GDB 25.0: A TOUGHER TEST...

Jason Gregor
November 25 2013 12:27PM

Fresh off a three-day break, the Oilers will try to extend their three-game winning streak vs. the defending Stanley Cup champions. Since the start of the 2010/2011 season the Oilers are 6-5-1 against the Hawks. The Oilers are 2-3-0 at home at 4-2-1 on the road.

The games in Edmonton have been blowouts. The Oilers have won by scores of 9-2 and 8-4, while the Hawks won 4-1, 5-0 and 4-1. The Oilers have outscored their opponents 15-3 during this short winning streak, but beating Chicago should be more difficult than beating Calgary, Columbus and Florida.

The Oilers' are playing their best hockey of the season, but so are the Hawks. Chicago is 10-2-1 in their last 13 games and they've scored 4+ goals in nine of those games. Patrick Kane is on a ten-game scoring streak and has 16 points in 13 games, while Jonathan Toews has 15 points in that same span, and they are on different lines.   

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Jonesuu-Acton-Gazdic

Belov-J.Schultz
Ference-Petry
N. Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

No reason to change anything when you are winning, although at some point you'd like to see more from Jesse Joensuu. He hasn't done much, and once they lose I could see Ryan Jones and Marc Arcobello re-inserted into the lineup.

Marian Hossa is in Chicago taking care of a personal matter, so look for Brandon Saad to play with Toews and Patrick Sharp. Kane has Brandon Pirri as his centreman, and recently acquired Kris Versteeg will play the other wing.

QUICK HITS

  •  This is the healthiest we've seen the Oilers in years, and if they can stay healthy we will get a much more accurate assessment of who they are as a team. The Blackhawks have 12 skaters who have played every game. Their top-five D-men; Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Oduya and Leddy, and forwards Toews, Sharp, Kane, Shaw, Saad, Kruger and Bollig. Hossa had missed four games and Bickell has missed two. Being healthy, especially when it is yoru best players, gives you a much better chance to win.
     
  • Look for the Oilers to attack Kane when he has the puck and not give him time to set up. If Kane has time to set up in the offensive zone he will embarrass you. Eakins said he'd rather see the puck on Kane's linemates' sticks.
     
  • Ken Hitchcock moving close to Hall of Fame, a goalie the Oilers have to look at in free agency, and a major blunder by the CFL. Read here.
     
  • Marc Arcobello has been a good surprise, but anyone who felt he was the team's MVP in the first quarter of the season wasn't watching close enough. It is great to want him in the lineup, but don't overestimate his contributions.
     
  • After reading Willis' solid piece on Perron's spike in shots on net, I asked the winger about his increased totals. "I've always liked to shoot, and right now I'm getting a lot of chances to shoot. I'm not sure if the system allows me more chances, or if I'm just getting more right now. It is early, but it seems every game I'm in a good spot to shoot. I really like playing with Gordo (Boyd Gordon) and Smitty (Ryan Smyth). We work well together and they get me the puck in good areas. I don't think I'm doing anything really different than I have in the past, but I noticed I have almost as many shots this year than I had all of last season, so hopefully I can keep it up," Perron said.

    He said he wanted to shoot more the past few years, but this year he said he has tried to shoot the puck quicker, and felt that he had more shots blocked last year. Interesting.
     
  • The Oilers PP is now 9th in the league at 21.5%. After going 6 for 49 (12.2%) in their first 15 games, they are a sizzling 11 for 30 (36.7%) in their last nine games. The Oilers are 18th in PP chances, but if you went by games played, they'd be closer to 23rd.
     
  • The Oilers PK has moved up to 15th overall at 83%. In their first 15 games they allowed 13 goals in 55 attempts (76.4%), but in their last nine games they've only allowed 2 goals in 33 kills (93.9%).
     
  • The Oilers still take too many penalties. They've been shorthanded 88 times thus far, tied for 7th most in the NHL. Eakins has no problem with aggressive penalties, but he feels his team still takes too many stick infractions. They've been one of the most penalized teams for the past four seasons, and eventually that needs to change if they want to start winning.
     
  • A big thank you to everyone who came out to DJ Suitcase party on Friday. It was a great night and we raised over $15,000 for the Inner City Children's Program. Nice work.

LOOKING AHEAD....  

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fans will be entertained with nine goals, but this won't be a blowout...The Hawks pick up their second 5-4 victory over the Oilers this season.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall picks up two more points. Hall has 7-10-17 in 11 career games vs. the Hawks.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sam Gagner scores the first goal of the game, and a few people suggest he's on his way to another 8-point night. That won't happen, but Gagner picks up an assist to finish with two points. Gagner gets rocked by Andrew Shaw early in the 2nd period, and can't drop the mitts because his jaw isn't 100%, so Andrew Ference rushes in and he and Shaw have a spirited tilt.  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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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#51 John Chambers
November 25 2013, 03:05PM
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Q - would anyone be open to trading Ales Hemsky straight up for Martin Erat?

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#52 gcw_rocks
November 25 2013, 03:07PM
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Here is something to think about:

Since the 2009 draft, Chicago has the following home grown non-first round players in their top 9: BRANDON PIRRI 2ND (59TH OVERALL) 2009 BRANDON SAAD 2ND (43RD OVERALL) 2011 ANDREW SHAW 5TH (139TH OVERALL) 2011

On the roster, you can add: BRYAN BICKELL 2ND (41ST OVERALL) 2004 BEN SMITH 6TH (169TH OVERALL) 2008 NIKLAS HJALMARSSON 4TH (108TH OVERALL) 2005 DUNCAN KEITH 2ND (54TH OVERALL) 2002 COREY CRAWFORD 2ND (52ND OVERALL) 2003

The Oilers have Petry. Hall, Hemsky, Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner, Dubnyk, and Smyth were all 1st rounders. If the Oilers did half as well as the Hawks in drafting after the 1st round this team would be a playoff team right now.

Sigh…

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#53 pkam
November 25 2013, 03:08PM
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OilClog wrote:

Early in the season when Arco was playing 2nd line pivot.. It's not ridiculous at all to suggest he was our MVP or in the top 3. He was!

It is not a good sign if Acro is the MVP.

It is a good sign that the team can win without Acro in the lineup.

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#54 MessyEH!
November 25 2013, 03:10PM
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OilClog wrote:

Early in the season when Arco was playing 2nd line pivot.. It's not ridiculous at all to suggest he was our MVP or in the top 3. He was!

Agree completely.

Lead the team in pts.

Faceoff%.

+/-.

And hits. Yup what a bum. Lets play Sammy snowpants at Center and boot Acrobello to the curd. Eakins is such a fraud. Preach accountability, then reward mediocrity.

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#55 Rob...
November 25 2013, 03:11PM
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@pkam

Propped. Thanks for the catch. I just did a quick copy paste and grabbed the wrong text. Fixed it now.

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#56 pkam
November 25 2013, 03:16PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Here is something to think about:

Since the 2009 draft, Chicago has the following home grown non-first round players in their top 9: BRANDON PIRRI 2ND (59TH OVERALL) 2009 BRANDON SAAD 2ND (43RD OVERALL) 2011 ANDREW SHAW 5TH (139TH OVERALL) 2011

On the roster, you can add: BRYAN BICKELL 2ND (41ST OVERALL) 2004 BEN SMITH 6TH (169TH OVERALL) 2008 NIKLAS HJALMARSSON 4TH (108TH OVERALL) 2005 DUNCAN KEITH 2ND (54TH OVERALL) 2002 COREY CRAWFORD 2ND (52ND OVERALL) 2003

The Oilers have Petry. Hall, Hemsky, Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner, Dubnyk, and Smyth were all 1st rounders. If the Oilers did half as well as the Hawks in drafting after the 1st round this team would be a playoff team right now.

Sigh…

It is not just the drafting, but development as well. How many of our 1st round pick before 2008 is still playing in NHL?

You can blame the previous owners for not willing to invest in scouting and development. Or you can blame the fans for not providing the financial support before 2006. Or you can blame the poor economy in Alberta.

I am just glad that despite the difficult financial hardship in the 90, the Oilers hadn't left like the Jets did.

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#57 Lloyd B.
November 25 2013, 03:18PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Q - would anyone be open to trading Ales Hemsky straight up for Martin Erat?

NOooooooooooooooo!!!

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#58 pkam
November 25 2013, 03:18PM
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If I am going to dream, dream big, right?

Gagner breaks his 8 pts record tonight.

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#59 curcro
November 25 2013, 03:20PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I agree Gordon has done more, and he'd have been close in first 20 games...which shows how bad their best players performed...

Their best players have played better the past 6-8 games and not surprisingly they are wininng more.

Absolutely. The age old thought that your best players have to be your best players to win consistently cannot be overstated for the Oilers first quarter.

The last few games have shown this to be the case. I think the biggest difference to me in last few games has been that they have been able to get more flow into the game by completing series of passes regularly, whereas earlier in the season the play was often dying in the neutral zone with only one or two touches by the Oilers.

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#60 Oilerz4life
November 25 2013, 03:33PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Q - would anyone be open to trading Ales Hemsky straight up for Martin Erat?

Erat is a drama queen who demands a trade 15 min. after arriving in any town he plays. At least Hemsky has staying power, you must be kidding?

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#61 Mikey
November 25 2013, 03:33PM
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Spoils wrote:

Hall is not even in the conversation right now for the Olympics. I think he'll crush it on the big ice, but the book is - he doesn't play Canadian style hockey because he falls down too easily, and the bad giveaways really hurt him.

Chicago sent a bunch of players to 2010.

I wonder how much it hurts us that players like RNH, Ebs, Hall aren't going to get that early career experience in the big show.

Yea and that is also the same year the Blackhawks won the cup. Coincidence? I definitely think not.

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#62 pkam
November 25 2013, 03:34PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Q - would anyone be open to trading Ales Hemsky straight up for Martin Erat?

Hemsky and Yakupov are having some chemistry going lately, why do we want to destroy that with a trade for a guy who is 2 years older and half productive as Hemsky, and cost almost as much and still has one year left in his contract?

Looks worse than trading Smid + Roy for Horak + Brossoit.

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#63 oilers2k10
November 25 2013, 03:50PM
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Arcobello should be in Hemsky out simple as that.

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#64 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 25 2013, 04:08PM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

Arcobello should be in Hemsky out simple as that.

Well, this is fundamentally insane.

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#65 wiseguy
November 25 2013, 04:16PM
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Why is it that Perron credits playing with Gordon and Smyth for getting him the puck for more scoring chances and shots, while when Yak (a shooter) was playing with the same two players, we accused Eakins of playing him with offensive duds and was the cause of his lack of production.

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#66 $3M
November 25 2013, 04:23PM
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Lowe Expectations wrote:

Chicago Ice Girls. High maintenance doing ice maintenance.

The sexism Gregor adds to his articles is totally unneccessary!Put in some pictures of house plants instead so MAC iq 6.29 can be happy!

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#67 pkam
November 25 2013, 04:28PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Well, this is fundamentally insane.

Some poster is just more desperate to get thumb down than DSF.

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#68 Fresh Mess
November 25 2013, 04:33PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Q - would anyone be open to trading Ales Hemsky straight up for Martin Erat?

So trade an underperforming, massively overpaid expiring contract for a massively overpaid, unproductive contract with an extra year of term remaining? No I would not make that trade if I were Oiler GM.

I think the Oilers would be better off purging Hemsky's contract for as high a draft pick as possible. The fact MacTavish chose Smid's contract to dump tells me there is (rightfully) no interest around the league in Hemsky at his cap number.

Prior to the season, there were rumours out of Ottawa that Murray was willing to trade Zack Smith for Hemsky. If that were true MacLooselips should have taken it.

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#69 Time Travelling Sean
November 25 2013, 04:36PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Here is something to think about:

Since the 2009 draft, Chicago has the following home grown non-first round players in their top 9: BRANDON PIRRI 2ND (59TH OVERALL) 2009 BRANDON SAAD 2ND (43RD OVERALL) 2011 ANDREW SHAW 5TH (139TH OVERALL) 2011

On the roster, you can add: BRYAN BICKELL 2ND (41ST OVERALL) 2004 BEN SMITH 6TH (169TH OVERALL) 2008 NIKLAS HJALMARSSON 4TH (108TH OVERALL) 2005 DUNCAN KEITH 2ND (54TH OVERALL) 2002 COREY CRAWFORD 2ND (52ND OVERALL) 2003

The Oilers have Petry. Hall, Hemsky, Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner, Dubnyk, and Smyth were all 1st rounders. If the Oilers did half as well as the Hawks in drafting after the 1st round this team would be a playoff team right now.

Sigh…

Having a great team makes role players look a lot better than they really are or would be on a more mediocre team.

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#70 Mac962
November 25 2013, 04:44PM
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$3M wrote:

The sexism Gregor adds to his articles is totally unneccessary!Put in some pictures of house plants instead so MAC iq 6.29 can be happy!

Still Bothered are You Mr. Wronger ? Tsk Tsk You make me laugh, no really, you do.

Lets Go Oilers, Show time.

MAC 6.29 or whatever Wronger super Millionaire calls me.

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#71 Fresh Mess
November 25 2013, 04:44PM
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DSF wrote:

You are old enough to be their grandfather you creep!

And I hope when I am old enough to be their grandpa I am still interested and have the opportunity to get it on with young beauties.

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#72 gcw_rocks
November 25 2013, 04:51PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Having a great team makes role players look a lot better than they really are or would be on a more mediocre team.

Pirri and Saad play in the top six. Shaw and Bickell anchor the third line. Hjarlmsson plays top for minutes. Crawford is the starting goalie. Keith is a top pairing defender. What's your definition of a role player?

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#73 Smokey
November 25 2013, 05:02PM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

Arcobello should be in Hemsky out simple as that.

Arco should of been over Gagner or Acton. Hemsky has been alright lately.

Those who suggested Hemsky for Erat. That trade is for the taking. Washington should be kicking doors on that, however that's not a trade you make straight across. Erat destroyed his value, and Hemsky is a lot more now. People say Hemmers made of glass, but he's been healthy this year, and he's still got his mojo some nights. Still think he's a legit top 6 with 50 point potential. Frankly would not touch Erat personally.

The greater question is what you can get for Hemmer at the deadline. Like to see a legit 3rd line type. I think he will be up for grabs for say a couple 2nds to a team going into the playoffs, cause Hemsky can be a complete X-factor player when motivated. Can't see a first unless really late.

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#74 hockeycrazed
November 25 2013, 05:06PM
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Just pray and hope that the Oil is not too pleased with the 3 wins over 3 weak sisters, and start another losing skid; This is where Eakins come in, to drill it to his young guns; every game is equally important! We are not even suggesting playoffs, just respectability!

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#75 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 25 2013, 05:06PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Pirri and Saad play in the top six. Shaw and Bickell anchor the third line. Hjarlmsson plays top for minutes. Crawford is the starting goalie. Keith is a top pairing defender. What's your definition of a role player?

Think Andrew Ference on the Bruins and Andrew Ference on the Oilers.

Team/line effects are real. Good teams have the ability to shelter up and coming and waning players in a variety of ways.

None of which is to say that making the most out of opportunities and succeeding in roles above your weight class can be ignored. They are big achievements.

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#76 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 25 2013, 05:12PM
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Smokey wrote:

Arco should of been over Gagner or Acton. Hemsky has been alright lately.

Those who suggested Hemsky for Erat. That trade is for the taking. Washington should be kicking doors on that, however that's not a trade you make straight across. Erat destroyed his value, and Hemsky is a lot more now. People say Hemmers made of glass, but he's been healthy this year, and he's still got his mojo some nights. Still think he's a legit top 6 with 50 point potential. Frankly would not touch Erat personally.

The greater question is what you can get for Hemmer at the deadline. Like to see a legit 3rd line type. I think he will be up for grabs for say a couple 2nds to a team going into the playoffs, cause Hemsky can be a complete X-factor player when motivated. Can't see a first unless really late.

CBC mentioned Ottawa as a possible target for Hemsky this past Sat. But that trade (and numerous others for Hemsky) have been talked about forever. The return wasn't mentioned. (IIRC)

Another report had this to say:

"The Oilers need help everywhere, however, teams are asking for young players in return. “They want to do something but they overrate their players which means the prices are high,” said a league executive. He should be able to get a top pick for UFA RW Ales Hemsky"

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/23/phillys-captain-claude-giroux-set-for-sochi-olympics

Not sure what a "top pick" could mean other than a 1st rounder. But that would be full value for the player.

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#77 Rocket
November 25 2013, 05:13PM
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Lately I've been pretty stoked to watch Edmonton-Chicago games. They're usually entertaining at least. Unlike watching San Jose beat the snot out of The Oilers, Blackhaws games are not boring.

OGP: Oilers win (why not eh?), Gagner finishes with a minus stat and does terribly in faceoffs (prove me wrong Gags), RNH crushes Call of Duty later tonight.

NSOGDP: Ebs & Kane start to go at it but then decide they don't want to mess up their pretty faces 'cause they're gonna party down whyte tonight.

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#78 Ducey
November 25 2013, 05:54PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

CBC mentioned Ottawa as a possible target for Hemsky this past Sat. But that trade (and numerous others for Hemsky) have been talked about forever. The return wasn't mentioned. (IIRC)

Another report had this to say:

"The Oilers need help everywhere, however, teams are asking for young players in return. “They want to do something but they overrate their players which means the prices are high,” said a league executive. He should be able to get a top pick for UFA RW Ales Hemsky"

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/23/phillys-captain-claude-giroux-set-for-sochi-olympics

Not sure what a "top pick" could mean other than a 1st rounder. But that would be full value for the player.

They have likely been holding out for the Penner return of a prospect, a first rounder and a mid round pick. 3 assets!

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#79 Serious Gord
November 25 2013, 06:13PM
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Lowe Expectations wrote:

Chicago Ice Girls. High maintenance doing ice maintenance.

Alimony written all over them...

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#80 YFC Prez
November 25 2013, 06:15PM
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@gcw_rocks

Petry was a second round pick. I think your point still stands though.

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#81 Harlie
November 25 2013, 06:21PM
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Awesome to hear that Suitcase and Gregor have the pull and raised 15G's for charity in addition to Suit's work on the Blades and the 35G's from there.

Props to you G's!

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#82 YFC Prez
November 25 2013, 06:26PM
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Harlie wrote:

Awesome to hear that Suitcase and Gregor have the pull and raised 15G's for charity in addition to Suit's work on the Blades and the 35G's from there.

Props to you G's!

Why would someone trash this? Trigger happy whack job.

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#83 David S
November 25 2013, 06:50PM
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DSF wrote:

You are old enough to be their grandfather you creep!

Oh DSF, you SO pwned me.

My response?

http://youtu.be/9n4-oVOKoLY

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#84 Alsker
November 25 2013, 07:28PM
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How can we not pick the Oil to come up big tonite,5-2 sounds about right, hell Columbus are up 6-0 over the laughs. Obviously anything can happen. And yes rum is definitely the reason behind my optimism.

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#85 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 25 2013, 07:49PM
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Oil are really fighting the puck right now.

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#86 Rocket
November 25 2013, 07:50PM
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Wow did Toews undress Dubnyk on that goal.

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#87 Johnnydapunk
November 25 2013, 07:51PM
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Bit of a shocker of a start, hope the SH goal doesn't completely throw them back into panic nervous hockey mode that they seem to default into fairly easily when the game is close or they allow a bit of a bad goal. Not saying the goal was Dubnyk's fault by any means, but you shouldn't have giveaways like that.

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#88 Hemmercules
November 25 2013, 07:53PM
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Oilers are getting exposed by a top team right now. Need to see some fight back soon or this could get away fast.

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#89 SRELIOFAN
November 25 2013, 07:54PM
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They're digging themselves into a pretty big hole early... It's going to be tough to come back from that against the hawks.

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#90 Johnnydapunk
November 25 2013, 07:56PM
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This could get ugly..

But on an aside, is it me or does Crawford wear freakishly giant pads?? They look like they are up to his waist! Dunno how those got past Whitmore.

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#91 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 25 2013, 08:00PM
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Come on boys, this PP is huge, need a goal.

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#92 YFC Prez
November 25 2013, 08:04PM
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I have a very unhealthy reaction whenever I see Duncan Keith's face. He seems like a world class jerk face. Someone in a blue jersey do something terrible.

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#93 Alsker
November 25 2013, 08:05PM
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Oh that Smyth opportunity would have helped.

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#94 YFC Prez
November 25 2013, 08:06PM
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Now they're into it! Let's go boys

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#95 Alsker
November 25 2013, 08:12PM
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Thank god Versteeg missed the open net.

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#96 Alsker
November 25 2013, 08:23PM
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We get outshot, out chanced but not dominated like in Philly. Do you bring in Bryz in hopes to add a spark and give him a non-pressure appearance infront of the home crowd?

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#97 coachwannabe
November 25 2013, 08:36PM
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Someone please explain to me what Yak and Hall are doing on the point on the power play. I don't understand what Eakins is thinking. Confused.

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#98 Walter Sobchak
November 25 2013, 08:37PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

From another article.

Romulus' Apotheosis wrote: Dubnyk named one of the NHL's 3 stars of the week:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=693003&navid=DL|NHL|home

So… I guess everyone predicting he had eternally cratered was being reactionary… who would have guessed?

Ya, ok.

You still feel that way Rom?

If Dubnyks the answer, then why are the Oilers looking so hard for a replacement?

Don't answer that, I'll come back to that after December & January.

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#99 vetinari
November 25 2013, 08:37PM
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Well, we're boned...

Is it wrong to want to scream out:

"Kneel before Saad!"*

*obscure Superman II movie reference

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#100 michael
November 25 2013, 08:40PM
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Why is Potter still an Oiler? Own goal.Pp and Sh goal. The Oil are finding all kinds of ways to piss this game away. Oh well. Looks like a recipe for failure tonight. BTW Columbus kicks the crud out of TO tonight 6-0. Friday night should be brutal for the Oil.

5-1 final tonight I think I 'll go watch a Miley Cyrus video on You Tube. Isn't that the joke? What's worse than watching the Oilers play Chicago? Answer? Watching Miley Cyrus.

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