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 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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#152 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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#153 ned
October 14 2013, 08:56PM
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Boy o boy the oilers sure suck!

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#154 Greg
October 14 2013, 08:59PM
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HELP NEEDED: why am i addicted to this Oiler hockey garbage. i feel like i'm in this abusive relationship i cant get out of. why do i continue to watch this. the whole organization is so good at selling this crap. i remember when both Toronto and Edmonton started their rebuilds. we picked Hall and they got Kessel. why oh why are we not on the same level. we've had two more first overall draft picks since then for crying out loud! Brian Burke was right Kevin Lowe is an idiot! we should have fired Lowe and got Burke. because it wont be long before Calgary is kicking out a**! i need to get out and save my dignity. my father in law is a bloody leafs fan and i cant even look him in they eye any more.

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#155 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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#156 Cowbell_Feva
October 14 2013, 09:08PM
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I haven't seen too many people fantasizing about Hall needing to be on Team Canada for the Winter Olympics. A good ol' dose of reality is starting to set in on those homers that had on the Oiler-goggles during the summer.

Bad Defense. Horrific Goaltending. Soft as butter forwards. Another coach....same sh*t team and people thought they would be a playoff contender. One, if not two of the wonderkids has to go this season to address the Defense/Goaltending fiasco. Time for change was 2 years ago....time for BOLD moves soon because this is becoming an absolute joke for an organization and there's nothing on the horizon to show that it will change.

Kevin Lowe, look in the mirror and step down. MacT get on the phone.

This is agonizing.

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#157 TT Boy
October 14 2013, 09:14PM
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What is depressing is that Monahan in Calgary almost has as many points this season as Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, and Yakupov. I thought Mac T said Eakins was the second coming? Feel pretty bad for Kruger really.

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#158 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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#159 outdoorzguy
October 14 2013, 09:29PM
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Crappy team! Lousy coach!! Pathetic management team!!!

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#160 Greg
October 14 2013, 09:36PM
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K_Mart wrote:

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.

this is the results business. enough saying we're better than the record shows.

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#161 clyde
October 14 2013, 09:59PM
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Batfink wrote:

When you are a coach and you make a questionable cut and you are WINNING, then you can give pressers like Eakins. HE hasn't made the hard yards yet, and he's acting like Mike Babcock. Eakins, you expected the players to adapt to your systems. Did you truly believe the rest of the NHL wouldn't?

Doesn't seem like these players will accept any coaching or structure.

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#162 Russ99
October 14 2013, 10:17PM
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clyde wrote:

Doesn't seem like these players will accept any coaching or structure.

I don't think that's the case, but when players who have had success at the NHL level are told that they can't play that way anymore and have to change to a defense-first puck control system, you can see why.

Eakins seems like a good coach, but this isn't the AHL, he needs to adapt to the players as much as the players need to adapt to him. That my way or the highway act won't fly in the bigs.

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#163 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 14 2013, 10:25PM
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We're in for one of those WTF games tomorrow. Oilers beat the Pens 5-2 in a head scratcher for the last two points they'll earn on this trip.

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#164 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
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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#165 MessyEH!
October 14 2013, 01:59PM
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DSF wrote:

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

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

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

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

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#166 YFC Prez
October 14 2013, 02:01PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

Hello Mr Quick. Happy thanksgiving!

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

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

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

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

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#167 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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#168 Butters
October 14 2013, 02:41PM
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The Oilers are not trading Yakupov. Showcasing him in the press box would do nothing for his trade value. Trading away a 20 year old who led the Oilers in goals last year? I doubt it.

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#169 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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#170 Wax Man Riley
October 14 2013, 04:26PM
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Serious gord wrote:

One of my faves is this one:

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

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

Delicious

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

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#171 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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#172 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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#173 djc
October 14 2013, 05:56PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. 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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#174 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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#175 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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#176 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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#177 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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#178 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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#179 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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#180 Katzhater
October 14 2013, 07:21PM
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Fold the team.

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#181 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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#182 Jay
October 14 2013, 07:35PM
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Thank god that's over

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#183 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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#184 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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#185 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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#186 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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#187 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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#188 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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#189 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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#190 Joel k
October 14 2013, 08:59PM
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Can you hear the footsteps?

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#191 greg
October 14 2013, 09:11PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Come over to the oiler fan dark side - take solace in yet another loss knowing that failure ultimately will force mr Katz' hand and he will fire Lowe and put in a president of hockey ops who is proven nhl quality and who owes nothing to anyone in the organization below him and he can rebuild this joke of a management team root and branch.

At least that's what a dark side oiler fan hopes will happen....

i just cant believe how much Lowe has been given here. what has he done? really? last place finishes for hight draft picks. i could have done that... me! for like way less money. seriously i'll do it for like 100k a year (plus a bonus if we pick first again)...

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#192 Greg the Hammer Valentine
October 14 2013, 09:16PM
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@Greg

What about the usual speech about how we saw a lot of good things in the last game and if we stick to the game plan, wins will eventually come? This kind of talk isn't doin' it for you anymore?

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#193 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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#194 Alsker
October 14 2013, 09:36PM
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All these stats(+/-,etc.), system play theories are useless when your SP is in the low 800's. There's no oops's/mulligans when every mistake/turn over, fanned clearing attempt ends up in the twine. It is impossible to truly judge whats happeneing. Yes we all see the mistakes, what we havent figured out is why the mistake was made. Everyone here asks what Eakins system is, well, how can we critique it if we dont understand it. Frustration,irritation, aggrevation, all exceptable: PANIC is not!!! Well not yet anyways. Fix the GAA and someone please figure out and explain this system so we can bitch about it more accurately.

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

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#196 washed up
October 14 2013, 10:17PM
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@Greg

I made a similar comment 5 or 6 threads ago, and got more trashes then props. Funny what a couple more loses will do to the fan base.

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#197 The Last Big Bear
October 14 2013, 11:36PM
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I have no consolation for you Oilers fans. It is as bad as you think it is.

I think dumping Dubnyk in a panic trade would be a very very bad decision, but it is a distinct possibility. MacT's decisions have not been very predictable so far.

Like I said, I have no consolation for you.

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#198 Batfink
October 14 2013, 10:41AM
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Desparation is a stinky cologne...

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#199 james_dean
October 14 2013, 11:03AM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

4-1 Edmonton LaBarbera stands on his head.

Sounds about right what will have to happen

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#200 madjam
October 14 2013, 11:22AM
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Happy thanksgiving everyone . Prediction One team is going to serve up a turkey of a game . Hope they put a "shadow" on Ovechkin . Has the makings of a high scoring river hockey game . Willis might be right and each team will play a boring 2-1 game into overtime . Like Western clubs over the overrated Eastern clubs and Eastern media . We could steal the next two games , as they will be underestimating us . Fast starts required in both games .

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