GDB XLVI: Dubie separating Crosby from goals

Jason Gregor
January 14 2010 01:31PM

Devan Dubnyk will get the honours of trying to shut down the defending Stanley Cup champions, not to mention Sidney Crosby, tonight at Rexall Place.

Oiler fans will be excited to walk into Rexall tonight, and the only other remaining game that might match tonight’s build up will be on February 1st when the Carolina Hurricanes come to town with 30th place on the line.

Dubnyk is a fairly calm guy and was pretty calm when asked about facing Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

“I try to prepare for every game the same way. You can’t go out there and think too much about who you are playing. Right now any opportunity to get on the ice in a game situation is exciting. I have to be aware where they (Crosby and Malkin) are on the ice, but my preparation is the same if I’m playing Columbus or Pittsburgh.”

There is a lot of pressure on a goalie, but when Dubnyk or Deslauriers allows a soft goal, it's magnified even more. Veteran goalies will get the benefit of the doubt, and that’s a reality Dubnyk is well aware of. He knows he needs to prove himself and the only way he can is by playing well.

He can’t do it by himself and if the Oilers continue to turn the puck over or miss assignments as often as they have this year, then Dubnyk’s job becomes even harder. If anything, the veterans better be ready and help a young goalie when they are facing one of, if not the best player in the game.

Tonight will be Sidney Crosby’s second visit to Rexall Place. He was here Dec 5th of 2008, and for the first 40 minutes you barely noticed him. The Oilers led 2-0 going into the third, but then Crosby took over, with three straight assists. The Pens won 4-2. Last year the Oilers lost in Pittsburgh 5-4 and Crosby had one assist.

He’ll be looking for his first career goal v. the Oilers tonight; the other teams he has yet to score against include Chicago, Anaheim, Nashville, San Jose and St. Louis.

It's kind of scary when you think about Crosby. He said he needed to work on his faceoffs and he needed to shoot more. Now he is second in goals in the NHL with 30, and on pace to reach 50 for the first time in his career and he is only 57.9% in the dot. When he puts his mind to something, he works hard at it and improves. Coaching doesn’t make him great, his desire is what makes him great. All the young players on the Oilers should look at his work ethic and desire and ask themselves if they can match it. If not, then they need to work harder in the off-season.

With their win in Calgary last night, the Pens are now 4-8 in their last 12. They haven’t been playing very well, especially Evgeni Malkin. After seasons of 85, 106 and 113 points Malkin only has 43 in 41 games this year, but his goal totals are really down. He only has 13 goals so far, and he has gone ten games without a goal. He looks tired.

The Oilers will have some new line combinations tonight.

Penner — Horcoff — Nilsson
Cogliano — Potulny — O’Sullivan
Moreau — Gagner — Pisani
Jacques — Stortini — Stone

The defence will be the same and Dubnyk will start.

Potulny is the hottest Oiler right now and Pat Quinn has really liked Andrew Cogliano’s effort and competitive level lately so he moved them together. The fourth line could be very effective in creating energy and excitement. And with Godard, Adams and Rupp on the 4th line for Pittsburgh tonight I’d expect some energy when those two lines face off against one another.

Injuries hurt

Penguins’ analyst Bob Errey, who won a few Cups with the Pens in the ‘90s said if the Penguins lost Marc-Andre Fleury and Sidney Crosby they wouldn’t be in the playoffs either. He was referring to the Oilers loss of Khabibulin and Hemsky. Errey admitted he hasn’t watched the Oilers a lot, but he isn’t surprised they’ve struggled this much since 35 and 83 were lost for the season.

The Oilers were 10-12-3 when Hemsky got injured – they were 8-10-3 when Khabibulin went down four games earlier. Since both have been out the Oilers are 6-12-2. They probably wouldn’t be in the playoffs had Hemsky and Khabibulin stayed healthy, but it is obvious they wouldn’t be in 15th. The positive about the injuries is that the Oilers will get a higher draft pick.

Friends or foes

For years I’ve seen many Internet rumours mentioning that JDD and DD don’t like each other. I asked Dubnyk today how much he and Deslauriers will need to support one another now that Khabibulin is done for the year and they are the guys.

“There was always competition and I’ve heard rumours that we don’t get along and that certainly has never been the case. We had a good chat yesterday and I said we have to stick together now more than ever. It’s me and him. We’re here and that’s going to be it for the year. We need to be a team of two and stick together and have each other back all the time”

Later he told me that anyone who has ever played with him would know he is a very easy guy to get along with. He said both him and Jeff are a little quiet so it took some time to get to know each other, but they’ve never had anything but a healthy competitive relationship. It was interesting that he said “We’re here and that going to be it for the year.” That just solidifies that the Oilers won’t be getting a rent-a-veteran goalie, which is the smart move.

Parting shot

Somehow the Pens with all their talent have the second-worst PP in the league clicking along at 14.4%. There was lots of talk today that the Pens are looking at Ray Whitney in Carolina as a possible acquisition. That makes a lot of sense. He’s won a Cup, but more importantly he is very creative on the man advantage. I doubt he would cost much to pry out of Carolina.

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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 Jonathan Willis
January 14 2010, 01:40PM
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Whitney's got a no-trade clause.

Not that he wouldn't waive it, but something to keep in mind.

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#2 CM
January 14 2010, 01:40PM
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FIST

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#3 bingofuel
January 14 2010, 01:41PM
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Ha! And you weren't even the "fist" commenter... sucka!

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#4 Bucknuck
January 14 2010, 01:48PM
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Go Oilers! They have to win some games so why not against top teams. that way they don't hurt the DFF as much and we get to laugh it up a little.

6-2 penguins is my prediction, though. Malkin's slump goes away.

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#5 TigerUnderGlass
January 14 2010, 01:48PM
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Aside from Crosby and Fleury, the Penguins did not look very good last night even though they won the game. Malkin looked like he was sleepwalking, and the slightest traffic in front of the Penguins net caused ridiculous amounts of chaos.

I'm worried Edmonton might accidentally win this game.

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#6 BUCK75
January 14 2010, 01:50PM
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I am going to the game tonight - I hope Dubnyk plays well, maybe not well enough to win; but good enough to make his team mates look foolish on 6 was passing plays for penguin goals ;)

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#7 Bucknuck
January 14 2010, 02:02PM
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I heard a Pat Quinn interview where he talked about the fate of NHL teams riding on the strength of mainly one position: centre. If you look at the Penguins you definitely see that trend.

Would you trade Gagner and Cogliano to get Jordan Staal. If you were the penguins would you make that trade? Gagner and Staal have pretty similar totals despite the Oilers stinking up the joint... hmmm...

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#8 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 02:03PM
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I like the lines. Cogs finally gets a shot with some skilled players and isn't playing center and line four could be a good energy line. Granted I don't think we go far with this lineup, there is a chance that we get some entertainment with it.

LOL. I was mentioning that if Selanne is out long-term that maybe ANA would be looking at Whitney, which could lead to a stall in the Moreau talks.

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#9 Ender
January 14 2010, 02:04PM
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I am hoping we lose 1-0. While I'd like to see DD shake off some of those pitiful numbers he's accumulated thus far this season, we still can't afford to take our eyes off the goal here. With Carolina continuing to demonstrate all different shades of suck (last 3 games notwithstanding), we're going to have to keep falling into the crapper hard over the next month or two to really solidify our claim to expert mismanagement.

Go 'Canes!

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#10 Corsby31
January 14 2010, 02:04PM
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Hey JW,

Is there any truth to this Edmmonton Montreal trade? Yes I found this on Eklunds (I know, I know) site but for some reason I could see the Oil making a move. The rumor is Halak and a pick for Cogs and Brule. That seems like a bit much to give up but hey, we have all seen how "good" our GM's have been latley. Also some rumor about Souray to the kings??? Has anyone got a line on this stuff???

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#11 Crash
January 14 2010, 02:06PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Go Oilers! They have to win some games so why not against top teams. that way they don't hurt the DFF as much and we get to laugh it up a little.

6-2 penguins is my prediction, though. Malkin's slump goes away.

Every win regardless of who it is against hurts the DFF...because other bottom teams don't win many games each time the Oil win makes it that much tougher to guarantee a top 2 pick....heck I don't know if the Leafs will ever win again and we're only 2 pts behind them...Looks as though Carolina may go charging by us though the way they are going.

If I had my druthers I'd have us drop way behind everyone and then it would be easier to go to the games and pull for a win, lol.

I always have mixed feelings sitting there now wanting our guys to do well but yet wanting to get that top pick at the same time.

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#12 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 02:08PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I heard a Pat Quinn interview where he talked about the fate of NHL teams riding on the strength of mainly one position: centre. If you look at the Penguins you definitely see that trend.

Would you trade Gagner and Cogliano to get Jordan Staal. If you were the penguins would you make that trade? Gagner and Staal have pretty similar totals despite the Oilers stinking up the joint... hmmm...

Yep. This was actually talked about last year. I remember someone saying it's nice to have Gagner and Cogliano and others but if you can get a Staal who brings some of those missing elements then you do it. It's not like the guy has no offensive talent either. He actually could almost be said to be more proven then those two you mentioned offensively.

Come to think of it, not sure Pittsburgh even does Staal for Gagner.

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#13 Skadden
January 14 2010, 02:09PM
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Great, now Gags gets stuck with Moreau and O'Sulky is still getting prime minutes while Horcoff stinks up the top line again.

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#14 Matt Henderson
January 14 2010, 02:10PM
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I cant stand watching Horc play on the 1st line right now, but that 4th line should be interesting.

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#15 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 02:11PM
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One more note on the lineups. I'd put Horcoff with Pisani and Moreau after all aren't they suppose to be the shutdown players on this team? Lets see if they could play that role.

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#16 Crash
January 14 2010, 02:12PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I like the lines. Cogs finally gets a shot with some skilled players and isn't playing center and line four could be a good energy line. Granted I don't think we go far with this lineup, there is a chance that we get some entertainment with it.

LOL. I was mentioning that if Selanne is out long-term that maybe ANA would be looking at Whitney, which could lead to a stall in the Moreau talks.

I like them too, just one final touch to increase the chances of victory...remove Horcoff from line 1 forever....insert Gagner

oh wait, we want that top pick...nevermind...leave Horcoff where he is.

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#19 Rigger
January 14 2010, 02:22PM
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@Matt Henderson

Ever since he got moved back there it's been brutal. Penner has dropped off with him there, and so had Brule when he was playing with Horcoff. Gagner was much better with Pens and now he has to deal with Captain Doesn't Care About Penalties. Super.

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#20 Homie
January 14 2010, 02:24PM
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A pile of points for Malkin tonight. The Oilers are a superb slumpbuster - just ask Jonathan Cheechoo, Matt Greene and Sean O'Donnell.

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#21 Moop
January 14 2010, 02:29PM
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Homie wrote:

A pile of points for Malkin tonight. The Oilers are a superb slumpbuster - just ask Jonathan Cheechoo, Matt Greene and Sean O'Donnell.

Don't forget Brendan Witt! The guy still hasn't scored another goal all season since those 2 against the Oilers a while back.

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#22 Jamie B.
January 14 2010, 02:30PM
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With those forward lines, who gets the checking assignment? I love the kid, but god help us if it's Gagner ...

Oh, right, we're trying to lose. Never mind then.

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#23 Rigger
January 14 2010, 02:33PM
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@Jamie B.

Well, he did make that "big" hit the other night so.....

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#24 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 14 2010, 02:39PM
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So is it JFJ or Stortini that gets beats from Goddard tonight?

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#25 Bucknuck
January 14 2010, 02:39PM
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I am looking forward to watching the game tonight. I think the Penguins and the Oil could become trade partners in the next few weeks so I will be watching with that in mind.

With Gonchar's 5 million dollar contract ending at the end of the season, they may be interested in a puck moving defenseman for the playoffs and beyond... and they will need some secondary scoring.

That is why I brought up the Staal thnig as I was just thinking out loud.

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#26 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 02:45PM
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@Bucknuck

Grebeshkov and Gagner for Staal? Thing is that type a trade won't happen until after the playoffs and once they know what Gonchar's plans are.

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#27 Matt Henderson
January 14 2010, 02:51PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

That's an overpay. Staal is good, but not good enough to give up a young center that is comparable in terms of offense PLUS a young offensive d-man.

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#28 I'm a Scientist!
January 14 2010, 02:54PM
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*yaaaaawn*

10-2 for the Pens. Both Malkin and Crosby score 5 goals giving two people in Pittsburg an amazing chance at the Safeway Score and Win $1,000,000...

*puts his head down, slowly turns around and shuffles out the door...back to the lab, where dreams DO come true*

I miss the bandwagon...who would have thought that it would be in for repairs until sometime after July 1st?

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#29 Corsby31
January 14 2010, 02:55PM
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@Jason Gregor

thank god...I know it seemed stupid Jason, but really can you blame us fans for thinking it may happen. It's not like we have made ANY good moves in the last, ohhh 2 or 3 years. Bottom line is, thank god we would not make that move. That would be retarded.

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#30 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 02:56PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

That's an overpay. Staal is good, but not good enough to give up a young center that is comparable in terms of offense PLUS a young offensive d-man.

Of course something else would come our way, but I'm thinking that Staal is probably worth more then Gagner.

Offensively gagner probably has more potential, but Staal is and should be the more complete player of the two. They're also only a year difference in age so calling Gagner a young center has very little merit if we are trading for Staal.

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#31 Matt Henderson
January 14 2010, 03:03PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

It still seems like a minor upgrade for the forward position at the cost of really downgrading the defense position.

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#32 Crash
January 14 2010, 03:04PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Of course something else would come our way, but I'm thinking that Staal is probably worth more then Gagner.

Offensively gagner probably has more potential, but Staal is and should be the more complete player of the two. They're also only a year difference in age so calling Gagner a young center has very little merit if we are trading for Staal.

IMO if our GM trades Sam Gagner...there will come a day in the not to distant future where he is getting totally ripped by the masses....

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#33 Jamie B.
January 14 2010, 03:08PM
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Crash wrote:

IMO if our GM trades Sam Gagner...there will come a day in the not to distant future where he is getting totally ripped by the masses....

Seriously. It's not even that Gagner's that good, it's just that we have no one "better" (in terms of even vague potential).

I had another thought. I don't even know who the Pens' back-up is. Who's in net for them? Thanks.

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#34 Bucknuck
January 14 2010, 03:11PM
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Crash wrote:

IMO if our GM trades Sam Gagner...there will come a day in the not to distant future where he is getting totally ripped by the masses....

You are probably right.

I am mainly thinking that Jordan Staal is one of the missing pieces of the Oilers puzzle, though he is hugely expensive (4mil a year). What would it take to get him into Oilers silks?

Does anyone have a good website for checking FO%? I can't seem to find that stat.

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#35 Crash
January 14 2010, 03:12PM
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Jamie B. wrote:

Seriously. It's not even that Gagner's that good, it's just that we have no one "better" (in terms of even vague potential).

I had another thought. I don't even know who the Pens' back-up is. Who's in net for them? Thanks.

I believe their back up is Brent Johnson

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#36 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 03:13PM
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Crash wrote:

IMO if our GM trades Sam Gagner...there will come a day in the not to distant future where he is getting totally ripped by the masses....

Big deal he would get ripped if he traded Moreau and a 5th for Staal, because somehow that 5th would become the next Zetturburg.

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#37 Jonathan Willis
January 14 2010, 03:14PM
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Jordan Staal's a good player.

On the other hand, how much better would Sam Gagner look if he was playing behind Crosby and Malkin?

It's hard to know.

In the G.M.'s chair, I wouldn't trade Gagner.

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#38 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 03:15PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

You are probably right.

I am mainly thinking that Jordan Staal is one of the missing pieces of the Oilers puzzle, though he is hugely expensive (4mil a year). What would it take to get him into Oilers silks?

Does anyone have a good website for checking FO%? I can't seem to find that stat.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20102ALLAASAll&sort=totalFaceOffs&viewName=faceOffPercentageAll

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#39 Jonathan Willis
January 14 2010, 03:16PM
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@ Ogden Brother Jr.:

Nonsense. There would be cheering - just like there was when he trade Cole for O'Sullivan.

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#40 Crash
January 14 2010, 03:17PM
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Crash wrote:

I believe their back up is Brent Johnson

Now that's a good question....well if we say we don't want to trade Gagner possibly we'd have to give up Cogs and a 1st rounder....not sure Pittsburgh really wants to trade Staal..

Of course if I'm trading a 1st rounder it wouldn't be this years but I may gamble on next years if I'm adding Taylor Hall and Jordan Staal to go with Gagner and the rest then next year may not be so bad...maybe...depending on what else if anything Tambellini does between now and next season.

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#41 Crash
January 14 2010, 03:19PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

You are probably right.

I am mainly thinking that Jordan Staal is one of the missing pieces of the Oilers puzzle, though he is hugely expensive (4mil a year). What would it take to get him into Oilers silks?

Does anyone have a good website for checking FO%? I can't seem to find that stat.

Now that's a good question....well if we say we don't want to trade Gagner possibly we'd have to give up Cogs and a 1st rounder....not sure Pittsburgh really wants to trade Staal..

Of course if I'm trading a 1st rounder it wouldn't be this years but I may gamble on next years if I'm adding Taylor Hall and Jordan Staal to go with Gagner and the rest then next year may not be so bad...maybe...depending on what else if anything Tambellini does between now and next season.

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#42 Matt Henderson
January 14 2010, 03:20PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Wanye wasnt cheering.

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#43 Crash
January 14 2010, 03:21PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Jordan Staal's a good player.

On the other hand, how much better would Sam Gagner look if he was playing behind Crosby and Malkin?

It's hard to know.

In the G.M.'s chair, I wouldn't trade Gagner.

X2

I have a feeling and it's only my opinion that Gagner is going to be a special offensive player before too long...you can see the hockey sense and skill in his game....

It's comin...just my feeling

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#44 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 03:21PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Jordan Staal's a good player.

On the other hand, how much better would Sam Gagner look if he was playing behind Crosby and Malkin?

It's hard to know.

In the G.M.'s chair, I wouldn't trade Gagner.

Not sure it's an interesting comment, but at the sametime playing behind those two he is getting a lot less time. Granted he probably plays against easier opponents. I don't really add Staal in hopes of the offense as much as his all-around game.

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#45 Senator Theo
January 14 2010, 03:22PM
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Crash wrote:

IMO if our GM trades Sam Gagner...there will come a day in the not to distant future where he is getting totally ripped by the masses....

Umm, I think he's already be getting ripped. If not by the masses, certainly by the media and Oilogosphere. The masses will not be far behind.

By the way if I were GM, I would not trade Gagner. Oh, and I would add more restrooms to Rexall and donairs in the concessions.

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#46 JorgeR
January 14 2010, 03:23PM
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I'm kind of excited for the game tonight? I'm still gonna cheer for the oil. Let's just pray for good hockey!

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#47 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 03:23PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ogden Brother Jr.:

Nonsense. There would be cheering - just like there was when he trade Cole for O'Sullivan.

Getting an asset for a UFA that wasn't going to sign is a good thing. I often wonder what is expected of the guy anyways. He will get 20-20 barring no injuries and it's as if he won't break the 20 point barrier.

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#48 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 14 2010, 03:24PM
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@Senator Theo

Well you add donairs you are going to need the bathrooms.

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#49 Crash
January 14 2010, 03:25PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Not sure it's an interesting comment, but at the sametime playing behind those two he is getting a lot less time. Granted he probably plays against easier opponents. I don't really add Staal in hopes of the offense as much as his all-around game.

I'd love to have Stall but I'd like to find a way to do it without trading Gagner.

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#50 Senator Theo
January 14 2010, 03:26PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

Haha - well done! I'm still chuckling.

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