The player so nice they named him twice

Jonathan Willis
July 03 2013 10:27AM

Taylor Hall was not named to one of the two NHL All-Star teams when they were announced earlier today. It’s easy to understand, given that the two players named were Chris Kunitz and Alexander Ovechkin, and that’s pretty stiff competition.

Or at least, that would be easy to understand, except that Alex Ovechkin was also a first-team all-star at right wing.

You Can’t Make This Up

The Professional Hockey Writers Association has already taken some heat over their management of various NHL awards, thanks to baffling voting decisions and an opaque process. And while the decision-making has occasionally been laughable, they’ve never been so painfully stupid as to name the same player at different positions to both teams.

And painfully stupid it was. 

Ovechkin played right wing all season. This is not only something that, in The Hockey News' Ken Campbeel's words "one iota of research would have revealed," but it's something the PHWA actually emailed its membership about. All of the voters on NHL awards got an email, telling them that Ovechkin had played right wing, and somehow enough of them disregarded it to make Ovechkin the consensus choice as the second-best left wing in the NHL.

A Broken Process

There is no way to defend this. There have been a few tepid suggestions that perhaps right and left wing should be abolished, and voters should just choose wingers, and while that would prevent such an astonishing debacle from happening again (at least, until somebody else gets votes at centre and wing, and we need to abolish "centre" as a distinct position as well) it doesn't solve the basic, underlying problem.

What's the basic, underlying problem? Rank incompetence by the rank and file of the PHWA, incompetence that gets hidden behind closed doors because the voting process isn't exposed to the public eye.

Voting for Ovechkin as a left wing requires a basic ignorance of the NHL game. I barely watched the Eastern Conference this year, but I was fully aware of Ovechkin playing right wing - without needing an email from the PHWA - because it was a major story in the Capitals season. Ovechkin's move to right wing was highly controversial, and tied directly to Adam Oates' work as a rookie head coach. 

TSN's Bob McKenzie put it this way:

That's the problem. We can sweep this under the rug and eliminate left/right wing differentiation. But the problem is that there is at least a sizable minority - big enough to vote Ovechkin in at left wing (just over one-quarter of all PHWA voters, as it turns out) - voting on NHL Awards who have no business doing so. And there's no way to know who, because the PHWA shields the incompetence of its worst members by hiding the voting process.

Sorry, Taylor Hall

Taylor Hall had an incredible season on a very poor team, and was a deserving choice for his first-ever All-Star nod. It didn't happen, and he can thank the media. Also, seeing as he's still eligible for entry-level bonuses, the possibility exists that this didn't just cause irritation; it may also have cost him money.

Update: Fortunately for Hall, it didn't.

Update 2: Or maybe it actually cost him $50,000.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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 SumOil
July 03 2013, 10:34AM
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One day Ovechkin will be good enough to be a 1st team All-Star like Ovechkin.

— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) July 3, 2013

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#2 Kodiak
July 03 2013, 11:07AM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

PHWA is becoming a joke. I hope the they are as embarrassed as I think they should be.

I just lost a little respect for Spec as a diligent professional.

Spec was pretty pompous and indignant in his defense of Huberdeau winning the calder and suggested Yak was clearly not worthy of making the rookie team because of his lack of consistency and feasting on garbage time.

Pointless game streaks this year: Hub 5, 5, 3, 3, 4. Yak 3, 4, 3, 3

Goals to tie/take lead: Hub 6, Yak 8

TOI/pt: Hub 26:12, Yak 22:32

Pts vs playoff teams: Hub 3+5=8, Yak 10+9=19

How Spector can defend the PHWA picking Huberdeau and slam Yak the way he did, especially after looking at these numbers really has rubbed me the wrong way and I've lost a ton of respect for him.

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#3 oilers2k10
July 03 2013, 10:37AM
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Pathetic.

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#4 vetinari
July 03 2013, 11:18AM
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{grabs pitchfork and torches}

IDIOTS!!!!

GET THEM!!!!

OOOOOH! DONUTS!!!!

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#5 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
July 03 2013, 10:47AM
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PHWA is becoming a joke. I hope the they are as embarrassed as I think they should be.

I just lost a little respect for Spec as a diligent professional.

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#6 SumOil
July 03 2013, 10:33AM
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While all that is true, I still dont understand how Kunitz gets the nod over Hall.

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#7 PaperDesigner
July 03 2013, 10:35AM
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Is there anyone who could just unilaterally nix this? There's no way that Hall shouldn't be on the second all-star team.

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#8 WhattaMike
July 03 2013, 10:37AM
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Ya know...JW...I am one who reads as much reports and articles from reporters (and now bloggers too) as the next real fan does...but

first Yakupov gets snubbed...not just once...but twice...by mainly the eastern reporters/pro writers...then, secondly, Taylor Hall has a breakout type yr, and he is not given credit enough neither...

Now to find out that these same voters voted for Ovie in two positions...???

Are the reporters or pro writers indulging into two much drinks...lol?....or are they prejudiced against the Oilers and several other western teams???

I now really hope that Hall and Yak both come out smoking hot this coming season, along with Ebs and RNH, even J. Schultz... to prove they are just as elite if not more...

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#9 Lochenzo
July 03 2013, 11:17AM
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Seeing this, I just realized that I still have a shot at realizing my dream of winning the Hart Trophy.

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#10 boxman
July 03 2013, 11:34AM
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The solution is oh so simple. No secret ballots. When voters have to put their name beside their votes it will either encourage more research by the voters or at least the a**clowns could be weeded out.

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#11 Archaeologuy
July 03 2013, 11:51AM
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This is the piece I wrote about PHWA Bias

This, however, is completely different. This isnt bias intentional or otherwise. This is purely incompetence.

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#12 geoilersgist
July 03 2013, 10:33AM
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Absolutely ridiculous is what this is. They better correct this mistake.

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#13 SumOil
July 03 2013, 10:35AM
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So, now that the mistake is clearly out there. Does NHL react to this? Or it is perfectly ok for them?

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#14 DrDave
July 03 2013, 10:42AM
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Congrats to Hall for being up there after a terrific season. Anyone with a brain can see that he is the 2nd best LW in the entire NHL! When you see the names below him (who get way more media love outside of EDM than he does) it's a major accomplishment!! This should be corrected soon and Hall will have his 2nd team allstar nod!

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#15 StHenriOilBomb
July 03 2013, 10:59AM
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Pascal Dupuis and Martin StLouis played RW this season, and each received a vote for the LW award, too...

edit: and P. Kane

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#16 WhattaMike
July 03 2013, 11:01AM
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How are these type professional writers and reporters being objective and unbiased... when .... they send in votes on players (for rookies for example) up to like... two weeks or so prior to the end of the season????, and... then ...

how can they act before the public also... with a supposed professionalism and objectiveness again... when they stupidly vote on the same player twice (Ovechkin) for an award for two differtent positions and two line-ups (one position of which Ovie did not play ...to boot)???????

So here goes.... With my Professional Fan Status Opinion.... I vote that Taylor Hall played super well enough on a poor team this year to rightfully secure the 2nd All Star team line-up ...

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#17 nuge2nail
July 03 2013, 11:03AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

I would love to read an article from the "experts" that write on this site about the oilers cap situation(Hemsky traded, Horcoff bought out, elcs bonuses no longer apply to cap). The key component of the article - who they would target and what they would do as GM.

Also think the comments section to this article would be epic.

Just a suggestion, anyways always enjoy reading.

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#18 Sloppy Joe
July 03 2013, 11:07AM
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On a completely unrelated note, a bunch more players were waived today, including both Tom Gilbert and Carlo Colaiacovo.

I think Gilbert in particular would be a great waiver wire pickup for the Oil (i.e. puck mover), notwithstanding the complaints by many that he didn't hit enough.

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#19 Professor Q
July 03 2013, 11:21AM
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With Yakupov getting snubbed for the ART and Calder, and now the mess up with Hall...the NHL must really hate Edmonton.

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#20 oilerjed
July 03 2013, 11:24AM
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Sloppy Joe wrote:

On a completely unrelated note, a bunch more players were waived today, including both Tom Gilbert and Carlo Colaiacovo.

I think Gilbert in particular would be a great waiver wire pickup for the Oil (i.e. puck mover), notwithstanding the complaints by many that he didn't hit enough.

Please stop!! I cant handle Gilbert in an Oil uni EVER again. I was so relieved when he was traded. I can still remember the nervous twitch I had whenever he was on the ice, this turnover machine is what we dont need. Two teams giving up on him may be a strong indicator that he is not up to snuff in the NHL.

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#21 WhattaMike
July 03 2013, 11:27AM
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@Kodiak..

I agree with ya Bud on everything and would like to add also of how Yak had to play minutes of a much lesser degree while with being on the 3rd line, the 4th line, then the 2nd line, and for awhile he was not used on the first powerplay nor was utilized the right way either...and still he accomplished to lead the Oilers and rookies of the league in goals scored...

Yep...Spec sometimes has me scrtching my head a times too...

On the next thing on my mind now... I see Gilbert put out for waivers and thus, he would be a very welcome addition to the Oilers once again IMO... I would have him re-signed over here at three yrs...

Him and J. Schultz, then Petry and Smid or Klefbom, with Belov and N. Schultz or Smid is do-able for one season... Potter likely stays on as the extrta due to his nice small contract for one more yr.... although, I would also like to see one more big hard hitting tough defenceman come on board too (say Ranger or Coburn) at the least, and then ... use either N. Schultz or Smid, or both, in a trade for some good wingers on the 3rd to 4th lines...

If not Gilbert then the Oilers getting Grebeshkov to come over here for two more yrs to three would be very good too...

What about maybe Colaiacova as since he was just let go by Detroit???

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#22 blue31
July 03 2013, 11:37AM
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The NHL website just mentions Ovechkins 2nd team selection in small print at the bottom of the article.

Idjits.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=676355&navid=DL|NHL|home

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#23 oilerjed
July 03 2013, 11:42AM
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@WhattaMike

Whats the deal with Grebeshkov? There seems to be lots of talk of trying to bring him back, is he UFA (july 5)or can they sign him at anytime? Would like to see him again, solid Dman.

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#24 Quicksilver ballet
July 03 2013, 11:50AM
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Look at all the media/cyber types tawkin hawkey, in the middle of the summer no less. This type of attention is great!

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#25 WhattaMike
July 03 2013, 11:54AM
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@oilerjed...

actually I am not sure Grebeshkov is the guy...but I heared Stauffer say on radio on draft day ...with Dan Tencer/Jack Michaels... that the Oilers are negotiating with a russian defenceman again (as like Belov).

I think its him they are talking to.. I believe he is unrestricted...but can someone out there online hopefully let me know for sure please...

I checked online to see that Grebs was playing in the KHL the past 4 yrs... and his stats are good for the most part/he is a great skater with size too... has a heavy very good shot and he is 29 yrs old (prime years)..

So...as a fan of his, I like him coming back to play with J. Schultz or Klefbom very much...

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#26 G Money
July 03 2013, 11:56AM
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After the pathetic and embarrassing spectacle that was the Calder and All-Rookie team voting, does this surprise anyone? Anyone at all?

(About 45 PHWA "hockey" in quotes members raise their hands).

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#27 WhattaMike
July 03 2013, 11:57AM
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@Archaeologuy..

I agree with ya bud on them suspect type writers and reporters...both now and what ya wrote of before too.

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#28 Reg Dunlop
July 03 2013, 12:05PM
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This Hall snub seems to be the best distraction since Obiwan said 'These aren't the droids you're looking for'. No movement, either by addition or subtraction, by our bold GM. If we enter next season with Blancmanger and Horc as 2/3 centres, assuming RNH is not ready until, say, December; the oil are on the fast track to drafting Sam Reinhart. The level of outrage expressed here is underwhelming.

I am guessing MacT is sending 'thank you' cards to the PHWA voters.

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#29 oilerjed
July 03 2013, 12:08PM
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@WhattaMike

According to capgeek he went UFA after getting a 1 year deal (3.15) in 08/09. UFA and signable as of July 5. There were rumblings earlier in the year about the Oil talking to his agent but I cant remember the circumstances.

http://capgeek.com/player/24

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#30 WhattaMike
July 03 2013, 12:21PM
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@Reg dunlop

I don't think anyone can be UFA signed until at least starting Friday... and so I believe it is just interviews, tours and phone calls today and tomorrow...

I am waiting to hear something of value myself too though from the Oilers or from actual legit reporters/writers...lol.. at least those who don't vote for a player twice on two line ups and two positions...lol

I am hoping to hear some stuff out of Oilers development camp starting to day myself...

@Oilerjed

Thanks for the update on Grebs and now I am really hoping he comes to the Oilers. He makes a definite stronger defence pairing with any of Klefbom, J. Schultz and/or even Belov...

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#31 Reg Dunlop
July 03 2013, 12:26PM
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After a decade of playing rag doll to the Calgary Flames German Shepherd, we finally crawled ahead of them in the standings. Seeing the flames enter a likely long and painful rebuild phase has been one of the few things keeping me going. But, what if the flames do it right? Build strength down the middle, say, maybe adding Monahan, Bozak and Seguin? And then sweeping the season series next year over the Horc-led oil, as MacT's paralytic yet bold management style= status quo. And not the good,'Pictures of Matchstick Men' kind.

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#32 nuge2nail
July 03 2013, 12:33PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Interesting read on the Bruins GM and his thoughts on Seguin.

Apparently Seguin "needs to commit his mind, and focus on the task at hand. he needs to become more professional". The interview goes on for a while, Seguins character amongst other things being called out. Seguins name dragged through the mud, and it was meant to be a wake up call. If Horton would have signed, Seguin was gone.

That puts an ends the Taylor vs Tyler Debate in my mind.

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#33 Ducey
July 03 2013, 12:39PM
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@Reg Dunlop

Reg,

The Flames may yet go out and sign some big name free agents, and make a push in the standings. I see this as a good thing as it will help ensure:

1)the Flames will not secure the top end draft picks they need to get really good and overcome their incompetence at drafting;

2)the Flames will start dealing picks and prospects to "go for it".

Both of these will make sure the Flames don't win a Cup again in our lifetime.

As Mike Babcock said a few years ago about rebuilds: "If you get too good, too fast, you don't get good enough".

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#34 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
July 03 2013, 12:41PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Spec was pretty pompous and indignant in his defense of Huberdeau winning the calder and suggested Yak was clearly not worthy of making the rookie team because of his lack of consistency and feasting on garbage time.

Pointless game streaks this year: Hub 5, 5, 3, 3, 4. Yak 3, 4, 3, 3

Goals to tie/take lead: Hub 6, Yak 8

TOI/pt: Hub 26:12, Yak 22:32

Pts vs playoff teams: Hub 3+5=8, Yak 10+9=19

How Spector can defend the PHWA picking Huberdeau and slam Yak the way he did, especially after looking at these numbers really has rubbed me the wrong way and I've lost a ton of respect for him.

Feasting on garbage time?

Both Huberdeau and Yakupov faced exactly the 7th toughest opposition on their respective teams.

Huberdeau, however, started 2/3 of his face-offs in the attacking zone. Where as Yak was roughly 50/50.

And Huberdeau played 2:30 more per game.

I used to like Spec. Now I'm becoming very critical of him.

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#35 WhattaMike
July 03 2013, 12:45PM
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I know Friday is two days away and and there are still many weeks to get thing done prior to training camp .... and that the Oilers/MacT are fully battling "K.A.O.S" right now...to get some a top LW, a couple of strong centres, more 3rd line to 4th good tough big wingers, a set of other goalies, and noe more very good defenceman, etc,... BUT PLEASE!!!!

Can any one of... Jonathan Willis, Robin Brownlee, Lowetide, Jason Gregor, Jason Strudwick, etc, along with your colleague/inider contacts...lol ... tell MacT (Agent 86 - Get Smart) to not stand up to the Chief anymore (Oiler fans) and state out loud....

"Sorry Chief!!!!... I missed him by that much"

Loved that Get Smart TV show BTW...

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#36 Reg Dunlop
July 03 2013, 12:51PM
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@Ducey

I know you are right but due to the peyote(I'm on vacation) I can't shake these worst case fears. I need someone to talk me down, like maybe Morgan Freeman.

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#37 Spydyr
July 03 2013, 01:07PM
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oilerjed wrote:

Please stop!! I cant handle Gilbert in an Oil uni EVER again. I was so relieved when he was traded. I can still remember the nervous twitch I had whenever he was on the ice, this turnover machine is what we dont need. Two teams giving up on him may be a strong indicator that he is not up to snuff in the NHL.

Don't tell that to Lowetide he absolutely loves Gilbert .I'm with you on this one . Gilbert is so soft he would have melted into a puddle yesterday.

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#38 Fresh Mess
July 03 2013, 01:08PM
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did the Oilers waive Belanger today so they can buy him out?

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#39 The Towel Boy
July 03 2013, 01:28PM
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KUNITZ?!?!

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#40 admiralmark
July 03 2013, 02:03PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Don't tell that to Lowetide he absolutely loves Gilbert .I'm with you on this one . Gilbert is so soft he would have melted into a puddle yesterday.

He also loves Grebeshov.. And wants him back?! God knows why we would want Grebs back... Had monents of being ok.. And lots of circus time. We need an upgrade on our top 2 pairings and neither of these guys are it.

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#41 Smokey
July 03 2013, 03:32PM
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Ducey wrote:

Reg,

The Flames may yet go out and sign some big name free agents, and make a push in the standings. I see this as a good thing as it will help ensure:

1)the Flames will not secure the top end draft picks they need to get really good and overcome their incompetence at drafting;

2)the Flames will start dealing picks and prospects to "go for it".

Both of these will make sure the Flames don't win a Cup again in our lifetime.

As Mike Babcock said a few years ago about rebuilds: "If you get too good, too fast, you don't get good enough".

Calgary got a nice complimentary in Monahan, but next years grandios suckage could net the McDavid. For all the sucking we did, we never got that generational talent like a Crosby, Jagr, etc. This kid might be that good. They may be do the rebuikd better or get pieces. Then again Feaster has screwed up two first round picks. Imagine the Flames with Bartschi, Monahan, Maata, and Shinkarak, and say Erne. Thats looks better then Barttschi, Monahan, Klimpchuk and Porier, and Jankowski. Media and fans should be rioting down there.

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#42 Romulus' Apotheosis
July 03 2013, 03:51PM
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I don't know JW, DSF is pretty confident in the abilities of the PHWA to notice things.

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#43 oilers4
July 03 2013, 04:11PM
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WhattaMike wrote:

I know Friday is two days away and and there are still many weeks to get thing done prior to training camp .... and that the Oilers/MacT are fully battling "K.A.O.S" right now...to get some a top LW, a couple of strong centres, more 3rd line to 4th good tough big wingers, a set of other goalies, and noe more very good defenceman, etc,... BUT PLEASE!!!!

Can any one of... Jonathan Willis, Robin Brownlee, Lowetide, Jason Gregor, Jason Strudwick, etc, along with your colleague/inider contacts...lol ... tell MacT (Agent 86 - Get Smart) to not stand up to the Chief anymore (Oiler fans) and state out loud....

"Sorry Chief!!!!... I missed him by that much"

Loved that Get Smart TV show BTW...

"Would you believe . . . .?"

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#44 messyEH!
July 03 2013, 04:27PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

I would love to read an article from the "experts" that write on this site about the oilers cap situation(Hemsky traded, Horcoff bought out, elcs bonuses no longer apply to cap). The key component of the article - who they would target and what they would do as GM.

Also think the comments section to this article would be epic.

Just a suggestion, anyways always enjoy reading.

Is that you MacT?

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#45 Jimmeh
July 03 2013, 05:25PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Spec was pretty pompous and indignant in his defense of Huberdeau winning the calder and suggested Yak was clearly not worthy of making the rookie team because of his lack of consistency and feasting on garbage time.

Pointless game streaks this year: Hub 5, 5, 3, 3, 4. Yak 3, 4, 3, 3

Goals to tie/take lead: Hub 6, Yak 8

TOI/pt: Hub 26:12, Yak 22:32

Pts vs playoff teams: Hub 3+5=8, Yak 10+9=19

How Spector can defend the PHWA picking Huberdeau and slam Yak the way he did, especially after looking at these numbers really has rubbed me the wrong way and I've lost a ton of respect for him.

and he picked Andrew Ladd over Taylor Hall...

Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec 4h

My All-Star votes: RW Martin St. Louis TBL, Patrick Kane CHI, Alex Ovechkin WSH. LW Chris Kunitz PIT, Andrew Ladd WPG, Taylor Hall EDM

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#46 Rob...
July 03 2013, 05:55PM
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These idiots are the equivalent of Belanger, getting paid way too much money for the little effort they choose to put in.

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#47 nathan
July 03 2013, 07:11PM
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3 places this could have been fixed.

1. The writers could have disqualified Ovi from 2nd LW because he played RW and made allstar there.

2. The NHL could taken the votes and disqualified Ovi from 2nd LW because he played RW and made allstar there.

3. Ovi could decline the LW nomination because he more than the rest of them knows he played RW and made all star there.

The writers and the NHL probably were stupid enough to buy Spector's bravado that this should not be fixed.

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#48 bigguy13
July 03 2013, 07:53PM
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Its funny how the writers association could let that slip out. I wonder who proof read the votes before sending it out. Remember these are professionals. By the way, I couldn't careless who is on the allstar team.

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#49 Thrush
July 03 2013, 08:29PM
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Has the NHL ever heard of a spoiled ballot? If one was to write in the mayor in the the Councillors column the vote would be nixed and not counted. I hope they change the current PHWA voting system that supersedes accountability.

By far the most insulting part of this mess is the acceptance and inability to correct. Hopefully this stain remains in the shorts for a long while!

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#50 Tazman
July 04 2013, 09:08AM
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The PHWA should publicly apologize for getting it wrong, revoke ovechkins second team selection and award it to Hall. Then they need to voluntarily resign as the selection team for any awards due to gross incompetence. The NHL needs to take control and find a better way....

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