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.

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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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#51 cubsfan
October 27 2013, 09:53PM
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too early.....but maybe today marks the day we find ourselves a goalie....love the fight.....and effort to keep it out.....we got nothing to lose ....hes earned a start on Tuesday

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#52 Oilersfan4
October 27 2013, 10:03PM
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WooHoo finally a goalie with a GAA under 3.00 and a good save %. Give this kid the ball and let's see what he has

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#53 Naky
October 27 2013, 10:05PM
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If we keep relying on our goaltenders to win us our games all year 'round, we're destined to pick first overall again. 48 saves, 18 SOG. That's pathetic. If this team doesn't improve its play all around, it doesn't matter who we have in net. Name your goaltender, we're still going to lose most of our games. The players gotta figure this thing out, now.

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#54 Greg
October 27 2013, 09:53AM
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Cameron wrote:

We have a rookie coach getting his first look at the NHL. Isn't it appropriate that we give him the same respect and time that we give any rookie player entering the NHL?

New coach, new systems, lots of new players...what did you expect.......

^ it's because of this kind of thinking we still suck a**. (Sorry Cameron I'm going to rip on you here).

It's because of fans like this that our team sucks. I'm sorry to say. It's obvious Katz is fine with things as long as we sell continue to sell out. Fans who honesty believe it's just a matter of time we get better. It's not a matter of time! It's a matter of bringing in the right mix of players. The easy part is finishing last and getting high draft picks. I'm tired of fans being like " it's fine, let's just wait and see". My god grow some balls! Enough is enough! I love this team too much to just turn around and jump ship. But as a fan who wants to see this team get better, I am going to sit here and b*tch till changes are made. Real fans don't sit there and blindly cheer for a loosing team. Real fans make their voices heard and don't give up till the team starts winning!

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#56 Butters
October 27 2013, 11:03AM
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The Oilers have scored more, or just as many goals as 26 other NHL teams. Problem is, they are dead last in GA. There are other problems, but they need to be able to count on their goalies to not let in that 5th or 6th goal.

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#57 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 27 2013, 08:00PM
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Yeah, Gazdic should've grabbed Clifford and beaten the living piss out of him. Screw the instigator, that's the third knee on knee in what, three games? Will someone show a little fire for once? That's your team mate out there, you morons.

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#58 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 27 2013, 08:24PM
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Two fights and a goal by Yak? Is this real life?

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#59 Johe
October 28 2013, 01:16AM
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Yes the Oilers did not play very well tonight. But you can't really measure them on this night alone. Their best player is out. Their 2C is out. Their 3 and 4LW's are out. They played back to back. LA had two days off. The Kings were licking their chops for this one. I understand I'm making excuses, but it's fact, and it lets me keep my sanity.

On a positive note Bachman was outstanding and we got a point. The schedule is about to get better and our health has to improve. Well, hopefully...

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#61 onlyoil
October 27 2013, 10:04AM
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GTL wrote:

Looking outside sums up my oiler optimism . It's a long time to draft day and free agency ... Then training camp and new season..rinse and repeat... In any other relationship I be long gone... A fan since '76 I'm 'bout done....

Ya me too, it's pathetic actually, I don't chirp Flames fans or Nuck fans anymore, I live in the present and this organization is a huge joke, Thank you very much Kevin Lowe, Kelly Buchberger, Steve Smith. I like MacT and I like Eakins, I think with time these two could do some good things. Tambi used up all the patience, I think.

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#62 DSF
October 27 2013, 10:20AM
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onlyoil wrote:

They are playing pretty descent hockey 5v5, goaltending, pp/pk have been way below average. Can't win with these 3 brutal aspects of their game right now. With time they probably will come around..who knows.

The Oilers are 0.83 5V5F/A...22nd in the league.

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#63 Robert Ore
October 27 2013, 11:02AM
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I have gone to Oiler games since the WHA and been season ticket holder since Oilers entered NHL

Currently: Scouting - have not drafted a player outside 1st round to make impact on team for a long time even with high 2nd round picks Coaching - last year had top 10 in PK and PP - close to .500 team Was suppose to be last year of rebuild-solution fire coach MacT was in media all summer spouting impatience etc - have not heard from him lately

TIme for REAL CHANGE!

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#64 Slyers
October 27 2013, 08:13PM
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Louie Debrusk..... Such a Moron first... Last night saying our goalie never had a chance on any of the goals. Then tonight saying the Clifford hit was clean. Half the time I don't know what game he's watching. He just talks to talk.... It's goofy his comments are nonsense.... Makes watching the oil even more difficult, if that is possible. PLEASE for the love of god Louie follow the PLAY!!!!!!

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#65 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:23PM
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Yyyyyyyaaaaakkkkkkkuuuupppppoooovvvv!!!!! I've been waiting a while for that. Hopefully he wakes up now

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#66 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 09:40PM
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Regardless of what happens the rest of this game I wanna see Bachman in net next game. He's been very solid and dubnyk seems to play better when he has to fight for his spot.

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#67 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 10:00PM
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Stephen King use to write under the name Richard Bachman. Maybe we should call this guy The King.

Doobie should be afraid.

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#68 Serious Gord
October 27 2013, 10:12PM
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Loser point.

Lucky to get even that. Men vs boys even though some of the boys played well. Wish they would hit like that on a regular basis instead of only when the other team initiates.

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#69 Cold Hard Truth
October 27 2013, 10:48PM
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It is time the fans start boycotting games and demand Kevin Lowe be fired. I want to see Kevin Lowe airlifted out of Edmonton by helicopter because they abused fans have had enough.

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#70 Loweblows
October 27 2013, 09:55AM
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I wholeheartedly disagree with you willis. Eakins has destroyed the PK. He has destroyed the PP. He has decided that now, the year we were supposed to make gains, was the year we needed to overhaul basically everything these kids have been taught years previous. What a disaster. Fire Eakins now.You mention you dont like some of the things he has done but fail to mention what he has done right. Please tell me one thing he has done right?

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#71 HOFFFF
October 27 2013, 10:11AM
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-14 degrees for Monday in Edmonton and it's still October. Good time to be an NHL Player in Edmonton....going on 8 years of suck. Could have almost completed 2 rebuilds in that time. Drastic changes in a bad culture that started with Pronger pullin the chute need to start at the top, not in the AHL. Drafting high year after year and pulling from the farm seems to be changing nothing. This once proud franchise is now turning into one of the most embarassing in NHL history. How did they manage that?? Through management!! In any other business the entire management group would be given pink slips. Even Joey! Hell, the Oilers were weak even before the flukey 2006 run.

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#73 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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#74 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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#75 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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#76 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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#77 Quicksilver ballet
October 27 2013, 06:13PM
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How a team can get "tired" working only 20 minutes or less on game days is beyond me. 20 minutes spread over 2 1/2 hrs, with 2 15 minute coffee breaks thrown in that span.

Slavery is alive and well in this 21st century.

Suck it up you bunch of sucks.

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#78 Oiler63
October 27 2013, 07:55PM
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@Alsker

A scrum is hardly a retribution. I want to see blood on Clifford's face; I want to see Drew Doughty laying on the ground. I don't care if we win this game. Messing with us, you pay the price. This is disgusting!

Kevin effing LOW, is this the team you build to win? If you have any sense of shame, you should take the full responsibility and get the F out.

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#79 BingBong
October 27 2013, 09:40PM
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Nice watching a reflex goalie again; it's been a while.

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#80 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 09:50PM
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Holy moly ........ Nananananana...........BACHMAN!!!!

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#81 fig pucker
October 27 2013, 10:24PM
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why is it that this team can't ever seem to get it's ducks in a row? we fix our face offs and improve our 5 on 5 play, then our special teams play and goaltending blow up on us. tonight bachman steals us one point, but we manage 18 shots all game. these guys can't be that bright they can only grasp one simple concept at a time. they make millions of dollars and still can't count to 4 or 5 (to many men penalty). i would say but at least bachman looks like he solved our goaltending problem, but hey he's an oiler i'm sure he'll prove to be a disapointment like the rest of the team.

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#82 Cold Hard Truth
October 27 2013, 11:19PM
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This is what we deserve as fans. The majority of fans will blindly congratulate anything our management(Big Daddy)does, and strike down dissenters who float the idea that things could be different. This is what we deserve. What is more alarming is that management appears to have drunk its own kool-aid that its been ladling out to fans for years. Things need to get worse before they can get better.

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#84 Ryan
October 27 2013, 09:48AM
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We need a #1 defensemen and have since pronger left.

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#85 Rheal1
October 27 2013, 09:56AM
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L.A. to win 3-0

At that rate will the Oilers ever friggin' win? Copy/paste the present roster say, into Columbus, Montreal or even Calgary and you would get a great .700 team. What gives in Deadmonton? Kevin Lowe's head must roll ASAP. Then Katz better stick to Rexall's business plan, not sports.

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#86 Henry
October 27 2013, 10:07AM
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Ryan wrote:

We need a #1 defensemen and have since pronger left.

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

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#87 TeddyTurnbuckle
October 27 2013, 10:25AM
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I've watched all of the games this year and have to say this is the best Oiler team since 06 despite their record. We would have won last night if Dubnyk was in net. I find it really pathetic how people are constantly taking shots at K Lowe on this site. How about offering constructive criticism instead of recycling the same old K Lowe bashing. Go to some other forum and take your uneducated hockey opinions with you. The Oilers are competing hard every night which is a vast improvement over past seasons. The team is obviously still too young so a little more patience is needed. Yakupov has to stop giving up 5 star to the other team with his poor defensive play. He is directly responsible for at least one goal against us every game. That being said he is getting better at using his teammates.

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#88 Oil Can
October 27 2013, 10:51AM
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It is easy to blame the coach or Yak, or some other player who someone might not like. But it is the same every season. This team leans on the young stars and they just WILL NOT commit to playing defence. Nuge, Ebbs, Hall, Yak, none of them play defence any better than the others. It is not just Yak. If the top line was able to score more than they give up, then this team would win. Trading just Yak will not fix this team. Ebbs, Hall, and Nuge are terribly soft and never hit anybody. Skill is great, but none of them are willing to do what it takes to win games. But they would be fun to watch play some pond hockey.

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#89 SRELIOFAN
October 27 2013, 10:56AM
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I think we should stop going to the Oilers games and start selling out Oil Kings games...and I mean all 16 thousand seats. It would be a win-win really. We watch good, competitive hockey, save money on tickets, and get the message to management pretty damn quick.

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#90 Mikey
October 27 2013, 11:13AM
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@DSF

I see about 5 but your point still stands.

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#91 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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#92 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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#93 I'm not a troll, I live here.
October 27 2013, 05:21PM
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Next Message ... Blah ! Blah ! Blah Play, rewind, repeat. We've seen this collapse before. To try and tell us otherwise is an insult. It's just that we'd hope to be in the hunt in the 4th week of the season. Ya, we've started seasons well and had a slide. I see a slide alright, only 71 more games. An epic failure playing out in front of our eyes. If I try real hard, maybe I'll wake up from this nightmare and it will still be August. I still care but if this were a marriage, I'd be on the phone with a divorce lawyer.

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#94 madjam
October 27 2013, 08:04PM
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Should have been two match penalties against Kings - but they got nothing . Clifford for knee , and Green on Perron with forearm shiver to head . Maybe Shanahan will suspend them both after game . What we need is for Hemsky to run that lead footed Regher .

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#95 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:53PM
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@Spydyr

There were 2 fights after. Jones on Clifford was retribution. They stood up for nuge just fine

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#96 onlyoil
October 27 2013, 09:55AM
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What is sad to me is, we aren't even in Nov yet and the playoffs are not realistically achievable. Do you believe in miracles?

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#97 Hair bag
October 27 2013, 10:19AM
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Greg wrote:

^ it's because of this kind of thinking we still suck a**. (Sorry Cameron I'm going to rip on you here).

It's because of fans like this that our team sucks. I'm sorry to say. It's obvious Katz is fine with things as long as we sell continue to sell out. Fans who honesty believe it's just a matter of time we get better. It's not a matter of time! It's a matter of bringing in the right mix of players. The easy part is finishing last and getting high draft picks. I'm tired of fans being like " it's fine, let's just wait and see". My god grow some balls! Enough is enough! I love this team too much to just turn around and jump ship. But as a fan who wants to see this team get better, I am going to sit here and b*tch till changes are made. Real fans don't sit there and blindly cheer for a loosing team. Real fans make their voices heard and don't give up till the team starts winning!

Time for you to get ripped. It's easy for you to bitch but how exactly do you suggest they fix it - names of trades or free agent signings that are realistic, that other teams would legitimately agree to or guys that would actually sign here........yea that's what I thought smart guy. I feel your frustration but the Oilers have had no depth for a really long time which means they have no chips to offer any other team except their young draft picks which they are trying to build around - the only thing that can be done is to be patient. The team had been run so far into the ground after the 06 run that the sad fact is it is going to take a really long time to crawl out of the hole. They have come a long way but there is still a long way to go - since 06 the Oilers have been the equivalent of an expansion franchise with the talent they have had on the roster. Lowe is responsible for thinking he could turn sh*t into gold after 06 and delayed a true rebuild by 5yrs, and then Tambo didnt help things at all. But I think MacT is on the right track, unfortunately only more time will tell....you bitching will do nothing to implement change but feel free if it makes you feel better.

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#98 a lg dubl dubl
October 27 2013, 10:46AM
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I think it was Thursdays game where I heard that the Oilers have lost 850 man games to injury since the human rake left, most in the league. Im not chalking the downfalls of the team to that but it sure would be nice to see a healthy team for 90% of the season.

Im really curious to know why Bachman was called up?

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