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 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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#102 NsxZero
November 05 2013, 12:35PM
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@Oiler4ever

Honestly even if the Oilers play magnificent, we would need the other western teams to play like crap. It definitely isn't looking that way so far...

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#103 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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#104 Lochenzo
November 05 2013, 01:20PM
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The other reason to watch is Taylor Fedun. Congrats to Taylor!

Happy to see Petry and Ference together. Hope the other pairs can just settle in behind these guys. Good balance of puck mover and defensive Dman, but Fedun and Larsson in the same game means a smaller defense.

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#105 Spoils
November 05 2013, 01:26PM
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The worst thing / or best thing is that I just went to the Oilers website and I saw a pick of Schultz and Yakupov and I got excited for the game today.

How can I be excited for the game tonight?

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#106 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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#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 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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#109 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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#110 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 05 2013, 03:50PM
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@madjam

Idiocy, mate. Manage your assets!

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#111 Retsinnab5
November 05 2013, 04:08PM
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You know your fan base has hit an all-time low when...

How many wins will the Oilers have on their four-game road trip?

Three or more: 12.77% Two: 17.04% One: 24.96% None: 45.24%

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#112 HOFFFF
November 05 2013, 04:36PM
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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!"

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#113 pkam
November 05 2013, 04:47PM
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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?

It doesn't border me and why should it trouble anyone?

Can you tell me which trades in the last 3-4 years which involved players coming back and we won?

Our amateur scouts before 2008 were equally bad. Not saying our amateur scouts now are great, but at least I can't complain like I used to with the previous scouts.

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#114 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 05 2013, 05:01PM
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Gazdic-Acton-Eager... An argument can be made that this is the worst fourth line in the league. One of MacT's offseason promise was to upgrade the bottom 6. So much for that.

GDP: Oilers surprise us with a 2-1 overtime win.

OGDP: The Panthers score first and Eakins looks like a deer in the headlights of a speeding Ford F-150 when it happens.

NSOGDP: Yakupov suffers a season ending injury and becomes untradable in typical Oilers luck.

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#115 Oiler Al
November 05 2013, 05:01PM
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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?

Because Oilers don't have any real scouts!Oh forgot about Semenko, sorry.

Besides Boys on the Bus out having a $1000 dinner paid for by the loyal fans.

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#116 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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#117 Loweblows
November 05 2013, 05:08PM
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Put Arcobello back at center and friggin leave him there

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#118 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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#119 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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#120 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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#121 BleedingOil
November 05 2013, 05:59PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

What a laughingly terrible defensive sequence that lead to that goal.

I blame Yakupov for that one.

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#122 Larry
November 05 2013, 06:03PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

I blame Yakupov for that one.

Nope. Watch it again and watch Gagner

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#123 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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#124 Happy
November 05 2013, 06:14PM
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What do people around here think the Oilers could get for Nail Yakupov?

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#125 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 05 2013, 06:15PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

I blame Yakupov for that one.

HORCOFFFFFF!!!!!!!

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

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#127 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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#128 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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#129 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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#130 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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#131 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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#132 Chainsawz
November 05 2013, 09:53PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

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.

Taylor flipping Fedun indeed

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#133 Naky
November 05 2013, 10:29PM
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@Boys On the Bus Out of Town

That will surely improve Edmonton's standing with the rest of the players, you know, because we have so many things going for us already - a championship team, great weather all year round, a state of the art rink, competent management. Yeah, I agree, let's ship him off and consequences be damned. After all, everyone wants to play here... and for pennies too!

I'll have whatever you're having dude, pass it over.

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#134 Reg Dunlop
November 05 2013, 11:20PM
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@David S

If you have ANY guts in your stool, see a gastroenterologist. As for Gagner, 1 is plenty as he couldn't check before he was forced into the full visor. Arcobello is an upgrade at 1/5 the cost.

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#135 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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#136 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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#137 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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#138 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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#139 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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#140 sizzay
November 05 2013, 01:31PM
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Lochenzo wrote:

Ales Hemsky for Chris Kreider plus late pick?

Would never happen

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#141 Lochenzo
November 05 2013, 01:32PM
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Ricky Ray went on to win the Grey Cup after being traded.

If you hash it out, you gotta eat you're humble pie too. I noticed that some people don't follow that rule.

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#142 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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#143 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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#144 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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#145 Hunter5
November 05 2013, 02:02PM
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The Greatest Show on Earth. Go on Stub Hub for a whopping $4.45 you can see the Oilers play Florida. I'm betting the actual attendance will be under 5000 people.

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#146 tileguy
November 05 2013, 02:04PM
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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.

Maybe good odds but no guarantee.

The only reason to watch tonight is to cheer on Fedun.

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#147 MessyEH!
November 05 2013, 02:08PM
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Cheering for Fedun. I hope he does well.

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#148 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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#150 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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