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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#101 TDSM31
November 09 2013, 09:22AM
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The Bryz 1 year contract tells me that management is delusional enough to think that they can still take a run at a playoff spot.

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#102 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 09:51AM
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Hemmercules wrote:

Don't you ever get tired of constantly complaining about everything?

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

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#103 bazmagoo
November 09 2013, 10:43AM
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@Kim

"Having no confidence in your goalie kills a team, players believe they cannot win."

Anyone who's played hockey at any level knows how true this is.

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#104 Oasis
November 09 2013, 10:46AM
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Big game for the Flyers. I can hear their dressing room now "Guys, if we can't get out of our scoring slump against the Oilers......we might never get out of our slump". Flyers have had this game circled for weeks.

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#105 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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#106 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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#107 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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#108 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:25PM
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Anyone think Paul Holmgrens gonna want any of the Oilers he's watching today?

Coburns looking pretty big....uh...I mean good....

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#109 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:25PM
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wtf wrote:

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

Teams with :Marian Hossa,Patrick Sharp,Patrick Kane,Duncan Keith,Brent Seabrook,Jonathan Toews also Chicago.Do you think the Oilers have anything close to that?Even remotely close?

You don't hit much when you have the puck most of the game.

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#110 James
November 09 2013, 12:41PM
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FINALLY!! Thank you Perron!

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#111 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:09PM
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10-15 years ago I used to wonder how anyone could be an Islanders fan.

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#112 ubermiguel
November 09 2013, 01:28PM
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James wrote:

Nice give away by Hemmer and Hall on that one. Good grief!

Staple Hall's butt to the bench. Awful giveaway.

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#113 Alsker
November 09 2013, 01:28PM
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How many drop passes at the blueline do we have to endure...bench the whole line...

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#114 bazmagoo
November 09 2013, 01:40PM
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Now the Oilers will be flying, with 3 minutes left in the game down by two goals. Can someone tell me where the effort level is at the beginning of the game?

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#115 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 01:40PM
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4-2 Thank you DD. We love you:)

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#116 Serious Gord
November 09 2013, 01:50PM
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Sole possession of 29th place.

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#117 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:54PM
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KLIR wrote:

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.

Exactly.

Don't forget to then handcuff your rookie coach with lousy assistant coaches not of his choosing.

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#118 Reg Dunlop
November 09 2013, 01:57PM
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The oil will feel a little heat after a Philly no-show,try hard in Chicago and the Blackhawks will play just hard enough to win tomorrow leading media and many fans to chalk it up as a moral victory with many positive signs. 'They played one of the NHL's elite straight up. They have the potential, they only need consistency.' This is just an illusion. This edition of the oil is possibly the worst team I have ever seen in 45 years of watching the NHL. The other horrid teams were expansion clubs or WHA squads new to the league. No excuses for Edmonton. Changes gotta come.

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#119 bazmagoo
November 09 2013, 02:02PM
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@Batfink

Personally I think Eakins needs to go, the logical replacement for this season is MacT, or the guy in OKC.

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#120 Slats
November 09 2013, 02:07PM
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Watching the nhl.com feed I just love it when the announcer uses the description of the goal/goals(!) on DD are "wow what an impossible angle to score from ..."

Can we play the next game with no goalie and call for "post" as our netminder?

*puts jersey away in darkest part of the closet and closes the door

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#121 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:18PM
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boxman wrote:

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

Actually......I am a retired Rocket Scientist.......and I did approve his comment.....

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#122 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:34PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Burp!!!

BRRRRRRAAAAP!............I'm nine beers in.........

Wheres Smid?.......is he injured or something?

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#123 Ed from Edmonton
November 09 2013, 02:43PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Can they send Eakins down to OKC and recall Nelson?

Eakins looks like he could use a bit more seasoning in the AHL.

No, they can't

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#124 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:55PM
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Jerod wrote:

You posters will never see another Stanley Cup with the Oilers in it.

Thanks for coming we were missing our regular troll

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#125 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:57PM
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BingBong wrote:

Didn't watch the game. But I knew - KNEW - Giroux would score.

You have a slump who you gonna goal ....slumpbusters.AKA One bad goal a game Dubnyk and the rest of his motley crew of Hobbits.

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#126 PO'D oilers fan
November 09 2013, 03:52PM
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What I don't get about the smid trade is what they got in return ... could they not have traded the two goalies then smid for a first if not a second round draft pick??? I'm upset it was smid to go but even more upset of what they got in return...

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#127 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 09:33AM
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The GM should have grabbed a goalie in the off season like this commentator suggested many times.Instead they sign Dubnyk's buddy to back him up.

Yet another mistake in a very long series of mistakes.

Now yet gain they a scrambling trying to find quick fixes instead of building a team the right way .From Goal on out to defence to centre then wing.They did is bass akwards and it appears with no long term plan in place.

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#128 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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#129 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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#130 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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#131 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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#132 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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#133 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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#134 Bob
November 09 2013, 12:32PM
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Why am I always grumpy on Oilers' game days?

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#135 James
November 09 2013, 12:35PM
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@Spydyr

Agreed, we need some greasy goals. Stop trying to score the pretty, highlight reel ones because it's not working.

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#136 James
November 09 2013, 01:17PM
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@Spydyr

Yeah I dunno man, but we've got to try some other things. Our special units are BAD.

On another note, Belov out of the game? WTF refs?! Terrible call!

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#137 Hemmercules
November 09 2013, 01:32PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Chicago has been looking at Gagner and Smid for a couple years now.I wonder if MacT even called them before the trade?

If you know Chicago was looking at them then how could Mact not know? Good grief. Why even bother with your goofy comments.

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#138 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:39PM
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Wow just wow.

That would be it for me as GM Dubnyk on waivers.That would free up some cap room if he got picked up.Like that would happen.

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#139 Bucknuck
November 09 2013, 01:45PM
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I want to break stuff.

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#140 sizzler
November 09 2013, 01:46PM
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I give up.

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#141 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 01:52PM
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How do we know that the call on Gagner was a bad call?.....because the call was hitting from behind....and EVERYBODY knows Gagner doesn't hit!

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#142 Smokey
November 09 2013, 01:53PM
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Soccer Steve wrote:

The Bryzgalov naysayers are making it eerily quiet in here.

Dubnyk may not have it between the ears to become the goalie we want, but the matter between Cosmo's ears is scrambled. This shyte is about to get real. Welcome to the Twighlight Zone...

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#143 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:59PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Not gonna happen. One hour ago on CHED MacT just stated that "Dooby will get many opportunities". Just like Desharnais in Montreal; carry the shame 'til golf day in April...

So the accountability was just more lip service.Live the hype Oiler fans live the spin.

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#144 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 02:12PM
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YYYESSSSS!

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#145 vetinari
November 09 2013, 02:28PM
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Kevin Lowe: "Turning Stanley Cup Contenders Into Bottom 5 Performers Since 2006/07"

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#146 Bob
November 09 2013, 02:34PM
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boxman wrote:

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

I don't know what's sadder. The diarrhea I have from drinking so much lately or the Oilers...

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#147 FireKLowe
November 09 2013, 02:46PM
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Ed from Edmonton wrote:

No, they can't

ROTFLMAO!

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#148 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 02:52PM
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Spydyr wrote:

And his tin foil hat.Now seriously he should have something to prove.He will be playing for his NHL life.Not that helped Dubnyk any.

PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER. PLEASE GOD MAKE BRYZGALOV A WINNER.

Or this team will tank again. Same time next year & the same result, Katz better move this loser away.

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#149 OilersFan008
November 09 2013, 02:58PM
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BingBong wrote:

Didn't watch the game. But I knew - KNEW - Giroux would score.

Well yeah, we are the "slump busters", we are the team that backup goalies play, we are the team that the AHL call up gets his first career goal on. We SUCK!

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#150 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 03:00PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Oh I know that, I was being facetious.

Face Titious?.......mmmmmm...I love face titious ...........(10 beers in.)

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