GDB 07: BE AWARE OF SHARKS

Jason Gregor
January 31 2013 12:42PM

Last Tuesday the Oilers played the role of the seal as the San Jose Sharks devoured them 6-1. The feeding frenzy was over in 20 minutes. The Oilers were bloodied, Devan Dubnyk was given a seat at the end of the bench and most fans numbed their pain by crushing a few extra Rexall Place heroin beers.

It was the worst first period imaginable for a home-opener, and tonight the Oilers will be looking for redemption against the undefeated, 6-0, Sharks.

Despite playing back-to-back for the first time this year, I doubt fatigue plays a factor. The Oilers are young, they are riding a two-game winning streak, and last night's game was far from high-energy. The Oilers will want to play a much better game, and with that embarrassing first period still fresh in their minds, I expect they will be ready to compete.

The Oilers need to play well to even stay in the game. The Sharks are first or second in almost every NHL category it seems:

  • They are the only remaining undefeated team.
  • Second in goals for with 4.67.
  • Second in goals against at 1.67.
  • First in PP efficiency at 35.3%.
  • 2nd in F0% at 58.2%.
  • NHL-best 5-0 when they score first.
  • Have the top-two leading scorers, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau each with 14 points.

The Oilers are 4-2, and despite struggling to score 5-on-5, and turning over too many pucks at the offensive blueline, they've only allowed 10 ES goals.

Edmonton has played 371:53 of hockey this year. If you exclude that awful first period v. San Jose, 5.4% of their total ice time, in the remaining 94.6% of their minutes played they have allowed only nine goals. And the team's SV% is .948 and their goals against is 1.76.

When you add in those 20 minutes, their SV% drops to .919 and their goals against almost doubles to 2.50. It is amazing how one bad period can alter their defensive statistics, especially because they've only played six games.

For the majority of this season the Oilers have had great goaltending, and their defensive zone coverage has improved immensely from last season.

The key tonight is to avoid turnovers in the neutral zone or at the offensive blueline, and ensure they don't leave Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture wide open in the scoring lanes.

LINEUP...???

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

Shane Doan crushed Shawn Horcoff late in the 3rd period last night. It happened after the whistle and it was from behind. Horcoff stayed down for a minute, but then skated off with the trainer at his side. He stayed on the bench, but didn't take another shift. He likely won't dress, and that will be a big hole to fill.

**UDPATE***

Anton Lander has been recalled and he will dress, but to make room for him Magnus Paajarvi has been sent to OKC. Lander will likely play between Hartikainen and Hordichuk, with Belanger between Smyth and Petrell.  Petrell blocked a shot late in the game and is a game-time decision, so if he can't go the Oilers will dress seven D-men.

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

Corey Potter struggled last night, and while he wasn't the only one, he doesn't have the luxury of the forwards, who don't have anyone currently pushing them for icetime. When Krueger re-inserted Potter into the lineup he said, "I don't want guys sitting out too long. Corey coming in is not a reflection of how Mark played." If that was the real reason, then I'd assume he'll do the same with Fistric and put him in tonight.

The Sharks have the 2nd biggest forward group in the NHL, so Krueger should want a more physical D-man in as well.

Dubnyk

I'd stick with the hot goalie. Dubnyk was great again last night, and you know he'd love some redemption against the Sharks.

QUICK HITS

  •  I feel sorry for the diehard Phoenix fans, but it is obvious that team will never flourish or break even. Jamison doesn't have any money, and he is now out as the potential new owner. The NHL should just cut their losses. They have a 10-year TV deal signed, so I don't see how relocating would impact their TV numbers.
     
  • I'm not surprised by Dubnyk's play. I felt he took a big step in the 2nd half of last season. The key for him now is to remain consistent. If the does, the Oilers chances of being in the playoff hunt in late March increase drastically.
     
  • My Nationdraft just went down the drain. Jason Spezza is having back surgery and will be out close to two months. Good luck to everyone else. &*(*$%!!!!
     

GAME DAY PREDICTION: After last night's boring game v. Phoenix the Sharks and Oilers will put on a dazzling display of up-tempo hockey. It will be more enjoyable to watch, but the Oilers will lose 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Marleau and Thornton combine for four points, but Hall and Eberle match that with four of their own. It will be the most exciting game thus far.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Early in the second period Sam Gagner and Scott Gomez exchange slashes in front of the net. Words are exchanged and Gomez shocks everyone by shedding his mitts for his first regular season fight since February of 2000. (Gomez fought Tom Poti in 2010 playoffs). Gagner is pumped to be fighting a guy smaller than him, and he gives Gomez the business. After the game, Gagner tweets to Ryan Whitney, "I wonder if Gomez prefers ice cream sandwiches or a right from Samwise."

If you don't get the icecream sandwich joke check out Gagner and Whitney's twitter timelines from last night..

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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 A-Mc
January 31 2013, 11:58AM
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GDP: Oilers win 2-1 just like they did vs the Capitals last season when the caps were 7-0. Similar game count. Similar situation (Oilers were also 4-2-x at the time)

OGDP: Hall and Ebs score the 2 goals.

NSOGDP: Hordi gets the green light in place of Petrell. 20 seconds into his first shift he Hulk Smashes Marleau so hard it makes baby jesus cry. Suddenly a high pitch squeal can be heard from the rafters: "Hordi Hears a Who" from OilersNation has been resurrected. The Sharks Shart their panties. Game Over.

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#2 Mark-LW
January 31 2013, 12:02PM
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Oilers win 5-3 with Yakupov scoring three goals which I am preemptively coining "a Yak-Trick"

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#3 A-Mc
January 31 2013, 12:09PM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Oilers win 5-3 with Yakupov scoring three goals which I am preemptively coining "a Yak-Trick"

Yak-Trick "yak-trik" noun

When 3 goals are scored in 1 game by a single player in which all three 'Cellys' are done in stanley cup winning fashion.

"Barney had a righteous Yak-Trick last night dude, you should catch it on youtube"

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#4 mctada
January 31 2013, 12:11PM
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Love the picture of the Shark, very appropriate however the other was extremly gratutious and salious...but thatnks anyways

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GDP: Oilers win 5-4

OGBP: Gagner has a three point night against the "big" Sharks team and shuts up all the haters. Proving once and for all that Gagner haters are just like porta potties. They're either occupied or full of sh!t.

NSOGDP: The Sharks audio guy randomly plays a Menudo song.

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#6 JB
January 31 2013, 12:13PM
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How fun would a PHX dispersal draft be???

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#7 IfBruceLeeWasAnOiler
January 31 2013, 12:18PM
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is anyone else ticked off about the 9:30 start also oilers 4-2 all good things have to come to an end

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#8 A-Mc
January 31 2013, 12:20PM
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@IfBruceLeeWasAnOiler

its an 8:30 start time i believe... that's what my oilers calendar says.

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#9 Rob...
January 31 2013, 12:20PM
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3-2 Oilers Victory. Yak scores again in OT. His celly involves being as unemotional as possible, making no sudden moves and looking down at the ice as much as possible until he's off the ice. Once off he will pull out and distribute thank you cards to each of his line-mates with personalized messages noting that the goal was due to all of their hard work during the play.

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#10 oilerman53
January 31 2013, 12:28PM
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Doan would be nervousover the fact he might have to play in Canada again. Phoenix is a big bunch of cry babies! The only guy Id want from that team is Ekman Larsen.

Oilers come out for redemption.

Yak Gagner Hemmer have a big night. 6-2 Oil

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#11 Quicksilver ballet
January 31 2013, 12:31PM
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Sharks are very similar to women. Both writhe and roll their eyes back when getting what they need.

Sharks 3 Oilers 6.

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#12 oliveoilers
January 31 2013, 12:35PM
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Dont forget yak also issues a televised apology on all networks for having the temerity to score a goal, and promising to shoot it on his own net next time.

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#13 A-Mc
January 31 2013, 12:36PM
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Are the women in the image about to kiss? or is this a boxing/martialarts matchup?

I sure hope they aren't going to hit each other.. can't stand to see that sh!t

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#14 Jonathan Willis
January 31 2013, 12:37PM
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"And here, in picture form, see how the San Jose Sharks replaced the California Golden Seals on the West Coast."

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#15 Cheesenaka
January 31 2013, 12:38PM
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A-Mc wrote:

its an 8:30 start time i believe... that's what my oilers calendar says.

From what I can see, the Oilers game starts at 8:30 but because of the Flames game @ 7, the Oilers game will be joined in progress.

I hope that's not the case, maybe someone can clarify.

I thought the whole point of having the Oilers and Flames Sportsnet channels was so that people could choose which game to watch in its entirety.

I would be pretty ticked to miss the entire 1st period of the Oilers game if that is the case.

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#16 northof51
January 31 2013, 12:40PM
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Rob... wrote:

3-2 Oilers Victory. Yak scores again in OT. His celly involves being as unemotional as possible, making no sudden moves and looking down at the ice as much as possible until he's off the ice. Once off he will pull out and distribute thank you cards to each of his line-mates with personalized messages noting that the goal was due to all of their hard work during the play.

* and Don Cherry still blasts Yak on the next Coach's Corner, this time for being a "soft" European.

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#17 A-Mc
January 31 2013, 12:42PM
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@Cheesenaka

i wonder if we will see it being played on one of the shaw 350+ channels (sportsnet premium?). It seems we're getting those as free previews this year (AWESOME). I've been using them to catch all sorts of games i otherwise wouldn't.

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#18 Cheesenaka
January 31 2013, 12:44PM
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A-Mc wrote:

i wonder if we will see it being played on one of the shaw 350+ channels (sportsnet premium?). It seems we're getting those as free previews this year (AWESOME). I've been using them to catch all sorts of games i otherwise wouldn't.

I just checked on the Sportsnet TV schedule, and it lists the Oilers game on Sportsnet Oilers @ 8:30. My listing on Telus TV must be wrong then, or they changed it. Here is the link: http://www.sportsnet.ca/tvschedule/

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#19 Puritania
January 31 2013, 12:47PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Are the women in the image about to kiss? or is this a boxing/martialarts matchup?

I sure hope they aren't going to hit each other.. can't stand to see that sh!t

I like it. Gina Carano never looked hotter than when she posed for pictures with a shiner. Carano vs Rousey would be fantastic.

This is the lineup I'd like to see.

Hartikainen Nugent-Hopkins Eberle

Hall Gagner Yakupov

Smyth Horcoff Hemsky

Paajarvi Belanger Petrell

Smid Petry

Nick Justin

FISTric Whitney

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#20 CopperBlueBalls
January 31 2013, 12:57PM
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Oilers Win 5-3, Dubey makes a few huge saves, top line combines for 7 points, 2 ev strength goals. Fistric levels marleau early throwing him off his game

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#21 vetinari
January 31 2013, 12:59PM
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GDP: Oilers look for redemption; tight game ensues, Oilers 3 SJ 2 in shootout.

OGDP: Fistric goes in, levels Marleau or Heatley on his first shift and a line scrum ensues. Oilers end up SH on a 5 on 3.

NSOGDP: Yak pots the game winning goal, swoops by the bench for a plate of sushi he hid earlier in pre-game, and then proceeds to slowly eat it at centre ice. When asked what he's doing by the press in post game interviews, he says that "yak's are the natural predators of sharks and we eat not only them BUT their lunches too."

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#22 Cheesenaka
January 31 2013, 01:02PM
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If Horcoff and Petrell can't go tonight and we can't get anyone from OKC to the game in time, I wouldn't mind seeing the following lineup:

Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle

Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky

Paajarvi-Smyth-Hartikainen

Hordichuk-Belanger-Peckham

Smid-Petry

N.Schultz-J.Schultz

Fistric-Whitney

Then again, I'm not sure how many options you really have at that point.

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#23 michael
January 31 2013, 01:05PM
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Oilers win 3-2 shootout win. Fistric gets inserted and gets 8 hits. All on Joe Thornton. In one shift.

Is there a deal to be made between Ottawa and Colorado? Or will Florida ship Wiess to Ottawa?

Potter/Peckham to florida?

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#24 Quicksilver ballet
January 31 2013, 01:05PM
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I believe the Oilers are on Sportsnet one tonight.

@ Ventinari, Dany Heatley has played for the Minnesota Wild now for 2+ yrs. Old habits die hard eh.

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#25 Quicksilver ballet
January 31 2013, 01:07PM
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Is there an echo in here...

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#26 dessert1111
January 31 2013, 01:18PM
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A-Mc wrote:

its an 8:30 start time i believe... that's what my oilers calendar says.

Ugh, 10:30 Eastern...going to be tired for work tomorrow morning.

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#27 Lochenzo
January 31 2013, 01:42PM
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Call it fate, but after getting smoked 6-1 in the first period, and now going up against a 6-0 club. I think the Oil will make that SJ record 6-1 by the end of the night.

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#28 laughing pug
January 31 2013, 02:26PM
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maybe...maybe more Quick Hits pictures are in order....?....

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#29 vetinari
January 31 2013, 02:50PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

I believe the Oilers are on Sportsnet one tonight.

@ Ventinari, Dany Heatley has played for the Minnesota Wild now for 2+ yrs. Old habits die hard eh.

Fistric hits are so powerful that they break the time barrier... wait until he creams Jeff Friesen in 1994!

* damn problems with my... thingy... whatchamacallit... memory... I knew that I hated SJ for a reason....

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#30 Where's Your Towel
January 31 2013, 03:12PM
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Gregor: If it makes you feel any better (it won't) Spezza back surgery just borked my work pool for me as well.

I think our Oilers will come out really hard against the Sharks. If it doesn't pay off early, I am worried that discouragement might take over. If they press and aren't rewarded, we'll really see what sort of motivator Ralph is the rest of the game.

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#31 Mac962
January 31 2013, 03:14PM
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So what Strategy do we implement tonight boys ? We wont out muscle these guys so what is it ?

Speed speed speed ? Toss a few bombs early and stretch out the D and keep them guessing. There is no way the Sharks keep up if the room is there. I dunno... I think the boys will be play their best game of the year tonight , not saying they will win but they are going to make the Sharks earn anything they get.

And hey , everyone loses at some point and the Sharks are due. Cockiness could be their undoing tonight...

5-2 record tomorrow morning would be awesome.

Lets Go Oil ! 60 minutes is a must tonight...

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#32 northof51
January 31 2013, 03:33PM
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The thought of having Horcoff, PRV, and possibly Petrell out of the lineup in favour of Lander, Hordichuk and a seventh dman is testing my sense of optimism...

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#33 EHH Team
January 31 2013, 03:35PM
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Puritania wrote:

I like it. Gina Carano never looked hotter than when she posed for pictures with a shiner. Carano vs Rousey would be fantastic.

This is the lineup I'd like to see.

Hartikainen Nugent-Hopkins Eberle

Hall Gagner Yakupov

Smyth Horcoff Hemsky

Paajarvi Belanger Petrell

Smid Petry

Nick Justin

FISTric Whitney

I'd like to see this line-up tried too

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#34 Boourns99
January 31 2013, 03:42PM
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Cheesenaka wrote:

From what I can see, the Oilers game starts at 8:30 but because of the Flames game @ 7, the Oilers game will be joined in progress.

I hope that's not the case, maybe someone can clarify.

I thought the whole point of having the Oilers and Flames Sportsnet channels was so that people could choose which game to watch in its entirety.

I would be pretty ticked to miss the entire 1st period of the Oilers game if that is the case.

Flames game on SNW. Oil game (in its entirety) is on Sportnet Oilers (301-ish for SHAW). SNW shows the balance of the game once the Shames are done.

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#35 MAC962
January 31 2013, 03:42PM
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Just bought Shaw centre ice package..

is it worth the 49 bucks...anyone else get it ?

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#36 Dog Train
January 31 2013, 04:02PM
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I have Spezza in my Yahoo! fantasy pool so the news about his back surgery sucks!

The Oilers will no doubt be in tough tonight but there is nothing like the fear of being embarassed to motivate you. I see the Oilers playing a spirited game and upsetting the Sharks 4-3 in the SO.

That said, we can't take penalties tonight. No Horcoff and Petrell might be out as well. On the road against the Sharks red-hot PP, taking penalties would be flirting with disaster.

GO OILERS GO!!

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#37 David S
January 31 2013, 04:04PM
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I love this team to the bottom of my soul, but I can't see any other outcome than us getting scorched tonight. Hope I'm wrong about this.

San Jose 5-2.

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#38 Harlie
January 31 2013, 04:09PM
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I expect a big game from Ebs and JSchul. Open netter from YakCity.

4 - 1 Oil

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#39 Cutterov
January 31 2013, 04:24PM
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If potter plays over Fistric tonite I am going to loose my mind..Potter is Not offensive, not defensive, doesn't really do anything special and was a total turnover machine disaster last nite in Phoenix. I know it's early but I am starting to wonder why we dealt a 3rd to obtain Fistric as a press box guy, couldn't we have saved our 3rd and have Peckham as a press box guy in the rotation with potter. Kruger has set the bar in removing Fistric from the line up due to keeping everyone fresh, he must remove potter from the line up for his performance. Does anyone else see what I am missing in watching potter and searching hard to find as a reason he seems to get a ton of ice?

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#40 yeeps
January 31 2013, 04:38PM
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J. Schultz has played 6 total NHL games and last night you could tell that he was already a focal point of the opposition. They hit him every time they had an excuse. I have no problem with this and see it more of a compliment. 6 games into his NHL career and he warrants that kind of attention? That's exciting.

Other note: I love the energy Hordichuk has, but please please please don't take stupid penalties against this Sharks team. Please!

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#41 Will
January 31 2013, 04:46PM
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Cutterov wrote:

If potter plays over Fistric tonite I am going to loose my mind..Potter is Not offensive, not defensive, doesn't really do anything special and was a total turnover machine disaster last nite in Phoenix. I know it's early but I am starting to wonder why we dealt a 3rd to obtain Fistric as a press box guy, couldn't we have saved our 3rd and have Peckham as a press box guy in the rotation with potter. Kruger has set the bar in removing Fistric from the line up due to keeping everyone fresh, he must remove potter from the line up for his performance. Does anyone else see what I am missing in watching potter and searching hard to find as a reason he seems to get a ton of ice?

Ya, been discussing this myself. Some theories we've been throwing around is that Whitney's mobility is really lacking, so pairing him with Fistric creates a pretty slow third pairing, which is a dangerous thing to have against speedy puck moving teams.

Not that Phoenix is that, but three of their defenders are experts at making those quick stretch and outlet passes. We got beat by the team doing exactly that a couple times last night.

Second, though Fistric seems pretty solid in a lot of Defensive disciplines, I think Potter has the better pass for the breakout rush, even if he makes worse decisions more often, it might be worth it for the few good ones.

If it were anyone but the sharks, I'd actually like to see Potter Fistric and pull Whitney. If not for anything but to see if Whitney is making any kind of impact back there or not.

My final theory has to do with how good Fistric has been playing. Kreuger, more than any other coach I've seen, has a game plan for every game, and sometimes for every shift. I think he has thought about how to squeeze the most possible points out of this road trip, and maybe thought he could win without Fistric last night, keeping him fresh for tonight, the true test. Krueger doesn't seem like he plays to lose, ever.

Whatever the reason, I just hope Fistric is in tonight and lays someone out.

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#42 Old Retired Guy
January 31 2013, 04:48PM
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I looked into my crystal ball and it was a little merky.....

I think it said.. "Oilers score six in the first Period"......

But it could have been "Oilers pick sixth in the first Round".....

My prediction....Oilers go .500 or better on the road trip.....

IS this the night that DD steals one for us???

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#43 geno
January 31 2013, 05:18PM
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how is anyone predicting a win?? SJ is red hot! Oilers lose 5-2. Duby makes 33 saves. Lake of turnovers by EDM.

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#44 Wax Man Riley
January 31 2013, 05:34PM
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mctada wrote:

Love the picture of the Shark, very appropriate however the other was extremly gratutious and salious...but thatnks anyways

I don't think salious is a word...so lets make it a word:

Salious:—adj

1. inspiring or displaying awe

2. slang excellent or outstanding 'saliously —adv 'saliuosness —n

"That picture is pure saliousness"

"Did you see Yak's salious celly?"

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#45 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 31 2013, 06:00PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

I don't think salious is a word...so lets make it a word:

Salious:—adj

1. inspiring or displaying awe

2. slang excellent or outstanding 'saliously —adv 'saliuosness —n

"That picture is pure saliousness"

"Did you see Yak's salious celly?"

phonically close to salacious.

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#46 Wax Man Riley
January 31 2013, 06:08PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

phonically close to salacious.

Ya, I figured. I really just wanted to make up a word tho.

Wait.... is phonically a word? ;p jk

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#47 justDOit
January 31 2013, 06:10PM
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David S wrote:

I love this team to the bottom of my soul, but I can't see any other outcome than us getting scorched tonight. Hope I'm wrong about this.

San Jose 5-2.

I agree - if they're dressing Hordi especially. I'd rather see Peckham take that spot on the wing... almost.

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#48 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 31 2013, 06:10PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Ya, I figured. I really just wanted to make up a word tho.

Wait.... is phonically a word? ;p jk

not a criticism.

yes.

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#49 justDOit
January 31 2013, 06:11PM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Oilers win 5-3 with Yakupov scoring three goals which I am preemptively coining "a Yak-Trick"

I've had a yak-trick before - with a big assist from 34 oz of vodka.

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#50 StHenriOilBomb
January 31 2013, 06:48PM
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Old Retired Guy wrote:

I looked into my crystal ball and it was a little merky.....

I think it said.. "Oilers score six in the first Period"......

But it could have been "Oilers pick sixth in the first Round".....

My prediction....Oilers go .500 or better on the road trip.....

IS this the night that DD steals one for us???

I would argue that he stole one for us last night.

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