Andrew Ference named captain of the Oilers

Jonathan Willis
September 29 2013 08:11AM

 

Dallas Eakins broke the news that Andrew Ference will be the new captain of the Edmonton Oilers when he tweeted the picture above on Sunday morning.

There had been indications that the Oilers might be leaning toward a veteran captain rather than one of the team's young stars, and while Ference is to some degree a surprising choice this is not entirely unexpected news.

Ference brings a wealth of experience to the role. He is 34 years old and has played nearly 1,000 games at the NHL level, split between Pittsburgh and Calgary and Boston. He spent the last two seasons as an alternate captain with a very good Bruins team. Over his career he's been on five reasonably deep playoff runs - with Mario Lemieux in 2000-01, with Jarome Iginla in 2003-04 and multiple times with the Bruins, earning a Stanley Cup ring in 2011.

He's a newcomer, but he's one that should be respected based on what he's done over his career.

Passed over were other obvious candidates. Taylor Hall is the team's best player in the here-and-now. Jordan Eberle was the Oilers' only full-time alternate last season. Sam Gagner's NHL resume doesn't put him in the same class as those two, but Craig MacTavish identified him as a character guy and a team leader over the summer and Gagner has a lot of experience for a player his age (it's worth wondering too whether Gagner's injury impacted his chances).

How much does it matter? Perhaps not a lot; the line of thinking that leaders lead regardless of position is one I have a lot of time for; I also tend to think that in the grand scheme of things naming the right or wrong guy captain doesn't have much impact on goal differential. 

Was it the right choice? Time will tell, but my inclination is to say 'yes.' The off-ice - and especially media - responsibilities that come with the captaincy are probably best given to a veteran in most cases. Choosing an outsider could well be a positive, as the Oilers continue to emphasize the break between the present and the failures of recent years. Picking a guy from a winning organization makes sense for many of the same reasons.

From this (imperfect) vantage point, Ference seems a logical choice.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Serious Gord
September 29 2013, 08:14AM
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So Wanye was full of $hit.

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#2 a lg dubl dubl
September 29 2013, 08:17AM
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Im mixed about this, Ference is a great team mate, been to the finals 3 times, and in tip top shape. I was hoping either Hall or Gagner would have been chosen with Ference there to lean on for support.

Not a bad choice all in all.

WANYE YOU LIED TO US!!!!

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#3 Justino
September 29 2013, 08:17AM
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Woot Woot! Go Ference! I'm happy with this.

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#4 Chewy
September 29 2013, 08:19AM
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Ference must be standing in a hole in that picture.....in all seriousness, this is a really good decision.....don't know much about him but by all accounts, he has shown he is a leader focused on one thing......giving his best.....

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#5 Lowetide
September 29 2013, 08:22AM
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I thought Hall would get it, but this is an excellent choice.

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#6 The Oilers Shot Clock
September 29 2013, 08:22AM
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Steve Smith looks like hes just happy to be there

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#7 Serious Gord
September 29 2013, 08:26AM
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Nothing Bold about it that's for sure.

Shows that the mgmt is not ready to make hall THE franchise player -yet. Naming Ference buys them a couple of years...

If the team struggles this year being captain could be a miserable task - let the no future veteran take the punishment.

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#8 a lg dubl dubl
September 29 2013, 08:26AM
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@The Oilers Shot Clock

Was he taking the picture? I don't see him

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#9 The Oilers Shot Clock
September 29 2013, 08:27AM
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HAHA...sorry I mean Lowe

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#10 Chewy
September 29 2013, 08:27AM
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@The Oilers Shot Clock

He's sitting on the mantle behind Coach Eakins......

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#11 Bparsonsproject
September 29 2013, 08:27AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

So Wanye was full of $hit.

I think Gagner getting a stick to the face may have impacted his chances. Wayne is going to have to chew on it for awhile... wait... fast or eat smoothies to support Gagner in recovery.

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#12 dawgtoy
September 29 2013, 08:29AM
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I actually gave serious Gord props for his comment. WTF, that likely won't happen again. Good choice. Hall isn't ready yet, but he will be the 15th captain of the Edmonton Oilers.

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#13 a lg dubl dubl
September 29 2013, 08:31AM
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So with Wanye lying to the masses, do we get free oilernation gear to make up for his "mistake" ;)-

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#14 Bparsonsproject
September 29 2013, 08:32AM
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Who is sitting on the mantle behind Eakins? Does anyone else feel a bit creeped out by that?

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#15 a lg dubl dubl
September 29 2013, 08:32AM
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@The Oilers Shot Clock

lol, ol' "six rings" will always be there

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#16 The Oilers Shot Clock
September 29 2013, 08:33AM
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I was in favor of Andrew as well. Hes a young looking guy for someone his age, and we know hes a fitness freak. Hopefully he ages slow. His contract kind of demands it.

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#17 Dyckster
September 29 2013, 08:34AM
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So ya, why is KB in the picture? Old boys club alive and while, "ya sorry Steve, we decided last minute and couldn't get a hold of you". And iOS 7 makes my iPhone 4 operate slower than a Commodore 64.

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#18 WhattaMike
September 29 2013, 08:35AM
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Congrats to Andrew Ference on being named captain of this Oilers' team. I believe that his being named captain is the very right choice for now, and say for two more yrs, while bridging the term gap in order for Taylor Hall (next IMO) to become an excellent future captain.

This team needs a very expereienced and successful older vet to lead into the playoffs and Ference's resume is top notch.

Now....on that note...

Hey JW, is MacT actually looking hard right now and/or for an available good centre who could play very decent 3rd to 4th line groupings?

I just saw Calgary easily get Colborne for only a 4th round pick as also see other deals being made but again....there is nothing happening here. This gets frustrating as I am one who wants to see the team keep getting bigger and better now while not just sitting and hoping for miracloes. Not sold on Arcobello or Acton although I am pulling for them to do well.

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#19 Crackenbury
September 29 2013, 08:36AM
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Good choice. A captain with proven leadership ability and lots of playoff experience. The decision wasn't difficult.

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#20 Rambelaya
September 29 2013, 08:38AM
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Great decision. It's a break from the past, someone with SC experience who's already dealing with the media, and just let the kids produce.

Hall, enjoy a few more years without the pressure of C, because once you get it you're going to have it for a long, long time.

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#22 Spydyr
September 29 2013, 08:43AM
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Gagner or Ference.Easy choice.Another good decision.The next captain will be Hall.Now if they could address the center issue that would be great.

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#23 Velo
September 29 2013, 08:56AM
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This is the best choice. The young guys are here for a long time. If Ference can help mold them off the ice, and they continue to develop on the ice, we will be in for a good ride - both in our community and in Rexall Place.

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#24 Serious Gord
September 29 2013, 08:56AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Gagner or Ference.Easy choice.Another good decision.The next captain will be Hall.Now if they could address the center issue that would be great.

Bizarre comment. If gagner would have been a good choice IYO then hall could not be the next captain. No way would they strip it from gagner two years from now to give it to him unless circumstances were very poor - or SG had been traded. And neither of those two events would be part of a decision to name gagner the captain with the intent of naming hall sometime later.

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#25 Spydyr
September 29 2013, 09:02AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Bizarre comment. If gagner would have been a good choice IYO then hall could not be the next captain. No way would they strip it from gagner two years from now to give it to him unless circumstances were very poor - or SG had been traded. And neither of those two events would be part of a decision to name gagner the captain with the intent of naming hall sometime later.

Someone on his site not naming names predicted Gagner would be named captain.They named Ference instead.Hence the good decision comment.

Since you did ask IMO Gagner would be my 5th or 6th choice for captain.

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#26 Zack
September 29 2013, 09:08AM
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Andrew Ference the first guy to chuck the knucks with Sid the kid.

On a serious note, I'm happy Ference has become captain this will bridge the gap nicely between now and when one of the young stars takes the reigns. Seeing another D wearing the C on his chest and #21 on his back makes sense.

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#27 The Soup Fascist
September 29 2013, 09:08AM
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Most will likely be ok with this, but if Oilers and Eakins see Hall as the next captain, put an A on him full time and have Ference show him the ropes. And Ference should be prepared to pass on the C early, once Hall has matured into the role, ala Fogolin / Gretzky ...... 30 freaking years ago !! Wow I am old.

"When you can snatch the pebbles from my hand Grasshopper ..."

Yup. I am very old.

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#28 Harlie
September 29 2013, 09:10AM
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Wow, Eakins just irrigated all over Wanye's corn flakes this morning.

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#29 Smokey
September 29 2013, 09:11AM
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I am concerned that in two years Andrew could face the Horcoff treatment because his skills decline. If history repeats itself fans will ride him outta town.

Hall's the face of this franchise. Ference is a good guy but not someone anyone looks to as the face of the Oilers's. Slag me if you must, but in two years don't be railing on Andrew cause he can't play. I remember two years ago we were looking at Whitney as a future captain replacement.

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#30 Spydyr
September 29 2013, 09:15AM
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Smokey wrote:

I am concerned that in two years Andrew could face the Horcoff treatment because his skills decline. If history repeats itself fans will ride him outta town.

Hall's the face of this franchise. Ference is a good guy but not someone anyone looks to as the face of the Oilers's. Slag me if you must, but in two years don't be railing on Andrew cause he can't play. I remember two years ago we were looking at Whitney as a future captain replacement.

I'm pretty sure with game he brings the fans here will soon fall in love with Ference.As for his skills declining Ference is a fitness nut like his coach.I could see him playing well for more then two years.How long did Chelios play for ?

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#31 michael
September 29 2013, 09:21AM
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Good pick. The one I would have made. A Ft Saskatchewan fellow to add. Always nice to see the local guys come home and do good. He really has made a huge effort to win the affectios of the team and locals. He has reached out to the community with that morning exercise thing he does. He has shown willingness to step up. Overall a fine choice who will continue to bring integrity and honor to the Oiler jersey.

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#32 steveb12344
September 29 2013, 09:35AM
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Smokey wrote:

I am concerned that in two years Andrew could face the Horcoff treatment because his skills decline. If history repeats itself fans will ride him outta town.

Hall's the face of this franchise. Ference is a good guy but not someone anyone looks to as the face of the Oilers's. Slag me if you must, but in two years don't be railing on Andrew cause he can't play. I remember two years ago we were looking at Whitney as a future captain replacement.

Andrew Ferrance is the fittest guy on the team, and from Eakins comments on him. One of the fittest in the whole league.

Guys like that don't decline as rapidly as the regular guys who stop being vigilant about it once they get their big contracts in their early 30's.

I wouldn't be surprised if he plays out this whole contract with little to no drop-off at all.

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#33 Smokey
September 29 2013, 09:55AM
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Spydyr wrote:

I'm pretty sure with game he brings the fans here will soon fall in love with Ference.As for his skills declining Ference is a fitness nut like his coach.I could see him playing well for more then two years.How long did Chelios play for ?

And Horcoff was outta shape? Fitness does equate whether a player is effective. Drink some more koolaid. At 34 he was a 3 defencemen on a excellent team. I don't discount that. However in 2 years he is probably a number 6 deman at best. I guess I'm skeptical after blunder after blunder by this organization, I don't trust their ability in any aspect to make decisions. I also.want to see Andrew rode outta town. Horcoff was maligned for 3 years carrying that cross. Its going to be hard on a guy who will be on a decline no matter how good of shape he is in to carry that burden.

Ill admit I may be wrong, but if you want a bridge captain for a year the it should of been Smytty. Hall should be the captain period next year period.

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#34 Mandy
September 29 2013, 09:56AM
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I like the choice of Ference as Captain. It will be Hall in time but I think he has the right guy to learn from. And I also expect Eakins will make the entire leadership group as a collective and be visible on the ice, in the room and in the community. Andy is an outsider but really not so much. He's an Edmonton boy. So he knows the city and the fan base. He quickly integrated himself into the community which created a genuine vibe about him wanting to be here and wanting to compete and involve the fans. I sense he understands how to navigate the waters of the fishbowl.

Another thing I noticed in the photo was the body language of Eakins. He has his arm around Ference and almost looks like a proud Papa. We don't know if he'd react any differently if it was Hall there or not. But I think it shows a clear example of Eakins putting his stamp on the team and MacT let him. There's a lot of old boys in there. But the start of creating a fresh identity are showing. The old pictures are gone. A newly acquired player named Captain but as Willis said, he has a winning track record and he's shown he's a leader and on winning teams too. Plus yes, the C always looks good on a sweater with a 21 on it. Andy please do channel your inner Gator. I miss that.

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#35 Doug
September 29 2013, 10:04AM
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Don't like it. I respect what Andrew Ference has done in his career but a new comer to a team should not be named captain.

Hall should have gotten the "C" with Ference, Eberle and Gagner getting the A.

This team belongs to the kids and they should lead with the veterans like Smyth and Ference as support.

In fact, based on deserving of the C it should have went to Smyth over Ference.

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#36 wiseguy
September 29 2013, 10:04AM
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An ex-Flame as our captain. The BOA is officially dead.

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#37 Quicksilver ballet
September 29 2013, 10:08AM
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Wow, that was a lot easier than first thought. Must be a testament to Andrew Ference with him making this decision easy for head coach Dallas Eakins. Commitment to a better level of fitness reinforced. Resistance is futile.

Congratulations to Andrew Ference, a step in the right direction for this organization and well deserved.

Go Oil!

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#38 Fresh Mess
September 29 2013, 10:10AM
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Oilers claim Luke Gadzic from the Dallas Stars as per TSN. Hamilton waived.

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#39 Fresh Mess
September 29 2013, 10:11AM
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Larsen also waived

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#40 The Soup Fascist
September 29 2013, 10:13AM
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Smokey wrote:

And Horcoff was outta shape? Fitness does equate whether a player is effective. Drink some more koolaid. At 34 he was a 3 defencemen on a excellent team. I don't discount that. However in 2 years he is probably a number 6 deman at best. I guess I'm skeptical after blunder after blunder by this organization, I don't trust their ability in any aspect to make decisions. I also.want to see Andrew rode outta town. Horcoff was maligned for 3 years carrying that cross. Its going to be hard on a guy who will be on a decline no matter how good of shape he is in to carry that burden.

Ill admit I may be wrong, but if you want a bridge captain for a year the it should of been Smytty. Hall should be the captain period next year period.

So you don't want to give the C to Ference, a player on a decline? Fair enough, but you follow that up with a comment that you would give the C to Smytty, who - when the injuries sort themselves out - SHOULD be a part-time 4th liner this year.

That is like saying "maybe Britney Spears has had enough to drink, let's let Lindsay Lohan drive".

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#41 The Soup Fascist
September 29 2013, 10:15AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Oilers claim Luke Gadzic from the Dallas Stars as per TSN. Hamilton waived.

Please tell me you have made a terrible mistake and it is - in actuality - Luke ADAM, that has been claimed!

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#42 Alex Mathis
September 29 2013, 10:18AM
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@Fresh Mess

Intruiging moves which I can't understand. IMO, Larrsen had a good camp. I'm sure he will be replaced by Grebs...stange. Still waiting for a Centerman. MacT is acting in a desperate mood!

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#43 Team Omark
September 29 2013, 10:20AM
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Down with Wanye! Down with Wanye!

Also, I would rather have Linus Omark as a captain than Snowpants.

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#44 WONGER
September 29 2013, 10:22AM
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OIL claim GAZDIC off of waivers!!! You are gonna love this sweetheart!!!2nd toughest guy in AHL behind MAC- can skate, score once in a while- 24 years old - WOOOOO!!!! Wonger called it yesterday- also wants to see Jay ROSEHILL in a Oiler uni- Flyers may put him on waivers today!!! Great job MAC T!!!WOO!!!!!!!!!!!

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#45 Smokey
September 29 2013, 10:22AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Larsen also waived

Larson shoulda been a 6/7. Regardless of Grebeshkov's injury status, he did not make this over Larson, Fedun, or Nurse. Heck Brad Hunt was better. Feel sorry for Larson. The way he skates the puck out of the zone and moves it, I liked him as 2nd PP option and replacement in Shultz Jr in case of an injury.

Maybe they should waive Schultz Sr?

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#46 The Soup Fascist
September 29 2013, 10:22AM
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Team Omark wrote:

Down with Wanye! Down with Wanye!

Also, I would rather have Linus Omark as a captain than Snowpants.

Step away from the bong.

I repeat.

Step away from the bong.

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#47 Spydyr
September 29 2013, 10:22AM
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Smokey wrote:

And Horcoff was outta shape? Fitness does equate whether a player is effective. Drink some more koolaid. At 34 he was a 3 defencemen on a excellent team. I don't discount that. However in 2 years he is probably a number 6 deman at best. I guess I'm skeptical after blunder after blunder by this organization, I don't trust their ability in any aspect to make decisions. I also.want to see Andrew rode outta town. Horcoff was maligned for 3 years carrying that cross. Its going to be hard on a guy who will be on a decline no matter how good of shape he is in to carry that burden.

Ill admit I may be wrong, but if you want a bridge captain for a year the it should of been Smytty. Hall should be the captain period next year period.

So no to Ference because he might decline but yes to Smyth who has already declined.OK then.

For you to suggest I'm a kool-aid fan,well either you don't read the comment section often or your reading comprehension is poor.

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#48 Quicksilver ballet
September 29 2013, 10:24AM
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With Smytty and Ference being at a similar point in their lives. Should be interesting to see if Andrews affliction to fitness rubs off on Ryan Smyth some. Perhaps even extends his career a couple yrs. Be cool to see Ryan Smyth still here when it's hockey that matters for the Oilers again.

Not a popular opinion amongst the masses i'm sure. I just wanted to conform to my usual character.... stick the knife in and twist it on some fellow posters here this morning.

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#49 Wonger
September 29 2013, 10:24AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Please tell me you have made a terrible mistake and it is - in actuality - Luke ADAM, that has been claimed!

Do your homework dum dum!z,! GAZDIC can play-go with ANYONE- and is 24!!!!

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#50 Smokey
September 29 2013, 10:25AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

So you don't want to give the C to Ference, a player on a decline? Fair enough, but you follow that up with a comment that you would give the C to Smytty, who - when the injuries sort themselves out - SHOULD be a part-time 4th liner this year.

That is like saying "maybe Britney Spears has had enough to drink, let's let Lindsay Lohan drive".

Eakins thinks Smytty is a first liner, and said he's in good shape.

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