GDB 77: This is it

Jason Gregor
March 31 2009 12:03PM

gdb77

Tonight is do or die for the Oilers. I know they have five more games, but if they lose in regulation tonight they won't make playoffs. We all know this but let's go on record saying: a loss puts them three back of the Ducks, and possibly five back of Nashville if they beat Columbus. Five games remaining won't be enough time to make up those points.

Unfortunately a win doesn't guarantee they make the playoffs, but for their psyche they need a win tonight. The players had another closed door meeting before practice yesterday. Having another one after a loss tonight becomes redundant, and if the message didn't sink in after yesterday's session it never will.

Rather than be upset, frustrated, annoyed, pissed off or scared, Oiler fans should embrace tonight's game. It will be the most intense game you have witnessed all season. You will race home, kiss the wife, play with the kids for a few minutes but YOU know that come 7:30 you will be planted firmly on the coach, bevy in hand, chips in the bowl, leaning forward towards the TV with your hands clenched waiting for the puck to drop.

And you know you will be filled with nervous anticipation. There will be at least two dust ups tonight, four or five big hits and hopefully many goals. Rexall Place will be loud, because even though the masses are pissed and ready to hang MacT, most of you can't bring yourself not to cheer for your team in such a meaningful game.  That's being an Oilers fan folks.

Games like tonight are what make sports great. All those dud games in Nov, Dec and Sunday against the Wild are a distant memory now. Tonight all you care about is seeing a win, because at least that keeps the dream alive for a few more games.

A loss tonight and the dream is over for another season. No possible drunk chicks flashing you on Whyte, no chance the wife watches the game in just an Oiler jersey and no house parties or nights out watching the playoffs with the Boys.

It is excruciatingly simple for the Oilers: Win and you stay alive. Lose and you play out the string.

Good to see it's the Ducks

The Ducks are the perfect opponent for a game of this magnitude. They play tough, physical and have loads of top-end skill. If the Oilers dont show up tonight they will not only lose, but get humiliated at home. The Ducks bring out the emotion of the Oilers. The Oilers actually play with a pulse when the Human Rake and company come to town.

More often than not this year the Oilers have looked as prepared as your drunk Uncle emceeing a family wedding. You know the guy who thinks he is funny at the family summer picnic, yet when he gets on the mic at the wedding his stories suck, his jokes are stolen from some lame website, and the program rolls as smoothly as the Best Man's toast about the groom and his past conquests.

The Oilers will be ready to play tonight. I dont know if they will win, but tonight's effort will be one of the few times this year that they are prepared. There was a playoff energy in the locker room this morning. Players smiled when asked about the intensity, and expected physical play tonight.

Last December when the Ducks came to town the Oilers played their best home game of the year even though they lost in a SO. They out shot the Ducks 53-36, they killed off seven of eight powerplays and engaged the Ducks physically at every turn. In fact, the Ducks are only 2 for 19 on the PP against the Oilers this year. I cant explain why when you look at the Ducks firepower, but the Oilers PK is actually good against them.

The Oilers won both games in Anaheim, despite being outshot in both. Expect the trend of the home team getting more shots to continue this evening.

The Oilers just wrapped up a crisp morning skate. There wasnt much standing around, passes were on the tape, they actually scored some goals in practice and to a man they looked ready. The only concern is that even in practice, it looked like Horcoff was still struggling to finish.

The most frustrating thing to watch today was Grebeshkov in a shooting drill. He scored on three consecutive slap shots, two from the high slot and another from blueline. Why he doesn't shoot during the game remains a mystery. Though he did have three shots on goal the last time the Ducks were in town, so he might actually take a shot tonight. He has a measly 53 shots on net this year.

They didnt do any line rushes, but there wont be any lineup changes, outside of Peckham drawing in for Smid.

COLOSSAL FOSSIL SETS RECORD

Tonight Dwayne Roloson will become the oldest goalie to play in 60 games in a season. The CF will start his start his 33rd consecutive game tonight, and like most games during the previous 32 he will need to be one of their top three players if the Oilers hope to stay in the playoff race.

Enjoy the afternoon planning your playoff experience tonight, hopefully for Oiler fans you get a few more opportunities to feel the anticipation and excitement this April.

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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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#101 David S
March 31 2009, 08:19PM
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Too many men? Gah! Was that blood starting to drip out of MacT's ear?

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#102 jeanshorts
March 31 2009, 08:21PM
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Who's fault was that? Penners for not getting his ass off the ice for a change? Or Kotalik's for jumping on too early?

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#103 Archaeologuy
March 31 2009, 08:26PM
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They need to find the intensity from the 1st half of that last period. I need to see another Zach Attack, or a Jacques Attacques.

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#104 David S
March 31 2009, 08:36PM
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In my mind, Sam Gagner is yelling, throwing garbage cans and breaking sticks on a bench right about now and shocking the crap out of the room - IT'S GO TIME!!!

In my mind. *sigh*

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#105 17
March 31 2009, 08:38PM
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well, time to pull up the socks.

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#106 socaldave
March 31 2009, 08:39PM
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oh dear...

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#107 Rusty Shackleford
March 31 2009, 08:39PM
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*insert random expletive here*

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#108 17
March 31 2009, 08:40PM
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lets go oilers..

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#109 David S
March 31 2009, 08:42PM
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Please not 4. Please.

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#110 Hoodlum
March 31 2009, 08:42PM
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they really are a 1 line team, unfortunaltely it's they're 4th line

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#111 Rusty Shackleford
March 31 2009, 08:43PM
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*Reaches for yet another beer*

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#112 17
March 31 2009, 08:45PM
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WONDERFUL.

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#113 DK0
March 31 2009, 08:45PM
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ANYBODY BUT THE RAKE!! nOOOOOOO

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#114 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 08:45PM
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FAK!!!

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#115 jeanshorts
March 31 2009, 08:46PM
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Did they just announce him as Steve Niedermeyer?

Also, crumbs.

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#116 socaldave
March 31 2009, 08:46PM
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Hoodlum wrote:

they really are a 1 line team, unfortunaltely it’s they’re 4th line

yep

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#117 DK0
March 31 2009, 08:47PM
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OMG HORCOFF. could his confidence level be any lower. He hesitates in everything he does.

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#118 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 08:48PM
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Horcoff certainly has beautiful hands.

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#119 Hoodlum
March 31 2009, 08:48PM
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Did DeBrusk just say "little snatch"?

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#120 jeanshorts
March 31 2009, 08:48PM
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DK0 wrote:

OMG HORCOFF. could his confidence level be any lower. He hesitates in everything he does.

God. If he doesn't rebound next season I'm going to have to legitimately start hating him like a lot of the people around here.

*still holding out hope that Horcoff starts to live up to at least 1/3 of his contract, and not just defensively*

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#121 David S
March 31 2009, 08:48PM
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We get a goal and we're in it!

*cue insane nervous laugh*

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#122 Hoodlum
March 31 2009, 08:49PM
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he's obviously not seeing the the same game I am, because I see 16 and not little, but useless snatches

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#123 DK0
March 31 2009, 08:50PM
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@ jeanshorts: I like Horcoff, he just REALLY needs about 8 shots of liquid confidence before each game and he'll be gold

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#124 David S
March 31 2009, 08:51PM
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Man I miss Visnovsky. We were done when he went out. It's only taken us this much time to realize it.

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#125 socaldave
March 31 2009, 08:51PM
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esto es no bueno

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#126 socaldave
March 31 2009, 08:52PM
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David S wrote:

Man I miss Visnovsky. We were done when he went out. It’s only taken us this much time to realize it.

Lubo = playoffs and I really don't think you can argue against that.

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#127 Sandra
March 31 2009, 08:53PM
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We need help please a call our way

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#128 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 08:53PM
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* nervously chugs fifth beer of the period*

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#129 jeanshorts
March 31 2009, 08:53PM
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@ DK0:

Exactly. I REALLY really hope that he's just recovering from a number of undisclosed injuries carried over from last season. There's no other reason I can think of for him to be playing this insanely terrible. I guess that huge contract is probably weighing on his mind, but I really hope that's not the brunt of the problem.

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#130 Poo Czar
March 31 2009, 08:53PM
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Next year Horcoff will make MORE THAN DATSYUK.

Also? I hate Gene Principe.

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#131 socaldave
March 31 2009, 08:54PM
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Sandra wrote:

We need help please a call our way

okay, now wish for three more goals!!

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#132 DK0
March 31 2009, 08:55PM
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Here we go boys

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#133 DK0
March 31 2009, 08:56PM
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my god.. just 1 tape to tape pass please. give the crowd something to grab ahold of and cheer for

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#134 Sandra
March 31 2009, 08:56PM
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Where's the fans, come on CHEER

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#135 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 08:57PM
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Oh my...

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#136 Hoodlum
March 31 2009, 08:57PM
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Horcoff's "skills" are rubbing off on Hemmer....we\re in trouble boys

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#137 Poo Czar
March 31 2009, 08:58PM
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Oh Goodness, I sure would like to have the Oilers of Edmonton get some scores. Please?

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#138 Hoodlum
March 31 2009, 08:59PM
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I better phone Jager Ridge and book my tee times before there is an oiler phone jam at the intermission

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#139 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 09:01PM
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Would it be alright if the fourth line played every shift?

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#140 Harlie Chuddy
March 31 2009, 09:02PM
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*recall's Dad's favorite way to cheer on the Oilers*

"Come on you BUMS!"

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#141 DK0
March 31 2009, 09:02PM
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Did i blink and miss something? WTF happened to get Packham and Parros on the box?

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#142 socaldave
March 31 2009, 09:04PM
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4 on 3 lads... COME ON

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#143 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 09:04PM
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Ok...now would be a good time to bring "it".

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#144 17
March 31 2009, 09:06PM
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man alive, get your crap together men.

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#145 Sandra
March 31 2009, 09:06PM
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wE NEED A MARCHANT

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#146 17
March 31 2009, 09:07PM
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haha Marchant doesn't look like he knows where he is.

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#147 jeanshorts
March 31 2009, 09:07PM
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Well. 5 on 3. Tape to tape pass from Hemsky. Penner wide open in front. And we STILL can't score. My hope is dwindling faster and faster.

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#148 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 09:08PM
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You would have to pay me ay least 4 million dollars to stand in front of a Manwich bomb.

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#149 Phil
March 31 2009, 09:09PM
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Hemsky is getting figured out by the entire league.

Dynamic player, but he's gotta do something different on that PP and at ES.

The bob & weave through the neutral zone thing is getting old. He's not strong enough on the puck too. Kid needs to bulk up in the off-season and re-dedicate himself in his fitness and training regimen.

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#150 jeanshorts
March 31 2009, 09:09PM
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You're damn right break the boo birds out. They asked for all this fan support but have done absolutely nothing to warrent it. I hope they get booed off the ice after this period if they can't get it together.

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