You can file this under things that will likely never happen, which is probably a safe bet, but if former NHLer and current 630 CHED analyst Rob Brown was King of the World, he knows what he’d like to see happen in the much-publicized impasse between Jesse Puljujarvi and the Edmonton Oilers.
While I wouldn’t hold my breath, given how one of the most bitter break-ups in Oilers history ended up – Mike Comrie being traded after a public spat with GM Kevin Lowe and later returning for the unlikeliest of encores – anything is possible. Maybe Brown is on to something. He offered his take on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer today. Pie in the sky? Maybe. Possible? You tell me.
We’ve heard what Puljujarvi and agent Markus Lehto, as well as Oilers GM Ken Holland, have had to say about Jesse’s insistence he wants to make a fresh start someplace else despite what looks like a pretty good opportunity to make his case right here. Along the way, I think we’ve seen support shift from Puljujarvi to the Oilers. Be that as it may, here’s what Brown said.
WHAT HE SAID
“If I’m Jesse’s agent I’m calling him up and saying, ‘Jesse, tomorrow we’re flying to Edmonton. You’re going to hold a press conference. In the press conference, you’re going to say you know what, I haven’t been good enough the last couple of years. I take ownership of that. I want to be part of this organization. I want to be part of it going forward.
“If that means me starting in the minors, so be it. I’ll work my way up. If that means me being on the fourth line to start the year, so be it. I will earn everything that I get. I don’t deserve anything, but I want the opportunity to get it and I feel that Edmonton gives me the best chance. I will try to erase everything out of everyone’s minds about me over the last few years. I know I can be a great player and I want to be here in Edmonton.’ If I’m the agent of Jesse Puljujarvi, that’s what I’m telling him to do tomorrow morning. Anything less than that, I think the agent has failed him as an agent and Jesse’s making a huge mistake . . .” Stauffer jumped in to say, “Rob, that’s not going to happen. You know that.”
“No, it’s not,” Brown said. “But if I was King of the World for a day, I’d say, ‘this is what you have to do.’ Anything other than that is a fail, a complete fail by both of them . . . the Edmonton Oilers are a team that needs a right-handed right winger that can score goals. If Jesse Puljujarvi was to look around the league right now, there would be four teams that could desperately use his services. The Oilers would be at the top of the list.
“This is the best place possible . . . this is the best possible situation for Jesse Puljujarvi and until he and his agent realize that and accept that, I think he’s going to be swimming upstream and he may not be playing in the NHL this year because of that.” For context, and there is more specific to Puljujarvi in the interview, the entire Brown segment is here.
THE WAY I SEE IT
I wrote just a few days ago that I thought, given the often-stated position by Lehto, that it’s inevitable Puljujarvi will be moved. I’ve also said more than once that while I think Puljujarvi is making a bad decision, it’s his decision to make. It’s his career. As it stands right now, I don’t see Lehto and Puljujarvi having the discussion Brown suggests they should. The thing is, I’ve been wrong plenty of times. Back to Comrie.
Yes, we’re talking about different personalities, different circumstances and a different timeline. Comrie and the Oilers patched things up after years, not months. That said, two sides – Comrie/agent Ritch Winter and the Oilers — entrenched in diametrically opposite positions stepped back, re-assessed and resisted the urge to cut off their noses to spite their faces, even if it meant swallowing some pride along the way, to come up with a better result. I’d have bet the farm it would never happen.
Is that possible now with Puljujarvi and the Oilers, even if it’s just a temporary case of sober second thought to get him back playing so there’s a better chance of moving him? I don’t know. While it seems unlikely, I’ll never say never. I’m not sure this can turn into a win-win situation, but as it stands now it’s absolutely lose-lose, no matter which side you find yourself backing.
Previously by Robin Brownlee
- Poker Face
- This, That and the Other Thing
- A Night of Thanks
- Joe Murphy: A Year Goes By
- What About Sam?