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 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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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#201 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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#202 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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#203 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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#204 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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#205 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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#206 I tried it at home
October 12 2013, 07:52PM
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Sooooo.... how's about trying Boyd Gordon in goal? Also, anyone heard from Jeff Deslauriers lately?

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#207 Dave
October 12 2013, 07:57PM
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I did write comments this summer that I thought the way to build a team was from the net out. There was not much interest . Most preferred to get a big centre first.

Season is not lost yet but we do not have a number #1 goalie.

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#208 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 08:20PM
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NYR+EDM=TRADE wrote:

Dallas system is fine, their trying to weed out the old B>S system from the other lazyass coaches that gave this team an excuse every night. Dubnyk has to go, you have to make a save in a key situation and 3 of them were save-able. He's 6'6 and plays like he's 6'0 is sad to see. I'm telling you guys now, wonder would NYR make a trade to lower there cap since Lunquisdt is having a bad start trade for dubs and something else to snag a D-man from NYR?

Tell me what's fine about Dallas Eakins system, cause so far it looks pretty brutal. S$@T Ralph Krueger system looks better. Starting to think Dallas Eakins is the next George Burnett.

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#209 Oilersfan4
October 12 2013, 08:31PM
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Oilers next coach Craig MacTavish

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#210 Rama Lama
October 12 2013, 08:33PM
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If we can just score an additional 3 to 4 goals per Dubby can keep us in each game.

I'm have absolutely no confidence that our current goaltending situation can steal any games for us at best........and keep us in the games at least. How disappointing this must be for the players?

Between Eakins swarm system ( or as i call it everyone chase the puck around like you are 5 years old) and goaltending this will be a long season.

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#211 Slats
October 12 2013, 08:36PM
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@Spydyr

Budaj looks great on the bench too . . .i bet he is golden on those middle of the net tricky ones . . . .

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#212 DCC
October 12 2013, 08:37PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

If Nashville holds on and wins tonight the oil are dead last in the west.

Dead last is the Oiler's comfort zone.

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#213 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 12 2013, 08:48PM
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I missed the game tonight....did we win?.....How did Dubey play?

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#214 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 12 2013, 08:52PM
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How much is anyone willing to give up to get Ryan Miller?

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#215 madjam
October 12 2013, 08:53PM
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Optimism grows from winning . Confidence also follows that . We have little of either once again . Coaching not helping any so far , and Dubbie actually outplayed Bernier tonite . He was not good but Bernier was worse . How many empty nets did we miss gain tonite -plenty . Fun river hockey game to watch , but we are still on losing end . The coaching think they are running a nursery benching so many veterans this early into season - give them a break . Joensuu minus 2 , did you really think Yak would be worse ? This is the NHL , not the AHL afterall .

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#216 Alsker
October 12 2013, 08:56PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

We deserved to, Dubey had a shut out for 3 minutes.

Best line of the nite, thank you!!!!!

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#217 Slats
October 12 2013, 09:05PM
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bulldog12 wrote:

That lose is totally on Eakins Why is Hemsky and Hall out in the last minute and why wasn't Gordon or Acrobello taking the face off BRUTAL I hope he figures it out soon

Wasn't it icing so no line change?

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#218 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:30PM
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Clarko wrote:

Why would he freeze the puck? Gordon gives you a 60-70% chance to get possession. Dubnyk playing it to Hemsky gives you a 100% chance of getting the possession. You can blame a lot of Dubnyk tonight, but blaming him when the team had TWO chances to get the puck out after he played it is just piling on.

The Leafs had pressure so Doobie should have froze it to slow things down and get the guys you want out in the last minute of play. Leafs scored right after so I think it's pretty obvious Doobie made the wrong play.

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#219 Oiler Al
October 12 2013, 09:34PM
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Big mistake on Eakins part having the Nuge face off in OT. The kid was tired, obvious he got knocked down after loosing the F/O.You have three other center that were at 70% in the circle and he sends RNH at 37%... terrible call by Eakins.

However, this was perhaps Oilers best game in this season. Great to see secondary scoring as well...

Both goalies sucked,, but Dubby sucked worse.I hope the goalie coach in on this road trip.. much needed.

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#220 Keyser Soze
October 12 2013, 09:51PM
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@Alsker

Married a pretty Calgarian.... there are a few.

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#221 DrunkGuyTy
October 12 2013, 09:56PM
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@Czar

Whatever it takes.

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#222 Shaun Doe
October 12 2013, 10:09PM
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I know the answer is probably more than we are willing to offer but what would it take to pry jake Allen out of st louis

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#223 Spydyr
October 13 2013, 07:27AM
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Alsker wrote:

Maybe Smitty's play is 'cause he's reliving '06. Not only in his mind but on the ice as well. Wonder how many times he asks MacT when hes going to trade for Rollie???

How about finding the next Rollie?

That is what a good GM would do right now.

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#224 tileguy
October 12 2013, 12:20PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I own my radio show. The station doesn't pay me. I pay myself, so I'm good to loathe any team I wish. That's a positive.

Phew! I thought you might of botched things there.

Sorry you miss out on the emotional investment, it truly is the best part of being a fan. My days would be wasted if it wasn't for ON.

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#225 Smokey
October 12 2013, 12:26PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I own my radio show. The station doesn't pay me. I pay myself, so I'm good to loathe any team I wish. That's a positive.

Seriously, who'd a thunk it. How does that work? So you could sell your show to the dark side (Ched) and befriend Stauffer?

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#226 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 01:09PM
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Regression to the mean may happen to Bernier tonight, but I've watched a fair bit of his tending so far this year and he has been outstanding. Supremely calm, fantastic rebound control - it the oil doesn't crowd the front of the net and shoot from the point he's likely going to make it look easy.

Outside of the blue paint the leafs are going to be very physical - something the oil hasn't faced this year - let's see how the oil weathers that and if it takes its toll in the third.

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#227 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 12 2013, 01:30PM
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Smokey wrote:

It is how they played last year, outshot and outchanced from my recollection. Worst COrsi team in the NHL.

And do you think they will collapse under the weight of that luck, or are you like Serious Gord, convinced by the power of small samples sizes and big men?

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#228 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 02:41PM
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DSF wrote:

Oh, I've been around.

Not much interest in pouring salt in the wounds.

Tonight's game is pretty much a "must win" considering the road trip from hell, that is on the way.

Odd to say that only 5 games into a season but the Oilers could be pretty much out of playoff contention by the end of October.

If the Oilers come home 2-4 from this trip it would not be a surprise to me.

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#230 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:15PM
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OilClog wrote:

Yak is HS'd?!?!? Wow. Ridiculous

It HAS to be a statement.Otherwise siting Yak and dressing Smyth is a terrible coaching decision,just terrible.

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#231 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:19PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Really? So with the third goal, then that strategy would bench the Nuge.

Might as well bench Eberle too for all he was done this year.Bad,bad decision.The kid has to much upside.Give him the experience on the ice.

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#232 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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#233 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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#234 Clyde Frog
October 12 2013, 06:14PM
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GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooordon!

Yay!

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#235 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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#236 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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#237 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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#238 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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#239 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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#240 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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#241 Alsker
October 12 2013, 07:48PM
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I said during game 1 this is so 05-06, so we've gone thru 7 years of crap for what???

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#242 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:57PM
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Just looked up sieve in the dictionary.This is what I saw. http://espn.go.com/nhl/player/_/id/3242/

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#243 Smokey
October 12 2013, 07:58PM
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chadster wrote:

That had better have been Dubs last dam game ever in a uniform!!!!!

I concur it was probably his worst as an Oilers, I'm not counting meaningless losses when the team in front of him really blew, but get bent. You know as well as I he's struggling, but even if we found a better goalie he's probably still with the team.

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#244 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:15PM
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Tokenhill wrote:

When gagner comes back...and when we insert THE Yak back into the line up...we are gonna have some pretty good forward DEPTH that we haven't enjoyed in quite a long time =)

That is...if acrobello and Joensuu and Smyth can play consistently well.

despite the loss. if we play like this every game. we will at least be COMPETING in NHL and not...used as a bunching bag

The team just told Acton he is staying.So when Gagner gets back Acrobello will be sent down.Unless there is another injury of course or they try Gagner on the wing,where he might be better suited.

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#245 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 08:18PM
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Tokenhill wrote:

When gagner comes back...and when we insert THE Yak back into the line up...we are gonna have some pretty good forward DEPTH that we haven't enjoyed in quite a long time =)

That is...if acrobello and Joensuu and Smyth can play consistently well.

despite the loss. if we play like this every game. we will at least be COMPETING in NHL and not...used as a bunching bag

And we should have traded some of that depth to address some of the other weaknesses.

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#246 bwar
October 12 2013, 08:19PM
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Tokenhill wrote:

When gagner comes back...and when we insert THE Yak back into the line up...we are gonna have some pretty good forward DEPTH that we haven't enjoyed in quite a long time =)

That is...if acrobello and Joensuu and Smyth can play consistently well.

despite the loss. if we play like this every game. we will at least be COMPETING in NHL and not...used as a bunching bag

yeah Gags and Yak on the fourth line with Acton.

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#247 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:25PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Makes sense. He is only over 60% in the dot, highest +/- on the team and has 5 pts in 5 games.

Oh....and he hits.

Makes perfect sense.

They can only play four centres .Please enlighten me with your four.

Mine are:

1)RNH

2)Gagner

3)Gordon

4)As the team stated today Acton.

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#248 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:28PM
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Price is looking good.Like an NHL starter.

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#249 Slats
October 12 2013, 08:33PM
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Missed most of the game but so the end of the game high/lowlights to see 3 goals go in that were just layered for the middle of the net. For all you posters out there you don't need a #1 to make those saves sorry . . . .

Maybe Mac T can work a trade for that young kid called Shooter Tutor?

In Labarbara we Trust from here on in!

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#250 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 08:35PM
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Before we take too much good out of this game - and I think its fair to say that this was their best effort so far - the leafs played awful tonight - maybe their worst game of the year: no hitting, weak defense and Bernier was awful for most of it. I was very surprised they didn't pound our D. That said the leafs were much better maintaining possession in the offense zone than the oil - though that isn't saying much.

Presumably dubnyk is not in net next game - grim.

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