WEEKEND WRAP

Jason Gregor
July 09 2012 12:07PM

After the nicest weekend of the year many of you woke up this morning with a bad farmer tan, a burnt face or visions of sun dresses and bikinis. Hopefully it was the latter, but as we gear up for an awesome week of patio weather we'll recap a conversation with Justin Schultz, who he should play with next season, dominant athletes and the Esks woeful offence.

I chatted with Schultz on Friday and my first impression is that he's a very humble young man. He consistently mentioned "If I make the team," in many of his replies. He wants to get stronger before camp, and feels that his ability to move the puck will be his best asset in the NHL. He also saw the Oilers youth, Ralph Krueger's vision and Edmonton's geographic location as major reasons why he choose the Oilers.

"I felt it was the best fit for me, if I ultimately make the team. There is a bunch of young players I'll be able to play with, the coach Ralph Krueger was a huge influence on me and just playing in Canada is going to be pretty cool. I grew up around the game in Canada, I know what it is like and it's going to be fun," said Schultz.

What about the pressure of playing in Canada?

"My buddy Jake Gardiner plays for the Leafs and he loves it. He loves that it is hockey all the time, and he did say there is pressure with it (playing in Canada), but he said it takes time to get used, so I'll see how it goes for me. I'm really looking forward to it.

What did Krueger say that influenced your decision?

"We had a pretty good conversation and he actually showed me a video clip of when he was at a Stanley Cup final game in Edmonton in 2006. He told me it will be like that there again when we start winning, and I'm excited to be a piece that can hopefully help us get there."

Did you know he was a motivational speaker, and did he motivate you during your meeting?

"He definitely fired me up. I didn't know he was a motivational speaker until after. I could have figured it out based on what he said, but he was very inspirational when he spoke to me."

What did Taylor Hall tell you about Edmonton from a player's perspective?

"Just how the fans in Edmonton love their team and how great it is to play there. He talked about the teammates and how close of a group there are. You could see his passion for his team and that was great."

Did Hall sell you on how much this team needed a young right-handed D-man?

"That was definitely part of the conversations I had with him and the Oilers. I haven't made the team yet, but if I did that was definitely an area they saw me fitting in to. That was a big factor in my decision."

What is the best attribute of your game right now?

 "I think my poise and vision on the ice. I think what really helped me in my second and third years in College was seeing the ice and making plays. Hopefully I can bring that to the Oilers."

Your former coach Mike Eaves said you are exceptional on the powerplay. What is your philosophy with the man advantage?

"Just being patient and having poise, seeing lanes, passing lanes and shot lanes. I learned a lot my first year playing with guys like Brandon Smith and Derek Stepan. Definitely my second and third year I improved a lot on the powerplay. Having the confidence to be patient leads to the most success I think."

Schultz currently weighs 190 and he said he'll be focusing on getting stronger not just gaining weight. He'll come to camp between 190 and 195 pounds.

WHO SHOULD BE PLAY WITH

There is no guarantee that Schultz will make the team, but I'd say there is a very good chance he'll be on the opening night roster, but who he plays with isn't a guarantee. There are a few options.

I'd be surprised if Krueger didn't keep Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry as a pair to start the year, so I won't include Smid as a viable option. I think Smid is the Oilers best shut down D-man and he'll face the best players on most nights, so it wouldn't make much sense to play him with a rookie.

OPTIONS

If Ryan Whitney is healthy, and he says his off-season training is going very well, then he will log a lot of minutes. When Whitney was healthy at the start of the 2010 season, he made every partner look better. He has been powerskating this summer for the first time in three years, and if he can get his footspeed back to where it was in 2012, he could be an option for Schultz.

I think Nick Schultz might be the best option if they are looking for a mentor.

He's incredibly smart, rarely makes a mistake, doesn't get caught out of position and would be a great on-ice tutor for the younger Schultz. Kevin Quinn and Jack Michaels might be the only guys who wouldn't approve of this pairing.

The only concern about playing Schultz with Schultz is that would leave Whitney to play with Corey Potter, Sutton or Peckham, unless they find a way to acquire another top-four D-man via trade or free agency. I know some fans, bloggers and media have written off Whitney and feel he is destined to be a 3rd pairing D-man. I'm not one of those guys.

Suggesting that Whitney is done is just as ridiculous as suggesting that J. Schultz is automatically ready to be a top-four D-man without playing one game. If Whitney is healthy he is still a top-four D-man, and I suspect J. Schultz will be a top-four defender, but he doesn't have to be one on opening night.

The Oilers could start Schultz on the 3rd pairing with Andy Sutton or Theo Peckham. Krueger could shelter him from facing top-six forwards for the first few months of the season and possibly make his transition to the NHL a bit easier.

I'd lean towards starting him in your 3rd pairing, while having him on the 1st or 2nd PP units.

Who do you think they should play J. Schultz with?

GREATNESS

Is Roger Federer the most dominant athlete in the last 20 years? Some will say it was Tiger Woods, but when you look at their numbers, it is hard to argue that Federer hasn't been more dominant.

  • He's won 17 majors after winning Wimbledon for the 7th time yesterday. He's won 17 majors in 10 years.
  • He's the first man to win the Wimbledon-US Open double four years in a row.
  • He's the only man to win five consecutive titles at two different Grand Slams, Wimbledon 2003-2007 and US Open 2004-2008.
  • He reached 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals, meaning he was top-four in majors for almost six straight years. Many tennis pundits feel this is his greatest record.
  • Between 2005 and 2006 he went 173-9.
  • Unlike Woods, who played minimal no-major tournaments, Federer played in more tournaments yet still won the Majors.
  • And the athleticism and endurance necessary to be a top tennis player far exceeds that of a great golfer.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

  • I like that J. Schultz wants to play in a Canadian market, and I wonder if Rick Nash really is a superstar if he only wants to play in the States. I could understand if Nash was like Roberto Luongo and spent years in a hockey hotbed, but Nash has played his entire career in Columbus, and now the only teams on his short list include Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose and New York with the Rangers. Those teams are contenders, but Ottawa was very interested and the Sens have lots of talent as well. I think Nash is very good, but he still has some "junior" tendencies in his game. He tries to beat guys one-on-one all over the ice, and while that works in junior it doesn't in the NHL. I'm guessing his new coach will remove that element from his game.
     
  • The Oilers would be better served to wait until late August to sign any of the remaining UFA defenders. The longer they wait the cheaper those players become. They could look at Michal Rozsival, Carlo Colaiacovo, Brett Clark, Pavel Kubina or Scott Hannan if they really want to add another veteran.
     
  • They currently have seven D-men signed: Whitney, Schultz, Schultz, Smid, Petry, Potter and Sutton while they've qualified Peckham and they have Colten Tuebert. They likely need another experienced guy, in case of injury, but I don't see any need to rush out and sign him this week.
     
  • Speaking of greatness, Anderson Silva is the most dominant MMA fighter. He's yet to lose in the UFC, and he crushed the #1 contender. Sonnen took Silva down early in the first round, but he didn't inflict any damage because Silva's ground defence was superior. In the 2nd round Silva showed great takedown defence, and when Sonnen slipped, Silva pounced and finished him. True champions know how to finish.
     
  • Don't be surprised if Vince McMahon goes after Sonnen. Sonnen is a great wrestler, and he'd be unreal on the WWE microphone. He is good buddies with Steve Austin, and at 35 years of age, unless Silva retires, Sonnen is never winning the middleweight belt. Sonnen could make more money in WWE as well.
     
  • Where are all the fans who thought Ricky Ray was the problem for the Esks? Ray went 30-for-40 and 407 yards in Toronto's 39-36 win over Calgary, while Steven Jyles went 10-for-19 and 91 yards and Kerry Joseph was 3-for-6 for 25 yards in the Esks 17-1 loss. Ray leads the league with 705 passing yards through two weeks, and he's doing that without any big-name receivers and an ok O-line.

    I ripped that trade when Eric Tillman made it, and I don't see how anyone is surprised the Esks offence looks woeful through two weeks. Jyles has never been consistently accurate. Sure he has a stronger arm than Ray, but being able to over throw receivers doesn't lead to many completions.

    I said Tillman was putting his job on the line when he made that deal, and unless Matt Nichols can come off the bench and make some completions the Esks are in trouble. 

SKYDIVING...DO IT

Yesterday a spry, young Marg Ritchie celebrated her 80th birthday by going skydiving. (Me, Marg and Len Pick in above photo).

I was lucky enough to be asked if I wanted to go and didn't hesitate at saying yes. I've always wanted to go skydiving, but it ended up being even better than I thought.

We jumped out from 12,500 feet (About 2 1/2 miles) and you free fall for  50-60 seconds. The parachute releases at around 5,500 feet and then you experience what it feels like to soar like a bird.

The original jump out of the plane was awesome. If you are thrill seeker, I highly recommend going. The staff at Edmonton Skydive was great and if you are worried about the landing, don't, it was very soft.

Happy 80th Marg, that was a blast.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Robin Brownlee
July 09 2012, 12:18PM
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You jumped out of a perfectly good plane? Why?

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#2 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
July 09 2012, 12:41PM
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Our Eskies have always been a good distraction to help bridge the gap between hockey seasons. By the looks of things it could be one of the longest offseasons on record. All of a sudden the coaches and management don't appear to be as smart as last year. The leagues best defence along with one of the strongest groups of receivers in the CFL, it all could come crashing down without a quarterback. Might as well put Nichols in and let him find his way.

How many sleeps till training camp arrives?

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#3 Wax Man Riley
July 09 2012, 01:34PM
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justDOit wrote:

I happen to know someone who had an accident while skydiving, and I'm with you 1000% on this one, RB!

Although you would never catch me jumping out of a plane (I barely like to get on them at the best of times)....

...I know someone that had an accident walking across the street.

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#4 match16
July 09 2012, 12:16PM
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cant wait to see our PP next year and glad to see RFed is first in the world again

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#5 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
July 09 2012, 01:11PM
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@ Jason Gregor

Missed one Jason. The rule (implemented July 1st 2010) is all newbs (OilersRidersChargers) were to be spayed/nuetered before posting here on ON. This is in conflict with article No. 8543697382567203935673 in the HFD guide.

Welcome to Oilersnation OilersRidersChargers. Please try to keep the rider pride to a minimum.

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#6 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
July 09 2012, 01:33PM
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Pair the Schultz's. Then have Colonel Klink videos played at Rexall with the infamous "SCHUUUUUULTZ!"

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#7 Rama Lama
July 09 2012, 03:31PM
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Based on his play, I think that Sutton should be give more ice time and responsibility with the younger d-men.

This guy never seems to get the recognition that he deserves......I do not recall too many time when he got beaten one on one. His reach and ability to defend makes him a solid shut-down type of defenseman. He also make poised plays with the puck and did score ocassionally with nice plays!

I say this guy is under rated.

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#8 ItsTheBGB
July 09 2012, 12:24PM
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Gregor, you are in love with summer dresses.

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#9 ubermiguel
July 09 2012, 12:25PM
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Woods fell fast and hard after his scandel, and was a non-factor in most of his tournaments. Federer has been consitently strong on all surfaces (although grass is obviously his favourite).

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#10 Tyler
July 09 2012, 12:25PM
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Why couldn't Whitney play with Petry?

Whitney - Petry Smid - J. Schultz N. Schultz - Potter/Sutton

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#11 JorgeR
July 09 2012, 12:32PM
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MMA talk? Love it.

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#12 Spydyr
July 09 2012, 12:38PM
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J. Schultz N. Schultz

Get the grizzled vet to show the kid the ropes. It really is a no brainer.

Leave Smid Petry as the #1 one unit.

J. Schultz N. Schultz as #2

The one legged man(is legged a word?) and whomever is not in the press box as #3

What I would really like to see is a top 4 d-man come in.

Big #2 center would be nice too.

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#13 justDOit
July 09 2012, 12:39PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You jumped out of a perfectly good plane? Why?

I happen to know someone who had an accident while skydiving, and I'm with you 1000% on this one, RB!

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#14 OilersRidersChargers
July 09 2012, 12:59PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

On the contrary, it was a wonderful weekend. As usual, my team is building high expectations so that they can be crushed at playoff time. I keep hoping, though. Being a Rider fan has developed enough patience for me to be able to wait through the Oiler rebuild.

(Long-time lurker, first-time poster)

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#15 Vaclav
July 09 2012, 01:04PM
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@Gregor

Jason, have you heard if the Oilers have initiated discussions with the Smid camp on a contract extension?

Given the $$$ Suter/Carle/Wideman received on their SPC's Smid's value has certainly gone up but it would appear that he would like to remain with the organization long-term. It would be great if they could come to an agreement soon so that there's no distractions around the trade deadline.

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#16 Dman09
July 09 2012, 01:16PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Our Eskies have always been a good distraction to help bridge the gap between hockey seasons. By the looks of things it could be one of the longest offseasons on record. All of a sudden the coaches and management don't appear to be as smart as last year. The leagues best defence along with one of the strongest groups of receivers in the CFL, it all could come crashing down without a quarterback. Might as well put Nichols in and let him find his way.

How many sleeps till training camp arrives?

Yup, not saying I was against trading Ray but I would have thought you would get someone more reliable as a quarterback. Its was depressing trying to watch the game last night.

MMA, I just wish someone would beat the sh*t out of Silva. If Sonnen hadn't of slipped I think it would have been a totally different story. Also did anyone notice how Silva took the vaseline from around his eyes and rubber it all over his arms shoulders and chest. And tell me this, how much do you really get off using a towel?????

Also we have too many forwards going on now and I for one would prefer to have the 4th be nothing but young guys fighting and clawing for the spots. Tuff the other Vets espically Belanger, CVV can do just as well as Belanger did last season in my opinion. What do you all think?

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#17 Jonathan Willis
July 09 2012, 01:19PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

I think it's fairer to say that the comments on Whitney are less that the Oilers should write him off and more that they're taking a risk if they rely on him.

If he is healthy and can stay healthy, he's absolutely a top-four defenseman. But how confident do you feel that he is/will be healthy? It's not a knock on the player, it's just something the team needs to include in its calculations.

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#18 Dman09
July 09 2012, 01:21PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Yup, not saying I was against trading Ray but I would have thought you would get someone more reliable as a quarterback. Its was depressing trying to watch the game last night.

MMA, I just wish someone would beat the sh*t out of Silva. If Sonnen hadn't of slipped I think it would have been a totally different story. Also did anyone notice how Silva took the vaseline from around his eyes and rubber it all over his arms shoulders and chest. And tell me this, how much do you really get off using a towel?????

Also we have too many forwards going on now and I for one would prefer to have the 4th be nothing but young guys fighting and clawing for the spots. Tuff the other Vets espically Belanger, CVV can do just as well as Belanger did last season in my opinion. What do you all think?

Just for the record not saying I'm a Sonnen fan or a Silva hater but after that fight with Mia and Silva unwillingness to engage I lost a lot of respect for him.

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#19 OilersRidersChargers
July 09 2012, 01:22PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

@ Jason Gregor

Missed one Jason. The rule (implemented July 1st 2010) is all newbs (OilersRidersChargers) were to be spayed/nuetered before posting here on ON. This is in conflict with article No. 8543697382567203935673 in the HFD guide.

Welcome to Oilersnation OilersRidersChargers. Please try to keep the rider pride to a minimum.

Had my kids already, been snipped. :-)

The plan here in Edmonton was always to find the next Travis Lulay/Drew Tate. Tillman just jumped a year early. Too bad the 1st overall in the CFL draft doesn't help as much as Nail will.

In the meantime, my Rider Pride is keeping its head down until we beat BC or Calgary.

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#20 Shredder
July 09 2012, 01:28PM
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Ricky Ray trade = stupid

Anderson Silva > Federer > Woods

Gretzky > Silva

Gregor: I've been told you look kinda like me (or the other way around)...I've definitely got the same haircut...looks good!

Did the skydiving thing last summer for my 29th bday - it was a phenomenal experience...I recommend it for anyone looking to be able to say they lived their life to the fullest (even though the actual experience is only about 15 minutes while the rest of your life is spent in front of a computer chearing on the Oilers).

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#21 gcw_rocks
July 09 2012, 01:50PM
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I would pair the Schultz's. Nick is strong enough defensively to support Schultz junior.

Ideally, the Oilers go forth and sign one more defender to work with Whitney should he be healthy, and as Whitney insurance in case his is not.

Assuming Smid and Petry are top pair, you could split the ice fairly evenly between the other two pairs if Whitney is good to go, or adjust up or two ice time between the other two pairs as the game warrants.

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#22 will
July 09 2012, 01:53PM
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I like the idea of a Schultz line, but I don't like the idea of them being our second pairing. I hope Whitney gets healthy and I hope we get another veteran depth defender like the ones suggested. That way we can have Smid and Petry on number one. A very solid and competent number 2 vet line with Whitney and ? Then the Schultz line can go out at number 3, and he can be mentored by one of the better positional defenders in the league, while playing against easier offense.

This also works nice if Yak ends up on the third line as we'll be able to see Schultz fire some nice breakout passes to the other rookie. This entire line structure gets more interesting if the D man we end up getting is Klefbomb. Then I really am praying Whitney gets healthy as a healthy Whitney Klefbomb line at 2, with the Schultz on 3 begins to get a little dicey, especially in the first half of the season.

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#23 Sean17
July 09 2012, 02:20PM
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Is it possible to get Smid on mic saying, "Hi, I'm Ladi; this is my brother Schultz, and this is my other brother Schultz."

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#24 pelhem grenville
July 09 2012, 02:43PM
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Q...HFD Guide?

hockey for dummies...speaking of dummies

Tilman ...is it at all possible our Eskimo GM got asked by Mr.MarkCohon of the CFL to trade the RickyRay to Argonauts because the Argos need to be in the hundredth GreyCup game and win it because the game's being played in Toronto?

...and how much did the Esks actually benefit

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#25 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
July 09 2012, 02:48PM
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@PG

Not sure what Tillman had to gain selling his soul to the devil like that. Grounds for dismissal is what that earns you i'd have to think. Eric sewered his own football club with this deal.

The board of directors must've ordered the rope for the public hanging by now :)

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#26 nuge2nail
July 09 2012, 03:21PM
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Oiler Domination to Follow

Whitney as our #5 potentially - is this the same oilers team?

The Defense has come a long way - we add a solid #4 cheap - short term and we will finally have D depth -

I cant believe I just said that

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#27 Weasel Wellwood
July 09 2012, 03:23PM
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WW predicts:

Whitney will come back strong; by the end of the year he'll be the Whitney that was a 1-2 dman.

Long before the end of the season we'll all know why the Schultz signing was such a big deal. 3 years from now the kid is an all star.

By the end of the year there will be no question as to why RK was the right coaching hire. Many will be drawing comparisons between he and Scotty Bowman the younger.

Within 3 years MPS and Hartikainen will be integral members of the club.

Anton Lander will disappoint.

Two of Moroz, Pitlick and Hamilton will be on the Cup winning team of 2016-17.

7 of Schultz, Schultz, Whitney, Smid, Petry, Klefbom, Teubert, Gernat, Marincin and Davidson will be on that same 16-17 cup winning team.

Tambellini will still be GM.

RNH, Hall, Yak, and Eberle will be in the scoring top 10 in 16-17.

Before they win the Cup, the Oil will have acquired a 2nd line centre with size and skill.

And finally, in order to keep the team together financially, the Oil will have to hope that Gretzky, Coffee, Messier and Anderson are able to convince the young nucleus that sometimes a home town discount is a 'life,' decision. Opportunities to go down in history, together, recognized as one of the best clubs ever assembled don't grow on trees.

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#28 Knight
July 09 2012, 03:33PM
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Ray has won nothing for the last 7 seasons, missing the playoffs many times. Would not have made it out of the west semi final in 04 if it were not for Maas. Don't disagree with trading him at all but surely the Esks could come up someone better than Jyles and Joseph???

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#29 Time Travelling Sean
July 09 2012, 04:15PM
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If you think this weather is good your crazy. I almost died just getting to the rec center.

This weather is me sitting in a cold bath all day.

It's only 2 games for the Esks, chemistry takes time, if it develops at all. It was a dumb trade but it may not be the end of the world yet.

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#31 Pucker
July 09 2012, 05:18PM
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Go Oil.

Ray/Eskimos were brought up, so I figure it's okay to comment. At the time of trade, I was sure he had someone lined up to QB (Burris). I like Ray though he's not as good as Cavillo and I think you have to be as good as Cavillo to play that style in this league. Ray will do fine but I don't believe you can win a championship nowadays with nothing to complement the drop back pocket passer.

Almost bought season tickets this year but decided against it figuring that with no QB it would mean sitting through many disappointing games. So far I don't regret that decision. Until the Offence starts doing someting, it's PVR and Esk's in an hour.

The defence looks good and much improved!!

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#32 Ring2theDing
July 09 2012, 05:19PM
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@Gregor

The Esks have to change something offensively. I don't think it has to be Jyles though. The Esks are trying to make Jyles something that he isn't instead that should be building the offence around his strengths. He's great running the ball so we should get him outside the pocket as he looks more uncomfortable inside it then the thought of Brownlee skydiving ;).

The offense needs to change more the Jyles because there is no better option. Joseph doesn't have it anymore and Nichol isn't ready. Sask just pinned their ears back and flew up field towards Jyles because he was hopeless under pressure yet I didn't see a single screen play aside from one near the beginning of the game before Sask was really coming hard.

Make the offense fits the players instead of forcing players into an offense.

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#33 Spydyr
July 09 2012, 07:12PM
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I have no issue with trading Ray.He never was a favourite of mine.

Pocket passer below average arm and very little mobility.

To win in the CFL requires a scrambling QB with a better than average arm.

The issue I have with Tillman is not replacing Ray.

Jyles and Joseph, come on now.

There should have been at least two late NFL cuts from last year in camp along with a journeyman washed up by NFL standard QB.

Maybe even a couple undersized (again by NFL standard) recent college grads.

Tillman had to know what he had in camp would not cut it.If he didn't that is grounds to let him go.Gross incompetence.

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#34 Reg Dunlop
July 09 2012, 11:59PM
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The skimos are, what,1-1? Relax. It's too early for an Ottawa Roughrider-type player airlift.

Federer is an all-time great but could he beat Serena Williams? Maybe in a tennis match but in a fight? No chance, he would be outweighed and out-gunned.

Fights. Silva. I would like to see a return to classic UFC, no weight categories, no time limit and no rules. Nut shots and all. Real blood sport. Roice Gracie remains unparalleled.

What to do with Schultz? The play at even strength is going to come at him faster than imagined. He needs to play 3rd pairing competition, with Sutton as mentor/protector. The PP is another story. He will have time to see the ice and should succeed right away. As far as the Col. Klink video, good idea. A less good idea would be to show a Col. Hogan home movie(that Bob Crane was a naughty boy)

Quick asked how many zzzz until camp? I for one am too excited to sleep. Bring it on NOW.

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#35 Reagan
July 10 2012, 06:55AM
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I did the very same jump 10 years ago and loved that feeling. You are so not in control and you feel so free. It is a true rush!

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