MEA CULPA: BIAS AND BOUWMEESTER

Robin Brownlee
July 10 2012 09:17PM

I've always considered Jay Bouwmeester a brutal interview, akin to getting dental work done. And, with good reason. He is one. Bouwmeester is a bad, bad talker. That said, he's a pretty good hockey player.

Buzz around Edmonton these days that the Oilers might be interested in acquiring the man of action and few words from the Calgary Flames – I can't say if it's got legs, but I wouldn’t bet against it – got me thinking if I've let the former color the latter in my assessment of Bouwmeester in the years that he's spent in the NHL. It has. The only question is degree.

Great skater? Absolutely. Decent defender? Better than that. Durable? Like the rock of Gibraltar. Bouwmeester is all of these things -- a defenseman who eats up minutes and can do what he does in the top pairing of any one of the 30 teams in the NHL. The kid can flat-out play.

Despite all that, though, the mention of him has drawn a "Whatever" from me throughout the years he spent in Florida before landing in Calgary, and that was the case again when I first heard this talk about Oiler interest. It's not that his effortless stride or defensive prowess or ability to log big minutes game after game after game is a revelation to me. It's those interviews . . .

Good thing I don’t have to assess talent for a living.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Bouwmeester might be as fine a young man as he is a hockey player, but he will make your eyes roll up in your head during the interview process. I found that out going into the 2002 Entry Draft for a feature I was doing when it was anticipated he'd be selected first overall. Comatose in five minutes, I was.

If there's a record kept for the number of tape recorders and TV cameras clicking off 30 seconds into the scrum of a top-three, blue-chip pick at the Entry Draft, Bouwmeester most certainly holds it.

With reporters looking for a juicy quote or two, something to hang a main story and a sidebar on – we thought that would be a lock after the wheeling and dealing that was done so Columbus could get Rick Nash, landing Bouwmeester in Florida -- eyes were glazing over inside 15 seconds. Just brutal – all of us forgetting he was a teenager.

A few years later, during the 2004-05 lockout season, the Edmonton Sun decided I'd cover the AHL Road Runners home and away, giving the team real big league coverage. They had pages to fill, so what the hell. I ended up in San Antonio, where Bouwmeester was playing for the Rampage.

Bouwmeester was an established NHL player by then. Older and wiser in the ways of the world, he'd be more comfortable talking to reporters then, right? Plus, with an Edmonton reporter making the trip all the way to the Alamo to talk to an Edmonton player about being relegated to scrub duty in the minors, he'd spin gold for sure. Uh, no. Bomb-ola. Same old, same old.

THE BOTTOM LINE

None of the above changes the fact Bouwmeester is a damn good player, even if he's a tad overpaid for my liking (based primarily on his points totals), but I've got to admit it did, and still does, impact my perception of him. When your job hinges in part on the gift of gab any given athlete possesses and a guy has no verbal game, it happens. Doesn't make it right. That's just the way it is.

Like I said, I don't know for sure if or to what degree the Oilers actually have an interest in Bouwmeester, or if he'd waive his no-trade clause in the instance that GM Jay Feaster asked him about moving up the road to Edmonton. We'll see how, or if, that plays out.

What I do know, after taking time to reflect, is that what Bouwmeester does on the ice matters a helluva lot more than what he says when media types come calling on him in the dressing room. The same goes for any player when you get right down to it. Big talker? Fine. Big-time player?

Here's hoping the Oilers are better at separating one from the other than I've been over the years when it comes to Bouwmeester, should Steve Tambellini and Feaster ever start talking about making a deal.

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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#1 nuge2nail
July 11 2012, 09:04AM
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Oiler Domination to Follow

@BigOil

You hope I dont represent other "passionate" oiler fans... im not even sure what that means? I Represent myself, a passionate fan who believes the Oilers will soon Dominate - if you have any issues with that - why dont you lose the address to this site. Its not like Im being negative and putting the team, management, the defense, goaltending, the city or the fans down - like some of the other "passionate" fans do on a non-stop basis.

I follow, understand, and love this team. I have watched 82 games a year since I was a kid. I drive down from Calgary to watch the Oilers play live 10+ games a year. I live and breathe the Oilers. If you or Robin or anyone has an issue with me spreading some POSITIVE encouragement and support for my team, than keep it to yourself. This is an Oilers site, not your personal blog for you to dictate what readers can and cannot say.

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#2 boxman
July 11 2012, 09:45PM
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First off Robin speaks his mind and isn't talking trash and getting personal while hiding by a cloak of anonymity. This means you Oscar. Next point is this is absolutely not censorship as Robin is in no way saying you can't go start your own blogs but is just asking you to wipe your feet before entering his house. If that is too much to ask than perhaps your parents would like a redo. Now on to hockey. I believe the best comment made was to be careful about setting a precedent about over paying a temporary player just because we can "now" as it will be used against "us" when dealing with our core players. Peace out.

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#3 Quicksilver ballet
July 11 2012, 12:27AM
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@ Wes Mantooth

I don't think we'll have much choice in the matter. If Edmonton brings in Bouwmeester then we'll have to support him like one of our own. Bouwmeester alone won't make much difference. He'll just take minutes away from Petry and Shultz. These two guys alone need more minutes next season. Bringing in Jay would just push Justin and Jeff down the depth chart like Smytty did to Paajarvi. Pushed Magnus down in the lineup just enough to lose his confidence.

Bouwmeester would just be one more veteran, like the couple others, we're currently trying to get rid of. Sit tight another few months, wait for the one man gang (Weber) to make his decision.

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#4 nuge2nail
July 10 2012, 10:27PM
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Oiler Domination to Follow

You should put Jay Feaster on a bash count. Calling the flames the shames is really considered bashing?

Passionate fans make sites like the nation work, threatening to remove someone for a small play of words, is over the line IMO - if your allowed to express those on here.

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#5 mayorpoop
July 11 2012, 09:09AM
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@bigoil & oilerguy,

you're kidding right? these posts are a joke correct?

cause you can't be that easily offended by OILER DOMINATION TO FOLLOW. i mean that's what we all want and expect right? or even FIST for that matter.

nuge2nail you got your thing going. keep it happening man. sensitivity training may be in needed for some.

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#6 LoDog
July 11 2012, 01:24PM
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I for one will not be supporting any sponsers of this site while Brownlee is allowed to act like a child to well meaning posters.

Ban me all you like. Hope Wanye is happy with your display.

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#7 oldhippy
July 11 2012, 09:38PM
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As for Brownlee moderating as he see's fit? Get a grip. I used to go on TSN, but that has got to be a gong show. It seems like every third poster is a twelve year old girl. It's stupid. I enjoy Nation because I can actually argue HOCKEY, and not the merits of one city over another. I would hate to see this blog turn in to mindless stupidity. As long as we all stick to hockey talk, there should be no problem. No Austin 3:16, no 'Oil90. I can put up with DFS, because he makes me laugh and he does, occasionaly have a point.

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#8 Alex Steenberger
July 10 2012, 09:39PM
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Bouwmeester would guarantee us a playoff berth. Mr. Hemskey pack your bags and I'll even drive you down Highway 2 to Calgary and pick up Jay Bouwmeester and bring him back. Whaddaya say Jay Feaster. Does Tambo have the testicular fortitude to make the call?

DO IT TAMBO!!!!

HEMSKEY FOR Bouwmeester STRAIGHT ACROSS!!!!!! Well even throw in Shawn Horcoff.

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#10 Digger
July 10 2012, 11:06PM
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Not sure that JBo is what we're looking for here. Can JBo control the tempo of a game-even for those crucial "we're under fire" moments, or can he sustain pressure from the backend during the PP or 5x5 attack? Does he provide the intimidating presence due to his "truculence" or is he a "non entity" when the going gets tough? I don't know, but I hope the Oil Braintrust does!

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#11 Walter Sobchak
July 10 2012, 11:38PM
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Good read RB.

I know we have had our disagreements about Bouwmeester in the past, I still think he's the best option out there for the Oilers regardless of the cap hit, besides with all this talent his point totals should increase

@Muji You don't want a top two defensmen because YOU think he's "not recognizable or likable" do you realize how insane that sounds? @nuge2nail

Beside what RB just laid out for you to read

Bouwmeester was not only the top min player on the Flames but also one of the top in the league.

He also played against the teams toughest comp, only one player in the league played more min vs harder comp zone starts. You could also argue the Flames got close to the playoffs because of his play.

He's also one of the best PK leaders in the league. Not to mention the guy only took 22 pm the whole year while drawing more Penalties then he took. Not ever making the playoffs? The same thing was said about so many players that argument is weak! Bouwmeester is not the reason the Panthers or the Flames never made the playoffs.

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#12 admiralmark
July 11 2012, 08:49AM
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Know who else gives a terrible interview and repeats the same dry company line... Tambellini. Maybe he likes what he hears from Jay Boumeester? Personally this teams strength is on defence in the next few years. I'd rather see an upgrade at 2nd line Center. And Hemsky, Gagner, Paajarvi, 1 of our defensive prospects and future draft picks could all be in play to get us that player. I dont think Tambi gets it done though?

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#14 ALL THE WAY IN
July 11 2012, 11:28AM
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All hail King Brownlee!!! LOL

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#15 ALL THE WAY IN
July 11 2012, 12:05PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

@all the way in

this is how king's act?

funny.

With iron fists and big egos!

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#16 Brownlee loves the word meow
July 11 2012, 02:58PM
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Question (from someone you have arbitrarily attacked about using words that you find annoying)

Do you own free speech brownlee? Would it be easier to ignore words you find infuriating rather than bash your readers?

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#17 The Soup Fascist
July 11 2012, 03:05PM
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@ Archaeologuy

Geez, Arch. Time to get on the bandwagon! You are living in the past! We should be running Gagner out of town - I mean he "only" scored 47 points last year! Lets replace him with Jason Arnott.

Sure, Arnott only scored 31 and 34 points in the last two years respectively, but give him a break, I mean he is 37! Plus he is huge, he is like 6'5" and plays a "grittier" game than his ... er .... ummm ... 26 PIMS would indicate.

Let's face it. Sam is 22 years old and washed up. Just because his point totals would put him in the top third of 2nd line centers, time to get real - he is not 6' tall!

We need a guy who plays with passion! A guy like Jason ("I just wasn't into it tonight") Arnott. As your name implies you are a Dinosaur, Arch. Get with it!

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#18 The Soup Fascist
July 11 2012, 03:10PM
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@ Lead Hands

Good point. The "Oilers Domination" guy and lady using "bash" too often are nowhere NEAR as annoying as the kook who "meowed" prior to each post.

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#19 Cowboy
July 11 2012, 04:03PM
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How to trade for BOUWMEESTER, the COWBOY Way.

Bouwmeester to Blackhawks for Hjalmarsson (free up 3 million cap space/year for Calgary and get replacement D man)

Gagner to Blackhawks for Bouwmeester (Edmonton gets top pairing D Man, Chicago gets KANE a close buddy and peer support

Move Hall To center

Make it happen captain.

COWBOY OUT

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#20 Pajamah
July 11 2012, 08:21PM
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I think I may have figured something out.

We can, if im not mistaken, comment on pollz.

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#21 don
July 10 2012, 09:30PM
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I'd rather we got a big physical forward rather then spending big cash on Jay Bo. I'm tired of seeing this team getting pushed around.

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#22 Jasmine
July 10 2012, 09:34PM
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Oilers will not trade with Jay "Oilers Basher" Feaster. Every chance Feaster has gotten, he's bashed the Oilers. In the draft, he said they didn't draft 1st overall but got the best player. Stay away from trading with the Shames.

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#23 Will
July 10 2012, 09:49PM
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His contract is huge, and I'd hate to see an Oiler asset in a flames Jersey, it's the worst. Just like when we let Glencross walk for nothing, then spent the next however many years complaining about needing a skilled center with size and grit.

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#24 Muji
July 10 2012, 09:53PM
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Hemsky and/or Gagner in a Flames jersey? Hell no. Just no.

It'd be one thing if we were taking back one of their "faces" like Iggy or Phaneuf (when he was there), but JayBo - tho a very good dman - is not very recognizable or likeable.

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#26 nuge2nail
July 10 2012, 10:22PM
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Oiler Domination to Follow

Leading a non-playoff team in minutes is not the greatest accomplishment. It has to be alil concerning if we put our hopes at finally getting into the Playoffs after 6 years with a guy who has NEVER MADE THE PLAYOFFS DURING HIS 10 YEAR CAREER.

If its for Hemsky one for one - or Teubert + Two 2nd rounders in 2013 get it done - if not pass. Last thing we need is Paarjarvi putting up 30 goals on us every year - and JBO doing what he does best, which is golfing in Mid-April.

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#27 BlacqueJacque
July 10 2012, 10:24PM
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I'm not seeing much of an argument for Bouw's alleged defensive prowess here. :/

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#28 OilDoug
July 10 2012, 10:27PM
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Robin,

I enjoy reading your articles as you take a pull no punches attitude. I also get a charge out of how you put some of the posters in their place here.

With regard to Jay Bo I think he is the type of transition player who could help the Oil for a number of seasons. He skates well, can move the puck, provides some offence and can be used in all situations. The Oil need more D like that. I think Jay Bo and a healthy Ryan Whitney are very similar players.

In my opinion two things work against Jay Bo becoming an Oiler. He has a no trade clause and won't likely wave it to move to Edmonton. If he wanted that he would have singed as a free agent and if I recall at that time he didn't want the pressure of being a home town boy playing for the local team. The second thing is Jay Bo is Ryan Whitney when healthy and while thats not a bad player I believe the Oil need to add a guy to their backend who can move the puck, skate and can bring the pain to opposition forwards. Jay Bo, based on my observations, is not overly physical.

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#29 fyvmdt
July 10 2012, 10:49PM
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RB:

JBo has great defensive skills along with durability. That is agreed. However, I do recall when he was negotiating with the Flames 3-4 yrs ago the Oilers were not even contacted. No sniff. Is there something more behind that? I remember talking to a friend of my son's who played minor hockey with JBo and he made some very uncomplimentary comments about JBo's father's rather unhealthy influence. Do you know if there is anything to that?

Lastly, how do you see him fitting in with the team chemistry on and off the ice. Is he enough of a player to make it worth going after a garden gnome personality-wise?

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#30 Gerald R. Ford
July 10 2012, 10:56PM
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Robin, when J-Bo signed with Calgary, didn't Dan Bouwmeester say something to the effect that "There's no way Jay would ever play in Edmonton—there are way too many bad influences here that would affect him." Has this changed, to your knowledge? I don't recall his exact words, but I remember he was extremely adamant about that.

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#32 roger
July 10 2012, 11:04PM
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i wonder if Bouwmeester has been judged too harshly for his short comings, not physical, not enough offense. i would like to hear what an nhl scout thinks of this player, if he is a poor man's lindstrom with an obvious step down in offence?

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#33 Bob Loblaw
July 10 2012, 11:08PM
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Robin,

It's funny how you single out JayBo for his lack of personality, when 95% of NHL players have the personality of a houseplant, especially in media interviews. Keep it monotone, use lots of cliches, and use the word "obviously" in every sentence. I wish someone would give players lessons on how not to put people to sleep.

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#35 nuge2nail
July 10 2012, 11:16PM
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Im sorry you find that "Lame" and "Tiresome " when some passionate followers - who take the time to read articles about their favourite team on this site throw out POSITIVE remarks about the team or what they are reading.

Do you realize the flames had made the playoffs for half a decade before J-Blo joined the team and made the Defense "Stronger" and now its been almost half a decade since theyve made it. He is not the solution, and trading with the Flames is not the answer. A GM who publicly bashes your team in the media every chance he gets should not be given prospects and picks. Find another solution. IMO.

Im not sure if this post will be found as "Lame" and "Tiresome" for the way it starts - i know one guy who isnt impressed.

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#37 Gregus
July 10 2012, 11:47PM
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Robin, what would the Oilers have to give up to make that trade in your opinion?

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#38 Joy S. Lee
July 10 2012, 11:53PM
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I like Bouwmeester's game and skills, but I'm also very uncertain about his mindset and desire. For much the same reason as you're referring to here, Robin.

The guy wants to win, but is clearly a shrinking violet. The question we have to ask ourselves, if we think he might be a fit here, is: can JBo take his game to a new level when it really counts?

His skillset should blend in beautifully with this Oilers' team. Question is, does he have the cajones to step up when he's got King or Nolan (LA) bearing down on him and it's do or die? And would Ralph Krueger be able to extrapolate more from the ultra-shy guy? I think that last one's a possibility, and if the Oilers are intent on pursuing the JBo option, they'd best answer that. If anyone can get the kid to come out of his shell, maybe it's Ralph. And let's face it, if you've watched this guy at all, you've noticed that he has a higher potential than he's tapped so far. He just needs someone who can get through to him. Based on that alone, I'd make an effort to get him. But I would't overpay, either, because there's too much chance that he just won't be able to change who he is.

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#39 Joy S. Lee
July 10 2012, 11:58PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Good read RB.

I know we have had our disagreements about Bouwmeester in the past, I still think he's the best option out there for the Oilers regardless of the cap hit, besides with all this talent his point totals should increase

@Muji You don't want a top two defensmen because YOU think he's "not recognizable or likable" do you realize how insane that sounds? @nuge2nail

Beside what RB just laid out for you to read

Bouwmeester was not only the top min player on the Flames but also one of the top in the league.

He also played against the teams toughest comp, only one player in the league played more min vs harder comp zone starts. You could also argue the Flames got close to the playoffs because of his play.

He's also one of the best PK leaders in the league. Not to mention the guy only took 22 pm the whole year while drawing more Penalties then he took. Not ever making the playoffs? The same thing was said about so many players that argument is weak! Bouwmeester is not the reason the Panthers or the Flames never made the playoffs.

Not ever making the playoffs is by no means a weak argument. In fact, it's silly of you to make fun of that.

Ten years in the league, and not a sniff? That's enough to concern me about the guy, for sure. But it's also the reason I would look at a guy like this, with top skills and a potential that hasn't been realized. If I had a coach that I felt could bring the best out in a shy young man, I'd look to make a workable deal based on the downside of my purchase.

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#40 Quicksilver ballet
July 11 2012, 12:04AM
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I remember Dan Bouwmeester making that never in Edmonton statement as well, and i'm just an interested observer. I'm sure a guy who worked the beat a long time would've filed this away for future use. I think we know there's the probability of a relationship between the writer and Mr. Bouwmeester, said writer just isn't wanting to add any friction to it.

Let the next 12 months unfold and see what happens. I'd hate to see Edmonton commit big dollars on a deal that could prevent them from making a stronger move during the next year. Bouwmeester is available this year and i'm sure he'll be available next summer as well.

Stay the course, fast track Klefbom if you have to. Hitching your post to a softer type in Yandle or Bouwmeester now, could do more harm than good by limiting the Oils options next summer.

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#41 Walter Sobchak
July 11 2012, 12:08AM
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@Joy S. Lee

You are going to put not making the playoffs on one player? He played on horrible teams!!

How does he control that alone?

There's a GM, A Coach, other players, factors inside and outside of a hockey team! Not just Bouwmeester. Jebus! Come on!

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#42 nuge2nail
July 11 2012, 12:11AM
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Oiler Domination to Follow

“I’m sorry — Edmonton finished where last year, caller? Want to wager on where we finish relative to Edmonton this year? I’m tired of this question, I’ll tell you very honestly. I’m getting a little sour. How many teams . . . every year, for the last 10 years, five years, eight years, have finished in the bottom five, bottom seven, bottom 10? They’ve had a pick anywhere from No. 1 to No. 10 year after year after year after year, and they still wander in the desert. And they’re no closer to getting out than they were 10 years ago."

“You know what? I look forward to the Battle of Alberta for the next X number of years."

Posted on the Calgary Flames’ verified Twitter account. “$10 Million over two years for Hemsky is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long, long time. I hope it happens. #whatajoke”

"It's easy to say -- get the first pick every year for the next three or four years and maybe in seven or eight years things will be just jolly ... that's never been the plan here,” Feaster said.

Im not sure if thats enough for one year - but theres many other cheap shots he takes such as , "Jankowski will be viewed as the best player in the 2012 draft," ... Its highly unprofessional - similar to a writer who calls the followers of the site he works for "lame" or "tiredsom". What Prospects and Picks would you stockpile Feasters team with, to get J-blo?

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#43 Walter Sobchak
July 11 2012, 12:14AM
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@Quicksilver ballet

We can't go to war with two rookies and no top two, they would get murdered every game!

What if we get a Bouwmeester this year then the sell to Weber is far easier if you have a legit dance partner for Weber, not some rook or 3 or 4th plug.

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#44 Cowbell_Feva
July 11 2012, 12:17AM
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The chances of an Edmonton/Calgary trade are slim to none at the best of times. Only the Staios trade in both teams history. Add to that the fact that Fat Feaster has publicly thrown darts at the Oilers franchise, and my thinking is Slim just left town.

I'm okay with that as well. As true as it is that JBo is a good skater, decent defender, and stays healthy, his $7.8 is rediculous. For another 1 to 2 Million you could possibly pry a Shea Weber from Nashville. In my mind, Weber is the best in the league on the blueline. I would give my left nut to land him, and giving a defenseman like JBo $7.8 screws that up completely.

Even though I am 99% sure Weber won't be wearing Copper and Blue next season, I don't think paying JBo $7.8 is going to get us where we need to be. I would rather Yandle from Phoenix, because he can at least bring some offense.

Offer the world for Weber!!

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#45 Walter Sobchak
July 11 2012, 12:23AM
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@Cowbell_Feva

He's 6.6 not 7.8

Or 1.4 million more then Yandel

The Oilers have a tone of cap space, when Weber becomes a UFA the Oilers will have potentially up to 9 million coming off.

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#46 J-Dogg
July 11 2012, 12:27AM
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I think he might have dealing with the media figured out better than any of the other players.

When someone asks you to do a job that you really never want to do anymore than necessary, just do the worst job possible and, in J. Bo's case, watch the media guys flee early, if they come around anymore at all.

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#47 nuge2nail
July 11 2012, 12:28AM
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Oiler Domination to Follow

@Wes Mantooth - Team Shomer Shabbos

The flames added Boumeester and let Cammerleri go and the team went from being a contendor to the mess we see now. Im not saying hes the sole reason, but his minutes and role suggest he has something to do with it.

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I don't care if a guy is as boring as a traffic jam, as long as he plays the way the Oilers need him to. Bouwmeester isn't quite that guy, IMO.

Speaking of boring interviews, safe answers, and cliches, and a guy who will have a much bigger impact on a team than JBo ever dreamt of - NUGENT EFFIN HOPKINS! Now there's a guy who one day will get AND earn that $7M cap hit!

I hope the Oilers stay away from JBo for many (and +1) reasons!

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#49 Oil Walker
July 11 2012, 12:50AM
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Dunno guys, just can't see the Mighty Oil making a deal with the southern rival with this kind of magnitude. Just doesn't feel right...

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#50 Wäx Män Riley
July 11 2012, 01:57AM
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+1
0
props

Players of note:

Jay Bouwmeester - 717gp - 0 playoff games.

Bryan Little - 356gp - 0 playoff games

Matt Stajan - 609 gp - 3 playoff games (in his rookie year.)

Luke Shenn - 310gp - 0 playoff games

Tom Gilbert - 404gp - 0 playoff games

Andrew Cogliano - 410gp - 0 playoff games

Sam Gagner - 366gp - 0 playoff games

Ladislav Smid - 409gp - 0 playoff games

Olli Jokinen - 1042gp - 6 playoff games

Stepen Weiss - 637gp - 7 playoff games (this year)

What's my point? ?

I don't know either, but these guys are hard to find. Also, Edmonton, Toronto, Calgary, and Florida have been terrible franchises.

I think for Jbo, he has been a victim of circumstance. Played with a terrible Florida team, then traded to a terrible Calgary team. I assume he was an RFA the year he was traded, so then signed long-term in CGY for the payday (correct me if that's wrong).

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