GDB XXXI: Striking the Lightning

Jason Gregor
December 09 2009 11:56AM

Tonight the Oilers will try to do something they haven’t done since November of 1988; win four straight games on the road in the same trip. That year they beat Pittsburgh 7-3 on Nov 8th, won 3-2 in OT the next night in New Jersey, crushed Toronto 6-2 on Nov 12th and then squeaked by Buffalo 5-4 in OT on the 13th.

So far the Oilers have won two games in a shootout, which is similar to the four consecutive road wins 21 years ago. In November of 2002 the Oilers won four straight road games, but they were mixed in between home games.

In their 30-year history, the Oilers have only had five seasons where they didn’t register at least one four-game winning streak. 1981 they had two three-game winning streaks, in 1994 they had won three straight three times, in the lockout season of 1995 they won three consecutive games twice, in 1996 they did it three times and the last time they didn’t register at least four straight wins was in 2000.

The Oilers have fared well at St. Pete Times Forum going 6-4-2. Ironically enough they lost the first two games they played there back in 1993, and they lost their last two trips into Tampa. Up until their loss in 2002 they went nine years without losing in Tampa.

Lightning strikes

Tonight the Bolts should be fired up. Rick Tocchet benched his top two lines in Washington two nights ago, and yesterday they had a spirited practice that involved lots of contact and some intense special teams play. Tocchet ripped his team’s effort in the loss to Washington, specifically his top guys, so expect Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis to be amped up tonight.

Stamkos scored 17 goals in the first 24 games, but he hasn’t scored in his last five. After a slow start, Lecavalier has 14 points in his last 15 games, but he only has six goals on 102 shots. He has a woeful 5.8 SH%, while St. Louis is worse at 5.4% with five goals on 92 shots. Both players will eventually break out and the Oilers are hoping it isn’t tonight.

Striking Oil

Dustin Penner continues to produce, but no one is hotter than Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky has eleven points in his last ten games, and he is on pace for his first 20-goal season. His seven goals have him tied for second amongst defenceman, but he has scored those on only 39 shots. Visnovsky has a great shot and he needs to start using it more.

For the second straight game the Oilers have the advantage on special teams, at least statistically. The Oilers are 11th on the PP and 23rd on the PK. The Lightning despite their top-end forwards are only 19th on the PP and their PK is brutal sitting 28th.

The Oilers should be able to cash in on the PP tonight because the Lighting has been shorthanded 125 times, 8th most in the NHL. The Oilers have only had to kill off 104 attempts, 7th fewest in the league. If the Oilers use their speed, the Lightning will take a lot of penalties.

Injury update

Fernando Pisani took a light skate on Monday and is feeling better. He is still at least a month away, but he’s shooting for a mid to late January return. This was the first time in three years that he has felt run down, so he doesn’t expect this to be a re-occurring problem.

Marc Pouliot has been skating for a few weeks and is about ten days away. You have to think that he will get a brief conditioning stint in Sprinfield before joining the Oilers. The Falcons play three straight next weekend, and I’ll bet if Pouliot is cleared he will suit up for all three from the 18th-20th.

The Pint

If you don’t want to watch the game on your computer the Pint has the TV feed and will be showing it tonight. They are at 10125 109th street and it is wing Wednesday as well.

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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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#151 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 09 2009, 04:06PM
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@Rigger

I thought it was rosscreek, rubbertrout or harlie.

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#153 AdamfromOilfans
December 09 2009, 04:11PM
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Bar Qu wrote:

More like, the guy has a chronic condition that gets worse when his body is stressed (like in a high level athletic league). And every athlete hides what's wrong with them, even from the trainer.

I have a couple friends who deal with colitis. Certainly, it's not pleasant and there's ups and downs associated with it, but it's manageable most of the time. They deal with flare-ups from time to time, but they still live their lives, do their jobs, etc.

I assume that Pisani will be the same. He has to deal with the illness, but it doesn't mean he's automatically incapable of ever being healthy enough to play in the NHL. And if he's healthy enough (and really, it is HIS decision) then he should play while he can.

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#154 Rigger
December 09 2009, 04:12PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I thought it was rosscreek, rubbertrout or harlie.

There's more than one?

*runs screaming into the pseudo night*

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#156 Dennis
December 09 2009, 04:18PM
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I said I wouldn't post here again as long as Brownlee acts the way he does but it's a bit rich to see him talking about how this is a forward thinking site when he's a guy who edits the replies to his pieces.

Anyway, I don't think this Hans guy is serious but if he is then he's obviously a guy who's caught up on 34's contract and doesn't focus on the difference he can make.

Sure, he's way overpaid at this point but even with his ES play declining he's still arguably our best PKer.

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#157 Harlie
December 09 2009, 04:19PM
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@Jason Gregor

I think the guys calling for Pisani to quit are more likely employees instead of being an employer. Hence, their small minded thinking.

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#158 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 09 2009, 04:23PM
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@Jason Gregor

Ask yourself in this case...would you ask an employee to just quit, or would you stand by them and hope they recover?

If it was effecting their job they would go on disability and come back when they are healthy.

As for "IT is sad state", it is a business and guess what in the business world if you can't do your job for medical reasons you are pushed away. You're in an industry where guys get pushed to the side all the time this shouldn't be uncommon for you.

I feel for the guy, but at the same time he has been compensated quite well and if he can't contribute on a daily basis it is time to move on.

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#159 SirFozz
December 09 2009, 04:25PM
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Disease bashing? Troll smashing? Toyota jumping? Oilers winning? What a weird thread I just read through.

Oilers 8 Lightning -3

GOILERS!!!!!!!!!

*toyota jumps into the air and top gun double high fives those in the know*

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#160 Robin Brownlee
December 09 2009, 04:25PM
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@Dennis

Mostly just your replies, Dennis. And I love it that it irks you so. I'll leave the last comment alone, though, in the name of forward thinking. Just don't push me, Dennis. I'll hit the button. I'll do it. I mean it. Aiyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

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#161 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
December 09 2009, 04:27PM
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Harlie wrote:

I think the guys calling for Pisani to quit are more likely employees instead of being an employer. Hence, their small minded thinking.

hows the goat ?

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#162 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 09 2009, 04:30PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:
Ask yourself in this case...would you ask an employee to just quit, or would you stand by them and hope they recover?

If it was effecting their job they would go on disability and come back when they are healthy.

As for "IT is sad state", it is a business and guess what in the business world if you can't do your job for medical reasons you are pushed away. You're in an industry where guys get pushed to the side all the time this shouldn't be uncommon for you.

I feel for the guy, but at the same time he has been compensated quite well and if he can't contribute on a daily basis it is time to move on.

This was my reasoning behind making him my goat. People were posting as recently as yesterday about how Horcoff should take the shoulder surgery because it would be better for the team in the long run. Are Pisani's apologists making the same argument in that case, that it's his passion for hockey that keeps him out on the ice despite it being a detriment to the team?

I'm not looking to stir the pot here. I haven't been flaunting the fact that I chose Pisani as my goat out of respect for him as a person. I never like to see something like this come up.

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#163 Bucknuck
December 09 2009, 04:31PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

With the amount of people we have on Long term leave etc cap space isn't so much of a problem anymoe is it? For instance, does hemsky count against our cap for the rest of the year?

Even if not, there have been a grand total of three trades in the NHL this season. It's not like Tambo can make any moves even if he had the cap space, so why on earth would you make one of your best defensive players retire.

There is no point to having Pisani retire even if you are the type of cold hearted businessman that would do such a thing.

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#164 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 09 2009, 04:32PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Yesterday? It was on Gregor's show last week and Barnes or Rishaug went a bit wild.

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#165 Hemmertime
December 09 2009, 04:32PM
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@Jason Gregor

Ya, I hit submit before going for smoke. I edited to finish my train of thought. If he feels he can play sometime this year sure np, hes injured. But if hes unlikely to again, then moving to a spot in the organization since hes a local boy who has done well would be the way to go. That way the money he WOULD have made as a player gets paid to him still plus has experience in an organizational standpoint. Win - Win.

Im of the mind if he feels strong come the off-season and will sign a realistic conttract (1 mil?) I'd give him a 1 year to prove himself. He will only be 34 and he plays a smart game that's not so physical so probably could play till 37-38. However, that is provided he will play again...

But It is just one year left on deal.

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#166 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 09 2009, 04:34PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Yesterday? It was on Gregor's show last week and Barnes or Rishaug went a bit wild.

Heh, I can't listen to Gregor's show.

I know people have been mentioning it for awhile, but I just meant that it came up yesterday (or the day before) in response to an article here.

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#167 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 09 2009, 04:34PM
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@Bucknuck

I'm more leaning to him retiring at season ends not this year. Again if he wants to play fine, but I wouldn't re-sign him unless it is for the league min.

I really don't know how much he has left in him, but one thing is for sure he won't let us know.

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#168 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 09 2009, 04:35PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

It was pretty funny. Pretty much soon as Hemsky was done it was the talk.

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#169 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 09 2009, 04:36PM
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@Hemmertime

Because of all his injuries I wonder if he is eligible for one of those contracts that allows players to get bonuses because they are injury prone?

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#170 Bucknuck
December 09 2009, 04:37PM
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Another thing to consider about the whole "this is a business" angle. Remember that this is a team that may some day want to recruit some free agents. The other players in the league would notice if the Oil tried to push Pisani to retire.

Also remember that Pisani is the type of classy guy that just might do something noble like that, too. Those aren't the guys you give the shaft if you want to stay on the good side of the players.

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#171 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
December 09 2009, 04:39PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Another thing to consider about the whole "this is a business" angle. Remember that this is a team that may some day want to recruit some free agents. The other players in the league would notice if the Oil tried to push Pisani to retire.

Also remember that Pisani is the type of classy guy that just might do something noble like that, too. Those aren't the guys you give the shaft if you want to stay on the good side of the players.

like smyth, chimera and cleary ?

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#172 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 09 2009, 04:39PM
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@Bucknuck

I highly doubt it. There have been many cases of this where teams have sent guys to the minors thus ending their careers in the NHL. Washington with Nylander is one that is going on.

I don't see the team making him retire anyways, they just won't re-sign him. Maybe.

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#174 Hemmertime
December 09 2009, 04:42PM
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@Bucknuck

I believe the way it works is Hemsky's contract does not count against the cap, however we need to keep enough money available to bring him back at any time. But the time he is hurt is money towards our cap, like lets say hes hurt 3 months, we would get 3 months of his salary as cap space. Cap space is exponential (right word? meh) too, lets say there is only 25% of the season left, you would only need 2 mil cap space to take on an 8 mil cap hit player.

So for arguments sake lets say Hemmer is back at game 62 of the season and missed 35 games, we would have 1.75 mil more in cap space (4.1mil/82 x 35). But since there is only 20 games left that cap space could be used to land a 6+ mil player.

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#175 Tracie
December 09 2009, 04:45PM
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Hey, I know you guys are saying Shaw has it on, but does that include Shaw Direct (formerly Star Choice) as well? b/c that would be awesome but almost too much to hope for? I'll check it out for myself to but if anyone has the info handy, it would be much appreciated! thanks!

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#176 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 09 2009, 04:47PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Does your show have a netfeed? Is it any good?

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#178 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 09 2009, 04:56PM
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@Jason Gregor

My biggest thing with Pisani is there is a lot of "ifs", I probably wouldn't push him out this year, but to me he needs to show he can play more so then some of the younger players.

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#179 David S
December 09 2009, 04:57PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

@ Jason Gregor:

Does your show have a netfeed? Is it any good?

Jason is on air right now, so if you want to catch the show, you can go here...

> justagame.ca

And click on the button up there on the upper right side. Brownleee should be on today too. Always a good show when those guys are together.

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#181 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 09 2009, 05:04PM
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Okay, I'm all hooked up and listening. The feed is surprisingly clear.

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#182 Hemmertime
December 09 2009, 05:07PM
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@Jason Gregor

Ya, I wasnt including the people that are playing in replacement. Such a convoluted thing.

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#183 jeanshorts
December 09 2009, 05:17PM
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Heeellllooooooo Tampa Bay Lightning PR girl! She's totally digging Gene's puns!

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#184 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 09 2009, 05:18PM
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Who's the parent company for the Team 1260? Is it Corus?

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#186 mike
December 09 2009, 05:20PM
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Anybody watching the webcast see that hottie that gave Gene the tour of the arena in tampa bay? I wonder if Mean Gene took her for a ride on the Principe afterwards.

Go tiger Go!!!!

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#187 Jana
December 09 2009, 05:21PM
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The Tampa pre-game show is on Shaw Cable 311 now so it looks like the Centre Ice game is available in Edmonton tonight (for free).

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#189 jeanshorts
December 09 2009, 05:22PM
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I will give it to him, DeBrusk is FAR better talking hockey when he doesn't have to sum his thoughts up in 25 seconds.

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#190 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 09 2009, 05:23PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

No Astral Media...They have over 130 stations across the country.

Great. I think you've found yourself a new listener!

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#191 RossCreekNation
December 09 2009, 05:23PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

astral i think

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#192 Senator Theo
December 09 2009, 05:24PM
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Wow, what a GDB today, and the game hasn't even started yet. I know after the sit down the TB guys got, they're probably going to hand us our privates on a platter, but I'm with Ronaldo: 8-3 Oilers!

Gene texted me and told me "Don't post any lies, and keep your Hans...to yourself."

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#193 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 09 2009, 05:25PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

Wow, what a GDB today, and the game hasn't even started yet. I know after the sit down the TB guys got, they're probably going to hand us our privates on a platter, but I'm with Ronaldo: 8-3 Oilers!

Gene texted me and told me "Don't post any lies, and keep your Hans...to yourself."

Are we still doing the quote of the week? If so, this earns a nomination.

I'm not sure if it edges out Brownlee's thoughts on the dive for five, but it's still pretty awesome.

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#194 Milli
December 09 2009, 05:27PM
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Rigger wrote:

I know a Mike Mills? Where you from?

Golden BC, but used to be in Etown for about 10 years...

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#195 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 09 2009, 05:31PM
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For those of you (like me) who don't have HD, Shaw has the game in standard definition on channel 321.

Edit: Looks like it's the Tampa feed.

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#196 Hemmercules
December 09 2009, 05:34PM
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I'm getting the game on Bell chan 429, I dont even have center ice.

What a crazy GDB today, very entertaining to say the least.

Like some have already said, Oilers are slump busters. Lots of goals tonight for sure. 6-4 TB.

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#197 Travis Dakin
December 09 2009, 05:34PM
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Welp, Gene just tole me that watching this game in the washroom is ok....

Way ahead of you buddy.

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#198 Travis Dakin
December 09 2009, 05:35PM
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OH MY GOD I HAVE THE GAME ON TV!!!!!

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#199 Milli
December 09 2009, 05:35PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

@ Jason Gregor:

Does your show have a netfeed? Is it any good?

Man I live in BC, so when I am needing an Oilers fix, or when something big is up, I tune in via the web, it's good, so is Oilers lunch.

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#200 KenMcC
December 09 2009, 05:36PM
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No please no. Not Poilet. I am glad he's healthy, but I just hate watching him wander around between the blue lines hoping someone will pass to him. I didn't like Toby Peterson either.

30 seconds of Robert Nillson is better than 11 minutes of Poilet.

Who has to sit down to allow Poilet to play?

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