BLUE ON BLUE

Lowetide
January 19 2014 07:25AM

The Edmonton Oilers have Jeff Petry just past 200 NHL games, Justin Schultz in the 90s and Martin Marincin just past a baker's dozen. The club also has Darnell Nurse ripping up junior, and a large number of prospects posting improving arrows in the AHL. How many of these kids can they develop in the next two seasons?

BUBBLING UNDER!

Corey Pronman's Top 50 Prospects (paywall)

  • 8. Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers: He wasn’t chosen to be on Canada’s team for the WJC, but I don’t think that is indicative of where Nurse is as an NHL prospect — he brings a ton to the table. He’s big, mean, a great skater and is pretty effective in both ends of the rink. His decisions aren’t always perfect and his shot could be a little better, but he’s a top-end prospect.

  • Willis: Klefbom has had struggles this year, but it does seem like he’s turned a corner. No other player on the blue line, or even on the team for that matter, has a wider gap between where he was at the start of the year and how he’s played the last few games. Taylor Fedun has been excellent throughout, Martin Marincin has made progress and Martin Gernat and David Musil have both evolved, but only with Klefbom have the strides been so large.

 

  • Dallas Eakins on Martin Marincin: " he’s a young kid trying to get his feet wet, he has played excellent for us, he’s had a great number of games in a row where on some nights he’s maybe been our most consistent and solid D."

  • Todd Nelson on Martin Gernat: “We're starting to see the offensive side to him. With these young guys it's always a work in progress. They have to learn all the things about going through their first pro season and try to develop some consistency.”

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

These are good young prospects, but they won't all turn out, and even the ones who do won't end up playing the heart of their careers as Oilers. Some 40+ years ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs had an enormous number of young and talented defensemen who all arrived at basically the same time.

1970-71 Toronto Maple Leafs

That's an insane group of young players, six of those guys were considered to be good to outstanding prospects at the time. The Leafs should have employed most of these men through the 1970s, but the WHA came along and raided most of them. By 1973-74 though, Toronto had recovered.

1973-74 Toronto Maple Leafs

I think there's a lesson here, even without the Godless WHA raids. Defensemen, like objects in your rear view mirror, may be closer than they appear (Marincin being an example) and may also be a mirage.

The odds of Edmonton ever employing a top 7D of Ekblad, Nurse, Petry, Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom and Gernat are zero. Some will flush out because of injury and some will be sent away for other needs.This extreme cluster development in a short time also clouds Dillon Simpson's future—the Oilers have an outstanding NCAA prospect who may get blocked in the pro organization. Or he may, as I'm suggesting is possible, be one of the young men who ends up staying while others depart the scene.

It is an impressive group, and this season has some very good arrows.

(All Barons photos by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved)

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull
January 19 2014, 07:38AM
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And with the first overall pick the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts.

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#2 HOFFFF
January 19 2014, 12:18PM
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corky wrote:

Nice start to flames game last night. Wish Oilers had the balls and grit to do something like that. Im sure Ference would be game.

Flames had to start a new rivalry since the Oilers have pussied out. A line brawl like that and the entire Oilers line would turtle. No truculence.

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#3 corky
January 19 2014, 12:07PM
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Nice start to flames game last night. Wish Oilers had the balls and grit to do something like that. Im sure Ference would be game.

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#4 papler
January 19 2014, 07:31AM
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Now THAT is some nice stickhandling!

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#5 dougtheslug
January 19 2014, 09:10AM
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By the way, Lowetide, I don't know what the example of the !970-71 Leafs is supposed to mean to us long suffering Oiler fans, but it is 44 years later and the Leafs still haven't been back to the Stanley Cup Final.

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#6 Loweblows
January 19 2014, 08:45AM
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Is it just me or does it appear that the Oilers are getting worse with every game? Eakins must go now before more damage is done! I see no point keeping Eakins as he is doing more damage than good for this team. Sick of edmonton media supporting this clown. Brownlee and all should stick to writing fluff stories.

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#7 dougtheslug
January 19 2014, 09:05AM
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I wonder if the NHL brass are getting a little sick of the top picks in the NHL draft, their future stars, end up in Edmonton where they wither and die in the hopelessly incompetent loser environment here.

Or do they even care?

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#8 Lofty
January 19 2014, 09:10AM
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Sketchy wrote:

What stage of the rebuild are we in??

Acceptance... we still suck

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#9 Oneeye
January 19 2014, 07:40AM
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We'll it would be nice to see a lot of these young guys on the team, the reality is we need help in 2014/15 season. We will run out of years with our supposed high end talent or they will want out. Let's sell high for a change rather than wait for the "Gagner" to occur.

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#10 Sorensenator
January 19 2014, 01:25PM
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Petry is pure garbage

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#11 I AM KEVIN L.
January 19 2014, 08:11AM
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Morning, suckers. You all figured that this team would have somehow developed in the past few seasons, right? Wrong. You see this "hockey" franchise is simply a money maker for Darryl & I. We put together a business plan to suck money out of Edmontonians and figured hockey would work. Rest assured: I will fire Eakins when I feel some pressure but Bucky and Smith will stay on forever. If attendance drops, we are moving to Seattle.

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#12 Sammy27
January 19 2014, 08:51AM
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@BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

And with great humility and embarrassment,yet again, with the first overall pick the Edmonton Oilers…..

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#13 RexHolez
January 19 2014, 09:53PM
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Jay wrote:

So when should the jersey's be thrown on the ice in the Nucks game?? Opening faceoff? End of the eventual loss?? Right after we let up another short handed goal???

I vote when the dj plays cotton eyed joe

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#14 Sketchy
January 19 2014, 08:37AM
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What stage of the rebuild are we in??

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#15 RexHolez
January 19 2014, 04:52PM
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I miss the lockout...

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#16 Bacon Nachos
January 19 2014, 12:05PM
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Prospects are one thing...but they're nothing without coaching. We're assuming that everyone assumes to trend up, yet our 'best' Dmen right now have all spent a bulk of their careers being coached by other teams. And this isn't just about Eakins... Is Smith really a good D coach?

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#17 Joel
January 19 2014, 03:00PM
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"This season has some very good arrows"

I think Lowetide said that in 2006.

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#18 fasteddy
January 19 2014, 11:23AM
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Is it just me, or is Eakins a hard guy to like no matter how loyal a fan you are? I found myself telling a buddy that I don't care if the guy wins a cup, he will never be a guy I side with. Never mind that his coaching has been questionable, he just doesn't feel like an Oilers guy, whatever that is...!

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#19 -30-
January 19 2014, 07:45AM
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A ray of hope in an otherwise horrible organization.

Let's not POISON these kids by sending them up into the boiling cauldron of dysfunction that is the Edmonton Oilers.

This team still needs a couple of solid and dependable defencemen who can mentor these kids and keep them in line when they lose their way.

-30-

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#20 Manfly
January 19 2014, 08:44AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Trade the pick and some of the prospects for experienced 1/2 line defense and forwards. The team cannot afford to wait for these wet behind the ears Defensemen to develop and there isn't enough value in the expendable oil players to get back what the team needs.

That is a horrific - Sophie's choice type of predicament to be in and someone should be held accountable for it, but like Sophie, not choosing means far worse consequences.

i wouldn't be trading the pick now because A) it's going to be too damn high and B) we've already traded our 2nd and 3rd rounders. keep and make the pick and use a few of our roster players as trade bait for what we need. my 2 cents.

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#21 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
January 19 2014, 09:18AM
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tileguy wrote:

NHL rule:

A player who has lost or broken his stick may only receive a stick at his own players’ bench or be handed one from a teammate on the ice. A player will be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to teammate on the ice. A player may not participate in the play using a goalkeeper’s stick. A minor penalty shall be imposed for an infraction of this rule.

Look again Tile Guy

That game is European

Still, A great move tho.

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#22 Littleconer
January 19 2014, 10:10AM
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I'm going out on a limb here and calling out Steve Smith for the crappy defensive "system" (or lack thereof) we've witnessed this year. To me, the red flag went up when Eakins theorized the team didn't understand zonal defence. Of course, it could be that Eakins was talking through his hat.

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#23 Loweblows
January 19 2014, 10:59AM
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Loweblows wrote:

Is it just me or does it appear that the Oilers are getting worse with every game? Eakins must go now before more damage is done! I see no point keeping Eakins as he is doing more damage than good for this team. Sick of edmonton media supporting this clown. Brownlee and all should stick to writing fluff stories.

I see from the number of trashes there are still some posters that haven't figured it out yet. Edmonton media continues to support this gong show. Some posters here are more worried about whether or not these hacks like them and will respond to their insight. What a bunch of bootlickers.

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#24 Manfly
January 19 2014, 08:45AM
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Sketchy wrote:

What stage of the rebuild are we in??

apparently, this is the 4th year.

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#25 Cynic
January 19 2014, 12:00PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

Depends, if you offer the 1st pick with JShultz, and another prospect for Subban, Montreal just might take it to save on cap space while still getting the "tremendously offensively gifted"* Shultz.

*I think those were the words KLowe said about him in his last interview on 1260.

"Mr. Short..." "Please. Call me John. My dad is Mr. Short." "OK. John. Do you think the Bruins would trade us Ray Bourque for Marc Habscheid? Jim Matheson wrote that Habscheid is the next Wayne Gretzky and Bourque's always hurt so maybe the Bruins are sour on him. I'll hang up and listen to your answer."

Oiler fan. The only difference is instead of AM radio it's the interwebs where the myopians hang out.

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#26 Lil Scrivy
January 19 2014, 01:31PM
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I think that some of those d prospects may go into a trade to get an nhl vet dman here.

Its unfortunate, but we were too late to the party to develop dmen. YOu build from the backend out. we built up front and then started working on dmen too late in the game. we should have been drafting dmen in 2007-2010, then picked Hall.

Alas, KLowe has no plan.

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#27 Yaz
January 19 2014, 11:48AM
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So I gather Eakins and the coaches cleared the airport without getting fired ..too bad I had a bit of hope there, I don't want these coaches getting their fingerprints on any more new players either from OKC or trade/draft. They will suck the talent and spirit out of them and we'll be on this forumn looking to run the players out of town, the players aren't innocent but the level of coaching is pond hockey at best( and I don't want to demean a lot of damn good pond coaches either)..Admit the blunder Mac T and dump these coaches asap.

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#28 Lowe Expectations
January 19 2014, 12:08PM
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There seems to be a separation between what Oilers prospects do at the minor league level and what they bring at the NHL level. They really need a solid leader of the defence core, someone the younger players can learn from on the ice.

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#29 finn_fann
January 19 2014, 01:50PM
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madjam wrote:

We have an AHL club no better than 13th out of 15 , that if two clubs below them win their games would drop us to last in AHL as well . Now tell me how you can be so positive that our AHL club is going to do much good transitioning usefull NHL players to our equally poor NHL team ? Sounds like more Kool-Aid and a pipedream to me . Is this what this organization has been taken/reduced to ? Where's the real optimism , and not the salesman job ?

The focus of OKC has been on prospect development this year, not winning. Hence the team has a big crop of new defencemen with little pro experience, as opposed to a bunch of career AHLers hired to make us look good in the win column.

As the oilers have shown us, filling a team with inexperienced players and asking them to play a level above their ability is not going to win many games. It is, however, a decent way to learn on the job, assuming that a player is allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. This is what the AHL team is for - players aren't under the microscope for every little mistake they make while still learning the broader strokes of the game.

Also, I would say that a player like Marincin would have legitimate appeal to teams outside the oilers. If you want to devalue the few players that seem to be making strides within the system, that is up to you, but I don't think recognizing the odd area where the team is having some success is the same as drinking oilers Kool-aid.

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#30 40 Double D
January 19 2014, 10:46AM
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Suck bad for Ekblad. Suck bad for McDavid. Suck bad for 2015. Suck bad for 2016.

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#31 Oliveoiler
January 19 2014, 05:01PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I miss the lockout...

Yup yup - at least we were all tied for a playoff spot

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#32 Jay
January 19 2014, 09:46PM
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So when should the jersey's be thrown on the ice in the Nucks game?? Opening faceoff? End of the eventual loss?? Right after we let up another short handed goal???

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#33 Oil Vice
January 19 2014, 09:47AM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

I know he's not really classified as a prospect because of his age, but why no Fedun in that list? Id gladly take him over Petry right now.

If you could LT, who on that list would you put in a package for a top 2 dman? Excluding Ekblad obviously.

Myself it'd be Gernat, Shultz and Petry

EDIT: Not all in one trade, those 3 would just be my choices to offer up.

Given Fedun's leg injury they decided to give him lots of ice time in an important role to get him back to where he was prior.

Its also a bit of a numbers game. If the Oil attempt to trade any of their dmen prospects they'll get better return on the players who were drafted or have played in the NHL. Fedun is undrafted and has a couple (really solid) NHL games on his resume. These facts don't garner much return in the trade market. I think management realizes they're better off keeping him and growing the other assets in the short term.

Fedun is ready...they should make room for him. A guy his age to make it to the NHL undrafted and have a horrific injury as he did and make it all the way back again?!? ...We all know the story...

We NEED that kind of pure WILL, WORK ETHIC and FOCUS on our team!!

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#34 pkam
January 19 2014, 11:55AM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

In defense of the Oiler management, IMO they are just starting to break away from "draft forwards only" approach, last couple years with Simpson, Klefbom, and Nurse in the fold, management is getting the d prospects they should have had to go with Eberle, PRV, and Gagner

To be fair, other than drafting BPA with their 1st overall, the Oilers management had been drafting big forwards and defenseman with their mid-range picks.

2010: Pitlick (big forward) 31st overall, Marincin (big defenseman) 46th overall, Hamilton (big forward) 48th overall, Martindale (big forward) 61st overall.

2011: Klefbom (big defenseman) 19th overall, David Musil (big defenseman) 31st overall.

2012: Mitchell Moroz (big forward) 32nd overall, Jujhar Khaira (big forward) 62nd overall, Zharkov (big forward) 92nd overall.

Management know the problem and they are working on it. But these prospects need 4-5 years of development before they can be NHL ready, then another 2-3 years of NHL conditioning to be reliable. And only about 10% of these prospects will make it to the NHL.

It is a long process with a low rate of success. If we can develop Pitlick and Marincin to play in NHL in the coming year or 2, the management has done a pretty job in the last 3-4 years.

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#35 John Kirsch
January 19 2014, 02:14PM
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@a lg dubl dubl

Good God no. Besides Subban would never accept a trade to Edmonton.

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#36 Zarny
January 19 2014, 10:55PM
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Cynic wrote:

Oiler fan thought Klebomb was going to be in the top pair this year. Oiler fan thinks The Mickey Mouse Club has a realistic opportunity to trade a lottery ticket, an over-rated stick of a no-hit Dman, and an over-rated prospect for the reigning Norris Trophy winner. Full Retard, as has always been the case in this city.

Nicklas Lidstrom didn't throw a lot of hits. You have a somewhat poor understanding of what playing defense means.

Klefbomb certainly isn't going to be a top pair D this year or next. Ultimately only time will tell. For you to say otherwise is foolish.

Kris Letang was drafted in 2005 and didn't top 50 pts until 2010-2011. Duncan Keith didn't play in the NHL until 3 years after he was drafted and only had 21 pts and was -11. He didn't top 40 pts until 6 years after being drafted.

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#37 Rotten Ron
January 19 2014, 03:10PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

So you're saying Ekblad, JShultz, and say Musil/ or Simpson wouldn't get Subban?

FYI Bourque was trade with Andrychuck for Rolston, Sami Phalsson, Grenier and a 1st round pick. Subban is no Bourque

Ray Bourque was a 39 year old pending ufa with zero intention of signing anywhere that didnt have a shot at the cup, which at the time Boston did not.

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#38 Ari Gold
January 19 2014, 05:53PM
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This is Kool-Aid. They're terrible, poorly ran and poorly coached. I have no reason to believe any of this will change.

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#40 Spydyr
January 19 2014, 11:24AM
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Loweblows wrote:

I see from the number of trashes there are still some posters that haven't figured it out yet. Edmonton media continues to support this gong show. Some posters here are more worried about whether or not these hacks like them and will respond to their insight. What a bunch of bootlickers.

Perhaps some people are just tired of you saying the same thing day after day.

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#41 I AM KEVIN L.
January 19 2014, 09:23AM
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Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate wrote:

Denial....We cant finish last overall AGAIN can we?

Doesn't matter where the Oilers finish in the standings. What matter are the revenues to Darryl & I. If the revenues decrease we will move the team so... the fans are our hostages.

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#42 Lofty
January 19 2014, 09:32AM
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Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate wrote:

Denial....We cant finish last overall AGAIN can we?

with the number of games buffalo has in hand, its a very really possibility.

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#43 Rotten Ron
January 19 2014, 03:06PM
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Cynic wrote:

"Mr. Short..." "Please. Call me John. My dad is Mr. Short." "OK. John. Do you think the Bruins would trade us Ray Bourque for Marc Habscheid? Jim Matheson wrote that Habscheid is the next Wayne Gretzky and Bourque's always hurt so maybe the Bruins are sour on him. I'll hang up and listen to your answer."

Oiler fan. The only difference is instead of AM radio it's the interwebs where the myopians hang out.

That is so funny, for so many reasons. Thank you. I wish sportstalk was on at 10-12 weekday mornings.

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#44 Rick Stroppel
January 19 2014, 07:39PM
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dave wrote:

This is off topic but I found this old article recently.

http://theleafsnation.com/2013/6/9/dallas-eakins-heads-to-edmonton

Not sure whether it should give us hope or Eakins is a legend in his own mind.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE SIX MONTHS MAKES

This article is kind of funny. The writer says that Edmonton and Eakins were made for each other. He calls it a "marriage made in heaven". Right now it is looking like a living hell.

Eakins should go back to Toronto, where he will fit right in. That is because he thinks that his sh!t smells like roses.

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#45 K_Mart
January 19 2014, 08:56AM
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Well, there's quite a few bullets in the chamber: Nurse, Marincin, Klefbom, Fedun, Musil, Gernat, Simpson, maybe Ekblad....... We really need 2 of these young men to become #1-2 d men in the NHL for the Oilers.

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#46 I AM KEVIN L.
January 19 2014, 08:58AM
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Manfly wrote:

apparently, this is the 4th year.

Darryl & I never use the term "rebuild". Rebuilds are not necessary when our tier one fans keep our coffers full. As an example, if a so called rebuild was required we would have picked one of six excellent defencemen available in the first round in 2012.

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#47 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
January 19 2014, 09:20AM
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Lofty wrote:

Acceptance... we still suck

Denial....We cant finish last overall AGAIN can we?

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#48 D
January 19 2014, 09:39AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I wonder if the NHL brass are getting a little sick of the top picks in the NHL draft, their future stars, end up in Edmonton where they wither and die in the hopelessly incompetent loser environment here.

Or do they even care?

They probably do care. The league as a whole would be better off with Taylor Hall playing in Chicago, LA, NY or Boston than being buried with a loser organization in Edmonton. The NHL is a content-sales business, and their bottom line is helped with stars being in markets that create national and international buzz.

If the Oilers were firing on all cylinders like they were in the 80s, it would be a different scenario. Then the league could create a story around all the winning in a smaller media market. But losing in a small media market? The NHL should consider putting Edmonton's draft lottery ball in the freezer to ensure it doesn't get selected first.

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#49 I AM KEVIN L.
January 19 2014, 10:00AM
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Eakins in an interview for the Journal earlier: "When I started the interview process with the Oilers and other teams, it was you’re a rookie NHL head coach, would you consider bringing on somebody of NHL calibre?" See? I told you we have no need for a NHL class coach. The cash is coming in non-stop, and alot of it. A monkey could coach this franchise and the sucker fans would pour in every home game to a sell-out.

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#50 Rama Lama
January 19 2014, 11:21AM
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It seems that we have so many up and coming players........the reality should be that none of these players goes directly to the bigs without some time in the AHL.

Only cream of that pile should get a chance at making the big club period. Our learning on the fly has to come to logical end sometime.

On another topic, the next time we play Calgary or Vancouver should we be calling up Pinnizato? There may be a very useful role player there?

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