GDB 18.0: MORNING MADNESS

Jason Gregor
November 09 2013 09:06AM

Yesterday at 4:45 p.m. news broke that the Oilers had traded Ladislav Smid to Calgary, and a half hour later the Ilya Bryzgalov signing became official. Some wondered if the two deals were connected. I believe they were, but not just for financial reasons.

Trading Smid freed up $2.786 million in cap space for the remainder of the season, and $3.5 mill cap hit for the following three years, while Ilya Bryzgalov was signed for $1.75 million, which starting today is $1.393 million in actual cap space. The Oilers could have signed Bryzgalov to that deal without moving Smid; however, I do see a connection between the moves.

The Oilers aren't making the playoffs this season. The coaches and players won't think that way, as they should, but in making these moves I believe Craig MacTavish recognizes the disappointing reality that the Oilers are already 12 points out of a playoff spot.

I expect the Oilers to be better in their final 65 games, but they won't go 38-17-6 in their final 65 (which would give them 92 points).

An hour after making the deal, MacTavish stated that he felt the Oilers had more depth on the blueline, and he expected Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse to be two possibilities to replace Smid's size. Klefbom is 6'3" while Nurse is 6'4", but neither will replace Smid right now. Both of them will push for a roster spot next season, although Klefbom likely will get some games near the end of this season.

MacTavish made this move with the long-term future in mind, more than the short term, and I believe the Bryzgalov move was also made with the bigger picture in mind.

MacTavish is hoping Bryzgalov can come in and either out perform Devan Dubnyk, or push him to play better. That helps right now, but more importantly he needs solid goaltending so his players can taste some success. I don't see the Bryzgalov signing as a big risk. He can't be worse than what they have, and despite some of his past comments, I doubt he will be a bad influence in the dressing room.

The Oilers are finally starting to get comfortable with Dallas Eakins system, and if they can get some victories they are more likely to buy in even more and should enter next season more comfortable in their overall game. For that to happen they need better goaltending.

The Oilers outplayed Tampa Bay on Thursday, one of the better teams in the league, but they lost. We all saw the need to try and improve the goaltending right away, but I feel that MacTavish also did it with an eye on next season.

Eakins isn't getting fired, and next year will be the first time in four seasons that the Oilers won't have to learn a new system. They will enter a season with some actual continuity and understanding of their system. They won't need 10, 15 or 50 games to get comfortable with their new coach.

The Oilers need to have a strong second half. They will get more comfortable in the system, and if they can win some games down the stretch, at least they will end the season with some confidence.

These trades were about the big picture, and the Smid move also gave MacTavish some cap flexibility so he can make even more moves leading up to the trade deadline.

SMID TRADE...

The Oilers lose this trade today; because Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit are both prospects and there is no guarantee either one of them will ever play. They won't help the Oilers today. It is fair to question why MacTavish made the move, but I believe he made it to get some cap flexibility short term and long term, and he felt Smid was expendable.

Smid was their best shot blocker and most physical defender. He will be missed. Despite his offensive shortcomings, no one ever questioned his willingness and desire. He competed, and he was sick of losing. He was well-liked in the dressing room, and he really enjoyed living in Edmonton. I know being a good guy off the ice, doesn't always coincide with victories on the ice, but the community will miss him. I

On a personal note, I enjoyed interacting with Smid. He was always throwing out barbs and chirps. He would chirp anyone and he was always smiling, even when he was pissed off. A part of me feels bad for Smid, because he is leaving one rebuild for another. I don't see him racking up a lot of wins in Calgary and being on a losing team for that long must start to wear on a guy.

At the same time I don't think Smid's departure is a major blow to the Oilers. They will miss his competitiveness and shot-blocking abilities, but Andrew Ference plays the same game, and if Klefbom is ready next season he has more overall upside.

I also don't think Taylor Fedun's play led to the Smid trade. Craig MacTavish said he had been discussing this deal with the Flames for a few weeks. Smid's puck moving ability was a concern for the team, especially in Dallas Eakins' new system.

TODAY'S GAME....

The Oilers and Flyers are the poster boys for underachieving so far this season. The Oilers sit in the basement of the western conference, while the Flyers are a disappointing 2nd last in the east. The Flyers only have nine points.

Claude Giroux has 0 goals in 15 games. Scott Hartnell has 1 point in 11 games. Wayne Simmonds and Jacob Voracek each have 1 goal in 15 games.

Giroux had 41 goals and 140 points in his previous 125 games.
Hartnell had 45 goals and 75 points in his previous 114 games.
Simmonds had 43 goals and 81 points in his previous 127 games.
Voracek had 40 goals and 85 points in his previous 126 games.

The Flyers are struggling because their best forwards can't produce.

Flyers analyst Steve Coates told me yesterday that the Flyers are an extremely fragile team right now. When something goes wrong in a game they unravel, and they haven't been able to overcome adversity.

Despite below average goaltending and some five-star giveaways the Oilers haven't folded their tents, except for the brutal Detroit game, so far this season. The Oilers have at least battled throughout the majority of their games.

The Oilers need to attack the Flyers right away. Score first and see if the Flyers will wilt. Eventually Giroux, Hartnell, Simmonds and Voracek are going to start scoring, the Oilers have to try and delay that inevitability for at least one more game.

LINEUP...

Perron-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Hemsky
Joensuu-Gordon-Arcobello
Gazdic-Smyth-Yakupov

The fourth line could also include Ryan Jones or Wil Acton. Those players rotated in and out during yesterday's practice.

David Perron and Jesse Joensuu will return to the lineup, and the Oilers will dress their healthiest forward group of the season. If you switched Yakupov for Arcobello, the top three lines would be what most projected them to be, but Arcobello has earned the right to stay in the top-nine.

If the Oilers can stay healthy, Eakins will finally have the option to move guys in and out, or up and down the lineup based on performance.

Ference-Petry
Belov-Larsen
N.Schultz-Fedun

Dubnyk

The D pairs could also change with Anton Belov replacing Smid. The Oilers backend isn't very big or physical, but the Oilers feel they can move the puck quickly, and that should allow their fast, skilled forwards to generate offence.

MORNING GLORY....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Flyers and Oilers will each get a point. This one ends in a SO, and the Oilers get the bonus point in a 4-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Wanye and many others miss the first period. Wanye slept in because he spent three hours talking to babes on line after returning home from the bar. Unlike Chip from Napolean Dynamite, none of Wanye's babes lived in the same country, however, so there will be no nuptials in his immediate future. But he will SQUEEEEEEEE when Eberle scores in the 2nd period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fedun scores for the third consecutive game. His comeback story just gets better and better as he becomes the first D-man in the expansion era to score a goal in his first three NHL games. Fedun was the first D-man to score in his first two games since, Marcus Ragnarsson in 1995/1996. (Thanks to Elias Sports Bureau for getting me that answer.)

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 David S
November 09 2013, 10:58AM
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Good grief. Solid Wanye burrrrrrn.

Oilers win this one 5-3. Book it!

Now about Bryz being bad in the room?...SHUT UP!

*SLAP!*

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#52 David S
November 09 2013, 11:01AM
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#OilersNationMemes

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#53 Smokey
November 09 2013, 11:02AM
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With no realistic shot of making the playoffs bringing Bryz at the expense of laying Smid on the sacrificial alter shows that these clowns are not cut out for the job. Not only did they do the dirty dead, they gave a useful player to their arch nemesis Burke and the Flames. Burke has picked the pocket of many GM's for years. I think Feaster is one of the 3 worse GM's in the league and Burke is a giant blowhard, but top marks to them. We got bent over, fleeced, and laughed at on this one. The fat kid Nelson from the Simpson's is going HAHA!

The next five years maybe longer we Oilers fans will be roasted over this one. This is a trade that makes no sense. The only way you can save face is if Space Cadet goes unconscious and rolls this team into the dance. Otherwise this management group has shown some of the worst asset management we have ever seen.

Smid was worth a whole lot more then one tweener and a goalie prospect who may not be better then the one we gave up. How many more Rajala's, Hartikainen's, Souray's are we going to flush. Would not have to draft so high every year if you could manage prospects, and assets.

I got no beef with trading Smid. Bryz is not getting us anywhere, and not getting at minimum a roster player who we need, or can contribute is inexcusable because the goalie we have signed is barely an upgrade. Horak is a tweener, maybe he can slot in to 4rth line center. If anyone thinks Bryz can stop point blank shots off turnovers, and massive overplays created by the poorly coached team your completely and utterly insane. Philly been aweful defensively and when Bryz was not in a system that utilizes the trap, sound defensive zone coverage he will be exposed just like Philly who needed more then a big puck blocker. I'd rather get a return like the Sharks got for Murray who advanced scouting said was finished, which was two seconds. Now we have 2 extra contracts, a Russian Cosmonaut, and a continued bad cap situation we can now also be the brunt of all jokes in the NHL.. MacT inexperience at its finest. Can we get Charles Wong to buy the team, and sign Garth Snow assistant.

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#54 Fresh Mess
November 09 2013, 11:04AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I'm a little surprised at myself.........I for one have not missed J.Schultz and hardly noticed that he is MIA.

I'm hoping that it was his injury that made him nearly invisible in his last few games.

I like the kid, but he has been awful. I know he dominated the A offensively, but it seems to me he should be sent down for a few weeks with orders to work purely on his defense.

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#55 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 11:08AM
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MacT trades a guy who was very popular in the dressing room.....message sent.......character of the team should be on display in this game....gut check time!

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#56 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 11:09AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

MacT trades a guy who was very popular in the dressing room.....message sent.......character of the team should be on display in this game....gut check time!

I sure hope Gagner is really popular in the dressing room.Then maybe the team get a get a number two centre that plays 200 feet.

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#57 Reg Dunlop
November 09 2013, 11:10AM
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Nothing cures what ails a team like a visit from the oil. Philly finds their offence today, scores 5 against Dubby in a shutout.

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#58 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 11:11AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

I like the kid, but he has been awful. I know he dominated the A offensively, but it seems to me he should be sent down for a few weeks with orders to work purely on his defense.

I like the kid too...but I've said it since last year....the kid is overrated by Oilers fans.....but with good reason....he chose us, he scored like crazy in the AHL, ETC......but our euphoria needs to be tempered by reality.....he's a kid....he needs to be DEVELOPED properly......right now he is much more potential than reality.

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#59 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 11:12AM
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JJ looks way out of game shape.Going to take the big guy a few games to get it back.

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#60 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 11:17AM
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Spydyr wrote:

I sure hope Gagner is really popular in the dressing room.Then maybe the team get a get a number two centre that plays 200 feet.

I'll second that!

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#61 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 11:19AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I'll second that!

Acro surprisingly is already a more complete player.Not that he is my choice for #2C but he does make Gagner even more expendable.

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#62 WTF
November 09 2013, 11:35AM
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Jay Rosehill... like wtf

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#63 Spaz
November 09 2013, 11:37AM
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Can we rename the team to the Edmonton Slumpbusters?

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#64 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 11:38AM
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After 17 mins in the first it's hard to tell if Oilers have a positive spin on those trades morale wise... 2-0 Philly. All hope is now futile. Sigh X 2

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#65 DevoKnows
November 09 2013, 11:43AM
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Smid woulda blocked that second goal. Wait, apparently we don't need that aspect on this SOFT team. Starting today, I'm cheering for every team that plays Edmonton until Kblowe, McT, and Eakins are gone!!!!!!!

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#66 James
November 09 2013, 11:44AM
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Man, Nuge hasn't won a single draw so far. Not good for us, I hope he picks gets some in there. This is shaping up to be one of those games where we are expected to score 4 or more goals to win.

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#67 Mike Krushelnyski
November 09 2013, 11:44AM
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Spaz wrote:

Can we rename the team to the Edmonton Slumpbusters?

Our logo could be a slutty fat chick

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#68 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 11:44AM
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WTF wrote:

Jay Rosehill... like wtf

Respectfully....here's what the fcuk....he's big....he hits the Dman with force...separates him from the puck...creates possession for his team ...circles around takes the pass and scores.....

Flyers physical presence is a little intimidating......not a lot of toe drags...

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#69 Shooter
November 09 2013, 11:45AM
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Anyone who still believes in the competence of Kevin Lowe and thinks he has a done a good job, please send back your Oiler Fan Membership card immediately.

I've been an Oilers fan my whole life. I grew up in the 80's and boy we were spoiled back then. It pains me to see what Lowe has done to this team. He has been the GM and then president over the last 13 years. Check the stats. This has been a sinking ship for 13 years and the man does not have the skills to fix his mistakes. Yes, he was a proven successful NHL player, with 6 rings I hear. Now he has had long enough to prove that he doesn't know how to run a hockey team.

Please fire Lowe so the fans can start to respect this organization again.

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#70 Dog Train
November 09 2013, 11:45AM
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Typical afternoon game. Oilers are sleeping in. Ugh.

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#71 Fresh Mess
November 09 2013, 11:45AM
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I just can not understand why this organization would trade out an asset that they are in short supply of (tough physical, experienced second pairing defensemen) yet continue to horde assets they have an excess of (expensive, small offensive forwards)....and for very little return. These are not blue chip prospects they received.

As a salary dump, this makes no sense.

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#72 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 11:46AM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Our logo could be a slutty fat chick

That is so sexist......and hilarious!!

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#73 DSF
November 09 2013, 11:47AM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Our logo could be a slutty fat chick

/wins internet today.

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#74 Reg Dunlop
November 09 2013, 11:48AM
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Dubnyk never makes a save, sometimes the puck just hits him. What will the excuse be after this debacle? The boys were tired? Flu bug hit the room? No puck luck? Sun was in their eyes?

'Just wait until next year, Nurse will be a beast, Klefbom will be a stud, the first overalls will dominate.' Ya, whatever.

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#75 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 09 2013, 11:52AM
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Wasn't mactavish hired to put the Oilers over the top? He said he is impatient and the time to develop is over it is time to start winning. How does this man have a job?. Wether or not Tambo had to go is one thing but Tambo was fired only to give MacT the job.

Since we are pretty much out of the playoffs it has proven that he FAILED! He was going to make it better. Tambo was fired so MacT could look like the hero and has that ever back fired.

The league is laughing at him right now over the bryz signing. DD .847 1st period only but it doesnt build confidence.

LOWE MACT BUCKY SMITH must go. there is no plan they have no real clue and the product shows it.

Go to Hell Katz you rich paternal intercourser. You have intercoursed your fans big time

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#76 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 11:54AM
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Guess the "braintrust" thought they had too much grit in the line up.So they traded their toughest d-man for more "magic beans". Then again they traded Stoll and Greene for a puck mover.Some things never change.

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#77 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 11:55AM
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This team looks more and more the same for a while now. A loser. How much longer before Taylor Hall & coy demand trades? Thank you Kevin Lowe for knowing more than a little bit about winning! & there was never a concern about that:)

End sarcasm.

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#78 Spaz
November 09 2013, 11:57AM
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Any money on Giroux getting his first goal of the sesaon on DD?

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#79 Alsker
November 09 2013, 12:01PM
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For a minute I thought I was watching a replay from couple years ago...unable to seperate anyone from the puck, unwilling to throw a check, unable to get out of our own zone and issues in between the pipes. Well at least kBlowe has been able to keep the ship floating upside down year after year. Getting tougher to be choked with the players or sorry for them.

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#80 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:03PM
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Spaz wrote:

Any money on Giroux getting his first goal of the sesaon on DD?

Better be offering up some good odds.

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#81 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:04PM
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Maybe the ref can fix the hole in Dubnyk's glove when he is done with the net.

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#82 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:04PM
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Alsker wrote:

For a minute I thought I was watching a replay from couple years ago...unable to seperate anyone from the puck, unwilling to throw a check, unable to get out of our own zone and issues in between the pipes. Well at least kBlowe has been able to keep the ship floating upside down year after year. Getting tougher to be choked with the players or sorry for them.

But let's not forget the advanced stats guys.....size doesn't matter.....

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#83 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:07PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

But let's not forget the advanced stats guys.....size doesn't matter.....

On the ice in a physical game played by large highly competitive men in foul moods size matters.On the stats page it does not matter.You don't win games on the stats page you win them on the ice.

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#84 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 12:09PM
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DD is .846 after one period; 2 goals & 13 shots. Does he look like he wants to save his neck after Bryz became an Oiler rental? I guess the guy (DD) will go back home to Saskatchewan with at least a sizeable personal fortune over his 5 NHL years...

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#85 Serious Gord
November 09 2013, 12:10PM
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God what tortured logic Jason.

If Bryz could be afforded without dealing smid, then why did they trade him?

Trading smid makes one if the leagues weakest defenses even weaker. And the prospects won't help save team morale this year.

Bryz is a very low percentage chance of success. I recommended taking that chance at the beginning of the year when there was a sliver of hope of making the playoffs. Now with no hope, it is a senseless waste that ties up yet more $$ and a roster spot making a big deal near the trade deadline even harder to pull off.

This is - as robin posted earlier - a desperation set of moves made to save face and to demonstrate that management is trying to change the teams trajectory for this year - to hell with the long term consequences and to hell with trying to win the deal.

A better course of action would have been for MacT to call a presser and state that the teamsong term quest is the cup and that no moves will be made that retard the timeline of that quest. - no desperation moves. I think oilers nation is four square vmbehind that approach and that MacT's moves yesterday make them question whether he shares that view.

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#86 clyde
November 09 2013, 12:10PM
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Gazdic needs to change Philly's focus.

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#87 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:10PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

DD is .846 after one period; 2 goals & 13 shots. Does he look like he wants to save his neck after Bryz became an Oiler rental? I guess the guy (DD) will go back home to Saskatchewan with at least a sizeable personal fortune over his 5 NHL years...

Some one will sign him this summer.As the player he is - a backup goalie.

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#88 DCC
November 09 2013, 12:12PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

That is so sexist......and hilarious!!

I gave it props...and I'm a girl.

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#89 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:12PM
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Spydyr wrote:

On the ice in a physical game played by large highly competitive men in foul moods size matters.On the stats page it does not matter.You don't win games on the stats page you win them on the ice.

I'm sure they'll find a stat that PROVES you wrong.......of course their stats won't take into consideration any 2nd or 3rd order effects....or anything that you can't add up on an abacus....

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#90 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:13PM
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DCC wrote:

I gave it props...and I'm a girl.

I love you.

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#91 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:14PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

God what tortured logic Jason.

If Bryz could be afforded without dealing smid, then why did they trade him?

Trading smid makes one if the leagues weakest defenses even weaker. And the prospects won't help save team morale this year.

Bryz is a very low percentage chance of success. I recommended taking that chance at the beginning of the year when there was a sliver of hope of making the playoffs. Now with no hope, it is a senseless waste that ties up yet more $$ and a roster spot making a big deal near the trade deadline even harder to pull off.

This is - as robin posted earlier - a desperation set of moves made to save face and to demonstrate that management is trying to change the teams trajectory for this year - to hell with the long term consequences and to hell with trying to win the deal.

A better course of action would have been for MacT to call a presser and state that the teamsong term quest is the cup and that no moves will be made that retard the timeline of that quest. - no desperation moves. I think oilers nation is four square vmbehind that approach and that MacT's moves yesterday make them question whether he shares that view.

I have always like Smid's game.He plays hard with courage and heart every night.

That being said if you can trade any player for what you feel is an upgrade do it.

The problem I have is trading an actual NHL player and not getting one in return.

The time for trading for a player at least a few years away has passed.

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#92 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:18PM
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Remember when we had great special teams last year? What a joke this team is.

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#93 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 12:18PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I love you.

Hmmmm ORG must be a Riders fan when it comes to the CFL because he started drinking early today with a comment like that. Get out today.

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#94 Lochenzo
November 09 2013, 12:19PM
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I saw Smid's 4 years plus Ference's contract as a bridge to give Klefbom and Nurse time. Smid is a big loss. Hopefully Belov continues to play well and stays for a while.

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#95 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:19PM
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Spaz wrote:

Remember when we had great special teams last year? What a joke this team is.

Somewhere Ralph has a sly smile on his face.

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#96 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:19PM
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Maybe they should try the "swarm" on the PP? It has to be good for something.

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#97 justthestatsman
November 09 2013, 12:20PM
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So if you're a Flyer and you don't want to get traded to the Oilers should you go out and score a hat trick or really suck?

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#98 wtf
November 09 2013, 12:21PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

But let's not forget the advanced stats guys.....size doesn't matter.....

Team with the least amount of hits last season: Chicago Blackhawks

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#99 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:21PM
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Chicago has been looking at Gagner and Smid for a couple years now.I wonder if MacT even called them before the trade?

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#100 James
November 09 2013, 12:21PM
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props

@Spaz

Because we're expecting guys like Hall and Eberle to kill penalties when we had better PK personel last season.

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