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 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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#102 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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#103 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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#104 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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#105 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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#106 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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#107 EP
October 12 2013, 07:47PM
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Get Bryzgalov right now!!!

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#108 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:51PM
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Yeah.

#DubnyktoECHL

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#109 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:51PM
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Did you see the "braintrust" after the winning goal?

New goalie coming in soon as DSF says.....book it.

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#110 I tried it at home
October 12 2013, 07:54PM
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OilClog wrote:

What was Dubnyk doing this summer.. Brutal.

Barley based beverages?

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#111 Harry
October 12 2013, 07:55PM
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So hapoy with our game tonight. We dominated the leafs for most of this game.

That being said.....MACT DO YOUR FRIGGIN JOB AND FIND US A GOALIE!!!

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#112 Gerald R. Ford
October 12 2013, 07:56PM
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You'd think it wouldn't hurt as much, knowing it's going to happen...

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#113 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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#114 DSF
October 12 2013, 07:59PM
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I really need Willis to come by and tell me Dubnyk is an average NHL goaltender again.

.769

Good grief

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#115 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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#116 Alsker
October 12 2013, 08:30PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

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

True but Klowe has more rings than anyone else in hockey today!!! So there!!! Man it is so time for a change, just like the guys who think they can play til they're 40, someone has to tell him its time...Hello Mr.Katz?

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#117 Bjm
October 12 2013, 08:36PM
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This is going to be a bad road trip. My arthritic hips tell me so.

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#118 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 08:36PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I would trade Gagner 100 times before trading Yak or Ebs.

I agree completely but Gagner is not going to get you an elite goalie in return.

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#119 Alsker
October 12 2013, 08:39PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Perhaps one or two of the Dubnyk supporters who write for this site will admit to the error of their ways and post a "I was wrong my bad article."

Nah, it is a small sample size right?

Fine, I was a Dubby supporter for more than a year now and YES I admit I obviously know nothing about goalies. Well almost nothing, I supported DD vs JDD, Fuhr vs Moog, but I could in no way have expected him to react to the new padding(my excuse anyway) the way he has. Talk about de-evolving, not many netminders have returned the same season that the meltdown happened. Heres to seeing you next season Dubby.

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#120 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 12 2013, 08:51PM
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I guess we'll find out just how impatient MacT really is?

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#121 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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#122 Geoff
October 12 2013, 09:04PM
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Henrik Lundqvist is in the same boat Dubnyk is funnily enough lol. I think it put a lot into perspective concerning team defense.

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#123 Bloodsweatandoil
October 12 2013, 09:09PM
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Dubnyk should have been pulled after the Kadri goal from the corner. Who is kidding who here? For every goal Dubnyk lets in during the game, the team has to score two to counter it! He is now draining his team mates, worse than before, the Oilers had the game won three times tonight!

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#124 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:10PM
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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

What was BRUTAL was Dubnyk not freezing the puck to get Gordon on the ice with less than a minute to play. Eakins had the leafs playing Oiler hockey most if the night, coaching wasn't the problem.

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#125 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 09:12PM
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Spydyr wrote:

If it was my job to find a goalie at this point in the season I would look at teams with two good goalies.There are a few out there and try to trade for their second choice in net.A younger goalie with some possible upside.It would cost to much to get the elite goalie at this point in the season.For more then a year now I have been saying the team needs a good young goalie to push Dubnyk.When they brought in LaBarbera it was disappointing.

I get your point, but this team cannot take on another unproven commodity. It is time they went after an elite goalie.

This team will not improve until there is a goalie behind them that can give them the confidence that every little mistake is not going to end up in the back of their net.

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#126 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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#127 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:35PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Eakins system is flawed! He's definitely part of the problem.

Doobie does his job and the system isn't an issue.Did you watch the game tonight? If it wasn't for one hole in the line up we win tonight.

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#128 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:44PM
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Clarko wrote:

And if he freezes the puck and the Leafs score off the draw, I'm sure you would have blamed him for that too...

I'm in agreement that Dubnyk was at fault tonight for the loss, but blaming him when two different Oilers gave the puck away is ridiculous. To me, his thinking there was I can keep the clock running, give the puck to one of my players who has clear possession and NOT get the Leafs a chance to set things up off a faceoff. A faceoff gives the Leafs an opportunity get setup.

No, it didn't work out, but the right decision doesn't always result in perfect results.

IF the leafs win the draw, and IF they did score I probably would have blamed Doobie because he couldn't stop a beach ball tonight.

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#129 gord962
October 12 2013, 10:00PM
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DSF wrote:

Sure I can.

The Oilers have been outplayed in 4 of 5 games.

And, it's just about to get harder.

Outplayed? Not even close. Dubnyk has been brutal so far. The Oilers are outshooting, outchancing and outplaying the opposition so far this year.

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#130 madjam
October 12 2013, 10:12PM
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GOOD NEWS - BAD NEWS . OKC loses 1-0 to Iowa . However R.Bachman stops 28of 29 shots . Bring the guy up and let Dubbie go back and find his game . -1 were Omark , Lander, Pitlick , Grebs and Davidson .

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#131 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 12 2013, 10:32PM
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@Alsker

If only Antti Raanta had chosen Edmonton last summer. He could be starting in the NHL rather than buried in the AHL. The Oilers were certainly the path of least resistance.

Nearly 8 yrs into Dubnyk, what a waste.

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#132 2004Z06
October 13 2013, 10:46AM
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John wrote:

It was crazy to sit Yaks! He's leading the team in chances during even strength minutes (4.8 chances/15 ES minutes) Maybe Eakins should be in the press box for the next game!

Yakupov's jersey will say Pilsbury on the back when he returns from the press box. What games are you watching? He is not embracing the team concept, playing one on four and then turning the puck over is what got his ass in the box. not his offensive prowess. He has to learn to play more responsibly.

J. Schultz will be next. He needs to learn when it is ok to pinch and when not to.

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#133 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 11:48AM
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Hall - Nuge - Yak as the first line, do it up Eakins! Give the Russian dynamo some skill to play with.

Has there ever been a line of 1st overalls playing their natural positions, for the team that drafted them?

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#134 tileguy
October 12 2013, 11:49AM
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Imagine losing on HNIC, in front of the whole country, even the rock mountains won't be big enough to hide under. Hope the fact that it's the Leafs we are playing fires up the boys. 6-1 Edmonton.

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#135 tileguy
October 12 2013, 12:01PM
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Doesn't the Toronto Sports Network sign your cheques now?

" but there are certain games where my inner-Edmontonian appears and I watch the game hoping the opposition sucks the hind banana"

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#136 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 12 2013, 12:02PM
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"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?"

Excellent point. Bernier and in fact the entire Leafs team is well over-due for a reversion to the mean.

Lets hope we can get them started on their quest for the bottom.

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#137 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 12 2013, 12:04PM
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tileguy wrote:

Doesn't the Toronto Sports Network sign your cheques now?

" but there are certain games where my inner-Edmontonian appears and I watch the game hoping the opposition sucks the hind banana"

I think you misread that... he wants the leafs to be badly outplayed.

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#138 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 12:09PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

I could be way out to lunch here, but you may have misread his comment too. Team 1260 was bought by TSN, buddy was making a joke.

I think anyway. You crazy kids and your rap music and Pac Man video games

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#140 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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#141 Smokey
October 12 2013, 12:24PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I think you misread that... he wants the leafs to be badly outplayed.

Leafs get outplayed every game and win...they rely on containing shots, high shooting percentages, and unworldly goaltending.

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#142 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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#143 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 12 2013, 12:29PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I could be way out to lunch here, but you may have misread his comment too. Team 1260 was bought by TSN, buddy was making a joke.

I think anyway. You crazy kids and your rap music and Pac Man video games

a ha!

flew right over my head... good shot tile!

(though, I see now JG is calling bs on the premise... I don't care, still a solid shot)

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

Leafs get outplayed every game and win...they rely on containing shots, high shooting percentages, and unworldly goaltending.

I meant outplayed and out-scored.

at any rate, how long do you think the Leafs can rely on those things?

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#145 Dog Train
October 12 2013, 12:41PM
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I think this will be a wide open game. Neither team is stellar defensively. Hopefully Dubnyk is up to it and our scorers start to find their scoring touch. I'll say 6-5 Oilers in one of those crazy last score wins type of games.

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#146 TV6
October 12 2013, 12:50PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I hope that for the sake of the team Eakins stops with all the line tinkering and let's players get use to playing with their regular line mates.

Clearly this "SWARM" system ( or lack thereof) has not been understood by all the players and I suspect this will take time.......but for the love of god Dallas, stop putting our top offensive players out there to kill penalties. On any level having Hemsky and RNH killing penalties makes no sense. We have players who excel at this why not use that skill set appropriately?

So far I'm holding Eakins accountable for all the loses........mostly due to his retarded line combinations.

What is wrong with having your Top end talent on the PK..?

RNH is arguably the best Oiler forward at BOTH ends of the rink. How is it a negative thing for him to be playing on the PK..?

Having players who can turn the disc up the ice & make something happen offensively keeps the opposing teams P.P. honest & a little bit back on their heels.

I personally want to see MORE of this from the Bench Boss. Maybe not Hemsky per say, but a lot more of RNH, Hall & Eberle for damn sure.

x6

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#147 Ari Gold
October 12 2013, 01:17PM
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I'm in full blown hatred of the Leafs, their fans, and their organization. They're almost at the top of my 'choke a small kitten' hate-list right behind the Canucks.

I hope Gadzik shatters Orr's left orbital bone. I hope Hall destroys Kessel in a clean open-ice hit. And I hope Yak dangles Bernier right out of his hip.

I don't just want a win tonight, I want blood. Get it done Oil!

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#148 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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#149 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 02:41PM
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DSF wrote:

And are you convinced if a coin flip produces 10 straight heads that the next flip has to be a tail?

Last season, Pittsburgh outshot their opposition by only 0.8 S/G yet managed to win 36 games.

At the same time, NJ outshot their opposition by 5.3 S/G yet only managed 19 wins.

While I agree out shooting your opponent is generally a good idea, there is so much noise involved and so many other factors that are ignored, using shot metrics as a predictor is pretty weak unless you have the common sense to drill down and look at coaching strategy, goaltending quality and a host of other relevant factors.

Otherwise you end up looking like a fool.

If I may ask.

Serious question

If Corsi is counting all shots good and bad, a team could have 20 perimeter shots and say…5 real good quality shots and out shoot the opposition 25 – 20 yet lose like the Oilers have been, yet the other team of those 20 shots 10 of those were actual grade “A” scoring chances would Corsi even be relevant?

I go to the games, I hear Stauffer going on and on about the Oilers Corsi being so good that soon or later the Oilers will start winning, yet I’ve witnessed the other team completely out chance the Oilers?

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#150 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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