Rebound at the Joe : Hall and Eberle

Robin Brownlee
November 11 2010 03:11PM

 

I'll be astounded if Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle don't have their best performances of the season against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena tonight.

While that might not translate to the most productive games of their brief NHL tenures with the Edmonton Oilers, every instinct I have tells me that they'll respond like gangbusters after being benched in the third period of Tuesday's 7-1 embarrassment in Carolina.

With The Joe being such a tough place to play, predicting an inspired performance in Murder City might seem like going out on a limb, but I don't see it that way. I'm thinking Tom Renney's message in Carolina resonated loud and clear with Hall and Eberle -- not so much because of how it was delivered, but because of the kind of young men they are.

I don't know Hall and Eberle well, yet, but I've seen enough and heard enough from them since they arrived in Edmonton before training camp to feel confident they'll hit the sheet flying tonight.

Character responds that way.

WALK THE WALK

I spent a fair amount of time talking with Hall and Eberle last week before the team hit the road for a piece I'm writing for NHL.com about them sharing an apartment in Edmonton (they're also roomies on the road). It's the first lengthy one-on-one time I've spent with both of them.

I came away impressed, particularly with their obvious desire to excel, even if both are understated about it and not prone to chest-beating about taking names and kicking ass.

"We're all not happy with what happened," Hall told Oilers Lunch host Bob Stauffer when asked about the benching and a subsequent talk he had with the head coach. "At some point, you do have to forget about it and you do have to get over it."

While neither rookie has spit out anything juicy about riding the pine against the Hurricanes, you can bet they've talked about it at length. You can also bet, at least I will, they are ready to roll.

For added inspiration, not that he'll need it, Hall will also have a lot of family, friends and former teammates from the Windsor Spitfires in the rink tonight. That aside, Hall's made a had a habit of elevating his play in big games and when it matters. Tonight, it matters.

THIS AND THAT...

-- There's been a lot of back and forth about Dustin Penner here since the Carolina game, with the expected division of opinion. Numbers guys like Penner a lot and rush to his defence, while those of us who go more by what we see, are less impressed.

The real picture of Penner lies somewhere in the middle. Is Penner a good player? Yes. Is he, by the numbers, effective? Yes. Those who criticize him, at least speaking for myself, aren't oblivious to that.

But, please, spare me the "Dustin Penner gets a bad rap because he's a big man and his style makes him look lazy" excuse. As one poster here said, "Dustin Penner looks lazy because he is lazy."

When I look at Penner, I ask myself this: "Is Penner giving you everything he's got? Is Penner as good as he's capable of being?" I keep coming up with the same answers -- no and no.

I've seen so many players over the years -- Petr Klima comes to mind -- who've been satisfied with being good, even if they were capable of much more. Penner is one of those guys.

-- Andrew Cogliano's picture hangs in Joe Louis Arena from his days with the Michigan Wolverines, and he usually plays well there. Given that, and that he's coming off an inspired (but fruitless) effort in Carolina and will play between Hall and Eberle, don't be surprised if he's a factor as well.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 freeze
November 11 2010, 03:14PM
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Boy, if Cogs ever finds his finish again, look out! He has been playing some decent hockey this year even if he has been on the '3rd' line. That said, he needs to find a way to get some results of the effort.

I like Penner but the fact that he doesn't hit drives me crazy. Does it hurt that much? Would it hurt him? He turns away far too often.

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#2 Horcsky
November 11 2010, 04:42PM
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I think Cogs' inspired (but fruitless) effort, as RB puts it, will sink him back into lacklustre play, as he is not being rewarded with points for hard play.

I agree with Hall and Eberle bouncing back though, they haven't had the crushing weight of team failure on their backs long enough to mail it in tonight.

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#3 @NateInVegas
November 11 2010, 04:47PM
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Kid Cudi's new album should break Penner out of his funk.

Doubt Lidstrom takes a roughing penalty trying to contain the European BigMan.

Detroit 4-1

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#4 freeze
November 11 2010, 06:03PM
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So much for Cogs having a good game. He's lost some key battles early tonight.

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#5 Wax Man Riley
November 11 2010, 03:24PM
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I'm expecting a good game from the Hall/Cogs/Eberle line. Cogs has been one of the hardest working Oilers this year, even if he has Marchant's hands.

Penner has not been giving his all. He is a "when it counts" player, I think. he is a good, not great player, and if and when he is in the playoffs (with the Oil or otherwise), or in a stretch run for a spot, he will step it up. Unfortunately this year, with the focus and ice time on the rookies, he doesn't have a lot to play for on this once again bottom 5 team.

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#6 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2010, 03:24PM
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freeze wrote:

Boy, if Cogs ever finds his finish again, look out! He has been playing some decent hockey this year even if he has been on the '3rd' line. That said, he needs to find a way to get some results of the effort.

I like Penner but the fact that he doesn't hit drives me crazy. Does it hurt that much? Would it hurt him? He turns away far too often.

You can't make Penner something he's not. I'd like it if he was more physical, but that's not in his mental make-up.

For me, it's more fundamental than that -- no need to become something you're not, but do what you do as well as you can do it.

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#7 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
November 11 2010, 03:25PM
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Great article Reuben. Hopefully Hall and Eberle give us some "exciting last placed hockey" to watch tonight.

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#8 Jamie B.
November 11 2010, 03:30PM
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I look forward to reading that NHL.com article.

They are roomies on the road? I thought Renney made a big deal of switching up all the old roommates and putting Hall with Gilbert and Eberle with Cogliano (and Paajarvi with Hemsky), was that just for the first trip?

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#9 SirFozz
November 11 2010, 03:34PM
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Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement wrote:

Great article Reuben. Hopefully Hall and Eberle give us some "exciting last placed hockey" to watch tonight.

I second this.

*seconded*

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#10 freeze
November 11 2010, 03:38PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You can't make Penner something he's not. I'd like it if he was more physical, but that's not in his mental make-up.

For me, it's more fundamental than that -- no need to become something you're not, but do what you do as well as you can do it.

No, that's true and I suppose he will always be an enigma. Maybe the team could pay opposing players to stick him early in a game to fire him up! (j/k, obviously)

Your last statement rings true because he seems so unmotivated sometimes. That said, I'm sure it is hard to be motivated when you are a millionaire. I doubt I'll get a chance to verify that though.

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#11 SirFozz
November 11 2010, 03:42PM
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freeze wrote:

No, that's true and I suppose he will always be an enigma. Maybe the team could pay opposing players to stick him early in a game to fire him up! (j/k, obviously)

Your last statement rings true because he seems so unmotivated sometimes. That said, I'm sure it is hard to be motivated when you are a millionaire. I doubt I'll get a chance to verify that though.

I don't know, I was still motivated after I made, then lost my first million by 19. Although I did change course and concentrate more on my tv/ movie career than my rap for a while but things worked out in the end.*

*may not be my life

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#12 jeanshorts
November 11 2010, 03:57PM
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Thanks for finding the words I was grasping at when I read Willis' article about Penner. You can't dismiss the numbers those eggheads throw around, especially when they help paint Penner in a positive light like that, but you also can't dismiss the fact that I scream at my TV four or five times a night when I see him take half a stride, glide, and kind of swat at the puck as it flies past him out of the offensive zone.

I also dropped him from my fantasy team two days ago which means he'll start scoring at a pretty good clip any day now.

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#13 Sloppy Joe
November 11 2010, 04:03PM
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Great article.

I ,too, appreciate that he's an effective player by the numbers, but there are just too many nights when coasts and/or is invisible. I watch enough oilers hockey to have a decent sense of when he's coasting and when he's not. I agree with Brownlee that the excuse of "he only looks like he's coasting becuase he's big" dosen't work.

There seems to be a sense that either Hemsky or Penner is going to be gone by the time this team is legitimately good. I would prefer to see Hemsky stick around. If Tambo could unload Penner this year for a reasonable return, I'd be all for it. Preferably something to bolster the D.

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#14 VMR
November 11 2010, 04:25PM
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So Penner is what he is, what's the point in complaining about it? Sure maybe if he played with fire in his belly every game he'd be a much better player but if he hasnt shown it by now can we just get over it already and admit it's not in him. If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle, Penner isnt the second coming of Cam Neely. So what he's a good player that does a lot of things right.

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#15 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2010, 04:30PM
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@VMR

What do your aunt and uncle have to do with this?

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#16 madjam
November 11 2010, 05:04PM
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Behind every good man is a good woman . How much longer before the cheerleaders get invovled ? That might inspire the boys .

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#17 Team Hall
November 11 2010, 05:16PM
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I am predicting a big outing for Cogs, Hall and Ebs, and not just now, but for the rest of this season. They have all been dangling and getting chances, if/when they start connecting, and we know they all have it in them, there shall be blood. Close game tonight, Detroit wins in the shootout, not the shutout.

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#18 Freezing Weather Fan
November 11 2010, 05:21PM
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@madjam

They'll get unveiled officially in december. I hope it's at the tampa game, Ive got tickets for that one. :)

Go Oil (ers dance crew)

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#19 spOILer
November 11 2010, 05:24PM
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Sell Hope. Cause god knows I have nowhere near enough booze in the house to watch another drubbing.

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#20 madjam
November 11 2010, 05:48PM
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Oiler game on shaw @ channel 326 .

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#21 Senator Theo
November 11 2010, 06:09PM
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@VMR

Your aunt sounds pretty gross. I have to say however, I'm a little curious.

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#22 Senator Theo
November 11 2010, 06:10PM
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Is this the GDB?

If so, this has been a forgettable first period.

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#23 Senator Theo
November 11 2010, 06:13PM
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blech - at leat they stayed out of the penalty box.

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#24 Team Hall
November 11 2010, 06:23PM
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I actually thought the Oil were rebounding after the 2-0 goal, did you see that shift of Hemmers where they had 3 five bell chances in a row? They almost took control of that game. Then Khabby let in a softy... Oh well, I guess we owe him a few. But I would come out with the Dubinator for the second, I think the Bulin wall was out drinking again last night.

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#25 Senator Theo
November 11 2010, 06:36PM
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@Team Hall

They should make him blow before getting his equipment on.

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#26 Senator Theo
November 11 2010, 06:40PM
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penalty shot? oh well, at least Modano isn't great against the Oilers or anything...

EDIT To ADD: Phew

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#27 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2010, 07:17PM
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@Horcsky

Cogliano and the kids haven't been lacklustre through 40 minutes tonight, anything but with lots of jump.

But they were matched toughed in the first period with Datsyuk and Zetterberg, they're an ugly combined minus-9 and Hall coughed up the puck on Cleary's 4-0 goal. Adding injury to insult, Cogliano opened up his stitches again on the play where he was whistled for high-sticking on Helm.

Keep throwing them out there.

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#28 Oilers4ever
November 11 2010, 07:32PM
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Yeah.. they got the memo alright.. NOT.. what another embarassment...I don't care if they play tomorrow... after you fly to NJ and wake up... bag skate them.. two performances in a row like this is inexcusable... where's that junior team in my area.. I'll send the Red Deer Rebels to play.. at least they know how to show up. Disgraceful....

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#29 PabstBR55
November 11 2010, 07:46PM
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Good for Penner. He now leads the league in goals that don't matter. But it's good for his Corsi and EVGF or ... whatever.

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#30 pmg2
November 11 2010, 07:51PM
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Has anyone not noticed Vandermeer being made to look stupid on at least 2 goals ??? Guys walk right around him and either make a pass or score a goal. What a disgraceful defenseman this guy is !!! We have enough problems on defense let alone this guy being here !!! Get him outta here !!! And what about Tom Gilbert.....this guy for who he is and how much he makes...is inconsistent at best. Pretty good salary for someone that useless (continual inconsistency !!). I can live with the rookies and their mistakes. They are not veterans !!! It's some of the veterans who are letting us down ...consistently !!! Gagner could be better too !!! Too small and so is Brule...too small !!!

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#31 @NateInVegas
November 11 2010, 07:51PM
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Penner pathetic sequence of events:

Towers Datsyuk by 5" and 50lbs but gets put on his ass..

Datsyuk TRIES and strips Penner of the puck.

Penner gives up and skates off the ice with a visible smile..

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#32 Horcsky
November 11 2010, 08:06PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Ya they were alright, just overmatched like you say. For the record, I did say I thought the kids would be okay, but Cogs wouldn't. Good for him.

Your take on the bizarre move of dressing 7 d-men and double shifting forwards on the fourth line instead of dressing another forward?

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#33 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2010, 08:14PM
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@PabstBR55

Why is at all or nothing with so many posters here?

I've been on Penner when I haven't liked what I've seen, but he looked more engaged tonight and his move from forehand to backhand on the goal was all skill. Not a lot of sets of hands like that on this team.

And everybody gets knocked on their ass. No crime in that.

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#34 PabstBR55
November 11 2010, 08:22PM
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@Robin Brownlee

In all honesty, I didn't see the game. I saw it was 5-0 when I got home from my kids game, and read that Penner had tallied late.

However, I think there are players, perhaps Penner is amongst them, who have tendency to score goals when the goal diff in the game is + or -3. Like, where's the sex and sizzle in periods 1 and 2?

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#35 Fire Renney
November 11 2010, 08:31PM
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I can handle losing - its a development year - but RB, can you tell me why Renney is giving Hall almost no pp time, benching him (to humiliate him), calling him out in the press, and now playing him on the 4th line? Is that Barry Melrose coaching us out there? Fire him.

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#36 PabstBR55
November 11 2010, 08:32PM
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@Robin Brownlee

And hey, let's face it. We're in year 5 of not making the playoffs, on the tail end of two back to back ugly losses. I understand the principal behind the power of positive thinking, but sometimes you just earn the right to bitch.

I buy into the rebuild. I really do. But it's like scraping ice off your windshiled the fourth time in a week in the middle of January. You live in Edmonton because it's a good community, close to family, etc, but even the best of us just need to curse. It has serious mediative value.

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#37 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2010, 08:34PM
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@PabstBR55

Penner goals this season:

-- Scored 5-1 goal in a 6-2 loss to Detroit

-- Scored 6-1 goal in 7-1 loss to Carolina

-- Scored 3-1 goal in a 4-3 loss to Vancouver

-- scored 2-1 goal in a 5-3 loss to Calgary

-- Scored 1-1 goal in a 4-2 loss to Minnesota

-- Scored 1-0 goal in a 3-2 WIN over Florida

The goal against the Canucks started a three-goal rally to tie it 3-3 in the loss. His goals against the Flames and Florida gave the Oilers a lead.

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#38 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2010, 08:41PM
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@Fire Renney

I missed the part where Renney benched Hall (and Eberle) to humiliate him and what you characterize as calling him out in the press.

Renney played Hall, Cogliano and Eberle together on a regular line and rotated them through the fourth line because the Oilers were short a forward.

Must be a kids-these-days thing when any form of criticism or correction even when warranted is deemed being called out.

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#39 Jonathan Willis
November 11 2010, 08:41PM
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Thanks for posting that, Robin. I'd been digging at the same data and you beat me to it.

Pretty important to note the matchup the kids got - they went up against the Detroit big guns and got destroyed. Not surprising, at this point in their career. It's a shame Renney couldn't (or didn't care to?) keep them out of that situation.

Nice to see that the Gagner line had a better night, anyway.

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#40 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 11 2010, 08:46PM
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Fire Renney wrote:

I can handle losing - its a development year - but RB, can you tell me why Renney is giving Hall almost no pp time, benching him (to humiliate him), calling him out in the press, and now playing him on the 4th line? Is that Barry Melrose coaching us out there? Fire him.

Here we go!!!!

I was looking forward to these posts popping up.

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#42 Jonathan Willis
November 11 2010, 08:49PM
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@ Fire Renney:

I haven't been wild about Renney's bench management, but what's wrong with Hall's power play time?

Does he deserve more than Hemsky, Penner and Eberle, the three wingers ahead of him in minutes per game? Is his 2:18 per night crushing his development?

And given that he's second among NHL rookie forwards in ice-time per game at even-strength (Paajarvi has seven seconds more, per game) I'd say Renney's giving him plenty of opportunity.

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#43 Jonathan Willis
November 11 2010, 08:51PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

I was watching online and the feed got awful choppy, but that fits with what I saw.

I guess the only way to counter that sort of scenario is not to stick Cogliano with the kids to begin with, but based on the game against Carolina and the absence of Horcoff it wasn't like Renney had many options - other than maybe splitting up Penner and Hemsky and giving each a rookie.

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#44 Quicksilver ballet
November 11 2010, 09:24PM
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The Oilers need a few bodies who can lead physically as well as play 15 minutes a night without hurting us. Till we have these detriments in place this is what we can expect from these kids. They may have a little success when they're going against the other teams 3rd or 4th line but the Oilers remain a step behind/off the pace and on the receiving end of most of the contact. Teams force feed the pace of the game on the Oilers virtually the whole game.

Till we can lead physically we'll always be reacting to our opponent.

Don't know who we play next or who's playing goal but we're going to be on the bad end of another 5-1 shellacking tommorow.

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#45 Brad
November 11 2010, 09:27PM
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So much for the rebound.... Hey, everyone take a chill pill. We knew the next couple of years would be tough. I still believe Tom Renny is the man for the job with the young guns. And the make up of the team will be different when they start winning. Most likely Penner, Hemsky, Horcoff and probably most of the defensive corps will not be on this team when that happens.

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#46 PabstBR55
November 11 2010, 09:27PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Hmm, well I swear I saw him eating a box of timbits on the bench. Can't you just allow me to be miserable for one night only?

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#47 Butters
November 11 2010, 09:43PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

The Oilers need a few bodies who can lead physically as well as play 15 minutes a night without hurting us. Till we have these detriments in place this is what we can expect from these kids. They may have a little success when they're going against the other teams 3rd or 4th line but the Oilers remain a step behind/off the pace and on the receiving end of most of the contact. Teams force feed the pace of the game on the Oilers virtually the whole game.

Till we can lead physically we'll always be reacting to our opponent.

Don't know who we play next or who's playing goal but we're going to be on the bad end of another 5-1 shellacking tommorow.

Pffffft, the Oilers play New Jersey a last place team. I will check the Devils roster, but as long as there are no ex-Oilers that were run out of town on that team, we should be fine.

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#48 Quicksilver ballet
November 11 2010, 09:50PM
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With Savard and Sturm coming back for the Bruins they're right up against the cap and are going to have to make a move or two before they return.

Robin, what would it take to land Ference,Ryder and Lucic. The Bruins would love to move the first two i'm sure.... is there a deal there to be made with the Bruins?

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#49 Quicksilver ballet
November 11 2010, 10:01PM
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Butters wrote:

Pffffft, the Oilers play New Jersey a last place team. I will check the Devils roster, but as long as there are no ex-Oilers that were run out of town on that team, we should be fine.

The Hurricanes got hammered by a touchdown before and after they met the Oilers. We're the fat chick at the dance there Butters, like it or not the Devils will clean their teeth on the Oilers tommorow, wait and see.

You think ELPH came without due diligence and extensive research Butters?

We've earnt it.

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#50 VK63
November 11 2010, 10:06PM
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These brutal starts have gotten really old. On the other hand the games over early and one can get on with more productive things.

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