Soak it up Marty Marincin!

Jason Strudwick
January 13 2014 08:26AM

Last week, young Oilers defender Martin Marincin was a surprise addition to Slovakia's hockey team going to Sochi for the Olympics. What a great feeling that must have been for him! The soon to be Olympian will turn twenty-two during the Olympics. The Olympics are huge for Europeans. After playing in three different European countries I can tell you people love to talk about past athletes that have represented their countries proudly. He and his family must be very excited.

Marincin has been a nice surprise for me on the back end. When you look at him on paper it is impossible not to like his height. Watching him in practice he is a nice skater, is comfortable with the puck and has a shot. But the games are where it counts.

Playing on a weak team is difficult for all the individual players. It is especially hard on the defenceman and goalies. This group finds themselves facing odd man rushes against and spending lots of time in their own end. The defence corps is always under pressure. I am not saying the D for the Oilers is not responsible for some of the issues but not having a more consistent defensive minded group of forwards makes it rough.

This makes it hard for a young d man to feel his way into the NHL.. On a stronger NHL team there are games where you find yourself standing on the offensive blue line for a whole shift as your forwards light up a weaker team in their own end. A young defenceman can get used to the speed and flow of the NHL game at a more reasonable rate. Not so on a weaker team. Most nights it can feel like you are under siege. There are times when you want to yell out "Broken Arrow" as you are being overrun!

Marincin has looked calm to me. I don't see him panic with the puck. (I thought Hunt was very nervous and jittery with the puck for the three games he was in the lineup). He seems to find the play to make quickly. With the pressure d-men get in the game today knowing what to do with the puck before you actually have it is a must. He has shown me poise, a nice asset for a young player.

The first job of defencemen is to stop the other team from scoring. In his first nine games I can only think of one time where he was really out of position that led to a goal. That is impressive. He needs to keep that up and slowly work in some of the offence we know he has.

The one area I would like to see him improve is his weight and strength. He is listed at 6'4, 188 lbs. Not enough muscle on that body. Much like our friend Wanye he needs to lock himself in a gym this summer that has a buffet included! I would expect him to play at close to 210 lbs or more three years from now. He needs to match the strength of the big bodies of NHL forwards.

I saw a play against the Penguins that really showed me this need. He did a nice job on a James Neal rush to keep him to the outside and force him behind the net. As Marincin engaged him physically Neal pushed him off with his superior strength. Nothing came of the play but a big guy like Marty needs to have the ability to respond with the same amount of strength.

Moving forward after the ten games he has played I see really no reason to change the way the Oilers are handling him. His ice time has been roughly fifteen minutes a night, a very manageable amount. He is not over-stressed or drowning so his confidence if anything is improving.

Marincin will get a great opportunity to soak up knowledge from a player who is most likely his idol and is the captain of the Slovakian Olympic team, Zdeno Chara. What a chance to learn for Marty! Chara is everything you want in a role model for a young defenceman. He is in incredible shape, he plays hard every night, he’s extremely competitive. He’s a leader who doesn't wilt under pressure and a very good defender. The list goes on and on. Marincin needs to have his eyes glued to Chara both on and off the ice during the whole tourney.

Organizations dream of the opportunities like this for their young players. For Marincin he needs to take advantage of everything he will learn from Chara, the Olympic experience and this stretch of NHL games to keep his development moving forward.

Set Your Alarms Boys

8 am practice?

Are you serious?

These words would have been uttered after Oilers players were informed of their coach's decision to practice twice last week very early.

I have never heard of any coach setting a practice time on a non-travel day at 8 am in my life! There were many reasons mentioned by Eakins as to why he made that choice. I didn't agree or buy any. This is the truth. It is a reverse curfew. It is that simple. The moment I read the tweets I knew that.

Sleep is vital for an NHL player. For many sleeping after a game does not come easy. When I played some nights I wouldn't fall asleep till three or four in the morning because I was still fired up. Maybe I would watch the game again or watch a couple of movies to settle down. It was frustrating to not to be able to sleep sooner and the lack of sleep would wear me down.

Eakins admitted earlier this season that he was surprised how difficult the travel was out here. The flights are all three hours or more after Calgary and Vancouver. It is long and late nights coming home from everywhere. Most guys can't sleep on the plane. Some come home to families that they want to spend time with so that means no naps.

At every turn sleep is slipping away. I know that when you are not rested and tired injuries are more likely to happen. It is a fact.

So with all of this knowledge is there any other reason than the one I stated above to think that at 8 am practice has benefits? No. There isn't.

I don't know if there is an issue with the night life of players on this team. My days of shooters, doing the worm and late nights are mostly behind me now. I do know that when I was a young player I enjoyed myself when the opportunity presented itself. I was smart and made sure late nights didn't hurt my games or practices. Older players showed me the way and kept me accountable.

I played with some guys who were animals and went out all the time. They showed up at practice and games and played their hearts out. It didn't affect their performance. They had long careers. I played with other guys who were puddles the couple of days after a big night out. They couldn't produce and they were out of the league quickly.

If Eakins feels some guys are not living up to his standards after a late night out I have no problem with that. As a professional hockey player that is part of the deal. If you dance to the music you need to pay the piper. Eakins and the veterans need to sit the players down and outline clearly how it needs to work.

BUT… having early practices to send or reinforce that message is not the way to do it. Eakins is actually shooting himself and his team in the foot. He is unnecessarily tiring out his team.

LET THE BOYS SLEEP!!!!

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#1 jay
January 13 2014, 08:49AM
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any article that doesn't point out all the reasons klowe should be fired is hereby banned

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#2 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 13 2014, 08:36AM
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I'm the same age as Hall, and I go pretty hogwild some nights. I can only imagine what kind of shenanigans the kids get up to with access to that kind of cash. As long as it doesn't affect your work (play?), then all the power to you.

Fire Lowe.

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#3 John Chambers
January 13 2014, 08:44AM
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There's a possibility that the Oilers future defense corps stacks up something like this:

Nurse - Ekblad

Marincin - Schultz

Klefbom - Gernat?? Simpson??

That would be worth getting excited about.

If only we had dynamic scoring forwards. Oh wait!

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#4 light yagumi
January 13 2014, 12:49PM
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i think eakins is doing the right thing. i know some people who live the club/night life in edmonton and its common knowledge now that hall and ebs like their cocaine.

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#5 Byron
January 13 2014, 09:44AM
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What a joke....my 8 year old has 6am practices ..my wife gets up at 5:05 so she can get to the hospital in time to start her 12 hour shift at 6:30..and as for your comments about not being able to sleep after games..most of these guys fall asleep in the first intermission. The more they loose the harder they should work period.........

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#6 frenchy
January 13 2014, 09:11AM
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David Staples wrote:

Excellent points on the need for sleep, Jason. And well said about Marincin.

ya, these guys need to be well rested to lose

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#7 redhot1
January 13 2014, 09:10AM
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Stop. Going. To. The. Games.

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#9 @Oilanderp
January 13 2014, 09:59AM
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Shocking. These poor souls are being forced to get up around the same time as everyone else. THEN they are being forced to play hockey, with the only recompense being millions of dollars.

I am outraged. Flabbergasted, sir.

Why aren't the proper authorities being brought into this?

Cruelty to millionaires. A new BBC documentary in the making no doubt!

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#10 Rama Lama
January 13 2014, 10:03AM
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Well Mr. Fitness will now be know as MR. Sleepless.

Mr. Sleepless has changed everything he could, gone are the pictures of the "great Oilers dynasty, gone are the donuts, gone are the regular practices at a normal time? Come on really??

Yes Mr. Sleepless knows what he is doing.......just wait and see when he learns who his players are, what position they play, who they are as people, well then it's time to look out!

When you are a ego maniac who is totally self absorbed, you start thinking everything you do is something special. Enter Eakins with his 8:00 am practices. This is pure foolishness and someone will have to explain to this clown that finishing a game at 11:00 pm and then going home to eat, and wind down has a player not being able to sleep very much..........only to get up at 6:00 to prepare for a 8:00 am practice.

The players have all quit playing for this clown........but he is totally unaware of this because he spends too much time listening to his inner fool!

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#12 John Chambers
January 13 2014, 09:30AM
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@jay

Yeah, I think next year would be more bearable if it looked like:

Top L Defenseman - Top R Defenseman Petry - Ference Marincin - Schultz Belov

Byfuglien and Markov would be on my wish list without sacrificing any key pieces.

The year after we buy out Ference slides down to the 7th spot, with Nurse replacing Belov, with Ekblad and Klefbom replacing Byfuglien and Markov as they're ready.

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#13 Arius Mumin
January 13 2014, 11:06AM
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Kevin Lowe probably told Eakins to hold the 8 a.m practice.

Kevin Lowe also told the players to go hit on young girls at the Rack as well.

Kevin Lowe tells Eakins everything, as well as the players.

Kevin Lowe tells everyone, who has anything to do with the Oilers, what to do.

Kevin Lowe is everything Oilers, right? So if he was to go, would the Oilers go with him?

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#14 Valic
January 13 2014, 08:48AM
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It's about time someone starts calling out Eakins. He's a disaster.

Between this artcile and the most recent MC79Hockey article showing evidence that MacT's comments about Hall and Company's usage against tougher competition being hogwash, it's nice to see some people take some legit shots at the organization. On the positive side, I've been very happy with Marincin and I think we have a player there. Great job so far.

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#15 JL
January 13 2014, 09:12AM
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@Struds

It's a pretty well known fact that the Oiler "kids" go partying very often. They have been seen at the bars after tough losses which does nothing to help their reputation.

Obviously kids love to party, but it would be easier to see and allow if they actually won some games.

To illustrate the point, there was a tweet that said "Maybe if they named the new arena The Ranch Roadhouse, the Oilers would actually show up." The guy had 60 followers and it was retweeted 100+ times.

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#17 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 13 2014, 08:46AM
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@John Chambers

The potential of that D corps makes my eyes water. But I'm sick to death of potential, it's time for results.

Lordy I hope we get Ekblad. Nurse and Ekblad would be quite the 1st pairing.

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#18 **
January 13 2014, 11:12AM
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Some might say, bo hoo poor cry babies, make millions and cry about waking up early. That's an unfair assessment in my opinion. To me that's like criticizing a physics professor for not being able to lift 100 pounds. Or a roughneck for not publishing research papers more often.

In the reality of pro atheltes, sleep and rest is important (it is important for eveyone, but more so for athletes). Imagine a player like Ladi Smid, finishing a game at 10 pm. By the time he's home it's probably around 12 am. He's all tired, bruised from blocking shots, banged up, by the time he falls asleep it's probably 2 am. Then he has to wake up at least 5 hours later for practice.

No time to recover. I find it very stupid to summon these guys at that early hour. These team is struggling as it is, no need to add a handicap like lack of rest.

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#19 Rama Lama
January 13 2014, 12:04PM
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Ryan14 wrote:

I have a hard time buying the sleep argument, Struds. I am a full time student and work 30-40 hours a week. I have nights where I sleep for 2-3 hours and have to get up the next morning regardless. I have one week periods where I get less than 20 hours of sleep.

They had to do it for two nights.

They are still currently doing it........and you are not a professional athlete. The problem with everyone's assessment on the "sleep thing", is the underlining fact these athletes get paid a ton of money for playing so asking them to get up at 6:00 is Okay!

This is so wrong on so many levels, if Struds came out with this it must be because he has lived the life and knows this will hurt and not help the team.

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#20 cubsfan
January 13 2014, 12:48PM
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Im not that upset about 8 am practice

The Marines and our armed forces get up earlier

They get the job done......Oorah!!!!

Or.....Hooah (for our Canadian men and women)

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#21 john
January 14 2014, 02:56AM
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I watched the games this year, I don't see the players enjoying themselves like previous years. Eakin stop screwing up Yakupov like you did with Nazem Kadri with the Marlies. Both Muslims, I wonder if that's the reason both were picked on.

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#22 oilers2k10
January 13 2014, 08:42AM
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I wish I could practice hockey at 8 AM.

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#23 David Staples
January 13 2014, 08:45AM
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Excellent points on the need for sleep, Jason. And well said about Marincin.

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#24 jay
January 13 2014, 08:51AM
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John Chambers wrote:

There's a possibility that the Oilers future defense corps stacks up something like this:

Nurse - Ekblad

Marincin - Schultz

Klefbom - Gernat?? Simpson??

That would be worth getting excited about.

If only we had dynamic scoring forwards. Oh wait!

ya, lets wait 6 years until that dcore is nhl calibre

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#25 John Chambers
January 13 2014, 08:53AM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

I don't think we should trade the pick if Ekblad lands in your lap.

Unless the return is Subban, Shea Weber, or a 2003 version of Chris Pronger.

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#26 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 13 2014, 09:03AM
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Draft Ekblad. If he's gone, go for that Draisatl kid. Last year he got 58 points in 64 games in the Dub, this year he's at 35 games played and is already at 54 points. 6'2", 208 lbs at 18. Could be just what the doctor ordered for our 2C position.

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#27 Jon
January 13 2014, 10:20AM
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I think the 8am practices are pure genius. It's a big red warning sign being thrown at the players. Be professional or else. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 8am practices haven't been a continuous thing, it's only been twice? So it's really Eakins saying 'Try me'. If the boys continue to be irresponsible with their time management, then a real curfew is next.

On the other hand, maybe it has nothing to do with late nights, and Eakins just likes early mornings. It wouldn't be the strangest thing I've heard. He's known to be outside the box on one or two ideas.

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#28 Randaman
January 13 2014, 11:54AM
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John Chambers wrote:

There's a possibility that the Oilers future defense corps stacks up something like this:

Nurse - Ekblad

Marincin - Schultz

Klefbom - Gernat?? Simpson??

That would be worth getting excited about.

If only we had dynamic scoring forwards. Oh wait!

We will not be getting Ekblad!! We will finish ahead of Buffalo, Calgary, Florida. He will not be available at 4. PERIOD!! We will have to trade as no FA will want to come to this joke of the NHL. PERIOD!!! I'm not negative, just a realist.

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#29 TigerUnderGlass
January 13 2014, 02:01PM
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Jason Strudwick wrote:

Does your job require you to make sure your body is in incredible shape and as close to 100%to perform against the best athletes in the world? I bet if you are a little sluggish you still have a good chance of doing ok a work. That isn't the case in the NHL. You comparision doesn't make any sense.

Why don't you try this argument with the thousands of high level amateur athletes and Olympians globally who train daily at the crack of dawn and somehow thrive. Why does getting paid to play mean you suddenly have to sleep in all morning?

The idea that 8:00 practice is too early to get enough sleep is absurd.

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#30 Old Timer
January 13 2014, 02:45PM
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pkam wrote:

I can think of at least 2 reasons.

1st, the players, like us, have family and friends that they want to spend sometime with. And these people usually are busy during the day and free at evening and nights. So it will be too cruel to take away their last chance to have social time with their family and friends.

2nd, the arena is likely to have other events and functions going on in the evening than in the morning.

The players have all day to spend with family and most of their friends are hockey players. Many people have to work odd hours that don't coincide with their friends or family and get paid a heck of a lot less to do it.

At the rate these players get paid, they shouldn't complain about anything. If they don't like the hours then get a real job.

And boohoo if you don't get enough sleep. Who's fault is that?

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#31 mlselli
January 13 2014, 09:09AM
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Just want to make a few comments. First of all, congrats to Marty for making the Olympic team. A huge honour for the young man, and what a bonus to learn from Chara.

My personal opinion of Eakins is that he is in way over his head, and is proving to be incompetent and is at a complete loss as to how to be effective. He has clearly run out of ideas on what to do. I also think he is a hypocrite. Early morning practice--CRAZY!!!

Jason, based on your experience as a player, and the observations you have made, do you see the players buying in or protesting the system Eakins has in place? I'm asking this, because I see Eakins showing a considerable amount of inconsistencies in many of his decisions every game. As a result of this, I don't know how the players know what to expect, so they are playing their own game.

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#32 northof51
January 13 2014, 09:45AM
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I get what Struds is saying about the 8 am practices. I quit my beer league team this year cause I couldn't handle getting home after midnight, falling asleep somewhere around 2, and getting up before 7.

It is a NHLer's job to perform late in the evening, not at 8 in the morning like the rest of us in the working class.

Props to Marancin for his first 10 games. Hope he only gets better.

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#33 michael
January 13 2014, 11:21AM
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For the Eckblad lovers.You really think the Oilers won't pass the Flames in the next 34 games? Think more like LD or Ritchie. heck the Jets and Nashville are more likely to finish 3/4th than the Oilers.

Marincin.Valuable asset.

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#34 Zarny
January 13 2014, 02:21PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Why don't you try this argument with the thousands of high level amateur athletes and Olympians globally who train daily at the crack of dawn and somehow thrive. Why does getting paid to play mean you suddenly have to sleep in all morning?

The idea that 8:00 practice is too early to get enough sleep is absurd.

The only problem with your argument is that those thousands of high level amateur athletes and Olympians don't hold their competitions from 7-10 pm at night.

By the time players are done changing, riding the bike for 30 min after a game to cool down and any required physical therapy most don't get home from games till after midnight and you're usually still to jacked up from playing to get to sleep for another 1-2 hours.

You simply are not comparing apples to apples.

Tell me...how many nurses or night shift workers who don't get home and to sleep till 2-3 am get up by 6 am.

The answer is none.

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#35 Old Timer
January 13 2014, 02:48PM
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pkam wrote:

I can think of at least 2 reasons.

1st, the players, like us, have family and friends that they want to spend sometime with. And these people usually are busy during the day and free at evening and nights. So it will be too cruel to take away their last chance to have social time with their family and friends.

2nd, the arena is likely to have other events and functions going on in the evening than in the morning.

Also there are plenty of arenas in town. They don't always have to use Rexall

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#36 TigerUnderGlass
January 13 2014, 02:51PM
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Zarny wrote:

The only problem with your argument is that those thousands of high level amateur athletes and Olympians don't hold their competitions from 7-10 pm at night.

By the time players are done changing, riding the bike for 30 min after a game to cool down and any required physical therapy most don't get home from games till after midnight and you're usually still to jacked up from playing to get to sleep for another 1-2 hours.

You simply are not comparing apples to apples.

Tell me...how many nurses or night shift workers who don't get home and to sleep till 2-3 am get up by 6 am.

The answer is none.

No, they don't. It isn't apples to apples. Instead they often hold down day jobs AND go to school AND train....yet somehow maintain peak condition.

There is no reasonable argument that 8:00 is too early for a practice, especially when it's a rare event.

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#37 light yagumi
January 13 2014, 04:44PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

I'm gonna be the fun police here and maybe be trashed for saying this, but saying things like that may be considered defamation and can get you sued. Not saying that will, but when you make statements like that, you have to be pretty careful. Anyways I'm just saying that as a polite warning.

thanks for the warning but defamation is when you make something up. i know this is 100% true. the only reason i bring it up is because we lose so much. I would just like it to get back to the players somehow so that they realize the city is beginning to notice. im no expert but cocaine in their systems isnt helping the team.

at least make the playoffs and i wont really care.

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#38 jay
January 13 2014, 09:05AM
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John Chambers wrote:

I too would prefer a gentler transition into that D corps.

Perhaps if the Oil could trade Gagner for a Kulikov type, and get an Andrew MacDonald or Dan Girardi in free agency, we won't have to trade the pick or any of those delicious prospects.

i don't know what to do. we all agree the defence is not up to par for an AHL team, and if you trade gagner for some help whats the center ice look like?? this team is heavy on the wings, weak up the middle, weaker on the back end and we can all debate about the net. completely opposite of how to build a contender

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#39 debunk
January 13 2014, 09:19AM
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LET THE BOYS SLEEP!! they gotta quickly strap on the skates for a little bit, then its PARTY TIME at the ranch!! they need their rest

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#40 sidney frosby
January 13 2014, 09:35AM
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debunk wrote:

LET THE BOYS SLEEP!! they gotta quickly strap on the skates for a little bit, then its PARTY TIME at the ranch!! they need their rest

The ranch... lol... yeah that's where they go

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#41 book¡e
January 13 2014, 10:41AM
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So, is this article meant to suggest that Eakins is out of line in teaching his NHLers that they are privileged in that their biggest problems in life are finding time to have a nap and/or entertain the wife when they get home from a road trip?

It kind of does the opposite.

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#42 oilers2k10
January 13 2014, 10:49AM
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From everything I've read and seen so far I'd go with Draisaitl over Ekblad especially since Oilers have a ton of defensive prospects on the way (Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse, Simpson, Gernat, ect) and not really any centers that project to be top six.

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#43 Rob...
January 13 2014, 10:52AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Shocking. These poor souls are being forced to get up around the same time as everyone else. THEN they are being forced to play hockey, with the only recompense being millions of dollars.

I am outraged. Flabbergasted, sir.

Why aren't the proper authorities being brought into this?

Cruelty to millionaires. A new BBC documentary in the making no doubt!

I propped you because I share the sentiment, but I doubt there are any Sports Performance Specialists out there that also share it. I might find it sickening to hear the players talk about their pre-game naps, but if this wasn't the smart thing for them to do they likely wouldn't have it as part of their routine. The same goes for the sane coaches not having early morning practices.

Also, partying after a bad loss is probably going to help them mentally cope and reset for the next game more than going home to an empty house and stewing about it will.

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#44 -30-
January 13 2014, 10:53AM
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The Ranch? LOL Nope. How about The Rack?

Or so says my first year university daughter who has been hit on by a couple of hockey millionaires there. LOL

Fire Kevin Lowe!

BTW she HATES hockey and didn't accept the drinks. :)

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#45 Arius Mumin
January 13 2014, 11:07AM
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@Rama Lama

Are you saying Kevin Lowe is Eakins inner fool?

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#46 Ryan14
January 13 2014, 11:14AM
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I have a hard time buying the sleep argument, Struds. I am a full time student and work 30-40 hours a week. I have nights where I sleep for 2-3 hours and have to get up the next morning regardless. I have one week periods where I get less than 20 hours of sleep.

They had to do it for two nights.

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#47 Ivan Drago
January 13 2014, 01:24PM
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light yagumi wrote:

i think eakins is doing the right thing. i know some people who live the club/night life in edmonton and its common knowledge now that hall and ebs like their cocaine.

It's also common knowledge that posts like yours are made by stupid ppl. Did you also know that everything you read on the internet is true?

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#48 james_dean
January 13 2014, 04:11PM
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8 am? No big deal for $30 000 a week

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#49 John Chambers
January 13 2014, 08:54AM
Trash it!
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@jay

I too would prefer a gentler transition into that D corps.

Perhaps if the Oil could trade Gagner for a Kulikov type, and get an Andrew MacDonald or Dan Girardi in free agency, we won't have to trade the pick or any of those delicious prospects.

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#50 Benhur
January 13 2014, 09:53AM
Trash it!
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10
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If partying is an issue with some of the players then you need to deal with this issue especially if it's affecting their results on the job. The early practice impacts everyone therefore it should not be used as a method to get some of the kids to bed! The other players have a life after all. Now I don't know if this is the reason for the 8:00 a.m. practices but I do find it odd!

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