I was intrigued, curious and disappointed after watching, reading and listening to a few things Oilers related this week. Tom Renney had an interesting take on Ryan Nugent-Hopkings, the Gagner camp’s had an epic battle and a conclusion to the arena financing might take even longer to sort out.

After reading and watching what went down at city council yesterday, and then talking to some of the parties involved I’m not sure we are any closer to a resolution. I found a few things interesting though. The City is required to post the minutes of the meeting three days after, so the minutes will be up no later than Monday.

  • The city put in an amendment that after the City Manager and the Katz Group agree to the framework of a funding agreement, it will then be presented to council and they vote on it. Back in May they forgot to put this in, and had to go back and change that. It is just another small step that will delay the process in my opinion.
  • When asked about the $450 million price tag going up in the future, city manager Simon Farbrother said they plan on having the builder assume risk for cost over runs. So basically the builder will get $450 million. If he goes over budget they will eat the extra cost, and if they come under $450 million they keep the extra money. He said agreements like this have worked in the past, but didn’t show a specific example.  
  • Richard Anderson, Northlands President and CEO admitted that, like the Katz Group, they have refused to give answers/information to the city administration’s financial questions. Northlands and the Katz group don’t want to make their books public, and while they have the legal right not to disclose everything I think it causes doubt from councillors and taxpayers. Councillor Jane Batty, a traditional Northlands supporter, seemed dismayed and disappointed in Northlands after hearing this. I don’t think the Katz group or Northlands are winning any PR points.
  • I spoke with Anderson on my show yesterday and he inferred that so far Northlands is in the dark about their role moving forward, and if push comes to shove they will continue to operate Rexall even when the new rink is open. I asked Anderson about the possibility of "downsizing" Rexall to 8,000-10,000 seats and he said that hasn’t been looked at yet. Edmonton needs a smaller facility, and although the new arena will have the capability to "shrink" to that size for certain events, I wonder if Edmonton wouldn’t be better off with two facilities? I know they would compete for some concerts, but isn’t competition healthy? It might not be feasible to downsize Rexall, but I’d love to see a mid-size venue in Edmonton.
  • And just to clear things up the $800,000 price tag to upgrade the seats at Rexall that Northlands received approval for yesterday does not come from taxpayers. The money comes from Northlands’ budget. If Northlands wants to spend more than $750,000 they need to present it to council before getting approval. That seems a tad strange, but that’s the deal.
  • It will be wonderful when this entire process is over and we see the first shovel enter the ground, but we likely won’t see that until March 2012 at the earliest. If the Oilers want to start the 2014/2015 season in the new building construction needs to start in April at the latest, but ideally in January or February of 2012.


I think Nugent-Hopkins will make the team, or at the very least he’ll play nine games before the Oilers make up their mind about keeping him. I’m sure some of you could give two squirts what I think, but I’ll bet you’d love to hear from the guy who will make that decision. Renney said this on the TEAM 1260 on Tuesday. 

 "I think if a player warrants that opportunity to start the season with your team, it is pretty much a game at a time for everybody. That’s why you carry 23 people, an end of the bench and a pressbox. If the player is not able to measure up, I’m not going to be the guy that stands in the way of a young fella who could be playing an awful lot of hockey at the junior level by putting him in the pressbox because I don’t think he is ready.

 "If he is going to start the season with us and play nine games, you can be rest-assured that if he has done his work and we do our due diligence with developing him then he will play ten and beyond. You can’t play him 40 games and play him 8-10 minutes and expect him to be what you want; that is a diminishing return. 

"The bottom line is we have to make a sensible decision on a player like him to make sure that if he stays with us, he will play and not be a spectator. If you look at last year, our young guys played and they needed to. It wasn’t a case of protecting them by not putting them on the ice to do certain things. I think that is where Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi were strong enough to deal with the rigors of the NHL.

"The great question for Ryan, because it appears to me at least and that’s without having seen him at training camp, is that he can certainly navigate his way through a hockey game with his intelligence and his hockey sense and what is intuitive to him, but the great question will be can he handle it physically."


I can’t wait to see how Nugent-Hopkins looks at the rookie tournament from Sept 11th-15th, because last year it was clear that Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi were in a different class than pretty much every rookie in the tournament. I suspect we will see the same from the former Red Deer Rebel this year. 


I can’t add much more to the Gagner debate that Brownlee, Lowetide and many of you  haven’t already written, but I do find it interesting when people pull out comparables they use guys like Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Marty St. Louis and some other top-end centres.

I understand that you are trying to prove that many of them took a few years before they became above 60+ point players, but what about the guys who have yet to pan out, if ever. I’m all for being positive, but if you think it is possible that Gagner could develop on the same path as them, isn’t it possible he might struggle like Gilbert Brule, Alex Steen, Kyle Chipchura, Rostislav Olesz, Martin Hanzel, Kyle Turris, Peter Mueller or other recent first-rounders?

Gagner needs to take a big step this season, or his window of opportunity to play in key situations will shrink with Nugent-Hopkins nipping at his heels. I hope Gagner takes his game to the next level, but I think he needs to take that step this season.


The Rangers and Brandon Dubinsky avoided arbitration today and agreed to a four-year deal that will pay him an averaged of $4.2 million/season. Do you think Gagner is worth $4.2 million? If you don’t think so, then compare their stats. Dubinsky is three years older.


YEAR        GP      G        A     PTS  +/-
2008:         79     13      36     49    -21
2009:        76      16      25     41    -1
2010:        68      15      26     41     -8
2011:        68      15      27     42     -17
TOTAL…. 291    59      114   173   -47


YEAR        GP      G        A     PTS  +/-
2008:         82     14      26     40     8
2009:        82      13      28     41    -6
2010:        69      20      24     44     9
2011:        77     24      30     54    -3
Total…      316    71     108   179   +8

  • I’m still hearing more than a few people saying that this upcoming year is a make-or-break year for Gagner. Why?!

    If Gagner stands pat at around 45 pts are you really going to trade a 22 year old center?

    I love you just the way you are sweet baby Gagner.


    This is not a make or break year. He still has 3 or 4 years to show what he can do. If the Oilers improve so much that Gagner loses his spot to competition, then by all means make the trade. But that isn’t going to happen.

      • O.C.

        well the “elite scorer” comment is wrong. we have not had one of those in quite some time.

        i’ve read all the comments and unless i’m incorrect the basis of all threads isn’t what you are spewing.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Well I was purposely exaggerating (to a…. small extent) for effect, however once you spend a little time on Oiler chat sites you’ll quickly see it’s not that far from the truth.

            Gilbert, Gagner, Horcoff etc say “hi”.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            i do agree that some minds may be perplexing. i do not frequent any other chat sites other than but i would feel that there is truth to what you say.

            everyone has got a dog they want in the house or just put down. this is a special trait of a diehard fan.

    • SurfacetoAirMissile

      It is not a make-or-break year for his career as an NHL center but it may be a make-or-break year as an OILER center. Not because he can’t continue to develop but because those around him may develop faster. i.e. Lander and RNH

      I thought Gagner was having his best year up until his freak injury and expect him to be even better this year but if that is not the case he may find himself on another team if the prospects out perform him.

        • SurfacetoAirMissile

          Horc and Belanger arn’t going anywhere for the next few years which leaves 2 spots down the middle if you exclude Brule. If not this year then for sure the next RNH has one of those spots. Then there is a long list of prospects and Gagner fighting for one spot. I think the competition will push Gagner to another level but if he falters then the Oilers may not be able to hold back the prospects any longer. That is why I believe this is a huge year for Gagner’s future as an Oiler.

          • SurfacetoAirMissile

            I certainly see your point but NHL organizations must look into the future to a certain extent. I am not saying the long list of prospects can be counted on to take his spot, I am just saying if Gagner under performs in this, the last year of his 2 year deal with so many prospect waiting in the wings, his skill set could become expendable.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I’d love to see a list of 21 year old centers that would be considered an upgrade over Gagner at this point.

    It is absurd the lengths some Gagner detractors will go to attempt to show the fallacy in believing he’s progressing just fine given his age, the team’s success over the last few years, and the positives that may, in fact, be found in his stats.

    That said, I’d be a fool to be surprised to see an argument between logically sound and objective contributors, and supercilious blowhards who nitpick arguments presented to them (on both sides, I should add) would take any less than 4 pages of comments.

  • @Gregor

    I apologize for assuming you were the one to edit my post. Frankly I couldn’t have imagined anyone else doing it given what was deleted.

    @Bingofuel’s Silent Replacement

    So what you’re telling me is that it’s ok for him to say something but when I respond with a similar comment it’s inappropriate?

    Please tell me how any part of that deserved deletion. There was nothing offensive. There was nothing obscene. There was nothing aggressive. Most of all there was nothing in there that he didn’t say first. What seems inappropriate to me is editing conversations to help your guy look better.

    If he is going to presume like he did I should be able to call him out on it. I don’t care if you want delete my comment but if you do then you need to delete his comments as well. Otherwise you aren’t editing for cause, you’re editing for Gregor’s benefit.

    When I thought it was Gregor it was mildly irritating/amusing. Now that I’m being told it was someone else I am stunned by it and, truthfully, a little bit appalled.

    I would have preferred to email that but I don’t know where to send it.

    • Jason Gregor

      What exactly did I write that offended you. Go read my post again. If you missed the word sarcasm that was written, I’m not sure what else I can say.

      Please was meant as in “Give me a break…you know as in sarcasm…like this post.

      Feel free to email me directly if you have a beef. My email is gregor@theteam1260.com

      • Email sent.

        Re: this comment:

        So you’re saying:

        Here’s some sarcasm you didn’t get and here’s an explanation of the sarcasm so you’ll understand how you didn’t get it…but actually my explanation of my sarcasm is sarcasm so you didn’t really miss it after all.

        Is this accurate?

        Also…”sarcasm” was only written out once.

  • Chris.

    When Gagner was a brand new shiney Oiler I remember watching a HNIC broadcast where Sam was the focus of a video breakdown by Kelly Hrudey. Hrudey showed three seperate examples where young Sam stopped skating after gaining the blue line… Kelly’s take: when this young player gains some more experience and confidence at the NHL level he will cross the line with authority, keep his feet moving, and become a dynamic offencive force…

    Four seasons later, Hrudey could run the same package, and make the exact same comments. I just wish Sam would keep his feet moving… I hope this is the year he figures it out.