GDB MINUS FIVE: HOME ICE

Jason Gregor
September 23 2010 12:03PM

After last night's gutsy and surprising win over the Canucks, Wanye woke up this morning and sent me his proposed parade route. It was filled with his typical bright colours, arrows, unique drawings and I noticed it was the longest parade route I'd ever seen. It started in Clareview, ripped through Beverly, came down Gretzky Drive, through downtown, had a pit stop at the Liquor on 109 and then finished at the Legislature grounds. Clearly he had designed it after downing his 17th BL after watching Gregory Stewart pot the game winner in Vancouver last night.

Tonight it is the official unveiling of Taylor Hall. You've seen him on the podium in June. You've seen him at the presser for his entry level deal. You've seen him bartending at Oil City. You've seen Kevin Lowe hand him #4. You've seen him in the rookie tournament, and Tuesday in the Joey Moss Cup, but you've never seen him lineup against another NHL team until tonight.

Wanye isn't the only one with visions of parade routes, Shirts off for Horcoff signs, or Squee for Eberle banners. Admit it, this off-season and one pre-season win has you firmly in the driver seat of the bandwagon. And why not, the best part of being a fan is believing and having hope. There will be lots of time to ask for Tom Renney's job, or why Horcoff can't be shipped to Siberia, or that after Hall's five game goal-scoring drought you claim you wanted Tyler instead.

Enjoy the victory, hell, it was over the supposed Northwest champions and possible Western Conference winners. Maybe the Oilers will be the surprise story in the NHL. Maybe they will have three rookies with 50 points. Maybe the person who possesses Nikolai Khabibulin's voodoo doll passed away. Dare to dream...dare to dream.

Your expectations have been lower than Lindsay Lohan's at last call, so with every win it is only natural to feel like the Oilers are winning back your love. And your love should grow a bit more tonight, because the Oilers are dressing a solid NHL lineup compared to Tampa Bay.

Sam Gagner will centre Hall and Ales Hemsky.
Dustin Penner will be on the left wing with Andrew Cogliano in the middle and Magnus Paajarvi on the right side.
Liam Reddox/Colin Fraser/Gilbert Brule will skate together, while Steve MacIntrye will play for the second straight night and make sure no one runs Tyler Pitlick of Linus Omark.

The defence will consist of Smid/Foster, Belle/Plante and Petiot/Gilbert.

Devan Dubnyk will start in goal, and JDD will back him up.

Tampa Bay will ice a lineup similar to the one the Oilers used to defeat the Canucks last night.

Harju/Persson/Purcell
Ashton/Wright/Connolly
Tryell/B. Jones/Hall
Malone/Pouliot/Downie


Ohlund/Clark
Vernace/R. Jones
Mihalik/Gudas


Ellis
Tokarski

 

It looks like Marc Pouliot continues his nine-lives routine as he'll line up with Ryan Malone and Steve Downie. The rest of the forwards won't be pushing Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos or Marty St. Louis for a job anytime soon.  Watch Gudas though. He likes to run guys in the neutral zone. It's too bad we don't get to see any of the big three, but that's NHL exhibition hockey.

PARTING SHOTS

The harsh reality about last night's win is that none of the three goal scorers have a hope of making the Oilers. It was a great thrill for hometown boy, Ben Ondrus, to score in his first game in an Oiler uniform, but he won't crack the lineup coming out of camp.

Renney was satisfied with the effort last night. He felt they played his system rather effectively. Obviously he'd like Dubnyk to be able to catch shots from the blueline, and Horcoff to bury those open-net opportunities, but he left the rink content with the effort.

Tonight most of us will be watching Hall, Paajarvi and Omark rather closely, but Renney wants to see how his young veterans; Cogliano, Gagner and Brule perform.

While Wanye and Co. continue to map out the parade route and subsequent party stops, Renney is excited to see how his young guys react. When asked if he would say anything to Hall prior to his first NHL preseason game Renney replied, "I asked him if he had any questions. He said he was fine. It lasted 30 seconds. I just want him to play."

It sounds like the coach is like all the fans; he just wants to see the kid play.

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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 Ender
September 23 2010, 02:41PM
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@ Chris.

While I love the format, it doesn't interface well with the Predictonometer so I take no responsibility for the results.

Game Day Prediction: The Oilers will take the early lead but find a way to gas the game. Strong performances from Cogs, Pääjärvi, and Reddox will be marred by another weak performance from DD. Hall will be ordinary and Penner will be invisible on the off-wing.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: The entire bench will breathe a collective sigh of relief during the first intermission that none of them will be the subject of a Gene Principe pun tonight. (Petry-dish indeed.)

Not-so-obvious Game Day Prediction: Pouliot will fall to his knees in front of the Oilers bench and start sobbing hysterically at the top of his lungs for just one more chance. Renney will laugh heartily and douse him soundly with a nearby water-bottle. Pouliot will then score on his next three consecutive shifts, pick up the single hat thrown onto the ice, and fling it squarely into Renney's face.

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#2 I'm a Scientist!
September 23 2010, 01:17PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

I can hardly wait for the real games. The best part about the GDB threads are when Scientist does his fearless (and not so fearless) predictions.

Hall gets 2 points. Fans will overreact, panties will moisten, and we'll all forget about that Seguin character.

Meanwhile Robert Nilsson is busking for change with the recorder guy at the LRT station downtown.

Ha ha...ask and you shall recieve my fine bouncy fishy friend.

Game Day Prediction: The new and improved Oilers will hand out the biggest licking to be seen since that 'One Night in Paris' video hit the Interweb. 5-1 Oil. Goals from MP, Cogliano, Foster and 2 from Reddox.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: A really hot girl will hold a sign up that says "Taylor Hall Will You Marry Me"...

Not-so-obvious Game Day Prediction: Ritchie Hall will fly back from Atlantic Canada to watch the game and support his son in Taylor's first NHL game.

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#3 The Towel Boy
September 23 2010, 03:24PM
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Game Day Prediction: The Oilers will skate out to the sultry sounds of Rick Astley "Never Gonna Give You Up", setting the tone for what should be a spirited affair. It will all culminate in a GWG by Taylor Hall celebrated by a stunning chorus line rendition of "It's Raining Men".

Obvious Game Day Prediction: The patrons of RX1 will rest easy in their seats knowing that the "O" in "COUNTRY" of the "THIS IS OIL COUNTRY" sign is back in its rightful place.

Not-so-obvious Game Day Prediction: Steve Smith will inadvertently score on his own net.

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#4 ChiliChunk
September 23 2010, 12:55PM
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Banger wrote:

At this point in his career does he really need to play preseason games?

At this point I would vote he really doesn't need to play regular season games either...

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#5 baggedmilk
September 23 2010, 12:24PM
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Ah Wanye and his plans, what a wonderous day. Your pal baggedmilk, won a coffee this morning from a Canucks fan. The wager was small, but the victory was sweeeeeet.

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#6 Death Metal Nightmare
September 23 2010, 12:46PM
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Dubnyk's goal against from that far out is atrocious. a goalie of that size not cutting off angles properly from that far out = mind blowing. hopefully he was busy releasing feces into his breezers before the shot started and just couldnt put his focus anywhere else.

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#7 Racki
September 23 2010, 01:01PM
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I'm constantly driving the bandwagon... a fan of Horcs, at the worst of times, and happy we took Hall... but last night was definitely a small victory. Hopefully the Oil do surprise everyone that has them finishing near the bottom again.

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#8 rubbertrout
September 23 2010, 01:02PM
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I can hardly wait for the real games. The best part about the GDB threads are when Scientist does his fearless (and not so fearless) predictions.

Hall gets 2 points. Fans will overreact, panties will moisten, and we'll all forget about that Seguin character.

Meanwhile Robert Nilsson is busking for change with the recorder guy at the LRT station downtown.

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#9 jr_christ
September 23 2010, 01:08PM
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BitchellMitchell wrote:

I picked Whitney as my star and Whifcoff as my goat! I was right, Whifcoff missed an open net that my 3 month old puppy copuld have knocked in with his wet nose and Whitney was a beast!! No more games needed to prove I was right put it in the history books.

He also shut down one of the highest scoring duos in the NHL last night. So while he missed a screened pass from Eberle which was tipped off a defenders stick you are missing the fact that he played 2-way pretty well.

LOVE that after one pre-season where Horc is playing with no experienced NHLers you've proudly placed yourself into your own history books... you must be from Calgary.

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#10 Chris.
September 23 2010, 01:54PM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

Ha ha...ask and you shall recieve my fine bouncy fishy friend.

Game Day Prediction: The new and improved Oilers will hand out the biggest licking to be seen since that 'One Night in Paris' video hit the Interweb. 5-1 Oil. Goals from MP, Cogliano, Foster and 2 from Reddox.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: A really hot girl will hold a sign up that says "Taylor Hall Will You Marry Me"...

Not-so-obvious Game Day Prediction: Ritchie Hall will fly back from Atlantic Canada to watch the game and support his son in Taylor's first NHL game.

I really missed this man....

Seriously.

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#11 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 23 2010, 12:10PM
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It was a ballsy win, not gutsy.

I love the Cogliano/Paajarvi/Penner line. I'm really pulling for Cogs and I'm hoping they'll mesh. I think their skills are likely to complement each other (especially with Paajarvi's ability to keep up with Cogs on the rush). They have the potential to be extremely dangerous as linemates.

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#12 third string plumber
September 23 2010, 12:10PM
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As someone who signed up to ON march 09 I hope I'm not considered a bandwagon fan

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#13 third string plumber
September 23 2010, 12:18PM
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What do you think the lineups will be for Sundays game. Do you think they will dress our big three rookies?

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#14 RingThosePhones
September 23 2010, 12:19PM
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Jason, Just wondering if there is anything to Strudwick not playing in the Joey Moss or either preseason game. Hopefully they are leaning to not going with an old liablility.

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#15 Dan the Man
September 23 2010, 12:23PM
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Really hoping that idiot Downie doesn't do anything stupid tonight.

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#16 misfit
September 23 2010, 12:27PM
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The scary part is the fact that Gagner, Cogliano, and Brule are being called "vetrans". Even though they have 3 NHL seasons under their belts, that statement just seems wrong.

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#17 VegasOilerFan
September 23 2010, 12:31PM
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Cogliano/Paajarvi/Penner looks like a keeper. can't wait to see how Cogliano does with somebody that can keep up with him on the rush. The PCP line has a nice ring to it.

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#18 Action Jackson
September 23 2010, 12:31PM
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Last night was an incredible coming out party for Whitney. I was at the game and couldn't take my eyes off him as he is so smooth and reliable...may have a new man crush. The star of the team last year in my mind was Visnovsky before he got traded and the star this year may just be the guy who came the other way in that deal.

Hilarious about the voodoo doll Gregor! It feels like he is doomed as an Oilers fan watching him.

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#19 Banger
September 23 2010, 12:34PM
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RingThosePhones wrote:

Jason, Just wondering if there is anything to Strudwick not playing in the Joey Moss or either preseason game. Hopefully they are leaning to not going with an old liablility.

At this point in his career does he really need to play preseason games?

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#20 borisnikov
September 23 2010, 12:45PM
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My love for grown men in sweaty gear is once again growing!

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#21 BitchellMitchell
September 23 2010, 12:45PM
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I picked Whitney as my star and Whifcoff as my goat! I was right, Whifcoff missed an open net that my 3 month old puppy copuld have knocked in with his wet nose and Whitney was a beast!! No more games needed to prove I was right put it in the history books.

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#22 Boris
September 23 2010, 12:50PM
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Nice Read Gregor...

I was on the Tyler Seguin side but once we picked Hall, that was over. Glad we have him and although he is not a center today, I now think he was the right pick. Does that make me a bandwaggon jumper? just asking. Wayne, why wasn't the parade routed through St. Albert??

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#23 Jamie B.
September 23 2010, 12:51PM
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I feel like that commercial on the Team: Hockey. Hockey hockey hockey. Hockey!!!

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#24 jr_christ
September 23 2010, 12:58PM
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@Dan the Man

If he TRIES anything stupid... big mac will give him a whack...

heh, i just made that up

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#25 BArmstrong
September 23 2010, 01:10PM
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BitchellMitchell wrote:

I picked Whitney as my star and Whifcoff as my goat! I was right, Whifcoff missed an open net that my 3 month old puppy copuld have knocked in with his wet nose and Whitney was a beast!! No more games needed to prove I was right put it in the history books.

Did you watch the same game everyone else did? Whitney was clumsy at times, and very good at others. Horcoff was the best player on the ice for either team - or perhaps I should say, played the best of all the players in the game. Yes he missed a nice opportunity, but it wasn't the gimme your 3 month old wet nosed puppy thinks it was.

**is it obvious that I picked Horcoff as my star this year?**

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#26 The Towel Boy
September 23 2010, 01:21PM
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Yay! Hockey! And it's not on stupid Sportsnet One! Exclamations!

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#27 Spydyr
September 23 2010, 01:28PM
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ChiliChunk wrote:

At this point I would vote he really doesn't need to play regular season games either...

It is funny because it is true.....made me howl

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#28 BArmstrong
September 23 2010, 01:28PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Yay! Hockey! And it's not on stupid Sportsnet One! Exclamations!

Amen.

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#29 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
September 23 2010, 01:35PM
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@I'm a Scientist!

Is grandpa Brian Hall coming too?

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#30 I'm a Scientist!
September 23 2010, 01:39PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Is grandpa Brian Hall coming too?

I heard he was busy taking flute lessons in Albania. I could be wrong though.

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#31 Ender
September 23 2010, 01:43PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

The best part about the GDB threads are when Scientist does his fearless (and not so fearless) predictions.

Well, that and the fact that we have some pretty dang good writers providing the threads to us for free.

But I agree; props to the Purple Unicorn for providing priceless prognosticative prowess.

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#32 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
September 23 2010, 01:44PM
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Game Day Prediction

People will be complaing about the 8 dollar beers, but will still have one in each hand at all times.

Obvious Game day prediction

Both anthems will be sung by themselves and not mixed into one. Although Joey was onto something.

Not-so-obvious prediction

People that were at the JMC will be leaving their seats at the 13 or 14 minute mark forgetting that the periods are actually 20 minutes long.

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#33 GSC
September 23 2010, 01:45PM
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Wanye really needs to find another beer of choice. I'm an American who went to a party school, and even I can't stand BL.

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#34 Chris.
September 23 2010, 01:56PM
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...Now where is Smokin' Ray with:

Gameday!

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#35 I'm a Scientist!
September 23 2010, 02:03PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

Stupid expensive beers...who do they think we are? Money Tree Farmers?

*sip*

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#36 Chris.
September 23 2010, 02:08PM
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Game Day Prediction: The Oilers will come from behind in the third period to win 3-2. Brule ends up skating with Penner and scores the winner.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Someone on this site will bash Horcoff's performance even though he has the night off.

Not-so-obvious Game day Prediction: Taylor Hall will narrowly avoid an attempted knee on knee hit by Downie and McIntyre will play nearly 10 minutes during the last half of the game while Downie cowers on the bench.

*Props to, I'm a Scientist!: for this wicked format.*

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#37 Ender
September 23 2010, 02:14PM
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@rubbertrout

You know, you'd think after all this time I'd have gotten used to your avatar, but I swear to this day every time I see it I immediately associate it with Petr's Jofa.

For you, I keep envisioning something like the top sample pictured here:

http://cdn.allaboardtoys.com/squeeze-bubble-fish_200x200.jpg

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#38 rubbertrout
September 23 2010, 02:15PM
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Ender wrote:

rubbertrout wrote:

The best part about the GDB threads are when Scientist does his fearless (and not so fearless) predictions.

Well, that and the fact that we have some pretty dang good writers providing the threads to us for free.

But I agree; props to the Purple Unicorn for providing priceless prognosticative prowess.

The stuff that the writers do is assumed. I simply take it for granted. THE INTERNET OWES US DAMNIT!

EDIT: I almost didn't mention your alliteration. I wish I could write half as well.

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#39 Chris.
September 23 2010, 02:17PM
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@Ender

Why not fire up your predictometer? You've been spot on for nearly a week now.

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#40 Mouse
September 23 2010, 02:18PM
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VegasOilerFan wrote:

Cogliano/Paajarvi/Penner looks like a keeper. can't wait to see how Cogliano does with somebody that can keep up with him on the rush. The PCP line has a nice ring to it.

You really need to add some innovation to line names. Initials just doesn't cut it. I know you think it is clever because of the drug thing, but a little more innovation please.

Instead of PCP - how about the "flying high" line, or high flyers, or fly higher line. That took all off second to think of (and the line will be fast, so get it?).

For the Hall Gagner Hemsky line - the "performance enhancing line", or "the barry bonds experience", or "the Dick Pound Objective".

Just my thoughts

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#41 rubbertrout
September 23 2010, 02:20PM
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@Ender

A common mistake. This Jofa is more along the lines of the Gretzky variety. Petr's Jofa is a slightly larger and bulkier version

As seen here: Petr's Jofa

EDIT: one of these days I'll figure out how to embed the damn links.

DOUBLE EDIT: I finally did!

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#42 war
September 23 2010, 02:21PM
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does not matter what happens does it?its nice to have excitment over hockey in edmonton again,and if the mighty oil can keep the young guys for a few years,dump habby,jdd and dd to get a real goaltender then the stars will aline and this could be a contending team.lets hope one of the so called back ups move when souray gets traded,let habby start and move gerber to the backup and hope somewhere we find a true starter.(rask,louongo,niemi,heck even turco)type goalies

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#43 I'm a Scientist!
September 23 2010, 02:23PM
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@Chris.

Well played with the obvious Horcoff prediction. I think that is a winner.

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#44 baggedmilk
September 23 2010, 02:29PM
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baggedmilk is going to the game tonight, and will be high fiving Doug Flutie the flute bum at the Coliseum LRT station at 6:30 pm. Be there.

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#45 rubbertrout
September 23 2010, 02:49PM
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@Ender

And that, my friend, is how you score props.

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#46 BGH
September 23 2010, 02:54PM
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Chris. wrote:

Game Day Prediction: The Oilers will come from behind in the third period to win 3-2. Brule ends up skating with Penner and scores the winner.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Someone on this site will bash Horcoff's performance even though he has the night off.

Not-so-obvious Game day Prediction: Taylor Hall will narrowly avoid an attempted knee on knee hit by Downie and McIntyre will play nearly 10 minutes during the last half of the game while Downie cowers on the bench.

*Props to, I'm a Scientist!: for this wicked format.*

Absolute Gold...

I can only pray and hope and pray some more that Renney is willing to eat a few Big Smac penalites and lets him loose if needed.

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#47 Landon
September 23 2010, 03:11PM
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Chris Vande Velde, Can this guy crack the line-up as role-player?

Let the Hall show being!

www.hockeyfanland.com

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#48 Banger
September 23 2010, 03:31PM
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ChiliChunk wrote:

At this point I would vote he really doesn't need to play regular season games either...

Then you havent been listening to what the players/coaches/management have been saying. This is a guy that will stand up for any guy at any time against anyone. He brings a "professional" attitude to the room. He maybe is a guy that provides more not playing then playing. In a year like this is it a bad thing to have a few more losses while having someone around that can teach these guys something about hard work and determination? I would say yes.

Im not going to say he is a regular in the line up but he is a class act and brings more to the team then you would think. These young guys dont need to be taught skill, they need guys like strudwick to help form them and provide the transition to being a pro.

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#49 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
September 23 2010, 03:39PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Game Day Prediction: The Oilers will skate out to the sultry sounds of Rick Astley "Never Gonna Give You Up", setting the tone for what should be a spirited affair. It will all culminate in a GWG by Taylor Hall celebrated by a stunning chorus line rendition of "It's Raining Men".

Obvious Game Day Prediction: The patrons of RX1 will rest easy in their seats knowing that the "O" in "COUNTRY" of the "THIS IS OIL COUNTRY" sign is back in its rightful place.

Not-so-obvious Game Day Prediction: Steve Smith will inadvertently score on his own net.

Maybe Pouilot pulls the Smith tonight?

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