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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#101 2004Z06
December 01 2013, 06:45PM
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Why did the Oilers wait until overtime to show up?

Man they were flying there.

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#102 cain
December 01 2013, 06:50PM
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yipppeeeee!!!!

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#103 cain
December 01 2013, 07:35PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

Didn't watch the first 2 periods, why was Yakupov benched in the 3rd?

Giveaway,giveaway,giveaway.

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#104 Smokey
December 01 2013, 07:37PM
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@JJ

He made a beautiful pass to a Dallas player on the opening goal. Vintage Garbagekov. Fedun anyone?e

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#105 TeddyTurnbuckle
December 01 2013, 09:45PM
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@Taylor Gang

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.

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#106 TayLordBalls
December 01 2013, 10:01PM
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you're welcome Oilers fans!

Hemsky obviously read my earlier comment and figured he best get the lard out.

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#107 Serious Gord
December 02 2013, 04:29AM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

So he's the best Canadian player on the Edmonton Oilers right now, why wouldn't he deserve to be mentioned for Team Canada?

He has been mentioned. But that is - rightly - as far as it has gone. He simply is not a 200 ft player which seems to be a prerequisite esp. On Olympic-sized ice. That and he isn't the fastest of skaters.

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#108 Spydyr
December 02 2013, 06:52AM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

Eberle is and fully deserves to be mentioned for team Team Canada.

Yeah right.

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#109 Spydyr
December 02 2013, 07:04AM
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Oilerz4life wrote:

So he's the best Canadian player on the Edmonton Oilers right now, why wouldn't he deserve to be mentioned for Team Canada?

Because the Oilers are a very weak team.

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#110 Mikey
December 02 2013, 08:12AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Not true. Marchand is a far better player at performing the role that he does than Perron is at his.

Is there anyone who reads this who wouldn't trade Perron for Marchand straight up?

Me. I wouldn't make that trade. Ever. You are right tho, Marchand is a better instigater, to bad their is more to hockey than that. I would like to see Marchand play for a team like the oilers, I got a feeling he would be ineffective knowing he has no Lucic or Chara or Thorton to back him up.

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

So should we high five now or something. Lol

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#112 D
December 01 2013, 09:11AM
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Like an addict who can't help it but take another hit, I'll watch the game, even though I know it's bad for me.

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#113 PutzStew
December 01 2013, 10:14AM
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Ryan2 wrote:

Ference is exactly what he was advertised to be coming out of Boston - a #4/#5 on a playoff team. Fans that expected more were fooling themselves or do not watch enough hockey outside of the Oilers. The fact that he is miscast as a top pairing player speaks more to the weakness of the Oilers' blueline than anything else.

As I have posted here before, this was a bad deal for MacT as he overpaid in both price and term for a smaller bottom pairing d-man that is on the downside of his career. He reminds me of Jason Smith at the end, and the next couple of years we should see a similar drop off in his effectiveness. Maybe MacT was counting on his leadership as the main reason for bringing him in, but he paid a steep price for that.

It pains me to type this, but as of last night the Flames are 4 points clear of the Oilers with a game in hand. Top 3 pick here we come yet again.

Thankfully Eakins has identified the problem - a lack of fitness. Funny, I thought that is the main reason he was brought in as HC. What a joke.

Fully agree about Ferance. I think he's been type casted into a role that he doesn't belong on this team. Not the first time this team has done that.

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#114 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 10:17AM
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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.

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.

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#115 kdunbar
December 01 2013, 10:43AM
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"The reality is if Edmonton wants to get a top 20, #1 D-Man, the deal is going to start with Hall, Nurse, 1 Round pick, Etc. If you aren't willing to go there then don't complain. "

I would definitely start with the number one and either Klefbomb or Marincin. how ever if the number one d is solid defensively also (aka not PK Subban) and a little nasty (aka not Ehroff) and is / can be locked up longer term (aka not Phaneuf without an extension) then I look to start with Yak, or Ebs and one of the above.

We also need a second line center who can play gritty defensive hockey in our zone who can do what Sam Gagner does. It could be Arcabello but his lack of experience makes me not wish to go all in with him yet. But has definitely earned a shot.

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#116 wiseguy
December 01 2013, 10:55AM
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The Farmer wrote:

I'm not saying Ference can't play defence in the NHL, but to give him a free pass because all of the defence on this team are in over their heads is foolish. He was paid handsomely and named Captain before he'd ever played a game. To think he's not been a disappointment might show a lack of "hockey watching" over the past 20 years.

Paid handsomely... Like a 3-4 dman and performing as such. Not a surprise or disappointment, he's exactly what we paid for.

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#117 Geoff
December 01 2013, 11:17AM
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That GIF is awesome lol.

Now to read the article.

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#118 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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#119 The Soup Fascist
December 01 2013, 11:23AM
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@Dockstaff

Fair enough. I don't disagree. I am fine with the Oilers signing him.

Just don't play him like a first pairing Dman or be disappointed when he can't play that role.

They overpaid in terms of $ and term. Maybe the Oil had to. Clearly the Bruins did not. Hence the gap between two teams gets wider.

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#120 Dockstaff
December 01 2013, 11:30AM
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@Ryan2

I agree with you Ryan2, except for the price of leadership. I think we paid a fair price and I think Ference is trying to deliver, I don't think enough of our current players are soldiering up.

We also need better puck moving Dmen

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#121 MessyEH!
December 01 2013, 01:16PM
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Buzz gets third start in a row.

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#122 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 01:35PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

Buzz gets third start in a row.

And the reasoning behind this...... Eakins wants to work on his CONDITIONING! For the love of Michelle Jenneke Eakins needs to start making decisions based on other factors than CONDITIONING.

Starting Dubnyk tonight would be the right move. He is a very strange coach.

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

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#124 Arius Mumin
December 01 2013, 02:40PM
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Old Man wrote:

"The Farmer", Stop complaining about your Oiler players and start CHEERING for them. The belly aching is getting old. You would be the first to jump back on the Ference bandwagon the second the Oilers improve and he's the mentor/backbone. Can't have it both ways. GO OILERS!!!

Stop complaining and start CHEERING?

The belly only hurts because we keep feeding ourselves this crap.

This team has sucked for years, yet the only times I have heard booing at Rexall has been for the referees and at the end of a few games. There have been stretches of games with horrible play at home and losing streaks no one wants to remember-but no chants or boos players efforts, the fans tolerate this crap so they should learn to enjoy it.

Cheering and comlaining go hand in hand. Maybe your tier of fan only cheers when things are going good, then, sits and intakes whatever is given during the bad times, hoping that one day things can get better so you can cheer again.

The fans should complain and they should boo and much as possible the play and efforts the players put out, the more the do the more the players and staff will realize that they're not dealing with mindless sheep.

The players and staff keep trying to write cheques to fans that their a$$es cant cash. It time to start speaking about this fraud, and it should go to the players too, not only the staff.

For all we know, Macts and Lowe's hands could be tied on what they can do with trades and signings due to the market they are in. But there is no excuse for these players game in game out to come with poor efforts and expect us to be OK with it.

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#125 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 02:56PM
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David S wrote:

[EDIT] - Don't post hungover kids.

Starting Bryz kind of makes sense. He needs some game time to get back up to speed and let's face it, maybe one of the four he let in on Friday was stoppable. The whole team just played flat out crap.

In his first full game it was patently obvious he was far better technically than Dubnyk. If I were Eakins I'd need to see what he's got. Like it or not you can't do that in practice.

Call me a dreamer but I'm hoping they are sitting Dubnyk because he is getting traded along with someone else for a upgrade in net.

Now that would be bold.

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#126 bwar
December 01 2013, 03:28PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Call me a dreamer but I'm hoping they are sitting Dubnyk because he is getting traded along with someone else for a upgrade in net.

Now that would be bold.

Since you brought it up... TRADE EVERYONE!

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#127 Oilerz4life
December 01 2013, 03:33PM
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Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

Grebeshkov-J.Shultz

Belov-N.Shultz

Fudun could probably do better than N.Shultz. Who knows, Nurse could probably do better than Grebeshkov. Trade both Garbagekov and N.Shultz for an upgrade and bring up Fedun. Something, anything, that defensive line-up is a total siv.

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#128 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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#129 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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#130 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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#131 Quicksilver ballet
December 01 2013, 04:51PM
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Woogi63 wrote:

Have we seen Eakin "out coach" HIS counterpart yet this?

That win over Barry Trotz still has me scratching my head.

Bryzgoalie keepin us in there, so far.

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#132 Alsker
December 01 2013, 05:24PM
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Same old Grebs....epic!!

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#133 Alsker
December 01 2013, 05:40PM
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See comment #96 ...lets hope Bryz is ok, has been a lot better than the guys in front of him.

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#134 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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#135 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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#136 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 05:48PM
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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.

You know what would be perfect.If Lowe became available to serve as a colour man.Man, that would be sweet.

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#137 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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#138 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 01 2013, 06:09PM
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Wow Petry. You do know that's your man, right?

Right?

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#139 ubermiguel
December 01 2013, 06:10PM
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Spydyr wrote:

That did not take long.Three minutes after I called it.

89 coasting back watching the puck go in.

Petry watching the puck not the trailer. It's more on him.

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#140 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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#141 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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#142 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 01 2013, 06:18PM
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Hall can't seem to hit the net these days.

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

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#144 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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#145 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 01 2013, 06:30PM
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Both goals were the result of taking the body, recovering the puck, and throwing it on net. Who'da thunk it.

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#146 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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#147 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 06:40PM
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Jeez. What an overtime so far. Play the whole game like that.

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#148 2004Z06
December 01 2013, 06:43PM
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Sorry YFC, I should have read further down before posting.

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#149 Alsker
December 01 2013, 06:45PM
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Was that the best 5 minutes we played all year?

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#150 Mikey
December 01 2013, 06:57PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

I love gags but It was the lazy play at the centre line that's got the ire up. Gagner coasted lazily as the goal scorer rushed passed him to the open ice. Petry messed up too.

But who cares. They won!

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

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