Robin Brownlee
February 17 2017 11:05AM

Time to be alive

March is just around the corner, the smell of thawing dog crap is in the air and the Edmonton Oilers are headed out on the road with 58 games in the books and rolling toward their first playoff spot since 2006. Craig MacTavish was head coach, Jason Smith was captain and Connor McDavid was nine years old. Remember when?

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Robin Brownlee
February 15 2017 12:00PM

I think it’s safe to say that if fans of the Edmonton Oilers had been asked to compile a pre-season list of the top-five reasons their team would be safely in a playoff spot 57 games into this season, Mark Letestu’s name wouldn’t be on it. If you’re like me, you could’ve gone 10 spots without pencilling in No. 55.

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Robin Brownlee
February 12 2017 12:32PM


When a team’s go-to guys go away, as they are bound to do from time to time over the course of a season, coaches are left with a couple of choices. They can keep dancing with those who brung ‘em, as in stand pat, or they can change-up the dance card and hope that does the trick. There really isn’t one tried-and-true way that works.

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Robin Brownlee
February 07 2017 11:00AM

Years before I arrived in Alberta late in 1989, I remember thinking while watching Dave Semenko pummel anybody who even looked at Wayne Gretzky wrong, “Man, that dude is big and tough and mean.” When we eventually met, up on the catwalk at Northlands Coliseum in a corner where smokers gathered, I remember thinking the same thing. “You can’t smoke up here,” Semenko said straight-faced as I lit up. I was just about to stub it out and go wipe my ass when he laughed and took a drag of his smoke.

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Robin Brownlee
February 06 2017 12:41PM

There is at least one dangerous play that has no place in the game of hockey. It’s a sneaky, cowardly cheap shot that injures players and can end a career. It has absolutely nothing to do with playing tough, gritty hockey. The sooner the NHL figures that out and does something to eliminate it, the better.

It’s the slewfoot, and unless my eyes are fooling me I’ve seen more of them this season than I remember noticing in any other season I can recall. The latest came in the first period of Sunday’s game between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre when serial slew-footer Andrew Shaw of the Habs kicked Connor McDavid’s left skate out from under him. It’s here.

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