GDB 01: THE WAIT IS OVER...

Jason Gregor
January 20 2013 12:12PM

 

Is Ralph Krueger yelling, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls are you ready?"

After 288 days that included watching other teams compete for the Stanley Cup, drafting Nail Yakupov, winning the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, being frustrated by another lockout and being teased by the success of Schultz, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall in the American League, the Oilers will finally play another meaningful NHL game, and Krueger will step behind the bench for the first time with the title of head coach.

All those factors, along with being the last fan base in the NHL to see their team play, have pushed the excitement level in OilersNation off the charts. Even the most pessimistic fan can't wait to see if Ralph Krueger's new system will generate more victories and a spot in the post-season for the first time in seven years.

Oiler fans are dying to cheer for a winner. Since the glorious, stunning and surprising Cup run of 2006 Oiler fans have had to watch their team lose 297 times. You've watched 492 Oiler games since the start of the 2006/2007 season and you've only seen 195 victories.

I'm amazed many of you still have the intestinal fortitude to buy tickets, or go the places like The Pint off Whyte, Pint Downtown or On The Rocks to watch a game or just sit at home and spend countless hours yelling at the TV. I tip my hat to your dedication.

God bless your loyalty and ability to continue cheering for the Oilers. Your devotion might finally pay off this season. I guarantee the Oilers will be better than last season. I know that's not saying much considering they were 29th, but it's true.

The important question is how good can they be? We won't know for a few months, but this season should be the most exciting regular season in a long time.

LINE UP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Horcoff-Hartikainen
Eager-Belanger-Petrell

Krueger has used these four lines since day one of training camp, and he's expecting all of them to contribute. The Oilers might finally have two legitimate scoring lines, and if they top-six produce like many expect they should, then everyone else's job becomes easier.

Smid-Petry
N.Schultz- J.Schultz
Whitney-Potter

I'm very surprised Mark Fistric isn't dressed tonight, but I expect he'll be in the lineup soon. The Oilers can't expect to win with only one physical D-man. And please, don't say Detroit did it because they didn't. Kronwall and Stuart are two of the best open-ice hitters in the game. I assume that Krueger wants more puck movers against the Canucks, but will add Fistric against a group of big forwards like San Jose and LA. That's just a guess though.

Dubnyk
Danis

Cory Schneider was brutal last night for Vancouver, giving up five goals on 14 shots. The Canucks defensive and neutral zone coverage was horrendous as well, but Schneider needed to make some stops. Dubnyk can't afford a start like that. Dubnyk is extremely confident and told me that he's aware of all the critics and would love nothing more than to prove them wrong.

Reports out of Vancouver mentioned that Alain Vigneault planned to start Schneider v. the Ducks and Roberto Luongo v. the Oilers. Will he stick with that, or does he want to get Schneider back in the pipes ASAP. Vigneault is in a tough spot. If he starts Luongo and he plays well, then what. If he starts Schneider and he gets blown out again, then what?

I love goaltending controversies...It will be very interesting to see what Vigneault does, and if that decision was correct.

THE TRADITION RETURNS

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Canucks will be fired up after last night's 7-3 spanking by the Ducks, but the Oilers youth will be just as amped up to play. "I expect our guys to be revved right up. Their excitement is rubbing off on me. I don't think I've ever been this excited for the first game of the season," Nick Schultz told me on Friday. Expect lots of offence and the Oilers win 5-4.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Justin Schultz scores the Oilers first goal, on the powerplay on a nice pass from Nugent-Hopkins. Instantly fans believe is the chosen one and Wanye starts plans for a Schultz photoshop contest.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eric Belanger scores in the second period on a nifty feed from Ben Eager. For a brief moment OIler fans sit in silence, unsure of what they've seen, but seconds later they'll be delirious with excitement about the possibility of having a fourth line that can contribute.

PARTING SHOTS

  • Instead of driving yourself crazy looking at your watch/clock/phone every two minutes wondering why it isn't 7 p.m. yet, take a few moments and enter the FIRST ANNUAL NATION draft. It is $20 bucks to enter, with a portion of proceeds going to charity. First place is a $5,000 shopping spree at United Cycle. How &**@*()@ awesome is that. Click here to sign up. Great cause, lots of fun chirping other Nation readers and there will be over 100 prizes. So hurry up and enter. Deadline is Saturday.
     
  • Do you want to go to the home opener? I'm having a contest on The Jason Gregor Show facebook fan page today. Predict who scores the Oilers first goal, in what period and at what time and you'll be going to the Oilers home opener on Tuesday.  It will be closest time without going over. If you choose 10:15 and someone chooses 10:13 and the goal happens at 10:14, the person with 10:13 wins. Good luck. You have to LIKE the page to be eligible. If you submit your choice here it won't be valid to win.
     
  • After the game tune into TEAM 1260 as Jason Strudwick  hosts the post-game show. He'll have some great insight into what transpired tonight. Once the game is over, tune in or call and vent/praise at 780.426.8326 or 1.800.243.1945.
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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 Thumby
January 20 2013, 07:47PM
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Grrrrrr

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#102 vetinari
January 20 2013, 07:48PM
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Dubnyk is in fine form to kick off the season... apparently a giant's five hole is really a ten hole...

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#103 6 ring circus
January 20 2013, 07:58PM
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The Oilerss have to buy out Horcoff this summer !!!

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#104 Lofty
January 20 2013, 08:12PM
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I'll take 1-0 after the 1st. The boys should settle the nerves and be square at the end of the 2nd. Yak started well.

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#105 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 08:13PM
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@Lofty

Yup, nothing wrong with that opening period.

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#106 Oilfan69
January 20 2013, 08:31PM
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wait katz goes to home games in Vancouver ? :)

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#107 Dennis
January 20 2013, 08:32PM
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Crap, stupid Luongo! That was a nice shot by J Schultz.

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#108 Dennis
January 20 2013, 08:34PM
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Man it's painful to see Horcoff on the PP. Jesus!

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#109 Lofty
January 20 2013, 08:51PM
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2nd goal was more on Whitney than Yak. As a D you can't go from one side of the ice to the other without touching anyone. Combination of errors but not all on Yak as the announcers suggested.

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#110 Dennis
January 20 2013, 08:58PM
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SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#111 m3sh
January 20 2013, 09:01PM
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@Lofty

Agreed, once he saw Yak follow him around the end boards, he had no need to leave the center ice to Kassian.

Eberle. Is. Gold.

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#112 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 09:03PM
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Emperor eberle on pace for 48 goals!! One of those goals only eberle can score

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#113 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 09:33PM
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Diving teams do what they do!

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#114 The Soup Fascist
January 20 2013, 09:33PM
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What is with Petry suddenly hammering guys? Good to see, having a nice game. I would like to see Hall and Ebs on PK.

Who is this ref? Just looks like a knob.

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#115 The Soup Fascist
January 20 2013, 09:37PM
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Random thought #17.

Why do Krueger and Tambo like Potter so much? He has been terrible. Fistric could NOT be worse.

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#116 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 09:41PM
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HEMSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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#117 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 09:43PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Random thought #17.

Why do Krueger and Tambo like Potter so much? He has been terrible. Fistric could NOT be worse.

Actually, I think Potter has been doing pretty good.

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#118 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 09:46PM
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Hemsky out of nowhere

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#119 The Soup Fascist
January 20 2013, 09:48PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Actually, I think Potter has been doing pretty good.

Maybe I am bitter that Fistric is sitting. Thought he screened Duby on the first one and fell on the last PK, tripping over his own feet.

I will try to be a bit more objective, though.

And yes Kassian is a chucklehead.

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#120 vetinari
January 20 2013, 09:49PM
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Eager showing some grit and heart... Hemmer finally shooting thoughtout the game... what the heck happened to these guys before the game? Krueger must be a heck of a "communicator"...

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#121 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 09:51PM
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What Im taking from this game is that I dont think the kids are ready to play PVP yet, but hey thats just me eh...

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#122 Czar
January 20 2013, 09:54PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Kassian celebrating getting duked by very Eager. What a chucklehead.

Like there aren't enough reasons to hate the Canucks,add one more D Bag!

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#123 Clyde Frog
January 20 2013, 10:07PM
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GAGNER!!!

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#124 RyanCoke
January 20 2013, 10:09PM
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Undefeated oilers in January!!! How does that sound!!

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#125 John Chambers
January 20 2013, 10:10PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Definite

Shootout

Failures

........finally figured out what it stands for!

Like!

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#126 m3sh
January 20 2013, 10:11PM
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hellz yes. I predicted the score at least.

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#127 gongshow
January 20 2013, 10:14PM
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All the boys 50% or better on FO tonight (except Smytty's one loss) might be my favorite stat of the night.

J. Schultz looked like he played a very controlled game tonight for a rookie.

Fantastic shootout.

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#128 Oilfan69
January 20 2013, 10:17PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOiWaTSypt4

Ghostride + Epic fail little bit of something for everyone ( incase we have a canucks fan around)

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#129 Wanyes bastard child
January 20 2013, 10:17PM
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OILERZ WIN!!!!

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#130 TonyT
January 20 2013, 10:27PM
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Good first game. J Schultz played a very controlled game (especially for a rookie). Yak was a little jittery (as is expected) but still managed to draw a couple penalties, overall that second line looks dangerous. Eager finally played the game the Oilers signed him to provide, and Dubey had a great opening night as well. Oilers FTW! #2013 plan the parade!

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#131 StHenriOilBomb
January 20 2013, 10:36PM
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Petry had a solid game from what I saw. Yak didn't have the same kind of coming out party that Ebs had, but looked dangerous a couple of times in the offensive end. The whole second line looked dangerous with the puck, but was a little scary to watch at times chasing in their own end.

I liked what I saw. Hooray! Any time the season starts with a divisional win against the reigning President's Trophy winners, life is good.

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#132 DSF
January 20 2013, 10:41PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

There goes Hemsky!

Can't wait to see DSF chime in on how this was actually a loss..

If the Canucks had a second line, the game would have been over in the second period.

Since the Canucks always start slowly and Kesler and Booth will return with a month, I wouldn't pump your tires too much.

In other news, the Wild have won their first two games and only given up 2 goals.

Who could have seen that coming?

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#133 StHenriOilBomb
January 20 2013, 10:42PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

What Im taking from this game is that I dont think the kids are ready to play PVP yet, but hey thats just me eh...

they've got to learn sometime... Also, it'll give Yak a chance to stay away from those lines.

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#134 oliveoilers
January 20 2013, 10:48PM
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SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! But seriously folks, i thought that Justin Shultz played a very good first game, with yak a close second. Not 'set the world on fire' performances, more like 'don't screw up'. But happy with the fact that we just didn't disappear at 2-zip down. Good effort, boys!

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#135 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 20 2013, 10:48PM
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Puritania wrote:

Infinite props you beautiful bastard! Came here to post this.

And @Snowdropper...

I've been playing it in my head for months... long anticipatory months...

GOILERS!!!

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#136 Chris.
January 20 2013, 10:50PM
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DSF wrote:

If the Canucks had a second line, the game would have been over in the second period.

Since the Canucks always start slowly and Kesler and Booth will return with a month, I wouldn't pump your tires too much.

In other news, the Wild have won their first two games and only given up 2 goals.

Who could have seen that coming?

If you make dozens of arguments, and hundreds of observations during thousands of comments: a few things are bound to be true. (Like 20%... or so)

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#137 SLYERS
January 20 2013, 10:50PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Petry had a solid game from what I saw. Yak didn't have the same kind of coming out party that Ebs had, but looked dangerous a couple of times in the offensive end. The whole second line looked dangerous with the puck, but was a little scary to watch at times chasing in their own end.

I liked what I saw. Hooray! Any time the season starts with a divisional win against the reigning President's Trophy winners, life is good.

I agree I thought Petry was the best player on the ice really controled the play. Eager taking kassian out of the game... major props that's gamesman ship! Smart of kruger. Also Kruger played the kids in overtime... he played to win unlike last year!

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#138 Dog Train
January 20 2013, 10:53PM
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Nice to start the season off with a win. We are full marks for it and I thought that we acquitted ourselves nicely for the most part. And what do you know, our fourth line actually played well! Not too many negatives but I thought that Whitney still looked like he was stuck in quicksand and Potter looked lost out there. That 3rd pairing will hurt us but I thought the other 4 dmen played really solid.

Huge goal by Eberle. His backhand is not even fair.

I was ready to read Dubnyk the riot act after that 1st goal but to his credit he was awesome the rest of the game.

The biggest negative was probably the penalties so hopefully that gets sorted out. I love Hall's energy but he needs to be more careful in the puck battles. Look at a guy like Eberle. Smallest dude on the ice but how many puck battles did you see him lose tonight? Ebs is smart beyond his years and really carried that line tonight while Hall and Nuge seemed a bit off.

Lots of season to go but in this sprint, any points that we can get early will help us down the stretch. GO OILERS GO!!

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#139 Nameless Ned
January 20 2013, 11:08PM
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DSF wrote:

If the Canucks had a second line, the game would have been over in the second period.

Since the Canucks always start slowly and Kesler and Booth will return with a month, I wouldn't pump your tires too much.

In other news, the Wild have won their first two games and only given up 2 goals.

Who could have seen that coming?

If the Canucks had a #1/#2 goalie........good god. Those poor bastards. Figure it out

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#140 Dave Lumley
January 20 2013, 11:12PM
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RyanCoke wrote:

Undefeated oilers in January!!! How does that sound!!

As good as the canucks not having a win January!

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#141 m3sh
January 20 2013, 11:18PM
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So on star/goat stuff - Dubnyk settled in after the Potter-screen Edler goal - either way one he would want back, and he showed up for the rest of it to prove it. Those positive star-selection vibes are doing their part ;)

As per my goat - Eager actually played the role he was supposed to play. Decent little scrap, no stupid penalties.

SJ Tuesday, it's on!

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#142 GVBlackhawk
January 20 2013, 11:22PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

the depth of the canucks d in relation to cam barkers relative CORSI as extrapolated from the upper regions of kyle wellwood shows us that this was not a canucks loss. it was simply further proof that the oilers suck and the wild are better and jeff skinner is pretty

good grief

Hilarious!! :)

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#143 GVBlackhawk
January 20 2013, 11:29PM
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Chris. wrote:

If you make dozens of arguments, and hundreds of observations during thousands of comments: a few things are bound to be true. (Like 20%... or so)

DSF Hockey Prognostication: throw some crap against the wall and see what sticks.

Good thing Schneider had a great save % in the AHL four years ago. Pffft.

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#144 Rocket
January 20 2013, 11:33PM
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DSF wrote:

If the Canucks had a second line, the game would have been over in the second period.

Since the Canucks always start slowly and Kesler and Booth will return with a month, I wouldn't pump your tires too much.

In other news, the Wild have won their first two games and only given up 2 goals.

Who could have seen that coming?

Obviously you did.

The Wild will be good this year & you laid out why so good call so far on them.

Still, I'm happy The Oilers won & did it in style.

Also,is it just me or does Taylor Hall get bigger & better every year? I know that's a completely obvious statement but he looks like a man & not one of "the kids" any more.

Either way, a solid victory boys!

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#145 Wax Man Riley
January 20 2013, 11:34PM
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DSF wrote:

If the Canucks had a second line, the game would have been over in the second period.

Since the Canucks always start slowly and Kesler and Booth will return with a month, I wouldn't pump your tires too much.

In other news, the Wild have won their first two games and only given up 2 goals.

Who could have seen that coming?

So..... The Super Canucks lose?

That's what I thought you said.

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#146 Wax Man Riley
January 20 2013, 11:35PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Please take that April 7 score down NOW!!

NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

#EatSh!tCanucks

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#147 DEF
January 20 2013, 11:49PM
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DSF! Can you Squeee!!! .... I can!

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#148 Bonvie
January 20 2013, 11:56PM
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@GVBlackhawk

I think it was more Whiney than Potter myself. Whitney wasn't very good on the PP either, several times he was not holding the line. I know he wasn't playing during the lockout so hopefully he comes around.

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#149 GVBlackhawk
January 21 2013, 01:21AM
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Bonvie wrote:

I think it was more Whiney than Potter myself. Whitney wasn't very good on the PP either, several times he was not holding the line. I know he wasn't playing during the lockout so hopefully he comes around.

They were both poor. Whitney has no mobility -- his ankle is shot. Potter freezes in his own zone. Fistric and another replacement please!

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#150 Wax Man Riley
January 21 2013, 01:23AM
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@Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

Bicepus Maximus - I Fehr The Worst wrote:

DSFwrote:
If the Canucks had a second line, the game would have been over in the second period. Since the Canucks always start slowly and Kesler and Booth will return with a month, I wouldn't pump your tires too much. In other news, the Wild have won their first two games and only given up 2 goals. Who could have seen that coming?
There should be a negative props button. This guy's props would lower than Horcoff's +/-.

The only thing I can think is: Heyoooo!

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