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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#301 Alsker
November 09 2013, 10:53AM
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Oasis wrote:

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.

Now, now, Duby is not the cure to a scoring drought, just ask Scotty Upshall.

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

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

Jay Rosehill... like wtf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#310 James
November 09 2013, 12:21PM
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@Spaz

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

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#311 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:33PM
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At least Gazdic knows his role.Unfortunately it looks like he busted a knuckle.

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#312 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:42PM
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James wrote:

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

I don't think you want any greasy goals....If there are 5 greasy goals scored today.....the score will be Philly 5 Oilers 0

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#313 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:45PM
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Not to say that I'm approving of Eakins use of them so far, but I get why he's trying.

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#314 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:59PM
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James wrote:

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.

I'd tend to agree, but who would you sub in to fill that role?

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#315 James
November 09 2013, 01:09PM
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@Spaz

Not sure. It's his first game back, but what about Jonensuu on PP? Big body, could hang out in front of the net for the shovel/re-direct. I'd try Gagner on the PK again to see if he can get back to where he was last year. Also, shorten the shifts of the first line PP, they clearly aren't getting it done as well as they need to be. Belov also hasn't played any PK time. Not saying these will work any better, but maybe it's worth a shot.

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#316 James
November 09 2013, 01:13PM
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@Spaz

True, maybe they could gain a little more confidence from facing the second PK unit. Gagner was also decent on the PP for us last year, but his time has been limited in his return. I don't get that, but I'm not Eakins so...

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#317 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:17PM
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What a joke.

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#318 Soccer Steve
November 09 2013, 01:19PM
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A freezeframe of that could be posted on Shanny's office wall with a caption saying: "The perfect hit in my NHL".

So, yeah, game mis for Belov makes sense.

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#319 ubermiguel
November 09 2013, 01:21PM
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Lesson learned from Giroux today: every time you get hit whip your head back to draw a penalty.

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#320 DrunkGuyTy
November 09 2013, 01:26PM
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BRUTAL CALL!!!! On Belov. Embarrassing - not even close!! I can't even guess how 4 different officials can't see that he missed Giroux's head by foot. He'll, he barely even got his shoulder!

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#321 DevoKnows
November 09 2013, 01:29PM
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Your welcome Giroux!!!!

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#322 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:31PM
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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.

If we did that we would have to call you rip van winkle.

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#323 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 01:31PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

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

Taylor hall for PK Subban straight up!!!

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#324 wtf
November 09 2013, 01:33PM
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Slumpbusters indeed

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#325 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:33PM
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See what happens when you get pucks to the net with someone in front of it.

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#326 ubermiguel
November 09 2013, 01:33PM
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OK Hall, glad you weren't benched.

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#327 Bucknuck
November 09 2013, 01:35PM
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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.

I'm glad I just can't turn off an Oiler game... just one more..

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#328 James
November 09 2013, 01:35PM
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Another marginal call. Jesus!

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#329 Spydyr
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

Trash poll I love it.

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

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#330 Alsker
November 09 2013, 01:49PM
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Philly got 4 bhawks get...wheres the over/under going to be set..? Thank god there's NFL tomorrow, anything to take my mind off this sh*tshow.

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#331 Alsker
November 09 2013, 01:57PM
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Rob... wrote:

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.

Agreed, but you are assuming that kLowe is actually seeing whats happening. He's fathered this team to where they are at. MacT keeps talking change, it must start at the top, a new perspective/view/philosophy is seriously required. I fear as long as kLowe peers over everyones shoulders we are destined for more and more threads like this. Now back to the beer fridge.

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#332 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:57PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

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

Welcome aboard the Dubnyks gotta go team sit down have a beer or ten.

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#333 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:20PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

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

Funny I am a rocket surgeon.As Grapes would say.

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#334 Reg Dunlop
November 09 2013, 02:21PM
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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...

I don't know much about the Simpsons but comparing the oil to the Broncos? I can think of 2 seasons where Denver has been really bad since I began following NFL. The year before they got Elway and 3 years ago. I can't even remember when the oil were good.

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#335 Spaz
November 09 2013, 02:24PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

I don't know much about the Simpsons but comparing the oil to the Broncos? I can think of 2 seasons where Denver has been really bad since I began following NFL. The year before they got Elway and 3 years ago. I can't even remember when the oil were good.

I think that episode was from the mid 90's, was one of the terrible seasons in that range? I don't follow football.

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#336 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 02:30PM
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Spaz wrote:

I think that episode was from the mid 90's, was one of the terrible seasons in that range? I don't follow football.

Your post was funny.....no need to explain it.

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#337 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:54PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

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.

Did the Oilers finally make you snap?

Redrum,redrum, redrum.Wiggles fingers.

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#338 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 03:52PM
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Alsker wrote:

and dropped on your cheeks, hey do you know my xwife?

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...

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#339 Paq Twinn
November 09 2013, 10:45AM
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This will sound Bryzgalov-ish but some fans just can't see the forest from the trees. GOILERS!

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

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

Better be offering up some good odds.

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#341 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:22PM
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If you don't want to get traded as a Flyer make sure your NTC doesn't go into effect next year.

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#342 Rheal1
November 09 2013, 12:23PM
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Spydyr wrote:

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

I hear you sir. And with the busload of impending UFA goalies in the summer, the Oilers can get a proven winner for a reasonable price. However I must confess that the Bryz nut guy could actually use his rental status (I highly doubt he wants to re-sign long term in the frozen tundra of Deadmonton)to re-emerge as a hot tender. Please.

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#343 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:23PM
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@James

That explains our dismal PP how?

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#344 Alsker
November 09 2013, 12:24PM
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Did gags think it was the shoot out, 2 guys infront open...lol...afternoon syndrome

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#345 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:29PM
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James wrote:

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.

Until they put someone in the goalies lap on the pp it will continue to suck.

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#346 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:29PM
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They also used Smyth and Horcoff as net presence on the PP last year too? I would think they are at least comparable players in this instance.

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#347 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:35PM
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Maybe things will really get out of hand and DD will punch Mason in the back of the head. Thats what you cheer for in Philly right?

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#348 Spaz
November 09 2013, 12:44PM
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I kind of get the desire to get the skill guys on the PK, I mean you want your best players to be the best players in every situation. Rather than having the Sedin situation where they used to sit for half a period when the team got into PK trouble.

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#349 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:45PM
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Gadzic fights....we get energized... 2nd order effect.....we get energized...we push the river ....3rd order effect....we push the river...we score a goal....4th order effect...

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#350 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 12:45PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Quick MacT call the Philly GM see if he will trade Simmonds for Hemsky.

Lol

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