A WEEKEND TO FORGET

Brian Sutherby
November 11 2013 03:30PM

After a weekend of sharing the same bed with Wanye in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, I have a lot of catching up to do. Please forgive me for being a couple days behind, I’m still haunted by the awkward leg touches as I’m sure many of you are haunted from the Oilers weekend.  I figure I’ll weigh in with my two cents even if I’m behind.

BROKEN RECORD

Not much on the ice has changed in "Oilerland" I see, just more of the same inconsistencies, and no results. I’m not going to dive back into each game and dissect them because it’s the same things that are costing them. To many turnovers, poor defensive zone play, and a lack of any physical element to their game. It’s tough to win in this league with those deficiencies.

TRADE

I struggled a bit with seeing Ladi Smid moved. In past years I’ve never gotten to watch many Oiler games but I remember playing Smid and he was always a nuisance if you were in and around the Oiler net. He was annoying during and after the play.

Nothing was different this year from that standpoint.  I saw him as the only guy that made it tough to be in front of the net or got in someone's face when a teammate needed. He wasn’t the toughest or scariest guy in the world but he was the only guy that I saw that was willing to do it every night on this blue line.  A willingness to compete and be uncomfortable for your teammates is a great thing in any dressing room.

This team needs a shakeup no doubt and I know with the Bryzgalov addition something had to give but when the main concern people have with this team is the makeup and the Oilers having too much soft small skill, why ship out the only guy on the back end that didn’t play a soft game?

WHY NOT

I have seen some who are concerned with the Ilya Byzgalov addition to this locker room and I can understand the concern. I just don’t see at this point how can it get any worse?

The team is a mile below .500 and whatever is happening in that dressing room at the moment would appear to be rock bottom.  It's not all Dubnyk's fault, he's played great at times and struggled during other stretches but if there is a cheap opportunity out there to potentially get better, I think at this point you take it.

UPSIDE

The hope is this guy has learned from his antics in Philly and can provide some depth at the position and maybe the Oil get a bargain moving forward. Thinking somehow this guy is going to come in and hurt a locker room that was 4-11-2 and has since chalked up 2 more losses, I don’t quite understand.

Many goalies are a little different to begin with, if he’s a problem in the room or hurting the focus of young players on the importance of winning then it’s a one year deal and you move on. He can still be sent to the minors or sent home if things get stupid this year as well.

They aren’t winning as is, so I don’t mind the gamble at all. I just wish they didn’t move Smid to do it.

GAGNER

He’s slowly starting to catch some heat here for the start to the season he’s had. Coming off his injury, it obviously hasn’t been the start to his already shortened season that he envisioned but what did you really expect? Struds did a piece on him at the start of the year and how behind the eight ball he would be coming back from this injury and the awful timing of it to boot.

TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY

This is such a tough decision for players. The majority of athletes will do whatever it takes to be with their team even if they are not 100% healthy. This leaves players very vulnerable to scrutiny if they are not performing. Lost in it all is the fact he's hungry to play and willing to sacrifice his body for his teammates.

The players know what he is enduring and I’m sure they love him for it. I've played with several guys that had to be 100% healthy for 2 weeks before suiting up. This didn’t always sit well inside the walls of a dressing room because rarely is anyone that healthy during the season.

It’s easy to pile on guys right now when things are going bad and things haven’t been good for Ganger so far, but let’s give the guy some credit.  How easy would it have been for him to sit back and say “boy things are going rough around here, I'm just going to let the boys handle this rough patch and I'll sit up here in this cozy press box for a couple more weeks, till things settle down.” Some guys would do that.

This is a guy that's still clearly hurting, you can see it on the bench when he takes any kind of hit and instead of taking the easy route he chose to dive head first into this fire with his teammates.

He’s another small skilled guy and who knows what the future may hold for him and others on this squad the way things are going but I applaud him for his gutsiness even if things haven’t started that great. I wouldn’t have expected much else from a guy with a shattered jaw, injuries take time.

BATTLE OF THE BLADES

If you missed it, please don’t forget to vote for our friend Struds who was in the final last night on CBC. If he wins, a nice chunk of change will be donated to a local charity here in Edmonton, The Inner City Children’s Program.

With as much losing that is going on around here, let’s all step up to get a big win for Struds and a great local charity.  It's not too late, please vote here.

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A Moose Jaw Warriors alumnus and veteran of 460 NHL games with the Capitals, Ducks and Stars—Sutherby is here to regale us with tales of the WJHC, life as an NHL player and much more from a Pro’s perspective. Co-Host's the Jason Gregor show on TSN1260 on Tuesday's from 3-5 and Coaches at www.proconnectionhockey.com Twitter:@briansutherby
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#51 Eddie Shore
November 11 2013, 06:27PM
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DSF wrote:

Okay....now this is getting serious....

Craig Custance ‏@CraigCustance 1m

If EDM unhappy with him, Larionov said Yak open to trade: “We’re willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”

I'm not sure what Igor thinks he will gain by going public with this? I'm also not sure what Nail thinks he deserves from the team but his play has not warranted increased opportunity. The circus continues...

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#52 mlcselli
November 11 2013, 06:29PM
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DSF wrote:

Okay....now this is getting serious....

Craig Custance ‏@CraigCustance 1m

If EDM unhappy with him, Larionov said Yak open to trade: “We’re willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”

DSF, I'm being serious when I ask you this--what do you predict as far as the team he's traded to and the return? I think that MacT is going to play hardball and we will get one helluva defence man.

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#53 Rod from Viking
November 11 2013, 06:30PM
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DSF wrote:

More Trouble in River City ®

Craig Custance ‏@CraigCustance

Igor Larionov says he’s got a trip planned to Edmonton to discuss how Nail Yakupov is being used. Pretty unhappy.

Maybe Katz should have listened to McGregor and stayed out of the way when the management wanted to draft Murray, it was his decision to draft Yakapov and that is a fact. The Oiler's have a new title to Stauffers daily radio show after the teams start and recent moves, It is now called "Oiler's WTF Now".

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#54 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:36PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I'm not sure what Igor thinks he will gain by going public with this? I'm also not sure what Nail thinks he deserves from the team but his play has not warranted increased opportunity. The circus continues...

Larionov going public is about as close to a trade demand as you can get.

Did you notice, after Yakupov scored last night, only newcomer Phillip Larson, was genuinely congratulating Yakupov while Hall and others barely acknowledged him?

Big trouble brewing kids.

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#55 RexHolez
November 11 2013, 06:38PM
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Trade yakcity?? This team sunk to lows I never even thought possible! I'm disgusted everytime I even think about this team. Hopefully sportsnet will start showing more flames games, I can't watch this team anymore

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#56 D
November 11 2013, 06:40PM
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DSF wrote:

Larionov going public is about as close to a trade demand as you can get.

Did you notice, after Yakupov scored last night, only newcomer Phillip Larson, was genuinely congratulating Yakupov while Hall and others barely acknowledged him?

Big trouble brewing kids.

I noticed that on an Eberle goal a while back as well - he was kind of avoiding Yak. I questioned then if there was a dressing room problem.

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#57 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:40PM
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mlcselli wrote:

DSF, I'm being serious when I ask you this--what do you predict as far as the team he's traded to and the return? I think that MacT is going to play hardball and we will get one helluva defence man.

MacT is the one who will be dealing from a position of weakness. His cards are already on the table.

There will be very few teams interested in acquiring a player who's agent is involved like this.

Reminds me of the Cody Hodgson situation in Vancouver.

I wouldn't be one bit surprised if all the talk with Philly over the last week involved Yakupov but MacT (Lowe in reality) couldn't get what he wanted out of Holmgren.

Montreal might bite but no way they'll move a top pairing D for Yakupov.

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#58 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:41PM
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D wrote:

I noticed that on an Eberle goal a while back as well - he was kind of avoiding Yak. I questioned then if there was a dressing room problem.

It's so "high school" but I think Yakupov may be being shunned by the other young guns.

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#59 Kirk brackenberry
November 11 2013, 06:42PM
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DSF wrote:

Larionov going public is about as close to a trade demand as you can get.

Did you notice, after Yakupov scored last night, only newcomer Phillip Larson, was genuinely congratulating Yakupov while Hall and others barely acknowledged him?

Big trouble brewing kids.

Why is this trouble? Given this teams ineptitude in making necessary trades I think a forced one is something to celebrate. We can't keep all the kids and well I personally would rather see Ganja or Eberle go, Yak is fine....just don't F this up and get an actual NHL top DMan for this kid.

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#60 D
November 11 2013, 06:43PM
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DSF wrote:

It's so "high school" but I think Yakupov may be being shunned by the other young guns.

Agreed. For the record, if there is a dressing room problem/cancer with the guns, I don't believe it's Yakupov.

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#61 nick
November 11 2013, 06:44PM
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Brian Sutherby wrote:

I hope it was only 3 you listed. I'm sure many played a part actually but I hope it wasn't 1,2, 4 or 5 because I wouldn't have chosen that player for rash moves.

Eakins wasn't playing him as much as Smid had in the past. Perhaps there was something there Eakins didn't like? I don't understand that either however.

I don't believe from the things I've heard or seen about Smid it had anything to do with his character in the dressing room. Quite the opposite actually. He appeared to be a great teammate and dressing room guy.

I think that the trading of Smid was a useless and classless act by the MacT. This guy was character through and through, A guy like Ference can't match up to Smid and don't say Ference won the cup because on that Boston team I could win a cup. Brutal treatment of a guy who gave up free agency to stay with the Oilers. They just lost one of the few guys in that dressing room with Heart and desire. Too many passengers on the Oiler train and Smid was one of the few workers.

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#62 Jay
November 11 2013, 06:47PM
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Hopefully they do trade yak though, poor guy doesn't deserve to be on this pathetic team. He belongs in the NHL.... Not his fault he was drafted by this echl team

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#63 Serious Gord
November 11 2013, 06:50PM
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Todd wrote:

He scored 0.8ppg in the lockout. 100% of the games played. Thats works out to 65pts. Or does Chicago only get 60% of the Stanley Cup for last year?

Nice try. You are funny, I do admit that.

We get it. Oilers suck. You hate them. You like to rub it in. You have no life and spend your days on an Oilers fan site to bash them. (seriously who does that?? - I couldn't imagine spending even 1 minute on another teams blog.. sad really). You hate Lowe and everything about the Oilers organization. We hate you. I rest my case.

So has he ever scored fifty in one season?

Extrapolation is for the birds in this regard: injuries are often a symptom of how a player plays the game or how injury prone he is.

By your metric Bobby Orr would be the record holder for most assists over a career.

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#64 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:50PM
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Kirk brackenberry wrote:

Why is this trouble? Given this teams ineptitude in making necessary trades I think a forced one is something to celebrate. We can't keep all the kids and well I personally would rather see Ganja or Eberle go, Yak is fine....just don't F this up and get an actual NHL top DMan for this kid.

Maybe they can trade him to Calgary for Ladislav Smid. 😳

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#65 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:51PM
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Kirk brackenberry wrote:

Why is this trouble? Given this teams ineptitude in making necessary trades I think a forced one is something to celebrate. We can't keep all the kids and well I personally would rather see Ganja or Eberle go, Yak is fine....just don't F this up and get an actual NHL top DMan for this kid.

Maybe they can trade him to Calgary for Ladislav Smid. 😳

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#66 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:52PM
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D wrote:

Agreed. For the record, if there is a dressing room problem/cancer with the guns, I don't believe it's Yakupov.

I expect you're right.

My guess is the Hall-Eberle cabal.

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#67 Serious Gord
November 11 2013, 06:53PM
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DSF wrote:

Okay....now this is getting serious....

Craig Custance ‏@CraigCustance 1m

If EDM unhappy with him, Larionov said Yak open to trade: “We’re willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”

Say sayonara to Nail. And the oil will not get full value - that's pretty much guaranteed.

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#68 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:54PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Maybe Katz should have listened to McGregor and stayed out of the way when the management wanted to draft Murray, it was his decision to draft Yakapov and that is a fact. The Oiler's have a new title to Stauffers daily radio show after the teams start and recent moves, It is now called "Oiler's WTF Now".

That's hilarious.

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#69 Serious Gord
November 11 2013, 06:57PM
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mlcselli wrote:

DSF, I'm being serious when I ask you this--what do you predict as far as the team he's traded to and the return? I think that MacT is going to play hardball and we will get one helluva defence man.

Dream on. MacT is now dealing from a position of great weakness.

And there are very few players MacT can deal with due to the oils cap limitations.

Very likely he gets a second line over the hill D who has a low cap hit plus a low first round early second pick.

Disaster in other words...

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#70 Kirk brackenberry
November 11 2013, 06:57PM
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This does truly make you sat WTF. This rutterless ship is going to truly crash for good. Is there anyone within this organization that can save this mess...don't think so....it's up to the owner to flush these bums but we know that ain't going to happen. What a sad state it has become.

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#71 Fresh Mess
November 11 2013, 07:17PM
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No surprise on the Weird Al Yakupov front. Some of us knew that Fail was a ticking dressing room time bomb. This organization is toxic.

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#72 James
November 11 2013, 07:19PM
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@DSF

I actually think you may be right here. Before I read your comment, reading the ones above it, this was my immediate thought.

I will probably get trashed for this, but I think Hall really drive this kind of garbage. I don't know why, but something about that kid just rubs me the wrong way. Is he skilled? Yes. Does he drive the play? Absolutely. However, there is something wrong with his off-ice attitude, I just get that feeling. Not that he's rude in interviews or whatever, but something is off there and his buddy Eberle is not the same kind of leader...that kid is more of a follower for sure. If Hall says it, Ebs is probably buying into it.

I feel for Yak. It's clear he's struggling and it's also clear that he is being shut out somehow. Cliques are bad news. Morale isn't going to improve with high school BS. IMO, Yak shouldn't be the one shipped out if this is the case...break up the Heathers.

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#73 DSF
November 11 2013, 07:21PM
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Here's my Crackpot Theory® of the day.

I'd wager Smid (a fellow East European) said something about how Eakins was abusing Yakupov.

Makes more sense than MacT's explanation.

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#74 Alsker
November 11 2013, 07:21PM
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Whoops, thought it was ON sorry. Damn phone how did I get DSFNation? Excuse the intrusion.

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#75 DSF
November 11 2013, 07:22PM
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James wrote:

I actually think you may be right here. Before I read your comment, reading the ones above it, this was my immediate thought.

I will probably get trashed for this, but I think Hall really drive this kind of garbage. I don't know why, but something about that kid just rubs me the wrong way. Is he skilled? Yes. Does he drive the play? Absolutely. However, there is something wrong with his off-ice attitude, I just get that feeling. Not that he's rude in interviews or whatever, but something is off there and his buddy Eberle is not the same kind of leader...that kid is more of a follower for sure. If Hall says it, Ebs is probably buying into it.

I feel for Yak. It's clear he's struggling and it's also clear that he is being shut out somehow. Cliques are bad news. Morale isn't going to improve with high school BS. IMO, Yak shouldn't be the one shipped out if this is the case...break up the Heathers.

This.

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#76 James
November 11 2013, 07:27PM
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Also, thanks for the player perspective Brian. I appreciate the insider views you and Struds provide. I feel for Sam too, tough break...literally. Eakins is misuing him though, he should be brought back more slowly than he is, or perhaps on the wing. Eakins isn't doing him any favours by inserting him in the top two lines and making him play large minutes just because the team is tanking. We're not winning the season anyway, no harm in bringing Gagner along slowly.

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#77 Kirk Brackenberry
November 11 2013, 07:27PM
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@James

I think Hall is untouchable, and Eberle is also do to the all to common oilers overpay aka the Horcoff

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#78 James
November 11 2013, 07:29PM
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@DSF

Like I said, it's probably not the popular opinion but it's the feeling I get. I'm actually pretty thankful he wasn't gifted the captaincy if there is something going on in the locker room. If what we think is true, and I'm not saying it is for sure, then that would have been a terrible choice. Gifted players don't necessarily make the best choice, you need to consider all aspects of the person.

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#79 DCC
November 11 2013, 07:40PM
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DSF wrote:

It's so "high school" but I think Yakupov may be being shunned by the other young guns.

You are spot on DSF....this has been witnessed at recent player events.

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#80 book¡e
November 11 2013, 07:42PM
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D wrote:

Agreed. For the record, if there is a dressing room problem/cancer with the guns, I don't believe it's Yakupov.

Remember Yakupov doesn't go to bars or party. The boys have often been seen partying after loses.

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#81 Shooter
November 11 2013, 07:43PM
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I'd trade Yak in a heartbeat but only for the right deal. Nobody in this league and especially this team is untouchable... for the right deal. Please get some big tough player or players in return.

The Smid deal was not the right deal. We traded a warrior for another soft forward and a goalie prospect. If the goalie turns out to be a starter in the future then maybe it was worth it in the long run, but this team needs help now.

Any word on the Kevin Lowe firing? I hear there's a senior hockey team in Bentley, AB looking for a new prez. Funny thing is they probably wouldn't take Lowe. LOL.

Mr. Lowe, is your fat paycheck really worth all the ill will from the fans? You were a great player but you are tarnishing your image as the days go by. Be a man. Admit your mistakes and step down. This is a complete train wreck and you've been driving the train for 13 years sir. Don't make your buddy Katz fire you. That's an awefull thing to make a buddy do. Do the right thing and go away.

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#82 James
November 11 2013, 07:44PM
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@DCC

Care to elaborate?

Wasn't Yak pretty close with Gagner last season? Is that still the case? I know they tweeted each other a bit last season, but I didn't notice it with other players.

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#83 Soccer Steve
November 11 2013, 07:45PM
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Interesting comments tonight.

First off, "Hall is untouchable." See: Gretzky, Wayne. NO ONE is untouchable.

Smid was traded because he's not really that good and his contract was about to change into an anchor. I firmly believe history will see us the winner there.

Yak leaving WOULD be a shame IF it happened. "WOULD". "IF". Some act like it's done and dusted. Who saw Smid being dealt?...Exactly.

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#84 book¡e
November 11 2013, 07:46PM
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With that said, none of us know anything.

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#85 DAVE
November 11 2013, 07:55PM
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MAC T SIGNED FERENCE, just so he could trade Smid. what a geniuos.

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#86 madjam
November 11 2013, 07:57PM
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Yak going back - home that is , to develop his game there ? Trade seems out of the question .

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#87 Dockstaff
November 11 2013, 08:05PM
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Yak or Hemsky to Ottawa for Clarke MacArthur and a pick. He's got 12 points, is +13, can play top 6 minutes, tough in the corners and can drop the mitts. He's a tough SK boy. Grapes heralded him when he was in TO as being one of three players to turn that team around.

Ottawa hasn't found the answer to Alfreddson's departure, one of these two could easily fill that void.

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#88 Dockstaff
November 11 2013, 08:11PM
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@ubermiguel

I was literally writing the same thing in Lowetide's posting.

Twice against Chicago he stood between the slot and the dot, no where near a Blackhawk jersey. One one the pass came from the boards to the slot and in the net. Yes the Dman was no where to be seen, but that is the job of the centre, to support your D and take their position when they are out.

Gagner just doesn't get this! Move to the wing.

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#89 nrXic
November 11 2013, 08:17PM
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Anyone remember when Hall was berating Yak on the ice after a play (play ended with a Yak SOG and goalie held it for a whistle)?

This was prior to Hall's injury, not too long ago.

I couldn't understand it, myself. Seemed...rude.

I gave Hall the benefit of the doubt because at the whistle he was wrestled to the ground, maybe he wasn't happy with Yak not stepping in. But it just seemed so weird that I took note of it. Hall looked like a kid throwing a tantrum...against a fellow player.

I'm in Calgary so I don't get to listen to Sport Radio as much as I'd like, but has this stuff been covered in the Edmonton media?

If there is a high school clique going on, the only way to fix that is either bringing it out in the media so they step it down a notch, or trade them.

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#90 Kevin
November 11 2013, 08:25PM
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Kirk Brackenberry wrote:

I think Hall is untouchable, and Eberle is also do to the all to common oilers overpay aka the Horcoff

Hall is a player for sure. That said the oil have deep deep issues and numerous holes to fill. When watching Hall play there is little to no structure to his game. Build from D-core out, plus strength down the middle. Hall and Petry to Boston for Dougie Hamilton, Johnny Boychuck and Patrice Bergeron. Eberle and Arcobello and a 2nd to Phili for Braydon Colburn and Sean Couturier. If Yak is truely not a fit in the dressing room, my next move is Yakupov to Colorado for Jamie McGinn and Jan Hejda ( should have never let him go in the 1st place)

The current Oil as still way to soft- they are way to easy on opposing D on the dump and chase. Opposing D basically have a free night off when playing this team. Time to get some grit. The reality, in order to get something one needs to give something up.

Time for some BOLD moves Folks !!

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#91 jr_christ
November 11 2013, 08:58PM
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It's interesting that people have brought it up... I certainly didn't want to be the first. However, I am glad it was brought up. I can't stand watching Hall throw his tantrums on the ice... It's pathetic. I did notice when Hall snapped on Yak after a weak shot on goal which was held. I didn't think much of it... But I have been wondering for about a month if maybe Hall is a bit of a negative nancy in the dressing room.

If Yak wants out, I can't really blame him. I am sure there is only enough room for Hall's ego in the dressing room.

This is like that book - lord of the flies. You put boys in charge and this is what happens. We need veterans leading this team ... Not a whiny little bitch whom everyone seems to look up to.

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#92 Stack Pad Save
November 11 2013, 09:49PM
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@jr_christ

I don't know if you have any evidence to back up the whiney, the only whiney I see is your post crying about someone else crying. Now you made me cry about your cries....wtf end the cycle. Please, find me a hockey player who isn't whining on the ice. They all do, emotions are high.

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#93 Spydyr
November 12 2013, 04:20AM
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Dockstaff wrote:

I was literally writing the same thing in Lowetide's posting.

Twice against Chicago he stood between the slot and the dot, no where near a Blackhawk jersey. One one the pass came from the boards to the slot and in the net. Yes the Dman was no where to be seen, but that is the job of the centre, to support your D and take their position when they are out.

Gagner just doesn't get this! Move to the wing.

I'm all for moving him to the wing.On another team.

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