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 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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#102 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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#103 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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#104 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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#105 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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#106 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 11:53PM
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Before tonight I thought that there was absolutely no chance in hell this team would make the playoffs. After this game I think there might be a slim chance. Weird after a loss I know but it is what it is.

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#107 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 02 2013, 09:13AM
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The game confirmed one thing for me...

There isn't near enough Midol in the Edmonton area to help Harry cope. Might want to check and make sure you have plenty of tampons Harry. Smytty's doing fine and he'll be getting close to 17 mins again on Saturday in Vancouver.

Fire Eakins after one game.....what an idiot. Get a clue.

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

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#109 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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#110 Bucknuck
October 01 2013, 03:02PM
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I am really curious to see what Dubnyk can do with a half decent defence core in front of him. If they could reduce the amount of shots, his above average save percentage would actually translate to wins. At least I hope so.

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#111 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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#112 Smokey
October 01 2013, 03:20PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I am really curious to see what Dubnyk can do with a half decent defence core in front of him. If they could reduce the amount of shots, his above average save percentage would actually translate to wins. At least I hope so.

I hope you are right, but I am concerned about poor faceoff percentages, and poor depth down the middle counter-balancing the hopeful improvement our defence. I hope that the defence is the strength of the team, in that they can move the puck better cause that's what has held the offence back for years.

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#114 Smokey
October 01 2013, 03:35PM
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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 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.

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#115 Pouzar99
October 01 2013, 03:49PM
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I love season and home openers and never miss them. The building was literally shaking with energy for the home opener last season. Please, this time, lets not be down 6-1 after the first period!!!

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#116 war
October 01 2013, 03:59PM
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Dubnyk is only 10 percent of our problem.we have lots of talent up front,a much better defence with ferrence and belov(pluus a more experianced schultz)our problems is injuries and team toughness,has been for six years now!once they solve this playoffs they are bound,untill thatwe could always be a lottery team

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#117 Mike Krushelnyski
October 01 2013, 04:09PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

LET'S GO OI-LERS!

*CLAP* *CLAP*

*CLAPCLAPCLAP*

times a million

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#118 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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#119 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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#120 Batfink
October 01 2013, 04:22PM
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Poolanov wrote:

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.

I thought he said some very nice things about us. It did seem as if they're more scared of us than we are of them, even with our injuries.

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#121 Smokey
October 01 2013, 04:23PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

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.

That's called motivation. Remember MacT is part of the braintrust that has Ryan Smyth on the first line. (I hope I eat my words)

I'm sure 80 percent of fans would rather have Price then Dubby based on watching him. But if you just looked at the stats you could have a good debate on who is the better goalie. I know there is many variables in play when evaluating goaltending, and I for one know too little about the position to really make a good evaluation.

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#122 match16
October 01 2013, 04:26PM
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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.

So Duby is not the problem then? If he can maintain his .920 SV% and the defense in front of him can reduce the shots to 20 against, the GAA will go down significantly...

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#123 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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#124 Rocket
October 01 2013, 04:58PM
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Whew that was a long summer. And spring. And seven years. I'm totally stoked for this year though. Are those actual NHL defencemen I see on The Oilers blue-line? Huh, haven't seen that in a while.

BDP: Oilers squeak out a win 2-1

OGDP: After the anthem, Yakupov kisses the oilers crest on his sweater & double fist pumps. The Kid fired up to play!

NSOGDP: The entire fourth line fights tonight. Set a tone early? Maybe just get the team and fans all rowdy.

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#125 Ducey
October 01 2013, 05:27PM
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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.

Does a goalie have any ability to control the number of shots against? Other than the occaisional rebound, not really.

Thats why GAA is more of a team stat. If you want to judge whether a goaltender is doing his job, you look at his save %.

It would be nice to also look at the quality of shota - I would guess St Louis doesn't give up many breakaways and 2 on 1's compared to Edmonton - but there is no stat for that.

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#126 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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#127 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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#128 Alsker
October 01 2013, 07:30PM
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Butters wrote:

We are all thinking it, so I will just come out and say it... 82-0

That is all.

It took 50+ posts to get the first kool-aid overdose,lol,way more sauce lovers tonite as we're only at 50some comments. Its hockey time!!!!

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#129 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 07:33PM
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Opening night,every team is in first place.Oilers win 4-3.

GO OILERS!!!

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#130 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:18PM
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Game on!!!

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

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#132 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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#133 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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#134 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:32PM
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Nice to see Eakins using his best players on the PK.

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#135 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:33PM
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Two deflections off of defensemen. Cherry would have a fit!

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

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#137 @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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#138 Alsker
October 01 2013, 08:40PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Maybe this is part of the system but WHAT is J. Schultz doing behind the Jets' net?

*nervous laugh*

swarm offense? Hey im all for it if it works....thank god it was Jokinen alone infront of Dubnyk.

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#139 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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#140 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:44PM
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Crazy fast backcheck by Hemsky there, he looks all in!

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#141 @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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#142 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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#143 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:52PM
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Schultz doesn't need a slapper. That wrister is meaaan.

edit: another deflection! Beauty Gordon.

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#144 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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#145 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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#146 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:55PM
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I already like this years #6 way more then last years #6.

Oilers out shooting a team.Nice.

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#147 @Oilanderp
October 01 2013, 08:56PM
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This is exciting hockey! Great game!

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#148 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 08:57PM
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brian_d wrote:

Swap Joensuu for Smyth ;) Kidding, but the Finn has looked impressive...

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

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#149 Spydyr
October 01 2013, 09:10PM
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Alsker wrote:

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

Eakins has to see it.

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#150 brian_d
October 01 2013, 09:17PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Eakins has to see it.

Regardless, no way that happens that quickly.

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