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 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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#102 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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#103 Ari Gold
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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#104 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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#105 Zarny
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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It's Aliiiive!

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#106 bazmagoo
November 05 2013, 11:53PM
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@David S

Ok everyone is making good points about Gags being injured and not being able to check and take full contact. If that is the case, then why the frig is he playing center when Arcobello has been doing well at that position? Center's need to be somewhat defensively reliable. And why the pooop is he playing in the first place if he can't take full contact and check? Grrrr, come on Oilers step it up!

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#107 pkam
November 05 2013, 02:23PM
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Rocket wrote:

Yeah I know what you mean about only giving this team the first period to see if this game is worth watching. I'm doing that more to save time this season. I was at the Detroit game and stayed 2 periods. I've never left an Oilers game early in 25 years. I should have left after the first.

Remember the Devil's game?

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#108 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 03:21PM
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So what's Perron's status? I don't remember hearing a time line for his return, and sweet lord I've been missing him.

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#109 Smokey
November 05 2013, 03:37PM
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@BIngBong

I think you got a scorer, and grinder and a playmaker. Smyth knows how to little things to make a line work. If he needs to play defensively, he will do that. If the line needs boardwork or a guy in front he know what to do. Ryan Smyth from 6 years ago would be dynamite, but I think they'll be ok.

I hope Gibby scores a hatty, and the Oil win. Gibby a good guy, better then half the defence this year. Him as our 4/5 would be ok.

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#110 stevengregson2
November 05 2013, 03:52PM
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If this Oilers Team doesn't show up the next 2 straight games against two teams probably most equal to them in quality, I don't know what happens.

This Oiler team on paper, healthier than they are now, should be good enough to at least 'compete' for a playoff spot. Through 15 games, they have 3 wins that maybe should be 6 wins out of the total.

Over the next 5 games, if we don't see an improvement in the teams corsi rating, there special teams play and the defensive zone coverage, I believe there is enough evidence to show Eakins isn't a NHL coach for this team.

Lots of people want to fire the Management. MacT bought Eakins in, and right now, its his show on the ice. Everyone want's to talk about mixture of players and chemistry. This team has three healthy players under the age of 23 that are potential all stars. I just don't see how teams like NJ, Nashville and Phoenix consistently offer better teams despite there roster shortcomings.

Yeah, I'm after Eakins. I think his hiring was a mistake. I hope i am wrong. Blowing this group up with fantasy trades for Shea Weber won't happen. Deals are so rare and so even in today's NHL I doubt the oilers 'win' a big one. I hope as Hall, Joensuu and JShultz come back along with Fedun's debut, that this team see's improvement.

If we get 2 or more detriot like duds on this 4 game swing, I think MacT should replace Eakins with Todd Nelson. What else can he do. Lowe's not going anywhere right now and Shea Weber or Milan Lucic aren't showing up via trade for Eberle or Yakupov.

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#111 RexHolez
November 05 2013, 05:27PM
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Watch the game or count the thread count on my wal mart sheets???

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#112 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 05:48PM
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Now if only rexall were that empty, heads would roll.

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#113 Romanus
November 05 2013, 05:49PM
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Wow lots of empty seats. When players don't want to come to northern cities to play, they may want to think twice about where their paycheck comes from. Certainly not from from ticket sales in Florida.

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#114 vetinari
November 05 2013, 05:53PM
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If Florida can have a team with no one in the arena, why can't they get a team in Quebec City? Now that is embarrassing...

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#115 Hemmercules
November 05 2013, 05:59PM
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I was congratulating the oilers for not getting scored on for the first ten minutes. That lasted 45 seconds haha. Gagner is soft on that goal.

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#116 Larry
November 05 2013, 06:09PM
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That was 176 min since there last goal. Almost 3 full games...

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#117 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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#118 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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#119 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:36PM
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That was a lovely moment.

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#120 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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#121 .????
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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#122 Oilers rule
November 05 2013, 08:03PM
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HEY..... THE OILERS SHOWED UP.... JUST LIKE THE FANS IN FLORIDA!!

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#123 Homer
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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I feel like congratulating the Oilers like congratulating a 4 year old that learns how to ride a bike....... Kind of pathetic!!

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#124 Hey Big Mouth Jerk
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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FLORIDAPANTHERSRULE wrote:

oioo

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

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#125 Batfink
November 05 2013, 08:38PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

There were no winners in that game...

I looked this up, and according to the rules, whomever scores first in OT wins the game. So we're the winners...

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#126 Toro
November 05 2013, 01:37PM
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Hey JG , what is Messiers role with the team? Didn't even know he was working for us, my guess to replace KLowe as President sometime within a year? I would love to add Brian Boyle from the Rangers don't know what the asking price would be though.

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#127 The Nuuuuuuuuuuuuge
November 05 2013, 02:06PM
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5:1 Panthers...

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#128 Rocket
November 05 2013, 02:18PM
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vetinari wrote:

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.

Yeah I know what you mean about only giving this team the first period to see if this game is worth watching. I'm doing that more to save time this season. I was at the Detroit game and stayed 2 periods. I've never left an Oilers game early in 25 years. I should have left after the first.

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#129 G Money
November 05 2013, 03:16PM
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DSF wrote:

So, is this game the start of the relegation round?

We wish.

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#130 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
November 05 2013, 03:25PM
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joshgladu wrote:

any trade with NYR should start and end with hagelin. what a hockey player he is. before the mouth breathers talk about size just look at his analytics

Is this the same Hagelin you're talking about?

http://youtu.be/wZZVsdxflsA

Coach Killer you think, Oil may have enough of those already. Analyze that!

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#131 Rheal1
November 05 2013, 03:30PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Special VP of Leaderiness

How about Katz' drinkin' buddy?

In all seriousness I can't wait to see Huberdeau get a hat trick against the lifeless Oilers. Comparing the injured, Edmonton has 11 injured players, DOUBLE the average!!! We need to get all the key players back & fit to play.

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#132 madjam
November 05 2013, 03:47PM
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If Oilers were to put Hemsky on waivers , would anyone pick him up ? Seems better than paying half his salary to unload a player I doubt would want to be here next year anyways .

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#133 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 04:35PM
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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?

So the boys go running to papa Sather to see if they can get a player to buy some time/hope. The old boys network continues. My guess is the rest of the league just laughs at what they want for hemsky or yak. But the TRUST Sather.

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#134 A-Mc
November 05 2013, 04:42PM
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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.

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#135 Rocket
November 05 2013, 04:59PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Well mess will have to do that via satellite feed because there is no way he's leaving New York for the North American version of Siberia. So much for pride in the oilers...

If you want to insult the city of Edmonton, there are prolly a few Canucks blogs you can go to.

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#136 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 05:09PM
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Rocket wrote:

If you want to insult the city of Edmonton, there are prolly a few Canucks blogs you can go to.

It is what it is. Take a look out your window.

And there is no denying that it is regarded as a type of Siberia to many in the NHL and elsewhere.

Embrace it.

Don't hope in vain that someone like mess is coming back. (Or send him a DVD about the place like Klowe did with heatley - a native if Calgary.)

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#137 vetinari
November 05 2013, 05:46PM
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That arena is really, really... empty???? Is everyone still getting used to the time change?

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#138 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 05:58PM
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What a laughingly terrible defensive sequence that lead to that goal.

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#139 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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#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 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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#143 argh
November 05 2013, 08:01PM
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Ari Gold 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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#144 Crusty Grit
November 05 2013, 08:03PM
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Ouch...

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#145 David S
November 05 2013, 10:53PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

Gagner has always been my GOAT.

I don't know what people see in him. He goes 10-20 game stretches of complete ineptitude and than has a game with a fight or scores 8 points and all the band wagon jumpers go look, isn't Gagner great! And than........ 20 more games of ineptitude.

38 points in 48 games last year gives you a 65 point/82 equivalent player WITH the traditional Gagner slow start and mandatory dry spell.

Yeah. A TOTAL failure.

Now he's two games back and probably still shouldn't be playing. It's pretty obvious he still can't take much force to the face and he can't check as a result. All this and it'll take him at least a half dozen games to get his sea legs back and adjust to a full visor.

If anything we could use three or four more of those types of guys. Kid has more guts in his pre-game poo than most of us posting up here ever had.

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#146 Lochenzo
November 05 2013, 01:41PM
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@sizzay

I'm not so sure. Kreider has been in and out of the Ranger lineup for the past two years. But he's young, great draft pedigree and he has the size that the Oilers need to add to their top 9.

Hemsky creates scoring chances. There's no denying that and the Rangers are woefully in need of somebody to create scoring chances. I'd be a bug in Slats' ear on how good Brad Richards was when he had Marty St Louis feeding him sweet dishes on the PP. Brad Richards does not have that complementary passer in NY.

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#148 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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#149 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:34PM
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Nice to see. Good for him.

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#150 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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