Simply The Best

Lowetide
June 07 2011 07:37PM

This is Shawn Horcoff before the turn of the century. Although many Oiler fans have been calling for his head since 2007, Horcoff remains the best center in town. Will that change any time soon? 

Shawn Horcoff is the most complete center on the Oilers roster. He faced the toughest opponents, had the best faceoff percentage, was entrusted with the elite calibre rookies. In every demonstrable way, Shawn Horcoff was the leader of the Edmonton Oilers. Again.

Center: 5x5 scoring (points-per-60 minutes)

  1. Sam Gagner 1.91
  2. Shawn Horcoff 1.47
  3. Andrew Cogliano 1.33
  4. Colin Fraser 0.48

Center: Quality of Competition

  1. Shawn Horcoff .057
  2. Andrew Cogliano .022
  3. Sam Gagner -.013
  4. Colin Fraser -.086

Center CorsiRel

  1. Sam Gagner 7.0
  2. Shawn Horcoff 7.0
  3. Andrew Cogliano 2.3
  4. Colin Fraser -9.6

Center: Scoring Chances

  1. Shawn Horcoff 199-186 .517
  2. Andrew Cogliano 290-329 .468
  3. Sam Gagner 271-317 .461
  4. Colin Fraser 90-135 .400

The first three sets of numbers are courtesy Gabriel Desjardins behind the net, the final numbers (scoring chances) are from the brilliant work at C&B.

What does it all mean?

The Oilers have two very young centermen trying to grow up quickly in Gagner and Cogliano. Gags numbers show the offensive ability and a fine CorsiRel, but he faced easy competition and the scoring chance numbers should have been better. Was this a result of his struggles with the two Swedish kids? Don't know. We are reaching a point where even the most stubborn Gagner supporters (me, Zona, a few others) should begin to wonder if he's going to be the player forecast those years ago. I'm still betting on him.

Cogliano is making progress, and I think coach Renney has been helpful in the process. Cogs isn't scoring a lot and his scoring chance totals are about the same as Gagner's but he did it in tougher waters. It's small progress but there's a heartbeat.

Colin Fraser's numbers are disappointing but we also have to remember that the man was playing with some subpar linemates for much of the season. Edmonton's depth forwards were among the worst in the NHL.

This is Gilbert Perreault as a Montreal Junior Canadien, shortly before Buffalo drafted him in 1970. There is no 20-year old Gilbert Perreault in this draft, so the Oilers options for improving center involve the following:

  1. Signing a free agent like Brooks Laich.
  2. Trading for a qualitied veteran center.
  3. Trusting that Gagner-Cogliano can improve this coming season.
  4. Inserting Anton Lander in the mix and hoping for the best.
  5. Allowing the number one overall pick to stick with the big club if he impresses.
  6. Moving Taylor Hall to center full time.
  7. Go crazy and offer the moon for Mike Richards.

I think option six looms large.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 dawgtoy
June 07 2011, 07:41PM
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(_!_)

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#2 David S
June 07 2011, 07:42PM
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*Sets up deck chair, cracks beer and fresh bag of Doritos, opens new pack of smokes and settles in.*

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#3 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
June 07 2011, 07:43PM
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What ever happened to Fist or are you a Canuck army under cover?

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#4 Dano
June 07 2011, 07:48PM
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Looking at the depth chart I just don't see much wriggle room unless someone gets shipped out. I would assume that Gags and Horc are definitely her for next year, but I don't see a position for Fraser on this team. That leaves cogs. Now, if he stays, and RNH gets drafted (assuming that the most recent reports are true and he is both NHL ready and Edmonton's probable first choice) then I can't see that foursome being competitive in any capacity. Best case scenario: Fraser gets traded, or demoted, Cogs (god love him) gets shipped out and we get a better version of him (that being someone with size, better defensive game and a much better face off percentage). But that still leaves RNH, Horc and Gags as your top 3. Still leaves much to be desired in my humble opinion.

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#5 ItsTheBGB
June 07 2011, 07:49PM
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Option 5 and 6.

Proposed this on HFboards. Getting flamed hard right now, but LT, what about offering Paajarvi + for Jeff Carter considering Bryzgalov will want north of 5mil making Philly over the cap.

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#6 DangerMan
June 07 2011, 07:49PM
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1. Not happening 2. Sure, I guess 3. I hope not 4. Probably a 4th liner to start 5. Should be doable, its not like the comptetion is all that tough. 6. How about Paajarvi instead. 7. Look at #2.

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#8 oilbaron
June 07 2011, 07:52PM
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I think horcoff should be our teams 3rd line center and be used in a shutdown role. Give gagner more minutes with the top end talent on this team for 3/4 of the year and see if it jump starts his offense.

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Option 6 is much like the B's putting Chara in front of the net on the PP, rather than having him blast 105+ mph slap shots from the point - serious misuse of a HUGE talent/asset!

None of those options seems likely. I guess this is why next year is only year 2 of a 4 - 5 year rebuild. No panic here. Just make sure you do it right, ST and Co.

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#11 The Goat - Team FIST
June 07 2011, 08:10PM
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Looks like Horc took a FIST upside the head

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#12 Oilfan00
June 07 2011, 08:10PM
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Brad Richards*

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#13 T.C.
June 07 2011, 08:19PM
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totally off topic but was on hockey fights.com and big mac won best ko of the year and most punishing fighter of the year!yeah the oil won something.

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#14 Archaeologuy
June 07 2011, 08:27PM
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How to improve at C? If only the #1 rated player in this year's draft was a Center. That sure would make things easier. Too bad RNH is a...oh, wait, he's a Center.

Gagner was on pace for career year (even while playing with rookies for long stretches) before Jones got a little shanky on the bench, and the Oil will draft a future 1C in RNH. I dont think the Oilers can count on Horcoff to be a difference maker since his FO% and scoring has been trending down, but he's obviously still a useful enough player. Moving forward the answers down the middle will be Gagner and RNH. If that doesnt work out then there is no safety net to fall back on. The eggs are in that basket whether we like it or not.

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#15 Zamboni Driver
June 07 2011, 08:31PM
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To answer the "what does it mean" question...

Wait I know I know!

Shawn "IliftweightswithBatman" Horcoff is your best centre....

The answer is.....Last place two years in a row!

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#16 jr_christ
June 07 2011, 08:48PM
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hot diggity dog

we're finishing last again aren't we?

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#17 Wes Mantooth
June 07 2011, 08:51PM
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Lowtide said;

The key imo is to find a quality 2-way center who can play multiple roles. Win faceoffs, kill penalties, score 15 goals. He might play some nights on the 3line and other nights on a scoring line and he could move up when injuries happen (and they always happen).

Kyle Brodziak, that kind of guy

I thought we had that guy..his name is Horcoff

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#18 Chris.
June 07 2011, 09:03PM
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Wes Mantooth wrote:

Lowtide said;

The key imo is to find a quality 2-way center who can play multiple roles. Win faceoffs, kill penalties, score 15 goals. He might play some nights on the 3line and other nights on a scoring line and he could move up when injuries happen (and they always happen).

Kyle Brodziak, that kind of guy

I thought we had that guy..his name is Horcoff

Love him, or hate him; you can't deny: this team needs more Horcoffs.

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#19 Quicksilver ballet
June 07 2011, 09:13PM
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David S wrote:

*Sets up deck chair, cracks beer and fresh bag of Doritos, opens new pack of smokes and settles in.*

Here you go David.

The sooner this kid is outta here the better. He'll be taking valuable icetime away from the future of this hockey club, Hall,Gagner,Hopkins and/or Sean Couturier plus whatever happens this summer. There's no denying this Kevin Lowe effort will do much more harm than good in the very near future here, make that in just 2 yrs from now. I'd hesitate even keeping him at half of what he's due over the balance of this contract. One could argue that close to every friggen cent of the money the Oilers made from that 06 playoff run has gone straight into Shawn Horcoffs pockets. Horcoff needs to be gone so those minutes can be utilized by players whom will be part of the future of this club and move forward. Hall and Eberles comments about Horcoff this past year were probably more of a professional courtesy than how they really actually felt i'm sure. Get this poor mans whatever you want to call him as far away from these kids as possible. What's he going to teach them, how to get hurt, or how to slow the game down so he can keep up? We're far better off burying Shawn in the minors and bringing Ryan Smyth back.

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#20 Travis Dakin
June 07 2011, 09:18PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

To answer the "what does it mean" question...

Wait I know I know!

Shawn "IliftweightswithBatman" Horcoff is your best centre....

The answer is.....Last place two years in a row!

Or, when everybody is healthy and he had a team around him, he was the number 1 centre on a team that went to game 7 of the Stanley cup final. Scored 71 points. He can play.

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#21 The Goat - Team FIST
June 07 2011, 09:18PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Here you go David.

The sooner this kid is outta here the better. He'll be taking valuable icetime away from the future of this hockey club, Hall,Gagner,Hopkins and/or Sean Couturier plus whatever happens this summer. There's no denying this Kevin Lowe effort will do much more harm than good in the very near future here, make that in just 2 yrs from now. I'd hesitate even keeping him at half of what he's due over the balance of this contract. One could argue that close to every friggen cent of the money the Oilers made from that 06 playoff run has gone straight into Shawn Horcoffs pockets. Horcoff needs to be gone so those minutes can be utilized by players whom will be part of the future of this club and move forward. Hall and Eberles comments about Horcoff this past year were probably more of a professional courtesy than how they really actually felt i'm sure. Get this poor mans whatever you want to call him as far away from these kids as possible. What's he going to teach them, how to get hurt, or how to slow the game down so he can keep up? We're far better off burying Shawn in the minors and bringing Ryan Smyth back.

#BOOM

#goilers!

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#22 Ferg
June 07 2011, 09:20PM
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Are we writing off Bono, errrr.... Brule at center? When he's healthy man that guy can crash and bang, love the way he plays.

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#23 Wes Mantooth
June 07 2011, 09:23PM
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Chris. wrote:

Love him, or hate him; you can't deny: this team needs more Horcoffs.

Do we? I am not knocking what Horcoff brings to the table.

But, we scored the least amount of goals in the NHL while giving up the second most.

We need players playing in the correct positions/places.

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#24 michael
June 07 2011, 09:39PM
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ItsTheBGB wrote:

Option 5 and 6.

Proposed this on HFboards. Getting flamed hard right now, but LT, what about offering Paajarvi + for Jeff Carter considering Bryzgalov will want north of 5mil making Philly over the cap.

This trade is strange. Philly is so hard against the cap and adding Bryzgalov to the lineup makes little sense. How much do they think the cap is going to rise next season? As to the Oilers center woes. Patience. There is a deal to be made with Philly and it isn't for Richards. I would target Braydon Coulborn. Young dman wit alot grit who would pair well with Peckham. At 3.4 he is a little overpaid but we could easily absord that salary. Especially since we will have souray off the books at the end of the year at 4.25 million. Philly will be looking for picks or prospects. I like a deal that see Coulborn come to end in exchange for our 19th pick.

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#25 They're $hittie
June 07 2011, 09:40PM
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Center - GAGNER #1 needs the icetime with good players not babysitting fringe AHL to NHL rookies who made the team because how bad the oilers are, not saying paajarvi is bad but would not have made a lot of rosters last year and spent time in AHL. HORCOFF number two to start the year. RNH number three than up to two with proper growth. LANDER number four to provide faceoff and penalty kill options. Hopefully Pitlick can replace Horcoff with this core group in a year of so.

LW - HALL obviously, Paajarvi, Jones, Hartikanen, SMAC

RW - Hemsky, Eberle, Omark, Brule

Brule and Cogs need to be moved. And why not try your best offensive player at each postion as a line. Hall Hemsky Gagner

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#26 They're $hittie
June 07 2011, 09:43PM
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If Philly is looking for cap dump, than the other team holds all the cards. Especially with Phillys goalie history. A second rounder may do it and it might not even need to be 31st.

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#27 Oilfan00
June 07 2011, 09:44PM
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We can't get rid of Horcoff, yes his contract is bad, however it doesn't matter right now as the Oilers have tons of cap space and he is the best center we have. He is a valuable piece and if we do draft RNH and Gagner he will be a key contributor as the 3rd line C, maybe his last two years of the contract will suck but right now and next year they don't, plus he is the captain and from the sound of how the locker room was this year and how he mentored the kids he is a pretty damn good one, he isnt a number 1 Center or MVP but he is important to this franchise.

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#28 Oilfan00
June 07 2011, 09:51PM
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I wouldnt be trading any of the young kids right now, we are not 1 or 2 players away so no point in fishing (build the team then trade prospects) I think a trade with Philly could be in the books, hopefully they sign Bryz.

1st Line-Hall-Horcoff-Eberle 2nd Line-Hartikainen-Gagner-Hemsky 3rd Line-Paajarvi-RNH-Omark (Too young but no real options) 4th Line-Jones-Fraser-Cogs/Brule

This is assuming the Oilers draft RNH and do nothing, I would prefer:

1st Line-Hall-Horcoff-Eberle 2nd Line-Upshall-Gagner-Hemsky 3rd Line-Paajarvi-Laich-Omark 4th Line-Hartaikanen-Konopka-Jones

Send RNH to junior or play him on the wing for half the season.

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#29 Wes Mantooth
June 07 2011, 09:52PM
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@They're $hittie

Gagner did not exactly light it up with Hall or Eberle last year do so.

Both Hall and Eberle were rookies so that point makes no sense.

Paajaarvi is not a "fringe" NHLer and far from a AHLer.

And a # 3 center is usually left for your checking center with the most responsibility in shutting down he oppositions best players, now I'm not an NHL coach but putting RNH in that spot might not be the best for your team.

Horcoff is your best bet at # 3 once your top 2 get established.

Lander or Cogs should be #4

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#30 manuel
June 07 2011, 09:57PM
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lol...you know what sam gagner.reminds mi of. Alexandre Daigle.ganger will not get any better. a trade for a pick will do........

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#31 Dog Train
June 07 2011, 10:05PM
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This is why we need to draft a centre first overall. You just simply don't find #1 centers anywhere but in the draft unless you want to pay them 8 million for a hundred years. Gagner is an alright second line guy, Cogliano and Horcoff are solid in a third line role and we have a few kids in the pipeline who have bottom six centre skill sets (Lander, Vande Velde). As for the Gagner and Daigle comparison, Gagner is already better than Daigle. Not saying that he will meet some people's expectations but I do see a useful second line player.

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#32 Eddie Shore
June 07 2011, 10:09PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Or, when everybody is healthy and he had a team around him, he was the number 1 centre on a team that went to game 7 of the Stanley cup final. Scored 71 points. He can play.

That was 5 years ago. He is NOT the same player he was then. He just isn't no matter how much everyone(including me) wants him to be.

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#33 canuck all the way!
June 07 2011, 10:29PM
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Just like I said

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#34 knobby
June 07 2011, 10:31PM
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Beating the bushes for pro centremen seems to find the Oil braintrust challenged to say the least. One step in the right direction is the signing late in the season of the unsigned players who played in OK city. Hopefully one of them finds his pro game and makes the show.

Getting an established player to sign here as a free agent seems almost insurmountable at this point in time. Someone currently playing in Angola might find Edmonton an upgrade.

Sharpening up the pro-side scouting staff would be a good place to start. They need to set their sights a little higher in that department.

Which begs the question, is the pro scouting staff sub-standard or has the organization taken a pre-determined course to hockey purgatory in the hope they have the skill to pull out of the nosedive at some future point?

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#36 They're $hittie
June 07 2011, 11:49PM
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Wes Mantooth wrote:

Gagner did not exactly light it up with Hall or Eberle last year do so.

Both Hall and Eberle were rookies so that point makes no sense.

Paajaarvi is not a "fringe" NHLer and far from a AHLer.

And a # 3 center is usually left for your checking center with the most responsibility in shutting down he oppositions best players, now I'm not an NHL coach but putting RNH in that spot might not be the best for your team.

Horcoff is your best bet at # 3 once your top 2 get established.

Lander or Cogs should be #4

Yes they were rookies, but hall is in an elite class and eberle has ahl experience and a full junior career. Omark and Paajarvi have never played the north american game. ANd youve got to remember when gagner played with hall and eberle, he had to be the defensive one. no offensve rookie has their hands tied. Remember gagners rookie year, point production and no D. So ya he had to babysit. And with MP slow start, on a good team he would have been in the AHL, there was talks about this all year on this site and arguments went both ways. He was a fringe player for the year not for his career. And as for RNH as a number 3 I said this is on a depth chart. He is not going to be a checking line center but third in even minutes on the team until they see him ready.

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#37 They're $hittie
June 07 2011, 11:54PM
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Gagner was not a number one overall pick like Daigle, so there is no way he is a compareable to him. He is a half season to a season away from getting two hundred points all under the age of 23. There are a lot of first round picks that never get to fifty.

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#38 Brad
June 08 2011, 12:40AM
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Horcoff is a 3rd line center that doesn't hit, win draws, or score goals. He's also been horrible on the PK the last couple years and has injury concerns as well.

Basically, he's worthless.

He's not even as good as Souray.

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#39 Mrs. Potato Dick
June 08 2011, 01:04AM
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Brad wrote:

Horcoff is a 3rd line center that doesn't hit, win draws, or score goals. He's also been horrible on the PK the last couple years and has injury concerns as well.

Basically, he's worthless.

He's not even as good as Souray.

I totally disagree. While grossly overpaid and often injured, Horcoff is a great asset for a variety of reasons. Much better than Souray...nice troll job there. At half price Horcoff would be gone. Healthy Horcoff = awesome. I'd prefer to see him slide to number two on the center depth chart though.

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#40 @Oilanderp
June 08 2011, 01:16AM
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@Brad

Dearest Troll,

Please read the articles before commenting.

Thanks.

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#41 David S
June 08 2011, 01:24AM
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At the risk of being Captain Obvious, the following ground rule should have been laid out for this thread:

Shawn Horcoff will not be: a) Traded b) Bought out c) "Buried in the minors"

His contract is so bad I doubt even NHL 2011 software would allow a deal.

He's here for the duration. Deal with it.

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#42 J-Dogg
June 08 2011, 02:43AM
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"You just simply don't find #1 centers anywhere but in the draft unless you want to pay them 8 million for a hundred years."

please refer to #7.

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#43 Peterborough
June 08 2011, 04:33AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

How to improve at C? If only the #1 rated player in this year's draft was a Center. That sure would make things easier. Too bad RNH is a...oh, wait, he's a Center.

Gagner was on pace for career year (even while playing with rookies for long stretches) before Jones got a little shanky on the bench, and the Oil will draft a future 1C in RNH. I dont think the Oilers can count on Horcoff to be a difference maker since his FO% and scoring has been trending down, but he's obviously still a useful enough player. Moving forward the answers down the middle will be Gagner and RNH. If that doesnt work out then there is no safety net to fall back on. The eggs are in that basket whether we like it or not.

I think you are right but the best move would be to keep RNH in junior for another year, no need to start the clock on him just yet that also gives us a buffer between him and the prized three. Give him a year to get bigger and stronger and a year for the rest of the team to get better.

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#44 mayorpoop
June 08 2011, 05:23AM
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horcoff serves purpose, and has a role to play on a very young team (although a diminishing role). I'm not a huge horc booster but he is not the goat he is percieved to be....hustle, heart...basically a very good third line center.

as far as RNH having to return to the minors, it is far to early to say HE MUST or HE SHOULD, i will decide in the fall when those decisions SHOULD be made.

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#45 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 06:19AM
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Peterborough wrote:

I think you are right but the best move would be to keep RNH in junior for another year, no need to start the clock on him just yet that also gives us a buffer between him and the prized three. Give him a year to get bigger and stronger and a year for the rest of the team to get better.

I was against it with Hall and I'm against it with RNH. I believe that all players deserve the right to earn a job out of camp. If RNH is the 5th best option at C when training camp ends then by all means put him back in juniour. It doesnt happen very often that the #1 pick plays another year in JR but if he doesnt earn a spot then thats the way it is.

However, if he does prove to be a better option than Cogliano/Fraser for the 3C spot then puting him in the WHL for contract reasons is a bad way to start off this kids Oiler experience.

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#46 Oilers Forever
June 08 2011, 06:56AM
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I am true Oilers fan, however, I read a report that Edmonton is the Long Island of the North and I started thinking about it and it is true. Edmonton will always be a training ground for high draft picks and will accumulate overpaid washed up veterans (Horcoff). we have a lot of similarities to our brothers in South, they too were a force in eighties and won several stanley cups but unfortunatly it is only a memory now and don't see things changing anytime soon with the current team structure. Frustrating.

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#47 russ99
June 08 2011, 07:42AM
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IMO Gagner is eventually going to be moved to RW, as that position is more suited to his style of play and he can't make up deficiencies at the center position at this point in his development.

We sorely need a 2nd line center, and a veteran crafty 3rd/4th line guy to show Lander the ropes.

If the Oilers draft RNH, he's not going to fill that 1/2 role for at least a year, which should figure in the Oilers FA decisions.

Personally, I'd prefer Larsson drafted at #1 and a deal for an younger yet experienced #2 center.

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#48 justDOit
June 08 2011, 07:51AM
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Gags deserves a little more time to develop, but not much - this year should show it. It's been shown that kids who get thrown into the NHL at 18 often take a little longer to come into their own.

Cogs = gone. Sorry, but that skating isn't going to get any better and his vision/hands are second to most.

Fraser = AHL.

Lander: come on down!

Hall: stay on the wing!

Paajarvi: let's give him a stretch of games at center and see what happens.

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#49 raceguy
June 08 2011, 07:57AM
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Oilers Forever wrote:

I am true Oilers fan, however, I read a report that Edmonton is the Long Island of the North and I started thinking about it and it is true. Edmonton will always be a training ground for high draft picks and will accumulate overpaid washed up veterans (Horcoff). we have a lot of similarities to our brothers in South, they too were a force in eighties and won several stanley cups but unfortunatly it is only a memory now and don't see things changing anytime soon with the current team structure. Frustrating.

???????????????.

If I draw a line from Edmonton straight south I find one cup in Cowtown and one in Anaheim.Your statement makes me think you just rolled out of bed and started typing.We didn't "accumlate" Horcoff.He has been an Oiler since they drafted him.

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#50 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
June 08 2011, 08:04AM
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Oilers Forever wrote:

I am true Oilers fan, however, I read a report that Edmonton is the Long Island of the North and I started thinking about it and it is true. Edmonton will always be a training ground for high draft picks and will accumulate overpaid washed up veterans (Horcoff). we have a lot of similarities to our brothers in South, they too were a force in eighties and won several stanley cups but unfortunatly it is only a memory now and don't see things changing anytime soon with the current team structure. Frustrating.

I really can not agree at this point when Katz said time to tank he meant build through the draft. Katz said be patient let the kids develop and build slow and steady I am all for it. I have also NEVER heard any one project NY at a serious team of the future and they are already saying this about the present Oil. That is with out this summers #1 and Whatever SMB will draft to add to the pool. Does Lowe make me nervous still yes but this summer and whom we sign will tell me a lot. We are not going to be perpetual bottom feeders HOPE will not allow it. I am cautiously optimistic.

PS ANd we are NOTHING I repeat Nothing like those people south of us I would not trade them spots for all the rice in china. Go to Flames Nation and many of them talk about how we are 3 years ahead of them and how they need to tank. READ before you post please ! PSS CALGARY won 1 Stanley when we were in a serious case Of post traumatic stress syndrome having just traded #99. If that does not happen they would be tied with Vancouver!

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