Of course it Stinks: Suck it up

Robin Brownlee
September 22 2013 03:11PM

Of course it stinks that the Edmonton Oilers will start the 2013-14 season without Sam Gagner, who has a broken jaw after a stupid and dangerous play by Zack Kassian of the Vancouver Canucks Saturday. This we know.

Gagner lost several teeth and had his jaw broken in two places after Kassian missed him with an attempted hit along the boards and then whipped his stick around at head-level, catching the Oiler centre in the mouth.

Gagner could be out for a month – possibly longer if he needs surgery to have his jaw wired shut. We don’t know for sure yet because there's been no definitive word from the Oilers, who skated at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park today.

With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also expected to miss the start of the season while he recovers from shoulder surgery, first-year coach Dallas Eakins has next-to-no depth down the middle as the Oilers prepare to face the Winnipeg Jets in their season opener Oct. 1.

After Taylor Hall, making the switch to pivot with RNH out, the men in the middle as of now are Boyd Gordon and two more from the mix of Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander and Will Acton – unless GM Craig MacTavish picks up the phone and makes a deal.

WHAT NOW?

While it's understandable if fans lament the timing of the injury or bicker about the need for more toughness in the line-up – there is merit in the argument but dressing a hammer against the Canucks wouldn’t have prevented the knucklehead play by Kassian – that isn't going to heal Gagner's busted jaw. The Oilers can moan or suck it up. Hall, for one, will go with the latter.

"I feel bad for him, but we're going to have make up for it," Hall said. "It looks like I'm going to be playing a bit more centre than I had originally planned. That's just the way it goes sometimes. I mean, not everything is going to go according to plan and this is one of those things."

"Whatever you have to do to help this team win," said Gordon, who will be pressed into duty as the second-line centre. "If I've got to move up, or whatever the case, sometimes when you lose one of your better players, I think it brings everybody together and makes everybody bear down a little bit more and focus on what they have to do to help the team win."

Until we have a more definitive time frame on Gagner, there's no way of knowing if MacTavish will come into play, as in looking outside the organization for help. Most likely, the cavalry will have to ride to the rescue from within, for better or worse – more Hall, Gordon and the rest.

Yes, it stinks. Carry on.

ROSTER CUTS

The Oilers trimmed their roster to 33 today (20 forwards, 11 defensemen and two goaltenders).

Assigned to Oklahoma City of the AHL were: Richard Bachman, Brad Hunt, Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin, Ryan Martindale, Andrew Miller and Ty Rimmer. Jujhar Khaira was returned to Everett of the WHL.

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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#2 JJ
September 22 2013, 07:08PM
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You know, I'm not usually too accepting of violence against women.. However, if said violence is directed towards the Sedin Sisters, then, under these circumstances, I say go for it.

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#5 StHenriOilBomb
September 22 2013, 03:38PM
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Dangerous play leading to direct stick contact to the head. Any chance of a suspension? I know it was unintentional, but so were a handful of the suspended hits from last year.

I also know that this does little to help the Oilers, but it would go some distance to helping feel like the NHL actually cares more about safety than the optics of Shanny and his office.

Also, screw Kassian. He missed the check by 3 feet and then flailed. I do the same thing when I miss a check so that the opposing player doesn't skate away scott free... I make sure to keep my stick at waste height though. This wasn't entirely innocent, even if the head=shot part of it was.

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#7 John Chambers
September 22 2013, 05:26PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

If there are no suspensions, there will be retribution. Oil need a nuclear deterrent.

They need someone to cross-check Kassian in the mouth next game, or spear a Sedins in the jugular.

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#9 tuck3r
September 22 2013, 05:16PM
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extroy wrote:

Fist injury of the year.... :( hopefully not a sign

Anybody going to see the Oilers against the Canucks at Rexall Place tonight? I got a sweeeeeeeeeeet pair of seats in the lower bowl from a friend. Picked 'em up for just $250 for the pair. Woooohooooo! Goilers!

Might want to double check who your 'friends' are...game was LAST night.

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#10 DSF
September 22 2013, 08:49PM
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Harry wrote:

Of course depth at D isnt a bad thing. But ouur depth at C is so beyond bad right now it would.be suicide to not pick someone up.

I cant believe im saying this.but DSF was right. Now Mac has to prove he can deal with this. I hope he does in one way or another

Lost in the Gagner conversation is the reality that, save for an inch or two, Hall would also be out of the lineup.

Can you imagine centre depth of Gordon, Arcobello, Acton and Chuckles the Clown.

MacT refusing to deal with the issue is just as heinous as Tambellini's inaction last season.

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#11 Puck Dynasty
September 22 2013, 03:19PM
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One glance at the headline in my RSS feed, and I just knew this was written by Brownlee. Possibly the most "Robin Brownlee" post yet!

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#13 Craig1981
September 23 2013, 12:10AM
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Mr common sense wrote:

Did you even google it?

When there is an equal and opposite reaction to any action..........the original action ceases to exist with time. It's physics. Not just my opinion.

Actually that is NOT the law of thermodynamics, but one of 3 Newtons laws.....AND you made up the last half, AFTER butchering the first.

ME "why do you think a no NHL team will touch Kessel now?"

YOU: "When there is an equal and opposite reaction to any action..........the original action ceases to exist with time"

See still doesn't make sense. Why does that apply here.....maybe you should retort with Bernoulli's principle for incompressible fluids....

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#14 michael
September 22 2013, 04:18PM
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Westcoastoil wrote:

With the play of Nurse and Marincin + the volume of veteran D- is Klefbom the chip you trade for a C? Presumably he'd bring back more than most of the other prospects

Sure we trade Oscar. Only if the guy coming back is named Galchenyuk. Or Courtier

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#16 Craig1981
September 22 2013, 09:39PM
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@DSF

Yes, Henrik and Kesler are the million dollar men?!?!? There is some truth to toughness and the ability to not let yourself get injured, but sticks being swung at your face, pucks breaking feet, etc are just as likely to hit those 2 as anyone.

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#17 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
September 22 2013, 03:25PM
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extroy wrote:

Fist injury of the year.... :( hopefully not a sign

Anybody going to see the Oilers against the Canucks at Rexall Place tonight? I got a sweeeeeeeeeeet pair of seats in the lower bowl from a friend. Picked 'em up for just $250 for the pair. Woooohooooo! Goilers!

Prepare for the wrath

of Brownlee. Nobody fists

on his articles*

*even fail 3rd post fists....dumbass

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#18 Christ...
September 23 2013, 12:25AM
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Mr common sense wrote:

Go to sleep dude, you have obviously never led a team before, you can't understand.

The fact that you are focusing on Jon Scott and the money clarkson will lose shows you can't understand. It's about honour and brotherhood, fabric of winning teams. Watch the leafs this year, and watch Kessel, I'll explain it later this year when they are flying high and when you can't figure out where it all began

My god man... you must have f#cking brain damage, seriously...

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#19 marty62
September 22 2013, 03:21PM
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Seen alot of doom and gloom with Sammy's injury, and its finally a sign that some of his naysayers are acknowledging that he is an important player on this team. yes, the Oilers will struggle a bit, but I liked Hall's reaction... referenced how well the Senators came together last year when they lost Karlsson and Spezza. I think Eakins will use this to motivate these kids. And we may be surprised who steps up and shows they belong in the NHL. I look forward to seeing how this group reacts to this injury.

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#20 Oilcruzer
September 22 2013, 03:56PM
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Of great interest,

The upcoming suspensions.

Lest this be legal.

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#21 dougtheslug
September 22 2013, 09:41PM
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DSF wrote:

Vancouver's centre depth is sketchy but it's much better than the Oilers.

Thing is...Henrik has NEVER been injured.

He's played every game, every season since 2004 while Hopkins and Gagner have both missed significant time with injuries.

Prior to the last 2 seasons, Kesler has played 4 complete 82 game seasons so it's a pretty good bet he'll be fine.

You are, of course forgetting that Vancouver is slotting Brad Richardson as their #3C and Mike Santorelli as their #4C with any of Horvat, Gaunce or Lain being a bonus if their play warrants it.

Sedin

Kesler

Richardson

Santorelli

Gaunce

Horvat

Lain

is a much better depth chart than...

Hall

Gordon

Lander

Acton

Chuckles the Clown

...no matter how you slice it.

Brad Richardson? You mean, THE Brad Richardson. The 5foot 11 28 year old who played all of 16 games for LA Kings last year scoring 1 goal and adding 5 helpers? Who played 59 games the previous year, tallying another 5 goals. That Brad Richardson? Come on DSF, if that's depth then Chuckles the Clown is looking back at you from your shaving mirror.

Henrik is also 33 this very Tuesday. Very few NHL players escape the injury bug forever. Especially when thugs like Zach Kassian are swinging sticks at your head.

In a few weeks, Oiler center depth will look like this:

Hall

RNH

Gagner

Gordon

Lander

Acton

Give me that over Vancouver any day.

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#22 Harry
September 22 2013, 08:21PM
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I hate to break it to you folks who think a trade is a bad idea that that is exactly what Tamby would do.

Name one team ever that can survive without its top two centers for the first month of the season.

We needed a center before. And now.we desperately need a center.

We have assets to make a good hockey trade. Hemsky, Marincin, Klefbom and what about next years first rounder?

I woild trade Marincin. His stock is very high right now and with Nurse, Klef, Shultz and Petry we have plenty of young defencemen.

Mactavish would be making a massive mistake if he sits back like tentative Tamby and attempts to survive this. If he doea and we get off to a bad start and miss the postseason because we went 5-10 to start the year it would be the same old BS from the GM of this club.

Please do your job Mac and make a trade!!!

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#23 TonyT
September 23 2013, 12:26AM
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@Mr common sense

While I can appreciate Clarkson's leadership, it was a "dumb move" in that it hurts the team in the long run. This wasn't one of those 2 minute penalty's that teams love to kill for a standup guy, instead he voluntarily crippled Toronto's top 6 for 1/8th of the season. I'm sure John Scott repeats going after Kessel 10 times out of 10 if crippling a division rival is the result.

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#24 Craig1981
September 23 2013, 12:50AM
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Mr common sense wrote:

I told you dude, you can't understand.

2 of the following 3 things are true about you,I just know it: 1) you've never been in a fight 2) you've never led a team/group/staff 3) you've never played hockey

Hahahaha, all false. I did play mediocre hockey (Midget A) which is why I know I would NEVER lay off a guy because I was worried someone was going to want to fight me. You would be letting your team down if you did.

I will now sign off this thread and let Christ.. humiliate you. (its really easy)

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#26 Hair bag
September 22 2013, 03:56PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Dangerous play leading to direct stick contact to the head. Any chance of a suspension? I know it was unintentional, but so were a handful of the suspended hits from last year.

I also know that this does little to help the Oilers, but it would go some distance to helping feel like the NHL actually cares more about safety than the optics of Shanny and his office.

Also, screw Kassian. He missed the check by 3 feet and then flailed. I do the same thing when I miss a check so that the opposing player doesn't skate away scott free... I make sure to keep my stick at waste height though. This wasn't entirely innocent, even if the head=shot part of it was.

I agree. The rules say you are responsible for your stick at all times and this was a totally reckless play - I hope that he gets suspended but I doubt it will happen. It wasn't even like he was falling or something, he just blatantly swung his stick around head high, probably like you said to try and slow Gagne down.

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#27 michael
September 22 2013, 04:14PM
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Is Fedun on your opening day roster? He is on mine. 4 points and he seems to read the play well. Larsen? Meh.

Brown. Locked and loaded for the roster. Eager. Outside looking in. Hamilton brings more offense and is better suited to Eakins system. Lander OKC bound.

Gagner out. Omark in. "Runt in,runt out".

Is Nick Shultz and Oiler on opening day? I'd bet against it. Trade bait to bolster center for sure.

Is it ever going to get easy for this team. The injury bug is already afflicting this team and the season hasn't even started.

This final week is going to fun to watch. Loved the Fedun and Hamilton interviews on HNIC.

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#28 Ari Gold
September 22 2013, 04:27PM
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If there are no suspensions, there will be retribution. Oil need a nuclear deterrent.

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#29 Dennis
September 22 2013, 06:03PM
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Apparently Gagner's jaw has not been wired shut, which is promising news. He's still out for a few weeks probably but he won't be out as long as if it was wired shut.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Edmonton+Oilers+centre+Gagner/8944440/story.html

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#31 dougtheslug
September 22 2013, 09:12PM
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DSF wrote:

Lost in the Gagner conversation is the reality that, save for an inch or two, Hall would also be out of the lineup.

Can you imagine centre depth of Gordon, Arcobello, Acton and Chuckles the Clown.

MacT refusing to deal with the issue is just as heinous as Tambellini's inaction last season.

Yeah, that's a fun game to play. What would Vancouver's center depth be if Henrik Sedin was injured?:

Ryan Kesler (iffy, coming back from injury, has played exactly one exhibition game and looked tentative)

Jordan Schroeder (oh, wait, broken foot)

Bo Horvat

Brendan Gaunce

Kellan Lain

Alex Friesen

Zach Hamill

Mike Santorelli

Yikes! I'm starting to like Edmonton's lineup. Especially because HALL WASN"T INJURED!

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#32 Johe
September 22 2013, 09:38PM
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Didn't take long for most Oiler fans to lose their mind this season, did it? How about we actually start the season before we start jumping off cliffs?

For all we know Nuge could be back for game 6 and Gagner game 10. And before then, Arcobello could have a couple good games here and Lander a good game there. Before you know it we'll be back to 100 %. Relax.

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#33 madjam
September 22 2013, 05:02PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

As per Bob McKenzie on Twitter: NHL wants the Kassian hearing in-person, so history tells us he'll get at least five games.

Weise will have his hearing on the phone.

5 games is pittance and will do nothing to stop this sort of action in the future . Minimum 20 and that will get everyones attention .If all he gets is 5 then it's open season on all star players -worth the penalty . I'd like to see it double or more if injury is to star players - relly get the message across and spare the fans their star players . Preferrential treatment for good of al fans .

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#34 michael
September 22 2013, 08:57PM
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I am sorry but I am going to have to do this. The panic button has just been officially hit. I am in full blown OMG what are we going to do mode? Mact is going to be doing some serious GMing this week. Glad its him and not Tambo.

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#35 Craig1981
September 22 2013, 09:19PM
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WONGER wrote:

WRONG AGAIN !!! COURAGEOUS move by Clarkson to stick up for his teammates!!! If BIG JOHN SCOTT were an OILER ( he was born in Edmonton and trains with Doug Glatt every August in Boston with his buddy Steve SMACINTYRE) KASSIAN and WOOSE would be getting their broken faces fixed like Gagner!!!

Go to Hockeyfights.com and look who MacIntyer has fought (Bogard, and others for that matter) They only fight other superheaveyweights, they don't fight John Scotts.

And when they only make $500,000 they aren't going to jump the boards and lose 13% of that. Let alone more like 25%-50% if they actually were to "break jaws" like you talk about.

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#36 thebiggetsmanintheworld
September 22 2013, 09:22PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Leonid Stadnyk is listed as the tallest living human at 8'5'' and Manuel Uribe is the heaviest living human at 1,320 pounds.

Are you bigger than them?

uhhhhh,yeah...

I thought my handle was pretty specific...

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#37 oilerjed
September 22 2013, 09:38PM
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DSF wrote:

Vancouver's centre depth is sketchy but it's much better than the Oilers.

Thing is...Henrik has NEVER been injured.

He's played every game, every season since 2004 while Hopkins and Gagner have both missed significant time with injuries.

Prior to the last 2 seasons, Kesler has played 4 complete 82 game seasons so it's a pretty good bet he'll be fine.

You are, of course forgetting that Vancouver is slotting Brad Richardson as their #3C and Mike Santorelli as their #4C with any of Horvat, Gaunce or Lain being a bonus if their play warrants it.

Sedin

Kesler

Richardson

Santorelli

Gaunce

Horvat

Lain

is a much better depth chart than...

Hall

Gordon

Lander

Acton

Chuckles the Clown

...no matter how you slice it.

I had to prop you for this "Thing is...Henrik has NEVER been injured." I hope your voodoo is strong and that is a mighty jinx

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#38 dougtheslug
September 22 2013, 10:01PM
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Harry wrote:

Has hell frozen over?

Why am i forced to defend DSF.

News flash!! If any team is the NHL lost there top two centermen to start a season for a month they would have to make a move. And what better area to pick from than that teams area of strength (Edm's defence prospects).

News flash!Just because you want to trade a dman for a centerman doesn't mean NHL GM's are going to line up to accommodate you. This isn't Playstation. Oiler d depth was acquired painfully over the past few years and suddenly you want to squander it for temporary help? Which would become redundant as soon as RNH and Gagner are ready to play. Which will be in about 4 weeks or less, from what I am hearing.

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#39 Craig1981
September 22 2013, 11:35PM
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Mr common sense wrote:

100%. Someone that understands.

Nobody will go after Kessel now, and Hall and Ebs, just a matter of time before they get smashed, no fear for the opponent

Please tell me why a player will not go after Kessel again???? Very confused......... A player like Scott that was looking for a fight got one (which he won!)....he will never do that again???????????????

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#40 Craig1981
September 22 2013, 11:47PM
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Mr common sense wrote:

Because only in Edm do such acts go unpunished. The law of thermodynamics....check it out

That didn't even slightly answer my question.

ME: "why do you think no NHL team will not go after Kessel now?"

YOU: "Law of thermodynamics"

I don't see this conversation adding any value here

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#41 Spydyr
September 22 2013, 05:09PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

As per Bob McKenzie on Twitter: NHL wants the Kassian hearing in-person, so history tells us he'll get at least five games.

Weise will have his hearing on the phone.

Hey it could be worse.What if Weise had connected full on with his head shot at Hall. The season is way to early to not look for some bright spots.

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#42 Big Cap
September 22 2013, 07:05PM
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@Robin Brownlee

It seems that Eakins will be playing his best players the most amount of time throughout the game. That includes PP and PK and ES. If that's the case if your not in the Top 9, just how much ice time will anyone on the 4th line see? Personally I would rather have a Heavyweight sitting on the pine rather than another skilled smallish forward.

There is also a lot more a Heavyweight brings to a game than the 3 minutes a night he does play. He adds a major boost to his team and also serves the opponent notice he'll be watching and ready.

Lastly how is it other teams "afford" to have a tough guy on their roster and yet no one is talented enough to crack ours?

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#43 YFC Prez
September 22 2013, 04:37PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Of great interest,

The upcoming suspensions.

Lest this be legal.

Props for the haiku Yoda Style!

I'm also really interested in seeing how they hand out the suspensions.

Stupid and reckless stick work by Kassian putting Gagner out ....3 to 4 games, I have no idea what Shanahan will do here though, nothing will surprise me. He Hasn't been exactly consistent with his dealings on these dangerous plays.

The head shot by Weiss I imagine will get more games off and seems the more suspendable play according to what the league has done recently. That elbow should get him 5 games IMO.

Was it just me or was there some serious head hunting going on in that game by the Nucks? I really hope that was a one off and not the new norm under Torts...could be a long season.

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#44 Harry
September 22 2013, 08:27PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You would consider trading Oscar Klefbom to fill a hole for an injury that will keep Gagner out 4-8 weeks?

Ganger and RNH are out for the first month of the season while we play most of our games away from Rexall.

How would.Mac be doing his.job if he sat back and did nothing?

Even if its a minor pickup from waivers or whatever something MUST be done.

If we ener the firat month of the season with Boyd Gordon as our most experienced center we are screwed.

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#45 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 23 2013, 08:36AM
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@Mr common sense

I guess common sense really is the least common of the senses.

The Newtonian laws are totally irrelevant in this discussion due to the fact that we are not talking about physical forces acting on objects in motion. You're trying to draw parallels to an emotional reaction (hesitation or fear) to stimuli, which is a psychological concept.

You're reaching.

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#46 Walter Sobchak
September 22 2013, 05:06PM
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My guess is the Oilers will now move Eberle to centre.

Best time is now to see if he can do it, when games matter less.

That's the Oilers best short term solution IMO, if Eberle is not the answer come opening day then you can make a trade. IIRC Eberle was drafted as a centre by the Oilers...

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#47 Mr common sense
September 22 2013, 05:33PM
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marty62 wrote:

Seen alot of doom and gloom with Sammy's injury, and its finally a sign that some of his naysayers are acknowledging that he is an important player on this team. yes, the Oilers will struggle a bit, but I liked Hall's reaction... referenced how well the Senators came together last year when they lost Karlsson and Spezza. I think Eakins will use this to motivate these kids. And we may be surprised who steps up and shows they belong in the NHL. I look forward to seeing how this group reacts to this injury.

I was waiting for someone to say this.

And no, because fans are now concerned with the C position, does not mean, we love sam gagner. Truth is, as juicy as the line sounds with Perron, gagner and yak, they are much much much too weak to face our Pacific division opponents. Perron looks relaxed out there and yak is def looking sharp but this line would get physically crushed by LA, SJ, VAn and Ana.

I wish Sam well but this will be a good and early slap in the face reminder that we need as much brawn as we have skill to compete. I laugh when I am told that the oil are following the Det and Chi model. Oh ya? Lol no problem......have you heard of 6'2 225lbs C Franzen? Or top C John Toews and monster Brian Bickell?

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#48 Larry
September 22 2013, 06:18PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

My guess is the Oilers will now move Eberle to centre.

Best time is now to see if he can do it, when games matter less.

That's the Oilers best short term solution IMO, if Eberle is not the answer come opening day then you can make a trade. IIRC Eberle was drafted as a centre by the Oilers...

Your high...

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#49 DSF
September 22 2013, 09:25PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Yeah, that's a fun game to play. What would Vancouver's center depth be if Henrik Sedin was injured?:

Ryan Kesler (iffy, coming back from injury, has played exactly one exhibition game and looked tentative)

Jordan Schroeder (oh, wait, broken foot)

Bo Horvat

Brendan Gaunce

Kellan Lain

Alex Friesen

Zach Hamill

Mike Santorelli

Yikes! I'm starting to like Edmonton's lineup. Especially because HALL WASN"T INJURED!

Vancouver's centre depth is sketchy but it's much better than the Oilers.

Thing is...Henrik has NEVER been injured.

He's played every game, every season since 2004 while Hopkins and Gagner have both missed significant time with injuries.

Prior to the last 2 seasons, Kesler has played 4 complete 82 game seasons so it's a pretty good bet he'll be fine.

You are, of course forgetting that Vancouver is slotting Brad Richardson as their #3C and Mike Santorelli as their #4C with any of Horvat, Gaunce or Lain being a bonus if their play warrants it.

Sedin

Kesler

Richardson

Santorelli

Gaunce

Horvat

Lain

is a much better depth chart than...

Hall

Gordon

Lander

Acton

Chuckles the Clown

...no matter how you slice it.

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#50 Craig1981
September 22 2013, 11:24PM
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Mr common sense wrote:

No problem at all. Message is delivered. You do not touch Kessel. Point made around the league.

You think Semenko, McSorley, heck even Sather cared about a suspension? C'mon Brownlee, you've gone soft......this whole town has.

Ok, do players that have played in the last 15 years care about suspensions? YES!!!! If you are only getting paid $500,000 a year you care about a 41 game suspension for "breaking jaws" as people have suggested. Since you have already gave up $50,000 to your agent and have a limited window to earn and save for your future.

Just because your are not stupid, does not make you soft.

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