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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#1 DSF
October 14 2013, 10:53AM
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6-2 Washington.

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

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#2 Pucker
October 14 2013, 12:25PM
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I think anyone that replies to a DSF post should automatically get trashed.

Now I'm going to trash myself.

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#3 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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#4 steelymac
October 14 2013, 11:00AM
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This may sound DSF-ish but could this not be Oilers propaganda101?Paint the kid as the bad apple so it softens the fans up when your about to trade him.I dont know about you guys but I smell something fishy,is it a coincedence this going on same time as Dubnyk fails to stop the puck.

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#5 DoubleJ
October 14 2013, 11:52AM
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This is ridiculous, Eakins needs to quit trying to so hard to stand out. "I'll make Smyth and Hemsky relevant." Eakins has gone out of his way to pump Hemsky's tires right from day one. Was he told to? The whole Hall at center was a good idea. Maybe put some real players beside him so he could actually succeed. Eakin never even tried during preseason to put someone else with Hall. Hemsky has played good. But he's also getting all the great zone starts as well. How has Eakins played Yak? Since day one he's put Yak on the third line. What normal coach does this? Smyth is 30 seconds behind on every rush. IMO Eakins needs to quit trying to make headlines with his "amazing new techniques" and actually give the best player the best chance for success.

Stop trying to change the world. You freaking weirdo and get a hair cut.

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#6 madjam
October 14 2013, 11:56AM
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Two more losses in a row here , and we could see Eakins gone before we see any players traded or gone . Eakins prefers Brown above Yak apparently . I don't mind seeing the coach replaced , before any players at this stage . Results are in and mounting negatively . Are we as bad as Eakins is making us look ?

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#7 DSF
October 14 2013, 11:56AM
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Max Powers - Team HME Evans wrote:

I want MORE stats!

Here ya go:

More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month

Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that's almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year

100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US

YouTube is localized in 56 countries and across 61 languages

According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network

Millions of subscriptions happen each day, and the number of people subscribing has more than doubled since last year

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

Why would Montreal do this?

Why would Edmonton?

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#9 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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#10 Hayek
October 14 2013, 11:48AM
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How do you think Yakupov feels when he is benched for 2 games, while players such as Mike Brown and Gadzic have played every game while doing nothing for the team. Those 2 think the game is to run around and hit everything that moves, while getting outshot like crazy, and have zero ability to create offence. Is this what Eakins is benching Yakupov for?

Gimmie a break, us Oilers fans deserve better.

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#11 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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#12 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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#13 Ray
October 14 2013, 11:35AM
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No wonder yak is pissed!!!! Ryan Smyth on 2nd line????i think Eakins is doing a lot of typical rookie mistakes! Put him with some talent.......I would of benched j.schulz before yak!!! Eakins came in with this mantra about fitness..ladidadida.....Fire the whole bunch!..starting with K. Lowe!!!!

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#14 Time Travelling Sean
October 14 2013, 11:06AM
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DSF wrote:

6-2 Washington.

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

WTF bro, if your gonna Oiler hate give reasons, tell me why Ovie is going to singlehandely destroy our Corsi, how will he do it? Has he destroyed us in the past? Does he play well against Western Teams playing in the Eastern Conf.? GIMME STATS BRO.

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#15 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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#16 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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#17 Quicksilver ballet
October 14 2013, 01:02PM
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Eakins 3 scoring lines has fallen way short. Yak starts on the third line with nobodies and struggles. Now it appears to be Perrons turn.

Fire this all hat, no cattle coach now, before it's too late.

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#18 DSF
October 14 2013, 01:26PM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

nice troll.

You'll see.

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#19 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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#20 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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#21 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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#22 Rob...
October 14 2013, 12:15PM
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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.

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#23 Quicksilver ballet
October 14 2013, 12:50PM
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If there was ever a self induced form of desperation, this is it.

Oiler fans are being distracted by this Yakupov to the press box debacle. They're probably trying to soil his image because he's asked to be traded. Eakins could be acting on orders from above to help take the pressure off management. Nail confirms it on twitter in the next couple weeks.

Capitals 6 Oilers zip, in a shootin fish in a barrel special.

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#24 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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#25 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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#26 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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#27 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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#28 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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#29 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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#30 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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#31 K_Mart
October 14 2013, 09:33PM
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I know strudwick is tearing us apart right now, I know the score was 4-2. But I thought we were the better team. I'd argue that other than the Vancouver game, we were as good, if not better, than the opposition in every game.

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#32 Walter Sobchak
October 14 2013, 11:21AM
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I remember the last time the Oilers played the Capitals, I was actually at the game and Khabibulin stood on his bloody head!!

OV8 hit the post and the cross bar and they should have spanked the Oilers.

Fast forward the Capitals have the same team with upgrade’s and the Oilers have a worse goaltending.

Corsi means nothing if you’re not out chancing the opposition 5x5, I find it hard that the Oilers will somehow out chance the Capitals who will be equally desperate hockey club with arguable better line up, not impossible but unlikely.

Small sample size, but the way the Oilers have played this season, I won’t expect a different result, large sample size, the Oilers defense is still brutal, the 4th line is all AHL players and the same players are still making the same mistakes on forward.

I expect a loss.

4-2 Capitals

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#33 jmang
October 14 2013, 11:50AM
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steelymac wrote:

This may sound DSF-ish but could this not be Oilers propaganda101?Paint the kid as the bad apple so it softens the fans up when your about to trade him.I dont know about you guys but I smell something fishy,is it a coincedence this going on same time as Dubnyk fails to stop the puck.

This isn't a matter of propaganda or scapegoating. no one ever blamed yak for the losses. Yak was scratched in hope he would wake up and realize what he needs to improve and that he needs to back check and be a team player.

Did you read his quotes yesterday after Eakins talked to him. He doesn't want to change his game. he likes to play with the puck, he doesn't like to skate without it, or forecheck, or check players. its not his game and he isn't gonna change.

Now that attitude no doubt is having him sit another gme because he obviously took being sat the wrong way. he needs to stop thanking he is the team and learn to be a teamplayer and commit to the system. if he doesn't do that, we have no fear in trading him.

I was very against trading him originally but with this attitude he has nothing to offer this team. Im staring to expect him to leave for Russia.

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#34 Johe
October 14 2013, 12:37PM
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Did someone really just say Renney achieved better results than Eakins? The Renney who led this team to 30th and 29th place finishes? Have we already turned on a guy 5 games into his NHL coaching career? I sure hope the Oilers win tonight, if for no other reason than that stupid comments will slow done for a few hours.

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#35 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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#36 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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#37 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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#38 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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#39 Retsinnab5
October 14 2013, 10:44AM
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4-1 Edmonton LaBarbera stands on his head.

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#40 Rama Lama
October 14 2013, 11:19AM
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@Oilcan

Benching Yaks will solve nothing. The problems on the ice ( no structure in all three zones) is something that all players are struggling with.

Ask yourself honestly do any of the youth so far look like they are better than they were last year? I would have to say that NO one has looked stellar........I have to think that the new system has something to do with this.

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#41 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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#42 DSF
October 14 2013, 12:48PM
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Johe wrote:

Yak for Galchenyuk?

Why would Montreal do this?

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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 Johe
October 14 2013, 12:40PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

wonder if Yak would be a good fit in Mtl?

Yak for Galchenyuk?

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#47 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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#48 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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#49 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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#50 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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