GDB 13.0: Nothing could possiblie go wrong

Jonathan Willis
October 27 2013 09:08AM

Tonight’s game features a tired Oilers team that lost a one-goal game to Phoenix last night against a rested Los Angeles squad that when last seen trounced those same Coyotes by a 7-4 score on Thursday.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Lineup

There has been no official word on lineup changes yet, but up front there are two items of note. First, Tyler Pitlick left on crutches after getting caught awkwardly by a hip check; hopefully any injury is less serious than the knee injury that sidelined him back in January. Second, Anton Lander was scratched by Oklahoma City last night, so it seems probable that he will be in the lineup for tonight’s game (to which I would imagine Linus Omark’s reaction is a mixture of happiness for his good friend and ‘I just scored FOUR GOALS in ONE GAME’).

Update: The Lander news is official.

With at least one probable lineup shift, I’m just going to guess here and update later once we get official word. I don’t imagine we’ll see major changes to the forward unit, and I’d guess that Nick Schultz draws in as fresh legs on the blue line.

  • F1. Nail Yakupov – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
  • F2. David Perron – Mark Arcobello – Ales Hemsky
  • F3. Ben Eager – Boyd Gordon – Ryan Jones
  • F4. Luke Gazdic – Will Acton – Anton Lander
  • D1. Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • D2. Anton Belov – Justin Schultz
  • D3. Andrew Ference – Nich Schultz

Devan Dubnyk will almost certainly start.

Update: I still think Dubnyk starts, but this is interesting.

Coaching & Signs of the Apocalypse

I knew, what with all the talk of firing coaches and whatnot, that things were getting awfully grim. But I didn’t realize how low spirits were until I started noticing the reaction to DSF’s comments:

  • -8/+25 on a comment saying the Oilers had mostly played Eastern Conference “cream puffs”
  • -6/+18 on a comment saying Vancouver had all of Edmonton’s adversity but was playing great
  • -4/+12 on a comment agreeing that Dallas Eakins was in over his head
  • -4/+11 on a comment extolling the Canucks’ virtues

I won’t argue against the Canucks – they have handled some tough circumstances extremely well, and while like the Oilers they have mostly played ‘Eastern Conference cream puffs’ (8 of 13 games) they have also had a road-heavy schedule early. They just went 5-1-1 on a seven-game road-trip, which is insanely good.

What I will say is that it’s way too make Eakins the scapegoat, something that was being done in the comments here yesterday. Certainly, he’s done things I haven’t liked – he was awfully quick to haul last year’s leading goal-scorer out of the lineup, rotating a bunch of skilled first-time penalty killers into the PK all at the same time hasn’t worked well, and the Gazdic-Acton-Brown fourth line never appealed to me – but isn’t it abundantly clear at this point that firing the coach isn’t the solution?

Besides, we’ve seen this play out in reverse before. When Pat Quinn came in, the Oilers jumped out to a 6-2-1 start – one built on getting outshot badly but posting insane percentages. Quinn turned out to be probably the worst head coach in team history. This is the reverse situation: the Oilers have built a losing streak based on decent shot totals and terrible goaltending. I doubt it lasts either.

I can’t definitively say that Eakins is the solution to the problem, but the problem definitely predates his arrival.

Predictions

Game day prediction: 3-0 Los Angeles.

Obvious game day prediction: Mark Arcobello will take three shots that, while all scoring chances, somehow catch the edge of a pad or bounce off the outside of the post or something like that.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: In the third period, with the score still 2-0, Nail Yakupov will get a glorious opportunity from the right faceoff circle. Jonathan Quick will flash the leather, then immediately skate to centre ice with his arms stretched out in the air before sliding to his knees at the middle of the ice. Don Cherry will chuckle as he’s playing the tape of it on Coach’s Corner next Saturday.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#101 Zed
October 27 2013, 11:49AM
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It is definately a sad day for Oilersnation when DSF's Koolaid starts to look more enticing than Daryl Katz's.

Oh look, the sky is grey and a light dusting of snow is on the ground. Go figure.

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#102 Time for a change... A Channel Change !
October 27 2013, 11:55AM
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Yakupov looks like a solid 8th round draft pick ! Oh yah, there is no 8th round !!! What did we have to give up for this guy ?!? Pride? Dignity? Another piece of our souls ?

At least other teams fans feel so bad for us that they have quit poking fun !

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#103 I have seen the light !
October 27 2013, 12:01PM
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Zed wrote:

It is definately a sad day for Oilersnation when DSF's Koolaid starts to look more enticing than Daryl Katz's.

Oh look, the sky is grey and a light dusting of snow is on the ground. Go figure.

There's an Oiler game tonight ?!? I think I'll watch The Good Wife instead !!

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#104 Dan 1919
October 27 2013, 12:02PM
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Old School G wrote:

Great points. About Doobie: He is what he is, I like him but he's a tandem type goalie. All we need is a more competent second goalie and like you say I think we could salvage this season. The fact that we have not made a move for a goalie yet is concerning I hope that happens soon.

Which goalie would you want? What would we have to give up to get him?

To be honest I don’t know, goalies are obviously tricky because if a team is going to let one go, that means they have good faith in their current backup, and I don’t watch enough other teams to know who has good backups (or they’ll trade a good backup, but same story).

I wouldn’t trade Hopkins, and I wouldn’t trade Nurse(unless he was part of a package bringing an Elite D back), and it would take a lights out deal to trade Hall, so basically wouldn’t trade Hall either. Other than that, you can’t really build a team by trading 4th liners.

I think once Gagner comes back it is not unreasonable to expect either him or Arco to be moved.

So... Eberle, Yak, Gagner/Arco, Hemsky(value is slowly being restored, not huge but there), and Perron(but I like him), any Dman, this year’s first round pick. I would move any of those for something substantial in return that helped on the Blue line or Net.

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#105 DSF
October 27 2013, 12:06PM
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@Dan 1919

Hemsky has 1 point in his last 5 games and is -3.

He's on pace for a 41 point -20 season.

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#106 Rod from Viking
October 27 2013, 12:07PM
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Henry wrote:

Jeff Petry may be turning into a real 1D. I can't think of 30 guys that I'd play over him.

I really like Petry as well but did you see his horrible effort on the 3rd period powerplay goal by Phoenix yesterday by doing a curtsy instead of an actual shot block? a Labarbera's little temper tantrum should have send him to ECHL and then brought up Bachman not allowed him to go back in.

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#107 DSF
October 27 2013, 12:08PM
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The Oil r in need of P.H.D's wrote:

(1) So, with 4 officials on the ice, how is it that Hanzal is unpenalized and scoring on us later in the game ? (2) Is that guy available. We haven't had that (type of player)on the Oilers... In my lifetime anyways !!!

Hanzal got a 2 minute charging penalty on the play.

Should have been 5 IMO.

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#108 Rod from Viking
October 27 2013, 12:08PM
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DSF wrote:

Hemsky has 1 point in his last 5 games and is -3.

He's on pace for a 41 point -20 season.

Hey that's a net of 20 not too bad, what is Yakapov on pace for?

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#109 Alsker
October 27 2013, 12:10PM
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DSF wrote:

"Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety Monday for a hit on Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.

At 13:42 of the first period, Hanzal checked Petry against the boards in the Edmonton end after Petry had moved the puck. Hanzal received a two-minute minor for charging on the play.

Petry was shaken up on the play but remained in the game."

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/hanzal-faces-hearing-for-hit-on-oilers-petry/

Well at least the league is doing something, still does NOT excuse our lack of response.

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#110 Loweblows
October 27 2013, 12:11PM
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Overheard this conversation this morning: Katz: morning kevin its daryl hows it goin. KL: busy, got to go to the jewelry store to get my rings cleaned, and you what you up to. Katz: gotta go to my kids peewee game, they are not playing well right now. KL: want some help? Katz: no thats ok. KL: well i offered, im not busy ya know Katz: dont we play LA tonight? KL: oh ya, i forgot, i was busy last night- had mact, smith and bucky over last nite-we watched some of our old games, man we were good. Katz: you guys sure were-so whats the gameplan tonight. KL: no plan other than i have to get to the bank before it closes and deposit my cheque. K gotta go now. Love you man. Katz: I love you too man.

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#111 Dan 1919
October 27 2013, 12:15PM
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DSF wrote:

Hemsky has 1 point in his last 5 games and is -3.

He's on pace for a 41 point -20 season.

Yeah, least value of the bunch.

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#112 Greg
October 27 2013, 12:15PM
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what's with all the Petry talk? a #1 D man? are you crazy? mark my words, this is just the Tom Gilbert experiment 2.0

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#113 DSF
October 27 2013, 12:22PM
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Dan 1919 wrote:

Yeah, least value of the bunch.

In other news...Mason Raymond, who was picked up for nothing on a PTO and has a cap hit of only $1M, is on pace for a 27G 61P season.

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#114 master of my domain
October 27 2013, 12:25PM
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being an Oilers fan is a lot like being in an abusive relationship. I just keep coming back hoping maybe, just maybe, this time will be different.

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#115 Johe
October 27 2013, 12:28PM
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GDP: Oilers put forth another solid effort and this time get rewarded with a couple bounces going their way. 5-2 victory.

OGDP: Arcobello scores a goal...

NSOGDP: On the opposition net.

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#116 David S
October 27 2013, 12:42PM
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Zed wrote:

It is definately a sad day for Oilersnation when DSF's Koolaid starts to look more enticing than Daryl Katz's.

Oh look, the sky is grey and a light dusting of snow is on the ground. Go figure.

The thing is, despite the "occasional" baiting DSF has a point more often than not. And they're damn good points.

I've come to believe he's either perfected the art of trolling or the only Oilers fan that isn't drunk most of the time.

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#117 Mac962
October 27 2013, 12:47PM
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Something is brewing with the goaltending. Labarbra is not hurt and neither is Dubnyk. Carolina deal pending perhaps...Just guessing as i have no insight but it is awful funny Bachman gets called up.

Bet we know before the puck drops.

Its time for a deal, the downside is every other team in the league is aware of the state we are in and will be looking to fleece the OIL. Of course there are other teams in out situation as well- DESPERATE !

Tyler Myers needs a new home i think.... is he worth a shot ?

Just thinking out loud....

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#118 Oiler Al
October 27 2013, 12:48PM
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Ya goaltending sucks.. and yes the 20 22 yr old guys are expected to carry the team [no their fault for the contracts they got], but the veteran presence on this team is very limited in terms of helping build confidence in the young guys....

Worst of all are the POWDER PUFFS, on the back end posing as NHL defense men!!! They couldnt clear the front of the net if you gave them a Zamboni. I have seen midget players make bigger hits than these guys.Belov and Smid with their size are the biggest powder puffs.Someone feed these guys some raw meat before the game.

Powder puffs,+ Dubnyk and Labarbra = DISASTER

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#119 Rama Lama
October 27 2013, 12:50PM
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DSF wrote:

In other news...Mason Raymond, who was picked up for nothing on a PTO and has a cap hit of only $1M, is on pace for a 27G 61P season.

Yea we could NOT have used him...........he was not in particularly good shape and DE wanted some quality AHL players on his team.

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#120 Dennis
October 27 2013, 12:57PM
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@Mac962

According to the Oilers twitter feed Dubnyk has an ankle injury. Not sure when that would have happened, but maybe that's why he didn't stay out once Labarbera was pulled yesterday.

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#121 OilFanInBC
October 27 2013, 01:03PM
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@TeddyTurnbuckle

K Lowe, is that you?

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#122 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 01:04PM
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@Mac962

Labarbra and Dubnyk may not be physically hurt but they both hurt the team.Time and time again.

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#123 Johe
October 27 2013, 01:08PM
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Bachman is starting. Young man, this may be the best opportunity of your life. Please seize it. Seize it!!

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#124 David S
October 27 2013, 01:08PM
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Apparently Dubnyk has a "sore ankle", thus the callup per Oilers.

Uhhh yeah, OK.

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#125 vetinari
October 27 2013, 01:26PM
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New Oiler promotion... buy three or more tickets to the game and have your name entered into a draw to be our starting goalie... can't be much worse than the other alternatives, can it?

GDP: Oilers 1 Kings 5 (because, hey, we usually give up about 5 goals a game so why change that?)

OGDP: At least 2 Kings goals will come on the PP, and at least 1 other will be a "what the h3ll was the defenceman thinking on that play by dangerously throwing the puck cross ice at the blue line when no one was behind him to stop the resulting breakaway" goal

NSOGDP: Bachman, revved up to make his first NHL start of the year, comes out every period singing "Taking Care of Business" until he ends the game with "Running Back to Saskatoon"

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#126 Loweblows
October 27 2013, 01:27PM
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Despite my negative postings I am excited to hunker down in the man cave and watch the game tonight. I think I have Bi-Poiler Syndrome. Go Oilers!

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#127 Rod from Viking
October 27 2013, 01:32PM
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I would probably be top ten in Streakcred if I would quit picking the Oilers to win and the Flames, Canucks and Leafs to lose, typical Oiler fan picking with the heart not the head.

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#128 madjam
October 27 2013, 01:32PM
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Are we loaded with skill but short on talent ?

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#129 Butters
October 27 2013, 01:48PM
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DSF wrote:

In other news...Mason Raymond, who was picked up for nothing on a PTO and has a cap hit of only $1M, is on pace for a 27G 61P season.

I thought about MR too. Usually the Oilers are big on reclamation projects. I am not sure why they took a pass.

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#130 madjam
October 27 2013, 01:48PM
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It's become painfully obvious that are fab 5 have not progressed enough to make us a competitive team as yet . Nor is core around them good enough to carry them during this time . Fab 5 doing stutter steps in progression .

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#131 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 01:59PM
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Bachman is 5'10", 176 lbs, with a career save percentage of barely.900. The prototype NHL goalie is a tad bigger in the net.I guess this is where the smartest boys in the room continue to show the rest of the NHL how cool it is to think outside the box - playing with undersized players, using small inexperienced forwards on what once was a useful PK, trying out career minor leaguers (including the coaches son) instead of looking to experienced veterans, like other successful franchises do. I can just hear KLowe and MacT cackling to each other "We'll show these guys how smart we are.We're BOLD"

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#132 Gaz
October 27 2013, 02:06PM
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It's going to be a bloodbath tonight.

This latest fiasco (calling up a prospect player - goaltender in this case) is typical of how the Oilers have mismanaged younger players since 2007.

Watch this poor guy get shelled and then returned to the AHL to nosedive like Roy and Bunz.

This organization is exhausting. I'm beginning to agree with the tinfoil hats here that say its all Lowe's fault (I'm shaping my hat to be the shape of a viking helmet, FYI.)

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#133 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 02:07PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Bachman is 5'10", 176 lbs, with a career save percentage of barely.900. The prototype NHL goalie is a tad bigger in the net.I guess this is where the smartest boys in the room continue to show the rest of the NHL how cool it is to think outside the box - playing with undersized players, using small inexperienced forwards on what once was a useful PK, trying out career minor leaguers (including the coaches son) instead of looking to experienced veterans, like other successful franchises do. I can just hear KLowe and MacT cackling to each other "We'll show these guys how smart we are.We're BOLD"

Bold

B-Blind

O-Old

L-Lazy

D-Do nothings

Now you know what Mac-T was talking about being bold.

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#134 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 02:11PM
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DSF wrote:

In other news...Mason Raymond, who was picked up for nothing on a PTO and has a cap hit of only $1M, is on pace for a 27G 61P season.

Great play by Toronto. Who could have called that?

The Vancouver stench has just worn off of him.

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#135 sizedoesmatter
October 27 2013, 02:24PM
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Sorry for being positive but one good winning streak puts the team back in the hunt with a long home stand coming.

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#136 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 02:28PM
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sizedoesmatter wrote:

Sorry for being positive but one good winning streak puts the team back in the hunt with a long home stand coming.

Sorry to be a realist but what is this winning streak you talk about?

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#137 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 02:29PM
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On a positive note anyone else watch the Dallas - Detroit NFL game.What a game, wow.

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#138 madjam
October 27 2013, 02:32PM
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Never to early to start throwing games I guess . Kind of like that Ekblad so far . Back to watching junior hockey again , I guess, to get a handle on next years draft .

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#139 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 02:32PM
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sizedoesmatter wrote:

Sorry for being positive but one good winning streak puts the team back in the hunt with a long home stand coming.

I have this bridge forsale. Hardy used. A little old lady had it for getting to church on Sundays.

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#140 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 02:35PM
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MBAs often confuse the words bold and bored.

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#141 David S
October 27 2013, 02:35PM
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madjam wrote:

It's become painfully obvious that are fab 5 have not progressed enough to make us a competitive team as yet . Nor is core around them good enough to carry them during this time . Fab 5 doing stutter steps in progression .

Problem is, the "Fab five" has been more like "Fab three" since the beginning of the season.

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#142 Gaz
October 27 2013, 02:40PM
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@sizedoesmatter

Positivity is good. That's the mark of winners.

Positivity to the point of ignorance is where you have to draw the line.

That is exactly what is happening with this team. They'll lose four and nearly have management forced to face up to reality, and then win two, and everything is hunky-dory again. Thats how you end up winning 30 games a year and try to convince yourself and the public that everything is headed the right way.

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#143 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 02:42PM
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Fading Five. Fictous five.

Macrobello and Perron have impressed. Gordon meets expectations. Everyone else has checked out. Who knew Horcoff and donuts would be missed this much.

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#144 Mac962
October 27 2013, 02:43PM
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Butters wrote:

I thought about MR too. Usually the Oilers are big on reclamation projects. I am not sure why they took a pass.

Trust me - Mayson Raymond is a piece a Bigger Leafs team needed. Not the Mighty Mouse Edmonton Oilers, He would not make a difference here. If he was that good , the Nucks would not have let him go.

Decent Player - not what we need.

Go after Tootoo - say what you want- he is the energizer bunny like Brownie only more skill and no fear and fairly close to being as tough, for his size.

Can you imagine [ not that he is a second liner] plying against him and Perron from time to time, It would tick you off to no end.

Think about it. We pay N.Schultz huge bucks for what ?

If i could quite smoking for a week i am sure i can compete with Nick.

LOL -K MAYBE NOT.

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#145 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 02:53PM
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Gaz wrote:

Positivity is good. That's the mark of winners.

Positivity to the point of ignorance is where you have to draw the line.

That is exactly what is happening with this team. They'll lose four and nearly have management forced to face up to reality, and then win two, and everything is hunky-dory again. Thats how you end up winning 30 games a year and try to convince yourself and the public that everything is headed the right way.

30 wins??!? I'd be happy with 30 wins. This team has only reached that lofty goal once in the past 4 seasons and sure ain't happening this year.

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#146 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 03:18PM
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Oasis wrote:

I didn't think my expectations this year were too high? I merely wanted to watch meaningful games in November.

^^^^you sir. I see what you did there^^^^^

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#147 Greg the Hammer Valentine
October 27 2013, 03:19PM
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It's not too early to make Eakins the skapegoat. We're 12 games into the season and his system still isn't working. That swarm defense is total chaos, who else can we blame but the coaching staff? Meanwhile in Colorado, Patrick Roy is having his players being responsible and playing with a high compete level in every game. What about our special teams? That has to be on the coaching also. Do you remember that 2-minutes 5 on 3 in Montreal? I know we won that game, but come on!

It feels like Patrick Roy leads is troops like Horatio Nelson, but we are stuck with Captain Blight.

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#148 vetinari
October 27 2013, 03:23PM
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Almost 150 posts of anger and we haven't even got to the game!

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#149 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 03:29PM
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vetinari wrote:

Almost 150 posts of anger and we haven't even got to the game!

Pre-game show.

The almost 150 posts of anger shows we still care.

When the caring stops and there are empty seats things might change.We are all hooked on a drug called Oilers.It is a tough monkey to shake.

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#150 Clarko
October 27 2013, 03:29PM
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Greg the Hammer Valentine wrote:

It's not too early to make Eakins the skapegoat. We're 12 games into the season and his system still isn't working. That swarm defense is total chaos, who else can we blame but the coaching staff? Meanwhile in Colorado, Patrick Roy is having his players being responsible and playing with a high compete level in every game. What about our special teams? That has to be on the coaching also. Do you remember that 2-minutes 5 on 3 in Montreal? I know we won that game, but come on!

It feels like Patrick Roy leads is troops like Horatio Nelson, but we are stuck with Captain Blight.

Patrick Roy is also getting a .958 save percentage out of his goalies. The offenses have been very comparable so far, so hard to say that Colorado is playing that much better other than the goaltending so far.

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