SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers in 12th place?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

Board up the windows on Whyte Avenue - Oilers fans are on the warpath after their team was picked to finish 12th in the West by The Hockey News.

Ordinarily you would dismiss it as eastern bias, but last year THN picked six of the eight playoff teams in the west and had the Oilers correctly slotted at eighth. The season before, they had the Oilers ninth, which they were.

Do they know something we don't? Probably not. They made the picks before Edmonton added Petr Sykora. Unless those were career years by Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani and Jarret Stoll, and if Dwayne Roloson wasn't a fluke, I can't see them finishing any lower than sixth.

LAST CALL

Speaking of polls, Forbes magazine just voted Milwaukee the "Drunkest city in America.'' So much for my theory on how Garth Snow got the GM job on Long Island ... Up until Edmonton landed Sykora there were only three teams in the NHL that didn't have a single player on their roster with a Stanley Cup ring. Now it's just Boston and Vancouver ... According to the rumour mill, St. Albert will soon be known only as Albert, unless the Catholic Church forks over $200,000 to keep the name.

REVENGE OF NED FLANDERS

Strangest name on the Nationwide Tour: Boo Weekley, who's no relation to Danny Maciocia ... And speaking of the Eskimos' thin-skinned coach, how uneasy must he have felt in Montreal Thursday night, watching Tom Higgins baffle the master of deception, Don Matthews, with every trick in the book while dumping the previously undefeated Als for the second time in three weeks? Meanwhile, it looks like amateur night on the Esks' coaching staff: Cutting players, bringing them back, cutting them again, a vanilla offence, defensive play-calling straight out of high school, botched clock management ... Not to overstate things, but the upcoming showdown with Calgary is the biggest Labour Day series in three decades. It's one thing to be battling for first, it's quite another when two losses can end your season in the first week of September.

THE DALY SHOW

While baseball, basketball and football are crawling with scandal, crime and abuse, Peter Jacobsen is thankful the PGA has managed to stay clean. "We have a little of that in golf,'' he said. "Fortunately it's all tied up in one guy.''... No word on whether John Daly's ears were burning, or if it was just cigarette smoke ... Nevertheless, no PGA Tour player past or present will be able to say he had more fun than Long John did ... Get off of John Gibbons's case. Ted Lilly blows an eight-run lead and then mouths off when the Jays manager goes out to lift him? He deserved a slap ... Relax, Quebec, Paul Tracy was just making a joke ... P.S. Sebastien Bourdais isn't doing much to dispel the wimpy, visor-wearing French guy stereotype.

NICE GUYS FINISH LAST

Jason Maas was practically sainted for waiting his turn behind Ricky Ray in Edmonton, but I'll bet if you ask the Hamilton Tiger-Cats right now, being a great quarterback is more important than being a great guy ... The drunkest city in Canada?Well, let's just say Ottawa's efforts to get another CFL team suddenly make sense.

CRY US A RIVER

Memo to the Russian Ice Hockey Federation: Stop crying like you're the only teams in the world whose star, players can walk out of their contracts by simply giving two weeks notice. Chris Pronger did it in Edmonton long before Evgeni Malkin ever thought of it.


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