GDB XXXVI: Blues on the Winter Solstice

Jason Gregor
December 21 2009 12:27PM

I wonder what Steve Tambellini would like for Christmas... Wins? Consistency? A healthy team? Another forward in double digits in goals?

The big question for Tambellini is will he want wins, or sacrifice that and take player development at this point; because right now it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to have both this season.

The Oilers find themselves 15th in the west this morning, seven points out of the playoffs. It's stunning how quickly things can change in Oilerville in the span of a week. After five straight road wins the Oilers were back in the playoff hunt, three points out with a four-game home stand on the horizon, but three consecutive losses have them closer to Taylor Hall than Lord Stanley.

They lost to LA, Nashville and Washington — all top-seven teams. So it’s not like they're losing to dogs, but it also shows that this team isn’t ready for prime time.

The biggest challenge that Tambellini, Quinn and company face is trying to separate which of these young players will continue to develop and which ones don’t have the ability to elevate their game to the next level.

The players in the dressing room still feel they can win and get to the playoffs, so don’t expect them to roll over and play dead. But from my stand point, this team is a few players away from being a contender. I don’t expect the team to lose on purpose, because players aren’t wired that way, but within a month the landscape should be very clear in what direction Tambellini should go.

Do you remember the first time?

Quinn has elected to give Devan Dubnyk his first NHL start tonight. According to Quinn, he had this game penciled in as a Dubnyk’s a few weeks ago, but didn’t tell him until this morning.

Dubnyk was obviously excited, but he joked about the pressure of the first NHL start compared to his first NHL game when he came off the bench in Vancouver.

"You always have time to be nervous. The difference about today is that I have all day to think about it, rather than getting nervous when I put on my mask in Vancouver. Trust me; the nerves will be there either way."

Dubnyk won’t be the only change tonight. JF Jacques has recovered from the flu and is ready to go and Quinn wants to play him, but he liked Jason Strudwick’s game on Saturday and hinted that 43 might not be the guy coming out.

He likes the intangibles that Strudwick brings. He talked about his mental toughness, his strength and you got the feeling that Quinn wants guys he knows will compete every play regardless of their ability.

Line shuffle

 Quinn also juggled his lines this morning, which shouldn’t surprise anyone considering they’ve lost three in a row.

Penner — Horcoff — Nilsson
Cogliano — Gagner — Stone
Moreau — Potulny — Brule
Jacques — Stortini — O’Sullivan

This is how they looked at practice, but they could change depending on who Quinn sits out tonight.

Considering the players still feel they can make the playoffs, tonight is a must-win. The Blues are one point ahead of the Oilers, but the Oilers have owned them, winning eight straight.

The Blues don’t have a player with more than 22 points (Brad Boyes), but they have eight players with 18 or more points.

David Backes is hot all of a sudden, with five goals and seven points in his last five games. He had four goals in the first 29 games. The Blues spread out their scoring and David Perron and TJ Oshie each have 18 points playing on the third line.

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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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#51 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 05:08PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

If you made a billion dollars, and had models throwing themselves at you all day... you'd fk up too

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#52 RossCreekNation
December 21 2009, 05:10PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

I think that's what Souray said to the ref (McCreary?)...

"C'mon ref, that call was whoresh*t"

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#53 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 21 2009, 05:12PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

If you made a billion dollars, and had models throwing themselves at you all day... you'd fk up too

if i had a billion dollars, you bet i would, but i wouldnt get married so young with that much cake in the bank.

no amount of skank poon is worth the HUNDREDS of millions this will cost him if she leaves.

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#54 DK0
December 21 2009, 05:14PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

If you made a billion dollars, and had models throwing themselves at you all day... you'd fk up too

If i had a billion dollars and models throwing themselves at me, I wouldn't have married anybody until i was ready to settle down.

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#55 RossCreekNation
December 21 2009, 05:14PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

If you made a billion dollars, and had models throwing themselves at you all day... you'd fk up too

If you made a billion dollars, and had PANCAKE WAITRESSES LOOKING at you ONCE... you'd fk up too

fixed

LOL

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#56 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 05:16PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

Pre-Nup. Tiger was smart enough to get the woman to sign it. Personally, if I had a billion dollars Id find a woman that would join in on my escapades rather than claw me. Buddy has more money than Hugh Hefner and Hefner making him look like a rank amateur.

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#57 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 05:17PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

If you made a billion dollars, and had PANCAKE WAITRESSES LOOKING at you ONCE... you'd fk up too

fixed

LOL

Depending on the pancake place. IHOP, definately, Denny's? No thanks.

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#58 RossCreekNation
December 21 2009, 05:18PM
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On a serious note, won't be able to catch the game tonight, but I'd be watching the Penner-Jackman matchup. I've said it for a couple of years now... THE OIL NEED A BARRET JACKMAN TYPE. IIRC, he gave Penner mad props earlier this year (in a Bob Stauffer interview, maybe??).

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#59 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 21 2009, 05:23PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

Pre-Nup. Tiger was smart enough to get the woman to sign it. Personally, if I had a billion dollars Id find a woman that would join in on my escapades rather than claw me. Buddy has more money than Hugh Hefner and Hefner making him look like a rank amateur.

she still gets hundreds of millions.

if no pre-nup, she gets half.

even if its 50mil, still not worth it.

if you wanna roll like that, dont get married. it isnt tough

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#60 Dominoiler
December 21 2009, 05:29PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

"tiger woods is in all sorts of whoresh*t now"..

Boo-Yeah!!! hahaha...

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#61 Arby
December 21 2009, 05:46PM
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@RossCreekNation

errr.... like a Penner-Jackman hybrid? A spawn of Jackmans 'mad-props' towards Penner? I guess I wouldn't hate the player...... i'd just hate the gaymen.***

I would rather watch grandma push a hoop with a stick. A stick.

*** Play on words only!!! I'm actually indifferent towards actual gay men

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#62 jeanshorts
December 21 2009, 05:55PM
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Am I the only one who thinks Tiger Woods is even cooler now?

I mean, when it was like 2 or 3 women, he was an ass. But once it got into double digits he became a legend!

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#63 David S
December 21 2009, 06:48PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

she still gets hundreds of millions.

if no pre-nup, she gets half.

even if its 50mil, still not worth it.

if you wanna roll like that, dont get married. it isnt tough

He rolls like that partially BECAUSE he got married. He makes most of his cash with sponsorship deals, with companies that want the squeaky clean (read: "married") image.

Now I bet he's up to replace the Dos Equis old guy as "the most interesting man in the world".

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#64 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 07:47PM
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The boys have some jump tonight.

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#65 Hemmertime
December 21 2009, 08:02PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Am I the only one who thinks Tiger Woods is even cooler now?

I mean, when it was like 2 or 3 women, he was an ass. But once it got into double digits he became a legend!

Hell No, I been saying I am more interested in Tiger even more now and actually admire a golfer with a better resume than NBA players. Good on em, 2:1 his womans cheated.

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#66 Wanyes bastard child
December 21 2009, 08:26PM
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SMID SCORES AGAIN!!!

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#67 Shaun Doe
December 21 2009, 08:30PM
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Thats just peachy keen... We just keep beating ourselves tonight and all right in front of the net. Why not try clearing the crease?

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#68 David S
December 21 2009, 08:32PM
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Time to pull DD for the backup.

Oh. Right.

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#69 Shaun Doe
December 21 2009, 08:34PM
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Man I can't tell whats worse: Watching this game or listening to the Blues commentators

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#70 David S
December 21 2009, 08:40PM
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I guess the upside is we won't be hearing any more HF board fanboys calling for DD to get some games. He's freaking useless.

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#71 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 08:47PM
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David S wrote:

I guess the upside is we won't be hearing any more HF board fanboys calling for DD to get some games. He's freaking useless.

Really? He hasn't had much work and pretty much all of the goals other than the last were bad bounces or bad defence. I wouldn't hang the goals on him.

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#72 Shaun Doe
December 21 2009, 08:50PM
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Yeah I can't say that the first 3 or so goals were much his fault. Dmen are not clearing the crease and Ladi knocked one in clean.

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#73 Colin
December 21 2009, 08:51PM
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Wooo Dive for 5!

Although I admit I'd prefer some stylish diving instead of belly flops...

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#74 Shaun Doe
December 21 2009, 08:57PM
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If we are going to get a top 5 pick could we just fast forward to the off-season and past the part where the Canucks miss/are bounced from the playoffs.

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#75 David S
December 21 2009, 08:58PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Really? He hasn't had much work and pretty much all of the goals other than the last were bad bounces or bad defence. I wouldn't hang the goals on him.

As you were saying...

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#76 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 08:58PM
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Wow. This is getting ugly.

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#77 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 08:59PM
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@David S

You can see the future? DD is not the reason the score is 6-2.

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#78 StrangePhD
December 21 2009, 09:01PM
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Looks like Dubnyk brought some of his Springfield buddies to play...oh wait.

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#79 Heavyd
December 21 2009, 09:04PM
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The problem is the defence. Why do they continue to make the wrong plys game after game.

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#80 David S
December 21 2009, 09:05PM
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Seriously man. All of those goals might not be on DD, but an NHL goalie makes the saves to keep it close. Same problem with JDD. Inexperience is costing us two soft ones a night. We don't have a strong enough lineup to spot opposing teams that much spread night after night.

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#81 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 09:06PM
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David S wrote:

Seriously man. All of those goals might not be on DD, but an NHL goalie makes the saves to keep it close. Same problem with JDD. Inexperience is costing us two soft ones a night. We don't have a strong enough lineup to spot opposing teams that much spread night after night.

Our defence is terrible tonight. You think if Habby is in net the blues don't score 5 or 6?

...and by defence I mean team defence.

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#82 Shaun Doe
December 21 2009, 09:10PM
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So on that "first" PP unit we had O'Sullivan, Stortini, and Jacques. Why? Has Quinn given up completely and is just playing whatever lines come into his head or was that an honest attempt. This team really is just no good. We play simple we win, teams figure it out or we get bored of winning and we lose. There is no stability. I really am an optomist in most things but this is a team clearly out classed.

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#83 David S
December 21 2009, 09:12PM
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I think if Khabby is in net, he makes the saves to keep it at 3 or 4. The guys in front of him might have the confidence to go get that game back. Neither JDD nor DD should be a backup in the NHL. This might be hard to deal with but you learn the game in the AHL. The NHL is NOT a development league.

As far as the majority of our forwards, same deal applies. That's why we're basically hooped. Is any other team in the league working in so many development players? Nope.

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#84 Shaun Doe
December 21 2009, 09:12PM
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Oh also I would like to point out that we have played three teams in a row playing on the second game of a back-to-back. Granted they only had to fly from Vancouver to Edmonton, its still not something you just shake off.

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#85 David S
December 21 2009, 09:16PM
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Shaun Doe wrote:

So on that "first" PP unit we had O'Sullivan, Stortini, and Jacques. Why? Has Quinn given up completely and is just playing whatever lines come into his head or was that an honest attempt. This team really is just no good. We play simple we win, teams figure it out or we get bored of winning and we lose. There is no stability. I really am an optomist in most things but this is a team clearly out classed.

He probably figures this is a game where you give some guys experience they might not get too much normally.

Fact is, if there was any doubt before, this team is now in full rebuild mode. Even if Tambellini will never admit as much.

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#86 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 09:17PM
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JDD has been a good enough backup this year IMO. Sure DD should probably not be playing in the NHL yet but injuries happen and you're not going to play JDD 25 straight games until Habby is back are you?

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#87 GSC
December 21 2009, 09:18PM
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More like the Devan the Dud. Very unimpressive NHL debut.

In all fairness, the entire team is Mega Maid: they've gone from suck to blow

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#88 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 09:19PM
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@David S

Fact is, if there was any doubt before, this team is now in full rebuild mode. Even if Tambellini will never admit as much

Puts a smile on my face.. I am fed up with the acceptance of mediocrity, or the unwillingness to accept that some things need to change in order to advance as a franchise.

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#89 Shaun Doe
December 21 2009, 09:21PM
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Way to go Moreau. I am sure the Kid got the message there. I mean he already knows the team is losing but I guess now he knows you've lost your cool too.

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#90 Travis Dakin
December 21 2009, 09:21PM
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Wow this party is uh... bumpin'

I feel so damn bad for Dubnyk right now. He's way better than this. I'm getting EXACTLY what I want in another loss but poor kid. I hope this doesn't screw him up.

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#91 StrangePhD
December 21 2009, 09:22PM
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Did Moreau really just crosscheck that guy in the back of the head? After tripping him? I guess he just wanted to make sure that he sent a message...and got a minor.

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#92 StrangePhD
December 21 2009, 09:22PM
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@Shaun Doe

Hah, sorry. Didn't see you beat me to it

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#93 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 09:22PM
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Devan.. I'm trying to go to bat for you but you aren't helping me out here.

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#94 David S
December 21 2009, 09:23PM
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Funny thing is, I'd feel way better if Tambellini just came out and said "we're rebuilding". I think we all would.

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#95 David S
December 21 2009, 09:24PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Wow this party is uh... bumpin'

I feel so damn bad for Dubnyk right now. He's way better than this. I'm getting EXACTLY what I want in another loss but poor kid. I hope this doesn't screw him up.

That last Blues goal would disagree with you there Travis.

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#96 Travis Dakin
December 21 2009, 09:24PM
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Wow.... friggin awesome. Dear Steve Tambellini, uh dude, listen.... I think you can tell by now that this team sucks balls. I don't know if you got the memo or anything but uh, It's YOUR job to fix it. You wanna maybe try a little?

Lovingly yours,

Travis Dakin

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#97 Travis Dakin
December 21 2009, 09:26PM
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David S wrote:

Funny thing is, I'd feel way better if Tambellini just came out and said "we're rebuilding". I think we all would.

That would be amazing

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#98 Eddie Shore
December 21 2009, 09:26PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Wow.... friggin awesome. Dear Steve Tambellini, uh dude, listen.... I think you can tell by now that this team sucks balls. I don't know if you got the memo or anything but uh, It's YOUR job to fix it. You wanna maybe try a little?

Lovingly yours,

Travis Dakin

Can I sign that petition?

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#99 Cleetis
December 21 2009, 09:26PM
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David S wrote:

Funny thing is, I'd feel way better if Tambellini just came out and said "we're rebuilding". I think we all would.

Dude, I don't even want him to say it. Just make deals that show us he has picked a direction and is going with it. Trade a couple vets for prospects or picks. That will give the fan base the message. I don't need him to say it, just show me he is committed to make this team better long term.

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#100 StrangePhD
December 21 2009, 09:28PM
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@Cleetis

Hear hear.

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