Disbelievers

Jonathan Willis
October 04 2009 11:37AM

That title is certainly wrong when it comes to the grand scheme of things, but it’s a little nuts to toss Nikolai Khabibulin and the Oilers penalty-kill under the bus one game in.

Let’s start with Nikolai Khabibulin’s gaffe. After a lackluster preseason, Khabibulin’s season opener could hardly have gone worse. In a game where the Oilers outshot the Flames 34-to-21, Miikka Kiprusoff made 31 saves and Khabibulin made only 17. The last goal against was particularly brutal, with Kiprusoff gift-wrapping the puck for Flames forward David Moss with less than a minute left in a 3-3 hockey game.

As everyone here knows, I’m not a believer in Khabibulin; his track record in three of the last four years, along with his propensity towards lower body injuries are the two biggest reasons I’d hoped the Oielrs had pursued someone else.

That said, if you are one of those who believe in the Bulin wall, one game shouldn’t change your mind. After one game, for example, Martin Brodeur has a GAA in excess of 5.00 and a .815 SV% (I know because he’s on my fantasy team). Players have good games and bad games, and while I’m still not a believer in Khabibulin I can honestly say that a 50-save effort in a 1-0 win wouldn’t have changed my mind on him either. Give it ten games, then we’ll talk about what he’s done.

Similarly, I don’t believe in the penalty kill, which went two-for-four on the night, but again it’s too early to change anyone’s mind either way. I maintain that this team needed to bring somebody in, and I don’t think Kelly Buchberger has the coaching chops to propel this unit to even averagish results with the current personnel.

But my message today is that one game is essentially meaningless in evaluating these trends. The evaluation of both the Oilers’ goaltender and special teams will take some time, and if you were a believer during the offseason there’s no reason to change your stripes now.

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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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#101 Suntory Hanzo
October 04 2009, 10:23PM
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@Rigger

I PVRd the game as I was at a wedding and the game video ran out with about 5 minutes left. Kinda glad it did so I didn't see the balldrop by Khabi.

Anyone else get shorted on the recording? I guess I should always do the extra 30 minutes thing.

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#102 Rigger
October 04 2009, 10:27PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Give it a couple of weeks, and everything will be sorted out. I have to say, I'm impressed that the site has been running really stable so far. Huzzah to the Shopkeep.

True there are always bugs to work out in the first few days. Wooo, I think I learned how to quote. Pffff! Didn't see that checkbox before.

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#103 Rigger
October 04 2009, 10:29PM
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Suntory Hanzo wrote:

I PVRd the game as I was at a wedding and the game video ran out with about 5 minutes left. Kinda glad it did so I didn't see the balldrop by Khabi.

Anyone else get shorted on the recording? I guess I should always do the extra 30 minutes thing.

It's always a good idea to set it for a few extra mins. I know some peeps who got shorted too. Probably because the ceremonies too longer. Be glad you didn't see it. It was heartbreaking. I believe we had the momentum to win in OT, but sadly what's done is done.

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#104 Travis Dakin
October 04 2009, 10:31PM
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@Rigger

what ever you want bolded

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#105 Travis Dakin
October 04 2009, 10:31PM
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@Rigger

Wow I can't even show you how to bold with out it bolding....

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#106 Rigger
October 04 2009, 10:35PM
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@Suntory Hanzo

I should also point out that I saw that hearbreaking moment at point blank range. I was sitting two rows behind the Oil's goal. Le sigh!

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#107 Rigger
October 04 2009, 10:36PM
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@Travis Dakin

Crap! Put spaces in between the code maybe, and then I can see? I dunno.

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#108 Suntory Hanzo
October 04 2009, 10:45PM
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@Rigger

Yar! That woulda been brutal. I haven't seen a game in Edmonton in probably a decade (living out west now) I have tix for two games out here in Vancouver when the Oil come to kick some ace. The Oct 25 I have some pretty good seats...let's hope it doesn't turn out bad.

I have 2 extras for the November game at GM Place..if the people fall through and can't come, I should see if some Citizens might want to join me and the wife for some support. I have had some pretty untasteful things shouted at me when I don the Oil jersey at the 'Nucks games. Less so when I wear my Gretzky than my Gagner. Who can diss the Great one?

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#109 Rigger
October 04 2009, 10:48PM
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Suntory Hanzo wrote:

Yar! That woulda been brutal. I haven't seen a game in Edmonton in probably a decade (living out west now) I have tix for two games out here in Vancouver when the Oil come to kick some ace. The Oct 25 I have some pretty good seats...let's hope it doesn't turn out bad.

I have 2 extras for the November game at GM Place..if the people fall through and can't come, I should see if some Citizens might want to join me and the wife for some support. I have had some pretty untasteful things shouted at me when I don the Oil jersey at the 'Nucks games. Less so when I wear my Gretzky than my Gagner. Who can diss the Great one?

Nucks fans being jackarses...shocking, NOT! I've only got tix for 3 games this season. Got the opening night mini pack. I would have loved to see Ovie or Syd, but those sold out like hotcakes. I'm sure some peeps would love to join you in cheering a Canucks shellacking.

It was brutal to see, I coulda cried. Oooh I think I know how to make a paragraph now....hopefully.

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#110 Rigger
October 04 2009, 10:49PM
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...guess not! ARGH, it looked that way before I posted.

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#111 Rigger
October 04 2009, 10:54PM
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*looks at banner above comment box* I have an odd craving for noodles now. Must leave here before I cave.

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#112 Ender
October 04 2009, 10:55PM
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Rigger wrote:

Oooh I think I know how to make a paragraph now....hopefully.

...guess not! ARGH, it looked that way before I posted.

It can be done; just takes some getting used to.

Now that I know there's an edit button on the way, I am happier than a pig in mud.

:-)

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#113 jayoilfan
October 04 2009, 11:03PM
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what a sucky game i know My comment is a little late but I picked Khabbi as my goat, nice way to prove my point. Ugh I was hoping they'd have a much better start. Up until that point the only thing I was dissappointed with was the PK. But really the second goal was a total fluke ricochet off Smid.

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#114 Suntory Hanzo
October 04 2009, 11:15PM
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Speaking of noodles...anyone remember Fantasia Noodle House on Jasper? They had some wicked soups. SPicy enough so it felt like a cylone flung house fell on you.

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#115 Sandra B.
October 04 2009, 11:27PM
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Now that Khabby has done the gaffe, we will see what he is made of in the next few games. If he chokes it's time for Desjalais to take the reigns. Dubnyk is 2 years away at best. IF J.S Gigure goes on the market he will be picked up before Khabby.

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#116 Travis Dakin
October 04 2009, 11:29PM
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@Rigger

see if this makes sense.... at the beginning of what you want bolded you put a <> and in that you put a b for bolding or an i for italics. After that you put a <> and in that bracket you put/b or/i for whatever it is you want.

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#117 Travis Dakin
October 04 2009, 11:30PM
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Almost worked but I think you'll get it.

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#118 Suntory Hanzo
October 04 2009, 11:44PM
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@Travis Dakin

test

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#119 Wanye
October 04 2009, 11:50PM
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@SirFozz

One name is way more gangster than two names. Plus 3% of me is vulnerable that some people think I am calling myself Wayne Gretz. So Wanye it is here on out.

*crickets as no one cares*

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#120 Wanye
October 04 2009, 11:55PM
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@Smokin' Ray

It is coming too. We have to work to restore all of the little widgets that were on the old site. I want to get the polls back up and running too ASAP. So many ingredients go into making the Nation Pie.

Is the 20 comments per page not enjoyed? I thought it would be easier to read not having to scroll all over hells half acre. A lot of people just read the last few comments and chime in on the latest thing.

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#121 Smiley
October 04 2009, 11:58PM
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Suntory Hanzo wrote:

Speaking of noodles...anyone remember Fantasia Noodle House on Jasper? They had some wicked soups. SPicy enough so it felt like a cylone flung house fell on you.

Remember? Are they gone???

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#122 Suntory Hanzo
October 05 2009, 12:19AM
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@Smiley

Haven't lived there in many years...was back this summer, and I thought someone told me it was gone...call me mistaken. Like a phoenix from the flames!

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#123 Wanye
October 05 2009, 01:30AM
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@Suntory Hanzo

Fear not, Fantasia is still there. I hit it up on the semi regular. It's no Oodle Noodle, which for my money is the best thing to eat in a hurry. Advertising on the site or not, they are awesome.

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#124 Austin Ayala
October 05 2009, 04:50AM
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Dear Ryan Stone and JF Jaacques,

A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.

- Wayne Gretzky

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#125 Austin Ayala
October 05 2009, 04:51AM
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Dear Ethan Moreau,

Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them -- a desire, a dream, a vision. Please find this in yourself. - Muhammad Ali, American Boxer

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#126 Lofty
October 05 2009, 07:15AM
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Austin Ayala wrote:

Dear Ryan Stone and JF Jaacques,

A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.

- Wayne Gretzky

As long as they play in front of the net they are doing there job.

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#127 Librarian Mike
October 05 2009, 07:47AM
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@Austin Ayala

~Wow, I had no idea Muhammad Ali was a Moreau fan.~

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#128 Hockey Gods
October 05 2009, 07:58AM
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Does anyone know what happened to Comrie in the third?

I was at the game and didn't notice him have a shift in the third, was he benched, hurt, or did Hilary call and ask him to go pick up eggs?

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#129 rubbertrout
October 05 2009, 07:59AM
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Why must the Oilers make me cry?

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#130 Tha Legion
October 05 2009, 08:06AM
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yeah... was a horrific duff though I cried a little on the inside. Still a good game can't wait for tuesday

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#131 Petr's Jofa
October 05 2009, 08:08AM
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Wanye wrote:

It is coming too. We have to work to restore all of the little widgets that were on the old site. I want to get the polls back up and running too ASAP. So many ingredients go into making the Nation Pie.

Is the 20 comments per page not enjoyed? I thought it would be easier to read not having to scroll all over hells half acre. A lot of people just read the last few comments and chime in on the latest thing.

I'm with Smokin' Ray. 20 post per page isn't enough.

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#132 brian glynn
October 05 2009, 08:17AM
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@Petr's Jofa

I'm with you guys. 20 is too few. Everyone got used to 50, and it doesn't seem to affect the load times much.

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#133 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
October 05 2009, 08:41AM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

~Wow, I had no idea Muhammad Ali was a Moreau fan.~

I had no idea he was an American boxer!

Cable guy didn't show up so I had to hook up a crappy antenna to my beautiful new LCD TV. I'll never understand how you Edmontonians put up with all that snow in RX1.

Apparently Shaw has no access to my building's leasing office to remove the filters that block the signal to my suite. I won't have internet or cable until the beginning of next week.

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#134 Milli
October 05 2009, 08:45AM
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@RossCreekNation

Totally on both accounts. End of the first period against the canucks last year, seat so good you could touch the glass and we get escorted out because she was a little wobbly.....But, they waited unril we bought 2 more RX beers before doing the deed....gotta love mall security!!!!

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#135 Rigger
October 05 2009, 08:48AM
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@Ender

If you can impart some wisdom I would much appreciate. :)

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#136 Rigger
October 05 2009, 08:49AM
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@Travis Dakin

testing testing Hope this works. Thanks pal!

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#137 Lego
October 05 2009, 09:04AM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

I'm with Smokin' Ray. 20 post per page isn't enough.

I actually liked it when all the comments were on a single page. But I would suggest 50 as the minimum if you are worried about loading times. With 20 per page it makes it very difficult to find posts by certain people I like reading, ie. Brownlee.

So the more posts per page the better.

P.S. I don't really care that the Oiler lost I am just happy that they are back playing entertaining hockey. Keep it up boys!

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#138 Deep Oil
October 05 2009, 09:15AM
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If the oil lose 3 in a row.... the pressure will be on the same team as last year excluding Khabi and MC.... the canucks hired a nutrionist to evaluate diet and fatigue as the canucks are on the road for after the Olymipics, oil have similar problems due to Meow of the Rings and CFR....... points lost in October and November have the same value as March April.

Note to the coaching dream team....3 point games are your enemy.... cant play catchup after February.

Ohh... by the way....in the case of the arena land options... why did Rexall let the Baccarat option slide and allow WAM to flip it back to Rexall for 6 million dollars more .... the land docs are going to come out showing that Rexall cant even manage a land option. But I guess when you implode a house for a skating rink, 6 million dollars is not problem for this legal mistake, right Patrick Laforge.....

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#139 BUCK75
October 05 2009, 09:22AM
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Site looks sharp fellas!

I am disgusted by the final minute on Saturday night. Khabi lost the game for us - at least he manned up & sort of admitted that he misplayed the puck.

Out of the gates quickly to an early lead in the ON goat race is Khabibulin.

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#140 Ender
October 05 2009, 09:35AM
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@Rigger

For paragraph spacing, use the same idea as bolding and italics, only use p and /p ant the beginning and end of the paragraph.

Also, put me down for 50 comments per page. Easier to follow a thread conversation without having to switch pages 10 times.

@ Wanye

A single name may be more gangster if it's uncommon, but just plain Wanye is so generic . . . bring back Wanye Gretz. You're not a generic kind of guy, and if someone can pull off wearing #99, it's you.

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#141 Austin Ayala
October 05 2009, 09:36AM
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where art thou 'edit' button?

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#142 Shannon
October 05 2009, 09:39AM
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Love the new site! It looks great!

I was at the game Saturday and had the MOST annoying Flames fan sitting behind me. People were thisclose to hitting her on the head. It actually ruined the game a bit for me. Put the drink down, watch the game, and really - shut up.

Otherwise, the energy was good, they played well, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

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#143 The Towel Boy
October 05 2009, 10:03AM
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Totally agree Willis. I'm not going to lead the charge in burning Khabibulin's furniture after one screw up and a sub par night....I'll save that for 20 or so games into the season if he fails to impress me.

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#144 Chris.
October 05 2009, 10:03AM
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@ Bingofuel.

I vote for fifty comments a page. It's annoying to reload the page so often when using an air card or a blackberry.

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#145 Ender
October 05 2009, 10:13AM
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@Shannon

Did she have a British accent? I know there were thousands of people there, but loud, drunk female Flames fan reminds me very much of someone I know who was at the game. I'll tell her you send your best.

As an aside to that story, losing the bet to her room-mate that night has me posting a Flamers logo this week on Facebook. I think I got the last laugh, though; I posted that hideous horse head with the flaming snot. Not only will most normal people not recognize it, but the ones that do will hang their head.

That doesn't make it right, Khabibulin. I've got my eye on you.

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#146 BarryS
October 05 2009, 10:23AM
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Checked the replay on the last flame goal. Noticed a d-man whose number ends in 77 was coasting instead of racing towards the puck after being beaten by the flame on the dump in. Wonder if Khabibulin would have changed his decision if 77 had been skating hard after the flame?

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#147 THREE 1ST NAMES
October 05 2009, 10:25AM
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50 comments work or an option to select who many you want per page.

i was impressed with the team as a whole and i have an increased Optimism this season

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#148 BarryS
October 05 2009, 10:26AM
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Hockey Gods wrote:

Does anyone know what happened to Comrie in the third?

I was at the game and didn't notice him have a shift in the third, was he benched, hurt, or did Hilary call and ask him to go pick up eggs?

Seems he was getting the Gagner for not working hard enough. Gagner got his minutes in the third.

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#149 swany
October 05 2009, 10:27AM
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I watched the game and if Calgary is supposed to have the best D in the NHL I see good things for the Oil. Calgary shouldn't even have been in the game, the Oil went thew that team like a knife threw hot butter. There breake out was very good and we just dominated that game, Kipper didn't have a horse shoe stuck up his ass he had the whole horse. That's the first time in years that Calgary didn't have to much of a cycle game going against us or any sustained prssure for a great amount of time. Plus they got 3 lucky goals, the first one Vish just missed the 3rd one was a total fluke as was the last one. We have a very good team (if they keep playing like that)sorry RB this is a playoff team.

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#150 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
October 05 2009, 10:41AM
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There was more NHL/Winnipeg speculation on Saturday night's Hockey Night in Canada's Satellite Hotstove.

On the season's opening weekend, the captivated nation was told that big money from Toronto has done plenty of work already to buy the Atlanta Thrashers and move them to Winnipeg. Is it just another episode of wishful thinking or a real indicator of what's afoot?

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/chew-on-this-nhl-rumour-63512062.html

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