GDB 28.0: HURDLING

Lowetide
December 01 2013 08:24AM

The Edmonton Oilers have been tightening their defensive play under coach Dallas Eakins and it does appear to be working. In the club's last 10 games, the goals-against average for DD and Bryz is 2.52 compared to 3.24 for the entire season. The goaltending has improved, but what about the defense? Is it getting better? How can we tell?

BOXCARS

In the last 10 games, the Oilers blue has posted the following boxcar numbers:

  1. Phil Larsen (IR) 5, 0-4-4 -4
  2. Justin Schultz 5, 2-1-3 +3
  3. Corey Potter 6, 0-2-2 -2
  4. Nick Schultz 10, 0-2-2 -1
  5. Denis Grebeshkov 2, 0-1-1 +1
  6. Jeff Petry 10, 0-1-1 +3
  7. Anton Belov 10, 0-1-1 -2
  8. Taylor Fedun 2, 0-0-0 -2
  9. Andrew Ference 10, 0-1-1 -1

It's an interesting look back, we can kind of see the point where  Larsen went on IR and Fedun was sent down, and then the 5 games Schultz the younger has been back has coincided with an uptick in results (funny, that) for the team.

CORSI FOR % (5x5)

In the last 5 games, it's fun to see the list of defensemen who have been on the ice for good things:

  1. Anton Belov 78-62 55.7%
  2. Justin Schultz 66-57 53.6%
  3. Denis Grebeshkov 23-20 53.4%
  4. Jeff Petry 66-58 53.2%
  5. Nick Schultz 60-67 47.2%
  6. Andrew Ference 57-65 46.7%
  7. Corey Potter 30-44 40.5%

This is from Extra skater, and I'm listing Corsi For-Corsi against and the percentage and this is all 5x5. Now, it's important to note that we're not taking into account things like zone starts and toughness of opposition, this is straight Corsi at 5x5 over the last 5 games.

That said, it's fascinating to see four defensemen above 50% over that time (!!!!) and the 5-6 guys are not far from 50% (with only Corey Potter fading badly). We don't know if Schultz's return or Grebeshkov's callup are big reasons for the improved shot differential, we only know that in the last 5 games this group has been part of some good things.

And we also know the goals against in the last 10 games has been going down, and part of that is due to the puck being in the other end more often.

These are all nice signs for the club, and barring injury they should be able to repeat it (depending on quality of opposition, etc) and more wins should come as a result.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Jones-Arcobello-Joensuu

Ference-Petry
Grebeshkov-J.Schultz
Belov-N.Schultz

Dubnyk

That's my guess, but I don't know why you'd change anything aside from the goaltender. That 4th line has been doing some nice things, and I'm betting the Nuge line will find a way to rock and roll in Texas later today. The young Russian likes the big stage, and everything's big in Texas, maybe he'll rip three rockets into the Dallas night.

QUICK HITS

  • According to nhl.com, the Oilers have 4 rookies this season: Mark Arcobello, Taylor Fedun, Luke Gazdic and Tyler Pitlick. Anton Belov doesn't qualify.
  • The Oilers leading scorer is Jordan Eberle (23 points) who is tied for 28th in league points. Last year, Taylor Hall finished 9th, but this year he and David Perron are tied at 61st overall.
  • Craig MacTavish was in Oklahoma City last night, raving about Mark Arcobello in an interview with brilliant play-by-play man Jim Byers.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

WHO CARES? It's almost time for hurdles!!!!! Okay, fine.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers play the system and find their range on the powerplay, scoring twice with the man advantage in a 3-2 victory over the Stars.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Smyth leaves it all out on the ice.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Shawn Horcoff channels himself as a rookie and sends a cross-ice pass that Yakupov shoots through the net for the winner.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 Quicksilver ballet
December 01 2013, 09:35AM
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Happy game day to all the Puckers in Oilersnation......

Maybe the Oil will lay a few seasons beatings on those greenies tonight.

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#52 Hockey Problems
December 01 2013, 05:32PM
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Garbagekov.

Just as advertised.

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#53 Alsker
December 01 2013, 05:44PM
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Amazing what happens when you take the body in O zone...get it 89,83,4,14,etc..

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#54 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 06:02PM
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cain wrote:

Remember long ago when somebody ran your goalie, someone,anyone, would at LEAST give the offending player a punch or push or slash or jab or something??????

Hey Justin Schultz...he just ran your goaltender...do something besides skate by and look at the referee....Nice work,Nancy, I think you just showed in one play why we are so easy to play against.

Who would you like on the Oilers to do that?

Ference is the only player in the line-up with any balls.

The only other guy that played defence for the Oilers who would have done something plays for Calgary now.

I'm sure the stat guys will tell you that team toughness and hitting are way over rated.

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#55 Mikey
December 01 2013, 06:43PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Who was the last man back on the second Dallas goal? Oh yeah.....Gagner!

Gagner had nothing to do with that second goal. First, last back it didn't matter the puck was already in the net. Be smarter than that.

Also check the replay he was the first forward back.

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#56 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 07:00PM
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Mikey wrote:

It wouldn't have been a goal had petry tied up his man, the goal scorer.

I don't disagree with this

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#57 Quicksilver ballet
December 01 2013, 09:08AM
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@YFC Prez

Sure, why the heck not.

Are you in it for a top 3 pick this season? Or, limited success landing them in that dead 20th-25th zone?

4-zip Dallas please....

and thank you.

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#58 DieHard
December 01 2013, 09:41AM
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Todays game will be awesome. Both teams on the upswing (believe it or not). I used to hate Dallas extremely. Not so much anymore. Would love to get that back. Oilers win 5-4.

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#59 Thumby
December 01 2013, 09:41AM
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How much of the change in our defence rating could be attributed to the Smid trade?

How much to having Hall and Perron back?

IMO, there are too many variables to say if it was any one of goaltending improving (how could it not?), improved overall team play, learning the new system, special teams finding their way and giving us a change to play in the lead a bit.

I'd say its more of a return to the team's "AVERAGE" and not much more until we see the next 20 games.

BTW, who wants to be a track spectator now?

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#60 Geoff
December 01 2013, 11:23AM
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Well the oilers are improving overall which is nice.

But I have no idea why you would change the goalies either. Best idea woulda been to start dubnyk last game cause it was a back to back.

Oh well /shrug.

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#61 6 ring circus
December 01 2013, 01:01PM
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Spydyr wrote:

For a guy who "swims with the fishes" you make some very good points.

Thanks!!! I often wonder what it would be like if the Oiler's had an owner like Rocky Wirtz,Jeremy Jacobs or Mike Llitch, they have set the bar for having winning teams and run them like a business.It is very apparent that Katz on the other hand is more concerned about hiring and hanging out with the old boy's on the bus Oiler's than winning !!!

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#62 6 ring circus
December 01 2013, 04:11PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

That has to be some kind of record for contradicting oneself. Big Pussy did it within 3 posts: post 63 and 66.

Tell me what's the difference between Peter Pocklinton and Daryl Katz? most of Pocklinton's off ice business were a failure and resulted in him eventually losing the Oiler's, the Oiler's under Pocklinton's ownership ended up becoming a dynasty and one of the most successful sports teams in the 80's and early 90's, Katz on the other hand, has a very successful business off the ice,under his ownership of the Oiler's on the ice have been a complete failure, the team has missed the playoff's 8 years and counting,Katz still has the support of the fans now and is still making money,Pocklinton lost the support of the fans,stopped making money and eventually lost the team,

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#63 Oilerz4life
December 01 2013, 05:33PM
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Alsker wrote:

Same old Grebs....epic!!

Garbagekov sucks! Should be on waivers. Fedun could do better. Put Mac-T on waivers.

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#64 The Soup Fascist
December 01 2013, 05:43PM
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According to Quinn only 3 minutes left in regulation time. Bad game but I think there is another period left.

Only 12.5 more years of high quality Sportsnet coverage. Coincidentally could be that many years of no Edmonton Oilers in playoffs.

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#65 Hockey fan 1976
December 01 2013, 05:45PM
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Wow our Dman suck!!!! Nice pick up Mac T with Garbageshkov and Petry is horrible!!!

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#66 Ari Gold
December 01 2013, 05:47PM
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Oilers management needs to watch Moneyball. I think it'd help, especially considering that they're a cap team.

Love certain players or not. In the end, they're assets. Attatch a potential value if you like to guys like Schultz Jr., Belov or Hall. In the end, individuals must be weighed on what you can fetch for them in the open market.

This game so far has been a struggle. After 20 years of rebuilding, this is unacceptable. Current management obviously doesn't get it.

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#67 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 06:08PM
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That did not take long.Three minutes after I called it.

89 coasting back watching the puck go in.

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#68 cain
December 01 2013, 06:13PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Who would you like on the Oilers to do that?

Ference is the only player in the line-up with any balls.

The only other guy that played defence for the Oilers who would have done something plays for Calgary now.

I'm sure the stat guys will tell you that team toughness and hitting are way over rated.

Exactly my point.

You don't have to be tough enough to win a fight every night against everybody.

You damn sure better be tough enough to at least show up when somebody messes with your teammate and have the guts to poke,punch,slash or facewash someone...doesn't even have to be harsh enough to warrant a penalty. Just show up.

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#69 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
December 01 2013, 09:14AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Sure, why the heck not.

Are you in it for a top 3 pick this season? Or, limited success landing them in that dead 20th-25th zone?

4-zip Dallas please....

and thank you.

You're Welcome...I think.

Oil WILL get a Victory

because Horcoff sucks

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#70 Silver Streak
December 01 2013, 09:16AM
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Bruce M could we have an accurate assessment of Pitlicks injury...is it an ACL and reconstruct, or something less ....???

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#71 Serious Gord
December 01 2013, 01:58PM
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David S wrote:

Buys team for $200M.

Gets new $650M arena.

Team doubles in value.

If that isn't running a team like a business I don't know what is.

Financial success and jock-sniff-driven failure ARE often mutually exclusive. For proof Just go visit the tombstones of Harold Ballard and Phillip Wrigley (mind the spit).

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#72 Woogi63
December 01 2013, 02:30PM
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Have we seen Eakin "out coach" HIS counterpart yet this?

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#73 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 03:47PM
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bwar wrote:

Since you brought it up... TRADE EVERYONE!

Sorry can't agree with you.Just imagine how bad "the braintrust" would screw that up.They had a hard enough time tanking and taking the conciseness first overall picks.

The pro scouting is the worst in the NHL "the braintrust" has a record the last eight years that states the same.

There is no way they could build a entirely new team.

“Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.”

― Albert Einstein

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#74 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 06:12PM
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Alsker wrote:

How did you know?

His pants had snow on them.

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#75 Mikey
December 01 2013, 06:56PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Dammit gags. That was your man. And here I was just defending you.

#lesson learned

That was not Gagners man. Give your head a shake.

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#76 a lg dubl dubl
December 01 2013, 09:26AM
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I like what you said LT, "more wins should come as a result". You're right the wins should come, but with the D the Oilers have right now the wins just come in spurts.

I know is a really old topic but macT has to make a trade, either Eberle or Yakupov are the ones IMO. I know getting 1 top dman for either player wont change the world but it should set things up for next season.

Its time for Mac to step up, this team right now, is just spinning its wheels.

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#77 StHenriOilBomb
December 01 2013, 09:33AM
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Mac962 wrote:

Corsi Schmorsi- yes there is truth to it but i am so tired of it. Does it measure Heart? Drive ? the will to win and not be beaten ? No. Does it add size to your forwards ? No, or your Defense ? No...

Do winning teams sit and analyze corsi ? perhaps, i really dont know.

This Team is small - Not a good mix through the line up, its all the same. Until it changes we will continue to be bored with Corsi and will have minimal success.

Kick Butt Oilers. Yeah, someone did crap in my cornflakes this morning.

You're missing the point entirely.

What's exciting about this blog is that we've been watching the Oilers get grittier, more focused, and better defensively throughout this season, and now it's starting to have a measurable impact in their play. Something we haven't seen much of these long dark years.

Corsi measures what has happened, not why. What happened is that for the first time in a while, the team is improving measurably in it's 5 on 5 play.

The why is what is debated every hour of every day here.

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#78 Rob
December 01 2013, 09:35AM
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Ference has been sheltered in Boston. It's been said time and time again we are missing a true number one d-man. It would all filter down from there. Think back to when Pronger came to town. Love him or hate him he took the pressure off of the rest of the crew by chewing crazy minutes and allowing others to play well within their limits.

Reality is, nobody like that is coming until the trade deadline at the earliest and then what are we giving up to get a player of this calibre? Likely one of the studs and if not a first pick then certainly a second. I would suggest the latter because teams will see MacT coming a mile away.

There is an outside chance they get a free agent like that but generally speaking these guys don't go to free agency and if one does, because of our brutal record as of late Edmonton is not their first choice of destinations. One of the biggest mistakes made this summer was actively pursuing Jason Labarbera. Yes, Bryzgalov was a head case in Philly but a. Who wouldn't be and b. he has the pedigree to be a solid goalie and has shown it in large stretches throughout his career (even if the teams in front of him played solid d). Labarbera has always been a fringe NHLer. Face palm. When Dubey started slow there was no alternative and it was felt throughout the lineup, throw in some injuries and the season was over before it started.

Until then status quo... Here is hoping some of those "Bold Moves" aren't too far off.

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#79 cain
December 01 2013, 03:56PM
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@Arius Mumin

Preach it Brother...should we accept weak excuses for lack of effort one in every three games?

No one whines when the effort is there and we get beat by a better team.But if the Oilers don't bother showing up, they better expect hearing about it from the fans.And the fans should be ready to boo them off the ice until the effort improves.

Stop complaining????? You clearly are paying for tickets.

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#80 Cynic
December 01 2013, 04:05PM
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I'll give that hurdler credit for knowing the sole reason anybody watches female athletics.

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#81 Danger Pay
December 01 2013, 05:45PM
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Hey give Grebs some credit, he lasted 2.5 games before his 1st costly turnover.

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#82 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 05:49PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Jones has been playing half decently effective hockey lately. He seems to have found a nice niche playing with arco.

IMO it is more about him playing for his NHL life.That trip down woke him up.

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#83 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 06:08PM
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Alsker wrote:

A push,slash, lol, remember when it would be a line brawl, blood on the ice,missing teeth,standing ovations,50+ min in penalties. QSB remembers I'm sure.

I just want to see one flames or Canucks fan beaten with their own shoe. Is that really to much to ask?!

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#84 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 06:16PM
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cain wrote:

Exactly my point.

You don't have to be tough enough to win a fight every night against everybody.

You damn sure better be tough enough to at least show up when somebody messes with your teammate and have the guts to poke,punch,slash or facewash someone...doesn't even have to be harsh enough to warrant a penalty. Just show up.

Buchberger used to injure the other guy's hands plenty of times back in the day doing just that.

No one on this edition has anywhere knew the intestinal fortitude to take a licking to make a point.

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#85 Alsker
December 01 2013, 06:39PM
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Can we trade Grebs for a couple of Dallas' ice-girls...mmmmm

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#86 Mikey
December 01 2013, 06:55PM
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I feel like this is a homer statement. But why not Perron for team Canada?

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#87 Smokey
December 01 2013, 08:35PM
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Spydyr wrote:

No Oiler deserves to be mentioned for team Canada. Full stop.

Not sure what you are getting at with this second team Canada.It does not exist in the real world.Maybe the Oilers would be better in the second NHL.

Pundits have hypothetically talked bout fielding a second team cause of Canada's depth for how long? Its hypotheticals. If your arguement is you can live in hypotheticals well enjoy your week argument buddy.

The gentlemen who said Perron should be on Team Canada may be wrong. Was the comment outlandish. No way. If Perron did not miss those 3-4 games he is probably sitting in the 40-50 range in the NHL in scoring. His two.way game is sound, and is exactly the type of player that you would want on a championship team. He would have to get real hot to have an outside chance I admit and depth.on the wing is steller. I would not take him but he'd be in the conversation if he is top 45 point producer come Febuary. Not every player Canada always takes is a superstar. Canada took last time Morrow, Richards, Bergeron. I think these are players like Perron. The sound two way gritty players that do certain roles well.

Make a arguement against it rather then skirting the debate

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#88 Serious Gord
December 01 2013, 09:24AM
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Re: GA these past ten games.

Well compared to the first games of the year there was only one way for that stat to go. Small sample size etc.

And maybe it was just better goaltending - .75 more saves per game gets you that stat.

This teams defense remains one of the very worst in the league and probably is the least physical.

Thus using the "nice" descriptor is a bit of a stretch like looking for ponies in piles of pooh. (And cow manure at that)

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#89 Quicksilver ballet
December 01 2013, 04:34PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

I'd be willing to watch another season in the basement if it was the straw that broke the camels back. ( the camel being Lowes position with the oilers ). Sadly I don't think he is ever going to be fired.

The oilers record so far hasn't garnered any significant change why would one more season of loosing. I'm only cheering for wins.

I honestly feel Lowe figures he'll be here a lot pucking longer than Taylor Hall, or any other of these other first overalls will. We're doomed to developmental hockey at NHL prices for the foreseeable future.

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#90 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 05:45PM
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Good plays by the 2 goats. hobbitses and jonesy !

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#91 Alsker
December 01 2013, 05:45PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

According to Quinn only 3 minutes left in regulation time. Bad game but I think there is another period left.

Only 12.5 more years of high quality Sportsnet coverage. Coincidentally could be that many years of no Edmonton Oilers in playoffs.

I was laughing to hard to post the same, maybe he's got a hot date after the game.

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#92 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 06:03PM
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@Alsker

89 has made some high quality plays this afternoon. And he deserved a plus on the Hemsky goal. Made a good play right before jones. I don't see him floating tonight.

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#93 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 06:05PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

89 has made some high quality plays this afternoon. And he deserved a plus on the Hemsky goal. Made a good play right before jones. I don't see him floating tonight.

89 has the third period to lose that plus.

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#94 Alsker
December 01 2013, 06:25PM
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Ok,DD earned some respect with those two saves.

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#95 The Soup Fascist
December 01 2013, 06:29PM
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Maybe someone could take out the glass banger in the leisure suit behind the Oiler's net.

Just a flesh wound.

Pretty sure they sell rifles in Dallas ......

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#96 Serious Gord
December 01 2013, 07:31PM
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Mikey wrote:

I feel like this is a homer statement. But why not Perron for team Canada?

LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!

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#97 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 07:34PM
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JJ wrote:

is Grebby injured? How come he has like 7 mins icetime

Did you not notice Dallas's first goal?I think that shows why.

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#98 Taylor Gang
December 01 2013, 09:52PM
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TeddyTurnbuckle wrote:

Taylor Hall Turned the puck over 4 times in the first two periods. Once on the powerplay to no one within 20 feet of his pass. Eberle and Nuge did nothing until 5 mins left in the game. I also thought Justin Shultz played like crap taking a stupid penalty and not using his body to defend at all. Between him and Hall they screwed up about 90 % of the powerplay zone entries because they are two stupid to dump the puck in when all other options are taken. Not a good night for the kids. Spent lot of time in their end.

I probably could have guessed that. I don't understand the reluctance to dump and chase. If the skilled kids are so "fast" and "small" then shouldn't they beat the defense to the puck every time?

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#99 dow7500
December 01 2013, 10:31PM
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Agree 100% teddy. The absolutely bizarre inability to dump the puck in when they clearly are having trouble entering the offensive zone. Time after time they puke it up and its going back the other way. It doesn't take a hockey mental giant to see this. Do they go over film with these offenders at all. Its been obvious all season. Hall,Yak, Hemsky had repeated embarrassing giveaways. friggen midget teams aren't this stupid.

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#100 NJ
December 01 2013, 11:50PM
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Being a fan of Fedun, I prefer to look at the 4, 2-0-2, -1 as his NHL numbers. Then I scratch my head and wonder again why he was sent down. More of MacT's handiwork.

Re: Eberle Olympics. LOL.

The sooner we get a man in here to show those kids how to work, the better. And I don't give a rats arse who has to go to get him here. Lucic for ANY player on our team. Sold.

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