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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#101 They're $hittie
October 15 2013, 12:26PM
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Is this the first time that three first overall picks have played on a line together.

Marleau 2, Heatley 2, and Thornton 1, was the lowest I can think of before than.

Heck, even Gagner 6, Hall 1, and Yak 1, is still low.

Colorado?

Duchene 3, Mackinnon 1, Landeskog 2

EDIT: To start the game together.

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#102 Smokey
October 15 2013, 01:53PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

I think it was asked previously,not sure there was a response...any other NHL team using the SWARM system effectively .

Winnipeg supposed off and on. 90 percent of the time it seems to work well. Shot totals are down, but when the puck gets through the goalie has to be all world to stop a 5 alarm scoring chance. We shoulda signed Tim Thomas to bail us out.

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#103 NsxZero
October 15 2013, 02:04PM
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Ea Sports Statistics Guy wrote:

This is a real anomaly. According to nhl 14 Devan Dubnyk is rated 83 overall. He should be playing better. For a compassion Varlamov is only an 81!

I'm sure someone from EA got fired..

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#104 MessyEH!
October 15 2013, 02:10PM
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NsxZero wrote:

At this point I wonder if a fight is what duby needs to wake up from his slump. Can't hurt to try right? ...unless he actually gets hurt..

I see no negatives. One it shakes Doobies game up. 2 he's not allowing 5 goals a game.

I say let the giant fight.

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#105 DSF
October 15 2013, 03:21PM
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"Malkin Night in Pennsylvania"

7-3 Penguins

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#106 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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#107 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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#108 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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#109 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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#110 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
October 15 2013, 05:38PM
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Put Belov in net! Great save!

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#111 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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#112 Smokey
October 15 2013, 06:22PM
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Goaltending again the difference. Barbie shaky on the Cindy goal.

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#113 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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#114 vetinari
October 15 2013, 06:34PM
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SQQQQQUUEEEEEEEEE!

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#115 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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#116 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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#117 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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#118 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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#119 John Kirsch
October 15 2013, 08:07PM
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@2004Z06

Solid (and fun) game by the Oil and Pitt. Let's leave the moral victories to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, Oil need wins asap.

Nuge was a no show, Ebs, Hall,Belov and Arch had strong games.

Pitt et al. are on another level. Funny to see their press box with Neal, Letang and Bennett; lots of talent and $$$ hurt.

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#120 bwar
October 15 2013, 08:53PM
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It just seems like the players just don't give a fist on a lot of the plays.

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#121 Serious Gord
October 15 2013, 08:58PM
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Buff beat nyi tonight (buff now has four points). Perhaps next game will be a breakthrough for EDM. Perhaps not.

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#122 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 15 2013, 10:57PM
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Considering both teams are basically powder kegs right now. What would the Oilers have to give up to bring in Miller and Myers, Hemsky, Dubnyk and Klefbom?

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#123 Joy S. Lee
October 16 2013, 02:43AM
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Miller? The guy that throws his teammates under the bus?

Yeah, that's right, I think I heard it on Oil Change that character was among the most important characteristics of the players this team was looking for.

But Miller has been so....good? Um, hasn't he been playing like Dubnyk's early season effort, except for about a year and a half?

Probably since his teammates stopped caring about protecting him?

And we only have to give up what? A 1st overall pick, and stuff, to get him? Wow, this really is a no-brainer.

Ok, so I understand the draw. He has been all-world at one time in his career. But if we're giving up a 1st overall pick, you'd better damn-well make sure you're getting something of real value back. One way or another. REAL value, like a sure thing, because I can just about guarantee that first overall pick is going to be a helluva player, at the right time, in the right situation. As close to a sure thing as you're going to get, and that's why he was a #1 pick. You have to get a sure thing back, plus more. That's the only way you make any deal for a player of that magnitude.

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#124 Oiler Al
October 15 2013, 01:48PM
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I think it was asked previously,not sure there was a response...any other NHL team using the SWARM system effectively .

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#125 MessyEH!
October 15 2013, 02:08PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

We will lose, Hall will fall face first into the boards and limp off and not return, Dubnyk will have a sub .750 SV% and LaBarbera, who replaces Dubnyk after his 6th goal allowed, will have a sub .675 SV% and let in 4 more.

Crosby will get 6 points, Marc-Andre Fleury will score on a Dubnyk miscue, and Malkin will make RNH look like a marionette and score.

We will not have 1 player better than -2, and when Gazdic challenges whoever he will lose at that too.

Dallas will then proceed to make his players power skate after the game for 30 minutes until Eberle passes out of exhaustion to which Eakins will say "He needs to work out more"

You sir, are a witch.

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#126 Reinman
October 15 2013, 02:53PM
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I think the Oilers will pull off the win tonight. 5-4 in overtime. One thing about hockey, you never really know what is going to happen. Oilers will jump out to a 4-0 lead by the middle of the second and then let them come back to 4-4 in the third, they win in the shoot-out.

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#127 pkam
October 15 2013, 03:05PM
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Could it be the night that Dubnyk rebound and steals us a game?

If I may dream, he stops 39 shots tonight and we win 3-1 with an EN.

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#128 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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#129 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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#130 Cynuc
October 15 2013, 05:14PM
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This is gonna be fun.

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#131 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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#132 Alsker
October 15 2013, 05:22PM
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Hey 4 straight saves....something to cheer about...

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#133 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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#134 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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#135 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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#136 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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#137 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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#138 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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#139 Slats
October 15 2013, 11:12PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Considering both teams are basically powder kegs right now. What would the Oilers have to give up to bring in Miller and Myers, Hemsky, Dubnyk and Klefbom?

Im thinking younger and that is too much cap $.

More like Klefbom, Marincin/or 2nd Rounder and Dubi

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#140 @TACOcurt
October 15 2013, 11:22PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Considering both teams are basically powder kegs right now. What would the Oilers have to give up to bring in Miller and Myers, Hemsky, Dubnyk and Klefbom?

really? if you had miller and myers would you want those guys in return? dub-overpaid back up.hemsky-talented but overpaid and defensive liability. klef-unproven project/prospect.

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#141 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 15 2013, 11:39PM
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@TACOcurt wrote:

really? if you had miller and myers would you want those guys in return? dub-overpaid back up.hemsky-talented but overpaid and defensive liability. klef-unproven project/prospect.

Yeah, maybe you're right. They should thrown in Steve Ott as well. That would shore things up.

Buffalo would be looking to start from scratch again anyways. Who knows what their owner has in mind. I would do Yakupov and Dubnyk, for Miller, Myers and Ott.

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#142 N4R
October 15 2013, 11:46PM
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Edmonton Oilers vs Pittsburgh Penguins (15.10.2013) http://prognoz-na-sport.info/news/skachat_match_edmonton_oilers_vs_pittsburgh_penguins_nhl_2013_2014_regular_season_15_10_2013/2013-10-16-6778

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#143 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 15 2013, 11:55PM
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@Walter Sobchak

MacKenzie mentioned this evening, the Oilers are in on Ryan Miller.

What do you think of Yak and Dubnyk for Miller, Myers and Ott. Throw in Hemsky too if you have to. 12;ish going to Buffalo, and 14'ish coming back this way.

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#144 mayorblaine
October 15 2013, 02:05PM
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but MAF....

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#145 Cynic
October 15 2013, 03:01PM
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What's the O/U on Oiler fan suicides tonight? I like to get my money down early and enjoy the game.

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#146 pkam
October 15 2013, 03:06PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

GAME DAY PREDICTION:

Oilers out play the Penguins, score the first goal, Dubby actually makes a save, Oil score a record 8 goals posting a 8 to 3 win..........then I wake up and find out it's exactly the opposite.

Hey dreams do come true now and then.

Don't wake up.

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#147 The Last Big Bear
October 15 2013, 03:17PM
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Oilers get murdered.

Crosby scores 4 goals. Celebrates in a memorable fashion.

MacT forced into a panic trade for goaltending.

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#148 shonn
October 15 2013, 03:17PM
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that is the lineup i want to see all year, but Joensuu on the 3rd line instead of smyth (pressbox)

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#149 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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#150 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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