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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#101 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 05:53PM
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@RexLibris

The Weir Special:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rngu_cxc99E

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#102 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 05:56PM
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@jackstar

Your first instinct was right... Before every game I'm convinced my star will top the score sheet and no one can say he hasn't (yet).

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#103 Jerk Store
November 22 2011, 05:57PM
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Not sure what Craig knows, but undeniably more than me. No question about Dumba's cache and entertainment factor. His hits as a 16 or 17 year old are Scott Stevens-like. If anyone is not familiar with the kid, U-tube some of his hits, makes Rock'em Sock'em look like Ice Capades. As mentioned will see what Oil end up with but would be shocked if not a D.

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#104 Rama Lama
November 22 2011, 06:02PM
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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?

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#105 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:04PM
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Umm, to win faceoffs and help on the PK... one of the things we had been lacking in the last few years ;)

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#106 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 06:07PM
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http://www.firstrowsports.tv/watch/93702/4/watch-nashville-predators-vs-edmonton-oilers.html

Link to a surprisingly good stream if anyone needs it....

...surprisingly good :)

Try the different links.... some are better than others

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#107 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 06:15PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Umm, to win faceoffs and help on the PK... one of the things we had been lacking in the last few years ;)

I notice you don't mention "Play the point on the PP"

You know why? Because that isn't why he was signed... so why does T-Ren insist on playing him there when there is a perfectly good PRV trying to get his game going.

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#108 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 06:18PM
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@Wax Man Riley

not sure... but no doubt when whitney or potter comes back you won't have to worry about that ... it's sub-optimal, renney knows that

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#109 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:23PM
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WHIFCOFF!!!!!!

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#110 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 06:23PM
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Wow.... someone shot the puck and lookie what happens!

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#111 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 06:23PM
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yep... the preds were definitely "playing a passive box"

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#112 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:24PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

I notice you don't mention "Play the point on the PP"

You know why? Because that isn't why he was signed... so why does T-Ren insist on playing him there when there is a perfectly good PRV trying to get his game going.

Thats what he was signed for, I have no say how the coach uses him eh :P

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#113 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 06:24PM
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~That Horcoff is not an NHLer. He sucks, get rid of him~

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#114 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:25PM
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@The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

Yeah, always whiffing on the puck, boooooooo!

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#115 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 06:27PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

~That Horcoff is not an NHLer. He sucks, get rid of him~

Terrible! Send him to the minors! Or better yet, fire him altogether. He brings nothing to the team.

EDIT: AND THAT CONTRACT!

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#116 Shaun Doe
November 22 2011, 06:27PM
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Does anyone else notice that the Sportsnet audio sounds like it is being recorded in someones living room?

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#117 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 06:29PM
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~What does Hemsky bring to the team again. That guy sucks too. Send him away with Horcoff~

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#118 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 06:29PM
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WOOOOOOWOWOWOWOWOOWOWOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Hemsky is smooth like buttah!

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#119 justDOit
November 22 2011, 06:31PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Well let's start this now then: Gags is too SMALL to make it in the NHL!

(please, everyone join in)

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#120 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 06:32PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

yeah and i hear his trophy wife didn't even place

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#121 Jerk Store
November 22 2011, 06:34PM
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93 playing D. Where the fu ... Flip .. were Teubert and Plante?.

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#122 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 06:37PM
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OMFG!! EEEBBBBZZZZZ!!!! Woot Woot!

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#123 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 06:37PM
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eat a dick tootoo... that's how you punish a rougher team!!!

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#124 nofool6110
November 22 2011, 06:41PM
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RNH - 2 assists. 4 MORE TO GO - YOU GO GET THAT RECORD

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#125 Dog Train
November 22 2011, 06:45PM
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That was a heck of a road period. Really smart game and we gave them next to nothing offensively. We need to keep it up! GO OILERS GO!!

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#126 HORDY hears a who
November 22 2011, 06:46PM
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i really should be studying right now but my phone keeps on buzzing getting game alerts/score so i think ill be the first to start the chant.....

WE WANT TEN!!! WE WANT TEN!!!! WE WANT TEN!!!

....knocking on wood

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#127 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:49PM
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Beat you to it :P

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#128 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 06:49PM
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justDOit wrote:

Well let's start this now then: Gags is too SMALL to make it in the NHL!

(please, everyone join in)

???

just stirring up trouble??

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#129 Haney
November 22 2011, 06:49PM
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@ "Romulus' Apotheosis"

LOL. I'm enjoying your comments after the Oiler goals.

Keep them coming. Hopefully more Oiler goals.

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#130 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:51PM
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Leafs are winning too... are we really tied together for success this year?

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#131 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 06:57PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

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.

Oilers vs the Leafs for the cup?

You heard it here first nation :P*

*nobody south of the border would be watching that series...

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#132 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 06:58PM
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@Haney

thanks for the props...

there's a few regulars that post during the game round here. we mostly just Squeee! and bitch but occasionally we break off a decent comment or two.

come for the sax, stay for the sax

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#133 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:01PM
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@The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

S#$t you get a million props for that effing list!!

We should totally have a continuous thread cataloging the absolute worst comments... it would make a great negative example for posters!

ok back to the game... kill em all boys!

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#134 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 07:02PM
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Rinne who?

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#135 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 07:10PM
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Is it just me or do Hall and Hemsky not play well together?

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#136 oilredemption
November 22 2011, 07:10PM
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The leafs and oils seriously are I just said that to my buddy AGAIN! DEJA VU ANYONE???

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#137 HORDY hears a who
November 22 2011, 07:12PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Beat you to it :P

Haha when I checked my post I saw yours first and was like did they edit my post.... Anyways I don't care all I know is

WE WANT TEN!!! WE WANT TEN!!!

Rumor was HORDY went to the preds dressing and had a "ahem TALK Ahem" with rinne? True or false?

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#138 oilredemption
November 22 2011, 07:12PM
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And to answer your question... No... They both want the puck and control the tempo/play. If they could work with each and off each other they could be super lethal

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#139 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:14PM
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didn't Struds just say something about helping a guy whose trying to run you with your stick or elbow? nice job Smyth!

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#140 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 07:15PM
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oilredemption wrote:

And to answer your question... No... They both want the puck and control the tempo/play. If they could work with each and off each other they could be super lethal

Yeah, thats what I been seeing as well.

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#141 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:16PM
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nice work boys... now finish the job, sweep the leg!

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#142 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:19PM
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wow... terrible outlet pass Teubert...

nice save though Dubs

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#143 m3sh
November 22 2011, 07:21PM
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lol, stay for the sax

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#144 m3sh
November 22 2011, 07:23PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

nice work boys... now finish the job, sweep the leg!

bahahaha... give em a body bag!

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#145 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 07:25PM
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Stay out of the box boys, I like our PK but quit testing it FFS!

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#146 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:29PM
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1manwolfpack wrote:

Wow, and I thought the music at Rexall sucked sometimes.I wonder if the Preds DJ knows it's not 1993 Jock Jams time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-FPimCmbX8

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#147 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 07:30PM
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That Gagner is soft! Get rid of him

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#148 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:30PM
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Make em Gag on it, Gags... eff that other guy!

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#149 Jerk Store
November 22 2011, 07:31PM
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Karma. Gags scores at least one this road trip.

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#150 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 07:31PM
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Can't skate fast, gets knocked off the puck, is coming back from injury..... but man, he can actually throw 'em.

GO SAMWISE!

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