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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#151 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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#152 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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#153 Quintana
October 14 2013, 07:23PM
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So....When Laviollete comes to town?

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

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#155 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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#156 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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#157 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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#158 Jeffff
October 14 2013, 09:01PM
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I'm sure panic has set in, but don't worry Dubnyk maybe the only underrated player on the Oilers

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#159 Serious Gord
October 14 2013, 09:19PM
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Alsker wrote:

Sounds awesome except im pretty sure Lowe is Katz's sith lord in training and will never be replaced until such time that his abilities can be put to use ruining something far greater than a professional sports team...wait till Katz goes into politics..

Google Phillip Wrigley.

That's the nightmare scenario re: Katz.

Filthy lucrative franchise, fans that perennially show up and buy tickets and Merch; a local media that rolls over and defends the owner rather than confront him and his sycophantic minions; decades (decades!!) Of on-ice futility.

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#160 madjam
October 14 2013, 09:59PM
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Oilers Frozen in time . Lets do the time warp again .

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

Why would Montreal do this?

Why would Edmonton?

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#162 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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#163 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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#164 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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#165 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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#166 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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#167 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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#168 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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#169 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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#170 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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#171 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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#172 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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#173 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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#174 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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#175 Walter Sobchak
October 14 2013, 09:28PM
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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?

Have you seen the Oilers record? Trust me.......it's about to get worse.

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#176 Devolution
October 14 2013, 10:49PM
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Anyone else find it perplexing that RNH has been back 4 games, has tallied 3 points and is still -9?

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#177 Quicksilver ballet
October 14 2013, 11:21PM
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Oiler fans worst fears have become reality. The rebuild has turned into an Infinibuild.

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#178 Oilers42
October 14 2013, 10:49AM
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@Retsinnab5

B.S 6-3 loss

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#179 Oilcan
October 14 2013, 10:56AM
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I do like how Eakins is deploying his forwards but wouldn't it make sense to put yak on the 4th line at the very least just to have him for the PP I suspect Eakins is doing what is best for yak at this point because surely him over brown makes the most sense.

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#180 DoubleJ
October 14 2013, 11:54AM
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I don't understand when I actually type these remarks I put them in paragraphs to space it out for easier reading. I hit enter it comes out in one big paragraph. Why?

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#181 D
October 14 2013, 12:53PM
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DoubleJ wrote:

I don't understand when I actually type these remarks I put them in paragraphs to space it out for easier reading. I hit enter it comes out in one big paragraph. Why?

It's sometimes a problem with the html tags on the site. To get around the issue, after you enter your comment, click "edit" and then manually insert paragraph tags in the places where you want to delineate between paragraphs.

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#182 Serious Gord
October 14 2013, 01:09PM
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GDP of 2-1 oil win? Put down the crack pipe.

Three to teams are amoung the top for GA. Not sure what the total goal o/u is but it should be at least 8.

6-3 Washington - with the oil never really in it and getting picked apart on defense. Labarbera will not be at fault - with shots well north of forty for wash.

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#183 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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#184 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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#185 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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#186 Romanus
October 14 2013, 03:27PM
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Biron on Waivers. Not that he is the answer.

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#187 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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#188 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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#189 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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#190 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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#191 Butters
October 14 2013, 06:48PM
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Reinhart?

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#192 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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#193 Bloodsweatandoil
October 14 2013, 07:31PM
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Yay...we scored.......sigh

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

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#195 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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#196 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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#197 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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#198 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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#199 ned
October 14 2013, 08:56PM
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Boy o boy the oilers sure suck!

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#200 Johnny Larue
October 14 2013, 09:24PM
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Every scoring chance the other team gets ends up in our net. We outplayed Washington in the first but just can't seem to catch a break that said if things don't turn around soon another season will be flushed

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