GDB minus-2: It's crunch time

Jason Gregor
September 24 2009 02:20PM

capn-quinn

Tonight is the last chance for players to impress the coaches, and when you look at tonight’s roster it is pretty clear which players are on the bubble.

Nilsson — Brule — Stone MacIntyre — Reddox — Stortini Moreau — Gagner — Cogliano Penner — Schremp — Eberle

Grebeshkov — Staios Chorney — Gilbert Smid — Visnovsky

Deslauriers and Dubnyk

Stone, Brule, Nilsson, Reddox, MacIntyre, Schremp and Eberle are all on the bubble. And so is Pouliot, but he is out with a slight muscle pull.

Quinn hinted today that if Pouliot and Pisani don’t get into Sunday’s game, they might get veteran status and be on the 23 man roster. Pisani is shooting to play on Sunday so we’ll wait and see.

It sounds like Quinn is leaning towards moving Cogliano to the wing and will keep Gagner and either Comrie or O'Sullivan and Horcoff as the other top three centres.

It is also interesting to look at the D-pairings for tonight. I don’t think it is a guarantee that the top four will consist of 44, 71, 77 and 37. Renney wants his defense to be more aggressive, especially at the blueline. But they can only stand up the opposing forwards if the Oiler forwards are backchecking.

The story so far...

Through six pre-season games the forwards and D-men haven’t been that cohesive yet. Quinn said it was almost like they were playing as two separate units, and there was too much space between them, especially in the neutral zone.

I’m curious how long it will take for those who ripped MacTavish for sucking the offence out of young Oilers to say the same about Quinn.

Quinn is adamant that this team will be better defensively before they work on their offence. Doesn’t that sound a lot like MacTavish? The difference is that this coaching staff has a different approach in how they are selling that message.

According to the players, the coaches have consistently relayed the same messages every day. Last year, after many games MacTavish and the media and the fans complained the team wasn’t physical enough.

But a player, who agreed they weren’t, said it was never a message the coaching staff hammered home every day. As strange as it sounds, if a coaching staff isn’t constantly focusing and reminding players how they should play, then the players won’t play that way.

The messages to the players have been clearer and right now they are being hammered home on a daily basis, and I’d expect that to continue all season. The players who buy in will play, and those who don’t won’t play and ultimately won’t be here very long.

This power struggle will be won by the coaching staff, and for some veterans and young players, they'd better realize that quickly.

The best fight I saw today

Who would have thought the best fight of the pre-season would have occurred at practice, and at Eskimo practice?

After leaving Rexall I went to watch the Eskimos practice and I witnessed the most one-sided football tilt I’ve seen in a long time.

During scrimmage, O-lineman Aaron Fiacconi and D-lineman Xzavie Jackson got into it. They threw some punches and then Fiacconi showed his hockey background: he ripped off Jackson’s helmet, pulled his head down and fed him two huge uppercuts, the second one dropped Jackson.

Jackson picked himself up off the turf and stormed off to the sidelines. Meanwhile Fiacconi went back to the huddle and got ready for the next play. Not one player said anything to Jackson. He was on the far sidelines, and then he proceeded to throw off his gloves, take off his practice jersey and walked towards the north end zone of Clark field. He walked across the endzone and towards the gate. Only receiver Maurice Mann came over to try and get him to not leave practice. Jackson barked something to him, and then proceeded to continue walking towards the dumpsters.

Thirty seconds later he returned with a shovel that he had found. He was slowly walking back towards the field when trainer TD Forss and Danny Maciocia stopped to talk to him. Jackson was visibly upset, and after some talking he left towards the locker room with Forss.

His left eye was swollen shut and had a cut on it. The strangest part for me wasn’t that he found a shovel and contemplated going WWE on someone, but that not one of his defensive teammates did anything on the field, or said anything to him on the sidelines.

Their silence told me he isn’t that respected in the locker room and I can’t see him sticking around very long. Rarely is a football fight more entertaining than a hockey fight.

***UPDATE***

I got some confirmation that the Oilers and Predators are kicking each other tires. Nilsson would seem like an obvious choice, but I've heard whispers about Pouliot and Pisani as well. Nashville has lots of cap space if they want to acquire either Pisani or Nilsson.

I know the Oilers have lots of D-men, but would Hamhuis be of interest to them? We'll see.

It sounds like there might be some interesting names across the NHL that might land on waivers as early this weekend.

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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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#251 Bob Cob
September 24 2009, 09:16PM
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Find a guy to win a face off. Your a homo Foster, might as well call you Claude Lemieux.

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#252 David S
September 24 2009, 09:16PM
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Gunner wrote:

Cogliano-Gagner-Pisani

After what I've seen tonight, Nilsson would be better in the Pisani spot - if we're looking for three scoring lines that is.

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#253 Ty
September 24 2009, 09:17PM
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Nilsson improving his trade value this game???

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#254 Fiveandagame
September 24 2009, 09:17PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Oh it was most definitely a gratuitous shot.

Freaking goatish Staios move.

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#255 Colin
September 24 2009, 09:18PM
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@ David S: Agreed.

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#256 Colin
September 24 2009, 09:19PM
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Ah well, at least we win nearly half the time.....

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#257 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:19PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

SO who is off the team?

Schremp, Stone, Chorney, Brennan

I wish.. Staois, Moreau

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#258 heavyd
September 24 2009, 09:19PM
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Man stevie what did you do that? I think steve might be traded.

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#259 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:20PM
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David S wrote:

Gunner wrote: Cogliano-Gagner-Pisani After what I’ve seen tonight, Nilsson would be better in the Pisani spot – if we’re looking for three scoring lines that is.

Nilsson's just gonna keep cheatin on ya and breakin your heart and tellin oh baby, i promise it'll never happen again. He's a tease. So he was okay this game. 1 out 3 games just isn't good enough. Pisani adds a calming influence & defensive presence with some skill.

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#260 David S
September 24 2009, 09:21PM
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Well OK. Some good things tonight. Kinda makes me feel a bit better. Now if only the guys who are supposed to be our core team players get their act together, maybe we might have something.

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#261 oilersordeath
September 24 2009, 09:22PM
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RossCreek wrote:

David S wrote: Gunner wrote: Cogliano-Gagner-Pisani After what I’ve seen tonight, Nilsson would be better in the Pisani spot – if we’re looking for three scoring lines that is. Nilsson’s just gonna keep cheatin on ya and breakin your heart and tellin oh baby, i promise it’ll never happen again. He’s a tease. So he was okay this game. 1 out 3 games just isn’t good enough. Pisani adds a calming influence & defensive presence with some skill.

Pisani is a softy with no passion, tons of player out there with same skill level more grit.

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#262 ronaldo
September 24 2009, 09:24PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Nilsson’s just gonna keep cheatin on ya and breakin your heart and tellin oh baby, i promise it’ll never happen again.

Oh, but this time he means it. He's a changed man, you'll see, you just don't understand him. I loooove him!!

and scene.

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#263 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:24PM
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Jason Chimera... I'm tellin ya!

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#264 David S
September 24 2009, 09:25PM
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RossCreek wrote:

So he was okay this game. 1 out 3 games just isn’t good enough.

His last game was pretty good too. Like I said, if we want 3 scoring lines, easily Nilsson over Pisani, who has shown nothing yet this year.

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#265 Dwayne
September 24 2009, 09:25PM
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I think Stone is going to make it. I agree send Staois , Moreau Nillsen should be sent packing. Pisaini I would hate to say it but.... clean out the guys from the cup run AND GET SOMEONE OVER SIX FOOT!

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#266 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:26PM
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@ oilersordeath: Replace one local (Pisani) with another (Chimera)

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#267 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:26PM
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Dwayne wrote:

I think Stone is going to make it. I agree send Staois , Moreau Nillsen should be sent packing. Pisaini I would hate to say it but…. clean out the guys from the cup run AND GET SOMEONE OVER SIX FOOT!

Stone can barely keep up to the play now that it's mostly NHL players. I love his grit and tenacity but he's too slow.

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#268 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:27PM
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Gunner wrote:

Schremp, Stone, Chorney, Brennan

Don't forget Eberle.

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#269 Tbone
September 24 2009, 09:27PM
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Schremp proves tonight why he'll be on waivers tom, Lines for opening night;

Osullivan-Comrie-Hemsky Nilsson-Gagner-Cogliano Penner-Horcoff-Jaques Moreau-Brule-Stortini extras reddox and macintyer

Reddox can do what Pisani does for cheaper and Pouliout is not anywhere near the player that the other 14 are. Kid line back together equals cup, and anyone who thinks that Nilsson shouldn't be on this team is crazy his compatability with Gagner is undeniable.

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#270 seamuso'reilly
September 24 2009, 09:28PM
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Well i hate losing pre-season or not. brule was good i hope he sticks. We will be in the bottom 10 if we do not get someone to win draws its laughable how bad we are. Where is adam oates when you need him?

Oh ya thanks for the youtube highlights schremp have fun on the island.

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#271 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:28PM
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Tbone wrote:

Kid line back together equals cup

Hardy, har, har

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#272 David S
September 24 2009, 09:33PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Hardy, har, har

Well, at least they looked like they had something special. The cup thing though, yeah that roast was a bit over cooked.

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#273 BarryS
September 24 2009, 09:34PM
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Well the young vets showed more than previously. Too much coasting from Shremp. dispite a better game, Nillson the heart breaker is likely gone. Stone still on the bubble, the other AHLers going back. Eberlie to the Whl. Still, at least it was a good game for once.

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#274 David S
September 24 2009, 09:37PM
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Stone? No chance. He was invisible tonight. Stone over Nilsson? You'd be delusional. 5 bucks says he's gone by the weekend.

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#275 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:40PM
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David S wrote:

Stone? No chance. He was invisible tonight. Stone over Nilsson? You’d be delusional. 5 bucks says he’s gone by the weekend.

He wasn't invisible. He lost the final draw cleanly in OT.

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#276 Rob
September 24 2009, 09:41PM
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David S wrote:

Stone? No chance. He was invisible tonight. Stone over Nilsson? You’d be delusional. 5 bucks says he’s gone by the weekend.

You obviously didnt see his Pk'ing tonight, or shot blocking. Did you see him throwing the body? most physical player on the ice tonight. Created a couple power-plays.

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#277 olderthendirt
September 24 2009, 09:43PM
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Just back from the game. St Louis was the best player. Steve S the goat, but Stone to take the key defensive face off. Storini as a center?

Eberle looked like a boy among the men. Next year. Brule worked hard, expect he'll be arround. Nilsson deserves to be on the team. Cogs is exciting. Visnovsky is still tenative MacIntyre sometimes looked like a deer in the headlights, but didn't hurt his team. When Fedoric ran Gilbert he came right off the bench and ent Fedoric a message that had him scampering for the bench. goaltending was decent but not great. Chourny did not impress.

Schremps game is the blue line in had a good shift in overtime. Cann't imagine anyone would waste a contract spot on him when he hits the waiver wire. Prediction brief career in Russia then another attempt to introduct the NHL to Robbie Schremp hockey before he diasppears to Austria. Sortini needs better line mates to be effective. Moureau played didn't he? Penner was decent, but definately needs better line mates. Gagner looks ready for a better year. Lots of possitives

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#278 BarryS
September 24 2009, 09:43PM
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Gunner wrote:

David S wrote: Stone? No chance. He was invisible tonight. Stone over Nilsson? You’d be delusional. 5 bucks says he’s gone by the weekend. He wasn’t invisible. He lost the final draw cleanly in OT.

The problem with the faceoffs is not who gets the puck out of the dot, but who ends up with the puck. the battle at the dot was a draw, their winger beat our winger to the loose puck and passed it to the shooter before our wingers or defencemen moved from their position. yes we need to win at the dot, but we also need the wingers to pay attention and win possession in the scramble.

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#279 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:45PM
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@ BarryS: 5 on 3 with under 10 seconds left. You just can't lose that draw cleanly.

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#280 NFINITEone
September 24 2009, 09:47PM
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Not sure if any of you saw the update Gregor has posted. Oilers and Nashville have been kicking tires.... Nilsson, Pouliot and Pisani are names being thrown around.

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#281 BarryS
September 24 2009, 09:47PM
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Gunner wrote:

@ BarryS: 5 on 3 with under 10 seconds left. You just can’t lose that draw cleanly.

4 on three, it was overtime. a defencemen should have been between the dot and the goal

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#282 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:47PM
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Nillson & Pouliot to Nashville for Jerrid Smithson & a pick

At 2 mil, if you can find a taker for Nilsson, do it. Yes he had a better game, but I'd let someone else worry about him and open the cap space for later in the year (2 mil per = 5 mil per at the deadline).

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#283 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:48PM
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@ BarryS: Ok.

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#284 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 09:50PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Nillson & Pouliot to Nashville for Jerrid Smithson & a pick At 2 mil, if you can find a taker for Nilsson,

Wow. Blitzed much? Nillson. Nilsson. Why I wrote it wrong the 1st time, I don't know.

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#285 Gunner
September 24 2009, 09:57PM
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@ BarryS: I just watched the replay of the final goal and with a 4 on 3 the D man had his guy and didn't have a hope in hell of getting out to block the pass or shot. Only way is to grease it off the draw and cause a scramble. Agree to disagree I guess.

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#286 Gunner
September 24 2009, 10:00PM
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Anyone listen to Quinn's comments?

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#287 BigE57
September 24 2009, 10:09PM
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seamuso'reilly wrote:

Where is adam oates when you need him?

Coaching the Lightning powerplay.

@ RossCreek: I'm afraid Nilssonwill need to showcase his talent in games that actually mean something before he has any takers on the trade market.

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#288 Jimmy
September 24 2009, 10:12PM
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Well guys, just got back from the game...

The perogies were good. That is all.

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#289 Jimmy
September 24 2009, 10:14PM
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PS After that game there's no way Stone's making it. He had 2 solid chances that would have been breakaways if he wasn't flat on his heels. SMac was skating better than Stone tonight.

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#290 Gunner
September 24 2009, 10:15PM
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@ RossCreek: Fleury survived the cut. Backlund did not.

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#291 Reggie
September 24 2009, 10:21PM
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Jimmy wrote:

PS After that game there’s no way Stone’s making it. He had 2 solid chances that would have been breakaways if he wasn’t flat on his heels. SMac was skating better than Stone tonight.

You didn't hear the positive post game comments from Quinn. Sounds like he likes Stone.

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#292 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 10:25PM
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@ Gunner: Backlund needs some seasoning. He also has a bigger contract than the other bubble players. I think Theo starts in Abbotsford. He hasn't looked all that out of place, but adrenaline can do that. If he starts with the Flames now, I suspect he'll run out of gas mid-season. A mid-season call-up may get that adrenaline going again and give him the boost he needs for the second half. It would be great to see a happy ending of sorts with him ... even for the haters ;-)

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#293 Archaeologuy
September 24 2009, 10:27PM
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Pisani out Reddox in Moreau out Stone in Staois out Peckham/Chorney Nilsson out Eberle in

~10 million out less than 4 million in.

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#294 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 10:28PM
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Great~ TW is on 630 CHED. Get ready for The Warrior Team 1260. Get ready for WT OilersNation. *AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! MAKE HIM STOP! MAKE HIM STOP!!

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#295 Gunner
September 24 2009, 10:29PM
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@ RossCreek: It is a feel good story but he looks to be a step behind in my eyes.

@ Archaeologuy: Wishful thinking.

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#296 Gunner
September 24 2009, 10:30PM
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@ RossCreek: Mind you I've only watched one Flames game. So what do I know..

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#297 RossCreek
September 24 2009, 10:30PM
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@ Archaeologuy: The accountants would love you.

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#298 Archaeologuy
September 24 2009, 10:32PM
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Gunner wrote:

@ Archaeologuy: Wishful thinking.

It's only unrealistic because no team wants to pay 10 million to AHLers. Otherwise Pisani, Moreau, and Staios dont bring anything that younger cheaper hungrier players can also.

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#299 Gunner
September 24 2009, 10:34PM
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@ Archaeologuy: Preaching to the choir my friend... preaching to the choir.

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#300 MattL
September 24 2009, 10:39PM
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I hate all the sheep who have deemed Pisani to be the worst player ever, all because Matty wrote an article about him. I didn't hear ANYBODY calling for Pisani's head before the story, he was almost a lock on everyone's third or fourth line. Try thinking for yourselves, rejects. The bandwagon will call you when they need you.

Pisani has never shown up at the beginning of the season, but he always shows up more as it goes along. He'll be fine, although for what he's making, I'd take the cap space for sure. But don't tell me your team is better with a Stone, or a Schremp.

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