Questions on coaching, PTOs and Gretzky to Red Wings

I love the Olympics. Watching young Penny Oleksiak and the swimming team has been fantastic and a welcome reprieve from another long NHL off-season in Edmonton. I’m looking forward to track and field starting Friday, as well as the playoff rounds in soccer, basketball and Oleksiak going for gold in the 100m freestyle. Yesterday the powerful 16-year-old was 0.01 seconds behind Cate Campbell, who set the Olympic record in their semi-final race. Oleksiak has a legit shot at her fourth medal of the games tonight at 8:18 MDT. She is must-watch TV.

Here are some Oilers thoughts regarding coaching, PTOs and story from Wayne Gretzky that could have significantly altered the NHL landscape to hope pass the time until you watch Oleksiak, and hopefully some other Canadians, reach the podium later today.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

JamesWisniewski

  • James Wisniewski signed a PTO with Tampa Bay yesterday, but it doesn’t mean the Oilers still can’t offer him an NHL contract. In 99% of PTOs the player has an agreement to be released should he be offered a contract by another team. I’m still not sold on Wisniewski being the answer, and I thought a PTO would have been the best route to take for the Oilers, but if Chiarelli can’t find any other RD options he can always circle back to Wisniewski. I don’t view not signing him as that much of a loss as some have suggested.
  • I understand wanting to have a RD who can play the powerplay, but I don’t think the Oilers success hinges on it. The PP was 21% with Connor McDavid in the lineup and 14% without him last season. I’ll argue the PP success will be connected to #97. Also, only seven D-men played more than 3:30/game on the PP last year. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Erik Karlsson, P.K Subban, Brent Burns, Shayne Gostisbehere, Kris Letang and Ryan Suter. And only 21 in total averaged over 3 minutes/game.

    Getting a RD on the PP would be nice, but he’ll need to be able to play EV. That is the most important factor for me. The Oilers need competent D-men at EV, much more than they need a right-shot PP defencemen. I’d rather re-sign Eric Gryba at this point, because last season he was solid at EV and he helped on the PK. If Wisniewski plays well with Tampa Bay, the Oilers could still offer him a contract, but I don’t see how this was a major missed opportunity. Wisniewski had good numbers with Columbus, but that was a few seasons ago, and I seem him as more of a project than a sure thing at this point.

  • The Oilers can use Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson on the PP. I know they are lefties, but they all have some decent offensive skills. Sekera, who was deserving of his Shin-Pad-Assassin moniker last year, was still 17th in the NHL in shots/60 on the PP among D-men. I felt his blocks came at very inopportune times, and it is something he’ll need to address, but he was still 20th among defenders in 5×4 SOG. He is a solid PP option.
  • Klefbom has more offence than we think. He has 30 points in his last 66 NHL games, and only three of them have come on the PP. He has been extremely productive at EV with 27 points in his last 66 games. That would put him in the top-20 in EV scoring among D-men.

    He’s only played 83:45 on the PP in his last 66 games, an average of 1:17/game, which explains the low PP totals. He and Adam Larsson will be the Oilers top-pairing at EV, and I’m not sure Todd McLellan will put him on the top PP unit right away, but Klefbom’s EV numbers suggest he could be a very good PP option in the future.

  • Davidson has the hardest shot, the problem was after we saw him rip a few one-timers for goals early in the season, we didn’t see him uncork many more one-timers. “I need to use my shot more. I have to put myself in a position to use it. I don’t think I did that as much as I should have,” Davidson told me last March. He was going to work on that this summer, and when pre-season begins I’ll be watching how he uses his shot. If he’s improved his release, and more importantly getting in positions to unleash it, then he could be viable option.

    In extremely limited PP minutes, 22:12, he had excellent goal and shot production. It would be difficult to remain at that pace and score one goal in every 11 minutes of PP time, but his shot is lethal and if he can improve his positioning on when to use it he could be very dangerous on the PP.

    McLellan

  • JustDOit asked this in the comment section of my last article.  Do we know who is going to be coaching during training camp this year?

    McLellan and Jay Woodcroft will be coaching team North America at the World Cup. Their final group stage game will be Wednesday, September 21st. If they aren’t in the top-two in their pool (with Russia, Sweden and Finland), then their tournament will be over on the 21st.

    Oilers training camp begins with medicals on Thursday, September 22nd and they will be on the ice Friday, September 23rd. If Team NA is still playing then Jim Johnson, Ian Herbers and AHL head coach Gerry Fleming will oversee training camp. McLellan and his staff will meet before and they have outlined a practice plan. It is unlikely McLellan and Woodcroft will miss much of training camp.

    The Oilers first preseason games (one game at home and one in Calgary) are Monday, September 26th vs. the Flames. The only way McLellan and Woodcroft aren’t home for that is if Team NA finishes first in their group and play a semi-final game on September 25th. If they finish 2nd they will play on September 24th vs. the top-team in the other group. It would be an upset if they win a playoff game or even make the playoff round, but I do expect Team NA to be competitive.

  • Wayne Gretzky shed some interesting light on his trade to the Los Angeles Kings 28 years ago this past Tuesday. During an interview on the NHL Network Gretzky explained it came down to three teams; Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Detroit.

    When Gretzky was asked about the final few days leading up to the trade he dropped an interesting tidbit that could altered NHL history.

    “In the end, we got down to three teams,” said Gretzky on NHL tonight. “Mr. Snider was a good friend of mine and Philadelphia was
    involved, and Detroit Red Wings — and of course I grew up a Gordie Howe
    fan and loved Gordie Howe and the Red Wings — and the Los Angeles Kings
    were involved. I really felt 24 hours beforehand that I was going to end
    up a Detroit Red Wing.


    “Both Janet and I thought that was the perfect place to go
    because A, it was a great hockey city, B, because of Gordie and
    everything that goes with that. And, really it was my dad who stepped in
    and said, ‘You know, there’s only one Gordie Howe. Detroit’s Detroit,
    they’ve done everything. You should go to L.A. and put a new mark on
    life down there, and do something so unique and so different.’


    “And he was the one that stepped in and said, ‘You should go play in
    Los Angeles.’ I remember sitting with Janet and I was like, ‘OK. That’s
    where we’re gonna go.’”

    WOW.

    A quick scan of the Red Wings roster in 1988 and we see how much different the trade would have been. With Bob Probert in Detroit already, it was unlikely Gretzky would have asked for Marty McSorley to be involved.

    Would the Wings have trade Steve Yzerman for Gretzky? Yzerman was their captain and 22 years old. He had 50-52-102 in 64 games in 1987/1988. Jimmy Carson was 19 years young and tallied 55-52-107 in 80 games with the Kings in 1987/1988 when he was traded to Edmonton from LA. How much would have that altered the course of the Red Wings.

    Had Gretzky been dealt to Detroit instead, then the Carson to Detroit trade for Joe Murphy, Adam Graves and Petr Klima wouldn’t have happened. Those three played a major role in the Oilers 1990 Cup winning team. Martin Gelinas would have been on the Oilers either, and the Kid Line might never have been. It is fun to think how the NHL landscape would have changed had Walter Gretzky not told Wayne to go to LA.

Recently by Jason Gregor:   

  • Home sweet Home
  • Was Gretzky good, average or bad at drafting?
  • McDavid to become youngest captain in NHL history?
  • Skill coaches the new wave in NHL
  • NHL and analytics not as clear cut as we think
  • Monday Musings: Chiarelli overhauling Oilers
  • Patience for Puljujarvi
    • Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

      • Lamar's Javelin

        The Oil don’t win the cup in 1990 but do in 1991 and likely not much else changes given the $$$ / Pocklington thereafter, likely trading Yzerman within 4 or 5 years anyway. The rest of the league? Massive change as Det is not a powerhouse once 99 declines mid 90s.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        I’m not sure the Red Wings would have traded Yzerman for Gretzky.

        From what we know of the trade with LA, it was essentially orchestrated by Pocklington. Sather first tried to nix the deal altogether and, when he couldn’t, he tried to salvage a hockey deal out of it.

        One of the most amazing things about the Gretzky trade is that it was engineered by two “millionaire” businessmen who we’d later find out had little actual money of their own. They were like two swindling, fraudulent ships meeting in the night.

        The $15 million that Puck received in the deal was obviously its centrepiece and one can only assume how much scrounging and robbing-Paul-to-pay-Peter that Bruce McNall had to do to raise those kinds of funds. The scary part is – the $15 million figure was one that was probably negotiated downward. There’s no way Puck would have started at that number.

        So … if history had changed and Pocklington found himself on the phone with Mike Ilitch – a legitimate billionaire who owns the Detroit Tigers, the Little Caesar’s pizza chain and all kinds of other enterprises – one suspects that the “ask” from Pocklington would have been more cash – maybe $20 million or $30 million.

        More cash, fewer players.

        Put it this way: If Ilitch gave Pocklington a choice of Stevie-Y-plus-$10 million or, say, Gerard-Gallant-plus-Joe-Murphy-plus-first-rounder-plus-$20-million, which package do you think Pocklington would have chosen?

        • Jason Gregor

          “Put it this way: If Ilitch gave Pocklington a choice of Stevie-Y-plus-$10 million or, say, Gerard-Gallant-plus-Joe-Murphy-plus-first-rounder-plus-$20-million, which package do you think Pocklington would have chosen?”

          He got Carson, Gelinas, three first round picks and $15 million from LA. Carson was a 55-goal man. Murphy had 10 goals with Wings in 1987/1988. Adam Oates would have been an option in deal I suspect. Not sure I agree with your theory, but good to look at potential options.

          • Spaceman Spiff

            Fair enough. Throw in a couple more first rounders from Detroit and sub out Gallant for Oates and there are your players. But the cash was king and I doubt there would have been a dollar figure that Ilitch would have blinked at. He was in an entirely different tax bracket than McNall. A figure well north of $15 million likely wouldn’t have been an issue for Ilitch and Puck would have known that. Hell, Ilitch would have known that Puck was in need of hard currency at the time. Everyone around the league did.

            So, yeah, if Pocklington had a choice between more money or Steve Yzerman, he’d have gone with more money and left it up to Sather to decide which combination of players and picks he’d want from the Detroit roster/farm system, outside of Yzerman.

            You’re right, though. It’s fun to look back and speculate. And, it is ironic to bring Detroit into this discussion given that a byproduct-trade of the Gretzky Deal (Carson-for-Murphy/Graves/Klima) was a major factor in the Oilers’ Cup win a few months later.

      • Serious Gord

        I care very little about the olympics.

        pro team sports and little else interest me when they are played at the olympics.

        Massively corrupt organizations, many contestants are just as corrupt.

        And the sponsor and broadcast hype is repellant.

        The hoopla around medal counts is ridiculous. Equating a swim medal with a team medal is silly in the extreme.

        Interesting that viewer ship is slumping even with the advantageous Brazil time zone. People have so much on demand choices now. Being force fed Olympic contests is over.

          • Craig1981

            It’s great to watch the best in the sport. The Olympics give a venue and a platform for many sports that wouldn’t be in the spotlight otherwise. And this gives them finances to continue grow and not dissolve like some sports in the past.

            Is Connor McDavid any less great because he is paid? Any less enjoyable to watch? Does he love the game less?

            • Spydyr

              I prefer to see young athletes get a chance to compete on the World stage.Rather than watch another tennis or golf tournament with pros in it. They have their stage almost every week. Give some young athletes the stage once every four years.

        • Jason Gregor

          Shocking…You don’t like something. You must be fun at parties. The ultimate Fun Sponge.

          “Many contestants are just as corrupt.” I guess all those pro sports athletes are saints comparatively.

          So winning a Stanley Cup (team) is not equal to a golf major (individual). Pretty sure most fans respect both.

          It is okay to actually like something in life. Not everything is negative.

          • supra steve

            “So winning a Stanley Cup (team) is not equal to a golf major (individual). Pretty sure most fans respect both.”

            Golf has medals available for two tournaments (men/women), that’s not what Serious Gord is talking about. How many swim medals are available? Diving? Rowing? Speed skating?

            The inequity is well demonstrated by Michael Phelps (a terrific swimmer) 25 medals and counting. If a hockey or basketball player or golfer competes in the same number of games, how many medals can that player walk away with? One per year.

            Problem is compounded by addition of new events like syncro diving, there’s a sport the sporting public was really craving. How about if the IOC adds 4 on 4 hockey, 3 on 3 hockey, 2 on 2 hockey, 6 on 6 hockey?

            That’s why I don’t value swim medals like I would basketball or hockey medals. There are just too many events.

            • Jason Gregor

              “That’s why I don’t value swim medals like I would basketball or hockey medals.”

              How is winning a medal in hockey different than a relay? It is a team.

              Phelps has 12 individual gold medals, one silver and one bronze.

              His relay medals are a bonus. He’s still unreal.

              Are there different ways to play hockey? Phelps wins individual medals in freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke.

              Valuing a team medal over individual seems very odd to me. You can be on a team that wins and be an average player. You have to be THE BEST to win in individual sport.

              • supra steve

                You are correct, there is currently only one way to play hockey, just as there used to be only one way to swim as fast as you possibly could (the front crawl).

                You keep on about “Valuing a team medal over individual”, that’s not what it’s about, and I already said as much.

              • Jason Gregor

                Hockey never used to allow the forward pass. So sports shouldn’t evolve? Odd argument. Swimming different ways is a major challenge and backstroke has been in Olympics since 1904. They used to have underwater as an event in 1900, but realized wasn’t great type of swimming. Downplaying their ability makes no sense to me.

              • supra steve

                We disagree. I’m done trying to explain my position while you keep coming back with responses like “So sports shouldn’t evolve?” and “Are there different ways to play hockey?”. Seems somewhat contradictory.

                We disagree. Good day to you.

          • Randaman

            I’m sorry Gregor but this time you are incorrect. The negative images are far outweighing the positive ones for a lot of people. This isn’t just a Gord issue.

            Pollution, raw sewage, running out of chlorine for the pool, no cultural activities, poor ticket sales, and on and on.

            Come on man…

            • Jason Gregor

              Brazil is only country with pollution? Haven’t heard athletes complain about it. Where is story about raw sewage during an event? NO cultural activities? No clue what you mean there.

              Brazil has hit major finanicial crisis in last few years, but in 2009 when they were given Olympics they were one of top-ten in world in GDP.

              I wrote an article stating IOC needs to have two to four regular locations for Olympics.

              Regardless, those points have nothing to do with the athleticism. Oleksiak has been great to watch. And so have many other athletes and events. Saying otherwise is just being cynical.

              • Randaman

                I agreed with that article by the way.

                The news has talked about the raw sewage and garbage floating in the bay where the rowing is going to take place. The pictures are horrendous. Yes, I support our athletes but the background stories show a pretty grim picture.

                The athletes deserve and need our support. To this I agree but don’t call me cynical when it is plain as day and it is simply being ignored because of the big money supporting the games.

                You call it cynical. I call it being informed

              • Jason Gregor

                Every year we see pictures painting horrible scenarios about the games, but then when they start we don’t see it. Have you seen any raw sewage or garbage in rowing competitions? I haven’t seen any reports of that, just pictures from before the games started, and as history has shown us, sometimes all the “sky is falling” pre Olympics talk rarely occur.

                To me informed is how the events have actually unfolded. Swimming has been great, has had no issues. Rowing issues have been delayed by wind, just like tennis and a few others, but not due to raw sewage. Take care.

              • Derzie

                People who watch the news and call themselves ‘informed’ couldn’t be more misinformed. The world is absolutely filled with good and bad. The news cherry picks the bad to sell fear and the illusion of ‘informing people’. What the hell does anything in the news have to do with the watcher? Did you and yours wade through sewage water today? Stroll through a barrio in Rio looking for a place to live? It’s a big world and knowing about something does nothing whatsoever to change it. Watch the athletes give their all and be really proud that Canadian women are really doing their thing on the world stage.

              • Craig1981

                You do understand I could go to Banff and Jasper with a camera take some pics of homeless, litter, and a fight that breaks out. Then speak to some people down on their luck or with substance issues. Write a few stories and boom look how bad it would look to someone that has never been.

                I’m not saying Brazil and Rio are perfect, and yes they have issues, but remember “if it bleeds it leads”.

                I’ve been to many countries and from being in the middle of the Bangkok riots to building homes in an El Salvador village. There is much more to a country than the negative headlines. If you want to be informed going there is one of the only ways to do it. And if you can’t you need to look past the big headlines.

              • Randaman

                Actually Brazil is a country not a city and that was not my point. The point was to look past the frontline stories and see what is happening behind the scenes to the people of Brazil that are not benefiting at all.

              • Jason Gregor

                Which has nothing to do with the athleticism of the games or this article.

                I have written the IOC needs to do a better job of selecting cities, no arguing that. The point was watching Oleksiak has been great, yet you want to focus on non-athletic things. That is your right, but it is out of place in the outline of this article, and considering I wrote article ripping the IOC, I’m unsure why are you trying to convince me they have issues.

              • Serious Gord

                Athletes are a vested interest as are the host broadcasters and the IOC. The number of impartial attendees in rio is very few indeed and their reach is limited as well. This hype machine happens every time.

                And then the gruesome financial aftermath (with very few exceptions) has few witnesses.

                That’s not being cynical – that’s being realistic instead of being Pollyanna.

                As for Brazil’s wealth – on a per capita basis it hasn’t been anywhere near the top ten – maybe not even top fifty.

                It was a mistake to let them host it. And as with all Ioc selections one has to suspect corruption in the process.

                The olympics even cleaned up needs massive reform. The summer event has grown far to large and either needs to be shared between several cities or better yet pruned of all the sports where global participation is negligible. There is an equestrian event that apparently has fewer than a thousand people who engage in it for example.

            • fran huckzky

              Montreal dumped raw sewage into the St. Lawrence and some maritime cities are still pumping raw sewage into the North Atlantic. I am not a tree hugger but I detest those with a holier than thou attitude. How did this go from dumping on the Olympics to dumping on a nation????

          • Serious Gord

            I like/love lots of stuff including parties.

            I just don’t care for this nationalist chest-thumping over the exploits of people from the same country participating in sports few have ever heard of and never watch except once every four years for a couple of days. And those participants are household names for about forty minutes.

            As for corruption in pro sports – IOW doping – I despise the practice and probably like them less because of it. Especially the NFL which has institutionalized it.

            I did overlook golf as it is not an Olympic sport most world class golfers avoid I see no reason to watch. And yes it is not equal to a team sport. One player vs many per medal won.

            Look at it this way: there are dozens of swimming events one medal count for each. If hockey was smart they would have all kinds of skill medals – slap shot, wrist shot, skating skills, body checking, passing, goaltending. It’s ridiculous that phelps gets the attention he does.

            A hockey gold should count for 20+ Single medals.

        • Druds

          Actually after ignoring the Olympics for years..I am enjoying this…great to watch how cheerful poorly paid (at least the Canadian ones…not talking about Phelps) athletes genuinely enjoy what their doing and living the moment…especially the women who are always smiling and joyful as opposed to millionaire pro sports players who basically look and sound like they are bored by what they do…

        • The Dave

          Yeah it’s a shame the Olympics are so corrupt and some of the athletes are cheating with PEDs. Thank God there isn’t any of that in professional sports.

          There is nothing quite as refreshing as a pro athlete getting paid millions to wash away the awful selfishness of all of those Olympians competing for their country. And of course even if most of the events and athletes are clean and brilliant competition showing off sports I don’t get to see very often, I always make it a point to let all the other stuff sour it for me. It’s almost as bad as those little brats at the World Junior tournament that ruin Christmas and New Years for me every year!

          And yeah, medals are the worst man. If it were up to me the swimmers would get really tiny medals since they have it easy all the time. Not like that poor Kevin Durant fellow I was hearing about. He plays a team sport so nobody is really paying attention to the fact that he had to move across the country this summer just to keep playing the sport he loves. I hope he’ll be okay after the Olympics are over.

          But seriously, on the note of viewership: it is actually doing extremely well with numbers nearly as high as London, which were very strong. NBC’s numbers are down, and anyone who has tried watching their wretched Olympic coverage knows why (fun fact: “NBC Olympics terrible” was a google suggested search term!) – people are just watching other networks. As you said, they’ve got on-demand alternatives like VPNs and streaming.

          I don’t expect your mind to change, but let’s just acknowledge that everyone else (on Earth) is having fun at a party you are invited to, and you have opted to sulk in the corner and complain about how lame it is instead.

      • geffin98

        “I need to use my shot more. I have to put myself in a position to use it. I don’t think I did that as much as I should of, ”

        *sigh* It should be “should HAVE” not “should of.” One of my grammar pet peeves. That extra space between the comma and the quotation mark irritates me as well.

        A good article overall though. I’ll stop being annoying now, I promise.

      • Finnish Oiler fan in Edmonton89

        Oiler fanboys have too much unproven faith in Klefbom

        He has only a little more than 1 full season in games played and everyone keeps calling him the teams number 1 D

        It’s ludicrous if you ask me.

        I know there are a few other ON fam who feel this way also

      • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        I’ll watch the Olympics again when they take cheating/ doping seriously enough to end it.

        It’s really quite simple: if an athlete is caught cheating (not suspected, but caught), the athlete and the country for which that athlete competes is thrown out of the games. Just as a relay team or rowing team would be disqualified if one of the team members were found to cheat, disqualify the entire national team. They all go home and they don’t come back in 2 years or 4 years, the entire country has to wait an entire cycle.

        Further, if any cheating was caught retroactively, such as the performers in Sochi or London, etc. then the entire national team of the cheating player would have its past medals stripped.

        No one would want to be the cheater that cost his or her country the right to participate or to be the person responsible for having all medals stripped for a past games.

        You’d see cheating stop in 4 years, or the means to cheat would evolve into a mystical art.

        • Ed in Edmonton 1

          Do you think that competitors only “cheat and dope” at the Olympics? If you do, I think you are quite naive. With the amount of $ and prestige in sports today, there is great temptation to find an edge.

          • Seanaconda

            Olympics are supposed to be special.

            the other leagues don’t care as much because they want profit and having superhuman superstars increases profit. So it’s in their best interests to turn a blind eye unless they are called out.

          • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            No, I’m not entirely that naive. I believe that players cheat at every level. That’s human nature. However, the claim at the Olympics is entirely different than it is in professional sports, based on the principles outlined for the games in the late 19th C.

            The Modern Olympics have been beset with corruption unlike anything imaginable by the owners in the 4 major leagues in North America, and if you don’t believe me, check out the Juan Antonio Samaranch role in the IOC and his connections with other less savoury organizations or the documentary by BBC’s Panorama on Buying the Games. FIFA looks like a local charitably lemonade stand by comparison. And cheating is at the heart of many countries participation in the games, as the Sochi games and medals bear out.

            So in short, I’m disgusted by the hypocrisy. I have no such expectations of a league that’s produced the Black Sox scandal, segregation, or the Sosa-McGuire era, etc. Phil Niekro used to carry sandpaper out to the mound for fun’s sake. There’s no crying in baseball, but there is cheating.
            Similarly, the NHL has a notoriously horrible record with consistency in refereeing. One Zebra’s slash is another zebra’s dive. And you either accept it (I have, pretty much) or you move on. But either way you realize that that’s the game: the refs are highly subjective and not constrained by rules or even consistent principles.

            The Olympics claim to be something greater and they’re actually something much worse. Watch the Panorama documentary or read about the Samaranch era and beyond and tell me if I’m wrong.

      • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Of course, had Skalbania been a better backgammon player or played with loaded dice, the Oilers might never have been able to buy the kid low to sell him high later.

        You could take Pocklington out of the car dealership but you couldn’t take the car dealer out of Pocklington.

      • Jay (not J)

        I really don’t care for the Olympics. I don’t mean to diminish the accomplishments of these athletes, but there just aren’t any summer sports that I find interesting enough to watch (rugby comes close, but back when I played, 7 a side was called ‘sillybuggers’ and backs would use it for practice. Olympic level practice doesn’t really do it for me.) I get sucked into the hockey at the winter Olympics, but I would take a full schedule of NHL hockey over 4 or 5 interesting games at 3 or 4 in the morning spread out over a week and a half any time.

        Given the expense, not just of the games but of national competitive programs, travel and security security security as well I just don’t see the value of the Olympics. They are a vestige of an era where a nation could say ‘we won because we’re better’ and the whole country shared bragging rights. In the 21st century that sort of nationalism is gauche. We’re bragging about how much tax money we as a nation can blow out into a vanity project like people on podiums and it just doesn’t feel like something that should be celebrated.

        • ubermiguel

          I get that, but I think we’re in the minority. I just can’t enjoy sports whose sole purpose is going slightly faster than the other person, usually in a straight line. And anything where a judge is required to rate a performance is not a sport, it’s an athletic demonstration. Sports with creativity, skill, and direct zero-sum competition, now that’s interesting.

      • VvV

        So Gretzky traded/sold himself? Sure sounds like he played a big role in it, by his comments it sounds like he probably could have stopped it all togetherif he wanted to.

        • Craig1981

          If he wanted to sign for a fraction of what he was worth maybe. Plus overhearing Pocklington trash talk him to Sather didn’t help either.

          Even what the Kings paid hi. Was a fraction of what he was worth.

      • Moe Sizzlack

        I guess Serious Gordo & Randaman have yet to tune into women’s Beach Volleyball huh ?? Oh, and those tan lines on those female divers ?? Damn!! 😉

        I’ve enjoyed tuning into Rio once a day since they’ve started .. Lookin forward to watching Andre Degasse or what ever his last name is race!!

        He’s The Next Bolt & we should be proud of him & support him!!

        Eh.!?

        • Randaman

          Don’t get me wrong Moe. I noticed those finer things that you speak of. The dancing girls on stage with Bolt were, well you know….

          That doesn’t mean I am oblivious to the poverty that is so blatantly obvious in Rio.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        wow. if the Wings had actually got him, though i do not believe that Yzerman or Probert or Gallant would have gone the other way, Oates likely would have and probably Klima? and who knows, instead of a bunch of 1st rounders, the Oilers still may have been able to score young players like Joe Murphy and Adam Graves as well.

        Oates would have been a great score in return because he was one of the league’s most prolific playmakers and point producers after he left Detroit.

      • Alberta Bound Edmonton

        I am so late to this conversation. I think Gregor values individual excellence. The Olympics was the world stage to celebrate such. Now it is just a vacuous celebration of empty nationalism that was much more at home in the 20th century. Do away with national anthems and “own the podium”. Let the athletes shine.

      • Mooseroni

        Gretzky’s Tears, a great book about the trade.

        There was a small group of loyal fans, purple and yellow, that were not happy to see the stadium in LA fill to the brim with Hollywood types, basically pushed them right out the door.

      • CanaDave

        I have to think that if Gretzky had chosen Detroit, Sather would have raised all sorts of hell about getting Yzerman back in return, and if the Red Wings had blinked at that maybe it just drives the price up a few million dollars and Pocklington ends up making the LA trade anyways? This is one of the more fun what-ifs in a while, and maybe could be something a few of the ON writers explore for a fun piece of discussion in the future if it’s the sort of thing they’d want to explore.

        I also kind of like the idea of re-signing Gryba for a year at this point, because if McLellan had a bottom 4 of Sekera, Fayne, Gryba and Davidson or Nurse to handle 95% of the PK duties at the start of the season it would allow him an extended early season look to see what Larsson and Klefbom look like on the PP without having to play them 28 minutes a night in November. It also puts more competition into the D pool and considering how decimated the Oilers D has been by injuries in recent years, having the depth of Reinhart, Oesterle, Musil, Simpson, and even Fraser would give the Oilers a dozen defencemen who would seem to be at least serviceable NHL defensemen, and that doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me.