CLOCKING BACK IN

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.

STUNNED

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.

  • Ender

    I know I should look this up on my own but . . . well, truth is I’m too lazy.

    Question #1: When Sam’s 2-year deal expires, will he be an RFA or a UFA?

    Question #2: What is the maximum term the Oilers can offer Cogs in order for him to still be an RFA at the end of it? Does a 2-year deal make him a UFA?

    I’m sure Jason or someone smart has run across this information, but I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled and haven’t stumbled over it yet.

    • Jason Gregor

      Gagner will have two years left before being a UFA when this two year deal expires.

      If Cogliano signs for three or less he is still an RFA when deal is done.

  • Gilmore Tuttle

    Mr. Stauffer is now disagreeing with Brownlee about how to handle the Khabibulin situation and is already making excuses for his “co-worker” by saying lots of people have been busted for DUI and it is not the worst thing that anybody has ever done. What would his tune be if Khabi had run over a couple of little kids and their nanny or smashed into some poor old retired couple from Spruce Grove there on vacation? I guess drunkenly firing my .30-30 off my back deck into the neighbourhood is okay too as long as I don’t hurt anybody. Me thinks he dost protest too much and/or following the party line.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      The thing is he didn’t do those things you mentioned. If he did then it would be a totally different scenario.

      He made a mistake and has to pay the price, but adding all these stupid what if scenarios is getting stupid.

    • Jamie B.

      Well, frankly, yeah, firing at your neighbours’ house would get you a much different sentence than if you actually shot one of them. I didn’t hear Stauffer but the truth is there are guys in the NHL right now with DUIs or much worse (Heatley being the obvious example). I don’t think the Oilers should act like it’s no big deal, but no, they’re not going to publicly castigate the guy while he’s still under their employment. Which he will be.

  • I’m sure Khabiboozin will get off light with his sentencing tomorrow but since he has been convicted will that change his work visa status?

    edit: sorry if this has been covered already.

    • Ender

      Initially, I believe yes. However, there are various ways that VISA’a can be reinstated and people like ReKhabi with weath, power, and and connections can surmount these hurdles far more quickly than the average Joe. In short, if the Oilers go to bat for him, Khabi can probably get his VISA back fairly easily. If the Oilers actually decide to drop him, though, Khabi may have to suffer a little bit before casually flitting country to country again.

  • Gilmore Tuttle

    “The Court may suspend 20 of the 30 days if you successfully complete all recommended counseling and education.”

    He will most likely be out in 10 days.

    “Khabiboozin”….love it!

    • Deep Oil

      Not that good after digging graves in AZ for 30 days. Maybe some wine and some muscle relaxants will help afterwards….

      That’s Life In The City: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Orders DUI …13 Dec 2007 … Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Orders DUI Offenders To Dig Graves. Convicted drink drivers are being forced to wear pink shirts and form a chain …
      thatslifeinthecity.blogspot.com/…/arizona-sheriff-joe-arpaio-orders-dui.html – Cached – Similar

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Zabranksy may have made some stupid decisions, but considering how much experience he has I don’t think he was that bad. It does give the Esks another option when Ray isn’t doing well or the team needs a spark.

    I thought it was more embarrassing that Toney didn’t even come to the cage in any sort of shape, I know that he fought like that in boxing towards the end of his career but something tells me he wasn’t ready to last the MMA 5 minute rounds.

    Restless is quite an understatement when it comes to Gagner and Cogliano. I don’t think people realize that this is happening all across the league with higher profile players.

  • Stone Hands McOsta

    Glad to see you’re back Gregor,

    A bit off topic, but sticking with sports;

    I haven’t seen much chit-chat about the Dolphins this year which I’m a bit surprised about. Are you worried? I know you are usually confident no matter the roster shape up, yet I haven’t heard anything? Where do you see your fish sitting this year in the AFC East? Can they claim the division?

    I gotta say, with the addition of Marshall I can see the fish making that one of the best divisional battles to watch over the course of the year, along with the NFC North.

    • Jason Gregor

      They will still be a running/wildcat team, but Marshall gives them a legit passing threat for the first time in decades.

      I think the Jets are too Hollywood, and I hate the Pats. Dolphins have a tough sched, but I see them 10-6 and in the playoffs.

      Few are talking about them, because they are few holes…ha. If Henne plays like he did last year, they will be fine.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    welcome back gregor !!! nice to see the oil do the right thing with the capitals manager and come out and say the oiler organization won’t stand for that type of conduct from our employees. MY question is where are the oiler brass now ??? our goalie drives twice the legal limit no press conference nothing now last time i checked calling somebody a name is not illegal imoral you bet good move by the club to fire him but your goalie could have killed someone and he still has a job funny to me if the oil choose to get on a soap box and say this stuff make it fair dui is illegal and destroys lives name calling hurts people but is not a criminal charge. just wondering !!!

    • Jason Gregor

      How it unfolds will be interesting. Bowers’ comments were offside and so was Khabibulin’s decision.

      However the fact is he didn’t injure anyone, other than his reputation.

      You can’t go on “what ifs” unfortunately. Khabibulin will be going to jail it seems, and that might be punishment enough. We will see what the Oilers do when the judgement is handed down tomorrow.

  • Man am I glad to have you back. Spector and Brownlee were pretty good, but your show only really works with you in the chair. That was pretty obvious over the past two weeks.

    BTW – I saw you with your Gaga glasses on Friday night. Freaking hilarious! Looked like you and Karius were having fun.

    • Jason Gregor

      I’m sure the boys did fine filling in, but it is good to hear I was missed..

      Gaga was loads of fun. Those glasses rocked. I think my new avatar pic will highlight them, once I figure out how to change it.

  • Deep Oil

    I am confused on why Patrick LaForge would state to Bob Stauffer on live radio that the oilers had no idea that Khabibulin was arrested for dui, 3 – 4 weeks after the arrest. Oilers were in town for the game, superbowl sunday night, monday morning…. must be corporate branding amnesia, or as Roger Clemens states, maybe he mis remembered.

    Here is a comment via the Edmonton Journal from Khabibulin’s lawyer…..

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/story_print.html?id=3452635&sponsor=

    DuBiel didn’t want to comment on the judge’s ruling or speculate about what’s to come, but he did say the Oilers have been involved from the beginning and Khabibulin has kept hockey as a top priority.

    • Gilmore Tuttle

      Wasn’t Khabiboozin was actually in the guest team box watching the Oilers lose that night and having the cliche “one or two beers (wine)”? Usually the interviews on Oilers Infomercial err Lunch are carefully scripted. I am sure all recordings and transcripts of that show have mysteriously gone missing. They even had Neilson pushing their PR talking points on how great the the LA Live/downtown experience when Bum was away. I hope he got paid extra for having to do that.

      Corporate branding amnesia? Would the last x number of years of “sell outs” fall into that category?

  • Souby

    Welcome back Gregor. The Oil got Gagner locked up (my 5 year old son’s favorite player) and now they only have Cogs left to sign. I am hearing that the two sides are far apart on money/terms. Do you feel that Cogs may be asking for more of a commitment from the Oil seeing as they have tried to trade him twice?

    • Jason Gregor

      Cogliano’s camp doesn’t have much bargaining power for term. They’d like an extra year I bet, but that is just part of negotiating.I bet he is more worried about how he’ll be used and how much icetime he’ll get.

      I don’t sense the sides are that far apart, and he will be signed. Cogliano’s is asking for too much right now and the Oilers aren’t budging. He will have to come down and I’d guess they agree on a one-year deal. I still sense that if the right deal was there he’d be moved. But no one in the Oilers told me that. Just a hunch from some things I’ve heard.

  • PabstBR55

    I will admit Gaga was better than I expected. Gregor do you think Cogliano will get signed before camp. I keep reading/hearing they are far apart. Is this true?