Mike Comrie: do over?

comrie-and-duff

Not once since Mike Comrie left this city after the Edmonton Oilers traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers in December 2003 have I thought to ask him if he’d ever consider playing for the Oilers again.

I didn’t think to ask during his tenure in Philadelphia, or during his time with the Phoenix Coyotes, the Ottawa Senators or the New York Islanders in the six seasons since he played here.

I didn’t think to ask in any of the off-seasons along the way. Or the other day, when I ran into Mike down the street from my place at brother Paul’s house. It didn’t dawn on me at the K of C Arena during an interview we did Monday. And why would it?

Given all the ill-will I remember in the months leading up to Comrie being traded — a nasty bit of business involving Mike, agent Ritch Winter and then-GM Kevin Lowe that came to an ugly head when Lowe queered a deal with Anaheim by asking for $2.5 million to complete the trade — you’d have to be nuts to even ask, no?

Well, apparently not. The question of whether Comrie might be a fit for the Oilers right now was discussed by Dan Tencer and Bob Stauffer on 630 CHED Tuesday night. Really.

God Almighty, Steve Tambellini, in the name of sweet mercy make a move of some kind before everybody is completely insane. I can hear Hillary Duff screaming at the top of her lungs now, “Noooooooooooooooooo.”

I hear you, girl.

Second time around

I’d be the first to suggest Tambellini be fitted with a rubber mouthpiece and a jacket with extra-long arms if he even considered inking Comrie, who is a UFA and is bunking at his brother’s house while awaiting a contract offer.

I’m not sure if Tencer, who I’m guessing was barely out of high school when the Comrie fiasco unfolded, was just filling air time, floating a trial balloon or fell down the stairs and hit his head before going on the air, but there’s nothing about the first time around I didn’t understand.

Now, there’s no indication whatsoever from anybody I know the Oilers are even considering talking to Comrie. I’m taking the discussion to be nothing more than a what-if bit of radio filler.

While Comrie, now 29, is good enough to play in the Oilers top six and could be had for a discount rate, like maybe $2 million in a one-year contract, it’s a profoundly bad idea on so many levels I don’t even know where to start. But, hell, let’s try.

Let’s get real

— Comrie didn’t enjoy the attention he got as a home town boy while playing for the Oilers his first time around, and he’s not going to be spared the spotlight now on a team that’s missed the playoffs three straight years.

— While Lowe has been bumped to the background in favour of Tambellini, the fact that he’s president of hockey operations means he still has a say in player personnel. He’s the head of hockey ops.

Forget what made it into the papers back in 2003 when things got ugly — the best stuff that conveyed the depth of the bad feelings between Lowe and Comrie never made it into  print, and I can tell you that because I knew most of it. I don’t see the passing of six years healing that wound.

— Comrie and Winter never did go public with the reasons they wanted out of Edmonton, despite suggesting the “real story” would come out at the appropriate time and fans would understand their position.

While I don’t see a need to sift through that pile of dirty laundry, Comrie and Winter never did deliver the dirt. All fans know, without the reasons why, is Comrie took a pile of bonus money and turned his back on his hometown. They haven’t forgotten.

— The last thing the Oilers need right now is another five-foot-something forward to join the ranks of Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson and Patrick O’Sullivan. Where’s the fit? Where’s the cap room?

No cigar

Look, I’ve got no beef with Comrie. As you might recall, I was accused by some of being in Comrie’s camp throughout the whole mess back in 2003. Maybe, in some ways, I was.

I never thought he owed it to fans here to stay if he was unhappy, whether he went public with his reasons or not. I was sympathetic to his position. It was criminal how some people tried to smear Comrie with the allegation he slept with Tommy Salo’s wife. That was bogus.

For those who don’t know, when it looked like the deal with Anaheim was done — before Lowe asked for some bonus money back — the Oilers had a going away party at Comrie’s house. Salo was there. So was captain Jason Smith, who, according to somebody’s fantasy, had roughed up Comrie for bedding Mrs. Salo. Again, bogus.

Be that as it may, any flights of fancy about Comrie returning here will crash and burn when he signs with Ottawa, Philadelphia or New Jersey, Maybe even Los Angeles, if Ms. Duff has any pull around the Staples Center. But here? No way.

I’m not even going to ask him.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.



  • J-Bird

    As Robin says, it ain't gonna happen.

    And from where I sit, I don't think the fans would ever jump on board with him again after what he did here, and the way he left town.

    Folks can say we chew up our own in Edmonton. That's BS. Comrie was a god around here until he said he wanted out. You say you want out, hold out forever, hurt the team in the process, Oiler fans are justified. We cheer on the team first, period. Players come and go. And some go in a classless, childish fashion. Like Mike Comrie. Go play for the Islanders Mikey.

  • Re: the leverage. It is, however, unforunate that that's the only time in his eight years as GM that Lowe recognized he had some leverage and tried to use it. Oh well, at least Tambo can't be that ba…wait, how Khabi got how much?!?

  • OvenChicken8

    Cam wrote:

    J-Bird wrote:
    Folks can say we chew up our own in Edmonton. That’s BS.

    Tell that to Lupul.

    Lupul actually deserved it. He was inconsistent and lazy the only thing that differs between him and PDP is 40lbs of donair meat.

  • Robin Brownlee

    Tyler wrote:

    I actually thought that asking Comrie for $2.5MM was perfectly defensible. I defended Comrie when he used his leverage when he signed initially. Nothing wrong with Lowe doing the same.

    I agree asking for the money was defensible, but the timing of it was hinky.
    Wanting $2.5 million back is a significant and uncommon caveat to a trade and is something that should be up front, not slipped into the mix so late that Winter and Bryan Murray thought they had a deal.
    You can't offer something as vague as "Before we sign off on this, there's something we have to discuss" and call it fair ball. That's what Lowe did.

  • Chris.

    Rich Winter should "man up" and follow through on his promise to tell the full story. If he had, maybe the Oilers would have had better management in place through this last rebuild. (Someone who can deal with more than two or three rival GM's)

    I loved Lowe as player; competative, and mean… These qualities, however, don't necessarily translate well to management. Managers need to be cool, calm, and willing to stricly adhere to a sound development strategy… Lowe paddled the HMS Oilers in circles for years.

  • Travis Dakin

    OvenChicken8 wrote:

    the only thing that differs between him and PDP is 40lbs of donair meat.

    HAHA is it wrong that reading the words 40lbs ot donair meat made me salivate? mmmm… I'll take the crispy greasy stuff at the bottom please.

  • Librarian Mike

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    OvenChicken8 wrote:
    the only thing that differs between him and PDP is 40lbs of donair meat.
    HAHA is it wrong that reading the words 40lbs ot donair meat made me salivate? mmmm… I’ll take the crispy greasy stuff at the bottom please.

    *stomach growls*

  • J-Bird

    Cam wrote:

    J-Bird wrote:
    Folks can say we chew up our own in Edmonton. That’s BS.
    Tell that to Lupul.

    Lupul is one. (I think there were lots of reasons he wasn't well liked here, the team sucking after going to the finals, him being the return on Pronger, Mac's use of him, etc.)

    But Messier did fine. Fuhr wasn't too bad. Strudwick is well liked. Brodziak's from Veg. Souray from Elk Point. But NOOOOO. All we here from a lot of media is how Edmonton eats their own and spits them out. BS.

    Comrie created it. Much like Heatley has done in Ottawa. Much like Pronger did here. It had nothing to do with being a local boy. Zip.

    Lupul, and this is another of Kevin Lowe's bungles, is judged as the return on Chris Pronger. And we all know that isn't enough, and he bore the brunt of Oiler fans angst. I mean FFS, Anaheim got the same thing back for Pronger after 3 years of use, a Cup, and only one year remaining on his contract. That's how bad of a deal K-Lowe made. Unfortunately, Lupul took the heat for K-Lowe's terrible, absolutely terrible deal on Pronger.

    And with the shape Kevin Lowe left this team in, with the big money, LONG term contracts he handed out, trying to get away with something cap on players that aren't proven (Penner, Gilbert, Bobby, Horcoff, etc.), it's going to be a while before Tambo can turn this ship around IMO.

  • Tull

    As far as I'm concerned Lowe was perfectly within his rights to do what he did to Comrie. Why are there limits on a GM's negotiation tactics? Why do GM's have to be fair and transparent but players and their agents can go to any lengths?

    It's about time GM's use the leverage they have against the players. Gillis should have forced the Sedins to sign late last season, or else trade one of them. No different than the Sedin's using their leverage during the offseason.

    Pronger should have been forced to play in Edmonton or be suspended.

    Heatley should be forced to come to camp and play in whatever position Clouston tells him.

    Avery should be flipping burgers.

    Its about time the GM's use any tactic necessary to play hardball with the players. The salary cap was supposed to turn the balance of power, but somehow the GM's managed to screw that up too.

  • Chris.

    @ Tull:

    As long as all 30 GM's play "hardball" at the same time… Otherwise you create a situation where free agent players and players with NMC's refuse to play for your organization.

  • forsoothed

    I, of course, don't know any details but it sounds like Lowe's mistake with the Comrie deal was making it personal. Lowe tried for a "give us the money Lebowski" screw-job on the way out. It back-fired. And the Oil have been paying for it ever since.

    That being said, I'm with RB. No more small forwards!

  • Colin

    OvenChicken8 wrote:

    Just to be a sh*t disturber…
    I would rather have Comrie at 2M than Nilsson. Just saying.
    Colin wrote:
    Comrie couldn’t hack it the first time, don’t see why it would be any different this time.
    33goals and 60pts says he could hack it.
    Be honest you would cream yourself if we could pick up a 30 goal scorer for 2 mill or less, I know I would lol.

    Not saying he couldn't put up points, but that he can't deal with the fan pressure here.

  • Chris.

    @ Zaxonking:
    There was no "Salo incident". I don'tknow the full story but I do know that Lowe came unglued on Comrie for a poor playoff performance (Berating him in public and calling him at inappropriate hours at home)… Also there were rumors that Comrie was at the heart of a dressing room mutiny against MacT… Any of this sound familiar? The more things change, the more things stay the same.

  • Chris. wrote:

    @ Zaxonking:
    Also there were rumors that Comrie was at the heart of a dressing room mutiny against MacT…

    Assuming that's true…does anyone think that the Oilers lost out by ditching Comrie and sticking with MacT? Comrie stars on a lot of bad hockey teams.

  • Travis Dakin

    Tyler wrote:

    Assuming that’s true…does anyone think that the Oilers lost out by ditching Comrie and sticking with MacT? Comrie stars on a lot of bad hockey teams

    And MacT coached a lot of bad ones.

  • douggy

    Mike Comrie, Bill Comrie, the Brick and Rob Scremp can all kiss my ass.
    Bringing comrie back to edmonton would be like bringing pronger back… nuff said!
    Schremp will never make the NHL full time. he doesnt have the skating ability. although, I could be wrong…great hands and poor attitude have gotten him thus far.

  • Josh

    supposedly there is a credible story thats went around that Comrie slept with Tommy Salo's wife when he played there that created alot of tension in the room…. (lovingly edited by bingofuel, because he's feeling extra nice today)

  • Travis Dakin

    Josh wrote:

    supposivly(is that how you spell it?) there is a credible story thats went around that Comrie slept with Tommy Salo’s wife when he played there that created alot of tension in the room….

    Have you read Robin's replies in this article? no truth.

  • Boris

    Good comments today. But why does it always come back to a "lets bash Penner" series of comments. He was shafted last year by his coach. Setting him up to fail I think someone said earlier.
    He has averaged 20 goals per season here and his is not the worst contract in the NHL either. If he doesn't earn his wages this upcoming year I will eat my words but I think he will have the season everyone would like him to have. He is still just kid really.