It’s been all talk and little or no action, at least at the NHL level, while we wait for Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr to sort things out, but the consolation is some of the gab we’ve been getting over the past few days has a hopeful and common sense ring to it.

I’m speaking, of course, about the mea culpa offered up by Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz over the weekend and of word today from Taylor Hall that he isn’t about to rush his recovery from shoulder surgery to get back on the ice in the AHL with the Oklahoma City Barons.

Let’s start with Katz, who has had just about everybody in Edmonton, and rightfully so, take a run at him after that ill-advised appearance he made in Seattle with Kevin Lowe, Patrick LaForge and Wayne Gretzky in an effort (blunter than a ball-peen hammer) to turn up the heat on city council over stalled downtown arena negotiations.

With the backlash over that PR blunder building, Katz quickly realized he’d over-stepped in trying to gain some leverage and took out full-page ads in The Journal and The Sun explaining and apologizing for the move. He followed that up with an interview with Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now on 630 CHED.


Lowetide here at Oilersnation and several others have already given their takes on the clarification/apology by Katz and from where I sit, I’m not seeing it markedly differently than most commentators I’ve read.

I won’t go the "talk is cheap" route because that’s a touch on the harsh side, although I do understand the sentiment, given how poorly the Katz Group, in general, has communicated (they haven’t) with fans. I’m also not of the mind to proclaim that "all is forgiven" because that just doesn’t hold up when there’s still a $450-$500 million deal to get done.

What Katz and Bob Black and the rest of the Rexall posse must do now is do everything it can to make some meaningful headway at the table with mayor Stephen Mandel and council. Katz has to put the sentiment he expressed in his apology – "The simple fact is that the Oilers need Edmonton, and Edmonton needs the Oilers. Each is an integral part of the fabric and identity of the other" – into action fans can see with their own eyes.

Whether you’re a cynic who figures this is a calculated stroke by Katz after realizing he offended most his own fan base with the Seattle stunt or you believe his apology to be heartfelt, the proof will be in the pudding – let’s see the kind of deal Katz negotiates, and how he goes about it, from here on in.

I haven’t taken the pulse of the fan base on this, aside from reading along here at the website and tuning into the Jason Gregor Show and Oilers Now, but I’m certainly willing to at least take a wait-and-see approach with Katz.


Sportsnet’s Gene Principe tweeted today that Hall has declared his shoulder isn’t yet fully recovered from the surgery he had to repair it and that he won’t be rushing back any time soon just to join pals Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle with the AHL Barons in OKC.

The no-rush edict from Hall should be a no-brainer and non-news, but, given the Oilers spotty record when it comes to the players returning from injury or surgery – hello, Sheldon Souray – his declaration should put some minds at ease.

If ever there was a time to be cautious with the rehab of a player, it’s with a blue-chipper like Hall, who has had problems with the shoulder for years, not just months. When something has been a chronic malady, and you’re talking about a cornerstone player like No. 4, there is NO rush whatsoever to get back, especially when we’re talking about a minor league stint.

Hall can take his time knowing the Oilers run at the, ahem, playoffs won’t start until November or December. Rest. Heal. Repeat.

AND . . .

I want to say thank-you to everybody who has called, written here or e-mailed wishing me good luck on my latest venture — my new automotive glass shop, Crackmasters Southwest (I won’t try to squeeze in a free plug here because I’m paying a pretty penny for them on Gregor’s show*).

Today was our first day, and after more than 25 years playing reporter and hockey writer in the media game and several hectic months getting ready for this new biz, today felt terrific. We did a little business and scrambled a lot with stuff we haven’t figured out yet, but the well-wishes were the highlight.

*Of course I’m sneaking in a free plug. I’ve got a six-year-old son, a family to feed and we’ll all end up living in a Maytag carton if this doesn’t fly. October specials include BIG discounts** for Oilersnation members.

**Unless your fake name is Wanye.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Lowetide

    give em hell, Robin. Now, just so I’m clear on the location, that’s Crackmasters Southwest? Can I get an exact location?

    (I am in advertising and frequency is important). 🙂

  • Lowetide

    If the Oilers need Edmonton, they can show it:

    First by ponying up the $100m up front that they want in a loan.

    Second by ponying up the $100m the deal is short.

    After all, we’re about to get a new CBA and the owners are likely going to see a windfall that – if player share falls to 50% of HRR – will amount to about $8m/year. That’s more than enough over 30 years to pay for both the $100m that Katz wants as a loan, and the other $100m that Katz doesn’t want to pay.

  • ubermiguel

    I will have to visit Crackmasters Southwest at 17544 105th Ave for my next windshield if only to say things like “That Robin Brownlee is a real crack master!”

  • I too am in advertising/marketing and have a windshield crack that needs to be mastered. I think I’ll give Robin Brownlee, Business Owner at Crackmasters a call at Crackmasters Southwest anytime during business hours at 780-488-2255. or perhaps I will drop by to check out the Crackmasters website at

    I’ve heard that at Crackmasters, if they can’t fix it, it can’t be fixed.


    The information and opinions on this comment provided by third parties have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. It is given for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell. This information is not intended to be used as the basis for windshield repair decisions, nor should it be considered as advice designed to meet the specific needs of a person requiring automotive windshield repair. Please seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding the evaluation of any specific information, opinion, advice, or other content.

  • Mitch

    @Brownlee I feel if you can get Katz to spend a bit more money and have the city spend a bit more money…well lets face it only millions will do, a deal can be reached. It seems as though the province wants no part on this which is fine. If they can make a deal work where Katz collects all the revenue on hockey nights and the city and Katz split revenue on non hockey events as well as split all the cost of operating the arena as it will be owned by the city but the KG is the main benefactor and each will have significant money invested.

    There is no need for a location agreement, in order to move this team from here it would be a complete war and when a private investor is willing to spend huge $ on a building this team isn’t moving trust me.

    I will come buy some windows off you when needed, I own a good fleet of Dodge 3/4 tons. Have fun work hard.

  • DK might have pulled one out of the fire. He got the shot across the city’s bow, then gained some goodwill coming out and apologizing. He seems to have gotten what he might need. Plus it looks like a good distraction. The arena cost is now being qouted at 475 and noone seems to be focused on that.

    I am pro-arena BTW just in case David S. feels the need to stomp on me

  • I think mark Spector nailed the Katz debacle best:

    We found out he was just like all the other rich team owners – mercenary.

    That wasn’t what oiler fans had thought he was when he bought the team – we thought he was different – that he was one of us – an oiler fan through and through who couldn’t bear the thought of seeing the team move.

    Full page ads and an interview with an employee/friend won’t put that genie back in the bottle.

    As for your new business venture Robin, I wish you all the very best. I have two chryslers that badly need new windshields to be sacrificed to the stone gods this winter, but logistically getting them from my home in innisfail to south Edmonton is prohibitive.

  • paul wodehouse

    Under the topic of “the other thing” there’s this just in (gawd I haven’t said that or typed it since news of John Lennons’ death was broken) where…and the presses won’t be stopped this time but nevertheless…
    • Wayne Gretzky was asked about the NHL lockout and he’s optimistic about there actually being a season: He said, “I believe in my heart, maybe because I’m such a big hockey fan, that they will be playing by Jan. 1” [via CP]…FROM PUCK DADDY October 1,2012

    …I too believe in my heart that the league will kick off it’s season,albeit shortened,on the day that Gretz attends the Winter Classic held in Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor Michigan home of the University of Michigan Wolferines football team…a game that a tonne of old timers from two of the most storied teams in history along with Gordie Howe will (more than likely) attend along side 99 and that may well be one of the last times Mr. Hockey is seen in public…what’s the expression? BOOK IT!!!…I think that the league will aquiesce and help(more than we know)settle the lockout for that specific BIG EVENT reason and we will have our beloved game back…
    … now that I live two+ hours from Ann Arbor, i will attend the game along with(yikes) more than one hundred and ten thousand fans… anyway see you at the game boys (oops)~and remember it was i who said that the season would start @ Christmas four hours before The Great One did…:}~

  • Stocc

    I just got back from Robin’s shop. It turns out the “OilersNation Discount” is him telling you off, blocking your account, and kicking you in the pants on the way out. Fantastic job on the windshield though.

  • Stocc

    The apology registers with me only because it’s an acknowlegment by Katz that he finally realizes that he has spent a large protion of his good will capital with the fans.

    To make the apology really count though, he now needs to follow it up by;

    1) Quickly and quietly bring the arena negotiations to a conclusion. Mayor Mandel set a deadline to bring this soap opera to a near end point and meeting that deadline would go a long ways to erasing the residue of the ill conceived Seattle stunt.

    2) Ice a hockey team that us fans can be proud cheering for again. Make the hard decisions with management if need be but enough with asking me for my money and then insulting me with a ‘plan’ that hasn’t been able to get past step one.

    This whole organization needs an atti’tudinal enema and the apology is as good a place to start as any.

  • Robin, I write music for tv shows. While I’m contributing to mankind’s downfall writing for Jersey Shore and Kardashian shows, I also write jingles for companies who need branding. If you’re considering radio/tv, I would be happy to do you a favor.

  • mr_nihilism

    Welcome to the world of “entrepreneurism” … not that this site is not … I got a small fleet of
    cracked and chipped windshields, too. Those Alberta back roads can be a bitch.

  • mr_nihilism

    Good move on Katz’s part. Remember he also had to protect his other business… “Rexall”, with all the people wanting to boycott the drug stores.He’s no dummy, he’s looking to make a profit out of hockey , beyond the current and ongoing operating costs, but also, recoup
    is initial $200million in buying the team.

    Hall would not hurry to get off the IRL, back into hockey, remember he gets his salary because of the injury. Why hurry back.?

  • Rueben “The Crackmaster” Bronte. Has a nice ring to it.

    On a more serious note, I thought I read somewhere (Twitter) that Hall wasn’t eligible to play in the AHL because he was still injured during the waiver period or whatever. Was that just a case of misunderstanding the CBA or are we past some kind of grace period where now players are free to sign wherever?