GDB 16.0: JUST SHOW UP...

Jason Gregor
November 05 2013 11:59AM

It won't matter what the line combinations are if the Oilers elect to sleep walk through tonight's game like they did Saturday vs. the Detroit Red Wings. Hockey fans, coaches and players can accept losing, as long as you put forth an effort, but the Edmonton Oilers barely registered a pulse vs. the Wings.

Whatever happens tonight, the Oiler must show they care.

I watched the game on Saturday with some diehard Oilers fans and they were distraught during and after the game. These are fans, like many of you, who buy tickets, jerseys and have supported the Oilers through seven years of sucking. They love hockey, and as long as the Oilers put forth an effort that satisfies most of you.

What you saw on Saturday was pathetic.

The Oilers showed no desire. Not one player looked remotely annoyed that they were getting embarrassed in front of their home fans and on national TV.

I rarely will say players don't care, because you don't make it to the best league in the world without caring, but on Saturday night their "care meter" barely registered.

It is obvious this team lacks confidence right now. No one is shooting the puck with any authority, and it seems most players are scared to make a mistake. The harsh reality is that no other team is going to feel sorry for them. If they want to start winning, they simply need to roll up their sleeves and compete.

GOOD NEWS...

They did lose another player to injury on Saturday, Anton Belov, but two Oilers will return to the lineup tonight.

Devan Dubnyk's ankle has healed and he'll make his first start since October 24th. Dubnyk is the best goalie they have, and the Oilers must be hoping he can make some big saves early and inject some confidence into a lineup that looks beaten down.

Ryan Smyth also returns after injuring his groin vs. the Senators on October 19th. At this point in his career, Smyth isn't a go-to guy, but he at least knows how to play hard and go to the net. The Oilers need more guys willing to do the small things, if they ever hope to start winning.

They have to realize that they can't beat teams with skill. You need more than just skill to win in the NHL.

LINEUP....

Hemsky-RNH-Eberle
Smyth-Gagner-Yakupov
Jones-Gordon-Arcobello
Gazdic-Acton-Eager

Eakins moved Yakupov back to the right side with the hope he'll be more comfortable and start producing. With Smyth on his wing, Yakupov is clearly the shooter on that line, and if he uses his heavy shot, while Smyth stands in front, the Oilers might get an ugly goal or two.

Ference-Petry
Smid-Larsen
N.Schultz-Fedun

Eakins has three new pairings. Taylor Fedun will make his NHL debut, and every fan is pulling for him to complete an incredible comeback story. Smid and Petry haven't looked in sync for a few games, so it can't hurt splitting them up.

As I stated earlier, the pairings won't matter if the Oilers don't play with passion.

We can discuss the system, the line combinations, which wing Yakupov is playing or many other aspects of this team, but ultimately if they don't play with desire or passion it won't matter.

Remember when the Oilers of 1997-2004 had little proven talent, yet they managed to be competitive. Why?

Because they had players like Ethan Moreau, Todd Marchant, Jason Smith, Mike Grier, Steve Staios, Ryan Smyth and others who played hard. They weren't the most skilled team, but the worked their ass of every night. This team has more natural skill, but if they don't work hard, or work smart, it is irrelevant.

If the Oilers show a willingness to compete tonight, they will have a shot at beating a team that isn't very good.

QUICK HITS...

  • Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and Mark Messier were scouting the Rangers/Ducks game last night, and since it is safe to assume they weren't watching Dustin Penner, it seems likely they were watching the Rangers. The Rangers, like the Oilers, are struggling and the Rangers need offence. Rick Nash is still suffering concussion-like symptoms and he isn't close to returning, so the Rangers will be looking for some offensive help.

    Ales Hemsky's name has come up again, and so has Nail Yakupov. A deal involving Hemsky would likely have the Oilers eating part of his salary, since the Rangers don't have much cap space, and no one they would trade that is close to $5 million cap hit.

    If a deal involved Yakupov, then we are looking at a major trade, and I'd guess Ryan McDonagh would need to be involved. The Oilers are in no rush to move Yakupov, but to even consider it; they would need a solid D-man coming to Edmonton. McDonagh is a $4.7 cap hit until the end of the 2018/2019 season.
     
  • It is interesting to notice the difference between Eskimo fans and Oilers fans, many of whom are the same people. Many Eskimos fans ripped Ricky Ray and wanted him traded, yet in hockey most of the venom is directed towards the coach or GM. I've never seen a key Oiler player take as much criticism from the fans as I did Ray. Any idea why that is?
     
  • The Oilers couldn't have asked for a better place to start their road trip than in Florida. The Oilers have won their last four meetings in Florida dating back to 2003 and they've outscored them 13-6.
     
  • If you need some positives to convince you to watch tonight's tilt:

    Dubnyk has a career .963 SV% and 0.93 GAA vs. the Panthers.
    Ben Eager has four goals vs. the Panthers, the most he's scored against any team.
    Ryan Jones has two goals in three career games vs. Florida.
    Smyth has 21 points in 18 career games vs. the Panthers.
    The odds are good one Oiler will register their first career goal vs. Florida tonight: Acton, Arcobello, Eberle, Fedun, Ference, Gagner, Gazdic, Larsen, Nugent-Hopkins, Petry, Smid and Yakupov have never scored a goal vs. the Panthers.

CRYSTAL BALL....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Just when you think you are about to stop caring, the Oilers will find a way to draw you back in with a 3-1 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers play better than they did on Saturday. ***Really bold prediction.***

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fedun scores his first NHL goal. Right now the Oilers and their fans need a beacon of hope. Something to make them believe this 87-month losing drought will eventually end. That's right; you've just entered your 87 months of losing hockey since September, 2006. You need something to make you believe their is hope, and if a local boy, who shattered his leg two years ago can score in his NHL debut, then damn rights the Oilers can eventually return to the land of winning.

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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#101 Larry
November 05 2013, 06:19PM
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Happy wrote:

What do people around here think the Oilers could get for Nail Yakupov?

I don't think we'd get a number 1/2 d-man...

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#102 DSF
November 05 2013, 06:27PM
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Happy wrote:

What do people around here think the Oilers could get for Nail Yakupov?

A 2nd round pick.

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#103 a lg dubl dubl
November 05 2013, 06:31PM
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DSF wrote:

A 2nd round pick.

Really? I was thinkin more Shea Weber straight up for Yak, I mean come on, hes a 1st pick overall! ;)

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#104 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:32PM
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DSF wrote:

A 2nd round pick.

I was thinking the same. A first rounder from a contender (#'s12 through 18) at most.

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#105 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
November 05 2013, 06:34PM
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Attaboy Arco!

Also: Whitney still sucks.

EDIT: Fedun! What a beauty.

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#106 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:34PM
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Nice to see. Good for him.

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#107 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:36PM
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That was a lovely moment.

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#108 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 06:36PM
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Mark Fedun down as one of my favorite Oilers all time, Hollywood couldn't have written it better.

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#109 vetinari
November 05 2013, 06:40PM
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Good for Arcobello. Great for Fedun!

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#110 KRad
November 05 2013, 06:41PM
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"The odds are good one Oiler will register their first career goal vs. Florida tonight: Acton, Arcobello, Eberle, Fedun, Ference, Gagner, Gazdic, Larsen, Nugent-Hopkins, Petry, Smid and Yakupov have never scored a goal vs. the Panthers."

Or apparently all of the above. Just 9 more to go ...

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#111 spliff
November 05 2013, 06:42PM
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Great to see Arco and Fedun get their first goals.

But wow are these two sh*te hockey teams.

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#112 RexHolez
November 05 2013, 06:49PM
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Hemsky-RNH-YakCity how does that not make perfect sense?

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#113 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 06:49PM
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spliff wrote:

Great to see Arco and Fedun get their first goals.

But wow are these two sh*te hockey teams.

Definitely both bottom five...

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#114 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 06:52PM
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I almost feel bad for Florida when the Oilers PP dominates them that badly.

Almost.

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#115 Todd
November 05 2013, 06:54PM
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@DSF

Hey DSF - Remember when you said Tambelinni should learn from Dale Talon and that Florida was an example to strive for.

Thoughts now???

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#116 dangilitis
November 05 2013, 06:56PM
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"Fedun scores his first NHL goal. Right now the Oilers and their fans need a beacon of hope. Something to make them believe this 87-month losing drought will eventually end. That's right; you've just entered your 87 months of losing hockey since September, 2006. You need something to make you believe their is hope, and if a local boy, who shattered his leg two years ago can score in his NHL debut, then damn rights the Oilers can eventually return to the land of winning."

Some of your predictions this year have been eerily good

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#117 Todd
November 05 2013, 07:05PM
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"Tallon, like any smart GM, made a bunch of bets. He won them all. (Perhaps excepting Jovanovski). Now, that means he is either very lucky or very smart. Considering his success in Chicago, I'd put my money on the latter."

@DSF Aug 2012

Lose much money on that bet??!?

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#118 DSF
November 05 2013, 07:07PM
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Todd wrote:

Hey DSF - Remember when you said Tambelinni should learn from Dale Talon and that Florida was an example to strive for.

Thoughts now???

The Panthers are broke and once again looking for new owners.

Tallon's hands are pretty much tied.

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#119 Bucknuck
November 05 2013, 07:08PM
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I wish they could have put one away on that powerplay. I have a feeling the Panthers will be better in the third. #dammit

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#120 DSF
November 05 2013, 07:10PM
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Todd wrote:

"Tallon, like any smart GM, made a bunch of bets. He won them all. (Perhaps excepting Jovanovski). Now, that means he is either very lucky or very smart. Considering his success in Chicago, I'd put my money on the latter."

@DSF Aug 2012

Lose much money on that bet??!?

How is Tambellini doing?

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#121 Bloodsweatandoil
November 05 2013, 07:12PM
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Man......I posted over my coffee this morning with my who cares attitude anymore that I would not watch the next few games.......but I couldn't help it..... that Florida team is losing to that club from Edmonton right now!

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#122 Greg
November 05 2013, 07:17PM
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Just checked the score and saw that the oil are leading. I don't know why, I can't quite explain it, but part of me was disappointed to see that...

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#123 Oiler Haters
November 05 2013, 07:18PM
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How about my boys now??? Better start jumping back on the bandwagon cause genre we go! Way to go LOWE!

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#124 Todd
November 05 2013, 07:19PM
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DSF wrote:

The Panthers are broke and once again looking for new owners.

Tallon's hands are pretty much tied.

"He has an elite goaltending prospect in Markstrom who appears to be ready for the NHL.

He has three huge young stud defensemen in Kulikov (21), Gudbranson (20) Ellerby (23) who I think you can count on getting better.

He has Huberdeau, Howden, Bjugstad and Robak bubbling under. These are NOT low end prospects like Pitlick, Lander and Chorney.

They are in no way similar to the 07/08 Oilers who didn't have ONE top pairing defenseman (Florida arguably has 3 and that doesn't even include Kulikov or Gudbranson) nor do they have a couple of palookas in net.

They need to add some scoring.

With $30 million in cap space and a ton of prospects to dangle...I'm confident Tallon can get it done.

Watch."

@DSF - June 2012

Man having a permanent record of the sh1t you say must be a hassle....

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#125 God
November 05 2013, 07:20PM
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3 goals from guys that were all expected to be buried in the AHL this year. They all looked excited to score. Now if only our high paid players would step off their thrones to actually work a couple shifts.

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#126 rectal place
November 05 2013, 07:20PM
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Ryan Whitney wrote:

Man am I ever a useless plug....I left the Oilers cause i'm too good for them but yet I am loosing to them!

Sorry to troll but... loosing isn't a word, losing is. Pet peave, I hope this makes your life a little bit better.

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#127 Todd
November 05 2013, 07:20PM
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DSF wrote:

How is Tambellini doing?

He is fired thank goodness. Did you miss that??

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#128 .????
November 05 2013, 07:20PM
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Oiler Haters wrote:

How about my boys now??? Better start jumping back on the bandwagon cause genre we go! Way to go LOWE!

Are you f$&(in retarded???

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#129 outdoorzguy
November 05 2013, 07:24PM
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Looking at the empty stands in the arena...now that's how Rexall should look every night for the next month to send a message to management and Katz!!

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#130 God
November 05 2013, 07:28PM
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Wow. This Florida is BAD. Plus, did anyone else notice the empty seats? The Oil should be destroying them.

I'm not happy with the lead. No hope. Still no faith.

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#131 WARREN
November 05 2013, 07:30PM
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i'm watching the florida feed in phx

2 very bad teams.

they have no fans, stands are mt

nhl should be embarrassed as much as i am as a fan

3rd period starts the stands are emptier

you do realize 280$ season ticket holders your money goes to florida

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#132 Zarny
November 05 2013, 07:31PM
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DSF wrote:

A 2nd round pick.

Good grief.

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#133 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 07:32PM
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rectal place wrote:

Sorry to troll but... loosing isn't a word, losing is. Pet peave, I hope this makes your life a little bit better.

It's pet peeve, not pet peave:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_peeve

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#134 Oilers rule
November 05 2013, 07:33PM
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NOW THIS IS THE TEAM WE ALL THOUGHT THEY COULD BE. THIS SHOWS HOW ELITE THIS TEAM REALLY IS. IT SHOWS HOW GREAT OUR COACH IS TOO. ALL IS RIGHT IN THE WORLD!!

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#135 Wonger
November 05 2013, 07:34PM
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Let's get a couple thousand people together, pool our cash and buy the Oil off of Katz. Then we will get Gregor to be our President, Brownlee the GM and Strudwick and Sutherby to be co- head coaches! They will blow this mess up and rebuild it into a WINNER!

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#136 God
November 05 2013, 07:40PM
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Wonger wrote:

Let's get a couple thousand people together, pool our cash and buy the Oil off of Katz. Then we will get Gregor to be our President, Brownlee the GM and Strudwick and Sutherby to be co- head coaches! They will blow this mess up and rebuild it into a WINNER!

I would LOVE to be a co-owner!

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#137 WARREN
November 05 2013, 07:40PM
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nhl obamacare

think about it

yeg full house how many straight

fld 20% full

tier 1....fans thank you from fld

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#138 Rocket
November 05 2013, 07:42PM
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By my eye, Kulikov has looked pretty good tonight. Some of the other Florida players have looked OK as well. I wonder why they are so bad? Maybe they seem as soft to play against as The Oilers?

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#139 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 07:44PM
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Let's not get ahead of ourselves here, Florida is one of like, two teams worse than the Oilers this year. But it feels good knowing the Oil aren't the only ones in the sewer.

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#140 K_Mart
November 05 2013, 07:44PM
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Bad habits crept up again on that play. Hemsky and eberle to blame..

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#141 Tambo4Hire
November 05 2013, 07:45PM
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DSF wrote:

How is Tambellini doing?

I'm doing good thanks!

Lots of time on my hands.

Reeeeaaaalllll quiet here yep.

Phone doesn't ring much.

Like...at all.

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#142 Alsker
November 05 2013, 07:45PM
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Man I hope all the young'ns were watching that awesome dump it out to safety move by Hemmer...why do the simple(right) thing.

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#143 spliff
November 05 2013, 07:46PM
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If the Oilers trade Yak or Hemsky, or whoever, can they please make sure they include Smid in the deal. Please.

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#144 One Who Knows ( deep deep Insider )
November 05 2013, 07:48PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

"Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and Mark Messier were scouting the Rangers/Ducks game last night"

My question is, why were there no real scouts there? Does that not trouble anyone else?

The three CLOWNS in New Yak City were setting up a smoke screen while the real scouts are watching Philly Toronto and Buffalo! All part of the negotiation game!

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#145 WARREN
November 05 2013, 07:49PM
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i think hemsky is the problem...

and no one wants him

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#146 God
November 05 2013, 07:58PM
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Bahahaha! Our team sucks so bad!

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#147 Oilersrule
November 05 2013, 07:58PM
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Oilers sure look good. If they played like this against Detroit, I think they win. Teams like Pittsburgh, Boston, San Jose better watch out...... The Oil are coming!!

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#148 ubermiguel
November 05 2013, 08:01PM
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Do the little things all the time. Like clear the puck when you're 3 feet from the blue line, right Hemsky? Amazing how one small error from one guy can change the course of a game.

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#149 argh
November 05 2013, 08:01PM
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God wrote:

Bahahaha! Our team sucks so bad!

Eakins had n. Schultz and Petry out in the last minute on the tying goal! Argh!

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#150 argh
November 05 2013, 08:01PM
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God wrote:

Bahahaha! Our team sucks so bad!

Eakins had n. Schultz and Petry out in the last minute on the tying goal! Argh!

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