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 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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#102 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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#103 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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#104 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 09 2013, 02:12PM
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When you're Losin games In your neighborhood Who you Gonna call????

SLUMPBUSTERS!!!!!

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

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

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#106 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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#107 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:21PM
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Spaz wrote:

Batman's a scientist.

Katz is a scientist?

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

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

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#109 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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#110 cubsfan
November 09 2013, 02:37PM
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Sammy wrote:

C'mon Oilers have only lost 12 games out of 18. Kevin Lowe does know winning

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

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#111 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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#112 Alsker
November 09 2013, 03:32PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Mmmmmmmmm Face Titious with D cups...

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

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

What were we talking about again?

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

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#113 Rustyknuckles
November 09 2013, 09:23AM
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Ironic that Smid was the player saying if the team didn't start performing someone was going to get traded. I wish him all the best, it's really to bad he had to go to Calgary though.. Now I have to hate him!

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#114 Reality Check to the head
November 09 2013, 09:25AM
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Game Day prediction: Oiler Fans continue to be frustrated by: 1) Morning Games on a Saturday 2) Ineffective goal-tending and 3) Waiting for a deal that is bold

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#115 Geoff
November 09 2013, 09:39AM
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Having just compared the avalanches D lineup to our own they are not much better but they are all 6'1 200 pounds plus. I wish ours was like that :(

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#116 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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#117 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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#118 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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#119 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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#120 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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#121 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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#122 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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#123 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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#124 WTF
November 09 2013, 11:35AM
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Jay Rosehill... like wtf

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#125 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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#126 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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#127 DSF
November 09 2013, 11:47AM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Our logo could be a slutty fat chick

/wins internet today.

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#128 Spaz
November 09 2013, 11:57AM
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Any money on Giroux getting his first goal of the sesaon on DD?

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#129 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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#130 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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#131 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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#132 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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#133 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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#134 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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#135 Alsker
November 09 2013, 12:22PM
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man do we look disinterested. The PP was embarrassing, turnover after turnover. Yak needs to go to OKC and pray Nelson can turn him around. Beer fridge is empty, off to the store.

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#136 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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#137 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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#138 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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#139 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:34PM
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Bob wrote:

Why am I always grumpy on Oilers' game days?

That is why we have liquor stores.

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#140 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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#141 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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#142 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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#143 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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#144 Batfink
November 09 2013, 12:48PM
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How are we still in this? Thank god Giroux is snake bitten. He will have a brake out soon, hopefully not in the 3rd!

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#145 Serious Gord
November 09 2013, 12:49PM
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Stauffer is going to interview MacT in a couple min. Could be worth tuning in for.

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#146 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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#147 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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#148 James
November 09 2013, 01:10PM
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Gazdic will not be back, bad shoulder.

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#149 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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#150 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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