THE WAY I SEE IT

Fake names or not, fans who post on sites like this are real people with real lives. While that can get lost sometimes amid the goofy handles, that simple fact came back into focus for me today reading Tinfoil Tuque’s item about his daughter and his participation in Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer.

It takes courage to relate very personal and often painful stories – when it comes to cancer, unfortunately almost all of us have at least one — to a group of people you’ve never met, and I applaud his willingness to do so and his choice to help raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society Sept. 22.

As anybody who knows him would expect, Jason Gregor of TEAM 1260 chimed in on Tinfoil Tuque’s item, saying he might enter a team in the event. Is there a media person, any person, in Edmonton who does more in the name of charity than Gregor? No.

Tinfoil Tuque beat me to the punch today with his story, and that’s fine, but I’ll also be playing in the all-day event Sept. 22. Lyle Best, likely best-known by hockey fans for his participation with the Edmonton Copper Jackets and as fine a citizen as you’ll find in this town, has asked me to play on his team and I’ve taken him up on that.

While it’s been 25 years or so since I’ve played road hockey, I’m willing to shuffle around the rink all day if Best and his Cancer Crushers team are willing to have me. I’ll be playing in memory of my mom, Joan Mary Stewart, taken by cancer when she was just 48, and my brother-in-law Arman Agustin, who passed away last July at the age of 50.

If you’d like to contribute to the cause, the link to my Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer page is here. If you’d like to enter a team of your own, you can do that here. TinFoil Tuque, Brownlee or Gregor, the name doesn’t matter. The cause does. Do what you can.

AT RANDOM . . .

. . . It’s terrific to see former Oiler Steve Staios land a hockey job, even if it is with the Toronto Maple Leafs, after hanging up his skates as a player. As honest a player as you’d ever meet, Staios always gave you what he had during his NHL career. He’ll do the same in his new job. Should have been a guy Steve Tambellini put a call into.

. . . Zach Parise gets $98 million over 13 years from the Minnesota Wild while Alex Semin, who has performed at an equal, if not higher, level offensively through seven NHL seasons, sits and awaits an offer as an UFA. Parise has 194-216-410 and .82 PPG in 502 games. Semin has 197-211-408 and .87 PPG in 469 games. There is more to assessing NHL talent than a spreadsheet, and Semin is Exhibit A when it comes to that.

. . . The clock is ticking on 630 CHED as the radio rights holder of Oilers broadcasts. CHED has two more years left on its deal, but if Bell Media’s acquisition of Astral Media is okayed by the CRTC and partner TSN moves into the city as a radio entity, there’ll be a battle for rights. In any case, if Bell gets the green light, there’s going to be changes on both ends of the radio dial by the time the puck drops on the 2014-15 season.

. . . When Tambellini acquired Ryan Whitney from Anaheim for popular Lubomir Visnovsky, I applauded the deal because the Oilers were getting a younger defenseman for less money. I went as far as to say Whitney would outscore Visnovsky during their current contracts. With Whitney missing big chunks of time since with foot and ankle problems, that isn’t going to happen. That said, Whitney is 29 and Visnovsky is 36 and facing the prospect of playing with the New York Islanders in his declining years. If the Oilers can re-sign Whitney at a decent dollar, which seems likely, and IF he bounces back from his medical woes, it’ll wash out as a good deal. It’s one I’d make again.

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

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I wouldn’t mind the Oilers signing Semin and trading Hemsky for a legit top 4 defenseman. Hemsky and Semin are very similiar players, Hemsky is better defensively but the difference is minor. I don’t see Semin signing for less than 4 mil per year. He can probably get that much in the KHL. I see him signing with someone in the KHL because he won’t get the money he wants here.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I don’t think the Oilers will even consider Semin, because they’re too worried that it could affect Yak when he comes in as an impressionable young player (possibly even other of the young players).

    It would be entirely too easy for Yak to relate to Semin for language reasons alone, and it would be a real shame if that was who he “learned to be a pro” from. I’d bet the Oilers would be much happier having him feel comfortable livin’ it up with the kids (who seem thus far to be able to keep their noses relatively clean and demonstrate great work ethic) and then relate to Khabibulin as a mentor (DUI and bad contract aside, by all accounts Bhulin is a consumate pro).

    I can’t help but think Semin gets a bit of a bum rap, but right now the Oilers have some great assets with limitless potential and I’m supportive if they decide not to take any risks of poisoning the well.

  • @word

    I agree. Would not blame them for not making Semin an offer. If they have info that he is bad in the locker I would not take him if he would play for free. It is something that would take some digging. Talk to a number of past coaches and teammates

    That being said it is hard to resist thinking about it, as on paper that adds a lot of points to our team and adds the last elite winger to our top 6, and he happens to have size.

  • G Money

    Seems like a great deal of Semin’s “problem” is kind of the NHL version of DWB in the US (“Driving While Black”) – “PHWR” aka “Playing Hockey While Russian”.

    He’s an extremely prolific forward, is a solid plus player, the advanced stats suggest that he consistently makes his teammates better AND gets the play going in the right direction, and he wants to play in the NHL.

    On the negative side, he’s got the forever tainting yet entirely unfalsifiable “enigmatic” label, and as support a nasty quote from a mostly-minor-leaguer teammate.

    Would be fantastic as far as I’m concerned to get him signed to a lowball offer – but I suspect he has a lower limit line in the sand (rumours suggest $6M), which if he doesn’t get, he’ll play in the KHL for $10M a year.

  • Providing he’s not a total destroyer in the locker room, I would take a shot at this guy.
    He’s big, can shoot, he was plus 9 last year, and most of his points come at 5/5.Even at his lazy rating, still had 54 points.

    I have a feeling the reason he is still available, is they are looking for big bucks , something in the range of $6 million per.

    Oilers need to get more NHL ready players on the roster.. lets not forget… injuries,, what if..
    Hemsky, HaLL,Eberle go down ..nice to have this guy around.

    Would you rather have Hemsky or Semin on your team? Me.. Semin

  • 2004Z06

    Really getting tired of the Belanger bashing. The guy had one bad year. Almost every player does for whatever reason. He wasn’t brought in to score 30 goals. He was brought in to win draws. He did that very well and infact helped all of our young forwards in the dot. One of the reasons our PP and PK was so vastly improved this year was due to puck possession. I fully expect him to bounce back next year and all the bashers can go back to picking on Horcoff. Gee I wonder why veterans don’t want to play here?

    • The Soup Fascist

      Sorry. He had no problem picking up the cheque. He can listen to the criticism. Hope he bounces back – but Belanger was PUTRID. His body language was terrible. All he did was teach the kids to pout. Sugar coat it all you want. If he is a pro, he owns it and gets better.

  • @ Cody anderson

    I would love to see Johansen or Murray here, I especially would be ecstatic if both were involved in the same trade.

    I however would never give up our first pick next year, especially next year’s draft!

    There are at least 5 great centers in next year’s draft, not to mention 3 or 4 gifted defensemen.

    The Oilers might still be a lottery team as is next year. I hate to say it but the Oilers are one or two injuries away from being in last place again.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Anything can happen. The Oilers could win the cup this year. [quoted for truth] The Beaker

    You’d think that would be no surprise, or atleast closer to reality. A club consistantly in the top 10 of revenue generating teams for 5 yrs now. Too bad this isn’t the case. Our Oilers are on the back end of a hat trick of first overalls despite these revenue advantages. [despite from what i hear is also with playing in a shiphole arena called Rexall place]

    Maybe you’re right Beaker, we should wait another 10 yrs and have Tambellini re reasses things. By now we know this is what perennial losing organizations do consistanly well.

    • The problem is that you took what I said to mean that we should do nothing when in fact what I said is that those names arent likely avaliable and therefor to constantly bring them up in tedious.

      There are other ways to improve the club other than dreaming up trades that likely never have a chance to even be discussed by the GMs involved. But what do I know (nothing)?

  • vetinari

    Regarding Semin– I’m surprised a GM hasn’t taken a flyer on him yet… especially a team needing some offence (like Toronto or Winnipeg).

    As for Whitney– I think he still has a lot to offer the team and if he can even get back to 80% of what he is capable, he will help the club considerably this year.

  • RexLibris

    Robin,

    Don’t forget the 6th round pick we used on Brandon Davidson.

    Seriously, I loved that deal when it happened, and I would probably do the same deal today. If I recall correctly, there was some talk that Vishnovsky wanted out of Edmonton for family reasons and Tambellini found a good match in getting back Whitney.

    That could have ended much worse for us.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Didn’t forget Davidson.

    While the trade hasn’t paid off as quickly as I thought it would because of Whitney’s foot and ankle problems, I think there’s a decent chance it will from here on out.

    Lubo is a terrific player but is 36 now and on the downside. Whitney is 29 and will have had a full summer to rehab without worrying about the healing process.

    If (I know, big IF) Whitney returns to form I can see 45-50 pts and he’s still in his prime years. I don’t see him commanding a huge contract either because of his struggles the past two seasons.

  • Mitch

    @Brownlee
    In a perfect world I would love to see the oilers still get a bit more gritter in the bottom 9, also if they could get a heavier body to play in the top 6. My concern is they have tons of talent but not the correct type of toughness that helps you win games and in a 82 game season in todays NHL you can’t just trust skill to win.

    The biggest key to this is how will Dubnyk start out and handle the extra work load, goaltending is a huge differnce in winning and losing hockey games and gives the team confidence.

    Also it would be nice to land a legit top 4 dman, but I’m also not against just letting things develop as long as there is progess shown.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Made my donation for Road Hockey to Tinfoil Tuque, and I am always so grateful to those that participate in events like these.

    I am writing this from the palliative care unit where I have been with my mom for a week. I have watched the disease take everything from her in 2 short years, and now she can no longer speak or even wake up.

    I hope she finds peace soon. Love you mom.

  • O.C.

    FRAK. Does anyone here know for sure that the Oil or anyone else hasn’t made an offer?

    It doesn’t work like some here suggest anyway.

    Call to agent, small talk, get a feel where he’s at, then let them know you will put x on the table if they don’t get their number. Then you call once in a while to ask how the weather is.

    If anyone thinks that no one GM hasn’t done that, then.. Well nevermind, you wouldn’t understand anyway.

    (btw… I clarified my rationale on keeping the KlefBOMB. Shouldnt have used the phrase Franchise Player. Still say its retarded to trade a player with huge expectations before he’s played one game in the show.)

    And it’s “should have” not “should of” da.mnit!

  • RexLibris

    I agree Robin. Whitney will (knock on wood) likely rebound a bit this year and might make a good mentor for Justin Schultz. And his next contract might make him a nice value contract as an elder statesman for the blueline. It would be nice if he could win a Cup here in Edmonton after missing out in Pittsburgh.

    To Wax Man, my thoughts are with you. I’ve spent time in palliative care. Anything I say here falls short of what you must be going through.

  • Mitch

    I’m sorry to hear about your mother. This is a particularly traumatic time for family and loved ones in a situation like this.

    Taking the time to donate is very generous of you with so much on your mind.

  • @WesMantooth

    I don’t think that would get it done for Johansen anyway, but I would give up our first next year for him in a heart beat. The reason they may look at it is that we have been a lottery pick 3 years in a row and the depth is fantastic next year.

    In order for us to be a lottery team again we would have to lose Hall, Whitney, one of our other top defenders and Dubnyk to injury. We will not be a lottery pick next year and with this trade I would put us in the playoffs, otherwise I think we will be fighting for that 8th spot and could go either way.

  • @ cody

    I got to tell you I really like Johansen, however

    I disagree, A few of the next years top ten ceneter’s can move right into the NHL, be just as good as Johansen if not better.

    As for the Oilers, you honestly see them being otside a lottery postion?

    For me there is to many “if’s”, I dont see them being better then 5th, two players whom have never played a NHL game is not going to get it done, and Dubnyk is unproven, until I see it from DD and Whitney we are a lottery team, not to mention Hall will still be out when the season starts.

  • O.C.

    Hi Robin:

    You are a hard fellow to find an email for.

    The internet is a strange thing. I heard you said “hi” to me the other day on the radio.

    A friend of my son heard my name mentioned and emailed him. My son then Googled your name, found the radio program, found the podcast and then emailed me the link.

    And sure enough there it was about the 9:48 mark of the second hour: If you are listening a special hello to my old coach from 1968 Daryl Fernquist.

    And thanks to the internet I was listening…albeit a few hours late.

    That was very nice of you to remember those “oh so long ago days” but I still do remember them fondly. They bring back warm feelings.

    It is nice to see you do well and I send a special “hello back” back to you.

    Daryl
    Would the person monitoring this post please forward my email on to Robin but don’t show it in the post? Thanks. It is darylf@fernweb.com