OILER CAMP AND CANADIANS NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH!

Jason Gregor
January 06 2013 12:49PM

It took 113 days but the NHL and their players agreed to a new 10-year CBA early this morning. There is an opt-out clause after eight years, so the best news is that we won't have to go through this until the summer of 2020, mainly because I don't trust either side to not use the opt-out clause. Either way, it is great that NHL hockey is back.

So what happens now?

Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz will not be in the lineup this afternoon for the OKC Barons. They will arrive in Edmonton as soon as they pack up their stuff, most likely on Monday. Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Corey Potter and Lennart Petrell will need to get here from Europe, so depending on flights they will arrive Monday or Tuesday.

The Oilers, like the rest of the NHL, will have an abbreviated training camp and most teams will likely have 14-15 forwards, 8 D-men and either 2 or 3 goalies depending on injuries.

Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner, Petrell, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Jones, Ben Eager, Eric Belanger and Darcy Hordichuk will be there.

J.Schultz, Potter, Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney, Nick Schultz, Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham will suit up on Thursday or Friday while Devan Dubnyk and Nikolai Khabibulin will tend the twine.

Teemu Hartikainen and Colten Tuebert will be coming to camp as well. They will play today in OKC and then be recalled once the CBA is officially ratified.

Hartikainen has been very consistent in OKC and I expect he will be on the Oiler's opening night roster. The Oilers might recall one other forward to make it five even lines, but whether that is Anton Lander, Marc Arcobello or Magnus Paajarvi they will only be here for a brief time. None of them will make the final roster, unless there is an injury in training camp.

As for signing a veteran D-man to replace the injured Andy Sutton, the Oilers will look at that, but none of the free agents like Chris Campoli, Kurtis Foster, Brett Clark or Kurt Sauer are very enticing. I wonder if Campoli's appearance as one of the figureheads of the NHLPA will hinder him from getting a contract.

It sounds like Khabibulin will be cleared to practice during training camp, but the Oilers will rely heavily on Devan Dubnyk. This is his year to show he can be a reliable and consistent starting goalie.

FINAL THOUGHT

Why are some Canadians so quick to avoid saying we are the best at anything?

There is nothing wrong with stating the truth. That isn't arrogance, it is a fact. Canada is still the best hockey Nation in the world. Period. Cam Cole is one of my favourite writers of all time, and he could write circles around any of my articles, but his column after Canada's 5-1 loss to the USA at the World Junior Championships illustrated how Canadians SHOULDN'T think.

He stated we need to accept that hockey isn't OUR game anymore. 

A loss in a big game at any level — junior, world, Olympic — should no longer come as a shock. It’s not even a 50/50 proposition to win an elite international tournament now, it’s more like 1-in-4. And more than any other threat to Canada’s predominance as the fount of professional talent, it’s the United States, with its 22 NHL teams and mushrooming participation numbers and college programs that prize speed and skill over blow-up hits, that may well be passing us within a decade.

Why are some Canadians wired to downplay our accomplishments and admit defeat, rather than hold our head up high after a loss and recognize that we are still the best?

Cole, and many other media and fans, suggested that the same United States program that didn't even qualify for the playoffs at last year's WJC is now suddenly poised to pass us in the next decade. Please. We just finished a stretch with 14 consecutive medals, yet now we are on the verge of losing out title as the best?

Wake the hell up!

I can understand the Americans wanting to believe this. They know that Canada is better than them at hockey, and they love it when they can upset the champion. Make no mistake we are still the best, and not grabbing a medal at the WJC for the first time in 15 years doesn't change that.

What Canada needs to do is keep improving. It is hard to stay at the top, but we've done it for the last century, so there is no point just stoping now..

Yes, the USA and the other countries are improving, and yes there is no guarantee we will win every big tournament, especially in a sudden-death format, but to just roll over and say it isn't OUR game is ludicrous and unacceptable.

Stop thinking that it is bad to proudly state we are the best hockey nation in the world. It's a fact. Every stat proves it.

Being the best isn't just about winning, it's about always having a chance to win.

Let's look at the WJC since 2000. There have been 14 tournaments and here are the medal totals.

Canada 13: 5 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze.
Russia 11: 3 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze.
USA 5:        3 Gold and 2 Bronze.
Sweden 5: 1Gold, 3 Silver and 1 Bronze.
Czech 3:     2 Gold and 1 Bronze.
Finland 4:   4 Bronze

The Czechs won Gold in 2000 and 2001. Back then everyone said they were the new world power, combined with their 1998 Olympic Gold medal. Does anyone believe that now? The Czech junior program is in shambles, and they are producing fewer elite players every year.

Canada has played for Gold ten times in the 2000s, Russia did eight times, Sweden four and the USA three. I would suggest that being the best means you are in the hunt for the gold every year, and Canada is always right there. We haven't won the Gold in four years, despite going 21-4 in those tournaments. So can we please stop with suggestions that we aren't the best.

It hurts to lose, especially for those kids who play, but can we please stop being so bloody insecure and start believing that we aren't the best.

Canada still produces the majority of the best players in the world.

In 2012, Canada had 10 of the top-20 scorers in the NHL.
In 2011, Canada had 11 of the top-20 scorers in the NHL.

It is true the other countries are getting better, but rather than relinquish our title as "Best in the World" why don't we focus on keeping it?

Canada won five consecutive gold medals from 1993-1997. During the "dark years" of 1998-2004 many suggested, and sadly most were from Canada, that we had lost our spot a top the hockey rankings. They were wrong because we won five straight gold medals again from 2005-2009.

I'd expect the Americans, Swedes and Russians to believe and say they are taking over, but for Canadians, especially some media members, to think it and write about it shows me that they are the ones who lack true character, not the players on the ice.

It's okay to say Canada is the best, because it is true.

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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 Time Travelling Sean
January 06 2013, 12:57PM
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The Americans win one game every 10 years and make a movie about it.

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#2 They're $hittie
January 06 2013, 01:10PM
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I remember from 2002 - 2006 the mens team won almost every game they played. Remember the world cup? Wow.

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#3 mike
January 06 2013, 01:11PM
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let the race to the finish begin. Cannot wait and have no ill feelings about the lock out. Saved me a whole lot of cash and now I get fire wagon hockey till June. Awesome.

If campoli doesnt get a deal that's BS. And I don't think that will happen. Its a business, that part is over and now the GM's can start trying to one up eachother and find holes in the cba.

game on!!!!!

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#4 The Oilers Shot Clock
January 06 2013, 01:16PM
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@Time Travelling Sean

You know whats more frustrating?....Fighting with an American over what was more significant, the 72 Summit, or the 80 Olympics.

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#5 Scott in Grande Prairie
January 06 2013, 01:18PM
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Couldn't agree more, Gregor.

I don't always agree with Cole, but I'll always read his stuff. When he worked in Edmonton, he did a lot of great work, and his line about Calgary "being a city of large hats and small trophy cases" cemented my readership loyalty forever.

But Cole can be a bit on the cynical side and sometimes he reaches too far to satisfy it.

Cole tries to draw a parallel between Canada and its superiority-complex with hockey with England's superiority-complex with soccer, but it didn't really hold much water. Canada's record, internationally, is far more impressive with hockey than England's is with the World Cup or Olympics.

England is obviously a soccer-mad nation, but, internationally, it's not overly "soccer-successful." Canada is hockey-successful-and-hockey-mad.

I'll always read Cole's stuff, but I think he's a little off-the-mark-cynical this time around.

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#6 Jaw17
January 06 2013, 01:21PM
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Of course we're the best I can't even believe people are suggesting otherwise, we proved it in 72 and we keep proving it to this day! Btw I just rewatched the 72 summit documentary great movie!

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#7 justDOit
January 06 2013, 01:26PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

You know whats more frustrating?....Fighting with an American over what was more significant, the 72 Summit, or the 80 Olympics.

An 8 game series that brought together two diametrically opposed political ideologies can not compare to a single-game elimination tournament. Ask your friend what he thinks would have happened if they played the Soviets seven more times before a medal was awarded.

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#8 Czar
January 06 2013, 01:26PM
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"It's okay to say Canada is the best, because it is true."

Spoken like a true Canadian and this doesn't just apply to hockey! Good job Gregor and heres to starting another 13 yr run of medals next December.

Go Oilers!

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#9 Jman
January 06 2013, 01:27PM
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Me and my buddies all agreed that when KP was given the task of assembling Canada's team we were not winning any golds until he was gone. His track record shows he has no eye for top end talent. He was one of the big reasons the Oilers franchise has been in the basement the last few years. Jesse Niinimaki? Marc Pouliot ? Alex Plante? First rounders off the board at the time. Great picks, thanks KP. Watching Canada the last couple of years our teams were just not good enough. I believe we had the players available to make a much better team. I also believe his coaching choices have been suspect. In a short tournament you need a coach who can light a fire under the team. Brent Sutter was perfect because his hard line approach can't get old to his players in a short tournament. Hay and Spott do not seem to have this personality thats why they didn't succeed.

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#10 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 06 2013, 01:30PM
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Men's Hockey is increasingly talent and enthusiasm diffuse and parity, or near-parity, is nigh on the horizon.

I agree that anyone spelling the doom of Canadian Hockey is off their rocker and Cole appears to over-step reasonable comment in order to excite his readers.

But, it seems to me there is no reason to counter him so stridently and to throw "character" into the mix is off-putting.

Besides, anyone who enjoys the nature of contest ought to be overjoyed that Canada has to work that much harder to justify its claims.

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#11 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 06 2013, 01:32PM
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Is Fedun not expected at the camp?

and... will there be exhibition games?

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#12 OilClog
January 06 2013, 01:33PM
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Hemsky leads the Oilers in scoring this season.

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#13 justDOit
January 06 2013, 01:36PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

I've read there will be a shortened TC and no preseason games.

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#14 Oiler Al
January 06 2013, 01:40PM
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No Canada is not certified to win the gold every year, but come on, with a star studded [ maybe] team, is Bronze to much to ask for.

I still blame Spott,in a couple of area, his, coaching, and he was a big part of the team selection.Mind you anything Predergast puts his hands on is not a guaranteed winner either.

No doubt there are a lot of players, in the worlds that toil in the Canadian leagues, but I think teams like Sweden and USA put more time into training, especially at the early ages.

Jr.hockey in Canada is a big business, making and worth millions of dollars, many games, much travel on top of it , plus schooling, means not enough time to develop and train players.

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#15 justDOit
January 06 2013, 01:42PM
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The big question: Will Nail leave his home team to come to the NHL this season? Will he make the team if he does? He has to have been the busiest player during the summer and lockout, and maybe he will want to come to a proper TC next season and have time to adjust to the NHL game?

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#16 bazmagoo
January 06 2013, 01:50PM
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The funny thing about the lockout is the people that are emotionally invested are the ones screaming that they won't be back. More than likely they will be back, and with bells on.

Considering it was somewhat anticipated that the lockout would last until January then the NHL would start it's actual negotiating I'm not sure why anyone is terribly surprised to see it resolved now.

I'd say the one thing that boycotting anything NHL could accomplish is to get rid of Bettman, which I think would be a step forward for the game. It would be interesting if the captain of the Stanley Cup winner refused to shake his hand during the cup ceremony, haha, but maybe that is a little dramatic.

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#17 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 06 2013, 01:53PM
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justDOit wrote:

The big question: Will Nail leave his home team to come to the NHL this season? Will he make the team if he does? He has to have been the busiest player during the summer and lockout, and maybe he will want to come to a proper TC next season and have time to adjust to the NHL game?

I could see the team maybe wanting to have him settled for once...

but presumably that would mean here in the NHL. Moreover, they are going to want to show off their new shiny toy.

as far as Yak is concerned... I think he'll fight his way back here... he wants the brightest lights on him and he knows that means the NHL.

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#18 bazmagoo
January 06 2013, 01:55PM
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justDOit wrote:

The big question: Will Nail leave his home team to come to the NHL this season? Will he make the team if he does? He has to have been the busiest player during the summer and lockout, and maybe he will want to come to a proper TC next season and have time to adjust to the NHL game?

Nail will be there, and make the team. Can't remember if any #1 overall pick hasn't played during the first year of eligibility in recent years. I'm more worried about Nail fitting into the room, that will be an interesting dynamic but I think he's got the personality & competitiveness to pull it off.

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#19 m3sh
January 06 2013, 01:56PM
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Nicely said Gregor. Cole couldn't be more off the mark.

I feel it's probably a bit knee jerk to blame it all on Prendergast, but I won't deny we've been less successful since. But did Prendergast cause the great collapse last year in the 3rd period with the Russians? Could he have predicted the collapse against the Americans year before?

Scouts scout. Coaches coach. Players play.

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#20 justDOit
January 06 2013, 02:04PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

I think you're right, but I have to give some consideration to the number of games he's played since last year in the OHL, and the horrific number of trans-Atlantic flights he's endured.

But if anyone can get him ready for those bright lights, Krueger can.

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#21 BigE91
January 06 2013, 02:04PM
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I would think having signed his entry level deal Yakupov is obligated to report to training camp. The bigger question is if he doesn't make the team can he be returned to junior or does he go back to Russia as he would not be eligible to go to the AHL.

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#22 dougtheslug
January 06 2013, 02:15PM
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I am one of the angry, yet emotionally invested fans, but I can't just walk back into this relationship like Rihanna going back to Chris Brown (not to trivialize mens violence toward women, Jason, I'm on board with you there). Its seems too submissive. We, after all, ultimately pay all the salaries, with our purchase of overpriced tickets (why do we have among the most expensive tickets in the NHL for the worst team?), parking (how much to park half a mile away?), 8 dollar plastic cups of beer, 6 dollars for a cold hot dog, hundreds of dollars for jerseys made for 2 dollars in China.

OK, I know I'm going back, but I want us to make some kind of gesture, as ultimately meaningless as it will turn out to be. What about an Empty Arena Campaign. Force these arrogant jerks to play one game in front of an empty arena. ONE GAME! Just to show them who they have hurt by their senseless actions.

Have a bonfire in front of Rexall on opening night where fans can symbolically throw their opening night tickets into the inferno.

Except I mentioned this to a friend and the first thing he said was "Can I have your tickets if you're not going to use them?"

Ah, screw it.

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#23 Ontarioil
January 06 2013, 02:18PM
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I think you're way off base on PRV, he's as good a player as Harski and belongs on the team, putting a player with belanger and eager and complaining he doesn't drive offence is ridiculous and when Hall Nuge and Ebs werent in OKC PRV put up solid consistant numbers. Harski looks better if you're the kinda hockey writer who only reads box scores, Harski has his numbers inflated because they wanted someone who could crash and bang to play with Nuge and Ebs, while Magnus was put on 3rd line duty, when you have them on the same line PRV is level with Harski

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#24 bazmagoo
January 06 2013, 02:26PM
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Oilers are still pretty desperate on defence, even with the addition of Justin Schultz. Need a big right side defenceman who is a solid destroyer of men.

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#25 Guy Lafleur
January 06 2013, 02:26PM
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Do you know what the biggest difference is between Canadian and USA hockey??

Its not considered a Miracle when we win GOLD .

Heck we went 7 years between Golds .The two best goalies in the canada camp never played a minute in the tourney , one was stoning the DUb while the other sat in the pressbox eating popcorn .Canada can take one thing from the USA is maybe dont cut guys so quickly bring em to the tournament let em play a round robin game then make your final cut(s) .We will be fine , no need to panic , just remember no one back there gives a crap , those American kids are more well known in Canada than they are in their own hometowns .

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#26 dessert1111
January 06 2013, 02:29PM
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Does this mean the team is already set and there won't be any training camp battles? I understand it's short, but it seems a bit weird that they're going to hand Peckham, Potter, Petrell and even Eager to a lesser extent jobs without giving a guy like Paajarvi a shot.

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#27 bazmagoo
January 06 2013, 02:30PM
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I think Gregor is right about PRV, still needs another year in the AHL. Hartikainen addresses an immediate need, size. PRV does not.

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#28 rob
January 06 2013, 02:33PM
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ALL I GOT TO SAY IS OILERS ARE BACK,ALL THE FUN OF CHEERING,COMPLAINING,BEING A COUCH COACH AND COVERING OUR EYES WHEN HALL GOES SCREAMING DOWN THE BOARDS ARE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!LONG LIVE THE OIL,HERE COMES YAKS,SCHULTZ,HALL,EBERLE,HEMSKY,RNH AND GANGER!SSSSQQQQQQUUUUUUUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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#29 Robin Brownlee
January 06 2013, 02:47PM
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We'll have to see how this eye injury to Ryan Jones shakes out. It's going to impact the line-up for at least the start of the season.

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#30 justDOit
January 06 2013, 03:10PM
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@Robin Brownlee

This is really bad - you've got to feel for a guy like Jones.

I can't find any details about this injury (severity, cause). Does anyone know what happened? Did he get it poked by a branch while trudging through the bush on a hunting trip?

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#31 Johe
January 06 2013, 03:12PM
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justDOit wrote:

This is really bad - you've got to feel for a guy like Jones.

I can't find any details about this injury (severity, cause). Does anyone know what happened? Did he get it poked by a branch while trudging through the bush on a hunting trip?

Tambellini just said he was practicing and got a puck in the eye, then had surgery that day. Out at least a few weeks.

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#32 Wax Man Riley
January 06 2013, 03:16PM
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m3sh wrote:

Nicely said Gregor. Cole couldn't be more off the mark.

I feel it's probably a bit knee jerk to blame it all on Prendergast, but I won't deny we've been less successful since. But did Prendergast cause the great collapse last year in the 3rd period with the Russians? Could he have predicted the collapse against the Americans year before?

Scouts scout. Coaches coach. Players play.

Do alligators alligate?

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#33 justDOit
January 06 2013, 03:17PM
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@Johe

I was still holding faint hope that the injury was to the Ryan Jones who plays for the Osprey's rugby club - not that I wish him any harm.

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#34 Dave
January 06 2013, 03:25PM
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Sorry Gregor but you're totally wrong on this one. If you pick our all time history at this tournament Canada can be considered the best. If you pick an arbitary period like the last 14 years we can be considered the best. If you pick the last four years we simply aren't though. You need to win to call yourself the best. The Americans won, and when they faced us when it counted they weren't better by a small amount. It wasn't luck that they beat us - they were vastly superior. If there had been a seven game series then maybe we could have taken them out, but that sort of "what if" talk is how losers talk, not winners.

The fact is we've lost when it mattered four years in a row. The sane conclusion is that we've had a dip in performance. Some of it could be bad luck (last years WJC game against the Russians felt like bad luck), but this year we got exactly what we deserved: nothing. Team Canada wasn't the best team by a mile this year, and it's not coincidence.

This attitude of always believing ourselves to be the best is going to make us figuratively fat and lazy in our hockey program, and we'll cling to ideology and traditional hockey wisdom in the face of effective new strategies our rivals are generating. Personally I think we need to take some tips from everyone else or else this little performance hiccup will turn into a more permanent demotion. I doubt that any one country is an immediate threat or has a development program completely superior to ours, but the problem is that at these tournaments we need to beat *all* of those countries, and to do that we need to figure out what they are doing better than us and catch up.

For example: I don't buy for a minute that we are developing the best goalies in the world, and that position has been biting us in the rear for a long time at the World Juniors and beyond. Even at the Vancouver Olympics, Luongo was an adequate goaltender, but Ryan Miller still was *almost* enough to take us out.

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#35 David S
January 06 2013, 03:29PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Is Fedun not expected at the camp?

and... will there be exhibition games?

Doubt it VERRRRY much. Every game played this year will be for points.

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#36 Time Travelling Sean
January 06 2013, 03:32PM
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Judging an 18-19 year old goalie from a 6-7 game tourny is really off.

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#37 Dave
January 06 2013, 03:36PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Judging an 18-19 year old goalie from a 6-7 game tourny is really off.

Judging their entire career from it is off. Judging their performance against their peers is just as fair game as judging Luongo vs Tim Thomas from the 7-game cup final two years ago.

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#38 justDOit
January 06 2013, 03:38PM
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So let the second-guessing begin: Will playing 35 games in the AHL benefit the Oiler stars, or will they start to drop off in performance when the NHL stretch drive begins? Game 30 in the NHL will be roughly the 65th game for the Barons' players.

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#39 Robin Brownlee
January 06 2013, 04:03PM
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justDOit wrote:

So let the second-guessing begin: Will playing 35 games in the AHL benefit the Oiler stars, or will they start to drop off in performance when the NHL stretch drive begins? Game 30 in the NHL will be roughly the 65th game for the Barons' players.

You might want to check the numbers again.

Eberle and Schultz 34 games in OKC

Hall 26 games

RNH 19 games plus WJC

A 50-game NHL season, assuming the kids play every game, means 84 games for Eberle and Schultz, 76 for Hall and 69 for RNH.

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#40 JSR
January 06 2013, 04:13PM
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Gregor:

One question I have about the guys on European contracts: Are they weekly contracts, where they will actually have to finish a week, or can they get up and leave whenever they want? If they up and left, would the IIHF consider it illegal, and suspend them from international play? Sorry, I guess it was two questions!

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#41 justDOit
January 06 2013, 04:25PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I was ball-parking the totals. Still, at the end of this coming NHL season, it will have been 50 games for Parise, Suter, Sedin & Sedin, Doughty, Iginla...

I'm not on either side right now, but it's an issue that will play out. Sure, time in the AHL for Schultz is a no-brainer, and Hall needed time to get back into game shape after so much time off, but there was no need to send Eberle or Hopkins (who has some lingering shoulder issues).

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#42 m3sh
January 06 2013, 04:29PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Do alligators alligate?

I certainly hope so.

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#43 Harlie
January 06 2013, 04:47PM
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*2013 - 2014

* Stats happened in a lockout year.

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#44 SurfacetoAirMissile
January 06 2013, 04:52PM
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I wonder if they would consider going up and down Jasper Ave and then turn down 109 Street across the Highlevel bridge to go to White Ave.? #StanleyCupParadeRoute

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#45 etownman
January 06 2013, 04:55PM
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Not often I will totally agree with your opinion Gregor but I do with this! One fact to remember, approximately half the American team plays in the CHL! Lot's of other players from other nations play in the CHL as well! Canadian hockey is fine, sometimes we just need to pick the right team which is a really nice problem to have because that means we could probably put 2 or even 3 highly competitive teams out there! Cam Cole has been under the influence of the 'winning culture' out there in lotus land & needs to come back to Etown to regenerate his hockey perspectives!

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#46 revingev
January 06 2013, 05:26PM
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I agree with Jason on this one. Even if you only account for the Canadian team these past 4 years, we still would be neck and neck with Russia so that being said it is important to recognize that ANY team can have a outstanding 1 or 2 year run in the WJHC as they virtusually return with the same lineup but then that talent moves on. Canada brings the best talent EVERY year. If anything, Canada seems to ALWAYS have the best forwards but lacks in Goaltending and SOME years struggles in defence.

America provides one consistency in Hockey. They seem to bring and supply the BEST Goaltending in the World. This dates through the WJHC, World Cups, Olympics etc...

If anything my only complaints for Canada is Coachs who 1)play favourites with players who they are familiar with only i.e.:Murphy this year, Gallagher last year,2) not keeping normal chemistry together in players who already have that connection. i.e.: This year MacKinnon and Drouin showed when playing together they both played their best. Even as the fourth line and being 17 would be ok. 3) Trying to play a NA Game on European ice surface. Pick team for possession game not hard hitting team. Every year Canada pays dearly for their aggressive play and checking, its time to realize this game played under IIHF rules is different.

anyway, thats my rant for now.

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#47 Rocket
January 06 2013, 10:54PM
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A little off topic but I would love to witness the first exchange between RNH & Yakupov in the Oilers dressing room so soon after the WJHC.

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#50 Rocket
January 06 2013, 11:09PM
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@Jason Gregor

I like what Hartikainen brings to the table but his Horcoff-like hands still concern me. At least that's the impression I got watching the Barons this year. I like Paajarvi but he's had a bad year.

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