GDB LIV: What a difference a goalie makes!

Jason Gregor
February 01 2010 01:41PM

Eight days ago tonight’s game looked like an epic battle for 30th place, but after four straight wins the Hurricanes are seven points ahead of the Oilers. Have the Canes being playing great hockey all of a sudden? Not really, but their goalie, Sherwood Park native Cam Ward sure is.

Ward has allowed five goals in the four game winning streak. The Canes have been out shot every game, but Ward has a ridiculous .962 SV% in those games. Meanwhile as a team, the Canes have a shooting percentage of 20 with 18 goals on only 91 shots. They won’t keep winning games if these numbers stay the same. Teams can have short stretches where everything they shoot goes in, or their goalie stops most shots, but eventually those bounces will cease.

I wrote on Friday that cheering for a win v. Calgary made sense because of pride, and of course we all saw that there didn’t seem to be much pride on the ice. So tonight, you watch the game knowing that a loss will tie the franchise record for the longest winless streak at 14 games.

Do you cheer for a record or as fans do you need to see your team win one game just to remind you how that feels?

Tough call!

With Sheldon Souray out until after the trade deadline, and possibly the rest of the season (would there be an reason to come back on March 15th) the Oilers attack becomes less potent by the day.

Alex Plante, 15th pick in 2007, will make his NHL debut tonight. Plante has been okay in Springfield according to the scouts and coaching staff. He’ll wear #48 tonight and be paired with Taylor Chorney.

They didn’t do any line rushes this morning, but at yesterday’s skate Marc Pouliot and J.F Jacques looked to be the extras. The top three lines were the same, while Mike Comrie and Zack Stortini skated with Andrew Cogliano. Jacques was invisible in Calgary and Pouliot hasn’t done much since returning from the injured list.

Sheldon Souray’s injury will force Tom Renney to make some changes on the backend. Visnovsky, Gilbert and Plante will play the right side while Strudwick, Chorney and Grebeshkov will play the left side. Strudwick will play with Alex Plante while Renney will put Chorney with Visnvosky and Gilbert back with Grebeshkov. This blueline corps definitely lacks a physical presence and we could see a few fire drills in their own zone tonight.

Jeff Deslauriers gets the start and is looking for his first win since December 30th.

CONSPIRACY THEORY?

I’m not a huge believer in conspiracy theories, although Mel Gibson was great as Jerry Fletcher in the 1997 flick especially when he bit part of Dr. Jonas’ nose off.

But many Oiler fans are concerned that the Count, aka Gary Bettman, will rig the lottery to ensure that the Hurricanes win it. Their basis to this theory is that fans in Edmonton and Boston don’t need the first overall pick to appease their fans, while Carolina needs help.

That's not necessarily the case. Some wondered why the Canes drew a measly 6,896 fans with Chicago in town on Friday. The Hawks are one of the most exciting teams in the league, yet the Canes had their lowest crowd of the season. Prior to Friday’s game their lowest crowd was just over 12,000. It doesn’t make sense that with the Hawks in town and the Canes on a three-game winning streak that only 6,896 people show up.

It's because they had six inches of snow. They actually sold 17,000 tickets and were expecting a sell out, but the weather forced many people to stay home. Even though they had 17,000 sold seats they announced the number of fans in the building. You wonder if down the stretch that will happen in Edmonton. Anyone who has been at Rexall Place knows the seats haven't been full, and you wonder if all of those are paid seats that didn't show up. I'd guess probably not.

I’d bet Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini will have a valid argument that they need the first overall pick more than Carolina does. Oiler fans have had four seasons without the playoffs, and the masses are pissed.

Also...

Interesting to note that Eric Staal spent lots of time at the end of practice working on his shot and joking around with his teammates. Great players put in the extra work and while some of you don't think it is necessary for Ales Hemsky to be any better, I'd argue he does. I see too many of the elite players in the league staying late after practice or at morning skates, and that extra work definitely doesn't hurt their game.

And it seems that TSN. ca jumped the gun on the Rangers/Flames trade. I remember back in the summer when Bob McKenzie and others on TSN were ripping the Edmonton media for jumping the gun on the Heatley story. I noticed he didn't use the same choice of words when talking about how this deal is now on hold. We all make mistakes, and I laugh when those who have ripped on someone about a mistake or jumping the gun have the exact thing happen to them. The deal might still go through, but if it doesn't I doubt they will be ripping their own site.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Lofty
February 01 2010, 06:14PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Lets look back to the last few seasons. How many sweet passed one-timers did Horcoff whiff on? I will say about 10-20 a season if not more. That there is 10-20 points for Hemsky, putting him in the over PPG and into 90+ plus a season. Would he be elite then?

Maybe the two of them should stay after practice and work on it?

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#102 H
February 01 2010, 06:14PM
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But many Oiler fans are concerned that the Count, aka Gary Bettman, will rig the lottery to ensure that the Hurricanes win it. Their basis to this theory is that fans in Edmonton and Boston don’t need the first overall pick to appease their fans, while Carolina needs help.

I actually have a flipped opinion on this. I think that we get #1 overall due to the new arena talks. Taylor Hall could be worth hundreds of millions of tax dollars. Does Bettman rig the lottery? I think he did the Crosby sweepstakes, not sure about others.

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#103 bleedoil11
February 01 2010, 06:14PM
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people probably say im dreaming but i thought i was dreaming when i seen the toronto calgary trade this isnt possible crap guess anything is possible

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#104 Aleslav Smidsky
February 01 2010, 06:16PM
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@Lofty

Hemsky is one of the best stickhandlers and passers in the league. Where would you rate horcoffs shot? It doesnt matter who is passing to him, Horcoffs shot needs work. Nothing is wrong with Hemskys passes.

@Gregor

How many times in the last few seasons/if ever, did you see Horcoff stay longer after practice and work on his one-timers and shooting?

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#105 Racki
February 01 2010, 06:19PM
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I think people that think the lottery is rigged are the same people that think their phone line is currently tapped.

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#106 Jmask5
February 01 2010, 06:24PM
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@Gregor

I actually was talking in general. I don't think what you said was ripping him. As for my playoffs comment. I meant that there are some great players like Thornton, Hossa, Marleau that do great in the regular season but crap the bed in the playoffs. Hemsky has shown he can play equally well during both the playoffs and the regular season.

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#107 Captain Obvious
February 01 2010, 06:31PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Hemsky is one of the best stickhandlers and passers in the league. Where would you rate horcoffs shot? It doesnt matter who is passing to him, Horcoffs shot needs work. Nothing is wrong with Hemskys passes.

@Gregor

How many times in the last few seasons/if ever, did you see Horcoff stay longer after practice and work on his one-timers and shooting?

And where exactly did Gregor state that Horcoff was an elite talent that was capaable of PPG production? Wait a minute,,,he's never said that.

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#108 Lofty
February 01 2010, 06:35PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Hemsky is one of the best stickhandlers and passers in the league. Where would you rate horcoffs shot? It doesnt matter who is passing to him, Horcoffs shot needs work. Nothing is wrong with Hemskys passes.

@Gregor

How many times in the last few seasons/if ever, did you see Horcoff stay longer after practice and work on his one-timers and shooting?

exactly he should be staying after practice to work on it with him... whats so crazy about that idea?

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#109 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 01 2010, 06:38PM
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Racki wrote:

I think people that think the lottery is rigged are the same people that think their phone line is currently tapped.

motherf*cker i knew it!!!!

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#110 Dan the Man
February 01 2010, 06:40PM
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I'd like to see the Oilers pick up Boynton so they don't have to expose guys like Chorney and Plante to all of the losing that's going on up here....ummm..wait what was Springfields record again?

Seriously though I think it would be a good move to pick up Boynton and then maybe next year they could resign him as 6/7 D to replace Strudwick...actually on this team he might be a 2/3.

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#111 Harlie
February 01 2010, 06:40PM
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quote from tsn...

"Meanwhile, Hagman practised on a line with fellow Finnish forward Olli Jokinen and Jamie Lundmark.

"We're both Finnish, so maybe the communication is a little bit easier," said Hagman of playing alongside Jokinen."

Makes me wonder if Sutter head faked Jokinen that he was on the block to see if he could light a fire under his ass by not only sparing him of the trade but giving him a fellow countryman as a new linemate.

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#112 Aleslav Smidsky
February 01 2010, 06:42PM
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re; 107 & 108

107 thanks for showcasing your reading skills and pointing out the obvious. He never said that and I never said that. All i was trying to say is that Hemskys lack of skilled linemates is the reason he is lacking those extra 20 25 points a season.

108 nothing is crazy about that idea. Why does Hemsky have to be the one passing it to him? Even if Renney is passing it to him Horcoff would get the same practice results.

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#113 Robin Brownlee
February 01 2010, 06:52PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Lets look back to the last few seasons. How many sweet passed one-timers did Horcoff whiff on? I will say about 10-20 a season if not more. That there is 10-20 points for Hemsky, putting him in the over PPG and into 90+ plus a season. Would he be elite then?

So 10-20 chances equals 10-20 points more for Hemsky? Horcoff is supposed to have a perfect shooting percentage when he connects solidly on the chances he's "whiffing" on now?

You're taking issue with the argument Hemsky might improve his game by spending more time at it, like some other elite players do? Really? What is the downside of the suggestion?

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#114 Aleslav Smidsky
February 01 2010, 06:55PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Not chances, whiffs.

I'm not taking issue. I was asking what exactly he him self needs to work on. There is no downside at all. Before Hemsky there is a lot of players that need extra work. He is probably the last one on that list..?

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#115 Tayranchula
February 01 2010, 07:09PM
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Just a thought here.....since it looks like the Oilers are going to get rid of Souray and Cogs, why dont they package them up. Simmonds and Greene from LA would be a sweet return...Add some size and toughness

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#116 Oilitsinyoutogive
February 01 2010, 07:27PM
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well i have got to say i feel ripped off just a tad. Back at the start of the season this company SHAW told me if i bought all the PPV games at once, i would get a discount and save money. But really if i had ordered game by game i would have stopped ordering after the 3rd. So tonight i will watch this game...and you know what the sad part is? I have to listen to Gene and the rest of the crew again, covering the exact same thing again. The day i stop watching the oilers is close, and thats got nothing to do with a 13-31-6 record, or bad goal tending or any thing else that has gone wrong this year. Heck we could be 31-13-6 and i might never watch a game again. And this is all because of Gene "shut the **** up* Principe(I may have spelt his name wrong but its not worth looking up)and the other 2 guys who seem to whine whine whine all night. Its sad when i would rather read the CC threw the whole game then listen to the 3 clowns we have announcing.

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#117 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 07:29PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Not chances, whiffs.

I'm not taking issue. I was asking what exactly he him self needs to work on. There is no downside at all. Before Hemsky there is a lot of players that need extra work. He is probably the last one on that list..?

I think the problem with your logic is that you think only 1 person can improve at a time.

The fact that Hemsky is out working to improve himself doesn't preclude the possibility of Horcoff working on his shot, Grebeshkov working on assisting his own players instead of the opposition, or any other suggestion you might have to improve the team.

The fact that the rest of the team is garbage does not mean that Hemsky can't improve.

Is anyone else having problems with the sound on this PPV feed? I'm missing mean Gene.

Edit: My sound just kicked in.

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#118 Oilitsinyoutogive
February 01 2010, 07:31PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

trust me you didnt miss anything.....unless you wanted to hear mean Gene talk about a Plante growing....sad

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#119 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 07:33PM
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Oilitsinyoutogive wrote:

trust me you didnt miss anything.....unless you wanted to hear mean Gene talk about a Plante growing....sad

Yeah, I saw the online poll question and I was thinking to myself "Oh no he di' 'int".

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#120 Eddie Shore
February 01 2010, 07:36PM
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Are there any working online links?

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#121 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 07:39PM
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Come to think of it, is Robert Plant available? Anyone know if he shoots right or left?

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#122 Rigger
February 01 2010, 07:43PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Are there any working online links?

There are a few at the usual places, atdhe and myp2p but they require sopcast or vexcast. Too bad I'm at the office, can't download anything so I guess it's Rod the Bod for me.

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#123 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 07:43PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I cant speak for AS, but my exception with picking on Hemsky about his practice habits this season has everything to do with the fact that he isnt even playing right now.

We're ripping on a guy for something he did last year or before instead of something he's actually doing now. I also dont have a problem with suggesting that when the best players on a team are visibly the hardest working good things generally happen.

My problem is that when the topic comes up everyone somehow forgets that Hemsky and his work ethic have never actually been a problem in any game played in at least 4 seasons.

Then the people with the selective memories come out of the woodwork and start talking about how the team should get rid of the only 1st line player on the Oilers. Even at a point per game before he was injured people were all over Hemsky just because thats the fad thing to do i guess.

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#124 Rigger
February 01 2010, 07:44PM
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hxxp://atdhe.net/12690/watch-carolina-hurricanes-vs-edmonton-oilers

Nice one already! Ugh!

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#125 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 07:46PM
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Okay, what the crap. There's no sound again.

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#126 jeanshorts
February 01 2010, 07:51PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Maybe Quinn and DeBrusk got so tired of calling these garbage games they finally went through with their suicide pact.

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#127 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 07:52PM
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Anybody have an online feed for a play-by-play? I've got no sound.

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#128 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 07:52PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Maybe Quinn and DeBrusk got so tired of calling these garbage games they finally went through with their suicide pact.

I'm just concerned, is all. For all I know Tencer could be explaining how they make Keebler cookies so good.

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#129 Clangger
February 01 2010, 07:53PM
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1 shot... 1 goal,,, at least JDD is consistent!

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#130 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 07:54PM
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GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL

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#131 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 07:54PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Rigger's, #124, seems to be fine

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#132 Rigger
February 01 2010, 07:55PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

I just posted one above, if that doesn't work myp2p has a couple feeds.

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#133 Rigger
February 01 2010, 07:56PM
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Good for Plante, his first game and he contributes!

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#134 Clangger
February 01 2010, 07:57PM
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hxxp://www.channelsurfing.net/

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#135 jeanshorts
February 01 2010, 07:57PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

I'm sticking with Rod and Stauffer. The worse the Oilers play the more hilarious these two seem to be.

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#136 Rigger
February 01 2010, 07:59PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I'm sticking with Rod and Stauffer. The worse the Oilers play the more hilarious these two seem to be.

Listening to Rod bumble is quite hilarious, I will say.

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#137 Rigger
February 01 2010, 08:01PM
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Clangger wrote:

hxxp://www.channelsurfing.net/

Sh*t that one requires sopcast too. I hate not being able to download anything at work.

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#138 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 01 2010, 08:02PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Lets look back to the last few seasons. How many sweet passed one-timers did Horcoff whiff on? I will say about 10-20 a season if not more. That there is 10-20 points for Hemsky, putting him in the over PPG and into 90+ plus a season. Would he be elite then?

And he has a 100% shooting % when he does connect? I'd say that's more like 1-4 missed points.

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#139 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 01 2010, 08:03PM
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Rigger wrote:

Sh*t that one requires sopcast too. I hate not being able to download anything at work.

stay away from the midget porn for a week or two and they might loosen some of the restrictions on your computer

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#140 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 08:03PM
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I've got the actual PPV on TV, and it looks like there's a delay on the play-by-play for the Carolina feed. It's more confusing than anything, I think.

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#141 Quintana
February 01 2010, 08:04PM
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Rigger wrote:

Good for Plante, his first game and he contributes!

I hope this kid turns to be a gem!!! Pray to the Hockey Gods!!!

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#142 Rigger
February 01 2010, 08:04PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

LOL, too bad it's the same with all of them here. Damn that porn!

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#143 Rigger
February 01 2010, 08:05PM
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Quintana wrote:

I hope this kid turns to be a gem!!! Pray to the Hockey Gods!!!

Lord knows we could sure use a shiny gem or 7.

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#144 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 01 2010, 08:06PM
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Rigger wrote:

LOL, too bad it's the same with all of them here. Damn that porn!

so mesmerizing to watch the awkward motions of midget porn...

WTF, Brule? son of a

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#145 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 01 2010, 08:06PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

re; 107 & 108

107 thanks for showcasing your reading skills and pointing out the obvious. He never said that and I never said that. All i was trying to say is that Hemskys lack of skilled linemates is the reason he is lacking those extra 20 25 points a season.

108 nothing is crazy about that idea. Why does Hemsky have to be the one passing it to him? Even if Renney is passing it to him Horcoff would get the same practice results.

God that's ridiculous, theirs only 5-6ish guys per year that put up the 90+ points/year that Hemsky would get if his totals increased like you are suggesting.

Look at AO's production at 19 with absolute garbage linemates vs at 20/21 with top end line mates.

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#146 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 08:07PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

1-4 points? Now I understand that not every shot goes in the net. But I think 4 points is hyper-conservative. I think 10 points over the course of a season is pretty easy to pick up when your linemate isnt missing an open net 3 times a game.

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#147 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 08:07PM
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NOW MY VIDEO IS GONE

EDIT: NOW IT'S BACK WITH SOUND

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#148 Rigger
February 01 2010, 08:09PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

Aww, they're so bendy with their tiny limbs.

GOAL?! OMG, are we actually being decent?

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#149 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 01 2010, 08:10PM
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Do you guys seriously not see the value in keeping Comrie around during the rebuild?

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#150 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 01 2010, 08:10PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

1-4 points? Now I understand that not every shot goes in the net. But I think 4 points is hyper-conservative. I think 10 points over the course of a season is pretty easy to pick up when your linemate isnt missing an open net 3 times a game.

1. They aren't all open nets

2. We are guessing on number of opportunities here. 20 opportunities at even a 25% shooting percentage is only 5 points.

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