From Russia, With Love?

Lowetide
April 19 2012 05:11PM

Anatoli Semenov is one of the few Russians drafted by the Edmonton Oilers who also had an NHL career of note. The Oilers have avoided the Motherland like the Moscow Plague and Riot of 1771. Are they really going to change their ways and grab the Russian Nail?

Since 1979, Edmonton has draft 339 players. Of that group, the following were drafted out of Russia or have direct ties to Russian hockey:

  • L Igor Vyazmikin, 252nd overall in 1987
  • D Vladimir Zubkov, 208nd overall in 1988
  • C Anatoli Semenov, 120th overall in 1989
  • C Sergei Yashin, 141st overall in 1989
  • G Evgeny Belosheiken, 232nd overall in 1991
  • L Alexander Kerch, 60th overall in 1993
  • F Oleg Maltsev, 241st overall in 1993
  • D Ilya Byakin, 267th overall in 1993
  • R Dimitrius Sulba, 162nd in 1994
  • D Sergei Yerkovich, 68th overall in 1997
  • G Alex Fomitchev, 231st overall in 1997
  • L Oleg Smirnov, 144th overall in 1998
  • R Maxim Spiridonov, 241st overall in 1998
  • D Alexei Semenov, 36th overall in 1999
  • L Alexei Mikhnov, 17th overall in 2000
  • D Alexander Ljubimov, 83rd overall in 2000
  • F Evgeny Muratov, 274th overall in 2000
  • D Ivan Koltsov, 106th overall in 2002
  • F Mikhail Youkov, 72nd overall in 2003
  • D Roman Tesliuk, 44th overall in 2004
  • L Slava Trukhno, 120th overall in 2005
  • F Alex Bumagin, 170th overall in 2006

22 Russians (there might be one or two who slipped through the radar because I counted them as Slovak or they are listed as being from Belarus via hockeydb but are in fact Russian). That's about 6.5 per cent, a very low total when we take into account the incredible amount of hockey talent Russia has produced since the 1980's.

Edmonton has for the most part ignored Russia. They were among the first NHL teams to explore Finland and of course Sweden has been a hot spot for a long time, plus the Czech players make appearances often. Russia? Edmonton's relationship with Russian hockey players is just about the opposite of that enjoyed by the Detroit Red Wings.

You'd have a terrible time putting together a starting lineup of Russians from the Edmonton draft list 79-12. I'd suggest the best Russian pick have been Anatoli Semenov, but after that it's a dog's breakfast.

Russia has not blessed the Oilers with talent, and in turn Edmonton has ignored the hell out of it. Which came first? Who cares?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

There's very little doubt the Edmonton Oilers will select Nail Yakupov first overall. He played in the OHL and has made it clear that his goal is to be an NHL player and he's on record as hoping Edmonton takes him #1 overall.

The Oilers own past will make it will be a rare, rare moment. Perhaps it will be an opportunity to change the past and treat Russian hockey like the enormous opportunity that it clearly is and has been for decades.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Pajamah
April 19 2012, 05:17PM
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Fortunately, Igor's Stud Traded to another team for a defenceman

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#2 Pajamah
April 19 2012, 05:20PM
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Nah, they'll pick Yakupov, I just had a short window to get that in, and the post had nothing to do with Suttons Transgressions or Steve Tambellini, and my mom wouldn't appreciate "F*ck it" being my first two words.....

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#4 Wax Man Riley
April 19 2012, 05:37PM
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I have thought the Oilers have been lacking that tough as Nail(s) Russian for a long time. this year I hope they take him.

"We score more goal. We win"

Happy 4/20 (tomorrow) to you too, Lowetide

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#5 RexLibris
April 19 2012, 05:40PM
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After Yakupov the only other forward I would be alright with the Oilers drafting this high might be Galchenyuk. It'd be a drop-off, but I'd be a lot more comfortable with Galchenyuk than Grigorenko and Forsberg just feels a little too much like Pajaarvi right now.

While the Oilers haven't drafted many Russians, it should probably also be said that there were many occasions wherein they ought to have drafted one or two more rather than the selections they did make. I'm not saying they should have had the foresight to take Datsyuk in the 1st or 2nd round, but really, even Konstantin Koltsov would have been an improvement over Jani Rita in '99, he actually played 144 NHL games.

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#6 mlcselli
April 19 2012, 05:41PM
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I really think the only reason that Nail wants to be an Oiler is because Edmonton picks first. What young hockey player going into the draft wouldn't want to be picked first overall? If I were Nail or his agent I wouldn't be very impressed with the Oilers at all. Nobody from the management even bothered to give him the courtesy of at least a phone call. To me, that speaks volumes.

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#8 mlcselli
April 19 2012, 06:08PM
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Lowtide, I hope someone from the Oilers spoke with Nail and his camp. I know the Oilers make decisions that causes lots of their fans to raise their eyebrows, but to completely disregard this young man when given 1st pick doesn't seem to be something the Oilers would do. I was just going by what several of the articles I've been reading suggested. Listening to Lowe and Tambo talking about winning the lottery, and the possibility of having the Yak on the team, my sense was that they were excited about having him with Hall, Eberle and RNH.

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#10 Rondo
April 19 2012, 06:12PM
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LT,

Given the fact we will draft Yakupov that makes 5 top 6 forwards including

RNH, Hall , Eberle and Gagner.

I personally think you need a big 2 way center in your top 6 to compete.

I know there are other needs puck moving D Power forward etc

The question is would this trade be possible and would you go for it?

Sam Gagner + Linus Omark for Brandon Sutter.

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#11 DieHard
April 19 2012, 06:12PM
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mlcselli wrote:

I really think the only reason that Nail wants to be an Oiler is because Edmonton picks first. What young hockey player going into the draft wouldn't want to be picked first overall? If I were Nail or his agent I wouldn't be very impressed with the Oilers at all. Nobody from the management even bothered to give him the courtesy of at least a phone call. To me, that speaks volumes.

Nail knows he's the concensus number 1. What would he have said if Columbus had retained it - who knows. He might have said something similar or maybe nothing at all. What I know is that the Oilers have been re-building and everyone knows it too. Everyone also knows that we have some great young elite level talent coming along and he wants to be part of that and not with the potential mess occurring in Columbus right now.

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#12 Oilcruzer
April 19 2012, 06:16PM
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The picks from Russia were horrible. Need figure out who has an addiction to the Knife and Fork or horrible work ethic(cough) Roman Tesliuk (cough).

It's a no-brainer this time. The top ranked by everyone is who you pick.

But guessing is they will still be gunshy on Russians in later rounds cuz they simply don't have a strong Russian scout.

(Although that could change with a Number One overall on your roster - that would open doors)

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#13 Brad
April 19 2012, 06:19PM
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I hope the draft Nail just so that the 2nd dynasty will have a Yak to replace the Moose.

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#14 Tony_Clifton
April 19 2012, 06:19PM
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LT,

what are the chances of the Oil picking up a 2nd first round pick? do you know who else they're interested in between say 5 and 15? what would they have to give up for something like that?

think they'd be interested in adding one of the russian centers to play with yakupov?

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#15 @NateInVegas
April 19 2012, 06:20PM
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I have no doubt in my mind Nail Yakupov will score a lot of goals but the Oilers won't win when it matters with elite wingers.

If the plan is to move Hall to C2 and trade Gagner I can buy into that. I'm probably the only one in favour of trading back, but I hope I'm wrong.

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#17 Matt Henderson
April 19 2012, 06:21PM
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@Rondo

Giving up a guaranteed 40+ points for Ryan Jones type offense. I'd rather keep Gagner. Every team needs a 2nd line centre. If Gagner has to go, I'd rather it be for a defenseman we dont have time to develop.

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#19 DieHard
April 19 2012, 06:24PM
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@Oilcruzer

I can agree that he might open up the lines between the Oil and Russia. I wonder if there is a Russian projected to be late first/early second this year AND fills a need?

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#20 Rondo
April 19 2012, 06:28PM
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@Archaeologuy

I personally thin that Brandon Sutter is underrated on this board. He is young and will only get stronger. I'm obviously guessing at the upside of Brandon but i would do that trade .

Also I don't think Carolina would do the trade.

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#21 Chris
April 19 2012, 06:48PM
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Why not move Eberle to center rather than Hall?

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#22 Quicksilver ballet
April 19 2012, 06:56PM
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If they do move Hall to center next season, we're pooched on the left side. Smyth,Jones and Eager. Not a 1st or 2nd line LW in the bunch.

Hemsky could move to the left side but he much prefers the right side as well. Dustin Penner anyone?

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#23 Greg the Hammer Valentine
April 19 2012, 06:59PM
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LT, are you gonna post an article about Tobias Rieder in the near futur? I might be getting this all wrong, but he sure looks like a pleasant surprise.

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#24 Rondo
April 19 2012, 07:02PM
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Boston Krejci Bergeron Chicago Toews Sharp Pittsburgh Crosby Malkin Detroit- Datsyuk Franzen Anaheim Getzlaf Macdonald

All these center combination have something in common.

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#25 Quicksilver ballet
April 19 2012, 07:05PM
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Rondo, when they entered the NHL, was it as a winger and then moved into the middle?

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#27 Rondo
April 19 2012, 07:16PM
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There teams won the Cup, with size and at least 1 two way center in the top 6

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#28 justDOit
April 19 2012, 07:31PM
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I wondered the same thing here a while ago. I believe that Ebs has more hockey sense for the position, and that Hall doesn't need to be saddled with the defensive responsibilities of playing the middle. Let Hall blaze the wing, and create room for the rest of the line.

Edit: Ok, this was supposed to be a reply to Chris, who mentioned moving Ebs to center instead of Hall. Don't know why my reply button is only taking me to a regular 'post a comment', but...

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#29 Sliderule
April 19 2012, 07:31PM
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They have to take the Yak.

If you ignore Desjardin equivalencies as they are based on average CHL players he will put up 66 pts.

If you look at past ten years of draft and you take forwards drafted in top five they score at 40percent of their 17 year old seson .Older draftees like Hall and Yak convert at a 50percent rate if they jump direct to NHL after the draft..The reason of the higher rate is they are older.

Of the younger draftees who are born after Jan 1st of their draft year the Nuge is the best at .83pts per ame or a conversion rate of 54percent

The Yak is far and away the best player in this draft.

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#30 Walter Sobchak
April 19 2012, 07:45PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Giving up a guaranteed 40+ points for Ryan Jones type offense. I'd rather keep Gagner. Every team needs a 2nd line centre. If Gagner has to go, I'd rather it be for a defenseman we dont have time to develop.

This just makes to much sense!

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#31 Semenko and Troy
April 19 2012, 08:21PM
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If they move Hall to center with Yakupov, then they can still flourish offensively with MPS providing the two-way play.

it is not unreasonable to expect that MPS can chip in 10-15 goals while the other two provide the offensive push and even have enough 'grit' on their own.

Just let MPS skate and be responsible defensively.

The speed on that line would rival Messier, Anderson, and the Rat.

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#32 Oilers4ever
April 19 2012, 08:51PM
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Yer a dumb ass if you don't take Nail... Next to Bure and Ovechkin, one of the best Russians to come out.. including better than his own agent I will bet. I can see the kid having more points than Makarov or Larionov. I know there is alot of fear about Russian players going to the KHL, but the guy's agent is freaking Igor Larionov. One of the best Russian players to play in the NHL. And he's said that Yakupov wants to play in Edmonton... That's good enough for me...

Man.. just watching the Hawks/Coyotes... Do the Hawks ever need to get themselves a real goalie. Smith is making Crawford look like an AHL goalie. Weak winning goal two OT's in a row. Hawks lose this series cuz of crappy goaltending.

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#33 Clyde Frog
April 19 2012, 08:51PM
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What? You need a checking 2nd line centre, thats what the second line is for! Checking! Since he is big and checks he automatically score 60 points as well.

Also a good 50+point checking big hitting 3rd line centre would be good as well.

Oh and some 4th line grinders who can be gritty because they are all over 6'4" 220+...

Why would you keep a kid who only produces more points than 80% of the centres in the league like Gagner? He can't shut down the opposition on the 2nd line!

Rondo you are too right!

Also take Nail gosh darn it! Gritty, can score, lighting quick and built like a tank!

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#34 Oilers4ever
April 19 2012, 09:04PM
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Here's a question... is there anywhere a guy can go to watch the Baron's playoff games???

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#35 D
April 19 2012, 09:15PM
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LT,

I had the chance to visit one of the old Soviet Union states in 2007. The landscape and atmosphere of the entire place was much like northern Alberta. If the Oilers developed a Russian pipeline, I bet a lot of Russian players would feel that Edmonton is much like their home.

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#36 Rondo
April 19 2012, 09:21PM
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With RNH as the #1 center ,Gagner won't be effective as a 2nd line center, Oilers need someone bigger and stronger at center. That is why I would trade him. Can you imagine Gagner trying shut down #1 centers or #2 centers in the playoffs. Maybe for a game or 2 .

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Clyde Frog wrote:

What? You need a checking 2nd line centre, thats what the second line is for! Checking! Since he is big and checks he automatically score 60 points as well.

Also a good 50+point checking big hitting 3rd line centre would be good as well.

Oh and some 4th line grinders who can be gritty because they are all over 6'4" 220+...

Why would you keep a kid who only produces more points than 80% of the centres in the league like Gagner? He can't shut down the opposition on the 2nd line!

Rondo you are too right!

Also take Nail gosh darn it! Gritty, can score, lighting quick and built like a tank!

LOL!

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#38 fuzzy muppet
April 19 2012, 09:44PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Yes, I have something but he keeps extending his season!

Reider with Another goal and and an assist tonight in a 3-2 loss.

Stu...you magnificent bastard

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#39 Slats
April 19 2012, 10:18PM
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Can we please stop the call for Penner for a return to the Oil. Really - is this the bruising Top 6 forward that played all the bottom 6 minutes in LA that we really need?

We need nasty and big. We need Ruutu-like or Lucic-like. These playoffs have me very worried about the time when this team finally makes the playoffs that were going to get run out of the rink(unless the match-up was Detroit). We will have 4 of our Top 6 on injured reserve by Game 2.

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#40 OIlcan
April 19 2012, 10:44PM
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Slats wrote:

Can we please stop the call for Penner for a return to the Oil. Really - is this the bruising Top 6 forward that played all the bottom 6 minutes in LA that we really need?

We need nasty and big. We need Ruutu-like or Lucic-like. These playoffs have me very worried about the time when this team finally makes the playoffs that were going to get run out of the rink(unless the match-up was Detroit). We will have 4 of our Top 6 on injured reserve by Game 2.

I was thinking the same thing but then I realized I am more concerned with making the playoffs first haha.

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#41 Reg Dunlop
April 19 2012, 10:44PM
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If we are going to draft Yakupov maybe we also should draft Ivan Drago. He would solve our size/agression issues and ride shotgun for Nial. He could tell Kessler "I must break you" while he dumps a syringe of sauce into his 21 inch guns.

Alternately, Tambo trades the pick, hopefully for a stud d-man, not for a grab bag of prospect/picks/5-6 dman. Trading down for a later pick and a prospect= dumb, I'd rather spin the vodka bottle with Yak.

Repeating, why not try to flip the pick to Columbus for their 1st next year? MacKinnon is the real deal.

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#42 dougtheslug
April 19 2012, 11:02PM
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5-0 Barons over Houston points for Lander, Harts, PRV.

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#43 Quintana
April 19 2012, 11:21PM
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Tambi should call Peter Chiarelli and try to get Lucic, D.Hamilton + a pick for the russian.Its what this team needs moving foward.(The pick a 2nd)my two cents!!!

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#44 TigerUnderGlass
April 19 2012, 11:25PM
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Slats wrote:

Can we please stop the call for Penner for a return to the Oil. Really - is this the bruising Top 6 forward that played all the bottom 6 minutes in LA that we really need?

We need nasty and big. We need Ruutu-like or Lucic-like. These playoffs have me very worried about the time when this team finally makes the playoffs that were going to get run out of the rink(unless the match-up was Detroit). We will have 4 of our Top 6 on injured reserve by Game 2.

You mean besides at the end of close games when he gets sent out with Richards and Carter to protect the lead right? The Oilers can certainly do without players like that.

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#45 Oiler Al
April 19 2012, 11:41PM
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Right on.. can't understand fans wanting Penner back.... overweight, not in NHL condition and lazy as sin. Why undo the only and best deal Tambelini as pulled off as a GM.

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#46 Oiler Al
April 19 2012, 11:47PM
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If Tambelini and crew dont pick the No.1 consensus in the Draft, they will be the laughing stock of the NHL. Trading Yakapov, for whom? No team is going to give you a fist line player ,and trading to draft a D man would be a poor move. AS far as a phone call to Yakapov, its possible Tambelini , while in Europe will connect with the player face to face.

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#47 pelhem grenville
April 20 2012, 04:56AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

5-0 Barons over Houston points for Lander, Harts, PRV.

nice start for the Barons ...

had a look at the official site as well and whadaya know?

no 'lil linus ... he's left the stable ?

... hope the little crap's happy

gobaronsgo!

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#48 Fresh Mess
April 20 2012, 06:52AM
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Tony Semenov was my fave russian player of all time.

The Oilers should stay away from Nail. His value is high right now. Deal the pick. Trade down. Whatever, just don't draft Yakov Smirnoff.

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#49 Evilas
April 20 2012, 08:05AM
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Omark is not at OKC because the Oilers Effed it up. They could not return him without exposing him to waivers. They would have lost him for nothing.

I still don`t understand why he was called up, it was a bonehead move.

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#50 RDS
April 20 2012, 08:25AM
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I've been reading alot here about moving players from the wing to centre. That doesn't seem like a very easy thing to do. These guys have spent their life playing wing and have been successful. Seems crazy to try and make them change. Has there been alot of players in the past that have changed from wing to centre. Going from centre to wing would be alot easier. Someone smarter than me please educate me.

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