GDB LV: Against the high-flying Flyers

Jason Gregor
February 03 2010 02:31PM

Fresh off their first win in 32 days, the Oilers will be hard-pressed to win two in a row with the surging Philadelphia Flyers in town tonight.

The Flyers are 13-5-1 in their last 19. They’ve scored 68 goals and given up 46 in this stretch, but according to Scott Hartnell they are really starting to execute Peter Laviolette’s system.

“We only gave up 18 shots in Calgary, and I don’t think they had one good scoring chance. We’ve played solid hockey for a month and a half. Guys are more accountable and the coaches have made it very clear what they expect from us.”

The Flyers started great going 12-5-1, then went 3-13-1 before this hot streak, and it is clear that special teams and discipline have been the biggest difference since Laviolette was brought on.

In the first 17 games they outshot the opposition 13 times, tied one and were out shot three times. In the next 17 games they had more shots 12 times, tied one and were out shot four times. In this last 19 game stretch, they had more shots eleven times, tied twice and were outshot six times.

Their PK and PP numbers were a clear indication of their record however.

  • First 18 games they were 27.6% on the PP and 81.8% on the PK.
  • Next 17 they were 13.8% on the PP and a woeful 74.4% on the PK.
  • And in the past 19 they are 27.1% on the PP and 86.3% on the PK.

The biggest difference is they took 66 penalties in the last 19 games compared to 86 in the previous 17 games. Laviolette wasn’t a miracle worker though. He was only 2-7-1 in his first ten games behind the bench, but he admitted he needed to adjust the style of play of his team and it couldn’t happen instantly.

“I think as a coach you have a thought on how the game should be played, and that doesn’t make it right or make it wrong. It’s an identity you want to create for your team. It’s not so much what was going on here (before him), it’s just my thoughts and believes on how the game should be played. They had to buy into that, and now we are seeing success and they deserve the credit.”

Laviolette might not take the credit many of his players admitted the coaching change changed the room. It forced them to realize they needed to play better, but also Laviolette has implemented more skating, puck pressure and puck pursuit. ‘I think you have to be good defensively, but we needed to play less of it (defence),” said Laviolette.

How refreshing to hear a coach talk about needing to play more offence rather than constantly hearing how they need to be better defensively. He has an advantage because he might have the most talented top-six forwards in the league, but credit Laviolette for coaching to their strengths.

Maroon doubles

Steve Staios joined Ladislav Smid donning the “no hit” maroon jersey at the morning skate. Staios, Smid along with Fernando Pisani and Robert Nilsson stayed after the optional skate and spent time doing one-on-one drills and were then put through an up tempo skate.

Smid said he felt great and is hoping to play as early as tomorrow in Minnesota. Staios was pretty excited about good he felt after his first real skate in three weeks. “My conditioning was better than I thought it would be. I will need a few more skates before I play, but I feel great and I want to make it clear that this concussion wasn’t related to the first one. I didn’t have any lingering effects when I got hit this time. I’ve felt good for days and I understand why they were cautious this time, but I feel strong and I can’t wait to play again.”

Staios also addressed the possibility of a trade.

“It seems veteran defencemen are usually moved at this time of the season. I really haven’t thought about it, but I’m aware of what has happened in the past. It isn’t my focus right now. I’m concerned about today and getting back on the ice and playing.”

Staios’ $2.7 million cap hit, will make him harder to trade than Ethan Moreau, but he does have value, and if he can get back and play at least five or six games before the deadline Steve Tambellini will probably get some feelers.

It was an optional skate and they were more D-men on the ice than forwards. Smid, Staios, Jason Strudwick, Alex Plante, Taylor Chorney, Denis Grebeshkov and Tom Gilbert skated, while the only forwards who will dress tonight took part. Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Zack Stortini and Ryan Potulny did a few drills, but none of them were on the ice very long.

The Flyers also had an optional skate with about 13 guys on the ice.

Jeff Deslauriers will start again tonight.

Changing the angles to score

Gagner is once again having a better second-half, but he still doesn’t have an answer as to why. I mentioned to him that it looks like he is more comfortable as a goal-scorer right now than he has been in previous years. He agreed and credited Pavel Datsyuk and some changes in his angles to his recent goal production.

“It’s not a matter of I’m looking up and I’m seeing a hole and I’m shooting it there, because the goalies are so good they tend to take those away. It’s just a matter of trying to changes lanes; shoot the puck hard and accurate.

“It’s a matter of using deception in your shot: Bringing the puck from the middle of your body to the outside, or using D’s as a screen and pulling the puck into your body and shooting. You look at guys like Datsyuk, he’s so incredible at it. He changes lanes on goalies so well and knows when to use screens and he is always giving different looks to the goalies.

“It’s a learning process, where I’m learning from a bunch of different guys on how to create offence and how to get better. I feel like I’m improving and it’s a good feeling knowing that if you put in the time you’re going to get rewarded for it. It’s still a learning process but I’m feeling better every year and I feel like I’m a better goal scorer this year.”

Gagner is rink rat. He stays late after practice playing different games with Robert Nilsson, Andrew Cogliano and others, and other days he works on specific elements of his game. He does look more comfortable as a goal scorer right now, and if he continues to work on his game he might become the 1st line centre this team desperately needs.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Travis Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:08PM
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@BUCK75

Are you going to be at the game? Let's have a beer if so.

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#52 Jodes
February 03 2010, 05:11PM
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I know its a bit early, but how are the Wed and Thursday night crowds at the Pint? I'm thinking of finally checking out a game next Wed or Thurs..

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#53 BUCK75
February 03 2010, 05:12PM
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@Travis Dakin

Nope - gave to a client. I flogged all of my tickets before they became so hard to get rid of :D

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#54 Cory Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:18PM
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@Jason Gregor

Jason,

Between Hall and Seguin who has the better supporting cast? That's usually a pretty good indicator too.

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#55 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 05:19PM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

Jason,

Between Hall and Seguin who has the better supporting cast? That's usually a pretty good indicator too.

Hall has the better cast. We had a big discussion about this a few weeks back, I think. It didn't end well.

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#56 Cory Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:20PM
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@Jodes

It's a good night here. Pretty easy on the eyes

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#57 Travis Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:21PM
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@BUCK75

I must say, that's the best rejection excuse i've ever gotten.

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#58 Travis Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:22PM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

It's a good night here. Pretty easy on the eyes

Awe thanks buddy. I love you too.

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#59 Travis Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:23PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Hall has the better cast. We had a big discussion about this a few weeks back, I think. It didn't end well.

There aren't a lot of happy endings around here.

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#60 Cory Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:24PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Do things here ever end well? Ha

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#61 Harlie
February 03 2010, 05:24PM
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the reason I like Hall over Seguin is because I heard a comparison of him to Messier. Kid even looks a bit like Mess did when he was that age. Same height and size as well. Also, other than the prospects game I haven't seen any Seguin games so I lean towards Hallsy.

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#62 Jodes
February 03 2010, 05:24PM
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Of course it is easy on the eyes.. thats how they soak you for 7.50 beers! lol

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#63 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 05:25PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

There aren't a lot of happy endings around here.

You should have seen Rigger handing out Hollywood-style kisses the other night on the GDB.

Edit: Not sure if that's what you meant by 'happy endings'.

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#64 Jodes
February 03 2010, 05:27PM
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The GDB?

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#65 Eddie Shore
February 03 2010, 05:27PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

You should have seen Rigger handing out Hollywood-style kisses the other night on the GDB.

Edit: Not sure if that's what you meant by 'happy endings'.

God bless her heart.

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#66 Travis Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:28PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Wait.... Rigger really is a girl? Ok why did my pants just top fitting me properly?

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#67 Travis Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:30PM
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Can someone please clarify for me... Is it beer before liquor or liquor before beer?

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#68 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 05:32PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Can someone please clarify for me... Is it beer before liquor or liquor before beer?

Liquor before beer, one of the only things my papa has actually taught me.

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#69 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 05:33PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

You should have seen Rigger handing out Hollywood-style kisses the other night on the GDB.

Edit: Not sure if that's what you meant by 'happy endings'.

She even brushed her tooth before she did :)

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#70 Senator Theo
February 03 2010, 05:41PM
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Harlie wrote:

the reason I like Hall over Seguin is because I heard a comparison of him to Messier. Kid even looks a bit like Mess did when he was that age. Same height and size as well. Also, other than the prospects game I haven't seen any Seguin games so I lean towards Hallsy.

Alright no offence, but this is the worst justification for picking Hall I have heard to date: "I haven't seen any Seguin games so I lean towards Hallsy."

Come on - you've got to do better than that man!

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#71 bingofuel
February 03 2010, 05:41PM
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@Travis Dakin

Liquor before beer, and you're in the clear. Beer before liquor will just make you sicker.

Wine is for pompous douchebags *chugs a glass of shiraz*

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#72 BUCK75
February 03 2010, 05:46PM
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@Travis Dakin

I believe there are few happy endings within walking distance of the pint....

I would be honored to have a beer with you any other time. But you would have to come up to the upper concourse behind 216 to find me. I ain't paying no Gregor money for club seats ;)

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#73 Travis Dakin
February 03 2010, 05:55PM
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@BUCK75

I scored the club seats from Syncrude before I booked it outta there. Other than that I'd be slumming it with you.

@bingofuel

thanks for the advice Obi Wan. I'll stay with beer.

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#74 Harlie
February 03 2010, 06:21PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

Alright no offence, but this is the worst justification for picking Hall I have heard to date: "I haven't seen any Seguin games so I lean towards Hallsy."

Come on - you've got to do better than that man!

sorry man..I ain't flyin out to watch any Seguin games and he didn't make the WJC team so what sample size do I have? I have to go off of what I've seen and heard.

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#75 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 03 2010, 06:24PM
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Harlie wrote:

sorry man..I ain't flyin out to watch any Seguin games and he didn't make the WJC team so what sample size do I have? I have to go off of what I've seen and heard.

is hall a buddy of yours? hallsy? seriously?

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#76 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 06:29PM
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Is it just me or has this place got even more testy in last lil' while. I guess we exhausted criticism of the team and the wolves have turned on each other.

Explains the fly by trolling from other blogs.

Can't wait for Tambo to bring in a new whipping boy for our ranks.

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#77 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 03 2010, 06:31PM
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Eric Johnson wrote:

Is it just me or has this place got even more testy in last lil' while. I guess we exhausted criticism of the team and the wolves have turned on each other.

Explains the fly by trolling from other blogs.

Can't wait for Tambo to bring in a new whipping boy for our ranks.

wait, what did you call me?

***kicks puppy and slams door***

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#78 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 06:35PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

wait, what did you call me?

***kicks puppy and slams door***

You heard me!

***body slams infant panda onto broken glass, then slams door on said infant panda***

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#79 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 03 2010, 06:37PM
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Eric Johnson wrote:

You heard me!

***body slams infant panda onto broken glass, then slams door on said infant panda***

since my mom is reading over my shoulder i wont tell you what i did to your mom last night...

booyah!

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#80 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 06:43PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

since my mom is reading over my shoulder i wont tell you what i did to your mom last night...

booyah!

Had crumpets and tea over a rousing game of backgammon?

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#81 Skidplate
February 03 2010, 06:49PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Had crumpets and tea over a rousing game of backgammon?

Is that what the kids are calling it now?

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#82 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 06:51PM
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see now thats more like it!

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#83 Travis Dakin
February 03 2010, 07:02PM
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Well damn I wore the wrong colour to the party.

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#84 waynes other bastard child
February 03 2010, 07:08PM
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it has the feeling of a fiesty game, stortini jaques strudwick, carcillo asham pronger.

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#85 David S
February 03 2010, 07:21PM
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waynes other bastard child wrote:

it has the feeling of a fiesty game, stortini jaques strudwick, carcillo asham pronger.

That's the feeling you get just before a drubbing.

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#86 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 07:23PM
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@waynes other bastard child

Edited because im not as awesome as Brownlee and can't remove stupid posts :(

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#87 Eric Johnson
February 03 2010, 07:26PM
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I would love to see a break out 6-7 games from POS just so we can get something in return for him.

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#88 Wanye
February 03 2010, 07:29PM
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waynes other bastard child wrote:

it has the feeling of a fiesty game, stortini jaques strudwick, carcillo asham pronger.

Sweet tap dancing Santa how many of you are there?

*knows exactly how many there are and hopes the rest don't get wind of where Papa can be found*

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#89 David S
February 03 2010, 07:31PM
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Scotties Tournament of yeah whatever - I WANT SOME G*D DAMN HOCKEY!!!!!!!!!

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#90 Wanye
February 03 2010, 07:36PM
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David S wrote:

Scotties Tournament of yeah whatever - I WANT SOME G*D DAMN HOCKEY!!!!!!!!!

The best we can do is an Oilers-Flyers match.

Not quite hockey, but damn close.

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#91 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 07:37PM
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Wanye wrote:

Sweet tap dancing Santa how many of you are there?

*knows exactly how many there are and hopes the rest don't get wind of where Papa can be found*

Is there an issue Papa?

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#92 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 07:39PM
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Actually, on a serious note if your trolling around..

What do you think of Gagner as the captain for next year?

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#93 David S
February 03 2010, 07:40PM
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Wanye wrote:

The best we can do is an Oilers-Flyers match.

Not quite hockey, but damn close.

Jeanshorts pointed it out and I have to agree. Some of the Scotties curlers are pretty d*mn HOT!

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#94 Wanye
February 03 2010, 07:46PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Actually, on a serious note if your trolling around..

What do you think of Gagner as the captain for next year?

What do I think? No one ever asks me anything....

AHEM

I think Gagner is way too young and unproven to be named Captain of this team. He is certainly in the top 3 "franchise suspects" round these parts but I wouldn't think burdening him with the "C" of a team that is going to blow for a couple more seasons would do anything more than expose him to criticism for things he cannot possibly control.

I'd pass the "C" to another veteran until this team turns the corner. If the Oil follow the Chicago rebuild plan, the new Captain (assuming Moreau is dealt) will tutor the young guns through this process.

After the torch has been passed on the ice and the youth assume control (and results are seen) I'd then look at reassigning the C if necessary.

I get the desire to get a Gagner into a leadership role and hang out the banner that says "we are rebuilding like Chicago" but I think it would just make things tough on the guy too early in his career.

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#95 Wanye
February 03 2010, 07:48PM
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Oh and if I was in charge of this team I would send the Oilers out to this song before every game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doTBT46wMvA

If they are gonna lose, they should lose with some fire.

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#96 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 07:52PM
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So this Plante kid isn't bed crappingly bad, huh?

*soaks in what little rays of hope are shining through*

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#97 Wanyes bastard child
February 03 2010, 07:56PM
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Wanye wrote:

What do I think? No one ever asks me anything....

AHEM

I think Gagner is way too young and unproven to be named Captain of this team. He is certainly in the top 3 "franchise suspects" round these parts but I wouldn't think burdening him with the "C" of a team that is going to blow for a couple more seasons would do anything more than expose him to criticism for things he cannot possibly control.

I'd pass the "C" to another veteran until this team turns the corner. If the Oil follow the Chicago rebuild plan, the new Captain (assuming Moreau is dealt) will tutor the young guns through this process.

After the torch has been passed on the ice and the youth assume control (and results are seen) I'd then look at reassigning the C if necessary.

I get the desire to get a Gagner into a leadership role and hang out the banner that says "we are rebuilding like Chicago" but I think it would just make things tough on the guy too early in his career.

Well I pitied you on that one then :P

I do agree that hes young (not quite sure on unproven) but in this day and age we are seeing alot of teams going with youth movement for captains.

BOOOO (sorry, Pronger)

I also agree that we have to see what Tambi does at the deadline and in the offseason (dear god DO SOMETHING!) but if you are going to go ahead and give the C to a veteran, say a Souray or Horcoff, then what do you do when you feel Gagners ready in 2-3 years? Pull a Carolina?

From what i've seen and in Jason's post about him being a rink rat I think he can handle the pressure and actually shine in the roll. You will always have vets to train the young guys, hence you keep Comrie, but why not give him the shot and let him run with it?

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#98 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 07:57PM
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David S wrote:

Jeanshorts pointed it out and I have to agree. Some of the Scotties curlers are pretty d*mn HOT!

Ha! I was just commenting on that. My brother and I agree. There was that cute blonde with the pink shoelaces.

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#99 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 03 2010, 07:58PM
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Wanye wrote:

Oh and if I was in charge of this team I would send the Oilers out to this song before every game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doTBT46wMvA

If they are gonna lose, they should lose with some fire.

You mean having Stortini fight to 'Africa' by Toto doesn't do it for you?

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#100 jeanshorts
February 03 2010, 08:02PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

You mean having Stortini fight to 'Africa' by Toto doesn't do it for you?

It was "Laying Pipe" while they were fighting, which, I don't know, somehow seems worse.

But I did hear Toto like 2 shifts before that. Best music in the league!

I'd actually love to see who the DJ is. I wouldn't be surprised if it was Lowetide or one of his old cronies.

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