SUN Hockey Pool

Reality bites city's teams

BOB STAUFFER

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

The way things are going with Edmonton's professional sports teams we might have to look at dropping the "City of Champions" moniker.

The Edmonton Oilers are mired in 14th place in the Western Conference and likely won't be a big seller on Tuesday as the NHL trade deadline takes place, as the Oilers do not own their own first-round draft choice.

The Edmonton Eskimos have missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons and have posted a combined 12-23-1 record over those two seasons.

After an awful 1-15 expansion season, the Edmonton Rush showed life with a six-win season last year. But an 0-5 start in 2008 has resulted in head coach and general manager Paul Day losing his job.

The Edmonton Cracker-Cats ... well, let's face it, nobody cares about the Cracker-Cats.

All is not lost, though.

The sun will rise tomorrow and on the amateur front there is still the Golden Bears.

The Oilers have some fine young talent, and new owner Daryl Katz has the wherewithal to help make the Oil more competitive on and off the ice.

Kevin Lowe will likely get some assistance in building a Detroit Red Wings-like management structure and, to his credit, head coach Craig MacTavish has shown signs of growth as a coach this season.

For the Eskimos, meanwhile, it is clear that Rick LeLacheur and Danny Maciocia have read the tea leaves. Produce or else!

As trades and free agent signings to this point in the off-season have clearly indicated, the Green and Gold are committed to improving their on-field product.

The Eskimos might be at $4.7-$4.8 million by the end of the season, well above the CFL's $4.2 million dollar cap.

However, if the trade-off is a 10-8 season against losing a first-round pick in the CFL draft, I know which way most fans will be leaning.

Especially when you consider that often fifth-round picks in the Canadian College draft pan out better then first-round picks.

As for the Edmonton Rush ... can they really be called professional when they practice once a week and play once a week?

I digress.

It is unfortunate that an organization that has been as committed to the marketing their product as the Rush hasn't seen the team perform better.

But at this stage of the game it is not like they can get much worse.

The Cracker-Cats, besides being in dire need of a new team nickname, are also in dire need of a new owner.

For the love of God, Dan Orlich, put a call into Bruce Saville or Harold Roozen.

BEST TO KEEP QUIET

Memo to Edmonton Oilers netminder Dwayne Roloson: Please shut your pie-hole.

Roloson's recent comments in Rob Tychkowski's piece in the Edmonton Sun yesterday bordered on being asinine.

Roloson inferred that his kids, who are five and seven, were being picked on and teased in school here in Edmonton and that Ontario is a better place for kids for the time being.

My guess is Roloson might have some explaining to do with the school involved and better hope that the media do not start sniffing around.

Here is the deal with Roloson:

He rode a hot hand in the 2005-06 playoffs to a No. 1 job as a goaltender in the NHL and a hefty three-year contract.

He lost his job this season, has a pricey ticket, is 38 years old, and at times isn't the easiest guy to deal with.

Oilers GM Kevin Lowe is in a hell of a position. He believed in Roloson and "Rollie the Goalie" has lost his job.

At this stage of the game, the Oilers have to hope that a team that feels they can win the Stanley Cup is looking for depth in goal or loses their starter.

Otherwise my guess is Roloson's recent comments all but guarantee that Lowe will buy him out in the off-season if he is not moved at the trade deadline.


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