TELEGRAPHING WHAT'S NEXT

Robin Brownlee
October 30 2012 07:46PM

Everybody paying attention knows I keep score and, because of that quirk, they know I hold Bob Stauffer in high regard when it comes to his ability to telegraph what's going to happen with the Edmonton Oilers.

Truth be told, Stauffer should probably be sending me a cheque, or at least a gift certificate, for all the times I've pumped his tires around here, going on and on like a fartcatcher about his ability to call the shots as he laps the rest of the media pack in Edmonton.

Bombastic Bob has a buzz going again with his latest hint/tidbit/suggestion foreshadowing the Oilers could have a trade in the works when the lockout is over, an item that Jonathan Willis wrote about today.

Stauffer had agent Brian Lawton on Oilers Now on 630 CHED today. If you want the full podcast of the segment, you kind find it here. It's probably worth a listen to get the complete context of the interview (not to mention what Lawton actually said).

POISED TO MAKE A DEAL?

Lawton's worked both sides of the agent/management street in the NHL, and as far as I know he's not being paid by Daryl Katz. So, those who believe everything Stauffer says is tainted by the fact he's on the Oilers payroll -- he's certainly towed the company line on the arena debate but there's no denying his track record on player moves -- might put more weight in Lawton's words.

That said, it wasn't Lawton's answers -- even though they seem to support Stauffer's contention GM Steve Tambellini is now in a situation after six years out of the playoffs to make a trade from a position of strength – that caught my ear, it was one of Stauffer's questions.

Essentially, might all that young talent put Tambellini in the position to acquire needed pieces by way of a trade? Perhaps a proven defenseman or a physical forward who can play in coach Ralph Krueger's top nine? I think so.

The real tell for me, at least if I've come to read Stauffer right over the years, was how he made specific mention of players with no-movement clauses and how they might now consider Edmonton a destination they'd approve. It was about as subtle as a slap in the mouth.

THE CALLED SHOT

"There's one more group of players out there in my mind that maybe starts considering Edmonton that always kind of dismissed them before – that's guys with no movement clauses that may be a casualty of a new CBA," Stauffer suggested to Lawton.

"I'm wondering if you think the landscape has changed enough that those players who would once be completely, "I'm not going to Edmonton. What do you mean you can facilitate a trade with Edmonton?"

"I'm wondering if players like that now, if you think, might sit there and go, "You know, those guys could turn it around pretty quickly if they got the right couple of pieces in place."

Just a hunch, but I'm guessing that Stauffer already had the answer when he asked Lawton the question today. So, a trade involving a noteworthy player with a no-movement clause, then? Duly noted.

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 Pouzar99
October 31 2012, 12:22AM
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Stauffer is a smart hockey man and has the best connections to Oilers management, so I listen when he predicts something the Oilers will likely do and he is almost always right. Almost.

Unfortunately his information pipeline may come with a price. At times he seems to be speaking for management, as in his recent comments on the arena deal. His over the top pro-owners stance on the lockout may also be related, or he might just lean that way naturally. For all I know big Bob may even believe all that BS about Katz, but the optics aren't great.

Working closely with confidential sources, who ALWAYS have their own agenda, is one of the toughest aspects of journalism. If you don't draw a line in the sand with them, you can end up looking very compromised. And if you don't cultivate them, you can get beat by your rivals, which really, really stings. So its complicated.

Your sources can also burn your butt. Remember on draft day how Bob and Dan Tencer were pounding the rumours hard all day long that the Oilers were going to take Murray instead of Yak? In fact, Bob, who started out saying it had to be Yak when the Oil won the draft lottery, soon switched over to emphasizing the possibility it could be Murray and kept leaning further and further that way, as if a little bird had tweeted in his ear. Where were Bob's reliable club sources on draft day when he whiffed on a pitch in the dirt 10 feet off the plate with zillions of Oiler fans hanging on his every word Ouch!

Consider this rumour. What if the Oilers, who knew the BJ's desperately wanted Murray because they were horrified about being forced to take another Russian high in the draft, wanted something from Columbus to swap picks and still get Yak, and lied to the lads from CHED to try and help con Howson into thinking they were going with Murray first overall? Why else were Bob and Dan pounding that scoop all day? Where do all Bob's Oiler 'scoops' come from?

Sorry, but I just can't believe Bob and Dan would have laid their credibility on the line that way unless they were getting it from team sources, likely very high ranking team sources, where ALL their scoops, well all Bob's Oiler scoops seem to come from, and sold it for all they were worth. Not that it is much better if they got that bad info from someplace else. At the very least why didn't their team sources warn them off. And why did Bob's great team sources not steer him away from his switcheroo on Yak being the obvious choice.

I do not believe for one second that Stauffer or Tencer would ever spread those rumours on draft day if they knew they were false. Bob's ego is way, way too big to knowingly make himself look like an out-of-the-loop sad ass when Yak's name was called out that day. In any case I would like to hear from those who think Bob is the Delphic Oracle about how he and Tencer gassed the biggest story of the year on live radio. Or better yet, from Bob.

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#52 David S
October 31 2012, 12:23AM
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DonDon wrote:

Let's get some perspective here.

Being a cynic, and after the all the Oilers screw-ups, and the owner is a walking PR disaster, I have my doubts about the motive of Stauffer's latest news.

Besides the ineptitude of the hockey operations (missing the playoffs forever, unable to trade for a D, bad contracts, etc., etc, etc.), the downtown arena disaster and now the political contribution blow-up, perhaps Stauffer's vague prediction about a vague trade is to redirect criticism from you know who.

Robin, you may believe Stauffer is trustworthy, but I don't particularly agree. Why? Is he independent from the Oilers organization? No. There is an ethical issue here and I don't think he passes the smell test on the truth of Oilers information.

An ethical issue? C'mon man. This is sports entertainment we're talking about. It's just a legitimized version of the WWE. The sooner you figure that out the better off you'll be.

Nobody has a "right" to absolute information when it comes to any pro sports team. You get the story you get and you'll either believe it or not.

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#53 Giant Squid Overlord
October 31 2012, 12:51AM
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Lets look at the highest payroll teams to see who has NMCs or NTCs and figure out potential buyouts/trade-baits shall we (a little conjecture is fun when there's nothing better to do):

Boston: NMC F: Krejci, Bergeron, Peverley, Kelly... NMC D: Chara, Boychuck, Seidenberg... Thomas will be off the books and Savard can be wiped clean (-9 mill). Probably no Lucic becoming free (*sigh* dare to dream) but they might not have space to resign Horton and or Ference who are both UFA at year end.

Minnisota: NMC F: Parise, Heatley, Koivu... NMC D: Suter... Backstrom, PM Bouchard, and Cullen are UFA and might not be affordable, Heatley should be the big $ cut loose (no thx).

Vancouver: NMC F: Sedins, Kesler... NMC D: Bieksa, Garrison, Hamhuis... NMC G: Luongo... Has a fair # of UFAs, Edler being the best followed by lower paid roleplayers. Lou is the obvious big $ to be set loose.

Calgary: NMC F: Cammalleri, Tanguay, Hudler, Stajan, Glencross... NMC D: EVERYONE!... NMC G: Kipper... Iggy is UFA and Bo is most likely to be bought out (1 yr left on almost 7mill)

Philly: NMC F: Briere, Hartnell... NMC D: Pronger, Coburn, Schenn, Grossman... Timonen will be UFA and Philly may be close to cap, but should make some changes cause they always do

San Jose: NMC F: Thorton, Marleau, Havlat... NMC D: Boyle, Burns... Havlat has an extra yr. when compared with Joe and Patrick, not sure who they might buy out/trade

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#54 Travis Dakin
October 31 2012, 12:53AM
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David S wrote:

Travis Dakin will drop by soon to tell us to shut our wh*re mouths, but I'd have to agree with this. Hemsky is out of the core group age-wise, yet still might be considered to have enough cache to make this deal work.

You're dead to me. DEAD!!!!

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#55 sturgeon willy
October 31 2012, 01:32AM
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Hopefully the Oilers brass have not gone daft about Luongo the way some Edmonton media and fans. The Canucks management finally came to the realization that having a relatively unproven, but promising, Schneider gave them a better chance to win than Bobi-Lou. How can anyone forget the numerous replays from the last few years of the puck entering the Canuck net while B-L is doing his face first swim move...or our powerhouse Olympic team barely overcoming his goaltending to win gold. While Devon Dubnyk's impressive .915 save percentage last season (with a horrible D corp giving up bucket loads of quality scoring chances) needs to be further tested over a heavier workload to see if it holds up, bobi-lou's long record of shooting himself and his team in the foot needs no further proof in Oilerville.

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#56 sizedoesmatter
October 31 2012, 06:28AM
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I,m boycotting Bobs infomercial show till the lockout is settled,And the arena is built Its to embarassing to explain why I am yelling at the radio

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#57 vetinari
October 31 2012, 08:07AM
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Also, the Oilers making a big trade once a new CBA is up makes sense from a political standpoint... It takes the bitter taste of Katz's visit to Seattle out of people's mouths, and it would be easier to convince taxpayers to help fund a new stadium for a winning team... Just sayin'

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#58 LoDog
October 31 2012, 08:15AM
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vetinari wrote:

Also, the Oilers making a big trade once a new CBA is up makes sense from a political standpoint... It takes the bitter taste of Katz's visit to Seattle out of people's mouths, and it would be easier to convince taxpayers to help fund a new stadium for a winning team... Just sayin'

My thoughts exactly. Another stinker of a season isn't going to help Katz gets his arena. Actually making the playoffs would go a long way in getting people behind this again.

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#59 Jaw17
October 31 2012, 09:26AM
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Bob probably heard this from the Oilers sources, however with enough public backlash they might change their mind just like they did on draft day!

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#60 Clyde Frog
October 31 2012, 10:03AM
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Could it be Bobby Ryan? The Duck's aren't exactly a have team in terms of cash...

That could be the physical forward intimated in the cryptic comments above...

I could handle a Bobby Ryan trade, not really excited for a Luongo trade though...

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#61 Lochenzo
October 31 2012, 10:35AM
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A trade for an established higher end player would definitely send the message to the players and fans that this year is going to be different from the previous 6.

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#62 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 31 2012, 10:57AM
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@Pouzar99

Was thinking along the same lines of what happened on draft day. Only thing i pegged different is that Edmonton went for the home run and wanted that Columbus pick in the 2 spot as well. Thinking Kevin had a package put together that he felt Howson would jump at. Edmonton tried to free that second selection up some by announcing that Murray was going to be selected first.

If Howson would've co-operated, Lowe would've selected Murray with the first selection, and Galchenyuk with that second pick. It was Larionov who seemed to confirm this for me when he was anti all things Edmonton in the last couple hours leading up to the draft. Igor got wind of what the Oilers were trying to do and was irate the Oilers were going to let Yakupov fall to the 3 or even 4 spot in the draft.

Howson fails to co-operate and the Oilers are left standing at the alter. With their hopes unraveling and just the one selection to be had for the Oilers, only thing that would sell in Edmonton was Nail Yakupov. Management gambled and lost on draft day. Murray and Galchenyuk together would of had the fans dancing in the streets here. Leaving the perceived best player available on the table would've been acceptable if the Oilers had addressed the Defenceman and 2nd line center issue.

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#63 DSF
October 31 2012, 11:41AM
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PK Subban and Gomez for Paajarvi, Belanger and a top D prospect according to Treena.

Oilers get a top pairing D, get rid of a malcontent and take on the remaining 2 years of Gomez's contract at $7.3M to make it worthwhile for the Habs.

Depending on how the CBA looks, Gomez could be bought out.

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#64 Jason Gregor
October 31 2012, 12:26PM
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@DSF

You think the Habs will trade Subban for Paajarvi and a top young D prospect and a throw in like Belanger, just to rid themselves of Gomez?

Why wouldn't they just buy him out? The Habs make more money than the Oilers. Seriously, even mentioning that ridiculous offer on here is an insult to the intelligence level of the readers.

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#65 DSF
October 31 2012, 12:43PM
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@Jason Gregor

I'm just the messenger but I don't think it's as far fetched as you might think and, apparently, that's what the Oilers offered not what the Habs might accept.

In any case, it would depend on how highly the Habs value Paajarvi and, say, Marincin.

Also a factor might be the inability of the Habs and Subban to agree on a new contract.

The Habs offered him 3 years@ $4M and he turned it down wanting a 5 year deal.

As for Gomez, the Habs may have more money than the Oilers but $15M is $15M and is not chump change for any NHL organization.

If the Habs wanted to buy him out, they likely already would have done so but likely didn't want to carry the cap hit forward.

That's exactly the kind of "cap trouble" down the road that Stauffer was referring to.

I'd be curious to see your thoughts on what you think Stauffer is talking about.

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#66 FastOil
October 31 2012, 01:07PM
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Pouzar99 "Bob's ego is way, way too big to knowingly make himself look like an out-of-the-loop sad ass"

That cracked me up. I knew Bob personally many moons ago. Hilarious guy, let's say not lacking self esteem, seems his ego is still in tact.

I believe the Oilers are looking to make a deal, they have been kicking tires for a few years, right?

The price has to be right as Tambellini has said, MacTambeLowe isn't big time like Lombardi or Chiarelli, more like Holland (or wishes to be).

It is just as likely to me that Bob knows what they want to do, but nothing happens when the Oilers get surprised by the fact there isn't a fire sale for top players to get rid of cap like they might be anticipating. Or that NTC players still aren't quite ready for the Oiler experience. Winning some games might have to come first.

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#67 Smokey
October 31 2012, 01:45PM
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DSF wrote:

Only deal that makes sense is Hemsky for Luongo.

The Port Moody Prince might have fun in Vancouver.

Lou for Horcoff...If we are signing up for 10 years, probably 5 of them bad, then they can eat the Captain Horcov contract.

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#68 DSF
October 31 2012, 01:53PM
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Smokey wrote:

Lou for Horcoff...If we are signing up for 10 years, probably 5 of them bad, then they can eat the Captain Horcov contract.

The Canucks have no need for Horcoff...he'd be their 5th best centre.

Hell, a one eyed Manny Malhotra had worse zone starts than Horcoff, played with lesser linemates and still finished far ahead of Horcoff in plus/minus while winning 58.5% of his faceoffs.

I don't see any deal that makes sense other than Hemsky and, even then, I don't think he would be a good fit with either Sedin or Kesler.

Like it or not, Luongo is one of the top ten goalies in the league and would improve the Oilers overnight...but I just don't see it happening.

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#69 Archaeologuy
October 31 2012, 03:37PM
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DSF wrote:

PK Subban and Gomez for Paajarvi, Belanger and a top D prospect according to Treena.

Oilers get a top pairing D, get rid of a malcontent and take on the remaining 2 years of Gomez's contract at $7.3M to make it worthwhile for the Habs.

Depending on how the CBA looks, Gomez could be bought out.

True story, I wrote a blog post about the trade rumour. It somehow got retweeted several times. I ended off suggesting that maybe PK would be a target and certainly fit the WOW factor part of the billing.

Shortly after, Treena suggested PK Subban would be an Oiler.

I dont want to alarm anybody, but I think I might be Garfield.

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#70 TonyT
October 31 2012, 04:21PM
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DSF wrote:

The Canucks have no need for Horcoff...he'd be their 5th best centre.

Hell, a one eyed Manny Malhotra had worse zone starts than Horcoff, played with lesser linemates and still finished far ahead of Horcoff in plus/minus while winning 58.5% of his faceoffs.

I don't see any deal that makes sense other than Hemsky and, even then, I don't think he would be a good fit with either Sedin or Kesler.

Like it or not, Luongo is one of the top ten goalies in the league and would improve the Oilers overnight...but I just don't see it happening.

To be fair, Horcoff also only has "one eye".

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#71 Pouzar99
October 31 2012, 04:33PM
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I am still waiting to hear from the Stauffer fans about what happened to him on draft day. If his connections are so good, why did he suck eggs on the biggest Oiler decision of the entire year?

Why was the ultimate insider left outside in the cold when it mattered most? Obviously somebody told him it was going to be Murray, he went with it hard and he got burned. No way that happens without some kind of confirmation from the Oilers and we all know Bob is VERY connected. Come on Brownlee and Gregor. How do you read it? Was he played by his own sources for their purposes? Why did he start off saying it had to be Yak and then slowly drift all the way over to saying it was almost certain to be Murray? And most important, why did the Oilers want the story out that they were leaning towards Murray?

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#72 Archaeologuy
October 31 2012, 04:49PM
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@Pouzar99

Could you imagine an alternative universe where the Oilers drafted Murray instead of Yakupov?

That universe is WAAAYYY worse than this one. Instead of highlights of Yakupov scoring sick goals in the best League in the world (at present) we would be looking for highlights of how well Murray contained his player, made a good yet unspectacular pass to a forward, and dreaming about how Leadery he was.

Horrible.

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#73 Pouzar99
October 31 2012, 06:09PM
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@Archaeologuy

I was vividly imagining that inferior universe as I drove over to my buddy's place on draft day listening to Stauffer and Tencer on the radio and screaming ''No, NOOOO!!!

I suspect that Murray will have a very good NHL career but your chilling description of his likely highlights package doesn't quite match Yak's litany of thrills. We picked the right guy and then got Justin Schultz as a bonus. My kind of universe.

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#75 Pouzar99
October 31 2012, 07:24PM
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I just finished listening to the clip Robin. In it Bob talks like its 50-50, but that was definitely not the general tone of the broadcast as I am sure some other posters on here can confirm.

I was listening to it that day. Were You? Bob and Dan kept saying that all the rumours were that it was going to be Murray. I listened to Oilers Now most of the summer and his changing take on the pick was unmistakeable. As he said today, he often repeated that his heart said Yak but his gut said Murray. Translation. He was a good enough hockey man to know Yak was the best player. But he was being told by his Oiler sources that they were leaning to Murray and finally that it was going to be Murray.

I have nothing against Stauffer, apart from his shilling for Katz. I said in my post that he is almost never wrong in his predictions about what the Oilers are going to do. That is NOT a criticism. But despite today's attempt to airbrush it, he was wrong on draft day. On the day you most want to be right when the team has the Number One pick. If they had picked Murray, believe me this is not the clip you would be hearing. The question you need to ask yourself is why his Oiler sources misled him.

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#76 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 31 2012, 07:58PM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

I just finished listening to the clip Robin. In it Bob talks like its 50-50, but that was definitely not the general tone of the broadcast as I am sure some other posters on here can confirm.

I was listening to it that day. Were You? Bob and Dan kept saying that all the rumours were that it was going to be Murray. I listened to Oilers Now most of the summer and his changing take on the pick was unmistakeable. As he said today, he often repeated that his heart said Yak but his gut said Murray. Translation. He was a good enough hockey man to know Yak was the best player. But he was being told by his Oiler sources that they were leaning to Murray and finally that it was going to be Murray.

I have nothing against Stauffer, apart from his shilling for Katz. I said in my post that he is almost never wrong in his predictions about what the Oilers are going to do. That is NOT a criticism. But despite today's attempt to airbrush it, he was wrong on draft day. On the day you most want to be right when the team has the Number One pick. If they had picked Murray, believe me this is not the clip you would be hearing. The question you need to ask yourself is why his Oiler sources misled him.

there are some who believe the pesky rumour that the scouting staff had agreed their recommendation was Murray. And, up until someone higher up the food chain stepped in, it was going to be Murray.

i am far from a stauffer supporter, but i would suggest Stauffers sources were saying it was Murray because as far as the scouts were concerned the pick was Murray.

what happened after made everyone look foolish.

*puts tinfoil hat back on and eats a massive block of cheese*

edit: I should state i believe the oilers picked the right player in the end. i also enjoyed seeing bombastic bob wear this one, but i dont lay the blame on him for it. his sources (IMO) did not mislead him. his sources were (IMO) over-ruled at the 11th hour.

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