43 DAYS: A MATTER OF PERCEPTION

Robin Brownlee
January 16 2012 10:00PM

All the suggestions around here that Tom Renney isn't the right coach for the Edmonton Oilers and that GM Steve Tambellini has bungled the rebuild and should be out the door ass-first sooner than later is great for debate.

Likewise, all the discussion about who is and isn't in the plans for the Oilers and who fans would either like to see, or expect to see, sent packing by the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 27, which is 43 days from now.

While that's a lot of fun, it also goes to show how quickly perceptions can and do change over a relatively short period of time. That's especially true in Oil Country, where the bandwagon can be rolling like a runaway train on a winning stretch of road with fans feeling like there's no end in sight, only to end up upside down and on fire in the ditch around the next corner.

Might many of you still think Tambellini is a boob in need of a pink slip 43 days from now? Sure. Might you still shudder at Renney's use of personnel then? Maybe. Should the Oilers, 17-23-4 for 38 points and hopelessly out of playoff contention as of today, be willing to trade anybody not named Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle by Feb. 27? Done.

Then again, 43 days is a long time. If you go back that far, to Dec. 5, Oilers fans were in a distinctly different mood than they are today. How have your perceptions about this team, and what it needs in terms of personnel moves and changes in the front office or behind the bench, changed since then?

BACK IN TIME

-- On Dec. 5, the Oilers were 13-11-3 for 29 points, which had them sitting in 10th place. San Jose held down eighth place with 29 points and Phoenix was ninth, also with 29. Did you think Tambellini a bungler then?

-- Back then, the Oilers were five points ahead of the Calgary Flames, who were 11-13-2 for 24 points. Was Renney overmatched as a tactician? Today, the Flames are nine points ahead of the Oilers with a 21-20-5 record.

-- On Dec. 5, the Minnesota Wild sat atop the Western Conference with 37 points from a record of 17-7-3. Wasn't Mike Yeo a candidate for the Jack Adams Award? Today, Minnesota sits eighth at 22-16-7 for 51 points.

-- In the 43 days since Dec. 5, when the Oilers sat within a whisker of a playoff spot, they've gone 4-12-1. It's a skid that's been greased by the losses to injury of Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney. At what point did you decide Ales Hemsky had to go? Or do you still beg to differ with those who feel that way?

Sure, some of you wanted Tambellini gone 43 days ago regardless of the standings at the time. He still hadn't put this team together right, it just wasn't as obvious. And, yes, some of you were screaming about Renney's lines and who he used in certain situations even when this team was in the hunt, just not as loudly as now. Granted and granted.

Suffice to say, it'll be interesting to see what the pulse is here an hour before and an hour after the trade deadline comes and goes 43 days from now. A lot can change between now and then. Just saying . . .

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Zamboni Driver
January 17 2012, 09:17AM
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Semantics I know.

Is this really a re-build?

I heard Nielsen talking with Matheson on the radio this morning about whether or not Columbus should "rebuild".

RE-build? I thought to myself. How about build?! They have only been in the league since 2000 and haven't won anything.

Then I thought about the beloved Oilers.

1990 (sorry the accident in '06 doesn't count).

Probably not a 're-' anything is it?

Oh and whoever suggested bringing Penner back should be taken out to the woodshed.

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#52 Dman09
January 17 2012, 09:20AM
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michael wrote:

A new GM would bring in a new coach I would assume. I give Tambo a c+ as far as his grade goes. He has made some mistakes but other have been due to the player not performing rather than a poor descision on ST part. Renny has done a fine job with what he has been given. He does get a B for hs work. A couple of head shakers including putting EB on the PP. Also his overusage of RS and SH early in the season.

This season is as painful to watch as the 09-10 season. We are stuck moving forward. Spinning our wheels. We have UFA's to deal with. The Hemsky situation weighs on all of us. Fans,repoters,the Oilers. Its become the elephant in the room.Injuries have once again taken our best players. The x and y factors continue to add up to losses. Painful as it is to watch as a fan I know that THe Penguins and Hawks fans had to endure the same kind of growth and development. Hopefully our story ends up as positively as thiers.

After watching Oil Change I would actually have to wonder if Tambo would have signed Belanger if Renny and the scouts hadn't kept pressing his buttons on it saying that Renny doens't want to keep getting boxed out with only one good faceoff guy. Potter is here because of Renny. Hordi, well limited options for a guy thats an enforcer type but can still play the game, hardly any credit to Tambo there.

Barker was a good gamble but I think its going no where. However I did like the move as you never know, could have become a top 3 guy but not.

So I don't really see any free agent signings that were good that were because of Tambo. Belanger was a good play but not so much Tambo's idea.

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#53 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 17 2012, 09:24AM
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Rick wrote:

It seems like a strange place to start given all the other obvious trouble spots in the line up.

If I was GMing I don't think it would take a whole bunch to get Jones from me but it wouldn't be a move made in isolation like perhaps some of teh other available players because it would probably leave me worse off for it.

Sort of like the Brodziak trade, the trade itself wasn't horrible, ignoring the hole he left for two more seasons was.

As a side note, although I realize critiquing the articles aren't appreciated a whole lot around here, it seems off base for the Edmonton fans to be referred to as Bandwagoners. This team has been the suck for going on three straight years - the worst of the worst suck both on and off the ice - which followed another 3 years of missing the playoffs and yet the arena is still full and radio shows still seem jammed and the message boards are still relevant.

To suggest it's a bandwagon is almost as offensive as suggesting that fans expect the team to go from 30th to contender status over the course of the summer without any stops or signs of improvement in between.

On the bandwagon thing... yea that irked me too at first for all the reasons you mentioned.

I lived in BC through the mid-late 90s when the nucks were brutal and there was no intensity in the region for hockey. If the nucks don't make the POs no one cares about the team... that's a bandwagon situation.

But I think Brownlee is saying something else here after re-reading his post after your comment:

That's especially true in Oil Country, where the bandwagon can be rolling like a runaway train on a winning stretch of road with fans feeling like there's no end in sight, only to end up upside down and on fire in the ditch around the next corner.

He seems to be saying less that we are fairweather-bandwagon fans and more that we are highly motivated and emotional fans...

Rollercoaster Fans might be a better term for what he is describing... ie. the amusement park is full all the time and always vibrant... but the emotional swings are huge and they turn on a dime.

If that's what Brownlee meant, it doesn't seem that inaccurate or pejorative.

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#54 madjam
January 17 2012, 09:29AM
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This is argueably the worst season of the last three ? Despite some new veterans we are still losing far too frequently . Waiting till end of season to move some in coaching or management is not going to make matters worse continuing on current pace . Changes now might be the boost this club needs to turn thngs in a positive direction . Blame Lowe and others past , but remember we were at least competitive back then, which is still better than what we are now . I think we will get further ahead by making those changes now , rather than at seasons end .

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#55 TrentonL
January 17 2012, 09:35AM
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michael wrote:

A new GM would bring in a new coach I would assume. I give Tambo a c+ as far as his grade goes. He has made some mistakes but other have been due to the player not performing rather than a poor descision on ST part. Renny has done a fine job with what he has been given. He does get a B for hs work. A couple of head shakers including putting EB on the PP. Also his overusage of RS and SH early in the season.

This season is as painful to watch as the 09-10 season. We are stuck moving forward. Spinning our wheels. We have UFA's to deal with. The Hemsky situation weighs on all of us. Fans,repoters,the Oilers. Its become the elephant in the room.Injuries have once again taken our best players. The x and y factors continue to add up to losses. Painful as it is to watch as a fan I know that THe Penguins and Hawks fans had to endure the same kind of growth and development. Hopefully our story ends up as positively as thiers.

The only reason the team won all those games is because Renney relied so heavily on Smyth and Horcoff to start the season. The fact that they burnt out isn't his fault as he had nobody else to rely on after them....which is Tambellini's fault. Also how can any coach have a winning record with a defence including at least four of these suspect guys since Oct 27: Whitney (playing injured for 13 games); Sutton (suspended 13 games/injured 7 games), Potter (injured 12 games), Petry, Pekham, Teubert, Plante and Chorney. Don't get me wrong, Whitney is great when healthy, Potter has proven effective when not put in a position over his head and Sutton can help on the PK and in a lower role, but there have been way too many nights where the non Smid-Gilbert defense has had under 150 games prior to this season. Young guys like Petry, Pekham, Teubert, Plante and Chorney, will make mistakes and too many in the lineup equals losses. Don't act like Barker would have made things better.

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#56 Quicksilver ballet
January 17 2012, 09:40AM
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Robin, do you feel Ales is wanting to close this Edmonton chapter of his career, or would he consider coming back if the Oilers have one of the better offers come July 1st?

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#57 FastOil
January 17 2012, 09:48AM
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@ Chambers

Good plan mostly. A rebuild is about the core, which to me is minimum two very good centres and good first pairing.

Tambelowe has found a franchise LW and what seems to be a first centre and RW. My concern is that they haven't been able to get players they are interested in (eg. Johansen) from struggling, awful, in trouble teams. That looks like a sign of a problem to me.

Everything done has to be in order to gain that second C (some feel it's Gagner, I don't) and the two D. Every player other than the 3 and maybe Gilbert should be on the block for the RIGHT deal.

If the deal isn't there, keep them all until it is. Some of the spare parts for picks I don't think matters, although they may be better kept to put in a package.

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#58 Dman09
January 17 2012, 09:49AM
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TrentonL wrote:

The only reason the team won all those games is because Renney relied so heavily on Smyth and Horcoff to start the season. The fact that they burnt out isn't his fault as he had nobody else to rely on after them....which is Tambellini's fault. Also how can any coach have a winning record with a defence including at least four of these suspect guys since Oct 27: Whitney (playing injured for 13 games); Sutton (suspended 13 games/injured 7 games), Potter (injured 12 games), Petry, Pekham, Teubert, Plante and Chorney. Don't get me wrong, Whitney is great when healthy, Potter has proven effective when not put in a position over his head and Sutton can help on the PK and in a lower role, but there have been way too many nights where the non Smid-Gilbert defense has had under 150 games prior to this season. Young guys like Petry, Pekham, Teubert, Plante and Chorney, will make mistakes and too many in the lineup equals losses. Don't act like Barker would have made things better.

Hell no he wouldn't, i believe satistically Barker was worse than Peckham putting him 7th when he played and that was against the opposing teams worst defense most of the time. Plus I don't think Chorney will ever be a NHLer and Plante has a very slim chance.

One would have to think that if Gilbert and Smid didn't step up in a big way this season that this team would be dead last and well below the rest of the teams in the conference.

Three forwards and two defense have improved since their last season (only players that were with the oil last year considered). And yet the team sits in the same spot as last season. So in reality there has been player improvement but not team improvement.

In most cases these two would be linked. Improved players should = improved team overall.

So I asked everyone this, If 1/4 of a team + a goalie(Bulin has improved over last season) has improved but the team is in the same position as last year in points even after a hot start, How can you say that Tambo and Renny are doing their jobs?

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#59 master of my domain
January 17 2012, 09:49AM
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I still can't decide if ST is a blundering idiot or an evil genius. leaning towards option A.

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#60 Quicksilver ballet
January 17 2012, 10:06AM
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John Chambers wrote:

The Chambers Plan:

1) Attempt to re-sign Hemsky to a 2 or 3 year deal at under $5M per. If this isn't possible move him for an asset on D.

2) Trade Khabbi (if possible) at the deadline. Start fresh in goal next year.

3) Only trade Sutton or Jones if they'll fetch you a 3rd round pick or better - perhaps a 2nd in Jones' case. Give Omark, Paajarvi, and Hartikainen plenty of playing time the rest of the season to see who fits longer term and who is destined for a career in Europe.

4) Draft Nail or Grigorenko

5) Keep Gagner - he's a player. Try to get him inked to a 6 or 7 year deal at around $3M per.

6a) Pull a Dale Tallon and surround the young core with vets this offseason, with emphasis on re-building the D. Guys like Wideman, Jackman, and Zanon should be our focus.

6b) Don't be afraid to bring back Penner. Tuomo Ruutu also of interest if we can't re-sign Hemsky.

8) Re-sign Renney to a 1-year deal with Playoffs in 2013 being his ticket to another 1-year extension. Otherwise we need a Quenneville / Hitchcock / Laviolette type.

9) Tomas Vokoun on a 2-year contract, an attempt to trade for Weber if he would consider extending in E-town, picking apart some of the good pieces of the Anaheim massacre.

God only had 10 points, I'll keep it at 9 :)

John John John, please....put down the Crack pipe. You clearly are starting to hallucinate there pardiner. It's never too late to get a fresh start. I would think there are people that love you somewhere i'm sure John. Don't continue to flush it all away.

There must be other things to do in Manitoba, isn't there?

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#61 Dman09
January 17 2012, 10:07AM
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@master of my domain

Depends what your trying to accomplish, if your trying to get top of the pile young talent from the draft he is a Genius. Anything else an idiot.

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#62 admiralmark
January 17 2012, 10:13AM
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It seems as though many fans are reacting as though the rebuild began in 2006 after the cup run? Everybody was so all on board for the rebuild 2 years ago and now they're spzazzing out after so many losses... ignoring the horendous bad luck we've had on the injury front for the last 2 years.

On Tambi: He hasn't proven to be anymore astute as a GM then Lowe.. I personally give him this season and the start of the next to decide. If we are not at least knocking on 8th place's door next year i will want him gone.

Renney: I like the guy. No problem with him... and due to incredibly poor luck in the injury dept. I don't feel he has had a fair shake as a coach here. I give him another year.

Hemsky: I am one of those that has called for him to be traded for 4 years now. His 1 highlight reel goal in 10 games doesn't hide his propensity to cough up the puck at the most inopportune times coupled with his fragility. I only hope he has any trade value left and Tambi does the right thing this year?

Gagner: love the kid but unless he can make it on a wing.. I think we'd be best off to package himself with Hemsky and get ourselves a top 4 dman.

I for one have not waivered or followed the fickle fanbase. This is a rebuild folks! And its been 2 years since its started... This is excactly what i expected minus the inj's. Without all these inj's we would be doing a hell of a lot better... But then again we wouldnt be getting all these high draft picks. Once inj's come back to reasonable... we are gonna have one hell of an exciting team here.

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#63 Spaceman Spiff
January 17 2012, 10:25AM
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Kudos, Robin, for your attempt to bring some mature perspective on the season so far. I’m not sure how far it’ll go with the howling masses that are calling for the heads of Tambo, Renney, Lowe and/or MacTavish right now, but good try.

Here’s my questions to some of the more shrill posters on this article (and others over the past few days):

- How many of you thought that the Oilers were going to make the playoffs this season? C’mon, hold those hands high so I can see them. You know who you are.

- Did you or did you not implore/beg/plead for the Oilers to go out and find a guy who can win faceoffs? And was offence – any offence – really the second-requirement for that guy?

- Where are all the people who were imploring/begging/pleading for Khabibulin to be traded last year? It’s awfully quiet on their front this year.

- Which is better, in your eyes – trading for a 5-6 defenceman or calling up guys like Teubert, Plante and Petry and putting them in difficult situations where they can develop? Personally, I think it’s the latter. Exhibit A is Laddy Smid. Exhibit B is Tom Gilbert.

- How many of you actually believe that this rebuild that we’re under right now started in fall of 1990? Again – hold those hands high so that you might be seen.

- Why doesn’t, as one poster suggested, the run to the Cup final in 2006 “count” as a point for certain members of the current administration (i.e. Mr. Lowe)? How many teams can make that claim over the last 20 years? Does that not suggest that it is exceedingly difficult to get there?

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#64 madjam
January 17 2012, 10:42AM
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Yakubov too small to draft for what we need upfront . We have plenty of his type already , and probably too many good ones already . Hemsky unlikely to resign, as Oilers don't look to be much of a contender next year under present management and coaching . A trade of Hemsky for J. Bernier (tweaking involved) might be good , or as much as we could hope for .

Luongo ,i feel Vanc. would move if opportunity arose . Hemsky could be valuable to Canucks . It'll take more than just Hemsky to pry him away , however . Get the feeling Oilers will probably end up in a position to draft Dumba , but Murray should be gone 1-3 pick overall .

Will we find away to unload Horcoff and his salary ? Will Smyth resign at a salary we can afford ? One or the other gone, and we should have space for a decent premier defenceman to anchor our squad . We need as a priority to build or stock up on a decent core now , and not 2-3 years down the road . Is there to much emphasis on drafting players at the expense of keeping a less than adequate base ? Maybe we have too many already to develop and not enough time to assemble a decent cored team - like we have now . Replenish the core in a nutshell , rather than focusing on more developmental draftees .

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#65 Quicksilver ballet
January 17 2012, 10:48AM
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madjam wrote:

Yakubov too small to draft for what we need upfront . We have plenty of his type already , and probably too many good ones already . Hemsky unlikely to resign, as Oilers don't look to be much of a contender next year under present management and coaching . A trade of Hemsky for J. Bernier (tweaking involved) might be good , or as much as we could hope for .

Luongo ,i feel Vanc. would move if opportunity arose . Hemsky could be valuable to Canucks . It'll take more than just Hemsky to pry him away , however . Get the feeling Oilers will probably end up in a position to draft Dumba , but Murray should be gone 1-3 pick overall .

Will we find away to unload Horcoff and his salary ? Will Smyth resign at a salary we can afford ? One or the other gone, and we should have space for a decent premier defenceman to anchor our squad . We need as a priority to build or stock up on a decent core now , and not 2-3 years down the road . Is there to much emphasis on drafting players at the expense of keeping a less than adequate base ? Maybe we have too many already to develop and not enough time to assemble a decent cored team - like we have now . Replenish the core in a nutshell , rather than focusing on more developmental draftees .

Pardon me sir, if we were to have listened to you last year we wouldn't have RNH right now. Take David Musil first overall, are you for real?

You don't by any chance know Mr. Chambers here, do you?

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#67 mayorpoop
January 17 2012, 10:58AM
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@John Chambers

i applaud your initiative to have solutions to some of the problems we face.

in saying that i disagree with a few points.

1. Hemsky - as with any injury prone player find his value and assess it from there. someone along the lines of Ryan Ellis plus a Jordin Tootoo would be a move i'd make.

3. Sutton for a 3rd i get. Jones keep unless high second rounder is available. i like him alot.

5. Gagner is a leader and he is showing it. really really impressing me lately.

6b. - Jebus no to Penner. we don't need that back here ever. horrible.

9. - Vokoun isn't the answer and i'd rather trade for a Bernier type if available.

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#68 TrentonL
January 17 2012, 11:05AM
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Spaceman Spiff wrote:

Kudos, Robin, for your attempt to bring some mature perspective on the season so far. I’m not sure how far it’ll go with the howling masses that are calling for the heads of Tambo, Renney, Lowe and/or MacTavish right now, but good try.

Here’s my questions to some of the more shrill posters on this article (and others over the past few days):

- How many of you thought that the Oilers were going to make the playoffs this season? C’mon, hold those hands high so I can see them. You know who you are.

- Did you or did you not implore/beg/plead for the Oilers to go out and find a guy who can win faceoffs? And was offence – any offence – really the second-requirement for that guy?

- Where are all the people who were imploring/begging/pleading for Khabibulin to be traded last year? It’s awfully quiet on their front this year.

- Which is better, in your eyes – trading for a 5-6 defenceman or calling up guys like Teubert, Plante and Petry and putting them in difficult situations where they can develop? Personally, I think it’s the latter. Exhibit A is Laddy Smid. Exhibit B is Tom Gilbert.

- How many of you actually believe that this rebuild that we’re under right now started in fall of 1990? Again – hold those hands high so that you might be seen.

- Why doesn’t, as one poster suggested, the run to the Cup final in 2006 “count” as a point for certain members of the current administration (i.e. Mr. Lowe)? How many teams can make that claim over the last 20 years? Does that not suggest that it is exceedingly difficult to get there?

I never thought the Oilers had a chance to make the playoffs this year based on this roster.

Had the team made better decisions on defense in the off season i believe it could have happened.

Props to Tambellini for signing Belanger, Potter and Eager. I was happy with the signings then and can't flop just to rag on ST. Boos for signing Barker, Hordichuk.

Khabibulin should be traded. He had a mirage start to the season .964 sv% in first 9 games, since then he has a .898 sv%. That is a fail on ST to enter teh season with Khabibulin.

Renney has done a good job with the top kids but failed on Paajarvi and Omark (partly their own fault). Line matched hard and it worked until Smyth/Horcoff burned out. I'd give him the plus there for the effort, but he seems to have given up line matching since. The defense has been brutal but he has no choice on who to play. Great job on PK/PP. Overall Renney is not the problem.

Regardless of the date management publicly declared a rebuild, this team has been garbage since the 06 cup run. Realizing that you are doing a bad job doesn't absolve you from doing the bad job in the first place. So many bad moves were made to get the team to that point in the first place. i.e. signing Khabibulin, the Souray fiasco, letting go of quality depth guys in Brodziak/Glencross while chasing the Hossa's of the world, looking like fools chasing Heatley, not paying to keep Grebeshkov at maybe $3.15mm but signing Barker for $2.25mm?.

Good job on the cup run by Lowe. I liked Lowe's moves 50% of the time (Pronger, Peca, Spacek, Roloson, Samsonov), the other 50% he made colossal errors. e.g. Comrie/Perry fiasco, Smyth trade, Moreau/Staios/Horcoff overpays(i like Horcoff but he makes too much for too long). Essentially Lowe did a good job when this was a small budget team and in the first cap year, once the cap was put in place he just did not get the game anymore.... aside from taking advantage of teams way over the cap in year one.

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#69 Crash
January 17 2012, 11:16AM
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Spaceman Spiff wrote:

Kudos, Robin, for your attempt to bring some mature perspective on the season so far. I’m not sure how far it’ll go with the howling masses that are calling for the heads of Tambo, Renney, Lowe and/or MacTavish right now, but good try.

Here’s my questions to some of the more shrill posters on this article (and others over the past few days):

- How many of you thought that the Oilers were going to make the playoffs this season? C’mon, hold those hands high so I can see them. You know who you are.

- Did you or did you not implore/beg/plead for the Oilers to go out and find a guy who can win faceoffs? And was offence – any offence – really the second-requirement for that guy?

- Where are all the people who were imploring/begging/pleading for Khabibulin to be traded last year? It’s awfully quiet on their front this year.

- Which is better, in your eyes – trading for a 5-6 defenceman or calling up guys like Teubert, Plante and Petry and putting them in difficult situations where they can develop? Personally, I think it’s the latter. Exhibit A is Laddy Smid. Exhibit B is Tom Gilbert.

- How many of you actually believe that this rebuild that we’re under right now started in fall of 1990? Again – hold those hands high so that you might be seen.

- Why doesn’t, as one poster suggested, the run to the Cup final in 2006 “count” as a point for certain members of the current administration (i.e. Mr. Lowe)? How many teams can make that claim over the last 20 years? Does that not suggest that it is exceedingly difficult to get there?

Excellent post SS...props

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#71 VK63
January 17 2012, 11:19AM
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Guinness served in non pint form is foreign to me. Is it any good, this bottled facsimile?

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#72 Harlie
January 17 2012, 11:22AM
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I've thought this over a bit more over the past few days. I am thinking that re-extending Tambellini and Renney for 2 more years maximum would be good.

It gives them a chance to dig out of the hole we have been and redeem themselves for the past 3 years of losing. If no improvement by the second year I say we let them go and I don't care if it after 10 games or or mid season or whatever.

I know it is probably not going to happen but I would love to see Messier, Gretzky and possibly Simpson back in the system in some capacity. Hell even Huddy. And I'm still confused why MacT hasn't had a break somewhere yet. I think he over extended his stay here but he did a hell of a job in 06', no denying that.

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#75 John Chambers
January 17 2012, 11:36AM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Winter. The cold, cold winter. A lousy hockey team crosses my mind as the buffalo traverse the cold prairie.

Come out for the Oilers game here in February and you can be my guest in the box at The Phone Booth. I'll fill your belly with Half Pints beer and bison ribs, and we can naval gaze about what we'd do if we had Stumblelini's job.

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#76 Spydyr
January 17 2012, 11:42AM
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It is already to late for this year but the coaching change in St. Louis mid season.Bring in Hitchcock did not work out so bad for the Blues.

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#77 VK63
January 17 2012, 11:49AM
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@Spydyr

The Blues made a change because they felt they had a capable roster that was underachieving. (they may have been correct)

The Oiler situation is not like that....... at all.

Old skool jargon... u cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

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#78 Goodkimchee
January 17 2012, 11:49AM
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It's strange to me that we Oilerfans think that the rules of the 'rebuild' somehow do not apply to us, that after less than 4 years, we are somehow to be instant Cup Contenders. More like Mr Noodle Cup. My point is, Dan Staples has been comparing our rebuild to two others: Chicago & Pittsburgh, and realistically, it took Pitt 4-5 years, I think, and Chicago about the same to be perennial cup contenders. We are in year 3 - THREE! - of Project Rebuild. We all KNEW this would suck, and more importantly, it would take time. What we needed was a coach that could teach our young players, and a GM that would accept losses and draft well, and a fanbase that would grit its teeth and accept losses knowing that in 5-7 years, this would get better.

I think we all drank the spiked the koolaid in November when the Oilers went on their tear, not unlike what the Blue Jays do every year: hot May-June, come crashing soon afterwards when all the other teams settle into their grooves.

My point is, children, chill. Renney is still a great teaching coach, and we need that more than we need wins now. We need wins in the future, but we need our prospects to understand how to play to their fullest, and that takes time.

Yes we have holes; but we can develop and draft and teach and fill, not buy and fill. Look how well that's worked for us before, and how well that's working for Columbus, for NYI, etc.

Losing sucks, but it's an important part of learning to win. So, as my wise friend says, "Here is a can of Man and a straw: suck it up!"

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#79 Spydyr
January 17 2012, 11:53AM
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@roughneck

I was not suggesting the Oil make a coaching change this year.It was to show that a change mid season in the right circumstances being a coach or a GM is not always a bad thing.

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#80 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 17 2012, 12:14PM
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Spaceman Spiff wrote:

Kudos, Robin, for your attempt to bring some mature perspective on the season so far. I’m not sure how far it’ll go with the howling masses that are calling for the heads of Tambo, Renney, Lowe and/or MacTavish right now, but good try.

Here’s my questions to some of the more shrill posters on this article (and others over the past few days):

- How many of you thought that the Oilers were going to make the playoffs this season? C’mon, hold those hands high so I can see them. You know who you are.

- Did you or did you not implore/beg/plead for the Oilers to go out and find a guy who can win faceoffs? And was offence – any offence – really the second-requirement for that guy?

- Where are all the people who were imploring/begging/pleading for Khabibulin to be traded last year? It’s awfully quiet on their front this year.

- Which is better, in your eyes – trading for a 5-6 defenceman or calling up guys like Teubert, Plante and Petry and putting them in difficult situations where they can develop? Personally, I think it’s the latter. Exhibit A is Laddy Smid. Exhibit B is Tom Gilbert.

- How many of you actually believe that this rebuild that we’re under right now started in fall of 1990? Again – hold those hands high so that you might be seen.

- Why doesn’t, as one poster suggested, the run to the Cup final in 2006 “count” as a point for certain members of the current administration (i.e. Mr. Lowe)? How many teams can make that claim over the last 20 years? Does that not suggest that it is exceedingly difficult to get there?

*I think you'll find an extraordinarily small minority thought the Oil were PO bound. This is a straw man. The more pertinent question is one of progress. Who thought the Oil were better than 12th (that's my over/under mark) in the conference? Probably still a small number. I think you'd do better addressing the expectations (reasonable and unreasonable) at play. And I don't think it's unreasonable (even allowing for injuries) for fans to be frustrated that we still appear to be a lottery team and have so far only managed to move down the draft poll a few spots.

*The team is much better in the dot this year. There are looming questions about the impact of FO% that we can leave aside. But, by and large the frustration around Belanger has not been the signing per se (although I've heard some, IMO, reasonable questions surrounding the length of the deal), but his uncharacteristic lack of offence (not ST's fault) and his inexplicable place on the PP (Renney's dept.). I don't see how discussing either of these things should be considered "shrill."

*Khabbie has reignited his career this year. There is no doubt about that. However, the reality of the story is broader than his .910% suggests:

-His % has considerably dropped after his hot start. Hopefully he can keep it at .910% for the full term. But that would mean playing better than he is now for the balance of the season.

-He just turned 39 and isn't the long term solution to the G problem on the team.

-It is possible, however, unlikely (IMO) that for the next year and a half of his contract he will manage a .910%. If he does... amazing and congrats to ST and Khabbie. If not... what are we paying for? I don't think we can definitively put Khabbie in the win for ST column yet and I think it is reasonable to ask ST about the Oil's long term plans at G, about the length of Khabbie's contract and about the possibility of moving him while he is still hot enough to maybe bring in a return.

*What's the trade scenario you are envisioning? I competely agree shopping for 5-6 D is a pointless exercise at the moment. If we ever manage to find 1 or 2 legit top 4s we will find ourselves lousy with guys fighting for 5-6 positions. As for development, I don't think time in the AHL is the hinderance some people do. But, I also agree that I'd rather ice prospects within the Oil than trade for another 5-6.

*1990... well here's another straw man. Saying we've had a lot of organizational trouble since 1990 is a lot different from saying we've been rebuilding (ie. a single team executing a conscious plan) since 1990.

-For what it's worth I think its fair to keep several time periods in mind when evaluating the organization

1. Since our last seriously competitive team (someone said 1992 but at any rate we can agree it was a long time ago). That is just to remind us how long we've been outside the hunt.

2. Since the lockout. This erased a lot of structural problems that were out of the Oil's hands and coincides with the reinvigorated CAN $. From then on the Oil couldn't use $ as an excuse for poor management (not that it was ever a great one)

3. Since the current team took over under ST.

I don't think it is unfair to evaluate the team within any of these timeframes as long as you don't blame someone for something that is out of their control. Personally I like to think of the admittedly arbitrary time period of a decade: 2 PO appearances in 10. I have no interest in putting that result on ST or KL, but I do have an interest in reminding myself that this team has been on the outside looking in for a long, long, long time now and preaching patience in that context loses a lot of its conviction.

*2006 was a miracle. Just like the miracle on ice in '80 it deserves to be lauded and revered. And there is no doubt that KL built an infinitely better team in 2005-6 than we have now (of course having Pronger and a few other choice meats didn't hurt). But, let's not overstate things. We stumbled into the POs that year and then went on an unlikely tear (does anyone else remember Pisani scoring 4 less goal in 24 games than he did in 80??). We missed the year before and the year after dropped a massive 24 points in the standings and haven't had a sniff since.

all in all I appreciate your pushback on the few who are truly "shrill" on these points. But by and large there is a lot of reasonable debate on these topics that has been more or less intelligently discussed here at ON. I would describe that discussion as far from shill as possible.

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#81 VK63
January 17 2012, 12:33PM
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Spydyr wrote:

@roughneck

I was not suggesting the Oil make a coaching change this year.It was to show that a change mid season in the right circumstances being a coach or a GM is not always a bad thing.

fair enough.

Nice avatar btw!

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#82 madjam
January 17 2012, 12:34PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Pardon me sir, if we were to have listened to you last year we wouldn't have RNH right now. Take David Musil first overall, are you for real?

You don't by any chance know Mr. Chambers here, do you?

I said Larsson perhaps , not Musil over RNH .

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#83 Kevin
January 17 2012, 12:40PM
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Great read RB- Yes deception can be tricky and no better to relay this than the 2006 cup run. Was that in fact a true cup contender or was it more a case of a cinderella run ? Hockey minds such as OIl Management saw it one way, that being KLowe, thinking it was a legite run. However when one truely looks at each series and each of the games of said series closely that point cound be argued. Were we out shooting teams ? which team was carrying the majority of the play ? what end of the ice was most of the game played ? I encourage those to revisit and play close attention to which team really should have prevailed in those series. In the case of todays GM, my question is who is actually making the final call ? My sense is ST is the GM but Klowe has final say on player movement and such. That said- I have have said this over and over, Klowe is and should be the fall guy. Over stating the 06 run and some of the contracts that continue to hang us. Having said that were did we finish in the years leading up to 2006 and where are we now ? This is not just a two year re-build. Let's not be fooled !

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#84 Spydyr
January 17 2012, 12:46PM
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Thanks roughneck.....and since thanks are being given thanks to all the writers and commenters.This site helps me pass my work days(SHHHHHH).Don't know how some people have the time to leave the long comments you do.It is sure entertaining reading them .The good the bad and the ugly.

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#85 mayorpoop
January 17 2012, 01:30PM
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curiousity:

Ryan Miller what would it take and would you do it?

imo - Miller for Hemsky/Dubynk/+ 4th rd

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#86 OILERSORDEATH
January 17 2012, 01:37PM
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What do you guys think about Petrys and Tuebert play last few games overall? I really liked Petrys confidence with the Puck and Teubert physical play. I really think these guys have a good chance at becoming players in this League. Colton was drilling everbody in LA uniform, loved watchin that!

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#87 Mitch
January 17 2012, 03:00PM
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Robin I find it strange that with half the season gone, there is no extension annoucements. What is Lowe's contract terms as POHO?(He's great for photo ops, considering he was the first pick in '79). I can only speculate that the deals are already done or it does matter how they finish the last half.

I want to resign Sutton and Smyth but only for short term bargain deals. We don't know the dynamics of the new cba. If I'm the GM I better make sure I have all my money to lay down when it comes to resigning the 3 young kids.

This is why I can't see resigning anyone before the trade deadline or July 1. If I could I get every draft pick possible in trades.

This is the problem in Edmonton after the 3 young forwards there is a major drop in talent. Then management would like to have a person think that we have a deep lineup if there was no injuries.

When we look at statistics people talk about improvements, yes I do agree we have improved in certain areas. But the bottom line is if we look at the amount of points we have there is no improvement. Or does the #3 or whatever it is PP get a guy into the playoffs based on a 60-70 pt season, just checking? We all know the answer.

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#88 OilLeak
January 17 2012, 03:09PM
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speeds wrote:

Here's a question for everyone:

What would you need to be offered, if you were EDM's GM, to move Jones at the deadline?

You need a defenseman, bottom line. Package Andy Sutton, Jones, +, to get get a young defenseman that is currently playing in the NHL or on the verge of playing in the NHL.

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#89 Mitch
January 17 2012, 03:13PM
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Kevin wrote:

Great read RB- Yes deception can be tricky and no better to relay this than the 2006 cup run. Was that in fact a true cup contender or was it more a case of a cinderella run ? Hockey minds such as OIl Management saw it one way, that being KLowe, thinking it was a legite run. However when one truely looks at each series and each of the games of said series closely that point cound be argued. Were we out shooting teams ? which team was carrying the majority of the play ? what end of the ice was most of the game played ? I encourage those to revisit and play close attention to which team really should have prevailed in those series. In the case of todays GM, my question is who is actually making the final call ? My sense is ST is the GM but Klowe has final say on player movement and such. That said- I have have said this over and over, Klowe is and should be the fall guy. Over stating the 06 run and some of the contracts that continue to hang us. Having said that were did we finish in the years leading up to 2006 and where are we now ? This is not just a two year re-build. Let's not be fooled !

Kevin I agree with you, that team blocked a ton of shots, got outstanding goaltending and understood how to keep hold of the momentum in the game and change it. Pronger was unreal as well. Lowe got the worst return possible on Pronger and that was the point when a rebuild should have begun or at the Ryan Smyth trade. This is how poor the pro scouts are they replaced them with Penner and Souray.. we all know how that turned out.

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#90 OilLeak
January 17 2012, 03:14PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Moving Jones would be insane at this stage. $1.5 million for a solid 3rd line energy guy. The Horcoff - Smyth - Jones line is a 3rd line any team in the league would want.

edit: minus Horcoff's contract of course :)

You're insane, sell high not when he doesn't have any value. He won't be around to contend for this team anyways.

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#91 OilLeak
January 17 2012, 03:21PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Jones better not be on the chopping block. He's a solid piece of Heart and Soul that our team desperately needs to hold onto.

I will be crushed if Jones gets moved. =(

I'd be 100% OK with Signing Penner to a 1 year deal. As i saw it, Penner started believing in the system and started playing very well for the Oilers. Obviously trading him has crushed his spirits because he has totally SUCKED for LA. If we picked him up again and he played awesomely for us for another year or two, who is to say that we cannot trade him for more than magic beans in a couple years? Due to his Disastrous year in LA, we might be able to pick him up really cheap too.

See, this is why I believe the Oilers will be bad to mediocre for a long time. Jones is inconsequential, these guys are a dime a dozen to sign in the off-season, but they have value at the trade deadline for added depth and pk work.

Buy Low and Sell High! Why are people in such a hurry to ship off talented productive forwards such as Gagner and Hemsky, but cling to 3rd/4th liners like Jones with a death grip?

For the record, Jones is a 4th liner on a contending team, not a 3rd liner.

I am all for signing Dustin Penner again though.

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#92 OilLeak
January 17 2012, 03:38PM
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If anyone though that this defensive squad was good enough at the beginning season to compete, they were either in denial or oblivious to what a good defenseman looks like.

At the beginning of the season the defense was simply terrible, now? The defense is horrid, brutal, and beyond proper descriptive terribleness.

Gilbert/Smid - Good

Petry/Potter - Rookie Defensmen playing over their head and should be the third pairing not the 1st and 2nd.

Whitney - His career may be over and should not be counted on

Sutton - Next (seriously, he's almost 37)

Peckham - Should be the 7th guy at best if on an NHL team at all.

Barker - Oh God Why?

Teubert - Needs another 2 years in the AHL and then re-evaluate.

Given what we know about the current state of our defense, we need 2 quality top 4 defensemen and I've echoed this statement since opening day.

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#93 GoTeamOil
January 17 2012, 04:14PM
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Mitch wrote:

Kevin I agree with you, that team blocked a ton of shots, got outstanding goaltending and understood how to keep hold of the momentum in the game and change it. Pronger was unreal as well. Lowe got the worst return possible on Pronger and that was the point when a rebuild should have begun or at the Ryan Smyth trade. This is how poor the pro scouts are they replaced them with Penner and Souray.. we all know how that turned out.

Terry Jones wrote an interesting article a few weeks ago regarding the overall return from the Pronger trade. After most of the picks involved have been selected and subsequent trades of players involved, to directly quote Jonesy from his article: "Kevin Lowe traded Chris Pronger for Jordon Eberle, Ladislav Smid, Colten Teubert, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom, Cameron Abney and a player to be determined. Helluva deal." I'd have to agree with Jonesey and most certainly vehemently dispute your point that "Lowe got the worst return possible on Pronger."

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#94 A-Mc
January 17 2012, 04:21PM
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OilLeak wrote:

See, this is why I believe the Oilers will be bad to mediocre for a long time. Jones is inconsequential, these guys are a dime a dozen to sign in the off-season, but they have value at the trade deadline for added depth and pk work.

Buy Low and Sell High! Why are people in such a hurry to ship off talented productive forwards such as Gagner and Hemsky, but cling to 3rd/4th liners like Jones with a death grip?

For the record, Jones is a 4th liner on a contending team, not a 3rd liner.

I am all for signing Dustin Penner again though.

Nothing frustrates me more than watching the Oilers dog a 60 minute game every few days. These guys make millions of dollars and they can't muster up enough Jam to show up for 60 full minutes?

This frustration is why i put high value on guys like Jones. Jones and Hall are the 2 forwards i see game in and game out that bust their ass every shift. I respect those qualities greatly regardless of the point totals at the end of the season.

Hockey is a business so i understand Buying low and Selling High is the best way to get something for nothing, but you're not dealing with inanimate objects here; these are people. If you aren't an organization that shows its players respect and truly rewards hard work, how can we expect a team to show up every night to put forth a commendable effort?

Trading guys like Jones is ridiculous in my mind when you're likely to get an extremely risky What-If pick.

If what you say is true about Jones being a 4th line guy on a contending team, then that speaks volumes to the other moves that need to happen to build 3 solid lines to push Jones down to 4th here in Edmonton.

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#95 Mitch
January 17 2012, 05:40PM
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GoTeamOil wrote:

Terry Jones wrote an interesting article a few weeks ago regarding the overall return from the Pronger trade. After most of the picks involved have been selected and subsequent trades of players involved, to directly quote Jonesy from his article: "Kevin Lowe traded Chris Pronger for Jordon Eberle, Ladislav Smid, Colten Teubert, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom, Cameron Abney and a player to be determined. Helluva deal." I'd have to agree with Jonesey and most certainly vehemently dispute your point that "Lowe got the worst return possible on Pronger."

So your telling people need to be judged by 7 or 8 trades down the line from 1 player... I can only think that you feel trading Gretzky was a "great" deal as well? How about The Ryan Smyth deal?

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#97 Kevin
January 17 2012, 07:07PM
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Mitch wrote:

So your telling people need to be judged by 7 or 8 trades down the line from 1 player... I can only think that you feel trading Gretzky was a "great" deal as well? How about The Ryan Smyth deal?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm think Klowe nixed a deal that would have had Corey Perry wearing Oil colors. Oh and lest we forget, could have been drafted- but no Pouliet Tambo backed out of a deal that would have sent Sourary to the Flyers for Scottie Hartnell. Where would we be for the potential future signing of Hall, Ebs and RHN with a 9 year $81 million contract to Hossa ? If it weren't for Nylanders wife- we would have had another outrageous contract. How about chasing Heatly and letting Glencross go to the flames. I'm sorry but this current Oiler management duo has got to go ! Perception or Reality, Horcoff is a first line Center and $24million dollar contract. Please , Please, let there be change.

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#99 GoTeamOil
January 17 2012, 08:09PM
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@Mitch

It was public knowledge that Pronger asked to be traded. Not exactly an ideal situation for Lowe and far from dealing from a position of strength. I'm not certain how many "superstars" were available at that point in time but my guess is DET wasn't lining up to swap Lidstrom for Prongs nor was Carolina ready to swap Staal for him. Put in a call to Dean Lombardi and ask him how much fun it was trying to get equal value for Ryan Smyth after his trade request became public. Why would a team overpay for a player when they know he's going to be moved? Of coure, in Edmonton, it surely wouldn't have mattered what Lowe did. If he had made him sit, fans surely wouldn't been ALL OVER HIM for not taking full advantage of a valuable asset. I can only think you're likely of the mind that a trade for a superstar player (never mind an average-player trade) is a piece of cake to complete and that 29 teams were calling Lowe to offer up their very best assets for Prongs.

Point is this: history tells us, on most occassions, the team that lands the best player in any trade ultimately wins the trade in the long run. The way Pronger was playing, there was little chance of landing a player of equal stature in return. At the end of the day, Lowe received a player who has turned into a top 4 defenseman for the team in Smid, a player who is tied for 8th in league scoring right now in Lupul (maybe they saw something there after all??) and a potential franchise player in Eberle (who was the direct result of a pick received in the deal). Take away the "7 or 8 trades later" aspect and you're still landing what's amounted to multiple solid asset. I'm not saying it's impossible to land a return superstar for another in a trade but history says it's difficult and uncommon. Hossa for Heatley is the last one I recall off the top of my head. I thought Lowe did better for Prongs than O'Connell did for Thornton myself. But I have no doubt if you were in Kevin's shoes that Lidstrom would've been the return player cause trading Pronger should've been easy as pie. Do you care to offer up any better "realistic" trade scenarios at the time that might've made sense for both teams?

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#100 Quicksilver ballet
January 17 2012, 08:29PM
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I like Ryan Jones as much as the rest of Oiler fans do but without the top 6 in order, the bottom six have much less importance. If Jonesy is part of the package to get what the Oilers need most, then the Oilers will just have to find another Jonesy in two yrs after all this mess is sorted out.

Bonus clause for triple digit responses Robin?

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