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.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris. wrote:

    I’m tired of hearing how Mike Comrie was unfairly portrayed in the media…
    Maybe Mike and Rich should have given us their side of the story.
    I sure wish they had: I don’t like that Lowe and MacT were given a free pass and that the Oiler faithful boooo Comrie at every turn without knowing why. The whole Comrie incident is just another example that nicely illustrates the bush league way my beloved franchise has been run.

    You really think Lowe was given a free pass? Re-read the posts on this (and every other article related).

  • jeff

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    jeff wrote:
    @ Ogden Brother:
    This is gettin back to the whole putting guys in spots that they should be.
    Not sure if Horcoff was completly unproven, but agree on Stoll.
    No Horc was unproven (at least as an option as the 1C… heck most still argue he’s not proven as a 1C) he was coming off a 15 goal/40 point season (career high)
    You put your best players in your major roles, at the time Peca was the best option for 1C.

    I don't know Peca was coming off a similar season and was older starting the down turn of his career. It shouldn't have taken long to figure out Horcoff was greater then Peca. And I don't think it did take very long.

  • Dan's got a point Robin. Take shots at his obvious naievete, horrendous puffery (Steve MacIntyre: Gentle Giant) and general toeing of the Oilers line, not the fact that he's so young.

    Also:

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    Like I said to Tyler, I can see why Lowe would want to ask for $2.5 million back — it’s worth a try — but that’s not something you try to slide in at the last minute. That caveat has to be up front — “OK, Mike, we’ll trade you, but we’re asking for that money back before we sign-off an any deal with a team. OK?”
    Slipping it in when Lowe did, after Winter and Murray thought they had a deal, is akin to a car dealer waiting until you’re signing off on the brand new car you’ve agreed to pay $40,000 for, then telling you he’s adding a $5,000 surcharge because your mom dresses you funny. It’s not up-front. That’s not fair ball.

    I'm sort of in agreement with this, although it depends how far in front it is. If I'm Kevin Lowe, I have to get a certain value for Mike Comrie before I'm willing to trade him. If, for example, Anaheim had offered Getzlaf, Perry, Pahlsson and Giguere…I'm not asking for money. If they give me the deal that they ended up offering and I say "I'll accept it, provided I get $X", I don't see the problem with that.

    If, as you seem to be suggesting, Lowe told Comrie and Murray the deal was done and then changed his mind on the money, that gets a little problematic. I don't have a problem though with him casting about for the best he could get and then telling Comrie what the price was going to be in addition. How can he know what the price will be until he knows what portion of the price will be paid by the team acquiring him?

  • Josh

    @ Robin Brownlee:
    i actually did read it and thought it was an alright read. i guess i should have maybe wrote something in better taste instead of the comment I made and sorry to any of those i offended but when your best friend who has a cousin who plays on the oilers right now and tells you about the whole comrie thing that happened back in the day, it kinda makes you think a bit as to how something like that could happen. i would hope that it isn't true for comrie's sake just for the fact that he still has fans in oil country. weather its true or not, i could careless about comrie and what he does

  • Travis Dakin

    @ Tyler: Robin Brownlee wrote:

    Third, the reference to you being in high school was made because I question your grasp of how bitter the split back in 2003 was. You weren’t working in the business then, so you’d have no way of knowing, outside of what you read or heard. Covering the story as I did, and knowing what I do, I don’t see Comrie ever playing here again no matter what the other circumstances — roster, cap space, coaching, whatever — might be.

    But also, as I approach 30… (sucks doesn't it Tyler?) I will definately say that I have no problem taking shots at people due to their age. Friggin punk good for nothing kids. HAHA

  • Travis Dakin

    Josh wrote:

    when your best friend who has a cousin who plays on the oilers right now and tells you about the whole comrie thing that happened back in the day

    Current Oilers on the team back then…
    Ales Hemsky
    Shawn Horcoff
    Ethan Moreau
    Steve Staios

    HAHA your best friends cousin is….. I'm thinking Horcoff. He's from the closest city.

  • @ Travis Dakin:

    ~2 Christmas' ago I played shinny with Fernando's brother-in-law and he told me that Fernando told him, that Horcoff told him, that Laraque told him, that Salo told him that the real reason he was mad at Comrie was because he never returned a cassarole dish they lent him one time.

    And because he f*cked Salo's wife.~

  • Travis Dakin

    The Towel Boy wrote:

    @ Travis Dakin:
    As you approach 30?
    *suddenly feels old*

    It's coming very fast. My balls a hanging lower by the day…

    Don't feel old, You may be old in body but you're mind is clearly in the right place.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    jeanshorts wrote:

    @ Travis Dakin:
    ~2 Christmas’ ago I played shinny with Fernando’s brother-in-law and he told me that Fernando told him, that Horcoff told him, that Laraque told him, that Salo told him that the real reason he was mad at Comrie was because he never returned a cassarole dish they lent him one time.
    And because he f*cked Salo’s wife.~

    He made WUV is the politically correct term now sir.

  • Robert Parks

    If its true regarding the casserole dish then that little bigger deserves all the harsh words he's received.

    …what I wouldn't give for Burkie and KLowe to have another skirmish right about now.

  • DaHoosman

    Brownlee:
    All rumor and innuendo aside, my question comes down to this: has Lowe as GM done significant damage to the Oilers hockey TEAM that facilitated Katz to hire a replacement? With the rehashing of bitter player movements and bad feelings, I'm wondering if this is just a common theme in NHL organizations OR, if this had something to do with the way the hockey club was run.

    I don't think you could get two, more different experiences that Lowe and Tambo. Lowe was a player who retired a little (not a lot) early because of his vertigo like symptoms, did one year as an assistant, took over as head coach for another season, and then immediately moved into the GM's position. Tambo had a shorter career, ending it in Europe, but worked just about every job aside from GM in the Canucks organization. He's had a lot of time to learn, and, some could argue, some decent hockey men to learn from.

    Is it conceivable or even possible that Katz, knowing the outrageous love Edmonton feels for Lowe (and it is immense) decided that he might not have the pedigree to run a multi-million dollar operation, and hired Tambo to end some of the ridiculousness that surrounded the Oilers. Lowe made some good trades, and I liked some of his moves as a GM. But, given the apprentice role other players (Yzerman, Messier, Francis) have taken with their teams, I'm wondering how qualified a newly retired player is when becoming a GM. There's more to being a GM then just knowing who can play, especially now.

    Any thoughts?

  • jeff

    jeanshorts wrote:

    @ Travis Dakin:
    ~2 Christmas’ ago I played shinny with Fernando’s brother-in-law and he told me that Fernando told him, that Horcoff told him, that Laraque told him, that Salo told him that the real reason he was mad at Comrie was because he never returned a cassarole dish they lent him one time.
    And because he f*cked Salo’s wife.~

    That b3stard doesn't he know that a good cassarole dish is hard to come by?

  • Hemmertime

    @ Robin Brownlee:

    Regarding Tencer not being part of the media in 2003 means he only has the info us fans do on it. That is all the important information anyway, back room information that isn't relayed to the fans and doesn't factor into our conclusions on the situation is darn near useless. You know the true story Robin, or at least more of it. So what makes your opinion better than Tencers? Either share the info or don't hold it against someone that they do not know it. So Tencer just has a fans knowledge of the situation – not a bad thing: means he is more in line with public peception of the issue. Also, youth is not a punishment.

    All that being said Tencer is a douche and RB's articles aren't based around what Little Danny Tencer says on the radio.

  • Travis Dakin

    Hemmertime wrote:

    You know the true story Robin, or at least more of it. So what makes your opinion better than Tencers?

    Did you mean to write that sentance that way? Because that is awesome.

  • DaHoosman wrote:

    Is it conceivable or even possible that Katz, knowing the outrageous love Edmonton feels for Lowe (and it is immense) decided that he might not have the pedigree to run a multi-million dollar operation, and hired Tambo to end some of the ridiculousness that surrounded the Oilers.

    I don't want to give Lowe a free pass here, but before the lockout it was a year to year operation running this team. 30 guys having to shell out cash every year to keep the team in town.

    I have a hunch the demand for the money in the Anaheim trade came from the pissed off ownership group that just shelled out the 2.5 million to a guy who didn't want to play here…

    Lowe might not have been qualified to do the job right out of the gate, but the ownership got lots of mileage out of 1 guy doing 2 jobs (EVP & GM) & probably saved some money.

  • @ DaHoosman:

    Whoa you bring up some very good talking points.
    I wouldn't say Lowe has done significant damage but it definitly looks like he has put the team in a rough spot for the next couple seasons.
    He made A LOT of what seem to be, or turned out to be bonehead moves. But he also put together a pretty decent team that was one game away from a cup. So I don't think he was completely over his head.
    But the points you bring up about Katz hiring Tambo make sense to me. He saw a guy in Lowe that he had respect for, but was floundering a little bit in his job as GM. Kevin Lowe knows hockey, this we know, so it makes sense to me, from Katz' perspective to keep him on in some capacity but to bring in a good management mind to run the day to day.

  • Ogden Brother

    jeff wrote:

    Ogden Brother wrote:
    jeff wrote:
    @ Ogden Brother:
    This is gettin back to the whole putting guys in spots that they should be.
    Not sure if Horcoff was completly unproven, but agree on Stoll.
    No Horc was unproven (at least as an option as the 1C… heck most still argue he’s not proven as a 1C) he was coming off a 15 goal/40 point season (career high)
    You put your best players in your major roles, at the time Peca was the best option for 1C.
    I don’t know Peca was coming off a similar season and was older starting the down turn of his career. It shouldn’t have taken long to figure out Horcoff was greater then Peca. And I don’t think it did take very long.

    What? Horcoff was a 3rd/4th liner going into that summer, at that point in time his best was Peca's worst.

  • The Menace

    Josh wrote:

    but when your best friend who has a cousin who plays on the oilers right now and tells you about the whole comrie

    Was it your best friend Harry, who has a cousin Larry? cause in five days from now, he's gonna marry. He's hoping you can make it there if you can – cause in the ceremony you'll be the best man.

  • Ogden Brother

    BUCK75 wrote:

    DaHoosman wrote:
    Is it conceivable or even possible that Katz, knowing the outrageous love Edmonton feels for Lowe (and it is immense) decided that he might not have the pedigree to run a multi-million dollar operation, and hired Tambo to end some of the ridiculousness that surrounded the Oilers.
    I don’t want to give Lowe a free pass here, but before the lockout it was a year to year operation running this team. 30 guys having to shell out cash every year to keep the team in town.
    I have a hunch the demand for the money in the Anaheim trade came from the pissed off ownership group that just shelled out the 2.5 million to a guy who didn’t want to play here….

    *Nods head*

  • erixon

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    @ Dan Tencer:
    First, before you get indignant, please point out where I called your segment “ridiculous radio filler.” Start with that.
    It is slow. That’s why I made a reference to Steve Tambellini making a move before we all go insane rather than saying, “Please, Dan, stop talking about stupid sh*t like this before we all go insane.”
    Second, months ago, you took issue with me for taking something that was said at a morning skate with 10-15 people present and relaying it here. I recall you tried to put a fine point on it by writing, “Thanks for the heads-up” that what’s said in the setting is fair game.
    Now, you’re bringing up a private phone call between myself and Bob Stauffer? Where in this item do I refer to a conversation with Bob Stauffer?
    For your information, not that I owe you an explantion, I started thinking about writing this item on Monday after I talked to Mike and decided to do it based on another conversation earlier Tuesday. The discussion on your show provided a reference and an “in” to something I was already going to write. Nothing more.
    Third, the reference to you being in high school was made because I question your grasp of how bitter the split back in 2003 was. You weren’t working in the business then, so you’d have no way of knowing, outside of what you read or heard. Covering the story as I did, and knowing what I do, I don’t see Comrie ever playing here again no matter what the other circumstances — roster, cap space, coaching, whatever — might be.

    RAWR! says the grouchy bear! This is entertaining, Robin, can you challenge Tencer to have a broadcasted duel? It will beat the Oiler (non)news, and will probably keep everyone's morale and interest level sparked for a while until training camp.

  • Librarian Mike

    erixon wrote:

    RAWR! says the grouchy bear! This is entertaining, Robin, can you challenge Tencer to have a broadcasted duel? It will beat the Oiler (non)news, and will probably keep everyone’s morale and interest level sparked for a while until training camp.

    I'm not a fan of Dan Tencer, but I'm not sure I'd get a lot of enjoyment from watching him laying in the fetal position, rocking back and forth, and crying after Brownlee's done with him.

  • new skates

    oh wow this is the exact reason why i dont like reading or posting on stuff like this….lets face facts here, no one will ever know the real reason why some guys leave this city. the storys about comrie and pronger and who ever else left this town could either be true or false weather they come from a reporter, the player, blogger or jo blo across the street. the fact that people still talk about this garbage is pathetic. it seems like to many people are still living in the past these days including reporters and ecspieally fans. thats the exact reason why i can't read some these articles anymore not to mention the fact where it seems like everybody calls everybody an idiot on here with the comment section. its pointless.some articles are worth reading, i agree, and the rest is pointless followed by useless posts from "fans". the only thing i look forward to is watching the games this year and not reading everybodys "theorys" during the winter time……

  • The Menace

    new skates wrote:

    oh wow this is the exact reason why i dont like reading or posting on stuff like this….

    That's funny – this is the reason I *love* reading and posting on stuff like this.