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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#1 Spydyr
November 05 2013, 12:07PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The teams wins one for Fedun.He has shown more in his comeback from that awful injury than the entire team showed last game.

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#2 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
November 05 2013, 12:08PM
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The fan in me wants to be home and fed in time to watch the game, live.

But, the realist in me says PVR it and make better use of my time.

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#3 northof51
November 05 2013, 12:11PM
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Still don't like Gagner at centre with Arco on the wing.

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#4 lolhockey
November 05 2013, 12:08PM
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The good thing about these early games is that when the Oilers lose, I don't have to go to bed right away in an angry state.

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#5 sizedoesmatter
November 05 2013, 08:48PM
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DSF wrote:

It's quite sad actually.

What's sad about a player working his bag off to lead the team

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#6 Bi-Curious Gord
November 05 2013, 01:08PM
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Obvious Game Day Pediction:

Oilers lose 8-0

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#7 BIngBong
November 05 2013, 12:08PM
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I don't want to be mistaken for DSF, but that Smyth-Gagner-Yakupov line looks like TROUBLE.

And what are the odds that either Whitney or Gilbert scores tonight?

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#8 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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I keep waiting for Arcobello to falter but he keeps getting better. He's a real smart player. I'm totally sold on this guy as our second line centre. I can live with trading Gagner and Yak for the right pieces.

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#10 Tikkanese
November 05 2013, 03:29PM
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"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?

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#11 Joel
November 05 2013, 03:30PM
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Is it me or has anyone noticed no one likes passing to Yakupov unless they have to.

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#12 Todd
November 05 2013, 08:15PM
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DSF wrote:

It's quite sad actually.

Who is leading your mancrush Tallon's team? Quite sad.

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#13 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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#14 Craig1981
November 05 2013, 08:56PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

It's official, Sam Gagner is the new GOAT in Oil country. I used to like Gags, but -6 in his first three games back with an abysmal face off percentage yet again. Come on dude, WTF! Said a few weeks back and I'll say it again - Arcobello is already an improvement. Step it up Sammy!

You are changing your opinion based on 3 games after he has came back early from a major surgery. Disappointing.

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#15 thepeetso
November 05 2013, 12:45PM
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northof51 wrote:

Still don't like Gagner at centre with Arco on the wing.

I still don't like Gagner . . .

. . . on this team anyways.

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#16 Jakethesnake
November 05 2013, 08:10PM
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Get a goalie and keep arco and get rid of gags.

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#17 Danger Pay
November 05 2013, 12:12PM
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Still finding it tough to watch this one Gregor.

B/C I think there's some snow I still need to shovel or garbage to take out or dishes to wash or laundry to do or dogs to feed and walk or a workout to do or make dinner or bills to pay or dusting to do or make the bed or catch up with some family or news to watch or...anything except watch the Oilers.

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#18 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 05 2013, 01:01PM
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I want to believe. i want to care but I cant see me tuning in tonight. As far as Lowe in on a big deal with the Rangers...Who cares he is just gonna screw this up as well

Fire Lowe

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#19 DSF
November 05 2013, 02:37PM
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So, is this game the start of the relegation round?

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#20 bazmagoo
November 05 2013, 08:51PM
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It's official, Sam Gagner is the new GOAT in Oil country. I used to like Gags, but -6 in his first three games back with an abysmal face off percentage yet again. Come on dude, WTF! Said a few weeks back and I'll say it again - Arcobello is already an improvement. Step it up Sammy!

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#21 JB
November 05 2013, 12:36PM
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Gregor, what about Arnott, Poti and Kovalenko? Hell, even Cory Cross? I remember those guys being basically driven out of town by the fans.

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#22 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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#23 2004Z06
November 05 2013, 08:23PM
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Comments are clearly not being moderated here anymore.

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#24 mayorblaine
November 05 2013, 12:25PM
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we can't trade anyone - insert name - cause their value is too low. we can't trade - insert name - because their value is too high.

this my friends is part of parcel and how we got to where we are today. fear of change.

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#25 match16
November 05 2013, 12:46PM
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Jason, I don't think there's been much difference between the fan bases of Oilers/Esks at all. For years, Oilers fans have been ripping on Horcoff, Whitney, etc. but they have come and gone and the team has still not improved. However, the one constant in the last 7 years is Kevin Lowe which the fans realize and are now wanting a change up top.

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#26 Coco crisp
November 05 2013, 01:20PM
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Horcoff had a pretty tough ride here in edm, Jason. I always felt bad for both Ricky and Shawn. Underappreciated to say the least.

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#27 vetinari
November 05 2013, 01:56PM
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One period. That's what they get. If the Oilers can't be bothered to show up and compete then I am not wasting more than 20 minutes of my free time on them.

GDP: somewhere between 6-1 Oilers and 8-3 Florida

OGDP: Every pregame interview will talk about 'accountability' (which is lacking) and Fedun (who deserves some positive karma for a change).

NSOGDP: Yakupov is absent from the bench for the whole second period prompting speculation that he had been traded. Instead, it turns out that he took a wrong turn and ended up outside of the stadium in full Oilers gear. As he never experienced +30C temperatures in November before, he decided to work on his tan for a while before returning to the ice for the third and scoring two goals.

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#28 Smokey
November 05 2013, 03:27PM
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I never cheer for my team to lose, but an ass kicking at the hands of Florida, a fellow bottom feeder, might bring Batman outta his Vancouver bunker to fire Lowe and the gang.

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#29 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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#30 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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#31 vetinari
November 05 2013, 08:27PM
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45 more wins and we might make the playoffs!

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#32 Lloyd B.
November 05 2013, 03:41PM
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I believe that Messiers job is to walk through the dressing room. If any players jersey is on the floor, crumpled in the corner of his locker and not hung up and proudly displayed, Mess is to pick that fella up by the scruff of the neck and introduce him to pride. Pride of the FRONT of the jersey. Pride in the City. Pride that they get to play a kids game for BIG money. Pride in being an NHL player and not just a hockey player. Pride in his name being respected, not only in the City but in the NHL. That's what is missing the most with this team. PRIDE in the work they do. That is what is missing the most on this team in my honest opinion. Hey I just got the acronym IMHO!! I reckon we see massive improvement immediately!!

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#33 KSC10032
November 05 2013, 05:02PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Trade ideas:

Gagner + Prospect + pick (No Klefbom or Nurse) for David Backes (STL).

Jordan Eberle + Nail Yakupov (and Possibly Dubnyk) to Rangers for McDonagh and Lundqvist (Conditional on him signing with Edm for 4+ years). If Duby is thrown in, maybe we look to also get Hagelin as part of the return if we think we're overpaying?

Gained

David Backes, 6'3 221 lbs Centerman (29)
Ryan McDonagh, 6'1 213 lbs Defenseman (24)
Henrik Lundqvist, excellent Goalie (31)
(Possibly) Carl Hagelin,

Lost

Jordan Eberle
Nail Yakupov
Sam Gagner
(possibly Duby)
Prospect
Pick

I could be undervaluing our young guns, but i could also be undervaluing what it takes to steal a #1 center from STL and top tier Goalie from NYR. Unfortunately we're creating a bit of a hole on the right side and we still have Hemsky to do something with. Unfortunately i dont think hemsky holds much value on the trade market, so he likely wouldnt be a piece in this deal in place of Eberle or Yakupov. We'd likely have to re-sign Hemsky.

I appreciate that fans here care, and really want the best, BUT, when making such specific trade suggestions why oh why can't people ask themselves the very simple question:

WHY WOULD NYR or STL (in this case) EVEN CONSIDER DOING THIS?

C'mon. Lundquist would never sign here when the Rangers and he are still on good terms? Why would STL swap out Backes for Gagner?

Not. A. Chance.

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#34 DSF
November 05 2013, 08:08PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

Arco!!! He's tied for the lead in Oilers scoring right now. Yikes.

It's quite sad actually.

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#35 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
November 05 2013, 12:28PM
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C'mon, that Oiler lineup is mostly AHL caliber. Oil put in a better effort but they're still a free space on the Panthers bingo card tonight. Oilers will atleast score a goal this evening, Barkov gains some confidence with a 3 pt night..... 5-1 Florida.

Taylor flippin Fedun......is that all they have in reserve during these difficult times?

Stay the course Oilersnation, tankage certainly appears to be on the Oils agenda. And i'm fine with that.

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#36 fig pucker
November 05 2013, 03:28PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

I want to believe. i want to care but I cant see me tuning in tonight. As far as Lowe in on a big deal with the Rangers...Who cares he is just gonna screw this up as well

Fire Lowe

when i heard that lowe, mact t and messier were at the game last night, i thought maybe they were all there to beg sather for a job, no such luck. instead rumors of a trade, god help us, katz is going to let the peanut gallery drive the bus right over the cliff.

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#37 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 03:50PM
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@madjam

Idiocy, mate. Manage your assets!

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#38 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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#39 Zarny
November 05 2013, 07:31PM
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DSF wrote:

A 2nd round pick.

Good grief.

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#40 Me common sense
November 05 2013, 12:20PM
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Still no grit or muscle

Sign/trade/abduct Steve Ott

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#41 Nimrod
November 05 2013, 01:35PM
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Time for the $6M boys to at least play like $3M men. Time to show some pride. Time to give the fans something, anything.

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#42 ubermiguel
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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Arco!!! He's tied for the lead in Oilers scoring right now. Yikes.

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#43 spliff
November 05 2013, 08:08PM
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Arco wins it in OT. Very fitting, he totally outplays the player he was brought in to replace (Gagner). Samwise absolutely sucked tonight. Two very weak checking efforts on two FLA goals, plust a weak-ass shot on the PP in OT. Hopefully Messier, the newly hired President of Effort Assurance, will "have a talk" with Sammy and this won't happen again.

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#44 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
November 05 2013, 03:40PM
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Oiler injuries are compounded buy the fact they have so little cap room left to create any measureable amount of depth.

The season was Dead via paper cut, even before training camp started.

MacTavish has no other option but to put AHL'ers, in NHL jerseys throughout the bottom half of his roster.

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#45 Dog Train
November 05 2013, 04:17PM
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I was looking for a reason to watch this game so the call-up of Fedun was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting something completely uninteresting like the return of Corey Potter but it's nice to see Fedun finally get the opportunity that fortune stole from him a few years ago. I like an underdog and I hope that Taylor makes the most of his opportunity.

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#46 Loweblows
November 05 2013, 05:08PM
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Put Arcobello back at center and friggin leave him there

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#47 outdoorzguy
November 05 2013, 08:12PM
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Hey Big Mouth Jerk wrote:

We beat your Panthers....hahaha..........!!! LOSER!

Really?? Too much of this stuff going on here. I'm off this site. Bye bye!!!

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#48 Craig1981
November 05 2013, 01:04PM
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I think the difference is many Oiler fans have played some form of hockey and can relate to the players. Football is a very complicated sport that few of us have played competitively and very few have ever been a QB. Simply we can't relate the same.

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#49 Dave "Killer" Carlson
November 05 2013, 01:11PM
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The only reason I'd consider watching tonight's game is to see Fedun finally play after that broken femur. Good on him.

Unfortunately, this isn't enough to convince me after last week's games. Hopefully they'll show some heart and I'll watch come Battle of Alberta time.

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#50 Ales Hallsky
November 05 2013, 01:24PM
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I've never seen a key Oiler player take as much criticism from the fans as I did Ray. Any idea why that is... Horc?

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