Post Game: Edmonton vs. Detroit - Getting Down Off The Ledge

Jonathan Willis
October 29 2009 11:51PM

Edmonton Oilers: 6

Detroit Red Wings: 5

What a game. 

The saying says that all's well that ends well, and by that standard the Oilers came out okay.  A five-to-one lead blown, and then a shootout victory on the back of Nikolai Khabibulin's three saves and Patrick O'Sullivan's goal.  Also, on the back of a great offensive game from the new top line of Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff.

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Dustin Penner.  Once again, Penner was the straw that stirred the drink offensively for the Oilers; not just charging the net and making life difficult in the offensive zone, but also carrying the puck and making plays. 

2. Shawn Horcoff.  I thought Horcoff had a decent game against Colorado, and he put it all together tonight.  Played a strong two-way game and was rewarded with three points on the night.

3. Ales Hemsky.  It's tempting to bump Hemsky ahead of Horcoff, but unlike the first two players he disappeared a bit (by my eye, anyway) in the last half of the game and lost more than one puck battle.  Still one of the Oilers better players on the night.

Random Thoughts

  • There was a point in the game where Denis Grebeshkov was in the penalty box and Tom Gilbert was in the dressing room dealing with an equipment issue, and all I could think of was that Ladislav Smid was the only real NHL defenceman available to the coaching staff.  It was a recurring theme throughout the night actually; Strudwick was repeatedly embarrassed by Detroit's high-end players, Chorney was shakey (although that Zetterberg goal was just bad luck) and one of my favourite prospects, Theo Peckham, looked out of his depth.  This will continue until Visnovsky, Souray and Staios are back in the lineup.
  • Gilbert Brule's a heck of a player.  I was critical of him in the preseason, but he's been getting a truck-load of defensive zone draws and he's done very well.  The scoring probably won't continue, but I think he's a bonafide NHL'er.  On a slightly different note, did anyone else think that his hit on Filpulla could have been a boarding penalty?
  • Sam Gagner looked like he was yapping all night, especially after getting tangled up with Brad Stuart.  Maybe that was part of the reason for his line's miserable play (a combined -9 on the night, by the way) or maybe it was just that this line was more suited to Craig MacTavish's stringent line matching where they got a little more shelter.  Regardless, none of the three looked good.
  • Speaking of MacTavish, the ex-coach showed class on the TSN broadcast tonight, admitting that part of Penner's problem last season was the way he used him.  He's brilliant as an analyst, and TSN's crew (Bob McKenzie and James Duthie on the panel, Ray Ferraro and Chris Cuthbert doing colour and play by play) did a great job, as they usually do.  It's night and day from the Sportsnet crew; particularly in the comparison between McKenzie/MacTavish and Kypreos/MacLean.  It's a shame TSN doesn't broadcast all the games.
  • Finally - and this is completely unrelated - great episode of The Office tonight.  I can't help but pass along this video, despite the fact that it's somewhat cringe-inducing: 

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 jayoilfan
October 30 2009, 09:23AM
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@pajamah

Sorry, but it is 'rapier wit'. And If JW wants to use 'razor wit', that works too.

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#52 dragon
October 30 2009, 09:27AM
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Tombo wrote:

Horcoff's contract is by no means a bargain so far this year, but at a 5.5 mil cap hit he's far from being the worst contract in the NHL. Particularily if he puts up 55 pts or so, which he still may do.

I'm not trying to defend the guy, he's been awful so far with the exception of a couple of games. But people need to stop acting as though he's the worst contract in the league, it's not like we're shelling out over 7 mil for Brian Campbell for the next seven years.

good point. on the same note: there are worst situations than overpaying a guy that works his hart out every night. game last night: I can't remember when we had 4 up on the Wings. :-) I loved it. Even though anybody knew it will not end like that. Wings start to show some desperation - too much for our band-aided defense. Fun game!

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#53 dragon
October 30 2009, 09:33AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

For everyone confused about my thoughts on Gilbert Brule this season:

Selected quotes, all from the article above:

"Gilbert Brule's a heck of a player."

"[H]e's been getting a truck-load of defensive zone draws and he's done very well."

"I think he's a bonafide NHL'er."

Seriously. Gosh, could I go a little easier on the guy? Do you think I hurt his feelings?

But I suppose suggesting he won't keep up his near point-per-game scoring pace is taboo. And around the 40-game mark, while he's carrying around a less than stellar +/- and not chipping in a ton of offence, I'm going to be complimenting his team worst 34.8% offensive start rate. Of course, just like when I praise Horcoff for the same thing, it'll probably fall on deaf ears.

We are so used to roller-coaster rides, we Oil fans. nonetheless, we have new coaching staff. main duty of coaching staff to get the players to, and maintain them at a relative good form. case in point: Penner, Brule, even Cogs, Stone (look fwd to see what he does when he gets back - same for Comrie). I'll bet by game 40 a lot of people will be surprised by how well the Oil have done... Let's keep drinking that 1/2 full glass (of Koolaid? ha, ha, ha)

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#54 Reagan
October 30 2009, 09:33AM
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I don't question Horcoffs Skill. I question is poor judgement, and timing judgement. He is always two seconds late for everything. He's the quickest guy I know that can rush up or down the ice and always be late. What drives me insane is those fancy moves he make within ten feet of clearing the Oilers zone, and he turns the puck over. I can't count on how many times on the right side breakout I have seen that...

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#55 Wtfdude
October 30 2009, 09:33AM
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JW, way to keep it composed and classy.

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#56 dragosn
October 30 2009, 09:37AM
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Reagan wrote:

I don't question Horcoffs Skill. I question is poor judgement, and timing judgement. He is always two seconds late for everything. He's the quickest guy I know that can rush up or down the ice and always be late. What drives me insane is those fancy moves he make within ten feet of clearing the Oilers zone, and he turns the puck over. I can't count on how many times on the right side breakout I have seen that...

"What drives me insane is those fancy moves he make within ten feet of clearing the Oilers zone, and he turns the puck over. I can't count on how many times on the right side breakout I have seen that..." you switched to describing 83's game here, right?

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#57 Dan the Man
October 30 2009, 09:48AM
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Reply #43 Dan the Man October 29 2009, 03:46PM

Had a dream last night that I was reading the scoring summary from tonight's game and Horcoff had a goal and an assist.

Oilers hang on for a 5-4 win.

Who predicted Horcoff would end his drought?

That would be me....

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#58 Reagan
October 30 2009, 10:00AM
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No, Horcoff has turned the puck over, or has had his pocket picked there numerous times. Watch for it. It may change now, but he did it on Tuesday against Colorado, but eventually got tit out.

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#59 OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM
October 30 2009, 10:03AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Reply #43 Dan the Man October 29 2009, 03:46PM

Had a dream last night that I was reading the scoring summary from tonight's game and Horcoff had a goal and an assist.

Oilers hang on for a 5-4 win.

Who predicted Horcoff would end his drought?

That would be me....

If you also predicted I would have the beer farts today I would rank you up there with Nostradamus.

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#60 David S
October 30 2009, 10:05AM
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Jonathan - While I dearly appreciate your calm demeanor replying to some of these guys, I'd suggest that sometimes it saves alot of precious brain cells if you just reply with something like...

"P!ss off noob"

and move on to something more worth your time.

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#61 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 30 2009, 10:06AM
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OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM wrote:

If you also predicted I would have the beer farts today I would rank you up there with Nostradamus.

So we have to predict common knowledge now?

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#62 David S
October 30 2009, 10:06AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Reply #43 Dan the Man October 29 2009, 03:46PM

Had a dream last night that I was reading the scoring summary from tonight's game and Horcoff had a goal and an assist.

Oilers hang on for a 5-4 win.

Who predicted Horcoff would end his drought?

That would be me....

Sage prediction there Dan.

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#63 Ender
October 30 2009, 10:18AM
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David S wrote:

Jonathan - While I dearly appreciate your calm demeanor replying to some of these guys, I'd suggest that sometimes it saves alot of precious brain cells if you just reply with something like...

"P!ss off noob"

and move on to something more worth your time.

Seconded. JW, the people on here who matter cringe a little when we see you crawl down into the mud to wrestle with the unenlightened. Let it go and move on. We get you.

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#64 Hemmercules
October 30 2009, 10:22AM
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@Ender

You have to think it's fun sometimes for the ON writers to bring someone back to earth and pick them apart. I for one enjoy when they do it to the trolls.

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#65 jake
October 30 2009, 10:22AM
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Ender wrote:

Seconded. JW, the people on here who matter cringe a little when we see you crawl down into the mud to wrestle with the unenlightened. Let it go and move on. We get you.

Is this a golf and country club? Can you enlighten me by giving me a list of ON members who "matter"? Just curious.

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#66 rubbertrout
October 30 2009, 10:25AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Depends, is he a 30 point player (doubt it, but if he is then ya something needst to be done)

Or is he a 50 - 55 point player (which he's been equal to or better then every year since the lock-out.

So, assuming he makes roughly $100,000/point. He're some other forwards put in offensive roles that have good chance at being in that range or worse (injury prone guys are given consideration do to the likelyhood they'll miss enough games to put them in that range actual salary rather then cap hit will be used for guys that signed crazy long term front load deals because they are basically just skirting the cap)

Lupul Vanek E Staal Jokenin Hossa Nash (on credit for his deal that kicks in next year) B Richards Zetterberg Smyth (Handzu for the heck of it) Havlat Gomez Arnott Erat Legwand Rolston Gaborik Drury Spezza Brier Gagne J Staal Clowe Kariya McDonald Vclav Blake Demitra

Honorary mentions go to Kovalchuk when he signs his next deal in the 8 - 9.5 range.

So basically league average is more then one player/team.

I'd say Horc has more "extras" then almost anyone on that list. ie I'd take Horc at $115,000/point over say Brier at $95,000/point or Jokenin at $100,000/point.

If anything theirs far to big of a "crisis" (amoungst the fans anyway) regarding wage/produciton ratio.

Testify Ogden Brother. I'm sick of the Horcoff haters. Yes he has had a slow start but look around at what other guys are getting for $ and see what they bring to the table.

I mean come on, your username is "Hatecoff".

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#67 Dan the Man
October 30 2009, 10:29AM
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OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM wrote:

If you also predicted I would have the beer farts today I would rank you up there with Nostradamus.

Reply #44 Dan the Man October 29 2009, 03:47PM Had a dream last night that OvenChicken8 would have beer farts the day after the game.

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#68 rubbertrout
October 30 2009, 10:31AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Hatecoff wrote:

the new top line, Jonathan ?

I said the exact same thing when Gagner got moved between Penner and Hemsky and had no complaints.

Because in that case, as in this one, the number one line was new.

knowing damn well hemsky and penner was responsible for most of the points on that line, you tempt yourself into putting hemsky at number 2 but you dont. you chose to point out the "lost more than one puck battle" excuse for hemsky and reward horcoff for his "two way".

Are you seriously that stupid? Hemsky lost two critical puck battles that I saw that led to chances the other way, and was horribly ineffective in his own end in the third. That's more than compensated for by his offensive brilliance but the game players play outside of the offensive zone counts too.

But go ahead, call for more 'Rob Schremp hockey' from all the players.

The play matters in all three zones. It's a pity you fail to realize that.

i am starting to belive through your articles and opinions on the website, that some of the staffers are only Oilers fans by occupation.

Ask Gregor or Brownlee if they're fans and see what kind of answer you get. If you want feting of every minor accomplishment and total oblivion to all but the most glaring problems, go watch Gene Principe.

That's not what this site is for, and frankly whining about a lack of fandom for the Oilers is much more of a compliment to me than an insult.

i do not believe you are are sincere with your statements, and most statements made end with a negative perception.

I repeat: go watch Gene Principe. Not only will he provide the puppy like love and respect for the Oilers you so desire, but he'll fascinate you with Tom Gilbert's crossword ability and similar insights.

take for example tonights post-game, look at the random thoughts. instead of complimenting our flu ridden defence who consist of mostly 4+ ahl/bench on the nhl roster. you go ahead and poo on them.

If the defence plays like an AHL-calibre defence, that's what I'll say, and I did. Fun +/- chart:

Grebeshkov: +1, Gilbert +1, Smid: even, Chorney: even, Peckham: -2, Strudwick: -3.

There was a clear division in play between the top three and the bottom three and I'm not going to ignore it in favour of grabbing a set of pom-poms.

you were critical of brule during the preseason(ofcourse) compliment him on the face-offs and then say that his play wont last, nice sandwich. ;)

His scoring won't last. As I've said repeatedly, and as should be apparent to all but the most vacuous idiot, playing hockey requires more - much, much more - than scoring points. A Gilbert Brule who can take on defensive responsibility is far, far more valuable to this team than a Gilbert Brule who can score 50 points. If you seriously read that statement as a shot at Brule, go re-read it because it clearly went over your head.

instead blaming the crappy perfromance by the gagner line as collecitve, you chose to point it out on gagner mouth. as a sports analyist, you should be give the readers examples of why the sucked or lacked and not 2 cent opinion.

So, give my opinion, but... don't give my opinion? Yes, Gagner was yapping all night. I like Gagner, I've sung his praises more than once and he's an exceptional player but his game was off tonight and it's entirely plausible that part of the reason for it was his ongoing battle with Stuart.

share your welath of sports knowledge isntead of youtube videos and brown-nosing on tsn.

By which you mean sing the praises of the Oilers and nevermind other things. I won't be dictated to on what I write, particularly not by someone whose opinions are - as I've mentioned above and explained in detail - so lacking in actual knowledge. Furthermore, as to 'brown-nosing' I actually work for The Score, so saying nice things about TSN is much more likely to have negative rather than positive career implications for me.

i could keep going but i wont.

A sound decision. You've already said more than enough to demonstrate both your ample knowledge and razor wit.

Looks like JW knocked that one out of the park. Arguing stats and logic against JW is not going to work unless you really do your homework Hatecoff.

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#69 Robin Brownlee
October 30 2009, 10:43AM
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Wtfdude wrote:

JW, way to keep it composed and classy.

As for me, it's well-documented I lack the class (and patience) shown by Willis.

Hatecoff, you knucklehead, Willis gets paid to give his opinion because people want to hear his opinion. Disagree with it if you like, but come up with something resembling a coherent argument or shut your face.

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#70 The Fish
October 30 2009, 10:54AM
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@Jonathan Willis

Don't get on Principe, Willis. Mean Gene kills.

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#71 Chaz
October 30 2009, 10:54AM
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This is why I love the Nation. JW was lambasting Hatecof to the point of no return, then Robin jumps off the bench and comes in for the knock out punch...

Boom!

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#72 TigerUnderGlass
October 30 2009, 10:59AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

As for me, it's well-documented I lack the class (and patience) shown by Willis.

Hatecoff, you knucklehead, Willis gets paid to give his opinion because people want to hear his opinion. Disagree with it if you like, but come up with something resembling a coherent argument or shut your face.

That took a lot less time too I'd wager. Though both responses entertained me equally.

Thanks for giving me my moneys worth.

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#73 Ender
October 30 2009, 11:01AM
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jake wrote:

Is this a golf and country club? Can you enlighten me by giving me a list of ON members who "matter"? Just curious.

It's a long list. Rather than do a roll call, it's easier just to explain who's not on it:

Read the definition of 'troll'. If you're posting trash just because you get a kick out of having people acknowledge your existence (ie. negative attention is better than no attention), you're not on the list.

If your mission in life is to discredit an ON writer as a fraud and an imbicile, and the biggest weapon in your arsenal is posting 'Yer so stoopid! several times in succession, you're not on the list.

If you can't write a sentence without swearing three times and taking at least one personal shot at someone, you're not on the list.

Everyone else, welcome to the Nation. Your host for today will be Jonathan Willis, who is for the most part a pretty smart guy. Enjoy your stay.

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#74 TigerUnderGlass
October 30 2009, 11:03AM
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jayoilfan wrote:

@pajamah

Sorry, but it is 'rapier wit'. And If JW wants to use 'razor wit', that works too.

Is this for real? Are you being serious here?

I wish, for your sake, you hadn't posted this because it leaves us with only two possible opinions of you. Either you are terrible at making a joke, or you are a complete idiot.

I'm not sure which is worse.

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#75 The Fish
October 30 2009, 11:06AM
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Gene has a face for TV and perhaps you do not, that is not his fault, Willis.

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#76 Cleetis
October 30 2009, 11:48AM
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74 TigerUnderGlass October 30 2009, 11:03AM jayoilfan wrote: @pajamah

Sorry, but it is 'rapier wit'. And If JW wants to use 'razor wit', that works too.

Is this for real? Are you being serious here?

I wish, for your sake, you hadn't posted this because it leaves us with only two possible opinions of you. Either you are terrible at making a joke, or you are a complete idiot.

I'm not sure which is worse.

Dude I'm pretty sure he was just trying to quote the greatest movie ever, Dumb and Dumber.

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#77 Cleetis
October 30 2009, 11:49AM
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PS I still haven't figred out how to quote on the new nation.

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#78 Chickenplucker
October 30 2009, 11:55AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Well said Mr. Brownlee

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#80 knobert
October 30 2009, 12:08PM
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Hatecroff............

start you own damn website and see how popular your terrible (whiney)drivel really is

Most people enjoy back and forth factual (but opinionated) banter that ON provides,

you sir just don't get it........... buzz off

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#81 mowgli
October 30 2009, 12:17PM
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Heatly wrote:

Yes, that's right. Thanks for update. We should be good then.

Early prediction: Oilers 4 Boston 2

Only if JDD plays.

Khabby plays

Oilers 5 Boston 4 Overtime.

That sounds right!

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#82 semi moronic
October 30 2009, 12:54PM
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Just a thought...does anyone think that maybe if Penner keeps this up...he could be a serious contender for an Olympic position? Could this be his motivation this year????

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#83 TigerUnderGlass
October 30 2009, 01:26PM
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Cleetis wrote:

74 TigerUnderGlass October 30 2009, 11:03AM jayoilfan wrote: @pajamah

Sorry, but it is 'rapier wit'. And If JW wants to use 'razor wit', that works too.

Is this for real? Are you being serious here?

I wish, for your sake, you hadn't posted this because it leaves us with only two possible opinions of you. Either you are terrible at making a joke, or you are a complete idiot.

I'm not sure which is worse.

Dude I'm pretty sure he was just trying to quote the greatest movie ever, Dumb and Dumber.

I'm just not sure who you are talking to here, me or jayoilfan.

It seems like you are talking to me, but if so you make no sense.

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#84 orange&blue
October 30 2009, 02:00PM
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Tombo wrote:

Horcoff's contract is by no means a bargain so far this year, but at a 5.5 mil cap hit he's far from being the worst contract in the NHL. Particularily if he puts up 55 pts or so, which he still may do.

I'm not trying to defend the guy, he's been awful so far with the exception of a couple of games. But people need to stop acting as though he's the worst contract in the league, it's not like we're shelling out over 7 mil for Brian Campbell for the next seven years.

i would take brian campbell or horcoff ANYDAY. at least the dude can skate.

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#85 Ogden Brother
October 30 2009, 02:17PM
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orange&blue wrote:

i would take brian campbell or horcoff ANYDAY. at least the dude can skate.

Horc was the fast skater in the skils competition a couple of years ago.

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#86 Pajamah
October 30 2009, 02:22PM
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Jayoilfan, I was referring to the greatsest movie ever, Dumb and Dumber

Please, for the sake of humanity, watch the movie (again,if you've seen it once already)

Its humor knows no bounds

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