THE SKY DIDN'T FALL...

Jason Gregor
January 23 2013 02:11PM

Not even free beer could brighten the spirits of Oilers fans after sitting through the worst first period of a home opener in franchise history.

The Oilers stunk.

They couldn't play defence.

They rarely had the puck.

They didn't get any saves from their goalie.

They took too many penalties.

The good news is they only lost one game, not the entire season. I couldn't think of a worse scenario for the Oilers and their fans.

The building was electric prior to puck drop. The 50/50 was at $25,000 forty-five minutes before the game even started. Fans were lined up 200 deep to take advantage of 40% of merchandise, and most of them happily stood in line sipping on a free beer or half-price food.

The Oilers were ridding a wave of a confidence after a comeback victory in Vancouver. The stage was set for a great atmosphere, but that changed minutes after the game started.

2:16 in Ales Hemsky takes a holding penalty. 47 seconds later Jeff Petry is off for tripping and then the Sharks took over.

Dan Boyle rips a one-timer on the 5-on-3, then Logan Couture scores their 2nd straight PP goal, and it is 2-0 four and a half minutes into the first period.

The building got really quiet, but it exploded when Nail Yakupov scored his first NHL goal at the 8:25 mark. That was the loudest Rexall has been since the 2006 playoffs. Eight months of frustration mixed in with the excitement of the win in Vancouver led to an extremely loud minute long ovation. It was great, but short-lived.

Less than two minutes later the Oilers got mesmerized by Joe Thornton's stick-handling ability and decided to leave Patrick Marleau wide open in the slot. Marleau had time to check his teeth in the glass, before ripping one past Dubnyk. 55 seconds later he scored his second of the game, another PP marker and the game was over.

The Sharks added two more goals before the period ended, and the fans voiced their displeasure by booing the Oilers.

It was deserved. They looked completely lost in their own end.

I gave the Sharks 12 scoring chances in the first period. Twelve. The Oilers stats crew calculated they gave up 14 in 65 minutes v. Vancouver, but they allowed 12 in 20 minutes last night. Dubnyk wasn't good, but he wasn't any worse than the Oilers D-zone coverage. The Oilers only gave up three scoring chances the rest of the game, but by then it didn't matter. The Sharks were stuffed from feasting on the Oilers defenseless carcass in the first period.

It is one thing to leave a guy wide open on the side boards, but leaving guys wide open in front of the net is inexcusable.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH

Remember when the Oilers crushed the Chicago Blackhawks by scores of 9-2 and 8-4 last year. You loved it, especially when Sam Gagner tied the Oiler record for most points in a game.

You know what those two blowout wins meant for the Oilers?

Absolutely nothing, other than two points and a great night of fun for the fans. The Oilers didn't make the playoffs, nor did it represent how good they were.

After getting spanked 9-2 the Hawks went 9-2-1 in their next twelve. The blowout loss didn't cripple them, and the Oilers can't afford to let it derail them.

It is only one game, and while some will want to suggest it illustrates every weakness in the organization, it doesn't,

Before the game we knew the Oilers weren't perfect defensively and they lacked size throughout the lineup. Last night's loss, nor the season-opening win in Vancouver changes that.

The good news is that I guarantee season-ticket holders will not have to suffer through the horror of witnessing six goals against in a period again this season. The Oilers will have bad periods, bad games and horrendous shifts again this season, but they will also have periods, games and shifts that lift you out of your seat.

Yesterday sucked, and the timing couldn't have been worse, but the second game of a 48-game season won't make or break the Oilers.

How they respond v. the Kings on Thursday will be important. They can't pout, and they  better grab a clue about how to play defence. If they do that, they'll be competitive.

QUICK HITS

  • The 1976/1977 Montreal Canadiens were the greatest regular season team in the history of the NHL. They went 60-8-12 and won the Stanley Cup. They lost only 8 regular season games all year, but on Wednesday January 12th, 1977 they lost 7-2 to the St.Louis Blues and five days later they lost 7-3 in Boston. Even the great teams get blown out.
     
  • ~Jordan Eberle had another five shots on goal yesterday, but his SH% is now only 10%. Yikes. Of course he does have three points, but that lower SH% is going to be the death of him.~
     
  • The Oilers and Ralph Kreuger are in a tough spot. Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth are his best top-nine forwards when it comes to playing against the opposition's top line, but if Krueger doesn't expose his kids to those situations what happens next year. The Oilers can't have Horcoff play the tough minutes and then contemplate, just an IF at this point, buying him out, with no one on the roster capable of eating those minutes. I suspect you will see Krueger match lines a bit, but the organization needs to let the kids learn the hard way how to defend the top lines. It will be a balancing act all season.
     
  • It had no bearing on the yesterday's outcome, but Krueger needs to dress some players who can be physical. I suspect we'll see Mark Fistric and one of Ben Eager or Darcy Hordichuk in the lineup v. the Kings. You need someone who is capable of consistently throwing body checks to keep the opposition honest.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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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#51 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
January 23 2013, 06:41PM
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Another cool winters evening, another double header on the tube (TSN and Sportnet).

Is this a great country, or what!

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#52 DSF
January 23 2013, 06:59PM
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Spydyr wrote:

The game exposed the weaknesses with this team .Most here know them

1) Goaltending......Dubs needs another young goalie to push him.Not an old man or a career minor league player.

2) A top 4-Dman.Whitney is done washed up kaput.

3)Grit in the top six.The team has way to many small,skilled ,soft forwards.

Nuge, Yak, Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner,

Someone has to go.You need toughness to win especially in the playoffs.

I say see ya later Samboni.

TWO top pairing D.

An actual #2 C

An above average goaltender.

And a GM who knows what bottom 6 forwards look like.

Profit.

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#53 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2013, 07:19PM
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madjam wrote:

Paajarvi , J.Schultz and to a small degree Yakupov and Hatekainen are a welcome addition at this stage . J.Schultz looks like the only defenceman our club should go forward with . We need grit badly on defence . Whitney looks finished . No grit down middle either , and we should look to replace Horcoff and Belanger with some grit down the middle . Even Gagner is replaceable with someone with more size and grit.

Until we upsize we will be prey to the bigger clubs that have some talent .

Madjam! Where ave you been? Started to miss you around here.

Yes, Size is important................That's what she said ;)

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#54 Oilers89
January 23 2013, 07:24PM
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It was only one game. The nucks collapsed in their first game defensively. Sure they don't really have a second line but they have what may be termed outstanding dmen, but did that stop Anaheim from walking into the slot and terrible defensive collapses? No. Everything will be fine. If there is one thing that we can be sure of, it is that the oil are a better team than last year and even last years team didn't get blown out this bad every game. Be calm. Cheer on.

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#55 Oiltimer
January 23 2013, 07:27PM
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@ ye of little faith

1) Potter ... If I'm not mistaken he was the point man on the #1 PP in the league a lot of last year so maybe he gets a good look

2) Somewhere in all this hockey buzz of the last few weeks someone said that often on "special nights" the home team gets mauled ...see LA Kings ... This was a pretty special night for many of them. 2 or 3 rookies absolutly new to the rink and the league. The team wacked Van @ home in game 1 on the road ... the team "leaders' have been pretty much having their way with AHL teams for 40 or so games. I think they were believing all the press noise.

3) a lot of people dumping, perhaps undeserved, praise on a bunch of tean-agers playing a mans game. Better to get it out there now and bounce back.

4) a rookie coach that didn't pull the pin when it was 3 or 4 to 1 and find a way to get them back in the game.

5) for whatever reason they out scored the opposition 2-0 in periods 2, 3 ... that part was an OK game.

6) in spite of what anyone says blogs are a place where you can say what you like and you don't really have to defend it or your self. ... unlike in a bar or @ kitchen table maybe All that is at risk is maybe a little ego if one cares. (The first year there was a good number of diverse opinions and I thought some goon would be waiting for me some night in the alley behind my building)

7) dsf & spider live together in north van ... check it out

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#56 David S
January 23 2013, 07:39PM
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This just in:

MADJAM IS BACK!

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#57 OilHub
January 23 2013, 08:01PM
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Has anyone heard officially is Eager out with a concussion?

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#58 Oilers89
January 23 2013, 08:09PM
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OilHub wrote:

Has anyone heard officially is Eager out with a concussion?

I don't have a link but I saw on twitter that Krueger confirmed it.

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#59 Czar
January 23 2013, 08:10PM
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DSF wrote:

Phhhhhttttt...

jefff would have thrown a couple f's in there.

Phhhfffttt....

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#60 keilan
January 23 2013, 08:34PM
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DSF wrote:

TWO top pairing D.

An actual #2 C

An above average goaltender.

And a GM who knows what bottom 6 forwards look like.

Profit.

That's precisely what this organization has to address within the next 20 months if they expect to make a run at Lord Stanley…..

The core veterans on this club all need to be replaced asap (Smyth, Horcoff, Whitney, Eager, Sutton and possibly Hemsky to acquire someone back in a deal. The other five guys have little or no value in any trade………

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#61 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2013, 09:36PM
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keilan wrote:

That's precisely what this organization has to address within the next 20 months if they expect to make a run at Lord Stanley…..

The core veterans on this club all need to be replaced asap (Smyth, Horcoff, Whitney, Eager, Sutton and possibly Hemsky to acquire someone back in a deal. The other five guys have little or no value in any trade………

Smyth does not need to be replaced, nor does Horcoff. Horcoff can be useful in a number of roles.

The team can't have all elite players, you need PKer's you need 3rd and 4th liners.

Players like Petrell or Eager, Belanger, Hartikainen even Hordichuk have no business being on an NHL club( not including Eager) Eager has head issues, last year and now this year.

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#62 Clyde Frog
January 23 2013, 09:36PM
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DSF wrote:

TWO top pairing D.

An actual #2 C

An above average goaltender.

And a GM who knows what bottom 6 forwards look like.

Profit.

DSF wipes a bead of sweat off his forhead, there it is done!

Three hours of work to carefully edit and correct Spydyr's comments will not be wasted... The fans must surely see how terrible their favourite team is now!

Reading and re-reading his poetry he allows himself a small congratulatory sip of that sweet sweet Dr. Pepper he opened only a few hours before.

Only one thing has gone wrong since the Oilers were inevitably crushed as he has been predicting for the past three years; the mittens Mother made him lack holes for his fingers...

Trying to type while mashing his mittened hands into the keyboard has made for a tiring evening; but the effort will all be worth it once the internet is taught how misplaced their enjoyment of the Oilers truly is!

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#63 keilan
January 23 2013, 09:56PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Smyth does not need to be replaced, nor does Horcoff. Horcoff can be useful in a number of roles.

The team can't have all elite players, you need PKer's you need 3rd and 4th liners.

Players like Petrell or Eager, Belanger, Hartikainen even Hordichuk have no business being on an NHL club( not including Eager) Eager has head issues, last year and now this year.

Wes,

If Ryan Smyth is your guy then knock yourself out but had he not requested a trade out of LA the Kings could very well have fallen short of winning the cup last year….I’m surprised the Kings didn’t send him a ring!

Ryan is all about Ryan and has never been part of a championship team.. more often then not his season was long over before the playoffs began.

These guys would bring almost nothing back if involved in a trade but somehow they have tremendous value to you! Take a minute and think about that…………

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#64 Time Travelling Sean
January 23 2013, 10:00PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Smyth does not need to be replaced, nor does Horcoff. Horcoff can be useful in a number of roles.

The team can't have all elite players, you need PKer's you need 3rd and 4th liners.

Players like Petrell or Eager, Belanger, Hartikainen even Hordichuk have no business being on an NHL club( not including Eager) Eager has head issues, last year and now this year.

What do you have against Petrell? I love him. He checks hard, he can chip in 5-9 goals, he doesn't make stupid plays, he's gritty, and he isn't glaringly slow and cheats for defense, he can be in my bottom 9 any day.

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#65 Time Travelling Sean
January 23 2013, 10:02PM
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keilan wrote:

Wes,

If Ryan Smyth is your guy then knock yourself out but had he not requested a trade out of LA the Kings could very well have fallen short of winning the cup last year….I’m surprised the Kings didn’t send him a ring!

Ryan is all about Ryan and has never been part of a championship team.. more often then not his season was long over before the playoffs began.

These guys would bring almost nothing back if involved in a trade but somehow they have tremendous value to you! Take a minute and think about that…………

Why can't we give negative props?

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#66 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2013, 10:03PM
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keilan wrote:

Wes,

If Ryan Smyth is your guy then knock yourself out but had he not requested a trade out of LA the Kings could very well have fallen short of winning the cup last year….I’m surprised the Kings didn’t send him a ring!

Ryan is all about Ryan and has never been part of a championship team.. more often then not his season was long over before the playoffs began.

These guys would bring almost nothing back if involved in a trade but somehow they have tremendous value to you! Take a minute and think about that…………

Ryan Smyth has won a world Jr title, he has won a gold medal, he has won a World Cup championship.

He's been to the Stanley Cup and has won a Western division championship, now if winning a Stanley cup is your only way of measuring a players ability then your a moron and this conversation is done.

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DSF wrote:

No.

You need to be an unbridled fan boy.

Critical thinking is not allowed.

If you try and measure the Oilers against their opponents, you must be a Canucks fan.

LOL, I had to props this.

You get a lot of monkey crap thrown your way around here, (and for the most part deservedly so) but sometimes you make a lot of sense.

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#68 Walter Sobchak
January 23 2013, 10:07PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

What do you have against Petrell? I love him. He checks hard, he can chip in 5-9 goals, he doesn't make stupid plays, he's gritty, and he isn't glaringly slow and cheats for defense, he can be in my bottom 9 any day.

Nothing against Petrel Sean, really like the guy myself, Call them the things he doesn't do then.

For the money he's just not a hard player to pay against, he is not fast, he is not aggressive, I just think the Oilers can do better.

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#69 keilan
January 23 2013, 10:18PM
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Wes,

Did you scream at your television last night?

Sean,

We've been a terrible team most of the past twenty years and recently we've finished 30th,30th and 29th - why do you think that is?

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#70 GVBlackhawk
January 23 2013, 10:58PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Eager out with a concussion. The team got even smaller today.

Hopefully the team can find a way to make up for his inconsistent offense and 2:1 penalties taken to drawn ratio.

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#71 Rocket
January 23 2013, 11:33PM
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Is this about The Oilers or James Bond?

Either way, Agent Eberle will snipe at will.

Also, how many articles do we need about The Oilers losing ONE game?

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#72 Rocket
January 23 2013, 11:35PM
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DSF wrote:

No.

You need to be an unbridled fan boy.

Critical thinking is not allowed.

If you try and measure the Oilers against their opponents, you must be a Canucks fan.

DSF, not your biggest fan but mad props.

Comment of the day/night.

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#73 GVBlackhawk
January 24 2013, 12:08AM
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keilan wrote:

Wes,

Did you scream at your television last night?

Sean,

We've been a terrible team most of the past twenty years and recently we've finished 30th,30th and 29th - why do you think that is?

I know the answer! Is it because the team lost more games than they won?

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#74 David S
January 24 2013, 12:25AM
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Wanye didn't go to the home opener last night and tweet his signature "Wanye holding up crack beer while overlooking the ice from the upper deck" pic.

I blame this loss squarely on him. And on free Rexall crack beer night too! WHAT an idiot. ;)

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#75 VK63
January 24 2013, 12:35AM
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I learned that Glenlivet is 9 bucks a shot in the oilers lounge.

Also... apparently new technology allows a brick to be tested for concussions. Bizarre.

What next.... a post?

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#76 Dirk Dangler
January 24 2013, 12:49AM
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DSF wrote:

No.

You need to be an unbridled fan boy.

Critical thinking is not allowed.

If you try and measure the Oilers against their opponents, you must be a Canucks fan.

Good for you DSF. You take a lot of heat on here. Sometimes you deserve it, and I think you know that. Most people believe your intents are malicious and therefore think you're spoon feeding them Oilers hate propaganda. You know this, yet continue to do so for whatever reason. Maybe you think people will grasp some greater overall concept. Maybe you think this will induce change. You seem smarter than that though.

Regardless, for the most part I find your opinion to be consistent and genuinely un-biased, from an overall hockey perspective. I think you do a good job of keeping your thoughts, complaints, insults and sarcasms directed at the hockey related issues. Unlike some of your verbal combatants. Looking at you Clyde Frog. Did you know that DSF has mentioned his mother has passed on a couple of different occasions? Even if you don't believe that, it looks poorly on you to continually mention it on the off chance that you're wrong.

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#77 VK63
January 24 2013, 12:49AM
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Oh yah..a game comment.

It looked like a bunch of colts frolicking in a field.

Pause for a goal by them.

Back to frolicking.

repeat for 20 minutes.

Come back.

Much less frolicking.

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#78 oilerman53
January 24 2013, 07:07AM
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Were going to gauge our deep team and hit the panic button after one lousy period of hockey? After the first the Oilers were on top of the Sharks, Niemi played a good game after that. He got tested often and the top line is starting to look dominating.

Yakupov looks shaky but thats to be expected, Smyth and Horcoff are very valuable cogs in the lineup. The D needs to sack up a bit more and not always fall for that late man. I notice the late man on the rush always seems to be open, the coaching needs to emphasize better man coverage on the late checker. Something that hasn't been there since MacT left town.

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#79 Clyde Frog
January 24 2013, 07:13AM
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@Dirk Dangler

Understanding that its just meant to make me smile when reading through 80+ of DSF madly telling everyone they are wrong, via trolling; you act like I am building a factually based picture of what is a DSF...

Oh well ce la vi.

What is strange though looking over the past weeks posts, versus the previous 60 days; a lot more time is spent actually talking about the Oilers versus the endless circular argument with the DSF.

What's funny is that wasn't even my intent, I just wanted to laugh while I read everyone's post about what was actually contained in the blog.

On a side note and a warning, you realize he doesn't even read the replies; he may quote them, but that is simply to reference his thought.

The biggest trick a troll has ever pulled off on the internet, is making you believe he actually reads what you type.

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#80 Fresh Mess
January 24 2013, 08:21AM
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craiger wrote:

Anybody know what happened to Crystal Leriger from the Oilers Link show? I heard she is no longer the host, and would like to know why?

She was having an affair with Tommy Salo's wife.

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#81 David S
January 24 2013, 08:53AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

She was having an affair with Tommy Salo's wife.

Now they have "unemployed, super happy frat guy".

~Obviously this works way better than an intelligent rocket for a host.~

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#82 Spydyr
January 24 2013, 09:41AM
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Oiltimer wrote:

@ ye of little faith

1) Potter ... If I'm not mistaken he was the point man on the #1 PP in the league a lot of last year so maybe he gets a good look

2) Somewhere in all this hockey buzz of the last few weeks someone said that often on "special nights" the home team gets mauled ...see LA Kings ... This was a pretty special night for many of them. 2 or 3 rookies absolutly new to the rink and the league. The team wacked Van @ home in game 1 on the road ... the team "leaders' have been pretty much having their way with AHL teams for 40 or so games. I think they were believing all the press noise.

3) a lot of people dumping, perhaps undeserved, praise on a bunch of tean-agers playing a mans game. Better to get it out there now and bounce back.

4) a rookie coach that didn't pull the pin when it was 3 or 4 to 1 and find a way to get them back in the game.

5) for whatever reason they out scored the opposition 2-0 in periods 2, 3 ... that part was an OK game.

6) in spite of what anyone says blogs are a place where you can say what you like and you don't really have to defend it or your self. ... unlike in a bar or @ kitchen table maybe All that is at risk is maybe a little ego if one cares. (The first year there was a good number of diverse opinions and I thought some goon would be waiting for me some night in the alley behind my building)

7) dsf & spider live together in north van ... check it out

Since you felt the need to include me in your post.

1) You are mistaken .The Oilers had the third best power play in the NHL.It is how you finish that matters..If you think Potter played a bigger role in that power play than the other players on the ice. You are mistaken. He was the third wheel. Potter was also a part of the team that finished 29th in the NHL

2) Last I checked San Jose's first line does not play in the AHL. The team was exposed.

3) Actually they are men playing a boys game.

4) Pull the pin..... What does that even mean?

5) San Jose stepped off the gas. Even a fan blinded by his teams colors had to see that.

6) I just said what I wanted and defended it.

7) If you are going to try to insult someone. Please spell their name right. It points to your credibility and intelligence.

Continue to drink the Kool-aid. Myself I will look at the team critically and realistically.

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#83 TDSM31
January 24 2013, 10:31AM
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justDOit wrote:

I can only hope that this is sarcasm. If so, you forgot the little winkie face after your comment. ;)

Sorry Mrs. Dubnyk, didn't mean to offend your son.

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#84 TDSM31
January 24 2013, 10:37AM
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@justDOit

Who said our rookies were going to be saviours to this club?? Eberle, Hall, Nuge....not rookies.

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#85 REMITIIO
January 24 2013, 11:01AM
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Thanks for that

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#86 madjam
January 24 2013, 11:08AM
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Right now it feels like we have a less than adequate band-aid defence with lack of grit and talent beyond J.Schultz by the looks of it .

We do have some up and coming defence in Teubert , Marincin , Klefbom , Musil , etc. , but they could be several years down the road to respectability .

Will Kreuger pan out (50-50) ? Goaltending still at issue , and may be far from resolved . What might it cost if Luongo enters the picture ? Maybe they'll throw in Kassian into a deal ?

Still early but i don't see any major changes taking place as yet . Even Smid , N.Schultz, Potter and Petry shows no improvement . Whitney looks lost . Good signs from Yak and J.Schultz .

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#87 lucky
January 24 2013, 11:18AM
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@ Dirk Dangler @ Clyde Frog

Like CF, and, I expect the lion's share of the ON camp, I have become so sick and tired of this DSF / Nation back and forth ad nauseum which has soiled our once most excellent blog. DSF, you are to be congratulated for such remarkably effective trolling and while CF claims no factual basis, your message of utter frustration resonates deeply. I would like to propose the following motions for discussion: 1. That once alerted by the bird of prey, all eyes are to skip automatically to the next blog post. Think of this as the delete button in your email inbox. 2. A complete prohibition be placed on future @DSF'ing.

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#88 Clyde Frog
January 24 2013, 11:29AM
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lucky wrote:

@ Dirk Dangler @ Clyde Frog

Like CF, and, I expect the lion's share of the ON camp, I have become so sick and tired of this DSF / Nation back and forth ad nauseum which has soiled our once most excellent blog. DSF, you are to be congratulated for such remarkably effective trolling and while CF claims no factual basis, your message of utter frustration resonates deeply. I would like to propose the following motions for discussion: 1. That once alerted by the bird of prey, all eyes are to skip automatically to the next blog post. Think of this as the delete button in your email inbox. 2. A complete prohibition be placed on future @DSF'ing.

Wanye should put in a negative props button; after receiving XX number the reply button is removed from your posts.

Won't solve all, but it will at least prevent new posters getting sucked into the void.

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#89 Spydyr
January 24 2013, 11:35AM
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lucky wrote:

@ Dirk Dangler @ Clyde Frog

Like CF, and, I expect the lion's share of the ON camp, I have become so sick and tired of this DSF / Nation back and forth ad nauseum which has soiled our once most excellent blog. DSF, you are to be congratulated for such remarkably effective trolling and while CF claims no factual basis, your message of utter frustration resonates deeply. I would like to propose the following motions for discussion: 1. That once alerted by the bird of prey, all eyes are to skip automatically to the next blog post. Think of this as the delete button in your email inbox. 2. A complete prohibition be placed on future @DSF'ing.

If you don't want to read a blog post comment move on to the next comment. If you see their name @ move on.

Problem solved.

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