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

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#153 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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#154 1manwolfpack
November 22 2011, 08:04PM
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sick!Call a doctor!

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#155 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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#156 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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#157 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 08:13PM
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Smyth and Smid

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#158 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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#159 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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#160 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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#161 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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#162 Shaun Doe
November 22 2011, 08:17PM
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WHO MENTIONED SHUT-OUT!!?!?!? I'll CUT you!!!!!

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#163 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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#164 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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#165 Archaeologuy
November 22 2011, 08:18PM
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That was literally the hardest shot Smyth has ever taken

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

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#167 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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#168 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 08:21PM
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PETRYDISH!!!

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#169 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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#170 Chris.
November 22 2011, 08:23PM
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Please note my GDP. I think props are in order.

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

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

Effin' WITCH

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#173 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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#174 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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#175 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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#176 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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#177 Wanyes bastard child
November 22 2011, 08:25PM
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WHIFCOFFX2!!!

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#178 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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#179 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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#180 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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#181 Chris.
November 22 2011, 08:29PM
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Crossbar. Whew. Jeeze: I really need this.

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#182 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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#183 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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#184 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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#185 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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#186 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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#187 Shaun Doe
November 22 2011, 08:34PM
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Dear Chris.

You're predictions are terrible

Signed: me

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#188 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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#189 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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#190 jeanshorts
November 22 2011, 08:36PM
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YYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://youtu.be/KHy7DGLTt8g

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#191 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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#192 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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#193 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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#194 A-Mc
November 22 2011, 08:41PM
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Gj boys. I can go to bed in a good mood: 32 shots makes me happy.

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#195 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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#196 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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#197 Quicksilver ballet
November 22 2011, 08:56PM
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Extend Horcoff NOW, before this gets way outta hand.

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#198 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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#199 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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#200 Wax Man Riley
November 22 2011, 09:11PM
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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.

Yaaaaa.....Props fo' sho'. I'll give you a pass on the score since that last one was so weak (well, at least it sounded like it on the ol' radiotelegraph.

Bob mentioned that the players came over to Dubnyk at the end of the game in an apologetic manner.

6 goals..... OK, are our forwards (RNH, Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Horcoff, Smyth) actually as good as they look? I have been to a few games and seen a few more on TV this year, and they actually look good.

Is it just me?

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