One-way tickets?

Watching the Edmonton Oilers file out of Kinsmen Arena on their way to the airport after this morning’s skate, I couldn’t help but wonder which players wouldn’t be making the return flight from a four-game road trip.

Uh, Robert Nilsson? You didn’t send out any dry cleaning, did you? And Erik Cole? How are those talks about a contract extension going with GM Steve Tambellini? I thought so.

With the NHL trade deadline looming Wednesday, most players will tell you they don’t think about it too much. I’ve always thought that’s sort of like a frat house senior saying he doesn’t think about beer and chicks. What’s wrong with you, boy?

Of course players think about the trade deadline. Like, if you could end up in Carolina, where you won’t have to wait until April 11 to book tee times, or Florida, where hockey is Page 5 until the Stanley Cup final, you’d be thinking about it, too. No?

I mean, if Dan LaCouture can be traded for Sven Butenschon, anybody can be traded, right?

What, me worry?

“You can’t focus on it,” said Nilsson, whose value right now makes him nothing more than a throw-in or sweetener as part of any deal. “If there was something you could do about, then you’d focus on it. But there’s nothing you can do. You just have to play your game.”

Or you can sit in the press box and wait — although, with captain Ethan Moreau out with an eye injury (more on that later), Nilsson could be back in the line-up against Nashville Tuesday.

“You hear things from guys on different teams and stuff like that,” admitted Cole. “You play with enough guys over the course of your career, there’s guys around the league you’re friends with. The way text messaging is, you get a lot of those. You’ve got to be prepared for whatever happens.”

While I was tempted to ask Cole if he’d received any messages from Tuomo Ruutu in Carolina inquiring about house rentals in Edmonton or notes like, “Just thought I’d drop a line to see how you’re doing” from Jim Rutherford, I resisted the urge.

Then, there’s Sheldon Souray, who isn’t going anywhere. Not a chance. No way. Right?

“Anybody who has been in the league for a few years has been involved in a rumour,” Souray said. “Guys watch. I don’t think guys are looking at the deadline as wanting something to happen. You just have to go about your business. Guys get paid to play, not make personnel decisions.”

Fingers crossed

We keep getting bits and pieces of positive news about the state of Moreau’s right eye, damaged by Antti Miettinen’s high-stick in the final seconds of Saturday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota.

Moreau’s home resting after spending Saturday night in the hospital. And, while there’s no iron-clad prognosis, yet, and specialists will monitor Moreau closely in coming days, it appears, thankfully, we’re not looking at a repeat of a Bryan Berard-type situation.

“He saw the doctor again today and everything went well,” said coach Craig MacTavish. “All the news so far has been really positive. It’s hard to completely anticipate and project how it’s going to go, but everything to this point has really gone well.

“Everything looks to be pointing to a complete and full recovery, so far. How long that is, depends on the next few days. There’s an obstacle every couple of days to get over. So far, he’s doing well.”

Around the rink

Ales Hemsky didn’t skate today after taking a shot in the foot against Minnesota. He’ll be ready to go in Nashville.

Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe didn’t accompany the team to Tennessee. They’re flying directly to Ottawa and will meet the team there.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • Peter Pan

    @ Robin:

    XM Radio just announced that a trade between Oilers and NYI or Flyers is very, very close. Credible or not and just for the fun, if this has any chance of being true, what do you think it could be?

  • swany

    As for Olli I just don't want this team to trade for him to play LW, lets get a true LW to play with Hemmer, I know you said he is a winger playing centre but what side Robin, this better not be another Cole experiment.

  • King Mob

    Robin B wrote:

    @ King Mob:
    Cole and Pouliot. Cole and Nilsson. Cole and Schremp. It’ll take something to pry Ruutu out of Carolina, even if Rutherford is certain he re-sign Cole.

    this is true. honestly, If I were Steve i would make any one of those deals, and then pray to the hockey Gods that Ruutu and Hemsky develop some sort of fantastic chemistry (hey, don't we deserve it after everyone else we've tried?) and thus Ruutu would be more willing to sign with us, at least on a short term deal.

    If I were a skilled LW with a scoring touch, I'd give my right something for the chance to play on a line with one of the game's elite passers. then again, i'm an oilers fan.

    We've had a lot of bum deals lately and a brought in a lot of guys that simply havent lived up to their expectations. We're due to be on the winning side on trade deadline day.

    sigh. if only life worked like that.

  • swany

    Peter Pan wrote:

    @ Robin:
    XM Radio just announced that a trade between Oilers and NYI or Flyers is very, very close. Credible or not and just for the fun, if this has any chance of being true, what do you think it could be?

    Greta he are the ones getting Billy Boy that fixs all our problems, why not bring back Smitty to and Weight back to the future

  • Peter Pan wrote:

    XM Radio just announced that a trade between Oilers and NYI or Flyers is very, very close. Credible or not and just for the fun, if this has any chance of being true, what do you think it could be?

    It's worth noting that the Oilers have had good trade relationships with the Islanders and Flyers. Outside of those two teams, I'd think only the Rangers and Blue Jackets have a closer relationship.

  • humantorch

    rindog wrote:

    @ Robin B:
    So what would you say if I said that the Oilers offered Penner and Horcoff for Vinnie a while back?

    I don't know what Robin would say, but I can guarantee you what Jay Feaster would say.

    "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA *snort* HA HA HA HA HEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEE HA HA"

  • swany

    rindog wrote:

    @ Robin B:
    So what would you say if I said that the Oilers offered Penner and Horcoff for Vinnie a while back?

    I heard this, but it was one or the other plus Nilsson, Omark Schremp and a D man Grebs or Gilbert.

  • swany

    humantorch wrote:

    rindog wrote:
    @ Robin B:
    So what would you say if I said that the Oilers offered Penner and Horcoff for Vinnie a while back?
    I don’t know what Robin would say, but I can guarantee you what Jay Feaster would say.
    “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA *snort* HA HA HA HA HEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEE HA HA”

    Why would Fester say anything since he no longer has anything to say what TBL do.

  • Slurve

    I wish the Oilers would take a chance to make a trade on Kovalchuk or Lecavalier. I mean a serious try. Oilers have to package (poor guy) Schremp in part of a major deal or he will rot on the farm.

  • speeds

    Not terribly excited to hear that EDM may be close to a deal with PHI, since I'd heard that EDM has at least considered acquiring Briere. Myself, I'm not even sure I would want the Oilers to claim him even if he were on waivers.

  • swany

    speeds wrote:

    Not terribly excited to hear that EDM may be close to a deal with PHI, since I’d heard that EDM has at least considered acquiring Briere. Myself, I’m not even sure I would want the Oilers to claim him even if he were on waivers.

    Maybe if Horcs or Penners monster contracts are going back

  • Dennis

    RB: did something happen to you when you were sick?;) You're back dishing all kinds of inside gear and, honestly, that's the kind of stuff I like to read and I'm glad you're sharing.

    Lacouture was always a hard work and back then the Oilers started to draft and/or acquire a lot of guys who were playing US college hockey. Grier, Murray, Marchant, Weight, McGillis, Poti, etc, etc. He was part of that pile and you had to love him when he went after Drake after Drake concussed Boyd Devereaux.

    So, is this a new thing that the Oilers are gonna have to sprinkle on a Cole package in order to bring back Ruutu? It's the first time I've seen you mention it.

    BTW, can you detail how you found out about the Samsonov trade? Without burning any sources, I mean.

    Ultimately, the Oilers are gonna have to trade some of their dmen in order to bolster their forward corps.

    But do you make that kind of move now or do you want until draft day?

    In terms of what you move, 44 and 71 are older with big contracts and 77 looks like a good bet to best last year's numbers plus he's playing top four min as well. The hope's that 37's gonna sign for close to bargain status and 5 doesn't have much of a leg to stand on in terms of asking for a raise. 43's serviceable and a 5-49 tandem for next year might not be too bad if you have a strong top four. Oilers have lots of puck-movers and 44's the best ruffian. 5-49 are ruffians but it's unlikely they'll be top four min ruffians.

    So, once again, from all of that, do you try and make that big trade on wed or do you wait until June?

    Personally, I think both 12-89 are just going through some tough-luck and it wouldn't shock me if they came back in 2010 to score a combined 50 goals. So I'm patient to the point of standing pat.

    but you know katz wants to make a splash and Tambellini wants to make it look like he's doing something so I'm expecting something from the Oil come Wed.

  • Robin B

    @ Dennis:
    I'll with tough luck on Sam. Nilsson is a goner by next training camp.

    They'll flog Gilbert in a nanosecond if they're in contention for Bouwmeester July 1

    I've floated Cole plus a sweetener to Carolina before. Carolina wants Cole back, and that's reliable. The Oilers are the ones asking for Ruutu, and they have to hope Rutherford wants old No. 26 back bad enough to go for it.

    Got Samsonov from the Boston end.

  • swany

    Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

    Is this XM radio report true about the Oilers with NYI or Flyers?

    Who off the Islanders would we want, I'm not one of the guys who think Billy or Dougie would be good here, and the only guy avalible in Philly would be Danny boy and his 8 mil contract, on a side note if Penner was going the other way maybe can Horc play LW with Danny boy in the middle with Hemmer on the RW?

  • Robin B

    @ Jack "FMNF" Bauer:
    Sorry, haven't heard the report. If XM Radio can't even decide if it's the Oilers AND/OR the Isles or Flyers, it sounds like a radio version of hockeybuzz to me.

  • TonyT

    @ Robin B:
    Hi Robin, thanks for the insight. Do you happen to know if Ales Hemsky is not 100% besides that shot he took? He seems a bit sluggish of late (for Hemsky, not in comparison to the rest of the roster).

  • Bob Sacamano

    Robin,

    Do you think the Oilers would be interested and are working on acquiring Olli Jokinen? What do you think it would take? I would think that the asking price would be less than last year, which was Boynton and Ballard. Boynton had been waived earlier in the year, so it was basically just Ballard.

  • Robin B

    Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

    Im asking if its true that it was even said, or if there is anything there.

    Just had a talk with somebody on the road. I don't know what XM Radio said, but I have my thoughts on what makes some sense.

    With NYI: We're assuming Bill Guerin is waiting for the paperwork to be done so he can be sent to Washington, but who says the team that has to sign off on the deal isn't Edmonton? As a rental, Guerin is an upgrade. Problem, potentially, is he's a right winger, not a left winger.

    With Phil: I'd never do this deal, but the Flyers would love to rid themselves of Brier's contract, which has six years left. The positive is the Flyers have taken the big hit on the first two years at $10 M and $8 million. His remaining years are 8/7/7/7/3/2.
    Briere fits as the No. 1 centre here, bumping Horcoff to No. 2. Flyers might take Cole and a throw-in to rid themselves of salary.

  • swany

    Robin B wrote:

    @ Bob Sacamano:
    Yes, they are interested in Jokinen. I’d think Phoenix would want a good young prospect and a pick.

    Schremp does he qualify as a young prospect? or from our roster.

  • wiggs22

    @ Robin B:
    Robin:
    What are your thoughts on Frolov? I've been hearing rumors that he's available? What is your opinion if he'd fit the mold (or at least help right the ship)
    thanks

  • swany

    Robin B wrote:

    Jack “FMNF” Bauer wrote:
    Im asking if its true that it was even said, or if there is anything there.
    Just had a talk with somebody on the road. I don’t know what XM Radio said, but I have my thoughts on what makes some sense.
    With NYI: We’re assuming Bill Guerin is waiting for the paperwork to be done so he can be sent to Washington, but who says the team that has to sign off on the deal isn’t Edmonton? As a rental, Guerin is an upgrade. Problem, potentially, is he’s a right winger, not a left winger.
    With Phil: I’d never do this deal, but the Flyers would love to rid themselves of Brier’s contract, which has six years left. The positive is the Flyers have taken the big hit on the first two years at $10 M and $8 million. His remaining years are 8/7/7/7/3/2.
    Briere fits as the No. 1 centre here, bumping Horcoff to No. 2. Flyers might take Cole and a throw-in to rid themselves of salary.

    If we took that contract we also would have to rid ourselves of another contract as Horc goes to 5.5 mil cap hit next year, it has to be Horc or Penner and Cole. the money just isn't there

  • michael

    Robin, you fail to address the one trade that we need to make in your column. The real trade is MacT to Ottawa for Jason Spezza. And do not tell me coaches can't be traded. The trade would help both teams. Ottawa could use a coach of MacT's caliber and we could use a change of scenery behind the bench. Wonder if Demers would take the job? As for players, boy I could name 10 guys who I would trade in the blink of an eye. Including Horcoff and Penner. I apologize for the pessimism, as a long time Oiler fan I see no upside to keeping this group of players together. In buisness results count. If this team were a mutual fund I 'd be selling it . It's underperformed for so long that the outlook on the return looks very poor going forward.