Bum fights: the Oilers KTFO by the Blues

Robin Brownlee
December 22 2009 09:12AM

What we gave up to get here (hat tip to David S)

Relatively speaking, Devan Dubnyk is making progress when it comes to the tricky business of getting the hang of the goaltending game, even if he got lit up like a cheap cigar as the Edmonton Oilers took a 7-2 butt-kicking from the St. Louis Blues Monday.

As sieve-like as Dubnyk was in his first NHL start, fishing those seven pucks out of his net on 26 shots, his Andre Racicot impression pales in comparison to his first game as a goaltender -- a 13-1 loss in minor hockey after his dad coughed up all that money for pads. He got past that. He'll get past this.

Dubnyk wasn't very good against the Blues, and he didn't get much help, as the 15th-place Oilers embarrassed themselves good and plenty in a meeting of have-not bottom-feeders in the Western Conference.

That said, let's not get carried away writing Dubnyk off, as some people no doubt will after a regrettable debut. Doing that, based on one bad night and hideous numbers after just two NHL appearances, is as ridiculous a stance as suggesting before this debacle Dubnyk was somehow a better prospect than Jeff Deslauriers, with no NHL experience as evidence to back it up.

But, yes, it was truly ugly.

Look Ma, no hands

Dubnyk, stuck behind Nikolai Khabibulin and Deslauriers in the Oilers crease pecking order, isn't nearly as bad as his teammates helped him look against the Blues and their juggernaut power play. That's obvious. Of course, that isn't much solace to frustrated Oilers fans, who've seen their team win once in their last eight tries at home.

"Devan will remember this game for a long time, I'm sure," coach Pat Quinn said of Dubnyk, who had his parents in the sell-out crowd. "He was kind of left out to hang by his teammates."

Kind of? Counting a relief appearance in a 7-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, Dubnyk has now allowed 10 goals on 50 shots, which will play hell with his saves-percentage and put a dent in his confidence.

After all, it's not like he's going to get a lot of chances to redeem himself, even with Khabibulin out. Deslauriers made 14 straight starts before the Blues came calling and he'll carry the load until Khabibulin gets back.

Dubnyk might get a start against either Toronto Dec. 30 or Calgary the next night. A little more help might be an idea if he does.

Exasperated

You know things are in the sh*thouse when the coach sounds like a beaten man 36 games into the season and the housemen and fart catchers, those charged with finding silver linings in the septic tank, are carving ass.

Quinn was running a quart low on piss and vinegar compared to past games during his post-game availability with reporters last night, leaving most of the zingers to those who are usually sunshine and light.

Props, then, to Dan Tencer of 630 CHED, who didn't play patty-cake on his post-game show. Milhouse got all revved up and ripped the Oilers good and plenty. Red his cheeks were. Furnace red.

"The most embarrassing loss of the season for the Oilers," began Tencer, just getting started after the Oilers made it four straight losses at Rexall Place. "They were just flat-out embarrassed on this homestand... You cannot lose 7-2 to the St. Louis Blues." Apparently you can, Dan. Apparently you can.

Given all the above, I can only wonder if owner Daryl Katz has seen enough and is taking notes and names — GM Steve Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, for starters. How long will Katz sit silent paying the bills while this franchise spirals into nothingness?

And...

-- Captain Ethan Moreau keeps digging himself deeper in the estimation of fans, and his tantrum late in the game, when he tripped and then cross-checked T.J. Oshie to the ice after a clean hit, just adds ammunition to those arguing No. 18 should have the "C" ripped off his chest.

"I don't like to get hit when it's 6-2," Moreau said. "I'm not going to allow that to happen."

What, Moreau is frustrated? He didn't pay 100 bucks to get into the rink and inhale this stink.

-- If I'm Tambellini or Lowe, assuming they still have jobs when the Christmas roster freeze is lifted, I'm picking up the phone and calling old pal Scott Howson in Columbus to see if there's room to make a deal that can shake up both teams. Problem for a problem? Fine. Spare parts for spare parts? OK. Both outfits are dead in the water right now.

-- The good news is that after they lose in Minnesota Wednesday, the Oilers play six of their first nine games after the Christmas break at home. The bad news is they're 8-9-2 at Rexall Place.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 OOF
December 22 2009, 09:26AM
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"You know things are in the sh*thouse when the coach sounds like a beaten man 36 games into the season and the housemen and fart catchers, those charged with finding silver linings in the septic tank, are carving ass."

This is why ON rules.

Poor Ethan doesn't like to get hit when it's 6-2. He's not going to allow that to happen. How about not allowing it to get to 6-2?

As for Kevin Lowe, I struggle to figure out how he can possibly show his face in that building anymore. If he had any kind of honour, he'd resign ... knowing the sh*t pile he left the Oilers in.

The longer this team sucks, the higher up the food chain the responsibility lies.

Mr. Katz, you're on deck.

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#2 Tyler
December 22 2009, 09:31AM
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How can they take the "C" from him? It stands for "Chopper", you know.

Two of the Knights of the Keyboard calling for the ousting of Lowe and Tambellini on the same day? My goodness. Viva la revoluçion!

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#3 Lofty
December 22 2009, 09:33AM
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The oil have been outside the playoffs for more than 15 years, but I can't remeber the last time they were DFL this late into a season? Any idea Brownlee

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#4 RossCreekNation
December 22 2009, 09:37AM
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They've gotta do one of two things with Dubnyk...

1. Play him every 4 games. Don't let him get rusty on the bench. Don't stagnate his development like they stagnated Deslauriers. Let him play. He's not much farther behind Deslauriers anyway. Get a good look at him and then look to trade one of the two before next season.

2. Send him back down to the 'A' to continue his development on a nighly basis.

Personally, I'd pick option 2. Find another cheap experienced backup to partner with Deslauriers. From Steve Valiquette to Michael Leighton to Johan Hedberg or whomever. I don't care if his name is Fred Brathwaite.

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#5 Tyler
December 22 2009, 09:39AM
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@Lofty - I was looking for a sarcastic thing to satirize the Oilers' press releases on the other day, so I went and checked. They were tied for last in the conference with the Jets entering play on March 31, 1994 before "surging" ahead for good. Fortunately, they had the Jets' first round pick that season, which they promptly used to acquire Jason Bonsingnore.

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#6 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 22 2009, 09:39AM
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I have to say that some of our forward role players need to go, sure we need guys that hit, that fight, that play defense, that blockshot. Our problem is we have one guy for each of those positions and neither bring much more then that one element.

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#7 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 22 2009, 09:42AM
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@RossCreekNation

I agree with #2. Dubnyk needs to continue to develop his play. At the sametime we need a half decent veteran goalie that can help out when JDD needs a break.

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#8 Garett
December 22 2009, 09:46AM
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Well said Rb, well said.  I'm about ready for another Tambo interview, its been a week or two has it not?  How about trying to get KLowe to have a chat with the media to get his perspective?  Why do we not hear from these guys more frequently?  I feel so bad for Quinn.  Not even Associate coach Tom Renney can be heard from.  He is an associate coach for cryinng out loud!  Is he not more or less running the "D"?  I see why he sleeks away and keeps hidden.  Would you want to have to face the media when the part of the team you run is the worst at its job in the entire league?  Once again, poor Pat Quinn.  If this much needed rebuild happens, does Quinn want to be apart of it?  I think not, who would?

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#9 Zamboni Driver
December 22 2009, 09:46AM
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I actually can't believe I miss Rollie the Oldie.

that's how far it's gone.

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#10 RIch Zeng
December 22 2009, 09:51AM
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Great blog Mr. Brownlee! It's time for Lowebellini to get their asses fired...hopefully during the next PPV telecast. It's the only way the next ppv would be worth watching.

lol @ "Milhouse"

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#11 RossCreekNation
December 22 2009, 09:53AM
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Columbus, eh?

Jason Chimera (2 more years @ 1.875)

Samuel Pahlsson (2 more years @ 2.65)

Jan Hejda (1 more year @ 2.0)

Mike Commodore (xxx)

Rostislav Klesla, injured mid-jan (4 more years @ 2.975)

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#12 Hoodlum
December 22 2009, 09:54AM
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OH MY GOD, Little story first. I'm stuck in a small town in New Brunswick until next Monday. I have been here since last Monday. I have no cell service, but I do have Sportsnet West, so I thought that even in my Alberta absense, I would be fortunate enough to see the games that I would have missed, however, even with Sportsnet West, the game is only broadcast regionally. So, alas I have missed the last 4 games. At least I thought that was a bad thing. Seeing highlights and reading blogs on the last 4 games have made me quickly realise, that I am probably the most fortunate member of the nation right now, bcause I can't be subject to this heartless, gutless play by a bunch of heartless, gutless players. I recieved tickets for the game next Monday night, the day I get back, but I'm finding it hard to accept those tickets, because clearly the buyer deserves a refund.

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#13 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 22 2009, 09:55AM
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So who do we want to replace Tambo/Lowe?

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#14 Dale B.
December 22 2009, 09:56AM
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This collection of Oilers remind me a lot of the WHA Oilers before Gretzky arrived. So who is accountable for this? Why did the franchise not have an AHL team for a couple of seasons? Wasn't Mr. Larforge in charge of that? What about the long term contracts that Lowe is behind? And we're right up against the cap with no wiggle room. I don't even trust our scouting staff to get the number one pick right--if we are that fortunate. The thing that gets me is how freakin arrogant certain people in this organization are. We haven't won a Cup in 20 years--the fumes from the good old days have evaporated. Where's the humility? Where's the hunger to want to get better? If there's one thing this organization has always been good at--it's spin. But now the proof is in the pudding. Last place in the western conference. Last place in the AHL. This is a train wreck that can't be fixed overnight. Let's dump some of the high priced veterans. Move some of the ner'do wells to the minors, finish in the bottom five to get a good pick and slowly get this thing turned around.

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#15 Ambassador humantorch
December 22 2009, 10:00AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

So who do we want to replace Tambo/Lowe?

A poo-flinging monkey could do a better job at this point.

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#16 Zamboni Driver
December 22 2009, 10:00AM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

Nobody, they're doing a great job. Especially Lowe because he is a boy on a bus. There. Feel better?

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#17 RossCreekNation
December 22 2009, 10:01AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

So who do we want to replace Tambo/Lowe?

Mike Milbury?

jk

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#18 Digger
December 22 2009, 10:02AM
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"-- If I'm Tambellini or Lowe, assuming they still have jobs when the Christmas roster freeze is lifted..."

As much as I'd like to think that their jobs truly are in jeopardy, my cynical side keeps me believing that Lowe firmly has the ear and trust of Katz, and Tambellini will get at least one to two more seasons before feeling any heat.

Neither guy is going anywhere for some time, IMO. They've already got Quinn set up as the guy that'll take the bullet and resign if things continue to go pear-shaped for the rest of 09/10, and then it'll be Renney's turn to look deflated and beaten up emotionally after every 2nd postgame media gab session.

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#19 Motel
December 22 2009, 10:04AM
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Tambellini isn't going anywhere.

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#20 olderthendirt
December 22 2009, 10:06AM
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Even an optimist can get discouraged by this team. I still believe that they have talent, but the chemistry is wrong. Some trades are neded just to change the locker room. POS and #18 are the biggest disappointments. Is Sourey playing hurt or is it metal. I expect more out of him. It seemed like Smids goal just deflated the entire team. O well, I just know they'll get it together for the next game.

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#21 Bruno
December 22 2009, 10:12AM
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I was at the game last night and while it started out OK, and then quickly went downhill, I wonder how things would have turned out if a couple of half decent saves were made. At one point the Blues had 5 goals on 15 shots. I don't care how bad the team is playing in front of you, but you gotta be better than that. Tough night for Dubnyk.

I was sitting down by the glass when Moreau had his fit on Oshie and it was brutal. It's different when you see two guys that are kind of going at it all game and things get out of hand. By that point in the game though, there was zero emotion left and the crosscheck just looked pathetic and embarrassing. I couldn't believe Quinn let him back on the ice again

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#22 -30-
December 22 2009, 10:13AM
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"I don't like to get hit when it's 6-2," Moreau said. "I'm not going to allow that to happen."

Huh? Didn't the Oil get it in the a** for the first 50 minutes from the Blues?

They willingly rolled over on their tummies and took it. Moreau has the "C" and he can't get hit?

Do the rules change when the losers start waving the white flag?

This is part of the old locker room mentality that needs to be changed.

I do think that there is a master plan here.

Quinn isn't hitting the panic button. The team is being taught a new system and those that don't get it will be gone or have a diminished capacity before the season is over.

Just as I couldn't get too excited when we won 5 games, I'm not despondent that we're going to lose 5 in a row.

Things will change. Things will improve. Quinn and Rennie inherited Lowe's mess. Lowe will be gone before they will.

-30-

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#23 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 22 2009, 10:14AM
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@Zamboni Driver

Seriously, who is available that will come in here and do a better job? Although Tambo does have a few things he could do easily, some of the bigger problems won't be solved until contracts run out.

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#24 Milli
December 22 2009, 10:17AM
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Funny, I miss Roli to. How's he looking on the Island with a year and a half left in that deal?

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#25 Kieso
December 22 2009, 10:17AM
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Alberta Supreme Court Custody Decision

A seven year old boy was the centre of attention when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge awarded custody to his aunt.

The boy confirmed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and refused to live there. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents the boy cried out that they beat him more than anyone.

In an unprecedented court ruling, the judge dramatically allowed the boy to choose who should have custody of him. Custody was granted to the Edmonton Oilers this morning as the boy firmly believes that they are not capable of beating anyone......

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#26 KMan
December 22 2009, 10:17AM
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I agree RB- this team and organization has gone straight into the toilet. Look at the farm team. This is your barometer for your scouting staff. We are surfacing an AHL roster in an NHL league and our farm team has nothing to show either. Prendergast might suggest otherwise. In my books he has to go as well. I'm tired of listening to his interviews raving about all the talent he has down on the farm. Come on how asinine does he think the oil fan is. Look at our payroll and our standing combined with with our farm team and standing and make a quick comparison to Nashville. Need we go any further- change has to happen and it starts with cleaning house up top and should continue on throughout upper management, KL, KP,ST scouting, the list can go on. I wonder too what Bucky adds to this mess and how the H*ll did he get his post. Continue the DF5 - move bodies for whatever picks you can get and take the rebuild serious. Look at what the AVs accomplished in a year, in fact weren't they supposed to be pegged where the oil are now ?

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#27 The Fish
December 22 2009, 10:26AM
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What a disgraceful effort last night. One bright spot was Smid's second goal of the season 5 hole on Dubnyk.

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#28 Anybodywanttickets
December 22 2009, 10:29AM
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This team is a joke. I'd close the curtains if they were playing in my backyard.

Hopefully now everyone(fan and management)who was drinking the purple koolaid will see the light. Blow this abomination up and start fresh.

I have no interest in renewing my tickets till they do.

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#29 Hambone
December 22 2009, 10:35AM
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I don't know why everyone is ripping on Moreau for getting frustrated, playing dirty, and then fighting someone. That was the best part of the game and I wish more players did that. The only thing I wish he did after was scream at his team on the bench for being a bunch of pussies and not doing the same thing.

This team needs an old fashioned line brawl to create a little passion for their team and to show a little dignity when they get their asses handed to them. I loved it and have zero problem with Moreau smashing someone after he got hit.

Then again, keep the loses coming, boys!

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#30 Jonathan Willis
December 22 2009, 10:37AM
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MacTavish isn't going anywhere. I have that from Bob Stauffer, who got it directly from Katz.

Oh, hang on. Nevermind.

Katz has too much money invested in this team to leave incompetent people in charge.

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#31 Jonathan Willis
December 22 2009, 10:38AM
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Hambone:

This team needs less selfish individualism, not more.

Don't mistake Moreau getting angry because he was hit for genuine leadership.

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#32 Racki
December 22 2009, 10:38AM
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Moreau sounds like Roenick, who complained when he got hit in an exhibition game hard by Gauthier (?). Newsflash: it's a hockey game. If you're complaining that there's hitting at any point of the game, then therein lies the problem. The difference between winners and losers is that the winners will keep the foot on the gas the whole time (and not blow two goal leads).

I was just happy to see some emotion from a player though... and I don't normally defend Moreau. But he's shown enough other times that he doesn't bring it as much anymore when it matters, so I'm not going to put any effort in here defending him this time around.

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#33 KenL
December 22 2009, 10:44AM
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Well at least the calls for Dive for Five have abated (probably because no diving is necesary). Punt Lowe/Tambellini? Let's get real.

Lowe will ALWAYS have a job in the organization as long as he wants it. First Oiler drafted, a Boy on the Bus, etc. Lowe has too much sentimental currency built up with the previous ownership group and the current owner.

In a way, Lowe is beginning to look a lot like Bobby Clarke. And it took almost 3 decades before Clarke was finally "retired" from the organization. Even with brief sabbaticals with Florida and Minnesota, Clarke always returned to the Flyers. Lowe took his sabbatical as a player and there's no doubt in my mind the Oilers will be his last employer before retirement.

I'm willing to give Tambellini another season and a half. I like to see how he salvages this season (if it's salvageable) or makes the bold decision to blow it up. I like to see if he has the GM acumen to make better deals than last off season, which really was his first.

If he fails, seems to me that Quinn could easily move back into a GM role. He did have success with the Canucks and the Leafs in the 90s in that role. Seems to me, the Leafs gone back to their losing ways once Quinn was forced to relinquish the GM role and only coach.

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#34 E-Mac
December 22 2009, 10:47AM
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I think I may convert to a Leafs fan, at least they compete every night.

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#35 Leopard
December 22 2009, 10:52AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Mike Milbury?

jk

That isn't funny...

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#36 Jonathan Willis
December 22 2009, 10:54AM
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I hear Doug MacLean is available and would love to get back into the game...

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#37 Zamboni Driver
December 22 2009, 10:56AM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

Believe me, I place 99% of this on Lowe. And had hopes for Tambellini.....until Khabibulin this summer. That was his brilliant idea.

Keep the smurfs, bring in another old goalie, for a sh*tload of money and a equivalent load of years. As in "Hey Kev, you think that Horcoff contract was idiotic ballsy? Watch this!"

Just imagine if Penner wasn't lights out this year (and I fully admit I thought that laughable at the beginning of the season) - Penner actually is saving ole Steve's @ss.

(and I think it will be Steve that bites it, and K-Lowe gets to silently campaign for the Hall of Fame, and whatever else he does for his seven figure salary)

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#38 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 22 2009, 10:56AM
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Racki wrote:

Moreau sounds like Roenick, who complained when he got hit in an exhibition game hard by Gauthier (?). Newsflash: it's a hockey game. If you're complaining that there's hitting at any point of the game, then therein lies the problem. The difference between winners and losers is that the winners will keep the foot on the gas the whole time (and not blow two goal leads).

I was just happy to see some emotion from a player though... and I don't normally defend Moreau. But he's shown enough other times that he doesn't bring it as much anymore when it matters, so I'm not going to put any effort in here defending him this time around.

I disagree. What was the verdict on Phaneuf's hit on Okposo in the preseason? I'm pretty sure it was deemed "clean but entirely unnecessary due to the circumstances of the game".

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#39 Leopard
December 22 2009, 10:56AM
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Can't we all just put up with a crappy team for a couple of years so we can build something like Chicago did, or we as Oiler fans doomed to complain b/c of the "glory years".

Or does our faith in the management stretch so far that we think we will be one of the teams that perpetually gets a top pick and still does not improve?

I'm sad =(

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#40 mattyfinch
December 22 2009, 10:58AM
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Kieso wrote:

Alberta Supreme Court Custody Decision

A seven year old boy was the centre of attention when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge awarded custody to his aunt.

The boy confirmed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and refused to live there. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents the boy cried out that they beat him more than anyone.

In an unprecedented court ruling, the judge dramatically allowed the boy to choose who should have custody of him. Custody was granted to the Edmonton Oilers this morning as the boy firmly believes that they are not capable of beating anyone......

that was good for a laugh haha.

Unlike most of you, i learned after the last game and the many lousy ones before to avoid the Oilers at all costs from now on. I live in Calgary now and feel the taunting hurts less if i don't actually watch the garbage that is an Oilers home game.

Quinn wont resign, this is his nest egg. Tambo has a free pass until march, if nothing good comes by then via trade and a direction i think the off season sees him and his butt buddy Lowe working for TSN.

At any rate, he has a hard job when you look at the list of who needs to be moved.

Moreau Staios Souray Gilbert Cogliano Horcoff = AHL Pouliot (cant believe im saying this) O'Sullivan Nilsson

That list outside of souray and cogs will net you mid round picks and some broken sticks at best, but we need to start somewhere with this rebuild, why not start in the equipment room?!

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#41 Leopard
December 22 2009, 11:00AM
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I hear Doug MacLean is available and would love to get back into the game...

This gives me the willies too!

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#42 Dan the Man
December 22 2009, 11:03AM
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The Fish wrote:

What a disgraceful effort last night. One bright spot was Smid's second goal of the season 5 hole on Dubnyk.

That was pretty hilarious, I really like Smid but what was he thinking? He totally one timed that one.

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#43 Giggsunited
December 22 2009, 11:04AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I hear Doug MacLean is available and would love to get back into the game...

Do everything in our power to get Scotty Bowman, Ken Holland and Stevie Y. Pay the 56 mm for these guys, it would be better then what we have.

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#44 Matt Henderson
December 22 2009, 11:04AM
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@Jonathan Willis

Last year i was all over Tambi for not doing anything to make the team better. People kept saying that it was too early to call him out. Is that over? Can I freely point out the fact that Tambi hasnt addressed any major issues plaguing the team outside of firing a coach that 29 other GM's would have fired (who looks less incompetent the more this team proves to be just as heartless without him)?

I promise not to be grinchy this Christmas season. I am actually hopeful. This team is on a one way trip to Lottery pick central, and that excites me. The team hasnt had a bonafide superstar forward since Doug Weight was in his prime here. I'm all geeked up for next year, and it isnt even the true halfway mark of this year.

There should be a new group of young guys like Eberle, Omark, MPS, and some new top 5 pick fighting for spots. Its really all i have to look forward to.

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#45 Dan the Man
December 22 2009, 11:05AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I hear Doug MacLean is available and would love to get back into the game...

I say Keep Lowe and Tambo and then hire both McLean and Milbury because more is better right?

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#46 J-Bird
December 22 2009, 11:08AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Seriously, who is available that will come in here and do a better job? Although Tambo does have a few things he could do easily, some of the bigger problems won't be solved until contracts run out.

And this from the guy who says contracts don't matter? This is exactly the problem, not enough value contracts, and too many contracts under producing. This is a long term problem they have on their hands. Lots of long term, big ticket contracts, that aren't producing near their cap hits.

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#47 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 22 2009, 11:09AM
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@J-Bird

And this from the guy who says contracts don't matter?

What?

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#48 Gregors dirty 'stash
December 22 2009, 11:13AM
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Can anyone tell me isn't there some rule about fighting in the last ten minutes of a game? like a game misconduct or something?

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#49 Jonathan Willis
December 22 2009, 11:17AM
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@ Archaeologuy:

I think the honeymoon ended when he failed to change the roster this summer.

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#50 VK63
December 22 2009, 11:22AM
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I think Im going to have to get rid of my tickets as well...... this going to the rippers thing after a home game so the customers actually get some entertainment is really freaking expensive.

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