GDB 21.0: STARTING OVER

Jason Gregor
November 15 2013 12:30PM

The Oilers enter the second quarter of their season tonight vs. the San Jose Sharks. The first quarter had disastrous results, and cost them a playoff spot. The management, coaches and players can't look at it that way, playoffs being a pipe dream, but a 4-14-2 start has them 15 points out of the playoffs.

The remainder of this season will be about understanding the system, learning to compete, not just working hard, every shift and hopefully the bitter taste and stench of losing will motivate the players to never be in this situation again.

The Oilers must use the next 62 games to build the foundation of continuity and winning. If they want to become winners, they must be committed to the system, their teammates and themselves.

The Oilers are showing signs of improvement in some areas of their game.

Despite going 0-for-5 last game the Oilers PP is 25% in their last eight games. Their PK has killed off 25 of the last 26 powerplays, 96.3%, over their past eight games.

Many will say the Oilers haven't improved enough because they aren't winning, and that is valid. However, the Oilers can't  solve all their problems over night. These next 20 games will be a test of their character and inner strength. Do they have willpower and focus to concentrate on the next game and not pout or worry about the previous 20? Have they learned that they need to play smarter, faster, stronger and with move conviction in order to win?

We won't know until December 29th. That is when they will have played half the season. Can this team stick together, play hard and become competitive? The next quarter of the season will show us a glimpse of whether or not they can execute the system, or if they have the guts to go to the net consistently,  or if they have the intestinal fortitude to try and stop opposing teams from going to the net and the internal desire to finally learn how to win.

The 2nd quarter of the season could show us a lot about which players should be here long-term.

DIFFERENT APPROACH...

If I was Andrew Ference, I would sit the team down and show them some of the great inspirational/motivational speeches from movies. Hockey is a game. You can inject some humour into the game. Try and get the players to relax, inhale and recognize that it isn't life or death.

For some reason our society thrives on negativity too often. Yes, the first 20 games were f^@#*&()*) embarrassing. But whining and focusing on it every day isn't going to change that. Learn from it. Challenge them to be better, and maybe have some fun doing it.

Here are some examples. Guys love this stuff. I know watching these clips made me laugh and they got me fired up.

I'd start with something light... 

"That's what were here for guys, to win." I freaking love that line. Makes me laugh every time...

Most sports movies have a dramatic scene that usually leads to the team bonding or that shows an individual realizing they need to work harder. We eat this stuff up. We love it, and that's why we watch those movies over and over again.

Ference could show them this one. (fast forward to 1:40 to the quicksand speech.) 

"You're playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can't move... you can't breathe... because you're in over your head. Like quicksand." Shane Falco

That could resonate with many Oilers right now. They have had numerous things go wrong...but they can't let it paralyze them.

Then I'd show them this one. It is fitting since the Sharks are in town. (actual words start at 2:00)

For some laughs I'd follow it up with this one. This kid is great.

Then, I would play the greatest sports speech of all-time. I don't care what sport you play, whether you are playing beer league, the NHL, NFL or road hockey this scene/speech will get your blood flowing. 

Eakins could play this one.

"I can't make you do it....Either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals...Now what are you going to do?"

Tony FREAKING D'Amato (Pacino) would have made a great coach.

I would leave them with this one.  

I understand the need to talk systems and strategy, but sometimes you simply need to tap into the emotions of the players, and in this case, with the loyal citizens of Oilersnation.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Hemsky-Gagner-Yakupov
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Joensuu-Acton-Jones/Gazdic

Ference-Petry
Belov-Larsen
N.Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

Sitting Arcobello is perplexing. I don't get it. He has been solid offensively, defensively and on the PK. 

The Sharks are playing their third game in four nights. They defeated the Flames Tuesday and the Canucks last night, both times in OT. Fatigue

The Sharks have three players averaging a point-a-game. Thornton and Pavelski have 20 points in 19 games, while Logan Couture has 19 in 19. Patrick Marleau has 18 points and Tomas Hertl has 17. The Oilers will face Alex Stalock. He has won both of his starts, and he has a dazzling 0.946 SV% and 1.57 GAA.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: On paper this is an easy choice, the Sharks should dominate, however, it is Positive Friday and if Ference showed even one of the aforementioned videos prior to the game the Oilers will win. Chalk one up for D'Amato, Oilers win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven't scored at home in 182 minutes. They score in the first period, and combined with the first 8 p.m. Friday game that I can remember, the first intermission beer sales are the highest of the season.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ilya Bryzgalov stops 33 shots in his AHL debut in a 4-1 victory. During the 2nd intermission the Oilers show highlights of the OKC victory and a few of Bryzgalov's saves. After the highlights, they play the clip of Bryzgalov saying he is only afraid of bears in the woods.   

SHARE AND DROWN YOUR SORROWS...

Do you need to share your feelings and frustrations about the Oilers? We have the best possible solution. Next Friday is the 2nd annual DJ Suitcase party. Don't miss out. Tickets are already 80% sold out. You can buy them here. See you then.

Speaking of Struds, media whore, make sure you vote for him in Battle of the Blades. If Struds win, the Inner City Children's Program will receive $50,000. That is huge. Take a moment and vote. If you take a few extra moments, answer the Quick Challenge questions, sign in and you will get 7 bonus votes. Do it. Help the kids. Vote here. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Rama Lama
November 15 2013, 12:40PM
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Exactly what kind of message is the coach sending to the team, and the fans by sitting the most productive offensive, defensive, and physical player we have in Arcebello?

For those who can see what is happening , this coach seem to have 22 deaf players.

Yea coaching is not our problem.

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#2 Bishai in the Benches
November 15 2013, 02:36PM
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NSOGP - Joe Thorton scores 4 goals in the first period. After the fourth flutters in over dubnyk's shoulder, Jumbo Joe pulls a live rooster out of his pants and starts stroking it affectionately. After the game he opens his media scrum with "told ya I'd do it!" and then leaves to party at the Rack, where all the 18 year old girls have finally come to the realization that Hall and Eberle aren't worth their time anymore.

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#3 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 03:24PM
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Oilers send down Marc Arcobello to OKC . Second best face off man, most responsible forward, one of their leading pointgetters. And keep the coaches son, a career minor leaguer going nowhere, on the roster. This team gets harder and harder to care about

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#4 Bruner
November 15 2013, 01:09PM
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I wish I could kick Kevin Lowe in the balls and then pawn off his 6 rings for beer money. That would make me smile

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#5 Lowe Expectations
November 15 2013, 01:22PM
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Pretty sad when you consider scoring an actual goal would be an improvement.

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#6 Hauk15
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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We are number 30 now. Congratulations boys, you've earned it!

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#7 BIGDAWG
November 15 2013, 01:17PM
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Arco better be hurt.... Eakins stock with me is falling very fast with each line up card he fills out....... score points? play physical? win draws? YOU ARE BENCHED.. sorry sir just trying to help the team win.... WIN? YOU THINK THATS WHAT WE ARE TRYIN TO DO HERE??!! I am still praying for a win here but.. this is getting ridiculous.. why is it the fans who only see it... ps yes, I did turn down free tickets...

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#8 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 03:35PM
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tileguy wrote:

Maybe they are saving money like they did with Smid.

Except according to Capgeek, Arcobello makes less than Acton. The resemblance between a professional hockey team and the Edmonton Oilers grows fainter with each passing day.

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#9 DSF
November 15 2013, 05:44PM
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So let me get this straight.

Arcobello has been the most consistent Oiler player during the first 20 game, playing well on both sides of the puck.

The Oilers send him down while keeping Will Acton on the roster.

Then, because Ference is unlikely to play, they call up Klefbom who has been pedestrian in OKC but he won't arrive until tomorrow so the Oilers are going to play THE SHARKS with 5 defensemen.

GOOD GRIEF!

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#10 Wohin gehst du?
November 15 2013, 02:54PM
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Good effing hell, Arcobello. Don't resign here next season, you deserve better. Arcobello's benching is the epitome of everything wrong with the Oilers right now. OGDP: Eakins mentions accountability only 800 times after a loss

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#11 TonyT
November 15 2013, 02:35PM
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Why is Arcobello sitting indeed? I was very onboard with the Eakins hiring, as he preached alot of the right things this team was missing: accountability, puck pursuit, good with young players, etc. However, all this criteria seems to have gone by the wayside...

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#12 Ed in Edmonton
November 15 2013, 01:13PM
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If the Gagner-Hemsky-Yakupov line stays together for 3 periods, they may set some single game record for combine minus.

Agree with others comments that Eakins is sitting his best 2 way forward.

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#13 Fresh Mess
November 15 2013, 02:33PM
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I'll be cheering for Smid and the Flames tomorrow.

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#14 Devolution
November 15 2013, 03:26PM
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Surely they could have sent someone down before Arcobello...

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#15 Johnnydapunk
November 15 2013, 09:29PM
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I wonder how big of a dust loud the goal horn just blew out ?

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#16 Do bolo
November 15 2013, 01:43PM
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What a stupid idea, playing some dorky movies to help people to do the job that they are very highly paid to do. If this is what it takes to get these guys to attempt to try, they would never cut it in the real world. They should try working shift work outside in - 40 in Ft. McMurray or working 24 hours in an ER helping to save lives. Instead they are playing a game and need to learn to keep it fun. I seem to remember that some of the kids didn't need motivating to head out to the bar and have fun after having their butts handed to them. Stop making excuses for these losers.

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#17 sizzler
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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Not sure what oilers see in gagner?

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#18 Gordie Wayne
November 15 2013, 02:00PM
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#PositiveThoughts

Boyd Gordon was an amazing signing and full credit goes to MacT.

Gordon could have stayed in Phoenix, or he could have gone to a number of different teams that were interested, instead he chose Edmonton and he has been great for us this year.

He is 4th in the league in faceoff winning percentage at 58.7%, he blocks shots, kills penalties better than anyone on the team, and generally works his bag off every shift.

I don't think enough people realize what an improvement he is over the outgoing Horcoff!

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#19 Greenlingj
November 15 2013, 03:29PM
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Arcobello sent down... Klefbom called up...

WHY AND WHY!

Klefbom is in a fragile state rookie dman coming into a ship that is burning... fans are a pressure cooker waiting to boil over...

Arcobello is an amazing two way player... small but unreal with what he has done with his time here.

Accountability goes both ways just like HOCKEY MAC T..

Lets remove someone who is producing and bring up another young player with no back end experience.

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#20 Retsinnab5
November 15 2013, 05:13PM
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Arco to OKC!!! MacT must be doing drugs!

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#21 Taylor Gang
November 15 2013, 05:50PM
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DSF wrote:

So let me get this straight.

Arcobello has been the most consistent Oiler player during the first 20 game, playing well on both sides of the puck.

The Oilers send him down while keeping Will Acton on the roster.

Then, because Ference is unlikely to play, they call up Klefbom who has been pedestrian in OKC but he won't arrive until tomorrow so the Oilers are going to play THE SHARKS with 5 defensemen.

GOOD GRIEF!

Yeah it's almost like Acton is related to one of t...

Never mind

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#22 Hoozonphirst
November 15 2013, 01:52PM
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Katz' first mistake was hiring a blowhard sycophant like Stauffer. He seems to have elected himself sheriff of the Oiler 'Thought Police' The self confessed Tom Cruise look-a-like (WTF?) falls all over himself bragging himself up. Now he's telling fans who we are permitted to criticize regarding their effort. What a boob!

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#23 Loyal Oil
November 15 2013, 01:56PM
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I'm stunned at how many Oil fans I talk to that want the Oil to get absolutely waxed this weekend by both the Sharks and the Flames just so they can see how crazy this thing gets. We are into Charlie Sheen territory now with some of these McT pressers. #winning #progress.

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#24 Loweblows
November 15 2013, 05:31PM
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What's the difference between rob ford and the oilers? Rob Ford knows how to score.

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#25 Zarny
November 15 2013, 01:03PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Exactly what kind of message is the coach sending to the team, and the fans by sitting the most productive offensive, defensive, and physical player we have in Arcebello?

For those who can see what is happening , this coach seem to have 22 deaf players.

Yea coaching is not our problem.

No, coaching isn't the problem.

With Krueger last year, they finished 12th and were falling at the end of a 48 game season.

They weren't one win away from the Stanley Cup.

The problem is the players on the ice...or more specifically a lack of good players on the ice.

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#26 JohnDoe
November 15 2013, 03:18PM
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I'm thinking if Edmonton trades Eberle than Hall will want to go to. Those two are butt buddies!

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#27 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 02:40PM
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The Oilers might win 7 games from now to January......Might.

This might be the worst stretch of hockey coming up the Oilers fans may ever see!

The only thing I ask is to beat Calgary! If the only games the Oilers win from here on out, I’ll I ask is just beat Calgary!

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#28 DSF
November 15 2013, 07:36PM
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Buffalo wins.

Oilers 30th.

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#29 GTL
November 15 2013, 12:45PM
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Not watching,I'm saving myself for the Bryzgalov show.

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#30 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 01:37PM
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San Jose is due for a loss. But i suspect that it won't happen tonight.

GDPs:

Several oilers will get injured

Gagner will end up getting snow on his pants.

Eakins will stare off into space for minutes at a time

San jose will score and likely score often

Fans will boo and boo often

5-2 san jose

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#31 steelymac
November 15 2013, 10:52PM
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Anyone who thinks Eakins isnt a vindictive prick look no further than the difference in ice between Smyth and Yak and that was long before the bogus 4 minute penalty.

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#32 lolhockey
November 15 2013, 12:42PM
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OGDP - Taylor Hall breaks his wrist attempting a toe drag.

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#33 kawi460
November 15 2013, 12:57PM
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I know that hockeys not all about dropping the mitts. But I don't see the toughness or compete on the oilers roster. They don't show much emotion, especially when things go bad.

The Avs were playing like crap and they let their emotion boil over. Scrums all over, lots of hitting and trash talk. Duchene even dropped the mitts. I'm just saying it would be nice to see the Oil to compete for every puck battle and when things are going so well maybe start letting that emotion out on someone.

Maybe a bar room brawl is what the oil need?

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#34 Loweblows
November 15 2013, 05:29PM
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A buffalo win and oiler loss tonight and we own last place.

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#35 Scott
November 15 2013, 01:48PM
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Thanks J, your approach is a breath of fresh air compared with the majority of the TMZ'ers (to steal your line) who cover this team.

I hope, and this is a pipe dream, that Yak wins the Rocket Richard trophy one day and jams it right up Ryan Rishaug's fat @ss. Perhaps then he would finally shut up, leave TSN, and go report on who's the real father of Kim Kardashian's baby.

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#36 Alsker
November 15 2013, 04:15PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Oilers send down Marc Arcobello to OKC . Second best face off man, most responsible forward, one of their leading pointgetters. And keep the coaches son, a career minor leaguer going nowhere, on the roster. This team gets harder and harder to care about

He was making Gagner look bad.

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#37 Gerald R. Ford
November 15 2013, 08:55PM
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DSF wrote:

Buffalo wins.

Oilers 30th.

And Ted Nolan has as many home victories as Dallas Eakins.

Heh.

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#38 LoweBlow
November 15 2013, 11:20PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

And all while Rome is burning, the GM pleads for yet more calm and patience. Where do they find these bozos....... 5 yrs later, and it's still the same ship different yr. Letting the players and management in this organization off the hook yet again.

We'll continue to get what we support. Only in Edmonton could a fringe hockey player get a 4.8 mulyi yr deal. The big shake up deal looks to be Klefbom in and Smid out it appears.

Love to see the fallout of a 6-0 Flames victory tomorrow.

I hate the Flames almost as much as the Nucks. But honestly, I'd love to see them light up the Oil tomorrow in a big way.

The entire fan base is beginning to ditch the Kool-Aid.

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#39 Ron Burgundy
November 15 2013, 01:14PM
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The answer has been there all along - sign the Hansens.

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#40 BingBong
November 15 2013, 01:45PM
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So Matheson thinks the Preds would trade Weber for Eberle, J. Schultz & Gagner. I highly doubt it, but assuming this is true, then MacT should definitely be making that call.

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#41 Ed in Edmonton
November 15 2013, 01:49PM
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BingBong wrote:

So Matheson thinks the Preds would trade Weber for Eberle, J. Schultz & Gagner. I highly doubt it, but assuming this is true, then MacT should definitely be making that call.

Hard to believe this is real. But if it is MacT should do it in a nanosecond.

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#42 Johnnydapunk
November 15 2013, 03:26PM
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Wow, Arcobello sent down, Klefbom up !?!?!? Rather baffling move unless there is a trade coming up, can anyone else make sense of this?

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#43 DSF
November 15 2013, 05:55PM
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Todd wrote:

Its a paper shuffle. In the real world there are CBA issues real people have to follow. I'm sure its too much to ask you to do 30 seconds of educating yourself before you flap your face.

Other players could have been "paper shuffled" and not be missed in the lineup.

The Oilers could have sent down Acton or Jones without any fear they would be claimed and, quite frankly, who would care if they were?

Is it too much to ask you to apply some critical thinking before pulling the trigger on your pea shooter?

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#44 Craig MacTambeloweni
November 15 2013, 06:47PM
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I'm an Oilers fan..and I'm pissed off.

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#45 Lowblows
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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Mactavish said he is seeing improvements-well as of tonight we are last- last in goals against- we can't score an even strength goal-what Effie improvements are u talikng about you Effie useless idiot- sending down Arco puts me over the top- I hate this Effie team

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#46 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 10:51PM
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In the past few years, I could console myself by saying"Well, at least we'll get a high draft pick and kickstart the comeback." Now what do you say? It's just pain and suffering. With these guys running the show, we all know a number one pick is just fool's gold. Please, someone, put this management group out of their (and our) misery.

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#47 kale
November 15 2013, 05:27PM
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Logan Couture said last night that the Sharks are going to be playing against an Oiler team that has something to prove, he said it is going to be difficult coming into the Oiler building. I think Logan is being pessimistic, seriously Logan most teams dont find rexall place that intimidating, in fact most find it therapeutic.

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#48 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 12:54PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score their first goal at home in November. Dubnyk lets in a weak goal I know shocking.Gagner is again minus something.The beat goes on.Oilers lose.Tough time to be a fan of this team right now.

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#49 Devolution
November 15 2013, 01:39PM
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I am only afraid of bears, bears in the woods."" That is just so awesome. I am looking forward to this guy.

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#50 LoweBlow
November 15 2013, 10:44PM
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I can't understand how this could possibly be ok. Season ticket holders watched the Oil basically give up in the last 5 minutes.

Coaching hasn't created any cohesiveness.

The players won't fight for space in the last 5 minutes.

Our soft players are playing softer by the game.

This second tier fan watching on a stream from Vancouver isn't the problem. The first tier fans at the game booing the last 2 minutes are a shout loud and clear to management.

If you can't coach the team into giving it their all, change the coach. If your management can't find the right coach for the team, change management. If the president keeps choosing buddies instead of credible, proven individuals, change the president. If the players have a cancerous attitude about how much effort they want to put in, it's honestly the organization's fault. One or two cancers I can understand, but the whole team has a terrible attitude. That's not the players fault.

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