Deep Thoughts XIV: Chicken Little is an Oilers fan

Robin Brownlee
October 26 2009 11:48AM

Here in the Heartland of Hockey, the line separating giddy elation from the depths of despair is thinner than a runway fashion model who considers Red Bull and cigarettes a balanced diet.

That line, if you read the comments of Edmonton Oilers fans here and elsewhere, is exactly two games wide. On one side of it, hope abounds, like after last Thursday's 6-4 win over Columbus. Dustin Penner could have been elected mayor and Pat Quinn was a genius for assembling the best first line since Mark Messier had hair in Penner, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky.

On the other side of it, unabashed self-loathing and back-biting that makes an emo kid seem a raving optimist after a pair of weekend losses — 5-2 in Calgary Saturday and 2-0 in Vancouver Sunday. WTF? How could anything suck so bad. Hopes dashed. Time to cut.

It's a line passionate Oilers fans walk so clumsily, it's difficult not to applaud them one second and laugh out loud the next. Don't take my word for it, take a look at the GDB comments here for the past two games. For a generation hooked on instant gratification, what you get is what you've got.

At 6-2-1, Oilers fans were on top of the world. At 6-4-1, Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov have been exposed as clowns, Shawn Horcoff is stealing money from Daryl Katz and Ethan Moreau should have the C ripped off his chest yesterday. Is that about right?

I shudder at the thought of a loss to Colorado Tuesday.

After eleven

I get it there's reason for concern about how the Oilers have played after the last couple of games, notably the realization Grebeshkov and Ten Thumbs Tommy aren't nearly ready for the kind of minutes they've been force-fed with Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios out, but really folks.

Isn't 13 points through 11 games about where you'd expect the Oilers to be? You didn't know that 13 points by Penner, Gagner and Hemsky was a one-shot deal not to be repeated? Or that Gilbert and Grebeshkov, as a pairing, is sketchy at best because neither one can hold his own in the defensive end of the rink when the heat is on? Really?

While we tend to roll our eyes at cliches like, "Don't the highs get too high or the lows get too low," Oilers fans could do themselves a favour by putting down the Pepto-Bismol and heeding that well-worn bit of advice.

  • No, Penner isn't going to score 60 goals this season. No, Horcoff isn't going to struggle like he has offensively through 82 games. He'll get 50-55 points, even with this horrid start. There's a middle ground with both.
  • No, Gilbert shouldn't be traded for a box of tape and a bag of pucks. He isn't this bad. He just isn't as good as those who were fooled by his points totals last season projected him to be.
  • Yes, the loss of Souray and Staios to injuries and the flu-bug that's hit the team has hurt, even if Quinn isn't using it as a crutch. What we've seen the last several games isn't the line-up Quinn has wanted, it's the line-up he's been able to cobble together. That holds true for the wins and the losses.
  • Yes, Patrick O'Sullivan can break a pane of glass with his shot, it just doesn't look that way right now.

The way I see it

  • I've been asked a few times if Gilbert's trade value is being hurt by his performance in the early going. 

    First, I don't have it from anybody that the Oilers are even trying to trade Gilbert, even if I think they should. Second, pro scouting departments of NHL teams don't put nearly as much value in short segments of seasons as fans do. So, while Gilbert hasn't done anything to increase his value, he hasn't plummeted as a commodity, either. 

    Teams that liked Gilbert last season still like him, even with his obvious limitations. Smart staffs aren't fooled by how bad he's been this season just like they weren't fooled by his inflated points totals in 2008-09.
     
  • Gilbert Brule, when he isn't puking his guts out with the flu, is a keeper. If Andrew Cogliano gets moved at some point, Brule will more likely be the reason why than Gagner will be.
  • Had the Oilers done anything on those five-on-three power plays over the weekend we'd probably be talking about a 1-1 split instead of 0-2. Without the threat of Souray on the point, not having Mike Comrie dealing off the half-wall hurt the PP even more.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 RossCreekNation
October 26 2009, 10:41PM
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@Ogden Brother

Indeed.

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#102 Robin Brownlee
October 26 2009, 10:48PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Stephane Yelle anyone?

Can we please resist the urge to bring up names of every waived and otherwise discarded player as possibilities for the Oilers after they get kicked to the curb? That's a couple of sites down the block.

Yelle? Whatever for?

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#103 RossCreekNation
October 26 2009, 11:05PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Can we please resist the urge to bring up names of every waived and otherwise discarded player as possibilities for the Oilers after they get kicked to the curb? That's a couple of sites down the block.

Yelle? Whatever for?

I heard some guy on the radio saying how much it irritated him when people did this.

Totally tongue-in-cheek, meant for you to lambast.

Not sure if I've heard one of them tossed out in the last week or 2... maybe since Shanahan.

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#104 Hax
October 26 2009, 11:29PM
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What bugs me about Horcoff is not the money he is making its the ice he gets. I know he has to take a lot of face offs but he is always the top forward in minutes and just doesn't produce. I'm not only talking about points he just doesn't seem to accomplish much. I guess I expect more from a guy that gets 22mins every game then winning 50-55% of his face offs.

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#105 Dustin Terpstra
October 27 2009, 02:06AM
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Dennis wrote:

"Mouthed off?

Listen, you'll probably edit and/or delete this before anyone has a chance to read that and that's fine:) I just figured I'd let you know one last time that your bully boy act doesn't scare me.

You only wanna retort or allow comment to folks that will cow tow to you and that's never going to be me in any forum. My idea is that you have a bias against Gilbert and will always make a point to say he isn't that good and I really don't see what you can base that on.

Now, this is your message and if you think it's fine to control the responses, well, then you're thin skinned and your approach is archaic.

One of these days someone else will tire of you and you'll have to go down this same road again of being afraid of a fair debate.

In the meantime, remember me well:)

Have a good one:)

:)

This guy is just to ridiculous to argue with.... Right RB is to thin skinned and doesn't know what he is talking about I mean he's only been a writer for 25+ years (I'm truly sorry for having to point this out RB)and knows more about the sport and this team than pretty much everyone else on this site put together.

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#106 Reagan
October 27 2009, 07:00AM
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I was really looking forward to a good weekend of Edmonton Sports.

First the Eskimos ill fated walk into Calgary once agian not prepared and willing to win, If it wasn't for the Esks Defence that game would have been a lot worse. Why NOT pull Rickey Ray in the Second or Third?

Then Saturday's monolithic Calgary spanks the crap out of the infested Oilers on National TV. Could Calgary get any cheaper with repeated non-calls on Cross Checks? When JF Jacques took the second cross check from behind from Sjostrom (can't spell), while already battling another Calgary Flame, I lost all respect I had for the Flames. Can't one guy fight his own battles anymore? Weak...

As we rolled into Sunday, I was so very close to packing in a dissappointing two previous games and hit the hay early. But being the die hard Edmonton Fan of both teams, I pushed on to watch the depleated, and downed Oilers as they tried to show up agian Vancouver. How many 5 on 3 powerplays wasted this weekend? WTF? Too much hesitation and fancy plays on the blue line. WTF... How many shot not on net?. WTF... Only a handful of Oilers actually showed up. When Dustin Penner, and Jason Strudwick are the only two guys I noticed as having strong games, there was something wrong this weekend. Nice to see Brule back. However it was "evidently clear" (holy crap, just heard Jason Gregors voice in my head there)that Robert Nillson isn't that great and should light a fire under his butt while he is actually getting playing time...

Anyways, wow I don't think I have ever ranted this much here ever but, Here's to those lovely tickets I have to tonights "Debacle of Monumental Proportions..."

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#108 Ogden Brother
October 27 2009, 08:14AM
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Hax wrote:

What bugs me about Horcoff is not the money he is making its the ice he gets. I know he has to take a lot of face offs but he is always the top forward in minutes and just doesn't produce. I'm not only talking about points he just doesn't seem to accomplish much. I guess I expect more from a guy that gets 22mins every game then winning 50-55% of his face offs.

2 guys with what? 75 combined years of NHL experience both put him on the ice for a pile of minutes.

Think theirs a reason for that?

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#109 Hemmercules
October 27 2009, 08:26AM
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@Ogden Brother

The money Horc makes will forever be a black eye for alot of fans. He will be under heat until he hits a carrer high in points and is 60% minimum on the dot.

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#110 smiliegirl15
October 27 2009, 09:04AM
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While the two losses over the weekend were tough to swallow, the fact the Oilers have been deathly ill with the flu is a legitimate reason for them. We're essentially short an entire line. Some people need to get a grip. It's two games people, not the end of the world. Once they are healthy again, I imagine we will be back to our winning ways.

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#111 Milli
October 27 2009, 09:07AM
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It was a pretty disappointing weekend. But, with the injuries and flu, seemed like it had to catch up eventually. I was really shocked how many times Gilbert was exposed, I was definitly one who thought he was way better than what he has showed. But, these guys have a lot of minutes to eat up in Souray and Staios's absence. The Vancouver game really showed, most everyone looked dog tired. Good thing we came out of the gate strong, able to handle a few tough games, regroup and kick Colarado's @ss tonight.

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#112 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 27 2009, 09:25AM
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AlbertaRanger wrote:

Robin, I beg to differ. This isn't Vancouver where fans randomly call radio sports shows demanding that Roberto Luongo's head to be on a plate when he has two bad games. And this isn't Toronto where everyone, and I mean everyone in TO, thinks they are going to win the Stanley Cup every September. Fans of the copper and blue are much better than that.

All I've heard that's negative in Edmonton from fans is the Horcoff talk. Horcoff isn't scoring, Horcoff should play on the fourth line, Horcoff should take a pay cut, blah, blah, blah... They have every right to feel that way after both parties inked that hefty contract.

As for that over-the-top hope, why not? You have to admit, for the first time since Ryan Smyth left town, this team now has a solid first line with the resurgence of Dustin Penner. Now, we just need a nurse.

And I promise I won't infringe on the trademark ever again, but how do I invest in GBP Inc.? I want to be a shareholder.

Besides the chat, I still love what you have to say, Robin.

Well when you have guys calling in asking what we should get for Hemsky, I would say that is close to Vancouver wanted Roberto head on a playe.

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#113 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 27 2009, 09:30AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Can we please resist the urge to bring up names of every waived and otherwise discarded player as possibilities for the Oilers after they get kicked to the curb? That's a couple of sites down the block.

Yelle? Whatever for?

While I agree that Peverley character sure would've been a great pickup of waivers last year.

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#114 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 27 2009, 09:33AM
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Side note. What is with Chase and Nielsen? Their arguement about Crosby was more two guys just picking a side and arguing because they don't like each other.

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#115 Prop Jay
October 27 2009, 09:38AM
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@bingofuel.

Is oilersnation going to update that RSS feed anytime soon? OR have you guys already?

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#116 Rogue
October 27 2009, 10:05AM
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What really burned my crotch was Horcoff last year saying how he got the big bucks for all the "intangibles" he brings. Right. Then do the intangibles. If you are struggling offensively, then be responsible defensively. Help the team! Dont ask for the big bucks if you dont want to have a target on your head. Pay me the money he is getting and I would at least take responsibility for my game, not make excuses and sniffle about it.On the other hand, the Oil were stupid enough to give it to him.

It is also obvious what Souray and yes, maybe even Staios brings to this team. We obviously need a tough, big, stay at home dman to back up Souray and not over work him. The Chinese Fire drill we have with Grebs and Gil is getting toooo painfull to watch anymore. Is Peckham the answer? Maybe not yet. But one of those 2 guys have to go.....preferably Gilbert.

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#117 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
October 27 2009, 10:12AM
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They're reporting over at The Bleacher Report that the Oil might be talking to Montreal re: the brothers Kotstitsyn. Any word on that, Brownlee?

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#118 MattL
October 27 2009, 10:24AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Dude...

... Comrie had 27 points last year, Afinogenov had 20 points last year and Betts had 10 points last year.

He meant combined, obviously.

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#119 RIchard Zeng
October 27 2009, 10:47AM
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Dustin Terpstra wrote:

This guy is just to ridiculous to argue with.... Right RB is to thin skinned and doesn't know what he is talking about I mean he's only been a writer for 25+ years (I'm truly sorry for having to point this out RB)and knows more about the sport and this team than pretty much everyone else on this site put together.

But but but....Dennis is good with stats and watches every game from his parent's basement without enjoying one second of each game because he has to keep track of those precious stats!!!

Why doesn't the world understand his geniusssssssssss?!?!?!?!!?

Lowetide and his cronies RULEEEEEE!!!! :)

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#120 socaldave
October 27 2009, 11:48AM
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smiliegirl15 wrote:

While the two losses over the weekend were tough to swallow, the fact the Oilers have been deathly ill with the flu is a legitimate reason for them. We're essentially short an entire line. Some people need to get a grip. It's two games people, not the end of the world. Once they are healthy again, I imagine we will be back to our winning ways.

this!

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#121 bingofuel
October 27 2009, 11:56AM
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@Prop Jay

already have:

http://oilersnation.com/feed

We'll have RSS subscribe buttons soon as well... It's all coming, I promise!

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#122 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 27 2009, 11:58AM
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Hemmercules wrote:

The money Horc makes will forever be a black eye for alot of fans. He will be under heat until he hits a carrer high in points and is 60% minimum on the dot.

shouldnt the heat be on klowe for giving out the deal?

what is horcoff supposed to say when he is offered that? "im not worth that, lets drop it down 1mil per, that sounds more reasonable"???

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#123 cambosmash
October 27 2009, 11:59AM
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Does anyone have a link to the Team1260 Afternoon Delight Penner's 5 point night song?

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#124 Librarian Mike
October 27 2009, 01:07PM
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cambosmash wrote:

Does anyone have a link to the Team1260 Afternoon Delight Penner's 5 point night song?

They seriously did that? ~See, Robin. We don't overreact to the fortunes of our team.~

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#125 Robin Brownlee
October 27 2009, 01:42PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

They're reporting over at The Bleacher Report that the Oil might be talking to Montreal re: the brothers Kotstitsyn. Any word on that, Brownlee?

Here's part of that report from BR: "The other frame of thought is that Gagner has some experience playing with Sergei Kostitsyn, when the two formed a line with Patrick Kane for the London Knights of the OHL.

At that time, Kostitsyn was an alternate captain and didn't carry the reputation he seems to have built for himself in the NHL.

Some are suggesting that perhaps reuniting Sergei and Sam could make Sergei Kostitsyn a more valuable pick-up at the right deal, while Andrei has proven to be a more reliable and valuable player and goal scorer."

It's interesting (and vague) speculation, but when you're guessing you can offer up anything you want or draw inferences from a prolonged visit by KP.

For fun, let me add to it . . . Pat Quinn kept reporters waiting for more than 30 minutes after the morning skate today. He apologized, for being so late, saying they had, among other things, some roster decisions to make.

One of the last players out of the dressing room today was Gagner. He came down the back tunnel just minutes before Quinn. Coincidence? Was Gagner in with Quinn giving him the low-down on Kostitsyn? Makes sense, right? They played together. So, this one has legs?

Well, not necessarily. With one phone call I was told Gagner was not in with Quinn. No connection.

I guess the point is the Oilers might be keeping tabs on the Habs. It's not normal for somebody like KP to be in one spot that long. Of course, he's from the Montreal area, so . . .

I haven't heard from anybody in the know that the teams are talking, but I wouldn't say with confidence there isn't something going on. And what about the Laraque connection? He fits Quinn's philosophy of having a tough guy who can play at least some minutes, no? All this is a long-winded way of saying I'm not sure. Rest assured, though, I'll be keeping tabs.

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#126 Oil Fever
October 27 2009, 02:24PM
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quicksilver ballet wrote:

Could someone please pass the syrup and whipped cream, this must be the worlds largest waffle on our plate here.

bbwwwhhaaahahahahahah!!! No freakin kidding!!!

PS Noscoroff STILL sux!!!

It not ONLY about his salary!

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#127 The Fish
October 27 2009, 02:50PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You already mouthed off about this once when I said Gilbert wouldn't hit 40 points this season. You said I was hedging my bets because of his slow start. I'll go one better. I don't see Gilbert reaching 45 points again in his career. That was a one-shot deal. That's what I mean by people being fooled. He wasn't, and isn't, as good as his numbers made him appear.

One other thing: if I have to waste my time editing out even one more of those stupid smiley faces you put in your comments, the whole comment goes. Got it?

Brownlee, you must have a real issue with ole Denny boy here because that was quite rude in my opinion.

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#128 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 27 2009, 03:12PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I seriously can't see who Montreal is willing to give up who we'd want. The Tits brothers seem to be a project. Andrei is a 3.25 cap hit and is roughly a 40 point player. Sergei seems to have head problems, don't exactly need someone that fights with the stars of our team.

Laraque? I wouldn't even call him a fighter anymore. Don't see what he would bring that would make us drop someone from our lineup for him.

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#129 PropJay
October 27 2009, 03:30PM
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@bingofuel

Thanks homie, I have had to actually press a button, click a link and then scroll for weeks.

Its been rough.

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#130 Prop Jay
October 27 2009, 03:31PM
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@bingofuel

Thanks homie, I have had to actually press a button, click a link and then scroll for weeks.

Its been rough.

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#131 DonovanMD
October 27 2009, 04:13PM
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The guy in the picture on the front cover of that book sure looks like Souray...

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#132 Robin Brownlee
October 27 2009, 05:03PM
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@The Fish

Yes. Yes I did. But not anymore.

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#133 Robin Brownlee
October 27 2009, 05:10PM
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I agree if, as the speculation goes, the target is the Kostitsyn brothers. Why?

I'd take Plekanec in a heartbeat . . . as for Georges, he's tight with Katz. And, in fairness, he'd be an upgrade over MacIntyre and would fit the bill as a tough guy who can play 6-8 minutes.

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#134 RossCreekNation
October 27 2009, 05:26PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Josh Gorges wouldn't interest anyone? Why not?!

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#135 MrOiler
October 27 2009, 06:59PM
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Has anyone else noticed that calling Oiler fans "passionate" is the same as calling them emotional, reactionary, or ledge-jumpers?

They seem like the guy with the brain injury who has no memory beyond the last 60 seconds. It's a long season folks. We're doing very good for a team with a new coaching staff.

p.s. - Some perspective: for the last Leafs cup win in 1967, the team didn't win a game in their first ten.

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