This is Gary Smith (in goal). His nickname was “Suitcase” because he kept getting traded every 5 minutes. They were actual NHL trades though, the guy kept his value like a Toyota.

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47 Responses to "Invisibister"

  1. Doogie2K says:

    I seem to remember another player getting traded from the Bruins for a fourth, leaving the aggregate trade as Isbister for [Player] and a swap of fourths. I think it was Yan Stastny (who later went back in the Marty Reasoner deal), but I’m not sure; I can’t find it just yet.

  2. raventalon40 says:

    There’s a chance that Isbister will play with some pretty decent offensive players in Heatley, Spezza, Alfredsson and Vermette, but what criteria convinced you that the end of his fringe days were coming? Weren’t Reasoner, Cleary, and Moreau all supposed to be offensive juggernauts coming out of the draft? Cleary is at the peak of his career in Detroit and yet he is still a utility player to them.

    I remember playing NHL 2003 or 2004 or 2005 and Brad Isbister was an 86. And then I proceeded to read up on him. And I expected him to the Oilers’ incarnation of Eric Lindros. Never panned out that way. Too bad.

    So, is there a reason to expect big things from Isbister?

  3. Bruce says:

    Gary Smith was one of 5 goalies who played with the 1966-67 Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs. (Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it?) Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk, Bruce Gamble, Gary Smith, and Al Smith were the netminders, with the Smiths getting a brief look during a severe injury bug which I believe coincided with a 10-game losing streak that hospitalized Punch Imlach with ulcers. None of the five played as many as 30 games that regular season, tho’ Sawchuk and Bower got healthy enough for the unexpected last hurrah from the all-time geezer team.

    I happened to catch one of the two games the future “Suitcase” played that year — a mid-week blowout loss to the Habs on CTV as I recall — in which Smith famously made a stop, dropped the puck on his stick and rushed it all the way to centre. Later he did a variation of the same thing but only went to his own blueline or so. He was excited and pissed off and adventuresome and didn’t-give-a-fuck all at the same time. And Imlach, ulcers and all, was not amused. At all.

    Pack your bags, Suitcase. You’re done here.

    I’ve never seen another goalie do anything quite so extreme since in terms of actually rushing the puck. The most comparable wandering (in all senses of the word) goalie that springs to mind is Don (Smokey) McLeod, who was the most extremely aggressive puckhandler I’ve ever seen in the big pads. His one year here in Edmonton (my first as a season ticket holder) Smokey notched 8 assists in just 33 games; in fact in his last four WHA seasons McLeod racked up an astonishing 40 assists. He too was a hockey nomad, playing 516 games for thirteen different professional teams in just eleven seasons: Quebec Aces, Springfield Kings, Baltimore Clippers, Richmond Robins and Providence Reds of the AHL; Fort Worth Wings of the CHL; Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL; then Houston Aeros, Vancouver Blazers, Calgary Cowboys, Quebec Nordiques, and Edmonton Oilers in a pan-Canadian tour of the WHA. He was done at 31 … lifestyle issues, I suspect, though I never did hear that for sure.

    Quite aside from his playmaking prowess, Smokey wasn’t a bad netminder, winning a Memorial Cup with the Oil Kings and an Avco Cup with the Aeros, a season in which he also won the Ben Hatskin Trophy as the Rebel League’s top goalie. Alas, that fall he was exposed big time by the Soviets in Summit ’74, and got lit up for 8 goals in his only appearance for an all-time international GAA of 8.28. History doesn’t record whether he set up any goals in that one.

  4. Lord Bob says:

    Pack your bags, Suitcase. You’re done here.

    If my nickname was “Suitcase”, I’m not sure I’d ever unpack them.

  5. mike w says:

    Oilers Nation, huh?

    I was kind of hoping to avoid that site.

  6. Lowetide says:

    mike w: Is it a problem? I’m not one to encourage public bitch sessions but enjoy your comments (and those of many others here) so very much want to know how people feel about this move.

  7. mike w says:

    No bitch session at all, really, as I know one of the guys behind it, although I have previously mentioned things that bug me about the site, including the ads, overall tone and the lack of a blogroll/sense of community, but really I just prefer your site as it is.

    This is said with all due respect of course. I’ll read your stuff either way.

    Will you always be linking out the rest of your posts to that site?

  8. Lowetide says:

    That’s the plan, although I’m wondering this morning how long they archive.

    The two things I really want to keep are:

    1. The comments. Look, I’ve got a healthy ego but any fool dropping by here knows the posts section is top drawer. If people aren’t going to comment because of it, that’s an issue.

    2. The archive. I love that stupid archive. The Visnovsky trade thread has some stellar comments, as an example.

  9. B.C.B. says:

    Lowetide: it is not a problem for you to move to Oilers Nations . . . as long as you still have the comment section over here.

    The reason I love your site is the great two-way thought-out discussion between you and your readers

    Bruce: as others said you should get your own blog. I love your stories of hockey before I was born; reading them is like having a beer with my Dad.

  10. Addicted-to-oil says:

    I’m not a big fan of Oilers Nation. I’d prefer to see you stay here. Your blog is one of the few Oilers blogs out there that I actually enjoy, and is one of the reasons I made my blog. I’ll likely still read your stuff over at Oilers Nation, as its the content I’m after, not the site.
    Good luck over there!

  11. mike w says:

    Well, for what it’s worth, I would love to see the blog post here first, thus keeping the comments here, but let Oilers Nation have the content as well, but not exclusively (which, IIRC, is how they first pitched their venture to bloggers).

    Having the extra step of clicking back here to chat, I just wonder if the comments will simply migrate over to that site and mess with something that ain’t broke.

    Okay, I’ll shut up now.

  12. Sean says:

    LT, I for one think that for all the time you put into your site (and its much appreciated) you might as well get a little compensation in return. The flow of information has changed and I prefer your blog over any newspaper.

    If the comments stay here, ON loses out on a significant chunk of revenue but the comments is a big reason why most people come here. Like that recent post about Huddy. I’d sit and grab a beer (or 6) and read those comments over and over.

  13. Schitzo says:

    My only major concern in any move is if the comments section ends up on OilersNation. If the regulars choose not to follow, or just get drowned out by new readers, I would be pretty bummed out.

  14. CrazyCoach says:

    Didn’t Suitcase Smith find his ticket out of Vancouver stamped, after he was at a party and made some rather lewd comments at/about/around the owners wife? One guy in my office swore he did.

    On another topic, Sarah Palin said the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull was lipstick? She’s wrong. There’s also the common sense and logic that the pit bull possesses as well.

  15. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    Put me down as another reader who will follow your content wherever it ends. That said, I rather enjoy the level of class and consistent intelligence in the banter that accompanies this site, which IMO takes a step back on the ON site (which feels more like an ad gimmick than a true place for analysis and knowledgeable speculation).

    My preference would be that you and Jonathan just place ads on your own blog. Still, I value all of the content that the blogosphere adds and will support whichever choice each of you make to receive something back for your much-appreciated contributions.

  16. Kara says:

    Long time reader, occasional poster (as ‘k’)…

    Its your stories and comments that bring me back here religiously each day. I personally don’t care much for ON for reasons previously stated here, and if your regular commenters do not migrate over there… that will be the greater tragedy. That is how I’ve learned different aspects of hockey I would never have known of otherwise.

    I would absolutely hate to see the comment community on this blog disappear. I oppose the move. :/

  17. Julian says:

    yeah, keep posting the full article on here. I don’t care if you post the same entire thing over there, but keep it all in one place, I think.

  18. Doogie2K says:

    Didn’t Suitcase Smith find his ticket out of Vancouver stamped, after he was at a party and made some rather lewd comments at/about/around the owners wife? One guy in my office swore he did.

    I think he said in Ed Willes’ book The Rebel League that that was a myth, but it’s been a while since I read it.

  19. Vic Ferrari says:

    Anything that keeps you posting is a good thing to me, LT. Though I have trouble seeing this general direction as a positive, for the exact reasons Mike has mentioned.

    Like THIC says, couldn’t you just put text ads here instead? I don’t know what you would get for a simple text ad here, maybe $500 to $1000, with no obligations on posting rate, language or content.

    Put five or six on here and it should match whatever ON is paying, no? Plus, whenever your wife is pissed that you’re spending too much time talking to us, she can think about that new pair of shoes. Same goes for Jonathon.

    I fear that the next wave of Oiler bloggers will be college kids trying to make a few bucks. And I suspect that those blogs will suck.

    Whatever, things change, for better or worse, that’s just the nature of the beast.

  20. Bruce says:

    LT: I agree with the concerns about the comments section. It seems to me that the fracturing/fragmenting of comments has not helped the otherwise outstanding Copper & Blue site. I know there have been times where I haven't bothered cuz I wasn't sure where to put my comment or to which thread I wanted to contribute.

    You may want to have a chat with Jonathan about that at some point.

    As for OilersNation, I object to this whole "Nation" business on principle. Not to mention as a matter of taste. It's been done, repeatedly, and it wasn't much of an idea the first time. Red Sox Nation (cough), Canucks Nation (gag), Leaf Nation (barf) … all those Nations can bite me. I don't want to belong to One, that's for sure. Why the fuck did they have to choose a stupid name like that?

    On the other hand, LT, I would follow you almost anywhere.

  21. Dennis says:

    Size is the NHL what being lefthanded is to MLB pitching.

    As for the news of “the move”, I don’t think you really care what I think of it and i doubt you’d really like to know what I think of it:)

  22. Vic Ferrari says:

    Hrm. I just clicked through and I think Bruce may be right. This may very well be looked back upon as the day that the music died for the Oilogosphere community.

    If you aere going to go this route, though, good for you. Though I think HockeyBuzz might have been a better choice. Similar venue but with larger and much more varied audience (in terms of team allegiances). Plus the comments section here would be less likely to get fractured or dissipate, something which has certainly happened to jonathon, for the reason Bruce mentions.

  23. Jonathan says:

    I'm going to chime in with a few things here:

    1) OilersNation vs. Hockeybuzz is a no-brainer for me. With a handful of notable exceptions (Tolensky comes to mind), Eklunds writers really aren't particularly good, and when it comes to the central theme of the blog, I'll take Wanye's goofball approach over Eklund's bunkum ten times out of ten.

    2) I've regretted losing out on some of the comments that I had before joining ON, but by posting original material to both sites I think it's been mitigated to some extent.

    3) The site re-launch (coming soon) at OilersNation should reduce/remove some of the current drawbacks of the site (blogroll being one of the biggest).

    4) I can't speak for LT, but money isn't what brought me over to ON (well, it hardly could be the chief motivator, given that I haven't gotten any yet ;) ). The long-term goals for the site and the increased exposure (I've seen the data; I don't know why it's been so strong, at least compared to C&B, readership-wise, but it has) were driving forces.

  24. Black Dog says:

    oh my

    I’ll read you wherever you are LT but not a fan of the move

    oh well

  25. PunjabiOil says:

    I think it’s a fine move. Combining all the great readings in one venue is awesome.

    Plus, you’re a talented writer who puts in a LOT of hard work into this. Why SHOULDN’T you get compensated for it? Hell, if you took donations on this site, I’d throw a $20 bill as my token of appreciation.

    I can see some of the concerns being raised – but the general rule is, people will respond to good reading.

    That said, you may wish to retain some leverage regarding the posts that you insist to be posted on OilersNation. And while OilersNation raises a few chuckles over the images they use, you may wish to retain control over some of the pictures for use (i.e. historical pictures of hockey legends, etc).

    In any event, I wish you good luck.

  26. Sean says:

    ON is assembling quite a solid lineup.

    Jonathan’s comment frequency has definitely been reduced. This is because:

    1) You have to go to ON to read the entire article. Its easier to comment there.
    2) A typical user reads the article then the comments below it. A large majority of comments are in response to other comments so thats where they will end up.

    On the other hand, people who comment here will likely still continue for similar reasons to avoiding HF.

  27. Rob Blizzard says:

    Long time lurker, ever since leaving Edmonton and lacking cable television your site has become my one true source for Oil happenings.

    I come to the site religiously and really liked Jonathan’s. I don’t think his was well served by the move to ON from my perspective as a user (hate having to click through to read the rest of a story and don’t go to ON as he’s the only thing worth reading on it).

    My vote is stay as you are, but like everyone else, I’ll follow the content.

    If the move is at all motivated by the lack of features/functionality with blogspot, I’d be happy to help you/Jonathan/any other big blogger setup a WordPress / Drupal / or equivalent site and help set up ad streams if necessary. I’d be happy to donate some labour in return for the countless hours of enjoyment I’ve received.

    If you’re going to ON just for the traffic, we’ll that’s your choice too, but it seems like they are operating in the opposite way most user driven communities should. Rather than participate in the community, they seem to be poaching the best bits while ignoring the existence of everything else.

  28. Dennis says:

    It’s a fan site.

  29. Vic Ferrari says:


    I think the stats will be misleading. I know I probably very rarely show up on your site stats, because I use a feed reader, and I know that there are probably not going to be much in the way of comments, so I don’t have to go to your site.

    OTOH, when you write an article that will go on to ON, I have to click the “read more” link on the article to finish reading it, and that takes me to ON, and adds me to their stats. At which point I take a quick glance at their sponsors and make a personal commitment to never buy anything from them, then finish reading your post.

    I’m sure that a lot of people do the same.

  30. Tyler says:

    The sponsorship thing is funny. I happen to quite like CiO’s advertising, which, when clicked on, leads to a video of a dog licking his nose while Yaketty Sax plays.

  31. Steve says:

    Like most other people, I’d rather see everything kept here. But I’m also not i. paying you money, or ii. increasing your exposure, and I’m in full agreement with the idea that you deserve both money and increased exposure, so I could certainly understand it if you stayed there.

  32. Black Dog says:

    And while I have aired my grievance I want to make it clear that I agree with what Steve said.

    I liked it the way it was. But its your choice and I will respect that.

  33. mike w says:

    If “under one roof” is a concern, surely the bloggers themselves could make it happen and cut out the rah-rah middle man.

  34. Art Vandelay says:

    Most spot-on post title ever.
    Our pool is 624 players deep.
    And the Canucks are the team which most frequently appears on my version of Sportsnet.
    Yet when I read the news that Isbister had bolted the Canucks, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Isbister was a Canuck? When?”

  35. Addicted-to-oil says:

    I don’t buy the under one roof argument. We have “Favorites” tabs for a reason. I like going to guys like Lowetide because they’re original, insightful, and don’t have their blogs full of garbage.
    I’m of the opinion that OilersNation is simply out to grab as much cash off other people’s work as possible.
    I’m not a fan at all – but like I said – I like LT’s posts, and I like the guys commenting on them…

  36. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    Lain, you’ll do what’s right for you and yours, and that’s all that really matters.

    Like many others, the selfish side of me would like to keep things status quo. There is a comfort in coming here… like sitting on the back deck with a good friend and a beer (with all kinds of crazy people popping up from behind the fence and sharing their two cents).

    I rarely have time to comment, but when I do I’ll say my piece here, there, or anywhere. It’s all good. That said, I do cherish your archives, especially with the nifty tags.

    OT: Training Camp

    The Oilers have messed me up this year. There are but two days of TC that are open to the public: day one is Saturday, September 20th, and day two is Sunday, the Joey Moss Cup – tickets are $12 and available September 8th. So much for my evolving rosters and notes.

    I guess it's going to have to be day one for TC and lunch. I'll be there before 8am, Bruce, PDO & Lain, if you still wish to join me.


  37. grease trap says:

    Hey LT,

    I’m a joke of a blogger and rarely if ever have anything useful to say. My blog is purely for me to waste time on when I want.

    Your’s however, is a different story.

    I do hope you reconsider and just ask someone to help you throw some ads here on your site if it’s about the money. You really should get paid for your top-notch work, but Oilers Nation is nothing but an opportunistic site poaching on a community formed by real fans who never started up in order to get paid.

    Just my two cents, keep up the good work.

    I sort of predicted this back before ON came online, I’ll try to find the link.

  38. toqueboy says:

    LT, good luck with the new process.

    as a longtime reader over at HF, but non-member (don’t have time to care about beef) and a reader here since the inception, i have to say that you’ve cultivated a very nice ‘reading audience’ and that the comment section of your site is first rate. much of this has to do with your terrific topics, thorough analysis and “gentlemanly” manner. i hope you are able to keep that at the new site.

    to me, this is like a nice hangout: the coffee shop, the pro shop, the corner store and the move to ON means that you’ve now bought a second cup, a nevada bob’s or a mac’s. a slight philosophical change.

    on a flip side it’s interesting to see how many people have varied opinions on this and how deeply your blog is rooted certain oiler’s fans.

    good luck.

  39. Kris says:

    If you’re getting paid to write, then at some point, the person paying the bills is going to tell you what to write about. At first, the pressure will be subtle, but it will increase over time; it’s guaranteed. Be ready.

    This is sad. I really enjoyed this blog. I doubt the comments page will remain as insightful and mature as it has been.

  40. William says:

    Not that you need to hear it again, but I’ll echo what others have said. I rarely post/comment, but visit this blog almost daily. What separates this blog from the others in my opinion is your ability to attract and maintain the attention and respect of both the stats/analytical guys and the passionate “saw the game good” guys. You generally touch on subjects that are “meaty” and yet of interest to most people, are pretty insightful in your observations, but mostly it’s your delivery that keeps me coming back – it’s always an interesting read and the tone/professionalism is sort of like, for lack of a better analogy, tuning into a favorite radio show by the fireside. Like Black Dog’s beer in the storm (does that make you the Pisani of the Oilers bloggers?)

    I’ve started reading ON more regularly now that Jonathan has started writing there, and I am interested in hearing what a “mainstream” guy like Brownlee writes off the record. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the site. It’s loud, brash, in your face… kind of like a sports bar. Sure I enjoy going out for beers and watching the game at the bar occasionally, but when I’m looking for intelligent conversation on the Oilers, I’m not sure I like having to sift through the loud yelling and peanut shells at the bar.

    Like most everyone else, I’ll respect whatever decision you make. If that means I have to click on that extra link to get to ON and filter through some stuff to read your posts, then so be it.

  41. Dennis says:

    When I see something critical being written at ON, then I’ll change my opinion.

    But for now it’s a fan site and that’s not a place where LT’s stuff belongs on his good days; which are far bigger in numbers than his bad days.

  42. heed says:

    it’s your blog and do what you want with it. i will always read it regardless of location. if you get coin out of this arrangement, then all the power to you. you are a far better writer than 95% of the hacks that refer to themselves as sports writers.

  43. Slipper says:

    Where everyday is Canada Day.

    Rah! Rah! Ugh!

  44. ryan says:

    LT, I to will add to the acolades of this site and the hope that things remain status quo. For the year I spent in New zealand, the things I would look forward to everyday was having a beer and reading this blog. younger years would have also included chasing women, but those days are long gone, and much more successful in my mind. Not only were the blogs top notch, but the comments are also well worth the read. I always kind of figured I knew a lot about hockey because I played it and “watched it”, but until i was here i never realized how little i know. I definately will continue to read your material and hope that the regulars who come here don’t turn their back on it as well as their insight and humor is also appreciated.

  45. Ribs says:

    I get this same feeling every time the Oilers trade away their Captain.

    I’m glad you’ve found a way to make some money off the blog, LT. I’m sure I will read your stuff wherever it may be.

    I do wish you had turned to us if you were looking for some direction before going the chosen route, though. I’m sure there’s plenty of readers out there that would love to contribute to your efforts in one way or another.

    ON has some good things going for it and hopefully it shapes into something more fruitful in the near future with the Lowetide wagon on board and a site revamp in the works.

    …I really wish they would use
    better pictures for their article headers. I mean, MS Paint is cool and all….but….bleh.

    Let’s keep the comments section rollin’ here in any case.

  46. Peeeete. says:

    Another analogy: I feel like one of my best friends just moved out of his cool apartment downtown and bought a condo in Twin Brooks. I’ll still visit all the time, but it’s a hassle, and the neighbourhood’s kinda lame.

    I spent most of this year in Mexico, and this site was my connection to home, and the first thing I checked every morning (to the extent that my wife made fun of me). Now what?

    Change makes me nervous.

  47. sexy says:







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