GDB LXV: On streaks and streaking

Jason Gregor
March 07 2010 11:55AM

Did you know the Oilers have only won consecutive home games twice this year? They won four straight in October on the 10th, 16th, 19th and 22nd, and they didn’t win two straight at home again until Feb 1st and 3rd over the Hurricanes and Flyers.

In between those two heroic streaks, they lost nine straight from November 18th to Dec 28th, before beating the Leafs on Dec 30th. Then they lost their next eight home games. They won exactly ONE home game from November 18th to Feb 1st; no wonder there was close to 3,000 empty seats on Friday night.

That really sums up how horrendous this season has been at Rexall Place. No wonder it has been quieter than a morgue lately. I sat in the crowd for parts of the game on Friday and I was able to hear too many uncomfortable discussions from the people sitting around me.

When the games are exciting people pay attention, but now it seems with little cheering going on you are subjected to hearing things you don’t want to know about. Listening to two women, who looked like a mother and daughter, discuss menstrual cycles and how to lessen cramping was unbearable, especially considering I gave up booze for Lent. Or listening to some dude try to impress his date with his hockey knowledge, which was about as in-depth as my knowledge into how to control The Red Army.

Isn’t there a handbook on stadium etiquette somewhere?

It’s annoying listening to the drunk guy swear every time he opens his mouth, but it’s just as uncomfortable for your fellow fan when they have to overhear you talk about your personal problems. It is hard enough for Oiler fans to get the energy to go to the rink, so please use your inside voice when you talk to the person beside you. And for the love of only-26-days-left-in-Lent please refrain from conversations on vagisil, menstruation, your latest conquest or why you think Taylor Chorney will be better than Lubomir Visnovsky.

HOME WINNING STREAK?

Can the Oilers grab that elusive third home winning streak, against the 38-22-3 New Jersey Devils tonight? The odds aren’t in their favour. The Oil is 2-8-5 in their last 15 home games v. the Devils and they’ve been outscored 36-51.

The Oilers haven’t beaten the Devils at home since, ironically enough, Halloween 1995 when they won 2-1. Granted the Devils have only been here six times since then, going 4-0-2, but the Oilers have had two ownership changes since they last beat the Devils in Edmonton.

Tonight’s forward group hasn’t had much success against the Devils.

Gilbert Brule, Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner, Robert Nilsson, Fernando Pisani, Marc Pouliot, Ryan Jones, Zack Stortini and Shawn Horcoff have never scored a goal v. New Jersey. In fact, the Devils is the only team that Horcoff has never scored on, or registered a point, in eight career games.

Dustin Penner, Patrick O’Sullivan and Ryan Potulny have one goal, while Mike Comrie has 5 in 17 career games, including three goals in four games as an Oiler. The Oilers could use Ethan Moreau tonight, but it looks like he’ll sit out his third straight game with a sore neck. Moreau has five goals and ten points in 12 games v. the Devils, good for 0.83 points per game. His career PPG is 0.32 so clearly he likes playing the Devils.

Moreau didn’t skate yesterday, and the Oilers didn’t have a morning skate today, so it’s a bit of a guess if he’ll play, but he hasn’t skated in four days so it would a surprise if he played. Look for Fernando Pisani to draw back in.

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?

What does Gilbert Brule have to do to get more ice time? On Friday he had just over 12 minutes of icetime. Only Stortini and an injured Jones played less. Brule had three shots, tied for most on the team and two hits, also most amongst forwards in those 12 minutes, yet Pat Quinn doesn’t play him more. What gives?

Between bouts with the flu bug and other ailments, Brule has put up 13 goals, 12 of them EV, second behind Penner’s team-leading 17, so I wonder why Brule doesn’t get more opportunities. The kid has one of the best shots on the team, and might be the best pure shooter they have right now.

Quinn has said he doesn’t like the rollercoaster aspect of Brule’s game. He is either really high or low, and that is fair, but how is that any different from Patrick O’Sullivan, Robert Nilsson or almost every other forward on the team.

Brule’s confidence, like most young players, is fragile and Quinn will need to watch how he uses him, but the organization should play him more in the final 18 games, especially on the powerplay.

Quinn should use the final 18 games as an extended training camp. Decide what role he’d like to use Brule and other forwards in next year, and play them there down the stretch. If they see Brule as a top-six forward next year, then play him with guys who they project to be there. Why not play Brule with Penner the rest of the way and see if they can produce?

Tonight would be a good time to change up the powerplay personnel, and give Brule a shot on the man advantage.

EBERLE

Jordan Eberle will play in Springfield when this season wraps up March 13th with the Regina Pats, but don’t be surprised to see him make an appearance with the Oilers. The Oilers don’t want fans to look at Eberle as the saviour and have him come up here and score zero points in nine games. Look for him to play some games in the AHL, and then get called up to Edmonton.

The Oilers only have two home games in April, the 5th v. the Wild and then on the 7th v. Colorado, so I’d be shocked if Eberle doesn’t make an appearance at that point. The worst thing the Oilers could do is recall him and have him play on the road. They owe it to the home faithful to see Eberle live in person, rather than just on the road.

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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 Tha Legion
March 07 2010, 03:21PM
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Last thing I want is money wasted on ice girls or cheerleaders, that money needs to go to Horcoff damnit!

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#2 pokey Reddock
March 07 2010, 02:42PM
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Nate Full of Hate wrote:

Good post Jason...

Perhaps O'Sullivan is getting every opportuity as well since he's one of "Tambi's guys"

Alice and Wonderland 3D was excellent even without shrooms...don't know if I'll be able to say the same about the Oilers tonight.

Can't wait to see Tyle Seguin in Oiler silks..

War Jack Campbell

First thing. I like Jim Rome as much as anybody, but this is not his show, so don't WAR anything, that sounds lame.

Secondly, why do you want Seguin over Hall? If the Oil get the number 1 pick they have to pick the best player in the draft....IMO that's Hall not Seguin.

Rack me.

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#3 jeanshorts
March 07 2010, 08:30PM
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What the hell was that?

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#4 Travis Dakin
March 07 2010, 12:32PM
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Wait, you seriously gave up booze for lent? So now I can't have a drink with you at the Nation party on Saturday? damn you Gregor.

Oh well, I'm sure there will be plenty of others there who will gladly tip a glass or two back with me.

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#5 Pokey Reddock
March 07 2010, 03:01PM
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Wow, Jason no booze at an Oiler game. I'd rather watch Ringette.. I'd rather toss loonies at strip club wiht my parents than not drink at an Oiler game. My season ticket chairs are getting awful lonely lately. Booze lessens the sting of the Oiler games for me. Really, what's the motivation for going? To see if Nilsson can earn a spot for next season?

How about to see which of our goalies is going to end up being our back up! Or how about to see Brule not play considering he looks like one of the few with any heart.

Or maybe I can go to see glimpses of Sloth from The Goonies earn his paycheck for once this season; come on Horc I know your not this bad.

I have to admitt I am excited to see an Oiler get the Green Jacket....Sully I know you can do it.

The one chick who cleans the ice off during commercial breaks puts out more effort than most of the Oilers.

I'd even accept some ice girls to entertain me...wait we don't have that either. This all said, I need a few pops in me to make it all feel better.

Random thoughts from a lost Oil fan

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#6 kylierv18
March 07 2010, 03:20PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

Did you just get back from a 6 month vacation or something? Eberle and the draft have been the only thing to look forward to since November.

Touche...touche

However, they are not mathematically eliminated yet....

It could happen.

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#7 jeanshorts
March 07 2010, 03:24PM
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@kylierv18

Oh man could you imagine if they somehow ran the table and squeaked into the playoffs. This place would riot out of anger/happiness. What a mess that would be.

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#8 RossCreekNation
March 07 2010, 04:09PM
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Getting ready to head down to RX1 to witness Kovalchuk.

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#9 Travis Dakin
March 07 2010, 05:21PM
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@jeanshorts

@Archaeologuy

No need to make that hit. It's ugly. I hate that stuff with a passion. Elbows down or not it was was hit directly to the head. Pure stupidity. Completely vulnerable to being nothing but injured. Cooke was in no position to make that hit and therefore should not have.

I know mine is the unpopular opinion around here but that's how guys careers end.

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#10 Robin Brownlee
March 07 2010, 06:04PM
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Chris. wrote:

According to Lowetide the Oilers were targeting Nilsson in the 2003 draft... but had to settle for Pouliot.

This gem (if accurate), combined with the Lowe's failure to adeqautely shop Smyth around on 07 deadline day, and the endlessly long leash given to Bobby: makes me wonder if there is an organizational soft-spot for Nilsson...

The Oilers did not target Nilsson at any point leading into his draft year.

The reason the Oilers moved down and took Pouliot intead of Parise is they didn't want another small forward as they already had Comrie, Marchant, York, Swanson etc.

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#11 Eric Johnson
March 07 2010, 08:44PM
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It all makes sense. It was Visnovsky's fault all along, Him Grebby's and Staios. With out those guys we would have gone 82-0.

Well that was a quick fix. Well done Tambo

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#12 Mik
March 07 2010, 12:02PM
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Boo-Yah!!

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#13 Tha Legion
March 07 2010, 12:04PM
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Boom goes the dynamite

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#14 Jmask5
March 07 2010, 12:23PM
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Hmmm... I was thinking it would actually be better for Eberle to debut on the road. That way he can get his feet wet a bit without the added pressure of performing infront of the home fans.

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#15 Worldo
March 07 2010, 12:32PM
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Hey Jason, thanks for the read.

Have you, or anyone else, asked Quinn why he makes Bule ride the pine more than any of the other smurfs?

I like Brule's game much better than most of the other forwards, and can't understand why he isn't given more of an opertunity.

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#16 Rob...
March 07 2010, 12:50PM
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@Worldo

My suspicion is that it's not Quinn's call, and he's just covering for his bosses when answering questions on it. They're hoping Nielson shows enough dazzle in the last part of the season for him to become decent trade bait during the summer.

I also think that Jason didn't realize he was watching the taping of a Rexall Pharmacy commercial for feminine hygiene products during the last game.

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#17 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 07 2010, 12:55PM
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Does anyone else think that Brule might have done or said something to really piss off Quinn. I made a point of focusing my attention on Brule at the game on friday, even away from the play, and he really seemed to stand out in a good way. Put the puck in a good spot, was always hard back on d, and really fore-checked well.

I've heard conspiricy theories, about holding him back for contract reasons. At this point I really cant see any other reason, esp because Quin seems to dance around the subject whenever it is brought up.

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#18 Brocktw
March 07 2010, 01:22PM
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I am starting to question weather Pat Quinn is relevant as a coach anymore (at least with a young rebuilding team). I was all for his hiring and at the time I thought it was a very good move by Tambo. As time goes by I am questioning more and more of his calls. There was the Macyntyre decision, his refusal to match lines, handling of certain players (Stortini, Brule, Cogliano). I am not ever going to be a guy that advocates anybody losing there job, but I wonder what everyone else thinks about Quinns first 3/4 year.

PS I love his no-nonsence approach to press confrences, nothing like listening to a man who does not mince words.

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#20 Chris.
March 07 2010, 02:20PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Yes it has been asked, and his answer is basically what I wrote. He thinks Brule is still to inconsistent in his game. He will be very good (highs) and can be very bad (lows).

I can tell you that I'm not big on that response. Sure he is inconsistent, but so is the entire forward core.

I think they are giving Nilsson every opportunity so they won't regret buying him out in the summer. I don't know that for sure, but that is the only reasonable explanation to him playing with Penner and for getting more icetime than Brule.

According to Lowetide the Oilers were targeting Nilsson in the 2003 draft... but had to settle for Pouliot.

This gem (if accurate), combined with the Lowe's failure to adeqautely shop Smyth around on 07 deadline day, and the endlessly long leash given to Bobby: makes me wonder if there is an organizational soft-spot for Nilsson...

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#21 jake
March 07 2010, 02:22PM
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Fix stadium etiquette? Distracting the fans from their personal lives with hockey, and preferably exciting winning hockey might help.

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#22 Nate Full of Hate
March 07 2010, 02:33PM
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Good post Jason...

Perhaps O'Sullivan is getting every opportuity as well since he's one of "Tambi's guys"

Alice and Wonderland 3D was excellent even without shrooms...don't know if I'll be able to say the same about the Oilers tonight.

Can't wait to see Tyle Seguin in Oiler silks..

War Jack Campbell

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#23 Nate Full of Hate
March 07 2010, 02:36PM
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I don't want to see Eberle play until the Oilers have secured dead freaking last.

I would like to see him play for Team Canada at the World Championships.

War J.Toews

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#24 Travis Dakin
March 07 2010, 02:47PM
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pokey Reddock wrote:

First thing. I like Jim Rome as much as anybody, but this is not his show, so don't WAR anything, that sounds lame.

Secondly, why do you want Seguin over Hall? If the Oil get the number 1 pick they have to pick the best player in the draft....IMO that's Hall not Seguin.

Rack me.

At this point there is considerable debate as to who is the top player. One is a winger and the other is a centre. I'm much more inclined to take seguin at this point. Something about him just seems to be right. Obviously it's all opinion based on little evidence at this point.

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#25 Archaeologuy
March 07 2010, 02:55PM
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@Travis Dakin

When it gets closer the draft and the 2 have played their final games I'm hoping that Willis does a really in depth analysis of the two. Combine that with JG and Robin tracking down some hockey insiders and getting their opinions and I'll be fully geeking out here on OilersNation.

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#26 Tha Legion
March 07 2010, 02:55PM
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I think I've slanted a lot towards Seguin as well. I do believe that Taylor Hall will be a benefit to this team as well and it is a good point of not grabbing the immediate future prospect of a center assuming there are Strong Centerman coming through the system

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#27 kylierv18
March 07 2010, 03:06PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

At this point there is considerable debate as to who is the top player. One is a winger and the other is a centre. I'm much more inclined to take seguin at this point. Something about him just seems to be right. Obviously it's all opinion based on little evidence at this point.

Hmmmm, I have heard Hall say himself that he used to play center and likes it there. Seguin looks like an extremely gifted player, and has had one less year of Junior than Hall though.

Can you imagine what the fall out is if the Oil get the first pick and take Seguin, and Hall ends up being a better player?

Its sad that the only thing left in this point of the season for Oilers to be excited for is to Maybe see Eberle play, and the draft which is months away...

That all said I am a fan of the proper rebuild, not a bandaid. I am tired of the 7-12 year after year. 3-4 years of construction to build a franchise back up.

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#28 jeanshorts
March 07 2010, 03:16PM
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@kylierv18

Did you just get back from a 6 month vacation or something? Eberle and the draft have been the only thing to look forward to since November.

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#29 Archaeologuy
March 07 2010, 04:21PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z1vJrIAg-0

Cooke knocks Savard out. Looks a lot like the Richards on Booth hit.

The hit came a split second after Savard let the shot go and it looks like Cooke tried to keep his elbow down. I dont know what to think.

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#30 jeanshorts
March 07 2010, 04:31PM
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@Archaeologuy

Yeesh. The ones where they just catch a piece are always way worse than if they absorb the full force of the hit. As much as I don't like Matt Cooke I can't really see anything wrong with it. Tucked his elbow, skates on the ice, he didn't even lunge toward him, just caught him on the button as he skated by.

I can see why people have a problem with these hits, but I really don't see a way of policing it since it is, by any and all definitions, a legal hit. Just another unfortunate incident.

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#31 Archaeologuy
March 07 2010, 04:35PM
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@jeanshorts

I tend to agree.

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#32 Nate Full of Hate
March 07 2010, 04:35PM
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@pokey Reddock

Seguin has contributed to 44% of his teams offense...

Hall 32% on a better team+ 1 extra OHL season.

Seguin is a natural center who isn't done growing..

He'll also need an extra year to develop which means Edmonton is a lock for a lotto pick next year.

Taylor Hall's stock has peaked watch Seguin thrive next year.

War Me in the Hackoff

good night now!

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#33 Heavyd
March 07 2010, 04:52PM
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@ Gregor Is Jones palying tonight?

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#34 Reijo Ruotsalainen's wicked slapper
March 07 2010, 05:00PM
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I think that hit by Cooke is proof to my belief that shoulder pads need to be modified in the NHL. They should not be allowed to have hard plastic shells. Most of us have played hockey and seen those shoulder pads....it's like getting hit by a piece of steel. Also, if you made them thinner and out of the soft padding from the "olden days" you run the risk of hurting your own shoulder in a vicious hit, which may stop some guys from running around as much.....

I also believe the same should be true of Elbow pads, but that is another story.

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#36 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 07 2010, 05:25PM
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I would tend to lean towards Seguin. Hall has some pretty good NHL calibre teamates, Nemisz, Ellis, Fowler, Henrique, Shugg, etc... As for Seguin I dont really recognize any of his teamates (not saying they're not NHL type guys, you just dont hear of them). So it would seem that he is used to carrying the load, where Hall might need some good talent to excell.

Plus Seguin could stay in junior next year and really rip it up in league play and be the guy at the WJC over x-mas, further increasing his confidence for the 2011/2012 season, and allowing us to potentially draft another high pick at the 2011 draft.

Ideally we would want them to meet in the OHL playoffs, so we can see how they match up undersome pressure. But I'm sure either one will turn out to be great given the proper development

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#37 Librarian Mike
March 07 2010, 05:27PM
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Hall...Seguin...Yes, yes they're both talented. Can we focus on more important things however?

Take for example that Meryl Streep. Will this be her year?

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#38 Nate Full of Hate
March 07 2010, 05:37PM
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I'd like to see Edmonton draft Jack Campbell if they can move up with their second pick.

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#39 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 07 2010, 05:39PM
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In my opion those hits will keep on happening unless the league actually changes some things.

1) get rid of the instigator rule, one of the dumbest on the books

2)seriously check into the need for that rock hard plastic they use for shoulder and elbow pads

3) Actually suspend some of these guys for a lengthly ammount of time, or start to fine both player and team some big $$.

@Dakin

you opinion isnt't as unpopular as you might think. I really lose respect for a player that does things like this. I really have a utter dislike for Richards after that hit on booth, then leaps at Weiss a few games later

Its unbelievable how little respect some players have for each other.

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#40 Nate Full of Hate
March 07 2010, 05:43PM
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Seguin has 44 more points then his closest teamate.

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#41 Archaeologuy
March 07 2010, 06:01PM
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@Travis Dakin

As I said, I dont know what to think. My favorite player growing up was Scott Stevens, so part of me loves the devastating clean hits. But I agree with you that Cooke wasnt really in position to make that hit.

I dont want guys to get hurt because of stupid plays, but I dont want the league to neuter the big hitters of the NHL either. I'm firmly on the fence for this stuff.

I'm all for mandating soft shoulder and elbow pads for 1 year and doing anything that doesnt actually change the definition of a clean hit that might lower the chances of someone getting hurt first.

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#42 jeanshorts
March 07 2010, 06:03PM
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@Travis Dakin

I can't argue with your points at all, but like I said it's one of those things that's so grey area. I'm going to sound like one of those turds over at puckdaddy or HF boards or something, but, if you look at it their shoulders make contact first, albeit briefly, before Cookes shoulder hits his head. And at the end of the day it is a shoulder hit so like I said, by all accounts it's legal.

But I'm with DEL, they have to look at the ridiculous shoulder pads. That's where it needs to start. Guys are always going to get hit in the head, that's a part of playing full contact hockey. But this type of thing is easily preventable if you aren't getting crushed with a piece of plastic that could easily be used as a car bumper.

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#43 Dan the Man
March 07 2010, 06:36PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The Oilers did not target Nilsson at any point leading into his draft year.

The reason the Oilers moved down and took Pouliot intead of Parise is they didn't want another small forward as they already had Comrie, Marchant, York, Swanson etc.

So much irony....

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#44 Librarian Mike
March 07 2010, 06:59PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Comrie, Marchant, York, Swanson etc.

Who's Swanson? Seriously. Who was that guy?

Hahaha. ~Obviously he made an impression I guess.~

*clutches Michel Riesen doll jersey and weeps*

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#45 Archaeologuy
March 07 2010, 07:11PM
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Well I think we know why Brule isnt getting played all that much. He keeps scoring, and that isnt conducive to losing.

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#46 Travis Dakin
March 07 2010, 07:20PM
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The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

I would tend to lean towards Seguin. Hall has some pretty good NHL calibre teamates, Nemisz, Ellis, Fowler, Henrique, Shugg, etc... As for Seguin I dont really recognize any of his teamates (not saying they're not NHL type guys, you just dont hear of them). So it would seem that he is used to carrying the load, where Hall might need some good talent to excell.

Plus Seguin could stay in junior next year and really rip it up in league play and be the guy at the WJC over x-mas, further increasing his confidence for the 2011/2012 season, and allowing us to potentially draft another high pick at the 2011 draft.

Ideally we would want them to meet in the OHL playoffs, so we can see how they match up undersome pressure. But I'm sure either one will turn out to be great given the proper development

See! I agree with you here!!!

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#47 Travis Dakin
March 07 2010, 07:21PM
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The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

In my opion those hits will keep on happening unless the league actually changes some things.

1) get rid of the instigator rule, one of the dumbest on the books

2)seriously check into the need for that rock hard plastic they use for shoulder and elbow pads

3) Actually suspend some of these guys for a lengthly ammount of time, or start to fine both player and team some big $$.

@Dakin

you opinion isnt't as unpopular as you might think. I really lose respect for a player that does things like this. I really have a utter dislike for Richards after that hit on booth, then leaps at Weiss a few games later

Its unbelievable how little respect some players have for each other.

AND HERE!!!!!

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#48 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 07 2010, 08:02PM
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@Travis

Agreed. We'll just forget what went on earlier.

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#49 JackBauer
March 07 2010, 08:04PM
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I think there should be 40-80 game suspensions for stuff like the Richards hit on Booth, or the Cooke hit on Savard, or the Carter hit on that Swiss guy a few weeks ago.

You would only need to do that 2 or 3 times in a season before people realize their stupidity and lack of regard will cost them millions of dollars.

I dont see why this desire to have stuff like this in the game. It doesnt add anything to it.

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#50 Travis Dakin
March 07 2010, 08:11PM
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The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

@Travis

Agreed. We'll just forget what went on earlier.

I've been compared to an elephant.....

haha

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