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Off the Top of My Head: Changes at CHED, Kailer Yamamoto heads home, and Vincent Desharnais

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Photo credit:Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Robin Brownlee
7 months ago
To say I’m set in my ways, easily rattled by any changes to my routine and likely as resistant to same as anybody you’ll ever meet is to understate. I make Melvin Udall, Jack Nicholson character in the 1997 flick As Good As It Gets, look remarkably well-adjusted and adaptable.
So, I didn’t like it a bit when Bell Media pulled the plug on TSN 1260 at 9 a.m. precisely — in the middle of an interview – back on June 14. The shows I listened to were a background soundtrack to my day and a source of information for all I wanted and needed to know about what was happening in the world of sports.
On top of that, a lot of talented people like Dustin Nielson, Alan Mitchell, Dave Jamieson and Jason Gregor, as well as people who produced and kept a terrific slate of sports talk radio shows going, lost their jobs. It’s been three weeks and I’m still not used to not having 1260 on in the background while I write. Plus, I’m pissed nobody asked me about the changes.

CHANGES

Likewise, I didn’t like it a bit last Thursday when 630 CHED announced Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer was being moved from its familiar noon-2 p.m. slot to a 5 p.m. drive time slot starting September 5. John Vos, regional program director for 630 CHED, says the change will make the show available to a larger audience and be a natural lead-in to Oilers broadcasts. Fine. 
Again, nobody asked me. We aren’t losing Oilers Now, but it’s being backed up by five hours. So, while we used to have all the local hockey and sports talk we wanted on TSN 1260 from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. with Oilers Now down the dial as a change-up from noon to 2 p.m. to get us through the day, what now? 
We have no AM Nasty with Nielson, no throwback to the golden era of radio from the balcony with Lowetide and Jamieson, no noon-time Stauffer show, and no Gregor with Jason Strudwick guffawing in the background in the afternoons Monday through Friday. Zippity-do-da for local sports talk until 5 p.m. 
There are a bunch of terrific podcasts in town, including several being generated right here at Oilersnation, but there is only dead air on my radio on the 1260 pre-set. I don’t have any interest in waiting until 5 p.m. to get my fill of tree-planting talk and a blend of pontification and inside stuff from Stauffer down the dial.

HOME AGAIN

The writing was on the wall that Kailer Yamamoto wasn’t going to fit into the plans or the budget with the Oilers, so you’ve got to be happy for the kid that he ended up back home in Washington with the Seattle Kraken after being signed as an UFA.
Dealt to Detroit with Klim Kostin in a salary dump by GM Ken Holland, Yamamoto was bought out of his $3.1 million contract by the Red Wings. Yamamoto, 24, who played parts of four seasons in the WHL with Spokane, his hometown, inked a $1.5 million deal with the Kraken.
“Never did I think that (Seattle was) going to get a team again,” Yamamoto told the Seattle Times. “But now that they’re here, it’s a dream come true. My agent asked me what teams I wanted to look for, and my first thought was Seattle. My family is super excited.”
A fresh start in a familiar place. Good luck to him.

A FIT WITH VINCENT

Apr 11, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Vincent Desharnais (73) passes the puck in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The acquisition of Mattias Ekholm was the most significant addition to the Oilers blueline last season by a longshot in large part because of the impact his arrival had on Evan Bouchard. As great stories go, it’s Vincent Desharnais for me.
We know the road Desharnais travelled to get to the NHL as a seventh-round pick, taken 183rd overall, by the Oilers in 2016. That’s the feel-good part of his story – his 36 NHL games played is more than everybody else from the seventh round combined — but even with some young prospects on the way, I think Desharnais has a future as a depth player with the Oilers.
Desharnais, 27, is a big, tough guy who plays with an edge and he’s an affordable option for Jay Woodcroft as a third-pairing player or a seventh D-man with a year left at $762,500. Even with more seasoning, I’m not convinced Desharnais will grow beyond a third-pairing role, and there’s nothing wrong with that at his pay rate. 

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