GDB XXXVII: A Festivus for the rest of us

Jason Gregor
December 23 2009 11:15AM

Today marks one of the most popular pop-culture days of the year. And, oh yeah, the Oilers are playing the Wild tonight.

If you don’t know what today is, then you weren’t a fan of the greatest TV show of all time.

 

Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23rd. The holiday, as portrayed in Seinfeld and now celebrated by many, includes practices such as the "Airing of Grievances", in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. After the meal the "Feats of Strength" are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday ending only if the head of the household is actually pinned down.

 

So it is fitting that the Oilers play today, because I’m guessing many fans of the Copper and Blue have some grievances today. Feel free to share with the group; it can be refreshingly therapeutic for your well-being.

If the Oilers celebrated Festivus, I don’t know if the holiday would ever end because I don’t see anyone who could pin Pat Quinn.

Quinn has aired his grievances after pretty much every game this year, and if the Oilers play as badly tonight as they did v. the Blues on Monday, Quinn might have his most entertaining post-game presser of the season.

Quinn will change his lines again tonight looking for that magic elixir that will produce offence, but somehow play solid defensively.

Penner — Potulny — Brule

Jacques — Horcoff — O’Sullivan

Moreau — Gagner — Cogliano

Nilsson — Stortini — Stone

He's going back to the lines that won five games in a row, except he has switched Potulny and Gagner.

No offence?

Offence isn’t the problem with the Oilers. They are fifth in five-on-five scoring with 75 goals. Only Toronto (76), Pittsburgh (77), San Jose (78) and Washington (86) score more five-on-five. Look at the superstars that Wash, Pit and San Jose trot out, yet the Oilers are keeping pace at even strength scoring.

Memo to Oiler fans: Offence ISN’T the problem. It's their defensive coverage and neutral zone turnovers that is killing this team.

Getting defensive

They’ve given up 79 goals, 3rd most in the league, only Carolina (82) and Columbus (85) have given up more five-on-five. When you look at this number you understand why Quinn is breathing fire after most games, because the Oilers continue to make horrendous decisions with the puck and by covering the wrong man.

The Oilers forwards need to learn how to play away from the puck and how to defend in their own zone, otherwise this team is going no where but down. And I know Oiler fans are dreaming of Taylor Hall, but he isn’t anymore defensively responsible than Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, O’Sullivan or any of the other perceived offensive players.

It is becoming painfully obvious that the only way the Oilers will improve is if their offensive players understand that they need to play well in both ends of the rink.

If the Oilers win tonight, feel free to yell, "IT'S A FESTIVUS MIRACLE..."

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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 Alan
December 23 2009, 11:19AM
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My grievance is where is Wanye? Isn't he a writer on here anymore??? My list for the Oilers is too long, so I'll just stick with my grievance on Wanye...

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#2 Eddie Shore
December 23 2009, 11:25AM
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While I agree that the Oilers forwards need to figure it out, I wouldn't be giving this defense a free pass. The overall team defense is what is ailing this team, not just the forwards.

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#3 Trenton L
December 23 2009, 11:28AM
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I hate to say it because Potulny in my opinion is a decent player but this has shades of Toby Petersen and Marty Reasoner playing first line in years past......sigh.

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#4 freeze
December 23 2009, 11:35AM
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Alan wrote:

My grievance is where is Wanye? Isn't he a writer on here anymore??? My list for the Oilers is too long, so I'll just stick with my grievance on Wanye...

Yeah, did he not make it out of Europe alive?! Is he in some Turkish jail?!

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#5 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 11:36AM
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Gregor

What were you and Rishaug talking about when you guys mentioned Staios and Moreau have been told they will be dealt this year. I missed part of it and am wonder what exactly was said.

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#6 Eddie Shore
December 23 2009, 11:38AM
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Ryan Potulny - 28 gp, 14 pts.

Toby Petersen - 64 gp, 15 pts.

Those are with the Oilers only. I think the spread becomes even more if you include Philly/Dallas numbers. I don't think it's quite as bad as when Toby was riding shot gun with Hemmer.

note - I understand this is cherry picking the stats but I think the point is valid

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#8 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 11:39AM
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Memo to Oiler fans: Offence ISN’T the problem. It's their defensive coverage and neutral zone turnovers that is killing this team.

I've said for awhile that the Oilers play away from the puck is the biggest concern. How they don't know what to do without the puck is beyond me, but it's time to fix this

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#9 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 11:42AM
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"Memo to Oiler fans: Offence ISN’T the problem. It's their defensive coverage and neutral zone turnovers that is killing this team"

Same story for the last three years, which coincides with the arrival of Gagner/Cogliano/Nilsson/Gilbert/Grebs coupled with a turnover machine in Hemsky and a top 2 dmen that are elite offensively but very very average defensivly.

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#11 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 11:44AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Memo to Oiler fans: Offence ISN’T the problem. It's their defensive coverage and neutral zone turnovers that is killing this team.

I've said for awhile that the Oilers play away from the puck is the biggest concern. How they don't know what to do without the puck is beyond me, but it's time to fix this

How long have we been beating that drum? 2 - 2.5 years?

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#12 Eddie Shore
December 23 2009, 11:44AM
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@Jason Gregor

Any idea of the extent of Horcoff's shoulder injury? What I'm getting at is if the Oilers fall far enough out of the race does he just shut it down early and have surgery so he can fully rehab and build up it's strength for next season?

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#13 I'm a Scientist!
December 23 2009, 11:45AM
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Game Day Prediction: Ah...whatever.

Here is a prediction: the Oilers are going to give the fans a Festivus pole right up the wazzuu.

Wild 8 Oilers 3

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#14 Smokin' Ray
December 23 2009, 11:45AM
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GAME DAY!!!

-Need New Captain-

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#15 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 11:45AM
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@Jason Gregor

Thanks, how do I get those two mixed up all the time?

I also agree with you on Pisani, but like you said he needs to play healthy first.

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#16 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 11:46AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

It was Barnes and I...but both have been told by their agents to not be surprised if they get moved.

Their agents can see the scenario plus it suggests to me that they agents have heard there is interest for them.

Both would have some value to teams who need guys to play a role. Staios on a good team where he is a number 5 or 6 and kills penalties would be an asset. Moreau would be the same on a team where all they want is him to go up and down his wing and kill penalties.

I've said it for awhile, it hindsight naming Moreau captain hurt him more than it helped him. That isn't a knock on him, just how it looks to me.

He was a fan favourite when he was just looked at as a checker and an energy guy. Everyone's expectations, including his, went up when he was named captain and I think it affected him.

Problem was there wasn't a guaranteed better option at the time. Stoll maybe.

Agreed on the captancy point, he used to just go out and do his thing. Now he seems to try and do to much.

If he didn't have the C he also likely would have had a much smoother transition from highly effective 3rd liner to average energy 4th liner.

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#17 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 11:48AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

How long have we been beating that drum? 2 - 2.5 years?

I know, but at least over that span we have worked on a couple areas. I'm starting to think that Stone and Jacques need to go for players that play a similar style but bring more then just hitting.

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#18 Eddie Shore
December 23 2009, 11:49AM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

Game Day Prediction: Ah...whatever.

Here is a prediction: the Oilers are going to give the fans a Festivus pole right up the wazzuu.

Wild 8 Oilers 3

Happy Festivus to you!

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#19 I'm a Scientist!
December 23 2009, 11:52AM
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@Eddie Shore

And to you my friend...

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#20 Motel
December 23 2009, 11:52AM
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I have a grievance to air with Smid. You have as many goals on your own net as you do on opponents. You are an offensive* disappointment.

*pun intended

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#21 I'm a Scientist!
December 23 2009, 11:54AM
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Motel wrote:

I have a grievance to air with Smid. You have as many goals on your own net as you do on opponents. You are an offensive* disappointment.

*pun intended

Er...so he has only scored on himself once? Meh, that isn't too bad...

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#22 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 11:54AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I know, but at least over that span we have worked on a couple areas. I'm starting to think that Stone and Jacques need to go for players that play a similar style but bring more then just hitting.

Ya, I'd like to see Stone upgraded. I think JFJ can bring more though. I like him and Storts as bookends on an energy line.

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#23 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 11:55AM
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@I'm a Scientist!

It's one thing if the puck goes off your stick and in, but when you shoot it into the net like that it is pretty sad to see.

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#24 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 11:56AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

I don't really mind the guys, but have the three you mentioned and then Moreau I just don't see the point.

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#25 dragon
December 23 2009, 11:57AM
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Oilers Grievance: find some leadership that will bring this team together!

As PQ said: when things get tough, the individual effort starts taking over. PattyO is probably the best example: I haven't seen one pass from him when the game started running away...

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#26 Eddie Shore
December 23 2009, 11:58AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I don't really mind the guys, but have the three you mentioned and then Moreau I just don't see the point.

Moreau will be gone soon enough by the sounds of it. JFJ and Storts would be like having the bash bros. on the 4th line. Just need a competent centre for them.

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#27 Hemmertime
December 23 2009, 11:59AM
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I dont want Hall, I want Tyler

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#28 ekcut
December 23 2009, 11:59AM
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OHhhhhh Jingle Bells, the Oilers smell, Khabbies day to day?!?!, We’ve nothin’ but wounded pride,, Since we traded “The Rake” away, GAY!

Hemsky down the wing, on a partial breakaway! Around the “D” he goes, laughing all the way... Ha, ha ,ha. Dreams of Stanley’s Bling. But in the d-man’s sights, It looks like we’ll be golfing this spring. As Handzus knocked out his lights!

HAY!

OHhhhhh Jingle Bells, the Oilers smell, Khabbies day to day?!?!, Probably with our bad luck. The Flames will hoist the cup!

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#29 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 12:00PM
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Grievance, that I'm too stupid to actual get ready for x-mas ahead of time.

Every freaking year it's the same BS. Maybe I should buy presents for next year when I buy presents for this year.

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#30 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 12:01PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Moreau will be gone soon enough by the sounds of it. JFJ and Storts would be like having the bash bros. on the 4th line. Just need a competent centre for them.

Going into the year Brule sounded like a perfect fit there. Maybe Storts continues to get better at center?

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#31 I'm a Scientist!
December 23 2009, 12:03PM
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@ekcut

*Stands and applauds*

Well done....

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#32 I'm a Scientist!
December 23 2009, 12:04PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

It's one thing if the puck goes off your stick and in, but when you shoot it into the net like that it is pretty sad to see.

Sure, but at that point of the game, did it REALLY matter all that much? No. Mistakes happen, get over it.

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#33 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2009, 12:05PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I don't really mind the guys, but have the three you mentioned and then Moreau I just don't see the point.

Me either, I've liked what Stone brings. But theirs guys passing on the waiver wire that hit and can PK/chip in some goals to boot. Seems like an easy way to upgrade the team.

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#34 rindog
December 23 2009, 12:09PM
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@Jason Gregor

I don't want to come across as thinking that I know more than Pat Quinn and the rest of the staff, but I have a simple suggestion regarding our defensive zone coverage (or lack there of).

I complained vehemently about this during MacT's tenure as well.

I constantly wonder why the Oilers feel it necessary to collapse their wingers down to the front of the net?

I understand that collapsing down low will congest the front of the net and limit the wide open chances on rebounds,etc. That being said - have you ever noticed how easily the oppostion can initiate a cycle and then get the puck back to the point for an attempted shot/pass/scoring chance, etc? Our wingers always seem to be chasing, chasing, chasing - rather than being in actual defensive position.

If the wingers stay up higher on the defensemen, they will eliminate the points and force the opposition to create something down low (Smytty used to do this perfectly). It will also help in backing off the defensemen on our breakouts and allowing our wingers to get to pucks wrapped around the boards (ala Steady Steve)quicker.

I could go into this in in more detail, but I just wanted to know your thoughts (or anyone else) about the ineffectiveness of collapsing down low?

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#35 Shaun Doe
December 23 2009, 12:18PM
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rindog wrote:

I don't want to come across as thinking that I know more than Pat Quinn and the rest of the staff, but I have a simple suggestion regarding our defensive zone coverage (or lack there of).

I complained vehemently about this during MacT's tenure as well.

I constantly wonder why the Oilers feel it necessary to collapse their wingers down to the front of the net?

I understand that collapsing down low will congest the front of the net and limit the wide open chances on rebounds,etc. That being said - have you ever noticed how easily the oppostion can initiate a cycle and then get the puck back to the point for an attempted shot/pass/scoring chance, etc? Our wingers always seem to be chasing, chasing, chasing - rather than being in actual defensive position.

If the wingers stay up higher on the defensemen, they will eliminate the points and force the opposition to create something down low (Smytty used to do this perfectly). It will also help in backing off the defensemen on our breakouts and allowing our wingers to get to pucks wrapped around the boards (ala Steady Steve)quicker.

I could go into this in in more detail, but I just wanted to know your thoughts (or anyone else) about the ineffectiveness of collapsing down low?

Almost to the exact opposite I have noticed that in the Oppositions end the Oilers tend to cheat towards the blueline making break-outs easier. Perhaps the Oil break out is so bad that even marginal attempts at exiting the zone by other teams look dazzling in comparrison. Yet it just seems like we can't clog the lanes and hem the puck in their zone the same way they can with us. Every break out looks laboured to me. I notice also that in our own end the wingers seldom persue a pass to the half boards if it is a lazy one. They will wait for the puck to come to them at which time they are already covered by one man while a second has moved in between the puck battle and the oiler d-man in the corner. This generally results in a picked off pass to the corner or a feeble swipe to the blueline. Its really frustrating to watch.

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#36 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 12:19PM
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@rindog

Probably because our guys aren't that good defensively and that leaves more room for the opposition to skate around our players thus opening up more room. Just my guess, but it appears we are trying to play the easiest defensive system.

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#37 Giggsunited
December 23 2009, 12:23PM
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Make em play the full out trap for a month, what other option does Quinn have? He's been talking about defense since the summer.

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#38 hat pughes
December 23 2009, 12:24PM
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@ekcut

This is really good !!!

And like all fairy tales and christmas songs ends the same way.

Not a snowballs chance that the Sea of "D-Red" goes far...Iggy is going to be taking to Khabby about getting a referral for his back doctor cause he carries the team for sooooo long.

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#39 rindog
December 23 2009, 12:27PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Probably because our guys aren't that good defensively and that leaves more room for the opposition to skate around our players thus opening up more room. Just my guess, but it appears we are trying to play the easiest defensive system.

That is what gets me the most frustrated. As wingers, we were taught in Peewee to "STAY ON YOUR POINTMAN!!"

If you eliminate the threat from up top - you take away options from the opposition.

Surely even the most porous defenseman can contain the oppostion forwards when they have no option but to cycle behind the net or bring the puck to the front (from the corner)?

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#40 Ross C
December 23 2009, 12:28PM
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@rindog

I also don't like the low wingers system. It gets destroyed by any team with a half decent cycle. I understand the purpose is to take away down low opportunities and force the puck as far away from the net as possible. It just seems like other teams cycle it until the oil get tired and make a mistake, or the point shot gets tipped in. And holy crap there have been alot of point shot tip ins against the oilers this year. It also makes it rediculously hard to get the puck out of the zone.

The system could work good in theory, but this team is just horrible at it. Look at the last game and the number of blues who got left all alone in front of the net.

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#41 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 12:30PM
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@rindog

But that is what happens when you have half a team of midgets with very little defensive knowledge. They just aren't big enough to knock the puck away, although the odd time they may get lucky it won't happen that much.

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#42 Giggsunited
December 23 2009, 12:32PM
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Ross C wrote:

I also don't like the low wingers system. It gets destroyed by any team with a half decent cycle. I understand the purpose is to take away down low opportunities and force the puck as far away from the net as possible. It just seems like other teams cycle it until the oil get tired and make a mistake, or the point shot gets tipped in. And holy crap there have been alot of point shot tip ins against the oilers this year. It also makes it rediculously hard to get the puck out of the zone.

The system could work good in theory, but this team is just horrible at it. Look at the last game and the number of blues who got left all alone in front of the net.

another way the game has changed, you used to be able to jockstrap someone in the face if they were screening your goaltender. Thats were I think its vital that you put pressure on the point men even more these days. Too many fluky tip in's.

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#43 rindog
December 23 2009, 12:35PM
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The more opportunites you give the opposition to shoot - the more chances of the puck going in.

Is it really that simple?

I have never understood why we just allow the oppositon to shoot at will.

People shouldn't be shocked that we get out shot every game. The system we play allows for that very thing...

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#44 rindog
December 23 2009, 12:39PM
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Our midgets are the ones standing beside the d-men at the blueline. We have big enough (and mobile enough) defensemen that we we should be able to contain the downlow threats.

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#45 rindog
December 23 2009, 12:40PM
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Ogden Jr.

How come most of my replies to you never actually put your name in the reply or allow me to include your comments?

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#46 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 12:43PM
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rindog wrote:

Our midgets are the ones standing beside the d-men at the blueline. We have big enough (and mobile enough) defensemen that we we should be able to contain the downlow threats.

Well there is the other problem our d-men aren't exactly great.

As for your reply problem, I have to hit reply twice to everyone's comments in order to get that feature.

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#47 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 23 2009, 12:45PM
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rindog wrote:

Ogden Jr.

How come most of my replies to you never actually put your name in the reply or allow me to include your comments?

because he is santa

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#48 Giggsunited
December 23 2009, 12:48PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

It was Barnes and I...but both have been told by their agents to not be surprised if they get moved.

Their agents can see the scenario plus it suggests to me that they agents have heard there is interest for them.

Both would have some value to teams who need guys to play a role. Staios on a good team where he is a number 5 or 6 and kills penalties would be an asset. Moreau would be the same on a team where all they want is him to go up and down his wing and kill penalties.

I've said it for awhile, it hindsight naming Moreau captain hurt him more than it helped him. That isn't a knock on him, just how it looks to me.

He was a fan favourite when he was just looked at as a checker and an energy guy. Everyone's expectations, including his, went up when he was named captain and I think it affected him.

Problem was there wasn't a guaranteed better option at the time. Stoll maybe.

so this does not help the cause! I'm sure that the vets now are preparing themselves to be shipped out of here thus railing the goat on every game night. I'm convinced now that the Oilers have chosen the rebuild path and will show us in the new year. I'm at a sense of ease now.

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#49 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 23 2009, 12:52PM
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Gregor how does something like don't be suprised if you are traded get leaked? This seems like something that could turn into a complete disaster. I.E. Rollie's kids getting made fun of, don't Staios and Moreau have kids?

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#50 GSC
December 23 2009, 12:57PM
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And now for the airing of my grievance:

Kevin Lowe, the team that you assembled STINKS!

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