GROUNDHOG YEAR

Jason Gregor
November 18 2011 11:01AM

When the Oilers lost in Boston, Detroit and Chicago many felt it was a sign of how far they had to go to become a contender? Well then what about last night v. the Ottawa Senators?

The Oilers dominated the first 7 1/2 minutes. They swarmed the Sens, but couldn't beat Craig Anderson. Then the Sens scored two goals on two shots in nine seconds and the game was over. The Oilers got frustrated and abandoned their game plan.

And they set a new low in injuries, as Andy Sutton tweaked his groin in warm up, came out for the start of the game but never took a shift.

UH-OH!

 

If you woke up today worried that you were on the road to another 30th place finish I sympathize with you. The good news is that the Oilers would really have to suck to be passed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, but I digress.

For the past few seasons we've seen a team that consistently was inconsistent. They'd have stretches that made you believe they were ready to take the next step, only to crush your hopes and dreams of the playoffs by getting dominated for the next month.

I understand it is a learning process for this team, but are they actually progressing?

They have better skill in Nugent-Hopkins, Hall and Eberle, but this team is still lacking in size in their top-nine. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

For reasons unexplained this organization can't stay healthy. The Oilers lost Sutton and Corey Potter last night. Potter has a sprained ankle and will be re-evaluated today, while Sutton pulled his groin and as of now there was no timetable for his return. Cam Barker is gone until March, Ryan Whitney is getting closer, but how long will he stay in the lineup?

The Oilers recalled Colten Teubert and Taylor Chorney from OKC this morning, and while that's great for those two the Oilers will face the best team in the West tomorrow night with Teubert, Chorney, Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham as their 2nd and 3rd pairings.

It is hard to expect this team to win moving forward with that much inexperience on the blueline. I don't blame the players if they make key mistakes or get overwhelmed, because you shouldn't have four D-men that young in your lineup. Injuries forced this, but excluding Potter, the other three have had a history of injuries.

At some point you the Oilers brass needs to start looking at previous injury history as much as salary and usefulness when going after free agents or trades.

The forwards, excluding Hemsky, haven't been banged up, but they haven't banged anyone either.

Lennart Petrell is doing is best in limited minutes, and while Tom Renney felt Ben Eager tried to make his presence known last night, I don't think he has done it often enough this season. Of course we shouldn't ask one 4th line player to be the only physical player, because that is a recipe for disaster, and so far that's what we've seen.

The Oilers were winning early because their goaltending was off the charts. Now that Khabibulin has come down to earth the Oilers have got blown out four straight games.

DO SOMETHING

I know trades aren't easy, but the Oilers can't afford to sit around anymore. They have to do something.

It is clear they need to do more offensively, but it is time for Steve Tambellini to make a move and shake things up. Sure, he is dealing from a position of weakness, but sitting around and doing nothing isn't going to solve the problem. But do they honestly think the players will collectively learn to play grittier at all once? No chance.

For the past five years, I've said the Oilers need more size in their top-nine. Not every player needs to be big, but they need to find someone with size and skill. Of course it isn't easy, but winning isn't easy either, and if they want to win then Tambellini needs to give Renney some help.

This team needs more DESIRE. You can't fold your tent because you aren't rewarded in the first seven minutes. Winning is hard. It takes heart, desire and an inner fire not to give up. I'm not sure they have enough of that right now.

If you bring in one or two free agents and they don't work out that is fine, but in the past three years the Oilers have signed or traded for Khabibulin, Kurtis Foster, Colin Fraser, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Eric Belanger, Corey Potter, Andy Sutton and Ryan Smyth.

Smyth has been great since coming back. Potter had a great start, but he isn't a top-four D-man. The rest haven't done much, if anything.

Losing becomes a habit, and while the players, coaches and management continually say it isn't acceptable, it sure looks like they are better at losing than winning, and that they don't know how to deal with adversity.

They gave up two goals in nine seconds and they fell apart.

That needs to change.

It is time Tambellini makes a move.

DROWN YOUR SORROWS

I will be guest Bartending at the Boston Pizza on 23rd ave and 50th street tonight from 7 to 9 or maybe later. All of my tips and wages will go to Cancer research. Stop in say hi, and have a pint. We can solve all of the Oilers issues over a few beers. We might need a keg to solve all of them, but what the hell, it is Friday.

See you then.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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 Oilerbill
November 18 2011, 11:08AM
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FAIL...Seriously...Come up with something that actually has substance rather than just a clenched hand reference... Lovingly yours...Gregor.

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#2 Wanyes bastard child
November 18 2011, 10:34PM
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I LIKE BOOBS!!!

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#3 tyler
November 18 2011, 11:19AM
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who here thinks jeff skinner would look great with rnh. I dont understand why taylor hall doesnt let rnh carry the puck more hall could simply just get open and rnh could find him with his unreal vision its pretty hard to beat everybody on the ice by yourself look at ovechkin for instance. Dont get me wrong hall has all the tools to be a great player but he dosent seem to know how to use them. Just saying

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#4 Wanye
November 18 2011, 11:29AM
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Good cause to be giving up your Friday night Gregor. You are a good dude, I don't care what the Supreme Court ruled.

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#5 David S
November 18 2011, 08:47PM
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CAPS MAKE WHAT YOU SAY JUST THAT MUCH MORE IMPORTANT.

#ProTips

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#6 OilFan
November 18 2011, 11:11AM
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I'll be drinking that keg. Good cause and work Jason EDIT I PROPS MY SELF

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#7 Spaghetti - Team Facalto
November 18 2011, 11:22AM
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Eagers ineffectiveness drives me up the wall, someone need to tell him to wakeup, smell the trees through the forest and take a number hit somebody and maybe if you are losing 5 - 1 inject some energy, with a fight or something...DAMN!!!!

Also, Gregor i know you said Hordichuk needs to build some stability in his knee, but is there a chance he maybe ready to go for Saturday?

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#8 shanetrain
November 18 2011, 11:32AM
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I mentioned this on Lowetide. What do you think about giving Eager a look with Horcoff and Smyth?

Would love to see that all Swede line at some point. Obviously Omark being hurt right now it's not going to happen yet.

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#9 Spaghetti - Team Facalto
November 18 2011, 11:45AM
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A-Mc wrote:

I Hear HORDY is out kicking Chuck Norris' ASS, just to warm up a little.

When he gets the Shoulder Tap, Rexall will crumble to the ground.

It's a good thing we're getting a new Arena.. someday.

Hordy doesn't need to warm up, he was born warmed up, what he needs to do is cool down before he melts all this snow and floods the city.

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#10 Brew46
November 18 2011, 12:06PM
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if this team doesnt right the ship again and goes back down to where all the "experts" predicted them to finish. How long can tamby continue to run a re-building franchise? i mean theres gotta be a point where even k-lowe and katz realize that you cant just wait and see if this team ever gets it.

side note, is renney going to continue to beat a dead horse with the Paajarvi, belanger, jones line.... TRY SOMETHING NEW!

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#11 Spaghetti - Team Facalto
November 18 2011, 12:20PM
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16 practicing on the 4th line, IT BEGINS!!!!!!!

Edit: DOUBLE FIST PUMP FOR HORDY!!!!!!!

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#12 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 18 2011, 12:25PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

great now comes the blender.

i fairly certain 4-93-14 and 94-10-28 were working out pretty good prior to 83 coming back. i'd hate to go back to what worked.*

*slam head into wall.

4/93/14 really haven't worked for about 10 games now.

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#13 Oilcruzer
November 18 2011, 05:32PM
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Who the heck is OKC playing on D?

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#14 Rama Lama
November 18 2011, 08:23PM
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@grishnackh

Now.......why do you have to be like that?

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#15 Ed in Mada
November 19 2011, 01:07AM
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1. Gregor - Why do the Oil "have to do something"? So far this year they have exceeded all reasonable expectations and are simply slipping back down to their true performance level after a hot start. The run of injuries on the D will hurt wins and losses but gives another chance for CT to develop. 2. Trades are between hard and impossible to make prior to the trading deadline. The last thing the Oil should do is trade from a point of weakness to make the 25th placed team into the 20th placed team. 3. It will be very interesting to see what happens to Hemsky this season and in teh free agent market. Best case scenario is for Hemsky to have a good remainder of the season to build up his value and then do a deal at the trade deadline. Hemsky is a world class talent that many confuse as a world class player.

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#16 VK63
November 19 2011, 09:40AM
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I was at the flames game last night and naturally post game topics included the bubble bursting in etown and how awesome the flames were last night. (they werent) Chicago was kinda brutes.. especially Dunk... he sucked.... bad.

However.

One interesting topic was how bad Penner has been, post edmonton, with the usual he looked above average on a brutal team (oil) stuff.... it grew tiresome and I injected... he got married.. what did u expect.

:-))

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#17 freeze
November 18 2011, 11:09AM
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I have no faith that Tambo will do anything.

Edit: Bill Murray rules.

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#18 HORDY hears a who
November 18 2011, 11:21AM
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To quote myself everytime I whoop my little bros ass in NHL08,09,10,11,12

"just because you lost doesn't mean you're a loser... It just means your the last winner"

Yes I'm a funny guy

But about last nights game wtf is up with Egghead eager? Your teams down 3 goals why not throw a big hit or drop the mitts with Quazimodo aka Konopka? I can't wait til we get My hero hordichuk back

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#19 The Farmer
November 18 2011, 11:32AM
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The reason rnh doesn't carry the puck more is because he doesn't make himself an available outlet pass on the breakout.

I love the guy and he has piles of potential but that part of his game drives me nuts. Am I wrong ? Has anyone else noticed this?

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#20 VK63
November 18 2011, 12:01PM
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Yah that was a brutal effort. Reminiscent of the Ethan Moreau led death marches of recent times.

Oh well. Hope the bag skate does em some good. Perhaps the trainer can give Taylor Hall a stick that actually fits him... just as an exercise.. u know.. change it up kinda thing.

The lack of physicality is almost shocking, get mad and cream someone, its the best part of the game... but no.... lets dither and dangle about until the other team has an odd man rush.

Drinking sounds good!!

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#21 freeze
November 18 2011, 12:13PM
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To quote Gregors Twitter feed: "New line combos..

94-93-14,

4-10-28,

91-89-83 and

16, 20, 57, 37 and 55 rotating on 4th line"

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#22 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 18 2011, 12:26PM
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Shane wrote:

I can expect more points BECAUSE he's on the third line. He's not playing against top lines or top pairings and he's still not putting up points but you'd expect him to have a career against the Chara's and Keith's of the league? He doesn't have a top six caliber shot in his range of skills. Great 2 way player with a little bit of an offensive upside and can plug into the top six when injurys occur is my prediction for him. Perfect for our third line for years to come(assuming we're going to have a really good top six for years to come)

"I can expect more points BECAUSE he's on the third line"

That's some interesting logic, maybe you should have a look at how many guys getting 3rd line minutes out score the guys getting 1st/2nd line min on their team.

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#23 freeze
November 18 2011, 12:26PM
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@mayorpoop

Yeah, I'm not sure why Jones hasn't gone back to Horc & Smytty. I like the 91-89-83 combo tho.

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#24 Steve
November 18 2011, 12:45PM
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This is what I'd go with:

Smyth - Horcoff - Jones Hall - Gagner - Hemsky Paajarvi - RNH - Eberle Lander - Belanger - Petrell

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#25 RexLibris
November 18 2011, 12:51PM
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Why not 91-93-14 on the first line and move Smyth down to play wigh Gagner and Hemsky? Labelling it the 1st or 3rd line doesn't mean squat if the coach controls the minutes and he could work it so that those lines only have a time differential of 2 or 3 minutes over the course of the game. But in the meantime it rewards Paajarvi's hard work and effort (which has been noted that last two games) with some different line mates and maybe creates a different look for opponents. Smyth and Hemsky can also help to get Gagner going, his best game has always been closer to the net like Smyth and Hemsky has familiarity with both of them.

Then again, what the heck do I know?

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#26 HORDY hears a who
November 18 2011, 12:52PM
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Spaghetti - Team Facalto wrote:

16 practicing on the 4th line, IT BEGINS!!!!!!!

Edit: DOUBLE FIST PUMP FOR HORDY!!!!!!!

This news might be better than when my wife told me I was goin to be a father..... Ooops I forgot I'm only 22 and have no wife and kids... But you know what I mean

Ps you Brother Brahma Bull can sit shotgun on my HORDY bandwagon

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#27 shanetrain
November 18 2011, 01:13PM
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Chris Stewart, Ryan Clowe .. any other of these types we should be looking to add no doubt. Overpay if needed. This team still looks way too small and easy to play against. It's one thing to get overmatched skill and execution wise. We don't need to see another 60 odd games of Oilers getting physically whooped on as well.

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#28 PutzStewstuart
November 18 2011, 01:15PM
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I find it very interesting that the Oilers are 2-4-1 with Hemsky in the line up. It raises curiosity about the chemistry in the dressing room with him around. Guess we'll have to wait until he gets hurt again before this theory is proven.

I still think they traded the wrong guy last trade deadline. Penner would really help a line of PRV and Gagner/Lander.

I'm worried about PRV. Hope the oilers aren't killing this kid.

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#29 A-Mc
November 18 2011, 01:19PM
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Not feeling the 94/93/14, I'm not sure what the intent is there. Maybe Renney thinks 94 will Tone it down a bit and force the kids to get the puck ON NET instead of making fancy passes. It just might be crazy enough to work!

I like 91/89/83 more than 91's lines of the past, Although these are probably the 3 most talked about 'slumpers' thus far this season. It's interesting that Renney grouped them up and made a line of them. I WISH THEM GOOD LUCK!

It's good to See Horc/Jones back together. I Think Halls Intensity will bring This lines overall speed UP instead of slowing down Hall. The kid is too good and too stubborn to accept anything less than 'GOGOGOGO'.

It'll be good to see where things are if these lines are used Tomorrow night.

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#30 Torcida
November 18 2011, 01:47PM
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@PutzStewstuart

What about the past few years when he's been hurt, I believe they finished last. It has nothing to do with Hemsky coming back.

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#31 Dman09
November 18 2011, 01:58PM
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Team Hall wrote:

I've got two words for you: Hartikanen.

He puts the Heart back in Hartikanen.

I'd be all on board with Harti coming back. But if our defense sucks A$$ and are all hurt and we are going to lose games anyway, I say give Tulupov a contract and bring him and and tell him to go wild. I wanna see some bodies flying.

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#32 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
November 18 2011, 02:53PM
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*Helicopter hit- [Post collision condition- verb-the spinning of the body(airbourne) while being perfectly parallel to the ice surface]

NSOPreGDP Colten Tuebert will have 22 of these type of hits against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

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#33 Steve
November 18 2011, 03:52PM
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It's just that we come on here a rail on the guy without knowing anything about what his day-to-day is like. Put yourself in his shoes.

"I'll offer you Hemsky and a pick for your up-and-coming defenseman. Sound good?"

"Take your broken player and go knock on someone else's door."

I bet that is 99% of the scenarios for Tambo. And that is shopping around our "BEST" asset!

Of course, I have no proof of this.

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#34 Oil Is My Blood
November 18 2011, 04:08PM
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Where were all the gloomers and doomers when we were riding a 6 game win streak? They were planning the Stanley Cup parade route, that's where. Just 7 games later, we have to blow the whole team and season up???????????? What the.........?

What about Boston's early season losing streak? Detroit's? We've just had our win streak before our losing one. Thus, we're about the same as them today.

Also, seems to me last night's game was only game 18. Tambo, keep on the rudder, look for treasure on the bottom of the ocean, watch out for the other 29 bottom feeds, and if we're out of the playoff race come game 32, then try and make a move (to better today's club, not stock draft picks)

man, I love orange and blue koolaid!!!!!!!!!

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#35 Bay Street 99
November 18 2011, 04:26PM
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You can't fold your tent because you aren't rewarded in the first seven minutes. Winning is hard. It takes heart, desire and an inner fire not to give up. I'm not sure they have enough of that right now.

This is Taylor Hall in a nutshell right now. Hall tries the same move each time. Come down the wing with speed, try to take the defenseman wide with a move and rip a shot short side. Opposing teams obviously have a good game plan against him this year, but he doesn't seem to realize this.

To make matters worse, when he doesn't have success he seems to put on a pout, instead of working through it. I think hes an all world talent and a franchise player, but he has to realize that the NHL is a difficult league and you have to work hard to have success.

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#36 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 18 2011, 05:40PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

I didn't know about Omark either. I'm not on Twitter and I'm really not that great with other social medias. Too bad for him. Maybe we should still try LA for a trade though.

Hopefully this silences the Omark debate for a while. That hopefully makes Hartikainen the next forward to be called up. Though we seem to have extra bodies already.

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#37 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 18 2011, 05:55PM
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wildly off-topic... but this is the best thing you will read/hear all damn day:

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=380783

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#38 a lg dubl dubl
November 18 2011, 05:58PM
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When, I mean IF Dithers does make a trade before the deadline he's goin to have to part with the 1st rounder this yr IMO, that's the only way he's gunna get back a top 2-4 dman that the team needs very very badly.

Maybe that's why he doesn't make trades because that all he can do is stand at the podium and welcome the next Hall or RNH to the fold.

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#39 Haney
November 18 2011, 06:17PM
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@ "Romulus' Apotheosis"

I think Mulletgate was resolved by the Oilers paying a "small amount of cash."

I read that in the Edmonton Journal.

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#40 6 ring circus
November 18 2011, 06:54PM
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It's time the Oilers part ways with Tambellini, his in ability to make trades and the personal moves that he has made during his time here, will affect the Oilers for many years to come.The Oilers need a new GM who can put the pieces together to build a winner.From what Tambellini has done here these past 3 years he is not the Gm for this organization.

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#41 grishnackh
November 18 2011, 07:55PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

It's time the Oilers part ways with Tambellini, his in ability to make trades and the personal moves that he has made during his time here, will affect the Oilers for many years to come.The Oilers need a new GM who can put the pieces together to build a winner.From what Tambellini has done here these past 3 years he is not the Gm for this organization.

WHO?IT IS ONLY THE SECONDED YEAR OF THE REBUILD.

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#42 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 19 2011, 07:47AM
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Wow... this thread fell off the rails... Gregor must have bought a few rounds last night.

Seriously though, it's times like these that I wish I lived in the big E so I could have joined you all. It's awesome that you do events like this Gregor. I'm sure your community appreciates it.

to the down with Hemsky/Horcoff crowd. I've explained why I disagree with you on both counts extensively elsewhere. But I will say this: you aren't idiots. That's no argument and it would be a jerk move to call you that. But you hold idiotic positions IMO. There is a difference.

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#43 Chris.
November 19 2011, 10:08AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

wildly off-topic... but this is the best thing you will read/hear all damn day:

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=380783

The only thing more arrogant than that team is it's fans. Good read.

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#44 OilFan
November 18 2011, 11:08AM
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I'll be the SECOND to say good read Jason. Renney has a proven track record of losing ! Or wait he is a good coach on a bad team again EDIT Oilerbill beat me to it

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#45 OilFan
November 18 2011, 11:13AM
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@freeze

Unless a player demands to be in Edmonton or if any other team has players with injury history. Is it to early to dought the scouting staff ?

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#46 Joel
November 18 2011, 11:17AM
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Matt Dumba

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#47 A-Mc
November 18 2011, 11:19AM
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So Jason, If someone needs to move, what are your thoughts on who and why?

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#48 mayorpoop
November 18 2011, 11:22AM
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good read JG and completely agree.

i'm not certain mr. Dithers has the cahooneys to do anything for fear of breaking up the lack of poor play we have seen as of late. how do we continually re-build by re-building with something other than draft picks, can't happen. he won't do it.

when will Renney realize that Hemsky should NOT play with Horcoff and Smytty. they are NOT a good fit whatsoever. maybe playing Horcoff in so many mnutes is kicking his ass because he is starting to look worn down.

with both Renney and Mr. Dithers at the helm guiding this ship me fears another sunken ship. blown apart by status quo.

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#49 Offthebandwagon
November 18 2011, 11:24AM
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The players are being hurt because they are being asked to do things above or outside of their range of abilities. Gagner's being told to go to the hard areas; Potter's playing top-pairing matchups at 20 plus minutes/night; Hemsky has been asked to single-handedly take over games as our most offensive player.

Paajarvi will be next--he's struggling, so they will apply pressure and he'll do something to put himself in a vulnerable position and then be down with an ankle injury or worse. Book it.

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#50 A-Mc
November 18 2011, 11:24AM
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@HORDY hears a who

I Hear HORDY is out kicking Chuck Norris' ASS, just to warm up a little.

When he gets the Shoulder Tap, Rexall will crumble to the ground.

It's a good thing we're getting a new Arena.. someday.

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