Oilers: UPDATE ON FREE AGENTS, SOURAY AND HALL

Jason Gregor
September 08 2010 10:04AM

DENVER - NOVEMBER 08:  Zack Stortini #46 of the Edmonton Oilers is restrained by linesman Brad Lazarowich against the Colorado Avalanche during NHL action at the Pepsi Center on November 8, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Oilers defeated the Avalanche 5-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Could the Oilers actually have an advantage attracting unrestricted/unsigned free agents?

It has been written, reported, said, typed, tweeted, facebooked, spammed, written on bathroom stalls, texted and blogged too many times to count: Edmonton is not a destination UFAs look at.

Despite having signed Sheldon Souray, Nikolai Khabibulin, Kurtis Foster and a few others, for years we have heard that no one wants to come to Edmonton. The lame reasons have ranged from it is too cold, or the media/fan spotlight is too bright, there isn’t enough night life or to their wife doesn’t like it, but the fact is; until the Oilers are a winner very few will sign here.

But could that change in the next ten days.

The Oilers could still use another veteran who kills penalties, or even a player with a decent offensive touch, and most importantly a solid leader. They might be able to get one for cheap before training camp opens.

There are still over 20 veteran free agents looking for work, and while two months ago most would have wanted a contender, many of them just want to play the game they love and earn a contract.

The Oilers are in a great situation right now. An unsigned veteran could come to camp on a tryout and earn his spot. There are very few teams that could offer a legitimate shot to make the team, like the 30th place Oilers can.

Why wouldn’t Steve Tambellini make a few calls and invite one or two guys to camp? What can it hurt?

If I’m a veteran who can kill penalties and is solid defensively, I”d look at the Oilers roster and have my agent call Tambellini today to see if I could come to camp. Most of these guys will be desperate to get another contract, and the Oilers could be the beneficiary.

Manny Malhotra signed for the league minimum in San Jose last year, re-focused his game and earned a three-year $7.5 million deal with Vancouver this summer. Blair Betts went to Philadelphia on a tryout contract last September, earned a one-year deal out of camp and then signed a two-year extension during the season.

Desperation can be a great motivator.

Would any of these guys entice Tambellini and company?

Darcy Tucker, Ruslan Fedotenko, Kyle Wellwood, Andreas Lilja, Owen Nolan, Slava Kozlov, Nigel Dawes, Scott Walker, Brendan Morrison, Marek Svatos, Mike Mottau, Paul Mara or Kim Johnsson.

***I didn’t include Bill Guerin because he is on record as saying he’ll go to a contender or retire, and I didn’t include former Oilers, Ryan Potulny, Patrick O’Sullivan, Miro Satan or Marc-Andre Bergeron, because none or them would be a fit. Maybe Potulny in the minors, but he’ll try a different team than Edmonton.***

Would any of them entice you?

Why not Stortini

I just mentioned the potential to bring in a veteran for a free look, and many others have been writing/blogging for weeks that the Oilers need another veteran defensive guy, but are we overlooking a guy the Oilers already have?

Why not give Zack Stortini a shot in that role?

It seems we all preach about patience and opportunity with young skilled guys, which is a much harder role to succeed in, while we rarely think about young checkers expanding their role.

Stortini has been on the ice since June working on his foot speed, acceleration and improving his overall skill set. He has spent hours working with Oilers skills and skating coach, Steve Serdachny, on his release point, his passing, angle of his stick in tight and some other skill sets.

Stortini made the NHL on grit, heart and determination more than skill, and his work ethic will always be his strongest asset, but will Tom Renney look at using him in more situations this year?

Stortini averaged 9:17 on the ice last year, almost exclusively five-on-five. Would it be a stretch to think he could play another minute or two a game?

Stortini is fearless. He’ll stick up for his teammates at any time, he’ll fight guys he has no business fighting and he is one of the few Oilers who can create havoc and chaos on the forecheck.

Stortini took 183 faceoffs last year, and was 3rd on the team with a 47.5 success rate. The year before he was 63.6%, granted it was only 11 faceoffs, but might Renney use him as the 6th penalty killer at times?

Penalty killing is about smarts, desire and in shot-blocking cases, fearlessness. You know that Stortini wouldn’t hesitate to block a shot with his mouth if necessary, and he thinks the game fairly well in his own zone.

The other thing to keep in mind is when Renney was behind the bench with the Rangers, at times he didn’t hesitate to use Colton Orr, Blair Betts and Ryan Hollweg up against Sidney Crosby’s line or other top lines. He didn’t use them exclusively, but he wasn’t afraid to throw them out there and watch them cycle the puck and keep Crosby 200 feet from a scoring chance.

He put a lot of faith in his checkers, so don’t be surprised if you see him use Stortini/Colin Fraser/Ryan Jones in the same situation in Edmonton.

I’m not suggesting that Stortini becomes a full-time 3rd liner, but he’ll turn 25 next week and I’ve seen a slow-but-steady improvement in most aspects of his game the past three seasons. We have focused so much on how and where the new offensive kids would fit that we might have overlooked how Stortini could be ready to expand his role.

Renney has given his checkers/agitators/enforcers a chance to contribute in the past, so I’m kind of expecting to see Stortini be given the same opportunity.

Given the amount of work Stortini has done this offseason, and every other summer, to try and improve the skill aspects of his game, I’d like to see if he is ready to play in different situations when given the chance.

A must-see

I’m no movie critic or an expert on autism and up until yesterday I’d never heard of Temple Grandin, but it is a rare to watch a movie that actually changes society. Temple Grandin is a truly inspiring story, and if you know anyone with a disability you might need a Kleenex or two. Claire Danes was outstanding as Grandin, and if you need a positive jolt in your life, take two hours and watch it.

UPDATE...

I spoke with Tambellini at the Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi jersey unveiling and he said he has had some interest from free agents about a possible training camp invite, but right now he thinks his roster is pretty full. He doesn't want to take away opportunities from the young guys up front, and he'd like to see his bottom six or three forwards progress.

As for Sheldon Souray, Tambellini spoke with his agent again this week and they are still trying to find another team for Souray.

"It is clear he wants to play elsewhere, and our goal right now is too find something (trade) before camp. The question was is he going to come to camp or not and we'll deal with that in a week I guess"

If the Oilers can't find a trading partner it will be interesting to see if Souray shows up. It would be a stupid decision for him not to show up from where I stand. Not getting ready for the season won't increase interest from other teams, and since Souray wants to play elsewhere he needs to realize the only way that will happen is by showcasing himself in preseason games if he isn't traded before then.

HALL KNOWS OILER HISTORY

Hall was asked what other numbers he had considered before Kevin Lowe convinced him to wear #4.

"I was thinking 19, maybe 44, but to be honest that number has kind of been jinxed in Edmonton and I wasn't going to take that chance"

Hall is an avid hockey historian, and with that type of insight I suspect fans will love him more and more with every passing day.

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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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#53 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
September 08 2010, 01:35PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

We have a new one...www.jasongregor.com Just ironing out some wrinkles but it up..

Meg looks different.

As for the site itself any chance you will do some blogging on local MMA/boxing?

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#54 Ender
September 08 2010, 01:42PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

If the Oilers can't find a trading partner it will be interesting to see if Souray shows up. It would be a stupid decision for him not to show up from where I stand. Not getting ready for the season won't increase interest from other teams, and since Souray wants to play elsewhere he needs to realize the only way that will happen is by showcasing himself in preseason games if he isn't traded before then.

Are you sure that's the right question, Jason? I agree that Souray would be stupid not to want to play (in the big leagues, anyway), but I think that Souray probably agrees with us.

I think the real question is:
Will the Oilers invite Souray to camp?

Call me crazy, but I'm betting not.

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#55 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
September 08 2010, 01:49PM
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Ender wrote:

Jason Gregor wrote:

If the Oilers can't find a trading partner it will be interesting to see if Souray shows up. It would be a stupid decision for him not to show up from where I stand. Not getting ready for the season won't increase interest from other teams, and since Souray wants to play elsewhere he needs to realize the only way that will happen is by showcasing himself in preseason games if he isn't traded before then.

Are you sure that's the right question, Jason? I agree that Souray would be stupid not to want to play (in the big leagues, anyway), but I think that Souray probably agrees with us.

I think the real question is:
Will the Oilers invite Souray to camp?

Call me crazy, but I'm betting not.

Someone here or somewhere else brought it up and really I don't think the Oilers can tell him to stay away. Not yet anyways.

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#56 OILERSORDEATH
September 08 2010, 01:54PM
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Can someone clarify what would happen if they DO invite the prick to camp and he does not show, is his salary still a cap hit?

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#57 Ender
September 08 2010, 01:56PM
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@Ender

Sure they can. The Oilers have to pay him, but they don't have to let him play. You can bury a $10M guy in the press-box all season long if you want to.

I'm not saying that it's the cheapest option or even that it's the quickest. But if management is trying to put the hurt on Souray, they can pay him to play in the minors or to sit at home if they want to.

Edit: Was supposed to read @ Ogden Brother Jr.

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#58 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
September 08 2010, 01:58PM
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@Ender

When does the greivance start taking effect from the PA though? I'm trying to think back to the Avery situation, I'd use Laraque but he really didn't care about hockey anyways. He was all worried about Haiti and such.

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#59 Ender
September 08 2010, 01:59PM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

Can someone clarify what would happen if they DO invite the prick to camp and he does not show, is his salary still a cap hit?

If he doesn't report, either to this club or even to the minors if they assign him there, they can file for Breach of Contract and cut him loose.

That said, if he's invited to the main camp he'll certainly show up. If he's assigned to OKC, though, there are differing opinions on what he might do.

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#60 puckheadshockeyworld
September 08 2010, 02:01PM
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Certainly Pronger and Souray have jinxed #44, but Janne Niinimaa certainly did the number proud from 1998-2003.

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#61 Ender
September 08 2010, 02:03PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

What could the PA grieve?

Do the Oilers want Souray to play on their team?
No.

Are they obligated to play everyone with a contract?
No.

Do they have to pay everyone with a contract?
Yes.

Since they don't want to play Souray, are they actively trying to trade him?
Yes.

Aside from a trade, have they explored other reasonable options such as waivers?
Yes.

The NHLPA would laugh at Souray if he called them about a grievance. He made his own bed.

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#62 OILERSORDEATH
September 08 2010, 02:04PM
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Ender wrote:

If he doesn't report, either to this club or even to the minors if they assign him there, they can file for Breach of Contract and cut him loose.

That said, if he's invited to the main camp he'll certainly show up. If he's assigned to OKC, though, there are differing opinions on what he might do.

@ Ender

Thanks man, Oh by the way I just read Ender's Game again. Killer book

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#63 longbottom/P.Biglow
September 08 2010, 02:23PM
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Ok I know what Souray has said before about the whole situation with the Oilers, but there has to be more to it. When he signed here we were the best organization in his eyes. To go to this situation where he is blindly thinking about his worth and not wanting to be here. And Tambolinni ready to give him away. I know its fustrateing on Tambo's part. But they are better off together untill Souray raises his value. I mean really how could the Oil go wrong with his talent till we rid ourselves of the primadona.

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#64 Senator Theo
September 08 2010, 02:27PM
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Ender wrote:

If he doesn't report, either to this club or even to the minors if they assign him there, they can file for Breach of Contract and cut him loose.

That said, if he's invited to the main camp he'll certainly show up. If he's assigned to OKC, though, there are differing opinions on what he might do.

I see what you're saying, but if both sides want to get a deal done there are real gains for both parties to have Souray show up to camp and make a good impression.

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#65 Ender
September 08 2010, 03:01PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

I see what you're saying, but if both sides want to get a deal done there are real gains for both parties to have Souray show up to camp and make a good impression.

From a strictly logical and financial standpoint, that makes sense. You start to factor in emotion and it muddies the whole picture.

Can management bury the hatchet and negotiate the best deal while letting Souray 'get away' with his hatchet job from last spring?

Katz has enough money that he can do what he wants to; does he ignore finance and send a personal message?

Can Souray put forth his best effort playing for people he hates? Can he hide his real emotions?

Will Souray's presence have a detrimental effect on other roster players?

If Souray picks up some bumps and bruises, does he launch an official NHLPA grievance if the Oilers try to 'make him play hurt'? Does Souray encourage other players to do the same?

And then there are other 'unpredictable' elements:

Souray's value is low but arguably not as low as it can get; if Souray plays poorly or gets really injured again, does that destroy any last hope of moving him?

If Souray does play well and the perfect trade doesn't materialize, is everyone expected to just put the whole thing behind them?

All in all, there are a lot of reasons why it's not as simple as just deciding that everyone should shake hands and make it work. Sometimes, there's just too much at stake to risk upsetting the apple cart.

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#66 the admiral
September 08 2010, 03:44PM
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On Souray:

Does anyone else think its completly possible that he wil report to camp, and if he is not traded by the end of camp, the Oilers will send him to Oklahoma? Then suprisingly, he fails to report, then noth parties go to the league and just void his contract, like what the Wild did a little while back? Or do the Oilers actually think they can get anything in return from him?

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#67 Dan the Man
September 08 2010, 04:01PM
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the admiral wrote:

On Souray:

Does anyone else think its completly possible that he wil report to camp, and if he is not traded by the end of camp, the Oilers will send him to Oklahoma? Then suprisingly, he fails to report, then noth parties go to the league and just void his contract, like what the Wild did a little while back? Or do the Oilers actually think they can get anything in return from him?

Who's contract did the Wild void?

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#68 Ender
September 08 2010, 04:32PM
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@ Dan the Man

Sykora. The team and the player mutually agreed to blow up the contract.

@ the admiral

If the Oilers and Souray were going to terminate the contract like in the example above, they blew the timing. The best opportunity for that would have been earlier this summer when Souray could have had a chance to negotiate with other teams and attend a training camp somewhere. Now, he'd have to join a team on the fly. It's not impossible, but it would have been far more likely to have happened long ago if it was going to happen this year.

If that scenario does play out, I'm now guessing it would be more likely to be next summer and would be the result of Souray cooling his heels for a year.

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#69 Jodes
September 08 2010, 04:33PM
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AUsenik wrote:

Nigel Dawes.

Makes sense to me.

Signed by Atlanta today, two way, $600,000/105,000.

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#70 9 Inches Uncut
September 08 2010, 05:24PM
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Didn't Svatos sign in Carolina?

Anyways, if Steve isn't listening to vets who want a camp tryout then he's being dumb again.

Team still sucks and if he's gunning for the lottery again it'll be another awful year of Oilers hockey.

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#71 RossCreekNation
September 08 2010, 05:42PM
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Not sure if this has been mentioned here, but some unfortunate news regarding former Oilers Captain Jason Smith...

Former Oilers captain charged with assault
Jason Smith arrested by Calgary police

Criminal charges have been laid against a former longtime Edmonton Oilers captain after alleged domestic assaults.
Jason Smith is charged with assaulting his wife and daughter, who QMI Agency is not naming, on Aug. 10 in Calgary.
The 36-year-old also faces a charge he confined his wife at the same time.
He was released shortly after his arrest by Calgary police under conditions he have no contact with the alleged victims, another daughter, as well as in-laws living in Strathmore, Alta.
His lawyer, Alain Hepner, said his client has no criminal record and that the charges are "devastating," to Smith and his family.
Although he wouldn't elaborate on details of the allegations, he said there were no serious or permanent injuries and he is consulting with counselling experts on behalf of his client.
"There is another side to the story -- I can't divulge anything yet," Hepner said Wednesday.
"The charges conjure up images so overdone and exaggerated ... what's conjured up by the allegations is not an accurate reflection of what will surface in the court case."
Currently in Calgary, Smith is prohibited from being within five blocks of the family home in Greely, Ont., a high-end suburb of Ottawa, and a home east of Calgary.
"He is abiding by a court order and right now can't live with his family," Hepner said.
At his initial court appearance, Hepner was able to get the no-contact condition altered to allow Smith to send a birthday card to his daughter, who is one of his alleged victims.
Bail conditions prohibit Smith from consuming alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, and he is to have no weapons in his possession.
His case returns to court Sept. 17.
Hepner said he intends to contest the charges, and said his client is upset the case is hitting public court.
"I think the issue is to reconcile and address family issues -- when anyone's nuclear family unit involves even a hint of damage anyone would feel bad," he said.
"The public likes ghoulish family stories but this isn't one of them."

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Edmonton/2010/09/08/15286831.html

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#72 the admiral
September 08 2010, 05:44PM
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@Ender

See im thinking after training camp would be the perfect time.

And only because if they were to present it to the NHL after training camp, both sides can say that they tried everything they could to move Souray. At that point there would not be any other options other than for him to play here, which i believe wont happen.

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#73 Jamie B.
September 08 2010, 05:49PM
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@RossCreekNation

That story sucks, I hope it's not true. Or at least partly not true. Something.

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#74 Ender
September 08 2010, 06:02PM
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@the admiral

You're thinking about it in terms of the NHL being the judge and the Oilers and Souray having to build a case. That's not strictly accurate. All that really has to happen is that the Oilers need to assign Souray to the minors and Souray has to fail to report. In the past, the team and the player have worked together to affect this such that the reputation of the player is not tarnished, but reviewing the terms outlining an SPC in the CBA, I don't get the feeling that the player's cooperation is strictly required. They just need to breach the terms of the contract. At that point, the NHL becomes a formality or a rubber stamp.

With that in mind, there is no gain from having waited. Additionally, it now becomes hard to get another team to commit cap space and a roster spot when most teams have already used the summer to build their roster by now. Slotting in a bit player for $500K is still possible in most cases, but the dollars for free agents of Souray's calibre were mostly allocated a long time ago.

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#75 Ender
September 08 2010, 06:08PM
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@Jamie B.

Stuff like this gets blown so out of proportion. A guy gets in an argument with his wife, she tries to leave and he blocks the door, she tries to push past him and he pushes back, in the course of the disagreement he yells at his daughter . . . wife gets mad and decides to press charges.

I'm not suggesting this is necessarily what happened or that it is a pleasant scene, but it's a far cry from a guy laying the boots to his wife and kids. I can see how a one time heated squabble gets turned by the media and the courts into something it's not.

I'll reserve judgement on Smith until I hear his side of the story.

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#76 the admiral
September 08 2010, 06:12PM
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@Ender

Oh yah, i am aware the NHL isn't going to preside like a judge. But i think that the NHL/NHLPA will be willing to let this happen, if and only if, both sides have truly done everything they could. The NHL, i think wouldnt do it if they thought the NHLPA would put up a fight.

Just my opinion of what i think will happen anyway

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#77 Chris.
September 08 2010, 06:21PM
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Listening to Oiler interviews today I'm dismayed to learn that Hall's nickname is: Hallsie.

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#78 Dutchscooter
September 08 2010, 06:30PM
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Chris. wrote:

Listening to Oiler interviews today I'm dismayed to learn that Hall's nickname is: Hallsie.

Right up there with the oh-so-original

Gags Cogs Storts Hemmer

etc etc. The days of the original nickname is sadly (mostly) extinct.

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#79 Darth Oiler
September 08 2010, 06:55PM
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we dont need to bring in any veteran players to boost this team in the standings we need to let the young guys play let ganger hemsky MPS horcoff fraser and coglino be the PK forwards. why are you blogers trying to get this team from a 70-80 pts team to an 80-85 point team which could be as many as 10 spots in the draft if every other team got the same amount of points and we get 75 points we pick #2 or if we get 85 points we pick 9th thas victor headman to jeff cowan or tyler seguin to Mikael Granlund theres kind of a drop off there

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#80 Dan the Man
September 08 2010, 07:07PM
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Chris. wrote:

Listening to Oiler interviews today I'm dismayed to learn that Hall's nickname is: Hallsie.

Curious to see what Eberle and Paajarvi's nicknames will be.

Eberler...and Paajarver...? Or even better.. Eberly and Paajarvy?

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#81 Matt Henderson
September 08 2010, 07:08PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Curious to see what Eberle and Paajarvi's nicknames will be.

Eberler...and Paajarver...? Or even better.. Eberly and Paajarvy?

My money says Ebs and Mags

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#82 Dan the Man
September 08 2010, 07:24PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

My money says Ebs and Mags

I bet you're probably right....the one I'm really curious about is Peckham....I'm secretly hoping it's Pecker.

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#83 Milli
September 08 2010, 07:42PM
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I feel for Gator right now and am sure it is a case of things being blown out of proportion. Also, I love all the Stortini haters, although there are less and less all the time. I mean realy, hate a guy for working his tail off? For doing anything, and I mean ANYTHING for his team? I wonder sometimes if the haters aren't beer league guys who didn't make it and wish they had Storts' drive so maybe, just maybe they would have? Good read, and one more thing, any chance Souray comes in plays well, the team plays well and they all kiss and make up?

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#84 Rob
September 08 2010, 07:45PM
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Eberle IS known as Eb's!! As for Hall talking about his choice of numbers, kinda strange that he was even considering 44 as Souray IS still on the team!? Wonder what Souray thinks of that. If he makes it to training camp, I think the coaches will make sure Souray and Hall are on the same team just in case Souray feels the need to take Halls head off.

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#85 freeze
September 08 2010, 08:09PM
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freeze wrote:

That's odd, I could have sworn that Potulny signed somewhere this summer. Faulty circuits, I guess.

Speak of the devil (Hawk): http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=333151

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#86 Jodes
September 08 2010, 10:20PM
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Cancel another one:

•Larry Brooks via twitter: The New York Rangers have invited Rulsan Fedotenko to training camp on a tryout.

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#87 PabstBR55
September 09 2010, 06:46AM
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Jodes wrote:

Cancel another one:

•Larry Brooks via twitter: The New York Rangers have invited Rulsan Fedotenko to training camp on a tryout.

Is Sather also going to invite Alexander Selivanov to camp? There's a guy who can produce for about a week before proving TOTALLY USELESS.

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#89 Banger
September 09 2010, 09:03AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I find it interesting that you reserve judgement on Smith, but last week you ripped me before I did my show on drinking and driving. Before even hearing the show you ranted about it not being kid friendly.

I guess if a guy is a former Oiler in your mind he gets the benefit of the doubt, but a radio guy doesn't. You have no idea what went on that day, but you assume it was nothing. None of us know what happened except he and his family. But you assume it was nothing, because...Your kids didn't read the article?

And the writer didn't blow it out of proportion. The article wrote what Smith had been charged with, the writer didn't put in his opinion on what occured. The police charged him. If he wasn't charged there wouldn't be a story. The police felt it was worthy of a charge. We will see if they overreacted or not.

So in your mind he clearly did nothing wrong, but you will jump all over a guy who tried to inform people about drinking and driving. That seems legit.

Spot on Gregor. Weird how some people are like that, reserve judgement for one but jump all over another. Bringing awareness to drinking and driving is way worse then domestic abuse........

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#90 Bandwagon jumper
September 09 2010, 09:49AM
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Well said Gregor.

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#91 Shane
September 09 2010, 11:48AM
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Would we be protecting Hall or Souray?

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#92 Jodes
September 09 2010, 11:56AM
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PabstBR55 wrote:

Is Sather also going to invite Alexander Selivanov to camp? There's a guy who can produce for about a week before proving TOTALLY USELESS.

Geez... just when I was trying to forget some of the characters that the Oilers had in the mid to late 90s..

Speaking of that, I hear Sather has been in negotiations to also bring back Jiri Dopita, I think him and Selivanov are going to anchor their power play!

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#93 Jamie B.
September 09 2010, 01:13PM
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True story, Alexander Selivanov played for a team in Holland last year. Old NHLers never die, they just play in Europe until they're 40.

Also a true story, for a brief time in the late 90s I called Selivanov my favourite player for no other reason than he wore the same number as me. Yeah, I'm proud of that one.

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#94 Ender
September 09 2010, 02:58PM
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@Jason Gregor

Whoa, whoa, whoa, back up the bus. Let's address your points in order:

Jason Gregor wrote:

I find it interesting that you reserve judgement on Smith, but last week you ripped me before I did my show on drinking and driving. Before even hearing the show you ranted about it not being kid friendly.

In the first place I didn't rip on you; I said I didn't think the show was a good idea. I still don't. In my opinion, it wasn't kid friendly and I think in one of your comments you agreed that not every show necessarily needs to be. Fine, we agree on that. I also acknowledged that your heart was in the right place, even if I didn't agree with the format in which the show presented your message. I said that you did as best you could with what you had and indicated that as a brand manager, I wouldn't have put you in that spot. I didn't make it about you; my issue was with the show itself.

Jason Gregor wrote:

I guess if a guy is a former Oiler in your mind he gets the benefit of the doubt, but a radio guy doesn't. You have no idea what went on that day, but you assume it was nothing. None of us know what happened except he and his family. But you assume it was nothing, because...Your kids didn't read the article?

I don't assume anything. Did you miss the big line where I said "I'm not suggesting this is necessarily what happened"? Jason Smith may well be a monster. I just believe in innocent until proven guilty. I was describing one such scenario where the charges described would sound worse than the actual scene. In no way did I suggest that that was what probably happened.

Jason Gregor wrote:

And the writer didn't blow it out of proportion. The article wrote what Smith had been charged with, the writer didn't put in his opinion on what occured. The police charged him. If he wasn't charged there wouldn't be a story. The police felt it was worthy of a charge. We will see if they overreacted or not.

I didn't say this writer misrepresented anything. You're right; everything this writer wrote was fine. I did suggest that sometimes the media sensationalizes stories in order to attract readership. That isn't a shot at you, this writer, or anyone else who reports in a fair and unbiased manner. Unfortunately, not all media personnel are as even-handed with what they write. If someone were to paint Smith as a violent criminal without fairly representing all the facts, I would have issue with that.

Jason Gregor wrote:

So in your mind he clearly did nothing wrong, but you will jump all over a guy who tried to inform people about drinking and driving. That seems legit.

And we're back to the beginning. You've made this about you, and it isn't. I didn't say anywhere that Smith did nothing wrong. I have no idea what he did or didn't do. I've never pretended to. I suggested we wait for all the facts before passing judgement. I think that's fair. If you're comparing it to jumping on a program about drinking on air before the show starts, I think I knew what I needed to know about that before the show started. I heard your rationale, I listened to all three hours, and commented a few times through the show and I gave you props for doing it as professionally as it could be done. All that said, I still don't agree with the premise of the show and listening to it didn't make me see drinking on-air as the single best way to illustrate the evils of drinking and driving. It's not the same as reserving judgement on a story where we don't have all the facts yet. I had the facts; you were going to drink on-air. I had issue with that fact and that fact alone. It didn't change through the course of the program. How people percieve Smith in this situation, however, may (or may not) change significantly as all the facts surrounding the case are brought to light.

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#95 Senator Theo
September 09 2010, 03:05PM
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Darth Oiler wrote:

we dont need to bring in any veteran players to boost this team in the standings we need to let the young guys play let ganger hemsky MPS horcoff fraser and coglino be the PK forwards. why are you blogers trying to get this team from a 70-80 pts team to an 80-85 point team which could be as many as 10 spots in the draft if every other team got the same amount of points and we get 75 points we pick #2 or if we get 85 points we pick 9th thas victor headman to jeff cowan or tyler seguin to Mikael Granlund theres kind of a drop off there

Whoa - that's a long sentence there. Quite a mouthful.

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#96 Spydyr
September 09 2010, 04:40PM
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UMMM Don't you have to be able to skate backwards to kill a penalty? In all seriousness he just cannot skate well enough.

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#98 Ender
September 09 2010, 05:06PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I didn't make it about me, I was just curious how you could so easily jump on one negative aspect, but wait to hear results of the other.

Your exact word were,"things like this get blown out of proportion." Then you created a scenario, hinting that is what happened.

And you last line... "I'll reserve judgement on Smith until I hear his side of the story."

That was my original point. You didn't reserve judgement on drinking prior to hearing it, so why this time.

I'm not arguing just pointing out the differences. It's okay to have them, but expect to be questioned about them.

Jamie B. wrote:

That story sucks, I hope it's not true. Or at least partly not true. Something.

If you look, Jason, you'll see my reply was directed to Jamie B. as a response to his comment. I was offering him some hope. While I meant to remain somewhat impartial, I see how someone reading it without context might view it as colored with a specific opinion.

Sometimes things like this do get blown out of proportion. Sometimes the public assumes the worst because the worst is more exciting. I hope that my last line clarified what might have been ambiguous in the first one.

And I do reserve judgement when I don't have all the facts. I didn't reserve my judgement on drinking on-air since it was what it was. There weren't any other relevant facts to wait for; you were going to drink alcohol on the air with the intent to pass the legal threshold of sobriety. Sure, you had good intentions and I've stated I don't hold it against you personally, but I myself thought that becoming inebriated on-air wasn't the best way to send that message. Waiting until after the show to say that wouldn't have made any difference; the premise was what I disagreed with and that was established from the beginning.

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#99 michael clarke
September 09 2010, 07:06PM
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The wife has met in person Temple Grandin. She met her once while attending the U/A AG Dept.The second meeting was almost 10 years later while working at Highland Feeders( there are just north of Vegreville). They are a large feedlot with about 36000 head of cows. Temple Grandin was there on an invite from Bern and Mike Kotelko. My wife was working with Page Stuart at the time as an admintrative assistant. My wife has always spoken of her in admiration. She truly left in impact on my wifes life as she is now working her way through the prevet program in part because of her experience with Temple Grandin. I am glad for your discovery of this truly unique person. Her story truly is remarkable.

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#100 Jodes
September 10 2010, 03:54PM
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Here's a few more UFA's that have accepted invites to training camps:

Kyle McLaren Atl Dan Fritsche CBJ Jon Cheechoo Dal Aaron Downey Det Tyler Arnason Fla Marcus Nilson NJ Kyle Wellwood Phx Eric Perrin TB Michael Ryan Phl Ruslan Fedotenko NYR Quite a few UFA's still left out there too:

Paul Mara Jose Theodore Bill Guerin Patrick O'Sullivan Ryan Johnson Lukas Krajicek Mathieu Schneider Vesa Toskala Owen Nolan Garnet Exelby Scott Walker Evgeny Artyukhin Christoph Schubert Miro Satan Brendan Morrison Eric Belanger Jay McKee Slava Kozlov Anders Eriksson Mark Parrish Brian McGrattan Robert Lang MA Bergeron Mark Popovic Jere Lehtinen

Andreas Lilja Kyle Calder Jay Pandolfo Jason Williams Tom Preissing Dean McAmmond Andy Delmore Steve Begin Rory Fitzpatrick Stephane Veilleux Petteri Nokelainen Darcy Tucker Petr Sykora Manny Legace Tim Stapleton Jed Ortmeyer Marek Svatos Wayne Primeau

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