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, 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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#2 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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#3 HORDY hears a who
October 01 2013, 01:56PM
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If macT was just looking for a straight up fighter why didn't he just call up the "Dynamite Kid" Darcy Hordichuk??

Gadzic is a dud compared to Hordichuk as a tbh and 3/4 #imnotsaying #imjustsaying

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#4 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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#5 WinningPeg
October 01 2013, 04:52PM
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Hope to see many Jets fans over at Rexall tonight. Go jets! Should be an easy win against the softest team in the league. 4-2 with 2 goals from wheeler.

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#6 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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#7 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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#8 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
October 01 2013, 12:08PM
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OILERS BONER! 34TH EDITION!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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#9 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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#10 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:45PM
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5-4!!! Burn Edmonton. burn. Stay in the sewer of the league where you belong and don't come back.

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

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#12 @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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#13 Andrew
October 01 2013, 11:06PM
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Dubnyk, Petry and Nick Schultz suck rhino. Dubnyk has got to go. Apparently he has a seive on his family crest. Yegads man!!!

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#14 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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#15 Overseas Oilman
October 01 2013, 12:38PM
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JG,

The pre-game write up on the Oilers website has Perron listed as day-to-day with an illness. Do you know anything about that?

Could we still win this game missing three of our top six?

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#16 Harry
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Hall is learning that he can't deke 3 guys by himself in the NHL. Bad turnover at blueline ends up in his net.

Watching Hemsky and Smyth play hockey is like watching a kitten being tortured.

What a complete waste of Halls icetime. Ben Eager would be more effective than Smyth and Hemsky is invisible out there.

I can only hope that Eakins can see this

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

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#18 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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#19 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:36PM
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@Spydyr

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

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#20 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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#21 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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#22 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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#23 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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#24 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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#25 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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#26 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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#27 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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#28 The Big Dummy
October 01 2013, 04:09PM
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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.

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

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#30 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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#31 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 11:04PM
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Hall almost got put out for the season by trouba. Playing center makes him even more vulnerable to that kind of hit.

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#32 Lawndemon
October 01 2013, 11:04PM
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If the Oilers outshoot opponents like that every game this year then we will enjoy playoff hockey again.

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#33 jl
October 01 2013, 11:10PM
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Couple things

We could have used more assistant captains assigned.

We still suck

Is it too early to talk about next and how we may make it.

Bring on the lottery pick

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#34 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:25PM
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@Spydyr

Do you have anything positive to contribute?

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#35 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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#36 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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#37 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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#38 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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#39 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:35PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Scoreboard.

Yea, only reason Oilers can win some games is from powerplay. We saw that last year with the Krueger system. Just wait bud, games not done yet.

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#40 JJ
October 01 2013, 10:38PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Scoreboard.

TROOOOUBBAAA.

scoreboard says it's tied. Nice try.

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

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#42 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 10:46PM
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And there's number two.

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#43 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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#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 j
October 02 2013, 08:17AM
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Andrew wrote:

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.

Easy there kiddo. Smytty had a good pre-season that was parlayed into a cameo on the first line. I am certain this will autocorrect very quickly but you can't blame him for how he was utilized last night. The coach gave him the chance and it didn't work out that well against a real NHL team.

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#46 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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#47 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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#48 The Towel Boy
October 01 2013, 03:53PM
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LET'S GO OI-LERS!

*CLAP* *CLAP*

*CLAPCLAPCLAP*

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#49 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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#50 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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