GDB 17.0: BRACING FOR THE BOLTS

Jason Gregor
November 07 2013 12:06PM

When you are a 28th place team every game is tough. Two days after a 4-3 OT victory over the 27th place Florida Panthers, the Oilers at least have some momentum heading into a showdown with the 10th place Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Oilers, most likely Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry, will have the pleasure of trying to shut down the dangerous duo of Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis. Stamkos is 2nd in NHL scoring with 20 points, while St. Louis is tied for 17th with 16.

Those two have scored 40% of Tampa Bay's goals, and only twice this season have both of them been held pointless. The Bolts lost both games, 3-1 and 5-0, and both losses came against the Bruins.

The Oilers don't have a Zdeno Chara, so it is unlikely the Oilers can shut out Stamkos and St. Louis, but they will need to contain them.

The Bolts have five players with 4+ goals, while the Oilers only have two, Gordon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Twenty different players have scored a goal for the Oilers this year, but they need get a few more players scoring consistently. It is difficult to win regularly without a few go-to players, but the Oilers will get a huge boost as Taylor Hall returns to the lineup.

LINEUP...

Hemsky-RNH-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Yakupov
Omark-Gordon-Arcobello
Jones-Smyth-Gazdic

Hall will play his first game since being injured in Ottawa and Eakins is hoping Hall can jumpstart two struggling players, Gagner and Yakupov. Hall is the best option to do that.

The only aspect of the line juggling that I question is moving Ryan Smyth to centre. Smyth struggled mightily last season playing in the middle. He excels on the wall, not in the middle of the ice. You can't expect him to contribute when he is playing centre.

There is no way you could demote Mark Arcobello or Boyd Gordon to the 4th line. They've arguably been the two most consistent forwards all year. There is no way Eakins could retain respect within the room if you demoted them, yet played struggling players like Yakupov, Gagner, and recently recalled Linus Omark ahead of them in the top-nine.

Smyth at centre has to be a short-term experiment. He is better on the wall.

I'm most interested to see who Eakins will use to try and contain Stamkos and St. Louis. Gordon is his best defensive forward, but with his wingers I'm not sure that is a matchup Eakins wants to run. I'm guessing he'll try to get the RNH line out against them.

Ference-Petry
Smid-Larsen
N.Schultz-Fedun

There is no reason to switch up the D pairs. Petry and Ference are the Oilers best option to face 91/26. I liked Larsen's game in Florida, especially on the PP. Fedun and Schultz won't outmuscle many players, but both play smart, positional defence.

Dubnyk

Tampa Bay is getting solid goaltending. Dubnyk needs to match Ben Bishop's play to give the Oilers a chance. 

YAK SUPPORT....

Yesterday head coach Dallas Eakins and Craig MacTavish made it clear that Nail Yakupov wasn't being shopped.

“Nail Yakupov is not being shopped, he’s not going anywhere and I wanted him to hear that from me, look me in my eye, and let him know that we’re attached at the hip," Eakins said after he had a heart-to-heart chat with Yakupov on the ice in Tampa Bay that had some speculating the first pick in 2012 might be a healthy scratch.

While scouting the Rangers/Pengiuns game, MacTavish said this to the media, "We very much believe Nail will evolve to become that dynamic, electric player — become one of the most entertaining guys in the game. I told that to Igor (Larionov) (Yakupov's agent) and I told that to Yak. Development is very rarely a straight line. It has ups and downs.”

It was smart for the coach to tell a young player who is struggling he believes in him, but the harsh reality of pro sports is that if you aren't performing you likely won't be playing much. Yakupov didn't see the ice for the final 9:30 or regulation, and the 1:55 of OT, while the Oilers were trying, unsuccessfully, to protect a lead.

That isn't surprising, considering he's not a defensive stalwart just yet, but if he continues to sit for long stretches, and continues to struggle offensively, will the Oilers consider a stint in OKC?

MacTavish wisely said development is rarely a straight line. Yakupov isn't the first sophomore to struggle, but due to his age they could let him gain some confidence in OKC. Yakupov has high-end skills, so he could score tonight and no one will worry about his offence, but if his slump continues the Oilers should consider OKC a viable option.

QUICK HITS...

  • Unless they acquire another goalie the Oilers need to stick with Devan Dubnyk. Jason LaBarbera is not going to perform better, so tell Dubnyk he's your guy, and tell him to stay focused the entire game. Challenge him to be consistent.  
     
  • The Oilers have actually played pretty well at ES on the road this year outscoring teams 26-25. They've been decent at ES, but they've been outscored 9-3 on PP. Their PP is only 9.4% on the road. Their PP looked much better in Florida, and if it can get going, they might start to pull out some wins away from Rexall.
     

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Four of the last five games between these two teams in Tampa have ended in 3-2 scores with each team winning twice. In those four games Oilers won, Tampa won, Oilers won and Tampa won, so based on extensive scientific research (none whatsoever) the Oilers continue that trend tonight with a 3-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Omark scores, because Oilersnation thrives on drama/debate.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After opening the Florida broadcast with a muscle shirt and shorts, Mean Gene Principe starts his segment standing along the boards at the zamboni entrance. He does a quick spin-o-rama then walks towards the camera talking about the return of Hall and Omark's recall from OKC. As he gets closer, he tosses it upstairs to two guys who are "classy" and "no joke", Louis Debrusk and Kevin Quinn, and then stares into the camera and drops the mic. BOOM.

** Principe was playing off the words of the Tampa Bay Lightning players after Omark's infamous SO goal on December 10th, 2010, when they whined about his move being a joke and Dan "cancelled my twitter account" Ellis claimed it "wasn't very classy."

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 DSF
November 07 2013, 09:34PM
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MKE wrote:

Ya we got it. The Oilers suck :).

Get a life.

You follow the Oilers?

Get a life.

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#2 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:11PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Bishop pulled a Bachman tonight, he was an absolute monster in net. Must be nice...

Hockey is a team game.

The better team won the game.

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#3 Jay
November 07 2013, 12:26PM
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This will be 3 games in a row now that I didn't watch these losers, and I'm in a much better mood!

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#4 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:50PM
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#1 - Eakins needs to go, bring back Ralph!

#2 - Chemistry isn't right on the team, too much offense not enough defense. Need to get a legitimate top 4 defense, Ference and Belov aren't legit top 4 guys, Smid and Petry are #3-4 d-guys. Justin Schultz should have been playing bottom pairing minutes from the start of the season, I've been saying it for a month now. I wonder if the #1 pick where they got Yakupov was a bit of a curse. Ryan Murray playing 20 minutes a night in Columbus with a solid rating. Love Yak though, but somethings got to change with the team chemistry.

#3 - Fire Lowe, Messier in as President Of Hockey Operations!

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#5 Rocket
November 07 2013, 12:21PM
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I'm amping to see how Stamkos lights The Oilers up. Watching him play against Hall (maybe) should be fun to watch.

Also, I wonder how Hedman is doing? He was drafted high but since then I haven't really heared much about him.

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#6 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:17PM
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Rob F wrote:

even a crack head could tell we need a goalie....today the team with a better goalie won

You know goalies are part of the team, right?

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#7 Cynic
November 07 2013, 11:58PM
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Aaaaah. Did DSF huht yo widdo feewings?

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#8 John Kirsch
November 07 2013, 08:32PM
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jonny94 wrote:

If Dubnyk gets the start in Philadelphia I bet Giroux gets his first goal.

Dubs was fine tonight Stamkos burned 2x get over it, he is the best pure goalscorer on the planet.

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#9 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:34PM
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MKE wrote:

I'm not the one trolling a website for a team I don't even like :)

On a daily basis no less.

DSF's got some suppressed Oilers anxiety. I think he's a Canucks fan who had to blow his step dad after every Edmonton win in the 80's.

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#10 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:38PM
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DSF wrote:

My mom died 10 years ago.

And Xbox's are so passé.

And, I'm really busy.

Couldn't care less than your mom died 10 years ago dude, get a life. My parents both died 5 years ago, I don't expect random strangers to pity me and excuse me for being a douche bag because of it.

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#11 DSF
November 07 2013, 09:24PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

The Cup isn't the main thing.......ITS THE ONLY THING!!!....Just ask Stan Smyl...

Might want to send a memo to SJS, STL, MIN , PHX, WSH, VCR that, since they've never won a cup, the Oilers are better because they won almost 25 years ago.

Oiler fans are becoming Leaf fans.

It's quite sad, actually.

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#12 DSF
November 07 2013, 10:31PM
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MKE wrote:

Again I'm not the one with nothing else to do but be a troll on a daily basis.

Maybe your mom will by you an Xbox for Christmas

My mom died 10 years ago.

And Xbox's are so passé.

And, I'm really busy.

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#13 mayorblaine
November 07 2013, 12:11PM
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we must be show casing Ryan Smyth...~

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#14 DSF
November 07 2013, 09:24PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

The Cup isn't the main thing.......ITS THE ONLY THING!!!....Just ask Stan Smyl...

Might want to send a memo to SJS, STL, MIN , PHX, WSH, VCR that, since they've never won a cup, the Oilers are better because they won almost 25 years ago.

Oiler fans are becoming Leaf fans.

It's quite sad, actually.

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#15 Oiler63
November 07 2013, 12:40PM
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So Dallas Eakins, like Kreuger, thinks Smyth can play well at center? Wait a minute, who is the real coach here? Why could two different coaches (assuming they are both smart people) come out with the same stupid idea? Is this Lowe coaching again?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein

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#16 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:05PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Battle for 28th overall on Saturday.

Someone is going to get hurt.

Hopkins?

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#17 BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull
November 07 2013, 12:56PM
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The broadcasting crews for radio and TV are so bad that I always watch the opponent's broadcast. It's the only way to keep me sane.

Gene Principe = Buzz Killington

Bob Staufer = Mediterranean Chicken

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#18 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:28PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Oh Yeah........and Taylor Hall's a BEAST!

Steven Stamkos says:

LOLOLOL

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#19 nick
November 07 2013, 01:26PM
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Smokey wrote:

Had a good coach in OKC who almost made it to the Calder Cup playoffs. I think if Nelson made it to the final dance he would of gotten consideration with the Oilers this year. Frankly he appears to be the only decent coach we have in the organization.

Good Post, Eakins is a disaster, Todd Nelson should have been the guy up here if MacT found an urge to fire a guy after 48 games.

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#20 bwar
November 07 2013, 02:30PM
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Hall Gagner Yakupov? Every time that line hits the ice somebody is scoring. GDP: It's a tight one with The Lightnings top end out powering the Oils in the end 10-9 TB in a thrilling game then ends with a dramatic "classy" SO.

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#21 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:34PM
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Time for some Big Boy Hockey ®.

Vancouver @ San Jose.

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#22 DSF
November 07 2013, 08:54PM
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Harlie wrote:

Until one of them wins a cup they are failures just the same as the Oil.

Don't even delude yourself, Mr. Dashing Silver Fox.

Phhhttt...there are many great teams that haven't won the cup.

The Oilers can't even sniff their jocks.

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#23 DSF
November 07 2013, 10:00PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

I would hate to be a fan of any of those teams. To come so close and then not get it and know that your window is closing or is closed and you might hold on to being good for 5 more years and than go in the tank and eventually rebuild when your sisters get too old to score and Jumbo is too Jumbo to skate, and Ovechkin has finally gone back to the KHL.

BTW DSF "it" was the cup and it is the only thing that matters. Also why would you include Minnesota, they suck.

Those " windows" are just stupid.

5 years ago, everyone was predicting the Sharks window was closing. It isn't.

Now it's the Canucks. It isn't.

Minnesota is 9-4-4 and 2 points out of the Central Division lead.

Yeah, they suck.

After you put on the nose...the rest of the clown costume is just makeup.

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#24 DSF
November 07 2013, 07:23PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

A moral victory tonight. Our shots on goal could be way higher if some of the open misses were a bit more accurate. Overall, a decent effort so far except for Skorodenski in net.

Moral victories and 5 bucks will get you a Tall Grande Loser at Starbucks.

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#25 Cynic
November 08 2013, 02:58AM
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In other words, you were the typical spoiled, myopic, deluded Oiler fan. Which under-nourished winger are you hoping to draft in the Top 3 this year?

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#26 Wäx Män Riley
November 07 2013, 06:18PM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

Is it just me, or has it been a better game positionallly for the Oilers?

It's just you, douche.

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#27 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 07:14PM
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Not sure why, but I smell a comeback...

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#28 Harlie
November 07 2013, 08:06PM
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Ho hum another loss. I guess I'll just console myself with some Sailor J and Pepsi and some home made Escargot with garlic butter and melted cheese.

Once there was a snail who was tired of being slow. He went out and bought a really fast sports car and had the dealer paint a big 'S' on each side of it.

Whenever someone saw him zooming past in his new car, they would say, "Hey, look at that S-car go!"

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#29 Ari Gold
November 07 2013, 08:21PM
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Terrible turnover by Fedun resulting in that empty net goal.

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#30 Ari Gold
November 07 2013, 08:29PM
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Harlie wrote:

C'mon man, game was done by then and you know it.

A 1 goal game with a minute to go? Seriously?

That game was far from over. It was a rookie turnover, so I simply expect him to learn from it. I'm condemning him.

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#31 Ari Gold
November 07 2013, 11:17PM
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@Gregor

Some of these comments are in serious need of moderation.

On another note, Yak made a great play to get the puck to Gordo who was stoned by Bishop in the last 3 mins. Great hustle and good on him to out-muscle the dman. I think Gordo looked great from what I saw in the 3rd.

How did Omark look?

Hemsky is a giveaway machine! Seriously. So much upside and downside all at the same time. I blame past coaching for not whipping him into shape.

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#32 jbogus
November 08 2013, 01:27AM
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Hey mates just finished another session thanks to another L, thanks oil. Raining now and spewing I just washed car by hand anyhow, dipsh@t toe drag Hall thanks for your continued selfishness et al, you wankers.

Honestly our beer hockey has more heart and accountability.

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#33 PoolanovIsStupid
November 07 2013, 06:25PM
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Poolanov wrote:

Get a grip loser. Watch the replay. Ference was behind the net and telegraphed a suicide pass that was easily turned over .

HE CHASED STAMKOS BEHIND THE NET! THEREFORE PETRY SHOULD HAVE BEEN COVERING HIS SIDE BECAUSE THATS WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING! YOU DON'T KNOW $HIT ABOUT HOCKEY IF YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS THAT!

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#34 DSF
November 07 2013, 07:24PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I have the feeling that if there was a deal with Toronto or the Rangers Sam would be very happy to get a fresh start, six seasons no playoffs.

7 actually.

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#35 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 11:02PM
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hankthetank wrote:

wow, thanks for keeping things clean. high class comments for sure...

Sorry guys, just a little annoyed this DSF character still comes on here every day. Just trying to have one night without the C.

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#36 Clarko
November 07 2013, 08:44PM
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DSF wrote:

Dubs was .880 tonight.

Bishop was .950.

Game over.

Well, Dubnyk is the official whipping boy for Oiler fans everywhere. The Oilers played well tonight, but we are all delusional to think that goaltending is the only thing that is stopping this team from being a contender.

The giveaways on the first were absolutely terrible. They were both no pressure giveaways to one of the best two goal scorers in the game. But that was Dubnyk's fault too.

Then Smid gets turned inside out and a one-timer from 5 feet goes in. But that was Dubnyk's fault too.

I am not saying that Dubnyk has played well this season...he hasn't been good. But the giveaways and defensive liabilities were far more atrocious in this game then our goaltending.

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#37 DSF
November 07 2013, 10:11PM
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MKE wrote:

Takes one to know.

One.

No, you.😳

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#38 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:57PM
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I don't really get how Eakins get's a free pass by a lot of people. The guy hasn't won anything as a coach, but for some reason he was the "hot" commodity in the coaching market. Only the Oilers would fire a coach who took Switzerland from nothing on the world hockey scene to a legitimate contender, to hire an AHL coach who's never coached a championship team in his ENTIRE CAREER. And I was a big critic of Ralph, but at least we showed improvement. *edit* And he had 48 or so games of NHL experience, versus 0.

Fire Lowe! Fire them all!

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#39 Wäx Män Riley
November 07 2013, 05:56PM
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Scratch Yak

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#40 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 06:16PM
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100% Ference's fault

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#41 Reg Dunlop
November 07 2013, 07:19PM
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A moral victory tonight. Our shots on goal could be way higher if some of the open misses were a bit more accurate. Overall, a decent effort so far except for Skorodenski in net.

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#42 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 07 2013, 08:14PM
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Here is one of the things that is wrong with the Oilers.

A couple of years ago the Tampa Bay Lighting sign a 21 year old undersized undrafted player to an AHL contract. Kid plays well in the AHL, gets a shot with the big club. Kid exceeds expectations, so they showcase him, sometimes with sheltered minutes, sometimes with talented line mates. At age 23 kid gets serious consideration for NHL Rookie of the Year. The kids name is Cory Conacher. So, what do the Lightening do? Rather than sit around and thank their lucky stars, they have the COURAGE to trade the kid while the kid is at his peek of expectations/potential, to the Ottowa Senators for back up goalie Ben Bishop.......THAT TAKES COURAGE! THATS NOT EASY...THAT IS BOLD !

Except for the part where they showcase him and then have the courage to trade him at peek value, this is actually the story of the Oilers Mark Arcobello.

The two kids Conacher and Arcobello are one year apart in age.

*edited ..took out Gallagher....put in Conacher*

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#43 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 07 2013, 08:25PM
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Oh Yeah........and Taylor Hall's a BEAST!

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#44 bazmagoo
November 07 2013, 10:32PM
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MKE wrote:

I'm not the one trolling a website for a team I don't even like :)

On a daily basis no less.

DSF's got some suppressed Oilers anxiety. I think he's a Canucks fan who had to blow his step dad after every Edmonton win in the 80's.

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#45 Smokey
November 07 2013, 01:18PM
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pkam wrote:

I am still a bit disappointed that we didn't get Jon Cooper to coach the Oilers.

He has been a winner everywhere. Never get fired even once, just moved up the ladder from one job to another. I don't know how he did it, I just know he did it every single time.

Tampa was 2nd last in the East last season, now they are 2nd best in the East. Under his coaching, Lightning will probably win the cup in a few years.

Had a good coach in OKC who almost made it to the Calder Cup playoffs. I think if Nelson made it to the final dance he would of gotten consideration with the Oilers this year. Frankly he appears to be the only decent coach we have in the organization.

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#46 Reg Dunlop
November 07 2013, 01:22PM
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The lightning rely heavily on their top line. The oil don't have a Chara. So what? Has everyone forgotten the concept of shadowing? Assign Gordon and MarkArc to wear Stamkos and StLouis like hair shirts. Forgo any offence to shut down Tampa's threats. Follow them EVERYWHERE, scrum it up with them every whistle.

The oil won't do this and will lose 5-1.

Yak is here to stay. At least until he joins his doppelganger Nik Zherdev in USSR. Hello lottery.

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#47 Rod from Viking
November 07 2013, 08:18PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Is there a gagner for gardiner type deal to be made with T.O?

How about Reimer?

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#48 Harlie
November 07 2013, 08:59PM
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DSF wrote:

Phhhttt...there are many great teams that haven't won the cup.

The Oilers can't even sniff their jocks.

Sorry old man, the cup is the barometer and you know it. Don't try bending the rules now.

Sounding desperate, haha!

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#49 DSF
November 07 2013, 10:32PM
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Tokenhill wrote:

I believe DSF stands for Destroy Satisfaction of Fans

What "Satisfacion", exactly?

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#50 Romanus
November 07 2013, 10:41PM
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DSF wrote:

You follow the Oilers?

Get a life.

Your the one trolling on an oiler fan site every day. You may need to look in the mirror to find out who needs a life.

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