GDB 47: One Samwise short of a Fellowship

Jason Gregor
January 27 2009 12:00PM

Sam Gagner will not play tonight, and looks to be out 10-14 days, which means some line juggling.

With Gagner’s ankle still bothering him, Craig MacTavish could have put Liam Reddox in his place, but thankfully he moved Cogliano in the middle of Nilsson and Cole. The lines will be as follows tonight:

27 - 10 - 83

12 - 13 - 26

18 - 78 - 85

43 - 51 - 33

It does look like Stortini will be available to play Friday against the Wild. He still needs a few more practices according to MacTavish and then he should be ready to go. Local 2006 Hero Fernando Pisani is still a few weeks away until he is ready. He’s having some discomfort skating, so the pain needs to subside before he can go full out.

Gagner wrenched his ankle in their last game against Columbus and he did have some treatment on Wednesday before he left for the all-star break, but his ankle hasn't responded and he underwent an MRI yesterday.

He had been playing with the wonky ankle for some time, and according to his coach it has affected his game.

“Greatly, I think. Probably more than he would admit. You see it behind the bench that he comes off normally once or twice a game with a pain inhibition, where he tries to make a move and you get that shooting pain up your leg and it just stops you."

Gagner hurt the ankle in practice in mid-November and has been taping it up every since.

“There is nothing torn, so it is nothing long term or serious. Sometimes it gives out skating, but mostly going into battles is where I feel it, when I have to plant down on the foot,” said Gagner.

“Going into last game it was a matter of going into that game and then getting some rest over the break, but I hurt it twice in that game and now I just need to rest it.”

With Stortini eligible to play by Friday, don’t expect a call-up.

Dwayne Roloson will start tonight, and you wonder when Deslauriers will get a start.

“I thought about possibly today, but decided against it,” said MacTavish. “There was some serious consideration in playing him today. Sometimes you can over-think these things a little bit. Maybe the most important is to go with Roli while he’s playing as well as he is. I don’t want to get into a case where I out-think myself. The situation will present itself and it will be a bit more obvious than it is today.”

For me the obvious case is to play Deslauriers on Friday versus the Wild. Minnesota has owned Roloson and the Oilers the past two years, so give the kid a shot against them and also then he is sitting out to long.

And lastly, JF Jacques is skating pain-free and will be assigned to Springfield around Feb. 5. That way he would be eligible to play in eight games on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th. After he is recalled, the Oilers will have to make a decision on him, since he will either have to clear waivers or stay with the Oilers.

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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 swany
January 27 2009, 12:08PM
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It say on the Oilers site that Storts is playing tonight

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#2 CurtisS
January 27 2009, 12:10PM
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Sweet thanks.

Sure wish this medical staff could decide on things alittle sooner. Too many times this season players end up missing more time than they should.

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#3 sitting_at_my_desk
January 27 2009, 12:20PM
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i think brodziak should be on the 3-line,or even called up Brule, who cares about the 160 games, if hes consistent he will stay up here....Reddox looks like my 13 year old cousin i wonder at what time the RS lovers will be coming out calling for him? RS sucks!!!!!,he can't skate

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#4 BUCK75
January 27 2009, 12:21PM
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I think it's ridiculous NOT to start JDD. Playing an eastern conference team it should be the perfect opportunity. I guess MacT wants to try & keep their momentum?

@ Gregor: Honestly with us sniffing around a play-off spot how much do you think JDD will play the rest of the season? I know they are trying to develop a goaltender, but they need wins to maintain a play-off spot. They should play him in the 6 or 7 games they have against the east at the very least IMO.

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#5 Colin
January 27 2009, 12:29PM
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Best title ever.

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#6 swany
January 27 2009, 12:30PM
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sitting_at_my_desk wrote:

i think brodziak should be on the 3-line,or even called up Brule, who cares about the 160 games, if hes consistent he will stay up here….Reddox looks like my 13 year old cousin i wonder at what time the RS lovers will be coming out calling for him? RS sucks!!!!!,he can’t skate

On HF they are already there.

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#7 Jason Gregor
January 27 2009, 12:54PM
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swany wrote:

It say on the Oilers site that Storts is playing tonight

MacT said quote on Stortini "Not too much longer for him before he is ready to play. Not ready yet, but he will need a few practices to get up to speed before he is available."

Stortini did skate with Brodziak and Strudwick lots this morning, but unless MacTavish lied to us I will take his word that 46 won't play tonight. IF he does play, then I think it's hilarious that a coach is hiding who will be on his 4th line.

The people at the Oiler's website people were not running MacT's press conference clearly.

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#8 rindog
January 27 2009, 12:56PM
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@ BUCK75:

He better play alot otherwise the Garon trade looks even worse.

Gregor,

Have you ever (or can you) asked what the Oilers plans for Brule are?

Why did they trade away a definite NHL player if they don't think Brule is ready?

Are they prepared to let him sit in the minors because they are scared he will have to clear waivers after 160 games?

Won't they be in the exact same situation next year after he plays a couple of NHL games?

Do they really need to see anymore of him at the AHL level to know what he brings?

Speaking of which - doesn't he bring more to every game than Liam Reddox does?

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#9 Jason Gregor
January 27 2009, 12:59PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

Honestly with us sniffing around a play-off spot how much do you think JDD will play the rest of the season? I know they are trying to develop a goaltender, but they need wins to maintain a play-off spot. They should play him in the 6 or 7 games they have against the east at the very least IMO.

He will play in at least five because of back-to-back scenarios. As for playing him v. East instead of West that makes sense due to not being four point games, but with four of them being four in a row I don't see that happening. I still say he will get 11-14 games, depending on how well he plays.

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#10 Jason Gregor
January 27 2009, 01:04PM
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rindog wrote:

Why did they trade away a definite NHL player if they don’t think Brule is ready? Are they prepared to let him sit in the minors because they are scared he will have to clear waivers after 160 games? Won’t they be in the exact same situation next year after he plays a couple of NHL games? Do they really need to see anymore of him at the AHL level to know what he brings? Speaking of which - doesn’t he bring more to every game than Liam Reddox does?

If Gagner is healthy Brule/Reddox are on the 4th line. I don't see how playing him 6 or 7 minutes a night benefits him at this point.

They still want him to think offensively, and he wouldn't do that in a 4th line role here. I'm know the waivers play a role in the decision, but it isn't the main one.

The more I watch Reddox I see is value as a role player/checker. I don't see him as a long term fix, and he is an easy player to replace, but watch him drive to the net more than most of the other guys on this team. Those little things matter.

Not having Brule here doesn't stunt his growth in my opinion, because they see him as a higher end forward than Reddox ever will, so it is better for him to play that way.

Of course he brings more than Reddox, but 6 or 7 minutes a night doesn't do him any good right now. And playing him in two games and then have him sit when Pisani and Stortini return makes even less sense don't you think???

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#11 Jason Gregor
January 27 2009, 01:08PM
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swany wrote:

On HF they are already there.

I bet you it is led by that Bryan Oil guy...Seriously he is in love with Schremp to the point I think he has a man crush on him. He actually believes Schremp can be a differnce maker in the NHL. Isn't Schremp a left winger? So he would have to play ahead of Penner, Nilsson and Moreau. Is he better than any of them?

I like Schremp as a guy, great to talk to and I hope he makes it, but he needs to get stronger and work on his skating. Until that happens he won't be a regular here. Case closed.

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#12 Jason Gregor
January 27 2009, 01:15PM
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EDITOR NOTE****

"I'm going to run your nephew" Eric Cole jokingly giving it to long time trainer Barry Stafford. Drew Stafford will play his first game in Edmonton tonight.

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#13 BUCK75
January 27 2009, 01:46PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

EDITOR NOTE**** “I’m going to run your nephew” Eric Cole jokingly giving it to long time trainer Barry Stafford. Drew Stafford will play his first game in Edmonton tonight.

Too bad Stafford wasn't around @ 25 in 2004. Then all the talk of Schremp would be DONE!!!

:D

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#14 rindog
January 27 2009, 01:47PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

I can appreciate what you are saying about where he fits in our line-up, but…

when is he ever going to fit? When we traded Torres (who was on our 2nd or 3rd line) we must have had some kind of plan for Brule??

Our top 7 offensive spots were pretty much set in stone going into this year and probably won't change going into next year (with the exception of Cole possibly leaving).

Brule is going to have start out on the 3rd or 4th line and earn his icetime on the top two lines at some point (don't you think)?

The organization has had plenty of chances to try Brule in an offensive role this year (with injuries and poor play from others), yet they chose not to?

What negative affect will it have on Brule to play a limited role in the NHL as opposed to playing for an AHL coach in the minors?

We are not talking about a raw rookie. We are talking about a guy who has played over 150 games in the NHL (more than Pouliot and Reddox combined) and probably won't learn anything more in the AHL .

As far as Reddox and Pouliot go - I am sure Brule can play ahead of those two and could therefore center Pisani and Moreau (if he has to be on the 3rd line). Or could play a more threatening 3rd line role with Pisani and Cogs. Maybe something like this:

27 10 83 12 89 26 67 13 34 18 51 33/46/78

I guess my real concern is that things don't look like they are going to get any better for Brule (in terms of offensive spots) going forward, unless we make a 3 for 1 deal with some of our top 7 offensive players. So, when is Brule going to get his chance?

I hope we didn't trade away a servicable (and effective) guy in Torres for a guy we plan to keep in the minors for years to come?

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#15 Ducey
January 27 2009, 02:11PM
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"What negative affect will it have on Brule to play a limited role in the NHL as opposed to playing for an AHL coach in the minors?

We are not talking about a raw rookie. We are talking about a guy who has played over 150 games in the NHL (more than Pouliot and Reddox combined) and probably won’t learn anything more in the AHL ."

Brule was rushed so those 150 games were not very useful. Is Steve Stamkos learning anything getting schooled every night he is not a HS?

Because GB was rushed his confidence was impacted and he played a lot in 4 line roles when you want him to be top 6 guy.

Giving him the extra game or two and then being forced to keep him for the year would be a continuation of the mistake Columbus made. Keep him down on farm and let him play PP, top line mintues and PK. This is what he needs to develop.

As for goaltending, if your #1 is rested, you play him. Period.

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#16 mwhite.dking@nf.sympatico.ca
January 27 2009, 02:13PM
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Are there enough soft spots for JDD to land in order to play 10-12 games? I haven't looked ahead at the sked that much in-depth but maybe we should just play him in games against tough opp when we're most likely to lose in any case.

I'm a bit surprised that more people aren't worried that this kid is our back-up and that the incumbant is close to 40 years old.

The kid doesn't have the pedigree to inspire trust.

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#17 swany
January 27 2009, 02:23PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

swany wrote: On HF they are already there. I bet you it is led by that Bryan Oil guy…Seriously he is in love with Schremp to the point I think he has a man crush on him. He actually believes Schremp can be a differnce maker in the NHL. Isn’t Schremp a left winger? So he would have to play ahead of Penner, Nilsson and Moreau. Is he better than any of them? I like Schremp as a guy, great to talk to and I hope he makes it, but he needs to get stronger and work on his skating. Until that happens he won’t be a regular here. Case closed.

I think you could see Nilsson and Schremp packaged up at the deadline for another player, Schremp will never play here and Nilsson while he has skill, just doesn't get it.

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#18 rindog
January 27 2009, 02:24PM
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@ Ducey:

Fair enough, but I don't see how playing on the PP in the AHL is going to do anything for his confidence at the NHL level.

And I still don't see how his role is going to change going into next year.

Both Pouliot and Reddox have played 4th line minutes and have earned shots on the top lines (in the coach's eyes anyway) and that situation should be afforded to Brule as well.

From what I can tell, Brule has done everything asked of him at when he has been called up this year and has shown more than the aforementioned Pouliot and Reddox.

I agree that there is fine line between rushing young players,etc.

I am not sure we are talking about the same kind of risks when we are talking about a guy like Brule (at this point in his development)??

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#19 Ender the Dragon
January 27 2009, 02:37PM
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Ducey wrote:

As for goaltending, if your #1 is rested, you play him. Period.

Amen. If Roli can't go for whatever reason, then and only then you take JDD aside and ask him to step up and be the man. And then you cross your fingers and pray that he becomes the next Cam Ward. There is little point in sitting the better guy and risking two points (or even one) on development at this stage in the game. JDD is your emergency chute, and while it can save your life, you don't pull that second cord unless your main chute didn't open. Pulling the second ripcord for kicks and giggles is asking for trouble.

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#20 jeanshorts
January 27 2009, 02:48PM
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rindog wrote:

From what I can tell, Brule has done everything asked of him at when he has been called up this year and has shown more than the aforementioned Pouliot and Reddox.

I think you are still missing the point here. No one is arguing that either of those guys are better than Brule, they just aren't. But they are up to here to play a plugger role. Crash and bang along the boards and go face first at the net. Putting Brule in to play that kind of game would just be a waste for everybody. It's the same thing as when Cole was on the third line, playing with guys who are pretty much only out there to muck in the corners and play physical. I think next training camp is really going to tell the story as to where Brule lies within the system, depending on how the lineup looks next September of course.

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#21 The Towel Boy
January 27 2009, 02:51PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

Pulling the second ripcord for kicks and giggles is asking for trouble.

So is sitting down to drop a deuce w/o 1st checking the the t.p. supply.

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#22 MattL
January 27 2009, 02:55PM
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rindog wrote:

I hope we didn’t trade away a servicable (and effective) guy in Torres for a guy we plan to keep in the minors for years to come?

Yeah, that's exactly what they did, because they're obviously brain-dead.

I think part of the Torres trade was addition by subtraction, getting rid of a head-case whose inconsistency wasn't doing the team any favours. If Brule hadn't been mis-managed by CBJ, he WOULDN'T have more NHL games than Reddox and Pouliot. Obviously forcing the guy into a league where he wasn't ready to produce top-line numbers was a bad move in this case, and now the Oil are developing him their way, which means playing him in an offensive role where he can be successful, which starts in the AHL. Lots of top-line calibre NHL players did their time in the AHL. Players in Detroit and L.A. come to mind...

Brule's obviously got most of the tools, but, like Schremp, needs to hone some of them to fit in at the NHL level. At least Brule can skate and keep up physically. I don't think it will be more than a year before Brule fits in the NHL permanently, here or somewhere else.

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#23 Jason Gregor
January 27 2009, 03:12PM
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The Oilers just activated Stortini from the IR, which makes one think he might play tonight. If he doesn't play I don't see why they activated him today, because they could have waited until Friday to do it and save a bit of money against the cap.

This move gives the impression he will play tonight, which once again makes me wonder why MacT would claim just a few hours ago that Stortini needs more practice time before playing. Does it make that much of a difference if Buffalo doesn't know if Stortini or MacIntyre will be on the 4th line? I'm pretty sure that is not the line they are concerned with.

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#24 Chris R
January 27 2009, 03:13PM
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@ jeanshorts:

HEY! You're not allowed to post here anymore! Get out of here.

Now apologize, I won't accept it and then never talk to you again.

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#25 The Towel Boy
January 27 2009, 03:16PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

The Oilers just activated Stortini from the IR, which makes one think he might play tonight. If he doesn’t play I don’t see why they activated him today, because they could have waited until Friday to do it and save a bit of money against the cap. This move gives the impression he will play tonight, which once again makes me wonder why MacT would claim just a few hours ago that Stortini needs more practice time before playing. Does it make that much of a difference if Buffalo doesn’t know if Stortini or MacIntyre will be on the 4th line? I’m pretty sure that is not the line they are concerned with.

OR!...he's been traded! Dunn DUNNN DUNNNNNN!

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#26 The Towel Boy's hindsight
January 27 2009, 03:17PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

OR!…he’s been traded! Dunn DUNNN DUNNNNNN!

...you mook...who would want him?

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#27 Ender the Dragon
January 27 2009, 03:30PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Does it make that much of a difference if Buffalo doesn’t know if Stortini or MacIntyre will be on the 4th line? I’m pretty sure that is not the line they are concerned with.

Just trying to guess here, but maybe the Oil found out that Andrew Peters draws in tonight and decided to sit Strudwick in order to dress both Huggy-Bear and SMacAttack. Having both big guns in your line-up sure hobbles your offensive depth, but you can be damn sure no one touches Hemsky with both of those guys looking for heads all night.

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#28 Jamie
January 27 2009, 03:39PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

Just trying to guess here, but maybe the Oil found out that Andrew Peters draws in tonight and decided to sit Strudwick in order to dress both Huggy-Bear and SMacAttack. Having both big guns in your line-up sure hobbles your offensive depth, but you can be damn sure no one touches Hemsky with both of those guys looking for heads all night.

I hope so. The only thing I can remember about the last Sabres game I went to at Rexall is Jay McKee sticking the knee out on Hemsky and Gator having to go after him. That, and we lost.

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#29 mwhite.dking@nf.sympatico.ca
January 27 2009, 04:06PM
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Looking at those lines, one thing comes to mind:

What has 78 done to anger God?

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#30 rindog
January 27 2009, 04:26PM
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@ mwhite.dking@nf.sympatico.ca:

I think you answered your own question.

What has he done??????

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#31 Sing A Song For SingSing
January 27 2009, 04:43PM
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Man that bottom 6 looks WEAK.

Get a nice boost when Pisser comes back with Morea-Pouliot-Pisani then relegate the 4th line exclusively to the young junkyard dogs.

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#32 Smokin' Ray
January 27 2009, 04:45PM
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GANE DAY!!!

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#33 Smokin' Ray
January 27 2009, 04:46PM
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Edit button please!!!

GAME DAY!!!

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#34 Smokin' Ray
January 27 2009, 04:48PM
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And while your at it. Can I have my name in Orange? Because Orange is cool!

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#35 Wanye Gretz
January 27 2009, 05:05PM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

GANE DAY!!!

If the Oilers win tonight I will refer to GANE Day for a whole month. Don't jinx the potential good luck

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#36 Jason Gregor
January 27 2009, 05:43PM
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Just recieved a message from the Oilers, specifically Craig MacTavish and he apologized for misleading about Stortini. Stortini will in fact be playing tonight.

I screw up lots, so I appreciate when someone fesses up. So there you have it, Stortini is in.

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#37 Smokin' Ray
January 27 2009, 06:11PM
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yeah... but who's out then?

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#38 RLH
January 27 2009, 06:58PM
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Drop the puck already! I'm already stacking up the dead soldiers!

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#39 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
January 27 2009, 07:04PM
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does anybody have the link to the live stream?

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#40 Smokin' Ray
January 27 2009, 07:09PM
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What???? They scored already?

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#41 RLH
January 27 2009, 07:10PM
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Cole, you need to keep your mouth shut.

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#42 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
January 27 2009, 07:10PM
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ohhhh good god.

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#43 RLH
January 27 2009, 07:12PM
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SMac is the healthy scratch.

Good God! What happened to our team?!

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#44 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
January 27 2009, 07:13PM
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we are 10 kinds of f-ing screwed.

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#45 Marchantfan
January 27 2009, 07:13PM
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Jason: injuries don't save cap space; they simply allow you to exceed the cap by the injured player's cap hit while they are injured. Having a player on IR doesn't create cap space.

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#46 greenlightning86
January 27 2009, 07:17PM
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@ Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer:

http://www.atdhe.net/

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#47 R-DAWG
January 27 2009, 07:18PM
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I hope I don't hurt anything jumping off the playoff bandwagon

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#48 Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer
January 27 2009, 07:20PM
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Hey greenlight, could I get the full link? My work has the atdhe.net website blocked.

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#49 R-DAWG
January 27 2009, 07:20PM
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R-DAWG wrote:

I hope I don’t hurt anything jumping off the playoff bandwagon

Maybe I'll just ghost ride the thing!

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#50 David S
January 27 2009, 07:21PM
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I motion that the word "steady" when applied to Steve Staios be replaced by the word "stupid".

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