GDB 25.0: A TOUGHER TEST...

Jason Gregor
November 25 2013 12:27PM

Fresh off a three-day break, the Oilers will try to extend their three-game winning streak vs. the defending Stanley Cup champions. Since the start of the 2010/2011 season the Oilers are 6-5-1 against the Hawks. The Oilers are 2-3-0 at home at 4-2-1 on the road.

The games in Edmonton have been blowouts. The Oilers have won by scores of 9-2 and 8-4, while the Hawks won 4-1, 5-0 and 4-1. The Oilers have outscored their opponents 15-3 during this short winning streak, but beating Chicago should be more difficult than beating Calgary, Columbus and Florida.

The Oilers' are playing their best hockey of the season, but so are the Hawks. Chicago is 10-2-1 in their last 13 games and they've scored 4+ goals in nine of those games. Patrick Kane is on a ten-game scoring streak and has 16 points in 13 games, while Jonathan Toews has 15 points in that same span, and they are on different lines.   

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Jonesuu-Acton-Gazdic

Belov-J.Schultz
Ference-Petry
N. Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

No reason to change anything when you are winning, although at some point you'd like to see more from Jesse Joensuu. He hasn't done much, and once they lose I could see Ryan Jones and Marc Arcobello re-inserted into the lineup.

Marian Hossa is in Chicago taking care of a personal matter, so look for Brandon Saad to play with Toews and Patrick Sharp. Kane has Brandon Pirri as his centreman, and recently acquired Kris Versteeg will play the other wing.

QUICK HITS

  •  This is the healthiest we've seen the Oilers in years, and if they can stay healthy we will get a much more accurate assessment of who they are as a team. The Blackhawks have 12 skaters who have played every game. Their top-five D-men; Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Oduya and Leddy, and forwards Toews, Sharp, Kane, Shaw, Saad, Kruger and Bollig. Hossa had missed four games and Bickell has missed two. Being healthy, especially when it is yoru best players, gives you a much better chance to win.
     
  • Look for the Oilers to attack Kane when he has the puck and not give him time to set up. If Kane has time to set up in the offensive zone he will embarrass you. Eakins said he'd rather see the puck on Kane's linemates' sticks.
     
  • Ken Hitchcock moving close to Hall of Fame, a goalie the Oilers have to look at in free agency, and a major blunder by the CFL. Read here.
     
  • Marc Arcobello has been a good surprise, but anyone who felt he was the team's MVP in the first quarter of the season wasn't watching close enough. It is great to want him in the lineup, but don't overestimate his contributions.
     
  • After reading Willis' solid piece on Perron's spike in shots on net, I asked the winger about his increased totals. "I've always liked to shoot, and right now I'm getting a lot of chances to shoot. I'm not sure if the system allows me more chances, or if I'm just getting more right now. It is early, but it seems every game I'm in a good spot to shoot. I really like playing with Gordo (Boyd Gordon) and Smitty (Ryan Smyth). We work well together and they get me the puck in good areas. I don't think I'm doing anything really different than I have in the past, but I noticed I have almost as many shots this year than I had all of last season, so hopefully I can keep it up," Perron said.

    He said he wanted to shoot more the past few years, but this year he said he has tried to shoot the puck quicker, and felt that he had more shots blocked last year. Interesting.
     
  • The Oilers PP is now 9th in the league at 21.5%. After going 6 for 49 (12.2%) in their first 15 games, they are a sizzling 11 for 30 (36.7%) in their last nine games. The Oilers are 18th in PP chances, but if you went by games played, they'd be closer to 23rd.
     
  • The Oilers PK has moved up to 15th overall at 83%. In their first 15 games they allowed 13 goals in 55 attempts (76.4%), but in their last nine games they've only allowed 2 goals in 33 kills (93.9%).
     
  • The Oilers still take too many penalties. They've been shorthanded 88 times thus far, tied for 7th most in the NHL. Eakins has no problem with aggressive penalties, but he feels his team still takes too many stick infractions. They've been one of the most penalized teams for the past four seasons, and eventually that needs to change if they want to start winning.
     
  • A big thank you to everyone who came out to DJ Suitcase party on Friday. It was a great night and we raised over $15,000 for the Inner City Children's Program. Nice work.

LOOKING AHEAD....  

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fans will be entertained with nine goals, but this won't be a blowout...The Hawks pick up their second 5-4 victory over the Oilers this season.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall picks up two more points. Hall has 7-10-17 in 11 career games vs. the Hawks.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sam Gagner scores the first goal of the game, and a few people suggest he's on his way to another 8-point night. That won't happen, but Gagner picks up an assist to finish with two points. Gagner gets rocked by Andrew Shaw early in the 2nd period, and can't drop the mitts because his jaw isn't 100%, so Andrew Ference rushes in and he and Shaw have a spirited tilt.  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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 Truth
November 25 2013, 12:49PM
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The Oilers should trade the entire Octane roster + the current ice cleaning squad + Omark to Chicago for those Ice Girls. I'd consider a mid-level pick too.

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#2 tileguy
November 25 2013, 01:20PM
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Did Perron really say he loves playing with Smitty and Gordo? Gawd love him and his attitude any everything else about him. If we had to pick an Oiler MVP today it would be him without a doubt.

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#3 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 25 2013, 12:49PM
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"Marc Arcobello has been a good surprise, but anyone who felt he was the team's MVP in the first quarter of the season wasn't watching close enough. It is great to want him in the lineup, but don't overestimate his contributions."

I don't know about MVP, but I'm not sure that is the relevant question.

The relevant question isn't "is he the MVP on this team", but rather "is he good enough to be playing on this team," i.e., one of 12 forwards.

I think the answer to that is pretty definitive and it would be hard to overstate it when the question is put in its proper light.

Boxcars: 20 2 10 12 -3 (6th on the team; missing 4 games)

CorsiOn: -0.90 (3rd of Fs on the team)

Faceoff%: 52.2 (34th in the league)

This guy belongs among the 12 forwards every night on this team.

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#4 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 25 2013, 04:08PM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

Arcobello should be in Hemsky out simple as that.

Well, this is fundamentally insane.

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#5 JJmorrocco
November 25 2013, 12:30PM
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Ference with the fisticuffs again gotta love it!

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#6 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 25 2013, 01:27PM
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Agreed, Perron has very quickly become one of my top favorites on this team. It's been said before, but he appears to be the most playoff ready of them all.

More please!

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#7 Dog Train
November 25 2013, 01:31PM
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Eberle will be inspired by the Roughriders' Grey Cup win and scores a hat trick tonight.

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS, GREY CUP CHAMPS BABY!!!

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#8 Craig1981
November 25 2013, 12:36PM
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I'm thankful the winning streak has filled the team's fans with positivity. Coming on here and seeing DSF's comments with 50+ props a few weeks ago show just how bad fans had turned. I hope they can get to 20th overall by Christmas (baby steps)

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#9 gcw_rocks
November 25 2013, 03:07PM
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Here is something to think about:

Since the 2009 draft, Chicago has the following home grown non-first round players in their top 9: BRANDON PIRRI 2ND (59TH OVERALL) 2009 BRANDON SAAD 2ND (43RD OVERALL) 2011 ANDREW SHAW 5TH (139TH OVERALL) 2011

On the roster, you can add: BRYAN BICKELL 2ND (41ST OVERALL) 2004 BEN SMITH 6TH (169TH OVERALL) 2008 NIKLAS HJALMARSSON 4TH (108TH OVERALL) 2005 DUNCAN KEITH 2ND (54TH OVERALL) 2002 COREY CRAWFORD 2ND (52ND OVERALL) 2003

The Oilers have Petry. Hall, Hemsky, Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner, Dubnyk, and Smyth were all 1st rounders. If the Oilers did half as well as the Hawks in drafting after the 1st round this team would be a playoff team right now.

Sigh…

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#10 Richard
November 25 2013, 12:47PM
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Spoils wrote:

Hall is not even in the conversation right now for the Olympics. I think he'll crush it on the big ice, but the book is - he doesn't play Canadian style hockey because he falls down too easily, and the bad giveaways really hurt him.

Chicago sent a bunch of players to 2010.

I wonder how much it hurts us that players like RNH, Ebs, Hall aren't going to get that early career experience in the big show.

Hall is not in the conversation because he does not play a 200 ft game.

Lindsy Ruff found that out last year.

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#11 ubermiguel
November 25 2013, 01:17PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

"Marc Arcobello has been a good surprise, but anyone who felt he was the team's MVP in the first quarter of the season wasn't watching close enough. It is great to want him in the lineup, but don't overestimate his contributions."

I don't know about MVP, but I'm not sure that is the relevant question.

The relevant question isn't "is he the MVP on this team", but rather "is he good enough to be playing on this team," i.e., one of 12 forwards.

I think the answer to that is pretty definitive and it would be hard to overstate it when the question is put in its proper light.

Boxcars: 20 2 10 12 -3 (6th on the team; missing 4 games)

CorsiOn: -0.90 (3rd of Fs on the team)

Faceoff%: 52.2 (34th in the league)

This guy belongs among the 12 forwards every night on this team.

Plus Arco was 3rd in team scoring when he got sent down.

I don't get how anyone can trash this comment. Arco has earned a lineup spot. I don't see any criteria that says he didn't. Unless you include size, but by that criteria Martin St Louis and Todd Marchant are career AHLers.

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#12 Lloyd B.
November 25 2013, 03:18PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Q - would anyone be open to trading Ales Hemsky straight up for Martin Erat?

NOooooooooooooooo!!!

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#13 Rama Lama
November 25 2013, 12:49PM
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If the fourth line was tearing it up............then I would buy having Arcobello sit over Acton.

I think most people would agree that Arco, Jones, Gazdic would be a good fourth line?

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#14 CellyHard
November 25 2013, 01:30PM
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This is a huge game, a win tonight could really get the ball rolling. I don't want to admit to myself that i will have no playoffs again. If theOilers can roll 13-3-3 till end of December, they give themselves a slight chance to make it. So essentially they must win 2 of every 3 games.I am a sad and pathetic and cant let go of my over optimism.

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#15 pkam
November 25 2013, 03:08PM
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OilClog wrote:

Early in the season when Arco was playing 2nd line pivot.. It's not ridiculous at all to suggest he was our MVP or in the top 3. He was!

It is not a good sign if Acro is the MVP.

It is a good sign that the team can win without Acro in the lineup.

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#16 Richard
November 25 2013, 12:59PM
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@Spoils

Funny how I get trashed for the truth.

Hall can play well against most teams in the NHL, but once you have the best in the world competing Hall's dominance fades and he gets exposed for his lack of a 200ft game. He can hide it in the NHL but not the Olympics.

If he was as good as you think then he would be in the conversation.

Hall does have potential to become an All Star in the NHL but not yet.

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#17 A-Mc
November 25 2013, 01:00PM
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Oh christ, I'm nervous. I think I'm more nervous about the Oilers actually winning. If they win, that means I'll be returning to the land of "The Oilers CAN make the playoffs with this squad!" but if they lose, and continue to lose, I'm in the comfortable position of "alright, MacT needs to do something..."

It makes me nervous because i think the team needs to make moves, no matter the outcome of this season. Losing just helps to ensure change happens. Winning could mean some Tambo-like dithering.. and I've had my fill of that.

*sigh*

Oilers win 4-1.. sadly? *nervous*

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#18 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 25 2013, 01:53PM
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@A-Mc

Hockeydb has him at 6'0", 195 lbs. He's stated he wants top 6 minutes, so the question is, is he better than our top four wingers? Kinda seems like more of the same.

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#19 Stompinstoms
November 25 2013, 02:13PM
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@A-Mc

From what I understand, Erat essentially bailed on the Predators last season at the deadline when it looked doubtful that they'd make the playoffs. Now he's asking to be traded from a team because he's not happy with playing time?

Those are two red flags that tell me this guy can't help us.

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#20 wiseguy
November 25 2013, 04:16PM
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Why is it that Perron credits playing with Gordon and Smyth for getting him the puck for more scoring chances and shots, while when Yak (a shooter) was playing with the same two players, we accused Eakins of playing him with offensive duds and was the cause of his lack of production.

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#21 Moog's helmet
November 25 2013, 09:43PM
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Has any team in NHL history spent the last 63 games of the year trying to play spoiler? So far this rebuild I've noticed two things. 1. Good teams make us look like we have a long way to go. 2. Bad teams make us look like we're almost there.

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#22 Bryzarro World
November 25 2013, 09:53PM
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Chicago feed is hilarious. Rippin the oilers and MacT. Pretty true though

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#23 Citizen David
November 25 2013, 12:46PM
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Hall is the key to this game. During our three game winning streak everyone was on fire except Hall. He still played well. But he has another level. If he reaches it tonight and we play how we did the past seven periods, we'll win.

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#24 Greg
November 25 2013, 12:37PM
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Not changing the winning formula? So stupid. Keeping Arcobello out, because we've found some sort of magic in these lines? What the hell? Ice the best team you can!

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#25 Richard
November 25 2013, 12:44PM
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Really does not matter what Edmonton does. If Chicago brings it's A game, it is over.

Hard to get motivated playing Edmonton but we will see.

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#26 A-Mc
November 25 2013, 01:36PM
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Re: Gregors Edm Journal Article "...Andrew MacDonald...UFA...excellent partner for the Oilers’ Justin Schultz."

I read an interesting article on Forbes (US Taxes, Great for Canadian Teams) that suggests Calgary and Edmonton (Flames and Oilers) have the lowest tax rate of any other NHL team. Players on these teams will make more money than any other FA signing option. Sometimes the difference is negligible but other times it's significant.

I wonder if that will help the Oilers in making some FA signings this summer?

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#27 Oilerz4life
November 25 2013, 03:33PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Q - would anyone be open to trading Ales Hemsky straight up for Martin Erat?

Erat is a drama queen who demands a trade 15 min. after arriving in any town he plays. At least Hemsky has staying power, you must be kidding?

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#28 tileguy
November 25 2013, 01:33PM
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@A-Mc

If we win tonight can we have a thimnble full of kool-aid and get all giddy like we were in september?

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#29 pkam
November 25 2013, 03:18PM
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If I am going to dream, dream big, right?

Gagner breaks his 8 pts record tonight.

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#30 Spoils
November 25 2013, 12:35PM
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Hall is not even in the conversation right now for the Olympics. I think he'll crush it on the big ice, but the book is - he doesn't play Canadian style hockey because he falls down too easily, and the bad giveaways really hurt him.

Chicago sent a bunch of players to 2010.

I wonder how much it hurts us that players like RNH, Ebs, Hall aren't going to get that early career experience in the big show.

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#31 Richard
November 25 2013, 12:52PM
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Edmonton wins a few games in a row against non playoff injured teams and they think they have turned a corner.

Goaltending can steal games Chicago not showing up.

Those are the only way Edmonton wins

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#32 Spydyr
November 25 2013, 01:38PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Gagner fails to score eight points........ since mid March. Ends up minus something.

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#33 They're $hittie
November 25 2013, 01:41PM
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Hmmmm, oilers PK and PP turn around once 89 was back in the line up.

No saying it is him, but Yak has been playing better since too. Is this what a little bit of depth feels like?

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#34 Lowe Expectations
November 25 2013, 02:28PM
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Chicago Ice Girls. High maintenance doing ice maintenance.

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#35 Rob...
November 25 2013, 02:40PM
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GDP: 4-1 Oilers win. Dubnyk continues his good play. The one goal he lets in during the 1st period, and it is followed by a nervous glance towards Bryz... Duby shuts the door after that.

OGDP: Perron fails to score from a sharp angle, but one of his attempts bounces to Smyth and he pots a goal.

NSOGDP: The Refs are very aware that the Oilers PP is 'a sizzling 11 for 30 (36.7%) in their last nine games'. Not wanting to give the Oilers the well earned advantage, RNH managed to get 3 Hawks sticks stuck in between his helmet and visor yet no whistle will be blown, because REASONS!

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#36 MessyEH!
November 25 2013, 03:10PM
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OilClog wrote:

Early in the season when Arco was playing 2nd line pivot.. It's not ridiculous at all to suggest he was our MVP or in the top 3. He was!

Agree completely.

Lead the team in pts.

Faceoff%.

+/-.

And hits. Yup what a bum. Lets play Sammy snowpants at Center and boot Acrobello to the curd. Eakins is such a fraud. Preach accountability, then reward mediocrity.

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#37 Serious Gord
November 25 2013, 09:23PM
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4-1. Not really close. Now firmly in 29th with fla now three points ahead.

Same flaws.

Same as it ever was.

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#38 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 25 2013, 09:41PM
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Oilers seem to be employing the peewee 'take a swipe at the puck then skate by it' system.

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#39 FireKLowe
November 25 2013, 10:03PM
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Boys against men!!! What a joke! Fire the dumb fcuk KLowe.

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#40 Craig1981
November 25 2013, 12:56PM
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Spoils wrote:

Hall is not even in the conversation right now for the Olympics. I think he'll crush it on the big ice, but the book is - he doesn't play Canadian style hockey because he falls down too easily, and the bad giveaways really hurt him.

Chicago sent a bunch of players to 2010.

I wonder how much it hurts us that players like RNH, Ebs, Hall aren't going to get that early career experience in the big show.

Very little. The Canadian Olympic team is most likely the hardest hockey team in the world to make. It will be the next 2 0r 3 years those players will be in the age category to make the team

I believe Hall, if asked to play a supporting role, would tweak his game to cut down on giveaways. He plays hard and tough, which is the type of style anyone would want.

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#41 DSF
November 25 2013, 02:36PM
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David S wrote:

HOLY ICE GIRLS!!!

Could someone send that pic over to the Octane office because they DO have some hotties and if they dressed like that at our games...*cough*... hey is it just me or is it getting hot in here?

You are old enough to be their grandfather you creep!

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#42 Reg Dunlop
November 25 2013, 09:36PM
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Ryan Smyth is like the Smiths tachometers on old Norton motorcycles. They are gear driven, old technology and they have a delay where they climb even after the engine revs are dropping. Smyth is always chugging away in the opposite direction to the play. Can't skate well enough, please retire.

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#43 Serious Gord
November 25 2013, 10:14PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Oilers seem to be employing the peewee 'take a swipe at the puck then skate by it' system.

As the father of a son who is currently playing peewee - no hit peewee - I endorse this comment.

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#44 rob
November 25 2013, 12:56PM
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Oilers win this one in an exciting end to end tilt,oil are healthy and have a swagger to them so they get it together and win 6-3

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#45 A-Mc
November 25 2013, 01:40PM
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tileguy wrote:

If we win tonight can we have a thimnble full of kool-aid and get all giddy like we were in september?

A thimble?
If we win i'll be crushing the better part of a flat of beer.

If we lose ... I'll be crushing the better part of a flat of beer.

ya maybe just a thimble

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#46 OilClog
November 25 2013, 02:41PM
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Early in the season when Arco was playing 2nd line pivot.. It's not ridiculous at all to suggest he was our MVP or in the top 3. He was!

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#47 pkam
November 25 2013, 04:28PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Well, this is fundamentally insane.

Some poster is just more desperate to get thumb down than DSF.

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#48 Harlie
November 25 2013, 06:21PM
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Awesome to hear that Suitcase and Gregor have the pull and raised 15G's for charity in addition to Suit's work on the Blades and the 35G's from there.

Props to you G's!

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#49 BingBong
November 25 2013, 08:55PM
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Well at least we know Arcobello will play next game.

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#50 Haywood Jablome
November 25 2013, 11:25PM
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Jason Gregor with another bang on game day prediction. Hey Jay, how are you gonna pump your tires on the radio tomorrow?

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