MEDICALS AND MORE

Jason Gregor
January 13 2013 09:13AM

The Edmonton Oiler players are up and at it early this morning as medicals started at 7:30 a.m. The usual eye test, VO2 max and overall checkups will take close to 90 minutes. Then the players will do a plethora of photo shoots and promo campaigns before they hit the ice tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. at Rexall Place.

Usually the players loathe medicals, but after being locked out for four months all of them were smiling as they made their way from station to station. The players are just as excited, maybe even more, than the fans to get the season started.

The Oilers open up on the road on next Sunday in Vancouver, and then their home opener is on Tuesday January 22nd v. the San Jose Sharks. You can see the entire schedule here.

The big difference about medicals this year is that the Oilers need to be out of here by noon due to the Edmonton Rush home opener at 2 p.m when they host the Toronto Rock. It will make for a hectic day for those administrating the tests, because usually they'd have all day to tear down their stations, but they have a mucher shorter deadline.

QUICK HITS

  • Lost in all the hype surrounding Justin Schultz, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall's offensive numbers in OKC and the KHL is how healthy Ales Hemsky is. Hemsky hasn't been 100% healthy in almost two years, but he feels great and was tearing up the Czech league with 14 goals and 32 points in 27 games. The kids need to be solid, but if the Oilers are going to compete for the playoffs I think Ales Hemsky and Ryan Whitney need to be the players they've shown they can be in the past. Hemsky is still an incredibly skilled player, and now that he's healthy I expect him to have a solid campaign.
     
  • Nikolai Khabibulin is injured and Yann Danis will be here according to camp roster. Oilers are saying it is precautionary, but with Khaibulin's recent injuries it has to be a bit of a concern.
     
  • With Hall, RNH and Eberle likely to start the season together, Hemsky won't have to face the best defender every night, and he should flourish against 2nd and sometimes 3rd pairing defenders.
     
  • Interesting decision by the Canadiens. They have told Scott Gomez to stay home and they will buy him out next summer. The Habs will pay him $5.5 million to sit at home while he takes $7.35 million off their cap hit. Ouch.
     
  • Tim Thomas is not reporting to Bruins camp and will be suspended. Thomas' $5 million cap hit will count against the Bruins' cap unless they trade him. The Bruins only have $1.3 million in cap space right now and Thomas' decision not to report could impact what they do at the trade deadline.
     
  • Jamie Benn and P.K Subban didn't report to camps this morning. The Stars and Habs need them in camp soon, but right now Kypreos reported they aren't close to a deal.
     
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins looks like he's put on five pounds of muscle. His upper body is a thicker and he said his shoulder feels fine. He's only played six games since Dec 3rd, so he will be rested and ready to go when the season starts.
     
  • If you are itching to see some action at Rexall Place I'd recommend watching the Edmonton Rush today at 2 p.m. First overall draft pick Mark Matthews makes his Rush debut, and the 6'4", 225 pounder sniper is the first superstar forward the Rush have ever had. He'll be worth the price of admission.
     
  • The Oiler practices on Monday- Wednesday will be open to the public. Doors open at 10 a.m and practice starts at 11 a.m.
     
  • UPDATES

  • Justin Schultz will be paired with Nick Schultz to start camp said Krueger. 

  • Contrary to earlier reports Yann Danis is not in attendance at camp. Khabibulin and Dubnyk will be the only goalies in camp, to start at least. Interesting that Danis was on camp roster early in morning but not now.
     
  • Krueger said he will start season with 14 forwards and 7 D-men. I wonder if that changes before Sunday. The Oilers choose 2nd on the waiver wire behind Columbus and the Blue Jackets don't need any D-men. I think the Oilers will want to add another veteran D-man, and might look at the waiver wire.
     
  • Cam Barker has signed a one-year deal with Vancouver. Many teams are desperate for some depth on the blueline, and the Oilers and Red Wings are at the top of that list. Things are dire when Barker lands a contract. I'm happy for any guy who gets a contract, but I will be surprised if he plays more than 15 games for Van. They signed him as depth guy. Oilers need to find some depth for their blueline, because none of their defenders in OKC are ready to step in and play if the injury bug bites the Oilers.
      
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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 Archaeologuy
January 13 2013, 09:19AM
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Khabi Injured, Danis in camp! Music to my ears. Turns out that isn't true...Oh well.

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#2 lucky
January 13 2013, 09:22AM
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What can Thomas be thinking? Not enhancing his trade value, that is for sure.

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#3 GSP
January 13 2013, 09:36AM
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Any chance oilers try to get subban?? Maybe Petry, MPS & a pick??

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#4 book¡e
January 13 2013, 09:40AM
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Thomas is building his own personal bunker for when Obama brings in UN troops to take away everyone's guns so that he can finish his socialist takeover of the country. Seriously, have you read any of the guys rants online. If I were his teammate, I would rather he not come.

As per Yan vs Nik, I would rather have Nik as a back up. I think he would the better goalie for 8-12 games and would be a better goalie mentor.

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#5 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 13 2013, 09:41AM
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Super excited to see Hemsky roll out a full healthy season.

The kids are obviously the most important part of the puzzle but I still get more excited and/or frustrated by my old stand-bys: hemsky and smid.

WHat are the chances Tambi throws an offer sheet at Benn or Subban... is that possible?

(I think I saw Benn at my dentist over the holidays... might have been a hockey mirage)

@Gregor... are you sure the kids will be sent out against the top QoC? I'm sure Hall could handle the pressure... but I'd expect Gagner-Hemsky +1 to take on those cats and leave RNH-Eberle +1 to tackle the softies...

@Lucky... Thomas is partly insane and convinced the world needs his vast "faux-libertarian" brain to sort out the problems of executive over-reach

also... any chance the Oil are saying Nik is "unhealthy" in order to torpedo his final 48 games as an Oiler early... a different version of the Gomez ordeal.

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#6 a lg dubl dubl
January 13 2013, 09:48AM
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GSP wrote:

Any chance oilers try to get subban?? Maybe Petry, MPS & a pick??

I dont see that happening imo, even though it would be sweet to have Subban in Oiler colors, I think he wants close to the 6mil mark and that might be a little to much with having to re-sign J.Shultz after next season and RNH after this year, both will want close to that too.

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#7 justDOit
January 13 2013, 09:52AM
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@a lg dubl dubl

And with the way that Petry improved over the course of last season, I think it would be crazy to trade him now - and he just signed a pretty friendly contract.

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#8 justDOit
January 13 2013, 09:54AM
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The only conclusion that we can draw from Thomas' actions, is that he's a man of his convictions. We don't know his reasons for not playing this season, and therefore shouldn't be making assumptions on his mental abilities.

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#9 a lg dubl dubl
January 13 2013, 09:56AM
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My wish list this year:

Gagner shuts up the "critics" with a break out year

Hemsky has a full season of health and can be the point/game player he can be

Dubnyk wins wins 20-25 of the 35 I expect him to play

Oilers make the playoffs between the 4 and 6th seed

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#10 a lg dubl dubl
January 13 2013, 10:00AM
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justDOit wrote:

And with the way that Petry improved over the course of last season, I think it would be crazy to trade him now - and he just signed a pretty friendly contract.

Him and Smid have been lights out,for the most part, playing together. Your're right it would be a shame to trade him right now, Peckham on the other hand....

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#11 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 13 2013, 10:04AM
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justDOit wrote:

The only conclusion that we can draw from Thomas' actions, is that he's a man of his convictions. We don't know his reasons for not playing this season, and therefore shouldn't be making assumptions on his mental abilities.

Except that Thomas was very clear about WHY he was planning to take a year off:

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/story/2012/06/03/sp-tim-thomas-facebook.html

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2012/06/04/tim_thomas_facebook/

and... yes... he's crazy (in the pejorative, non-medical sense).

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#12 Dave Lumley
January 13 2013, 10:15AM
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GSP wrote:

Any chance oilers try to get subban?? Maybe Petry, MPS & a pick??

I think Subban will be sitting for a while. Montreal has cap problems along with a lot of other teams. Player will see that the new cap era won't get them historic salary jumps.It will take some time to see where that new normal is.

If he can be signed for a resonable dollar, it would be great to see him in Edmonton. How about Yak & Gagner for Galchenyuk, Subban and a second.

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#13 Chet134
January 13 2013, 10:15AM
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Gregor, I think u should come out and admit u have a man crush for Hemsky. I listen to ur radio show and read ur blogs all the time. If another player on the team is having some kind of success in the ahl or khl, you always say its not the NHL. Its a second rate league and i agree. But you always look at the negative of that players success. This year Hemsky has had a good couple months but not once have you mentioned the lack of talent in the Czech leaque, the no hit rule pr playing on big ice. Hemsky has put up the stats in his career but unforntinately he has been injuryed the last three or four years. Thats his own doing cuz when you play in the tough areas plus get older, you have to make sure your body is prepared for the wear and tear. Hemsky has elected not to the extra work. Who cares what he's done in the past cuz the oilers need to move forward. They can't afford to have a 5million dollar player who only plays 50 games a year even if they have 45 points. Hemsky has used his get out of jail card with the Oilers. Also when Gagner called put the vets at the end of last year about not accepting their roles, he was talking about Hemsky. Tambo has decided to keep Hemsky around and now they have damaged goods. Best case senerio Hemsky stays healthy and they get something for him. Hemsky has been his own evil due to his lack of professionalism off the ice ie weights. I admit you have somewhat changed your stance on Hemsky this year and they should think of trade him. However the fans want you to come out and say you are secretly in love with him.

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#14 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 13 2013, 10:19AM
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Chet134 wrote:

Gregor, I think u should come out and admit u have a man crush for Hemsky. I listen to ur radio show and read ur blogs all the time. If another player on the team is having some kind of success in the ahl or khl, you always say its not the NHL. Its a second rate league and i agree. But you always look at the negative of that players success. This year Hemsky has had a good couple months but not once have you mentioned the lack of talent in the Czech leaque, the no hit rule pr playing on big ice. Hemsky has put up the stats in his career but unforntinately he has been injuryed the last three or four years. Thats his own doing cuz when you play in the tough areas plus get older, you have to make sure your body is prepared for the wear and tear. Hemsky has elected not to the extra work. Who cares what he's done in the past cuz the oilers need to move forward. They can't afford to have a 5million dollar player who only plays 50 games a year even if they have 45 points. Hemsky has used his get out of jail card with the Oilers. Also when Gagner called put the vets at the end of last year about not accepting their roles, he was talking about Hemsky. Tambo has decided to keep Hemsky around and now they have damaged goods. Best case senerio Hemsky stays healthy and they get something for him. Hemsky has been his own evil due to his lack of professionalism off the ice ie weights. I admit you have somewhat changed your stance on Hemsky this year and they should think of trade him. However the fans want you to come out and say you are secretly in love with him.

this is like the gold standard of garbled, unfounded assumptions crammed into semi-coherent prose.

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#15 @NateInVegas
January 13 2013, 10:29AM
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Rangers re-signed Del Zotto 2 years $2.55M. Damn.

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#16 Chet134
January 13 2013, 10:33AM
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Hey Apotheosis, you say that cuz you are one of these Oiler homers that want to keep Smyth and Horkoff around or give Smyth the captaincy. I look at the big picture of this club moving forward. Its a salary cap era and the cap going down next year plus the Nug has to sign for big money. I would rather sign players like Perry Geztlaf. These players will now come to Edmonton and they don't have injury problems. More bang for ur buck. Zero injury problems

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#17 Dave
January 13 2013, 10:47AM
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This is just a question ... Is Subban a good team mate. Would he be good for team chemistry ?

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#18 Mikey
January 13 2013, 10:49AM
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Chet134 wrote:

Hey Apotheosis, you say that cuz you are one of these Oiler homers that want to keep Smyth and Horkoff around or give Smyth the captaincy. I look at the big picture of this club moving forward. Its a salary cap era and the cap going down next year plus the Nug has to sign for big money. I would rather sign players like Perry Geztlaf. These players will now come to Edmonton and they don't have injury problems. More bang for ur buck. Zero injury problems

Who has ever mentioned giving smyth the C? It's been a salary cap era since 2005. And the cap is not going down. It's staying at 64mil same as last year. The two players listed will also want "Big money"

PS Getzlaf has a history of injury...

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#19 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 13 2013, 10:56AM
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Chet134 wrote:

Hey Apotheosis, you say that cuz you are one of these Oiler homers that want to keep Smyth and Horkoff around or give Smyth the captaincy. I look at the big picture of this club moving forward. Its a salary cap era and the cap going down next year plus the Nug has to sign for big money. I would rather sign players like Perry Geztlaf. These players will now come to Edmonton and they don't have injury problems. More bang for ur buck. Zero injury problems

Well.. Mikey covered most of this...

but first off... I think it would help if you didn't treat the players on the team as if it were a zero-sum game.

You have to ice roughly 14 forwards... just because your preference falls to a particular cluster of players doesn't mean you can so easily dismiss the talents of the others.

Also... while you are adding players to the team (Perry and Getzlaf) you might as well throw in Kopitar, Crosby, Gretzky c. 1984, Orr and Todd Harvey.

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#20 michael
January 13 2013, 11:00AM
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Is practice tomorrow at 1100 am open to the public? Or is it closed. Is at Rexall?

Also with the season starting will we see expanded coverage by the Team 1260 on the weekends.Will Strudwick be "the guy" leading the postgame show.Love Struds btw he is really coming into his own as a host and as an interviewer. His personality makes him the perfect host for the 9-12 spot. Laid back and reserved.He definitely offers a different perspective. I would like to see Goerges Laraque join him as co-host some nights.That would be a blast. Is there going to be an effort by the Team 1260 to give us not only the most complete Oilers coverage.But the most complete hockey coverage on the weekends. IMO it seems that the coverage during the weekends is very little in terms of the Teams coverage of the NHL. There seems to me dead air come Saturday and Sunday unless your a football fan or a WHL fan. Or a Rush fan. The NHL it seems has to wait till the Monday morning show to become news once again.

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#21 Chet134
January 13 2013, 11:06AM
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Actually the salary cap is 70 million this year and 64 million next year. Geztlaf last five years 82, 67,66, 77,80 games. Plus he's younger with size and a centre man, with grit and an Olympian.. Wouldnt u want to spend the money on him than hemsky. Everything the oilers need. If u listen to the radio, a lot of fans want the Oilers to buyout horkoff and give the captaincy to Smyth. Smyth was great in his day and I respect that but his skating has really fallen off and he's 37 years old.

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#22 15w40
January 13 2013, 11:07AM
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Trading Thomas to a team trying to reach the cap floor is a no brainer. Get the contract but you don't have to shell out the actual dough. Next year - see ya as he is a UFA.

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#23 Archaeologuy
January 13 2013, 11:14AM
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Ah, man. Yann Danis is not actually in camp. Just an error on the press release. :(

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#24 Dave Lumley
January 13 2013, 11:15AM
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@michael

Struds and Georges? There's a car crash waiting to happen, but it might be fun to be a spectator.

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#25 Harlie
January 13 2013, 11:20AM
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Sounds like somebody forgot his aspirin and gatorade this morning.

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#28 Miley
January 13 2013, 11:29AM
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Chet134 wrote:

Actually the salary cap is 70 million this year and 64 million next year. Geztlaf last five years 82, 67,66, 77,80 games. Plus he's younger with size and a centre man, with grit and an Olympian.. Wouldnt u want to spend the money on him than hemsky. Everything the oilers need. If u listen to the radio, a lot of fans want the Oilers to buyout horkoff and give the captaincy to Smyth. Smyth was great in his day and I respect that but his skating has really fallen off and he's 37 years old.

Where did I say I didn't want Getzlaf? He is a great hockey player. Oh so you do know how the salary cap is going to work, so why did you say it was going down? Thanks for using Wikipedia, to prove me correct. I don't listen to the radio, so I don't know people are saying that.

I just read your first post. Ganger was talking about Horcoff and smyth. Both have admitted that. Maybe it included Hemsky, we don't know that has no one had come forth.

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#29 OilersBrass
January 13 2013, 11:29AM
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@Chet134

I can't wait for Hemsky to silence all of his critics (haters) this year. He plays well with other highly skilled players, and i'm sure we'll see good things out of him this year.

Ps. I also have a man crush on Hemsky.... Ya I said it!.... So what?

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#30 justDOit
January 13 2013, 11:53AM
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Canucks just signed Barker.

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#31 Taylor Gang
January 13 2013, 12:00PM
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With Kruger playing the lines properly this year rather than Gagner and Hemsky on the THIRD line, I expect both of them to have good years. Yakupov will finish on the passes Hemmer dishes and Gagner will finally play with people who complement his skill set. Definitely going to be a good year my friends.

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#32 gazmort
January 13 2013, 12:02PM
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@justDOit

OK, where's DSF? I need to hear his take on that one!

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#33 Bushed
January 13 2013, 12:05PM
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Good points, Gregor.

I also look forward to seeing Hemsky play healthy, and finally with some linemates with speed and skill--long overdue. Yak is the triggerman with positional awareness that Hemmer has always needed to get to the next level. If he also gets second line minutes (with Yak), look out!

Now all they need is a center with speed and size... (sorry, not a Gagner fan)...

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#34 DSF
January 13 2013, 12:10PM
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gazmort wrote:

OK, where's DSF? I need to hear his take on that one!

#8 depth D at league minimum.

The Canucks have very little cap space so couldn't go much higher.

They also have a pretty good track record of getting players' careers back on track...like Chris Higgins.

I think you'll see more than a few teams adding depth D this week since a compressed schedule is likely to take its toll on defensemen.

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#35 gazmort
January 13 2013, 12:12PM
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@DSF

Blah! I was looking forward to something much more myopic. I hate it when you're rational.

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#36 Rama Lama
January 13 2013, 12:12PM
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If Hemsky wanted to silence his critics all he would have to do is sign up for a Gary Roberts training session. Anyone who can complete this will know exactly the meaning of hard work.......but more importantly do their body good and enhance their career.

I like Hemsky's skill, allway have, but skill alone does not make you successful. I will say that for most of his career he has had to play with marginal talent such as Horcoff, who has no ability to convert a play. Perhaps Hemsky sensed this more acutely than the rest of us, and that's why he carries the play so much as an individual.

Not having to carry Horcoff around and to be able to play with talent, may just turn his fortunes around.

Either way, he has to show the fans he is a different player. If he does, the past two years will be frogotten very quickly.

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#37 DSF
January 13 2013, 12:14PM
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gazmort wrote:

Blah! I was looking forward to something much more myopic. I hate it when you're rational.

Jason Brough ‏@JasonPHT

Re: Cam Barker. Remember, can send down to minors with no cap hit and no re-entry waivers anymore. Low risk signing. Not your money.

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#38 justDOit
January 13 2013, 12:15PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Except that Thomas was very clear about WHY he was planning to take a year off:

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/story/2012/06/03/sp-tim-thomas-facebook.html

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2012/06/04/tim_thomas_facebook/

and... yes... he's crazy (in the pejorative, non-medical sense).

He wrote that he needs to spend more time with friends, family and faith. Wow. Crazy.

And because he snubbed the whitehouse invite, I guess that clinches the diagnosis, doesn't it? We can't have any voices of dissent, let alone those in the public eye!

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#39 stevezie
January 13 2013, 12:21PM
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Tim Thomas is a grown up. If he doesn't want to go to work and can afford not to I have no problem with him taking time off. True he signed a contract and is screwing the Bruins, but it is clear the teams see the players as cattle, why should the players see the teams as anything more than sources of income?

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#40 justDOit
January 13 2013, 12:23PM
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DSF wrote:

Jason Brough ‏@JasonPHT

Re: Cam Barker. Remember, can send down to minors with no cap hit and no re-entry waivers anymore. Low risk signing. Not your money.

Wait - what? No re-entry waivers? That's a huge difference in the way teams can manage their assets.

So yeah, Barker would have been a good addition for the OKC Barons, and good insurance for call-ups.

Edit: And Barker would have made Plante look speedy in OKC.

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#41 stevezie
January 13 2013, 12:26PM
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@DSF

Everything you are saying is true, but good mercy have they seen the man play recently? Wasn't he cut by his AHL team? I'm just surprised he was the best 8th D available.

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#42 Time Travelling Sean
January 13 2013, 12:28PM
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Barker is a liability, there has to be someone out there better than him that's available.

Also the Bruins gave TT his last shot at the NHL and he just decides to have a mid-life crisis and screws them over?

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#43 DSF
January 13 2013, 12:37PM
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stevezie wrote:

Everything you are saying is true, but good mercy have they seen the man play recently? Wasn't he cut by his AHL team? I'm just surprised he was the best 8th D available.

Certainly wouldn't have been my first choice but finding someone who will play for $700K would be tough.

When you consider the Oilers #8 D is Teubert, at $900K, I'm not sure there is a big gap between the two.

The Canucks have also invited Frankie Corrado to camp so, if the were to make the roster, Barker might end up #9 on the depth chart.

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#44 DSF
January 13 2013, 12:44PM
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Pierre LeBrun ‏@Real_ESPNLeBrun

To wit: the Oilers paid Barker $2.5M to be a top 4 defenceman. Van will pay him $700K to be a 7-8 defenceman. Ok. I'm moving on now :)

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#45 gazmort
January 13 2013, 12:48PM
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@Jason Gregor

Jason, any idea when Sportsnet will release their TV schedule? As of right now on the Oilers site it appears that their home opener will only be available via radio :-)

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#46 EHH Team
January 13 2013, 12:52PM
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I am a bit confused about why the Habs would send Gomez home to sit at full pay. Does he not take up a roster spot?

It might not matter, but presumably his full cap hit would apply for this season.

The risk of him being injured to the extent of not being able to be bought out at the end of the season might be just as high in Alaska, dodging bullets from Sarah Palin.

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#47 EHH Team
January 13 2013, 12:54PM
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DSF wrote:

Pierre LeBrun ‏@Real_ESPNLeBrun

To wit: the Oilers paid Barker $2.5M to be a top 4 defenceman. Van will pay him $700K to be a 7-8 defenceman. Ok. I'm moving on now :)

The Oilers signed him when many believed he could be a top 4 defenceman. The Canucks signed him when few believe he can be a top 7 defenceman.

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#48 stevezie
January 13 2013, 12:54PM
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@EHH Team

Because if he gets hurt he can't by bought out. They feel his contributions to the team are not worth the risk that he would submarine their cap next year, too.

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#49 Chet134
January 13 2013, 01:05PM
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Thanks Rama Lama. I agree with u totally. For me Hemsky has to put two good years in. But the question is can this club afford to take that chance to spend 5 millions dollars this player.

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#50 a lg dubl dubl
January 13 2013, 01:09PM
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@gazmort

The home opener will be on tsn, as for sportsnet...no idea yet.

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