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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#51 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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#52 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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#53 dman
October 01 2013, 09:29PM
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@YFC Prez

Me too. Apparently it is like watching kittens being tortured

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#54 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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#55 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:07PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Yes but do you have to speak up EVERY time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I71cY9Ysy5U

Please feel free to skip my posts it won't hurt my feelings.

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#56 Alsker
October 01 2013, 10:23PM
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Harry wrote:

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.

Wont argue with your take on DSF but there was a time QSB(prior to his dark knight avatar) was the ultimate optimist, even when everyone realized what we were facing. Bandwagoner is a word I wouldnt use.

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#57 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:38PM
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What is Dubbie's save percentage today?

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

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#59 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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#60 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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#61 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 11:27PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Do you have anything positive to contribute?

Sure the fourth line looked good so did the big Finn.Ference played well.Do you see everything with rose color glasses or do you have any issues with some players tonight?Perhaps the coach?

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#62 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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#63 Mikey
October 02 2013, 12:16AM
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Dubnyk.....

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#64 vetinari
October 02 2013, 04:24AM
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Too soon to start chanting "Schneider, Schneider" after a bad goal???

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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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#66 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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#67 Doomoil
October 01 2013, 02:00PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Peter, The Great. Potter, the Goat. 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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#68 Fresh Mess
October 01 2013, 02:41PM
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Snub Smid? You Bastards!!!!

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

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#70 Wigswag
October 01 2013, 03:27PM
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I want to see more than 30 shots (for). If that means 8 goals or 1 goal I'm good.

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#71 Smokey
October 01 2013, 04:34PM
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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.

If a team gives up 35 shots a game and the the gaa is 2.45, you have a prime Dominik Hasek in net, and your goalie probably wins you a lot of games. If you give up 20 shots a game your probably Detroit from 5-10 years ago.

Chances are both goalies or teams are winning games. One wins with amazing goaltending, and the other with great team defence.

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#72 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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#73 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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#74 Butters
October 01 2013, 06:23PM
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We are all thinking it, so I will just come out and say it... 82-0

That is all.

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#75 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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#76 Dog Train
October 01 2013, 08:00PM
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Opening night... let's do this!

"Slick Rick" is calling for the Oilers to win 3-2 tonight. First goal by Perron while Hall adds a pair. GO OILERS GO!!

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

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#78 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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#79 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:26PM
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHHAHAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAA. :(

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

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#81 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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#82 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:48PM
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Wonder if Mac-T is still looking for a starting goalie?

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#83 sizedoesmatter
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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Finnaly buffet line takes a penalty

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#84 Gkpoil
October 01 2013, 08:59PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Wonder if Mac-T is still looking for a starting goalie?

Sure hope so

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#85 Harry
October 01 2013, 09:01PM
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Junk wrote:

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.

You sir are a complete fool!

Do you sit in the Oilers locker room? No you dont. Enough said

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#86 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:30PM
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Dubnyk talking to the Ref during the stoppage: "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

edit: what u don't remember those commercials he was in?

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#87 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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#88 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:46PM
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Looks like the scuffle earlier in the period woke up Dubbie.

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#89 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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#90 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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#91 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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#92 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 09:57PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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.

Yes but do you have to speak up EVERY time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I71cY9Ysy5U

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#93 TonyT
October 01 2013, 10:00PM
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Wow, I understand he's on his last legs but Ryan Smyth is where the puck goes to die...

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#94 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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#95 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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#96 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 10:27PM
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@JJ

Scoreboard.

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#97 Serious Gord
October 01 2013, 10:44PM
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That's the first soft goal of the year.

And counting...

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#98 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 10:45PM
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Pull him.

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#99 YFC Prez
October 01 2013, 10:46PM
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Defence would be good boys

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#100 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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