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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#201 LoweBlow
November 15 2013, 10:39PM
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That was the most mundane last 5 minutes ever.

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#202 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 10:49PM
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@YFC Prez

Not a prob - don't know that it's caught on judging from the 'trashes' normally associated with my saying it.

For me - Tinman = Hemsky

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#203 camdog
November 15 2013, 10:50PM
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Lowblows wrote:

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

The problem when focusing on advanced stats is that if you don't understand them, you can easily misinterpret the results.

Earlier in the season the advanced stats were better than last seasons. However the variable that changed is that we were playing weaker competition in respect to the eastern teams.

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#204 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 10:52PM
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@LoweBlow

By soft players you mean.....

....the entire Edmonton Oilers, I assume?

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#205 DamnDuby
November 15 2013, 11:11PM
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Although all of the Debbie downers will crap all over the oil tonight, they played harder and the game was more exciting than almost any last year. But keep craping on "your" team guys cause that is going to help em out.

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#206 DSF
November 15 2013, 11:58PM
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Citizen David wrote:

Horak had 2 assists tonight.

And Ben Street had 3 goals.

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#207 DSF
November 16 2013, 12:01AM
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@6 ring circus

Sounds like Hall has had about enough.

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#208 TDSM31
November 16 2013, 03:44AM
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DSF wrote:

Joanne Ireland ‏@jirelandEJ

In case you were wondering, Nail Yakupov's dad was in the stands. That's where the #Oilers winger was pointing after he had scored.

Yep, he and Larionov were sitting together two rows in front of us in section 114.

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#209 tileguy
November 15 2013, 01:07PM
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Jumbo Joe hard on the for-check seperates (insert name here) shoulder.

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#210 JJmorrocco
November 15 2013, 01:38PM
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Hey Gregor,

Is this Oil's worst 20 game stretch of the past 7 season? Maybe this team is not setting us up like teams of the past that showed decent starts but then always failed in the new year. Hope is they can improve in each 20.

Looks like Steve smith took back the PK (or was given to him by higher powers?) players are dropping again to block shots/passes not the stand up screen and deflecting we had the fisrt 15 games. baby steps.

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#211 Rama Lama
November 15 2013, 01:51PM
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Zarny wrote:

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.

Dallas, should you not be working on the game plan for tonight? Stop writing in as a pretty girl, you my friend are Mr. Barbie Doll and we all know it.

Now go back to combing your wavy hair.

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#213 Hemmercules
November 15 2013, 02:21PM
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j.0 wrote:

you guys suck,

hilarious we might win tonight..ahahaha

a new start....ahahha

same old BS "watch how good we will be next year"

in summary you guys suck its in the water.

To be fair, no one is saying "watch how good we will be next year". Anyone who believes that is beyond koolaid.

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#214 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 02:49PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Yeah then go to Buffalo and get Foligno and Ehrhoff for the 2014 1st (sarcasm)

They have a new GM and coaching staff, i dont think anything significant is getting moved out of buffalo until the new coaching staff sorts out what the truly have.

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#215 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 02:53PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Yeah then go to Buffalo and get Foligno and Ehrhoff for the 2014 1st (sarcasm)

Re: Sarcasm, are you implying that Eberle, jSchultz and gagner isn't enough for weber?

I'm in a haze until the work week is over so i'm having a hard time picking up what you're putting down.

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#216 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 03:10PM
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JJ wrote:

PS.. Glad to see they sent the bastard Arco back down to OKC. He might be doing well, but good, tough teams, especially in the west, would have this guy helping out the farm.

AH HA! Mystery solved!

Arco had to be sent down because they recalled Klefbom (only so many roster spots boys). Arco was solid - for sure. But i really want to see Klefbom get a shot!

Actually, i totally forgot that other players could get sent down instead. i would have kept arco over guys like acton... so.. bah.

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#217 JJ
November 15 2013, 03:25PM
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JohnDoe wrote:

I'm thinking if Edmonton trades Eberle than Hall will want to go to. Those two are butt buddies!

Hall and Eberle I'm on the fence if trading them is a good idea.. Snowpants, Schultz, need to be gone. Arco to OKC or try to get something from a trade.

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#218 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 03:56PM
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Interesting stat: Bryzgalov has had as many or more shutouts in 1 season than Dubnyk has had in his entire career, 3 times.

Bryz SO's:
2009 - 8 SO
2010 - 7 SO
2011 - 6 SO

Devan Dubnyk - 6 SO in his entire career.

Bryz Career SO: 30
Duby Career SO: 6

Also, Bryzgalov has only had a losing record during 1 season (2008) where he went 26-31-6. He has had a winning record in every other season of his career.

"So you're saying there's a #Chance !? "

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#219 Naky
November 15 2013, 04:37PM
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@A-mc

Wow, I didn't know Bryzgalov got all those shutouts playing for the Oilers, the perennial worst team in the league with the league's worst d-corps for several years straight. That's amazing! I, too, like to assume that every statistic is equal and every situation is the same.

So if you couldn't tell, I'm saying your numbers are borderline worthless. Sorry to burst your bubble though.

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#220 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 04:49PM
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Naky wrote:

@A-mc

Wow, I didn't know Bryzgalov got all those shutouts playing for the Oilers, the perennial worst team in the league with the league's worst d-corps for several years straight. That's amazing! I, too, like to assume that every statistic is equal and every situation is the same.

So if you couldn't tell, I'm saying your numbers are borderline worthless. Sorry to burst your bubble though.

I understand what you're saying, but I'm helping to diffuse the notion that Bryz is a total write off. It shows that he is capable of winning and POSSIBLY steal you a game (even if it's rarely).

I have been a Dubnyk supporter for years and i want the best for him, but i just can't see him ever stealing us a game when we need it most.

You're right that the teams are vastly different (Oilers vs Anh/Phi) and it's hard to compare the two goalies.

I was offering NO conclusions in my post. It was simply some interesting stats with a little bit of 1260 humor thrown in with the "So you're saying there's a chance !?".

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#221 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 15 2013, 05:23PM
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CHOP WOOD

CARRY WATER

WTF?!?

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#222 Jay
November 15 2013, 05:32PM
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There's a game tonight? Makes me happy to know Im not wasting time watching this pitiful and worthless team

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#223 DSF
November 15 2013, 05:57PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Maybe my theory that Darryl Katz has got himself mixed up with Russian mafia, and the Oilers are involved in match fixing scheme isn't too far off.

Except they could dress their best roster against the Sharks and still probably lose. But they don't have to make it so obvious.

Either that, or Kevin Lowe just loves saying, "The Edmonton Oilers are proud to select, number one in the 2014 draft....."

"lex parsimoniae"

Incompetence is the simplest answer.

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#224 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 07:43PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I should clarify what I posted, I cannot understand why Mr. Fitness would not play his most consistent player Arcobello. He has out played his peers offensively, defensively, and physically and yet he gets scratched.

This is so far from what a reasonable coach would do........I can only say this is another retarded Eakins coaching move, right from the bantam book.

The only thing left for him is to make Duby play left wing........it's coming bet on it!

I can understand the desire to get Acton in on the 4th line vs the sharks.

But If it were up to me I would put Gags upstairs for a game and move Arco to second line C then slot Acton on the 4th.

Gagner has been struggling mightily and Arco has been nothing but one of the most consistent oilers this season.

Makes no sense whatsoever....unless Arco is sick or something

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#225 madjam
November 15 2013, 07:56PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Oilers 30th again.....They should just permanently attach that 30th on the logo somewhere and be done with it.

Half of what has been said about this team in the last 4 years has been accompanied by "30th" place or "last place" oilers.

I think I see MacT.'s improvement now - under my microscope .

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#226 120 stitches
November 15 2013, 08:19PM
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The lack of judgment in demoting Arcobello is further exacerbated when you examine why this occurred. It is difficult to comprehend why a NHL team is not carrying an extra defenseman on its active roster when it's farm team is at least 2 flights away. . For instance, these days it is not uncommon for players to be injured in pre game drills. This is another example of this organization's lack of attention to detail. As I understand it, there was a risk they were going to start the game with 5 defencemen. That should never happen at this level of hockey.

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#227 Mike Wazowski
November 15 2013, 08:22PM
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@Spydyr

I'm good with you finding a new team. Been tired of your constant b1tching and ragging on the team anyway.

Hope you don't pull anything jumping on and off the bandwagon.

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#228 I tried it at home
November 15 2013, 08:44PM
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I remember when Jussi Markinen was called Juicy Rebound. Can we recycle that nickname for dubny? Or just stick with "double your stats boy"

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#229 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:19PM
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.

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#230 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:19PM
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Hemsky goes to Smyth on the bench "remember when that guy from Dallas missed the open net and I went back and scored a goal?"

Smyth replies "Why do you ask?"

Hemskey in broken English "He said he wish his stick wasn't curved so much and like 10 times thicker than normal so that when the puck bounced he still could put the puck in the net....what's your excuse?"

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#231 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:23PM
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Smith to Smyth on last play "eh shooter, need to bounce off the tenders skates an in"

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#232 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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Eakins says "good couple of shift boys, lets build on that momentum."

than follows that up with:

"PP boys, lets go Smyth, Joensuu, Arcobello....errr Acton and Belov and Smid ...err Petry"

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#233 Peter
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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JESUS FERENCE! Knock that sh*t off!

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#234 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:58PM
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@YFC Prez

I think he is related to old stone hands, oh and he has no heart.

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#235 Bryzarro World
November 15 2013, 11:15PM
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0100101101001100010011110101011101000101001000000100001001001100010011110101011101010011

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#236 Spoils
November 15 2013, 01:45PM
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Arco is sitting?

are we going to find out he is injured?

RNH - Hall - Eberle

Gagner - Perron - Hemsky

Arco - Joensuu - Yak

Gordon - Smyth - Jones

I like RNH Hall Ebs back together, and feel like Gordon is a great 4th line center (getting extra key draws)

Yak on third line but first team PP.

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#237 madjam
November 15 2013, 02:01PM
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How can you expect to solve all our problems of seven plus years overnight ? Geez , sorry for not being patient/understanding enough ? Their sorry arse excuse is like one flew over the cookoo's nest -in one ear and out the other . Not that they are slow , but they can't figure out even whether we are better than last year yet . They say we are , but results prove otherwise . Things might get slightly better only because they cannot get much worse !

Oilers 5-3 tonite , as Sharks cannot be taking us serious .

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#238 Oil4Life
November 15 2013, 04:06PM
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So many negatives and wishing that "insert oilers player" gets injured..... its just a game guys. if your upset by how the oilers are playing then dont watch. I for one am excited to see if the oilers can play a solid game of hockey and beat those darn sharks who i dislike very much. gagner, hall, ebs and smyth get goals. dubnyck stands on his head and oilers win 4-1.

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#239 TonyT
November 15 2013, 05:07PM
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Oilers assigned Arcobello!?!?!?

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#240 jbogus
November 15 2013, 06:38PM
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Watching the buff Toronto game and end to end with SOOOO much effort being out in - buff rewarded with the lead.

Put in tonight Oil seriously.

So hard being an oiler for life, wish I had permission to follow someone else.

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#241 I Remember the Orange Jerseys
November 15 2013, 07:46PM
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DSF wrote:

Buffalo wins.

Oilers 30th.

Well then, it’s official. Time to replace the Octane Girls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OndJp6Dcwjk

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#242 BingBong
November 15 2013, 08:43PM
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Bah. We haven't even had one good chance yet. They create nothing. They must have zero confidence.

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#243 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:08PM
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Sharks Powerplay

Starts whistling 'Sweet Georgia Brown'...

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#244 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:14PM
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Snipe. Probably more defence shown in the beer queue.

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#245 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 09:22PM
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Wow. Some sustained pressure. Now score dammit!

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#246 Kevin
November 15 2013, 09:23PM
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DSF wrote:

Buffalo wins.

Oilers 30th.

Here here let's all toast a cheer to Klowe and Mac T - an accomplishment not many can hold their hats to. Loks like the Oil are skating in quick sand tonight. Just can't get enough of all that skill we have. 3 zero and it could be 5 or 6 nothing by now.

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#247 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:31PM
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@Rod from Viking

Yeah, he's totally anti Edmonton.

Except for, you know, being from here.

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#248 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 09:57PM
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@Zamboni Driver

This may make me look dumb. Ah what the heck I always make myself look dumb.

Who is the Tinman exactly?

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#249 I tried it at home
November 15 2013, 10:37PM
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Well, thats over. Oh hey weekend starts now. yay.

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#250 Poolanov
November 15 2013, 10:38PM
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I have never hated Ferraro more than I do today

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