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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#201 Spoils
November 09 2013, 09:39AM
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Well, look at that forward lineup!

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#202 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 10:07AM
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Spydyr wrote:

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.

Funny thing....with the exception that I like MacT and I thought that Smid was never going to be part of the winning equation moving forward, I agree with most of what Spyder has to say......and yet I'm happy today and looking forward to watching the game!.....What the hell?!?!

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#203 oiler_head
November 09 2013, 10:13AM
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I am disappointed that Smid was moved for prospects. I am amazed that Omark couldn't have been dealt as part of cap/contract clearing. What does that say about Omark who must be pissed that he's back in OKC after a brief, safe, though unspectacular, shot with the Oilers. I wonder what he did to which hockey god to be stuck in the situation he is in.

Oil 5-2 - just to tease us long suffering fans before they drop their next three.

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#204 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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#205 WTF
November 09 2013, 11:35AM
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Jay Rosehill... like wtf

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#206 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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#207 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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#208 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:29PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

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.

I resemble that remark!

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#209 James
November 09 2013, 12:39PM
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@Spaz

Yep, we are sorely missing that net presence. And the PK, I mean, Hemsky on for a few seconds? Hall? Nuge? WTF? Our best PK person hasn't played any minutes on it since he's been back and that was Gagner. I mean he's not doing great 5 on 5 but he was tops on PK last year, shouldn't we try that? I mean, if we're trying Eberle and co, why not give it a shot?

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#210 Serious Gord
November 09 2013, 12:42PM
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wtf wrote:

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

That's because they always had the puck. Hit stats can be very misleading.

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#211 Bucknuck
November 09 2013, 12:51PM
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This feed from Philly is perhaps the only American feed that hasn't irritated the stink out of me. They aren't half bad.

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#212 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 01:01PM
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MacT talking to Stauffer on CHED now (I get via internet here in Ontario); he does talk the talk but... On Smid being traded: "the organization is deep at that position" and "change is a natural by-product". Stauffer fails to ask the tough, necessary questions... MacT: "We've got to get better". "Dubnyk will get many opportunities", "we playing better but things got to change for the better", "changes are imminent", "we are not at the level we need to be", etc etc etc

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#213 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:06PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

MacT talking to Stauffer on CHED now (I get via internet here in Ontario); he does talk the talk but... On Smid being traded: "the organization is deep at that position" and "change is a natural by-product". Stauffer fails to ask the tough, necessary questions... MacT: "We've got to get better". "Dubnyk will get many opportunities", "we playing better but things got to change for the better", "changes are imminent", "we are not at the level we need to be", etc etc etc

It is called propaganda.You have been feed it for years from the Oilers.Selling hope is their job.

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#214 Johnnydapunk
November 09 2013, 01:19PM
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Match penalty?!?!? Pffft.....

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#215 James
November 09 2013, 01:26PM
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They keep this up and we'll all be at the bar, permanently. Hall and co can all buy us beers to make up for their crap play.

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#216 Clarko
November 09 2013, 01:32PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Gawd Dubnyk. Break the Giroux drought. Nice.

I'm tired of watching this team right now.

Wake me when they start playing like they want to win.

Ference backed up below the hashmarks on that goal. You're asking to get scored on when you allow screened shots from 15-20 feet out...

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#217 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 01:33PM
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James wrote:

He's had several this game, and usually does but somehow he gets a pass. Kid needs to learn, and fast.

Hall do you like me now!

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#218 bazmagoo
November 09 2013, 01:36PM
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Got to ask, how long before MacT replaces Eakins behind the bench?

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#219 Hemmercules
November 09 2013, 01:38PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

The rare "Hit from the side then the opposing player turns into the boards to make it look like a hit from behind" call.

That guy could barely hide the shame on his face for diving on a Gagner hit.

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#220 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 01:42PM
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Bob wrote:

your an idiot

Thanks for the insult. Since you're so f-nnin' smart, figure out this mess for us all.

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#221 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:43PM
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Lets call a time-out to prolong this shame. You're not going to tie it with 30 seconds left.

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#222 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:43PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

and to think I had been defending Dubnyk all bloody summer. He sucks. He just really sucks. He is a big bag of Suck. I'm so mad at his level of suckiness. I can't even describe his suck it sucks so bad.

Welcome to the ever growing Dubnyks gotta go team.

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#223 Bloodsweatandoil
November 09 2013, 01:47PM
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The Dyingsty keeps chugging....

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#224 James
November 09 2013, 01:49PM
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@Spaz

Moral victories. Huzzah? *still cries*

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#225 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:51PM
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Bob wrote:

No Sh*t. He said Taylor Hall though...

And I voted trash.Then put my two cents in.

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#226 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 01:54PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

and to think I had been defending Dubnyk all bloody summer. He sucks. He just really sucks. He is a big bag of Suck. I'm so mad at his level of suckiness. I can't even describe his suck it sucks so bad.

Ditto.....I was a supporter too....I was wrong! Bring on Bryz!

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#227 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:56PM
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Smokey wrote:

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...

At least we have some entertainment as the team plummets in the standing for the eighth straight year.

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#228 Spaz
November 09 2013, 02:11PM
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vetinari wrote:

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...

But Klowe's been wearing Tom Landry's hat for 7 years? If that doesn't motivate the guys I don't know what will.

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#229 Bucknuck
November 09 2013, 02:22PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

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.

Agreed on Gagner and Arco. Arco and Hall have been the best Oilers on a lot of nights. Gagner needs to sit some more, and I like Gagner a lot.

The list of Oilers players who looked good is pretty darn short, though.

Arco; Hall; Eberle; Larsen

I think that's it. Everyone else was asleep.

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#230 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:25PM
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Know what the best part of the after game comments.I don't feel like I'm drinking alone.

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#231 mlcselli
November 09 2013, 02:26PM
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If 6 rings knows so much about winning, why doesn't he go home and sit in tier 2 with the rest of the fans and let someone else run the show? He makes me sick--doesn't know his arse from his elbow!!!!

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#232 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:28PM
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Spaz wrote:

Batman's a scientist.

And a Damn Fine One Spaz!

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#233 Don Wood
November 09 2013, 02:29PM
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@Reg Dunlop

You are 100% correct sir...this is the worst team possibly in at least 30 plus years...how can they be so bad with so many good picks? When will Kevin Lowe be gone!

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#234 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:31PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Know what the best part of the after game comments.I don't feel like I'm drinking alone.

Cheers...I'll drink to that!

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#235 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:36PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

Now that the selloff has begun. Maybe they can move Gagner now, since Archobello has shown he's every bit as capable to do what Gags does on this team.

Imagine the capspace going into the summer with Gags,Hemsky,N.Schultz,Smid and Dubnyks coin coming off the books. Adding another top 3 selection, along with Darnell Nurse to next yrs lineup. Imagine the opportunities they'd have with that much space. There'd even be plenty of room in there for Brinks Weber along with Steve Ott.

Success while failing, it's what we do best. Eakins sure looks like he's way in over his head. He doesn't have a clue. Good thing he totally ruined Yakupovs confidence, he could sure use a goal or two a game scorer now. Guess MacT can't fix stupid when it comes to our coach. Krueger never pointed fingers when this happened last season. Dallas already appears to be reaching for excuses.

Cheers! ....I'll drink to that!

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#236 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:45PM
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Ed from Edmonton wrote:

No, they can't

Oh I know that, I was being facetious.

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#237 Jerod
November 09 2013, 02:53PM
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You posters will never see another Stanley Cup with the Oilers in it.

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#238 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 03:00PM
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Next game vs Chicago???? The Kevin Lowe era of S & M sessions go on.....

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#239 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:01PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

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

Who doesn't?

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#240 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:12PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I've heard of 20 college kids in a Volkswagen......but how do you get all the Oilers in a Cup??.....that's just silly.........(11 beers in)

Nothing wrong with one being in their cups.I was last night.You are working on it today.We are Oilers fans we have to drink.

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#241 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 03:13PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

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

Good thing the liquor stores are open late. The HNIC double header doesn't start for 2 hrs yet.

2nd wind usually "activates" (to coin a phrase from cheds yankee broadcaster) around 7'ish.

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#242 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 03:27PM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

Mmmmmmmmm Face Titious with D cups...

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Suddenly a weight has been lifted off my shoulders...

What were we talking about again?

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#243 Bryzarro World
November 09 2013, 04:27PM
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Bob wrote:

Do you really think we need another offensive defenceman? Do you really think he's worth our best player?

Where are these defencemen you speak of?

Do we have any that won a Norris? That can score? No? Ok... stfu Our best player hasn't done jack... I wouldn't trade him but only an idiot would respond the way you did.

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#244 bob
November 09 2013, 04:32PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

Where are these defencemen you speak of?

Do we have any that won a Norris? That can score? No? Ok... stfu Our best player hasn't done jack... I wouldn't trade him but only an idiot would respond the way you did.

wanna fight?

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#245 Ron Burgundy
November 09 2013, 09:39AM
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Jason (or others) - how does the 50 contract limit work?

According to Capgeek Bryz brings us to 51 contracts. Do the rules perhaps allow a team to go over 50 if players are on IR (as I'm guessing MacIntyre and Pitlick are)? Or do the "buried" Grebs/Eager not count for some reason?

Seems to suggest more moves on the way in any case. As does the fact that Yak is on the 4th line given our depth at RW, and we are playing (and presumably scouting) a team we've been linked to in trade rumours for about 6 months. Could be an interesting day.

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#246 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 10:30AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

He did. Labarberra could not have been predicted to be this bad. This is Mac T's do-over and he will grab a legit number one in free agency this summer.

He was no to grab a free agent goalie this summer.No doubt there.It will probably be an over pay though.I just hope he gets a franchise calibre goalie capable of winning the Cup in four years.

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#247 Fresh Mess
November 09 2013, 10:37AM
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@Spydyr

"...capable of winning the Cup in four years."

why? so the oilers can trade him to a cup contender at the deadline four years from now as they make their annual dive for the lottery?

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#248 rob
November 09 2013, 10:37AM
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bryzgalov =Rollie 2.0!now pull a trade with the rangers and beef up back end,off to the playoffs we go!

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#249 Johnnydapunk
November 09 2013, 10:50AM
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lucky wrote:

So what up with LaBarbera? Does he need waived to report to OKC, or are they going to carry a three headed monster again?

He is going to have to clear waivers with the small hope that someone will pick him up. The Flames did the same with Joey MacDonald a week or so back.

I'm guessing he will go down to OKC and toil there until his contract is up.

Also think it is a 4 headed monster as Bachman is still up but on IR :-)

Not wanting to get anyone's hopes up, but the last time the Oil had a 4 headed goalie monster (Morrison, Conklin, Markkanen, and Roloson) that eventually turned to a three headed monster was the 2005-06 season where they made it to the Finals.

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#250 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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