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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#51 argh
November 05 2013, 08:01PM
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LoweBlow 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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#52 Stack Pad Save
November 05 2013, 09:52PM
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@Naky

Trade the bum

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#53 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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#54 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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#55 BIGDAWG
November 05 2013, 01:40PM
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am not a big fan of Gags and I didn't like the term and money he got. he would be the first player I would trade. As far as the coach.. we have him for this and next year for sure.. so peeps... you gotta stop cryin about the coach. he isn't going anywhere... Do I agree with some of the things he does... no but he is here and I doubt Mac T lets him go at this point.

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#56 Disappointed Italian Oiler Fan
November 05 2013, 02:06PM
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5:1 Panthers...

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#57 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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#58 FIREEAKINS
November 05 2013, 03:52PM
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Oilers game today? mah. I have better things to do than watch the Oilers "play" hockey. They have let me down 10 times already this season. I don't need to deal with the anger/stress involved with watching this "team" play.

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#59 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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#60 madjam
November 05 2013, 04:34PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Idiocy, mate. Manage your assets!

$5M in cap space and there is a good chance we could open up to fetch a bigger grittier player such as a center or d-man of note .I'd say that's handling your assets responsibly if you feel he's going anyways . However unlikely it might be happening .

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#61 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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#62 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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#63 Loweblows
November 05 2013, 06:06PM
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What exactly yakupov doing in the nhl? Whatbdo we have 3 shots? This is like watching paint dry-exciting oiler hockey lol

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#64 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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#65 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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#66 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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#67 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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#68 LoweBlow
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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#69 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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#70 Zarny
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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It's Aliiiive!

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#71 outdoorzguy
November 05 2013, 08:10PM
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I thought we won the Stanley Cup tonight based on the announcers reaction!! We're still a really crappy team though. That was really an embarrassment.

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#72 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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#73 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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#74 Spoils
November 05 2013, 12:08PM
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I am pulling for Fedun, but I kind of wish Klefbom was playing so well that they just had bring him up.

Here is the list of DMen that were first team allstars at the WJC -

Phaneuf, Suter - Bourdon, JJohnson - Letang, EJohnson - Doughty, Hedman - Karlsson, PK - Pitrangelo, Carlson - Ellis, Orlov - Gormley, Klefbom - Trouba, McCabe

Pretty great company.

No1 DMen...

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#75 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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#76 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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#77 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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#78 Lochenzo
November 05 2013, 01:27PM
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Ales Hemsky for Chris Kreider plus late pick?

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#79 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 01:46PM
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It is only a matter of time before the unproductive Hemsky goes down with an injury. Trade him for a draft pick, anything, quickly.

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#80 Rheal1
November 05 2013, 03:30PM
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Matt Henderson 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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#81 Smokey
November 05 2013, 03:47PM
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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?

Management groups scouting players is not uncommon, and its frankly these bums job unfortunately to be scouting.

What concerns me with all those big wigs and Messier; who I guess we can consider to be part of the management group now, is that a group of such magnitude signals something big.

Obviously the names are McDonough or Stall, and Yakupov and or Hemsky. Yak for McDonough +, I could live with it, but it irritates me we are considering it.

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#82 Serious Gord
November 05 2013, 04:28PM
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"Whatever happens tonight, the Oiler must show they care."

And if they don't?

Seems to me that that will be on the coach.

Normally I don't comment on the line combos - I am not a hockey tactician. But it seems like an odd setup putting yak with Smyth. Smyth is not a player for a rush offense nor is he a play maker - more a player finisher (or rather used to be..)

Oil should win tonight. The panthers are one of the few teams worse than they are. And even with just 8000 in the stands probably half will be oil fans.

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#83 pkam
November 05 2013, 05:16PM
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HOFFFF wrote:

I find it funny that Eakins takes down all the memories of the Great Oilers, back when the team had pride, pride in the jersey, pride in the city and had an identity. Yet Lowe, Mctavish, Buchberger, Acton, Smith and now Messier are wandering around. Doesn't make sense. Removing the history of the Oilers means they have to find their own identity. It's working out well for them so far. Montreal, Toronto, Boston are all proud teams and proud of their past and have reminders all over the arena and dressing rooms. Reminders that when you put that jersey on that it's time to step the fcuk up. Eakins felt it necessary to remove all that. Now we have a bunch of kids walking around bumping in to each other like a junior team. Just something I see as part of this debacle of epic proportions. I also think having three #1 draft picks and then hiring a coach with zero NHL experience is like buying a brand new sports car and then throwing the keys to a kid with his learners license and saying "take it for a ride and see what she can do!"

In case you don't know the facts, Eakins didn't take down all the memories for the Great Oilers from the arena. He moved them from the locker room to the public area of the arena. It is kind of like when your very successful elder brother moves out of the house and your parents give his room to you, do you think it is reasonable to move all his memorabilias from his room to the family room?

And this offseason, the Toronto Leafs have taken down all their proud memories, not just from the locker room, but from their arena. Their upper management have determined to completely dissociate themselves from their past. I wonder how they can be so good this year without all their proud memories?

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#84 Lofty
November 05 2013, 06:03PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

I blame Yakupov for that one.

Smyth was also taking a nap down low.

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#85 spliff
November 05 2013, 06:04PM
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WTF was Samwise doing on the Goc goal? Very very weak effort. And I just read a bunch of quotes from a Journal article from Gagner where he talks about being accountable and better effort, yadda yadda yadda.

We need much more effort.

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#86 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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#87 RexHolez
November 05 2013, 06:49PM
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Hemsky-RNH-YakCity how does that not make perfect sense?

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#88 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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#89 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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#90 .????
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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#91 LoweBlow
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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#92 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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#93 LoweBlow
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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#94 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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#95 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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#96 Jakethesnake
November 05 2013, 08:03PM
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Just once this f..no goalie needs to make a big save. Wow

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#97 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 05 2013, 08:07PM
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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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#98 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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#99 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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#100 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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