GDB 21.0: STARTING OVER

Jason Gregor
November 15 2013 12:30PM

The Oilers enter the second quarter of their season tonight vs. the San Jose Sharks. The first quarter had disastrous results, and cost them a playoff spot. The management, coaches and players can't look at it that way, playoffs being a pipe dream, but a 4-14-2 start has them 15 points out of the playoffs.

The remainder of this season will be about understanding the system, learning to compete, not just working hard, every shift and hopefully the bitter taste and stench of losing will motivate the players to never be in this situation again.

The Oilers must use the next 62 games to build the foundation of continuity and winning. If they want to become winners, they must be committed to the system, their teammates and themselves.

The Oilers are showing signs of improvement in some areas of their game.

Despite going 0-for-5 last game the Oilers PP is 25% in their last eight games. Their PK has killed off 25 of the last 26 powerplays, 96.3%, over their past eight games.

Many will say the Oilers haven't improved enough because they aren't winning, and that is valid. However, the Oilers can't  solve all their problems over night. These next 20 games will be a test of their character and inner strength. Do they have willpower and focus to concentrate on the next game and not pout or worry about the previous 20? Have they learned that they need to play smarter, faster, stronger and with move conviction in order to win?

We won't know until December 29th. That is when they will have played half the season. Can this team stick together, play hard and become competitive? The next quarter of the season will show us a glimpse of whether or not they can execute the system, or if they have the guts to go to the net consistently,  or if they have the intestinal fortitude to try and stop opposing teams from going to the net and the internal desire to finally learn how to win.

The 2nd quarter of the season could show us a lot about which players should be here long-term.

DIFFERENT APPROACH...

If I was Andrew Ference, I would sit the team down and show them some of the great inspirational/motivational speeches from movies. Hockey is a game. You can inject some humour into the game. Try and get the players to relax, inhale and recognize that it isn't life or death.

For some reason our society thrives on negativity too often. Yes, the first 20 games were f^@#*&()*) embarrassing. But whining and focusing on it every day isn't going to change that. Learn from it. Challenge them to be better, and maybe have some fun doing it.

Here are some examples. Guys love this stuff. I know watching these clips made me laugh and they got me fired up.

I'd start with something light... 

"That's what were here for guys, to win." I freaking love that line. Makes me laugh every time...

Most sports movies have a dramatic scene that usually leads to the team bonding or that shows an individual realizing they need to work harder. We eat this stuff up. We love it, and that's why we watch those movies over and over again.

Ference could show them this one. (fast forward to 1:40 to the quicksand speech.) 

"You're playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can't move... you can't breathe... because you're in over your head. Like quicksand." Shane Falco

That could resonate with many Oilers right now. They have had numerous things go wrong...but they can't let it paralyze them.

Then I'd show them this one. It is fitting since the Sharks are in town. (actual words start at 2:00)

For some laughs I'd follow it up with this one. This kid is great.

Then, I would play the greatest sports speech of all-time. I don't care what sport you play, whether you are playing beer league, the NHL, NFL or road hockey this scene/speech will get your blood flowing. 

Eakins could play this one.

"I can't make you do it....Either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals...Now what are you going to do?"

Tony FREAKING D'Amato (Pacino) would have made a great coach.

I would leave them with this one.  

I understand the need to talk systems and strategy, but sometimes you simply need to tap into the emotions of the players, and in this case, with the loyal citizens of Oilersnation.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Hemsky-Gagner-Yakupov
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Joensuu-Acton-Jones/Gazdic

Ference-Petry
Belov-Larsen
N.Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

Sitting Arcobello is perplexing. I don't get it. He has been solid offensively, defensively and on the PK. 

The Sharks are playing their third game in four nights. They defeated the Flames Tuesday and the Canucks last night, both times in OT. Fatigue

The Sharks have three players averaging a point-a-game. Thornton and Pavelski have 20 points in 19 games, while Logan Couture has 19 in 19. Patrick Marleau has 18 points and Tomas Hertl has 17. The Oilers will face Alex Stalock. He has won both of his starts, and he has a dazzling 0.946 SV% and 1.57 GAA.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: On paper this is an easy choice, the Sharks should dominate, however, it is Positive Friday and if Ference showed even one of the aforementioned videos prior to the game the Oilers will win. Chalk one up for D'Amato, Oilers win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven't scored at home in 182 minutes. They score in the first period, and combined with the first 8 p.m. Friday game that I can remember, the first intermission beer sales are the highest of the season.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ilya Bryzgalov stops 33 shots in his AHL debut in a 4-1 victory. During the 2nd intermission the Oilers show highlights of the OKC victory and a few of Bryzgalov's saves. After the highlights, they play the clip of Bryzgalov saying he is only afraid of bears in the woods.   

SHARE AND DROWN YOUR SORROWS...

Do you need to share your feelings and frustrations about the Oilers? We have the best possible solution. Next Friday is the 2nd annual DJ Suitcase party. Don't miss out. Tickets are already 80% sold out. You can buy them here. See you then.

Speaking of Struds, media whore, make sure you vote for him in Battle of the Blades. If Struds win, the Inner City Children's Program will receive $50,000. That is huge. Take a moment and vote. If you take a few extra moments, answer the Quick Challenge questions, sign in and you will get 7 bonus votes. Do it. Help the kids. Vote here. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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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 Rama Lama
November 15 2013, 12:40PM
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Exactly what kind of message is the coach sending to the team, and the fans by sitting the most productive offensive, defensive, and physical player we have in Arcebello?

For those who can see what is happening , this coach seem to have 22 deaf players.

Yea coaching is not our problem.

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#2 Citizen David
November 15 2013, 12:40PM
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4-3 Oilers.

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#3 VK63
November 15 2013, 12:40PM
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OGDP

Gags takes over the dubious race to wear the green jacket prompting 8 point game references.

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#4 Rob F
November 15 2013, 12:41PM
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They should get Jimmy Johnson to give them the Jacksonvill Jaguars pre game speech

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNAqcom3zaY

Imagine if he actually meant it...

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#5 lolhockey
November 15 2013, 12:42PM
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OGDP - Taylor Hall breaks his wrist attempting a toe drag.

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#6 GTL
November 15 2013, 12:45PM
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Not watching,I'm saving myself for the Bryzgalov show.

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#7 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 12:54PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score their first goal at home in November. Dubnyk lets in a weak goal I know shocking.Gagner is again minus something.The beat goes on.Oilers lose.Tough time to be a fan of this team right now.

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#8 Danger Pay
November 15 2013, 12:55PM
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Great Article, love the Pacino Speech!

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#9 kawi460
November 15 2013, 12:57PM
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I know that hockeys not all about dropping the mitts. But I don't see the toughness or compete on the oilers roster. They don't show much emotion, especially when things go bad.

The Avs were playing like crap and they let their emotion boil over. Scrums all over, lots of hitting and trash talk. Duchene even dropped the mitts. I'm just saying it would be nice to see the Oil to compete for every puck battle and when things are going so well maybe start letting that emotion out on someone.

Maybe a bar room brawl is what the oil need?

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#10 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 01:01PM
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Oilers lose 0-2 to continue the STINK on their way to a double shutout weekend!

The key to happiness is lowered expectations! So i'll be setting my expectations extremely low for the weekend =) (Tonight especially)

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#11 Zarny
November 15 2013, 01:03PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Exactly what kind of message is the coach sending to the team, and the fans by sitting the most productive offensive, defensive, and physical player we have in Arcebello?

For those who can see what is happening , this coach seem to have 22 deaf players.

Yea coaching is not our problem.

No, coaching isn't the problem.

With Krueger last year, they finished 12th and were falling at the end of a 48 game season.

They weren't one win away from the Stanley Cup.

The problem is the players on the ice...or more specifically a lack of good players on the ice.

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#12 tileguy
November 15 2013, 01:07PM
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Jumbo Joe hard on the for-check seperates (insert name here) shoulder.

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#13 Bruner
November 15 2013, 01:09PM
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I wish I could kick Kevin Lowe in the balls and then pawn off his 6 rings for beer money. That would make me smile

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#14 Ed in Edmonton
November 15 2013, 01:13PM
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If the Gagner-Hemsky-Yakupov line stays together for 3 periods, they may set some single game record for combine minus.

Agree with others comments that Eakins is sitting his best 2 way forward.

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#15 Ron Burgundy
November 15 2013, 01:14PM
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The answer has been there all along - sign the Hansens.

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#16 BIGDAWG
November 15 2013, 01:17PM
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Arco better be hurt.... Eakins stock with me is falling very fast with each line up card he fills out....... score points? play physical? win draws? YOU ARE BENCHED.. sorry sir just trying to help the team win.... WIN? YOU THINK THATS WHAT WE ARE TRYIN TO DO HERE??!! I am still praying for a win here but.. this is getting ridiculous.. why is it the fans who only see it... ps yes, I did turn down free tickets...

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#17 Lowe Expectations
November 15 2013, 01:22PM
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Pretty sad when you consider scoring an actual goal would be an improvement.

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#18 camdog
November 15 2013, 01:33PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

If the Gagner-Hemsky-Yakupov line stays together for 3 periods, they may set some single game record for combine minus.

Agree with others comments that Eakins is sitting his best 2 way forward.

I expect San Jose will score 2 goals with this line on the ice, but maybe they score 1 goal and we won't set an nhl record for most consecutive minutes shutout on home ice in modern day NHL history.

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#19 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 01:37PM
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San Jose is due for a loss. But i suspect that it won't happen tonight.

GDPs:

Several oilers will get injured

Gagner will end up getting snow on his pants.

Eakins will stare off into space for minutes at a time

San jose will score and likely score often

Fans will boo and boo often

5-2 san jose

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#20 JJmorrocco
November 15 2013, 01:38PM
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Hey Gregor,

Is this Oil's worst 20 game stretch of the past 7 season? Maybe this team is not setting us up like teams of the past that showed decent starts but then always failed in the new year. Hope is they can improve in each 20.

Looks like Steve smith took back the PK (or was given to him by higher powers?) players are dropping again to block shots/passes not the stand up screen and deflecting we had the fisrt 15 games. baby steps.

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#21 Devolution
November 15 2013, 01:39PM
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I am only afraid of bears, bears in the woods."" That is just so awesome. I am looking forward to this guy.

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#22 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 01:41PM
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Spydyr wrote:

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score their first goal at home in November. Dubnyk lets in a weak goal I know shocking.Gagner is again minus something.The beat goes on.Oilers lose.Tough time to be a fan of this team right now.

Some people can't handle the truth.

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#23 fig pucker
November 15 2013, 01:42PM
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@jason isn't this what we do every year? watch our team play a pile of meaningless games and hope they come together as a team, hope that they learn from their mistakes and learn how to play a sound 2 way game? every year we plug a hole or two (ie this year face offs and for a while scoring five on five) only to have two more holes burst open (ie special teams and goaltending). it's like running on a treadmill, you never get anywhere. even if this group comleatly cleaned every aspect of their game up with the remainder of the season and it's meaningless games i have no confidence that they could carry it over to next season when the games matter. i know this rant sounds negitve, but we've all seen this movie to many times and what makes you think this time is any different? hire bill muray to advise us on how to end the groundhog day curse.

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#24 Do bolo
November 15 2013, 01:43PM
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What a stupid idea, playing some dorky movies to help people to do the job that they are very highly paid to do. If this is what it takes to get these guys to attempt to try, they would never cut it in the real world. They should try working shift work outside in - 40 in Ft. McMurray or working 24 hours in an ER helping to save lives. Instead they are playing a game and need to learn to keep it fun. I seem to remember that some of the kids didn't need motivating to head out to the bar and have fun after having their butts handed to them. Stop making excuses for these losers.

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#25 Spoils
November 15 2013, 01:45PM
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Arco is sitting?

are we going to find out he is injured?

RNH - Hall - Eberle

Gagner - Perron - Hemsky

Arco - Joensuu - Yak

Gordon - Smyth - Jones

I like RNH Hall Ebs back together, and feel like Gordon is a great 4th line center (getting extra key draws)

Yak on third line but first team PP.

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#26 BingBong
November 15 2013, 01:45PM
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So Matheson thinks the Preds would trade Weber for Eberle, J. Schultz & Gagner. I highly doubt it, but assuming this is true, then MacT should definitely be making that call.

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#27 Scott
November 15 2013, 01:48PM
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Thanks J, your approach is a breath of fresh air compared with the majority of the TMZ'ers (to steal your line) who cover this team.

I hope, and this is a pipe dream, that Yak wins the Rocket Richard trophy one day and jams it right up Ryan Rishaug's fat @ss. Perhaps then he would finally shut up, leave TSN, and go report on who's the real father of Kim Kardashian's baby.

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#28 Ed in Edmonton
November 15 2013, 01:49PM
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BingBong wrote:

So Matheson thinks the Preds would trade Weber for Eberle, J. Schultz & Gagner. I highly doubt it, but assuming this is true, then MacT should definitely be making that call.

Hard to believe this is real. But if it is MacT should do it in a nanosecond.

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#29 Rama Lama
November 15 2013, 01:51PM
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Zarny wrote:

No, coaching isn't the problem.

With Krueger last year, they finished 12th and were falling at the end of a 48 game season.

They weren't one win away from the Stanley Cup.

The problem is the players on the ice...or more specifically a lack of good players on the ice.

Dallas, should you not be working on the game plan for tonight? Stop writing in as a pretty girl, you my friend are Mr. Barbie Doll and we all know it.

Now go back to combing your wavy hair.

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#30 Hoozonphirst
November 15 2013, 01:52PM
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Katz' first mistake was hiring a blowhard sycophant like Stauffer. He seems to have elected himself sheriff of the Oiler 'Thought Police' The self confessed Tom Cruise look-a-like (WTF?) falls all over himself bragging himself up. Now he's telling fans who we are permitted to criticize regarding their effort. What a boob!

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#31 Hemmercules
November 15 2013, 01:55PM
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Those videos are great. Hopefully the leaders on this team have something even close to those for the games ahead.

I wish more teams and players would trash the Oilers before games Eller style. Being called a joke by another team seems like the only thing that will light a fire under theses guys.

Oil keep it close tonight but cough up the usual heartbreaker (or late tying goal and subsequent OT heartbreaker).

WTF is with Arco being out? I'm hoping its a maintenance thing and not just another strange coaching move we have been seeing way too often as of late.

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#32 BingBong
November 15 2013, 01:55PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Hard to believe this is real. But if it is MacT should do it in a nanosecond.

I like Matheson, but he also suggested we should sign Whitney to a multi-year deal this past off-season. So, yeah.

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#33 Loyal Oil
November 15 2013, 01:56PM
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I'm stunned at how many Oil fans I talk to that want the Oil to get absolutely waxed this weekend by both the Sharks and the Flames just so they can see how crazy this thing gets. We are into Charlie Sheen territory now with some of these McT pressers. #winning #progress.

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#34 mlcselli
November 15 2013, 01:56PM
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The decisions being made from the bench keep getting worse There is on justifiable or reasonable explanation to sit Arco except that he is being traded. Nothing else makes sense to me unless he has an injury. Barring an injury, if the Oilers trade him, they need to be strung up.

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#36 The Towel Boy
November 15 2013, 01:59PM
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NSOGDP:

Yakupov leads the field through two rounds at 9 under.

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#37 Gordie Wayne
November 15 2013, 01:59PM
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Jason Gregor's truest line in the article:

"For some reason our society thrives on negativity too often."

In other words: "Why you heff to be negative?"

The comments section of this site has become far too negative and depressing in the past couple of weeks.

The fans of this team need to start sending out some positive vibes. From now on, I am going to post one positive item regarding the Oilers on every article posted here. I challenge the rest of you to do this too...

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#38 Gordie Wayne
November 15 2013, 02:00PM
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#PositiveThoughts

Boyd Gordon was an amazing signing and full credit goes to MacT.

Gordon could have stayed in Phoenix, or he could have gone to a number of different teams that were interested, instead he chose Edmonton and he has been great for us this year.

He is 4th in the league in faceoff winning percentage at 58.7%, he blocks shots, kills penalties better than anyone on the team, and generally works his bag off every shift.

I don't think enough people realize what an improvement he is over the outgoing Horcoff!

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#39 Dog Train
November 15 2013, 02:00PM
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I can only think of two forwards who seemed to have a pulse last game- Smyth and Arcobello. Arco is sitting this one out? We are blessed with the privilege of watching Gagner do nothing but watch the puck go in his net all night? Whatever, the lack of accountability on this team is nothing new.

Bryzgalov should have plenty of motivational speeches for the team when he arrives. If nothing else, he should hopefully lighten the mood around here.

Positive Friday so miracle of all miracles, Oilers win 4-3.

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#40 madjam
November 15 2013, 02:01PM
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How can you expect to solve all our problems of seven plus years overnight ? Geez , sorry for not being patient/understanding enough ? Their sorry arse excuse is like one flew over the cookoo's nest -in one ear and out the other . Not that they are slow , but they can't figure out even whether we are better than last year yet . They say we are , but results prove otherwise . Things might get slightly better only because they cannot get much worse !

Oilers 5-3 tonite , as Sharks cannot be taking us serious .

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#41 Gordie Wayne
November 15 2013, 02:02PM
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#PositiveThoughts

Oh ya, and a bonus positive item because it is positive Friday:

Horcoff didn't score against us in the last game versus Dallas - come on, that has to count for something!

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#42 northof51
November 15 2013, 02:04PM
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Arc is not in the lineup?!?!?!?!

*sharpens pitchfork and dips torch in kerosene*

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#43 DSF
November 15 2013, 02:11PM
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San Jose leads the league in shots/game at 36.7.

The Oilers, meanwhile, average 27.8.

Considering the poor relative quality of the Oilers' opposition in the first 20 games, we could see 40+ shots on goal from the Sharks tonight.

Unless Dubnyk is all world, this could get ugly.

How Hopkins, Gagner and Gordon match up against Thornton, Couture and Pavelski pretty much tells the tale.

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#44 GTL
November 15 2013, 02:11PM
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Hoozonphirst wrote:

Katz' first mistake was hiring a blowhard sycophant like Stauffer. He seems to have elected himself sheriff of the Oiler 'Thought Police' The self confessed Tom Cruise look-a-like (WTF?) falls all over himself bragging himself up. Now he's telling fans who we are permitted to criticize regarding their effort. What a boob!

AGREED!!!!... I will not listen to one second of him. KL gives him the company newsletter and allows him to stroke himself and name drop all he wants..... Any trashes confirm HQ is listening;)

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#45 Yak T
November 15 2013, 02:11PM
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Just gave up with posting scores in the schedule tab?

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#46 Dave "Killer" Carlson
November 15 2013, 02:15PM
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Told myself I wasn't watching until they started playing with some motivation and effort. Clearly hasn't happened yet - first step is scoring a goal at home maybe?.

TV stays off tonight.

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#47 j.0
November 15 2013, 02:18PM
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you guys suck,

hilarious we might win tonight..ahahaha

a new start....ahahha

same old BS "watch how good we will be next year"

in summary you guys suck its in the water.

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#48 Taylor Hall's Knee Brace
November 15 2013, 02:20PM
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Gregor the eternal optimist picks the Oil to win again...which means they lose..Gregor's predictions are as good as the Oilers record!

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#49 Hemmercules
November 15 2013, 02:21PM
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j.0 wrote:

you guys suck,

hilarious we might win tonight..ahahaha

a new start....ahahha

same old BS "watch how good we will be next year"

in summary you guys suck its in the water.

To be fair, no one is saying "watch how good we will be next year". Anyone who believes that is beyond koolaid.

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#50 OilerLand
November 15 2013, 02:25PM
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"I don't wanna see Maurice tonight, I WANT THE ROCKET!"

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