Hindsight

Jason Gregor
July 31 2009 11:38AM

guesshwo

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and many of us would look a hell of a lot smarter if we were able to go back in time and change some of our more dubious decisions. Remember that high school picture that you hoped would be quickly forgotten? Remember how you used to dress in those days? Did you think your favorite striped blue shirt would be gazed upon by millions of people on the internet years later when you became a massive celebrity? Looking back, probably not. 

Yes, hindsight is often 20/20, particularly when it comes to hairstyles, tattoos and free agent signings.

If we could go back in time, many of us would do things a little differently. Considering what NHL players are signing for these days, you wonder if some teams also wish that they could go back in time and wait until August 1st to sign guys, rather that having made all their moves on July 1st. It’s way easier to say today how money should have been spent than it was a mere 30 days ago. But then again, who am I to talk? I once said that the Oilers won the Pouliot/Jacques for Parise trade right after it happened. Could I have been more right?

When you look at how frugal teams have become in the past few weeks, you can’t help but wonder why so many felt the need to overspend a few weeks ago.

Unrestricted free agents generally get overpaid

It’s a fact. And it isn’t just the Oilers who need to overpay to get a player to come here. Controversial columnist, Larry Brooks wrote on July 26th that the Oilers were being desperate in their need to overpay star players to join the team.

Here’s a snippet of what he wrote:

Don't the Oilers get it? Their city is the last place in North America (other than presumably Ottawa and perhaps Atlanta) that Heatley wants to live, and their team is the last one in the NHL (insert a disclaimer or two) for which he wants to play. Enough already with the bribery and the convincing. The team and the city look more than desperate. They are beginning to appear pathetic with their continued pursuit of the player who for good reason has become hockey's most disdained individual. We know. The Oilers have to overpay in order to entice players of Heatley's on-ice pedigree to come to their city, and that's the reason why Nik Khabibulin was able to get an over-35 contract worth $15 million over four years on July 1.

What I find laughable here is Brooks' suggestion the Oilers have to overpay, because of the City. C'mon Larry - wake the f**k up. In the City that never sleeps all the Rangers seem to do is over pay guys to report to the team.

Scott Gomez gets $7.3 million a year for five years. Chris Drury got $7 million, Wade Redden is a $6.5 million cap hit on the books and injury-prone Marian Gaborik takes home a cool $7.5 million. Larry, do you really think these aren’t overpayments too?

The fact is teams overpay for UFAs all the time, especially in the first few days of July, and normally throughout the summer. But not this year. This year it would seem the well has dried up.

Looking back now...

I wonder if the Habs are re-thinking offering Brian Gionta $5 million a year, when it looks like they could get Alex Tanguay for less than half of that now? Mike Comrie made $4 million last year, and while he struggled with only 10 goals, the three previous seasons he tallied 21, 20 and 30. He turns 29 in September and he’ll probably sign for $1.5 million at the most.

Proven checkers like Mike Peca, Manny Malhotra and Blair Betts are still on the market, and if they get a deal it could be close to $750,000 or less. I spoke with Betts yesterday at a golf tourney and the phone hasn’t been ringing at all lately. He is a proven veteran, who kills penalties and is good in the room, yet no interest. I know the Oilers have too many contracts but signing Betts to a one-year deal for $650,000 wouldn’t hurt. Hell, some veterans might accept two-way deals at this point, just to get to camp. I bet Dominic Moore is regretting not signing the Leafs offer of close to $2 million back in June, because when he signs it will be for half of that.

I think many teams blew their wad in early July, and while they might have interest in a player, they simply have no money left to spend today. One positive should be that fans will see a lot of desperate players playing just to maintain, or get a new contract next year. That should make the dog days of the season a bit more competitive - or at least you would think it would.

Did the Oilers over pay for Khabibulin? You bet they did. But it is hilarious to suggest that it is only cities like Edmonton desperate to overpay players into bring them into the organization. New York City - the "supposed" best city in North America overpays players more often than most.

And they win all the time don't they?

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 BOBO
July 31 2009, 11:43AM
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FIRST?

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#2 Wanye Gretz
July 31 2009, 11:45AM
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@ BOBO:

Totally and for sure. How is your brother Dmitri since retirement?

*slap*

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#3 danjo1
July 31 2009, 11:46AM
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@Jason

Who is it in that picture??

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#4 Ogden Brother
July 31 2009, 11:46AM
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Is that a young Jason Gregor?

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#5 danjo1
July 31 2009, 11:47AM
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@ Ogden Brother: No freaking way!!!

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#6 Wanye Gretz
July 31 2009, 11:48AM
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@ danjo1:

I'm afraid I alone know the answer to this question. And to solve it, you will need to decode a series of clues - each more sinister than the last.

This man is a big deal in multiple facets of his career in Hollywood.

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#7 I'm a Scientist!
July 31 2009, 11:48AM
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I guess we can thank Heatly for preventing us from overpaying for somebody else. Thank you Dany! Now we can go and pick up the scraps for dirt cheap!!!

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#8 danjo1
July 31 2009, 11:51AM
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@ Wanye Gretz: Dang it Wanye!! I would almost be tempted to guess Robin Brownlee...

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#9 I'm a Scientist!
July 31 2009, 11:52AM
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@ danjo1: i was JUST thinking that!

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#10 jeff
July 31 2009, 11:53AM
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Yet with all this hindsight knowledge why is it that each year teams don't learn from their mistakes? Does Sather have no hindsight/memory?

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#11 OvenChicken8
July 31 2009, 11:53AM
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Great point JG.

I remember back to the late 90's to the early years of 2000 when the NYR yearly salary was damn near double what Edmonton's was. But looking across the NHL every team except maybe Detroit has an over-pay or 2, it's not just us and the writers who think it is are just plain ignorant.

@ BOBO: leave that crap for eklunds page.

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#12 oilersinsider
July 31 2009, 11:54AM
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Could teams not buy out certain players on their teams and sign these remaining free agents to smaller contracts thus still being ahead in the cap?

Ie. Buy-out Nilsson at $2 million but sign Comrie at $1.5 or Buy-out Staois at $2.7 and sign a Christian Backman or Dennis Seidenberg at $1 mill. Maybe even a Penner at $4.25 for a Tanguay a Satan or Mike Grier?

In the end while the Oilers would have to pay some money spread out on the cap over the years, they'd still be ahead by getting quality or compareable players for much cheaper.

I threw these names out there without doing a lot of comparable player research. Before people say this person is better than so and so, keep in mind my point was the buy-outs... not the actual players themselves.

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#13 B-rad
July 31 2009, 11:54AM
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we should just take our time, and sign the right players....

I actually like how brian burke builds his teams...and if you look at the defense...they are one of the better ones in the league.....

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#14 The Towel Boy
July 31 2009, 11:55AM
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If that was RB's pic from his school days, wouldn't it be etched by hand on a cave wall or something?

*runs and hides*

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#15 danjo1
July 31 2009, 11:55AM
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Oh, and regarding the article lol

I don't mind the money, I think the the term of the Khabibulin contract was a bit much. It would have been more reasonable for 4 years if the last year or two were about 1-2 million per year.

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#16 I'm a Scientist!
July 31 2009, 11:57AM
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@ jeff: Basic supply and demand. The supply of quality players is small on July first and the demand is high. This drives the price up. When the demand for players drops, the price drops. It will happen forever, unless all the GM's get together and decide to no offer big bucks. But i doubt it.

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#17 Charlie
July 31 2009, 12:02PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: Next clue sir

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#18 Shifty203
July 31 2009, 12:08PM
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@ Wanye Gretz:

Its Ryan Seacrest.

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#19 Brian P
July 31 2009, 12:08PM
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Larry Brooks thinks that every player wants to play in New York, much like a lot of Leaf fans think everyone wants to play in Toronto. Brooks doesn't seem to want to admit that the biggest reason players want to play in New York is because they overpay for EVERYBODY.

Brooks also thinks the Rangers overpayment mistakes are contracts other teams are eager to take on; let's not forget that early on in this Heatley saga he thought the Rangers were in the Dany sweepstakes with the far from groundbreaking offer of Michal Roszival and Nikolai Zherdev straight up. Wonder why the Sens didn't jump at that deal...

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#20 Nick Dynasty
July 31 2009, 12:10PM
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jeff wrote:

Does Sather have no hindsight/memory?

Sather still lives in an era where the Rangers are the Yankees of the NHL. It was looking like it had finally caught up to him, but then he somehow convinced Montreal to take that Gomez contract. It still boggles my mind.

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#21 Madman37
July 31 2009, 12:11PM
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Is the photo of Kevin Heffernan (the guy from Super Troopers and Beerfest)?

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#22 Bob
July 31 2009, 12:12PM
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It's Pronger....

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#23 hamburgler
July 31 2009, 12:14PM
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I think it is Seth Rogen

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#24 smiliegirl15
July 31 2009, 12:16PM
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I think at the time we sure didn't think we were overpaying Khabibulin. Now it looks like we did but would we have been left without a decent goalie had we not jumped at the chance when we had it.

My guess for whose pic that is - Seth Rogen.

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#25 jeff
July 31 2009, 12:16PM
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@ Brian P: Lots of guys want to play in New York, the problem is Sather just offers them whatever and they just take it.

I remember Redden saying no one came close to what Sather offered. Something like 2mil a year more, plus no one was giving a NTC. And yet Redden said that the Rangers were one of his top choices before the start of free agency.

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#26 Dick
July 31 2009, 12:19PM
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The Oilers are better than this, and so is the city of Edmonton.

Don't forget Brooks also said that. Pretty sure it was more an attack on Heatley than our town.

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#27 Randy83
July 31 2009, 12:20PM
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I don't think habi is big over pay! Starting goalie for under 4 million is alright! Length might be a year or two more then desirable, but I'm sure in those 3rd and 4th years of his contract the idea is for someone else to be taking over, and habi starting less and less games per season!

I remember reading the pre season team scouting reports in the hockey news, and sportsnet last year! One had the Oilers winning the division, and the other had them finishing 2nd in the div and 6 in the conf. The same magazines had Boston finishing in 12th in the conf and worse! They had compelling reasons as to why Boston would stink, and most of the hockey world agreed! I'm not saying the our team isn't without some obvious/big wholes that need to be filled, but at the same time, under a good coaching system, I'm sure our team the way it stands would out perform last years installment of the Oilers, IMO.

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#28 Hemsky=AWESOME
July 31 2009, 12:22PM
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I think it's Gregor...

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#29 Shifty203
July 31 2009, 12:26PM
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Shifty203 wrote:

@ Wanye Gretz: Its Ryan Seacrest.

I was right. Just Google Ryan Seacrest Child Picture.

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#30 Lofty
July 31 2009, 12:33PM
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First, we are on of only a few teams that are willing to hide contracts.

Second, The whole league over pays like you said. Especialy in the first couple weeks of free agency.

Third, Go play in traffic Larry

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#31 Hindsight
July 31 2009, 12:40PM
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[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptJul3111:38 am Jason Gregor Hindsight is a wonderful thing and many of us would look a hell of a lot smarter if we were able to go back in time and change some of our more dubious decisions. Remember that high school picture that you hoped would be quickly forgotten? Remember how you used to dress in those days? Did you think your favorite striped blue shirt would be gazed upon by millions of people on the internet years later when you became a massive celebrity? Looking back, probably not. Yes, [...]

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#32 Librarian Mike
July 31 2009, 12:48PM
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Man, you guys are clueless about that picture. It's Dustin Penner's roster photo from last season. Duh.

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#33 jeanshorts
July 31 2009, 01:06PM
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@ Shifty203:

ZOMG UR SEW GHEY DAT U NO DAT F@G!!

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#34 Bob Cob
July 31 2009, 01:06PM
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Shifty203 wrote:

I was right. Just Google Ryan Seacrest Child Picture.

Wow, Do you want a hero cookie, a gold star, or a parade in your name, maybe the snowbirds can do a fly over.

Everyone over pays, its just that since the Pronger issue and the "No one wants to play in Edmonton" idea came up, the Oilers look like they are desperate when going after players.

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#35 Cam
July 31 2009, 01:08PM
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I hope Penner scores 30 goals this year and shuts everyone up.

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#36 OvenChicken8
July 31 2009, 01:15PM
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@ Cam: Yeah? Well I hope he scores 35 :p

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#37 dyckster
July 31 2009, 01:17PM
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Cam wrote:

I hope Penner scores 30 goals this year and shuts everyone up.

+1

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#38 The Menace
July 31 2009, 01:17PM
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My guess for that picture is Amber.

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#39 jeanshorts
July 31 2009, 01:19PM
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The Menace wrote:

My guess for that picture is Amber.

AMBER MCCORMICK IS A SAINT!

I will fight you to the death if you don't take that back.

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#40 Sandra
July 31 2009, 01:27PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

The Menace wrote: My guess for that picture is Amber. AMBER MCCORMICK IS A SAINT! I will fight you to the death if you don’t take that back.

I didn't know Ponoka had a high school.

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#41 OvenChicken8
July 31 2009, 01:51PM
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Off Topic:

But I sure hope the Blackhawks get a hefty fine for the Hossa ordeal, and then the NHL looks at Zetts and Datsyks contracts as well.

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#42 Reggie
July 31 2009, 02:05PM
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OvenChicken8 wrote:

Off Topic: But I sure hope the Blackhawks get a hefty fine for the Hossa ordeal, and then the NHL looks at Zetts and Datsyks contracts as well.

And don't forget Franzen's ...

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#43 Nick Dynasty
July 31 2009, 02:05PM
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OvenChicken8 wrote:

But I sure hope the Blackhawks get a hefty fine for the Hossa ordeal, and then the NHL looks at Zetts and Datsyks contracts as well.

Whats wrong with the Datsyuk contract other than the fact that its arguably the best contract in the NHL???

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#44 Shifty203
July 31 2009, 02:06PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

just that since the Pronger issue and the “No one wants to play in Edmonton” idea came up,

Sorry, It was a guess to begin with, but then I looked it up. As embarrasing as it is, I think I have actually seen the picture before. My wife is a frequent visitor of the Celeb sites.

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#45 Hemmertime
July 31 2009, 02:25PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Did the Oilers over pay for Khabibulin? You bet they did

How much of an overpayment? 1 mil? 0.75? I think term could be considered the only overpayment. He was the best UFA goalie and we got him under 4 mil, ill take it

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#46 Tull
July 31 2009, 02:32PM
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Word on the street right now is Oilers are getting ready to do something. This has come out of the Oilers office, and now Tencer has twittered it as well. Heard it twice this afternoon.

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#47 The Towel Boy
July 31 2009, 02:34PM
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@ Tull:

Tencer just said it's probably confirmation that they are officially moving on from the Heatley thing.

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#48 Hemmertime
July 31 2009, 02:36PM
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Lofty wrote:

First, we are on of only a few teams that are willing to hide contracts.

We have not proven this, it has been stated but I'll believe it when I see it. Otherwise we should sign Tanguay straight away and deal with salary with Nilsson or somebody else waived/minors.

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#49 David S
July 31 2009, 02:36PM
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Dick wrote:

The Oilers are better than this, and so is the city of Edmonton. Don’t forget Brooks also said that. Pretty sure it was more an attack on Heatley than our town.

It was. He also mentioned that New York had the same problem (with overpaying) a while ago too. In fact, I don't think there was any direct mention of the city itself being the reason for Heatley's not coming here.

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#50 Shifty203
July 31 2009, 02:36PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

@ Tull: Tencer just said it’s probably confirmation that they are officially moving on from the Heatley thing.

I still find it difficult to believe they have to call a press conference just to say that.

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