THEIR TIME, THEIR PLACE

Robin Brownlee
September 15 2013 10:14PM

It’s not like Dallas Eakins took a jackhammer to the Wayne Gretzky statue or scaled the rafters in Rexall Place to yank down the sacred linen lifted by the Edmonton Oilers. He’s simply decided to rid his team’s dressing room of some clutter from glory days long past. It’s about time.

While there’s likely an Oiler fan or two who’ll take the renovations that are underway in the dressing room as disrespecting or minimalizing past glories and the players who made them possible on a team that’s won five Stanley Cups, that strikes me as a bit of a reach.

Removing some old photos, plaques and various dusty odds and ends from the dressing room isn’t about turning a cold shoulder to an era when Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Glen Sather and the rest of the Boys On The Bus made the Oilers the toast of the NHL. It's Eakins way, he explains, of shifting the focus to the players here now. Of looking ahead instead of constantly back.

Even as a sportswriter old enough to have witnessed the tail-end of the days of parades on Jasper Avenue, and being of an age to put considerable value in the trappings of tradition younger folks might not, count me as on board with the renovations Eakins is undertaking.

LOOKING AHEAD

It hasn’t taken Eakins, hired this off-season, long at all to put his stamp on this team. Some might say he’s packing a lot of brass to ask that the old plaques and photos be gathered up and moved elsewhere inside Rexall Place so fans can enjoy them. Out with the old, save those five replica Stanley Cups and some odds and ends, in with the new.

"Listen, when we walk in that door, there’s five Stanley Cups standing there," Eakins told reporters Sunday. "That’s a great piece of history. That’s the only thing that counts.

"I thought it was really important that our team be featured in that room. I’m going to do my best to make sure that there is a picture of every guy on our roster in that room somewhere. That is their dressing room. It is not Mark Messier’s dressing room, and this is no disrespect. We will definitely try and emulate the play of those teams and the success they had. I just want these guys to be comfortable with their room."

So, while photos of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov might not yet have the same cachet as much of the old stuff that's come off the walls – really, will anybody miss the teams of the mid-1990s? – it's not like Eakins is tossing out tradition like garage sail fodder.

HERE AND NOW

I see no issue of disrespecting tradition -- one could make the case that the years since the last Cup in 1990, including seven straight seasons out of the playoffs, is a far greater affront to TBOTB. You think Eakins didn’t run all this past GM Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe?

Some new paint and new carpet doesn't diminish what the remarkable teams of the 1980s accomplished. The engraver's work is done. The HHOF is filled with photographs and records and tokens marking the wonderful careers of Gretzky, Messier, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson and Sather. The dressing room need not be.

Modest as it might be here and now in 2013, it's home to a completely new generation of Oiler players. This is their place.

BELOV IN TOWN?

While there's no official confirmation from the Oilers, a tip of the cap might be in order to reader TonyT., who said in the comments section of my previous item that he saw Russian Anton Belov at the airport this evening. I'm led to believe that is, indeed, the case. We'll find out Monday morning at Rexall Place.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 freelancer
September 15 2013, 10:24PM
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Full heartedly agree. Eakins has been impressive on and off the ice so far. It was that same interview where he was talking about making OKC follow the same system as the Oil. Which just makes sense, one of those things that looking at it now surprises me it wasn't implemented before

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#2 Geoff
September 15 2013, 10:38PM
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People are too sensitive sometimes. My reaction was just Dallas is trying to create this team's identity instead of allowing the shadowing comparison of arguably the greatest dynasty team to ever assemble upon the guys that are currently in the room. Smart move in my opinion.

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#3 Craig1981
September 15 2013, 10:24PM
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At first I was torn, but then I remembered the banners, statues, even the road they drive on to get to the games. There is no shortage of past memories of the greats and eakins is right....it is their room now. No question there will be a change rhis year.

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#4 Raine
September 16 2013, 09:17AM
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I'd like them to make an empty spot in that Stanley Cup trophy case. Right now it looks like it is complete and full when the players should be seeing a very obvious empty space that is yo be filled by another cup. It would serve as a reminder every day that you are working to fill that cabinet. It shouldn't appear complete.

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#5 pkam
September 16 2013, 09:03AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Sure fill it with things the current team has won. Put up pictures of the three number one picks. Then maybe some golf scores.Perhaps Montreal should take down their from failing hands quote and pictures of their former captains.

Or they can fill it with something with meaning. It is up to the players. It is time to "just win baby" seven years is far , far too long.

How do you feel if you're a teenager and your elder brother finally moves out of the house and your parents give his room to you, but insist to put his picture and memorabilia in the room?

I don't care if he has a PHD, wins a lot of trophies or even a Nobel prize and I never win anything. It is my room and I want my picture and my memorabilia there. His picture, trophies, awards and memorabilia, etc. doesn't matter how meaningful they are, should be moved out of my room into the living room or family room.

If my parents do not want to move those thing out of the room, then keep it vacant for him, don't move me in there cause it is still his room.

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#6 MessyEH!
September 16 2013, 02:02AM
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"Old six rings" Lowe had the memorabilia brought to his office. Last reports have him stripped down, swimming in them.( Homage to Scrooge MacDuck.)

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#7 HallFever
September 16 2013, 05:32AM
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I think Terry Jones needed some Kleenex in this interview. He just can't let go.

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#8 D
September 16 2013, 07:55AM
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Good move by Eakins. The best thing that the Oilers can do to honour the Boys on the Bus is to win number six.

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#9 Manfly
September 15 2013, 11:20PM
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i'm ok with it because Dallas is right...the only thing that matters is the cup.

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#10 15w40
September 15 2013, 10:56PM
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Eakins should be given a pretty wide swath IMHO in how he wants things run and look. The GM hired him because of how he said he was going to do things and for what his philosophy is.

In the end if it works everybody looks like really smart people. There is no sense hiring a guy and then trying to moderate or change what he is about.

If it doesn't work well it won't be the first coach in recent memory that wasn't all that successful..............

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#11 106 and 106
September 16 2013, 12:05AM
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Change in culture starts at the walk into the building.

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#12 bazmagoo
September 16 2013, 12:15AM
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Eakins and MacT have impressed me this off season. But the proof is in the pudding, and the games are played on the ice. It's make the playoffs or hit the bricks, imo. The pressure to succeed is palpable.

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#13 John Chambers
September 16 2013, 07:03AM
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I will never stop wearing acid-washed jeans, never stop listening to Poison and Quiet Riot, never stop teasing my hair, never stop driving my el camino, and I sure as hell won't ever accept the fact that Gretz, Mess, Fuhrsie and the boys don't still run the show here.

Where's the beef?

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Take out the clutter

Leave the FIVE Stanley Cups tho

its Eakins team now.

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#15 Serious Gord
September 16 2013, 05:52AM
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I'm okay with it to a point. Knowing which locker was gretzkys etc is important and some vestiges should - tastefully remain. I would expect following other teams with great legacies leads - the Yankees, Montreal, Man U. Would be of help.

Now if we can just get Katz to get rid of the living clutter...

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#16 hemi
September 16 2013, 05:56AM
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Kudos to Eakins I say. As much as the history of this team is part of my own attachment to the team, I am in agreement with the Eakins. We have been talking about culture change for some years now and for the most part, it was just that, "talk".

As fans, we too have become reliant on the Glory Years. Those wonderful winning years and that incredible collection of hockey players can never be forgotten and probably will never be duplicated to match what history has recorded as Dynasty Years.

I have liked MacT throughout his entire association with the Oil. My respect for him as a leader (and yes, I do wholeheartedly believe him to be a leader) has grown since he has become the GM. I see the hiring of Eakins as a very import acquisition by MacT. Eakins has not proven anything yet but (pass the Oiler Koolaid please) I have gotten completely on board with the new coach.

The Oil have been riding the dark side of being a bad club much too long. Without sounding redundant, the rebuilding is indeed coming to fruition and as a full supporter of this team, I have to think that Eakins will be a major contributor to this process. The team has a ways to go yet, but with the implementation of forward thinking, rebuilding becomes built.

I like the guy, plain and simple. I am no hockey expert, just an armchair critic and a die hard fan of the Mighty Oil. Have at it Mr. Eakins!

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#17 Czar
September 16 2013, 09:51AM
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HallFever wrote:

I think Terry Jones needed some Kleenex in this interview. He just can't let go.

First the donuts at the media table now this? Poor Terry needs a hug and a box of timbits.

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#18 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 16 2013, 01:00PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Yeah.That guy's crazy for assuming you were talking about the Oilers.

In an Oilers comment thread.

On an Oilers article.

On a site dedicated to the Oilers.

Who does he think he is?

Old Retired Guy made a sweeping generalization about an entire generation of people, and I took issue with it.

Spydyr suggests that my protest is an endorsement of the current state of the team, which it was not.

A little reading comprehension goes a long way sometimes.

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#19 vetinari
September 16 2013, 01:12PM
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Turning back to hockey and the original article...

I'm all for turning the dressing room over to the current Oilers and making them feel that this is their home... one year, the CFL's Riders had a map up on the wall with every player's jersey number on a pin located at their hometown and they could quickly see who was from where... they also had a "family wall" where players put pictures of themselves up with their families because that was who they ultimately played for and did not want to disappoint. Anything that makes these players feel invested in the team and the city can only be a good thing for the long term...

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#20 Valic
September 16 2013, 05:24AM
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Good to hear Belov has arrived. Couldn't imagine how frustrating this was

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#21 michael
September 16 2013, 08:01AM
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I think its a non-issue. Move this team forward in any manner possible.

Belov. Welcome to Canada. Enjoy.

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#22 Czar
September 16 2013, 10:09AM
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Boora wrote:

Kiss Belov's Dick!

Hey Dick,take it easy on michael, he didn't know that was your wife.

I'm looking forward to seeing the big Russian in Oiler silks, welcome comrade.

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#23 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 16 2013, 12:19PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Clearly there are at least 2 generations of fan represented here at ON. By way of comparison, I fall into the old grumudgeony "everything was better in the past" crowd.....I just can't stop myself from saying, "if your team is so psychologically fragile, that it can't even compete with the ghosts of the past, then you're in a world of hurt"

But maybe it's like Spyder says, this new generation is the generation where EVERYONE gets a ribbon for trying....cause we wouldn't want to hurt anyone feelings or scare them for life........or teach them what it means to compete!

I have next-to-no respect for people with this attitude. I've had to deal with people like you in the workplace for the past 10 years and it gets old fast.

Your sentiment could just as easily be turned on its head by suggesting that your generation is so psychologically fragile that it can't cope with the fact that there are different and valid ways to do things than what you've been used to for the past 35 years.

Get over yourself.

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#24 book¡e
September 16 2013, 10:40AM
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I seem to remember every coach since MacT doing the "We are looking forward and while we respect the past traditions of this organization...blah blah blah"

Everyone of them has sought to do some similar kind of reset.

These are all psychological games to try and get the best out of the players.

Anyone else remember the removal of the ping pong table (we are not playing around any more - we are getting serious), followed by the re-installation of the ping pong table (the guys need to be having fun - it can't be serious all of the time), followed by the removal of the ping pong table (we need to get serious!!!), and so on.

I think having more actual NHL calibre players on the team will probably have a bigger difference than the ping pong table and/or the pictures on the wall.

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#25 TigerUnderGlass
September 16 2013, 12:49PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I didn't mention the Oilers in my comment because it was aimed at the "baby boomers are the best", "Gen Y is [insert derogatory superlative]" sentiment that permeates the average workplace and the mainstream media.

When I have a comment to make about the state of the Oilers, I'll be sure to mention them explicitly so you can be absolutely certain.

Yeah.That guy's crazy for assuming you were talking about the Oilers.

In an Oilers comment thread.

On an Oilers article.

On a site dedicated to the Oilers.

Who does he think he is?

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#26 james_dean
September 15 2013, 10:42PM
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Weve all played for different types of coaches

When I had a bit of fear and more importantly respect for the coach I played harder.

Mind that my dad was paying 30$ a game for me to play

Not cashing $235 000 paycheques

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#27 Smokey
September 16 2013, 09:40AM
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I usually don't care what the coach says, cause at the end of the days its what happens on the ice. However the you guys ain't done jack $#@t and its time to stop the whole live in the past sends a district, profound and penetrable message that the time is now.

I just talk about the cups when you got a Canuck fan who needs to be put in his place, and you want him to shut his filthy trap. I can't stand Canuck fans who talk about Toni Tanti, Stan Smyl and especially Trevor Linden as legends. The only worthy player Hall of famer worthy of going into the rafter was Pavel Bure. Good Grief.

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#28 Spydyr
September 16 2013, 12:48PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I didn't mention the Oilers in my comment because it was aimed at the "baby boomers are the best", "Gen Y is [insert derogatory superlative]" sentiment that permeates the average workplace and the mainstream media.

When I have a comment to make about the state of the Oilers, I'll be sure to mention them explicitly so you can be absolutely certain.

Perhaps if Gen Y had a can do attitude instead of thinking the world owes them something for showing up that sentiment would change.

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#29 Lochenzo
September 16 2013, 08:35AM
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I think this is about ownership. This team belongs to Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yak, etc. Point well made Dallas Eakins.

Besides, they'll always have us fans and the media grilling them on comparisons to the dynasty team.

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#30 Dave Lumley
September 16 2013, 10:44AM
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Good start on the clean up.

Next items on the list can start with Lowe, Buchberger and Smith.

Lets see how the Grebs works out along with our centre depth and maybe add Mac T to the list as well. Our history is an amazing one and some of the lingering personnel should be assigned to it!

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#31 Quicksilver ballet
September 16 2013, 11:58AM
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It's about time.

I know if I had to go by that City of Memories showcase in the dressing room everyday, my testicles would probably recede up into my pelvis a little as well. Who wants that rubbed in their face every time they enter the room. It should be all about the now, and not about how the current players don't measure up to past players. That crap needs to be up in the team store for fan types to oodle over.

Not sure who made the decision to put that distraction in the room in the first place, but good on Eakins acknowledging the focus needs to be on the players of today, and the now.

Dallas Eakins 1 - Kevin Lowe 0

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#32 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 16 2013, 12:33PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Like the new ways the Oilers have been using to win? Seven years outside the payoffs. How is that working for you?

Perhaps hard work and effort do have their merits. Not everyone deserves a prize for showing up. Earn it.

I didn't mention the Oilers in my comment because it was aimed at the "baby boomers are the best", "Gen Y is [insert derogatory superlative]" sentiment that permeates the average workplace and the mainstream media.

When I have a comment to make about the state of the Oilers, I'll be sure to mention them explicitly so you can be absolutely certain.

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#33 vincheese
September 16 2013, 09:25AM
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Good move and one nobody had thought of. It's time to pass the torch and stroke some egos . Who knows, it might even help with contract negotiations in the future, , as the core looks at themselves differently.

Well done Dallas.

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#34 LinkfromHyrule
September 16 2013, 09:26AM
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@Spydyr

sounds like somebody has a case of the mondays! Now all we need is quicksilver ballet in here to complete this little tea party.....

This really isn't as big of a deal as people are making it out to be. The locker room isn't about being a museum or shrine to the glory days. It's about the players who play there now. Build a museum if you're that stuck in the past.

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#35 Spydyr
September 16 2013, 08:29AM
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Sure fill it with things the current team has won. Put up pictures of the three number one picks. Then maybe some golf scores.Perhaps Montreal should take down their from failing hands quote and pictures of their former captains.

Or they can fill it with something with meaning. It is up to the players. It is time to "just win baby" seven years is far , far too long.

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#36 tileguy
September 16 2013, 09:56AM
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MessyEH! wrote:

"Old six rings" Lowe had the memorabilia brought to his office. Last reports have him stripped down, swimming in them.( Homage to Scrooge MacDuck.)

Lol, nothing like starting the week with a chuckle. Great move cleaning out the past and getting ready for the future. Now why didn't Kruger, Renny, Quinn think of that?

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#37 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 16 2013, 01:37PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I have next-to-no respect for people with this attitude. I've had to deal with people like you in the workplace for the past 10 years and it gets old fast.

Your sentiment could just as easily be turned on its head by suggesting that your generation is so psychologically fragile that it can't cope with the fact that there are different and valid ways to do things than what you've been used to for the past 35 years.

Get over yourself.

Well done Pretty Things.....you get a blue ribbon!

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#38 Numenius
September 16 2013, 09:29AM
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Raine wrote:

I'd like them to make an empty spot in that Stanley Cup trophy case. Right now it looks like it is complete and full when the players should be seeing a very obvious empty space that is yo be filled by another cup. It would serve as a reminder every day that you are working to fill that cabinet. It shouldn't appear complete.

You missed it. There is an empty space just for that reason.

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#39 The Towel Boy
September 16 2013, 10:10AM
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I have a "garage sail" on my garage boat.

*runs and hides*

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#40 book¡e
September 16 2013, 12:13PM
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Let's face it, if the room under Renny and Krueger had pictures from today's Oilers, then the new coach would be installing pictures from the dynasty years to remind the players "how great it is to win" and "what is possible here" and so on.

This is part of the coach establishing a narrative of change because the past few years sucked. I look forward to the installation of the negative ion machine, a new team song in the dressing room, new towel colours, a new position of player personal trainer support therapy analyst, and some new quote on the wall (like from Ghandi or something).

I don't have any problem with any of it. It's what is done. I just think its funny that anyone cares and/or thinks it will have any impact one way or another.

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#41 Spydyr
September 16 2013, 12:26PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I have next-to-no respect for people with this attitude. I've had to deal with people like you in the workplace for the past 10 years and it gets old fast.

Your sentiment could just as easily be turned on its head by suggesting that your generation is so psychologically fragile that it can't cope with the fact that there are different and valid ways to do things than what you've been used to for the past 35 years.

Get over yourself.

Like the new ways the Oilers have been using to win? Seven years outside the payoffs. How is that working for you?

Perhaps hard work and effort do have their merits. Not everyone deserves a prize for showing up. Earn it.

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#42 lostdog82
September 16 2013, 12:58PM
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Old pictures and replica cups are for fans. Half of the oilers were in diapers when we won the last cup. Acknowledge the history and move on. Think hall cares about being compared to messier ? Hall probably never saw messier play a game. Oilers dressing room should be a mancave too the men that spend time in there not a shrine to those that have left. Move on edmonton its time.

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#43 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 16 2013, 01:43PM
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pkam wrote:

You probably didn't watch the press conference. Those pictures and cups will be moved to the public area instead of staying inside the locker room, which in Eakins opinion, belongs to the current players. It has nothing to do with winning or losing, it is all about the feeling of ownership and belonging.

How do you feel when you walk into your bedroom and there is picture of somebody else, like your wife's friends, instead of you? Or trophies and awards of your brothers?

Do you put trophies and awards of one kid in the room of the other kids to motivate them?

Yes...actually....you do....that's my point.....my older brother and cousins won tons of awards....and I was proud of them....and that pride encouraged me to go out and try to replicate their success.....

But like I said I have no issue with the dressing room remodel.....I just take exception to those who think that our Oilers stars are that psychologically fragile....I just don't buy it.

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#44 pkam
September 16 2013, 02:16PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Yes...actually....you do....that's my point.....my older brother and cousins won tons of awards....and I was proud of them....and that pride encouraged me to go out and try to replicate their success.....

But like I said I have no issue with the dressing room remodel.....I just take exception to those who think that our Oilers stars are that psychologically fragile....I just don't buy it.

If you are motivated by the success of your older brother and cousins, that is great. But do you like your parents making replica of their awards and trophies and putting them in your room to rub you?

If you are motivated, you don't need those rubs. If you are not, those rubs will only generate negative effects.

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#45 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 16 2013, 02:26PM
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pkam wrote:

If you are motivated by the success of your older brother and cousins, that is great. But do you like your parents making replica of their awards and trophies and putting them in your room to rub you?

If you are motivated, you don't need those rubs. If you are not, those rubs will only generate negative effects.

I could make a funny about the "negative rubs".....but I'll take the high road here and just repeat that, I have no issue with the dressing room remodel, I just take exception to those who think that our Oilers stars are that psychologically fragile....I just don't buy it.

But hey, that's what this site is for....so that people with differing opinions ....like you and I ....can express ourselves and maybe even challenge each other.......I know that I've had some of my opinions change based on some of the insightful stuff that gets posted here .....and by some of the arguments too!

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#46 Spydyr
September 16 2013, 08:46AM
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IMO a better way would have been if you are tired of seeing the dynasty cup winning pictures do something to get your picture up there.

Taking it down now is the equivalent of a participation trophy. No one fails, everyone is just happy trying.

Winning is all that matters.

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#47 Spydyr
September 16 2013, 10:08AM
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LinkfromHyrule wrote:

sounds like somebody has a case of the mondays! Now all we need is quicksilver ballet in here to complete this little tea party.....

This really isn't as big of a deal as people are making it out to be. The locker room isn't about being a museum or shrine to the glory days. It's about the players who play there now. Build a museum if you're that stuck in the past.

You got me on the Mondays. History is important.

The silver lining is the next game I go to it will be awesome to check out the old pictures and memorabilia that was removed.

Let us hope the new generation of Oilers can do something worth being put up in the dressing room so this same problem will exist in another 30 years.

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#48 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
September 16 2013, 12:08PM
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I'm from a generation that looks back on their history with pride and uses that pride as fuel to build a better future......when the day comes that your embarrassed or intimidated by your past, you need to ask yourself WHY....and see what you can do to change that.

By the way....a dressing room remodelling is of no consequence to me....but they better honour our glorious hockey past in the public spaces of the new arena!

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#49 hatrock
September 16 2013, 12:29PM
Trash it!
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The players drive on WAYNE GRETZKY DRIVE everyday!

And if they're in St. Albert, they're on MARK MESSIER TRAIL.

Totally agree with Eakins approach on this. He continues to impress me with every statement he makes.

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#50 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 16 2013, 12:56PM
Trash it!
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Spydyr wrote:

Perhaps if Gen Y had a can do attitude instead of thinking the world owes them something for showing up that sentiment would change.

Those assumptions are generally regarded as spurious by most reputable sources, but you're more than welcome to think whatever you'd like in spite of all that data.

Here's an example.

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