OVERNIGHT SENSATION?

Lowetide
January 15 2013 05:49PM

 

It's early, but Sam Gagner's spot on the depth chart isn't clouded by injury, old timey coaching or worries over what he doesn't bring to the dance. Dave Gagner's boy may be poised for a big season. 

A year ago, Sam Gagner missed opening night and the 6 games afterward, joining the battle in G7 against the NY Rangers on October 22nd. He played RW alongside Eric Belanger and Magnus Paajarvi, and was 2-0 at evens according to Dennis King scoring chances. Gagner spent large portions of last season outside the feature lines, and didn't score a goal his 20th game of the season. Gagner's splits suggest a very uneven season, and his pre and post All-Star performances reflect it:

  • Pre All-Star game: 42, 5-16-21 -4 (.5 points-per-game)
  • Post All-Star game: 33, 13-13-26 +9 (.788 points-per-game)

Gagner had excellent timing a year ago, scoring an amazing 8-points in one night against Chicago during a period where his name was mentioned in trade rumors. He is 23 years old, a veteran of 366 NHL games, improved markedly in the faceoff circle and in plus minus compared to team.  

SAM GAGNER 11-12

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.96 (4th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 3.66 (6th among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 8th toughest among regular forwards
  • Qual Team: 6th best teammates among regular forwards
  • Corsi Rel: 6.3 (4th best among regular forwards)
  • Zone Start: 54.1% (4th easiest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 51.8% (4th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 149/12.1% (5th among F’s>100 shots)
  • Boxcars: 75, 18-29-47
  • Plus Minus: +5 on a team that was -26

This week in training camp, coach Krueger has Samwise between Ales Hemsky and Nail Yakupov: two elite passers and the Kalashnikov Machinegun. As consolation wingers, Hemmer and the Nail are stunning, and 89 should be able to find chemistry with these two--certainly better chem than he had last season in the Belanger-Paajarvi days. 

KRUEGER!

Pat Quinn never did figure out Samwise and Tom Renney had his moments too. Ralph Krueger appears to mark the return of 'rational thinking' behind the Oilers bench, and placing Gagner between Ales Hemsky and Nail Yakupov is a very good sign. That trio should also get plenty of PP time on the #2PP unit (Horcoff and Hartikainen appear to be getting the push onto the #1PP with the whiz kids) and one expects a pretty good secondary unit to grow out of such a talented bunch.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Sam Gagner is still a young hockey player and should have a decade or more playing a huge role on an NHL team. For the first time in awhile, it looks like the coach is onside with Kevin Lowe and management in terms of Sam Gagner's best role: a skill center on a skill line. No more Belanger-Paajarvi, or so we hope.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Will
January 15 2013, 06:21PM
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Hmm, I want to try and preempt all the DSF trolling that is inevitably about to begin.

Lets see, Sam Gagner is not fit to play 4th line on Columbus. For that matter, none of the Oilers are. Vancouver is better then sex (something I've never had). Um, Hemmer is washed up and Nail was a wasted pick. Galchenyuk or a defender should have been taken instead. Um, hmm what else... Oh, just because Gagner has the second most points out of any pick from his draft year doesn't mean he should have been taken any higher than the 7th round.

As for my opinions, unless there is a consistent 40 + point center that happens to be bigger and plays with some sand, but is equally as skilled, then it's hard to complain about Gagner's output.

I am hoping with one of our two first round picks this year we get that big Fin for a center, and trade Gagner. Not because I want to see him go, but because I think we could actually get a decent return for him. Like a 1B back up and a depth defender maybe?

Even still, on that line, he is going to have a monster year. I feel sorry for teams trying to defend against our top two lines for the first ten games. We are going to be flying!

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#2 book¡e
January 15 2013, 10:17PM
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Bah - Tired of this Oilers are Great vs DSF Oilers are Terrible/Mediocre stuff, its been 8 damn months of the same blathering crap every blog post. I simply can't wait for the season to start so that we will at least have something recent and meaningful to debate/discuss in the comments sections.

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#3 Johe
January 15 2013, 10:28PM
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Gags has some sandpaper. He's fought a number of times, and in most cases against opponents substantially bigger than him. Any skill player who does that has my respect.

And it's true that he is not the best second line centre around, but he IS a second line centre. You can't possibly tell me there are sixty other centres in this league that are more productive. However, it may also be true that on this particular team, Gagner is not a great fit. RNH, undisputedly the No. 1, is a player with a similar skill set(although amplified), so it might benefit the Oilers to target someone more in the vein of a Ryan Kesler(sans the diving and whining) or a Jordan Staal. Someone who, in addition to putting up points befitting a second line centre, can kill penalties, use his size down low, etc.

Regardless, I will continue to root for Gags and believe in him. He plays with heart, he never complains, and he has represented the Oilers logo well. Good guy, good player. Hopefully he gets his first taste of playoff hockey this year. Go Oil. :)

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#4 dougtheslug
January 15 2013, 07:11PM
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Jefff wrote:

I see the best 2-way centers in the league.

2 small centers don't win you cups.

Jeez who is this Jefff guy? DSF's little brother? One is enough, thanks.

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#5 Trufflepig
January 15 2013, 06:18PM
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Can the season just start already?!?! I hope Samwise breaks out this year. He's never had better wingers!

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#6 Stack Pad Save
January 15 2013, 06:39PM
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Jefff wrote:

Can't win the cup win when your #2 is Gagner with this team

No sandpaper.

Mike Richards Anže Kopitar

Patrice Bergeron David Krejčí

Jonathan Toews Patrick Sharp

Evgeni Malkin Sidney Crosby

Pavel Datsyuk Henrik Zetterberg

You forgot the 2013 year

Ryan Nugent Hopkins Sam Gagner

too far ahead of myself?

parade route anyone?

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#7 NastyNate
January 15 2013, 08:36PM
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@Jefff

Krecji 6'0 Bergeron Listed at 6'1 (Stretch)

RNH 6'1 Gagner Listed at 5'10

I see a two inch difference, pretty sure they didn't win the cup because of this. Better change your argument again. Sandpaper ----> 2 small centers don't win you cups ----> derp derp.

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#8 Matt Henderson
January 15 2013, 07:04PM
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This is Gagner's time to SIUTBOHC. Lets hope he does it.

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#9 dougtheslug
January 15 2013, 10:28PM
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book¡e wrote:

Bah - Tired of this Oilers are Great vs DSF Oilers are Terrible/Mediocre stuff, its been 8 damn months of the same blathering crap every blog post. I simply can't wait for the season to start so that we will at least have something recent and meaningful to debate/discuss in the comments sections.

Amen, Brother.But, on the other hand, Oilers ARE great!

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#10 Puritania
January 16 2013, 02:54AM
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book¡e wrote:

Bah - Tired of this Oilers are Great vs DSF Oilers are Terrible/Mediocre stuff, its been 8 damn months of the same blathering crap every blog post. I simply can't wait for the season to start so that we will at least have something recent and meaningful to debate/discuss in the comments sections.

Infinite props.

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#11 Shaun
January 16 2013, 07:55AM
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If Gagner plays the whole season with Yakupov and Hemsky i would expect Gagner to get around 35 pts.

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#12 Time Travelling Sean
January 16 2013, 09:34AM
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Mike Modano's Dog wrote:

what? ...unless I missed some joke from earlier comments, that is!

Call me an optimist, but based on how Slammin' Sammy is looking right now I'll guess he's on his way to a 70 point season or so - barring injury, of course. And yes, you can hold me to it at the end of the season, too.

I'll be going to the practice again today, but man he looks good - he's just 'on' and I agree with L.T. here, he's looking poised to 'break out'! :)

It's a 48 game season. You should drink your coffee.

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#13 misfit
January 15 2013, 07:35PM
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All I want to know about Gagner is when we start calling him the carpenter?

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#14 Concur
January 16 2013, 03:49AM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

They might not all have sandpaper, but they are all very hard to play against. The softest guy on the list is probably Patrick Sharp IMHO. It is obvious that strength down the middle in terms of quality players is vital to Stanley Cup success. I do not think that a combination of Sam Gagner and RNH can win the Oilers a Cup. I think we need a better 2nd line center. That being said, I do think that Sam Gagner could have a much improved year, which would hopefully allow the Oilers to use him in a trade for a better 2nd line center.

Sam Gagner is a legit 2nd line center. He is in his 6th NHL season, he has been consistent in his point production, and this being paired with numerous different players from year to year and even through out a year. I know he doesn't have the highest totals of other 2nd line centers but he is well within the average. I have no fear that Sam Gagner will be hoisting a cup in Edmonton as a second line center as long as they are not dumb enough to trade him.

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#15 Mac962
January 16 2013, 07:14AM
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Some [ like us] have no real idea how difficult it is to make an N.H.L. Club and have a good solid career.

I would bet Gagner has been up against it his entire hockey life, being small in stature. He may never be superstar, but he will get his points and play in this league for a long time. There are bigger men in this league that dont have Sam's Grit. [ Did i say Penner ? noooo] Not Sam's fault the Oilers have over the years acquired smaller players. I'm betting if he was a UFA There would be 20 teams looking to sign him.

If you had to choose... Horcoff or Gagner ? i know who i pick.

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#16 dessert1111
January 16 2013, 07:50AM
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Gagner is not the best 2C in the league but not the first either. He is still young, has skill, the talent around him is improving and he is improving to be a more well-rounded player. Let's reopen this debate at the end of the season or at least after 20 games have been played. The season hasn't started yet, there is tonnes of hype for the Oil (it seems whenever I see TSN on at a bar or something they are talking about the Oilers) so let's enjoy it and have some optimism...a more enjoyable way to live :)

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#17 j
January 16 2013, 08:36AM
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There are very few centermen who succeed with poor/ non-complementary wingers. Face-off percentage goes down (wingers aren't supporting the puck-drop battle), plus/minus suffers (wingers aren't scoring even if centerman is distributing), tendancy to get penned into own zone (wingers losing board battles)and overall effectiveness appears mediocre. The reverse isn't always true i.e. wingers can still have a pretty good year with a poor centre as they can cheat a little bit for offense. I am not blind to Gagner's limitations in certain areas but he has a complete package. The rest of the roster has been in shambles for so long it is near impossible to really understand what we have. This year really is different as we have a deep cast of skill and a coach who seems to understand the opportunity in front of him. Will it work out? Who knows. It is a funny game sometimes so let's sit back and enjoy.

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#18 book¡e
January 15 2013, 05:54PM
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Ralph will fix him!

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#19 wiseguy
January 15 2013, 05:55PM
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He'll do well when not on the fist line.

*stupid slow reading skills

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Gagner and Hemsky are my pick for stars this year. Honorable mention to Horcoff.

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Jefff wrote:

Can't win the cup win when your #2 is Gagner with this team

No sandpaper.

Mike Richards Anže Kopitar

Patrice Bergeron David Krejčí

Jonathan Toews Patrick Sharp

Evgeni Malkin Sidney Crosby

Pavel Datsyuk Henrik Zetterberg

Sandpaper???? Of the 10 centres you listed, how many would you classify as having "sandpaper" in their game. I see one, maybe two.

Besides, how about we make the playoffs first...

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#22 Smytty's Jibs
January 15 2013, 07:11PM
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@The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

Make the playoffs first? What are you doing thinking rationally during training camp???

The Oil are already hoisting Lord Stanley as far as I'm concerned!

The parade will wrap up as Yak does a 360 burnout in Emery's Lambo then cuts the tape to our brand new 600 million dollar arena.

Bank on it.

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#23 DSF
January 15 2013, 07:29PM
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Will wrote:

Hmm, I want to try and preempt all the DSF trolling that is inevitably about to begin.

Lets see, Sam Gagner is not fit to play 4th line on Columbus. For that matter, none of the Oilers are. Vancouver is better then sex (something I've never had). Um, Hemmer is washed up and Nail was a wasted pick. Galchenyuk or a defender should have been taken instead. Um, hmm what else... Oh, just because Gagner has the second most points out of any pick from his draft year doesn't mean he should have been taken any higher than the 7th round.

As for my opinions, unless there is a consistent 40 + point center that happens to be bigger and plays with some sand, but is equally as skilled, then it's hard to complain about Gagner's output.

I am hoping with one of our two first round picks this year we get that big Fin for a center, and trade Gagner. Not because I want to see him go, but because I think we could actually get a decent return for him. Like a 1B back up and a depth defender maybe?

Even still, on that line, he is going to have a monster year. I feel sorry for teams trying to defend against our top two lines for the first ten games. We are going to be flying!

Thanks for asking.

I see the pre-season Lily Gilding has begun.

1) Gagner would be a good fit in Columbus since they are almost devoid of good centres but I expect he would, at best, be their second line centre,

2) I'm really sorry for your sex thing. Did you mean with someone else?

3) Hemsky is a fine player when healthy. Problem is, he;'s never healthy.

4) Nail is likely going to be a very good player but I would wager Galchenyuk will be better and would have been a much better fit on the Oilers.

5) Gagner's stunning point totals (not really) have to be put into context. He was given a huge push in his early years because the Oilers were bereft of any talent and had to sell tickets. That he has the "second highest point total" of his draft class is very misleading because most other teams don't throw their rookies into the deep end.

Now that other players from that draft year are becoming key cogs on their teams, things are changing rapidly.

For example, look at these PPG totals.

Kane - .92

Benn - .72

Couture - .71

Gagner - .60

Perron - .60

Hagelin - .59

Shattenkirk (D) .56

Pacioretty .56

While I don't think you could call Gagner a miss in the draft, he's hardly head and shoulders above the rest of his draft class and he's had, by far, the best opportunity other than Kane.

Also worth noting, that 5 years into his career, Gagner is playing the 8th toughest competition among Oiler forwards as LT noted above.

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#24 Mikey
January 15 2013, 07:59PM
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Jefff wrote:

@ Mikey

Obviously you have never seen playoff hockey. If you ever watch playoff hockey you will see these players playing with edge/sandpaper

Obviously your difinition of sand paper is like 3000 grit and mine is 80 grit.

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#25 A-Mc
January 16 2013, 11:03AM
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There are lots of Pluses to this year. Lets count them:

1. We have a new 1st overall pick which is bound to be decent.

2. Ryan Whitney is Healthy.

3. Hemsky is Healthy

4. Sam Gagner has Decent wingers for once (Yaks/Hem)

5. The Belanger Triangle is statistically bound to improve over the train derailment from last year.

6. We got a hotshot scoring defenseman in J. Schultz.

7. We got a big bruiser in Fistric who is a solid Defensive Defenseman.

8. We have a coach (Krueger) that speaks rationally and honestly. I believe it when people report that the players believe in this guy.

9. Finally Dubnyk is being handed the #1 spot. No more ifs ands or buts. He will do it, and he'll be good.

Looks good to me. I cannot wait until Sunday!

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#26 Smokey
January 15 2013, 06:05PM
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Give Freddy Kreuger cred, hes giving guys roles and they know what to.do. Nice to see Sammy not playing 3rd RW to start.

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#27 Walter Sobchak
January 15 2013, 06:23PM
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With the pressure off, easier minutes against opponents the Oilers finally have legit secondary scoring depth.

Who can't be excited about this? I can't imagine how both Gagner and Hemsky feel if we're this excited!

Both players now get to play with offensive minded players and one ultra offensive dynamo!

This will be extrapolated if Hemsky game is actually back! This line could be scary to 3-4 defenders.

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#28 Jefff
January 15 2013, 06:29PM
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Can't win the cup win when your #2 is Gagner with this team

No sandpaper.

Mike Richards Anže Kopitar

Patrice Bergeron David Krejčí

Jonathan Toews Patrick Sharp

Evgeni Malkin Sidney Crosby

Pavel Datsyuk Henrik Zetterberg

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#29 ClosetGM
January 15 2013, 06:43PM
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Do we have two first rounders this year?

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#30 Stack Pad Save
January 15 2013, 06:48PM
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ClosetGM wrote:

Do we have two first rounders this year?

Oilers have 1 first rounder and 2 second rounders. The second 2nd rounder comes from the ducks when they traded them Cogliano.

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#31 Smytty's Jibs
January 15 2013, 06:56PM
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I'm excited about 89's prospects this season.

Maybe he'll make me look smart for buying his jersey 2 seasons ago.

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#32 Jefff
January 15 2013, 07:05PM
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I see the best 2-way centers in the league.

2 small centers don't win you cups.

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#33 Stack Pad Save
January 15 2013, 07:08PM
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@The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

They might not all have sandpaper, but they are all very hard to play against. The softest guy on the list is probably Patrick Sharp IMHO. It is obvious that strength down the middle in terms of quality players is vital to Stanley Cup success. I do not think that a combination of Sam Gagner and RNH can win the Oilers a Cup. I think we need a better 2nd line center. That being said, I do think that Sam Gagner could have a much improved year, which would hopefully allow the Oilers to use him in a trade for a better 2nd line center.

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#34 Mikey
January 15 2013, 07:12PM
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Jefff wrote:

Can't win the cup win when your #2 is Gagner with this team

No sandpaper.

Mike Richards Anže Kopitar

Patrice Bergeron David Krejčí

Jonathan Toews Patrick Sharp

Evgeni Malkin Sidney Crosby

Pavel Datsyuk Henrik Zetterberg

That's a bad list for sandpaper. Mike Richards is the only one with that quality. Maybe Bergeron.

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#35 Jefff
January 15 2013, 07:17PM
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@ Mikey

Obviously you have never seen playoff hockey. If you ever watch playoff hockey you will see these players playing with edge/sandpaper

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#36 VK63
January 15 2013, 07:24PM
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This is a big year for Sam in the organization. Make or break imo.

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misfit wrote:

All I want to know about Gagner is when we start calling him the carpenter?

I call him handy smurf.

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Smytty's Jibs wrote:

Make the playoffs first? What are you doing thinking rationally during training camp???

The Oil are already hoisting Lord Stanley as far as I'm concerned!

The parade will wrap up as Yak does a 360 burnout in Emery's Lambo then cuts the tape to our brand new 600 million dollar arena.

Bank on it.

Well I was trying to play it cool but since you broke the ice, Dubbie for con smythe.

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#39 Quicksilver ballet
January 15 2013, 08:22PM
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Gregor had mentioned a week or two ago about perhaps receiving NHL Gamecenter Live at a discounted rate through NHL.com would be a more likely scenario, rather than free center ice for the season. Anyone know if/when there is going to be a smokin deal to take advantage of that gamecenter live?

Is the 49.95 for the balance of the season the discounted price already? Had Center Ice for a number of years but soon lost interest in it with all the blacked out games.

Thank you in advance.

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#40 OilLeak
January 15 2013, 08:30PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Gregor had mentioned a week or two ago about perhaps receiving NHL Gamecenter Live at a discounted rate through NHL.com would be a more likely scenario, rather than free center ice for the season. Anyone know if/when there is going to be a smokin deal to take advantage of that gamecenter live?

Is the 49.95 for the balance of the season the discounted price already? Had Center Ice for a number of years but soon lost interest in it with all the blacked out games.

Thank you in advance.

The 49.95 is the discounted rate.

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#41 DSF
January 15 2013, 08:32PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Gregor had mentioned a week or two ago about perhaps receiving NHL Gamecenter Live at a discounted rate through NHL.com would be a more likely scenario, rather than free center ice for the season. Anyone know if/when there is going to be a smokin deal to take advantage of that gamecenter live?

Is the 49.95 for the balance of the season the discounted price already? Had Center Ice for a number of years but soon lost interest in it with all the blacked out games.

Thank you in advance.

Get yourself a U.S. IP address through Unblockus. http://www.unblock-us.com

No blackouts :)

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#42 DSF
January 15 2013, 08:53PM
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NastyNate wrote:

Krecji 6'0 Bergeron Listed at 6'1 (Stretch)

RNH 6'1 Gagner Listed at 5'10

I see a two inch difference, pretty sure they didn't win the cup because of this. Better change your argument again. Sandpaper ----> 2 small centers don't win you cups ----> derp derp.

Bergeron is 6'2" and 195.

Krejci is 6'0" 190.

Gagner is 5'10" 200.

The major difference is the Bruins centre are also more skilled.

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#43 geoilersgist
January 15 2013, 09:00PM
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DSF wrote:

Get yourself a U.S. IP address through Unblockus. http://www.unblock-us.com

No blackouts :)

They are good and work great we used to use them. $5 month is a small price to pay to get american netflix as well

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#44 DSF
January 15 2013, 09:04PM
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geoilersgist wrote:

They are good and work great we used to use them. $5 month is a small price to pay to get american netflix as well

Not to mention Hulu Plus!

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#45 Walter Sobchak
January 15 2013, 09:12PM
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DSF wrote:

Get yourself a U.S. IP address through Unblockus. http://www.unblock-us.com

No blackouts :)

This^ QS is the way to go.

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#46 Cheap Shot Charlie
January 15 2013, 09:27PM
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@DSF

Have you ever said what your username stands for?

Disgruntled, Single & Fat?

Disappointed in the Stanley cup Finals?

Doesn't Smile For-anyone?

I just want to say, even though you are shunned from all Canuck fan sites and even though you annoy EVERYONE at ON, I still love you! *HUGS*

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#47 Bonvie
January 15 2013, 09:36PM
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@Will

Will said

"I am hoping with one of our two first round picks this year we get that big Fin for a center, and trade Gagner. Not because I want to see him go, but because I think we could actually get a decent return for him. Like a 1B back up and a depth defender maybe?"

I think the team getting the best player wins the trade. If we got a young potential top three D or another 2nd line center with better size such as Colin Wilson or OReilly for instance it would be worth trading Gagner, but if its for depth we lose that trade everytime.

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#48 Walter Sobchak
January 15 2013, 09:37PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

This is Gagner's time to SIUTBOHC. Lets hope he does it.

Oilers pride, emotion and bias aside, IMO Gagner has to advance in almost every facet of the game, there is no wait and see anymore.

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#49 Rainman
January 15 2013, 09:46PM
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Man if RNH gets injured we are in a whole heap of trouble. Our depth at center is lacking ... Gagner, Horcoff and Belanger ?

Sorry I am not sold on Mr. Gagner at all except when I compare him with the alternatives .

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#50 Bonvie
January 15 2013, 09:52PM
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@DSF

Hmm that sounds about right for the second line center. Checking line gets toughest competition, then the first line will also play alot against the toughest competition because the other team also gets to line match on the road, and I am sure last year with our first line being so young the opposing coach would want to put their top line either against our first or fourth line.

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