GDB 5.0: IT IS VERY SIMPLE...

Jason Gregor
October 12 2013 11:40AM

Ideally your team would win every game, but since no North American pro team other than the 1972 Miami Dolphins has done that, fans expect their team will lose a few games. There are certain games, however, where you desperately want your team to win. Tonight is one of those for Oilers' fans.

The Oilers don't play the Leafs very often, 90 times in 33 NHL seasons, but they are an easy organization to dislike. They haven't won a Stanley Cup in 46 years; they will extend that to 47 years in June, yet their fanbase acts like they are the darling franchise of the NHL.

My late father's favourite player was Dick Duff, great name, so there was no love for the Maple Leafs in our house. Dad wasn't a diehard Habs fan, but he loathed the Maple Leafs and I'm thankful I inherited the same disdain for the Leafs.

They've had some players I enjoyed watching: Borje Salming, Mike Palmateer, Wendel Clark and Tie Domi to name a few, but when their own captain, Mats Sundin, screws them over like he did it is clear even the players don't respect the organization.

Due to my job, I'm not a fan of the Oilers, but there are certain games where my inner-Edmontonian appears and I watch the game hoping the opposition sucks the hind banana. Tonight is one of those nights.

Oilers fans have endured a lot of losing the last decade, yet you still find the strength to turn on the TV and watch the Blue and Orange. The Oilers are making a rare early appearance on Hockey Night In Canada, and an Oiler victory could turn your evening into a "runaway" very quickly.

For your sake, and the sake of every drinking establishment in Edmonton, I hope it happens.

LINEUP

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

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

Dubnyk

The Oilers recalled Philip Larsen yesterday and sent Denis Grebeshkov down for a conditioning stint. Larsen is a natural RD, and he could give the Oilers more offence from the back end. He likely won't play tonight, but you will see Ladislav Smid back with Jeff Petry and Anton Belov back on the right side playing with Nick Schultz.

Eakins said if Jesse Joensuu is ready to go, he will play. That likely means Ryan Smyth or Luke Gazdic comes out of the lineup. Smyth scored the only goal last game, so it might be hard to take him out, however, the Oilers claimed Gazdic so when they played a team like Toronto they would have a heavyweight. It wll be interesting to see if Joensuu is ready, who Eakins sits.

***UPDATE*** Yakupov will be a healthy scratch.*** Clearly Eakins is making a statement regarding the 2nd Montreal goal last game.

Dubnyk played better on Thursday, but he'll need to be very good for the Oilers to skate away with a win. Jonathan Bernier has stopped 113 of 116 shots, .974SV%, and many Leafs fans are already writing his Vezina trophy speech. Remember when Nikolai Khabibulin had a .960 SV% at the end of October, 2011. How did that season end?

Bernier has played 3 1/2 games, and he's been stellar, but if the Leafs continue to give up 35 shots a game his numbers will drop significantly.

QUICK HITS....

  • Hall, RNH, Eberle, Perron, Hemsky and Yakupov need to capitalize on their chances. The Leafs are surrendering 34.8 shots per game thus far.
     
  • The Leafs draw a lot of penalties and their PP is red-hot, 28.6%. The Oilers will need to keep their feet moving and not take stick infractions. The Leafs have drawn 15 tripping, hooking, slashing and interference penalties thus far. The Oilers will need to skate with them.
     
  • Kessel leads the Leafs with 6 points in 5 games, and he's 2nd in the NHL in shots with 26. Eakins must avoid having his 4th line out against them.
     
  • The 4th line has to stop icing the puck, or they will see a lot of Kessel's line. It is clear Gadzik has been told to just get the puck out of the zone, but he has to stop icing it, or at the very least take a few extra strides, get to centre and then dump it in. He's iced the puck too often so far.
     
  • Eberle has five goals in four games vs. the Leafs. I sense he or Yakupov will end their goal-scoring drought tonight.
     
  • Previous meetings between these two clubs have no impact on tonight's game, but the Oilers have scored 3 or more goals in their last 5 games in Toronto. Hopefully we see a high-scoring game tonight.
     
  • The Western conference is 18-5-2 vs. the East thus far. Both the Oilers and Leafs are 1-1 in inter-conference play.

LOOKING AHEAD...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers skate away with a 4-3 victory and silence the Vezina talk of Bernier.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: This is the easy, if Gazdic plays, he and Colton Orr drop the mitts early in the first period. If he sits, then I'll go with the other obvious prediciton; Joffrey Lupul, a former Oiler, scores against his Oilers.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Jeff Petry averages a point-per-game against the Leafs. He's only played them twice, but he has a goal and an assist. Petry will actually use his heavy slap shot tonight, and he'll beat Bernier for his 2nd goal of the season.

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 Alsker
October 12 2013, 06:08PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Oilers have the worst goaltending tandem in the league. Now someone disagree with me so I can tear you a new one.

I honestly thought fLames was going to be worse. Alas I was wrong once again.

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#102 YFC Prez
October 12 2013, 06:09PM
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@Oilcruzer

Grapes was talking about that reporter dude that published joe thortons locker room banter regarding herdl's 4 goals

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#103 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:10PM
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otter2233 wrote:

I'm a fan of it to but some guys are just not good on the PK so why keep running them out there just to dig the puck out of the net again? Seems to me giving up a PK goal or two a game isn't quite worth the possibility of a SH goal once every 10-15 games or so. A top ten PK last year is 25th this year...

Goaltending and the coaches system (the swarm) all are playing a part in the weaker PK this year.On the first power play goal tonight three of the four players were all within 10 feet of the puck leaving the rest of the ice open.Not just the personal on the ice.Ralph may of had a part in the top ten PK last year.

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#104 Alsker
October 12 2013, 06:12PM
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otter2233 wrote:

I'm a fan of it to but some guys are just not good on the PK so why keep running them out there just to dig the puck out of the net again? Seems to me giving up a PK goal or two a game isn't quite worth the possibility of a SH goal once every 10-15 games or so. A top ten PK last year is 25th this year...

How much of that does our .8something SP have to do it??

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#105 Clyde Frog
October 12 2013, 06:14PM
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GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooordon!

Yay!

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#106 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:15PM
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Did they switch goalies at the intermission like in shinny?

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#107 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:15PM
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If you look at the Refs real close you can just make out the tops of their one piece leaf onesies.

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#108 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:16PM
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I may be falling in love with Boyd Gordon.

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#109 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:17PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

If you look at the Refs real close you can just make out the tops of their one piece leaf onesies.

I'm not seeing that.They just got away with one and had a 5-3 earlier.

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#110 YFC Prez
October 12 2013, 06:18PM
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15 to 8 face offs. Nice.

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#111 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:19PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

15 to 8 face offs. Nice.

Sure is.No Gagner helps the face-off percentage.

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#112 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:21PM
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Nice swarm.Could Lupul be anymore open?All five skaters on one half of the ice.Can we get another good grief?

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#113 Clyde Frog
October 12 2013, 06:21PM
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Proof how useless faceoffs are as an "offensive" stat?

Our best faceoff percentage in years gave us a terrible start.

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#114 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:25PM
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My daughters timbit team plays that same defensive system.

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#115 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:25PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

If you look at the Refs real close you can just make out the tops of their one piece leaf onesies.

OK, now i see the onesies after that call on JJ.

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#116 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 06:26PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Stamkos was scratched in his first NHL season, for two games. He bounced back fine.

Smyth was scratched and has scored in consecutive games. Unless Yakupov is fragile mentally he should respond with better play.

As other posters here have noted yak is not the only one who's had a rough start. Yak is a thoroughbred. Sure benching can be of benefit sometimes but when there are others - especially those with more seniority - who are doing the same and aren't benched it can be very corrosive.

I will add a name to the playing poorly list : Shultz. Both of them.

My guess is that Eakins can't bench either of them because the options to replace them are so awful.

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#117 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:27PM
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Spydyr wrote:

OK, now i see the onesies after that call on JJ.

I caught a glimpse on the Perron interference penalty.

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#118 Cold Hard Truth
October 12 2013, 06:28PM
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Accountability is good so long as Eakins is consistent.

I'm worried Eakins and mgmt has been singling Yakupov out because he's not an all-canadian, wonderbread player like the other wizz kids.

I want accoutability too; lets start with Lowe.

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#119 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:31PM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

Accountability is good so long as Eakins is consistent.

I'm worried Eakins and mgmt has been singling Yakupov out because he's not an all-canadian, wonderbread player like the other wizz kids.

I want accoutability too; lets start with Lowe.

Don't you know Lowe knows what it takes to win.He has more rings then anyone active in hockey.He has six of them you know.

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#120 DCC
October 12 2013, 06:31PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

If you look at the Refs real close you can just make out the tops of their one piece leaf onesies.

The entire CBC crew are wearing them too.

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#121 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:33PM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

Accountability is good so long as Eakins is consistent.

I'm worried Eakins and mgmt has been singling Yakupov out because he's not an all-canadian, wonderbread player like the other wizz kids.

I want accoutability too; lets start with Lowe.

Ole Lowes "a-count-ability" consists of counting rings.

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#122 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:34PM
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DCC wrote:

The entire CBC crew are wearing them too.

The CBC crew never takes theirs off.I think the TSN crew owns some too.

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#123 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:37PM
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To me the swarm looks like a fire-drill.

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#124 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:37PM
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I may be Acton crazy. Just a little.

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#125 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:41PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

I may be Acton crazy. Just a little.

If that is not a pun it should be.

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#126 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 06:43PM
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The game card said Eberle is playing. Wouldn't of even knew he was playing. Maybe a game in the press box might help him get going.

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#127 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:47PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

The game card said Eberle is playing. Wouldn't of even knew he was playing. Maybe a game in the press box might help him get going.

The Eberle of yesteryear would have buried that big juicy rebound.Gripping the stick a bit tight right now.

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#128 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:49PM
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Acton hauled ass to make the play with his stick. Hall acted by falling on his ass to get the high stick.

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#129 steelymac
October 12 2013, 06:55PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

The game card said Eberle is playing. Wouldn't of even knew he was playing. Maybe a game in the press box might help him get going.

What a coincidence Yak has been playing on the same line and is getting the same results.

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#130 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 06:56PM
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@Spydyr

I don't no if it's just me but I haven't really noticed Eberle all season yet. I guess it's only 5 games in. Is that a little concerning or not. I don't know. But well the real JORDAN EBERLE please stand up.

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#131 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:59PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

I don't no if it's just me but I haven't really noticed Eberle all season yet. I guess it's only 5 games in. Is that a little concerning or not. I don't know. But well the real JORDAN EBERLE please stand up.

Amen.

I sure hope he is not one of those guys that cash in with the big contract and lose the eye of the tiger.Ebs never struck me as that guy but like you mentioned it is early..

I'm hoping he is just having a tough go right now.

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#132 Tileguy
October 12 2013, 07:03PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

I don't no if it's just me but I haven't really noticed Eberle all season yet. I guess it's only 5 games in. Is that a little concerning or not. I don't know. But well the real JORDAN EBERLE please stand up.

Small sample

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#133 steelymac
October 12 2013, 07:04PM
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So at what point does MacT fix our goaltending.

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#134 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:05PM
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steelymac wrote:

So at what point does MacT fix our goaltending.

Is last summer too soon?

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#135 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:12PM
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Ebs ears must have been burning.That is the type of slump breaking goal to get a player going.

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#136 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 07:13PM
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That a boy EBERLE

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#137 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:20PM
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Hey Dubnyk there is a game going on around you wake the f up.

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#138 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:22PM
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Okay apologists, explain to us why Dubnyk isn't pathetic again.

Get me Louie Debrusk, stat!

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#139 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:23PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Okay apologists, explain to us why Dubnyk isn't pathetic again.

Get me Louie Debrusk, stat!

Willis will tell you in his next Dubnyk is a legit starter post.

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#140 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 07:23PM
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Ya Dubby looked lazy on that goal

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#141 Harry
October 12 2013, 07:24PM
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Devin Dubnyk sucks!!

Hall/Smyth seem to have a who-can-fall/turnover-the-puck-contest every game.

RNH is a beast!

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#142 steelymac
October 12 2013, 07:24PM
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The team gets the lead and Dubnyk lets them down.Gonzo

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#143 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:25PM
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Ebs again.The kid is on fire.Smythy going to the net like old times.Three goals in two games.Good on him.

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#144 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 07:26PM
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Eberle is back. Finally. Lol

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#145 Alsker
October 12 2013, 07:29PM
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We're winning inspite of Dubbys efforts.

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#146 Bloodsweatandoil
October 12 2013, 07:30PM
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Holy hell......Healy hates the Oilers worse than I hate the Canucks!!! You could hear the tears as he described how Bernier misplayed the Eberle goal and that its un-imaginable that Ryan Smyth scored with his 800 lb stick....

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#147 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:31PM
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Alsker wrote:

We're winning inspite of Dubbys efforts.

Come on a guy can only do so much*

*Sarcasm

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#148 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:34PM
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Hughson - "Great save by Dubnyk. Kicked out his leg."

Also kicked the puck right in the slot.

Somewhere Louie D. is smiling.

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#149 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:35PM
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Btw...who is the Dude in between the "braintrust" in the pressbox they keep showing.

Maybe I should know, but I don't.

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#150 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:36PM
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JJ putting Phaneuf on his a$$.Sweet I missed that in the Oilers team the last few seasons.

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