Winning games... step by step

Jason Gregor
November 13 2009 01:39PM

One of Wanye’s favourite songs growing up was Step By Step by New Kids on the Block back in the '80s and early '90s. He especially loved the opening motorcycle scene, because the NKOTB thought it made them somehow look tougher.

Seriously, Wanye has been bugging Brownlee, Willis, bingofuel and I to come up with some sort of Nation Boy Band/Sports Band concept. At first I thought he only mentioned it because he was on one of his BL benders, but he’ll send me a random email every few weeks to see if I’ve come up with something. Thankfully for all of you I haven’t yet, nor while I anytime soon, even consider that an option. Although it would be awesome to see Brownlee, with cigar in hand tapping his toes, and spinning around to some dance music. But I don’t see it materializing.

While you try to rid yourself of the awful visual of us five in any sort of musical endeavour, let’s focus on the Oilers.

Right now the Oilers seem stuck in the “one step forward-one step backwards” mode. They get Sheldon Souray back, but lose Denis Grebeshkov. Shawn Horcoff returns and now Fernando Pisani is out because his colitis has flared up again. 

Grebeshkov has an MCL tear, and depending on the severity of it, could be lost anywhere from two to six weeks, if not longer. Pisani is harder to evaluate because there really isn’t a time table on how quickly he can recuperate from colitis.

Since his magical playoff run in 2006, Pisani has been plagued by injuries and illness and you wonder if he’ll ever be able to stay healthy. He is one of the true gentlemen in the game, and being a father of three I just hope he gets healthy enough that he can life a normal life, regardless of hockey.

It seems Horcoff suffered a slight shoulder separation and now that the pain has subsided he is ready to go. He was back on a line with Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner at practice this morning, and it looks like Pat Quinn will give this trio another chance to get going.

Sam Gagner skated with Patrick O’Sullivan and Mike Comrie. With injuries to Ryan Stone and J.F Jacques, Quinn has been forced to go away from his original plan to have a physical presence on every line, because right now he doesn’t have enough guys who can play that way.

Andrew Cogliano remained with Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini, while Robert Nilsson, Gilbert Brule and Ryan Potulny made up the fourth line. The surprise there is that Brule was on the wing.

I don’t understand what Brule has done to deserve being on the wing and on the fourth line. He should at least be playing ahead of Stortini and Moreau, but it seems that Quinn is taking a cautious approach with him.

Liam Reddox did skate with the team, and has a cut on his face and a bruised wrist, but if they need him he will go on Sunday.

JACQUES BACK ON ICE

Jacques will skate for the first time tomorrow since his back flared up. The good news is that the MRI showed no damage from his previous back surgery. Jacques thinks it might be a mix of back spasms and maybe a case of whiplash from the tilt with Andy Sutton.

If you watch the fight, Sutton cross-checked him right before the fight started, and then during the tussle, Jacques really had to extend himself to try and hit the taller Sutton.

If he feels good tomorrow and Sunday, he might be ready to go when Colorado invades Rexall on Wedneday the 18th.

NEWSFLASH: OILERS NEED TO START WINNING 

The Oilers will be at the quarter pole of the season after games in Atlanta and Columbus, and right now they are on the outside of the playoff picture. They currently sit in 11th, but with Nashville, St. Louis and Anaheim all having games in hand, the Oilers could easily find themselves in 13th or worse when they return home.

They need to string together some wins, otherwise they will be in chase mode in December, and considering how many injuries they’ve already had, I don’t know if they will be able to make up ground in January, February and March if they are still banged up.

They have scored 19 goals in their last ten games, but ten of those have come in wins over Detroit and Colorado. They only have ten EV strength goals in their past ten games, and while their PP is good, it doesn’t score at key times often enough.

Sam Gagner doesn’t have a goal in ten games, O’Sullivan has one in his last eleven, Cogliano has one in 13 games, Stortini hasn’t scored in 14 games, while Gilbert and Grebeshkov have combined to score one goal in the past 26 games.

After a quick start, the Oilers’ offence has dried up. The past two games they have finally outshot the opposition, but they only have four goals. They still don’t have enough guys who will go to the tough areas often enough. They aren’t skilled enough to score from the outside, and if Quinn can’t convince them to get their noses dirty on a nightly basis they will find themselves battling for last place rather than the past playoff spot rather quickly.

They get a rare advantage on the road when they play Atlanta on Sunday. The Thrashers played last night in New York, and host the LA Kings tonight. That means they will play three games in three and a half days, so the Oilers should get a weary opponent Sunday afternoon.

That is a game they need to win, to get some confidence, ensure a .500 road trip and to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. I don’t think this team is deep enough to make up ground in Jan, Feb or March.

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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 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 13 2009, 01:47PM
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They get a rare advantage on the road when they play Atlanta on Sunday. The Thrashers played last night in New York, and host the LA Kings tonight. That means they will play three games in three and a half days, so the Oilers should get a weary opponent Sunday afternoon.

Nothing like paying $16 to watch a tired team play an injured/ill team on a Sunday afternoon. Should be one hell of an exciting match-up.

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#2 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 13 2009, 01:52PM
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Brule needs to be playing center come Sunday. He is slowly taking more faceoffs and is at 51.8%, why play him on the wing?

If Pisani is out for a month or two I won't be suprised to see him call it quits and get some sort of job with the organization.

Also good interview with Ferguson yesterday, like hearing that guys like him that busted their buns just to make the NHL are still involved in the game.

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#3 Bob Loblaw
November 13 2009, 01:57PM
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WOW, look at all of the extra cap room we're saving!

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#4 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 13 2009, 02:00PM
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Bob Loblaw wrote:

WOW, look at all of the extra cap room we're saving!

Inorite? ~Imagine how much better our power play will be with Grebeshkov out.~

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#5 rick
November 13 2009, 02:01PM
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oh was horcoff out?? i was just reading the scoring summaries and figured he was still playing!!! but yes it's all those little things he does to help this team out !!!!!

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#6 Mitch
November 13 2009, 02:06PM
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I needed a laugh and that photo and video did it...although I only could watch 30 seconds of it.

Great to hear Souray is back. Gregor don't you think he can make an impact that can get this team turned around. And when do we play the Flames next? I'd love to see if anything goes down with him and Iginla.

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#7 SirFozz
November 13 2009, 02:09PM
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Sure is fun reading Oiler articles these days. <- ~!

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#9 dragon
November 13 2009, 02:31PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

They get a rare advantage on the road when they play Atlanta on Sunday. The Thrashers played last night in New York, and host the LA Kings tonight. That means they will play three games in three and a half days, so the Oilers should get a weary opponent Sunday afternoon.

Nothing like paying $16 to watch a tired team play an injured/ill team on a Sunday afternoon. Should be one hell of an exciting match-up.

nobody better than Oilers when it comes to playing down to their opponent's level...

hope Quinn will change that sometime in the future.

it will be a scary game. at least we'll get Gene to entertain. :-))

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#10 JohnnieOil
November 13 2009, 02:33PM
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I am just speechless after seeing that picture and forgot what I was going to say - does it have a sister? Maybe if you threatened the oilers with a date with that if they don't play hard & fast they may just get the job done! oh yeah great news about Souray and man that sucks for Pisani, poor guy and not good for grebs - man I thought we had enough bad voodoo injury luck the past couple of years to last a decade - guess not -when will it end? but really does it have a sister?

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#11 Dan the Man
November 13 2009, 02:51PM
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Glad to hear jaques should be back soon however it's kind of scary that a guy who needs to play a physical game to stay in this league has a back as fragile as his seems to be.

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#12 Travis Dakin
November 13 2009, 02:55PM
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Um.... what is that sticking out of her leotard?

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#13 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 13 2009, 03:00PM
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line combos and line changes are killing this team.

WTF is cogliano stil doing with moreau aand stortini ?

another thing thats been killing this team for a while, Kevin Lowe's Pride.

different coaches, same lines. hmm ????????? when is tambs going to do something to change the outlook of this team ? not anytime soon, well not until k lowe makes a deal and lets him announce it.

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#14 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 13 2009, 03:01PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Um.... what is that sticking out of her leotard?

last nights condom.

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#15 Dyckster
November 13 2009, 03:07PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Um.... what is that sticking out of her leotard?

That sir is Sunday afternoon's Oiler lineup. With all the roster moves required Quinn has decided to keep the changes in a very safe place til puck drop. Hence, he's placed it where no man, woman, beast, nor Wanye will dare venture.

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#16 Librarian Mike
November 13 2009, 03:09PM
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@Jason

If you change your mind about starting a band, I've got the perfect first song for you guys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PRBr43emtw

@That picture

High School must have been rough for Dan Tencer...

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#17 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 13 2009, 03:11PM
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@Librarian Mike

Go easy on him. He's got a lot of potential for doing travelocity commercials once their current spokesperson retires.

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#18 jake
November 13 2009, 03:12PM
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"while their PP is good, it doesn’t score at key times often enough"

Key thing. Down by 1 with 6 minutes left, 5min powerplay and you get one shot? (correct me if 1 shot wrong - thought they mentioned this post game). There is simply no excuse for this to happen, none, IMO.

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#19 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 13 2009, 03:19PM
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jake wrote:

"while their PP is good, it doesn’t score at key times often enough"

Key thing. Down by 1 with 6 minutes left, 5min powerplay and you get one shot? (correct me if 1 shot wrong - thought they mentioned this post game). There is simply no excuse for this to happen, none, IMO.

To be fair wasn't it only four and half minutes or so as Gilbert was in the box?

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#20 Dyckster
November 13 2009, 03:23PM
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This team was projected to struggle to make the playoffs BEFORE all the injuries/illnesses struck without warning or provication. Can we seriously expect the team we've been icing the last 10 games or so to exceed those expectations?

I'll continue to be an optimisitic Oiler lover, but at some point in time optimism needs to become realism. If we can struggle through the next few games and win as many as we lose, I for one still hold out hope that we'll be watching the Oil play well into April.

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#21 Dan the Man
November 13 2009, 04:11PM
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@Librarian Mike

High School must have been rough for Dan Tencer...

That is too freaking funny dude.

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#22 knobert
November 13 2009, 04:59PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

High School must have been rough for Dan Tencer...

That is too freaking funny dude.

x2

I almost fell off my chair

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#23 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 13 2009, 05:19PM
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Bob Loblaw wrote:

WOW, look at all of the extra cap room we're saving!

if only this were true...

pesky CBA

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#24 Wanye
November 13 2009, 05:32PM
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I don't know what Gregor is angling for, or trying to trick me into preemptively supporting - but I can assure everyone I have no idea what he is talking about. Boy band indeed. The only Boy Band I have ever followed is the Hot Boyz and believe me JG is no BG.

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#25 Wanyes bastard child
November 13 2009, 05:47PM
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Pffft yeah yeah sure, you probably still have a Marky Mark poster hanging in your basement ;P

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#26 JackBauer™
November 13 2009, 05:53PM
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The Islanders must have 21 guys injured again, Robert Schremp is playing again. And it looks like he will play more than 5 minutes!

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#27 Skidplate
November 13 2009, 06:12PM
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@Travis Dakin

I can't believe you were looking there...

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#28 Lofty
November 13 2009, 06:14PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

They get a rare advantage on the road when they play Atlanta on Sunday. The Thrashers played last night in New York, and host the LA Kings tonight. That means they will play three games in three and a half days, so the Oilers should get a weary opponent Sunday afternoon.

Nothing like paying $16 to watch a tired team play an injured/ill team on a Sunday afternoon. Should be one hell of an exciting match-up.

Yeah especially when I'm paying $28 per seat for lower bowl in ATL.

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#29 Wanye
November 13 2009, 06:27PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Pffft yeah yeah sure, you probably still have a Marky Mark poster hanging in your basement ;P

Wanye Gretz V is that you?

Who taught you to type?

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#30 Travis Dakin
November 13 2009, 07:15PM
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Skidplate wrote:

I can't believe you were looking there...

I ALWAYS look there....

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#31 bOILing over
November 13 2009, 08:30PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

They get a rare advantage on the road when they play Atlanta on Sunday. The Thrashers played last night in New York, and host the LA Kings tonight. That means they will play three games in three and a half days, so the Oilers should get a weary opponent Sunday afternoon.

Nothing like paying $16 to watch a tired team play an injured/ill team on a Sunday afternoon. Should be one hell of an exciting match-up.

GO ESKS GO

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#32 Brandon
November 13 2009, 08:55PM
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So in other words we get to see two teams who have had the crap beat out of them lately play? Sounds fun, I'm putting the over/under at 11....

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#33 BarryS
November 13 2009, 10:30PM
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Brandon wrote:

So in other words we get to see two teams who have had the crap beat out of them lately play? Sounds fun, I'm putting the over/under at 11....

Well, Atlanta won 7-0 tonight so will likely have sore arm muscles. So much for any fantasy points from L.A. As they played at home they won't even have jet lag.

Good thing, i think, the Oilers have three days rest. Bad thing it gives them more time to get sick or injured.

Maybe the Atlanta players will all be having home troubles of one sort or another, you know teething kids, nagging girlfriends, nagging wives, broken plumbing, etc.

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#34 Brandon
November 13 2009, 10:38PM
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@BarryS

I probably should have specified that the over/under number was the number of players who got injured in the game, both teams my bad

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#35 Waynes bastard child
November 13 2009, 11:32PM
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@Wanye

My mama taught me to type, remember her? She passed away many moons ago due to liver complications and alcohol but not before she'd tuck me in every night and curse that drunken encounter long ago when she met a promising internet mogul smelling of BL and whispering sweet nothings in her ear... i was born hungover thanks to your seed and i am still hungover to this day... my liver curses you papa!

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#36 Robin Brownlee
November 14 2009, 09:41AM
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ROSTER UPDATE: Oilers have recalled Dean Arsene from Springfield. Expect a news release shortly.

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#37 6 ring circus
November 14 2009, 10:07AM
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I hope that Pisani can recover from this latest set back,he is a class act.It has really been a rough road for him after the 06 play offs,If he does not recover from this in a short period of time he may have to retire.

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#38 Senator Theo
November 14 2009, 10:29AM
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Dean Arsene? I looked up his stats - I hope we aren't counting on him to solve our scoring problems. Maybe a crust move?

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#39 Librarian Mike
November 14 2009, 10:36AM
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Senator Theo wrote:

Dean Arsene? I looked up his stats - I hope we aren't counting on him to solve our scoring problems. Maybe a crust move?

I've never even heard of this guy before. But, hopefully he's a useful fill-in.

One thing I will say is that he's got an awesome name.

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#40 Skidplate
November 14 2009, 10:37AM
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@Senator Theo

He was brought up to provide a solid defensive game. He had a good camp and has long paid his dues in the minors. Good for Dean, hope he makes an impact.

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#41 Skidplate
November 14 2009, 10:45AM
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Number: 29 Pos.: D Shoots: L

Height: 6-2 Weight: 210 Birthdate: 1980-07-20 Birthplace: Abbotsford, BC,

2009-10 Season: Named team captain on 10-2-03. Collected one assist on 10-3-09 against Portland.

2008-09 Season: Won his second Calder Cup Championship with Hershey.

Career Notes: Dean spent the previous six seasons with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, helping lead the Bears to Calder Cup Championships in 2005-06 and 2008-09. In 267 career games with Hershey, he totaled seven goals and 36 assists for 43 points and 674 penalty minutes.DRAFTED: Not drafted.

ACQUIRED: Signed as a free agent by the Edmonton Oilers on July 14, 2009.

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#42 Shaun Doe
November 14 2009, 10:50AM
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Dean is from Abby eh? Well good on him for getting outta this place! But seriously that makes him much more interesting to watch for me.

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#43 Skidplate
November 14 2009, 11:00AM
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Shaun Doe wrote:

Dean is from Abby eh? Well good on him for getting outta this place! But seriously that makes him much more interesting to watch for me.

I got the first bit of info from the AHL website, but the Oiler website is stating he is from Murrayville. Hope thats close enough to still make it interesting.

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#44 SportsDad
November 14 2009, 11:02AM
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Is there any word yet if Khabi will play both games, or will him and JDD split the next 2?

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#45 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 14 2009, 11:05AM
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@Skidplate

I saw Arsene play with Hershey in the couple games they played here in the 'Peg in the finals last year. He definitely won't make an impact offensively, but it'll be nice to have someone that can make a smart move to clear the zone.

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#46 roughneck
November 14 2009, 11:38AM
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So in the world of theo peckham a kick in the nards has been received.

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#47 Librarian Mike
November 14 2009, 11:46AM
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roughneck wrote:

So in the world of theo peckham a kick in the nards has been received.

*removes Peckham as my star*

I really thought he was going to break through this year and become a fan favorite. I guess there's still lots of season left, but I wonder if he'll get another shot.

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#48 Skidplate
November 14 2009, 02:08PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I saw Arsene play with Hershey in the couple games they played here in the 'Peg in the finals last year. He definitely won't make an impact offensively, but it'll be nice to have someone that can make a smart move to clear the zone.

A smart move to clear the zone is an impact in my books.

You play to your strengths.

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#49 Bar Qu
November 14 2009, 02:17PM
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Soooo, halfway through a saturday and nothing new up on this site? This is becoming less and less somewhere to look for news and information. Lots of pointless bravado and macho nonsense (ie pictures of girls) but not so much on what is happening right now.

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#50 TigerUnderGlass
November 14 2009, 02:34PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

Soooo, halfway through a saturday and nothing new up on this site? This is becoming less and less somewhere to look for news and information. Lots of pointless bravado and macho nonsense (ie pictures of girls) but not so much on what is happening right now.

So piss off then.

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