Monday Mailbag - June 2

baggedmilk
June 02 2014 11:26AM

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You've always wanted to know about the inner workings of the NHL and the Nation so the mailbag is here to tell you how it's done. As always, you guys are the star of the mailbag. If you have a question, you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. As a thank you for the question, I'll send you a sticker package from the Nation.

Enjoy.

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1) @deeshmond asks - We all know the Oilers need a 2nd line centre. Mike Richards has been mentioned as a possible buyout candidate. Do you think he should be a target for the Oil? I know his offensive numbers have slipped the past few seasons but he could bring a lot of what this team needs (leadership, grit, 2-way ability).

Lowetide: 

I like Richards, and his offense was fine until heading to the coast. No idea how much of the offensive downturn has to do with playing for Sutter, but he's a player of interest. I hope there are other options, but wouldn't frown on his acquisition—especially if the team can get him without giving up too many assets.

Jason Strudwick: 

I like the two way game that Richards brings. Winning seems to follow him around. I like that in a player. His offensive game has slipped but he is my kind of player.

Robin Brownlee: 

No, I don't think he should be a target for the Oilers. He's another undersized forward. His offensive ability is in decline. He might be bought out, and there's a reason for that. That doesn't mean the Oilers shouldn't take a look at him because they should be looking at everybody, but I don't see him as the answer.

Wanye: 

If Mike Richards does indeed get bought out he would be a fine candidate for a 2nd line centre. I've personally always thought he was a good player.

Jason Gregor: 

I don’t see the Kings buying him out. He was 4th on the team in scoring and played a lot on PP and PK. He likely becomes a very expensive 3rd line centre for them, but they love that he produces more in the playoffs. If they did buy him out the Oilers could definitely use his experience and tenacity, but I doubt after all the playoff success he has had he’d sign with a perennial bottom feeder.

Brian Sutherby: 

I absolutely would look at him. His numbers have dipped but he's also in a more defensive system. Not a huge guy but plays big, is a leader, has won and is very much what this team is a lacking these days: skill/leadership with some grit. Even if he's not the best 2C solution, he'd look pretty good in the 3 hole as well.

baggedmilk:

Mike Richards is going to the Stanley Cup final for the 3rd time in his career...why would the Oilers ever want a schlub like that? I doubt the Kings would trade him here and I don't think they'll buy him out either.

ThisPlaceSucks

2) Danger Pay asks - For Struds and Sutherby, which rink have you played in that had the worst visiting player amenities? For everyone else, which is the worst rink you've been to as far as overall experience or press area?

Lowetide: 

I've never had a bad experience in a hockey rink.

Jason Strudwick: 

The old Igloo in Pittsburgh. The room was so small that the goalies and extra players had to dress in the room next door.

Robin Brownlee: 

Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island was by far the worst for dressing room and press box amenities. Middle of nowhere. Lousy sightlines. Press meals would make a dog puke. The Great Western Forum was a dump -- crappy, small dressing rooms and a no actual press box, just a press area with rickety folding tables in the stands. America West Arena was junk for hockey because it was built for basketball. Another building with press area in the seats. Couldn't see the ice if people in the row in front of you stood up. 

Wanye: 

The Saddledome is the worst arena I've seen in terms of lines of sight. I would sit in the nosebleeds and had to watch some action on TVs thoughtfully installed so you weren't blocked by the saddle part of the 'saddledome.' The closest bathroom was up a dedicated flight of stairs which was a pain with a bladder full of Dome Beers. Also having to watch the Flames for 60 minutes was a key part of the unpleasantness. *shudders*

Jason Gregor: 

Overall experience would be Florida. There was no one there, so that played a huge part. As for press area, none are that bad, because when I sit up there I don’t pay. I have paid for seats in many rinks, and Florida was the worst by far. If I had to pick a press area, Long Island would be choice. The sight lines were brutal, but it was still cool being in that rink and seeing all the banners from their glory years.

Brian Sutherby: 

The old barn in New Jersey was like a minor hockey dressing room. No, room, no stalls just benches, tiny medical and shower room. MSG, although I think revamped now, was always strange. The room was basically divided into two, coach had to walk back and fourth between rooms to deliver his message.

baggedmilk:

GM Place because it's full of Canucks fans. NEXT!

WheelsFellOff

3) David Gibbons asks - In your opinion, what was the moment where the Oilers broke? Was it the Pronger trade? Ryan Smyth? When did the wheels fall off?

Lowetide: 

MacT leaving as coach. He cobbled together a 38-35-9 season from that bunch, and they won 27 the next season under Pat Quinn. No disrespect meant, but that was a bad, bad hockey move.

Jason Strudwick: 

I don't think there was one moment. The lack of players in the lineup that were drafted by the Oilers hurt the team. Drafting and developing is key to success.

Robin Brownlee: 

This franchise started going south when the relationship between Glen Sather and the EIG fractured under the financial pressures of the day. Kevin Lowe was rushed, unprepared, into Sather's chair in 2000 without having spent any time learning the front office ropes. Lowe retired as a player in 1998. One season as an assistant coach, one as a head coach and then promotion to GM.

Wanye: 

Holy cow is this ever a good question. I guess it was the flight of the free agents following the Cup run. How that many rats leave a ship that sunk in G7 of the SCF I will never know. I really don't like thinking about those dark days or really most of the days ever since. Come to think about it where do you get those mind erasing light pens from Men in Black? Oh it's not real? So says you Jack.

Jason Gregor: 

You could argue that since the Pronger trade they have been in chase mode, trying to rekindle the success they had. The main issue is that they have continually made awful hockey decisions over the past eight seasons. Trading away proven NHL players for picks and prospects or for NHL players who weren’t any better has been the demise of this team. Combine that with drafting so many young players and then giving them huge opportunities rather than making them earn it has put them where they are today.

Brian Sutherby: 

Pronger...

baggedmilk:

It has to be when management started making cute little movies to send out to UFAs to try and lure them here. Could anything be more sad? Just imagine being a millionaire hockey player and watching a DVD that showed all the wonders of West Edmonton Mall. *sigh*

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4) @TheScottyMac asks - Which teams do you think would be making a pitch for Sam Gagner's services?

Lowetide: 

I think the Pittsburgh Penguins (Crosby's wing), New York Islanders (Tavares wing) and Florida Panthers would have interest. Oiler fans are down on him, but history teaches us that talented players who are struggling are perhaps in the wrong situation. Gagner's got some sweet skills, he'll find a home.

Jason Strudwick: 

I think many teams would be interested in him. Great talent and a guy who works on his game in and out of season. Fans and media of losing teams love to beat up their own, too much so in my opinion.

Robin Brownlee: 

Why would any team pitch for Gagner after the season he had? His value right now is zero.

Wanye: 

I'll leave this one to the Pros. But Sam Gagner is a good player and has done everything ask of him short of growing an extra 4 inches and should hold his head high if he does get traded.

Jason Gregor: 

The Predators, Islanders, Senators, if they trade Spezza somewhere, and my darkhorse is Chicago if they lose to the Kings. The Hawks will need a 2nd line centre, because Handzus isn’t the answer. The Hawks have so many strong forwards they probably feel they could get Gagner to be more dedicated defensively, but also they know he has offensive skills to play with Kane, Sharp or Hossa. Nashville is desperate for some sort of offence, and the Islanders might look at Gagner as a 2nd line guy to help them.

His production last season combined with his contract makes it a bit more difficult to trade him, but those would be the teams I think might be interested in talking about a trade. The return on Gagner is the harder question to answer. What is he truly worth at this point? The Oilers can’t trade him and not get an NHL player in return. They have to stop losing trades.

Brian Sutherby: 

Hard to say, many good teams probably think they can utilize him much better.

baggedmilk:

I always like that the fans that want a guy like Gagner gone are the first ones to complain when the return sucks. Buy high, sell low - that's the Oilers way!

MovieOfTheWeek

5) Jason Franklin asks - If the Oilers rebuild was made into a movie what would the title be and which Nation writer would get the staring roles as Kevin Lowe, MacT, and Dallas Eakins?

Lowetide: 

The Title: Burn After Reading

Hmmm. The roles? I have literally no idea. I would cast as Pat Quinn. I even have my jogging suits ready!!

Jason Strudwick: 

Who cares? I do like Game of Thrones though and slurpees. Does that answer your question?

Robin Brownlee: 

Title is a slam dunk -- "If There's Ever A Concern..."

Wanye: 

I'd put Gregor as Kevin Lowe. We all defer to him on every matter even though it's "technically not his job." MacT is Lowetide as he is the brains of the operation and I've never seen either of them wearing a helmet. Eakins? That's a hard one. How about baggedmilk as he too is the new guy at work, both are single mindedly dedicated to fitness and have hot missuses. Who am I in this movie? J. Leslie E-B-E-R-L-E if you please.

Jason Gregor: 

Nine Lives: The Saga continues. Wanye would be Lowe, since he runs the site and no one sees him do anything that actually impacts it. Struds would be Eakins, because both of them love their hair and Struds reminds us about his shootout prowess as often as Eakins does conditioning. Lowetide would be MacT. He is articulate, has thick hair and both are extremely loyal to their buddies. MacT still believes Bucky is a great connection to the past, while LT still believes in Gilbert and Petry! Loyalty is important.

Brian Sutherby:

K Lowe - Wanye, been here the longest whether we like it or not

Mac T - Gregor, great talker

Dallas Eakins - Struds, all about the hair

baggedmilk:

Title of the movie is easy - The Never Ending Story. Casting is harder...I'm casting Gregor as Lowe because he knows a thing or two about winning. I'm casting Brownlee as Katz because of his Crackmasters empire and I'm casting Brian Sutherby as Eakins because of his flowing mane. If I'm casting myself, I'm the usher that opens the door to the press box - I pretend to know things but really I could be replaced by a spring.

94ea28cbbd0f9fe4153692bb3e38b40c
Twitter tyrant for @OilersNation - Resident Jackass - Poor vessel for carrying milk. Follow me on twitter (@jsbmbaggedmilk) - Instagram (@himynameisbaggedmilk) or email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com.
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#1 Wanye
June 02 2014, 01:12PM
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This is what like the 4th mailbag in a row that Sutherby has used to chirp me? This is entirely too much cheek for my taste. If his old job wasn't punching heavyweights into dust I would give him a good bashing but I expect he would kick my ass in about 0.000032 seconds.

*sighs, adjusts nerd glasses*

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#2 Doctor Smashy
June 02 2014, 01:25PM
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Wanye wrote:

This is what like the 4th mailbag in a row that Sutherby has used to chirp me? This is entirely too much cheek for my taste. If his old job wasn't punching heavyweights into dust I would give him a good bashing but I expect he would kick my ass in about 0.000032 seconds.

*sighs, adjusts nerd glasses*

I think there is a charity fundraiser idea in there...Wanye vs. Suds in some form of videogame fighting...hockey or non-hockey related...shouldn't matter. Both of you are hooked up to some low grade electric pain inducing device (electrode location optional) and the whole thing is pay per view....

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#3 Chopsticks
June 02 2014, 01:27PM
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The moment the Oilers broke:

Hiring Steve Tambellini. He rarely made any in season moves while watching the team fail. All his ufa signing fails. His trades never made the team better. All his moves either failed or could have been done by any armchair gm.

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#4 Wanye
June 02 2014, 01:29PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

I think there is a charity fundraiser idea in there...Wanye vs. Suds in some form of videogame fighting...hockey or non-hockey related...shouldn't matter. Both of you are hooked up to some low grade electric pain inducing device (electrode location optional) and the whole thing is pay per view....

Electrocuted live on streaming. WHERE DO I SIGN UP!?

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#5 Doctor Smashy
June 02 2014, 01:29PM
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Chopsticks wrote:

The moment the Oilers broke:

Hiring Steve Tambellini. He rarely made any in season moves while watching the team fail. All his ufa signing fails. His trades never made the team better. All his moves either failed or could have been done by any armchair gm.

Sooooo...firing Kevin Lowe was a mistake?

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#6 Doctor Smashy
June 02 2014, 01:31PM
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Wanye wrote:

Electrocuted live on streaming. WHERE DO I SIGN UP!?

Easy now! I said low-grade...the genious is that it could go on for hours. Could also be done live at The Pint....

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#7 vetinari
June 02 2014, 01:32PM
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Wanye wrote:

This is what like the 4th mailbag in a row that Sutherby has used to chirp me? This is entirely too much cheek for my taste. If his old job wasn't punching heavyweights into dust I would give him a good bashing but I expect he would kick my ass in about 0.000032 seconds.

*sighs, adjusts nerd glasses*

Wanye, you have to stand up to bullies and tell them that words can hurt. Of course, on reflection, fists can hurt more so you maybe just want to slash the back of his calves when he's not looking.

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#8 Chopsticks
June 02 2014, 01:43PM
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@Doctor Smashy

If you're comparing Tambellini to any GM....yes, firing Lowe to hire Tambellini was a mistake. Lowe got Pronger. He made all the moves to put the team in position to win a cup. That is wayyyyyyyyyyy better than anything you can say on Tambellini's resume.

Tambellini set this team back years. This team has one of the worse d in the league right now and it's because of him. There is no depth at forward or goaltending.

I'm not sure how you can look at his work and not realize he's simply one of the worse. There's no way Lowe was ever that bad as a GM. (Assuming Tambellini made all the decisions)

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#9 Wanye
June 02 2014, 01:44PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Easy now! I said low-grade...the genious is that it could go on for hours. Could also be done live at The Pint....

lol the first question that springs to mind when I hear a suggestion to zap me on command isn't "but what is the magnitude of the charge" instead I'm all

SAY WHAT NOW

*smokebomb*

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#10 Wanye
June 02 2014, 01:44PM
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vetinari wrote:

Wanye, you have to stand up to bullies and tell them that words can hurt. Of course, on reflection, fists can hurt more so you maybe just want to slash the back of his calves when he's not looking.

Oh I could never slash Suds' calves....

*sharpens slashing knife*

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#11 Racki
June 02 2014, 01:47PM
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@brownlee re: Mike Richards being undersized. This is a little silly to me. I think you're too obsessed with the inches and pounds, like stats guys obsess over Corsi. He plays a physical brand of Hockey and is a pretty good scrapper. He's strong enough on the puck. The only question mark I'd give there is whether his body can handle the wear and tear.. but he's as weak as a big guy like Bouwmeester is aggressive.

Now that said, you're probably not wrong in saying he's on the decline. Just saying don't write off a guy like that over numbers obsession. He's pretty much the same size as Perron, who also brings lots of grit.

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#12 RexHolez
June 02 2014, 01:47PM
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Movie title for oilers - Ground Hog's Day . Every day is the same

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#13 They're $hittie
June 02 2014, 02:04PM
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Brownlee,

We talk on this site about finding hidden value players while they are down on other teams, and getting the most out of buying low.

Hence why would a team not take a shot on a guy like Gagner when they know they can get him for pennies on the dollar.

When a stock has performed in the past and is at a low value than is when you buy up as much as you can.

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#14 Mike Modano's Dog
June 02 2014, 02:13PM
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Robin,

I thought Kevin Lowe had served a full year learning the job directly from Glen Sather before sitting in the GM's chair by himself. Have I been mistaken about that, and they expected him to learn this in his first year as a head coach?!

If so - that would explain SO MUCH...

I actually would feel a little bad for Kevin in that case...but that still doesn't mean he deserves a job now, considering our 'success' with him at the top of our organization ever since!

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They're $hittie wrote:

Brownlee,

We talk on this site about finding hidden value players while they are down on other teams, and getting the most out of buying low.

Hence why would a team not take a shot on a guy like Gagner when they know they can get him for pennies on the dollar.

When a stock has performed in the past and is at a low value than is when you buy up as much as you can.

We could very likely get rid of him. There might even be a team that would trade us the next Philip Larsen this offseason. All that does though is enlarge the hole at 2C.

It's marginally better to have a weak NHLer at 2C than a strong AHLer. If the team doesn't get something useful in exchange for Gagner, then the team gets worse.

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Great movie titles. Might be worth planning for sequels though.

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#17 DrDave
June 02 2014, 03:24PM
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I also like Game of Thrones and Slurpees! Maybe Struds and I can be friends....

***clenching my hands together while sitting on my make shift Iron Throne made up of nothing but used Oodle Noodle boxes and chop sticks***

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When did the Oilers break? Symbolically, it'll always be Pronger for me. In reality? I would say the combination of no farm system (and thus no meaningful player development) combined with players value plummeting due to injury, more injury, hurt feelings, and bad trades. It happened mostly on Tambo's watch, but it's not like he was dealing from a position of strength.

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Chopsticks wrote:

If you're comparing Tambellini to any GM....yes, firing Lowe to hire Tambellini was a mistake. Lowe got Pronger. He made all the moves to put the team in position to win a cup. That is wayyyyyyyyyyy better than anything you can say on Tambellini's resume.

Tambellini set this team back years. This team has one of the worse d in the league right now and it's because of him. There is no depth at forward or goaltending.

I'm not sure how you can look at his work and not realize he's simply one of the worse. There's no way Lowe was ever that bad as a GM. (Assuming Tambellini made all the decisions)

Firing Lowe to hire Tambellini? More like promoting Lowe to hire Tambellini. Can we go back and try it your way?

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#20 rubbertrout
June 02 2014, 04:09PM
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Dany Heatley is a dink.

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#21 Robin Brownlee
June 02 2014, 04:18PM
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@Racki

You've been following along, so you should know better than to suggest I'm obsessed with size. I'll take a small player who plays big ahead of a big player who plays small any day and I've written that, what, 100 times?

I like Perron, but given the mix of this top nine, I'd rather gamble on a big player who plays big than opt for another undersized player, grit or not. I was asked if I would target Richards. Target to me means slam dunk. Richards is not that at this point in his career.

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#22 madjam
June 02 2014, 04:20PM
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Who signed Larsen , Belov , Fraser and Grebs expecting our defence to improve ? Who shipped out Horcoff , Smid and Hemsky with nothing of value coming back or filled in to adequately replace them ? Smyth and Jones are also going and what is their replacements -see any upgrades ? you get the feeling they are cutting out NHL players here and merely replacing them with AHL players and NHL rejects . Have no idea how you can build a contender that way . Should we question their ability to assess players here ? Maybe they can explain why we are better despite worse results ?

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#23 Robin Brownlee
June 02 2014, 05:15PM
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@Mike Modano's Dog

Lowe was head coach in 1999-2000.He was promoted to GM during the off-season, just before the 2000 draft.

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#24 Wanye
June 02 2014, 05:15PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Dany Heatley is a dink.

Good times those. You know except for the whole "Oilers free falling" part.

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#25 Copper
June 02 2014, 05:42PM
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Gregor, just because Handzus is a size you like doesn't make him a 2C. Plays less than 14 mins TOI avg. last series, only 2 skaters played less than he did.

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#26 Jason Gregor
June 02 2014, 06:08PM
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Copper wrote:

Gregor, just because Handzus is a size you like doesn't make him a 2C. Plays less than 14 mins TOI avg. last series, only 2 skaters played less than he did.

He was their 2nd line centre in playoffs last year and often in the season this year.

He started playoffs with Kane on the 2nd line. They accomplished little, and when Shaw returned from injury he put Kane with Shaw and Saad.

Handzus was their 2nd line centre when the playoffs started. And he wasn't the answer this year and won't be next year.

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#27 nunyour
June 02 2014, 07:01PM
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When you trade your good players for prospects and picks,and you suck at finding talent like the oilers,it all leads to one huge fail.The scouting staff is as much to blame as Tambo is,i am sure it was not solely his call.Just take a look at the oilers first overall picks for the last 20 years,if you need proof.

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#28 Oilers Coffey
June 02 2014, 09:09PM
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Wanye wrote:

This is what like the 4th mailbag in a row that Sutherby has used to chirp me? This is entirely too much cheek for my taste. If his old job wasn't punching heavyweights into dust I would give him a good bashing but I expect he would kick my ass in about 0.000032 seconds.

*sighs, adjusts nerd glasses*

Charity Mike Tyson's boxing on Old School Nintendo should solve this ;)

This was a fun mailbag to read. The detriment to the Oilers lies in the hiring of Tambellini! Now the Oilers should mess him over by drafting his kid. LOL

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#29 Ogie Oilthorpe
June 02 2014, 11:05PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Movie title for oilers - Ground Hog's Day . Every day is the same

Beauty.. You sir, have dominated the internet.

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#30 Hockey Viking
June 02 2014, 11:52PM
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Movie: The Great Oil Depression

The Low(e)point (although we did not know it at the time -was trading the best captain we have had the in the last 20 years- Jason Smith. That was the start and then the misuse of Gagner when we finally got a player in the NHL Entry Draft who had a chance to be and NHL caliber player.

But the all time root of the rot-was trusting a Head Scout who lived in Mexico and made his selections from the comfort of his deck chair.

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#31 Duhvid Smitten
June 03 2014, 09:24AM
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Wanye wrote:

This is what like the 4th mailbag in a row that Sutherby has used to chirp me? This is entirely too much cheek for my taste. If his old job wasn't punching heavyweights into dust I would give him a good bashing but I expect he would kick my ass in about 0.000032 seconds.

*sighs, adjusts nerd glasses*

Duh dats funny boss....DUH, hahahahfart...DUH!!!!

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#32 Elgruntus
June 03 2014, 09:25AM
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To quote the great 80's band, Sweet..."you know that pride always comes before the fall. There's a rumor going round the town, that you don't want me around"

For me, it was the moment they decided to make an example out of Sheldon Souray. We finally had a big time free agent signing and a reasonable replacement for Pronger. He led the team in goals and was our rep at the All Star game, then .... because Oilers.

Instead of settling family matters behind closed doors, the tiff went public. That's when the braintrust decided to make an example out of arguably, our best player. Think about that. The team was willing to bury an all star defenceman because he spoke out about perceived mistreatment. Whether he was justified or not, is not the point. We buried an All Star defenceman in the AHL while the NHL squad dressed Theo Peckham and Cam Barker.

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#33 Spydyr
June 03 2014, 10:53AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Lowe was head coach in 1999-2000.He was promoted to GM during the off-season, just before the 2000 draft.

When everyone below you has been replaced at least once and your team is still outside the playoffs after eight years.It is not hard to see where the problem lies.

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#34 BlairiusCaeser
June 03 2014, 12:39PM
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In reference to LoweTide and Islanders being interested in Gagner......How interested are they? My thoughts trend towards making a splash at the draft by trading for the fifth pick overall and not giving up the third pick. Lets put a package together of Gagner (just to point out i am a fan of Gagner), d-man prospect and big winger prospect. With the talk by Macgregor that there is 6 players that the oilers are looking at it would be nice to walk out with 2 of them. We also have a history of trading with the Islanders. I also firmly believe that the Oilers are not in a position this year to land a top notch free agent but next year could be a different story. At the very least we would have a lot of young trade bait next year.

just a thought that has been brewing in my noggin for the last couple of weeks. May need to sweeten the package to get the fifth though...

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#35 deantime419
June 10 2014, 03:49PM
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What do you think the Hawks would give us for Gagner? Would their 2015 1st and Versteeg be enough for MacT? I'd take it but then we'd basically be forced to overpay come free agency to fill that void.

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