GDB 6.0: Desperation, this early?

Jonathan Willis
October 14 2013 10:34AM

Yes, it’s far too early in the season to be saying that any of these individual contests are must-win games. It isn’t too early to say the Oilers need to find a way to get some wins. Either fortunately or unfortunately, the situation is much the same in Washington, a team that with a 1-4-0 record is actually a point back of Edmonton.

The Lineup

Once again, Nail Yakupov finds himself on the outs, as per the Oilers’ official Twitter account.

I haven’t seen official word on the defence but assume it remains the same as well, giving the Oilers the following lines for tonight’s game:

  • 1st Line: Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Ales Hemsky
  • 2nd Line: Ryan Smyth – Mark Arcobello – Jordan Eberle
  • 3rd Line: David Perron – Boyd Gordon – Jesse Joensuu
  • 4th Line: Luke Gazdic – Will Acton – Mike Brown
  • 1st Pairing: Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • 2nd Pairing: Andrew Ference – Nick Schultz
  • 3rd Pairing: Anton Belov – Justin Schultz
  • Goal: Jason LaBarbera

After the game the third line had against Toronto, I had thought Jesse Joensuu might find his way out of the lineup (or better still, on to the fourth line with Mike Brown the scratch) but evidently the head coach feels either that Yakupov on the bench gives the Oilers the best chance to win or that the young player will benefit from another night off. Neither of those seem like particularly sound beliefs to me, but maybe there’s something else going on here.

Opportunity

There’s a great chance here for Jason LaBarbera to take the starting job and run with it. Career-wise, he’s had very good numbers in the backup role for a few seasons now, but was never going to get another opportunity at the starting job unless fortune intervened; with Devan Dubnyk’s struggles it has. Mathieu Garon’s career was in a very similar spot when he came to Edmonton; he ended up providing pretty good goaltending during the Oilers’ late run in 2007-08.

Another opportunity here is the one being afforded to Mark Arcobello. It’s difficult to see where he fits on the Oilers’ roster moving forward: the fourth line has been handed to big men, Arcobello’s skillset is replicated in the top-nine and Sam Gagner will take back his spot at some point. Arcobello has until Gagner gets back to make it impossible for the Oilers to send him down – or at the very least, to make it impossible that he clears waivers. So far, so good.

Finally, if MacTavish does make a big splash, I expect it to be on defence rather than in goal. With the possible exception of Jeff Petry, this has been a suspect group from day one and while all six guys are NHL players every night some of them seem to be in roles they aren’t able to handle.

Predictions!

Game day prediction: The Oilers lose a tight one in overtime, falling 2-1 to Washington.

Obvious game day prediction: The fourth line plays less than six minutes and gets out-shot and out-chanced badly thanks to one shift where they’re caught against Alexander Ovechkin.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Just like the game in Toronto, this is a back-and-forth affair, but it turns into a goaltending duel. Both teams have struggled between the pipes but the combined save percentage of both goalies on the night ends up in the 0.960 range.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Harry
October 14 2013, 01:32PM
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DSF wrote:

6-2 Washington.

Ovechkin singlehandely destroy's the Oilers Corsi and Grabovski bats cleanup.

Oh the corsi!! The corsi!! What about the corsii!!! Then theres the corsu!!!!!!

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#52 ecompton
October 14 2013, 01:36PM
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Hall is the first start tonight. 2 goals and game winner.

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#53 hemi
October 14 2013, 01:39PM
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Damn the numbers! Player's pride has to be considered here at some point. Oil will win it 3-2. Can't help myself, Years of support just can't be washed away. Go OIL Go!

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#54 DonDon
October 14 2013, 01:42PM
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DSF wrote:

Why would Montreal do this?

Why would Edmonton?

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#55 Harlie
October 14 2013, 01:45PM
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DSF wrote:

6-2 Washington.

Ovechkin singlehandely destroy's the Oilers Corsi and Grabovski bats cleanup.

Sounds like a Cheech and Chong movie...the Oilers will be left Up in Smoke.

http://www.impawards.com/1984/cheech_and_chongs_the_corsican_brothers_xlg.html

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#56 DSF
October 14 2013, 01:46PM
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DonDon wrote:

Why would Edmonton?

To acquire a 6'1" 205 centre who is scoring at 1.4 PPG?

Call me crazy but I'm thinking that type of player would have a lot more value to the Oilers than Yakupov right now.

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#57 Quicksilver ballet
October 14 2013, 01:46PM
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Harry wrote:

Oh the corsi!! The corsi!! What about the corsii!!! Then theres the corsu!!!!!!

Why don't you take your grade 7 education elsewhere and attack people on other forums. Are you banned from HFboards, so you came over here looking to spread your vast fantasy pool'ish knowledge?

Is that all you're here to do. (not really a question because we already know that answer) If you're going to come over here and butt heads, atleast know how to read and write english. Don't you ever get tired of your all too familiar song and dance?

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#58 6 ring circus
October 14 2013, 01:51PM
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I don't think the Oiler's are going to fire Eakin's any time soon. After firing their last 3 coaches in the past 4 years maybe coaching isn't the problem in Edmonton. All I know is we are five games in and we are getting the same results as past years, If we continue down this road for the rest of the year, K Lowe and Buchberger need to be shown the door.

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#59 madjam
October 14 2013, 01:52PM
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Kreuger did not have to bench players to motivate them early like Eakins . Yet Kreuger , had us winning for quite a while , not so with Eakins . Coaching is making a difference this year , and it's negative so far, and maybe in need of a fast change ? How much lip stick can one put on our situation ?

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#60 Clayton
October 14 2013, 01:52PM
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Finally someone points out the weak D-Corps on the Oilers. They have no legit Top Pairing. Which means every D-Man is playing two places (or more) up the ladder from where they should be. The Oilers need to find two top DMen or they will be lit up all season...regardless of who is in the net.

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#61 Serious Gord
October 14 2013, 01:55PM
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And I always thought corsi was the island Napoleon was exiled to...

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#62 DSF
October 14 2013, 01:57PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

And I always thought corsi was the island Napoleon was exiled to...

Elba.

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#63 Butters
October 14 2013, 01:59PM
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Wut, no Yak again? DSF, does the dark side serve donuts? Asking for a friend.

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#64 MessyEH!
October 14 2013, 01:59PM
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DSF wrote:

To acquire a 6'1" 205 centre who is scoring at 1.4 PPG?

Call me crazy but I'm thinking that type of player would have a lot more value to the Oilers than Yakupov right now.

There were alot of us around here who wanted the Oilers to pick Galchenyk.

Hell the trade speculations alone. Subban and 3rd overall for our 1st. (I doubt it was ever real) but if it was, I wouldn't have been surprised to seeTabelloweney turn it down.

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#65 YFC Prez
October 14 2013, 02:01PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Hello Mr Quick. Happy thanksgiving!

Take a quick look at your sentence structure and punctuation on your second sentence in your latest comment.

This is why I never call out grammar issues on a blog comment. We all make our fair share of language faux-pas.

I'm sure there are several mistakes being made as I type this. Let's just all relax !

Enjoy the game and the turkey everyone ! Have a extra shot of rum in your eggnog for me !

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#66 Butters
October 14 2013, 02:01PM
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@ oilersseasonseatholdersince99 Actually the Oilers usually start better than this and then slide into the abyss.

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#67 Serious Gord
October 14 2013, 02:04PM
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DSF wrote:

Elba.

I know, I know.

The island that sounds similar is Corsica 50 km away from Elba and the transit point Napoleon used to escape Elba hence the word association on my part.

Apparently they are both painfully beautiful islands with magnificent year-round climates - makes you wonder why Napoleon wanted to escape...

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#68 DSF
October 14 2013, 02:06PM
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Butters wrote:

Wut, no Yak again? DSF, does the dark side serve donuts? Asking for a friend.

We actually have a fine selection of scrumptious pastries as well as all the single malt you can drink.

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#69 madjam
October 14 2013, 02:11PM
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Oilers don't have a few holes to fill up , they got a whole crater full . Have we hit the bottom of this sink hole , yet ? Maybe not ? So much for fast acting MacT..

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#70 MessyEH
October 14 2013, 02:11PM
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DSF wrote:

We actually have a fine selection of scrumptious pastries as well as all the single malt you can drink.

You had me at malt. You had me at Malt.

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#71 DSF
October 14 2013, 02:14PM
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Butters wrote:

@ oilersseasonseatholdersince99 Actually the Oilers usually start better than this and then slide into the abyss.

Due to the Leap Year in 2012...the Abyss arrived early this season.

According to the Sports Club Stats, the Oilers currently have a 21.6 percent chance of making the playoffs.

If they lose to Washington tonight, that drops to 18.4%.

A loss to Pittsburgh gets that down to 15%.

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#72 Serious gord
October 14 2013, 02:15PM
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DSF wrote:

We actually have a fine selection of scrumptious pastries as well as all the single malt you can drink.

One of my faves is this one:

http://www.aberlour.com/en/therange/aberlour16yearold

I will be imbibing about three or more fingers of it during the game (with just a sprinkle of distilled spring water to open it up). Cheers

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#73 Darrell
October 14 2013, 02:17PM
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Nothing like a good Slap shot quote to get the point across:

"Reggie Dunlop: DSF You all saw what happened. Stick down, gloves off, He challenged the Oilers. Called us names, CALLED US NAMES! But Dave was there. Daves a killer. Johnny Upton: Daves a mess. Reggie Dunlop: But Daves out. Whos gonna take his place? Ned Braden: Is the answer Jesus?. Reggie Dunlop: Show us what you got![looking directly Hall, Ebs and Nuge ....

For the love of Jesus Christ and Slap shot go get 'me boys !

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#74 Bleedingoil
October 14 2013, 02:21PM
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DonDon wrote:

Why would Edmonton?

Yakupov, first rounder, klefbom and another asset for subban and price.

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#75 MessyEH!
October 14 2013, 02:21PM
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I got this as a wedding gift.

It tasted great after the divorce.

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#76 15w40
October 14 2013, 02:22PM
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If Eakins doesn't want to loose face, he better be applying the same type of criteria to others besides Yakupov.

If Taylor Hall continues to be a turn over machine will he get sat down.

What about Justin Schultz - he has made some horrendous decisions that have resulted directly in grade A scoring chances against and in some cases in the back of his net, but he continues to get HUGE ice time.

If this is Eakins cherry picking on one player - that is a horrible move that will alienate Yakupov and ultimately could cause further issues.

Again, I am not saying that Eakins doesn't have the right to run his roster how he sees fit, but unless he is prepared to be consistent it will cause more problems then it will help with respect to his credibility.

IMHO

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#77 Darrell
October 14 2013, 02:23PM
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DSF wrote:

We actually have a fine selection of scrumptious pastries as well as all the single malt you can drink.

If I had a backbone I would join you DSF. Mine was surgically removed watching the Oilers win Cups growing up and am now banish for a life from leaving the bandwagon - it's turning into a sad story actually ...

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#78 MessyEH
October 14 2013, 02:24PM
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I got this as a wedding gift.

http://www.glenoradistillery.com/glenbreton.htm

It tasted great after the divorce.

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#79 Bleedingoil
October 14 2013, 02:28PM
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@15w40

Oilers are doing something on right wing. Either trading yakupov or showcasing eberle and hemsky. Either way, something is about to go down. We can't keep all three. They will all fetch a decent goalie and/or a number 1D. Alone or packaged, a trade is in our future.

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#80 MessyEH!
October 14 2013, 02:29PM
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Bleedingoil wrote:

Yakupov, first rounder, klefbom and another asset for subban and price.

Norris winner and Vezina finalist for magic beans and Yak.

They wouldn't do that trade for Galchenyk.

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#81 Butters
October 14 2013, 02:41PM
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The Oilers are not trading Yakupov. Showcasing him in the press box would do nothing for his trade value. Trading away a 20 year old who led the Oilers in goals last year? I doubt it.

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#82 Bleedingoil
October 14 2013, 02:53PM
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Butters wrote:

The Oilers are not trading Yakupov. Showcasing him in the press box would do nothing for his trade value. Trading away a 20 year old who led the Oilers in goals last year? I doubt it.

Either they already have a trade in place for yakupov, or they are showcasing ebs and or hemsky. Didnt think it was rocket surgery. And yes, he is tradeable. He and schultz both need new contracts and nurse will be ready too. Too many contracts of high value. Someone has to go.

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#83 MessyEH!
October 14 2013, 03:09PM
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Just heard from a reliable source* Eberle, MAcrobella and a first rounder for Shea Webber.

*Source may, or may not be the same as Captain Sammy Snowpants rumors.

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#84 Romanus
October 14 2013, 03:27PM
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Biron on Waivers. Not that he is the answer.

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#85 Serious Gord
October 14 2013, 03:29PM
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Bleedingoil wrote:

Either they already have a trade in place for yakupov, or they are showcasing ebs and or hemsky. Didnt think it was rocket surgery. And yes, he is tradeable. He and schultz both need new contracts and nurse will be ready too. Too many contracts of high value. Someone has to go.

Trading yak would be an epic mistake. Moving hemsky and eberle makes sense depending on what the return is and begs the question:

why wasn't hemsky traded long ago? - it's not as if they only had this surplus materialize since the beginning of the year or even the beginning of last season.

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#86 bleedingoil
October 14 2013, 03:54PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Trading yak would be an epic mistake. Moving hemsky and eberle makes sense depending on what the return is and begs the question:

why wasn't hemsky traded long ago? - it's not as if they only had this surplus materialize since the beginning of the year or even the beginning of last season.

I believe they were trying to trade Hemmer all summer. Nothing materialized until he could put in a string of healthy, productive games. We are seeing that now and his point production is on point. We have too many top 6 wingers now and do they extend Hemmer and trade Yak, get a deadline deal for Hemmer as a rental, or trade a Top line forward for immediate help? In any scenario, one of our 3 RW are moving on. Our best bet for immediate return of value would be to move Yak or put together a great package deal involving Hemsky

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#87 Serious Gord
October 14 2013, 03:57PM
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bleedingoil wrote:

I believe they were trying to trade Hemmer all summer. Nothing materialized until he could put in a string of healthy, productive games. We are seeing that now and his point production is on point. We have too many top 6 wingers now and do they extend Hemmer and trade Yak, get a deadline deal for Hemmer as a rental, or trade a Top line forward for immediate help? In any scenario, one of our 3 RW are moving on. Our best bet for immediate return of value would be to move Yak or put together a great package deal involving Hemsky

Once tambellini signed hemsky he became untradable. MacT found that out this summer. What MacT should have done is buy him out.

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#88 K_Mart
October 14 2013, 03:58PM
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If they have a trade in place involving yak it had better involve either one of the 15 best d men under 30 or 10 best goalies under 30. I doubt either of those to be the case.

I'd be extremely surprised if MacT trades last year's leading scorer for the oilers. He's only played 4 games this year, MacT would be off his rocker if he reacted this early. 25 games in... Fine. But right now? No way.

Hemsky is 30, Yak is 20. Right now Hemsky is outplaying Yak and deserves the better minutes, but I'd be blown away if that trend continued passed the 25-30 game mark.

Yak is simply too talented to slump for more than 20 games. Remember, even players like Crosby have long droughts. Yak will still finish the season with 55+ pts.

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#89 nick
October 14 2013, 03:59PM
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@madjam

I agree totally. Eakins is a Egomaniac and needs to be let go. He is ruining any chance this team has of getting respectable. You don't bench Yakupov, just a terrible coaching move. This is not the Eakins show, what other coach in the NHL tweets? This guy has got to go and quick

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6-3 Oil. Gordon two goals.

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#91 Harry
October 14 2013, 04:13PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Hello Mr Quick. Happy thanksgiving!

Take a quick look at your sentence structure and punctuation on your second sentence in your latest comment.

This is why I never call out grammar issues on a blog comment. We all make our fair share of language faux-pas.

I'm sure there are several mistakes being made as I type this. Let's just all relax !

Enjoy the game and the turkey everyone ! Have a extra shot of rum in your eggnog for me !

Whenever I make a point numbnuts ballet aka Bill Shakespeare attacks grammar and never the point itself. Seems hes not to confident in his vast hockey knowledge. Posts after post contains nothing but chickensh"t predictions and little else.

If edm puts for the same effort as in the Toronto game and we get a key save or two I can see edm squeeking out a close win.

BG needs to be on Ovi like stank on numbnuts ballet

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#92 Wax Man Riley
October 14 2013, 04:26PM
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Serious gord wrote:

One of my faves is this one:

http://www.aberlour.com/en/therange/aberlour16yearold

I will be imbibing about three or more fingers of it during the game (with just a sprinkle of distilled spring water to open it up). Cheers

Delicious

I have always drank my scotch neat, but just recently was introduced to a couple drops of water, and is that ever nice.

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#93 DieHard
October 14 2013, 04:26PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Once tambellini signed hemsky he became untradable. MacT found that out this summer. What MacT should have done is buy him out.

You're still an ...

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#94 Wax Man Riley
October 14 2013, 04:35PM
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http://www.glenglassaugh.com/products.php

Scroll down to the 30 year rare cask: got it as a gift after losing a bunch of money in a housing investment lol.

Still haven't opened it, but real cool story about a closed distillery, that after being re-opened, finding casks still aging.

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#95 washed up
October 14 2013, 04:47PM
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Not seeing much love for the Oilers from sportsnet guys.

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#96 washed up
October 14 2013, 04:47PM
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Not seeing much love for the Oilers from sportsnet guys.

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#97 washed up
October 14 2013, 04:47PM
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Not seeing much love for the Oilers from sportsnet guys.

Dam iPhone. Triple post

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#98 Poolanov
October 14 2013, 04:50PM
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washed up wrote:

Not seeing much love for the Oilers from sportsnet guys.

Dam iPhone. Triple post

Pardon?

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#99 MessyEH!
October 14 2013, 04:59PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Once tambellini signed hemsky he became untradable. MacT found that out this summer. What MacT should have done is buy him out.

Hemsky is doing fine this year. Is he worth 5 million. No,but he'd be fine at 4. he may even fetch a second and a floundering former 1st rounder.

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#100 Quicksilver ballet
October 14 2013, 05:20PM
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@YFC Prez

True that Pres

I've been trying to reinforce just that on that Harry tool. He comes out throwing stones, all while living in a glass house himself. Always see him belittling/attacking other posters here. I don't mind squishing him under my shoe. He's seen it plenty of times before i'm sure.

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