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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#201 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#202 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#203 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#204 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#205 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#206 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#207 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#208 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#209 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#210 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#211 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#212 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#213 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#214 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#215 Keeper of the bridge
November 26 2013, 09:26AM
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@Jeff In Lethbridge

Back under the bridge, u sarcastic troll.

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#216 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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#217 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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#218 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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#219 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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#220 Hemmercules
November 25 2013, 02:11PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Yeah, I know nothing about him either. But I'd play Hall, Ebs, and Perron before Erat, and I think having him in the top six would cut into Yak's development. If only he were a centre. And 3" taller/25 lbs heavier...

beat me to it. If he was a bigger center I would take a look. He makes too much though for a soft player and the Oilers have enough of those.

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#221 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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#222 A-Mc
November 25 2013, 02:22PM
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@Stompinstoms

Ah yes, those are good indicators of some pretty significant character flaws.

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#223 They're $hittie
November 25 2013, 02:38PM
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would anyone take Backlund from the flames. Cheap solid two way center, big upgrade on acton. Mind you we have Arco but in the fourth line spot I see Backlund being better than either of them, with the ability to move to third line or second.

Depth people Depth.

Flames like meddling picks so why not Lallegia, Musil and Kellen Jones.

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#224 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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#225 Jeff
November 25 2013, 02:51PM
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I will admit it, I was wrong, the team appears to be more aware of their defensive responsibilities and more aware of what they should be doing.

Perhaps it was the rock bottom GM discussion in the media, or team meeting, what ever it was, the team is gelling more so than it has year to date.

So I will admit that my post in the past have been harsh but I will own it.

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#227 pkam
November 25 2013, 03:02PM
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Rob... wrote:

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!

What does the improving PK% has to do with getting PP?

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#228 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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#229 Rob...
November 25 2013, 03:11PM
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@pkam

Propped. Thanks for the catch. I just did a quick copy paste and grabbed the wrong text. Fixed it now.

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#230 pkam
November 25 2013, 03:16PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

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…

It is not just the drafting, but development as well. How many of our 1st round pick before 2008 is still playing in NHL?

You can blame the previous owners for not willing to invest in scouting and development. Or you can blame the fans for not providing the financial support before 2006. Or you can blame the poor economy in Alberta.

I am just glad that despite the difficult financial hardship in the 90, the Oilers hadn't left like the Jets did.

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#231 curcro
November 25 2013, 03:20PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I agree Gordon has done more, and he'd have been close in first 20 games...which shows how bad their best players performed...

Their best players have played better the past 6-8 games and not surprisingly they are wininng more.

Absolutely. The age old thought that your best players have to be your best players to win consistently cannot be overstated for the Oilers first quarter.

The last few games have shown this to be the case. I think the biggest difference to me in last few games has been that they have been able to get more flow into the game by completing series of passes regularly, whereas earlier in the season the play was often dying in the neutral zone with only one or two touches by the Oilers.

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#232 Mikey
November 25 2013, 03:33PM
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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.

Yea and that is also the same year the Blackhawks won the cup. Coincidence? I definitely think not.

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#233 gcw_rocks
November 25 2013, 04:51PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Having a great team makes role players look a lot better than they really are or would be on a more mediocre team.

Pirri and Saad play in the top six. Shaw and Bickell anchor the third line. Hjarlmsson plays top for minutes. Crawford is the starting goalie. Keith is a top pairing defender. What's your definition of a role player?

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#234 hockeycrazed
November 25 2013, 05:06PM
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Just pray and hope that the Oil is not too pleased with the 3 wins over 3 weak sisters, and start another losing skid; This is where Eakins come in, to drill it to his young guns; every game is equally important! We are not even suggesting playoffs, just respectability!

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#235 Ducey
November 25 2013, 05:54PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

CBC mentioned Ottawa as a possible target for Hemsky this past Sat. But that trade (and numerous others for Hemsky) have been talked about forever. The return wasn't mentioned. (IIRC)

Another report had this to say:

"The Oilers need help everywhere, however, teams are asking for young players in return. “They want to do something but they overrate their players which means the prices are high,” said a league executive. He should be able to get a top pick for UFA RW Ales Hemsky"

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/23/phillys-captain-claude-giroux-set-for-sochi-olympics

Not sure what a "top pick" could mean other than a 1st rounder. But that would be full value for the player.

They have likely been holding out for the Penner return of a prospect, a first rounder and a mid round pick. 3 assets!

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#236 Serious Gord
November 25 2013, 06:13PM
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Lowe Expectations wrote:

Chicago Ice Girls. High maintenance doing ice maintenance.

Alimony written all over them...

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#237 YFC Prez
November 25 2013, 06:15PM
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@gcw_rocks

Petry was a second round pick. I think your point still stands though.

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#238 Rocket
November 25 2013, 07:50PM
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Wow did Toews undress Dubnyk on that goal.

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#239 Hemmercules
November 25 2013, 07:53PM
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Oilers are getting exposed by a top team right now. Need to see some fight back soon or this could get away fast.

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#240 SRELIOFAN
November 25 2013, 07:54PM
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They're digging themselves into a pretty big hole early... It's going to be tough to come back from that against the hawks.

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#241 Johnnydapunk
November 25 2013, 07:56PM
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This could get ugly..

But on an aside, is it me or does Crawford wear freakishly giant pads?? They look like they are up to his waist! Dunno how those got past Whitmore.

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#242 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 25 2013, 08:00PM
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Come on boys, this PP is huge, need a goal.

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#243 YFC Prez
November 25 2013, 08:06PM
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Now they're into it! Let's go boys

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#244 Alsker
November 25 2013, 08:12PM
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Thank god Versteeg missed the open net.

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#245 coachwannabe
November 25 2013, 08:36PM
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Someone please explain to me what Yak and Hall are doing on the point on the power play. I don't understand what Eakins is thinking. Confused.

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#246 Walter Sobchak
November 25 2013, 08:37PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

From another article.

Romulus' Apotheosis wrote: Dubnyk named one of the NHL's 3 stars of the week:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=693003&navid=DL|NHL|home

So… I guess everyone predicting he had eternally cratered was being reactionary… who would have guessed?

Ya, ok.

You still feel that way Rom?

If Dubnyks the answer, then why are the Oilers looking so hard for a replacement?

Don't answer that, I'll come back to that after December & January.

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#247 vetinari
November 25 2013, 08:37PM
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Well, we're boned...

Is it wrong to want to scream out:

"Kneel before Saad!"*

*obscure Superman II movie reference

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#248 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 25 2013, 08:41PM
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@vetinari

Haha this is an awesome comment.

Also, COSMONAUT - ENGAAAAGE.

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#249 Bryzarro World
November 25 2013, 08:42PM
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Here we go

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#250 Alsker
November 25 2013, 08:48PM
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Hahahahaha...Bryz actually had our 1st shot on net,lol, nice goal by JSchultz

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