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.

  • Robin B

    Bob Sacamano wrote:

    @ Robin B:
    Does Nilsson and a first do it?
    Or maybe Nilsson Chorney and a third?

    Depends how much money Phoenix has bled since I last checked.

  • rindog

    @ swany:

    Well the source that I heard it from said it was both Horcoff and Penner.

    I wasn't sure what to think of the source – that is whay I asked Robin how much info Bruce MacGregor had.

    The source was VERY close to MacGregor.

    It doesn't really much matter now – the deal never happened.

    The only thing that is interesting to me is that the Oilers actually offered up Horcoff. To me, that is a positive sign that they were/are willing to move Horcoff for a better #1 center (which I wasn't sure they would ever do).

  • APE - FMNF

    @ swany:
    If the flyers are making this move to dump salary why would they take back two underachieving players who's combined salary is more than Briere's?

  • W.T.

    W.T. suggests the Oilers are trading from a position of weakness and everyone knows what that means.

    Let's see, Calgary has their big three, Vancouver for sure has the big two and what do Oilers have, the big one, Hemsky. Sourey is close but when you really look at his game, he is a notch below the superstars. Thus the question, how can Calgary remain under the salary cap with three superstars to Edmonton's one? W.T. will let you draw your own conclusions.

    W.T. says Oilers need another superstar as has been suggested on this thread. Kovy and Marty out of Atlanta makes sense but who on the report card goes the other way. Forget all the fringe players, if they are fringe players with the Oilers what does that really make them.

    W.T. says you gotta give up something to get something. Start with Horcoff, Cole, Gilbert and some draft picks or fringe players(W.T. suggests Penner is in this category). I hear they still want Smid also.

    W.T. says look at it this way, can the trade be any worse than the ones Klowe has already pulled off?

  • Chris

    @ Robin B:

    Hi Brownlee. Hope you are feeling better. I have been in Vegas and missed out on several good discussions right here at Oilersnation…. I particularly enjoyed your RANT; Deep Thoughts VII: Sick And Tired.

    Your candor was stunning. (Even if inspired by the Flu)

    Now I'm looking for more candor… Based on what you know, Brownlee, are you excited about the approaching trade deadline?

    I'm not. I truly believe that you have to draft your team and complement that core with minor moves… The Oilers have an overpayed vetran group, the "kids" are ineffective, and the farm is a disaster. Combine all this with our Cap situation: What do Oiler fans expect Tambellini to do?

  • Tod

    I should start off by saying that I really, really want Bouwmeester here. I think the guy is an amazing player, Scott Niedermayer-like.When I first heard it bandied about that he wanted to come here I was extremely excited. I even heard that sentiment echoed today from someone who knows his family. That said, I do not expect him to come here on the 4th.

    Robin, what do you think about Tim Connolly coming here?

  • Dennis

    Maybe it's age and maybe it's environment but I'm not really sure just what Guerin's got left. And it's not a concern to me about him playing his off-wing because I believe he did that with the Oilers years ago on the old KGB Line – Kovalenko and Guerin and Beranek.

    Granted, that happened 10 seasons ago – it was the year Weight got knocked out by Tinordi after returning from a hold-out – but I'd wager Guerin's played some LW since then.

    My problem is how much he'll cost. If it's nothing more than Schremp, then I'm all about it. After that though, it gets dicey.

  • swany

    APE – FMNF wrote:

    @ swany:
    If the flyers are making this move to dump salary why would they take back two underachieving players who’s combined salary is more than Briere’s?

    I didn't say theycwould . I said we would have to moe money but as Robin pointed out we only have to be under the cap before the start of next year so danny boy could come

  • Robin B

    Tod wrote:

    When I first heard it bandied about that he wanted to come here

    I haven't heard it expressed that strongly. I have heard he is not dead-set against the possibility of playing here, which wasn't the case a couple of years ago.
    As for Connolly, I haven't seen him much in recent years but he was a bitcher and a moaner, and a concussed one at that, early in his career.

    Dennis wrote:

    My problem is how much he’ll cost. If it’s nothing more than Schremp, then I’m all about it. After that though, it gets dicey.

    I'm about the same in terms of cost. Guerin has something in the tank, but I've got mixed feelings about grabbing rentals and then getting chewed up by San Jose or Detroit.

    Chris wrote:

    Now I’m looking for more candor… Based on what you know, Brownlee, are you excited about the approaching trade deadline?

    No, I'm not.
    There's going to be a lot of GMs trying to dump bloated contracts that not many other teams can afford. As for the Oilers, I can see Tambellini trying to hit a home run, but I fear the perception that an impact move is needed will lead him to overpay to improve a club that has far more problems than the need for a LW who can score.

  • Dennis

    RB: word is that Sportsnet's talking about Smyth returning? Have you heard a whisper about this?

    We have heard – or perhaps it's common knowledge by now – that the Avs have been instructed to trim payroll so I imagine they'll be working hard to move 94. We know that MacT's not pleased with 27 so the only way I see 94 back is if it's straight up for 27.

    Now, the respective cap hits are two mill in difference with 94 carrying the bigger tag but he was paid a bunch in his first two seasons so it's the cap hit that's the biggest weight that would accompany him.

    On the other hand, because of the same issues, the Avs would save more cap than money so maybe they wouldn't want 27 and they'd be looking to dump outright.

    Everyone talks about the LW for 10-83 but I have a feeling that 94 would slide in alongside 89 and we'd just have two combos – 10/83 and 94/89 – that we'd flesh out with guys like 13 or 34 or perhaps a one year guy.

    That's looking ahead to 2010 and you'd probably go 10/83, 94/89 and then 18/13/34 for the third line. 12 would be moved to drop the salary and perhaps 13 would move up to play with 94/89 and then 51 would step in with 18-34.

    For '09, 85 or 78 would round out 10/83 and 12 would be moved for the D that we need in order to push 24 back to the third pairing.

  • Sing A Song For SingSing

    Oh Lord, please just say no to Smytty!

    I honestly couldn't really stand him as a player when he was here in Edmonton, he was okay for a few years but man, what an overrated player.

    Disappeared in the playoffs of 06, don't remember much of him from back then.

  • Sing A Song For SingSing wrote:

    Disappeared in the playoffs of 06, don’t remember much of him from back then.

    Seriously?

    For most of the playoffs, Smyth and Horcoff went pvp first against the Zetterberg line and then against the Thornton line. Outplayed them both, all while lugging around Brad Winchester or Todd Harvey.

    Smyth was key in that run.

  • Robin B

    Dennis wrote:

    RB: word is that Sportsnet’s talking about Smyth returning? Have you heard a whisper about this?

    I haven't heard Ryan Smyth's name from anybody at the Oiler end, which is not the norm if this is a move that's in the works.
    Which reporter said Smyth is coming back to Edmonton?

  • Zamboni Driver

    Good lord.

    Just think…maybe we could get Marchant back too. I always loved him and thought he was SO under rated, you know, he couldn't piss in the ocean and all, but I just loved ole Toddy. He was real fast and stuff.

    6.25 for Ryan FRICKIN' Smyth?

    Get off the crack boys and, for the love of god, live in the TODAY.

  • Peter Pan

    Robin B wrote:

    Which reporter said Smyth is coming back to Edmonton?

    I believe it was ex-GM Doug MacLean. He said it last night on Hockey Central. But he also said that these are moves that the Oilers "should do". It was only his opinion. Hence, explaining why he's not a GM anymore, because at a 6.25 million dollar cap hit, it is not a smart move to bring back Smyth. A good PR move perhaps, but too much dough. He also suggested Colby Armstrong may be of interest to the Oil.

    One player I would like to see the Oilers go for is Jason Spezza. He is worth a couple of 1st rounders in my opinion.

  • michael

    The Nation is eagerly awaiting tommorows outcomes like a lion waiting for its dinner. The Nation I believe will be left sorely disappointed if they beive KLowe and company will bring forth any significant changes to this hockey team. The team is locked into a course of action that will see them make this years playoffs but will ultimately end in future faliure to make the playoffs in years to come.Strike now and perhaps the longterm viability of this club can or may be saved.

    michael