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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#201 Mandy
November 07 2013, 04:26PM
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Odd how some are referring to Arcibello as an undersized midget in a game against the ultimate midget in St. Louis. Definitely not saying that they're the same player by any means. But St. Louis is coming up on 1000 games and he spent his early career dogged by comments about his size. He's not a big guy, but at least he finishes a check. You don't have to put a guy through the boards to be effective. That's where skating and hockey sense come into play. Position yourself to just ride the guy into the boards. Just take him out of the play. Those small things, you know.

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#202 Jay Gray
November 07 2013, 04:36PM
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Pretty sure my roofers knocked my satellite outta schwack. Anyone know where I can stream the game?

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#203 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 04:44PM
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@pkam

I think I remember hearing Sid actually had two surgeries. Either way, comparing Gagner to Crosby is ridiculous, no matter what aspect you're comparing.

EDIT: http://www.businessinsider.com/video-sidney-crosby-lost-hit-in-face-by-a-puck-lost-teeth-and-needed-jaw-surgery-2013-4

One surgery at least.

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#204 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 04:46PM
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@Jay Gray

If I need a stream, I just Google 'free hockey streams', there are a few websites out there. Be warned, the feeds are generally bush league and it's usually an American broadcast, but at least you'll see the game.

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#205 Wax Man Riley
November 07 2013, 04:52PM
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Jay Gray wrote:

Pretty sure my roofers knocked my satellite outta schwack. Anyone know where I can stream the game?

http://atdhe.eu/hockey

copy and paste to your bookmarks :)

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#206 Jay Gray
November 07 2013, 05:17PM
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Thanks JNH and Wax Man for the suggestions…gonna watch at a buddies place I guess….big screen>iMac lol

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#207 book¡e
November 07 2013, 05:22PM
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Jay Gray wrote:

Pretty sure my roofers knocked my satellite outta schwack. Anyone know where I can stream the game?

Jamie's House!

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#208 Poolanov
November 07 2013, 05:39PM
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What in the name of Gods green earth are they wearing???

Maybe my sattelites out of whack too

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#209 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 05:54PM
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@Poolanov

Looked like a veterans/military warm up jersey.

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#210 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 06:00PM
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Holy crap, Fedun. Great dish from Ebs.

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#211 DamnDuby
November 07 2013, 06:19PM
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Make a save, just any normal average save please.

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#212 Alsker
November 07 2013, 06:19PM
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2 shots for Stamkos, 2 goals. Wonder if he can maintain that shooting%. Not our worst period, we must find a way to keep #91 off the ice. Maybe Omark can pick a fight with him.

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#213 Spydyr
November 07 2013, 06:26PM
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Why do some people still think Dubnyk is a starting goalie.What does it take to allow them to see the truth?

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#214 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 06:27PM
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Good lord, this comments section went south fast.

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#215 Spydyr
November 07 2013, 06:28PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good lord, this comments section went south fast.

Almost as quick as the Oilers season.

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#216 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 06:49PM
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@Spydyr

This x100, Gags on the wing please.

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#217 StHenriOilBomb
November 07 2013, 07:07PM
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Best 15 minutes of hockey I've seen the Oilers play in years, they can't finish, and they get scored on. Figures it would go like that.

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#218 Rod from Viking
November 07 2013, 07:20PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

I think people should start realizing that Sam Gagner is not going anywhere. MacT signed him for 3 years, publicly promising that he wouldn't trade Sam during the first two. Unless Sam wants to go, It would be professional suicide.

Arco may be here to stay, too, and when have we ever been in a position to scoff at having too many centres. If Gags plays wing (and as a solid replacement centre) and Arco can stay at center, it gives a serious option to deal a winger for a dman.

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.

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#219 michael
November 07 2013, 07:21PM
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On the scoreboard I see Calgary is in the soup again tonight. They are getting fired like chicken by the Blues. How good is MInny? Wow. Sharks vs Van City tonight. Should be fun.

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#220 RexHolez
November 07 2013, 07:34PM
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Is there a gagner for gardiner type deal to be made with T.O?

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#221 James
November 07 2013, 07:46PM
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@Rocket

Yeah who knows? Half the time I think those guys who keeps those stats are smoking something.

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#222 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 07 2013, 08:18PM
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@DSF

Can't argue there. Always the smartest guys in the room.

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#223 Umm... What !?!?!
November 07 2013, 08:25PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

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*

Who the hell is Rory Gallagher ?!

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#224 Bad with names much
November 07 2013, 08:27PM
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Cory Conacher

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#225 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 07 2013, 08:36PM
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Bad with names much wrote:

Cory Conacher

Damn!.......except for the alcoholic dyslexia...it was such good post....

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#226 Seriously
November 07 2013, 08:39PM
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Poolanov wrote:

Not sure why, but I smell a comeback...

I smell Bulls$it!!! Must be from the CFR or dubnyk's performance

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#227 Mikey
November 07 2013, 08:45PM
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The Real Gongshow wrote:

The Oilers offered Jones and a 3rd. The Bolts offered Conacher and a 4th. Who would you rather have if you were the Sens ?

Damn oilers, should have thrown in Omark! Would have been an overpay, but worth it.

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#228 Batfink
November 07 2013, 08:47PM
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MacBlender was dusted off and used to full effect tonight. Seriously, Hall & Yak grinding with Smytty as centre. WTF.

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#229 Bucknuck
November 07 2013, 08:59PM
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frickin dubnyk. friggin Bishop. Damn. Such a good game to watch.

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#230 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 07 2013, 09:05PM
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DSF wrote:

I agree.

The Oilers had a chance to trade for Bishop but decided to sign Dubnyk to a stupid contract instead.

Because Oilers.

I have problems with both of those management decisions… but your sense of history is weird if you think they are related in some way.

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#231 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 07 2013, 09:08PM
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Harlie wrote:

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

Sounding desperate, haha!

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

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#232 Slats
November 07 2013, 09:16PM
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Game Thoughts:

1. Bishop outplayed DD this was obvious. How many goals have gone in via the middle of the net. That 5hole goal with a minute left and the wrap around was awful but the plays prior to it were worse! See #2

2. Ference's pass was bad (he should have skated the puck out no one was around), next Eberle's attempt at trying to soccer juggling the Ference's pass was just as bad AND then Petry could have gone the other way for coverage and could have crushed Stamkos with a huge hit but decided to switch - dumb, dumb and dumber!

Until they get rid of these plays and start to show the passion of "keeoing the puck out of our net" it will go on and on. . . .

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#233 Randaman
November 07 2013, 09:39PM
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Far too easy to play against. No grit. I could go on and on but maybe I will start watching the Leafs more often. Back to my childhood roots. The Oilers aren't earning anyone's loyalty these days . Seven years and rings is still there. Something has to give

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#234 Reg Dunlop
November 07 2013, 09:50PM
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@DSF

A sad, old, lonely shut-in living for the attention he gets here. Do they have Meals on Wheels where you live?

Quite sad, actually.

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#235 Serious Gord
November 07 2013, 10:03PM
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While getting names engraved on the cup is THE goal, it the quest that really matters.

Simple odds put winning the cup at a once in thirty years chance. would you rather follow the pirates in MLB or the red sox up until they really did win the WS?

All things being equal, watching the canucks for the last decade would unquestionably have been more rewarding than watching/enduring the oil.

Being an oilers fan for the last seven years has been a curse...

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#236 acg5151
November 07 2013, 10:16PM
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As a Canucks fan, I really don't see how you guys can honestly say your team is better just because the Oilers won 5 cups 30 years ago. I swear that the only fanbases more entitled than you guys are the Red Wings and the Canadiens. I really wish the Oilers were competitive but after hundreds of Oilers fans told me my team sucks when your team hasn't made the playoffs in like 7 years, I really don't even pity you guys anymore.

So explain to me how a team that won 5 cups 30 years ago but has won nothing since and has picked first 3 times in a row and has missed the playoffs 7 years in a row, soon to be 8 years, is better than the Canucks or for that matter the Sharks.

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#237 Tokenhill
November 07 2013, 10:22PM
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I believe DSF stands for Destroy Satisfaction of Fans

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#238 Johnnydapunk
November 07 2013, 11:02PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I prefer not to cling to past glory but rather work on attaining future glory. Otherwise you become France or Greece - a doormat.

Someone needs to explain this to oilers management.

I'm asking not sarcastically but I'm genuinely confused by what you mean by calling France and Greece doormats? I am not sure if you are referring to sport or anything else?? No offence intended, just baffled actually.

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#239 N4R
November 08 2013, 02:54AM
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Edmonton Oilers vs Tampa Bay Lightning (07.11.2013) http://prognoz-na-sport.info/news/skachat_match_edmonton_oilers_vs_tampa_bay_lightning_nhl_2013_2014_regular_season_07_11_2013/2013-11-08-7290

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#240 Rheal1
November 08 2013, 04:19AM
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I have the solution for change, fellow Oilers fans! You deserve better! Do not go watch games at Rexall Do not buy merchandising. Do not watch games on TV. Katz is happy: as a businessman, his coffers stay full with all the money he sucks out of Oilers suckers. He is happy: he makes money. His bottom line is great therefore the team is doing just fine. Boycott the Oilers now!!!

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#241 Loweblows
November 08 2013, 06:51AM
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Can we get rid of smid now-and when can our goalie make the big save? Sorry but DD is not winning this team any games?

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#242 Oiler Al
November 08 2013, 08:53AM
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Interesting , Eakin loses and says they played a pretty good game, Tampa wins and their coach says they played a poor game.

The real point is that Dubby sucked the big banna again, and Bishop outplayed him 2 to 1.

Dont know if this is good news or bad, but Nuge was on the ice for all six goals.

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#243 DSF
November 08 2013, 09:51AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

As I stared earlier, I think that Tampa is playing over its head - they aren't as good as their record implies. So even with a full roster, against the true elite teams. - all of which are in the west save Pitt - the oil is going to lose and lose badly most nights.

Interesting that the Lightning are getting scorched for how they played last night.

Damian Cristodero ‏@LightningTimes

After Thursday's lazy win over the Oilers, nothing but 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 puck battles so far at Friday practice.

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#244 bazmagoo
November 08 2013, 09:53AM
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.

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#245 CaptainLander
November 08 2013, 10:08AM
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camdog wrote:

Why would the Ducks help the Oilers out after what we did to them with Justin Shultz and Dustin Penner? The reality is no other organizations are going to help us out. Other organizations feel that Lowe/Katz's plan to intentionally nose dive to get high draft picks was a joke. They love us losing, there is no help coming without a massive over pay.

Then a massive overpay it is.

Justin Schultz for Anderson and Penner. That should earn me some good trashes

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#246 Johnnydapunk
November 08 2013, 12:16PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

In WW2 France put up little resistance in the nazis march to the Atlantic, while Greece was the similar scenario going east... ( doormats)France was glorying in its Napoleonic zenith while Greece was - and still does - talks about how great it was a couple of millenia ago. And the way this rebuild is going, it will be few millenia before the oil gets the cup...

Fair play, didn't expect an old WW2 reference to be thrown down. Normally I would go all hardcore and do a bit of reading and counter France and Greece's role in the ear as it sounds a bit similar to Finland's role in the war (except Finland was a bit accommodating to Nazi Germany to fight the Russians) , but it will make everything go all off topic and all that. But bravo for the reference.

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#247 pkam
November 07 2013, 01:08PM
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Will wrote:

I also think tonight will be another night of how many goals do the Oilers need to actually win a game. Here's a question, what is the lowest amount of goals the oilers needed to win a game.

Why do I get the feeling the answer is 4.

The Oilers did win the Sens 3-1 with an EN earlier this year.

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#248 nick
November 07 2013, 01:36PM
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Citizen David wrote:

Hedman is a legit number one in my mind. Not a lot of offence but Defense is super solid. He's the best case scenario of what Klefbom can be.

Don't disagree with your statement on Hedman, pretty solid defenseman but in today's NHL cannot be a number 1 D-man because of the lack of offence. Everyone is caught up on the catch phrase of this decade and that is "puck moving D-man". Hedman would be a good number 2 guy.

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#249 Lochenzo
November 07 2013, 01:45PM
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I was worried about going with the smaller D in Florida, but I'm glad they proved me wrong with Larsson and Fedun both scoring. Petry jumps up a fair bit, so now there's one guy on each pair that can join the rush.

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#250 loweblows
November 07 2013, 02:17PM
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get another win and the next player that tries to take out RNH's knees please retaliate accordingly-to my count there has been three knee contacts on RNH that the defender deliberately threw out-as for gazdic call out the person that threw out the knee, not the other teams toughie!

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