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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#151 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 07:34PM
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Man I'm loving this game. It's like the anti-hater game. All we need now is for Jonesy to go end to end beating all five guys and roofing it backhand.

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#152 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:34PM
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How many pics does that lady need of the back of Tom Renney's head?

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#153 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 07:38PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

Man I'm loving this game. It's like the anti-hater game. All we need now is for Jonesy to go end to end beating all five guys and roofing it backhand.

Jones could never do that, don't you know he sucks?

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#154 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:39PM
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Nice... dodged a bullet there boys. they had all the pressure the last 5 mins. Dubs stood tall (he is really, really tall mind you)

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#155 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:40PM
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@Archaeologuy

that's gotta feel good for you eh? probably even better for him... he can hang his hat on that fight for a couple of games.

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#156 1manwolfpack
November 22 2011, 07:41PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

How many pics does that lady need of the back of Tom Renney's head?

-How many pics of Eberle does Wanye need?

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#157 CanaDave
November 22 2011, 07:44PM
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It's nice to see some passion out of Gagner, but I always question getting into a fight when your team is up 3 goals. That fight seemed to have sparked the Preds more than the Oil, but hopefully with the intermission things settle down and the Oilers finish off a pretty well played road game.

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#158 mackb
November 22 2011, 07:44PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

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

Thanks for this. Stuck in a BC motel and no Oilers on TV. Happy to fire it up and see a 3-0 lead.

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#159 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:45PM
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Toronto's dropping the bozak on Roly's head

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#160 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 07:46PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Jones could never do that, don't you know he sucks?

Hey if the new kid wearing #87 for the Penguins can come in and dominate with four points in his first game then JOnesy can do anything. Where did Pittsburg find that guy anyway? Is he a recent call up? Waivers? Hell of a find.

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#161 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 07:47PM
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1manwolfpack wrote:

-How many pics of Eberle does Wanye need?

Oh you're right. I didn't recognize him. must have cut his hair.

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#162 Chris.
November 22 2011, 07:47PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Fair enough. I was trying to clear that up... people tend to blur the past, present and potential future a lot around here. I just wanted to be sure what you were saying.

Where I agree with you is that it's too early to tell... because we haven't seen much of Omark and Gags is clearly in a funk so its hard to extrapolate much out from his start to the season... also, I'm not convinced - despite the omnipresence of the comparison - that this is the best comparison to be made for these players.

That said, I disagree with you... I would give Gags the edge based on body of work, pedigree and youth.

as an aside, I guess i challenged you because it's hard not to fall into default positions with this argument... hell, it's hard not to fall into the argument at all!! it's practically unavoidable around here... and i wasn't clear that you weren't simply saying "Gags is terrible".. you aren't so... clarified!

also, I imagine Arch is just tired of repeating himself.

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

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#163 Chris.
November 22 2011, 07:50PM
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@Archaeologuy

If I give you a prop will you take my snipe with a grain of salt?

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#164 nofool6110
November 22 2011, 07:57PM
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Gagner just found himself a job as our team's enforcer. Sign him up.

Edit: That Plante can suuure grow a moustache

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#165 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 08:03PM
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EBERSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEX2!!!!

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#166 Oilcruzer
November 22 2011, 08:04PM
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Wow. Third period and that's the first time I saw Magnus. He could benefit from AHL time.

Wow... Nice response Eberle...

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#167 1manwolfpack
November 22 2011, 08:04PM
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sick!Call a doctor!

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#168 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:11PM
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Eff I missed an eberle goal... lady's parents stopped by.... crap... who got the assists?

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#169 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 08:13PM
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Smyth and Smid

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#170 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:13PM
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stevezie wrote:

I know we're here to cheer the oilers, but this is the best NHL game I've ever seen Tootoo play.

agreed... though I have fond WJC memories of him too.

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#171 1manwolfpack
November 22 2011, 08:15PM
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#14 has a big game and he hits 10k tweets today...damn, Wanye's gonna be a mess tomorrow.

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#172 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:16PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Smyth and Smid

You're s@#tting me!!!

My star got his first point of the season.... Everything's coming up Smid!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7z192I-mQM

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#173 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:17PM
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well... that sucked. how many nuts and bolts can we trade for Weder? all of them?

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#174 Shaun Doe
November 22 2011, 08:17PM
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WHO MENTIONED SHUT-OUT!!?!?!? I'll CUT you!!!!!

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#175 Oilcruzer
November 22 2011, 08:17PM
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stevezie wrote:

I know we're here to cheer the oilers, but this is the best NHL game I've ever seen Tootoo play.

Huh?

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#176 Chris.
November 22 2011, 08:18PM
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@Archaeologuy

Who was your star last year? I seem to remember it was Hemsky... If that is true: can you promise not to pick Hall, Eberle, or Hopkins as your star next season? Please.

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#177 Archaeologuy
November 22 2011, 08:18PM
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That was literally the hardest shot Smyth has ever taken

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#178 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:19PM
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Take the hit... make them pay

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#179 Archaeologuy
November 22 2011, 08:19PM
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Chris. wrote:

Who was your star last year? I seem to remember it was Hemsky... If that is true: can you promise not to pick Hall, Eberle, or Hopkins as your star next season? Please.

It was Cogliano. But I will stay away from our stars because Im clearly bad luck.

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#180 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 08:21PM
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PETRYDISH!!!

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#181 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:22PM
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Shaun Doe wrote:

WHO MENTIONED SHUT-OUT!!?!?!? I'll CUT you!!!!!

KQ just admitted it's his fault... he thought about it

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#182 Chris.
November 22 2011, 08:23PM
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Please note my GDP. I think props are in order.

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#183 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:23PM
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Horc... Horc... Horc... (spits up goals)... Horcoff!!!

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#184 Jerk Store
November 22 2011, 08:23PM
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@Chris.

Effin' WITCH

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#185 Krusher
November 22 2011, 08:24PM
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Chris. wrote:

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.

Game Day Prediction deserves full props. Wow!

I would have bet my left nut that a 6-1 score wouldn't be possible.

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#186 Shaun Doe
November 22 2011, 08:24PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

KQ just admitted it's his fault... he thought about it

He just made the list...

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#187 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:25PM
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Chris. wrote:

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.

Props!

you happy now? It better stay this way or I'm going to make you gag on these props.

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#188 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 08:25PM
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WHIFCOFFX2!!!

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#189 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 08:26PM
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Chris. wrote:

Please note my GDP. I think props are in order.

PROPS PROPS PROPS

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#190 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:26PM
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Stay out of the box... I know it's cozy in there and she looks so inviting... but it's not worth it... VD guys... VD... Just think how many dirty dudes have been in that box before...

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#191 Crash
November 22 2011, 08:27PM
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Chris. wrote:

Please note my GDP. I think props are in order.

Nice Gil Morgan, was not expecting that...ha

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#192 Chris.
November 22 2011, 08:29PM
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Crossbar. Whew. Jeeze: I really need this.

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#193 Shaun Doe
November 22 2011, 08:30PM
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Seriously though... who brings a wooden train whistle to a hockey game (or am I just hearing things?)

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#194 dougtheslug
November 22 2011, 08:33PM
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Who are these guys? I sure hope this is the team that shows up in Minny, and not those imposters (was that actually Octane?) who played in Dallas.

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#195 Chris.
November 22 2011, 08:33PM
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FAAAAAACK.

Well, I guess I was screwed when Gene didn't wear that hat.

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#196 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:33PM
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@Chris.

you're done. no props for you sir, no props...

JK... you can damn close... 19.1 secs away.

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#197 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:36PM
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@Chris.

it's cause you talked about... jumped the gun... lesson for us all!

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#198 jeanshorts
November 22 2011, 08:36PM
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YYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://youtu.be/KHy7DGLTt8g

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#199 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2011, 08:37PM
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Puritania, "give it to me baby"

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

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#200 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 22 2011, 08:38PM
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I think we have three guys in the top 20 in scoring now. When was the last time that happened?

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