GDB XV: Passing and faceoffs and goals, oh my!

Jason Gregor
November 02 2009 11:21AM

Courage wolf says score goals or else

All of a sudden the Oilers can’t score, but even though they were blanked three times in the last week, they have scored the 7th most goals in the league. Through 14 games their offence has been fine, but like previous years, they are giving up too many goals.

The Oilers have surrendered the 7th most goals, 43, so far this year. Injuries and illness to Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios and Lubomir Visnovsky have played a role in that, but I still see too many turnovers and errant passes if this team wants to be more than a .500 team.

Visnovsky is feeling better and his return should help the PP and cut down on turnovers. Staios is skating with the team, but highly doubtful for tonight. The bad news, like I wrote last week, is that Souray isn’t getting any better. Concussions are unpredictable and it looks like Souray might be out until December.

I don’t just blame the D-men though.

Passing the buck... and the puck

The forwards have been just as guilty, if not more, of horrendous passes. How often do the Oilers miss a teammate with a simple eight-to-ten-foot pass? Bad passing has been a problem for a few years, and I believe it starts in practice. The players need to demand better execution from one another.

Their leaders need to be more vocal about this.

I don’t like to compare players or teams, but the Detroit Red Wing players demand crisp and accurate passes in practice. I’ve watched a Wings practice and the players — not the coaches — expect good, crisp and accurate passes.

It helps when Nick Lidstrom along with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavol Datsyuk are their leaders, but at this level every player should be able to make tape-to-tape passes in practice.

I will chart tonight’s game and list how many times the Oilers either miss a pass, or just dump the puck away when they have complete control. Lately, many players will have possession of the puck without being pressured, and they will just dump it into the neutral zone, or deep in the offensive zone. The problem with that thinking is this team still isn’t good at retrieving pucks.

Father-son combo

When Steve Tambellini was hired in 2008, some jokingly wondered if he’d try and acquire his son, Jeff. Most would have ripped him for making such a move, but right now the young Tambellini is red hot with five goals in four games. He tallied a hat trick v. Buffalo on Saturday and had two goals in Montreal last Monday. Prior to last week, he had never had a two-goal game.

Tambellini has six goals in eight games and is tied for the team lead in goals with unheralded Jeff Moulson. Moulson, was a 9th draft pick for the Penguins in 2003. He never played for them, and had six goals and ten points in 29 games with the Kings over two seasons, before signing with the Islanders this summer.

Moulson along with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo lead the Islanders with 10 points.

Know thy enemy

The Islanders are 15th on the PP and 8th on the PK, while the Oilers come in 16th on the PP and 14th when down a man. The big advantage will be in the dot. As a team the Islanders are 4th in the league winning 53.4% of their draws, while the Oilers are a 27th winning only 47.1%.

The four centres tonight will be Shawn Horcoff (50.5%), Sam Gagner (43.8), Gilbert Brule (50.5) and Andrew Cogliano (36.5) and none of them are above average.

With Mike Comrie (54.6%) and Dustin Penner (64.5%), I wonder if Quinn will start to use them more in faceoff situations. Penner has only taken 31 draws, and I doubt he could maintain that much success, but tonight is the 15th game of the season and we haven’t seen any improvement in the dot. In fact, the Oilers have gotten worse in recent weeks.

The Islanders don’t rely on just one guy like the Oilers. Tavares has taken 195 draws winning 49.2%, while Richard Park has also taken 195 winning 57.4%. Josh Bailey has taken 152 and is 51.3% while their best guy is Frans Nielson who has won 53 of the 85 draws he’s taken.

The lack of success in the dot hasn’t hurt the Oilers offensively, but it is a big reason why they have given up an average of 33.7 shots a game. Only Colorado is giving up more.

Look for a combination of Fernando Pisani, Brule and Patrick O’Sullivan tonight. Horcoff will play with Ales Hemsky and Penner. Gagner will centre JF Jacques and Robert Nilsson while Cogliano is back in the middle with Zack Stortini and Ethan Moreau.

Looks like Visnovsky is back in and Theo Peckham comes out.

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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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#151 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:34PM
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The Witt character has some head of hair on him.

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#152 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:35PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

did I hear Gilbert left the game? Who is the #10 defenceman in the Oilers organization?

*shakes head*

Fuhngoe, Harold.

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#153 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:35PM
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@jeanshorts

*wishes she could solicite some of her clients for their drugs*

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#154 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:36PM
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@jeanshorts

*wishes she could solicit some of her clients for their drugs*

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#155 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:36PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

So, I can't get a decent feed and I'm not willing to download an app I've never heard of. Doesn't sound like I'm missing much though.

*Wishing I picked Brendan Witt instead of Eric Staal in my pool*

I downloaded it and it was fine.

I mean, I am watching PPV and paying top dollar.

*looks out closed blinds for swat team closing in*

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#156 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:36PM
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Ooops, stupid double post.

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#157 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 06:37PM
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Hey guys, anybody got a feed for the game?

I really wanna see the Oilers face plant of a NYI Boner... also known as play the third period

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#158 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:37PM
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@Wanye

*installs barbed wire around Waynes desk and passes him another beer*

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#159 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:38PM
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HOLY CRAP WAS THAT THE ROCKETTES?????

*passes out*

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#160 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:39PM
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Brendan Witt doesn't think he will get a hat trick tonight.

Never say never Brendan...

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#161 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 06:40PM
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Oh yeah and WTF is with the Goat scoring for the Oil?

Is it opposite day? frack...

Damn goat.

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#162 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:40PM
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*preys for Brendan Witt to be clairvoyant*

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#163 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:40PM
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Whoa, hello Deb Placey. A silver lining in this New York feed!

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#164 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:41PM
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Crap, that should be 'prays'. Can't type tonight.

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#165 Hemmertime
November 02 2009, 06:42PM
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Sopcast is a decent program, and the best feed is : http://www.atdhe.net/9331/watch-edmonton-oilers-vs-new-york-islanders

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#166 BUCK75
November 02 2009, 06:42PM
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I thought I heard the guy on the feed say that Gilbert left the game after Sutton hit him then beat up JFJ.

I just got home, so maybe I am wrong?!?!?

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#167 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 06:42PM
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why doesn't Doug Weight play for the Oilers?

Is it because Kevin Lowe knows he will end up being the #1 center, leading scorer, coach and GM within 5 games of being here because he is so awesome.

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#168 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:43PM
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@Hemmertime

Actually, I'll concur. It hasn't been choppy but it isn't the clearest picture.

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#169 BUCK75
November 02 2009, 06:44PM
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SAVE THE WHALES!!!

ATDHE.NET

LOLZ

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#170 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:44PM
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@Eric Johnson

I still have no idea why Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize over Doug Weight. TRAVESTY!

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#171 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 06:44PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

Sopcast is a decent program, and the best feed is : http://www.atdhe.net/9331/watch-edmonton-oilers-vs-new-york-islanders

Thanks Hemmertime. (and congrats on your valiant showing in the 1260 pool, well done.)

I am on a Mac though so I think I am SOL with the IE and sopcast requirement

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#172 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:44PM
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LMAO, the stolen feed commercial again. Err...so someone told me.

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#173 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 06:44PM
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Eric Johnson wrote:

why doesn't Doug Weight play for the Oilers?

Is it because Kevin Lowe knows he will end up being the #1 center, leading scorer, coach and GM within 5 games of being here because he is so awesome.

When I think about that night back in June 2006, the only thought that comforts me is "at least Weight got to win a cup..."

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#174 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:45PM
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@BUCK75

*digs hole in yard for whale body*

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#175 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:45PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I still have no idea why Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize over Doug Weight. TRAVESTY!

I have an old Doug Weight hat somewhere or other around here. If I dig it up and wear it watching the game does that counteract the fact I killed a whale?

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#176 BUCK75
November 02 2009, 06:46PM
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It's not stolen if you are watching ATHDE.NET.

Save the Whales!

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#177 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 06:48PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I still have no idea why Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize over Doug Weight. TRAVESTY!

I said the same thing at an NAACP rally and got booed. can you believe it?

Damn america with their screwed up priorities...

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#178 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 06:50PM
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@Librarian Mike

"When I think about that night back in June 2006, the only thought that comforts me is "at least Weight got to win a cup..."

That ruined my whole summer. It's like the complete opposite that I would feel if thecaptaingoatman was traded today for an old pair of Doug Weights skates.

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#179 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 06:51PM
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Wanye wrote:

I have an old Doug Weight hat somewhere or other around here. If I dig it up and wear it watching the game does that counteract the fact I killed a whale?

I think all it would do would unfortunately give Weight some kind of super boost, enabling him to score a goal every shift for the rest of the game and kill the one NHL defenseman we have left.

On another note I have a Doug Weight rookie card somewhere. If I had to guess I'd say it was worth somewhere between 300 and 900 million dollars.

Man this No Trade Claus/Heatly costume thing is still getting play all around the league. Well done Cogliano and Penner, well done.

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#180 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:51PM
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Penner is out scoring Heatley.

There is still an ounce of justice in the world.

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#181 TonyT
November 02 2009, 06:52PM
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Oilers (offensively) have played pretty good (althougth they have nothing to show for it) so I won't critique too much, but I rarely see the Oilers try to setup a garbage goal. That goes especially for Cogliano who always tries top corner, he should make sure it at least goes on net.

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#182 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:52PM
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Ok, third period. I would love to not have heartburn at the end of this game.

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#183 Eric Johnson
November 02 2009, 06:54PM
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Wanye wrote:

Penner is out scoring Heatley.

There is still an ounce of justice in the world.

Thats because sweet Pennertration is always better than a one eyed Heater.

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#184 Rigger
November 02 2009, 06:55PM
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It bugs me how these guys pronounce Nilsson as 'Neilson'. Ugh!

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#185 Wanye
November 02 2009, 06:58PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I think all it would do would unfortunately give Weight some kind of super boost, enabling him to score a goal every shift for the rest of the game and kill the one NHL defenseman we have left.

On another note I have a Doug Weight rookie card somewhere. If I had to guess I'd say it was worth somewhere between 300 and 900 million dollars.

Man this No Trade Claus/Heatly costume thing is still getting play all around the league. Well done Cogliano and Penner, well done.

I'd have to agree with your ad hoc valuation of the Weight rookie card. One time when I was about 11-12 years old I went to Carnival of Champions. My buddy and I split up to cover more ground - I went and got Arnott's autograph for both of us and he was supposed to go get Weight's autograph.

He got his hat signed then chickened out asking for two sigs, then went around the corner and signed the Weight card himself. Then we met at the arranged muster point and he proudly presented me with my Weight card.

For years I thought I had an autographed Weight card in my possession. He confessed to the crime years later when we both started to drink "honesty water" produced by the Budweiser corporation.

Remembering that story was the most entertainment I have had during this entire game.

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#186 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 06:59PM
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Okay, so I'm watching the gamecast on espn.com (aka: Welfarevision). Is it true that the Oilers still haven't left their own end yet?

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#187 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:00PM
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Uh, Penner pushed onto Roli? Pfffff!

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#188 BUCK75
November 02 2009, 07:00PM
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~Surprised Roli could keep his lid on with Penner on top of him~

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#189 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 07:00PM
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...and Vis has a block at centre ice? Are the Islanders taking shots from their own blue line to make the game more 'sporting'?

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#190 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:02PM
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@Wanye

That sounds like a very "baggedmilk" move on your friends part. Did you punch him in the spine before you guys shared a hearty laugh after he told you?

One time in grade 4 I threw a spit ball at this girl in the class, and she freaked out, but I didn't fess up to it at the time so it was always this mystery as to who the a-hole was that threw a spitball at her and then refused to boy up about it. Years later in high school I remembered it again and finally fessed up and before I even finished my sentence she slapped me square in the mouth. I'm not sure but I think that counts as the first time I had sex right?

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#191 TonyT
November 02 2009, 07:02PM
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Why does every team we play seem to have an all-world forecheck? Are we the only team the opposition does this to? Is there no universal way to beat a 1-2-2? It boggles my mind! It seems to me that two coaching regimes have had trouble breaking down opposing forechecks, if that is the case is that not then a personnel issue? I don't have any suggestions but it seems insane to me to expect different results with the same tools.

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#192 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:03PM
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@jeanshorts

Ok, I just totally gutted myself over this. These stories are more interesting than this game.

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#193 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:03PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

That sounds like a very "baggedmilk" move on your friends part. Did you punch him in the spine before you guys shared a hearty laugh after he told you?

One time in grade 4 I threw a spit ball at this girl in the class, and she freaked out, but I didn't fess up to it at the time so it was always this mystery as to who the a-hole was that threw a spitball at her and then refused to boy up about it. Years later in high school I remembered it again and finally fessed up and before I even finished my sentence she slapped me square in the mouth. I'm not sure but I think that counts as the first time I had sex right?

You have been touched by a girl. In parts of the world you two are considered husband and wife.

Ah baggedmilk, what Thai prison holds ye?

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#194 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:05PM
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Why is it our D-men always allow people to walk over our blue line? Where are the open ice hits here?

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#195 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:06PM
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Ok, enough with the penalties already!

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#196 Wanye
November 02 2009, 07:07PM
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@jeanshorts

I have a similar tale. In the absence of a hockey game I will tell it too. Feel free to add in anyone:

One time in about grade two a girl was going across the monkey bars. Given it was early spring and there was a big puddle underneath the bars, this was considered a test of endurance to make it across.

A girl was going across and a 7 year old Wanye waited until she was directly in the middle of the bars. Then I walked over and pulled her pants down. Problem was - she seemed to have under dressed for school that day and was running commando.

Once she realized what I had done, she screamed and let go of the bars and fell face first into the puddle. I ran away and pretended to play soccer for the rest of recess.

I haven't seen her since.

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#197 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:08PM
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Cogs has to tell Ethan to take the faceoff? Good grief, pay attention captain!

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#198 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 07:09PM
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Wanye wrote:

@jeanshorts

I have a similar tale. In the absence of a hockey game I will tell it too. Feel free to add in anyone:

One time in about grade two a girl was going across the monkey bars. Given it was early spring and there was a big puddle underneath the bars, this was considered a test of endurance to make it across.

A girl was going across and a 7 year old Wanye waited until she was directly in the middle of the bars. Then I walked over and pulled her pants down. Problem was - she seemed to have under dressed for school that day and was running commando.

Once she realized what I had done, she screamed and let go of the bars and fell face first into the puddle. I ran away and pretended to play soccer for the rest of recess.

I haven't seen her since.

Are you sure that was a girl Wanye?

*Eye twitches*

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#199 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 07:10PM
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@Wanye

You can now find that girl sucking peen on Jasper Ave in order to pay for her life crippling meth addiction.

The butterfly effect. One ripple creates another and so on and so forth until one day you find yourself tossing a baby in a dumpster because you don't have time to take care of it. There's crack to be had!

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#200 Rigger
November 02 2009, 07:10PM
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@Wanye

Wayne you SOB, I KNEW I KNEW YOU!!!! *just kidding*

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