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 quintana
November 09 2013, 01:46PM
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What a joke this team is........sad.

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#52 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:55PM
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The saddest thing about this game was that the game after MacT sells off Smid to get a replacement for DD that's the performance we get. Devan your job is on the line and you give up 4 goals on the lowest scoring offense in the league. BOLD STATEMENT.

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#53 Batfink
November 09 2013, 02:00PM
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Jeebus, this is on coaching. the players have no idea what to do or where to be. Proof is in the fact that our special teams are a million times worse and we can't seem to do what we were good at last season. I think, looking at the effort, there is some kind of 'work to rule' going on here and they're giving DE the rope he needs to hang himself and his AHL systems. I think their doing EXACTLEY what they are asked. Except for DD.

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#54 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 09 2013, 02:12PM
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When you're Losin games In your neighborhood Who you Gonna call????

SLUMPBUSTERS!!!!!

It is only november and I am completley worn out by this.

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#55 Ed in Edmonton
November 09 2013, 02:14PM
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Thought the Oil's top two centers were brutal. RNH looked half asleep and Ganger is Ganger. Arcabello was the Oil's best forward and should be out back at center. Likely no room for Gagner if he can't get it turned around soon.

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#56 Sam Reinhart
November 09 2013, 02:34PM
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Hi ,

This is Sam Reinhart please Edmonton don't draft me, if you do I will retire from hockey.

All the best

Sam

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#57 Rob F
November 09 2013, 02:52PM
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NorthernPride wrote:

The sad thing is I don't even get mad watching Oilers games anymore. I used to get hot-faced pissed! But now it's just expected. Now I just get a little sad.

I always get hot-faced pissed too!!!! He he..... Try getting a good buzz before the game you'll enjoy it a bit more.

Gotta go I hear sirens

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#58 Fresh Mess
November 09 2013, 10:29AM
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Gregor, I don't buy your explanation of the Smid trade.

If the club needed cap flexibility going forward, then why sign Ference this past summer to that ridiculous contract? Why sign freakinGrebeshkov after he washed out of the KHL for ridiculous money? Why verbally agree to not trade Gagner and sign him to big money?

Ference is older(past his best actually) slightly more expensive, and signed to an equally long contract. Other than experience winning, Ferrence brings no upgrades over Smid.

I guess that is the thanks Smid gets for giving up his UFA open market status, and signing a four year deal for slightly less than market money. He committed to this city in every way, and was discarded for a miserable return.

I do not trust the judgement of Oilers management.

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#59 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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#60 James
November 09 2013, 03:03PM
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Can you imagine if Kevin Lowe's job depended on good results.

That would be funny.

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#61 Ari Gold
November 09 2013, 03:36PM
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Sad to say, the Nuck fans here predicting Dubnyk's demise and the constant turbulence in management destroying the cohesiveness of our team may have been right. I hate them more than Hitler, but they were right.

I hate it when Canuck fans are right.

Given that this current management group has only been together for a few months, it would only set us back by a few months if we chuck'em. We've got a rookie owner, president, GM and coach. That's not a recipe for winning. Chuck em all but Katz because he's not replaceable. Bring in a few people that've done the bloody job before.

No more rookies in management!

And please start coaching Yak. He needs some direction.

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#62 oilerman53
November 09 2013, 09:22AM
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The physicality and the shots are starting to pile up for the Oilers now. I thought they heavily outplayed Tampa the other night and no that isn't an exhaggeration. This lineup being this healthy should start to generate more offense and people in their right spots. This team may be poised to go on a hot streak here. I love how Bryz looks absolutely nuts in almost all of his pictures.

These guys may finally be buying into the system and Ference finally showed some leadership jumping to Petry's defense on that dirty play. This team looks so different with Hall in the lineup.

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#63 vetinari
November 09 2013, 09:27AM
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Listening to MacT's comments, they were obviously high on the goalie prospect that they acquired for Smid. As for Smid, he was a warrior and one of my favorites but we have too many defence men and given his cap number, the only one of value in a trade at this point in time. As for Bryzgalov, desperate times call for desperate measures and his contract is low risk for one season. However, it signals to me that LaBarbera and Dubnyk are both likely to be gone by this time next year. Welcome to Bold Moves Territory. Population: 2.

GDP: oilers 4 flyers 3

The moves will get some players finally motivated to play a full 60 minutes.

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#64 The Oilers Shot Clock
November 09 2013, 09:31AM
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@TDSM31

What would you have them do? Not try? The one year contract means MacT is willing to let Bryz play for a new contract next year with another team and hopefully we can benefit from a motivated 33 year old with limited time left. He might even be worth something at the deadline if he plays well. The signing was forced on all of us.

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#65 Alsker
November 09 2013, 10:15AM
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Its unfortuneate that Bryz didnt fly into the city of brotherly hatred to meet the team, and go thru the pregame skate with them. The frenzy it would have caused may have shook Holmgren into doing something foolish. And it would have given Gene lots and lots of material to annoy us with all game...lol

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

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#67 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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#68 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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#69 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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#70 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:35PM
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Oilers management are thinking "Man! Sure wish we coulda caught Philly in the MIDDLE of their losing streak".......(not realizing that THEY are the streak busters!)

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#71 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 01:27PM
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DROUGHTBUSTERS!!!

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#72 DrunkGuyTy
November 09 2013, 01:39PM
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I don't mind Eakins but I would love to see an Oilers coach fly off the handle after one of these stupid calls. Can someone please look like they give a sh!t ... just once.

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#73 Johnnydapunk
November 09 2013, 01:45PM
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Such a giant man who plays so tiny in the net, Dubnyk you gong show.....

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#74 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:46PM
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James wrote:

Are we officially last yet? *cries*

I think Buffalo is still worse in the standings, but they're still in selloff mode not we've been rebuilding for almost a decade. But we're totally killing it in the 'moral victory' dept.

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#75 Rob...
November 09 2013, 01:46PM
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This reffing is sickening. Don't they know the Oilers are perfectly capable of losing the game on their own?

I'd bag-skate the Oilers tomorrow, then hold an hour long Goldilocks Passing drill. Teaching them to pass the puck, not too hard, and not too soft, and freaking make sure the enemy is nowhere around where you're sending the fraggin puck! Shouldn't they know this already? Time for ol' 6-rings to start demanding salary back from all of the players.

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#76 D-Unit
November 09 2013, 01:49PM
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Why does Dubnyk wear skates? He could just walk out on the ice at the start of the game and go into the butterfly and not move, it's all he does anyhow.

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#77 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:02PM
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Joe wrote:

I wonder if Edmonton Oilers could beat a good AHL team

If this was soccer they would have been relegated years ago.

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#78 vetinari
November 09 2013, 02:08PM
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Remember the Simpsons episode where Homer gets the Denver Broncos as a gift from Hank Scipio for running his nuclear power plant and Homer says to Marge (when she asks him "aren't you happy with your gift"), "Oh Marge, you know nothing about football..."?

The Oilers remind me of the old Denver Broncos right now...

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#79 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:12PM
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Frank wrote:

This team has Kevin Lowe's fingerprint all over it.

Well done Kevin, imagine if you had 7 rings how well Edmonton would do.

He's a "President".....he needs to be well rounded......He knows something about winning.......so now he's trying to establish that he also knows a little something about losing! He wants balance .......six rings to prove the winning part.......and six first overall picks to prove the losing part.......really .....how do you argue with logic like that!?!?

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#80 Bucknuck
November 09 2013, 02:16PM
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I can't wait for the Oil to win a few so I can feel hope again. My tank is on empty. I'm already checking the Junior players that are draft eligible.

Also looking at Nurse, Khaira and Briossant.

I think I am more impatient than MacT.

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#81 Darren
November 09 2013, 02:39PM
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Sam Reinhart wrote:

Hi ,

This is Sam Reinhart please Edmonton don't draft me, if you do I will retire from hockey.

All the best

Sam

Don't you know KLowe knows winning.

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#82 Spaz
November 09 2013, 02:52PM
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@Alsker

It does look bad but if there is a team we seem to get improbably lopsided wins from it's the hawks, but seriously we're going to get destroyed. Eakins that kid was right, you suck.

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#83 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:55PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

Next home game can all the "tier 1" fans please chant "Kevin Lowe must go" all game long? If that doesn't get idiot katz's attention I don't know what will!

I would pay good money to hear.......(to the beat of "derr--ick....clap clap ...clap clap clap ....Jet--er...clap clap...clap clap clap.....)

Fi-re!...clap clap ...clap clap clap ...Six Rings!....clap clap....clap clap clap....

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#84 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:25PM
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Gerald wrote:

I think the Oilers should trade for Smid. Perhaps Gagner or draft picks

Too funny.Sad but funny.

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#85 nunyour
November 09 2013, 09:32AM
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Good move Mact,hope Bryzgalov gives us some quality goaltending.

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#86 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 09:57AM
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@Soccer Steve

MacT trading what little toughness he had on the back end in Smid for magic beans.If they wanted Brossoit the should of drafted him.I was hoping they would. Mistake.

Not signing a legit goalie to push Dubnyk .Mistake.

Not getting a legit number two centre.Mistake

Signing Hemsky for five million mistake

Signing Grebs. Mistake.

I could keep going on but I will stop with.The press conference to remove all doubt the team is run by morons.Mistake.

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#87 Hemmercules
November 09 2013, 10:07AM
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Spydyr wrote:

So you like what the Oilers have done the last eight years?Good for you.

Lol. Some I like. I never did like tambo from the beginning, that set them back a bit with his passiveness and likely a Lowe puppet. I think Mact has more pull on his own than tambo did. With a new coach and so many new players I expected bumps this season. Not to mention shaky goaltending. I believe Mact put in a solid effort on trying to acquire a goalie this summer an came up short. I come here to vent a bit too I admit, things are rough. I learned last year during the lockout period not be so emotionally invested.

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#88 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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#89 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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#90 Alsker
November 09 2013, 12:22PM
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man do we look disinterested. The PP was embarrassing, turnover after turnover. Yak needs to go to OKC and pray Nelson can turn him around. Beer fridge is empty, off to the store.

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#91 Mike Krushelnyski
November 09 2013, 01:19PM
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Haha I flipped back to the game in time to see Belov to get tossed for a vicious shot to Giroux's...arm? At least it was something different!

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#92 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:45PM
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What happened to the accountability they talked so much about?

You goalie has cost you many games this year but he is still not sent down.Send a message waive his a$$

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#93 Smokey
November 09 2013, 01:48PM
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Eakins is reasonable coach I think. But this team needs someone to install confidence. Pat Quinn anyone? Oh right, we discarded him cause he was outta touch with todays current player...My ass. Eakins lost the room 2 weeks ago, the kids quit. Then they trade a heart and soul guy, who predicted someone would get traded to the dark side which will help their rebuild. Then they signed a cosmonaut to tend goal cause the giraffe who's currently tending hasn't got it between the ears and cost this team probably ten times this season.

I watch the games to test my Oilers allegiance, but this is painful.

Katz should sell this team to someone with a pulse.

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#94 KLIR
November 09 2013, 01:53PM
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The results so far this year are what happen if you hire a rookie GM who hires a rookie coach to coach a rookie team. Whose fault, Kevin Lowe is to blame and should suffer the consequences.

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#95 boxman
November 09 2013, 02:08PM
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Bob wrote:

6 min left, i hope our retarded coach pulls the goalie...

I don't know what is sadder, your questionable comment or the rocket scientists who propped you.

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#96 Taylor Gang
November 09 2013, 02:25PM
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@Bucknuck

Larsen? No way man. Guy couldn't handle keeping the puck in at all. Add in all the poor decision making and I'd say he had a rough outing.

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#97 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 02:43PM
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cubsfan wrote:

KLowe has won more rings than the Oilers have won games....cut him some slack

One word: OUCH The ultimate insult IMHO. That's it! I'm done with this team. Unless they get worst. Next game?

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#98 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 09 2013, 02:49PM
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Kevin lowe couldnt organize a one man rush to a two seat out house.

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#99 Alsker
November 09 2013, 02:49PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

One word: OUCH The ultimate insult IMHO. That's it! I'm done with this team. Unless they get worst. Next game?

Wait a minute, hmmm, we played 2nd worst in the east now we get defending champs....worse, GUARANTEED!!!!My liver keeps telling me to stop watching but.....

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#100 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 03:38PM
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Chris. wrote:

Today I could not force myself to watch the game all the way through without using the fast forward. I keep selling more and more of my seasons tickets to total strangers. I no longer visit Oilersnation, Copper and Blue, Lowetide, Black Dog, MC79, Cult Of Hockey, Hockey Buzz, or the Oilogosphere on a daily basis. I now rarely comment on any of the content written. (Once a favorite past time of mine) I'm listening to more and more music on the radio. I haven't bothered to watch the first episode of Oil Change Season 4 because I no longer care to have a behind the scenes look at yet another coaching change, high draft selection, and rhetoric filled training camp...

Honest reader; before you hit Trash it; please understand that I didn't jump off the bandwagon... The bandwagon itself has finally disintegrated to the point that I, like many others, have been unwillingly thrown clear; left standing on the side of the road, badly wounded, unable to help those still trapped on the smoldering wreckage as it wildly plummets toward certain disaster.

I think I'll take up jogging.

Join team "Get Rid of Dubnyk"....you can have up to 10 beers on one membership............(sweet part is memberships are free)

And I get ya....I used to really look forward to Oil Change....now I don't watch it...........but jogging?....really?....does a brisk walk to the liquor barn count?

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