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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#101 Al Davis
October 01 2013, 12:41PM
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Does Belov qualify as a rookie? For example, could he get Calder votes?

Not suggesting that will happen, just curious.

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#102 Doomoil
October 01 2013, 12:56PM
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Al Davis wrote:

Does Belov qualify as a rookie? For example, could he get Calder votes?

Not suggesting that will happen, just curious.

no, the rule was changed years and years ago to set an age limit on it.

he is a rookie, but can't win the calder.

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#103 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
October 01 2013, 01:24PM
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BingBong wrote:

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.

I'm not sure of the last time I saw Eager fight? Or make a good decision, for that matter. I'm guessing that's the reason why.

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#104 brian_d
October 01 2013, 01:33PM
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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...

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#105 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
October 01 2013, 02:51PM
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Doomoil wrote:

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.

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!!

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#106 watkinator
October 01 2013, 04:57PM
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West wrote:

Who is Alvie and why are you yelling at him?

Is he related to this racist dragon?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-jVAHAuiS4

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#107 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
October 01 2013, 05:33PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

LET'S GO OI-LERS!

*CLAP* *CLAP*

*CLAPCLAPCLAP*

at a decible level of 195

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#108 Mikey
October 01 2013, 05:59PM
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The Big Dummy wrote:

To all you stats nerds out there....Let me ask this questions: Would you rather give up 20 shots per game and have a .900 save percentage or 35 shots per game and have a .930 save percentage? If my math is correct, that is a 2.00 GAA vs. 2.45 GAA. What save percentage is going to win more games? My point is that the number that actually wins games is GAA.

True and GAA is more of a team stat. Where save % is more about you.

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#109 Hayek
October 01 2013, 06:00PM
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J-E-T-S, jets, jets jets! SUCK!

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#110 Alsker
October 01 2013, 07:22PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

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

Lets be honest, 7-2, 3-2, 9-8, as long as we win.....meaningful game#1...woohoooooooooo

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#111 TeamOmark
October 01 2013, 08:24PM
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LUKE GAZDIC GETS THE FIRST GOAL OF THE YEAR? Who guessed that...

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#112 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:26PM
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHHAHAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAA. :(

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#113 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:35PM
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Byfugly's arm weighs more than Eberle.

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#114 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:37PM
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Maybe this is part of the system but WHAT is J. Schultz doing behind the Jets' net?

*nervous laugh*

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#115 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:44PM
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Ive had nuf of CBC's hockey crew: first Ladd's hit from behind was a good tough check,Byfs hit on Acton: what he out ways him by 100lbs., sad, or maybe pathetic

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#116 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:48PM
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Hall is learning that he can't deke 3 guys by himself in the NHL. Bad turnover at blueline ends up in his net.

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#117 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:53PM
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Shades of '06..team plays well but any chance oppositin has is in,why??? Im sure Dubby will do well but this is not a good game for him. Step up or get out!!! Heads to beer fridge for a little kool-aid. WHAT, we score, must go back for more...

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#118 I tried it at home
October 01 2013, 08:53PM
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Seems like "First Goal as an Oiler" night... my moneys on Joensuu next

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#119 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:05PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Why not Smyth is slooooooowwwwwwww and the big Finn is flying tonight.

being hollering the same thing for half the period, but us tier 2 fans have no say in line combos.

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#120 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:20PM
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I love it when hemmer does that!!!!!

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#121 Czar
October 01 2013, 09:20PM
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Hemmer!!

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#122 Alsker
October 01 2013, 09:22PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Eakins has to see it.

He cant be that blind. Isnt that why he replaced the other guy who replaced the other guy who replaced the other guy whom all suffered from the same blindness disease.

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#123 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 09:26PM
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Dubnykov?

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#124 brian_d
October 01 2013, 09:28PM
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Hemsky's goal wasn't so much soft hands as brutal defensive breakdown...but I'll take it...

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#125 JJ
October 01 2013, 09:44PM
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Smid is a total POS. He should get booted out for that kind of goonery. Typical deadmonton.

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#126 Alsker
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.

The hit was no different than Ladds hit on Perron in the first(that was hailed a great tough hit)

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#127 JJ
October 01 2013, 09:50PM
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Alsker wrote:

The hit was no different than Ladds hit on Perron in the first(that was hailed a great tough hit)

Uh, no.

That was a classic boarding and then he hit his head AGAIN into the boards. It was vicious. He's a goon. I didn't mind the Oilers but now I hope you enjoy the basement for coming on.. 8 years?

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#128 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:51PM
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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!

You can go ahead and think every player that wears an Oiler uniform can do no wrong.Some of us will speak up when a player is playing lousy.

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#129 dman
October 01 2013, 09:53PM
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@JJ

Yeah remind me how many years its been since the jets made the post season? Oh right, its going on 7.

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#130 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:24PM
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Nice to see big Buff steamroll small oiler fowards like Eberle. Perfect.

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#131 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:25PM
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We havent seen enough Yak tonite!

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#132 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 10:27PM
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@JJ

Scoreboard.

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#133 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:45PM
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Oh check that .815

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#134 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 10:55PM
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We already want Eakins fired!? It's game 1

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#135 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 11:21PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

That was a fun game to watch. Swarm D is live and die by the sword. A lot of deflections and broken-play bounce goals on both sides. As time goes on the Oil will learn how to play with a lead. There were a lot of positives tonight. Alas one of them wasn't 2 pts.

Isn't 7 years enough time?

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#136 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 11:32PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Do you have anything positive to contribute?

After seven years outside the playoffs it is hard to stay positive.Some see the warts on the team.

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#137 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:43PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Do you have anything positive to contribute?

Have to agree with Spydyr on 4th line and JJ, but I would include Eberle(calm yourself Wanye), unfortuneatly too many par,sub par players...Dubnyk,Smyth,Belov(hes my star this year),Arcobello,Eakins...all of them dropped the ball, Arco gets a little leeway based on lack of NHL experience...Eakins as well BUT how does an ineffective Smyth have more icetime than Yakster...God only knows!!

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#138 Alsker
October 01 2013, 11:54PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Do you REALLY think anyone here needs you to point out that we haven't been in the playoffs for a while? REEEEAAAALLLLY? I hadn't noticed!!!! Try harder than that please. That's all I'm saying.

EDIT: All our faceoff men were 50% or better.... that's something to build on :) http://oilers.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/boxscore?id=2013020003

Faceoffs were not an issue(for a change) and as for the 7 year BS, im as tired of it as Leaf fans are about the 67 cup thing, dissapointment was being swept by Hull + co. in the Avco Cup final..we were supposed to be better, hell we were better,But, they beat us(no they stomped us) yet 5 years later we were winning our 1st cup and they were...crappy!!! Slats turned this team from pretenders to contenders, but it took a year and a half. Lets give Eakins time to do it, and hope management understands and excepts what changes must be done to succeed.

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#139 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
October 01 2013, 01:29PM
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Ducey wrote:

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.

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....

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#140 Smokey
October 01 2013, 01:33PM
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We are not privy to what often happens in the dressing room, or who are real leaders, but I was shocked Ladi Smid was in not one of the alternates and Nick Shultz was. Shultz, I don't see as a guy as being here past this season, and very likely will be gone by the trading block. I would of waived him personally cause I think there are definitely younger and cheeper options. Ladi Smid made a pretty bold statement committing to the team, and seems pretty vocal.

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#141 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
October 01 2013, 03:44PM
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Smokey wrote:

I think the problem with peoples evaluation of Dubnyk is the propensity of soft goals that he lets in. Its what people see, not the quantifiable statistics that have been out there that have shown conclusively he is a legit number one, and a top 10-15 goalie in the NHL.

The clearest evidence we have seen is the Dallas game he let that squeaker in, and then stoned a guy point blank on a break that he should not have.

I think there are two camps people are in. Either they often see the mistakes, the weak goals that deflate a team. The other camp is the fact he is above average in Save % over the last 3 seasons, and in fact top ten over that period. If this team wins people will ignore the warts, like they did for Fleury in Pittsburgh. The only way he shakes negative perceptions is by winning.

You're right. And I'll put myself into the same camp as MacTavish who said Dubnyk isn't a legitimate NHL starter and still needs to prove himself.

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#142 Anonymous
October 01 2013, 03:57PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

OILERS BONER! 34TH EDITION!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

At least they can get a BONER biceps MINIMUS!!!!!!!

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#143 Poolanov
October 01 2013, 04:09PM
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Had a quick look over at Jets nation to see what their fans are saying about tonights game, but, oops, 0 comments on their game day blog. Funny what he has to say about their "corsi mineshaft" 3rd line though.

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#144 Junk
October 01 2013, 04:52PM
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I was shocked that Smid was not named an assistant captain and Schultz was...in what world does this make sense. Unlike you Jason I beleive this will have a big effect on Laddy as this is the second time he has been overlooked and think this meant a lot to him. Are the Oilers looking to move him? I can honestly see him asking for a trade this year if continued to be disrespected by the organization.

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#145 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:23PM
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Fourth line goal.Who would have thought it.

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#146 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:24PM
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AHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

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#147 I tried it at home
October 01 2013, 08:24PM
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OK, who had Gazdic in the pool? Hell, Im not even sure I spelled his name right

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#148 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:28PM
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Nice goal by Gazdic, NOT a good goal vs Dubby, nerves? Lets hope so!!

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#149 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:35PM
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Buff owns Ebs in the corner.

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#150 Gkpoil
October 01 2013, 08:51PM
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I wonder if these pro-Dubnyk guys are still going to talk about how good his save percentage is!! Man, Dub SUCKS!!!

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