GDB XXIV: Roadkill, anyone?

Jason Gregor
November 23 2009 01:52PM

If history shows us anything, then the Oilers have a great chance of winning tonight. The Oilers are 21-6-3 in their last 21 home games against the Coyotes, but in most of the seasons the Oilers were better in the standings.

The Coyotes come to town tonight with four more wins and six more points than the Oilers, but the biggest difference is the goals against. The Oilers are surrendering 3.13 goals per game, while the desert dogs only give up 2.39.

They’ve done that with an anonymous defence corps. Ed Jovanovski will miss his 8th straight game tonight, and Kurt Sauer has yet to play this season.

The dogs’ defence tonight will consist of James Vandermeer, Keith Yandle, Adrian Aucoin, Sami Lepisto, Shaun Heshka and David Schmelko. But the key to their defensive success is that their forwards play just as hard/smart in their own zone as they do in the offensive zone. Scottie Upshall leads the Coyotes with seven goals, but he only has eight points. Shane Doan has 16 points, while Matthew Lombardi, Robert Lang and Adrian Aucoin are tied for second with 12. The Coyotes are winning because they have bought into Dave Tippett's tight defensive game, but I don't see them maintaining it all season if they don't start to score more goals.

While some Oiler D-men have struggled in their own zone — Tom Gilbert — the forwards haven’t helped. Too often they have made the wrong read, or left the wrong guy open. The Oilers allow too many goals from right in front of the goal. They need to be tougher on guys at times, but more importantly they need to be in the right position.

Communication meeting

The meeting with the coaches and leadership group seems to have focused on communication more than anything. Shawn Horcoff said that Quinn had told the guys at the start of the season that he wanted to have a meeting like this near the 20-game mark.

It wasn’t coincidental that it came after a loss where they were completely dominated, but the players felt it was good timing. They know they need to be better, and they liked that Quinn and Tom Renney wanted to hear what they felt. Dustin Penner said, “The meeting allowed us to feel fresh even after that tough loss to Chicago. It was a good forum to listen to the coaches and for them to listen to us.”

Of course the players wouldn’t divulge every aspect of the meeting, but they all think that Pat Quinn is fair. They like that he is fiery, even in his post-game comments, but none of the guys that I talked with felt that Quinn was being too hard on the players. And thankfully they felt that way, because if the players actually felt he was too hard on them, then this team would be in big trouble.

I think the biggest problem in the room is that some guys feel they deserve to be in the top-six, and get upset when they aren’t slotted there. The coaches CAN’T just hand guys those spots. They have to earn it. Quinn would love one or two guys to play so well that he has no choice but to give them second-line minutes. The young guys who want to be in the top-six haven’t earned that role, and if they don’t get over a sense of self-entitlement then they won’t anytime soon.

Can't win with one

Quinn will try to get some more balanced scoring by shuffling the deck once again tonight.

Penner — Gagner — Hemsky
Jacques — Horcoff — Brule
Reddox — O’Sullivan — Stortini
Moreau — Potulny — Cogliano

This team hasn’t had any consistent scoring outside of their top-line in almost a month. Penner and Hemsky have been the only consistent producers, and they need Brule, Gagner, O’Sullivan and Cogliano to start producing. Gagner needs to play better, and get back to being a bit abrasive. Same with Brule.

Injury update

Nikolai Khabibulin didn’t skate and won’t play tonight, but it doesn’t sound like he should be out very long. Ryan Stone skated today, but his knee still feels sore when he pushes off. He might be ready for Friday against the Sharks, but it will depend if the pain subsides by then. Robert Nilsson also skated, but he won’t play tonight, and needs a few more days of practice before they clear him. He could be available on Wednesday, but based on the style of game he plays, I don’t see who he would come in for even when he is healthy.

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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 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 23 2009, 02:03PM
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Stil rather have Brule at center although him on line 2 could give him the minutes to get scoring again.

Good to hear about the injuries. Although it should be a wake up call that Bulin shouldn't be playing so much.

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#2 JRyanMac
November 23 2009, 02:05PM
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Has there been any word on Comrie? More importantly does Hilary have mono too??

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#3 swany
November 23 2009, 02:09PM
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The only Question I have is why Cogs is on the wing on the 4th line if he is going to play wing wouldn't he be better on the wing with PattO and Reddox and drop Storts to the 4th line?

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#4 Hemmercules
November 23 2009, 02:13PM
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swany wrote:

The only Question I have is why Cogs is on the wing on the 4th line if he is going to play wing wouldn't he be better on the wing with PattO and Reddox and drop Storts to the 4th line?

The point is balanced lines. Sully-Cogs-Reddox is way too soft in my opinion unless Reddox is on PCP and Sully decides you have to hit and take hits to play hockey.

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#5 Hemmercules
November 23 2009, 02:15PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Stil rather have Brule at center although him on line 2 could give him the minutes to get scoring again.

Good to hear about the injuries. Although it should be a wake up call that Bulin shouldn't be playing so much.

I think Bulin is on pace to play the amount of games both he and management wanted, is he not?? The fact that he has an injury already is really concerning to me. He has seen a lot of rubber though......

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#6 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 23 2009, 02:15PM
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JRyanMac wrote:

Has there been any word on Comrie? More importantly does Hilary have mono too??

A buddy of mine is an extra in a movie she's doing - I should have him ask her.

I'll be interested to hear everyone's thoughts of Cogliano being moved to the wing, but still being stuck on the 4th line. Are we thinking there might be some in-game adjustments that see Moreau-Potulny-Cogliano log more minutes than Reddox-O'Sullivan-Stortini?

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#7 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 23 2009, 02:27PM
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@Hemmercules

Back down to 61.5 after tonight, so I guess he is. At the same time only reason he is back down to that level is because he got injuried.

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#8 I'm a Scientist!
November 23 2009, 02:28PM
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Game Day Prediction: 3-1 for the Oilers. After a 'Communication Meeting' I think the team will feel a bit rejuvenated and ready to roll. If my boss had a meeting where he heard what i thought of this organization, i sure as hell would feel better about my job the next day. Goals from Gagner, Stortini and Smid.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: After one period in front of a sold out crowd in RX1, Dave Tippett will hand out ear plugs to his team so that the silence created mimics that of the Jobing.com arena in Glendale.

Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: Wayne Gretzky will show up to the game carrying a big flourecent sign that says:

Awaiting Big Cheque

After realizing that the game in on PPV and not ABC he changes his sign to read:

Peter Pocklington is Victorious!

Nobody knows what that means, but the crowd goes wild anyway!

Good game... good game indeed!

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#9 Travis Dakin
November 23 2009, 02:31PM
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So who are the "entitled" ones? Which guys feel they deserve the minutes? And what do they think they've done to deserve them?

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#10 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 23 2009, 02:32PM
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@I'm a Scientist!

That's an awfully bold prediction - Smid to score?

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#11 yegCopywriter
November 23 2009, 02:33PM
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Lines look like 1, 2, 3A and 3B... maybe Cogs is happy to have graduated to 3B?

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#12 freeze
November 23 2009, 02:35PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

That's an awfully bold prediction - Smid to score?

Go big or go home... I guess!!

I won't be ordering this ppv but I hope the Oilers come out with some 'jam'.

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#13 swany
November 23 2009, 02:36PM
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Hemmercules wrote:

The point is balanced lines. Sully-Cogs-Reddox is way too soft in my opinion unless Reddox is on PCP and Sully decides you have to hit and take hits to play hockey.

Agree and I thought of this when I posted, but the speed on that line would be world class. Reddox is a gritty player, Cogs hits (not hard but he can)

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#14 Senator Theo
November 23 2009, 02:42PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

So who are the "entitled" ones? Which guys feel they deserve the minutes? And what do they think they've done to deserve them?

If I had to guess I would say that POS is one of the entitled ones. We don't have enough drinks for all the coasters on this team.

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#15 Dyckster
November 23 2009, 02:59PM
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@Senator Theo

"We don't have enough drinks for all the coasters on this team."

Out of the gates early for the race to quote of the week!

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#16 Ogden Brother
November 23 2009, 03:09PM
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yegCopywriter wrote:

Lines look like 1, 2, 3A and 3B... maybe Cogs is happy to have graduated to 3B?

More like 1, 3, 4A, 4B.

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#17 Tooles
November 23 2009, 03:13PM
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TSN: take notes. This could be the turning point of the season for our soon-to-be-Cup-hoisting Oilers.

...weeeelll, maybe not, but I can buy that after a stomping like Saturday's coupled with the catharsis factor of the big meeting, this team is in the right mental place for a turnaround. Oilers 3-0, the defence finally realizing their potential as a goal-limiting squad.

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#18 I'm a Scientist!
November 23 2009, 03:13PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

That's an awfully bold prediction - Smid to score?

I live dangerously. I mean, what is the worst that can happen? I am wrong and embarassed on a national stage? Meh, THAT happens daily.

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#19 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 23 2009, 03:17PM
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@I'm a Scientist!

The worst that could happen? I guess he could put one behind JDD by accident, then leave the game with a 4-6 week injury.

Yeee-ikes. What has this season done to my expectations?

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#20 I'm a Scientist!
November 23 2009, 03:21PM
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Dyckster wrote:

"We don't have enough drinks for all the coasters on this team."

Out of the gates early for the race to quote of the week!

X2

That's GOLD Jerry... GOLD!

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#21 homerer
November 23 2009, 03:45PM
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"The Oilers are 21-6-3 in their last 21 home games against the Coyotes"

Is it just me or does this math not add up??

and I really like the looks of Jacques — Horcoff — Brule

it just seems...interesting. or something.

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#22 Hemmercules
November 23 2009, 03:51PM
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Where is Wanye these days?? Did they have to lock him up for fear of his suicide in the wake of the oilers less than desirable record??

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#23 freeze
November 23 2009, 03:59PM
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Hemmercules wrote:

Where is Wanye these days?? Did they have to lock him up for fear of his suicide in the wake of the oilers less than desirable record??

He 'fled' to Europe. He may or may not make it out of Amsterdam but I like his odds.

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#24 Hemmercules
November 23 2009, 04:04PM
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freeze wrote:

He 'fled' to Europe. He may or may not make it out of Amsterdam but I like his odds.

I see, good timing on his part. If I had the option right now I would disappear into a haze of weed smoke and cheap hookers too.

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#25 Dan the Man
November 23 2009, 04:13PM
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I like the look of the lines. Hopefully this gets Gagner going again, 2nd line has some potential and FINALLY Cogliano was moved to the wing.

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#26 Wanyes bastard child
November 23 2009, 04:17PM
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homerer wrote:

"The Oilers are 21-6-3 in their last 21 home games against the Coyotes"

Is it just me or does this math not add up??

and I really like the looks of Jacques — Horcoff — Brule

it just seems...interesting. or something.

Also you have Brule who can step in and take the draw with Horcoff's shoulder.

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#27 Librarian Mike
November 23 2009, 04:20PM
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Game Day!

Game Day Prediction: 4-1 Oilers...seriously, they HAVE to win one of these days. Goals by Moreau, Gilbert, and Sully with 2. IT'S GOAT NIGHT!

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Doan scores a beauty of a goal and every Oiler fan clenches their fists in memory of Barry Fraser.

Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: Gretzky is interviewed between periods and is asked about his time with Phoenix. He makes this expression:

http://img.fannation.com/upload/truth_rumor/photo_upload/105/736/full/Wayne-Gretzky-yell.jpg

...and then Dan Tencer slaps him on the back and his face gets stuck like that forever.

...I really need to get some sleep.

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#28 I'm a Scientist!
November 23 2009, 04:30PM
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@Librarian Mike

Oh, poor poor Janet.

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#29 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 04:45PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

If I had to guess I would say that POS is one of the entitled ones. We don't have enough drinks for all the coasters on this team.

God dammit. It's going to look like all I do is pick my internet friends for quote of the week.

The rest of you better step up your comedy game.

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#30 Wanyes bastard child
November 23 2009, 04:46PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

God dammit. It's going to look like all I do is pick my internet friends for quote of the week.

The rest of you better step up your comedy game.

You have friends?

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#31 Senator Theo
November 23 2009, 04:49PM
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@jeanshorts

Aww, we're Internet friends?

If I get quote of the week again, that counts as Internet friends with benefits, right?

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#32 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 04:51PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

You have friends?

Internet being the operative word here.

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#33 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 04:52PM
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@Senator Theo

I think we're well past that point already.

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#34 Senator Theo
November 23 2009, 05:13PM
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Maybe a win tonight will get the FTNF brigade off Tambo's back. How about 5-2 Oilers, with Penner getting a hattie?

By the way, he was great on After Hours on Saturday. That almost made Oake/Weekes tolerable.

Edit: I don't like using the term, "hattie".

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#35 Senator Theo
November 23 2009, 05:19PM
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@jeanshorts

I guess we are. I read a quote by Steve Earle once where he said something like "once you're a pickle, you can't ever be a cucumber again".

Steve Earle was the pickle.

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#36 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 06:00PM
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atdhe better be up and running tonite...

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#37 David S
November 23 2009, 06:58PM
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3 minutes to go and still with the bars at atdhe.

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#38 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 06:59PM
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@David S

Yes I'm just waiting to start this battle..

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#39 Dan the Man
November 23 2009, 07:03PM
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What's with the new rainbow jerseys?

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#40 Hemmercules
November 23 2009, 07:05PM
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whats the link to the game???

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#41 Jeremy
November 23 2009, 07:05PM
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Any usable links?

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#42 Smokin' Ray
November 23 2009, 07:07PM
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I can't seem to find it either.

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#43 Jamie B.
November 23 2009, 07:08PM
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Trumpet fail on the anthem.

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#44 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 07:09PM
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Gah every time it looks like we find a great source for feeds it ends up crapping out the next game. Rob is going to have to lead us for now. I'm sure we'll find a feed eventually. Puck hasn't even dropped yet.

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#45 Jeremy
November 23 2009, 07:09PM
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Jamie B. wrote:

Trumpet fail on the anthem.

Epic trumpet fail

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#46 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 07:12PM
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Sounds like they're playing consistent hockey again. More turnovers in our own end!

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#47 Wanyes bastard child
November 23 2009, 07:23PM
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GOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL

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#48 freeze
November 23 2009, 07:23PM
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GOAT!!!! Nice. He sure plays well against the Yotes.

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#49 jeanshorts
November 23 2009, 07:23PM
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That sounded amazing!

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#50 Eddie Shore
November 23 2009, 07:24PM
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I'm so aggravated right now. This will be the first game this year I don't watch. Stupid ppv.

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