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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#151 GK1980
December 01 2013, 07:25PM
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So first off, grebeshkov? Why is he on this team? I think there is better options in OKC. Second, bad game. Is hustle taught? Is compete taught? Why don't they just work harder? It's frustrating watching other teams outwork the boys. Why don't they just work harder? Are the oilers capable of this? Frustrating to watch them barely win this one. Dallas was the better team.

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#152 Smokey
December 01 2013, 07:43PM
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GK1980 wrote:

Again, is hustling and hard work tough to do? These guys need to play like OT. Season is over and they have nothing to lose.

4 on 4 hockey. Free wheeling. They can compete with any team with time and space. The effort was there from late in 3rd on. Dallas let off the peddle a bit in the third. They were ditgustingly bad on TO in the game at times. Zone entries were brutal. Bryz and Dubby won the game. Great effort by all the tenders.

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#153 bazmagoo
December 01 2013, 08:08PM
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Only watched the 3rd period, not terribly surprised to hear Grebeshkov was responsible for the 1st goal. Can't believe MacT gave that guy 1.5 million after a lousy season in the KHL, could he not have gotten him for half that? Seriously. Wonder what would happen if I made a $750,000 mistake at my job.

I have no idea what Petry and Gagner were doing on that second goal, horrible defending by both. Hopefully Bryz isn't hurt too bad, the play didn't look all that horrible from the highlight.

Oilers are just too one dimensional. We've needed some grit and sandpaper in the lineup for years now. On the plus side tonight, thought Hemsky looked great and was flying from what I saw.

Really need one of our defense prospects to bear fruit over the next few seasons.

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#154 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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#155 S cottV
December 02 2013, 09:08AM
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@Mikey

Yes - just saw it on Sportsnet. Petry has almost no awareness of Garbutt which is the main problem. That being said - did Gagner have a window of opportunity to assist directly? because a great down low centreman needs to bail out a d man mistake every now and again. Gagner should probably have read that Petry was in trouble. What we dont know is whether or not he slowed up at all on the backcheck where otherwise he might have got there, if that was the play - given that there may have been no immediate trailer threat.

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#156 camdog
December 02 2013, 09:52AM
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Watched the replay a few times now. If Gags commits down low then who's job is it to cover 24 coming open in the slot? Petry looked completely lost on that play. Gags does have a history of not coming back hard, I've seen him do it multiple times, on this play it looks like he's got his man.

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#157 S cottV
December 02 2013, 10:20AM
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@camdog

I agree - Gagner not at fault. Petry out to lunch and appears that a trailer was looming, that needed coverage. My point though - there are times when a backchecker can get directly involved because there is no trailer support, or it can be temporarily covered off by a 2nd backchecker. Example - many times the opposition will change the trailer and there may be a 7 to 10 second opportunity to outman and take possession. Wouldnt want my backchecker hanging around the neutral zone waiting for the the trailer replacement to show up.

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#158 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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#159 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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#160 rob
December 01 2013, 10:25AM
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Time to start drinking,hopefully be s$%#faced enough to enjoy the game.if that doesent work what videos of 06 on youtube

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#161 The Soup Fascist
December 01 2013, 10:27AM
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An excellent show that is available on YouTube is "Behind the B" a NESN produced equivalent of Oil Change, except following the Bruins. Highly recommend it. Episode 1 or 2 they discuss Ference in the boardroom. The consensus is quickly reached that while a good guy in the room, he is clearly on the back nine of his career and slowing down. While they would like him as a five / six they need to make room for younger / cheaper guys.

Done. Whacked. No contract being offered.

Refreshing to see an organization run efficiently. BTW the discussion on Seguin was very interesting. While no salacious details are shown on camera , it was pretty clear that they were tired of his act. They knew they were giving up talent but done babysitting.

Done. Whacked within a week.

Right or wrong they are moving along. No regrets. Now that is bold. Hopefully some of the Oiler muckety mucks or Mr. Katz himself can find a way to get NESN.

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#162 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 10:32AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

An excellent show that is available on YouTube is "Behind the B" a NESN produced equivalent of Oil Change, except following the Bruins. Highly recommend it. Episode 1 or 2 they discuss Ference in the boardroom. The consensus is quickly reached that while a good guy in the room, he is clearly on the back nine of his career and slowing down. While they would like him as a five / six they need to make room for younger / cheaper guys.

Done. Whacked. No contract being offered.

Refreshing to see an organization run efficiently. BTW the discussion on Seguin was very interesting. While no salacious details are shown on camera , it was pretty clear that they were tired of his act. They knew they were giving up talent but done babysitting.

Done. Whacked within a week.

Right or wrong they are moving along. No regrets. Now that is bold. Hopefully some of the Oiler muckety mucks or Mr. Katz himself can find a way to get NESN.

Thanks for this. If the game sucks I will watch this and dream of what it would be like watching an oilers team with capable brass. Oil change is such a farse. I stopped watching it last season.

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#163 camdog
December 01 2013, 10:39AM
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@Ryan2

Agree with most points, however in respect to Ference I think he's a better skater than Jason Smith. When Smith lost that extra gear he was done. When Ference loses a step I think he will still be effective as a #6.

The reality is that Ference played like this in Boston and with age he is trending down. In Boston Ference had an Allstar in net and played with a better d-man partner than himself. Here his weaknesses get exposed.

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#164 Rob
December 01 2013, 10:50AM
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@PutzStew

Not sure how signing Ference is a bold move. Local boy, won a cup, brings a compete level not formerly here and he wanted to come here. Seems more like a no brainier to me. I wasn't bagging on him, I like the move but he by himself is not quite what he was in Boston as he was sheltered by a premier Dman. Again no surprise as he was brought here more for leadership than anything else.

I agree whole heartedly no 1-d is coming here as a free agent and that they will have to pay a steep price to get one here, not sure what you are getting at.

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#165 PutzStew
December 01 2013, 10:57AM
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Rob wrote:

Not sure how signing Ference is a bold move. Local boy, won a cup, brings a compete level not formerly here and he wanted to come here. Seems more like a no brainier to me. I wasn't bagging on him, I like the move but he by himself is not quite what he was in Boston as he was sheltered by a premier Dman. Again no surprise as he was brought here more for leadership than anything else.

I agree whole heartedly no 1-d is coming here as a free agent and that they will have to pay a steep price to get one here, not sure what you are getting at.

See his contract and the hype made about acquiring him. This is MAcT's version of BOLD.

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#166 Dockstaff
December 01 2013, 11:04AM
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@YFC Prez

YFC Prez you're bang on

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#167 camdog
December 01 2013, 11:08AM
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tileguy wrote:

When an article begins with boxcars and Cori and tells us about good things happening I have to chuckle. Looking with my eyes I see a team loaded with small, soft players that were wonderkids in junior but not suited for the nhl game. Blow this dam rebuild up, make some trades and overlay for some toughness and grit. It will make the remain skill better. OGDP oilers loose again.

Curious what the Oilers Corsi and boxcar numbers are against playoff teams relative to non playoff teams. If the numbers could be calibrated to suit the opposition's abilities I think this would be a better reflection of where they are headed. From my count we are 1-14 against playoff teams.

As to the wonder kids they are excellent NHL players. In 2-3 years, when they are surrounded by the right mix of players they will be ready to lead an NHL team. It's not the kids fault's that management is incompetant.

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#168 pelhem grenville
December 01 2013, 11:10AM
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LT ...this runner...and the way you've shamelessly showed her so provocatively ...

thankyou sir...

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#169 Old School G
December 01 2013, 11:15AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

It's difficult to soar like an eagle, when you're working with a bunch of turkeys. Ference is a solid D'man, but he's miscast as a top pairing guy like he's forced to be here in Edmonton. He's a fine support player when you have two legitimate top pairing D playing in front of him.

You need to watch 20 more years of hockey, your narrow minded opinion reflects this.

Often very good points Mr Quiksilver Ballet, so abrasive, just like a Ference punch to the mouth!

GO OIL!

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#170 Dockstaff
December 01 2013, 11:16AM
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@The Soup Fascist

We need Ference for his experience, not his talent. He should be the Al Hamilton for this young team. The Bruins are correct he is on the back 9 of his career and he needs to show the rest of the team who are still on the first hole, what it takes to wins championships.

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#171 Walter Sobchak
December 01 2013, 11:25AM
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LT

Good read first.

Having said that, you are all about sample size, how much weight do you honestly put into the "numbers" during this last ten game set?

Reason being, is while I think we can agree that there have been some nice things happening on the ice and on "paper" by the eye they are having absolute melt downs in the defensive zone.

With the schedule being in the Oilers favour the last ten games or so, I'm not remotely convinced the Oilers numbers are as good as some think they are?

I think the rest of December & January are going to be the sample we need to find were the Oilers game is actually at.

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#172 The Soup Fascist
December 01 2013, 11:40AM
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The hurdler is Michelle Jenneke from Australia. I was very intrigued until I realized she is younger than either of my kids.

Now officially relegated into dirty old man territory. Sigh.

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#173 Rod from Viking
December 01 2013, 11:47AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Where the hell has DSF been? I'm kindling of missing his brand of reasoning lately.

He will be back as soon as the Canuck's kick someones butt.

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#174 6 ring circus
December 01 2013, 12:20PM
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I would've loved to have the Oiler's succeed this year and make the playoff's,the schedule does not get any easier and I cannot see the Oilers finishing any higher than 25th, so we are in for another lottery pick,let's wait and see what happens at the end of the year, if Katz step's up and fire's some dead weight around the Oiler's office's or if we continue to get fed a bunch of BS about how the team is improving and going in the right direction.The Oiler's have increased in value by 200 million since Katz bought the team,they are getting a new arena and have been one of the worst run sports franchises these last 8 years!!! and it's all because they have a loyal and dedicated fan base,isn't it time that the fan base get rewarded with a winning team or is that to much to ask?

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#175 Spydyr
December 01 2013, 12:32PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

I would've loved to have the Oiler's succeed this year and make the playoff's,the schedule does not get any easier and I cannot see the Oilers finishing any higher than 25th, so we are in for another lottery pick,let's wait and see what happens at the end of the year, if Katz step's up and fire's some dead weight around the Oiler's office's or if we continue to get fed a bunch of BS about how the team is improving and going in the right direction.The Oiler's have increased in value by 200 million since Katz bought the team,they are getting a new arena and have been one of the worst run sports franchises these last 8 years!!! and it's all because they have a loyal and dedicated fan base,isn't it time that the fan base get rewarded with a winning team or is that to much to ask?

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

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#176 VK63
December 01 2013, 12:47PM
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Ooooooooo I love hurdles. da da

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#177 camdog
December 01 2013, 03:35PM
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No Boyd Gordon shoulder injury, hopefully he's back for the next game.

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#178 Dog Train
December 01 2013, 03:36PM
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I still can't stand Dallas. Bryzgalov will bounce back and Arcobello will make the most of his likely bump up the lineup with Gordon out. Oilers find a way to win 3-2.

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#179 6 ring circus
December 01 2013, 03:47PM
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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.

In both my post's I stated that the Oiler's should reward the loyal and dedicated fan base by putting a wining team on the ice,it is a direct result of having the fans going to games and supporting the team these last 8 years, even though they have been the worst team in the NHL that the franchise has increased in value as a direct result of the fan support,If the Oiler's were in any other market south of the Canadian border, they would have been gone, just like Atlanta.And do you think that Edmonton city council would've voted for a new arena if they played in a half empty building? The arena deal alone increased the Oiler's value by 200 million,If the Oilers did not have the support of the fans, how long do you think before Katz would start threatening to move the team? He threatened that when he wasn't getting his way with the arena deal,the Oiler's are a poorly run organization, the on ice product speaks for itself, the only reason this team has had any success off the ice ,is a direct result of the fans, once they stop supporting the team, watch how quickly the whining begins that they are losing money, then let's see how quickly Katz changes his mind on how he runs his business!!!

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#180 Ari Gold
December 01 2013, 04:10PM
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Who's the girl?? Seriously.

Gordo isn't playing. Uh oh..... Now we find out how valuable he is. I have a feeling, he's extremely valuable.

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#181 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 04:29PM
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@Spydyr

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

QFT

Oilers have a lot of assets. If only we could get a new competent experienced prez to set up his own hockey operations with the oilers current assets and use them properly to improve the club. This draft and hope approach the current brass takes isn't working.

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#182 Johnnydapunk
December 01 2013, 04:31PM
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With Eakins going back to The Bryz in this game despite being pulled in the last, I wonder if that is a sign that Eakins sees him as the number 1 goalie as it seems that before when Dubnyk or LaBarbara had a shocker and got the hook, he would switch goalies for the next game and not put in the one that got pulled. Or am I looking too much into that and Eakins maybe based his decision on the past records of both? Curious if anyone has any ideas or speculation?

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#183 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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#184 Alsker
December 01 2013, 05:08PM
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Arco with more F/O wins than the other 3 combined...how did we sit him for so long? Another good Bryz performance so far.

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

Just as advertised.

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#186 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 01 2013, 05:36PM
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Classic Oilers. Please don't be injured Bryz...

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#187 TonyT
December 01 2013, 05:39PM
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Oilers with a decent effort tonight, however I really could do without them trying to pass the puck into the net. Nights like these have me wondering how much longer we'll have to wait for bold. We've watched this experiment for years without results and I am firmly of the belief that at least one of the offensive guys has to go to bring in a need. The question is while we don't want to lose a trade, will these guys ever play well enough as a team to bring in fair value? And if they do turn it around, will the team prove successful enough where maybe a trade isn't necessary? Is bold ever coming? If it's still in the cards, can MacT let us know when to start believing again?

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#188 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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#189 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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#190 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 05:45PM
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Good plays by the 2 goats. hobbitses and jonesy !

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#191 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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#192 YFC Prez
December 01 2013, 05:47PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Jones shows the kids what hitting does.Kids are still to "good" to hit anyone.

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

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#193 michael
December 01 2013, 06:49PM
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michael wrote:

GDP. Oilers lose 3-2 in a SO. Dallas always dominates us at home in Big D. What is there record against us at home. Like 100-4. The PP was brutal last game. Frustrating.

Who is picking Jacksonville today againt Cleveland? I did. Go big. Denver in KC today. Power football.

Alabama loses on the last play of the game against Auburn. Who called that? Never mind the 99 yard McCarron pass for a TD. Yesterdays College games were unreal.

BTW Who does not like it when Vancouver loses to the Rangers?

What was I thinking?

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#194 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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#195 Alsker
December 01 2013, 07:07PM
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@Ari Gold

Alcohol or not, you forgot the Greb one..or have you actually seen him worse than tonight. Wait a minute, come to think of it, I'm sure we've seen him worse than tonight. Sorry. As for predator vs. omnivore Ill vote for Carnivore. Preferably Raptor type(as we have no individual toughness), pack attack might be our best hope.

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#196 JJ
December 01 2013, 07:29PM
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is Grebby injured? How come he has like 7 mins icetime

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#197 Stack Pad Save
December 01 2013, 07:30PM
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Didn't watch the first 2 periods, why was Yakupov benched in the 3rd?

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#198 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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#199 GK1980
December 01 2013, 07:36PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Jeez. What an overtime so far. Play the whole game like that.

Again, is hustling and hard work tough to do? These guys need to play like OT. Season is over and they have nothing to lose.

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#200 Taylor Gang
December 01 2013, 09:19PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
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cheers

I didn't watch the game, sadly because of work, would anyone be able to shed some light on how the kids played? None of them showed up on the score sheet (unless you count Ebs's shootout goal)

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