TALKING WITH SMAC

Jason Gregor
July 14 2011 12:19PM

Steve MacIntyre inked a two-way deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week and yesterday I chatted with the former Oiler about riding shotgun for Sidney Crosby, working on his game so he'll get more icetime and opening the season against his former teammates.

MacIntyre will make $600,000 in the show and $105,000 if he plays in the AHL, but he is planning on protecting Crosby all season long. He gave a very honest assessment of his game and he seemed to understand why he didn't get to play very much in Edmonton last year.

"I have to work on my hockey sense. I got caught second guessing myself often. Sometimes I was too hesitant and not going with my gut instinct. I was thinking about things too much. I need to calm down in the games. Everyone can do it in practice, even I could do it in practice, but when it came to the games I was kinda like a deer in the headlights.

"Coach put me in situations where he thought I could succeed, but it was a 50/50 for him, 'Can Mac get it out, is he going to get it deep,' and I think that was my biggest downfall. Those instances I need to simplify things and just go out there and play hockey instead of going through and thinking about everything... I need to go out there and just be automatic."

I always found MacIntyre's honesty refreshing when we chatted in the dressing room. Whether we talked about hockey, hunting or an upcoming fight he never fed you a line of BS. While we chatted on my show yesterday he admitted that on the ice his honesty might have hurt him.

"Another of my downfalls was I might have been too honest on the ice. I have that other side of me (snap factor), but I didn't show it often enough. The NHL is a lot different than the minors. Down there the guys want it (fights) more. They are hungry and they want to engage. Up here guys are picking their spots, trying to figure out if this will help their team, if it will put them down a man or just how the game is going. There are a lot more facets to it than just going out there and dropping your gloves. It is something I have to learn. I have to engage people and more or less get under their saddle pads and get them off their game."

It sounds like he plans on being more aggressive with Pittsburgh.

"Last year I started out pretty good. Obviously that first night was huge, it was like scoring a hat trick for a tough guy, but then I kind of got caught up in things a little bit during the middle part of the season. In the final ten games I decided that I was going to go out with a bang and do things a bit different. Be more aggressive and hope that I could secure a job for next year. I plan on playing that way from the start this season."

I've always felt being a tough guy is the hardest job in pro sports, and as the guys continually get bigger I think it is only getting harder. There is loads of pressure every time a guy drops the gloves, because none of them want to get beat up in front of millions of people watching live or on TV.

I think that job is even more difficult when you are on a 30th place team that can't kill penalties. 

Teams and fans want their tough guys to be aggressive, but it is hard to be aggressive when you are worrying about taking a penalty while doing it. If a tough guy knows that his team is good enough to kill off the odd aggressive penalty he can run around a bit more. MacIntyre never had that option in Edmonton, but he'll have more leeway in Pittsburgh because the Pens are a better team.

I asked Big Mac if that was the case at times last year.

"I don't want to make up any excuses for why I wasn't more aggressive. That is my job as a professional. I need to learn how I can be a factor in the games. At times I got caught second guessing myself, and with the type of team they are building in Edmonton it a little tougher, but that is part of the growth process for me. Part of being an NHL tough guy is, like the song says, you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em," laughed MacIntyre.

I didn't expect MacIntyre to blame the Oilers PK woes for his lack of aggressive play, but it is a factor. When you are as big and as tough as MacIntyre, the refs won't do you many favours if you land a big hit or get in a scrum. 

HOME OPENER

 

The Jordan Eberle TSN play of the year and the MacIntyre KO of Ivanans had Oiler fans dreaming of a Stanley Cup on opening night last year, and MacIntyre plans on being a part of this year's home opener as well. The only difference is he will be a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"There is a big circle around that day on my calender. I had a chance to talk to Dan Bylsma and I told him that there was this one particular game that if I could at all be a part of, I sure would love to be a part of because there was a couple people who took my job and I don't take too kindly to that. So I guess we'll have to see."

MacIntyre ended that statement with a mischievious chuckle, and if he is in the lineup Darcy Hordichuk might have an early season dance partner.

Before saying goodbye Big Mac took a crack at his former teammate and hunting partner, and he had a message for Oiler fans.

"If I could get close enough to Ryan (Jones) in warm-up and chop off a chunk of his hair that would be fun... I'm so very thankful to the Oilers and all the fans. I might be playing on different teams, but I'll be a fan of the Oilers until the day I die."

It is hard not to cheer for a guy like MacIntyre. I wish him all the best.

SPEC'S DECK

Mark Spector has been a regular on my show for two years now. He is a fun guy, who isn't afraid to speak his mind on any topic. Half the time he'll does his "hit" on my show from his deck. He epitomizes the guy who likes to sit on his deck and have a beer.

We've come up with a fun charitable angle for Spec's deck.

On Friday August 12th, we will be doing my show from Spec's deck, and we'll have five lucky winners join us, along with three of their friends for a hell of a party.

The contest works like this. You donate $100 to help end MS and you get in the draw. We will have FIVE winners and we cap it at 100 entries. You can enter as many times as you wish. $100 gets you one entry, $200 gets you two and so one.

The winner gets to bring three friends with them... Here is what you get.

Blue Sky Limo will pick you up, (Each group of four has one pick up spot) and they take you to Spec's deck.
The Ranch Golf and County Club will be catering the event. BBQ steak, chicken, potatoes, veggies, etc...
Big Rock will supply beer all night long and in the Limo.
Andrew Peller will supply the wine, because us sports guys are a dignified group.
Bacardi will supply a variety of hard liquor.
Co-Op Taxi will ensure everyone gets home safe and sound. We don't allow drinking and driving.

The party will start around 4 p.m. and last for as long as we like. Robin Brownlee, Ryan Rishaug, Meg Morrison and their spouses will also be there. I've also secured two SPECIAL GUESTS. Two NHL players will spend the evening sharing stories and probably listening to "how you were this close to making the show."

There will also be a musical guest who will be playing a few sets on the deck/backyard.

This will be a great evening of fun, laughs and good times.

To enter click here. Thanks for helping us end MS.

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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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#1 Mitchell
July 14 2011, 12:20PM
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Gregor,

Awesome article on Mac, and thanks for all the charity work you do. You do more than any other media guy and I appreciate it. I'm going to enter now.

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#2 Aendayana
July 14 2011, 12:26PM
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Good luck SMac in Pittsburgh. Please don't hurt any of our boys.haha

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#3 druds
July 14 2011, 12:35PM
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Smac was the best at his trade of FISTicuffs

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#4 Lochenzo
July 14 2011, 12:42PM
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I've got nothing but immense respect for Stevie Mac. It's one thing for us to discuss what Steve needs to do to make him a full-time NHLer. And it's quite another to hear it from him directly. His puck management skills needs a severe improvement as well as learning to be effective without the puck. No doubt that he is the best fighter out there but the combination of his immense size and the instigator rule rendered him ineffective. Having that 'snap' factor helps keep the other team honest. That is why I was very happy with the Eager signing.

Good luck in Pitt Steve!

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#5 Archaeologuy
July 14 2011, 12:53PM
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Best of Luck in Pittsburgh SmackIntyre!

That G1 fight was unreal. I wish that G1 wasnt the best game of the year, but that's the way it goes I guess.

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#6 Smokey
July 14 2011, 12:54PM
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The Isle Pens games just got a bit more interesting. He's going to kill Gilles...

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#7 tricksnard
July 14 2011, 12:58PM
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Would the limo come pick me up in Ottawa? \m/

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#8 Archaeologuy
July 14 2011, 01:06PM
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It just dawned on me how great it is to live in a place where Hockey is still talked about in the middle of July.

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#9 Gret99zky
July 14 2011, 01:15PM
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There's a Beast in the East.

Please don't put Hordi in the hospital GM1.

For old time sake.

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#10 freeze
July 14 2011, 01:16PM
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Is the musical guest also Rishaug?

I really hope we don't peak in game 1 again. Goilers!

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#11 Dyckster
July 14 2011, 01:16PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

It just dawned on me how great it is to live in a place where Hockey is still talked about in the middle of July.

Props to you Arch, what's even greater is the fact a majority of the talk centers around a team that's finished last two years running.

Passionate or dumb we are!

Good luck SMac, be gentle on our boys in Copper and Blue.....

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#12 Quicksilver ballet
July 14 2011, 01:18PM
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Hemsky+ to the Bluejackets for Jared Bol and their first selection in 2012......or even straight up for Johansen.

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#13 Tracie
July 14 2011, 02:02PM
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Good luck Mac! All the best, except against the Oilers!

For those who are not on twitter, Mac and Jones have a bet...who will have the better flow by bear camp next summer. Tweeps vote and the winner gets to shave the losers hair off and donate it to charity. These guys rock!

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#14 @Oilanderp
July 14 2011, 02:17PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

It just dawned on me how great it is to live in a place where Hockey is still talked about in the middle of July.

I think of it less as July and more as Pre-September. Mac is a class act, best wishes to him, except against us ;)

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#15 Ducey
July 14 2011, 02:37PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Hemsky+ to the Bluejackets for Jared Bol and their first selection in 2012......or even straight up for Johansen.

Tambi tried Hemsky for Johanssen last year at the trade deadline. No dice.

This article makes it sound like all SMac needs is some better decision making and a better PK and presto he is a surefire NHLer.

Sorry, but the dude cannot play hockey. No one needs to fight him because he is no threat to anyone except after the play. If you are a tough guy and refuse to fight him, he will not make you fight him becuase he can't go after your other players as he is not capable of hitting or keeping up with the play.

How many times is he going to be on the ice with Crosby or Malkin? During the warmup - if he is lucky.

Hordichuk and Eager are clear upgrades.

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#16 Bucknuck
July 14 2011, 02:46PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

It just dawned on me how great it is to live in a place where Hockey is still talked about in the middle of July.

You said it. I love being a part of the oil fan-base right now. It can only get better from here... right?

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#17 pelhem grenville
July 14 2011, 02:48PM
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...i'm thinkin' Smac won't play as much as George played when he was there...Matt Cooke'll take his runs at other teams players through the year and the fear factor will be spread...

...all will be well in the town of the flightless birds...even without Smac but hey good that it's a two way deal for the Smac

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#18 Dman09
July 14 2011, 02:52PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Hemsky+ to the Bluejackets for Jared Bol and their first selection in 2012......or even straight up for Johansen.

Guy from the jackets today on Oilers Lunch said the wouldn't even entertain offers or ideas about trading Johansen.

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#19 Walter Sobchak
July 14 2011, 02:54PM
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Class act big Mac! Also don't hurt Hordichuk the first game of the season please! We need him for the rest of the year.

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Last year the superheavy champ gets a 4 year deal worth 1.625 a year and that's on July 1st. This year it takes til the 2nd week of free agency for two of the top superheavy's to get a contract. Both are for minimal amounts and both are two-way deals, well godard is one-way year two.

Not a good sign if you are strickly a fighter. Better higher a good investor and in Mac's case sign some endorsements to get free hunting gear.

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#21 justDOit
July 14 2011, 03:07PM
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@Ducey

Props to that! Not many players who are almost 34 have much luck 'working on their game', let alone guys who are 260 lbs.

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#22 BUCK75
July 14 2011, 03:08PM
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Good article, Smac is probably one of the best people in the game. No arguement that he is the best scrapper. He took the high road & not many pro atheletes today are that candid, or able to be that honest I think. He could have piled on the team like others who have left here, but he took the high road.

I'm gonna try & get some cash in for that draw. Hope my luck is better than last time. :p

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#23 Dman09
July 14 2011, 03:11PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Last year the superheavy champ gets a 4 year deal worth 1.625 a year and that's on July 1st. This year it takes til the 2nd week of free agency for two of the top superheavy's to get a contract. Both are for minimal amounts and both are two-way deals, well godard is one-way year two.

Not a good sign if you are strickly a fighter. Better higher a good investor and in Mac's case sign some endorsements to get free hunting gear.

Personally I'm of the believe that all players should get a base Salary of 1 million(because people would bitch if I said lower) and then after that its based off of performance bonuses. Naturally a guy like Mac would have different bonuses than hall or eberle. Chances of Mac hitting 20 goals in a season is probably less than me winning the lotto max. A setup like that would eliminate the need for these stupid 10-14 year contracts and you would still have to base the cap hit off of previous years performance.

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#24 Dennis
July 14 2011, 03:27PM
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Oil aren't gonna make the playoffs anyway so I hope he scores a goal in his first game back at Rexall. I'm glad he's playing somewhere else because he was tough to watch but the guy is a super nice fellow and I wish him the best; I hope he improves his game and sticks around for a long time.

Great idea on that fundraiser too.

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#25 Dman09
July 14 2011, 03:29PM
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Dennis wrote:

Oil aren't gonna make the playoffs anyway so I hope he scores a goal in his first game back at Rexall. I'm glad he's playing somewhere else because he was tough to watch but the guy is a super nice fellow and I wish him the best; I hope he improves his game and sticks around for a long time.

Great idea on that fundraiser too.

gets put on a line with Crosby and ends up with a Gordi Howe hat trick in the first game of the season.

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#26 Oilcruzer
July 14 2011, 03:33PM
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Hopefully SMACaroonie beats the tar outta Nucks and Lames before the game in Edmonton.

His hit against Calgary (was it McLennan?) was of legendary proportions.

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#27 Bucknuck
July 14 2011, 03:41PM
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Dennis wrote:

Oil aren't gonna make the playoffs anyway so I hope he scores a goal in his first game back at Rexall. I'm glad he's playing somewhere else because he was tough to watch but the guy is a super nice fellow and I wish him the best; I hope he improves his game and sticks around for a long time.

Great idea on that fundraiser too.

HEY MAN! None of that defeatist attitude yet. It's all sunshine and kool-aid from here until December.

Then we start with the sad platitudes of lottery talk.

You'd think after five years people around here would know the cycle of "woe is me".

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#28 The Fish
July 14 2011, 03:44PM
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Big Mac said in an interview to Rob Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun about Eager and Hordichuk :"I'm not going to run around like a donkey, but those two guys especially.....they took my job and I don't take too kindly to that." Nice guy? Yes. Fast enough to catch either one of them? Not a chance in hell. I would bet my car that he doesn't even play on October 9th.

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#29 The Fish
July 14 2011, 03:47PM
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Gregor, try to "secure" a couple ladies instead of 2 NHL players.

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#30 Dman09
July 14 2011, 03:52PM
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The Fish wrote:

Gregor, try to "secure" a couple ladies instead of 2 NHL players.

Like chandella and brittney, UFC ring girls.

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#31 OILERSORDEATH
July 14 2011, 03:55PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Guy from the jackets today on Oilers Lunch said the wouldn't even entertain offers or ideas about trading Johansen.

Well then I wouldn't even talk to them any more because they nobody else on that $hitty team is even worth talking about. Except of course Nash, Carter but they arent even up for discussion. I might do a Hemsky and Gagner for Johanson but even that bothers me

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#32 Dman09
July 14 2011, 03:59PM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

Well then I wouldn't even talk to them any more because they nobody else on that $hitty team is even worth talking about. Except of course Nash, Carter but they arent even up for discussion. I might do a Hemsky and Gagner for Johanson but even that bothers me

If that included a 2 round pick I would do it. The more and more I look at our possible line ups and the current depth of the team I can't help but think we still may have too many options at center. That trade frees up a roster spot.

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#33 Bucknuck
July 14 2011, 04:25PM
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Our roster depth at centre is an illusion on this injury prone team. If the last few years are anything to go by, O'Marra will be our first line centre by Valentine's day.

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#34 T.C.
July 14 2011, 04:28PM
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good luck big mac!you kicked the S**t out of a flame and enjoy hunting.what's not to like about this guy?

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#35 Archaeologuy
July 14 2011, 04:33PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Our roster depth at centre is an illusion on this injury prone team. If the last few years are anything to go by, O'Marra will be our first line centre by Valentine's day.

If RNH is sent back to juniour for no reason then push that date back to the Christmas break.*

*God I hope that was a joke and not an accurate prediction.

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#36 Dman09
July 14 2011, 04:35PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

If RNH is sent back to juniour for no reason then push that date back to the Christmas break.*

*God I hope that was a joke and not an accurate prediction.

You'd have to lose all 4 centers for Omarra to be called up and for him to play 1st line center RNH, Lander and VV would have to get injured as well. 7 centers going down with injury at the same time, I think not.

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#37 Archaeologuy
July 14 2011, 04:48PM
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Dman09 wrote:

You'd have to lose all 4 centers for Omarra to be called up and for him to play 1st line center RNH, Lander and VV would have to get injured as well. 7 centers going down with injury at the same time, I think not.

Last year we ended with Cogliano as the 1C. Now he's a street busker. Think about it.

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#38 Mantastic
July 14 2011, 04:59PM
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@Oilcruzer

the pens play the nucks and lames before the oilers season opener?

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#39 Dman09
July 14 2011, 05:00PM
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Y does everyone hate on Cogs he was still a pretty decent player. He was still a head of VV and Omarra, also Gagner still played 69 games and the only reason he was out was a fluke cut. Also since then there are three more additions at center Belanger, RNH, and Lander. I have thought about it and the odds are still in favor of Omarra likely not playing in the NHL this season. I would even argue that hartikanen gets called up before omarra even in a center role.

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#40 Oilcruzer
July 14 2011, 05:01PM
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Mantastic wrote:

the pens play the nucks and lames before the oilers season opener?

Thu Oct 6, 2011 Penguins Canucks 7:00 PM

Sat Oct 8, 2011 Penguins Flames 7:00 PM

Sun Oct 9, 2011 Penguins Oilers 6:00 PM

Might be time for SMAC to "Take out the Twins"

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#41 Mantastic
July 14 2011, 05:06PM
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@Oilcruzer

wow, pens are crazy busy! i hope you;re prediction is right!

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#42 Oilcruzer
July 14 2011, 05:11PM
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Found that Link. Prust was the lucky recipient.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHI3HbabAo8

and of course this

http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=34581&catid=4

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#43 lostdog82
July 14 2011, 05:22PM
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Good luck with the penguins mac. Always a class act and great hockey ambassador to the city.He was out in athabasca this summer for a kids hockey camp put on by the oil. He took the time to meet everyone, sign autographs, take pictures and never turned down a conversation with anyone.Just a down to earth guy who got to the show because of perseverance not skill. Hopefully some of that attitude rubbed off on the kids.

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#44 Bucknuck
July 14 2011, 05:38PM
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Dman09 wrote:

You'd have to lose all 4 centers for Omarra to be called up and for him to play 1st line center RNH, Lander and VV would have to get injured as well. 7 centers going down with injury at the same time, I think not.

Like I said, if the past is anything to go by. I am aware that there are at least five people ahead of O'Marra.

EDIT - My main point is being lost here. All I mean is that you cannot be too deep at a pivotal (excuse the pun) position like centre. Defense also needs some depth (which the Oil have now thank goodness). Remember in 07 when they called up some guy from Junior to fill in at Defence (Bissaillon).

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#45 Gerald R. Ford
July 14 2011, 05:40PM
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I hope the Smactomic Bomb gets brought back here as a community ambassador, or something, when he hangs the skates up. Love that beast.

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#46 @Oilanderp
July 14 2011, 05:41PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Found that Link. Prust was the lucky recipient.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHI3HbabAo8

and of course this

http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=34581&catid=4

Boyd took the hit, Prust rang the bell. Nice clip! props

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#47 Drew - Team no more tanking
July 14 2011, 08:15PM
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Just want to say I really admire you for the fact that you don't allow drinking and driving. Anyone who says they can afford a beer but can't afford a cab should have their license revoked!

Hopefully I'll be in a blue sky limo that afternoon and a co-op taxi that evening!

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#48 DSF
July 14 2011, 09:01PM
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Mantastic wrote:

the pens play the nucks and lames before the oilers season opener?

So the Oilers are out of the playoffs even before the season starts?

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#49 Crooked
July 14 2011, 09:15PM
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Hopefully if Smac does fight one of the new Oilers, he doesn't end up knocking them out cold like he did with Ivanans.

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#50 Poolanov
July 14 2011, 09:57PM
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Sorry Gregor, but I need to ask of you a quick baseball question. Shouldn't a batter who stays alive due to a foul ball- missed catch error, even if he hits a home run on the next pitch, be considered "reached on error" as every subsequent run would be unearned, why not charge the batter as well?

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