Ship out Schultz? Why?

Jason Gregor
July 08 2014 02:14PM

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I've been covering the Oilers since 2001, so rarely does much surprise me anymore. I've seen a lot, and sadly for Oilers fans, most of it has been losing. However, I'll admit I'm surprised by how many people want to ship Justin Schultz out of town.

Maybe I shouldn't be, considering I've seen this movie recently staring the likes of Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and many others, but none of those players heard the trade talk so early in their career.

Schultz has only played 122 games, yet many are convinced they know what type of player he'll be and in their eyes he won't help.

I strongly disagree.

I hate generalizations. Nothing irks me more than when someone says, "the media." Lumping all media members together annoys the hell out of me. I don't share the same beliefs as every media member, but often people throw a blanket over all media and assume they feel the same.

So let me preface my next statement by saying I understand that not all of those who believe in Corsi, Fenwick, etc want Schultz gone, but I'm surprised that many of the most vocal trade-Schultz crowd comes from that background.

The ironic part is that many of the people wanting to ship out Schultz are the same guys who have steadfastly defended Jeff Petry. It's almost like people believe they have to trade one of those two and they are picking a side. It is plausible that both can stay in Edmonton, isn't it?

Maybe it just reaffirms that we all have bias. We all do, and anyone who thinks they don't is dreaming. Stats guys have bias to believe their numbers always lead to the correct analysis, watchers of the game believe what they see on the ice is correct, and all of us value players higher or lower for various reasons.

If we all agreed, it sure would be rather boring in the Nation so I hope that never changes.

Anyways, back to Schultz, who has played less than two full NHL seasons.

He is 27th in points over the that time and 29th in points-per-game for defencemen. He is also 6th in EV goals over the past two seasons. His offensive numbers are very good, and bordering on elite.

Where Schultz struggles is in his own zone.

His Corsi and Fenwick numbers have been less than stellar, and his defensive zone coverage has been lacking. I'd say that is due to his inexperience, him having to play more minutes than he should be at this stage of his career, and that he never had to be great defensively in college.

Schultz, like every Oilers D-man, has had to play tougher minutes than they are capable of handling and that has led to some tough nights.

For me, his first two seasons have unfolded very close to how I expected them to. He was touted as an offensive defenceman, and he's lived up to that, but at the same time he's struggled defensively.

Sounds familiar doesn't it?

The same was said about Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.

Hall has become a dominant player. Eberle has had two very good seasons, while Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov have had a tougher time.

Nugent-Hopkins plays a harder position than the other three forwards, and his lack of size and experience against big, skilled western centres has been rather apparent. I believe he will have the biggest improvement this season (more on that in another article).

Yakupov had an okay first season that ended in spectacular fashion with six goals in three games. He struggled last season, but if you mention trading Yakupov the same people who want Schultz traded were the first to come to Yak's defence.

WHY THE DIFFERENCE?

Why are people more willing to move Schultz, but not Yakupov?

Both have been in the league the same time. I suspect part of it (trade talk) stems from how they have been used. People think Yakupov hasn't been given the same opportunities as Schultz, and that he will produce once he gets more icetime.

That is possible, but isn't it equally possible that Schultz will improve defensively with more experience?

The other perplexing thing for me is that winger is the only position currently where the Oilers have any depth. The Oilers don't have another D-man who can produce offensively. If they trade Schultz who is going to fill his offensive totals?

If the Oilers trade Yakupov, at least they would still have Hall, Eberle, Perron, Purcell and Pouliot.

I'm not saying they should trade Yakupov, I'm just trying to understand why so many believe trading Schultz is the right move.

WRAP UP

Schultz has very good instincts in the offensive zone. He has a deceptively good wrist/snap shot and if he learns to shoot more on the PP, I suspect his offensive totals will improve even more. Schultz is on the verge of being a great offensive D-man, and that's why I'm hesitant, in fact I'm loathe, to trade him at this point.

I fully realize that he has struggled defensively, but he can learn that part of the game. It is extremely rare that players suddenly become better offensive players in the NHL, but many offensive players have improved defensively.

I'm confident Schultz's defensive zone coverage will improve, especially with the addition of Craig Ramsey, and that's why I wouldn't deal him.

At this point I wouldn't trade any of Petry, Schultz or Yakupov, because their value is low and there is no way you would fetch a 2nd line centre for any of them.

I'd keep Schultz, but I'm surprised at how quickly some think he is more of the problem than the solution.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Spoils
July 08 2014, 09:09PM
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Such a fun player when it's going right for him. Remember him leading the AHL in scoring as a D.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bM7OHTPkpnk

take a look at some of those sneaky goals. great wrist shot.

His D will improve, the teams D will improve, the goaltending will never again be that bad.

Nobody can predict the future, but I would bet on him.

I hope MacT locks him in with a value contract.

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#102 Herb
July 08 2014, 09:16PM
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I disagree with Roobin. He seems to say that the oilers wont get a centerman through trade. However, Ryan Rishaug seems to think that that is the route the oilers will go to find their man.

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#103 Oil Vice
July 08 2014, 09:49PM
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It wouldn't be a wise trade. He's developing. It's too early and wouldn't get fair value anyways . He's got some of the best offensive instincts we've seen in a while on the back end.

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#104 RexHolez
July 08 2014, 10:03PM
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@Oil Vice

I think we'd get better than fair value. He's hyped up, and has this "blossoming star" status that I can't see him ever living up to. If the gm aquiring him is willing to pay for his "potential" and he never fulfills it, oilers win the trade.

He's only played 122 games so you can't make any proper assessment as to what he will become. All you can do is look at what he's done and determine that right now at the current moment he sucks defensively. Will be ever improve? Maybe, but I wouldnt pay him for ifs and maybes.

It's just as likely that he won't improve as it is that he will

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#105 Dangilitis
July 08 2014, 11:07PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I guess you didn't read the very next line in the article....

"So let me preface my next statement by saying I understand that not all of those who believe in Corsi, Fenwick, etc want Schultz gone, but I'm surprised that many of the most vocal trade-Schultz crowd comes from that background."

But since you didn't comprehend that statement, I guess I shouldn't be surprised you resort to calling people nerds because they use numbers. Smart.

Many is better than most, but it's still a generalization that lacks merit. Lowetide has an article today about Schultz and I think you would be considering him to be a Petry loving, Corsi loving fan. But he wants Schultz to stay. So do most others who consider that analysis as useful as "saw him good." So to pretend like you have not made a generalization is all semantics, and from my vantage point you have not provided any evidence that "many" such individuals want Schultz gone. If you are going to make a claim like that, giving examples is the way to avoid making generalizations, and is the irony of the entire article. This is exactly how rumors are started about people wanting a player out of town.

What's fair to say based on the articles and comments I've read recently is that many don't want Mact offering loads of money to this guy after the performance in 122 games, which will be overvaluing his past play, and will alienate players like petry who should not be perceived as inferior to Schultz at this stage. It's also fair to say that many don't want to see Schultz considered a core part of this team based on his uneven performance over the first 2 seasons, but at the same time recognize his potential and realize that Dmen take longer to develop and it's not always a straight line with the development process. This was I think the message you are trying to convey as well it just came off as a bit hypocritical.

Let me end by saying that Schultz has been like found money, we shouldn't have gotten him in the first place and I hope he is a top 4 d man at evens and recovers his pp production from his rookie season. At the same time I find your comment about his offensive production as being elite interesting, and am curious if Marc Andre Bergeron would have ever cracked top 30 nhl dman scoring...

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#106 SlowTalker
July 08 2014, 11:41PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I think we'd get better than fair value. He's hyped up, and has this "blossoming star" status that I can't see him ever living up to. If the gm aquiring him is willing to pay for his "potential" and he never fulfills it, oilers win the trade.

He's only played 122 games so you can't make any proper assessment as to what he will become. All you can do is look at what he's done and determine that right now at the current moment he sucks defensively. Will be ever improve? Maybe, but I wouldnt pay him for ifs and maybes.

It's just as likely that he won't improve as it is that he will

Both the Oilers and Canucks were drooling over his potential 2 years ago.

I was really impressed that this kid from Westbank said no thanks to the Canucks. I always chuckle at the boos he gets at Rogers Arena.

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#107 Dan 1919
July 08 2014, 11:48PM
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Oprah sucks wrote:

Sorry Schultz is part of the core like it or not. If u believe ur statement then who is the core? Majority of team is based on players that have projected value before any pro games. It's very unlikely, specially right now cap and salaries in general, that oilers would get an upgrade for Schultz unless it's short term like a player approaching ufa status or an overpaid mediocre cap dump player. Teams just don't part with good d to often.

Yes you are correct he is considered part of the "core" right now. What I'm saying is that is not as important as MacT makes it out to sound. He may have been considered part of the core yesterday, but trust me, if he thinks he needs a $6mil contract the "core" will quickly change.

I'm sorry you've bought into this "core" wording so hard, but please keep in mind you're talking about the "core" of a perennial basement dweller. It doesn't quite have the same sparkle as a Chicago "core" or a Boston "core."

The Oilers could very easily get an upgrade for Shultz that would be a sound Defensive Dman, or a depth centerman to help alleviate our current 2C vacancy. Both of which would provide an immediate upgrade to the team over a developing Shultz. Again the risk would be that Shultz COULD end up better than what we traded for.

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#108 OTown
July 08 2014, 11:55PM
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Clap Clap Clap. The Oilers are in no position to trade any of their NHL players. If they are going to trade any assets it should be a defensive prospect not named Nurse and/or a first round pick

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#109 SmythforMayor
July 09 2014, 12:03AM
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Subban and Karlsson were pretty bad in their own zone a year or two ago. Doughty was terrible at one point as well. I'm not Saying Jultzy is going to be as good as them, just saying you won't know what you have till you getu to 200 games or so. He's right, you can teach defense, but you can't teach offense.

Who do you want on the point on the power play? Jultzy or a forward. I personally hate forwards playing the point

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#110 Shifty
July 09 2014, 12:10AM
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@SmythforMayor

Yaks shot would probably look good on the point on the pp

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#111 Oprah sucks
July 09 2014, 12:19AM
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Dan 1919 wrote:

Yes you are correct he is considered part of the "core" right now. What I'm saying is that is not as important as MacT makes it out to sound. He may have been considered part of the core yesterday, but trust me, if he thinks he needs a $6mil contract the "core" will quickly change.

I'm sorry you've bought into this "core" wording so hard, but please keep in mind you're talking about the "core" of a perennial basement dweller. It doesn't quite have the same sparkle as a Chicago "core" or a Boston "core."

The Oilers could very easily get an upgrade for Shultz that would be a sound Defensive Dman, or a depth centerman to help alleviate our current 2C vacancy. Both of which would provide an immediate upgrade to the team over a developing Shultz. Again the risk would be that Shultz COULD end up better than what we traded for.

I absolutely agree that he should and will get traded if he's asking for a 6 mil contract. Just because other core players make that doesn't mean he should. He's still so young and inexperienced yet by dman standards. I don't think 6mil is even the issue or there would have been arbitration or traded already. I have bought into this core thing cause every team has core players.... Untouchables. Oilers are banking on draft picks to turn into core players and they have some damn good ones. It is what it is and that's the situation there in so all I'm saying is why trade him? It's a no win. Also, I'm fully aware that I'm talking about a " perennial basement dweller" core, in fact that's my whole point,, u said earlier oil could most likely get a better return for him! Really, as basement dwellers and poor stats?! With the exception of maybe one or two guys, most oilers are undervalued in the nhl right now especially the core group. They hold the most value to one team.....edm!! Justin needs support guy as do the rest of younger core guys. He has the potential, the team has invested in him and they are banking on it so get him signed. That's way it's every bit as important as Mac t makes it out to be!!!

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#112 Zac
July 09 2014, 12:58AM
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@Zarny

Fine, but its not about how much you produce its about how much your produce relative to how much the opposition produces. In Schultz's case he gives up way more then he creates. Guy is such a disaster 5v5 it doesn't matter how much he creates in the power play, he aint covering the spread.

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#113 Oilers4ever
July 09 2014, 01:06AM
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Gotta agree with Jason on this mostly. Personally I would trade Yak when his value is higher. I don't know what it is but he seems like a prima dona. His way only, not big on defense. I don't see him as a 40 goal guy unless he learns to play both ends. And regardless of what he says if he doesn't get what he wants I see him bolting to the KHL. But that's just my opinion. I see lots of upside in Schultz. I do think with the one year contract with Petry he will be traded at some time before the next trade deadline.

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#114 A J Cabral
July 09 2014, 01:37AM
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I would be really nervous about shipping out some of these young guys after only a year or two. Time and better coaching may be the answer for some of these players. I get a bad feeling when we give up too soon. Look how many guys have gone on to be solid players for other teams! It could screw us down the road!

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#115 bd
July 09 2014, 06:30AM
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Jason - with respect to the title of your article. You have to remember it takes no knowledge, experience or credibility to comment either on line or on the air. Somehow we need to stop giving so much credit to the vocal minority who think running a hockey team is like running a fantasy team and that the players are like hockey cards - keep-em, trade-em - whatever it's just a piece of paper.

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#116 Lycan
July 09 2014, 07:18AM
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I say trade Schultz just so there's a team we can take advantage of having him on the ice. Who cares what the return is, we'd be a better team just by getting to play against Jultz. Just keep him in our division so we can play against him more

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#117 camdog
July 09 2014, 07:21AM
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bd wrote:

Jason - with respect to the title of your article. You have to remember it takes no knowledge, experience or credibility to comment either on line or on the air. Somehow we need to stop giving so much credit to the vocal minority who think running a hockey team is like running a fantasy team and that the players are like hockey cards - keep-em, trade-em - whatever it's just a piece of paper.

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/07/06/edmonton-oilers-must-consider-trading-justin-schultz/

Jason's article is in response to a Jonathan Willis article in the Edmonton journal, not to the "fans". Seems like they are creating their own story line here.

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#118 camdog
July 09 2014, 07:24AM
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On an aside there are only 2 players that shouldn't be moveable this off season. Those players are Hall and RNH. If the right deal comes our way, nobody else should be designated a "core" player. That line of thinking doesn't allow you to improve your team.

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#119 Rdubb
July 09 2014, 08:08AM
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Can anyone remember that OTT d-man who was not very good in his first or second season in the NHL and now there are 29 other teams who want him or a player like him? What's that guys name again, can you all say Karlsson... I'm not even going to go back and look up his numbers, but if I had to guess, they'd be somewhat similar to those of Justin's, albeit that Justin has had to play much harder minutes against much tougher competition much earlier in his development as Karlsson had other d-men to take that on where as Justin has not...even now, I see the OTT coaching staff somewhat sheltering him... just my thoughts... Peck

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#120 Zarny
July 09 2014, 08:56AM
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Carson wrote:

Yeah, you're probably right that trading from the left side is probably the wiser play.

In terms of Schultz's PP contribution, let's not forget that the 13/14 Oilers PP was a place where offense went to die. Schultz's numbers will likely go up in that regard if the team as a whole improves.

I think the questions is what do the Oilers have in Schultz and what do they hope to have. Currently, the Oilers have a young, somewhat lackadaisical d-man with OK puck moving skills, a sneaky wrister that seems to have been scouted, an innate desire to jump into the play and a seeming inability to make smart reads in the d-zone. Some good, some bad.

The upside, I think, is better reads in all three zones and hopefully more use of his slap shot. I don't ever see him as a true top pairing talent. I do see him as someone who will play softer minutes, but will increase his ability to make hay on those minutes. I don't think he will ever shake his tendency to mosey around the ice, which is the "saw him bad" trait that still drives the old school fan in me crazy.

That's probably a realistic expectation, no?

Is that a higher upside than Petry? I'm not sure. What I do know, is that it's Petry and not Schultz who has been given the Poti/Breuwer/Gilbert treatment. Schultz is still considered a part of the core.

The 13/14 Oilers PP was a place where offense went to die?

Really? You mean compared to 12/13 where the PP was 20.1%?

Fun fact - last year the Oilers' PP had 46 PPG in 271 opportunities - 17%.

To match the 12/13 PP efficiency of 20.1% the Oilers needed a whopping 9 more PPG last year. That works out to 1 extra PPG every 9 games.

Perspective.

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#121 Oiler Al
July 09 2014, 10:07AM
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Lycan wrote:

I say trade Schultz just so there's a team we can take advantage of having him on the ice. Who cares what the return is, we'd be a better team just by getting to play against Jultz. Just keep him in our division so we can play against him more

What a great great idea ! Just kidding.. This is the dumbest statement ever on this site.

Now go a get ready for your Sept. grade 9 class.

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#122 Jayz
July 09 2014, 10:45AM
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All depends on the return, same goes for anyone on the team not named Hall-RNH. So much potential on this team, but I fear similar results if they don't gel really fast. Also goaltending is still an issue, don't kid yourselves... Those guys are very unproven and I pray the pressure of this hockey insane city doesn't break them both ..

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#123 camdog
July 09 2014, 10:53AM
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Rdubb wrote:

Can anyone remember that OTT d-man who was not very good in his first or second season in the NHL and now there are 29 other teams who want him or a player like him? What's that guys name again, can you all say Karlsson... I'm not even going to go back and look up his numbers, but if I had to guess, they'd be somewhat similar to those of Justin's, albeit that Justin has had to play much harder minutes against much tougher competition much earlier in his development as Karlsson had other d-men to take that on where as Justin has not...even now, I see the OTT coaching staff somewhat sheltering him... just my thoughts... Peck

Karlsson, Del Zotto and Shultz are all 24. In 5 seasons Karlsson continues to thrive, Del Zotto, thrived and then fell off the map, he wasn't even qualified by Nashville this past off season. Sure Shultz could up his game and then we could talk with him in the same respect as Karllson, however in 2-3 years we could be comparing him to Del Zotto as well.

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#124 Ed in Edmonton
July 09 2014, 12:20PM
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SmythforMayor wrote:

Subban and Karlsson were pretty bad in their own zone a year or two ago. Doughty was terrible at one point as well. I'm not Saying Jultzy is going to be as good as them, just saying you won't know what you have till you getu to 200 games or so. He's right, you can teach defense, but you can't teach offense.

Who do you want on the point on the power play? Jultzy or a forward. I personally hate forwards playing the point

An interesting stat, last year Karlsson lead the NHL with 115 give aways. Not sure what that tells us other than players who have the puck a lot tend to have a lot of giveaways. Doughty was 11 th with 82 giveaways.

BTW Hall was 2nd with 100 giveaways, but also had 76 takeaways (4th most).

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#125 Lycan
July 09 2014, 02:15PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

What a great great idea ! Just kidding.. This is the dumbest statement ever on this site.

Now go a get ready for your Sept. grade 9 class.

Haha, yes I'm the one that sounds like he's in ninth grade. In 2 years Jultz is a career minus 39. If the oilers got to play against him 6 times a year, facts and stats show it would improve the oilers record. Also simply by not having him on the team and replacing him with an average defenceman would help.

Don't let your man crush and blind faith get in the way of facts and stats

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#126 gravis82
July 09 2014, 02:31PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You are certain that using the first 122 games of a defenceman's career is guaranteed an accurate way to project what his future will be? I'd argue that is incredibly premature. He has only played 122 games.

but that's entirely my point. 122 games is not enough to make a decision based on goals and assists alone. 122 games of measuring dozens and dozens of additional events every game though, will paint a much clearer picture of the player...a picture that attempt to predict what the next 10 year of goals and assists will show us. We cant always have the luxury of time to make the decision, as often once we have taken it we have lost value in the player. This is a game of risk an futures, and it can only be won with a commitment to unbiased analytic decisions. If the data says now that Petry is better, but Schultz has higher trade value, then I don't see the problem frankly. What is the reverse argument, your gut thinks Schultz will be better? What is that really? Its just a bias. Numbers are not just another form of an opinion or gut feeling. They are fact, and while not perfect, they are still more fact that an 'eyeball' or gut feeling. Over time, decisions based on data will be right more often than decisions based on ones feelings. Manage that way for 10 years and you'll be the LA Kings.

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#128 gravis_82
July 10 2014, 09:55AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Or draft well... the analytics didn't get them Quick, Doughty or Kopitar.

And where did anyone say that Schultz has higher trade value. If Petry is clearly the better player, why would Schultz have higher value. Your argument isn't based on analytics, it is based on nothing. Show me where it says Schultz has higher trade value?

And if he has higher trade value, wouldn't be a better player?

The kings have a whole host of other supporting players who have good advanced numbers that fly under the radar that make that team great. Yes the draft well, but they also invest in the right players more often than not, which requires accurate forecasting using limited data, and I would bet a very strong analytic department.

And I actually don't think Petry is clearly the better player to all GM's the League. I think those that invest in advanced stats heavily will see that he is MORE LIKELY to have a stronger influence on winning over time, while those that don't will be blinded by Schultz's points and famous name...thus higher trade perhaps. We of course can't know or quantify trade values (this is not EA sports of course), but things seem to me to point in the direction that Shultz could fetch more. Any player that comes in with hype creates a bias around them, and a bias is an opportunity for an improvement in the roster if he is not living up to his hype and not everyone knows it yet. And he ISNT living up to his hype because there was alot of it, and IF his trade value was actually higher than Petry, I would HOPE that our GM would act on it regardless of how much we had initially planned to nurture and grow Schultz and how much we hope he turns into a player better than Petry. If advanced stats hypothesizes that petry>>schultz, but 70% of the league still think that schultz>>petry because they haven't yet adopted the use of advanced stats for pro talent procurement, then we need to take advantage of that before everyone else catches up.

Its a scientific approach basically, and science is never always right, and schultz may be better player in the end and that doesn't mean advanced stats are wrong, but its about changing the way you do business to use this approach in EVERY decision you make. If you do that, supported by good data, then over a long period of time you will be guaranteed to be right more than you were wrong. This is all about risk and probability of desired outcome, insurance companies are great example of this and they make alot of money. There is good enough data now in the NHL for the investment in analytics to really pay off. The early adopters of this will have a massive advantage, and I think this schultz vs. petry decision really shows us where the oilers are at on this scale. I know they will sign him, but if they do I hope they sign him to a contract based on his real value, rather than perceived value. The best option is trade him to a team who doesn't know he is over valued.

I actually don't care if 10 years from now I am wrong on this and Schultz is better, because its just one player. Its about what the benefit will be you use heavy analytics to make decisions on 50 players a year for 10 years. You do this, and data now suggests that you will be more successful. So why not use it. By the time everyone is aware it works, its leverage will be gone and the playing field will be even. And its not like we can get much worse anyway.

I should be working #essay.

Listen to your show every day.

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