GDB: 21.0: WELCOME TO SMASHVILLE

Jason Gregor
November 22 2011 01:47PM

The Oilers woke up in Smashville (Nashville) this morning, but they probably felt like they were there last night. The Stars punished the Oilers physically last night, and the Oilers were unable to handle it. The biggest farce in the NHL is the inconsistency from building-to-building regarding hits. Whoever was tracking them last night gave the Stars 47 hits and the Oilers 33. That is ridiculous.

Of course the "hits" statistician in Dallas is the most overzealous/bias/kool-aid drinking in the league. For the past five years no NHL team has had a bigger margin of hits-at-home to hits-on-the-road than the Stars. From 2006-2011 the Stars had 564, 482, 209, 452, 492 and 416 more hits at home than on the road.

It is embarrassing that the league doesn't send a memo to Dallas to understand what a hit is. They are so out of whack it's mind-blowing.

           Season         Hits at home            Hits on road              Total hits
DALL 2006                    1163 (+561)            559                         1722
EDM  2006                     602                         601                         1203
DALL 2007                    1076 (+431)            594                         1670
EDM  2007                     645                         653                         1298
DALL 2008                     914 (+396)             705                         1619
EDM  2008                     520                         610                         1130
DALL 2009                    1264 (+640)            812                         2076
EDM  2009                     624                         769                         1393
DALL 2010                    1416 (+659)            922                         2338
EDM  2010                     757                         809                         1566
DALL 2011                    1314 (+405)            898                         2212
EDM  2011                     909                         885                         1794

The road numbers are fairly close between the Stars and the Oilers, but the difference at home is frightening. Did the Stars really deliver 405 more hits at home last year, yet only 13 more on the road than the Oilers. No chance. If the NHL wants people to take their stats more serious, then they need to have better guidlines and ensure they enforce those guidelines.   

That being said, even with a statistician who thinks every bump is a hit, it was clear the Stars out hit the Oilers last night.

The sad reality for Oiler fans is that likely won't change any time soon.

Please don't expect Darcy Hordichuk, in five minutes of icetime, to somehow stop the opposing team from delivering clean, hard hits. It won't happen. Hordichuk had three hits in five minutes, and Colten Teubert once again led the hit parade with 6, but the fact is the Oilers don't have many physical players.

Expecting your fourth line to match the physical play of the entire other team is wishful thinking.

The Oilers don't have anyone in their top-nine who is a consistent physical player, so you can't expect the Oilers to respond physically. The Oilers will beat teams with their speed, quickness and skill, but if they get into a physical game they are overmatched.

Last night's outcome could have changed on one play. Had Ryan Smyth been able to bury that wide open wraparound, the game would have been tied at one. Steve Ott wouldn't have scored on the ensuing rush, because the faceoff would have been at centre, and who knows what would have happened. The Oilers will be in games because they have skill, but no one should expect them to respond with lots of physical play, because they just don't have the manpower for that.

Teubert has looked good, and he'll be a guy who hits everyone like Mark Fistric did last night, but right now he's only playing 11-12 minutes a night. Theo Peckham was that guy last year, but he is struggling mightily right now. Andy Sutton is physical, but if he's in then one of Peckham or Teubert will be out, and that still only leaves two guys who play more than ten minutes/game.

The frustrating part of a rebuild for the fans is when reality sets in like in did last night. The Oilers have filled a few voids, improved special teams and faceoffs, but it's impossible to fill all the voids in one summer. The Oilers management has to realize that this team is not built to be a playoff contender, because they strictly aren't big enough, and they will need to rectify that in the coming years; likely through the draft.

Teemu Hartikainen, Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton are all skilled guys with size, but only Hartikainen might be ready next year. Pitlick could surprise and be ready, but Hamilton isn't a regular in the AHL yet, so it will be a few years before we see him.

When the Oilers come across an opponent like the Stars, and the possibly the Predators tonight, their PP has to score for them to stay in the game. The Oilers were outshot 30-12 at EV last night, but they had over 10 minutes of PP time and couldn't score. They've been very good with the man advantage this year, especially at home, but when they face an aggessive team they need to make them pay with the extra attacker.

So far this year the Oilers have 17 EV/SH goals at home and 16 on the road, but they've scored 13 PP goals at home compared to only 4 on the road. This team will stay competitive this year because on the PP they can use their skill, and don't have to worry as much about being hit.

QUICK TURN AROUND

The Oilers don't have time to feel sorry for themselves, because they are in NashVegas tonight to take on the surging Predators. The Preds are 6-1-3 in their last ten, with all three of those OT/SO loses coming in OT.

Rookie Craig Smith leads the Preds in points with 15, despite this awesome missed goal last week. 

I'm sure the Preds have been giving him the gears ever since, but the rookie has been solid. The Preds are still led by their big three: Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne. Weber leads the league at +19, has 14 points and plays 26:33/game. Suter is +15, has 13 points and plays a bit more at 27:16/game. No team uses their starting goalie more than Rinne. He's  started 18 of the Preds 19 games and he'll start tonight against Devan Dubnyk.

Khabibulin has come back to earth. He wasn't awful last night, but three weeks ago Toby Petersen wouldn't have scored. Dubnyk hasn't started since he gave up six in Boston on November 10th. He came off the bench v. Ottawa last week, but he hasn't had a great game since he stopped 40 of 41 in a victory over Colorado on October 28th. Dubnyk needs a solid outing, and the Oilers need him to play well if they want to avoid their 2nd loss in 24 hours.

LINE UP

Outside of Dubnyk we will see a few other changes. Taylor Chorney was sent back to OKC today, and Alex Plante has been recalled to take his place. Chorney isn't big enough to be a regular NHL D-man. If he had lots of offence you could overlook his size, but he doesn't. Plante has played 8 NHL games and registered 2 points and is an even player. He is still a prospect/suspect at this point, but he's still only 22. At least he'll bring some needed size and muscle. His footspeed is an issue, but he has really improved his competitive play the past few years.

The Oilers won't skate this morning in Nashville, so we won't know who is in or out for sure until closer to game time, but I expect Renney to juggle his roster. I could see him putting Paajarvi back in on the 3rd line and he'll maybe insert Eager. Unless he plays his 4th line more than 5-8 minutes no one should expect the Oilers to be a more physical team tonight.

QUICK HITS

  • Ales Hemsky needs to start shooting more. I know that's nothing new, but in the previous five years he's averaged 2.33 shots/game. This year he has seven shots in 8 1/3 games. (he only played a period v. Minny) He has to start becoming more of a factor in games.
     
  • I'm not saying the Oilers can't muck and grind it with other teams, but they just don't have enough big forwards who can lean on the opposition.
     
  • I understand why Renney uses Belanger to win faceoffs on the PP, but once Ryan Whitney and Corey Potter return I hope he's not out there anymore. Especially if the are changing on the fly and you don't need him to win the draw, because he doesn't have a big enough shot from the point to be effective there. Or at least, he hasn't shown it yet.
     
  • I'm curious if all those who said,"Ryan Jones is an awful hockey player," still feel that way. I find it interesting how few of them have admitted those comments might have been a touch off-base. We've all been wrong before, but I find it interesting how we haven't heard much from that camp. Or the camp who said Nugent-Hopkins was a bad pick because he only had 27 goals last year. It's okay to be wrong, I've been there, but don't think I haven't noticed how those who love to point out when others are wrong haven't said boo about their own misguided projections.
     
  • Kyle Turris might want to hire a new agent. Turris sits out training camp, the preseason and misses the first 19 games of the regular season to get $2.8 million over two years. A $1.4 cap hit sounds about right. He held out to get what he could have got in the summer. Asinine.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Only Colorado has few home wins than the Predators, and the Oilers will have a much better effort tonight, and they'll win 3-2. Hemsky finally makes an appearance.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The cameraman will pan to Carrie Underwood at least four times, not that I'm complaining. We'll also see the TooToo Train take some healthy runs at the Oilers. Tootoo is the exact type of player the Oilers need. He plays hard, hits hard and plays over 13 minutes a night.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sam Gagner scores his first goal of the season. I have no idea why, just a hunch. 

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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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#3 Archaeologuy
November 22 2011, 07:31PM
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THATS MY STAR!! If he cant score he'll knock someones face in!!!

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#4 Archaeologuy
November 22 2011, 08:01PM
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Chris. wrote:

I've been posting here for years and I can tell you one thing with certainty: Arch never gets tired of repeating himself. ;)

This is likely true. Sometimes people dont understand the first time, so I try to type slower the next go around.

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#5 Crash
November 22 2011, 03:59PM
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A-Mc wrote:

I could only stand seeing Gagner, Eager and MAYBE Hemsky being moved to another team.

The young guys that people often mention: Paajarvi, Omark, Lander, etc.. Will be quite useful after they develop a little so i'm reluctant to bail any of those types.

So you're patient enough to wait for a 24 yr old Omark to develop yet are all for moving out a 22 yr old Gagner...

*facepalm*

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#6 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 05:23PM
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MAC962 wrote:

And your point is exactly what ? Tell me Romeo ? What exactly does he bring to our club ?

No problem Juliet!

Now, I've gone through this before for your fellow travellers, but hell... once more into the breach!

Short answer: the guy is a play maker, he brings offence, RE: scores points

Long answer: I sense you don't believe me... you don't see the goals go in, or the plays being made. A simple "open your eyes" won't do it.

Ok...

This year: The guy has played 8 full games and is 9th on the team in scoring after coming off injury, missing TC, most of the exhibition games and reinjury. In half the games he has outscored Gags, Belanger, MP, Lander, Eager, Petrell. He is under his career average of being shy of a point per game player, but the sample is small and he is producing.

Career: Last season he had 42 points in 47 games! he finished 4th on the team in scoring playing only half the games!!!

09-10: 22 points in 22 games!!

08-09: 66 points in 72 games. best on the team by 13; 46th in the league

07-08: 71 points in 74 games. best on the team by 21. 37th in the league

06-07: 53 points in 64 games. tied for best on team. 111th in the league

05-06: 77 points in 81 games. best on team. 34th in the league

so... you were saying... that the guy who has been our best player for over half a decade is... ???

I don't get the beef people have with him. Scoring points in the NHL is near impossible, it's an incredibly rare and special thing... Hemsky does it.

There is no way the team is better when he is off the ice. NO WAY!! WRONG!

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#7 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:32PM
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HEMSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

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#8 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:40PM
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EBERSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

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#9 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:44PM
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WE WANT 10, WE WANT 10!!!

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#10 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 06:54PM
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Seriously though, what's with all the haters lately? It's either there are way more of them lately or I'm getting crankier as I get older.

Can someone please come up with a Letterman top 10 list for dumb ass comments haters make. I've seen some good ones lately.

"Horcoff is not an NHLer but he should center our 3rd or 4th line"

"What does Hemsky bring to the team?"

"Jones is an awful hockey player because he's an opportunistic scorer" How do you even describe the same player with the words "awful" and "scorer" in the same breath.

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#11 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 08:23PM
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OMG I need to change my pants. Horcoff from Gagner and Jones. Suck it haters!!

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#12 Talbot17
November 22 2011, 08:56PM
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SQUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

*CLEARS THROAT*...EberSQUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

HorcSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

JONESQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

DUBNYKSSSSSSSSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

SMIDSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

*GRABS NATION KOOL AID*

*falls asleep rolled in Hall Apparel*.

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#13 Chris.
November 22 2011, 02:24PM
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Game Day Prediction: Oilers win big tonight: 6-1. Yeah... I said it. Yeah... I know who Pekka Rinne is.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Principe will wear a cowboy hat during the pregame broadcast.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Gregor was absolutely correct yesterday when he predicted Hall/Eberle would disagree about who was the prettiest Dallas cheer team member. That debate will expand tonight on the plane when Peckham suggests Nashville has a better looking overall squad than Dallas. It's fun to talk about pretty girls when you're winning hockey games.

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#14 A-Mc
November 22 2011, 02:32PM
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I don't get a good feeling about this game; it could be residual STINK left over from last night though.

GDP: we're competitive, but only Just. If we pull out the win, Renney wont have anything Good to say about it.

OGDP: Paajarvi, Gagner and Hemsky will continue to disappoint. HORDY De-Rails the TooToo Train!

NSOGDP: In the final minutes of a 1 goal lead for the Oil, Dubnyk flips out over his team not shooting on the Empty Preds Net. He will Poke check a puck away from a Preds player and flip it up and into the Preds net himself; Unassisted. In 1 single act he generates more offense than Gagner has all season.

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#15 Mullet Militia
November 22 2011, 02:54PM
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Jimmeh wrote:

I dont know who Kerry Underwood is, but I'd rather see Carrie Underwood. ;)

you know how I know you're gay...

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#16 Al Davis
November 22 2011, 03:31PM
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I hear the Kings aren't satisfied with Dustin Penner. He's a big body who could use his size to his advantage and could fill that void. Now if you excuse me, I need to go shoot myself in the face.

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#17 VK63
November 22 2011, 03:35PM
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Who hasnt scored in an eon and who are the former Oilers?

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#18 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 04:07PM
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gord962 wrote:

I think the point was that Gagner has 4 yrs of NHL experience and Omark has 50 games. Sam should be miles ahead of Linus, yet he isn't.

Oh, oh... Arch are your ears bleeding yet? Your classic star/goat grudge match is starting up again... Gagner's Law never fails!

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#19 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 04:29PM
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@A-Mc

You're going to get that melancholy stats hound from that other site all worked up again with your Gags dissage.

I think it's wise to distinguish between current play, reasonable projections and body of work in these types of discussions.

I think it's fair to say Gags is beyond underwhelming so far this season and even to say one sees more promise in Omark... but to trample on Gags' body of work (i.e. he hasn't proved himself) is a bit of stretch.

Players have to keep proving themselves but the tests they have already passed do not evaporate.

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#20 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 22 2011, 04:55PM
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MAC962 wrote:

And your point is exactly what ? Tell me Romeo ? What exactly does he bring to our club ?

How about offense to what has been (and outside of 1 game this year still has been) one of the lower scoring teams in the league.

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#21 Wäx Män Riley
November 22 2011, 06:20PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Lowe and Tamby do not like big physical players. This has been particularly evident at the draft table. We need big players that can play with our smaller players and not concentrated on the fourth line.........that is no deterrent at all.

Picture a Kessler or Lucic playing on our top two lines riding shotgun, creating space, and being the physical deterrent we so desperately need!

Lowe and Tamby do not understand this so nothing will change until someone takes out our top players..........time to get rid of the most overrated president and GM in the NHL.

Someone please tell me why we signed Belenger again?

So you want a big, physical, skilled, top-six player?

~Why hasn't anyone thought of that? I'll go down to the dominant power-forward store and pick one up for us.~

That is the type of player EVERY team wants. Not easy to find.

While I'm at the store, I'll see if they have any big, physical, skilled, puck-moving defensemen that can play 29 mins a night in stock ;p

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#22 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 06:30PM
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@MAC962

~yea... you're right Hemsky sucks; what a terrible goal~

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#23 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 06:55PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Leafs are winning too... are we really tied together for success this year?

Ha!! Living in Toronto I'm especially attuned to this crazy phenomenon... it'll force me to start cheering for one of top-hated-most teams soon.

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#24 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 07:00PM
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OK... now that new ATB commercial with Eberle is FREAKIN AWESOME!!

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#25 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:02PM
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Damn... we chased Rinne... how's that contract looking.

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#26 1manwolfpack
November 22 2011, 07:04PM
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not often have the Oil been able to say they've chased a starting goalie over the years. Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta'...

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#27 1manwolfpack
November 22 2011, 07:24PM
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Wow, and I thought the music at Rexall sucked sometimes.I wonder if the Preds DJ knows it's not 1993 Jock Jams time?

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#28 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 07:30PM
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Speaking of, I been quietly impressed by Tuebert so far this year.

And I give that fight to Gagner, attaboy!!

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#29 stevezie
November 22 2011, 08:04PM
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I know we're here to cheer the oilers, but this is the best NHL game I've ever seen Tootoo play.

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#30 Denis
November 22 2011, 08:31PM
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That was a pretty sick pass by Gags on that last goal. Hope that will get him going a bit more.

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#31 Shaun Doe
November 22 2011, 08:34PM
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Dear Chris.

You're predictions are terrible

Signed: me

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#32 Krusher
November 22 2011, 08:34PM
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Chris. wrote:

Crossbar. Whew. Jeeze: I really need this.

For Utterly Cat Kicking sakes. Spoke too soon........ 6-2

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#33 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:38PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

YYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://youtu.be/KHy7DGLTt8g

that's what I needed... sweet jebus I couldn't take another Kenny G night... A Kenny G night is a saxless night, regardless of whether he plays the sax or not.

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#34 oilredemption
November 22 2011, 08:48PM
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Well knock me down and call me Susan, that's a game!

Ps Scorcoff is back! Haha

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#35 Bobby44
November 22 2011, 09:01PM
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WTF is with Kevin?? Gags makes a great pass and he says"that was Sedin like". If yoiu want to hurt the guy just kick him in the nuts and get it over with..

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#36 OilFan
November 22 2011, 09:08PM
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Good game by the top two lines. Gagner with a wicked pass and has changed his role from plug to enforcer

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#37 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 09:55PM
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Rip van Winkle wrote:

Riddle me this, did Gagner make a pass knowing that Horcs was there or was he blindly centering the puck after finding himself running out of space. I'd like to think it was more like that backhand pass to Cogs for that overtime goal back then............

I rewinded it a few times, looked to me like Gagner had a peak and new Horcoff was coming eh.

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#38 Archaeologuy
November 23 2011, 08:12AM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Smythmas is my favourite Holiday. True story.

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#39 Oilers21
November 23 2011, 09:44AM
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On the topic of admitting when you're wrong about someone, I'll stand up and admit that I was totally wrong about Tom Gilbert. His constant giveaways and outright refusal to engage physically made my eyes hurt. All the credit in the world to him for making great strides this year. Someone I was right about was Ryan Jones...I literally didn't understand why some folk felt there wasn't a spot for a player who brought crazy energy every night and contributed 15-20 goals. To me that's the very definition of a perfect third/fourth line player. The only scenario would be if we had someone who was better in that role, which clearly we don't (yet).

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#40 Spaghetti - Team Facalto
November 22 2011, 01:47PM
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NSOGDP: RNH having had enough of all this losing crap will go in with the puck and as he is scoring his third goal of the period will put a Fist into the face of both Weber and Suter as he split the D and then brushes it off as no biggie, and as he goes back to the bench the Nashville team High Five him as they stand there in awe.

P.S Hordy assists on all three goals as Renney makes a bold move to play him with RNH!

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#41 Zamboni Driver
November 22 2011, 01:55PM
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Totally agree. Homer stats guys are ridiculous.

Sincerely,

Ladi Smid's Home Blocked Shots

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#42 freeze
November 22 2011, 02:04PM
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Does the NHL have a Head of Statistic and/or Data? That person could make a good guest on the show. (or maybe Nation Radio) You could ask about +/-, hits, blocks, scoring chances, etc. Or even talk about the league's feeling on new stats like corsi.

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#43 Shredder
November 22 2011, 02:17PM
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Ok, so I know the stats guys will jump on me here with much more advanced knowledge of Plante's history...but I've seen him in most of the games he's played and I like the guy...He just seems to have good sound defensive positioning, and sure he's not very fast, but if you put yourself in the right spot you don't need to be. I would take Plante over Peckham anyday, mind you Peckham is having a rough go of it. Plante's boxcars aren't amazing, but they're not bad! I would wager that he gets another assist and is a +1 tonight.

Also, Hall will correct is overzealous play from last night and will pot 2. Just a WAG...

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#44 Shredder
November 22 2011, 02:20PM
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...oh, and after last night, it should come as no surprise that Dallas is leading in hits...why there's a differential between home and away is beyond me, but to play the devils' advocate I would assume that it could be because there would be more pressure on the refs' to call them in the other rink, as the fans would boo like crazy for hitting the home team like they hit the Oilers last night...

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#45 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 22 2011, 02:27PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Totally agree. Homer stats guys are ridiculous.

Sincerely,

Ladi Smid's Home Blocked Shots

Can you back that up?

I can see where the discrepency with hits, but the puck either hits you or it doesn't. Pretty straight forward.

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#46 Ales Hallsky
November 22 2011, 02:44PM
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A little off topic, but i was checking out the Flamesnation to make myself feel better and all the doom and gloomers are talking about who/what they can get for Iggy. Who would you guys give up for Iginla?

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#47 Howdy
November 22 2011, 02:47PM
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Please tell me thats the last time we see Chorney in the NHL. Can't believe we picked him back up but lets then be realistic and keep him in the minors forever. Once Sutton comes back, its time for Peckham to take some remedial D lessons in the AHL as well. Way to many glaring errors.

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#48 oilredemption
November 22 2011, 02:54PM
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This is gonna be bad especially considering you said that people like to jump on others mistakes... but is it not Carrie underwood? On that note Mike Fisher your the man!

Ps I wish we would bring up harski to add some grit! Maybe put him with paajarvi (put him on his off wing because of the way he likes to drive the net. Then it will put him on his forehand when he's all doing this) and horc center it. Then Jones with belanger and lander or whoever.

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#49 Archaeologuy
November 22 2011, 03:01PM
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trashes
+1
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props

maybe he goes back to the lineup that won its last game 9-2...just a thought...

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#50 OilFan
November 22 2011, 03:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Nashville is full of midgets would have the same issue as last night ( physical play ). Why have Sam Wellwood on the top 2 lines ? Sam isn't a 2nd line center is this league. I could have scored all those points with Patty Kane. I've heard before from others how Sam isn't the ideal checking center or fourth line center , is he a ideal top 6 ? Trade for some size start with Gagner and omark.

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