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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#201 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 08:15PM
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On a positive note...Gordon and Arcobello owned the dot.

How is Khubodin (sp) looking so far this year?

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#202 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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#203 bwar
October 12 2013, 08:18PM
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Hard to be in Dudnyk's corner after that performance.

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#204 Czar
October 12 2013, 08:20PM
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DSF wrote:

Yes.

Thanks.

Dumba had a good night. Rebels will miss him if he sticks.

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#205 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 08:21PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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.

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.

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#206 jonny94
October 12 2013, 08:22PM
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I' hope MacT addresses this now. He didn't have faith in Dubnyk before the season started and Dubnyk has done nothing to earn it now.

How are we ever going to win a game if it's expected from our forwards to score 5 goals a game? Unsustainable.

If were trusting in MacT I hope he keeps trying to find a goalie.

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#207 2004Z06
October 12 2013, 08:25PM
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Knucky wrote:

What is it going to take Mact? Your team will have to score 10 goals a game to have any chance to win. By the way Dubnyk sucks ,just in case you haven't noticed.

You and Lowe need to suit up and get done what you failed to all summer long.

Apparently you didn't notice him trying to land Schneider and Bernier and that European goalie over the summer.

He knows!

Elite goalies don't grow on trees. Can't trade for one if no one is willing to trade.

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

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#209 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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#210 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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#211 Czar
October 12 2013, 08:39PM
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DSF wrote:

All hat.

No cattle.

See ya Dallas.

You can't blame Dallas, Doobie left the gate open.

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#212 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 08:42PM
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Alsker wrote:

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.

It takes a big man to admit the error of his ways .Good on you.Wiser's slow clap.

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#213 Alsker
October 12 2013, 08:52PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I missed the game tonight....did we win?.....How did Dubey play?

You missed an entertaining goal filled spectacle. As per norm though Dubby was doing his best Conklin impersonation, better maybe, 3 uglies and we lose in overtime. Forwards played well, the D, ok, we deserved better tonight, but oh well.

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#214 gord962
October 12 2013, 09:05PM
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Eakins system hasn't been the problem. The Oilers outshot, outchanced and outplayed the opposition again tonight. The fact that Dubnyk has not made 1 key save yet this year is why the Oilers can't win.

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#215 Jerod
October 12 2013, 09:08PM
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No confidence in your Goalie kills the team.

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#216 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 09:09PM
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I stated other day.

If Eakins is holding people accountable

Dubnyk should sit the next game,

In the press box..

In OKC

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#217 Oiler63
October 12 2013, 09:39PM
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The best time to address goalie problem has passed.. Now teams know oilers desperately need a goalie they will ask a hefty price... oilers are stuck between a rock and a very hard place.

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#218 gord962
October 12 2013, 09:39PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Jose Theodore?

Maybe we could send one of the healthy scratches from the press box tonight, to Philly for Couturier, Rinaldo and Emery. Holmgren has to be getting anxious to do something now that he's sitting right next to the Oilers in the standings.

Theodore? I wouldn't sign him as a back up.

Emery isn't a number 1. He would be a solid back up and would solve this issue short term but doesn't solve anything next year or 35 games from now, for that matter.

This is still nothing Eakins can do - still not sure how Dallas is at fault?

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#219 Quicksilver ballet
October 12 2013, 09:45PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Might as well go for Millar! Trade and sign. Give them a 1st and Smid.

That pick looks like a top 5 again. MacTavish gave it his best effort to upgrade all summer. Might as well ride this ship show out and go after next summers hired guns.

Miller would just be a rental. I'm a little gun shy about surrendering to possible top 5 pick for a short term solution.

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#220 Czar
October 12 2013, 09:45PM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

Oilersnation my a$$. What a bunch of f-in bandwagoners! The vast majority of you guys are f-in pathetic fans. I'm not happyat all with how things are going either but talk about throwing people under the bus. I'm sure glad I don't have to worry about anyone on this site having my back. We are 6% of the way through the season and you've written off Smytty (but not today - way to jump back on board),Hemmer,Shultz II, Shultz I, Yak, Hall, Ebs, Eakins, Mac-T, Lowe, Dubnyk and Labarbara. That's 45% of the team and 75% of management.

Slow golf clap for all you drama queens that try to disguise yourself as "fans". Listen to yourselves, you're f-in embarassing. Canucks fans aren't even this bad.

Sometimes the worst part of being an Oilers fan are the Oilers 'fans'!

Have a drink.

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#221 Jakethesnakesnake
October 12 2013, 09:48PM
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We need mike Morrison back. He's better then this garbage goalie. Another loose thanks to the goalie

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#222 Alsker
October 12 2013, 09:56PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

That pick looks like a top 5 again. MacTavish gave it his best effort to upgrade all summer. Might as well ride this ship show out and go after next summers hired guns.

Miller would just be a rental. I'm a little gun shy about surrendering to possible top 5 pick for a short term solution.

Enough is enough, another top 5 pick doesnt help our goaltending situation nor does Miller(IMO) if we must move our 1st than so be it. We gave up a first for Rollie and see where that got us, Bold move, give up next years first and a roster spot if necessary top solve this years problems. But identify and address ALL our problems. Wether from within or by trade, just do it!!!!!

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#223 Kevin
October 12 2013, 10:04PM
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with another lottery pick up coming the OIL will have some serious CAP issues. Lowe and Mac T are likely strategizing on a $40 million long term deal for Yak.

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#224 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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#225 Alsker
October 13 2013, 12:08AM
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Rob... wrote:

Grant Fuhr's goals against average never dipped below 3 while an Oiler. It'd be nice if Oiler scoring surpassed Dubnyk's mistakes so we could gloss it over shut the trolls up.

Poor Ryan Smyth... he must be super pissed that Devin ruined his chance to play hero in an Oilers victory. The guy was counting on the PR boost.

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???

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#226 Quicksilver ballet
October 13 2013, 09:30AM
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Alsker wrote:

No sh*t, hard to imagine which side is more disappointed. 8 years into Dubby made me wonder who the last goalie we developed was. Moog/Fuhr were drafted by us, B. Ranford, Cujo, Rollie, Salo were all traded for, JDD was a bust. Is there a theme here? Raanta, Miller, Bryz(scary if you ask me), who would you seriously persue?

There's a number of guys UFA eligible next summer. Hiller, Halak, Elliot, all more affordable options i'h have to think. Those guys could be had now for a smaller price i'm sure.

At this point, try and make a deal for any one of them. If it's Ryan Miller, they need to get a 5 yr extension done. Maybe the attitude thing has to do with him needing a fresh start elsewhere.

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#227 Craig1981
October 12 2013, 12:06PM
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Dear God, when is wished upon a star, this spring, for the Rickey Romero to have an ERA the same as Dubnyk's GAA, this isn't what I meant......

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#228 Bucknuck
October 12 2013, 12:10PM
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Bring it Oil!

I find Canucks fans obnoxious in the extreme, but the only fans that top them are Leafs fans. They have never heard of the word humility. It's like the "centre of the Universe" disease has infested the franchise. They disgust me.

So the Oilers better score some darn goals!

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#230 The Towel Boy
October 12 2013, 12:22PM
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"an Oiler victory could turn your evening into a "runaway" very quickly."

Amen!

Although, I am planing to run away freely this evening no matter what the outcome is.

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#231 #ThereGoesTheOilers
October 12 2013, 12:41PM
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@Jason Gregor

Early retirement Jason? Eventually we'll be back in the win column and it'll be mighty hard to remain impartial then.

I do appreciate your honest loathing though. Throw some hate Vancouver's way for me, would ya?

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#232 james_dean
October 12 2013, 12:44PM
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Don cherry will pump gazdics tires tonight

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#233 Time Travelling Sean
October 12 2013, 12:49PM
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Don't lose, play hard, and win.

I remember my first game I went to, I was like 11 or 12, and we were facing the Florida Panthers (We won 5-0) and there were Maple Leaf fans in that game, booing whenever we scored a goal. I mean, they make you rejoice and smile whenever something awful happens. (Thanks Bruins).

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#234 Smokey
October 12 2013, 01:27PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I meant outplayed and out-scored.

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

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

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#235 MessyEH!
October 12 2013, 02:06PM
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I have been an Oilers fan my whole life.

(Just had to get that out of the way.) But, man I miss watching Ray Bourque play. I can remember the Bruins of the mid 90's always out shooting the opposition. Mostly due to Bourque's strong defensive work and accurate shooting.

It has been so long since the Oilers have had a #1D, that I almost forget what one looks like.

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#236 DieHard
October 12 2013, 02:10PM
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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.

Sure wish you were the coach.

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#237 God
October 12 2013, 02:21PM
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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.

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....

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#238 Alsker
October 12 2013, 02:40PM
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Heres hoping JJ's ready to go tonite. Hes got the speed and ability to push Yak. No offence to Smitty but JJ's ability to forecheck and pressure the D will give Yak + Gordon the opp to convert into serious chances. If top 6 are equal(as has been stated) than this is the game for Yak + company to win/lose for us. If he wants 1st line minutes prove you can make those around you better or at least take what isa given and convert it into something good. Oil in a shootout 5-4!!!!! Go Oilllllllllllllllllll!!!

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#239 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 04:49PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

@Spydyr

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

Yeah me too, but i was trying to be optimistic.

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#241 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:08PM
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@dougtheslug

Ok, it is early and the 3rd coach in 3 years(less the asst.s who must be really good to survive 3 coaching changes) so system/development may be understood(in the short term) BUT as for points 5+6, well, obviously we(fans) dont understand how a hockey team works. You fail miserably and claim its rebuild time,you continue to fail so you blame a coach, a coach, a coach, trainers, the guy who washes the floor,etc. and if all goes well the guy paying the bills is way to busy to give a flying f%^k and you still are employed. Hmm, doubt the 40 pounder of Capt.Morgans the kids got for me to enjoy the season is going to last til christmas. Spiked Kool-aid for everyone!!!

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#242 k
October 12 2013, 05:14PM
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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.

I'd like to hear Eakins comments on scratching Yak....

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#243 Oilcruzer
October 12 2013, 05:16PM
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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.

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

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#244 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:22PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

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

^ This!

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#245 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:26PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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.

Difference has been defensive coverage, Yak was the 2nd d-man on the PP when Van got their shorty, and as JG said vs. Montreal. Just hope he will spank the other 1st rounders when they deserve it.

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#246 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:29PM
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Im not defending the decision, personally I would try and work out the D lapses. Oh, almost forgot thats what training camp/practice was for!!!

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#247 Spydyr
October 12 2013, 05:33PM
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F-ing Dubbie.

Staring goalie my butt.

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#248 Alsker
October 12 2013, 05:34PM
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That was ugly...it wasnt easy to get out of the way of that shot...epic!!

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#249 k
October 12 2013, 05:34PM
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Put Yak in net.

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#250 Walter Sobchak
October 12 2013, 05:35PM
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Brutal

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