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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#151 Bloodsweatandoil
October 14 2013, 07:24PM
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Imagine what the Penguins are going to do to our current goaltending! Crosby, Malkin and the boys are going to have a "Pad your stats night"... Its now to the point of when you watch on the Animal Channel, 9 lions are swarming a helpless gazelle....the gazelle tries to get up with a lion on its throat, another lion chomping on its legs, it tries to get up, you know it can't, but yet you still cheer for it to get up and try to out run the lions...I am not a bandwagon jumper, but I have lost confidence in our goaltending, I think it is fair to say that they have cost us 3 wins so far.

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#152 Virtual_Xi
October 14 2013, 07:24PM
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the team should hold a players only meeting, accountability is at an all time low right now.

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#153 Alsker
October 14 2013, 07:24PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

How long before Oiler fans start wearing paper bags again?

Oh sh*t, does that mean I shouldn't have mine on yet.

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#154 Jay
October 14 2013, 07:25PM
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Next game lets just start with no goalie and 6 skaters. Lets at least have some fun with it

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#155 Jason
October 14 2013, 07:29PM
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A little early but Oilers have a chance to draft #1 again 2014.

Almost 6 games in and Oiler fans are looking at the 2014 draft.

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#156 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 14 2013, 07:29PM
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Huh. We scored.

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#157 Oilersfan4
October 14 2013, 07:31PM
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Look at the good news at lease Labarbera looks better than Dubnyk

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#158 Bloodsweatandoil
October 14 2013, 07:31PM
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Yay...we scored.......sigh

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#159 Gerry
October 14 2013, 07:35PM
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Is that Dubnyk in net? His pads look smaller

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#160 Serious Gord
October 14 2013, 07:35PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

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.

Clearly you are incorrect. Hemsky with his contract is worth zero. You would have to trade him for someone with an equally bad contact and issues.

Buying him out frees up cap space and a roster spot. Thus an on-ice net positive. Off ice mr Katz is out about the cost of a good dress shirt to you or I.

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#161 Jay
October 14 2013, 07:35PM
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Thank god that's over

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#162 Cubsfan
October 14 2013, 07:37PM
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Lofty wrote:

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.

Just like we expect Matt Schaub to throw a pick 6, we mow expect Dubnyk and/or LaBarbera to let in 2 easy goals to kill momentum

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#163 Serious gord
October 14 2013, 07:39PM
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Tonight's game is prima facie evidence that corsi is a gibberish stat.

It is quality scoring chances that matter and wash had far more of those - to my eyes at least - than EDM did.

That and it sure seemed we were out physicalled.

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#164 Spydyr
October 14 2013, 07:44PM
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From September 18 2013, 07:05AM

"Eakins will make it all better. Just like the three coaches in three years before him. It is different this time.

Enjoy your kool-aid.

Unless the players buy in Eakin's will be gone in short order also."

It got trashed.

September 18 2013, 08:49AM

I would like to think that too. Here is to hoping that this year will be better than the last seven. It is the time of year to sell hope. The team said the same thing the last three coaches. This is the guy to turn things around. I love the Oilers but I'm tired of getting smoke blown up my butt every fall. Obviously some people are not tired of it yet.

Also trashed.

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#165 michael
October 14 2013, 07:48PM
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The first and third were a wash. The game was decided on the PP. We did not score and they did. 2-0 in pp goals. Oh well. The shots on goal were once again in the positive. Boy would we like some puck luck. Tough game to point to fingers at anyone. The effort was there but the result was not.

Pittsburgh 4-2 tomorrow.

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#166 Avatarget
October 14 2013, 07:50PM
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Sigh...its always something. Tonight it was special teams that killed us. Not sure what we are doing different this year on the pk and powerplay but we need to revert to the plan from last year. On a positive note Labarbera was decent in the 3rd period and the boys played a decent game 5 on 5.

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#167 Lofty
October 14 2013, 07:51PM
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Cubsfan wrote:

Just like we expect Matt Schaub to throw a pick 6, we mow expect Dubnyk and/or LaBarbera to let in 2 easy goals to kill momentum

Did you just throw a super troopers at me meow?

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#168 madjam
October 14 2013, 07:52PM
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druds wrote:

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

Kreugers stats far exceed Eakins for starters . Kreugers system was working for the most part despite the Oilers not giving him an additional coach that he asked for . Yet they do for Eakins . This is a MacT. mistake , and getting rid of Kreuger was not necessary and the results prove I am right ! Do you remember where we were most of last season and was it not above Eakins team that supposed to have even better personnel than last year and one more additional year with youth so called improvement . Some improvement Eakins has provided, right ?

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#169 Serious Gord
October 14 2013, 07:53PM
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So, who do you put in net tomorrow night?

Do you think any of the caps are feeling beat up after that game? Neither do I. The oil is a cream puff team to play against.

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#170 Alsker
October 14 2013, 07:53PM
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wow..glad I had to save my neighbour from himself after the first. 3 goals in 4 min in the 2nd. Are we cursed: Eakins 6th coach in 10 yrs.,JJ first #6 since Beuk.(I think), and Klowes 6 rings= 666, that explains everything. Zombie apocalypse is upon us. Ok back to the rum and my favorite paperbag.

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#171 Oiler63
October 14 2013, 07:58PM
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How much would it cost to get one of Holtby or Neuvirth?

I heard Jonas Hiller may also be available.

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#172 Avatarget
October 14 2013, 07:59PM
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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...

I agree about the luck part. The Oil just can't catch a break so far this year. They will just have to keep working and hope things even out over the course of the year. The Oil keep losing and that is frustrating after 7 years of it. But at least they are playing better (not counting the goalies). So far this year the games have at least been entertaining.

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#173 DSF
October 14 2013, 08:06PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

So, who do you put in net tomorrow night?

Do you think any of the caps are feeling beat up after that game? Neither do I. The oil is a cream puff team to play against.

I'd go with Betty White.

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#174 DSF
October 14 2013, 08:11PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Geez DSF I hate it when your right...

We are just getting buried...

Oh wait Boyd GOOOOOOOOoooooooooordon!

Sorry.

I didn't expect the Caps to come out disinterested in the 1st period.

But they played just well enough to win.

I'm sure the tired Oilers playing Pittsburgh in a back to back will fare much better.

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#175 Alsker
October 14 2013, 08:14PM
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DSF wrote:

I'd go with Betty White.

So you'd do Betty White, eh well..(ok wanye leaned over my shoulder and said dont go there), personally ask the players..who are they more comfortable with...if we,re calling a players meeting already than this should be a topic up for debate. If "none of the above" is the answer call someone up from OKC + send Dubnyk down for conditioning.

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#176 Ivan Drago
October 14 2013, 08:14PM
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No he's not worth zero. You are incorrect. Giving up an asset for nothing is bad management. He can be signed and then traded for something of value. If you bought hemsky out this summer, who would you have spent the money on? How do you know if they would even sign here? How is that an on ice net positive?

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#177 DSF
October 14 2013, 08:16PM
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Alsker wrote:

So you'd do Betty White, eh well..(ok wanye leaned over my shoulder and said dont go there), personally ask the players..who are they more comfortable with...if we,re calling a players meeting already than this should be a topic up for debate. If "none of the above" is the answer call someone up from OKC + send Dubnyk down for conditioning.

Players voting on who plays goal is very dangerous territory.

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#178 Avatarget
October 14 2013, 08:18PM
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Eureka...it just hit me....the solution to all our problems. Hire Ralph Kruger back as an assistant to run our special teams and Dallas Eakins to run the 5 on 5 play. Or hire Ralph back as head coach and demote Dallas to assistant. As long as we can get a coaching combination that can get this team playing well in all phases of the game. Not sure who we could hire to solve the goaltending problem...but I am damn sure Betty White is not the solution...her reflexes are shot.

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#179 DSF
October 14 2013, 08:18PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

No he's not worth zero. You are incorrect. Giving up an asset for nothing is bad management. He can be signed and then traded for something of value. If you bought hemsky out this summer, who would you have spent the money on? How do you know if they would even sign here? How is that an on ice net positive?

Hemsky was offered around the league all summer and no one wanted him and his contract.

He's currently 106th in league scoring and -8.

What else do you need to know.

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#180 quinn the eskimo
October 14 2013, 08:20PM
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@Avatarget

That's how I feel about it. Yeah, its terribly disheartening to see those goals go in so easily and I hope the kids don't let it get them down too much or get in the habit of saying 'eff it, why should I try when..' . But the games are much brighter and the forwards are galloping up the ice at every opportunity. Bright lights include Perron, Gordon and the Nuge and i'm hoping Gags comes back with a vengeance. Lots of problems, but still entertained (apart from the depressing, mounting poor record).

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#181 el presidente
October 14 2013, 08:20PM
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YYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAKKKKKUUUUUUUUUPOOOOOOOVVVVV!!!!!!!

that is all.

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#182 Ivan Drago
October 14 2013, 08:24PM
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DSF wrote:

Hemsky was offered around the league all summer and no one wanted him and his contract.

He's currently 106th in league scoring and -8.

What else do you need to know.

I don't feed trolls. Move along.

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#183 Alsker
October 14 2013, 08:24PM
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DSF wrote:

Players voting on who plays goal is very dangerous territory.

Agreed, but what the hell!! Put up or sit out...it'll never happen BUT should!!!Could solve a lot of issues face to face.

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#184 Alsker
October 14 2013, 08:30PM
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Oiler63 wrote:

How much would it cost to get one of Holtby or Neuvirth?

I heard Jonas Hiller may also be available.

Probably more than they are worth and not sure if we make the cap issue...the answer will have to come from within, either Labababa or Dubbbbbs figuring it out or a call up..it pains me to be back where we were in '05-'06, but so be it.

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#185 Loweblows
October 14 2013, 08:31PM
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Checklist for monday-get up, get dressed, eat at varios intervals, take dogs for walk, watch oilers lose, go to bed angry. Repeat for 7 years.

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#186 Alsker
October 14 2013, 08:33PM
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Loweblows wrote:

Checklist for monday-get up, get dressed, eat at varios intervals, take dogs for walk, watch oilers lose, go to bed angry. Repeat for 7 years.

Hey you found my list from Oct.,'06

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#187 DSF
October 14 2013, 08:33PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

I don't feed trolls. Move along.

Don't really care what you feed.

I'll just keep feeding you the facts.

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#188 Crusty Grit
October 14 2013, 08:35PM
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When players are scared to make mistakes because of the lack of a "big" save it's basically over. The psychological component to all of this is like over cooked fried chicken. Looks tasty, smells tasty, but all in all, not very good as it's dry, stale and leaving you wanting more.

Hockey players don't deal well with this and try to over compensate all over the ice and it ruins any sort of system trying to be implemented.

I have been a big fan of Dubnyk since he went in the first round, but it may be time to overpay for some trust and confidence.

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#189 k
October 14 2013, 08:37PM
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If we're being honest it's more like 20 years that we've been sh*tty. I'll give 2006 but we didn't get into the playoffs until the last day of the season.

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#190 Crusty Grit
October 14 2013, 08:41PM
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@k

1990 was a great year. Ranford was awesome. I think that's over 20 years ago.

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#191 china town man
October 14 2013, 08:44PM
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Maybe next game we should pull the goalie After the first minute, have 6 players instead of 5, or find a goalie whose can stop the fricken puck!!! Time to panic Ahh..... yes calgary sucks and they are better than the oilers!!!!

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#192 grumpyKoala
October 14 2013, 08:45PM
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@emonkee

If you watch hall on the 3rd goal he looking like making all he can so he wont interfere with the play

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#193 Alsker
October 14 2013, 08:46PM
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k wrote:

If we're being honest it's more like 20 years that we've been sh*tty. I'll give 2006 but we didn't get into the playoffs until the last day of the season.

True but with average goalies we would have has a spot wrapped up by xmas, not to mention anything prior to Sir 6RINGS taking charge doesn't matter, didnt you get his email regarding this.

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#194 Yaz
October 14 2013, 08:47PM
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Groan...will it ever end ? I remember something about the coach saying the Oil would be hard to play against this year. Hard to watch maybe, play against not so much.

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#195 PutzStew
October 14 2013, 08:49PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

I don't feed trolls. Move along.

I'm shocked you now what food is never mind able to breath. You should here TSN break down Hemsky's game thus far. He's horrible. No wonder no one else wanted him.

Hey DSF. Good on you of not living in 2006. Hemsky=Cancer

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#196 Butters
October 14 2013, 08:50PM
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If DD plays tomorrow, the Pittsburgh scouting report will "be to shoot high" on a 6'6" goaltender no less.

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#197 WinterNightSky
October 14 2013, 08:51PM
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Avatarget wrote:

Sigh...its always something. Tonight it was special teams that killed us. Not sure what we are doing different this year on the pk and powerplay but we need to revert to the plan from last year. On a positive note Labarbera was decent in the 3rd period and the boys played a decent game 5 on 5.

You mean play Horcoff as much as possible? Plus Belanger and Jones on the PK?

I still can't believe that we bought out Belanger instead of Eager.

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#198 k
October 14 2013, 08:55PM
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Alsker wrote:

True but with average goalies we would have has a spot wrapped up by xmas, not to mention anything prior to Sir 6RINGS taking charge doesn't matter, didnt you get his email regarding this.

I used to watch Lowe on a nightly basis and sadly he wasn't all that. Fans forget how mediocre, middle of the road he really was while playing.

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#199 ned
October 14 2013, 08:56PM
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Boy o boy the oilers sure suck!

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#200 Joel k
October 14 2013, 08:59PM
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Can you hear the footsteps?

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