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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#151 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 02:45PM
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@Spydyr

Forget the road trip! I see two games the Oilers MIGHT win given how they have played the rest of the Month!

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#152 jonny94
October 12 2013, 02:58PM
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Hey Gregor,

I normally wouldn't do this and at first I just thought it was a typo but I've noticed you spelled Gazdic incorrectly. Not a big deal but it is Gazdic not Gadzic.

Also if you're not an Oilers fan does that make you a Habs fan seeing as how your dad was growing up?

Cheers!

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#153 David S
October 12 2013, 03:07PM
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LoweBlow wrote:

You hit the nail on the head this time DSF. I 100% agree. Though the Oilers do generally get outshot because they're the lesser of the two teams.

For the past 7 years the Oil have been the super hot but dumb as a post girlfriend that I can bring myself to cut loose. Cool-Aid please....

Because all your friends will ride you forever for letting that once in a life timer go.

Also, her underlying stats are probably keeping you interested, not to mention her lifetime Chick Corsi.

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#154 ShakyDS
October 12 2013, 03:42PM
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NSOGDP

The Oilers will trail by 3 goals in the third period, coach Eakins will pull Dubnyk with 11minutes to go and put out a sixth skater.

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#155 Tile guy
October 12 2013, 04:25PM
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@dougtheslug

Doogie, Dougie, Dougie, what,s the matter, kook aid glass empty? I propped ya brother.

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#156 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:08PM
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Johe wrote:

Debbie downers.

You watched the games so far this year,right?

I would call it reasonable expectations.

I love the Oilers and cheer for them to win every game.Most times the last few decades they tend to disappoint.This year seems no different.

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#157 Newj
October 12 2013, 05:12PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

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

That's a ballsy move. Not saying it should'nt be done, but bustin' that kid's balls may backfire. Confidence and self worth must be loosing traction on that 19 year old. Lets hope that is the right move.

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#158 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 05:13PM
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Remember the last season the Oil started 4 & 0? How did that one go? Oh.

Predicting April spots mid October is a bit ridiculous.

The only stat that matters is GF > GA. It's usually a formula for success.

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#159 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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#160 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:24PM
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Yak has played with plumbers this year and most of his career here.Last game he was with Smyth and Gordon.No wonder he is trying to do to much given the offensive juggernauts he played with. The kid is trying to make things happen.

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#161 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 05:25PM
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Put Yak with Hall and Nuge, don't scratch the kid.

Can I get a good grief?

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#162 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:26PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Put Yak with Hall and Nuge, don't scratch the kid.

Can I get a good grief?

good grief

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#163 Thumby
October 12 2013, 05:38PM
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Why didn't Mac t trade Nurse for Schneider after Lou got him out of Van???

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#164 Thumby
October 12 2013, 05:40PM
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Oh yeah I forgot... Lou knows how to build a team...

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#165 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:49PM
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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.

Don't have a problem with the sitting out, as long as he’s Eakins is consistent! Hall has given up around 4 goals this year, RNH made brutal give away last game vs MTL.

It seems one sided right now.

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#166 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:54PM
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otter2233 wrote:

I realize Eakins wants his star players on the ice more but enough of RNH and Hemsky on the PK. Seems that at least one or both are on the ice when the opposition scores with the man advantage. I would be completely surprised if Yak doesn't have one of his best games as a pro when he gets back in the lineup. Being pissed off seems like it would motivate the kid.

Personally I'm a fan of your best players on the PK.It gives them more ice time keeps their legs going and if there is a bad turnover you have a chance for a shorty.

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#167 Alsker
October 12 2013, 06:06PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Personally I'm a fan of your best players on the PK.It gives them more ice time keeps their legs going and if there is a bad turnover you have a chance for a shorty.

Turnovers are ok, but leaving your post(playing D man and heading for the blue paint) is NOT exceptable. It wasnt ok for Gretz, Mess, or any other forward playing the D-man position. Considering the amount of penalties we take having our offensive players taking PK roles is only a ggod thing.

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#168 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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#169 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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#170 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:15PM
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Did they switch goalies at the intermission like in shinny?

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#171 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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#172 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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#173 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 06:25PM
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My daughters timbit team plays that same defensive system.

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#174 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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#175 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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#176 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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#177 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 06:37PM
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To me the swarm looks like a fire-drill.

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

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#179 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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#180 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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#181 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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#182 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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#183 Alsker
October 12 2013, 07:29PM
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We're winning inspite of Dubbys efforts.

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#184 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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#185 I tried it at home
October 12 2013, 07:44PM
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OK, enough is enough, Im jumping on the "get another goalie" wagon. Any room left?

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#186 OilClog
October 12 2013, 07:44PM
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What was Dubnyk doing this summer.. Brutal.

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#187 Alsker
October 12 2013, 07:44PM
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R u f%^kin kidding me...can we not get 1 big save for 4million a year!!!

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#188 Zamboni Driver
October 12 2013, 07:45PM
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Honest to god.

There is a reason it's called a SAVE.

Dubnyk makes no 'saves'. Makes some stops, ZERO saves.

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#189 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 07:45PM
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I tried it at home wrote:

OK, enough is enough, Im jumping on the "get another goalie" wagon. Any room left?

Welcome aboard.After this game were going to need a bigger boat um wagon.

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#190 DCC
October 12 2013, 07:48PM
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This goaltending situation has GOT to be demoralizing for the rest of the team. Apparently we need to score 7 goals per game to have a chance.

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#191 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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#192 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 07:54PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Did you see the "braintrust" after the winning goal?

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

Book it indeed.

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#193 Oilers4lifer
October 12 2013, 07:57PM
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I was holding out hope for so long on DD, and defended him even until before the game started. Why so deep in the net? You're a giant, and that Kadri shot should have just hit you in the chest/shoulders if you just positioned yourself well. So tired of his softies, and also all the blogs looking at the positives. Doesn't matter how many positives we have improved on if we don't win! And there's no winning until our goalie makes more saves.

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#194 Alsker
October 12 2013, 07:57PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

If I see another Dubnyk blog that says he needs to work thru it, I will flip out. You have to establish you are good before you can have a chance to work your way back there.

Both MacT + Klowe were here in '06 when we went thru the same BS, will they wait until the trade deadline again???After the great playoff run everyone deserted the team. Are we going to see the same thing again? History is repeating itself, wake the f^%k up MacT and do something!!!!!! Sorry for the rant, a little too much Capt M. but damn, we should have had this one!!!!!!!!!

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#195 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 07:59PM
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I am officially off of supporting Dubnyk.

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#196 Serious Gord
October 12 2013, 08:02PM
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@Oilcruzer

I took pleasure in seeing their reaction. They deserve to suffer. They have made oiler fans suffer at the hands of their incompetency for a long time now.

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#197 DCC
October 12 2013, 08:04PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Did you see the "braintrust" after the winning goal?

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

I think you have accidentally inserted an extra "t" in "braintrust".

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#198 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:08PM
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DSF wrote:

All hat.

No cattle.

See ya Dallas.

Hey Mac-T you know what would be bold?Getting an actual NHL starter for your team.

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#199 Alsker
October 12 2013, 08:08PM
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Can you put a player on LTIR for being incapable of doing what he's paid to do?? It would free up lots of cap space.

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#200 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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