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.

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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 friday the FISTeenth
November 08 2011, 06:54PM
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That race for icing officially confirmed my suspicions that Barker is THE slowest player in the National Hockey League. The league should implement a slowest skater contest for the skills competition.

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#102 1manwolfpack
November 08 2011, 06:54PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Hall has a slight resemblance to Moreau quite often.

you mean resemblance to those whom enjoy taking stupid penalties in the offensive zone?

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#103 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2011, 06:54PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Hall has a slight resemblance to Moreau quite often.

Captain Fantastic was in a league of his own! Only Moreau could ruin a come back like no other.

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#104 Jerk Store
November 08 2011, 06:54PM
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Barker has the footspeed of a Geranium. Doesn't take Columbo to figure out why the fall from grace.

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#105 Kodiak
November 08 2011, 06:56PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Captain Fantastic was in a league of his own! Only Moreau could ruin a come back like no other.

That's why I said "slight". No one could take a penalty at the worst possible time like Moreau. LA is loving that from him right now.

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#106 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2011, 06:57PM
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Kodiak wrote:

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

Nope cant argue with that too, I think that line itself is weak, but Gagner's a proven point player and if the Oilers want to keep winning we will need him to get going.

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#107 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2011, 06:57PM
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@Kodiak

Ha! that's for sure!

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#108 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 08 2011, 06:59PM
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NOt sure if I like the Belanger-JOnes-Gagner line but it makes a good line name: BJ GAG

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#109 Archaeologuy
November 08 2011, 06:59PM
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I must admit. The addition of Belanger to the PP is confusing me.

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#110 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2011, 07:01PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

NOt sure if I like the Belanger-JOnes-Gagner line but it makes a good line name: BJ GAG

Bahhhaaaa! that's a good one!

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#111 Spydyr
November 08 2011, 07:01PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I must admit. The addition of Belanger to the PP is confusing me.

On that note....why has Horcoff been on the first PP unit all year?

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#112 Jerk Store
November 08 2011, 07:03PM
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@Archaeologuy

Only rationale could be control of draws but then he should get his arse to the bench. Generates 0 offence.

Watch him score one just to make me eat my words.

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#113 friday the FISTeenth
November 08 2011, 07:03PM
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Jerk Store wrote:

Barker has the footspeed of a Geranium. Doesn't take Columbo to figure out why the fall from grace.

GERANIUMS DON'T HAVE FEET!!!

#iseewhatyoudidthere

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#114 1manwolfpack
November 08 2011, 07:03PM
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Spydyr wrote:

On that note....why has Horcoff been on the first PP unit all year?

I'm guessing to win a faceoff or two, which apparently he hasn't been doing tonight haha

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#115 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2011, 07:03PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I must admit. The addition of Belanger to the PP is confusing me.

First game all year where I have questioned Renneys decisions.

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#116 Kodiak
November 08 2011, 07:05PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Nope cant argue with that too, I think that line itself is weak, but Gagner's a proven point player and if the Oilers want to keep winning we will need him to get going.

I agree we need a few of those guys to get going and I think once Hemsky gets comfortable I would imagine we will see that line broken up and Hemsky in the mix with a couple of them.

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#117 Spydyr
November 08 2011, 07:09PM
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PK just fired the puck over the glass.....and no call? WTF!

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#118 Mike Krushelnyski
November 08 2011, 07:11PM
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Khabby standing on his khead yet again

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#119 Jerk Store
November 08 2011, 07:12PM
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@friday the FISTeenth

Sometimes I am pretty funny .... Then there is now.

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#120 riley.rkl@gmail.com
November 08 2011, 07:13PM
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srbuhr wrote:

game link anyone - i am out of the country

http://www.vipbox.tv/watch/16525/1/nhl:-edmonton-oilers-vs-montreal-canadians.html

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#121 friday the FISTeenth
November 08 2011, 07:14PM
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Jerk Store wrote:

Sometimes I am pretty funny .... Then there is now.

Nothing to be ashamed of there. That is classic ON humour right there.

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#122 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 07:17PM
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Is J. Shannon an idiot or a terrible Homer... the Oil as the top Canadian team, the Leafs the second best?? Is he crazy....?

Look I love this run as much as the next Oil fan. But I'm not delusional. The Leafs will be lucky to make the playoffs. same with the Oil.

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#123 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 07:22PM
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So... are the Refs. part of a conspiracy to test Hemsky the hard way? what was with those no-calls (esp. in the 1st)?

also. Gags looks terrible. Hemsky looks sound. Belanger is there to win FOs. He is the only one winning them right now. Horc has turned his initial stats upside down in the circle, instead of winning at a healthy clip he can't buy a win.

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#124 1manwolfpack
November 08 2011, 07:22PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Is J. Shannon an idiot or a terrible Homer... the Oil as the top Canadian team, the Leafs the second best?? Is he crazy....?

Look I love this run as much as the next Oil fan. But I'm not delusional. The Leafs will be lucky to make the playoffs. same with the Oil.

probably just catering to the viewers who guzzle the orange kool aid

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#125 Wanyes bastard child
November 08 2011, 07:24PM
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Just got caught up on the PVR, Renney should start double shifting Eager to bang some body's back!

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#126 Wanyes bastard child
November 08 2011, 07:30PM
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HALL!!!

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#127 1manwolfpack
November 08 2011, 07:31PM
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BOOM!

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#128 1manwolfpack
November 08 2011, 07:42PM
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Remember the year after the lockout when Horcoff was actually somewhat effective offensively?Those were good times.

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#129 friday the FISTeenth
November 08 2011, 07:44PM
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1manwolfpack wrote:

Remember the year after the lockout when Horcoff was actually somewhat effective offensively?Those were good times.

Smytty hasn't missed a step. Beauty pass there and a world class whiff from SH#10.

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#130 1manwolfpack
November 08 2011, 07:49PM
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friday the FISTeenth wrote:

Smytty hasn't missed a step. Beauty pass there and a world class whiff from SH#10.

Maybe he needs to make another trip to the Easton factory to work on his sticks

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#131 Lofty
November 08 2011, 07:50PM
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The Nuge sure is fighting the puck tonight. Love how he finishes all his checks.

Gags can't stick handle anymore.

I love 94

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#132 Kodiak
November 08 2011, 07:51PM
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That was ugly. Glad it wasn't the tying goal

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#133 Archaeologuy
November 08 2011, 07:56PM
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4th line with a minute left? Renney knows its a 1 goal lead right?

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#134 Walter Sobchak
November 08 2011, 07:58PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

4th line with a minute left? Renney knows its a 1 goal lead right?

weird! definitely weird!

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#135 friday the FISTeenth
November 08 2011, 07:59PM
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1manwolfpack wrote:

Maybe he needs to make another trip to the Easton factory to work on his sticks

Don't forget the sports phsycologist

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#136 Puritania
November 08 2011, 07:59PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwmwFi_LvBE

Huzzah!

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#137 1manwolfpack
November 08 2011, 08:00PM
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friday the FISTeenth wrote:

Don't forget the sports phsycologist

Yes, have you seen her?I wouldn't know if I should be strangely attracted to her or scared...

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#138 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 08:01PM
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SQUEEEE!!!

You know what I need Puritania!!! Gimme the sax!!

[edit] yes... you got it!

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#139 John Chambers
November 08 2011, 08:01PM
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That cycle shift from the kids with 5 mins left in the 3rd was a beaut. No major scoring chances, but just a quality possession shift late in the game with the lead.

Whoever gets on the kids for not putting up points on the pp needs to have their eyes forced open Clockwork Orange-style to watch this shift on constant replay for 72 straight hours. Then they might get it.

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#140 Romanus
November 08 2011, 08:02PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

4th line with a minute left? Renney knows its a 1 goal lead right?

Apperently he does. They are good defensively. Not like our 4th lines of the past few years.

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#141 Puritania
November 08 2011, 08:02PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

SQUEEEE!!!

You know what I need Puritania!!! Gimme the sax!!

[edit] yes... you got it!

Way ahead of ya buddy, post #136 :D

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#142 jeanshorts
November 08 2011, 08:04PM
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Puritania wrote:

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

Huzzah!

SAX IT UP NATION!!! SAX IT UP!!

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#143 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 08:05PM
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Romanus wrote:

Apperently he does. They are good defensively. Not like our 4th lines of the past few years.

Not sure about Eager... has a tendency to go Moreau on us... But I'm comfortable with Petrell and Lander in the late stages.

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#144 friday the FISTeenth
November 08 2011, 08:08PM
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Khabibulin in post game interview: "I've learned how to hydrate" ...oh no.

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#145 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 08:09PM
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anyone got a hit count? I think we got out hit. Hemsky took the brunt of it. Hall on Gionta was a real beaut though... someone needs to make a gif of that and play EPIC SAX GUY over top of it... I'd die.

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#146 jeanshorts
November 08 2011, 08:11PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Not sure about Eager... has a tendency to go Moreau on us... But I'm comfortable with Petrell and Lander in the late stages.

I think most of us were worried about that, but so far he's kept his nose nice and clean. Guaranteed Renney has a short leash on him. Although, I wouldn't mind seeing go crazy against the Canucks or the Flames or some other team that likes to run our guys.

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#147 Puritania
November 08 2011, 08:11PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

anyone got a hit count? I think we got out hit. Hemsky took the brunt of it. Hall on Gionta was a real beaut though... someone needs to make a gif of that and play EPIC SAX GUY over top of it... I'd die.

Well I'm no help, If I dressed myself like I navigate computers I would be wearing an extension cord belt and my ginch on my head everyday.

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#148 jeanshorts
November 08 2011, 08:13PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

anyone got a hit count? I think we got out hit. Hemsky took the brunt of it. Hall on Gionta was a real beaut though... someone needs to make a gif of that and play EPIC SAX GUY over top of it... I'd die.

21 to 20..........OILERS! If you can believe that.

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#149 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 08 2011, 08:14PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I think most of us were worried about that, but so far he's kept his nose nice and clean. Guaranteed Renney has a short leash on him. Although, I wouldn't mind seeing go crazy against the Canucks or the Flames or some other team that likes to run our guys.

Oh totally... He's a nuck crusher! But not in the final minute... save that for the 1st.

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#150 VK63
November 08 2011, 08:16PM
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Wow... talk about chez paris legs in the second. egad.

Im thinking the girls had visitors last night.

11 scouts got to see a real bad Gagner tonight..... unfortunately.

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