GDB 60: V-v-v-v-v-v-v Vinny and the Bolts

Jason Gregor
February 24 2009 01:01PM

vbolts

Vinny, Vinny, Vinny and the Bolts. Or maybe it is Marty, Marty, Marty and the Bolts because after those two, the Bolts don’t have much. The Bolts have scored the fourth fewest goals in the league, with 152, but 43% of their goals come from three players in Lecavalier, St. Louis and Ryan Malone.

Tampa gets basically no goals from their D-men. They have a league-low 11 goals from the backend, while the Oilers have 33 from the rearguards, the fifth most in the NHL.

The Bolts have also given up the fourth most goals, 191, so they don’t score much, they don’t defend very well and their goaltending is suspect. This should be guaranteed-win night for the Oilers, but this is a home game for the Oilers and nothing has come easy at home.

The Oil have 30 points in 28 home games, and are tied with LA for the fewest home wins in the Western Conference. What’s even worse for the Oilers is that they have been outscored 75-81 on home ice.

Yes, their offence has been inconsistent, but the biggest reason the Oilers find themselves out of the playoffs today, is because they have no identity at Rexall Place. This isn’t a tough rink for the opposition to come into right now. The Oilers don’t amp up their physical play at home; in fact, they are much more aggressive on the road.

Tonight is the first of three straight home games, against teams that are beatable. Tampa, Columbus and Minnesota are not world beaters, and when you look at key stretches of a season, tonight starts an important three games.

Currently the Oilers are on pace for 87 points, which would leave them outside the playoffs. Columbus, Dallas and Minnesota are all on pace for 90 points. Granted those projections can change quickly with a two-game winning or losing streak, but today they are outside the playoffs. It looks like they will need 92 points to ensure they get in, so they will need to go 13-7-3, or 14-8-1 or 12-6-5 or some combination of that to make the dance.

Tonight is a must-win for the Oilers, and the line-up will be the same as Saturday.

  • 27-10-83
  • 12-89-26
  • 18-13-46
  • 85-51-33

Same D and Roloson will start again. The drive to the playoffs begins tonight, and the Oilers can’t afford to hit the ditch against the lowly Lightning.

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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 rindog
February 24 2009, 01:07PM
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Gregs,

Were you at practice yesterday?

Was there any PP practice and if so - what were they working on?

What do you think about putting Nilsson in Horcoff's spot on the first unit and having Cole, Horcoff & Gagner on the 2nd unit?

I think our playoff chances are largely resting on the effectiveness of our PP down the stretch - would you agree?

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#2 shakey
February 24 2009, 01:10PM
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A must win against a soft team with little other than a few quality players? What can go wrong here? Also, it's a Tuesday game...we do well in those don't we? Maybe they should wear the retro jerseys for extra luck. Anyone on the Bolts looking to bust out of a slump or get their first career goal? My Spidey sense is tingling and it's not that 'she looks hot in those lululemon pants' kinda tingling.

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#3 I'm a Scientist!
February 24 2009, 01:12PM
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Why wouldn't JDD be playing? Too important of a game? if there was ONE game that he was going to be in...wouldn't this be it?

4-3 Oil.

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#4 hockeysmack
February 24 2009, 01:16PM
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I'm stoked to watch Rollie play 40 games in a row. MacT really knows hot to handle his goalies and inspire confidence in young players. Why did we hold onto JDD again?

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#5 Oilersordeath
February 24 2009, 01:28PM
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Vinny gets a hattie, bolts win 5-2

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#6 socaldave
February 24 2009, 01:32PM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

Why wouldn’t JDD be playing? Too important of a game? if there was ONE game that he was going to be in…wouldn’t this be it? 4-3 Oil.

~shrugging shoulders in bewilderment~

then remembers... FMNF!!

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#7 CurtisS
February 24 2009, 01:36PM
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Oh i love Vinny. This is going to be a low scoring event tonight.

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#8 max fisher
February 24 2009, 01:41PM
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what is FMNF?

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#9 Ender the Dragon
February 24 2009, 01:47PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Tonight is a must-win for the Oilers, and the line-up will be the same as Saturday. Same D and Roloson will start again.

People will probably debate this a lot over the coming week or two, and a lot of the answer will rest with what moves (if any) are made at the trade deadline, but my question is this:

Who do you move off the forward lines to make room for Pisani when he's back? We're told he's close, that he's skating and practicing, but is he good? Is he in game shape? Is he going to be better than someone who's on the ice today?

The obvious answer, of course, is that SMAc is going to take a seat in the press box. Rightfully so, I think; Pisani is probably going to help the team more overall than SMac. But what about the 2-3 games where you really want to ice a 'deterrent factor'? When you need to keep the Boogeymen of the world honest and off of your star players? Who sits then?

Is Pisani better than Stortini? Maybe the Stortini of old, but not lately. Reddox? He too is digging the pucks out of the corners and finding chances in the blue paint. Brodziak? Then you have to shuffle the chairs to find someone else to play center.

Maybe someone goes cold in the next week or so and the question becomes rhetorical, but right now I don't see any obvious choice past SMac to take nights off while Pisani plays.

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#10 bingofuel
February 24 2009, 01:48PM
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I think we need a FAQ for all these acronyms Wanye's inventing.

FMNF = Fire MacT Now, Fuckers

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#11 Kevin
February 24 2009, 01:54PM
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Hello, a friend told me about this site and he suggested maybe one of the loyal writers can help me out. Here is my situation.

I took my daughter to her first Oiler game of the year and I bought her one of the silent auction items. As we are from out of town, we could not take it with us as there were many items. One of the items was a PSP player.

As the Oiler office is closed on weekends and this is when I was heading back into Edmonton, I had a nice person from the Oiler office drop off all the items I had purchased at the Westin Hotel. I picked up the items and when we got home we noticed that the PSP player was missing. I called the nice lady at the Oiler office and she assured me it was with all the other items. I called the Westin Hotel and the Assistant General Manager assured me the items were under his lock and key until I picked it up.

Now my concern is I paid over $700 for these items as this was a charitable donation. My little girl was excited to get a PSP player but the PSP player was not there. The Oiler office says there is nothing more they can do and the Westin Hotel says there is nothing they can do.

Now, do any of you have any idea's on how I can get my little girl her PSP player with my $700 donation to the Oilers.

Any help would be greatly apprecaited.

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#12 sittingatmydesk
February 24 2009, 01:57PM
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JDD SHOULD BE PLAYING TONIGHT, ROLOSON NEEDS A BREAK, AND THIS IS THE GAME FOR THAT...

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#13 BUCK75 - FMNF
February 24 2009, 01:59PM
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@ bingofuel:

Hey, that sounds familiar - Glad I could help you out. :D

http://www.jimrome.com/home/jungle/smacktionary.html

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#14 The Towel Boy
February 24 2009, 01:59PM
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Must win tonight. Must win. That's all there is to it. Seriously...would it be too much to ask to have this team comfortably in a nice cozy playoff spot with 20 some games to go? Would it be that hard? Who saw this coming!?!

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#15 B-rad
February 24 2009, 01:59PM
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Sooooooo.....yah. GAME DAY!

4-3 OILERS, AND SMAC PUMMELS ARTYUKHIN, and one bad penalty for Ethan.....well maybe two.

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#16 freeze
February 24 2009, 02:02PM
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@ sittingatmydesk: agreed, but considering that the coach is trying to salvage his job, I can't see that happening. Roli will play 20 of the remaining games and then get shelled so bad in the first round against San Jose or possibly Detroit.

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#17 Chris
February 24 2009, 02:11PM
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I'll be watching Cole closely...

If he just "mails it in" the next three games we'll all have a pretty good idea about how Cole likes playing in Edmonton. I agree with MacT when he said our second line isn't going to produce unless all three guys are going. MacT also said that team success seems to track the success of that line. We need secondary scoring to make the playoffs.

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#18 Wanye Gretz
February 24 2009, 02:17PM
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@ Kevin:

I will email you to the address you have supplied to the site when you left your comment Kevin. I don't know that we can necessarily be of any help as we aren't actually affiliated with the Oilers but perhaps we can put you in touch with someone who can.

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#19 Colin
February 24 2009, 02:22PM
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Must lose night, hopefully the Oil don't blow this one and win. Tanking the next 3 is vital if the Oil will be sellers at the deadline.

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#20 swany
February 24 2009, 02:36PM
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Colin wrote:

Must lose night, hopefully the Oil don’t blow this one and win. Tanking the next 3 is vital if the Oil will be sellers at the deadline.

How can you hope for them to lose, if it's to get Mact fired then what happens if a NEW coach comes in and everything is the same who do you blame then, look around the NHL besides 5 or 6 teams everyone is very close so are all the other coaches to blame for the crappy play. Take the Ducks you could say more talent than us but are no better, Unless you have a couple big names you are in the same position as we are. Last time I checked we don't have Iggy, Cammi, Dion, Kippy. So get over it this team is where they should be not enough talent to be in the top four and that's not coaching.

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#21 Colin
February 24 2009, 02:52PM
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@swany: Quite frankly I don't give a #%$@ whether MacT is fired this season or next, it would just be a bonus.

I want this team to dive so Lowe/Tambo don't do something stupid at the deadline. This team isn't going anywhere in the playoffs(spare me the anything can happen rhetoric), so why trade away picks and young players for veterans for a short run? I'd rather sell and since there are so many teams with delusions of mediocrity the price will be high, we could certainly get some good picks or better for some of our veteran chafe(Staios, Moreau,etc).

I'd rather wait for the future than throw it away for a short run, I think some patience is in order. If you're satisfied with years of mediocre crap than by all means root for a 7/8th place finish and a post season slaughter.

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#22 Peter Pan
February 24 2009, 03:42PM
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I hate to admit it, but Colin is right. The only thing that is going allow for change is if the Oil drop out of the race and become sellers. But they don't have to sell the entire farm because the sky is not falling. Despite what many people say, we do got some good players here. But it's the wrong mix. People will argue that we lack offensive punch, such as Gregor. And he's right. We do lack it. As he stated, we are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. But why? Is it because these players lack the ability to score in the NHL? Is it the coaching style of Mac "D"? Or is it because they are all in some type of freak slump and can't find a way out of it? All three factors may play a role, but the most significant factor in my estimation is that this is a very small group of forwards and despite the couple of exceptions in this line up, they play scared. It seems on many nights that these guys lack intensity and grit. But in reality, they all lack balls. They play too small. Tambo needs to get rid of some roster spots and replenish them with some grit. The blue paint is where 80% of their goals should come from. But with these guys, its most goals come from the blue line. Obviously we'd all like to see a Hossa-like player put on our team and that may happen sooner than we think, but a more realistic approach would be to add character to the group.

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#23 Mike Krushelnyski
February 24 2009, 03:43PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

Is Pisani better than Stortini? Maybe the Stortini of old, but not lately. Reddox? He too is digging the pucks out of the corners and finding chances in the blue paint.

Seriously? Pisani is bigger than Reddox, faster than Stortini and has a hell of a lot more offensive upside than both of them put together. He plays RW on the 3rd line. No brainer.

2-1 Bolts, shootout.

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#24 swany
February 24 2009, 03:44PM
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Colin wrote:

@swany: Quite frankly I don’t give a #%$@ whether MacT is fired this season or next, it would just be a bonus. I want this team to dive so Lowe/Tambo don’t do something stupid at the deadline. This team isn’t going anywhere in the playoffs(spare me the anything can happen rhetoric), so why trade away picks and young players for veterans for a short run? I’d rather sell and since there are so many teams with delusions of mediocrity the price will be high, we could certainly get some good picks or better for some of our veteran chafe(Staios, Moreau,etc). I’d rather wait for the future than throw it away for a short run, I think some patience is in order. If you’re satisfied with years of mediocre crap than by all means root for a 7/8th place finish and a post season slaughter.

Ask Pitt how all those first round picks look now, how about Atlanta, Florida, Do you want me to go on, Picks are a crap shoot what we keep trading away assets for picks and prospect that might never play. Pitt tanked it for 5 years drafted in the top 3 4 times Malkin, Crosby, Fleury, Staal, where are they at, we all want to model after Detroit when have they traded anyomne for picks and prospect. You can't even use the Hawks to win your point great picks but without there UFA signings they would suck Campbell, and Habby, Havlet, when are people going to see that a pick (if it's not in the top 5) won't help for 3 years and guess what in 3 years Hemmer steal of a contract is over. And we have been doing what your are asking all throigh the 90's man are we on top because of drafting. Your point holds no water. The Oilers can do what you are saying and in 5 years you will be one of the guys still waiting for the future. We have top 5 D in the NHL all signed, they need a 40 goal scorer and buddy you don't draft one that isn't a top 2 pick.

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#25 Smokin' Ray
February 24 2009, 03:51PM
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GAME DAY!!!

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#26 Smokin' Ray
February 24 2009, 03:54PM
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5-3 Oilers. Huge break out game. Smid scores!!! Cole scores!!! Horcoff scores!!! Souray scores!!! Nilsson scores!!!

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#27 Milli
February 24 2009, 04:01PM
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I want MacT gone, but I think unless they go deep, he's done. What really keeps me up at night is Detroit or san Jose in the first round the way this team has played. It could be very ugly. I don't expect much to happen in the next week, maybe move a few vets, Cole for sure is gone. There will be no cavalry coming to town, but, maybe, just maybe they can add a guy or 2 that click......Ya gotta hope...

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#28 Jason Gregor
February 24 2009, 04:02PM
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rindog wrote:

Were you at practice yesterday? Was there any PP practice and if so - what were they working on? What do you think about putting Nilsson in Horcoff’s spot on the first unit and having Cole, Horcoff & Gagner on the 2nd unit?

THey don't really practice on game day. It is a skate around...I really don't know why they do it to be honest. Rarely do they work on a lot. There was some brief PP time. The PP hasn't been horrible lately, the problem has been their 5 on 3 and their inability to score a TIMELY PP goal. That has cost them some games as of late.

But like most teams there wasn't a lot of actual practice done on game day.

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#29 Homie
February 24 2009, 04:04PM
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4-3 Bolts in a shootout.

St. Louis and Penner with hat tricks.

Stamkos with the SO winner.

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#30 The Towel Boy
February 24 2009, 04:05PM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

5-3 Oilers. Huge break out game. Smid scores!!! Cole scores!!! Horcoff scores!!! Souray scores!!! Nilsson scores!!!

I like the cut of your jib son.

Man, if Smid scores tonight the trade rumours will be flying high tomorrow.

Interesting Factoid: Martin St. Louis is only 1' 7" taller than the net.

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#31 Ender the Dragon
February 24 2009, 04:28PM
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@ Mike Krushelnyski:

Prior to November 17, the question of Pisani VS Stortini or Reddox would have been ridiculous, I agree. The reason I ask it now, though, is because Pisani hasn't played a game in over three months; I'm not sure he's the same Pisani, healed or no. Will the rust fall off after a game or two, or will it take a week or two? If the Oilers are still shooting for the playoffs (big if), I don't know that they have the luxury of patience at this point in the season.

Maybe Pisani comes back in top flight, scores the hattie in his first game, and makes the question stupid again, but I haven't seen him in practice and I don't know what level of game shape he's in. I want him back in the lineup because he's playing better than someone else, not because it was his spot first.

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#32 Malc
February 24 2009, 04:28PM
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Colin wrote:

I want this team to dive so Lowe/Tambo don’t do something stupid at the deadline. This team isn’t going anywhere in the playoffs(spare me the anything can happen rhetoric)

I see where you are coming from - but why not the anything can happen rhetoric... It has happened before. Yes, yes, that was a different team. But...

I say become sellers - but not necessarily for draft picks. Make sensible trades that will move extra bodies and salary (ie. small forwards like nilsson, schremp, and pouliot; staios, and sadly cole) for needed assets like a 3rd line center. I think it is unrealistic that we will address the first line LW. But if we can plug holes in the 2nd and 3rd lines, this team cant be written off as easily as some think.

At least one can hope.

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#33 Mr P
February 24 2009, 04:29PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

They skate on gamedays to loosen up their hockey muscles. If they skate in the morning loosen up and go have a nap they should be good to go. If they could only loosen up their drive and desire.

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#34 Oilersordeath
February 24 2009, 04:39PM
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@ Mike Krushelnyski:

Pisani might be bigger than Reddox and faster than Stortini, but at least Red,Stor hit people! Pisani is a AHLer at best. He is the biggest pussy in the league! I cant understand why some of us Oiler fans are even looking forward to getting him back in the line up!He had one good playoff series THATS IT!!! Trade him for some water bottles!

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#35 Peter Pan
February 24 2009, 04:42PM
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The Oil have found ways to drop these "guaranteed wins" all season long on home ice and why would it stop now. Plus the Bolts just beat the East's best in Boston and look ready to play spoiler. And we all know when the stars come to Rexall, it means stats nights. Vinny 3 - Oil 2

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#36 Malc
February 24 2009, 04:43PM
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@ Oilersordeath:

People look forward to getting him back for the other things he does well - like kill penalties. He and Stoll were arguably our best penalty killers in previous years. His 14 goals in the playoffs were just an added bonus. Regardless, I am sure that Pisani will score more goals than stortini and reddox on the third line while playing a better defensive game.

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#37 baggedmilk
February 24 2009, 04:50PM
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baggedmilk at the game. baggedmilk doesn't work tomorrow. Uh Oh.

GAME DAYYYYYYYYYYY

Here's to belittling Martin St. Louis about his small womanly stature. HAR HAR HAR

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#38 The Towel Boy
February 24 2009, 05:42PM
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GOILERS!

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#39 Mike Krushelnyski
February 24 2009, 05:51PM
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Stortini on the 3rd line isn't ideal in anyone's books. I like Stortini and I think he can contribute to the team, but that contribution is always going to be in a 4th line role. The best you can say about Reddox is that he plays relatively mistake-free and works hard. Well Pisani's legs and hands may take a while to come back to him but his brain and his work-ethic are still there, so I don't think you lose anything by having him take Reddox's spot.

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#40 Mike Krushelnyski
February 24 2009, 05:52PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: ^^^

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#41 volfman
February 24 2009, 05:52PM
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GO ESKIMO'S!!! Boy am I sick and tired of this season already. Never thought I'd actually be looking forward to football season in Febuary. Don't be surprized if the bolts have a breakout game tonight. They've actually been playing fairly well as of late. Could even see another ass whoppin.

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#42 W.T.
February 24 2009, 06:13PM
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W.T. has his SlingBox warmed up and ready to go. Just like the Oilers tonight. Oil will win big and Roli will stand on his head first 10 minutes of the game. W.T. says first line will have a large night tonight.

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#43 volfman
February 24 2009, 06:21PM
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@ W.T.: W.T. can shut his pie hole until he learns how to write and talk, like a normal human being! Seriously man give it up already.

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#44 W.T.
February 24 2009, 06:34PM
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W.T. says don't worry Volfman, you will be in a better mood when Oilers wipe out Tampa tonight. Enjoy the game and don't forget to listen to Hall of Famer Rod and Fred Stauffer

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#45 Colin
February 24 2009, 06:36PM
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volfman wrote:

GO ESKIMO’S!!! Boy am I sick and tired of this season already. Never thought I’d actually be looking forward to football season in Febuary. Don’t be surprized if the bolts have a breakout game tonight. They’ve actually been playing fairly well as of late. Could even see another ass whoppin.

Can certainly echo that, but hopefully next year is better.

I sure hope the Eskimos don't pull an Oilers and are as good as they look on paper.

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#46 volfman
February 24 2009, 06:43PM
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@ W.T.: correct me if I'm wrong but don't you usally go by T.W.?

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#47 jdrevenge
February 24 2009, 06:46PM
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Fack if I was Cogs I'd be choked that my linemates keep getting worse... I know Mac's looking to develop Gagner Cogs as centered but if they're looking for second line scoring why isnt Cogliano moved up to the second line. Its not like the goals Cole scores are ever due to who hes playing with. They're all solo efforts or rebound goals (with exception to the goal he scored in Calgary. The kids have been looking better and better on the PP despite not putting the puck into the net.......

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#48 W.T.
February 24 2009, 06:51PM
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W.T. says you must have him confused with someone else.

With Oilers last minute loss against Flames they will come out hard tonight. The $40m+ payroll will perform. All four lines will perform tonight. Much like Roger Nelson-great hockey mind, MacT will use Pyramid power under the bench tonight

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#49 Charlie
February 24 2009, 07:08PM
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Here we go here we go Here we go!!! Here we go here we go here we go-oh!!! Here we go here we go here we go!! Here we go here we go Her we GO!!!!

Bouncing Souls + Oilers = Bad midterm tomorrow...

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#50 SeanS
February 24 2009, 07:11PM
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Flying early on!!!! weeeeew Oilers!!!

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