So Long, Jason LaBarbera

Jonathan Willis
December 14 2013 11:55AM

 

The Edmonton Oilers announced this morning that they had traded goaltender Jason LaBarbera to the Chicago Blackhawks for the proverbial bag of pucks.

This is good news for basically everybody involved.

For the Edmonton Oilers...

This means a bunch of things for Edmonton, and basically all of them are good.

First, it means that Ilya Bryzgalov is ready to go. With Devan Dubnyk crashing and burning this season, the Oilers need a starting goalie they have some confidence in, and Bryzgalov has done nothing but play extremely well in Edmonton. 

Second, it gives the team additional flexibility to make other moves, as Bob Stauffer points out:

Third, this restores the natural order to the goaltending depth chart. Edmonton now has two veterans at the NHL level, a good third-string veteran in Oklahoma (Richard Bachman, who filled in ably in Edmonton prior to getting hurt) and space on the farm for Laurent Brossoit, the club's top goaltending prospect. 

For the Chicago Blackhawks...

Chicago has had some injury problems in net, and LaBarbera gives the team some valuable depth.

Finnish rookie Antti Raanta, who the Oilers tried to sign in the summer, has played extremely well in the Blackhawks' net, going 5-0-1 with a 0.926 save percentage after being elevated from the starting role in Rockford to the starting role in Chicago. 

But he's all Chicago has right now. Starter Corey Crawford is expected to miss roughly three weeks thanks to a lower body injury and Raanta's backup right now is Kent Simpson, a rookie pro who has provided the AHL's Rockford Icehogs with a 0.900 save percentage goaltending over 15 games. That's not much of a backup policy.

Mostly, though, it seems likely this move was brought on by Nikolai Khabibulin being Nikolai Khabibulin.

 

Khabibulin has been on injured reserve for a month now with a lower body injury (as per TSN). In the four games he played for the Blackhawks, he posted a 0.811 save percentage. He's been well and thoroughly beaten for an NHL job by Raanta and when everybody's healthy it's hard to see how the 'Hawks could send down the superior goaltender to hang on to a guy who was signed as a veteran stopgap. 

That leaves a hole long-term in Rockford, where Simpson seems unready to take on the starting role. Because of his reasonable contract, LaBarbera can fill that slot and provide Chicago's farm team with exceptional AHL goaltending and the Blackhawks themselves with a reliable third-stringer. 

For LaBarbera...

This is a chance to play.

The Oilers couldn't afford to give LaBarbera a chance to play his way back into form; with Devan Dubnyk imploding and LaBarbera unable to calm the waters the team really had no choice but to go out and find somebody else. It put the goaltending depth chart into disarray, and once the music stopped and everybody got healthy there weren't going to be enough chairs for everyone involved.

LaBarbera goes to a contender, which leaves him the chance of being the backup for a Stanley Cup winner if injuries strike again. While he's probably looking at a long stint in the AHL, that was going to happen regardless, and this move means at least he'll be playing in the minors rather than fighting for time with another solid third-stringer. It gives him an opportunity to rehabilitate a career badly tarnished by his short stint in Edmonton.  

It's a win-win-win.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Dubs-nik
December 14 2013, 12:00PM
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Fistly, who is going to push dubs now, we needed labarbara , Him and dubs are best friends, dubnyk well never be able to lead this team without him, what is up with 6 rings and Mac t

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#2 Young Oil
December 14 2013, 12:01PM
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I like the way MacT does the little things. Got a pick and a roster spot for something we got for nothing.

Hopefully the roster spot is the precursor for a big thing.

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#3 Zarny
December 14 2013, 12:01PM
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Good. Moves a contract out. Only time will tell if LaBarbera's career will continue; but it was clearly not going to be in Edm.

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#4 Rod from Viking
December 14 2013, 12:02PM
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Couldn't Mac T get Mark McNeil in the deal(hey that rhyme's)

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#5 Rod from Viking
December 14 2013, 12:05PM
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I guess this is accountability,he wouldn't jump off the bench and go after Kassian last night so he is gone.

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#6 Quintana
December 14 2013, 12:11PM
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Dubs-nik wrote:

Fistly, who is going to push dubs now, we needed labarbara , Him and dubs are best friends, dubnyk well never be able to lead this team without him, what is up with 6 rings and Mac t

Dubs gone next year, he's useless at best a backup golie. Thanks "6 rings"

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#7 Rama Lama
December 14 2013, 12:18PM
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Now thats bold!!!

I'm curious JW........with the announcement of the cap going up do you see trades becoming more of a reality? I think it's fair to say that trading was near impossible over the last five years.......it use to be teams could address their shortcomings through trades, but this never happens anymore?

I know that the cap increases next year, but could this announcement speed things up?

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#8 Ari Gold
December 14 2013, 12:20PM
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Lucky Jason. He's gone from the bottom to a cup contender. He must be ecstatic. I kind of envy him.

I wonder if I could be traded for a Hawks fan? Toews, Kane, Chelsea Dagger!

How much was left for that $1million contract? How much did that bag of pucks cost?

I can't imagine how many other players want off of this team. No matter how much they shuffle players, you can't grow anything out of salted earth.

Take care Jason, do your best to forget the misery that is the Edmonton Oilers.

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#9 Serious Gord
December 14 2013, 12:30PM
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First let's make a proper accounting of this. Making labarbera the second tender behind dubnyk was MacT's fault. It is well documented that Bachman was the better tender in preseason but not making labarbera a member of the oil meant possibly losing him.

Well now he is gone - for nothing. And while he was here he managed to lose a few games for the oil.

So score it as a bad move by a rookie GM.

As for Chicago taking him - boy the supply of below average goalies must be pretty low. Then again they did get him for nothing. And after getting the dud khabi from EDM you would think they would have learned a lesson - not to pick up oil cAstoffs.

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#10 Rheal1
December 14 2013, 12:31PM
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WOW!!! Absolutely WOW for Jason!!!! Christmas came early for LaBarbera!!! Bail out of this deadbeat of a town must be like winning the lottery. Another bold move by macT. I would have moved Dubnyk before Jason.

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#11 barry.moore23
December 14 2013, 12:32PM
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Can you imagine how much it must suck being the 'future consideration ? "rats I don't believe I got traded to Edmonton :(". Hahaha

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#12 tileguy
December 14 2013, 12:32PM
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And Thornton gets 15 games, what an exciting day!

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#13 Rheal1
December 14 2013, 12:34PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

WOW!!! Absolutely WOW for Jason!!!! Christmas came early for LaBarbera!!! Bail out of this deadbeat of a town must be like winning the lottery. Another bold move by macT. I would have moved Dubnyk before Jason.

I meant deadbeat of a managed team. Future considerations? How about eternal gratitude from Labarbera?

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#15 Serious Gord
December 14 2013, 12:47PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think it's generally dangerous to toss out years of history based on pre-season stuff. LaBarbera had the longer track record of success, and Bachman had been lit up as the backup in Dallas.

In this case it didn't work out, but there always has to be a balance between 'earned a job in camp' and 'let's weigh the long-term over the short-term' and in my view in this instance that balance favoured LaBarbera starting out as the backup.

The results weren't as hoped for but I'm not convinced the process in that case was wrong.

So the preseason performance had no merit? What the heck is the point of having a preseason?

Bachman came with the huge advantage of a two-way contract. Even if they were even in performance Bachman was the better option. Especially in light of how tight the team is in cap and roster size.

MacT went against the consensus and now we must remember that it was a mistake.

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#16 jeanshorts
December 14 2013, 12:54PM
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"With the CLASSY Labarbera off to Chicago.."

PHEEEEEWWWWWW! This whole time I was worried he was UN-CLASSY and might have even been bad in the room!

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#18 TV6
December 14 2013, 01:18PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

First let's make a proper accounting of this. Making labarbera the second tender behind dubnyk was MacT's fault. It is well documented that Bachman was the better tender in preseason but not making labarbera a member of the oil meant possibly losing him.

Well now he is gone - for nothing. And while he was here he managed to lose a few games for the oil.

So score it as a bad move by a rookie GM.

As for Chicago taking him - boy the supply of below average goalies must be pretty low. Then again they did get him for nothing. And after getting the dud khabi from EDM you would think they would have learned a lesson - not to pick up oil cAstoffs.

It's the same rhetoric over & over again from you every single time... Just like you do on the call-in shows.

Sadly... Your stink reaches ALL the way down here to California.

Don't you ever get bored of your repetitive thought process & magniloquence at some point..?

I LUV the way you point the finger at MacT for a bad pick-up, but when the Stanley Cup Champion GM does the exact same thing, you applaud him.

Your hypocrisy is laughable, not too mention tediously pedestrian.

Future considerations mean "nothing"... For a pick-up that cost MacT nothing in the 1st place... I wonder what your definition of "nothing" is when it comes to "anything"..?

There is 'nothing' more ironic & gelastic than pointing the finger 1 way when it is pointing straight at yourself.

At least you didn't mention Gagner or Hemsky this time... (that may be a 1st)

Bloody Ridiculous...

Merry Ho~Ho..!

x6

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#19 Spydyr
December 14 2013, 01:35PM
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If the Hawks are taking our leftovers.See if they want Gagner, Hemsky,Jones ,Dubnyk or any of the defencemen.They do have about eight third pairing defencemen available.

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#20 He Who Knows
December 14 2013, 01:36PM
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Kevin Lowe show your face to the public so we can chuck eggs at you. The city of Edmonton despises you.

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#21 Fresh Mess
December 14 2013, 01:42PM
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good move here by MacLooselips.

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#22 Spydyr
December 14 2013, 01:53PM
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Wonder if they offered Dubnyk for futures and Chicago did not want to pay his contract.

I sure would of made that offer.

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#23 Rheal1
December 14 2013, 01:54PM
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Forget about any hypothetical "bold moves" until the trade deadline. Breezer's back & I can guarantee that Dubnyk has played is last game for as long as possible. It would be absolute incompetence from Eakins to start that guy ever again, as long as the Bryz is healthy. Trades might as well happen when convenient though... Time to take this imploded team into a rebuild mode since there was never one to start with. What is KLOWE thinking about now?

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#24 OilDieHard
December 14 2013, 01:54PM
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good riddance! and he'll be back in the AHL where he belongs as soon as Crawford is healthy.

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#25 mlcselli
December 14 2013, 01:58PM
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As far as the whole goaltending situation in Edmonton, we have to be the worst (or at least among the worst )in the League. LaBarbra has always been a backup---no help and no loss to us. Dubnyk, until his current contract, has always been a backup and today has no confidence in himself or from anyone else. Most erratic guy in the league. I'm sure he won't earn himself another contract here, and at best maybe a back up goalie elsewhere. Bryzgalov, we have to wait and. see.He looked good before injury. Hopefully he can give us some hope, but with almost 50 games left to play, my expectations are low.

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#26 redhot1
December 14 2013, 01:59PM
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This will solve the defensive issues! Bold moves indeed!

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#27 Samson Loveblast
December 14 2013, 01:59PM
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Great that Bryz is ready to go again, the team needs him. Still disappointing about Raanta, he likely would have had a long term deal signed sealed and delivered by now at probably twice the money that he'll get in Chicago, had he opted to go with the Oil.

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#28 Rheal1
December 14 2013, 02:00PM
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Why do the Oilers suck?

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#29 hemi
December 14 2013, 02:07PM
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As Oil fans, why do we always wait for the big trade when these little tweakings take place? It reminds me of a very bad chess player whom thinks he/she knows how to make the right moves in anticipation of becoming the winner but never does.

Management equals the bad chess player. New game please?

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#30 Rod from Viking
December 14 2013, 02:14PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Wonder if they offered Dubnyk for futures and Chicago did not want to pay his contract.

I sure would of made that offer.

I actually felt sorry for Dubynk last night, I was a goaltender and I couldn't imagine playing for a team that can't get the puck out of our end, letting opposing players free lance around the net , playing with no heart against a team that broke the jaw on one of your character guys, this has to be driving Mac T crazy as well as everyone else. Do you think his skype to Labarbra started with"You are in a better place now".

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#31 Ari Gold
December 14 2013, 02:20PM
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TV6 wrote:

It's the same rhetoric over & over again from you every single time... Just like you do on the call-in shows.

Sadly... Your stink reaches ALL the way down here to California.

Don't you ever get bored of your repetitive thought process & magniloquence at some point..?

I LUV the way you point the finger at MacT for a bad pick-up, but when the Stanley Cup Champion GM does the exact same thing, you applaud him.

Your hypocrisy is laughable, not too mention tediously pedestrian.

Future considerations mean "nothing"... For a pick-up that cost MacT nothing in the 1st place... I wonder what your definition of "nothing" is when it comes to "anything"..?

There is 'nothing' more ironic & gelastic than pointing the finger 1 way when it is pointing straight at yourself.

At least you didn't mention Gagner or Hemsky this time... (that may be a 1st)

Bloody Ridiculous...

Merry Ho~Ho..!

x6

Thank you! Serious Gord has become a montonous, short-sighted version of DSF.

I hope he takes that to heart or at least gets his act together.

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#32 Johnnydapunk
December 14 2013, 02:20PM
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I have no issues with this move, I thought that you weren't allowed "future considerations" trades anymore, guess that isn't the case. One less contract and despite people complaining about MacT signing him, give credit where it is due in that he made the mess (signing Barbs) who didn't seem like a terrible backup based on numbers and history, and as that hasn't worked, MacT has cleaned up his mess quite tidily (trading him off). Least he is not oblivious to everything.

I am sure MacT is trying to make some deals, but I'm also sure that a lot of people will be holding their cards close to their chest and maybe are even a bit leery of trading with him as the Perron trade turned into a steal and GMs don't like to look silly. He is at least doing some housecleaning which is always good.

I said this in another post, but how weird is it that the defending Stanley cup champs now have 2 former Oiler goalies on their roster.

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#33 Spydyr
December 14 2013, 02:21PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I actually felt sorry for Dubynk last night, I was a goaltender and I couldn't imagine playing for a team that can't get the puck out of our end, letting opposing players free lance around the net , playing with no heart against a team that broke the jaw on one of your character guys, this has to be driving Mac T crazy as well as everyone else. Do you think his skype to Labarbra started with"You are in a better place now".

I feel sorry too.Sorry Dubnyk is the Oilers starting goalie.

He never earned it.They paid like a starter before he earned it.Next year he will be what he really is. A back-up, most likely for another team.

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#34 Oilers21
December 14 2013, 02:32PM
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I refuse to blame Dubnyk for the Oilers being an embarrassment of a team. How could anyone play goal behind our sad excuse for a "defense" corps and forwards that refuse to backcheck and make dreadful decisions with the puck which leave the goalie hung out to dry?? The only games we stand any chance of winning are when Dubnyk stands on his head. Is he the best or most consistent goalie in the league? No. Is he responsible for this ongoing futility? Hell no.

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#35 Johnnydapunk
December 14 2013, 02:32PM
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Zarny wrote:

Good. Moves a contract out. Only time will tell if LaBarbera's career will continue; but it was clearly not going to be in Edm.

I agree, Barbs can have a job till he is 40 if he really wanted, after this season if there isn't tiny NHL feelers, he could always go to the DEL which is where a lot of NHLers go to die :-)

Amazing how short of goalies the Hawks are though.

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#36 Rheal1
December 14 2013, 02:35PM
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MacT should purge the assistant coaches. That is clearly the only option he has at this time. Bring in Todd Nelson to assist.

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#37 Quicksilver ballet
December 14 2013, 02:37PM
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Good for Jason Labarbera.

He wouldn't say it out loud I'm sure, but I'd wager he's really happy to be getting the puck outta here. Watch his save % return to that .915-.920 now that he has a couple legitmate top pairing blueliners in front of him.

Wonder who celebrates in silence next as he heads to the airport.

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#38 Greenlingj
December 14 2013, 02:42PM
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Man this board is a steaming pool of teenage girl angst.

The writing was on the wall that either Dubnyk or LaBarbera were gonna be shipped out the moment Bryzgalov showed you all what a starter is supposed to look like.

Everyone wanted to see the sideshow and he was lights out after the rust came off. I hope Dubnyk finds his game buts its been bad no contest on that.

We hardly knew ya as an Oiler but best of luck in Chicago Jason keep chasing that dream.

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#39 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 14 2013, 02:44PM
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@Rheal1

I'd be interested in seeing what an Eakins/Nelson combo could do, if only to turf Bucky and Smith. If I were in charge, I'd keep him on the farm for now, and let Eakins choose his own assistants.

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#40 Rheal1
December 14 2013, 02:52PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I'd be interested in seeing what an Eakins/Nelson combo could do, if only to turf Bucky and Smith. If I were in charge, I'd keep him on the farm for now, and let Eakins choose his own assistants.

Sounds fair. However we all know that Bucky and Smith must go now. What else to do? Oh yeah, Lowe must go! (Not that it's ever going to happen. Not impossible but...). My big concern at this time is that some of the kids will demand a trade.

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#41 camdog
December 14 2013, 02:59PM
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JW,

Couldn't the Hawks have picked Barbs off of waivers for nothing when Bryzgalof was put back in the line up. Did the Hawks even have to give up futures? Or was it the Oilers that gave the futures to Chigaco to open up a roster spot?

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
December 14 2013, 03:05PM
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After seeing Brian Burke do his thing this week as president. We sure know he has no small role in the day to day operations the Flames. Being an NHL GM isn't what it use to be.

Kevin Lowe is still very much in control of every Oiler related move.

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#43 Spydyr
December 14 2013, 03:07PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

After seeing Brian Burke do his thing this week as president. We sure know he has no small role in the day to day operations the Flames. Being an NHL GM isn't what it use to be.

Kevin Lowe is still very much in control of every Oiler related move.

And it shows.

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#44 camdog
December 14 2013, 03:09PM
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Yikes now 5 points back of the Flames and they have 2 games in hand.

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#45 outdoorzguy
December 14 2013, 03:16PM
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Does Kevin Lowe approve these BOLD MOVES? He's a useless fixture in the Oiler organization. Serves no purpose other than calling Katz in Vancouver to tell him we lost again. As for McTavish, I've just moved him up a notch on the GM pedestal. He's at the same level now as Garth Snow. Hey Lowe/Katz, Jay Feaster is available. His Calgary rebuild was years ahead of the Oilers', and it only started this year!! Ours has been going on for a decade. How do these idiots keep their jobs???

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#46 Jackson
December 14 2013, 03:18PM
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Anyone who follows the Oilers know they are a horrible team. 8th straight year no playoffs.

It's more than likely most fans will never see Oilers win another Stanley Cup.

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#47 outdoorzguy
December 14 2013, 03:26PM
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DUBNYK SHOULD NOT START ANOTHER GAME FOR THE OILERS!!! That kid from the U of A played better at the Bruins practice than Dubnyk could even hope for. I can't wait for the next game...same lousy lineup, same bad coaches, same terrible mismanagement and same atrocious absent leadership. I can't believe there will be people in the seats for the next home game. I can't believe anyone would buy anything with an Oiler logo on it. THIS IS BEYOND AN EMBARRASMENT, ITS DISGUSTING!!

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#48 Richard
December 14 2013, 03:27PM
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Any poster here could have done just a poorly as the so called professionals in the last 8 years. No clue how to build a team.

Proof is the record

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#49 Sean
December 14 2013, 03:30PM
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There should be some type of mechanism where a team finishes last,they are dropped to a lower division. I wonder if the Oilers would win in the AHL.

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#50 Say what again
December 14 2013, 03:32PM
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Young Oil wrote:

I like the way MacT does the little things. Got a pick and a roster spot for something we got for nothing.

Hopefully the roster spot is the precursor for a big thing.

Yeah, I just wish he'd get the big things right.

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