Two weeks away from the Nation, (well almost two weeks, except when Wanye “meanest ever” Gretz made me write on article last week) and after a quick glance through some of the articles, it is nice to know we are less than two weeks from rookie camp, and just under three weeks from main camp.
I’ll get to the Oilers in a bit.
I know it is hard, but if you can convince your boss to let you take two consecutive weeks of holidays I’d highly recommend it. Two weeks away from my show and the Nation and I feel refreshed. I vowed to get away from sports and try some new things. I only watched one entire sporting event in the past 16 days, when 20 friends and I took in the Canadian Derby at Northlands. If you’ve never been, I recommend going next year. Dress up in your best Derby garb and you’ll have a blast. I didn’t win any money, but picked a few winners.
I went to the fringe and actually spent as much time watching the street performers as I did in the beer gardens. They were good. I went to Lady Gaga last Friday, got my Gaga glasses, didn’t become a little monster, but I was thoroughly impressed with the concert. Gaga can flat out sing, and her show had a more theatrical flair than a usual concert. Even if her music isn’t your type of genre, the spectacle is great. The opening act, Semi Precious Metals, was atrocious though.
Worst performance I have ever witnessed. And I covered the Oilers last season.
Like any good holiday I golfed a lot. Played in my first Pro-Am at Goose Hummock on Aug 19th at it was great. I’m lucky enough to get invited to lots of charity tournaments, but the Pro-Am was a different type of fun because it was competitive. You played your own ball, and on certain holes I hack like me needed to shoot well.
I loved it.
I took part in SMASH out MS on August 14th at the Ranch. It was loads of fun, and you know Edmontonians are generous when people will pay more to charity to golf with me. I emceed Blair Oko’s 11th annual tourney for the Cross Cancer Institute on August 20th at Northern Bear, and the course was in the best shape I’ve ever seen it. I also played in Kevin Karius’ Easter Seals tourney on Aug 25th and Joffrey Lupul’s Bissell Centre tourney on the 26th.
The best part of these tournaments is meeting and interacting with the families that are affected by the different diseases/ailments. In sports we throw out terms like toughness, warriors, strength, courage and determination, but these families and kids reflect those words better than sports does. I love being invited to take part in these events and watching the kids and their parents fight through the adversity is really inspiring.
So a big thanks to Scott Lopetinsky , Kate Gallagher, Darla Zuk, Glenn Isaac, Oko, Karius, Lupul and the families of those affected for inviting me and letting me witness your tremendous courage and strength. I left every tournament feeling inspired after hearing the speeches.
BACK TO SPORTS
Alright, back to business.
Yesterday I tried to catch up on what happened in sports. I PVR’d the Esks/Riders game and UFC 118 on Saturday, back-tracked through articles on the Nation and browsed over various sports sites to ensure I’m at least cognizant of what is going on.
The Esks might have a quarterback controversy on their hands after a surprising win over the Riders. The Esks offence still doesn’t look sharp, and while Jared Zabransky has a stronger arm and legs than Ricky Ray, I’m still not sold on his decision making. Gutsy call by Richie Hall to go back to Ray for the final drive, but it paid off.
An over-the-hill boxer couldn’t beat a past-best-due-date MMA fighter. No surprise there, but it was embarrassing that James Toney didn’t even throw a punch.
The Oilers hired Jack Michaels as their play-by-play guy, yet some on the Nation thought the announcement took too long, and that was somehow a negative. Any play-by-play guy worth a grain of salt will have the roster memorized in less than a day. The Oilers could have announced Michaels on Sept 10th and he still would have been ready for the rookie game September 12th.
The OilersNation was restless wondering why Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano had yet to sign. “It’s just another example of Steve Tambellini’s inability to make a decision,” or “Sam and Andrew must not want to play here,” were a few of the comments I read.
I’ll admit I’m a bit stunned by those comments.
Why would Tambellini rush to overpay Gagner and Cogliano? Kevin Lowe has been ripped for overpaying Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani, Steve Staios, Robert Nilsson and Dustin Penner (until last year), so why does Tambellini need to rush out and sign Cogliano and Gagner?
He doesn’t, and there was no way Gagner or Cogliano wouldn’t be signed.
Those two have no bargaining rights. Cogliano’s coming off his worst season, while Gagner hasn’t matched his rookie totals in the previous two seasons. Some suggested Gagner and Cogliano will be pissed off or resentful if they only get one-year deals. Do they really deserve more? Gilbert Brule signed a one-year deal last year and then produced his best point totals ever.
Gagner and Cogliano have no reason to feel slighted, nor do I think they will. In fact, I bet they’d prefer one-year deals, so they can produce and get more money next summer.
Now that Gagner has a two-year deal averaging $2.275 million, I’d look for Cogliano to fall somewhere in the $1.7 to $1.9 million range. I still think Cogliano and his camp will try and get a one-year deal. Gagner’s new deal should be a great signing for the Oilers. If Gagner becomes the offensive stalwart they hope he does, then he’ll be a bargain for two seasons, and when his deal is done they will have to decide what to do with Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner, who will be UFAs in two years.
I think the term and salary give the Oilers room to maneuver in the summer of 2012.
KHABBY WATCH CONTINUES
Nikolai Khabibulin has to be nervous right now. He will find out his fate tomorrow, but here’s a breakdown of what he could be facing in Phoenix tomorrow.
First Offense Extreme DUI (BAC .150 – .199)
Jail: Range of 30 to 180 days in jail. Minimum of 30 consecutive days in jail. The Court may suspend 20 of the 30 days if you successfully complete all recommended counseling and education.
Fines & Costs: Aproximately $3,000.00 in fines and costs, plus jail costs. The more jail time imposed the greater the additional costs. NOTE: Jail costs can amount to thousands of dollars in addition to the fines and costs.
License: The MVD will suspend your drivers’ license for 90 days. You may be eligible for a work/school permit after the first 30 days of the suspension.
Counseling: If convicted you must get a substance abuse evaluation and comply with any recommendation or be subject to additional jail time.
Probation: You may be placed on probation for up to five years.
Community Service: The court may impose community service.
MADD Victims’ Impact Panel: The court may order you to attend one or more sessions of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victims Impact Panel.
Ignition Interlock Device: Required for 12 months after license reinstatement.