GDB 20: Smid wings it

Jason Gregor
November 20 2008 12:04PM

You will see another new wrinkle tonight for the Oilers. For the first time in his NHL career, Ladislav Smid will suit up on offence. He will play with Brodziak and Pouliot on the fourth line.

Smid always plays with emotion. Does he make the right decision all of the time? No. But his effort is always there. His robust style is what the Oilers need on their fourth line, and Smid is a good enough skater that in theory he should be able to be effective on the forecheck.

But the other areas of the job will be difficult for him. I sat down with Smid after he fielded questions from the largest scrum of reporters he had seen in his young career.

Gregor: Sniper Smid, is that your name now that you are a forward? Smid: Yeah, pretty much... the guys will have to get used to the new name. Gregor: Do you remember the last time you scored a goal? Smid: No... Ahhh no... Well, well. No, it’s been too long. (Laughs) Gregor: Do you remember the last time you played forward? Smid: Third grade. I was about seven. That’s pretty impressive, eh! Gregor: Were you centre or winger? Smid: I was centre, top goal scorer on my team actually. Then they put me on defence, because my Dad played defence for the Czech Republic national team. Maybe if I was still a centreman, I would be a top scorer. You never know. (Laughs again). Gregor: You seem excited, but what is going to be the biggest challenge? Smid: I am excited, but still I’m very nervous like usual. Defensively there are lots of new things. I’m used to being in the corners and in front of the net. Now I have to cover their D, and they are the best in the league, so it will be different, but I have to deal with it and hopefully I will do well. Gregor: Your coach talked about players to compete every shift. You have shown that willingness as a D-man. Is your plan to just dump and chase and hopefully dish out some hits? Smid: Yes, that’s the idea that MacT had. I have to pressure their D and see what happens. Gregor: Did you practice tipping pucks or deflecting pucks in practice today? Smid: I’m really bad at that. I’m just going to stand in front of the net and hope it goes in. I don’t know how guys do it. It is a miracle to me if I can tip it. If it happens it is a miracle.

You have to like Smid’s honesty. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face today. He just wants to play. He was asked if he thought about saying no to the idea when MacTavish approached him, “Are you crazy? This is the NHL, I just want to play.”

Later on when everyone was gone, Smid admitted to me that Detroit might not be the best team to get used to playing forward against. They are the best in the league and it will be a challenge.

Then I asked him, “When you go out, do you try and talk to the best looking girl or just an average one? Testing yourself against the best is always more rewarding.” He laughed in agreement. “That is very true. Hopefully I don’t get shot down tonight.”

Smid is one of the funnier guys to talk with. He doesn’t shy away from most questions, and he seems like he really enjoys being in the NHL. It will be interesting to see if he still enjoys it after going up against Lidstrom, Rafalski and the rest of the Detroit D tonight.

—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6pm on TEAM 1260 or online at www.justagame.ca.

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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 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 12:17PM
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You have to give him credit - he probably thinks MacT is on qualudes but he is willing to do whatever it takes to play night to night.

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#2 Geoff
November 20 2008, 12:29PM
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Love the guy.

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#3 Clarkenstein
November 20 2008, 12:33PM
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With all due respect to Smid because he goes flat out every shift what the hell does this say about the depth in our organization OR the insanity behind this three goalie bullshit that's costing us a roster spot.

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#4 Bülent
November 20 2008, 12:33PM
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Why not? Not like the 4th line sees ice time anyway, and maybe Smid's energy will really do something, and best case scenario, EDM has their own version of Byfuglen.

I say, BRING IT.

I'm tired of watching Stortini basically die during "fights" or watching him make the worst turn over you saw since your mom tried that Rachel Ray recepie.

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#5 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 12:36PM
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Maybe this is the example MacT is looking for too. He has been ranting about changing/modifying your game to stay in the line-up.

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#6 tricksnard
November 20 2008, 12:50PM
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Yup.. Gotta love a guy who's willing to do anything for the team and is happy to do it.

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#7 shakey
November 20 2008, 12:54PM
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Are the guys on the farm so bad that they wouldn't bring someone up? Gregor, is there a reason we can't bring someone up or is this Mac T's gut telling him he should do this. I'm not knocking Smid and I hope tomorrow we're talking about how great he was but what does this say about our depth? Sitting Huggy bear against the Wings is not a bad call though.

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#8 Dennis
November 20 2008, 01:27PM
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Smid would be a lot easier to like if he wasn't acquired for Pronger.

Lupul, on the other hand, always seemed like a tool.

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#9 1011011
November 20 2008, 01:33PM
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If you are Brule or Schremp, it must be nice to know that once the Oilers are unhappy with their current F roster AND the D can't be moved to the wing AND the 15 goalies can't find non-goalie skates AND that McDonalds Junior Oiler of the game can't be signed to a one game contact

THEN

you might get a shot with the big club.

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#10 hunter1909
November 20 2008, 01:34PM
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I always liked Smid. Still do. Might still turn out to be a really good defenceman.

He's no Pronger but...

Of course MacTavish is barking mad.

Come to think of it, MacTavish is starting to get really entertaining lately.

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#11 hunter1909
November 20 2008, 01:38PM
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"If you are Brule or Schremp, it must be nice to know that once the Oilers are unhappy with their current F roster AND the D can’t be moved to the wing AND the 15 goalies can’t find non-goalie skates AND that McDonalds Junior Oiler of the game can’t be signed to a one game contact THEN you might get a shot with the big club."

My current over/under for MacT being sacked is January 1. The way he's currently "coaching", Brule and Schremp are better off in Springfield.

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#12 Jonathan Willis
November 20 2008, 01:38PM
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Jason - Any idea what's going on between Lowe/Tambellini/MacTavish? The only reason I can see for putting Smid in a forward spot over Boulerice/Stortini (to crash and bang yet, which is supposed to be their game) is that he basically has no confidence in those other two players, which would suggest that the coaching staff and the GM aren't close to being on the same page. Any insight to offer?

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#13 Cole
November 20 2008, 01:39PM
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This is a great idea, Smid at least plays with an edge and can skate as good as anyone. All he has to do is forecheck, hit and create energy, its not like they expect him to score a ton of goals.

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#14 swany
November 20 2008, 01:58PM
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Smid 4 Detroit 2, I hope this works out for him and the Oilers. It would be nice if he came in and had the same inpact that Glenx did. Smid can skate, hit mix it up and fight as good as Glenx so maybe there is something to this. Good luck kid.

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#15 OregonStateFan
November 20 2008, 02:01PM
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Well, it's nice to know there's a little less insanity on this article's comments compared to the last one. As for moving from D to 4th-line winger, you don't lose very much. D are traditionally responsible defensively (because the position tells what they do) and you're not really expecting a lot of offense out of them on a checking line. It's not an uncommon move either, as both Strudwick and Staios have played forward positions in their careers, and even I can remember being moved back and forth from D to wing back in the juniors.

The last thing Smid is going to worry about is scoring goals tonight. Let's see if he gets under the skin of Lidstrom or Rafalski.

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#16 Fiveandagame
November 20 2008, 02:31PM
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In regards to Shremp and Brule, their style of game is not fitting for a fourth line role. They are not bangers and crashers (Brule is a banger but at 180lbs he's not going to bowl over a 225lbs d-man). They are offensive guys that need to be played in offensive roles to make an impact. Shremp and Brule on the fourth line playing 6mins is not good development.

Smid offers a defensively sound game, a big body in the corners and he plays with a lot of JAM.

To TOP it off he's EXCITED! Enthusiasm is infectious like that growth on Wayne's little Dave Semenko. He will be a spark no matter what.

You never know what someone is capable of until you challenge them. Tonight is a challenge.

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#17 milli
November 20 2008, 02:37PM
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Ya, I think he's gonna be fine...I mean come on it's our 4th line. But, what does this say about the other 2 guys? Total lack of confidence? I don't remember any games last quarter of last season when A) storts didn't play and B) that that line wasn't a factor. I dunno, I guess I'll have to wait and see.

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#18 Cole
November 20 2008, 03:01PM
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Hey, this may work, or it may not, but than again not much has worked this year. Id like to see him with Boulerice and Stortini as a crash and bang line. Mac T might have made some mistakes in playing players in the wrong position and situation, but you have to give him credit at least he is trying to get this straightened out. One more thing .... "Lets go Alouettes"

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#19 Cam
November 20 2008, 03:02PM
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all this does is give more flexibility to the coach in the game.

If Smid is outclassed then they have a seventh D and someone else will play some shifts with the grinders.

If Smid is effective then MacT looks like a genius.

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#20 Gord
November 20 2008, 03:47PM
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I am happy that Smid is so happy to play, but I can't believe the circus this team is turning into. What's next? Penner is big so put him in goalie equipment because he'll cover most of the net? You can't say MacTavish is feeling the heat and we can all see it now as he makes moves like this one. Based on results people can say he is a genius or a mad man, but the fact remains it is a desperation move.

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#21 Gord
November 20 2008, 03:48PM
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^^^ You can’t say MacTavish [b]isn't[/b] feeling the heat and we can all see it now as he makes moves like this one.

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#22 The Towel Boy
November 20 2008, 03:56PM
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I dunno why everyone is getting so worked up about Smidder playing forward...what's it gonna hurt? He skates well, plays with edge and is a pretty big body to move off the puck. Honestly...between Stortini/Boulerice...I'd rather see what Smid can do...since we don't really need to fight anyone against Detroit...or hug, as the case may be.

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#23 Cam
November 20 2008, 04:03PM
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I miss SmackIntyre

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#24 Ender the Dragon
November 20 2008, 04:59PM
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1011011 Says: If you are Brule or Schremp, it must be nice to know that once the Oilers are unhappy with their current F roster AND the D can’t be moved to the wing AND the 15 goalies can’t find non-goalie skates AND that McDonalds Junior Oiler of the game can’t be signed to a one game contact . . . THEN . . . you might get a shot with the big club.

OK, that's gold. In the same vein, though . . .

Fiveandagame Says: In regards to Shremp and Brule, their style of game is not fitting for a fourth line role. The Towel Boy Says: . . . Honestly, between Stortini/Boulerice, I’d rather see what Smid can do . . .

Seriously, the uninformed can carp about this decision all they want, but I think I back MacT here. Maybe Smid doesn't score a goal tonight, but if he finishes at +1 on the night, that's a heck of a lot better than one of those other four mentioned guys finishing at -2.

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#25 Fiveandagame
November 20 2008, 05:26PM
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Ender the dragon - WORD.

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#26 baggedmilk
November 20 2008, 05:46PM
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Gregor,

True story that the Oilers have already put Boulerice on waivers?

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#27 freeze
November 20 2008, 05:54PM
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its true baggedmilk.

Smid on wing; that's worth the PPV right there!

For the cheapos (me included), here is the link: http://atdhe.net/live-tv-675.html

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#28 baggedmilk
November 20 2008, 05:56PM
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Nice freeze. Thanks for the link too. I'm too poor to afford the PPV. At least they're getting them out of the way early in the year.

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#29 Ender the Dragon
November 20 2008, 06:02PM
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baggedmilk Says: Gregor, True story that the Oilers have already put Boulerice on waivers? freeze Says: its true baggedmilk.

And that, my friends, is what happens on a team with one owner. Kayzee: Who is this assclown? This is true, he hit someone in the face with his stick? KLowe: Well, yes, but . . . Kayzee: No 'yesbutts'. He's down the road. We're done here. And none too soon, I must say. That lack of class, the Oilers don't need.

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#30 Ender the Dragon
November 20 2008, 06:09PM
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I posted this in the last Detroit blog, but I posted in the middle of the game and so I don't think anyone saw it. I was thinking . . .

You remember back in the 80’s and even the 90’s how much excitement and hype there was around Soviet players who wanted to defect? I think the NHL should bring a little of that back and implement a ‘defection rule’ into the system. Picture it. Detroit on the rush. Hossa charging down the wing. He glances over to MacT, who gives him the wink. A subtle signal has an Oiler jumping back onto the bench as Hossa suddenly hits the brakes and heads back the other direction. Conklin looks first confused, then horrified as realization strikes home . . . “Defection!” But it’s far too late. The Detroit defence is hopelessly out of position and the only thing between Hossa and the back of the net is the Oilers old cast-off netminder. As Hossa buries a three-deke 5-star backhand, he is immediately surrounded by Boulerice, Huggy-Bear, and even SMac whose mysterious reactivation is suddenly explained as Hossa is safely escorted to the Oilers bench amidst much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Detroit contingent. Ah, what it might be like . . .

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#31 Jason Gregor
November 20 2008, 06:15PM
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Boys,

The first reason why they haven't brought up anyone is because they don't have that roster spot. They could have kept SMID on IR, but he had been practicing and when that happens for more than two days, the league can get suspicious that they are HIDING a guy a on the IR.

You wouldn't bring Schremp and play him on the 4th line. Makes no sense. I expect them to call up Brule early next week. They don't play until Wednesday so there would be no point in doing it when Boulerice clears waivers on Saturday.

Jonathon,

As for Stortini, yes they aren't enamoured with him. Detroit is not a team where you need a fighter/hugger so Smid coming in tonight is because Detroit is a soft team. I know they like that Smid will mix it up physically, but whether he can do anything productive remains to be seen.

Stortini has lost his confidence when it comes to fighting. And that is the worst thing that can happen for a fighter. Boulerice was a disappointment because he never once engaged anyone. I couldn't believe he didn't try to at least fight once. He didn't hit anyone, which of course isn't different than most other guys, but he is supposed to be a banger.

I would like to see them call up Brule by next Wednesday, although with Stortini losing his fighting confidence they still might need Boulerice around until MacI comes off the IR in late January.

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#32 baggedmilk
November 20 2008, 06:22PM
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Oh Gregor, you are so wise.

Nice work yesterday with the Stollery show.

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#33 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 07:00PM
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Hey let's get this happening...

PPV Poll Which forward would make the best defenceman? A: Moreau B: Cole C: Brodziak D: Gagner

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#34 baggedmilk
November 20 2008, 07:02PM
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E: Shawn Van Allen

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#35 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 07:02PM
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Craig Simpson on Detroit broadcast?!?!?

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#36 jeanshorts
November 20 2008, 07:04PM
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That DG Traitor!

And I'm going to go with A. Chopper. Because that dude doesn't feel like he's had a good shift unless at least 2 pucks have hit him and 9 different players have eaten boards/ice.

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#37 jeanshorts
November 20 2008, 07:05PM
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uhh. not DG traitor. GD traitor. GD

We need a GD edit function up in this beotch.

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#38 mab47
November 20 2008, 07:07PM
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A. Moreau

he would destroy someone trying to dangle their way through him

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#39 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 07:08PM
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I don't think Gagner can skate backwards ^o)

I agree with Chopper

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#40 jeanshorts
November 20 2008, 07:08PM
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God Damn those are sharp looking uni's. Too bad they're incredibly cursed!

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#41 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 07:08PM
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Nice give away Big Sexy, nice stop by Roli

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#42 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 07:09PM
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I mean Cogs - nice give away...another edit mistake

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#43 baggedmilk
November 20 2008, 07:09PM
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DG is better anyway. I like Dog Gone

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#44 freeze
November 20 2008, 07:10PM
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yikes.

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#45 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 07:10PM
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F*CK

MacT gonna rip someone a new ass

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#46 baggedmilk
November 20 2008, 07:10PM
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Good start boys

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#47 jeanshorts
November 20 2008, 07:11PM
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THAT'S IT. BENCH ERRBODY!

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#48 Hockey Gods
November 20 2008, 07:11PM
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Detroit is making them look my old Pee Wee house team

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#49 BUCK75
November 20 2008, 07:11PM
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Smid playing the cycle like laraque - nice solid shot...

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#50 Hockey Gods
November 20 2008, 07:12PM
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Wow Smid is incredible up front, Monster of the game????

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