Reddox Down, O'Marra and McDonald Up

Jonathan Willis
November 26 2009 12:45PM

The title to this article is correct. The Edmonton Oilers have elected to recall Ryan O'Marra and Colin McDonald (seen above in an *awesome* video) and send Liam Reddox down to Springfield.

First, I'm going to indulge in some self-congratulation, because this is what I said about Reddox last night

Speaking of ugly games, Liam Reddox has slowed down a ton since impressing immediately after being recalled. He was on the ice for seven shots tonight, and none of them were directed at Jon Quick. If this team is ever healthy enough to start sending players out, he's probably earned a trip back to Springfield.

Still, I can't take too much credit here: Reddox has been brutal the last few games, and I think most people have picked up on that.  We know, for example that Pat Quinn puts a lot of stock in scoring chances, and they've been tracked on a game-to-game basis over at mc79hockey.com.  Over Reddox's last three games, he's been on the ice for one scoring chance for and 17 against.  That's just plain ugly.

Aside from Reddox's poor play, there's something just a little chilling about the math here, as Ben Massey pointed out over at Copper & Blue:

The recall of two players implies that one Oiler forward is hurt badly enough to go on injured reserve and the smart money is on Ales Hemsky; replacing Hemsky with Ryan O'Marra may just be the biggest skill drop-off since Wayne Gretzky tweaked his groin and was replaced with an actual fire hydrant.

Moving on to Ryan O'Marra, this is his second recall this season and he got into one previous game.  I followed that game shift-by-shift and well he wasn't special he did fairly well (particularly considering that he missed the warm-up).  Springfield coach Rob Daum has raved about the way his game has turned around from this year; apparently getting a jump-start on the season by playing in Finland and rededicating himself to a checking role have done wonders.

McDonald is a player I'm very excited to see.  He was one of three "coke machnes" drafted high in 2003 by the Oilers (the other two were Stortini and Jacques) and his offence has never lived up to expectations.  On the other hand, he's big and strong and has been doing very well in a checking role in the AHL.  Daum has spoken highly of his play both this year and last year.

Neither of these guys brings enough offence to the table to have any future in a top-six role, but both are big and physical enough that a fourth-line career isn't out of the question.  It's probably a good decision to bring these guys up and see what they can do; the Oilers current roster is heavily weighted towards "small" and "defensively irresponsible" so they do fit a need.  Unfortunately, they aren't likely to do anything to help with secondary scoring, so the Oilers will have to continue to hope that current options (Gagner, Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Potulny, etc.) can help carry the load offensively. 

It's unfortunate that Chris Minard is currently on the shelf; the current Falcon played 20 games with Pittsburgh last year and had nine goals and a plus-6 rating through 11 AHL games this season.  If he were healthy, it's almost certain the Oilers would have made use of him.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Brandon
November 26 2009, 12:47PM
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Yes! More Crust!

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#2 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 12:50PM
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Funny how guys were on Pouilot and Jacques yet Macdonald was drafted in between the two.

Well it is time for all the so-called 2nd liners on this team to step up and actually be second liners.

I really feel sorry for Quinn, now he has to remember another face when making the lineups.

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#3 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 12:51PM
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Side bar question, what do you do with the lines. I would love to see Cogliano get rewarded and be put up on line one, but at the sametime how do you break up a line that was so good last night?

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#5 BUCK75
November 26 2009, 01:01PM
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It seems that we have an entire organization of 3rd or 4th liners.

~It's starting to look good to break the trend & get some top 5 talent in this years draft~

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#7 Dyckster
November 26 2009, 01:04PM
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J Dub,

Re: Reddox

Was his play "suspect" before he took that nasty hit in Buffalo (I don't recall that's why I'm asking)?

If not, perhaps that's the reason for the drop in performance? He is playing a little gun shy, that was NEVER the case earlier this year or last.

EDIT: Beat me to it by a minute!

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#8 OvenChicken8 - Team JSBM
November 26 2009, 01:07PM
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Question JW, Sportsnet is saying the oilers are loaning reddox to the falcons, is that just a nice way of saying demoted?

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#9 Ogden Brother
November 26 2009, 01:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

At a guess:

Penner - Gagner - O'Sullivan Brule - Horcoff - Jacques Moreau - Potulny - Cogliano McDonald - O'Marra - Stortini

Man that's a weak line-up. Chalk up another lose against SJ.

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#10 Racki
November 26 2009, 01:08PM
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Daum has said this year that McDonald has progressed nicely this year so far. From what I recall, I believe the word is he's been a pretty hard working guy that does all the little things right. He won't ever be mistaken for a goal scorer, but he might.. yes.. bring some "crust". That word actually drives me nuts now because it's been so overused by everyone this year.

Anyways, whether we realize it or not, this team does need some players who'll bust their ass nightly, and not be afraid to get dirty. So I'll welcome McDonald up here and see what he can do.

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#11 The Towel Boy
November 26 2009, 01:09PM
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Who saw this coming!?!

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#12 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 01:09PM
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Just looking at some stats, anyone have a guess to how many players we have had play in all 25 games? Without looking.

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#13 Homie
November 26 2009, 01:12PM
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Cute teacher.

Too bad about Reddox. I really thought (and think) that he could be a very effective 3-4 liner for the Oilers, but he hasn't looked great lately.

Look forward to seeing McDonald play.

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#14 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 01:13PM
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Is it possible that we don't put Hemsky on IR and just send Arsene down?

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#15 Dyckster
November 26 2009, 01:14PM
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SO, assuming Hemsky is shelved for a while, the 2 new call ups will obviously see some NHL ice time. Where does this leave Stone when he returns? If McDonald and O'Marra are effective will he (Stone) end up a healthy scratch? Or did he prove himself enough while he was playing he simply replaces one of the new guys? Quite a conundrum I'd say.

For the record, having all these gritty fellas might be kinda fun to watch!

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#16 Harlie
November 26 2009, 01:16PM
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you know where Edmonton is? *CRICKETS*

you know who the Edmonton Oilers are? *CRICKETS*

Hawt ass Teacher? *FOGHORN*

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#17 HE Pennypacker
November 26 2009, 01:16PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Just looking at some stats, anyone have a guess to how many players we have had play in all 25 games? Without looking.

Hmm. I'd guess four: Penner, Cogliano, Stortini, O'Sullivan.

EDIT: Ah, I missed Gilbert. But five guys total...yikes.

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#18 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 01:17PM
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@HE Pennypacker

Add a d-man

Also who is on the IR for us, we currently have 31 players so at least 8 of our 9 injuried players have to be on the IR.

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#19 David S
November 26 2009, 01:19PM
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Gritty? Yeah OK. But this is the NHL and right now we're scraping the bottom of our AHL barrel to fill vacant spots. Man we could use some Mike Comrie right about now. And as much as people might disagree, Nilsson might be a decent upgrade too.

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#20 Dyckster
November 26 2009, 01:21PM
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David S wrote:

Gritty? Yeah OK. But this is the NHL and right now we're scraping the bottom of our AHL barrel to fill vacant spots. Man we could use some Mike Comrie right about now. And as much as people might disagree, Nilsson might be a decent upgrade too.

I said "might be". If we could get the top 6 to start contributing more evenly with some offense, having two potential shut down lines may just lead to some on ice success.

Cuz what we're doing now ISN'T working.

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#23 Dyckster
November 26 2009, 01:40PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Dyckster:

I'd bet heavy money Stone finds himself in the lineup as soon as he's ready. He's a step above both these guys at the AHL level because he brings some offence.

I wonder if Robbie Nilsson is seeing the writing on the wall.

If any/all of these call-ups are even slightly productive offensively, and provide average play in the d-zone (I.E. don't carry a -1/game average aka #12), he's (Nilsson) gotta be done....doesn't he?

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#24 Jason Gregor
November 26 2009, 01:42PM
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If you want to hear how O'Marra and McDonald have been playing, Rob Daum will be on my show today at 3:10 MST...you can listen on line at www.justagame.ca

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#26 David S
November 26 2009, 01:56PM
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WINNING is fun to watch. That means scoring. That great hit at the far end of the ice means jack if its followed by waves of NHL'ers filling our net on the next rush.

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#27 Milli
November 26 2009, 02:32PM
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And the good news just keeps on rollin in!!!! Are we cursed? do we have the softest line up in hockey? I agree with someone, if Nilson gets healthy, he's on the ice.

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#28 Offthebandwagon
November 26 2009, 02:32PM
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I'm sure this has been discussed in previous blogs, but why has Eberle not been called up?It seems to me he might be a better replacement on the PP than either of these two guys. Even if he isn't used much five-on-five, with sheltered minutes he could get a few games in and then be sent down and we'd all have a better read on him.

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#30 Dyckster
November 26 2009, 02:36PM
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Milli wrote:

And the good news just keeps on rollin in!!!! Are we cursed? do we have the softest line up in hockey? I agree with someone, if Nilson gets healthy, he's on the ice.

How does putting Nilsson on the ice make us less soft? If anything it'll make us softer than we already are.

He's worn out his welcome, time for some new blood.

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#31 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 26 2009, 02:41PM
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@Jonathan Willis

What does the league consider to be an emergency basis? Are we stuck until Springfield can't ice a full team? Or is it geographic, like letting Torrie Jung play because Dubnyk couldn't fly out fast enough?

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#32 Dan the Man
November 26 2009, 02:41PM
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Useless stat of the week...2 of O'Sullivan's 4 goals are game winners and he also has a deciding goal in a shootout.

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#34 Cameron
November 26 2009, 03:01PM
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Has anyone else noticed that all the ex-Oilers just shine when we play them. I mean Matt 'freakin" Green, 1st goal of the year! I predict when the Oil next play the Islanders, Rouleson gets the winning goal. Snake-bit again.

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#35 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 03:03PM
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@Jonathan Willis

That is why we should've waited until friday and said we need someone. That is if the Oil Brass want a look at Eberle.

You don't think LA didn't know last night that Loktionov was going to be out for tonights game? They just waited until the last minute and told the NHL that they couldn't get anyone up from Manchester in time. LA only has 4 guys that are out, so you would think that out of their 49 contracts that someone from Manchester would be eligible.

If you want someone to come in from the Juniors the best wait until the last minute.

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#36 Dan the Man
November 26 2009, 03:14PM
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Per Matty in the Journal.

EDMONTON — Edmonton Oilers’ winger Ales Hemsky was going for an MRI on his damaged shoulder today and definitely won’t play Friday when Dany Heatley and the San Jose Sharks visit Rexall Place.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Hemsky+play+against+Sharks/2272425/story.html

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#37 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 26 2009, 03:15PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Per Matty in the Journal.

EDMONTON — Edmonton Oilers’ winger Ales Hemsky was going for an MRI on his damaged shoulder today and definitely won’t play Friday when Dany Heatley and the San Jose Sharks visit Rexall Place.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Hemsky+play+against+Sharks/2272425/story.html

That's kind of a relief, actually. He doesn't need another concussion.

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#38 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 26 2009, 03:17PM
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@Dan the Man

While I don't doubt Matty on this one, has anyone else noticed some of the bs he is writing lately? And not just on the Oilers, but other teams potential trades.

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#39 Hemmercules
November 26 2009, 03:21PM
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Why didn't I have any cute teachers like that through school??? I got stuck with all the senior citizens that were way too old to be there.

Next time some goon destroys a shoulder on one of our best guys I wanna see sticks breaking over heads immediately after. This is getting rediculous.

So is Pisani likely done for the oil? Last I read he has no timeline.

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#40 Dan the Man
November 26 2009, 03:22PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

While I don't doubt Matty on this one, has anyone else noticed some of the bs he is writing lately? And not just on the Oilers, but other teams potential trades.

Matty is definitely one of the more reliable guys out there but he did write that there was no chance Comrie would sign here.

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#41 Ender
November 26 2009, 03:30PM
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David S wrote:

And as much as people might disagree, Nilsson might be a decent upgrade too.

Chalk me up as disagreeing. Hard to defend Reddox right now, but I'm going to try; how many bad games has Reddox had at this point? Six? That sucks, there's no argument, and I remember him getting undressed in that first goal in the Chicago game as clearly as anyone. He's had a few really positive games as well, though, so I'm not quite ready to write him off just yet.

How many other Oilers have had six bad games this year? A lot, and most of them are still here.

How many bad games has Nilsson had? All of them, his empty-net goal notwithstanding. If that guy steps out on the ice with his $2M cap hit ahead of Reddox, I am going to scream.

Replace Reddox in this line-up with Stone or even McDonald and I'm willing to play along for a bit. For Nilsson? No way.

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#42 Ender
November 26 2009, 03:35PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

That is why we should've waited until friday and said we need someone. That is if the Oil Brass want a look at Eberle . . . If you want someone to come in from the Juniors the best wait until the last minute.

I'm guessing that there aren't very many teams that are so skinny on depth that they'd deliberately overlook an opportunity to bring up someone from their actual farm team (where your best alternative players are supposed to be) in order to sneak in a player from major junior. The fact we're even looking at the idea should have us scared as hell about this team's remaining depth.

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#43 Dyckster
November 26 2009, 03:37PM
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Ender wrote:

David S wrote:

And as much as people might disagree, Nilsson might be a decent upgrade too.

Chalk me up as disagreeing. Hard to defend Reddox right now, but I'm going to try; how many bad games has Reddox had at this point? Six? That sucks, there's no argument, and I remember him getting undressed in that first goal in the Chicago game as clearly as anyone. He's had a few really positive games as well, though, so I'm not quite ready to write him off just yet.

How many other Oilers have had six bad games this year? A lot, and most of them are still here.

How many bad games has Nilsson had? All of them, his empty-net goal notwithstanding. If that guy steps out on the ice with his $2M cap hit ahead of Reddox, I am going to scream.

Replace Reddox in this line-up with Stone or even McDonald and I'm willing to play along for a bit. For Nilsson? No way.

X2

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#44 David S
November 26 2009, 03:51PM
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Stone and McDonald might be able to throw some good hits, but a guy like Nilsson (if he got it together) can help put it in the net. Last I heard there were no points given out for winning the game hit count.

Hey look, I agree the guy hasn't exactly lit it up in the few games he's had to date. But IF he started to contribute to the score sheet, I can tell you he'd be way more valuable than another AHL callup.

Like it or not, Nilsson is an NHL'er. We need those guys way more right now more than a few hi-light reel hits.

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#45 SirFozz
November 26 2009, 03:59PM
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I agree with you 100% JW. That video is AWESOME.

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#46 Dyckster
November 26 2009, 04:00PM
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David S wrote:

Stone and McDonald might be able to throw some good hits, but a guy like Nilsson (if he got it together) can help put it in the net. Last I heard there were no points given out for winning the game hit count.

Hey look, I agree the guy hasn't exactly lit it up in the few games he's had to date. But IF he started to contribute to the score sheet, I can tell you he'd be way more valuable than another AHL callup.

Like it or not, Nilsson is an NHL'er. We need those guys way more right now more than a few hi-light reel hits.

Robert Nilsson - 12GP 1G 3A -12 Ryan Stone - 8GP 0G 3A -2

Apparently in comparison, Stone would be the better choice....

Let's not talk potential, The Oilers don't have time to wait. What have you done for me lately!

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#47 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 26 2009, 04:04PM
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@Dyckster

If we stopped talking potential we would only be watching 2 defencemen, 3 forwards, and an injured goalie.

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#48 Oildrop89
November 26 2009, 04:16PM
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Nice to see McDonald getting the chance to come up and play a game or two in the big league. The fact that we've had to call up so many guys because of injury and ineptitude to play the game with any skill or passion really blows the big one. The Smyth trade is looking to be a huge bust with that lazy son of a gun Nilsson and a more than likely career AHLer coming our way while he lights teams up until he gets injured. Way to be K Lowe, way to be.

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#49 VK63
November 26 2009, 04:23PM
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You think that fire hydrant is still available?

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#50 Dyckster
November 26 2009, 04:31PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

That's all well and good, but Nilsson is hardly an unknown, I think he's had more than enough opportunity to show his potential...or lack there of.

There's still hope for Stone however...imo.

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