GDB 7.0: IT DOESN'T GET EASIER

Jason Gregor
October 15 2013 11:59AM

Usually Oiler fans would be excited to watch the best player in the game, but the thought of Sidney Crosby shooting on Devan Dubnyk is frightening. The Pens are 3-0 at home and they've outscored the opposition 12-3. The Penguins skated into Florida last Friday and got waxed 6-3 by the Panthers, so don't expect the Penguins to take the struggling Oilers lightly.

Crosby is rolling with 5 goals and 9 points in 5 games. He is likely licking his chops in anticipation of facing the Oilers and their 4.83 GAA.

The great part about sports is that anything can happen. Most would predict an Oiler loss tonight, but once the puck drops anything can happen.

Maybe Devan Dubnyk suddenly finds his game. Stop chuckling, it is possible.

Maybe the Oilers stop turning the puck over at the offensive blueline, and chip it deep.

Maybe their PK gets some timely saves and some sticks in the lanes to break up passes.

Maybe Nail Yakupov shows Dallas Eakins he got the message and pots two goals.

Maybe the Oilers finally understand all the nuances of Eakins new system and play a sound defensive game.

They might need all of these maybes to happen in order to win, but if the Penguins can lose 6-3 to the Panthers the Oilers have a shot.

LINEUP

The Oilers didn't have a morning skate, but we will see some lineup changes.

Jesse Joensuu has been sent back to Edmonton to get an undisclosed injury looked at.

Ryan Jones was recalled from OKC, while Philip Larsen was sent down.

Yakupov will return to the lineup.

I'm guessing Jones will play on the 4th line in place of either Luke Gazdic or Mike Brown. Brown leads the team in hits, but isn't doing anything offensively. Gazdic is tougher, and he's been physical. Eakins believes you need to wear down the opposition physically, so maybe Brown stays while Gazdic sits. Pittsburgh doesn't have a bonafide heavyweight so Eakins could put Brown with Jones and hope they create something on the forecheck.

The top-nine could have numerous options. These are the top-nine forwards, but we likely won't know the lines until later today. This is what I would do:

LW                         C                       RW
Hall                    RNH                   Yakupov
Perron               Arcobello           Eberle
Smyth               Gordon               Hemsky
Jones                Acton                  Brown

It is a major risk to put Yakupov with RNH and Hall, because they've given up a lot of chances lately, but I'd still look at it.

Eberle and Perron had good chemistry in camp, and Arcobello seems to fit in well with Eberle.

You could go with a veteran line of Gordon, Smyth and Hemsky. Hemsky and Smyth know how to play with one another, and they should be reliable enough defensively.

Ultimately, I don't think it matters who plays with whom. Collectively the forwards need to be better away from the puck. Most of the guys are producing, and once Yakupov finds his offence this group will be fine. The key is which trio can find some defensive chemistry.

The blueline is struggling. J.Schultz looks lost, but he's only played 54 NHL games and he wasn't heralded as a defensive dynamo when they signed him. He will calm down and make smarter plays. Belov has been okay, but this team lacks a true top-pairing defender. Until they get one, they need their forwards to help them defensively. It is a must for this team to be competitive.

LOOKING AHEAD...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hard to believe the Oilers can pull out a victory. They lose 3-2, but don't give up four goals for the first time all season. That will be a moral victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Crosby scores a PP goal in the first period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Gordon scored 4 goals in 48 games last year, but he already has 4 this year. Craig Adams scored 3 goals in 48 games last year, but he already has 3 goals in 5 games. Gordon leads the Oilers in goals, while Adams is 2nd on the Penguins. Both of them continue their surprising starts and pick up a goal each. Both of them will score career highs in goals this season.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 jt in Oilertown
October 15 2013, 03:22PM
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United Cycle has Dubnyk jerseys on sale 40% off. Wishful thinking on their part?

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#52 Dave Lumley
October 15 2013, 03:44PM
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DSF wrote:

"Malkin Night in Pennsylvania"

7-3 Penguins

If your predictions comes true, I will be forced to join the Dark Side (not sure what the "F" is for but I can imagine).

I am reluctantly waiting for the MacT rebuild to implode and the inevitable replacing of Dallas with Bucky. Wouldn't that be grand?

The KLowe rebuild had a such poor architect it actually left some hope when Tambellini took over. At least with the Tambellini rebuild my expectations were kept in check. The MacT rebuild built the expectation level so high that the crash is leaving me with a pit in my stomach, just like the WEM roller coaster when it hit the floor.

Team Quicksilver is looking better all the time. Not quite there yet but soon.

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#53 Spoils
October 15 2013, 03:45PM
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oilers with the puck in their own end = painful to watch. new system sure, but i think chemistry helps this.

I thought Ebs was looking better than he did in the previous 5 games. I'd like to see him back on the top line. - angle for history/chemistry.

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#54 Spoils
October 15 2013, 03:46PM
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also, what about switching a winger from R-L to get to these long term lines:

Hall-RNH-Ebs
Perron-Gagner-Yak
Joenssu-Gordon-Hemsky
Smyth/Gazdic-Arcobello-Jones

NB that is if Jones can turn back the clock on the eye injury. and arcobello can fit despite size... his f/o + pts on 4th might be nice.

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#55 DSF
October 15 2013, 03:55PM
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Dave Lumley wrote:

If your predictions comes true, I will be forced to join the Dark Side (not sure what the "F" is for but I can imagine).

I am reluctantly waiting for the MacT rebuild to implode and the inevitable replacing of Dallas with Bucky. Wouldn't that be grand?

The KLowe rebuild had a such poor architect it actually left some hope when Tambellini took over. At least with the Tambellini rebuild my expectations were kept in check. The MacT rebuild built the expectation level so high that the crash is leaving me with a pit in my stomach, just like the WEM roller coaster when it hit the floor.

Team Quicksilver is looking better all the time. Not quite there yet but soon.

I've been saying for 4 years (often to much derision) that the Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen, a big, talented #2 C (Galchenyuk anyone?) and an above average NHL goaltender.

They have none of the above and any fool can tell you good teams are built from the back end out and up the middle.

All the while, the Oilers brass continues to draft and develop scoring wingers, a passel of bottom 4 defensemen and fiddle around the edges of the bottom 6 forwards.

MacT seems to have no better grasp of this than his predecessors.

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#56 lolhockey
October 15 2013, 03:57PM
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OGDP: Taylor Hall, failed toe drag.

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#57 Walter Sobchak
October 15 2013, 04:04PM
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DSF wrote:

I've been saying for 4 years (often to much derision) that the Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen, a big, talented #2 C (Galchenyuk anyone?) and an above average NHL goaltender.

They have none of the above and any fool can tell you good teams are built from the back end out and up the middle.

All the while, the Oilers brass continues to draft and develop scoring wingers, a passel of bottom 4 defensemen and fiddle around the edges of the bottom 6 forwards.

MacT seems to have no better grasp of this than his predecessors.

Come on man!

What do expect from a coach/GM that thinks Reasner is Sakic, Toby is a qualified PP specialist, Reddox just needed a "chance" would be the next Draper.

That Thorsen just needed top six minutes! That Brodziak wouldn't amount to much and a coach who thought Ethan would be a great captain!!

FML!

This team is run by ass clowns, I can honestly hear the music when they sit together in the booth.

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#58 Spydyr
October 15 2013, 04:32PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Come on man!

What do expect from a coach/GM that thinks Reasner is Sakic, Toby is a qualified PP specialist, Reddox just needed a "chance" would be the next Draper.

That Thorsen just needed top six minutes! That Brodziak wouldn't amount to much and a coach who thought Ethan would be a great captain!!

FML!

This team is run by ass clowns, I can honestly hear the music when they sit together in the booth.

You know what bothers me the most?You are correct on all counts.

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#59 Fresh Mess
October 15 2013, 04:35PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Come on man!

What do expect from a coach/GM that thinks Reasner is Sakic, Toby is a qualified PP specialist, Reddox just needed a "chance" would be the next Draper.

That Thorsen just needed top six minutes! That Brodziak wouldn't amount to much and a coach who thought Ethan would be a great captain!!

FML!

This team is run by ass clowns, I can honestly hear the music when they sit together in the booth.

and that Glencross was not good enough for the third line and not worth 1.1 million.

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#60 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 15 2013, 04:53PM
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I'd happily take Thoresen as our 4C. Said so all summer:

http://en.khl.ru/stat/leaders/244/pts/

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#61 Reg Dunlop
October 15 2013, 04:53PM
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DSF wrote:

I've been saying for 4 years (often to much derision) that the Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen, a big, talented #2 C (Galchenyuk anyone?) and an above average NHL goaltender.

They have none of the above and any fool can tell you good teams are built from the back end out and up the middle.

All the while, the Oilers brass continues to draft and develop scoring wingers, a passel of bottom 4 defensemen and fiddle around the edges of the bottom 6 forwards.

MacT seems to have no better grasp of this than his predecessors.

So, you've been criticizing the oil for 4 years 'often to much derision'? Actually it has ALWAYS been to much derision.

I am done with grinding the gears on the oil. Dubby turns the corner tonight and Mark Arc continues to show he belongs. Oil start a modest win streak tonight, against all odds. 3-2 for the blue and orange; welcome back comrade Yakupov.

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#62 gregolas
October 15 2013, 04:55PM
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@Spoils

NO.

ARCOBELLO's GOTZ TA GO! HE'S GOT TO GO.

as james franco would say:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b07sactDEKU

Acton is a rock solid 4C. Does everything that's asked of him.

we can't have anymore of Arcobellos soft play and turnovers with NO finish when he has 80% empty nets to shoot at in close range...

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#63 Mikey
October 15 2013, 05:02PM
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gregolas wrote:

NO.

ARCOBELLO's GOTZ TA GO! HE'S GOT TO GO.

as james franco would say:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b07sactDEKU

Acton is a rock solid 4C. Does everything that's asked of him.

we can't have anymore of Arcobellos soft play and turnovers with NO finish when he has 80% empty nets to shoot at in close range...

80% empty nets at close range, crazy! Where did you find that stat?

Just curious what's Halls empty net at close range %?

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#64 gregolas
October 15 2013, 05:04PM
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K, Hyperbole on that stat.

He really can't finish though. We desperately need SamWise back.

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#65 Dog Train
October 15 2013, 05:09PM
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Good call going with Labarbera. Dubnyk has no confidence right now and going against the Penguins is not a good way to give a goaltender confidence.

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#66 Cynuc
October 15 2013, 05:14PM
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This is gonna be fun.

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#67 Lawndemon
October 15 2013, 05:15PM
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I am starting to hate hockey.

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#68 vetinari
October 15 2013, 05:15PM
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Surprised that laBarbera is in net but he's already in fine form... 1-0 Pens...

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#69 Alsker
October 15 2013, 05:20PM
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Well Perron looks like hes into it. Lets see if Yak can benefit from it.

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#70 Alsker
October 15 2013, 05:22PM
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Hey 4 straight saves....something to cheer about...

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#71 Alsker
October 15 2013, 05:27PM
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Nice setup for Schultz, take note Mr.Yak, passings not a bad idea.

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Put Belov in net! Great save!

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#73 Smokey
October 15 2013, 05:39PM
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The Moose is in the luxury box with Silver Fox and Suckburger . What does that mean?

I'm not sure what I would feel about Messier joining the Oilers staff, I personally would have no problem with him standing behind the bench eating chips and calling people pylons for a few games. However its time to end this old boys club nonsense.

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#74 YFC Prez
October 15 2013, 05:41PM
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Hey goalie goalie goalie Ho goalie goalie goalie Hum goalie goalie goalie SAVE goalie goalie goalie Hey goalie goalie goalie Ho goalie goalie goalie Hum goalie goalie goalie

* I'm getting desperate*

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#75 Reg Dunlop
October 15 2013, 05:42PM
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So far the oil are playing a solid road game. They have been out-played but have not been dominated. Against the NHL's best, this is a positive. Go oil.

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#76 Reg Dunlop
October 15 2013, 05:47PM
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Smokey wrote:

The Moose is in the luxury box with Silver Fox and Suckburger . What does that mean?

I'm not sure what I would feel about Messier joining the Oilers staff, I personally would have no problem with him standing behind the bench eating chips and calling people pylons for a few games. However its time to end this old boys club nonsense.

Messier may be hired as the oil's NYC representative, nothing else. No way he returns to the hinterland. His ranger cup apparently means more to him than 5 cups won in the boondocks.

I guess it is always possible he could be hired to do a lap dance for Katz.

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#77 Smokey
October 15 2013, 06:05PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Messier may be hired as the oil's NYC representative, nothing else. No way he returns to the hinterland. His ranger cup apparently means more to him than 5 cups won in the boondocks.

I guess it is always possible he could be hired to do a lap dance for Katz.

Nice assumptions on your part. I thought he lived in North Carolina. If my home town was a place I could not have an ounce of normalcy I'd want to live elsewhere too. Don't blame him for living in NC or New York.

Saying his time with the Rangers meant more to him then his time in Edmonton, watch his retirement video when he dawned the Orange and Blue, and you see the tears well up in his eyes. Having the admiration of hour home town with your family in attendance playing for your home town team, I think it is an easy assumption that each cup is equally special to him.

Katz does Lap Dances for the Moose, if of course the Moose was into that sorta thing.

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#78 Reg Dunlop
October 15 2013, 06:11PM
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@Smokey

I heard that in Vancouver, Messier was pitching and Bure was catching but Katz has the cash. DJ, cue up 'We Are The Champions'.

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#79 Smokey
October 15 2013, 06:22PM
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Goaltending again the difference. Barbie shaky on the Cindy goal.

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#80 vetinari
October 15 2013, 06:27PM
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Barbie's got a few holes that he needs to plug up... number wise, we're on track for a 3.0 GAA (!) night which is friggin' stellar by our recent standards.

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#81 vetinari
October 15 2013, 06:34PM
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SQQQQQUUEEEEEEEEE!

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#82 oilersplumber
October 15 2013, 06:34PM
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@jt in Oilertown

TSN reporting (Bob Mckenzie) that Oilers are in Ryan Miller talks now.

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#83 Oiler63
October 15 2013, 06:46PM
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I like a LOT what I see so far this game, except the Below Average Goaltending*. Yak still needs to move his foot more though.

*Registered trade mark by the Edmonton Oilers.

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#84 oilersplumber
October 15 2013, 06:50PM
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You guys that keep whining about the old boys club..........fascinating.....does the name Steinbrenner ring a bell ? or the Wirtz family or the whats the name of that family that runs the Steelers......would the Canadiens paint over their dressing room ?.......wtf people.

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#85 EP
October 15 2013, 06:52PM
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oilersplumber wrote:

TSN reporting (Bob Mckenzie) that Oilers are in Ryan Miller talks now.

Hemsky for R. Miller? Cap hits and contract situations are similar. Miller (hopefully) helps now and Hemsky is likely gone at the end of the year anyways.

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#86 Mikey
October 15 2013, 06:56PM
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I'm about 20min behind and the score is 2-2. And I feel like I want to be positive. Petry has been decent this year. He could hit and shoot more. But not bad.

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#87 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 15 2013, 06:57PM
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EP wrote:

Hemsky for R. Miller? Cap hits and contract situations are similar. Miller (hopefully) helps now and Hemsky is likely gone at the end of the year anyways.

BUF is considering the full explosion. They aren't taking on Hemsky. Look for a package of picks/prospects or the 1st rounder.

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#88 Alsker
October 15 2013, 06:58PM
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It hasnt been all pretty, but not bad, and .952 SP? I know its too early to be happy but Cansucks and Wild are both losing!!!!

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#89 Alsker
October 15 2013, 07:03PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

BUF is considering the full explosion. They aren't taking on Hemsky. Look for a package of picks/prospects or the 1st rounder.

They have to take back a contract or this doesnt work, maybe Dubnyk + pic/prospect. But first Miller has NTC restrictions.

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#90 Alsker
October 15 2013, 07:11PM
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Just when I thought the bounces were going our way...sigh

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#91 Papamike
October 15 2013, 07:15PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Messier may be hired as the oil's NYC representative, nothing else. No way he returns to the hinterland. His ranger cup apparently means more to him than 5 cups won in the boondocks.

I guess it is always possible he could be hired to do a lap dance for Katz.

Elliot Friedman 30 thoughts today said the rumor was the moose joining the Oilers as a consultant

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#92 Serious Gord
October 15 2013, 07:16PM
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Alsker wrote:

They have to take back a contract or this doesnt work, maybe Dubnyk + pic/prospect. But first Miller has NTC restrictions.

And that is how MacT has made a hash of it - no cap room means no flexibility - having to trade junk for junk.

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#93 BleedingOil
October 15 2013, 07:18PM
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the only way i would take miller is if we get ehrhoff too. I would throw in a pick/prospect to get that done.

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#94 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 15 2013, 07:29PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

And that is how MacT has made a hash of it - no cap room means no flexibility - having to trade junk for junk.

not only is this team much better without SMac and Gazdic, it's more flexible.

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#95 Greg
October 15 2013, 07:35PM
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At this point I'm almost hoping the oilers loose. How bad does at actually have to get before Katz fires Lowe? How pissed of do we all need to get?

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#96 BingBong
October 15 2013, 07:36PM
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Another loss but I thought we played pretty well.

I'd be interested in Miller - we need to fix the goaltending ASAP. I like Ott too.

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#97 The Last Big Bear
October 15 2013, 07:38PM
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Panic.

Trade Dubnyk, Yakupov, and Hemsky.

Rebuild #3, coming right up.

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#98 Fresh Mess
October 15 2013, 07:38PM
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Greg wrote:

At this point I'm almost hoping the oilers loose. How bad does at actually have to get before Katz fires Lowe? How pissed of do we all need to get?

I wish the people of Edmonton could fire Katz.

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#99 Cynic
October 15 2013, 07:40PM
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"the only way i would take miller is if we get ehrhoff too. I would throw in a pick/prospect to get that done."

Ehrhoff as a top up? It's not winter yet, Oiler fan. Can still go outside and get some fresh air.

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#100 Mikey
October 15 2013, 07:41PM
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BingBong wrote:

Another loss but I thought we played pretty well.

I'd be interested in Miller - we need to fix the goaltending ASAP. I like Ott too.

Considering it was against the penguins on a back to back night. I see improvement, I mean they only let in 2 softies tonight.

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