GDB 10.0: THE SWITCH

Jason Gregor
February 06 2013 01:15PM

Yesterday Ralph Krueger suggested he is contemplating making a switch amongst his top two lines for tonight's tilt v. Dallas.

Which move makes more sense? Turns out it wasn't what many were thinking.

Will he move Sam Gagner between Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, and slide Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between Nail Yakupov and Ales Hemsky, or will he stay with the duos he liked at the start of the season, Eberle with RNH, Gagner with Hemsky and swap Yakupov and Hall?

I think both moves would have merit.

The Hall/Gagner/Eberle trio had success last year, most notably Gagner's 8-point night against Chicago. Hall and Hemsky are the two best forwards right now at backing off the defenders on the rush, so keeping them on separate lines makes sense.

Right now Nugent-Hopkins has shown he is better defensively than Gagner. While RNH isn't producing like Gagner, 9-game point streak, he has shown remarkable improvement with his defensive zone coverage. If you put RNH between Yakupov and Hemsky, they likely won't be eaten up 5-on-5 like the 64/89/83 trio was.

Also, putting RNH with the Yakupov, who has been the best shooter early on, could lead to more offensive chances. The great news for Krueger is that he's the first Oiler coach in a decade who has six legitimate offensive players that he can rotate through his top-two lines.

Krueger could also throw Yakupov with RNH and Eberle, and give them better matchups, while putting Hall with Gagner and Hemsky and give them the harder minutes. Hemsky has faced the top defenders for most of his career, so he's used to it, and right now Hall's overall speed and strength make him the hardest to defend amongst the young kids.

SCRATCH THAT

Nugent-Hopkins will not play tonight. There will be some switching of lines and positions, but it will involve Mark Arcobello and Ryan Smyth.

Arcobello will have one of the best opportunities any player has had for his first NHL game. He'll play between Hall and Eberle, while Smyth will move to centre with Lennart Petrell and Darcy Hordichuk on his wings.

RNH is listed as day-to-day, and according to Krueger if this was a playoff game he'd be playing. Krueger said they expect him to play Saturday in Detroit. His shoulder is bothering him, not sure which one, but after a hard hit in OT v. Vancouver the Oilers have elected to rest him.

LINE UP

Hall/Arcobello/Eberle
Yakupov/Gagner/Hemsk
Paajarvi/Lander/Hartikainen
Hordichuk/Smyth/Petrell

Smid/Petry
N.Schultz/J.Schultz
Whitney/Potter

Dubnyk
 

The Stars roll into Rexall looking very different than last year. They have lots of new faces, young and old, and it will be interesting to see how they and the Oilers match up.

Morrow/Benn/Jagr
Ryder/Roy/Eriksson
Vincour/Eakin/Smith
Roussel/Fiddler/Nystrom

Robidas/Dillon
Daley/Rome
Oleksiuk/Larsen

Lehtonen

Alex Goligoski is a healthy scratch. He hasn't played as well as the coaches would like, so he'll take a seat upstairs.

QUICK HITS

  • Devan Dubnyk is tied for 7th in SV%, .925%, with goalies who have started at least five games. He has faced the most shots in the NHL at 295, and along with Jimmy Howard, Mikka Kiprusoff and Jonathan Quick they are the only goalies to have started every game for their team.
     
  • The Oilers are 30th in shots against. They are allowing 34.4 per game. They are 24th in shots for with 27.4/game, which ranks them 29th in SF/SA ratio at a woeful -7.
     
  • The positive for tonight is that the Stars are 30th in SF/SA ratio at an awful -9.2. The Stars are only averaging 24.6 shot per game while allowing 33.8.
     
  • Smyth, Petrell, Lander, Gagner and Paajarvi will rotate on the penalty kill.
     
  • Yakupov tweeted out a pretty neat picture of him and Jaromir Jagr. "Nail10_1993 : That was 2004 -Jagr played in Russia , in Lockout time . And it's me 11 years old Boy :) Good eh ?)))) "
  • Yakupov is excited to play one of his idols tonight.
     
  • Krueger wouldn't say for sure who would be on his first powerplay unit, but you will likely see Arcobello slide in to Nugent-Hopkins spot. I'd look at putting Ryan Smyth on the first unit in place of Shawn Horcoff, because they need to try and win the faceoff and he is good in front of the net.
     
  • The Stars have been shorthanded a league-high 50 times this year. They were preaching discipline this morning, and admitted they are leery of the Oilers powerplay. The Oilers are 2nd in PP goals, 12, and 3rd in PP% at 28.6. The Stars PK is solid at 11th, but their PP only has 4 goals on 33 chances and sit 27th at 12.1%.
     
  • Hall fought Roussel in the minors this year, and Stars analyst Darryl Reaugh called him mini-Pepe today, a Claude Lemieux reference. Roussel is great at getting under people's skin, and isn't afraid to drop the gloves to protect himself. Look for him to try and fire up the Oilers tonight.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers are without three centres, and since most expect them to lose tonight, they will do the opposite and win, 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will struggle in the faceoff dot, and Smyth will have the best percentage.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Early in the 2nd period, Arcobello will saucer a cross-ice pass to Eberle who scores his first goal in five games. Right after he scores Roussel will give him a cheap shot in the back. Arcobello skates in and jumps Roussel. They drop the gloves and Arcobello takes a few heavy shots. While sitting in the penalty box, they announce the goal and Arcobello's assist and the big screen shows Arcobello in the sin bin, nose leaking with a huge grin. The crowd loves it and gives Arcobello a standing ovation. 

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 dougtheslug
February 06 2013, 01:21PM
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Jason, we must smudge the dressing room. (Puts fist through wall in frustration)

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#2 geoilersgist
February 06 2013, 01:25PM
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Dare to dream. Your NSOGDP are getting better every game. I hope this one comes true. I don't think I'm alone in pulling for this kid.

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#3 Quicksilver ballet
February 06 2013, 01:35PM
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Yakupov Hemsky and Hall, all 3 pts each in a 6-2 Oiler romp.

Oilers are due for one of those WTF kind of games.

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#4 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
February 06 2013, 01:39PM
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Four months ago, I loved the OKC line-up; but not sure how I feel about some of them in the Oilers line-up today.

I hope Nug's shoulder isn't more hurt than they are leading on right now, he hasn't looked the same this year.

Sure,injuries are an eventuality in Edmonton, but this blows.

Tambo's lack of quality depth moves at Center and Defense are really starting to shine now!

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#5 Quicksilver ballet
February 06 2013, 01:44PM
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@The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

If tankage is on Tambellinis agenda, this is another golden opportunity to do just that. We all know we could still use another one or two lotto picks.

If this is what unfolds, this could be the end of Tambo here. Nathan MacKinnon and a new GM......i'll take that in a heartbeat.

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#6 A-Mc
February 06 2013, 01:47PM
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GDP: The Oilers will struggle tonight with parts of the game showing severe breakdown and ugliness. Better heads will prevail and the oil will squeak out a 3-2 win in OT

OGDP: The Scandinavian's will play well all night and may possibly pot one of the 3 goals on the night for the Oil.

NSOGDP: Hordichuk, looking to prove himself, will manage an assist on the night when Smytty scores off his rebound.

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#7 Time Travelling Sean
February 06 2013, 01:58PM
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Why are these games so late? What's wrong with a 6:30/7:00 start? It's always 8:00/8:30.

Dallas is a tough team, without a lot of big names, like Phoenix. They play a boring, safe game but still lose 5-4.

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#8 BRHLBryce
February 06 2013, 02:02PM
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GDP: Dallas comes out flat, Oilers jump on them early and coast. 5-1 Oilers.

OGDP: Arco gets 2 points in debut. Nail-Hall-Ebs-MPS-Hartsky with the goals

NSOGDP: Vincour gets Dallas' goal in the 3rd and a slight cheer for the ex-Oil King. Next shift though he gets railroaded by Hordichuk, who then ends up scrapping Oleksiak.

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#9 Hall for Captain
February 06 2013, 02:10PM
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Jason: Did you get a chance to ask Ralph about doing some Voodoo magic/cleansing of the Oilers dressing room? Honestly...couldn't hurt to try. Nothing else seems to be stemming the tide of the 5 year (and counting)injury curse.

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#10 Dave
February 06 2013, 02:14PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Why are these games so late? What's wrong with a 6:30/7:00 start? It's always 8:00/8:30.

Dallas is a tough team, without a lot of big names, like Phoenix. They play a boring, safe game but still lose 5-4.

It's part of the TV deal. TSN is showing a double header. The Boston-Montreal game is at 5:30 Mountain Time and it is followed by the Oiler game at 8. Blame tv deals on the times.

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#11 Quicksilver ballet
February 06 2013, 02:23PM
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From the Pain is just weakness leaving the body file...

Some of these guys are so quick to sit out because there's nobody behind them who'll take their job, along with the fact that they're playing nothing games. The games of a team in the Oilers position have little to no meaning for the last 3 yrs and counting.

As newer players continue to roll in every June, they'll create their own environment players will desperately want to be part of. When the games mean something, you'll see players play through injuries like Kevin Lowe did when he'd play with a broken arm.

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#12 Bryan in SK
February 06 2013, 02:30PM
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NSOGDP: Smyth scores his second of the season in similar fashion to the first. Those watching at home are pumped from the time the shot leaves his stick to the time it crosses the goal line, as the announcer yells, "It's going.... It's going..."

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#13 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
February 06 2013, 02:32PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

If tankage is on Tambellinis agenda, this is another golden opportunity to do just that. We all know we could still use another one or two lotto picks.

If this is what unfolds, this could be the end of Tambo here. Nathan MacKinnon and a new GM......i'll take that in a heartbeat.

I don't think tanking and drafting first will be that easy this year.

Did they not change the lottery system to something similar to the NBA, giving all non playoff teams a shot at the top picks? I might be wrong here, don't know.

Watching the Lames blow it up, finish last, then pick outside the top three (potentially, sure) will be a absolute pleasure!!

Tambellini needs to go anyways, this week is showing that the only thing he's good at is standing at a podium and calling out a name. He's had 4 years to fix depth problems and after 5 injuries were icing a suspectable lineup and OKC Is seriously depleted.

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#14 Archaeologuy
February 06 2013, 02:47PM
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I thought Dubnyk has let in a couple softies that he would like back (The Bieksa Goal for Example) but outside of a couple Gaffs he has been much better than I expected.

He isnt just #1 in shots against, he's #1 with a Bullet. In the same amount of games Howard has faced almost 50 fewer shots. That seems incredible to me.

The Oilers are still showing their youth out there.

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#15 Quicksilver ballet
February 06 2013, 02:47PM
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@The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

With this being the first draft under these guidelines, it should be interesting to see which of the non playoff teams get that first selection. Someone has to win that first selection, might as well be the Oilers. Send that stinger through the remaining 29 teams!

A competitive team in the AHL has little meaning as far as i'm concerned. Oklahoma is just a reflection of how thin things are up here with the parent club. 90% of those kids will never make that next step up to the NHL.

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#16 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
February 06 2013, 02:50PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

How many 1st round picks do we need, is our entire top six former first rounders, and three of them were the first name to be called?

Skill is not the issue anymore, functional size and serviceable depth are.

Unless the goal is just jersey sales, but sooner or later winning needs to be the only priority.

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#17 Oiler Al
February 06 2013, 02:50PM
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@Time Travelling Sean

It's a TSN national broadcast, and they have a 7 pm east, Montreal game... is a double header.

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#18 Archaeologuy
February 06 2013, 02:53PM
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@The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

I completely agree, but I'm not sure if this is that year or if a serious run at winning would be better suited for next year.

Yak wont be a rookie, some bigger contracts come off the books (others kick in), Dubnyk is more established, etc.

I think they want to see what this team can do largely as it is and then make the necessary changes in the summer. That's what I would do, anyway.

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#19 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
February 06 2013, 03:04PM
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@Archaeologuy

I'm definitely not after a cup run this year, I can be realistic at times.

I'm just wanting management to stop getting in these situations; If the Oil don't get through this set if injury woes decently, we run the risk of damaging there growth, discouraging them from wanting to see this through, setting them up to fail.

Sucking and drafting at the top can continue in perpetuity, but actually consistently winning comes from breaking this cycle and addressing roster weaknesses/concerns as they arise.

I realize I might sound negative here, but seeing the same crap every year starts to pick away at a guy.

I will however still be down in the man-cave drinking vodkas cheering the entire 60 mins(which is generally 20 more than the Oilers actually play)

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#20 Quicksilver ballet
February 06 2013, 03:07PM
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@The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

Not every kid selected is going to pan out. There's likely to be a future support player in this bunch, don't you think?

All three of the past entry drafts the Oilers have went hard after netting more than one of these lottery kids. Seguin and Hall in 2010. Hopkins and Larsson in 2011, and this past summer they went hard after both Ryan Murray and Alex Galchenyuk. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Less than 50/50, the player selected first ends up being the best player in that draft class.Hall and Hopkins arrows seem to be pointing sideways rather than up this season, don't you think?

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#21 Archaeologuy
February 06 2013, 03:13PM
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@The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

LOL.

I hear you. Honestly I think the Oilers will be fine in the sense that their core is pushing them forward. They are trending up (hard to be worse than the past 3 years) and if Whitney is replaced with a legit top 3 Defenseman the Oilers will be in really good position.

I dont think they will be a Columbus/Florida type team because those guys whiffed on their top players or never took them in bunches. The Oilers are too skilled to be bottom feeders forever, but you are right. They wont be cup contenders without legit NHL players throughout their lineup.

If Nuge wasnt hurt there would still be 7 players who played on the Barons, 1 Rookie from russia, and a Goalie in his 1st year as the starter. That is a lot of inexperience. Those same guys 2-3 years from now have a chance to dominate though. Until then if all of them are playing in the NHL we have to assume there will be issues.

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#22 Phixieus666
February 06 2013, 03:20PM
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@The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

If we somehow have the 1st pick again this year, I keep the pick, take McKinnon and trade one of the other guys for the players we need. There is no way you can take a pass on McKinnon and I don't think any team would offer enough to trade that pick away.

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#23 Kinger_OIL
February 06 2013, 03:27PM
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Wow: this ship is sinking fast... Whitney not making it, a 24 yr old-journey man 1st line centre (yes great story), no depth on D, centremen depleted. Going to be the start of another long season, thankfully only 40 games left, and another high draft pick... Makes sense anyways, tank this short year, load up in the off season, that's what tankers do when they recall journeymen and put them on first line....

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#24 Coco Crisp
February 06 2013, 03:41PM
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Obvious Game Day Prediction: Arcobello pots 3 points tonight and the nation erupts in "long term" chatter about Arcobello's future with the Oilers.

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#25 Time Travelling Sean
February 06 2013, 03:50PM
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For everyone saying the sky is falling, we are still in a playoff spot, and we have a winning record.

What was that stat? All teams last year in a playoff spot through the first 10 games made the playoffs? You'd think that would be better for us during a shortened season.

Some may say it is unsustainable, to be continuously out shot and outplayed 5v5 and still win, but if Florida can do it, so can we.

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#26 Reg Dunlop
February 06 2013, 03:53PM
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The old lady guarantees an oiler win tonite and her voodoo is strong. She says they will try harder to prove themselves.

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#27 Guy Lafleur
February 06 2013, 03:54PM
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I think the Nuge is gonna be a band aid .

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#28 MAC962
February 06 2013, 04:22PM
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First game with real adversity. We all hope Acro does well and my guy tells me he will be fine.

Oil show lots of intensity, and you know Dallas smells Blood.

Nordic line pots 2, Hall and Hemmer with singles in 4-2 Oil Win.

Speed once again boys. Dallas is not the swiftest team.

Whitney 2 assists and a scrap.

Come on big man , we need you.

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#29 Phixieus666
February 06 2013, 04:25PM
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@MAC962

Anybody have any idea what kind of speed this guys has?

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#30 rama lama
February 06 2013, 04:26PM
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The plan all along is to finish last draft first........nothing has changed.

Then when we get to the podium.....Tamby will select the smallest fastest player he can find.

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#31 tom.MTL
February 06 2013, 04:31PM
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GDP - Hordichuk is itching to earn some ice time. Pots a goal and a scrap.

OGDP - DSF falls asleep with his pants around his ankles in his mom's basement.

NSOGDP - Ryan Whitney is choked about sitting last game. Comes through with a Gordie Howe hat trick

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#32 Sanaa Montana
February 06 2013, 04:39PM
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IT HAS BEGUN.!..

Oilers lose 5-2. Goals by Yakupov and Whitney.

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#33 Sanaa Montana
February 06 2013, 04:44PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Anybody have any idea what kind of speed this guys has?

In Canada, possession of amphetamines is a criminal offence under Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, with a maximum penalty for repeat offenders of fines of up to $2,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

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#34 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
February 06 2013, 04:49PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

If we somehow have the 1st pick again this year, I keep the pick, take McKinnon and trade one of the other guys for the players we need. There is no way you can take a pass on McKinnon and I don't think any team would offer enough to trade that pick away.

Aren't you a little tired of the same old song n' dance on repeat.

The same things were said about Hall in 2010; Nuge in 2011; and Yakupov in 2012

What are we going to say the year after that? Can't pass up on McDavid, man he's gonna change this team around.

Were proving that high draft picks are not the only answer, quality serviceable NHL players are needed to surround those picks 'cause they cannot do it alone.

@ Time Travelling Sean

My words may seem like I feel the sky is falling, but I really don't. Other than the Calgary game, I'm quite happy with their play thus far. Its management's lack of managing that has us in a situation where it could very well fall.

This team needs to have a very good record over the next 8 games, as 6 are at home...and then the dreaded Brier Road trip begins which will be hell, let alone if we struggle for the rest of February.

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#35 Phixieus666
February 06 2013, 04:49PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

In Canada, possession of amphetamines is a criminal offence under Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, with a maximum penalty for repeat offenders of fines of up to $2,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

So hes slow? Gagner slow or Hordi slow? or is he taking slomo

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#36 Mac962
February 06 2013, 04:49PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Anybody have any idea what kind of speed this guys has?

Speed is NHL Caliber, I was at a game in OKC this year and he was the best player on the ice.

Measure his heart , not his height. Look at the dwarf on Buffalo, who wouldn't want him ? Not saying he is that talented, but there have been many small guys make it big. The unfortunate part is Our Oilers have too many smaller players.

My guess is we will be pleasantly surprised as will Ralphy, well maybe not him , he knows what Acro brings thats why he called him up to the Show.

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#37 tileguy
February 06 2013, 04:52PM
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NSOGDP With the teeny boppers dancing in the aisles to Beyonce, the lights will go out. Hordichuk will sneak over to the Dallas bench looking to ambush Ott.

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#38 Sanaa Montana
February 06 2013, 04:53PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

So hes slow? Gagner slow or Hordi slow? or is he taking slomo

No, No, he's August Musger slow. X3

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#39 Sailge
February 06 2013, 04:53PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

For everyone saying the sky is falling, we are still in a playoff spot, and we have a winning record.

What was that stat? All teams last year in a playoff spot through the first 10 games made the playoffs? You'd think that would be better for us during a shortened season.

Some may say it is unsustainable, to be continuously out shot and outplayed 5v5 and still win, but if Florida can do it, so can we.

Oilers were 8-2-2 outta the gate last year. We definitely didn't make it.

Here's hoping it's gonna be one of those games where we are so depleted, we are expected to lose but somehow come out with a win.

Go Oil!

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#40 Phixieus666
February 06 2013, 04:55PM
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Mac962 wrote:

Speed is NHL Caliber, I was at a game in OKC this year and he was the best player on the ice.

Measure his heart , not his height. Look at the dwarf on Buffalo, who wouldn't want him ? Not saying he is that talented, but there have been many small guys make it big. The unfortunate part is Our Oilers have too many smaller players.

My guess is we will be pleasantly surprised as will Ralphy, well maybe not him , he knows what Acro brings thats why he called him up to the Show.

Ya didn't he try checking a 6'5" guy in the minors. First time he just bounced off and then second time he took the big man out??? That's the kind of player this team needs. May be small but plays big.

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#41 Dog Train
February 06 2013, 04:57PM
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One man's adversity is another's opportunity. Arcobello could not have scripted a much better chance than he will get by playing on the first line tonight. I know I'm not alone in saying that I hope he makes the most of it.

Obviously, we are really thin in the middle right now but I actually think that Smyth could benefit from a move to C on a more permanent basis. He has already been taking a few faceoffs pretty much every game and doing alright. He is solid defensively and I would rather see him move the puck to other, quicker players and crashing the net for rebounds. The last few games Smyth has had some room down the wing but he doesn't have the speed or the shot to provide any threat whatsoever.

I think the Oilers will surprise tonight and win despite their banged up lineup. 2-1 Oilers, goals by Eberle and Hemsky. Arcobello with an assist. GO OILERS GO!!

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#43 Eulers
February 06 2013, 05:18PM
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Step right up and see your Edmonton Oilers! Now, without centermen!

Who needs centermen to win a game?

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#44 StHenriOilBomb
February 06 2013, 05:24PM
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"The Oilers are 30th in shots against. They are allowing 34.4 per game. They are 24th in shots for with 24.4/game, which ranks them 29th in SF/SA ratio at a woeful -7. The positive for tonight is that the Stars are 30th in SF/SA ratio at an awful -9.2. The Stars are only averaging 24.6 shot per game while allowing 33.8."

Something doesn't make sense here. With these numbers the Oilers would have a -10.0 SF/SA ratio, putting them solidly below Dallas. Am I missing something?

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#45 Mikey
February 06 2013, 05:24PM
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Guy Lafleur wrote:

I think the Nuge is gonna be a band aid .

I think Laneskog will be too, or Jeff Skinner. Heck any player that gets hurt, and is young, is going to be a band aid.

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#47 Mark-LW
February 06 2013, 06:13PM
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Oilers win 13-0

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#48 Alan
February 06 2013, 06:26PM
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Read something similar about the line ups

http://talkingchimp.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/edmonton-oilers-a-failing-franchise/

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#49 John Chambers
February 06 2013, 06:34PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I completely agree, but I'm not sure if this is that year or if a serious run at winning would be better suited for next year.

Yak wont be a rookie, some bigger contracts come off the books (others kick in), Dubnyk is more established, etc.

I think they want to see what this team can do largely as it is and then make the necessary changes in the summer. That's what I would do, anyway.

& @ Ron Burgundy

The Hot a stove was talking about Steve Weiss and I thought about how adding a player like that would be a huge problem-solver for the Oil. They could buy out Horcoff's contract this summer and run Nuge, Gags, and Weiss as your 3 C's.

But I agree with you guys that '13 is a season for improvement, while '13-'14 they need to go for it. Ie, adding a player like Weiss or a top Dman should be done through free agency without costing an asset, as opposed to dealing our 1st rounder and an up and comer on a good contract like Paajarvi just to hopefully finish in8th.

Avatar
#50 StHenriOilBomb
February 06 2013, 06:39PM
Trash it!
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trashes
+1
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props
Jason Gregor wrote:

It was a typo...27.4 shots/game...They are -7

cool. I thought I was missing something.

And lordie we have a chance!

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