GDB 14:0 HEMSKY RETURNS

Jason Gregor
November 08 2011 10:56AM

He's only played 22:51 minutes so far this year, but after missing 11 straight games Ales Hemsky returns to the lineup, and for the 2nd straight season he'll comeback in Montreal. He missed three games before returning to the lineup on December 1, 2010 and quickly tallied a goals and two assists in over 18 minutes of icetime. The Nation was excited to have him back, but after that three-point night Hemsky sat out the next ten games.

There are two things we know about Hemsky.

1. He's a world class player. He is one of the most exciting players in the game and is a difference maker when he plays.

2. He's become injury prone. In his first four post-lockout seasons he missed 37 games, but in the past two season and start of this year he's missed 106 games.

Hemsky and the Oilers are hoping his string of bad luck is over.


Despite their great start, it is clear they miss Hemsky's offence. The Oilers are 25th in GPG (goals per game) at 2.23. They've only scored 18 goals at EV which is 29th in the league. Their powerplay is saving them right now with 10 PP goals which is 8th most.

They've been winning with solid team defence and exceptional goaltending from Nikolai Khabibulin. The 39-year-old continues to shock the NHL with a spakling 0.98 GAA and 0.963 SV%, but the Oilers can't expect him to maintain those numbers. They will need some offence if they plan on staying in a playoff spot.

PAAJARVI OUT

Tom Renney has decided that Magnus Paajarvi will be the first player, in what will likely be a regular rotation, to take a seat in the pressbox. The Oilers finally have 13 healthy forwards, which gives Renney some leverage when it comes to asking more from his players.

I'm sure many won't agree with Paajarvi sitting out tonight, but the obvious choices were either him or Gagner. The 4th line has played very well and done everything Renney has asked of them. I'm sure we will see one of them take a seat in the pressbox soon, but Renney needed to make a statement. Paajarvi's role is to produce offensively, not like a top-six forward just yet, but he needs to add more than one point in 13 games.

I don't think he'll be in the pressbox very long, maybe a game or two, but it didn't hurt his development last year when he spent a game up there, and I don't see this benching ruining him either. Right now Taylor Hall and Ryan Smyth have earned more icetime, so when he gets back in, Paajarvi is going to have to produce 5-on-5 and earn more icetime.

I'd be surprised if 91 wasn't back on the ice in Boston or Detroit.

REUNITED

I was hoping to see Paajarvi play with Gagner and Hemsky, but Renney is going to re-unite Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth and Hemksy instead. It makes sense to put them together, but I also felt that having 83 on a different line could potentially give them three lines with an offensive threat.

Ryan Jones will move down and play with Eric Belanger and Sam Gagner, while the young guns and the 4th line remain the same.

Hall/Nugent-Hopkins/Eberle
Smyth/Horcoff/Hemsky
Jones/Belanger/Gagner
Eager/Lander/Petrell

Jones and Gagner might switch wings.

They didn't skate any pairings this morning, but word out of Montreal is that Barker is ready and it looks like Colten Teubert will come out. I'm guessing Renney will use the following pairs because then he has a right and left shot on each pair.

Smid/Gilbert
Barker/Potter
Peckham/Petry

Khabibulin

QUICK HITS

  • The Habs are one of the least aggresive teams in the league. P.K Subban is physical, but after him they won't offer much in terms of crash and bang. I'd like to see Renney give his 4th line an early shift to see if Ben Eager can ignite some fire in the Oilers. They've been very passive with only seven first-period goals. Of course they've only given up three (best in the league), but I'd like to see them attack more early on.
     
  • I've been asked by numerous people on twitter what is the over/under on how many games Hemsky plays before he is out again. I hope it is 50, because he is one of the few players that lifts me out of my seat. I'll set the line at 16, but that's more the optimist in me.
     
  • I'll be broadcasting live from the Pint Off Whyte today. The Nation's newest writer, Jason Strudwick, will join me from 5 to 6 p.m. today, and if you come to watch the game tonight, you'll have a chance to win Club seats for the Habs return visit to Edmonton on Thursday March 8th. We'll have some other prizes as well.

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers are 3-0 v. the East this year with wins over the Penguins, Rangers and Capitals and they will stay perfect after a 3-2 win tonight. The streak will end in Boston though.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky will pick up two points in his first game back, and Hall will end his four-game goalless streak.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Darcy Hordichuk will instruct Teubert and Paajarvi to pick up enough Chien Chauds for the team. Smyth will be the last guy getting on the bus and realizes there isn't one left for him. Smyth will calmly announce this dilemma and Teubert and Paajarvi will play a best of three rock -paper-scissors to see who has to run and grab one. Paajarvi tells Teubert he is going to go with rock, and Teubert doesn't believe him and gets his scissors crushed. In round two Paajarvi tells him he's going rock again, and this time Teubert gets his paper cut by Paajarvi's scissors. "Rookie," yells Paajarvi as he celebrates with a fist pump.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 stevezie
November 08 2011, 02:59PM
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mattypants wrote:

Here's a fun question... Who do you think will play more games this year. Whitney or Hemsky?

I'd put the over-under on both of them at 40. Anybody want to take that bet?

I'll take the over on Hemsky. Hope is free and it makes me feel better.

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#52 freeze
November 08 2011, 03:05PM
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At some point I'd like to see:

1: F'N'EH line

2: Smyth-Horc-Hemmer or Smyth-Horc-Omark

3: MPS-Gags-Omark or MPS-Gags-Hemmer

4: Eager/Hordi-Belanger-Jones/Petrell

I'm not too concerned about it tho. Renny will mix and match as the results become evident. I did think he would put Hemsky with the third line so he can ease back in rather than facing the toughs.

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#53 mayorpoop
November 08 2011, 03:14PM
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freeze wrote:

At some point I'd like to see:

1: F'N'EH line

2: Smyth-Horc-Hemmer or Smyth-Horc-Omark

3: MPS-Gags-Omark or MPS-Gags-Hemmer

4: Eager/Hordi-Belanger-Jones/Petrell

I'm not too concerned about it tho. Renny will mix and match as the results become evident. I did think he would put Hemsky with the third line so he can ease back in rather than facing the toughs.

Smyth, Horcoff, and....Omark? color me confused.

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#54 MathMan
November 08 2011, 03:16PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Yemelin and Blunden are bangers, but if Martin puts them out against the 94/10/83 then Renney will take that matchup all night.

Fact is Cole is a mucker along the boards, but not a guy who is hitter. Moen is about the only other one...

Compared to the Bruins the Habs are a soft team, not to steal Thornton's line referencing the Rangers, and it makes more sense to put him back in tonight rather than Thursday.

I suspect 94/10/83 are going to be fed a steady diet of Pacioretty/Plekanec/Gionta and Subban/Gorges all night. I'm actually a little perplexed that Hemsky isn't going to be used to create a second tough-minutes line; Montreal is missing a couple of key forwards, and putting Hemsky on the second line (rather than, say, Randy Jones) would've created more matchup headaches for Martin.

Fact is, Cole hits people. Heck, he's even top-10 in the NHL for hits. Yeah, I know real-time stats are whacky and not worth much, but on some level it does mean he goes and bang people.

As for "soft teams", well, that's largely a matter of narrative. It takes a while for reputations to catch up with reality and for some teams, the mystique of the team will always play a part.

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#55 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 08 2011, 03:32PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

These lines are terrible. Where is the idea that the fourth line is playing well come from? It isn't true. What may be true is that the fourth line is playing well against the meager expectations of a fourth line. You know what is better than having a fourth line that is playing well? Having four good lines.

This is what comes from the asinine notion that teams have to have defined roles one of which is, apparently, mediocre line that doesn't do anything.

It's a shame really. This is a team that could have four decent lines but instead has two decent lines and two terrible lines. This team would be immeasurably better if they played Belanger with Petrell and Eager and Gagner with Paajarvi and Hemsky. And don't give me that nonsense of Belanger is too good for the fourth line or Hemsky is too good for the third line. How about we get rid of the numbers altogether and say we simply have lines. I have no doubt that this lineup would be better than the one Renney is fielding. The optimal lineup that includes Omark would be even better.

It is a crazy, crazy, world in which guys like Petrell, Lander, Eager, and Jones are on playing while guys like Pajaarvi and Omark are not. I like Renney very much as a person but his personel choices cannot be defended.

I have a feeling your ideal line-up would include 12 Omark clones forming the 4 forward lines.

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#56 Romanus
November 08 2011, 03:38PM
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nvan97 wrote:

Big game for the Oilers. 6-4

Hall with 2, Hemmer with 1, Gags with 1, Barker with 1, Smid with 1

Smid is always a bold prediction. :) I would love to see him get that monkey off his back though.

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#58 Wax Man Riley
November 08 2011, 03:49PM
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I'll take the under on Hemsky. I like him. A lot. He is exciting, dynamic, and another weapon on the ice the opposition has to worry about.

But I think his shoulders are shot. If he plays more than 16 games straight, I will be a very happy man. I don't see him making it to Christmas though.

Can I take the over on 16 shifts though? I'll guess 18 shifts before he is hurt.so that gices him about 2 games?

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#59 Wax Man Riley
November 08 2011, 03:54PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

Smyth, Horcoff, and....Omark? color me confused.

Not sure your feelings on Omark, mayorpoop, but I think he is playing right where he needs to be right now.

He wasn't effectual in his shifts this year, and needs to play a lot of minutes. I think he will be back, and be more focused.

He will be back before Christmas when Hemsky goes down again :(

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#60 freeze
November 08 2011, 04:01PM
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@mayorpoop

Just curious to see if he can drive offence at all. They need to know that before they trade him (or so they can trade him!) or Hemsky.

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#61 Wax Man Riley
November 08 2011, 04:01PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I have a feeling your ideal line-up would include 12 Omark clones forming the 4 forward lines.

12 Omarks would be awesome! The cup would be ours for sure.... or Omark's anyway.

"Omark passes to Omark, who gets the puck stripped from him while trying to be cute. The puck goes into the corner where Omark digs it out. Wow, Omark is surprisingly strong on the boards. Omark not passes to Omark at the blue line. Omark dipsys, doodles, and then Omark goes offside while Omark is busy doodling."

"Omark wins the faceoff back to Omark, but then loses the puck while trying a high risk, low percentage toe drag spin-o-rama. Omark then gets burned defensively, Omark gets burned, and oh golly gee, Omark gets burned defensively again!"

Hmmmm.... maybe not such a good idea.

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#62 mayorpoop
November 08 2011, 04:12PM
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@Wax Man Riley

Omark is an asset that is diminishing on a daily basis playing in the AHL, regardless of the points he puts up there. i'm ambivalent as to whether he should be an Oiler, but i would like to see him get the opportunity in an offensive role with the big club.*

*let's keep this Omark discussion between us. i don't want Arch or OB1 to hear his name being mentioned in a positive light. or at all.

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#63 mayorpoop
November 08 2011, 04:14PM
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@freeze

trading sounds plausible to me, but not possible if he plays in the AHL much longer. he'll be on a slow boat* to Sweden before the season is out.

*or really fast plane for expiditing purposes.

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#64 Quicksilver ballet
November 08 2011, 04:18PM
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Tough call as to who's been a bigger disappointment so far this season, Omark or Paajarvi.

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#65 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 08 2011, 04:24PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

Omark is an asset that is diminishing on a daily basis playing in the AHL, regardless of the points he puts up there. i'm ambivalent as to whether he should be an Oiler, but i would like to see him get the opportunity in an offensive role with the big club.*

*let's keep this Omark discussion between us. i don't want Arch or OB1 to hear his name being mentioned in a positive light. or at all.

Too late

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#66 mayorpoop
November 08 2011, 04:28PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Tough call as to who's been a bigger disappointment so far this season, Omark or Paajarvi.

i'm more disappointed that i can't respond to Quicksilver Ballet.

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#67 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 08 2011, 04:29PM
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GDP: Oilers win 5-1, Belanger with two points, Hall two goals

OGDP: My GDP will be way off.

NSOGDP: Oilers score three PP goals with PK Subban on the ice for all three. Petrell being new to the league will start chirping him the way brothers chirp each other in the movies he's seen. "Hey Subban, your first name is Penalty Kill but you suck at it. You should change your name to your momma's name because everyone also scores when she's around"

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#68 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 04:33PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

12 Omarks would be awesome! The cup would be ours for sure.... or Omark's anyway.

"Omark passes to Omark, who gets the puck stripped from him while trying to be cute. The puck goes into the corner where Omark digs it out. Wow, Omark is surprisingly strong on the boards. Omark not passes to Omark at the blue line. Omark dipsys, doodles, and then Omark goes offside while Omark is busy doodling."

"Omark wins the faceoff back to Omark, but then loses the puck while trying a high risk, low percentage toe drag spin-o-rama. Omark then gets burned defensively, Omark gets burned, and oh golly gee, Omark gets burned defensively again!"

Hmmmm.... maybe not such a good idea.

Don't you think that face-off win is a bit optimistic?

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#69 mayorpoop
November 08 2011, 04:51PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Don't you think that face-off win is a bit optimistic?

he said Omark not Gagner.

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#70 Captain Obvious
November 08 2011, 04:53PM
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Arch, you can't use results as a justification for the decisions that preceded the results because that presumes that the decisions caused the results in the first place. This presumption would then get in the way of reflection on the actual causes of success thus undermining future success.

Or, there is no way of knowing solely on the basis of success whether or not that success was as a result of any particular decision or in spite of it. Which means that evaluation of any particular decision has to occur independent of the apparent consequences of those decisions.

All of this is a matter of rational necessity and not up for dispute, only understanding.

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#71 Dog Train
November 08 2011, 04:57PM
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Paajarvi was coming on a bit, but a night in the press box is a teaching tool. He is capable of playing much better, we've all seen it. If we can get him going, our top 9 could really start to look lethal. Add in a fourth line that knows their role and isn't just a bunch of useless pluggers, and now we're talking. I say 3-2 Oil in OT tonight. Taylor Hall will continue to attract the boos in Montreal when he dances around Subban in OT for the winner. Just like Penner last season. GO OILERS GO!!

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#72 mayorpoop
November 08 2011, 04:57PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

Arch, you can't use results as a justification for the decisions that preceded the results because that presumes that the decisions caused the results in the first place. This presumption would then get in the way of reflection on the actual causes of success thus undermining future success.

Or, there is no way of knowing solely on the basis of success whether or not that success was as a result of any particular decision or in spite of it. Which means that evaluation of any particular decision has to occur independent of the apparent consequences of those decisions.

All of this is a matter of rational necessity and not up for dispute, only understanding.

are you the Architect from the matrix?

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#73 Wanyes bastard child
November 08 2011, 05:03PM
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@mayorpoop

All I read was "no no no no no"

*shrugs

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#74 Matt Henderson
November 08 2011, 05:04PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

Arch, you can't use results as a justification for the decisions that preceded the results because that presumes that the decisions caused the results in the first place. This presumption would then get in the way of reflection on the actual causes of success thus undermining future success.

Or, there is no way of knowing solely on the basis of success whether or not that success was as a result of any particular decision or in spite of it. Which means that evaluation of any particular decision has to occur independent of the apparent consequences of those decisions.

All of this is a matter of rational necessity and not up for dispute, only understanding.

All I got from this tripe of a response was that you dont think Tom Renney's personnel choices have anything to do with his wins or losses.

Or, you dont have an answer for a perfectly good response to your completely offbase take and are answering with "we dont know if his decisions had anything to do with the wins."

However you slice it, your pseudo-intellectual comment was crap. Go back to studying, Undergrad.

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#75 mayorpoop
November 08 2011, 05:09PM
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@Wanyes bastard child

at least you read that. all i can see is a wall of code that i cannot understand for the life of me.

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#76 srbuhr
November 08 2011, 05:09PM
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game link anyone - i am out of the country

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#77 Jerk Store
November 08 2011, 05:16PM
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ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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#78 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 05:24PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

Arch, you can't use results as a justification for the decisions that preceded the results because that presumes that the decisions caused the results in the first place. This presumption would then get in the way of reflection on the actual causes of success thus undermining future success.

Or, there is no way of knowing solely on the basis of success whether or not that success was as a result of any particular decision or in spite of it. Which means that evaluation of any particular decision has to occur independent of the apparent consequences of those decisions.

All of this is a matter of rational necessity and not up for dispute, only understanding.

But decisions are not made in a vacuum. Results and decisions form a feed-back loop mechanism in which information is taken in, past decisions are scrutinized, and successful pathways are repeated, or learned.

You seem to have ignored time as a crucial element.

If at t1 I am ignorant of the possible outcomes of my decisions and therefore cannot at t2 justify my actions on the basis of those results... this does not preclude me learning from the events of t2 and using those results to inform my decision-making at t3, and repeating the process ad infinitum.

Also, accidental factors aren't in question. Yes, we cannot know that Renney's decision to eat oatmeal bears any weight on the matter.

But I take it that the composition of lines would for most people constitute essential factors (factors about which we can reasonably assume a material impact upon the outcome of the game).

I see no reason to presume that the decision of line combinations bears no weight on a game's outcome. Indeed, you do not either, otherwise you would not care about Renney's personnel choices.

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#79 Dman
November 08 2011, 05:26PM
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Anyone have a steam for tonights game?

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#80 Oilers21
November 08 2011, 05:38PM
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I know this is never going to happen, but I would love to see Gagner sit. I really don't get what he brings to the table, and he seems like an afterthought in this lineup. This is all based on me watching the games*, but he's not physical, he's at best average defensively, and he certainly doesn't score or appear to be developing the ability to do so. I'm not sure how he fits, and I worry he's settled into being exactly the kind of forward we don't need - a smaller, non-physical player who doesn't score. I know he's only 22 and has played on some pretty bad teams, so maybe I need more patience. I hope someone can convince me otherwise because he's shown a ton of skill in junior and I'd love to see him succeed in an Oilers uniform, but I'm leaning more and more towards seeing what we can get for him on the market, if anything.

*disclaimer - I do not know Gagner's CorsiRel, ExpGF20, HARO, Fenwick number, etc.

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#81 Wanyes bastard child
November 08 2011, 05:39PM
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Man I miss Paul Lorieo...

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#82 Quicksilver ballet
November 08 2011, 05:39PM
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Dman wrote:

Anyone have a steam for tonights game?

This looks to be working

atdhenet.tv

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#83 Dman
November 08 2011, 05:42PM
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Thanks Moneypuck

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#84 Wanyes bastard child
November 08 2011, 05:47PM
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NICE hit from the Nuge in reaction to Subbans hit on Eberle!

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#85 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 05:53PM
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ewww... Gags looked brutal on that penalty!

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#86 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 05:57PM
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@Oilers21

Out of curiosity what team needs "a smaller, non-physical player who doesn't score." You seem to be simply saying Gags doesn't belong in the NHL at all.

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#87 Wanyes bastard child
November 08 2011, 06:00PM
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Fckin Cole should get an interference for that!

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#88 Kodiak
November 08 2011, 06:02PM
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Peckham/Petry is a trainwreck on the PK that you'd like to look away from but just can't

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#89 Kodiak
November 08 2011, 06:04PM
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Good way to kill all the PP momentum Gagner

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#90 Wanyes bastard child
November 08 2011, 06:05PM
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Sportsnet is like the oilers... needs to get their s#it together on the road :P

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#91 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2011, 06:13PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

I also was hoping that Hemsky with Paajarvi and Gagner would have been a line combo that would have created some added pressure on the Habs and took top flight defenders away from the kids.

I dont know if I believe in Belanger's offense and I think it isnt using Gagner to the best of his abilities playing him there.

That said, what the hell do I know? Maybe that old balls line will wreak havok out there like it's 2006.

Go Oil!

I am in total agreement with that Arch! Both Gagner and Paajarvi have the skill, my feeling is that Belanger is the odd man out on that line. Put Gagner back in the middle, and let Hemsky get those kids confidence back.

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#92 Spydyr
November 08 2011, 06:31PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Tough call as to who's been a bigger disappointment so far this season, Omark or Paajarvi.

Door number three....Gagner.

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#93 justDOit
November 08 2011, 06:33PM
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Hemmer looks quick to get rid of the puck when he's below the icing line in the O zone.

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#94 Spydyr
November 08 2011, 06:34PM
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How is that not tripping....geeesh

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#95 justDOit
November 08 2011, 06:35PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

This looks to be working

atdhenet.tv

Yes, thanks for that! Does this site often have Oiler games? Free?

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#96 Spydyr
November 08 2011, 06:42PM
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Jonseeeeeeeeeee!!!

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#97 1manwolfpack
November 08 2011, 06:42PM
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ok, Jonesy, you made up for that brutal turnover

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#98 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2011, 06:49PM
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~Good to see the refs are not taking the game over~

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#99 Kodiak
November 08 2011, 06:51PM
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Hall has a slight resemblance to Moreau quite often.

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#100 Kodiak
November 08 2011, 06:53PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I am in total agreement with that Arch! Both Gagner and Paajarvi have the skill, my feeling is that Belanger is the odd man out on that line. Put Gagner back in the middle, and let Hemsky get those kids confidence back.

Gagner has been the weak link on the PP away from Belanger so tough to blame anyone else for Gagners inability to produce

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