GDB 1.0: THE RETURN OF THE JETS

Jason Gregor
October 01 2013 12:04PM

 

The Winnipeg Jets return to Rexall place for their first regular season game since March 29th, 1996. The Oilers haven't lost to the Jets at home in 17 years, the longest undefeated timeline in franchise history. Who cares that they haven't played since then, the fact is the Oilers haven't lost to them. 

The team you cheer for hasn't made the playoffs in seven seasons, longest active drought in the NHL, so you should embrace any winning streak, regardless of the technicalities.

Opening night is the best night for any fanbase, and the Oilers have been pretty damn good in home openers and season openers.

The Oilers will begin their 34th NHL season tonight at Rexall Place and they will open up a season for the 3rd time against the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers defeated the Jets 4-3 on October 10th, 1985 and tied them 3-3 on October 6th, 1990.

Historically the Oilers are very good in season openers, 19-10-4, and they are equally solid, 19-9-5, in home openers. They are even better, 18-6-3, in season openers at home, so if you play the odds it is a good bet to go with the Oilers tonight.

The Oilers will have eight new faces in the lineup tonight: newly-anointed captain Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, Luke Gazdic, Anton Belov, Will Acton, Jesse Joensuu, David Perron and Jason LaBarbera. If you include Marc Arcobello, who only played one game, almost half of their roster is new.

Add in Dallas Eakins and Keith Acton behind the bench, and the Oilers should be a vastly different team than last season.

The good news is that for the first time in four years the Oilers didn't get younger. Acton, Belov and Gadzic will play their first NHL games tonight, but they are 26, 27 and 24 respectively. All of the Oilers young players are a year older, and as Eakins pointed out on the first day of training camp, this is not a young team anymore.

After five consecutive seasons of top-ten picks, it is time to see some results on the ice. The Oilers need to start showing the potential that fans have patiently been waiting for.

LINEUP...

Smyth-Hall-Hemsky
Perron-Arcobello-Eberle
Joensuu-Gordon-Yakupov
Gazdic-Acton-Brown

Ference-J.Schultz
Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-Belov

Dubnyk
LaBarbera

JETS...

Ladd-Little-Wheeler
Kane-Scheifele-Setoguchi
Wright-Jokinen-Frolik
Tangradi-Slater-Thorburn

Enstrom-Byfuglien
Bogosian-Trouba
Stuart-Postma

Pavelec
Montoya

QUICK HITS...

  • Eberle led the NHL in preseason points with eight, and his linemate on most nights, David Perron, was tops in goals with five. Those two need to bring that production to the regular season and help the Oilers get off to a good start. If the Oilers can tread water until Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner return.
     
  • The Oilers got some good news today, as Gagner said he is hoping to return in five weeks. He lost four teeth, and had six screws and one metal plate put in the left side of his jaw. It wasn't wired shut, and that is why he could return sooner than the original two months prognosis.
     
  • Nugent-Hopkins was put through a fast-paced, intense skate after the morning skate. He is moving well, and he is pain free while shooting. Once he gets clearance for contact, he could return within 10-14 days.

  • Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner, Smyth and Nick Schultz were named alternate captains today. If that isn't an NHL record for most alternate captains, it must be close. Eakins said they will rotate the "A" every game and the training staff knows the rotation.
     
  • I was a bit surprised Ladislav Smid wasn't in the top-six, but ultimately I'm not sure it matters. Smid plays a simple game, and I don't expect him to play any different without a letter on his jersey.
     
  • Hockey coaches and parents, as you get set for another season of minor hockey take a moment and read what George Kingston feels is necessary for young kids to be doing in practice and games. Smart man.
     
  • I've felt Ference was the right choice as captain for a long time. This interview with Ryan Rishaug just confirms that. Ference recognize that he can do more with his status of NHL player, than just play hockey. Excellent stuff.

LOOKING AHEAD....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers excel in season/home openers and they'll continue that trend tonight with a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Perron continues his red-hot preseason scoring by adding two goals, one of a nifty redirection. Gadzic drops his gloves in a spirited first period scrap with Chris Thorburn.

NOT-S0-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After five months of reading and hearing he is washed up Smyth scores on a goal mouth scramble. Even the most ardent Smyth-hater cracks a smile, because for one night, Smyth is a go-to guy again. The best part about the first game of the season is that it gives every fan hope for a brighter season, and Smyth has become the player many are cheering for. Edmonton fans love to cheer for the blood and gut type player, and on this night Smyth rewards your loyalty.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR   

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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 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
October 01 2013, 12:08PM
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OILERS BONER! 34TH EDITION!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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#2 Ducey
October 01 2013, 12:22PM
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Prediction:

Dubnyk lets in a softy, then stands on his head and winds up with a .925 save % for the win.

All the MSM focus on will be the fact he can't be a #1.

Sigh.

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#3 OilDieHard
October 01 2013, 12:05PM
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finally the season is starting....seems like it took forever!! 3-2 Oilers win.

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#4 Alvie
October 01 2013, 03:11PM
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Damn Fools!!! Keep my name out your mouth!!!

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#5 Doomoil
October 01 2013, 02:00PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

So let's see, he let softies in and lost games last year.

This year, he's still going to let softies in but actually win the games.

Interesting....

oh, so that's the only reason the oilers lost last year. of course, it's all so simple!

the guy with the sixth best save percentage over the last 3 years was the problem all along.

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#6 Harry
October 01 2013, 10:50PM
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Eakins should be fired for the amount of icetime Smyth got tonight

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#7 EP
October 01 2013, 10:51PM
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New GM, new coach, a bunch of new players, same uncanny ability to give up a 2 goal lead. Some things never change.

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#8 Cheap Shot Charlie
October 01 2013, 11:01PM
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I usually stick up for Dubnyk, but there were 3 goals that he needed to get.

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#9 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 11:13PM
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Smyth had over 17 min tonight, yak had barely 14.

Question to Eakins is: why?

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#10 916oiler
October 01 2013, 12:20PM
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Perron with the first Oilers' goal of the season! Go Oilers!!

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#11 The Towel Boy
October 01 2013, 03:53PM
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LET'S GO OI-LERS!

*CLAP* *CLAP*

*CLAPCLAPCLAP*

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#12 vetinari
October 01 2013, 12:25PM
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Psssst. No one else take the Oilers in StreakCred 'cause I need the win.

GDP: Oilers 3 Jets 2

OGDP: We'll eke out the win on the scoreboard but not in the faceoff circle.

NSOGDP: Using the new swarm defence, Gazdic and Brown inadvertently miss their target in a dump-and-chase, collide, and end up on the LTIR list by the end of the game.

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#13 Smokey
October 01 2013, 01:50PM
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brian_d wrote:

Is Gazdic really a better option than Eager right now? Eager has seen more of training camp, and brings the intimidation factor that Eager does...

Gadzic fights a lot. Eager was as intimidating as Sam Gagner last season, and thus went to OKC.

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#14 k
October 01 2013, 11:01PM
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Alsker wrote:

I said 70 comments ago how this so reminded me of most of the regular season of '06, BUT Dubnyk is a better goalie than we had back then(I hope), but this is one we deserved and needed. .815SP is totally unexceptable, how do you bag skate a goalie?

When Smyth is playing 1st line minutes you bag skate the coach

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#15 mayorblaine
October 01 2013, 02:58PM
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so it begins.

Oil 5-1.

Dubnyk is an above average goalie in this league and will be the least of our issues.

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#16 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:58PM
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Well Oilers aren't in first place anymore. Looks like they still need a starting goalie.

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#17 West
October 01 2013, 03:07PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

Rewind:

Question/discussion: Is Dubnyk good enough to be a legitimate starting goalie?

Qualifier: Starting goalie prerequisites: Don't let soft goals in on a regular basis, if at all.

Answer: Nope.

SIM-PLE!

I'M TH E SMRTEST MAN ALVIEEEEEE!!

Who is Alvie and why are you yelling at him?

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#18 Gkpoil
October 01 2013, 10:46PM
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DUBNYK F#CKING SUCKS!!~!!!!

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#19 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 01 2013, 12:36PM
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Game Day Prediction

For One Day.....all Oilers fans put aside their differences and opinions and are united in their love of the team and the game of hockey! And the Oilers reward their fans with a 5-2 VICTORY !!!

TAYLOR HALL PLAYS LIKE A BEAST.......SCORES THE HAT TRICK...... AND IS UUUUUUNNNNNNSTOPPABLE!!!

RAISE A LITTLE HELL, RAISE A LITTLE HELL....RAISE A LITTLE HELL!!!

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#20 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:34PM
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Smyth caught on the back check.Get used to hearing that this year.

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#21 Raider Jesse
October 01 2013, 02:38PM
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LETS GO EDMONTON FACE PUNCHERS!!!!!!!

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#22 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 11:06PM
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Lawndemon wrote:

If the Oilers outshoot opponents like that every game this year then we will enjoy playoff hockey again.

Not if their goalie has a.815 save percentage they won't

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#23 Fresh Mess
October 01 2013, 02:41PM
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Snub Smid? You Bastards!!!!

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#24 Craig1981
October 01 2013, 04:55PM
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I am really going to miss the 7-2 Oilers of Canucks score that has been dawning this website for several months

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#25 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:46PM
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JJ wrote:

Smid is a total POS. He should get booted out for that kind of goonery. Typical deadmonton.

You seem lonely. Wanna hug it out?

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#26 Harry
October 01 2013, 11:06PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

We already want Eakins fired!? It's game 1

When a player embarrasses himself like smyth did tonight and plays as much as he did it raises a question or two.

I couldnt agree more with bag skating the coach.

Uak and JJ played less than smyth and he was god awful tonigjt

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#27 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 01 2013, 04:16PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

Rewind:

Question/discussion: Is Dubnyk good enough to be a legitimate starting goalie?

Qualifier: Starting goalie prerequisites: Don't let soft goals in on a regular basis, if at all.

Answer: Nope.

SIM-PLE!

I'M TH E SMRTEST MAN ALVIEEEEEE!!

~ I guess Chicago should get themselves a starting goalie then ~

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#28 Rod from Viking
October 01 2013, 10:54PM
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Mark Lee should stick to the Calgary Stampede,what an anti-Oiler.

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#29 Harry
October 01 2013, 08:48PM
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Watchin Smyth tonight is like watching a kitten being tortured. What a waste of Halls icetime

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#30 brian_d
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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Swap Joensuu for Smyth ;) Kidding, but the Finn has looked impressive...

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#31 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:19PM
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Joensuu looks like the teamu hartikainen I always wanted.

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#32 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:29PM
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"Rare face-off win for Hall" is this the Jets play-by-play team for CBC, Hall is 5-5 in the dot.. RARE,, i think im gonna gag..

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#33 Harry
October 01 2013, 10:02PM
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Smyth is done. I love the guy but in game 1 he look just terrible. Out of gas.no hands and a turnover machine

SMITTY DO THE RIGHT.THING AND RETIRE!!

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#34 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:16PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Should be interesting to hear what Eakins has to say post game.

Anything other than what CBC has to say...sorry im repeating myself but thier crew failed worse than we did!!!!

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#35 OttawaOilFan
October 01 2013, 12:31PM
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The whole NSOGDP made me crack a smile. Smytty has always been one of my favorite Oilers so just reading that description brings back memories & gets me excited for this season. I'm going with a 3-1 Oil win. Smyth, Hall and Belov with the "Ginos" tonight!

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#36 Bucknuck
October 01 2013, 06:08PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

I am really going to miss the 7-2 Oilers of Canucks score that has been dawning this website for several months

Me too, but hopefully we can replace it with a 7-2 Oil win over the Jets tonight.

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#37 Doug Diggler
October 01 2013, 09:30PM
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speaking of blind, how about dubnyk?

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#38 Harry
October 01 2013, 10:04PM
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Alsker wrote:

OK, you're right, maybe the lack of DSF and QSB has caused some of us to be more negative than usual. Nice fight for Ganzig, goal, fight, fore-checking well, sorry Mr.Eager.

Funny how those two.clowns never show up when things are going well for the Oil.

DSF is clearly not an Oilers fan so thats warranted.

QSB is a textbook bandwagoner which is the worst kind of fan.

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#39 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:26PM
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JJ wrote:

Nice to see big Buff steamroll small oiler fowards like Eberle. Perfect.

Nicer to see Jonesuu stand up for his teammate.

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#40 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:58PM
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I said 70 comments ago how this so reminded me of most of the regular season of '06, BUT Dubnyk is a better goalie than we had back then(I hope), but this is one we deserved and needed. .815SP is totally unexceptable, how do you bag skate a goalie?

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#41 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 01 2013, 11:00PM
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Should be interesting to hear what Eakins has to say post game.

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#42 Justino
October 01 2013, 11:02PM
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The first line sucked tonight. Dubnyk wasnt great but i dont blame him completely. The oilers just cant play a 3rd period!

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#43 spliff
October 01 2013, 11:13PM
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This was a very disappointing game for the following reasons:

1) they needed to win this season opener, against a beatable team, but they don't

2) they needed to show some balls when the going got tough in the third period, but they didn't

3) they needed Mr."top ten save%" to make a save when they needed a save, but he didn't

I've been cheering for this team for nearly 40 years, and I can't much more losing. Unfortunately, I realized tonight that this team is not in the playoff conversation.

Very disappointing.

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#44 Andrew
October 02 2013, 12:34AM
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I'm not quite sure what game Smyth thinks he was playing but I'm guessing it is called ass-hockey, because thats where he spent most of the game. First line MY ass!

What an embarASSment Smyth has become to himself and the fans. Whats the matter Smytty haven't you made enough $$$$$$$ yet. Just a suggestion leave on your own terms before you are booed off the ice.

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#45 BingBong
October 01 2013, 12:11PM
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I'm a little surprised to see Gazdic instead of Eager, although I suppose it doesn't matter with the amount of ice time that line will probably get.

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#46 borisnikov
October 01 2013, 02:04PM
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Yours truly was in attendance at the Coliseum that late March '96 night. And it was a night to remember although if the Oil won or not is lost on me. What I do remember is how it unwound for that impressionable 17 year old country kid nicknamed "Boris" by the people he attended that game with. I somehow ended up in Warburg, drunk, tired and hungry enough that eating an entire box of 24 pizza pops with my best friend/cousin, in a home we didn't know at 4 in the morning surrounded by strange western Leduc County slackers. It all seemed like a great idea... AND IT WAS.

Oh how times have changed.

Welcome back Winterpeg Jets!

Edit: Prediction: First goal by Perron, oilers come away with a 5-2 victory.

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#47 Doug Diggler
October 01 2013, 09:33PM
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yay Whitney...wait we got rid of that bum. Yay Joensuu!

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#48 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:36PM
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Most people thought 94 would run out of gas by Xmas, not half way thru game 1...love Smytty BUT...

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#49 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:49PM
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So much bitching about our goalie and other players I had to look up at the top to make sure I wasn't on Canucksarmy.com

Give it a rest haters, we're winning 4-2!

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#50 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:58PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

So much bitching about our goalie and other players I had to look up at the top to make sure I wasn't on Canucksarmy.com

Give it a rest haters, we're winning 4-2!

OK, you're right, maybe the lack of DSF and QSB has caused some of us to be more negative than usual. Nice fight for Ganzig, goal, fight, fore-checking well, sorry Mr.Eager.

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