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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#251 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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#252 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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#253 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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#254 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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#255 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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#256 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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#257 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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#258 James
November 09 2013, 12:26PM
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@Spaz

It doesn't, but we're also playing guys like Gordon on the pp and keeping the first line out way too long. Yak is struggling and yet he's getting tons of pp time over people who may have a better chance. I find these combinations, for both special teams, a headscratcher sometimes. Why in the hell is Nuge on the PK, even if it's to take a draw? He's been abismal in faceoffs this game.

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#259 James
November 09 2013, 12:45PM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

Haha, well played good sir.

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#260 James
November 09 2013, 12:47PM
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@Spaz

Yeah I get that, but at what point do you see it's not working and move on? It's not a small change in effectivness on our special teams, it's a huge one. You'd think you would try some different people when your special teams got from top 10 to middle/bottom in the league.

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#261 Lofty
November 09 2013, 12:59PM
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When will the Oil stop giving up there own blue line so easily?

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#262 James
November 09 2013, 01:10PM
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Gazdic will not be back, bad shoulder.

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#263 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 01:11PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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

No doubt! If MacT gets fired one day (is that even not an eventuality?)he should move to the USA and run for the Republican Party - GOP - with quotes like those!!! 5 minutes in the 3rd, CHED says that Philly needs another goal to wrap this game.

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#264 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:16PM
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How is that a match penalty?

NHL is becoming the No Hit League.

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#265 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:20PM
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The hockey gods owe us a short handed goal for that call.

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#266 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:22PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Hall looks like he may have spent last night at the bar.

For anyone thinking that size doesn't matter, watch Eberle. If the smaller player is as committed, is quicker to change direction and is faster from point A to B then size is not relevant. However, big, mean NHLers in today's NHL are just as fast, quick and motivated. This isn't 1980 when slewfoots like Brad Marsh populated rosters. All else being +/- equal size is the determining factor. The oil will remain detritus feeders until more than 1 of the dwarfs are converted into actual men.

No poop.

I would say two Gagner and Hemsky.

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#267 James
November 09 2013, 01:22PM
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@Spydyr

Bullsh*t call for sure! As if we need any help from the zebras to lose this game. Ugh! Good thing we have so much depth right now on D, right MacT?

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#268 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:23PM
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Make up call.

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#269 Soccer Steve
November 09 2013, 01:23PM
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And your classic make-up call by this "ref". So lame.

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#270 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:29PM
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Well Hemsky helped get Giroux his first goal, maybe the Flyers will want him now.

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#271 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:34PM
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@ubermiguel

If Eakins benched everyone who made a terrible giveaway he'd be stuck icing a lineup of the training staff with Joey Moss in net.

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#272 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:34PM
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Hemmercules wrote:

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

Feel free not to read them.It won't hurt my feelings.

What I said is I wondered if he called them not if he knew they were looking at them.

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#273 Bob
November 09 2013, 01:37PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Got to ask, how long before MacT replaces Eakins behind the bench?

that would be great. hopefully tomorrow

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#274 ubermiguel
November 09 2013, 01:37PM
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James wrote:

Another marginal call. Jesus!

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

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#275 Alsker
November 09 2013, 01:39PM
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Oops I meant down early top half of the net wide open again.

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#276 Bob
November 09 2013, 01:40PM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

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.

Exactly!! he's useless...

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#277 James
November 09 2013, 01:44PM
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Are we officially last yet? *cries*

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#278 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:47PM
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Bob wrote:

lets see what other people think. props if you would trade Hall for Subban. Trash if you wouldn't

It's probably going to be a bit biased on this website but I doubt Habs nation would make that trade if offered.

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#279 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 01:49PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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$$

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...

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#280 Bob
November 09 2013, 01:49PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Trash poll I love it.

I would trade anyone on the team not named Hall or Nuge for Subban.

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

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#281 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 01:51PM
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Smokey wrote:

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.

Poor fans..... MacT also stated that "change is a by-product". Pretty bold, no?????

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

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!

He must have tripped.

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#283 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 01:57PM
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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?

Who are you "Bob"? Scott Howson? How much will you pay me Scott for that answer?

Stupid f***

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#284 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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#285 Serious Gord
November 09 2013, 02:04PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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

Relegated. Not regulated.

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#286 Spaz
November 09 2013, 02:05PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Relegated. Not regulated.

regulate ˈrɛgjʊleɪt/ verb past tense: regulated; past participle: regulated

1. control or maintain the rate or speed of (a machine or process) so that it operates properly.

This one sounds pretty good, maybe we can try it next year?

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#287 Spaz
November 09 2013, 02:20PM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

Batman's a scientist.

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#288 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:23PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Why so happy? What do you know that we don't know? Did they fire Lowe?

Actually QSB's last six posts or so have been, short, consistent, concise and darkly humorous ....HE'S REGAINED HIS FORM!!!....QSB is back Baby!!! Booyah!

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#289 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:23PM
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Jackson wrote:

Was Kevin Lowe an affirmative action hire by the Oilers?

No ,just buddies with the owner.

You know that guy just shows up for work does not do much .Takes long lunches goes home early.

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#290 Rama Lama
November 09 2013, 02:26PM
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Just got off the phone with Kevin Lowe..........he is fine with the rebuild so far. He likes Duby because Duby gives us a legitmate chance to get another top two draft choice this year.

Conbined with Dallas Eakins systems of play that has every player playing some where they should not be on the ice..........we might just be able to make this another first- first round draft choice.

I think that the Oilers need to get a high priestess and perform an excorcism........our luck suggests we are haunted.

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#291 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:33PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Cheers...I'll drink to that!

Burp!!!

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#292 Ed from Edmonton
November 09 2013, 02:47PM
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cubsfan wrote:

can we send Eakins to OKC for a conditioning stint?

No, we can't

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#293 Alsker
November 09 2013, 03:11PM
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Spaz wrote:

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.

Was watching SNs plays of the week, 4 or 5 were Hawks goals(Dubbys not gonna last 30 min). It was almost 30 yrs ago a buddy came over to celeb my b-day with a 40oz Alta springs. A shot per goal we agreed, it was empty by the 3rd period(final edm12-chi9), have a feeling if I take a double for each tom prob faceplant in the hallway b4 the games done.

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#294 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 03:17PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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.

Mmmmmmmmm Face Titious with D cups......now that's Tier One......

The theory has been floated that the Katz GROUP. Includes majority shares in Molsons......he wants us on pills or booze....and he's doing a damn fine job of it!.....it's a hell of a business plan.

(12beers in)......heard ya QSB...thanks.....back in twenty.....

*edit disclaimer.....ORG does not drink and drive. seriously.*

AND....ever since I had my left lung removed....I've cut my smoking in half...

Gotta walk...back in forty five....

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#295 Alsker
November 09 2013, 04:05PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Didn't see much at all of her from the waist up, if it was her. She's one spirited gal fo sho. Didn't notice till later, but she broke my nose in two places. Glazed donuts are the best...

So true so true, hmm almost drunk nuf to give her a buzz and c whats shes up to...NOT(there is not nuf rye/vodka/rum in the world) But those D's hmmmm

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#296 Albertaboy19
November 09 2013, 08:47PM
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Things I want to see happen via trade. Seeing as this team has given up on any hope of the playoffs, I'd like to see Gagner, Hemsky, Nick Schultz, Jones, Eager, Dubnyk, Labarbera all moved out. Get what you can seeing as we are still going for a top 3 pick as it sits currently.

Add the following pieces somehow with the above mentioned players or combination of picks/prospects:

Simmonds and Coburn Zac Smith Derek Engellynd

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#297 Soccer Steve
November 09 2013, 09:30AM
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Smid trade = 1 step back, 2 steps forward. I hope there are more of these.

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#298 lucky
November 09 2013, 10:13AM
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So what up with LaBarbera? Does he need waived to report to OKC, or are they going to carry a three headed monster again?

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#299 Shooter
November 09 2013, 10:22AM
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Is there suck a thing as being able to trade the team president? Go ahead and trade Lowe for a used skate sharpener and a bag of pucks.

The biggest problem with the current line up is the lack of grit and team toughness. Go through tonight's line up and check off which players are tough/gritty. Not many check marks right? I get trading Smid to free up cash but we just traded away a tough d-man and didn't get any toughness in return. Our forwards are the softest group in the nhl. You could maybe get away with that if all the d-men were big, tough, nasty, SOBs but our D might also be the softest in the league. It will take a lot of juggling and time by Mac T to address this issue.

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#300 madjam
November 09 2013, 10:43AM
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Rebuild NBR. 2 in full bloom . First was such a success they plan on doing NBR.2 tame way as Lowe and TAMS taught them - get rid of viable NHL players for projects/ suspects . Deja vue ? Whoopie . When questioned why they used this agenda , it was thought to be a breeze kalov .So cold here they suffered a clitch/mild freeze brain cramp ? Tongue in check of course ?

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