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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#1 RossCreekNation
November 02 2009, 11:24AM
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From Chris Botta of www.islanderspointblank.com

Moulson - Tavares - Okposo

Bergenheim - Nielsen - Sim

Tambellini - Bailey - Weight

Thompson - Park - Jackman

Streit - Gervais

Sutton - Martinek

Witt - Hillen

Roloson

Biron

(Meyer, Schremp, Comeau, Hunter - injured)

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#2 Heavyd
November 02 2009, 11:25AM
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Is comrie still out? And whats this rumour about Horcoff to the islanders?

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#3 sitting-at-my-desk
November 02 2009, 11:26AM
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It sucks when we start minus 1 player ( nilsson) , I really thought he would be more this season, but he is the same player he will always be..lets bury him...

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#4 RossCreekNation
November 02 2009, 11:27AM
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Chris Botta of www.islanderspointblank.com also had these tidbits today...

11:50 am - Dwayne Roloson said facing his old team and his former teammates shooting on him “is not an advantage to anyone.”

Doug Weight to the Edmonton media (and one eavesdropper) on houseguest John Tavares: “Being here with the Islanders media, John has some anonymity. It’s allowed him to be one of the guys.”

Jeff Tambellini said on Saturday night he didn’t just get a hat trick, he “set a record for text messages and emails.” He said he even heard from some of his old teachers. On the Islanders’ recent influx of secondary scoring, Tambellini said, “You can’t win in this league relying on your top line every night.”

Scott Gordon said Trent Hunter is not quite ready for a return to the lineup. “He hasn’t practiced with us yet,” said Gordon.

10:45 am - The locker room coffee tastes better, smiles come more easily, mundane drills are packed with energy and laughs and there’s some extra pep in the steps of these Islanders, winners of three in a row and owners of points in five straight. There have even been some mischievous grins of “I told you so” and a few pesky late-night emails from app-filled iPhones saying…uh, “We think we’re all pretty good hockey players here. (Well, something like that).

The gritty-gutty Islanders host Robert Nilsson, Mike Comrie (maybe - has the flu) and the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Today we throw out all talk of attendance. It’s a Monday night and the Falcons are playing the Saints on ESPN.

Dwayne Roloson gets the start against his former team. Rob Schremp sits again tonight. Trent Hunter looks like he should be ready this week. If he’s taken off IR and no one else gets hurt, Islanders will have to make a roster move. As of today, placing Schremp on waivers would be the most logical one.

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#5 R Kenny
November 02 2009, 11:29AM
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These lines sound more balanced than last game. Glad the kid line has been broken up, they were dangerous in the wrong way for the last two games.

Gregor: Comrie is still out with the flu?

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#6 The Towel Boy
November 02 2009, 11:31AM
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The Oilers would be best off to listen to Courage Wolf™.

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#7 Heavyd
November 02 2009, 11:31AM
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I thought the islanders had to keep shermp the whole season if the clamied him off waivers?

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#8 RossCreekNation
November 02 2009, 11:32AM
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Heavyd wrote:

Is comrie still out? And whats this rumour about Horcoff to the islanders?

The way Eklund's wording it, sounds like Horcoff for Josh Bailey IMO. Now ask yourself... "self, does that make sense". If you answered yes, immediately head home because I think you may have a case of tha H to tha one-o, N to tha one-ay.

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#9 Kieso
November 02 2009, 11:35AM
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Hey what is with the Rob Schremp guy possibly on waivers. With the Oilers struggling to score lately maybe we should pick him up on waivers on the cheap.

I saw some niffty youtube moves this guy has and I sure bet he could help out the team. As long as we make a organization shift in the team to play some Rob Schremp hockey this could could be a win-win for everyone.

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#10 roughneck
November 02 2009, 11:36AM
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hey schremp... the provost blades senior team is looking for a ringer.. 200 bucks a game.

you in??

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#11 Muji 狗
November 02 2009, 11:36AM
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How is Cogliano THIS poor on the dot? Did he spend the summer practicing how to lose a draw?

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#12 RossCreekNation
November 02 2009, 11:37AM
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Heavyd wrote:

I thought the islanders had to keep shermp the whole season if the clamied him off waivers?

Nope. I think what you're thinking of is...

... you cannot claim a player off waivers with the purpose of sending him to your farm team. To send him down, the Isle's would have to place him on waivers, the Oil (if i'm not mistaken) would have first crack at him. If they don't want him back, the rest of the league gets a crack. If no one takes him, he goes down to the Isles farm team in Bridgeport and could be recalled by the Isles at any time in the year...

... if I'm not mistaken.

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#13 RossCreekNation
November 02 2009, 11:39AM
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@Kieso

~Totally~

Although... he does make less $ than Nilsson, lol.

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#15 Chris.
November 02 2009, 11:41AM
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@ Gregor

~Bad Passing? What with all our skill? ~

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#16 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 02 2009, 11:41AM
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Kieso wrote:

Hey what is with the Rob Schremp guy possibly on waivers. With the Oilers struggling to score lately maybe we should pick him up on waivers on the cheap.

I saw some niffty youtube moves this guy has and I sure bet he could help out the team. As long as we make a organization shift in the team to play some Rob Schremp hockey this could could be a win-win for everyone.

He can't make the islanders you really think he would make a difference?

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#17 Heavyd
November 02 2009, 11:46AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Comrie is still out with the flu. He is having trouble breathing due to some asthma type symptoms.

And please people, ask yourself why would a team trade for Horcoff at this point. He is in the first of a SIX year deal, and the Oilers aren't blessed with a lot of proven centres as it is.

And Horcoff has a no-movement clause for the first four years of his deal. Do you think the Islanders are a destination he'd want to go.

Next time ask yourself where did the rumour start before you even think of asking if it is legit. The guy who started it says he is right less than 3% of the time. Yet people still read his stuff. Please explain to me why you do?

I've been wrong before, we all have, but 97% of the time wrong, that isn't worth reading. Just my opinion.

I don't believe it just thought I would throw it out there. I wanted to be one of those guys that starts these stupid rumors, I guess peer pressure got to me this morning, my bad.

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#18 Hatecoff
November 02 2009, 11:48AM
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why the fcuk is peckham out and not strudwick ?

WTF??????????????????

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#19 Hatecoff
November 02 2009, 11:49AM
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@Heavyd

and horcoff has a NMC ?

WTF????????????????

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#20 Heavyd
November 02 2009, 11:52AM
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Hatecoff wrote:

and horcoff has a NMC ?

WTF????????????????

And the oilers have been shutout 3 out of the last 4 games.

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#21 Hatecoff
November 02 2009, 11:52AM
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huh?

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#22 Harlie
November 02 2009, 11:55AM
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There's a voice that keeps on calling me Down the road, that's where I'll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend, Can't stay for long, just turn around and I'm gone again

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down, Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PINxfouNQFw&feature=related

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#23 Zamboni Driver
November 02 2009, 12:02PM
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@Hatecoff

Yeah, it's called $7 million for a faceoff specialist.

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#24 Hatecoff
November 02 2009, 12:04PM
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damn we better trade brule now before he have to pay him 7 too for his 50.5%

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#25 Bill
November 02 2009, 12:30PM
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Dustin Penner (64.5%) on faceoffs... he scores, passes, hits and wins faceoffs.... we should have traded for him 2 years ago... oh wait a minute.....

Horcoff is arguably the best 2 way player on this team..... as sad as that is we would be stupid to trade him unless we were getting some star power in return

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#26 Cool Beans
November 02 2009, 12:36PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Yeah, it's called $7 million for a faceoff specialist.

7 large for a 50% winning percentage. Thats while we have $8 beer at RX1.

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#27 Woodguy
November 02 2009, 12:37PM
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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.

One key problem with this team is the leadership.

Moreau really doesn't pass unless he's forced to Staios created the "off the glass and out" move Horcoff's stick is made of stone Souray can't get out of bed Hemsky has an "A" to try to turn him into a leader, its really not in his personality to be one.

At least Quinn sees Moreau for what he is, a washed up 4th liner.

The only Oilers with less 5v5 ice time/60 on the team are:

Comrie (sat for the end of two games due to illness) Stone Stortini MacIntyre

Please do what is best for the team and retire Ethan.

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#28 misfit
November 02 2009, 12:38PM
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I'm glad they're putting O'Sullivan and Pisani on Brule's wings. I like O'Sullivan better at LW, and Jacques just hasn't given me any reason to believe he's helping out out there, so it's nice to have him off such an important line.

I also have a feeling they won't be seeing much of the offensive zone tonight. At least not to start their shifts.

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#29 Cool Beans
November 02 2009, 12:41PM
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Bill wrote:

Dustin Penner (64.5%) on faceoffs... he scores, passes, hits and wins faceoffs.... we should have traded for him 2 years ago... oh wait a minute.....

Horcoff is arguably the best 2 way player on this team..... as sad as that is we would be stupid to trade him unless we were getting some star power in return

I would give horcoff away if someone would take him. His 5.5 mil cap hit could by 4 players exactly like him. Decent on faceoffs, kill penalties, work hard, whiff at one-timers.

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#30 I'm a Scientist!
November 02 2009, 12:44PM
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I sure am tired of all the Horcoff bashing. The horse is dead, quit beating it, you are only creating a bigger mess to clean up.

Game day prediction: 4-1 for the Oil! Goals from Horcoff, Penner, Gagner and Brule.

Obvious Game Prediction of the Day: Jeff Tabellini will score for the Isles when Gilbert makes a soft play in front of the net.

Not-so-obvious Game Prediction of the Day: Charles Wang will throw popcorn on the ice during a T.V. timeout.

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#31 Bucknuck
November 02 2009, 12:47PM
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@Heavyd

Does every post have to turn into a Horcoff bash? Oh wait... your name is Hatecoff; I guess it does.

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#32 Librarian Mike
November 02 2009, 12:52PM
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@I'm a Scientist!

Agreed. Horcoff's having a bad run, but every team has a guy like that. He's enough of a pro that he'll bounce back. Or not, but whatever.

Game Day Prediction:3-2 Oil in OT. Cogliano with the Winner

Obvious Prediction:Doug Weight gets a big hit, a goal, an assist, and gives a 5-star interview between periods.

Not so obvious Prediction:Dwayne Roloson gets caught putting salt in Khabibulin's water bottle during the 2nd Intermission.

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#33 DK0
November 02 2009, 01:04PM
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@Librarian Mike

Thats a quality veteran move by Dwayne "Crazy, my mask fell off again during a scoring chance" Roloson

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#34 The Towel Boy
November 02 2009, 01:14PM
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DK0 wrote:

Thats a quality veteran move by Dwayne "Crazy, my mask fell off again during a scoring chance" Roloson

It was a savvy veteran move when he was an Oiler....now it's just cheap. :)

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#35 rubbertrout
November 02 2009, 01:20PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

He can't make the islanders you really think he would make a difference?

I think he was being sarcastic OBJ. I think Ogden Brother would have piucked that up. Junior obviously has a ways to go to live up to the big guy's billing.

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#36 rubbertrout
November 02 2009, 01:21PM
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**edit "picked"

I wish I could type.

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#37 Ogden Brother
November 02 2009, 01:24PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

I think he was being sarcastic OBJ. I think Ogden Brother would have piucked that up. Junior obviously has a ways to go to live up to the big guy's billing.

I was just thinking the same thing...

*shakes head in dissapointment at jr.*

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#38 rubbertrout
November 02 2009, 01:26PM
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Hatecoff wrote:

damn we better trade brule now before he have to pay him 7 too for his 50.5%

I believe the description for the self designated Horcoff basher is "one trick pony". Can you think of something new/innovative to talk about?

Oh yes I remember you tried to come up with some insight a few threads ago and JW beat you down.

Seriously, keep up the quality posting.

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#39 RossCreekNation
November 02 2009, 01:31PM
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PREDICTION...

Dwayne Roloson takes a baseball swing at the puck

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#40 I'm a Scientist!
November 02 2009, 01:36PM
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@Librarian Mike

Oh, i like your no so obvious prediction... it COULD happen...

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#41 Jmask5
November 02 2009, 01:47PM
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If we lose tonight I hope we can lose with some honor i.e. score a goal or two.

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#42 Mike Krushelnyski
November 02 2009, 01:50PM
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@Jmask5

There hasn't been dignity in losing to the Islanders in 20 years

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#43 sitting-at-my-desk
November 02 2009, 01:51PM
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@Kieso

you're joking ,right?

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#44 Hatecoff
November 02 2009, 01:54PM
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blah blah blah blah blah blah

scientist, the horse is not dead he is starting tonight on the first line

JW bashed me ?

he just rambled on about nothing that had to do with nothing

and what isnight and opinion do you provide rubber?

you just brown-nose the two drunks and pick apart other poeple comments

one trick pony? i beg to differ

its two way pony for you mo-fo

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#45 Shakyds
November 02 2009, 01:54PM
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Oilers win in shootout. With Peckham out who's gonna pull the puck out of the back of the net?

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#46 roughneck
November 02 2009, 01:59PM
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Shakyds wrote:

Oilers win in shootout. With Peckham out who's gonna pull the puck out of the back of the net?

for 450K a year... Ill do it!!!!!!!

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#47 Hatecoff
November 02 2009, 02:04PM
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5-2 oilers tonight

horcoff will kill two of the oilers powerplays tonight one when he whiffs on a shot and another when he tries to spin at center ice to bring the puck in

gilbert will get bullied for a turn over and get scored on strudwick will get exploited a few times when he doesnt turn his granny hips in time to keep up with the play

coglainos play will disappear soemtime in the second when he realizes that playing with moreau is not gonna get him anywhere

smid will punch tavares in the head just for the fcuk of it when he comes to close to khabi, on the face-off following gagner will beat up tavares for not fighting smid

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#48 jeanshorts
November 02 2009, 02:08PM
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Hey has anyone brought up the fact that Horcoff is overpaid and isn't scoring 100 goals a game?

Oh they have?

Okay, carry on.

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#49 Hatecoff
November 02 2009, 02:12PM
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mmmmm whatcha ya say

mmmmm that you only meant well ?

well of course you did

mmmmm whatcha ya say

mmmmm thats it all for the best ?

Of course it is

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#50 rubbertrout
November 02 2009, 02:14PM
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@Hatecoff

I'm just here for the entertainment value.

JW bashed me ?

Absolutely owned you by pointing out the errors in your "logic".

he just rambled on about nothing that had to do with nothing

I agree. Using "facts" and "statistics" to prove a point is clearly "nothing that had to do with nothing (sic)"

and what isnight and opinion do you provide rubber?

As stated above I'm here solely for entertainment value. I leave the "insight" to experts like you.

you just brown-nose the two drunks and pick apart other poeple comments

Who are the "drunks" exactly? I'd just like to make sure I know who it is I'm brown-nosing. I'm very particular about whose ass I put my nose into.

its two way pony for you mo-fo

Not even sure how to respond to this one. Are you describing yourself as a "two way pony"? I think that might be illegal in all 10 provinces and the Territories as well.

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