And in this corner!

Jason Strudwick
January 14 2013 06:43PM

Weighing in at 232lbs and standing six feet, two inches tall......Mark Fistric!!

I have been saying since the summer that the Oiler's defence corps was missing a piece. I was convinced the team needed to go out and pick up a solid top-four defencemen. I know, they are hard to find, everyone wants to keep them but to move forward it was a necessity. Today they traded a third round pick for Mark Fistric. He isn't a top-four guy but he will bring something in the bottom pair that I really like.

Fistric is a hard guy to play against. He loves to hit and hit hard. When he plays with an edge he can be very effective. He had 235 hits last year which is pretty impressive. This is an element the Oilers need on their back end. Smid plays hard but outside of him, if we assume Peckham is out of the lineup, these aren't the hardest guys to play against.

He averaged 16:30 a night for Dallas last year in 60 games. Just over two minutes of that was killing penalties. I think he is a pretty good penalty killer. This will take the heat off guys like Smid, Whitney and Petry to have to kill every minute of a penalty. This year everyone’s ice time needs to be monitored and controlled so they all stay fresh.

At times Fistric will run out of position for a big hit and may even take some penalties that will frustrate his coach for hitting but I am all for it. This entire team needs some guys that are physically hard to play against. The team is not built for a lot of heavy games but I think it is important to have some players that can push back. Playing in St Louis or L.A. is no picnic these days.

The skill on this team is running two lines deep which is something to be excited about. The team will be able to score goals and play hockey that is very fun to watch. But when they need to walk down a dark alley in the first round of the playoffs in a series against the Kings, will they come out the other side? Adding a player like Fistric is a step in the right direction but there is still a ways to go.

This is a good addition for the depth on the Oiler's blue line. This bumps Peckham and Potter to some combination of seven and eight. Two guys that can come in and play somewhere between 12 - 18 minutes when required. Those are minutes both can handle and their skill sets are exact opposites.

There will be injuries to the big team, that I can promise due to this schedule, so Fedun and Teubert are now the ninth and tenth guys on the depth chart. This is something that makes me a lot more comfortable. They need time in the minors to continue to develop.

I still think the Oiler's need to add a legit top four guy. This helps with ice time for guys like Smid, Petry, Whitney, who are the legit top four guys right now. Justin Schultz could be there one day and Nick Schultz can fill in as well. The top teams are strong and deep at defence. The Vancouver Canucks just added Jim Vandermeer and Cam Barker, two former Oilers. Say what you will about their abilities but they provide great depth at the 7 and 8 spots.

I don't know that there are any top four defencemen in the making in OKC. I haven't watched them play enough to really get a good idea. Oscar Klefbom has the potential to become one but with his shoulder injury, that isn't likely for a couple years now.

Fistric is a good start for getting a stronger back line for the Oilers but there is still work and decisions to be made.

So what do you want???

Now that the NHL is open for business, fans are happy the league is back but they feel they deserve something. Something for the pain of going through a second lockout in less than ten years. It is hard to argue with that idea. I have said many times that it was and is still unacceptable for the league to lockout the players again this past few months. Let’s not get into that again! No matter how you feel about that, we can all agree the fans suffered.

After the last lockout, the NHL came up with a plan that in hindsight wasn't much but seemed to keep the peace with the fans. Isn't it enough to write in big blue writing in the neutral zone again the slogan "Thank you Fans!"? What do you guys want?

Some NHL teams around the league are trying to make amends with their fans in some way. There are teams that are selling some season tickets are very low prices. Fifty percent off team merchandise for a while doesn't seem like a bad deal to me. Free parking for some home games, not too shabby.

The Oilers have made the first three practices this week open to the public. While watching you can enjoy free popcorn and pop. This isn't earth shattering but it is an olive branch. Sunday night the team played shinny hockey at Hawerlak Park. Afterwards the team signed autographs and posed for some pictures. Again, nothing monumental but it is a gesture.

The social media universe had very mixed reaction to these plans by the Oilers. Some people were happy about the fact they tried to do something. Others thought it was disingenuous. They thought it was a preplanned exercise. Of course it was, how else would it get together? Some felt the players should have done it on their own during the lockout. Not a bad idea but a little late for that now.

After reading through the comments on twitter last night, I went to bed with this thought on my mind... At the end of the day is there any kind of gesture from the teams of the NHL that will ease the pain from the lockout for the fans?

I don't think there is.

Are the fans still just mad and wanting to continue to vent at someone, anyone for a while longer? Will that make everyone feel better? Is this issue with some kind of make-up from the teams to the fans the newest way to express the frustration fans still have bottled up from the lockout?

If that is the case then nothing will heal the wound that has been created by this latest lockout except for time. If redirecting their anger isn't the issue and actually wanting something to make up for the lockout nightmare is the real goal for fans, what do you want?

Tell me!! What will make up for those lost months of hockey? Those lost months of enjoyment? The lost trust between you and the NHL?

Honestly I don't think there is any amount of free stuff or PR events that will heal this wound faster. If I am wrong, let me know what will!

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#51 Bank Shot
January 14 2013, 11:17PM
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Hayek wrote:

Fistric had the 2nd worst relative corsi on Dallas' defence. He faced the soft parade (reflected by his relative corsi quality of competition), and played poorly. His numbers that the commoners look at would look even worse if he didn't benefit from having the best SV% while on ice among all Dallas defenders.

As much as many of you blindly love any Edmonton Oiler. This guy is a bust. He averaged the lowest amount of ice time among the top 6 in Dallas, provides no offence, and gets crushed at evens vs the soft parade.

All anything positive people can bring up is his hit stat, which is propped up by the trigger happy Dallas scorekeeper. Sure he hits, great, but for a defensive defenceman (which is only thought of because of his lack of offence) he plays terrible defensively.

Fistric has had the lowest GA/60 average on the Stars D-core 3 of his 5 seasons.

He's good at the third pairing.

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#52 DSF
January 14 2013, 11:18PM
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victor wrote:

Barker is not signed to the league minimum (will be 750k in 2022, and Barker is at 700k this year,) and is also signed to a 1-way contract, unlike Vandemeer.

You may think he's better than Teubert. At this stage of his career, the only thing I can say for sure, is that he's older than Teubert.

I wouldn't want Barker on my team, and my team just drafted Nail Yakupov. Something tells me that I shouldn't be so hard on Barker....

Yeah, did I mention that we just drafted Yakupov?

Barker is signed for $700k this season...Teubert $916K.

No contest.

Yakupov has nothing to do with this unless he can play defense.

#crapteamsgethighdraftpicks.

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#53 victor
January 14 2013, 11:22PM
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DSF wrote:

Barker is signed for $700k this season...Teubert $916K.

No contest.

Yakupov has nothing to do with this unless he can play defense.

#crapteamsgethighdraftpicks.

Wow, really reaching on this.

Barker should be well liked at this site, he's part of the reason that Edmonton landed Yakupov (and likely J.Schultz, who chose to play in Edmonton over his hometown due to the opportunity to play with Hall, Hopkins, Eberle, and Yakupov.)

Now Vancouver has him. Perhaps they'll draft Seth Jones? Good defender to replace Edler.

#VancouversWindowsClosingQuicklyAndDSFDoesntLikeIt

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#54 DSF
January 14 2013, 11:30PM
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victor wrote:

Wow, really reaching on this.

Barker should be well liked at this site, he's part of the reason that Edmonton landed Yakupov (and likely J.Schultz, who chose to play in Edmonton over his hometown due to the opportunity to play with Hall, Hopkins, Eberle, and Yakupov.)

Now Vancouver has him. Perhaps they'll draft Seth Jones? Good defender to replace Edler.

#VancouversWindowsClosingQuicklyAndDSFDoesntLikeIt

Barker finished the season 0 +-.

He wasn't the problem.

#kidscantplaybigboyhockey

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#55 Quicksilver ballet
January 14 2013, 11:30PM
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DSF wrote:

Good grief.

Their defense, second line centre, bottom 6 and goaltending are a mess.

Playoffs?

I can understand your viewpoint, but this isn't a 82 gm season. This is a 48 gm scramble/sprint to be in the top 8 of the division.

Have a sneaky suspicion things could go well for the Oilers this season. Hemsky earns his 5 mill, Yakupov turns Ganger into a point a game player this season. The kids benifit from playing during the lockout and improve over last yrs effectiveness. Nail is going to be a game changer, Justin Schultz is a bonus to the difference between last yr, and this yr. The talent is so watered down in todays game. Justin Schultz finishes top 5 in production as far as blueliners go this season.

Here's to hoping....

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#56 victor
January 14 2013, 11:35PM
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DSF wrote:

Barker finished the season 0 +-.

He wasn't the problem.

#kidscantplaybigboyhockey

Wow, a wholly 0+/-.

You should be happy at the great deal you got for him. I can't wait to ask you about his great play, when the season kicks off.

I'm sure that the Luongo deal will help. You said they had something lined up.

How's that going for you?

#KidsAreBetterThanAnInjuredKeslerAndRaymondAndBooth

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#57 Mikey
January 14 2013, 11:41PM
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DSF wrote:

Actually he doesn't help prevent them.

GFON/60 1.63

GAON/60 1.78

Playing the softest minutes.

Pretty numbers. How do they compare to other 5-6d in the league. You know so that way they actually mean something.

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#58 The Soup Fascist
January 15 2013, 12:54AM
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@Hayek

So the Corsi numbers (which IMO are extremely subjective ) are rock solid but the hit and blocked shots category are due to a dishonest NHL statistician (who mysteriously follows Fistric on the road as well) and should be ignored? Thanks for clearing that up.

The problem is stats are so subjective. You say Fistric was helped by the Star's goaltenders SV%. I say he contributed to improving their save percentage by a) keeping the front of the net clear b) forcing opp shooters outside and / or c) making it a "safer" decision for them to float in a wrister than challenge Fistric along the boards.

At the end of the day lets see if Fistric makes this a better defence core than Potter / Peckham. At the risk of sounding like a "commoner", I will take a guy who puts the opposition through the boards and beats Flames heads in with their own helmets on this squad any day. At least until I hear the Sedins in a corner of their dressing room saying "keep your head up out there. They have Potter in the line up. Did you notice his Rel. Corsi is 5 % better than last year?".

.........Except I imagine it in the voice of the Swedish chef from the Muppets.

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#59 GVBlackhawk
January 15 2013, 01:17AM
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DSF wrote:

Barker finished the season 0 +-.

He wasn't the problem.

#kidscantplaybigboyhockey

The worst defenseman on a poor defensive team is DEFINITELY part of the problem.

Plus minus is such an antiquated and flawed stat used to evaluate effectiveness -- Cam Barker is living proof of this. I can point to several metrics that would establish Barker's lack of hockey acumen: corsi relative to qualtiy of competition, Fenwick, Neilson scores at Cult of Hockey, WOWY, etc. Barker is at or near the bottom of all analytical categories.

If you think he is an effective defenseman in the NHL then you do not know hockey.

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#60 Rocket
January 15 2013, 02:03AM
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You know most of the time I actually see DSF's point & I appreciate DFS's realistic attitude. DSF is not a troll but someone who brings constructive Criticism to the table.

That being said: Barker? Really? Not part of the problem? Don't overstep your bounds yet because he was definitely not only part of the problem.

The Oilers definitely have holes but don't act like Barker is the solution. Or Vandermeer.

I guess Dithers was too busy signing Yakupov & Schultz to pay attention to "quality" D-men like Barker & Vandermeer.

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#61 RushPhan
January 15 2013, 04:06AM
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Let me see...how about free Centre Ice for the shortened season. Whatever they do it better be first class. All of the stuff mentioned above may have been okay for 2005 but not now. This farcical lockout was the owner's doing. I want to see something for all Oiler fans not just people in Edmonton. It's going to be a long time before I lay out big dough to travel from G.P to support the Oilers. Katz and company can kiss my big red...

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#62 Lofty
January 15 2013, 05:52AM
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RushPhan wrote:

Let me see...how about free Centre Ice for the shortened season. Whatever they do it better be first class. All of the stuff mentioned above may have been okay for 2005 but not now. This farcical lockout was the owner's doing. I want to see something for all Oiler fans not just people in Edmonton. It's going to be a long time before I lay out big dough to travel from G.P to support the Oilers. Katz and company can kiss my big red...

No way they're going to give free center ice. The NHL is trying to get people back into the arenas. Encouraging people to stay home is counter productive.

Direct TV is charging $60 in the US for the season, $1.25 per game versus the regular $2.45. Works for me except being on the East coast and the oil only playing western conference teams. Its going to be a struggle to watch weekday games that end at 1:00am

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#63 Oilcruzer
January 15 2013, 07:42AM
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DSF wrote:

Jeremy Rutherford ‏@jprutherford

For those who haven't heard, NHL Center Ice will be free from Jan. 19-31, then cost $49.99 for remainder of 48-game season (residential).

Nice. Thanks for this.

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#64 Clyde Frog
January 15 2013, 08:16AM
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*Sits back, relaxes and laughs uncontrollably

I'm still loving DSF trying to spin the Canucks hoovering up the Oiler's sloppy seconds as a good thing.

He is reaching soooo hard on this one, its hilarious.

Teubert is an AHL player learning his game, meaning he DOESN'T make 900K, why you ask? Because he makes AHL money on a 2-way.

He makes 65k (Although if he was in the NHL he only makes 785k as bonuses up his cap hit)

So to recap, we have a developing defenseman making 65k in the AHL freeing up a roster spot in the NHL.

The Canucks have a turnstile making 700K eating up a NHL roster spot...

Yeah DSF, you are homering HARD.

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#65 michael
January 15 2013, 08:39AM
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Fistric is a great addition.. Like you Struds he is already commited to the community.An Edmonton guy who's family is already here. I bet he couldn't get on that plane fast enough. What an adrenaline boost that must have been,Hey Mark,you've been traded.Where? Edmonton. Wha? Where he'd he go? The Flash had nothing on Fistric yesterday. I bet the interview will be filled with the standard responses but the guy will be bursting inside. Gets to play for the home team. Tough gig for some. But hey if you are up to it is the best gig in the whole NHL.

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#66 positivebrontefan
January 15 2013, 09:08AM
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@Hayek

"His numbers that the commoners look at would look even worse if he didn't benefit from having the best SV% while on ice among all Dallas defenders."

Best save % while he was on ice...would that be because he keeps guys to the outside and clears the front of the net so his Goalie can see the shot???

I think he's a good addition, grit and toughness, now all we need is for Eager to play like Ben Eager of a few years ago and we have added some usable grit to our team. No these guys aren't rock stars but who of any rockstar caliber that has grit ever becomes available?

As for giving back to the "entitled" fans someone on this forum called them? Shelling out huge dollars for season tickets and then having the team hold your money while they dont give you the product you already paid for does not make you entitled, it makes you angry and frustrated! Just get back to playing hockey, and playing it well.

As for the fan that does not pay for season seats and merrily goes about his way, (thats me,) I've never been so happy for three nights of NFL football a week instead of just two. Now that the NFL season is wrapping up they can go back to playing hockey. In a perfect world NFL Football would start a month and a half earlier and NHL would start once the NFL season is over...just like now but in early November...and keep the shortened 48 games in 98 days. I dont want to watch playoff hockey in June...not that I've had to since 2006...

Struds, really enjoy your show when I get a chance to listen, have Smid on as often as possible, that guys a riot.

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#67 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 15 2013, 09:22AM
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You are all Straw Men!!

There is no need to defend or trash the Barker/Vandermeer acquisitions to the hilt.

These guys are paid nothing in relative terms and are way down the depth chart... they are post-nuclear disaster, "I'm setting myself on fire" options.

These are simply really minor deals that will probably have very little effect on the team.

Teubert is a rough, young but getting late in the day, tough guy D who is still a long shot to be a settled NHLer.

He isn't paid anything in relative terms and still has a lot of upside, pedigree and toughness (given a premium by Oil mgt.). There is no need to either run him down or pump his tires. He is an incredibly minor part of the Oiler puzzle right now.

Fistric is a quality 3rd pairing D with toughness, PK ability and appears reliable in his own end for what he is (a 3rd pairing guy). He is welcome to the depth chart on any day on most teams. With the injuries to Sutton and Peckham (and more coming) he is a necessary addition.

However, he is not the solution to the problem on D.

Again... clear eyed discussion please. No need to over- or under-appreciate any of these players.

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#68 Hayek
January 15 2013, 09:34AM
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Should know better than post any advanced metrics with many of you as you don't seem to comprehend it. A few people quote on his playing style, yet I doubt any of you have actually watched him play. You are just quoting opinions you have heard from broadcasters from the media, in which many of them have been limited to watching him once or twice last year.

If you look at Dallas' scorekeeper, it is widely known that he credits hits the highest in the NHL (for both home and away teams in Dallas). That is why that stat is skewed.

And to you people who can't comprehend anything more than a basic box score, Fistric was 6th in ice time among defenders for a bad Dallas team. What makes you think he is actually good? How are you peons so excited about getting a 6th defender from a bad team....Oh wait, he hits (even if it means giving up chances) rednecks of Edmonton rejoice!

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#69 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 15 2013, 09:42AM
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Hayek wrote:

Should know better than post any advanced metrics with many of you as you don't seem to comprehend it. A few people quote on his playing style, yet I doubt any of you have actually watched him play. You are just quoting opinions you have heard from broadcasters from the media, in which many of them have been limited to watching him once or twice last year.

If you look at Dallas' scorekeeper, it is widely known that he credits hits the highest in the NHL (for both home and away teams in Dallas). That is why that stat is skewed.

And to you people who can't comprehend anything more than a basic box score, Fistric was 6th in ice time among defenders for a bad Dallas team. What makes you think he is actually good? How are you peons so excited about getting a 6th defender from a bad team....Oh wait, he hits (even if it means giving up chances) rednecks of Edmonton rejoice!

there is no adv. stats that say he is a miracle worker or that he is some reanimation of Cory Cross. here's some thorough analysis about his pros/cons:

http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/01/fistric-added-to-oilers-blu.html

http://oilersnation.com/2013/1/14/edmonton-oilers-add-mark-fistric-via-trade

http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=5181

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/01/15/new-oilers-d-man-mark-fistric-is-slow-but-steady-think-jason-strudwick-in-his-prime/

ps. most recognize Dallas inflates hits and blocked shots. Doesn't mean the guy doesn't hit a ton... just means you have to shed 20% or so from Dallas' numbers for a realistic picture.

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#70 positivebrontefan
January 15 2013, 09:47AM
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@Hayek

Hey, dont get me wrong, he's not the second coming of Chris Pronger, or even a fraction of it. He's an improvement over who we have to apparently replace, Sutton and Peckham. Nothing more. But it was a need that was filled.

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#71 The Soup Fascist
January 15 2013, 09:49AM
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Hayek wrote:

Should know better than post any advanced metrics with many of you as you don't seem to comprehend it. A few people quote on his playing style, yet I doubt any of you have actually watched him play. You are just quoting opinions you have heard from broadcasters from the media, in which many of them have been limited to watching him once or twice last year.

If you look at Dallas' scorekeeper, it is widely known that he credits hits the highest in the NHL (for both home and away teams in Dallas). That is why that stat is skewed.

And to you people who can't comprehend anything more than a basic box score, Fistric was 6th in ice time among defenders for a bad Dallas team. What makes you think he is actually good? How are you peons so excited about getting a 6th defender from a bad team....Oh wait, he hits (even if it means giving up chances) rednecks of Edmonton rejoice!

Well thanks for confirming yourself as a troll.

If you cannot have an intelligent conversation without comments like "commoners" "peons" and "rednecks" because people disagree with your "advanced metrics", clearly you are incapable of lucid thought and / or get your giggles trolling.

Be well, Little One. Be well.

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#72 mustang
January 15 2013, 11:13AM
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Rocket wrote:

You know most of the time I actually see DSF's point & I appreciate DFS's realistic attitude. DSF is not a troll but someone who brings constructive Criticism to the table.

That being said: Barker? Really? Not part of the problem? Don't overstep your bounds yet because he was definitely not only part of the problem.

The Oilers definitely have holes but don't act like Barker is the solution. Or Vandermeer.

I guess Dithers was too busy signing Yakupov & Schultz to pay attention to "quality" D-men like Barker & Vandermeer.

Hi guys, I believe Barker is so GOOD that he was released from Dallas stars farm team in the AHL. This guy is not and never will be a NHL level hockey player ever again. Good on the canucks to give him another shot at the show...it will be his last. We will see him in Germany or somewhere like that.

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#73 094
January 15 2013, 11:20AM
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DSF wrote:

Barker is signed for $700k this season...Teubert $916K.

No contest.

Yakupov has nothing to do with this unless he can play defense.

#crapteamsgethighdraftpicks.

#whytheheckdopeopleusehashtagsonwebsiteorforumstheyservenopurposeletalonethethelenththatheyhavethemisridiculousgoodgrief

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#74 Puritania
January 15 2013, 11:30AM
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@ Hayek

The fact that you can't comment without insulting everyone leads me to believe it isn't worth debating with you. It undermines your points and it's just childish. If you can't take people disagreeing with you, don't comment.

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#75 Will
January 15 2013, 01:04PM
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Say Whitney is back to his old self. Are our defensive issues taken care of? By my count we have a top 2 guy in Whitney, a possible rookie phenom, a great and still developing shut down pair, and a bit of tough to play against grit. I think we lack some depth in an injury situation, but I'm also not really sure what more we can ask for back there. Also, I want to remind everyone about all our prospects still developing. If even one of them pans out as they are billed, the Oilers D looks like it's in good shape. I think in a season or two, our D will be comparable to Chicago. I don't think it's as solid as Van if all their players are healthy, but it's certainly better than Minnesota.

If Dubnyk plays like he has shown he can, then I think our biggest question mark is actually going to be one of our biggest strengths. Thus allowing management to focus on adding some size upfront.

We will make the playoffs in the abbreviated season. I know it might just be a story being promoted, but having half of our players in game shape is going to give other teams fits. Rolling out our top two lines against teams that haven't been playing is going to be a point buffet, at least out of the gate. Oilers will win 8 of their first 10 games and finish the season with 56 of a possible 96 points. Further, they will win their first round matchup against Dallas. But lose in the second round to St. Louis.

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#76 Mike Modano's Dog
January 15 2013, 03:08PM
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I want to see free Centre Ice, as well.

THAT would be a way to involve the fans back into the game again. Considering you AREN'T going to see any teams from the other conference this year, it would be a worthwhile gesture, I think. Thanks to RushPhan and Lofty for discussing it earlier, but as to the argument that they are trying to get people INTO the building, not stay home...I feel that wouldn't hinder it. Why - because in NHL team areas their games are already covered by local TV. This would merely create excitement in what is happening around the league...a win/win!

I would be satisfied with that.

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#77 Oiler Al
January 15 2013, 05:04PM
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One taught on the "Shinny Game", team should have handed out free draw tickets, for a chance to win the shirts of their backs from the Shinny game.Would have been a nice touch.[ tab [picked up by Katz.]

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#78 Joe Canuck
January 15 2013, 09:35PM
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Hey, we-the fanbase, were at the mercy of the NHL and NHLPA for months, now it is their turn. I'm not buying tickets, merchandise for at least 10 games. They (the NHL and NHLPA) need to be shown who is really in charge of "Hockey Operations". Oh, I'll definitely be back, cash in hand, but not for a while. I say "Join the Movement"!!

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#79 Chris
January 21 2013, 04:13PM
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Is there any indication when Fistric will make his Oilers debut? And for that matter have they released the line ups for January 22,2013 against San Jose?

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