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, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#151 Ambassador humantorch
October 27 2013, 09:33AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm too young to really have a clear picture of Burnett. In straight up wins/losses Quinn's record was worse, though naturally that may not be the whole story.

The W/L record definitely gives Quinn the win (or loss, depending on how you look at it), but ol' Georgie only lasted half a season (going 12-20-3 in the process) and has the distinction of giving the captain's C to the worst Oiler captain in history, Shayne Corson.

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#152 Oasis
October 27 2013, 09:38AM
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I didn't think my expectations this year were too high? I merely wanted to watch meaningful games in November.

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#153 A-Mc
October 27 2013, 09:57AM
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Such a strange season....Please just win tonight oilers. Pllllleeeeaaaaaasssseeeeee

1-0 Oilers Ben eager scores it.

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#154 fatso
October 27 2013, 10:04AM
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Mite be faster to become a crazy billionaire then pay Katz double for the oil($400million), then we will see a oil change.

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#155 Avatarget
October 27 2013, 10:15AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

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.

Ok...so the consensus is that KLowe must go...who should replace him?

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#156 6 ring circus
October 27 2013, 10:21AM
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If Kevin Lowe's contract was up there wouldn't be any other NHL team stupid enough to hire him!!! 7 years of mismanagement going on 8 Lowe deserves his walking papers and it's time Katz brings in someone with NHL success and experience. The Oilers fan base deserves better than this gong show we've been watching for the past 8 years.

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#157 Greg
October 27 2013, 10:40AM
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Hair bag wrote:

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.

Ok I'm going to make things a little clearer. I'm not going to suggest and trades or signings because I don't want Klowe doing anything. Whit I mean by the oilers having to make changes. It's all upstairs. We can change all the players and coaches we want, but the root if the problem still remains. As an oiler fan I would find it easier being patient if it wasn't with Klowe. My patients has run out with that guy. I would feel more comfortable if I knew we were climbing out of this hole without Klowe. there it is, that is the change I want people to get fired up about making, simply put, stop being patient with Klowe

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#158 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
October 27 2013, 10:41AM
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@Greg

I agree with your "vote with your dollar" point, but I think Cameron is right about the expectation level for the team. Why should this team be a playoff team? Because they've missed the playoffs for 7 years and "enough is enough"? The truth is they haven't built a winner yet.

During the off-season they marginally upgraded their D (adding Ference/Belov, subtracting Whitney), marginally upgraded their top 6 forwards (Perron) and broke-even on the bottom 6 and goaltending (Dubnyk and Labarbera have both been awful this year though). Why should this team be way better than the team that finished 24th last year? Especially when you factor in the growing pains associated with a rookie coach and the players learning yet another system.

It is frustrating as a fan, but the holes in this team (functional toughness, lack of elite D-men) are not fixable in one off-season. Unless you know of any Drew Doughty and/or Milan Lucic type players that were available and keen to go to Edmonton that MacT missed out on...

Anyhow, until the team rounds into form, I'll continue watching games from home and wearing my 20 year old Oil jersey, patiently waiting until the team has proved that they deserve my hard-earned cash. If ownership eventually stops making money, then they may actually consider making the management changes that so many people here have been calling for...

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#159 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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#160 Hair bag
October 27 2013, 10:50AM
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Greg wrote:

Ok I'm going to make things a little clearer. I'm not going to suggest and trades or signings because I don't want Klowe doing anything. Whit I mean by the oilers having to make changes. It's all upstairs. We can change all the players and coaches we want, but the root if the problem still remains. As an oiler fan I would find it easier being patient if it wasn't with Klowe. My patients has run out with that guy. I would feel more comfortable if I knew we were climbing out of this hole without Klowe. there it is, that is the change I want people to get fired up about making, simply put, stop being patient with Klowe

I can agree with you on this point but unfortunately you are just beating your head against a brick wall, KLowe and Katz are buddies and because of that nothing upstairs is going to change for a long long time. I think kLowe still has years to play with before he feels any heat from his boss....this is the sad state of things in Oilerland

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#161 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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#162 Greg
October 27 2013, 11:02AM
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Hair bag wrote:

I can agree with you on this point but unfortunately you are just beating your head against a brick wall, KLowe and Katz are buddies and because of that nothing upstairs is going to change for a long long time. I think kLowe still has years to play with before he feels any heat from his boss....this is the sad state of things in Oilerland

I too feel your right. But I won't be giving up my fight. I guess ill keep banging my head against a wall. Maybe I'll bang my head against a Rexall drugs store, that might make me feel better...

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#163 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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#164 Mikey
October 27 2013, 11:02AM
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Greg wrote:

Ok I'm going to make things a little clearer. I'm not going to suggest and trades or signings because I don't want Klowe doing anything. Whit I mean by the oilers having to make changes. It's all upstairs. We can change all the players and coaches we want, but the root if the problem still remains. As an oiler fan I would find it easier being patient if it wasn't with Klowe. My patients has run out with that guy. I would feel more comfortable if I knew we were climbing out of this hole without Klowe. there it is, that is the change I want people to get fired up about making, simply put, stop being patient with Klowe

Haha. I love that you think K.Lowe would come to oilers nation, look for posts by you, to see what trades you would make. That is the reason you wont suggest trades or signings. Haha

At least just say, "I am not sure which players are available, so I cant say which trades I would make."

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#166 Craig1981
October 27 2013, 11:18AM
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Any thought on to why we are recalling a goalie? Lababera injured, playing poorly, or not a team guy with his outburst (and totally sold acabello out for his tip)

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#167 Batfink
October 27 2013, 11:19AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Eakins spent two years as an assistant to Paul Maurice in Toronto, then a year in a front office role for the Leafs.

Only after that did he become an AHL head coach.

And an AHL coach he remains....Results driven industry. Poop or get off the pot. If your systems are confusing to the players, whose job is it to make absolutely sure they understand? Adapt or die.

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#168 Mikey
October 27 2013, 11:21AM
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Butters wrote:

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.

Or, on the Defensive side of things. So the goalie is not left trying to make up for a porous defense.

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#169 What tier am I ?
October 27 2013, 11:27AM
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Sec 118, Row 11... For now... wrote:

I wish. That'd save me $20K a year in garbage collection fees... I mean, tickets.

Ya, right !!! Like tickets in THIS town would get any cheaper !

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#170 2004Z06
October 27 2013, 11:38AM
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D wrote:

The Oilers (as with any business getting free market research) would definitely read this blog.

I am sure Kevin Lowe and Darryl Katz tune in daily....please! I wasn't referring to the receptionist.

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#171 Dan 1919
October 27 2013, 11:44AM
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The Oilers are terrible until they start addressing problems in net and on the blue line.

Meanwhile, can you do a blog on team Canada assessments thus far, who’d be in who’d be out, if Duchene keeps it up will he play his way onto the team etc.

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#172 Greg
October 27 2013, 11:44AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

I am sure Kevin Lowe and Darryl Katz tune in daily....please! I wasn't referring to the receptionist.

Where else can the oilers get a true read on how the fans feel? Listening to CHED? Ha! This is the one place where they get both barrels. Katz maybe, but Lowe would be an idiot not to read these posts.

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#173 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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#174 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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#175 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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#176 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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#177 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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#178 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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#179 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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#180 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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#181 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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#182 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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#183 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 04:16PM
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No worries. Richard Bachman is going to make us forget all about Mike Morrison

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#184 Rod from Viking
October 27 2013, 04:33PM
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@Clarko

The other day on Oilers now Stauffer told the caller to check a date in February which I think was the 21st and his thought was the Oil would be ahead of the Avalanche in the standings, maybe he meant February 2016.

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#185 madjam
October 27 2013, 06:23PM
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Unfinished business by MacT. has cost us dearly so far . Fillins internally once again falls far to short even with some nice additions .Never expected stellar goal keeping , but never expected the sub par performances most nights . Fab 5 shows little to no progression thus far this season .

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#186 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 06:33PM
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bwar wrote:

I think Dudnyk is a legit #1.

He sure is,on a team that has never made the playoffs his whole pro career.Yeah, yeah it is not all his fault.He is just part of the problem a big part.

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#187 6 ring circus
October 27 2013, 06:48PM
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Garth Snow just made a BOLD move trading Moulson,a 1st and a 2nd for a unsigned Vanek UfA July 1!!! Let's hope when Mac T makes his Bold move he doesn't take any lessons from Snow

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#188 Alsker
October 27 2013, 07:47PM
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Oiler63 wrote:

They went after our star player yet nobody on our team responded!!! ANYBODY, PLEASE!! This is effing unbelievable.

PP and PK can be worked on but this team culture is fucking unacceptable!!!

It was delayed, but at least it caused a scrum. Thats more than we've seen in the last 10 games.

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#189 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:13PM
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@Oiler63

I never said it was retribution, but from our gutless lot it was almost jawdropping. Why Gazdic wasn't on the ice immediately following the hit or at least a regular shift. Unless he's hurt someones got to explain WHY we won't respond to all the cheap shots we keep taking. Someone other than Perron/Nuge needs to get in Greens face as well.

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#190 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:16PM
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Lol. Ever see someone you know on the Safeway score to win?

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#191 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:17PM
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Jonesy! Yeah! That's why I still love ya man

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#192 Dennis
October 27 2013, 08:18PM
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We'er 5th in the league in 5 on 5 scoring. Huh who knew? Too bad we're terrible on GA because it completely negates everything. Nice to see someone finally dropping the mitts.

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#193 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:31PM
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Is it because Bachmans making the saves he should or being his first game but we're actually having a decent game in our zone tonite. Ebbs and Belov having great games.

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#194 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:36PM
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@Alsker

Special teams are getting better. That down low to the high slot one timer has burned them so many times. But that play by arco to take the one timer away was great to see. They're learning. Pp and pk look a little better. If they get it up to coach kruegers level with the improved 5 on 5 I think they will be looking pretty good.

Hopefully it's not to little too late

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#195 I tried it at home
October 27 2013, 08:45PM
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I just did a quick channel flick to Battle of the Blades and saw Strudwick clean up on the scoring with a truly cheesy mustache and a hot blonde. Gotta be a good omen of some sort, right? Go Oilers! *PS. Almost forgot how ugly Sutter was

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#196 BingBong
October 27 2013, 08:46PM
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Wow, it's been a while since I've seen an Oilers goalie with rebound control.

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#197 Thumby
October 27 2013, 08:48PM
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Funny how much lower my stress is when the goalie makes a save and doesn't give up many rebounds.

What a revelation - our goalie can actually glove the puck!

I swear our shots against per game would be at least 5 less if Dub was able to move his arms fast enough to grab pucks...

uhhhh...Dub who?

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#198 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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#199 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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#200 Thumby
October 27 2013, 10:03PM
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Bachman look like Kiprusof from 2004 out there...now let's see how he does in the shootout.

If he stones them, I think we have our solution for goal (at least till next game)!

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