BAD TO THE BONE

Lowetide
November 29 2013 07:21PM

On about day two of the National Hockey League's existence, someone said to someone "we need more size" and began a quest that continues to this day. The size/speed/skill prospect trifecta is so rare that NHL teams can go a decade or more without having one—Edmonton sent their last complete power forward away on November 15, 2000—and spend dozens of draft picks in vain pursuit of a successor.

DRAFTING COKE MACHINES IS A LONG SHOT

Jonathan Willis wrote an interesting piece on the subject of size recently, and it got me thinking about the discussion regarding the current Oiler forwards. Perron misses being a power forward because of size and speed (he's certainly skilled enough) but has a definite role in the physical side of the game. A line containing Perron has the ability to score and agitate, and offers the opposition a unique set of challenges. 

Tonight, Perron stood out in a big way, imposing his will on the other team, agitating the opposition and trying to get things going. He's also a good hockey player, so he's agitating other good players for the other side. The club could use more actual NHL players who have an edge, and size is fine but the idea is to acquire players who are difficult to play against, tough to defend, difficult to predict from shift to shift. 

AGGRESSIVE FORECHECK

Perron's style forces the issue, pressures the other side and causes errors, which means turnovers and chances off the rush. The NHL has all kinds of players who bring that extra element along with significant skill; I would include Sidney Crosby, Dustin Brown, Brendan Gallagher, Scott Hartnell, Ryan Kesler and others. How many of those would you consider power forwards?

This is an element the Oilers should have in spades, and they do get their chances, but there are also long periods when breaking out against Edmonton is a breeze (and at least some of this has to do with coaching style and the system played under a coach's direction) and tonight is a perfect example.

I think that sometimes when we say "the Oilers need to be more physical" what we mean is "why can't the Oilers be more aggressive on the forecheck, finish their checks and make sure that every pass is challenged when possible?"

That's a major area of opportunity, and Perron's really good at creating turnovers that can turn into chances. On a night like tonight in Columbus, when the Oilers aren't really interested in competing for 60 minutes, a player like Perron stands out in a good way.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

You can't just stand there and watch greatness walk away, playing NHL hockey requires a lot of work without the puck. The Oiler players have all of the skills, but for prolonged periods this season:

  • They have been passive defensively
  • They have looked like they are unsure of their next move
  • They have not  been making it difficult for the other team to execute passes
  • They do not look like they're engaged in each and every play in the game

The Nashville game was a golden example of pressuring, rolling four lines and allowing your best players to wheel.  It looked like the coach and players had finally arrived at an agreeable system, and the learning curve for both finally arrived at something that could be successful.

Tonight in Columbus, the Edmonton Oilers were miserable again. The Oilers need more guys who get agitated at losing, and can agitate the opposition and are actual NHL players.

More David Perron's, please and thanks.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 cain
November 29 2013, 09:52PM
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What is awesome in regards to this loss is, (according to guru Bob Stauffer)the Oilers learned ANOTHER lesson. Apparently, it seems the team needs to be ready to play right from the opening face-off. I'm sure we can all expect remarkably different results now that this elusive revelation has become evident to the team. Just so pleased we have crossed this bridge, and now we get it...

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#2 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
November 29 2013, 08:01PM
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They are who we thought they were!

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#3 REALLY?
November 29 2013, 10:10PM
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Oh Sweet Mary... Can we just admit that this team is BRUTAL...and has been BRUTAL for a decade....when is Kevin Lowe going to be held accountable for a complete lack of leadership???? Can anyone please tell me that? When will we see some actual change to that? Anyone? Please? Anyone?

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#4 D
November 29 2013, 07:35PM
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Really thought the Oil had turned a corner. I was wrong.

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#5 risto siltanen's slapshot
November 29 2013, 09:10PM
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I've watched weber show his toughness and a mean streak. I've seen chara strike fear into his fellow man. we need a pronger now not in 4 years when nurse is ready. time to pull the trigger mac t and get some functional toughness cuz ference doesn't cut it

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#6 YFC Prez
November 29 2013, 08:56PM
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@Grumpy Oil

Ever go to your buddies for a free B-B-Q and chew him out for cooking your steak medium when you wanted rare.

And I'm not too sure I've ever read a Wayne article....wasn't aware he wrote here

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#7 S cottV
November 29 2013, 10:34PM
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Most of the guys around this site give about as much support to our goaltenders, as does the team in front of them - almost none. Bryz looked about the same as Dubie many times this year, giving up 4 - mostly because of the crap going on in front of him. Once again - a pretty good start wiped out by Hall trying to make something out of a 1 on 3, instead of throwing the puck deep and working a forecheck with his linemates. When will that bonehead learn? Up ice we go and RNH looks like a PeeWee hockey player in d zone coverage on the 1st GA. Dumb@ss penalties along with less than stellar PK and we're down by 3. Not Bryz's fault. Then - who knows what Greb's was doing that far out of position in no man's land, to allow an unmolested pot shot on their 4th. My point is - the guys that dis the crap out of Dubie might as well dump all over Brys because it sure looks all the same to me. Bryz had that same Dubie "what the f are you guys doing" look, as he dug the 4 pucks out of the back of his net.

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#8 NOTB
November 29 2013, 08:56PM
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Grumpy Oil wrote:

Anyone else tired of Lowetide's articles basically rehashing the same crap week after week? His work doesn't hold a candle to Gregor or Willis's level of professionalism and at least Wayne writes like someone who's passionate about the team.

I always get excited when I see a new article posted on the nation, but then I get 3 lines in before realizing, aww crap. LT again.

Don't shoot the messenger. Until the Oilers stop serving the same crap week after week, we wait for something better to be written about.

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#9 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
November 30 2013, 08:38AM
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Everyone on this team is suffering because there isn't a #1 and #2 blue liner on this hockey club. The Oilers have some skill....but there isn't a capable pair of defenseman around to get them the puck with time to do something with it.

A couple of top pairing D'men, and a second line center. The Oilers are still wandering in the desert.

Good thing Kevin knows a lot about winning. I'd hate to see how bad it could've gotten without it.

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#10 starpac99
November 30 2013, 02:37AM
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From top to bottom this team is so OVERRATED!! No players on this team are exempt!!

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#11 kale
November 29 2013, 10:21PM
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@cain

Speaking of which, was anyone else a little surprised by Eakins post game comment that the major problem tonight was fitness? He said something to the effect that the Oilers play tonight was exactly what he has been preaching about regarding the need to be fit and that it was a long process. Rob Brown seemed surprised by this comment as well.

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#12 Manfly
November 29 2013, 07:50PM
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even Dubnyk would have lost this game if he started it, the way the Oilers were sleepwalking through most of it !

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#13 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 29 2013, 07:58PM
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"You can't just stand there and watch greatness walk away, playing NHL hockey requires a lot of work without the puck. The Oiler players have all of the skills, but for prolonged periods this season:

They have been passive defensively They have looked like they are unsure of their next move They have not been making it difficult for the other team to execute passes They do not look like they're engaged in each and every play in the game"

Well then, I would think the coaching staff has a huge part of the responsability of that.

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#15 Bucknuck
November 30 2013, 11:16AM
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Watching the game last night, I couldn't help but think: "The Oil need more Arco and less Gagner."

I am a Gagner fan, and I was happy when they resigned him, but I am a bigger Arco fan. The guy is always checking, always skating, and always making plays. I don't understand why he isn't being played more.

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#16 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
November 29 2013, 07:42PM
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I thought the title

summed up the effort tonight.

They MUST be better

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#17 Grumpy Oil
November 29 2013, 08:38PM
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Anyone else tired of Lowetide's articles basically rehashing the same crap week after week? His work doesn't hold a candle to Gregor or Willis's level of professionalism and at least Wayne writes like someone who's passionate about the team.

I always get excited when I see a new article posted on the nation, but then I get 3 lines in before realizing, aww crap. LT again.

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#18 RexHolez
November 30 2013, 10:39AM
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We just have to be patient guys.... Isn't that the message we keep getting force fed for how many years now. We don't need to do strange things like assemble players that can build team chemistry or have a purpose! we dont need quality d-man or goaltending! We got 3 1st overall picks!! It doesn't matter if they can fit into a team system! Just give it time, any year now this perpetual bottom feeder team is gonna magically turn around and click!! These championships are gonna start rolling in so fast we're gonna run out of room on the shelf! Does that about sum it up??

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#19 I tried it at home
November 29 2013, 07:46PM
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LT, I swear to rum I read the whole article and you hit the Nail (pun intended) on the head... but after that crap I just watched, I just really really needed your WDIAM. Thanks man. Now excuse me whilst I drink

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#20 **
November 29 2013, 09:31PM
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Here's something encouraging:

Since the miracle run in 2006 the Oilers haven't had multiple players over 65 points, hell some seasons not even one player. In 2006 there were 4 players with at least 65 points.

This season there are 4 players on pace for at least 65 points: Eberle, Hall, Nuge and Perron (I didn't count last season because it wasn't a full season and the stats are very skewed for a real comparison). That's more offense than the team has had in a long time . It's time to pull the trigger on under performing veterans and bring the right pieces for the team to finally move up (provided Eakins gets his act together).

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#21 YFC Prez
November 29 2013, 10:09PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Wanye? Well friend, if you haven't read him you are in for a treat!

http://oilersnation.com/authors/Wanye

Oh if heard of wanye. It's Wayne I was curious about.

I have it under good authority I need to get a clue though.

Thanks for clearing it all up LT

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#22 mlcselli
November 30 2013, 12:21AM
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I have no idea why this team does not think they have to earn the win. There is no other team that is going to hand them the game. With the speed and skill the Oilers have, they seem to lack pride. It's all good when they play for 60 minutes. Playing humble instead of arrogant will get them in the win column.

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#23 Bryzarro World
November 30 2013, 07:41AM
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** wrote:

Who let the troll out?

Your mom....

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#24 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 30 2013, 08:36AM
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Way too many penalties last night, three guys in the box for unrelated minors at once? Come on.

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#25 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
November 30 2013, 08:54AM
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Just wanted to comment on your gif there LT.

I have that same pair (mens of course) of Levi jean short shorts, but they just don't have the same affect on the opposite sex when i'm wearing them. Thought I could make this work, even with a very subtle muffin top thing I got going on. Could it be my almost athletic thunder thighs I was blessed with? Am I missing sumfin? The clerk told me they looked great....

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#26 HOFFFF
November 30 2013, 11:18AM
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Too many pretty boys. Great danglers but that's it. Ebs and Nuge skating around with eggs in their pockets. Sammy snowpants gets tossed to the side like a flyweight. Buncha perimeter pussys.

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#27 Serious Gord
November 29 2013, 08:53PM
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"..:Edmonton sent their last complete power forward away on November 15, 2000—and spend dozens of draft picks in vain pursuit of a successor..."

I'm no expert on oilers draft history, but please could someone list the draft picks that the oil have made - serious draft picks - ones in the first two rounds - who would fit the definition of being potential "complete power forwards"?

Because I can't think of any. And if I'm correct, and very few to nil have been then LOWETIDES assertion is wrong and it may in fact be a very damning indictment of management and scouting.

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#28 Oilerz4life
November 29 2013, 09:58PM
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^ The Oilers do need more grit, obviously and toughness, but one Marchment type isn't going to make that much difference. The Oilers team you're referencing was tougher all around, from the forth line up. They could cycle the puck, play strong along the boards, behind the opponents net, etc. They played as a team. Total underdogs, but at least as a team they would compete and put in the effort, they had what this team is missing...heart. imo

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#29 Alsker
November 29 2013, 09:49PM
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We truly lack that one guy who shows 0 regard for his fellow man providing they wear a different jersey than his. Marchment was as dirty as they came and we sought him out because he was exactly what we required!!! Don Jackson wasn't dirty per say but reminded opposition forwards why the boards are made of wood and why the glass hurts whem your face is planted into it. What a difference that 1 guy makes on a team, not a coke machine that lumbers about aimlessly but the guy that punishes the other team because he enjoys it!!!We saw it for years in Regehr, remember, the guy every body hated because he wasn't on our team. Every guy on the team will play and inch or 2 taller and 20lbs heavier once MacT finds him and then we can start talking about turning the corner.

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#30 KSC10032
November 30 2013, 08:16AM
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Grumpy Oil wrote:

Anyone else tired of Lowetide's articles basically rehashing the same crap week after week? His work doesn't hold a candle to Gregor or Willis's level of professionalism and at least Wayne writes like someone who's passionate about the team.

I always get excited when I see a new article posted on the nation, but then I get 3 lines in before realizing, aww crap. LT again.

Then who held the gun to your head to make you either read said article, or even come to the site in the first place?

Quityerbitchin.

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#31 corky
November 29 2013, 09:58PM
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Mact has been talking about size for awhile now. Nothing new there. Getting said size is the hard part. Time to dangle a skilled player to remedy this. Havent heard SixRings take on his opinion lately

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#32 Oiler Al
November 29 2013, 11:01PM
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We will show up where and when we feel like it. Sure looks like they didn't feel like it tonight. 1 out of 7 on the power play kinda of tells it all. The 4-2 score is not indicative of the game. Jackets took the foot off the pedal in the third.

Brutal play making, dumb passes to nowhere and not enough guys going to the net... stick handling clinics we don't need.

The kids sucked, and veteran leaders were even worse âla. Hemsky, Gagner, Ference, and Smyth.

When was the last time someone put out a big hit on this team. Again, little boys against men.

Time for a major rebuild... the season is lost.

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#33 camdog
November 29 2013, 11:52PM
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•"They have been passive defensively •They have looked like they are unsure of their next move •They have not been making it difficult for the other team to execute passes •They do not look like they're engaged in each and every play in the game"

THis pretty much sums up the past 8 seasons. I remember when the Hockey News and all of the experts said the Oilers were going to make the playoffs in 2008-09. Apparently we were loaded with offensive talent. It's been the same team build, same make up since Pronger left, nothings changed however we are still loaded with talent.

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#34 season not played
November 30 2013, 07:17AM
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So they decided to not show up in Columbus. So what. We can't honestly expect this team to show up for every single game in the next four and a half months of garbage time can we? It's not like the players don't realize they have no chance and it's been like this for years and will continue to be like this. It's engrained in the dressing room. The players do not care. The players pretend to be concerned about compete. The players are not a team, but a bunch of hockey players who collect pay checks for playing hockey without expectation. Pretty sweet spot if they can swallow whatever pride they have left.

Anyways, it's a bush league organization, there is no defense for that. Proof is in the record.

And I don't want to be the guy who second guesses a coach after the fact, but please, fxxk, are you kidding me Eakins? What are the chances the erratic goalie who has played four periods of NHL hockey this season follows up a shutout with another solid performance on a BACK to BACK? If nothing else it keeps a team prone to sleepwalking through games on their toes. Also a good way to alienate your other goalie. But hey, Bryz got a shutout, must be the new starter, cut and dried. Minor league decision by a minor league coach hired by an incompetent general manager who works for a complete idiot.

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#35 tileguy
November 30 2013, 10:39AM
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When is it time to admit that the rebuild needs to be blown up? I think that time is here now, everybody agrees that we need size and grit and there is not much of it on the farm, maybe Nurse in 2-4 years.

It is time to make trades with the kiddies. Overpay or 2 for 1 or maybe stockpile some draft picks. We are not going to become a competitive team like this.

Sure glad I don't pay thousands for season tickets, and quietly sit back and do nothing. Kev, you gave it your best shot, time to move on.

BOLD moves are needed if we are going to compete in time for the new elephant, errr I mean arena.

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#36 YFC Prez
November 29 2013, 09:46PM
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** wrote:

so basically you're dissing other nation members without even knowing what goes on here?. Get a clue buddy.

Lol. Ok then throw me a bone. Who is Wayne anyway. Apparently I need a clue

I love you guys

*single tear*

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#37 Retsinnab5
November 29 2013, 10:53PM
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As soon as i thought we had hope. They let me down AGAIN and AGAIN

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#38 oilerjed
November 30 2013, 10:28AM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

The team as a whole needs to play with grit and toughness. So someone please explain to me how bringing in one Tootoo type player is going to change the whole Oiler culture now? The Oilers need a helluva a lot more sandpaper injected into their line-up than one guy, but we need tough hockey players, not cheap shot artists. So explain it to me then, how is that one guy, whoever it is, going to bring about that dynamic shift in Edmonton's game?

Simple addition by subtraction. Every time you bring in one guy that is willing to play hard all of the time you can move out some half ass lazy puck dangling SOB(Hemsky- and its OK to throw him under the bus cuz he is my goat). That's how you change the culture. One better player at a time until the only players you have left are the ones who get it. Note to self management

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#39 Rama Lama
November 30 2013, 10:46AM
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LT I could not agree with you more on Perron.......on drafting "Coke Machines" , that can play the game of hockey, I could not disagree with you more.

It's not as hard to draft these types of players, as you suggest. They are there to be had, but our obsession with the skill/speed option over size/skill option is the real problem.

Each and every year player like this are drafted by other teams. You can go down the list of every team and find players like this, except for the OIlers. I suggest it's a matter of will and scouting strategy.

Your notion of these players being rare is true but IMHO they are there if you are looking for them.

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#40 Poolanov
November 29 2013, 08:36PM
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Even DUBNYK would have lost this game ...please...

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#41 Alsker
November 29 2013, 10:56PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

As soon as i thought we had hope. They let me down AGAIN and AGAIN

Hahahaha...sorry, reminded me of my ex...lol......

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#42 YFC Prez
November 30 2013, 09:15AM
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** wrote:

Who let the troll out?

Why you Heff to be mad?

I understand sticking up for your fellow man. But when that fellow man visits someone's blog and complains about the contents without adding anything of value what so ever , he should expect to be called on it.

I happen to like Lowetides contributions so I respectfully disagree with grumpy oil and yourself.

The very first article I ever read here was one by Wanye featuring some world class ms paint of a giant star shaped Jordan Eberle ( that was pretty much the worm that got me hooked). Yes I know what goes on at the nation.

My only question for you is when you call out one of the bloggers for quality of work why get your panties in a knot when the call is returned from another commenter. Time to relax I think.

* hugs *

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#43 Oilerz4life
November 30 2013, 10:24AM
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roger wrote:

i remember that game being an unabashed doug weight fan, I was wondering why laraque didn't do anything. the next shift weight was on with marchment he tried to force feed marchment his hespler, oh good times.

Those were good times. That Oilers team had heart. This Oiler team has more talent and still the underdog team from then, the ownership group era, would plaster this current roster all over the boards!

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#45 Jakethesnake
November 30 2013, 07:05AM
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The biggest problem last night like lots of other nights is guys like Hall won't push back. I am a huge Hall fan but if he is ever going to be a star he needs to turn around and punch someone in the mouth. We like to compare him to Mes well that's what he did don't take crap. He's a grown man now. Has to stop taking cheap Sh.t from guys line Johnson. I can tell you my 17 year wouldn't take that crap. PUSH BACK.

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#46 2004Z06
November 30 2013, 10:07AM
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S cottV wrote:

Sometimes you give up possession 200 feet away and regain possession with a strong forecheck. Hall screws around 1 on 3, gets stuffed - turns it over and 30 seconds later its in the back of our net, aided by the fact that RNH has no idea what he is doing in his own end. So the big line gives up a gift to get things going. Not the thing you want to do on the road - back to back.

But, but how is this possible? That's 18 million per year on that line.

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#47 nWo4life
November 30 2013, 12:24PM
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@Jakethesnake

Comparing Hall to Messier is like comparing Prince Charles to Mike Tyson.

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#48 S cottV
November 30 2013, 09:36AM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

I don't know if you understand how hockey is played, but if you spend more time with the puck, you have a greater chance of scoring, also you are more likely to get hit. Last night the Oilers only line with consistent possession in Columbus' end was the RNH-Hall-Eberle line and they consistently won puck battles. That is toughness.

The other scoring lines did very little of that.

What last nights game highlighted to me was that Columbus is another young inconsistent team like the Oilers and when you got some big, strong puck moving D-man, who are willing to engage you are going to be an effective team. Wish the Oilers had some more of that on the back end.

Sometimes you give up possession 200 feet away and regain possession with a strong forecheck. Hall screws around 1 on 3, gets stuffed - turns it over and 30 seconds later its in the back of our net, aided by the fact that RNH has no idea what he is doing in his own end. So the big line gives up a gift to get things going. Not the thing you want to do on the road - back to back.

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#49 S cottV
November 30 2013, 11:32AM
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Whether poor drafting, poor development, and or failure to make the right trades - the Oilers are in trouble because they do not command centre ice on the first two rotations and they cannot push the play up and out from the back end. RNH will not be a bonafide 1C for two more years, Gagner has no presence at 2C and there are no legit 1 and 2D men. The result is lack of possession and too much play on the wrong side of the red line and Corsi stats clearly show this. What good are high end wingers in these circumstances? Strength in the middle and a back end that pushes up and out - will make average wingers and goaltenders look better than they are. Weakness in the middle and back end will make pretty good wingers and goaltenders look awfully average. The Oilers are @ss backwards in the way this whole thing appears to have been mis-orchestrated. MacT needs to relieve his impatience by filling the 2C, 1D and 2D holes and that wont be easy because it does not appear to be in the system in the near term. If can be addressed - the team will be in a position to win consistently, once RNH matures into a legit 1C. Right now he is clearly and rightfully so - in training....

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#50 Oilerz4life
November 29 2013, 09:49PM
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** wrote:

Here's something encouraging:

Since the miracle run in 2006 the Oilers haven't had multiple players over 65 points, hell some seasons not even one player. In 2006 there were 4 players with at least 65 points.

This season there are 4 players on pace for at least 65 points: Eberle, Hall, Nuge and Perron (I didn't count last season because it wasn't a full season and the stats are very skewed for a real comparison). That's more offense than the team has had in a long time . It's time to pull the trigger on under performing veterans and bring the right pieces for the team to finally move up (provided Eakins gets his act together).

Well said.

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