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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#51 Andrew W
March 31 2009, 03:50PM
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Here's what I'm thinking as a best case scenario regarding Grebeshkov: he hasn't been shooting all year despite having a great shot, and signs a three year contract that is consistent with his offensive statistics - say $2.5M/year. After signing the long term contract, he finally gets the message and starts shooting (perhaps due to prodding from a different coach), and becomes a bonna fida top-flight defenseman. All of a sudden, the Oilers would have two decent contracts on their roster (with Hemsky's). It's just too bad about the other twenty-three...

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#52 Rob
March 31 2009, 03:52PM
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Does the ticket in the picture say "Ticketbastard", lol, thought that was cool. Great pic BTW!

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#53 swany
March 31 2009, 03:55PM
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Gregor I posted the Erat, Legwand news on the first page, they are done for the season as per TSN one has a broken face the other a broken leg 3 guys down could this be the hockey gods?

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#54 Dennis
March 31 2009, 04:20PM
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Gregor: Remember how one of the new '09 PP wrinkles was 83 going through the seam to 10 setting up on the right side? Horc was getting lots of juice on those early chances and now he's gets nothing on them whatsoever.

The guy Has to be hurt and, like you said, he's got a history of being able to cover his ailing tracks.

The Preds have been working their nuts off for so long that I refused to doubt them in any more games. They blew more doors off with that comeback win in det on Sunday.

That, the Blues win at CBJ and the Oil losing vs Min officially broke my spirit.

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#55 DK0
March 31 2009, 04:41PM
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Here's something to put everyone in a good mood before heading into the game: hxxp://oilers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=4&id=38326 zOMG can we get a designated hitter type rule in the NHL ship him here just for shootouts?

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#56 Ender the Dragon
March 31 2009, 04:48PM
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@ DK0:

Nice clip. I've never seen the floater before; that's the equivalent of a drop-shot in tennis. The disgust written all over that goalie; priceless.

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#57 David S
March 31 2009, 04:52PM
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Dennis wrote:

That, the Blues win at CBJ and the Oil losing vs Min officially broke my spirit.

True dat Dennis. Myself, I figured when the Oil couldn't get up for an easy kill against Phoenix, that was it. Something's wrong with our first line and it's cost us games. In Phoenix, it looked like Gretzky keyed on the second line, seemingly knowing our first line was pretty much useless.

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#58 BUCK75 - FMNF
March 31 2009, 04:53PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

I'm along the same lines as you. How bad does it get when DUCKS blogger start taking shots at your organization.

@ Jonathan Willis:

I disagree on his take on our easy schedule. We are playing division rivals for the most part, Minne has beat us twice in like the last week, & the last 2 games (hopefully it doesn't come down to it again) are against Calgary. ~Yeah - really weak.~

Adam Brady is a POS. How do they employ him, not a guy you would want spewing 'opinions' arond the blogosphere. He was the guy who was on KLowes case about his treatment of then GM Brian Burke. Staples also commented on this:

Two weeks ago, on June 25, 2008, Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke was quoted on the Ducks official website calling the Edmonton Oilers "dirty bastards" for signing away Anaheim free agent Dustin Penner last July. Burke was addressing Ducks season tickets holders when he repeatedly made this "dirty bastards" remark about the Oilers, according to Ducks public relations director Adam Brady, who quoted Burke on his blog. Apparently, Burke made the comment in a joking manner, but that's not how it was taken by all parties.

Sounds like OilersNation will have to do another lynch mob on a new blog...lol

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#59 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
March 31 2009, 04:53PM
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Rod Philips was on CBC this afternoon and said he would be 100% shocked if Mactavish was gone next year.

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#60 Librarian Mike
March 31 2009, 04:54PM
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@ DK0:

That was cool. I hope he's got more tricks than that however, unlike Sam "I've got one shootout move" Gagner.

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#61 Librarian Mike
March 31 2009, 04:57PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer:

I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth after reading that.

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#62 Hockey Gods
March 31 2009, 05:00PM
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Oh man fella's I am jacked for this game tonight, I socred tickets from a buddy so I will be in the building. I am checking my line of credit and I have $8000 so I should have a solid 6 beers in me. I will be heard and the Oil will win. I am getting June 2006 style chills down my spine.

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#63 David S
March 31 2009, 05:04PM
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Hockey Gods wrote:

Oh man fella’s I am jacked for this game tonight, I scored tickets from a buddy so I will be in the building. I am checking my line of credit and I have $8000 so I should have a solid 6 beers in me. I will be heard and the Oil will win. I am getting June 2006 style chills down my spine.

So should we post a suicide watch on Hockey Gods post game comments?

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#64 DK0
March 31 2009, 05:04PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

That was cool. I hope he’s got more tricks than that however, unlike Sam “I’ve got one shootout move” Gagner.

Sam has tons of moves, he just links them back to back in the exact same order in a single shoot-out attempt.

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#65 Archaeologuy
March 31 2009, 05:06PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

Rod Philips was on CBC this afternoon and said he would be 100% shocked if Mactavish was gone next year.

Rod is a legend, but these days he's shocked when the microwave beeps.

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#66 W.T.
March 31 2009, 06:22PM
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W.T. just got back from a loooooong road trip. W.T. must say what Oiler Management has done to the fans of the Oil is just terrible. Youall should sue them for mismanagement or better yet, like the Pres of USA ask the CEO to step down.

W.T. has a large feeling that it's over tonight for the Oil. Smid is out so D is down really to 4 guys and Staios is just too old to keep up. W.T. really likes his effort but tank is empty.

W.T. suggests media and call in shows will have a hay day tonight after the loss.

Did W.T. read correctly that there may be nude bodies flying around after the game tonight?????

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#67 Antony Ta
March 31 2009, 06:32PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Rob wrote: I read that peckham and strudwick were practicing on a line together today, is that true?? That pair worries me a bit. Peckham can really lay a hit but also take a penalty at a bad time. Yep they are paired together, but don’t expect lots of minutes for Peckham. MacTavish talked about making sure he was out there in good matchups only. I do expect Peckham to drop the mitts though. He has 48 PIMS in only 10 games…I suspect it to be really physical early…and then settle into a typical playoff-type game.

I think the pairings would be good as:

Souray - Gilbert Peckham - Staios Grebeshkov - Chorney

1) Peckham can bring a lot to the table and paired with Staios he can eat up some big minutes - something that Strudwick can't do 2) Grebeshkov has not been the same since his injury and I think playing with Chorney, an offensive defenseman, might help him, albeit in limited minutes 3) Souray/Gilbert is our best potential pairing, and in a game of this importance I think we need it to be this way

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#68 Antony Ta
March 31 2009, 06:33PM
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Although Chorney is not an imposing presence like Strudwick is.

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#69 Jonathan Willis
March 31 2009, 06:39PM
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@ W.T.:

Maybe you and "Al Bundy" could get together and discuss how to sue them - catch my drift?

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#70 Jonathan Willis
March 31 2009, 06:41PM
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Antony Ta wrote:

Grebeshkov has not been the same since his injury and I think playing with Chorney, an offensive defenseman, might help him, albeit in limited minutes

The Plus-Minus of the Springfield Falcons, in reverse order:

Taylor Chorney: -29 Rob Schremp: -19 Mathieu Roy: -19 Robbie Bina: -17

Playing with Taylor Chorney probably wouldn't help Grebeshkov in the AHL, much less the NHL.

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#71 Fiveandagame
March 31 2009, 07:09PM
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all personal feelings aside for everything that has gone down this year. It all doesn't matter tonight.

Tonight is the season.

All that matters is

LETS GO OILERS!

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#72 Hoodlum
March 31 2009, 07:14PM
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LOUD AND PROUD BOYS!!!!! LETS GO OILERS

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#73 Harlie Chuddy
March 31 2009, 07:19PM
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who here honestly thinks we're going to make it into the playoffs? I don't.

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#74 Hoodlum
March 31 2009, 07:21PM
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@ Harlie Chuddy: I'll answer that after the game

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#75 Andrew W
March 31 2009, 07:24PM
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Go away Harlie - tonight is for optimism.

If we don't pull off the game, your pessimism will have months and months to reign, but tonight, tonight I plan to cheer like there's no tomorrow. (Irony?)

GO OILERS!!

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#76 Phil
March 31 2009, 07:27PM
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DK0 wrote:

Here’s something to put everyone in a good mood before heading into the game: hxxp://oilers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=4&id=38326 zOMG can we get a designated hitter type rule in the NHL ship him here just for shootouts?

Oh. My. Lord.

That is completely absurd.

First thing hockey related that's made my jaw drop in awhile.

I would rank that on par (if not even better) with Datsyuk's toe drag fade away deke into the open cage on Turco/Osgood.

That is beyond crazy, that is the definition of having the Goalie "at your mercy" hahaha.

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#77 jeanshorts
March 31 2009, 07:34PM
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DK0 wrote:

Here’s something to put everyone in a good mood before heading into the game: hxxp://oilers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=4&id=38326 zOMG can we get a designated hitter type rule in the NHL ship him here just for shootouts?

BBBBOOOOOONNNNNEEEEEEERRRRRRRR.

Oh my god that just jacked me up even more for this game.

That's so weird, I never knew that Dan Cloutier was Swiss. Good for him.

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#78 17
March 31 2009, 07:41PM
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Well the whole 7th man thing lasted all of 10 seconds.

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#79 Hoodlum
March 31 2009, 07:43PM
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I know it's early, but is this the half assed effort we were hoping not to see??

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#80 17
March 31 2009, 07:44PM
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Well, at least the 4th line gets it

big hits = cheers

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#81 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 07:49PM
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Well...so far so good. I like the energy.

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#82 DK0
March 31 2009, 07:53PM
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i didnt know 4on4 meant anaheim powerplay... also 4th line CH rating is off the charts

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#83 DK0
March 31 2009, 07:55PM
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whiffcoff FTL

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#84 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 07:55PM
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Arrrgh....Horcoff and his hands of stone.

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#85 DK0
March 31 2009, 07:56PM
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w00000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#86 Rusty Shackleford
March 31 2009, 07:56PM
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HOLY MOLY... I like this team

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#87 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 07:58PM
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Nice finish Cogs!

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#88 17
March 31 2009, 07:58PM
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And now to keep the foot on the gas.

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#89 DK0
March 31 2009, 08:08PM
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FFS

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#90 Rusty Shackleford
March 31 2009, 08:08PM
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Gilbert did a nice Rolli impression on that play.

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#91 Charlie
March 31 2009, 08:08PM
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Brookbank, hey?

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#92 jeanshorts
March 31 2009, 08:08PM
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Weird another first NHL goal in our building. That almost never happens.

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#93 David S
March 31 2009, 08:10PM
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17 wrote:

And now to keep the foot on the gas.

And now to take the foot off the gas.

Fixed.

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#94 Rusty Shackleford
March 31 2009, 08:11PM
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@ jeanshorts: Spoiler Alert: Todd Marchant or Bobby Ryan or that other guy.

*hopes to bloody hell we don't have another "Marty Reasoner Night"

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#95 David S
March 31 2009, 08:12PM
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My gawd it's quiet in Rx1.

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#96 17
March 31 2009, 08:12PM
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David S wrote:

17 wrote: And now to keep the foot on the gas. And now to take the foot off the gas. Fixed.

Yeah, so much for that.

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#97 The Towel Boy (mobile)
March 31 2009, 08:13PM
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Lame.

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#98 socaldave
March 31 2009, 08:16PM
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ffs, even the ducks announcers are wondering why it's so f***ing quiet... :(

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#99 17
March 31 2009, 08:16PM
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yawwwn

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#100 David S
March 31 2009, 08:18PM
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Jeezuz we're tight. How many offsides is that now?

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