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 Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#101 Clyde Frog
October 14 2013, 05:26PM
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Geez DSF I hate it when your right...

We are just getting buried...

Oh wait Boyd GOOOOOOOOoooooooooordon!

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#102 Mikey
October 14 2013, 05:31PM
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I never understood corsi, but after DSF told me Washington was a corsi monster, I now understand what corsi means. #corsi #smallsamplesize ##aregay #whycantistop #pleasehelp

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#103 Alsker
October 14 2013, 05:34PM
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Great start but ouch, another epic brainfart by our goaltending!! Pass the rum please.

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#104 druds
October 14 2013, 05:39PM
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madjam wrote:

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 ?

Oh really kreuger is the answer?...do remeber where we ended up again? spare me Majdam...spare us

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#105 Ivan Drago
October 14 2013, 05:39PM
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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.

Yeah that's smart. Not only get nothing for him, PAY to get rid of him. After all these yrs Hemsky is now that bad........wake the eff up buddy.

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#106 Dangilitis
October 14 2013, 05:45PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Geez DSF I hate it when your right...

We are just getting buried...

Oh wait Boyd GOOOOOOOOoooooooooordon!

Most of us humans are capable of emotions, and are embarrassed when we make bold predictions that don't pan out. Not DSF, he just keeps on ticking...

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#107 washed up
October 14 2013, 05:46PM
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Eakins should ice 6 skaters. Labarbra is brutal.

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#108 Ivan Drago
October 14 2013, 05:46PM
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nick wrote:

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

Has an ego, uses Twitter, great reasons to fire a coach.

*facepalm*

As for Yak, just because you disagree with the benching, doesn't mean it's a bad move. Time will tell on that. Dallas is hands with the team and made a decision, what qualifications do you have to say he's wrong?

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#109 Poolanov
October 14 2013, 05:47PM
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Washington not playing desperate hockey at all. Afraid that may change after the intermission lambasting they will no doubt receive.

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#110 djc
October 14 2013, 05:56PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

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.

Awwwwww is Quicky getting mad? It looks like Harry hit a nerve! You didn't like being interrupted and being called out while spewing your typical anti-oilers garbage? Remember when you made fun of Pelss dying? Glass houses, indeed.

Feel free to continue with your tantrum and posting here 100 times a day pretending you know what you are talking about, old man. It doesn't really matter as most of us skip over your comments anyway.

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#111 Harry
October 14 2013, 06:21PM
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@djc

You used too many "w"'s in awww. And hello can you say run on sentence?!

May the corsi be with you.

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#112 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 14 2013, 06:29PM
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Sweet Jesus do we ever need a couple of goaltenders.

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#113 Cubsfan
October 14 2013, 06:32PM
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awful!

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#114 Walter Sobchak
October 14 2013, 06:32PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Geez DSF I hate it when your right...

We are just getting buried...

Oh wait Boyd GOOOOOOOOoooooooooordon!

Sometimes it's just best to wait till the game has actually been played.

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#115 emonkee
October 14 2013, 06:32PM
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1) horrible goaltending! 2) nuge and hall just keep making unnecessary turnovers. Nuge led to WSH's 1st goal, Hall's turnover led to a PP eventually (3rd goal)

This is so frustrating...

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#116 emonkee
October 14 2013, 06:34PM
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please don't tell me about Corsi and all those craps...we outshot the WSH so far, so what...

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#117 Time Travelling Sean
October 14 2013, 06:36PM
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WHAT HAPPENED? WE WERE PLAYING SO WELL, WTF HOCKEY GODS!@!@! IS THIS FOR WINNING THE DRAFT LOTTERY 2 YEARS AGO?????????????????????

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#118 Jason
October 14 2013, 06:38PM
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I hope Sam Reinhart is small and soft! He'll fit in good with this group of losers

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#119 Fresh Mess
October 14 2013, 06:41PM
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When do Hall and JSchultz get healthy scratched? Or did Eakins mean all players would be treated the same except those two...

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#120 oilredemption
October 14 2013, 06:41PM
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One word Dallas Eakins... PATHETIC

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#121 Oilersfan4
October 14 2013, 06:45PM
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Can we just get rid of every player, get rid of the current management and coaching staff, start out new like an expansion team, have a expansion draft and start this rebuild over again.

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#122 Hayek
October 14 2013, 06:45PM
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Not like he's terrible, but maybe it's time to play RNH a little less, and Arcobello a little more. Just watching the play, Arcobello is amazing at setting up linemates, and is great at entering the zone with control.

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#123 JJ
October 14 2013, 06:48PM
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Can someone tell me why we didn't bother trading Yak for Seguin over the summer and trade Snowpants for a goalie?

Just imagine if we had

Hall - Seguin - Hemsky

Perron - Nuge - Eberle

instead.

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#124 Butters
October 14 2013, 06:48PM
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Reinhart?

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#125 Hayek
October 14 2013, 06:49PM
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Wow, Oilers are outshooting WSH 19-11. And yet WSH has 4 goals on 11 shots. Could the Oilers be any more unlucky...

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#126 Newj
October 14 2013, 06:49PM
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RNH, Hall & Hemsky are a horrible line combination, especially at even strength.

Smyth & Arcabello are 2/3's of the 2nd PP unit?

This team is barely treading water. Here's to hoping for another miracuous 3rd period.

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#127 Mikey
October 14 2013, 06:51PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Sometimes it's just best to wait till the game has actually been played.

Not really, Washington has 11 shots. They aren't out playing the oilers. The oilers have given up because the goalie can't make a save.

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#128 washed up
October 14 2013, 06:51PM
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I wish someone on the Oilers would one-time the puck. They stop the puck every time giving the goalie a chance to set up for the shot.

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#129 Harry
October 14 2013, 06:51PM
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Can someone look up and tell me what the record is for the most games lost after scoring the first goal in a single season? Thank you in advance

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#130 madjam
October 14 2013, 06:52PM
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Penalty kill with AHL personnel , no wonder we are 24th and dropping on PK . Eakins seems and trust AHL talent he knows , but does not have a good handle on pur NHL talent . Nor does MacT. if he felt we could win filling from within .

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#131 Fab 5
October 14 2013, 06:56PM
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Hayek wrote:

Wow, Oilers are outshooting WSH 19-11. And yet WSH has 4 goals on 11 shots. Could the Oilers be any more unlucky...

or the goalies just suck

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#132 jl
October 14 2013, 06:56PM
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I wouldn't call it unlucky so much.

Its more you guys suck . Keep in mind your biggest accomplishment is finishing last back to back years . Drafting first overall and telling everyone wait till next year . Next year is never coming .

Go nucks eat it oiler douche

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#133 Freewheeling Freddie
October 14 2013, 06:58PM
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Here we go again. Two goaltenders ranked 30th in the league. Brutal defensive zone coverage. I predicted the Oilers could be out of the playoff race by the end of October. No reason to say this couldn't be reality. Tell me how do Frederic Chabot and Steve Smith still have jobs. This is pathetic .Sitting Yak for 2 games. How about Justin Schultz? JOrdan Eberle?The scouting staff bye bye. No wonder we have 2 losing sports teams cheerleaders at hockey games. And guys on the cheerleading team at football games .Oh well another lottery pick

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#134 Greg the Hammer Valentine
October 14 2013, 06:59PM
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Rob... wrote:

Keeping Yak out against one of his idols is a horrible decision by a coach who tried to suggest this summer that he'll get to know each of his players and what motivates them.

F'n bush league decision.

I couldn't agree more. Eakins decided to make an example out of someone and he chose Yak. Humiliating young players isn't the same thing as being tough.

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#135 Lofty
October 14 2013, 06:59PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

Has an ego, uses Twitter, great reasons to fire a coach.

*facepalm*

As for Yak, just because you disagree with the benching, doesn't mean it's a bad move. Time will tell on that. Dallas is hands with the team and made a decision, what qualifications do you have to say he's wrong?

I don't think Eakins should be fired but a 1-4-1 start qualifies any NHL coach for termination. Coaches have been fired for a lot less.

Also, Katz doesn't seem to have a problem with Klowe wasting his money. This makes the firing more plausible. At least Eakins wouldn't hurt the cap.

We'll need more cap space when we trade Yak for a UFA aged player who's career is about to start tracking down. He may still be the best of the 3 1st's. He's only played half a season against men.

J. Schultz is the chip that may need to be cashed. If the year becomes another lost cause, he may be the most expendable with the addition of Nurse. Schultz makes Gilbert look like Sid vicious. He's still a hell of a hockey player but he's a one dimensional player and if you can only play outside your own blue line, you better play forward.

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#136 Freewheeling Freddie
October 14 2013, 07:01PM
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@jl

Canucks have how many cups? Don't beak until you can at least win one

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#137 Lofty
October 14 2013, 07:04PM
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jl wrote:

I wouldn't call it unlucky so much.

Its more you guys suck . Keep in mind your biggest accomplishment is finishing last back to back years . Drafting first overall and telling everyone wait till next year . Next year is never coming .

Go nucks eat it oiler douche

Back to back to back sounds so much better. If only Columbus didn't rob us of that.

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#138 Walter Sobchak
October 14 2013, 07:06PM
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Mikey wrote:

Not really, Washington has 11 shots. They aren't out playing the oilers. The oilers have given up because the goalie can't make a save.

Ridicules, Washington’s PP is clipping along at 38% what do the Oilers do, give up 4 PP chances.

The Oilers shots are perimeter shots & have zero chance of going in; Washington has totally out chance the Oilers.

Shots are a NOT always indicative of outplaying a team, or are you not watching the game?

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#139 George
October 14 2013, 07:07PM
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7 YEARS of watching this crap! I've had enough of this pathetic team. I'm gonna start watching the flames

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#140 vetinari
October 14 2013, 07:09PM
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When they come home from this road trip, could we put up some police tape around RX1 and hire someone to stand in front of the stadium on game days and tell fans,

"Move along everyone. Nothing to see here. Your 2013 draft guide is in the mail..."

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#141 Gerry
October 14 2013, 07:11PM
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Kevin Lowe must go.

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#142 Greg the Hammer Valentine
October 14 2013, 07:11PM
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Just out of curiosity, does anybody remember what was Barry Melrose's record when he was fired by the Lightning?

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#143 Lofty
October 14 2013, 07:13PM
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George wrote:

7 YEARS of watching this crap! I've had enough of this pathetic team. I'm gonna start watching the flames

Start watching the Houston Texans. They used to be Oilers and now they only need a starting quarterback to be a contender. Much closer than the Edmonton variety.

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#144 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 14 2013, 07:14PM
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How long before Oiler fans start wearing paper bags again?

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#145 Daryl
October 14 2013, 07:18PM
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Ha Ha Ha

Kevin L is must be heavy lugging around that brain of yours?

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#146 6 ring circus
October 14 2013, 07:19PM
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Is this really happening? After 7 years I am tired of this SH-T already!!! This is Brutal.

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#147 Katzhater
October 14 2013, 07:21PM
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Fold the team.

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#148 6 ring circus
October 14 2013, 07:21PM
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Daryl wrote:

Ha Ha Ha

Kevin L is must be heavy lugging around that brain of yours?

He has 6 cup ring's he says he knows how to build a champion.The problem is Katz believes him!!!

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#149 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 14 2013, 07:22PM
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I don't think I've seen an Oilers one timer since Salo was in net for us.

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#150 Quintana
October 14 2013, 07:23PM
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So....When Laviollete comes to town?

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