has a passion for this team and he is going to be very valuable in this transition.

By the time the next few seasons are over, maybe we'll all find it in our hearts to "take our shirts off, for Horcoff" (via FLAMESSUCK).

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#24 Scott in Grande Prairie
July 07 2010, 09:30AM
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I guess it's OK to boo Horcoff if you paid money to go see him play, but lemme ask you (anyone) this:

Hasn't Horcoff been banged up over the past couple of years? Could that not be the reason why he hasn't produced as well?

I mean, it sounds like even his detractors are willing to concede that he's a "hard worker" who would be a good influence on the kids. Could they not also concede that he hasn't been 100 per cent healthy since, oh, 2007 or so?

And no, I'm not suggesting he's not overpaid. He is. But, at some point, we all have to get over that. He ain't going anywhere, so what's the point of booing him?

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#25 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 07 2010, 09:30AM
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Lets keep expectations in check as to what 5.5 gets you in the ever inflating market....Even considering tangibles only.

According to NHL numbers Horc is now the 20th highest cap hit center in the league. Including the cap cheating deal of Savard he'd be 21st.

Theirs another 13 guys within a million (14 counting Franzens cap cheating deal) so to call him a million overpaid he'd need to slot in as the 35th highest scoring center.

21st highest scoring center in the league last year put up 65 points last year.

35th highest scoring center in the league last year put up 53 points last year.

I think it's pretty resonable to see him slot in somewhere between "fair value" and a million overpaid next year.

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#26 Cru Jones
July 07 2010, 09:35AM
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Towards the end of the year last year, Horcs (that really is a lovely nickname) had 16 points in 20 games or something, and was starting to look like his old self on the dot as well. While some people in Etown have quit their jobs to make bashing #10 a full-time gig, he's never been anything but the consummate professional. I'd be perfectly fine electing him as the new Captain of the Goodship Oiler.

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#27 dunnonuttin
July 07 2010, 09:37AM
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I don't know what it is about Horcoff's manner of speaking, but it drives me up the wall.

I aggree that he's probably the best option for captain going forward... I just hate the thought of listening to him talk after every game.

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#28 Racki
July 07 2010, 09:38AM
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This is a very good article. Good stuff, LT, and I agree. Horcoff is a good bridge (like Strudwick) between vet and rookie, and his work ethic has always been second to none. People do focus on his contract too much. He'll never live up to it, but it's something we're stuck with and have to move on from. Best bet is to use Horcoff in a situation where he can succeed and would be best for the team.

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#29 GSC
July 07 2010, 09:39AM
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Scott in Grande Prairie wrote:

I guess it's OK to boo Horcoff if you paid money to go see him play, but lemme ask you (anyone) this:

Hasn't Horcoff been banged up over the past couple of years? Could that not be the reason why he hasn't produced as well?

I mean, it sounds like even his detractors are willing to concede that he's a "hard worker" who would be a good influence on the kids. Could they not also concede that he hasn't been 100 per cent healthy since, oh, 2007 or so?

And no, I'm not suggesting he's not overpaid. He is. But, at some point, we all have to get over that. He ain't going anywhere, so what's the point of booing him?

If his health has been an issue (particularly his shoulder), then why didn't he sit out the remainder of last season and heal up? Why did he continue to play? If he's in that much pain and unable to perform, he shouldn't have been playing. He could have spent much of last season healing and working on that shoulder.

Instead, he played and that's the only thing that matters. Obviously he wasn't "injured enough" to warrant him missing games, so what else can we go on? He played, had an awful season, and that's that. Hold him to it rather than making excuses.

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#30 DonDon
July 07 2010, 09:42AM
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If I recall correctly, the Oilers billeted Gretzky during his first two years and I know the Winnipeg Jets did the same with Dale Hawerchuk. It ensured both had proper meals, sleep time and the players kept them out of the bars.

I recall after an Oilers game in Gretzky's first year that he was off to relieve the babysitter for one of the other player's kids while the players and wives attended a post-game party. In spite of his early stardom, Gretz seemed to have no problem with this. I was impressed and so was my wife.

I would hope the Oilers take due care of Taylor Hall and billet him similar to what happened to Gretz, Hawerchuk and Crosby.

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#31 Bandwagon jumper
July 07 2010, 09:43AM
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Horcoff could be the heart and sole of the Oil this year. Some day, once we get past that big contract, Horcoff's efforts will be compared to Ryan Smith's.

Yes, I did just compare him to Ryan Smith.

Albeit just with respect to Horc's Heart.

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#32 GSC
July 07 2010, 09:45AM
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Bandwagon jumper wrote:

Horcoff could be the heart and sole of the Oil this year. Some day, once we get past that big contract, Horcoff's efforts will be compared to Ryan Smith's.

Yes, I did just compare him to Ryan Smith.

Albeit just with respect to Horc's Heart.

Smyth: .72 PPG

Horcoff: .58 PPG

Uh, no. And you added the "with respect to Horc's heart" bit after the fact.

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#33 Bandwagon jumper
July 07 2010, 09:48AM
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Yeah, I thought I should clear that up.

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#34 Milli
July 07 2010, 09:49AM
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Totally agree about horc. He will teach these young guys so many things about being, a pro, work ethic, what it takes to be an NHLer. And really, he is the only choice for Captain.

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#35 DonDon
July 07 2010, 09:52AM
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dunnonuttin wrote:

I don't know what it is about Horcoff's manner of speaking, but it drives me up the wall.

I aggree that he's probably the best option for captain going forward... I just hate the thought of listening to him talk after every game.

I couldn't agree more about Horcoff's annoying style of responding to questions after games. And Iglina has the same bad habit. Very vanilla and no sense that they have any passion in the game.

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#36 Downright Fierce
July 07 2010, 09:57AM
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In the past few days, we've heard Steve Tambellini talk about adding a veteran presence (wanted a C, would settle for a W) and the truth is the club could use both of those player types (a Mike Peca and a Fernando Pisani).

Rob Niedermayer agrees to 1 year with Buffalo, as per Dreger and LeBrun's twitters. No numbers yet, though Shaugger seemed to think he was looking for a hair over 1-mil. Rishaug also reported the Org was one of six teams in the mix for Robbie and that he would strongly consider Edmonton, but there was no report of any offer.

A missed opportunity. Unless he's getting stupid money from the Sabres.

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#37 Gregors dirty 'stash
July 07 2010, 09:59AM
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Iginla is just slowed down from the gran canyon on his forhead, and the only reason horcoff is so good at faceoffs is because of his oger like appearnaces care off opponents

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#38 madjam
July 07 2010, 10:09AM
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Milli wrote:

Totally agree about horc. He will teach these young guys so many things about being, a pro, work ethic, what it takes to be an NHLer. And really, he is the only choice for Captain.

Got roundly chastised by the old Score group for even mentioning Horcoff for Captaincy over Moreau . My how things have changed . Horcoff was my choice back then , and probably still , except being the player rep for team and his union dealings are taxing enough on a lot of his time outside the game . From leadership qualities he certainly has the credentials , but his union committments might somewhere come in conflict (lagerhead) with management - which may not be a good thing down the road .

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#39 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 07 2010, 10:17AM
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GSC wrote:

Smyth: .72 PPG

Horcoff: .58 PPG

Uh, no. And you added the "with respect to Horc's heart" bit after the fact.

So 11 points per 82 games makes two guys Incomparable?

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#40 Cru Jones
July 07 2010, 10:21AM
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Gregors dirty 'stash wrote:

Iginla is just slowed down from the gran canyon on his forhead, and the only reason horcoff is so good at faceoffs is because of his oger like appearnaces care off opponents

Oh, the humorous irony of misspelling ogre.

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#41 DC
July 07 2010, 10:23AM
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Chris. wrote:

~:Denotes sarcasm.

I'm a Horcoff fan, and have taken a beating on this site over the last two years from the slack jawed mouth breathers who like to write things like: "Horcoff would be an AHLer on any other team."

My bad, sorry. But I'm not wrong either.

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#42 Downright Fierce
July 07 2010, 10:26AM
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LeBrun now reporting the Oil was one of three teams in on Niedermayer at the end. He chose Buffalo over Pittsburgh and Edmonton.

Fair enough. Glad Tambellini was giving it his best.

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#43 Chris.
July 07 2010, 10:26AM
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@ Archaeologuy:

C'mon Arch... I wasn't talking about you. I think you undervalue Horcoff, and I don't understand why he is your goat when there were so many players on the roster who played like they didn't even want to be in Edmonton... It's guys like Hatecoff: (slack jawed mouth breathers) to whom I was referring.

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#44 Aussie
July 07 2010, 10:27AM
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Everyone should back off Horcoff and just let him play. It is not his fault that he is over paid it is managements fault. There is not a single person out there that if their boss offered them some ridiculous raise that they would not take it. I'm sure Sean puts enough pressure on himself because of the contract he signed to perform. I’m sure he is not the type of guy that if he plays bad he says well at least im getting paid. He is not my favourite player i am just saying he is a very good third line center that took a good deal for himself and his family.

GO OIL

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#45 Archaeologuy
July 07 2010, 10:28AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

So 11 points per 82 games makes two guys Incomparable?

How about...

Smyth: 8x 20 or more goals with the Oilers

Horcoff: 2x 20 or more goals with the Oilers

Smyth: 4x 30 or more goals

Horcoff: 0x 30 or more goals

Smyth: actual 1st liner while playing in Edmonton

Horcoff: Couldnt stay on the top two lines of the 30th placed club in the NHL last year.

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#46 Archaeologuy
July 07 2010, 10:32AM
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Chris. wrote:

@ Archaeologuy:

C'mon Arch... I wasn't talking about you. I think you undervalue Horcoff, and I don't understand why he is your goat when there were so many players on the roster who played like they didn't even want to be in Edmonton... It's guys like Hatecoff: (slack jawed mouth breathers) to whom I was referring.

He was my goat because the team needs more from him than he was giving last year. He was my goat because there are other players in the organization that can have off years and it wont affect the club nearly as much as when Horcoff has bad years.

Much to my dismay, the Oilers need Horcoff to be successful in order to themselves be successful. At least until the kids really get it figured out.

POS mailing it in all year hurt the team significantly less than Horcoff dropping his production by 20 points.

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#47 Gregors dirty 'stash
July 07 2010, 10:34AM
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@Cru Jones

Oops!

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#48 Chris.
July 07 2010, 10:37AM
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Arch. Here you go again:

Horcoff: Couldnt stay on the top two lines of the 30th placed club in the NHL last year.

Since when did you become a big fan of how Quinn ran his lines? You can't condemn Quinn for playing JFJ on the first line one thread, than later use Quinns (mis)management of Horcoff on another thread as evidence that Horcoff is no longer a top six forward.

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#49 tdslvr
July 07 2010, 10:37AM
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Great article.

Horcoff is a key component to the development to the current crop of kids. Teaching them what it means to be a pro, everything from fitness to how to use your face to block slapshots.

A fine candidate to be the next Oilers captain. And not because he's the only choice, but because he's a great choice.

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Downright Fierce wrote:

LeBrun now reporting the Oil was one of three teams in on Niedermayer at the end. He chose Buffalo over Pittsburgh and Edmonton.

Fair enough. Glad Tambellini was giving it his best.

I wonder who is next? We now have to keep in mind that we are bidding against Pittsburgh. I wonder if Rob would've taken a 2 year deal?

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