THREE IN FIFTY IS GOOD

Jason Gregor
January 16 2013 10:38AM

 

TSN released their Top-50 NHL player rankings on Monday and Oiler fans should be pretty excited, if you believe these rankings are accurate.

For the 3rd straight season Sidney Crosby topped the rankings, despite playing 22 games last year, mainly due to his ridiculous 1.68 points-per-game ratio during those 22 games.  His teammate, Evgeni Malkin came in 2nd, but the expectations of Oilers' fans for the coming season might be even higher after seeing three Oilers crack the top-50.

Jordan Eberle came in at 25; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is 48th and Taylor Hall sits 50th. 

The rankings are here, but here is a recap from most to least.

FIVE:
LA Kings: Kopitar (10th), Quick (16th), Doughty (17th), Brown (43rd) and M.Richards (44th).

FOUR:

Pittsburgh: Crosby (1st), Malkin (2nd), Letang (29th), Neal (36th).
Chicago: Toews (6th), Hossa (32nd), Kane (38th) and Keith (49th).
NYR: Lundqvist (15th), Nash (24th), B. Richards (42nd) and Gaborik (45th).

THREE:
Boston: Chara (12th), Seguin (31st), Bergeron (35th).
Edmonton: Eberle (25th), RNH (48th) and Hall (50th)

TWO:
Tampa Bay: Stamkos (4th), St. Louis (30th)
Detroit: Datsyuk (5th), Zetterberg (22nd)
Nashville: Weber (7th), Rinne (27th)
Vancouver: D. Sedin (8th), H. Sedin (9th)
Ottawa: Karlsson (11th), Spezza (23rd)
Minnesota: Parise (13th) Suter (26th) 
Washington: Ovechkin (14th), Backstrom (33rd)
Anaheim: Perry (19th), Getzlaf (34th)
Carolina: E. Staal (21st) and J. Staal (46th)
San Jose: Thornton (40th), Couture (41st)

ONE:
Philadelphia: Giroux (3rd)
New Jersey: Kovalchuk (18th)
NYI: Tavares (20th)
St. Louis: Pietrangelo (28th)
Calgary: Iginla (37th)
Dallas: Jamie Benn (39th)
Toronto: Kessel (47th)

NONE:
Buffalo
Colorado
Columbus
Florida
Montreal
Phoenix
Winnipeg

WHO GOT OVERLOOKED

When a ranking comes out, there is always a great debate over who got overlooked. Here are some guys I felt were right on the cusp or could have been included in the list.

Bobby Ryan: Only seven players have scored at least 30 goals in the last four seasons, and Ryan is one of them. Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Nash, Iginla and Kessel did it and they are on the list. Ryan has scored 30 or more goals in his first four seasons; he's one of the most consistent goals scorers in the game.

Patrick Marleau: He is the 7th guy with four consecutive 30+ goal seasons. I know many rip him about his playoff performances, but he has 80 points in his last 107 playoff games. He's far from awful.

Teemu Selanne: He has averaged 0.91 points per game over the past four seasons while he was 38-41 years of age. He is an incredible player, and one of the best people in hockey. Until he retires he is in my top-50.

Patrick Sharp: Good hands, excellent two-way player and I'd take his overall game ahead of Marian Hossa. However, he doesn't have the explosiveness of Hossa.

Chris Pronger: If he is healthy he is on that list. He's still one of the best D-men in the game, whether you like him or not.

Niklas Kronwall: He moves the puck very well, isn't afraid to step up and deliver a big hit and he's averaged 40 points over his last four full seasons.

WHO WILL CRACK LIST SOON

The league is full of many young great players and I'd expect a few of these guys to crack the list next year.

Gabriel Landeskog: He's a rugged winger who is Incredibly mature, has good hands and has a solid overall game. Could score 20 in short season.

Evander Kane: Many question his maturity off the ice, but he's dynamic on it and if he continues to progress like he has the past two seasons he could be ranked in the 40-50 range next year.

Kevin Shattenkirk: Young, skilled D-man who likely ends being the centre piece of the Erik Johnson trade. He's put up 43 points in each of his first two seasons, and he and Pietrangelo could be the next Suter/Weber combo in St. Louis.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson: He is one of the most underrated players in the game. He doesn't get a lot of coverage playing in Phoenix, but after playing 25:46 a night during the Coyotes run to the conference finals last year, he proved he can excel when it matters most. He'll be in the top-50 next year.

Who would be on your "up-and-comer" or "overlooked" list?

WRAP UP

Having three players in the top-50 won't guarantee the Oilers a playoff berth, but it illustrates that the Oilers are heading in the right direction.

Phoenix was the only team to make the playoffs without having at least one player on the list, but last year Ray Whitney had 77 points for them, Mike Smith had a break out season and Ekman-Larsson emerged on the blueline. They were some of the best players in the league despite not being ranked.

You need one great player, and usually two or three, to win the Cup, and the Oilers have some of the best young talent in the game. If they can get some solid performances from Devan Dubnyk, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Whitney, Ladislav Smid, Nail Yakupov, Sam Gagner and Shawn Horcoff the Oilers should be right in the middle of a run to the playoffs in early April. 

PARTING SHOTS

  • Today is the final open practice for the Oilers. It starts at 11 a.m. and they will have an extended scrimmage today according to Ralph Krueger.
     
  • Take a moment and send me an email to gregor@theteam1260.com and nominate a coach for our Elite Sportswear Coach of the week. It doesn't matter what sport they coach, team or individual, I just want to hear what makes them a great volunteer coach.They will be interviewed on the show and get lots of great swag from Elite and you will feel great for recognizing their efforts.
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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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#1 Bigfan
January 16 2013, 10:40AM
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And our three in the top fifty will all beplaying together in our FIST line!

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#2 Archaeologuy
January 16 2013, 11:03AM
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If Hall's shoulder is 100% and he plays the way he's capable of playing then he wont be at the bottom of that list for much longer.

Same with Nuge. Those guys are only going up in my opinion. I can see those 3 in the top 50 for a long time and if we're all lucky then Yak and Schultz will be in there someday too.

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#3 Oilfan69
January 16 2013, 11:09AM
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http://oilersnation.com/2013/1/16/should-the-oilers-be-interested-in-wade-redden

( #16)

sorry bigfan beat you to it :)

It is pretty re-assuring to have 3 in the top 50

there aren't a lot of players in that group outside of maybe Corey Perry, Nicklas Backstrom,Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton,Brad Richards that I see falling out of that list in the foreseeable future. With that being said there are a pile of talented players coming up that are going to make this a fairly difficult list to compile in the next year or 2 I think.

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#4 A-Mc
January 16 2013, 11:11AM
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I was at practice on Tuesday and i was watching Fistrics shot. He's got a decent shot!

Myself and the guys around me were blown away that the man only has 3 goals in his entire career.

He fired a few lasers right past the goaltenders yesterday and i certainly didn't expect that from someone who basically produces no points what so ever.

Watch him in practice today: He may get a boost to those offensive numbers as sort of a guilty by association type thing where the rest of the team can set him up for success.

(I am in no way advocating that he should focus on being offensive. I'm simply expressing a collective surprise at what he had to offer in terms of a shot in contrast with his miniscule point totals).

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#5 pelhem grenville
January 16 2013, 11:15AM
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Arch...my only worries are wonky shoulders

4 & 93 need devine intervention through these next few months while on their sprint to a potential playoff spot...

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#6 Will
January 16 2013, 11:17AM
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A-Mc wrote:

I was at practice on Tuesday and i was watching Fistrics shot. He's got a decent shot!

Myself and the guys around me were blown away that the man only has 3 goals in his entire career.

He fired a few lasers right past the goaltenders yesterday and i certainly didn't expect that from someone who basically produces no points what so ever.

Watch him in practice today: He may get a boost to those offensive numbers as sort of a guilty by association type thing where the rest of the team can set him up for success.

(I am in no way advocating that he should focus on being offensive. I'm simply expressing a collective surprise at what he had to offer in terms of a shot in contrast with his miniscule point totals).

Ha! have you ever watched Strudwick in warm up. The guys has crazy good hands... in warm up. How players are used in game situations and what they're comfortable with doing in a game is a much different then what they can do in practice.

But still, nice to know.

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#7 Steve
January 16 2013, 11:21AM
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Hey Gregor, I like the nominate your coach for recognition, but what about all those other people that spend time helping out kids and families in sports? I know coaches need recognition, but how bout volunteers, referees, directors etc?

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#8 Archaeologuy
January 16 2013, 11:23AM
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@pelhem grenville

I blame Mike Grier for the wonky shoulders of Oiler players past and present.

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#9 A-Mc
January 16 2013, 11:30AM
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Will wrote:

Ha! have you ever watched Strudwick in warm up. The guys has crazy good hands... in warm up. How players are used in game situations and what they're comfortable with doing in a game is a much different then what they can do in practice.

But still, nice to know.

No I've never attended an Oilers practice before. yesterday was the first as a sort of bucket list type thing.

"Struds" and "good hands" in the same sentence? Are you sure.....

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#10 positivebrontefan
January 16 2013, 11:41AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I blame Mike Grier for the wonky shoulders of Oiler players past and present.

Dont you know that Horcoff gets all the blame around here.

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#11 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 16 2013, 11:47AM
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@A-Mc

I feel like I've seen Smid cork one or two bullets off too...

I think the difference between someone with a rocket shot and someone who puts up points is probably a mix of "cheating for offence/opportunity" and "shot selection/accuracy"

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#12 Sanaa Montana
January 16 2013, 11:52AM
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Top rated in what exactly? How many times on average they are mentioned by the TSN panel?

Where is P.K? Lucic?

Does anyone know if Pierre Mcwhatevathe#@$% put that together?

How can Tyler be way ahead of Taylor? Did TSN sneak Taylor in there for no other reason then Oilers fans?

That list, much like the rest of the stuff TSN puts out on its own-is a poorly crafted pile of crap.

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#13 Archaeologuy
January 16 2013, 11:58AM
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@Sanaa Montana

Seguin had 14 more points than Hall did and plays C for a successful team. He was also +34 compared to -3.

Hall played fewer games, but durability could have also played a factor on that list.

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#14 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 16 2013, 12:08PM
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@Sanaa Montana

Arch mostly covered it...

but you have to remember a list like this is going to skew in two directions...

some players who last year didn't put up huge numbers for whatever reason are going to be grandfathered in (see Crosby) regardless of their play... here the list skews to top players under normal conditions.

some players who last year played very well are evaluated primarily with that in mind... ie. Tyler had a better year last year so he is higher on the list... under normal conditions is he unconditionally better?...

few would make that case.

so here the list skews to actual, recent results

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#15 Oiler Al
January 16 2013, 12:16PM
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Cannot argue too much about the players on the list,except the ones Gregor, mentioned here, Rayan , Marleau, and Sharp,not on the list.

Tyler Sequin at 31 give me a break... over hyped at this point, and Parise at 13. This is one guy , I think, is definitely over paid, and over rated.

Brown and Richards [L.A.] are on the list because they won the cup.

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#16 Sanaa Montana
January 16 2013, 12:19PM
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@Archaeologuy

So is Seguin a better hockey player than Hall, or is he more forunate of the two.? Circumstantial fortune shouldn't be taken into consideration.

If RNH is so high: where are the kids from Colorado and New Jersey?

I wonder where Halak and Smith are and why were they omitted.

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#17 Sanaa Montana
January 16 2013, 12:24PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

The list should have been called Preferred 50 not Top 50.

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#18 Reg Dunlop
January 16 2013, 12:26PM
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3 in the top 50 is encouraging, even if the list has no basis in reality. Iginla on the list? A reputation pick only. Kessel? Only because he plays in TO. Karlsson at 11th? After 1 good and possibly lucky season the jury should still be deliberating.

Try to imagine such a list compiled in 1984. Probably 8 oilers on that one.

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#19 Off Topic
January 16 2013, 12:39PM
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Does anyone know why they have a really annoying strobe light going all the time at Rexall ?

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#20 A-Mc
January 16 2013, 12:44PM
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Off Topic wrote:

Does anyone know why they have a really annoying strobe light going all the time at Rexall ?

Its the flash for the photographers.

Their cameras are rigged up with those strobe lights up top. Watch the guy behind the bench taking photos

Its kind of neat how a camera in the stands will trigger the flash up in the rafters

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#21 Spydyr
January 16 2013, 12:49PM
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Off Topic wrote:

Does anyone know why they have a really annoying strobe light going all the time at Rexall ?

It is subliminal. If you look deeply into it you can read. "Buy season tickets "

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#22 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 16 2013, 12:50PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

3 in the top 50 is encouraging, even if the list has no basis in reality. Iginla on the list? A reputation pick only. Kessel? Only because he plays in TO. Karlsson at 11th? After 1 good and possibly lucky season the jury should still be deliberating.

Try to imagine such a list compiled in 1984. Probably 8 oilers on that one.

I wouldn't argue with these picks (Iginla 32-35-67; Kessel 37-45-82; Karlsson 19-59-78)

Karlsson won the Norris too.. he may have had one incredible boom year... but he was crazy good last year.

Kessel scored 37 goals... if you can't respect that... yikes!

Iginla may get a legacy push... but he still brings a lot to the table and 32 goals is nothing to sneeze at.

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#23 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 16 2013, 12:53PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

The list should have been called Preferred 50 not Top 50.

That may be more accurate... but I think we all get that these lists are the product of subjective preferences

the only real issue I have is that the list clearly mixes criteria depending on player

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#24 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 16 2013, 12:53PM
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Spydyr wrote:

It is subliminal. If you look deeply into it you can read. "Buy season tickets "

"There are four lights!"

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#25 DSF
January 16 2013, 12:59PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

3 in the top 50 is encouraging, even if the list has no basis in reality. Iginla on the list? A reputation pick only. Kessel? Only because he plays in TO. Karlsson at 11th? After 1 good and possibly lucky season the jury should still be deliberating.

Try to imagine such a list compiled in 1984. Probably 8 oilers on that one.

Kevin Lowe is the VP in Charge of Remembering the 80's.

He doesn't need your help.

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#26 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 01:05PM
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Perspective is important.

Whats the premise? Is the list compiled based on "right now" for play this year only? Is future value factored in? How do you weight a Tier 1 Goalie vs. a Tier 1 Right Winger?

Hence the potential for confusion... disagreement...

There must be several ways to create a more interesting list based on more specific premise/s ...... just not sure what they are.

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#27 Archaeologuy
January 16 2013, 01:09PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

So is Seguin a better hockey player than Hall, or is he more forunate of the two.? Circumstantial fortune shouldn't be taken into consideration.

If RNH is so high: where are the kids from Colorado and New Jersey?

I wonder where Halak and Smith are and why were they omitted.

I've always had Seguin > Hall, but they are boith tremendous hockey players. And maybe now that Hall has his shoulder fixed he can prove that he's better than Seguin.

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#28 John F
January 16 2013, 01:09PM
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Oilers should get aggressive and go after Ryan O'Reilly.

Either an offer sheet or trade Sam Gagner + ?.

He is exactly what the Oilers need.

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#29 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 01:20PM
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I would be interested in seeing a Goaltender list and have some debate around that.

I'm curious if anyone has a way of weighing the options in goal that somehow factors in the team a goalie plays for.

Something that might help explain better how Mike Smith is crap in Tampa and a SuperStar in Pheonix......How Bryzgalov is a SuperStar in Pheonix and a Headcase in Philly.

Yes, I can see the obvious...Good/Defensive team in front of him vs. Crap/Offensive team in front of him.

But I guess part of my desire for the debate is to get a better handle on who the Oilers should/might consider in future transactions.

Which goalies are more likely to transcend a particular style of team play.....or is the answer as simple as...."he's as good as the team in front of him"????

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#30 Archaeologuy
January 16 2013, 01:22PM
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For the Record, the Zajac contract is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.

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#31 DSF
January 16 2013, 01:29PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

For the Record, the Zajac contract is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.

No kidding.

With Gomez and Redden being bought out, this has to be in the top 5 of worst contracts in the league along with Dipietro and Horcoff.

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#32 Maggie the Monkey
January 16 2013, 01:30PM
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My favourite part is where Karlsson is ranked directly above Chara. It's a dead giveaway that the whole list is a joke.

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#33 Archaeologuy
January 16 2013, 01:32PM
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@DSF

Good News! They can buy him out at the end of this season!

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#34 MAC962
January 16 2013, 01:42PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I've always had Seguin > Hall, but they are boith tremendous hockey players. And maybe now that Hall has his shoulder fixed he can prove that he's better than Seguin.

Hall would have in my opinion, equalled Seguin playing with those guys. Hall had very little to play with. Seguin would have been a good choice for the Oil as well, not much to choose between those two young bucks. Seguin is better than i thought actually.. But the best of T.HALL is yet to come.

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#35 dougtheslug
January 16 2013, 01:43PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

For the Record, the Zajac contract is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.

Wow. Thanks, owners, for shutting the league down for half a season so that a CBA could be reached that prevents crazy contracts from being offered. Everything now makes sense, in lihjt of this contract.

(....walks over to nearest wall, beats head against it.....)

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#36 OilClog
January 16 2013, 01:48PM
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People are comparing Horcoff and Dipeitro.. Wow.

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#37 Off Topic
January 16 2013, 01:49PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Its the flash for the photographers.

Their cameras are rigged up with those strobe lights up top. Watch the guy behind the bench taking photos

Its kind of neat how a camera in the stands will trigger the flash up in the rafters

Thanks Perhaps the strobes were more moticible where I was sitting in the Terrace. I have tickets in the blues at row 37. I think too that TV lights make a difference as well . If it was like that at real hockey games I wouldn't go.

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#38 Will
January 16 2013, 01:51PM
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A-Mc wrote:

No I've never attended an Oilers practice before. yesterday was the first as a sort of bucket list type thing.

"Struds" and "good hands" in the same sentence? Are you sure.....

I know I didn't believe it myself. I think it's one of those things that if these players were to play against normal people, they would do super human things, but against others of their own ilk, they have to focus on their strengths.

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#39 MAC962
January 16 2013, 01:51PM
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26 TWENTY SIX ?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME ?? LOL

Thats the number of comments left on Canucks Army for the last 5 articles...lol

Way to go Hockey Hongcouver. You should join the IDLE NO MORE Gang. Dont get me going on that please. Bandwagon jumpers that just crave to win something other than the Grey cup.

Anyone that commented on their site, is probably a transplanted Albertan...Job related of course.

This , this my friends is HOCKEY TOWN.

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#40 Clyde Frog
January 16 2013, 01:57PM
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OilClog wrote:

People are comparing Horcoff and Dipeitro.. Wow.

Nah just our resident Canuck's homer and troll.

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#41 Minister D-
January 16 2013, 02:17PM
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Brief impressions from practice this afternoon, which included a long two-period scrimmage and a shootout:

- Gagner, Hemsky, Yakupov looked v. dangerous. There's some sick skill on that line.

- Hall, Eberle, Nuge made one great goal-scoring play and had a few chances, but I think they need to tweak their chem from 'AHL' to 'NHL.'

-Belanger's still terrible.

- J. Schultz is a crafty bugger. Slick. Real slick.

- Dubnyk moves surprisingly well for such a big guy. NK? The less said the better.

- Hartikinen limped off after taking a shot off of the skate near the end of the first period, but was back for the second.

- Couldn't get anywhere near the free popcorn. Peeps were all up in that like ravenous wolves.

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#42 MAC962
January 16 2013, 02:21PM
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Minister D- wrote:

Brief impressions from practice this afternoon, which included a long two-period scrimmage and a shootout:

- Gagner, Hemsky, Yakupov looked v. dangerous. There's some sick skill on that line.

- Hall, Eberle, Nuge made one great goal-scoring play and had a few chances, but I think they need to tweak their chem from 'AHL' to 'NHL.'

-Belanger's still terrible.

- J. Schultz is a crafty bugger. Slick. Real slick.

- Dubnyk moves surprisingly well for such a big guy. NK? The less said the better.

- Hartikinen limped off after taking a shot off of the skate near the end of the first period, but was back for the second.

- Couldn't get anywhere near the free popcorn. Peeps were all up in that like ravenous wolves.

From a fans perspective- Did anyone really standout ?

Yak ? Fistric ?

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#43 Thinker
January 16 2013, 02:23PM
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Hhordichuk had two goals and a breakaway(on which he tripped) while i was there.

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#44 Dog Train
January 16 2013, 02:31PM
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In a year's time, I think that Hall and Nuge will move up. Someday, Yak and Schultz might make it 5. It's amazing to think how far this team has come since the train wreck of a season that was 2009-2010. No more JF Jacques, Ryan Potulny's or Robert Nilsson's in our top 6.

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#45 John Chambers
January 16 2013, 02:41PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

For the Record, the Zajac contract is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.

The Devils are clearly reacting to having lost Parise for nothing.

Reminds me of when a paranoid team gave a 6-year $33M contract to a not-so-elite centre because they were having a hard time attracting and retaining free agents.

Too bad for the Devils the next CBA is a decade away.

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#46 DSF
January 16 2013, 02:58PM
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OilClog wrote:

People are comparing Horcoff and Dipeitro.. Wow.

No.

Just their contracts.

Horcoff can't play goal...his GAA is terrible.

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#47 Clay
January 16 2013, 03:03PM
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So Gregor, not to be too picky, but during the TSN top 50 show, they were always quick to point out that this top 50 list of theirs was not a reflection of a player's past performances, but strictly a consensus TSN panel list of who the top 50 players will be in the league for the coming season.

In that light, you're "overlooked" list might be a bit different, no? I mean, Pronger may not play a single shift this year.

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#48 They're $hittie
January 16 2013, 03:10PM
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@Minister D-

totally agree with all this.

That line outplayed the other one big time.

Hemsky looked great, and did you see that ripper from yak. Didnt know the coach allowed them to shoot that hard in practice.

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#49 treevojo
January 16 2013, 03:15PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Seguin had 14 more points than Hall did and plays C for a successful team. He was also +34 compared to -3.

Hall played fewer games, but durability could have also played a factor on that list.

Seguin rarely plays center. Lookin at the bruins lineups for this year it looks like more of the same. The positional argument between these two players should have been left at the draft because that is the last time it made sense.

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#50 OilClog
January 16 2013, 03:31PM
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@DSF

Horcoff was going to get a pretty nice pay raise anywhere he ended up that year.

Rick.. Not so much.

I'm not going to look it up, but over the course of the contract horcoff might block more shots then Rick has saves.

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