GDB 32.0: FOND MEMORIES

Jason Gregor
December 10 2013 01:03PM

The Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes don't have much history, except for that outstanding seven-game series in the 2006 Cup finals. The ending wasn't great for the Oilers and their fans, but the 24 games between April 21st and June 19th created some outstanding memories.

I'm guessing most Oiler remember where they were when Pisani scored shorthanded, in overtime no less, to send the series back to Edmonton for games six. Game six was the best atmosphere in an NHL arena that I've ever experienced. It was Saturday night, 6 p.m. start, but the building was packed by 4:30. The emotion and excitement inside Rexall Place was intense, heart pounding and euphoric, all before the game even started.

One of the coolest parts was when the fans showed great respect by singing the Star Spangled Banner prior to belting out Oh Canada. 

Or how about the goal at 4:00 of this video...I'd say it is the nicest goal of  Ryan Smyth's career, and it came in game six of the Stanley Cup finals. 

It was a magical run. Shirts off for Horcoff was an actual thing. The Human Rake was a beast on the blueline. Fernando Pisani was a local here in Edmonton, especially in Little Italy. The Oilers had an outstanding combination of skill, experience, toughness, size, grit and a strong desire to win.

The Rake should have won the Conn Smyth despite losing. He did everything, including scoring on a penalty shot in game one of the Finals.

The forward group had skill in Horcoff, Hemsky, Samsonov, Pisani and Smyth. Grit and toughness with Peca, Torres, Stoll, Moreau and a 4th line that found ways to contribute with Murray, Winchester, Laraque, Dvorak, and Harvey.

Behind the Rake, he played 31 freaking minutes a game, Spacek played the best hockey of his career, while Smith and Staios were all heart and determination, and made the opposition battle for every inch on the ice. The 3rd pair was a mixture of Greene, a big, strong, young D-man who played 10 minutes a game, and Tarnstrom and Bergeron who played 13 minutes a night, mainly ES with 2 min of PP time.

Roloson was a journeyman goalie, who battled on every shot, and Jussi Markanen played very well considering the situation he inherited between games 2-7 of the Cup Final.

Overall, it was an epic journey, and even though the Oilers lost, I'd bet that for most of you reading this, it was the best time of their hockey fan life. Some of you are lucky enough to have been around for the five Cup runs, but the 2006 run was so unexpected that many fans have told me it was the best two months they'd ever experienced, despite the gut-wrenching game seven defeat.

Of course the ending sucked, but that shouldn't overshadow how fun and exciting the previous two months were. That loss likely toughened you up enough that you've been able to sit through eight subsequent seasons of losing.

As you get set for a game 32 of an already frustrating season, take a moment to remember who freakin awesome the '06 run was. For fun, do a quick comparison of those teams, and you will see how many changes the current Oilers need to made  if they ever want to reach the Stanley Cup Finals again.

LINEUP

Perron-RNH-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Yakupov
Joensuu-Arcobello-Hemsky
Gazdic/Smyth-Lander-Jones

Craig MacTavish was the coach in 2006 and saw first hand the type of 12 forwards you need in order to win. This group's natural maturation will help, but it is clear he'll need to change over at least half of the aforementioned group before this team can win regularly.

Ference-Larsen
N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Belov/Marincin-Potter

We all know MacT's biggest test will be re-shaping the blueline over the next few years. Marincin has looked decent, and I think he is on a solid developmental curve at this point. How far he can improve from here will determine if he can become a solid NHLer, or just a fringe D-man.

Dubnyk 

TUESDAY TIDBITS

  • Chris Kunitz had 25 and 21 goal seasons in Anaheim, (60 and 50 points) before being traded to the Penguins. In his first three seasons in Pittsburgh he scored 50-13-19-32, 66-23-25-48 and 82-26-35-61. If you combine last season and the first 32 games this year, Kunitz has tallied 80-39-44-83 and that is why he is in the mix for team Canada.

    His best 80 game stretch has come at the best possible time for him to be considered for the Olympic team. Playing with Crosby helps, for sure, but over the past 80 games only Ovechkin (54), Stamkos (43), Tavares (40) and P. Kane (39) have scored as much as Kunitz.

    I understand why he is in the conversation for the Olympic team, but he wouldn't be my first choice. Seventeen of his 39 goals have come on the PP, only Ovechkin has more 25, and if he does make team Canada, is he going to be on the first PP unit? I doubt it. That is a factor.

    Kunitz and Crosby have chemistry and Kunitz;' 83 points are 6th most over the past calendar year. He is producing, and often a player who is playing the best right now will make it over someone who played great two years ago. Kunitz deserves to be in the conversation, but he is a bubble guy at best.
     
  • Speaking of Crosby, he only plays :38/game on the PK, while Malkin, Kunitz and Neal don't play PK. Craig Adams, Brandon Sutter and Pascal Dupuis are the three main guys, while Tanner Glass is 4th at 1:14/game. The Penguins don't take many penalties; they've been on the PK for only 151 minutes this year, 7th best in the NHL.
     
  • The Oilers have been on the PK for 181 minutes, 23rd most in the NHL, but they've had 192 minutes of PP time, 2nd most in the NHL. The Oilers spend more time on special teams than every other team in the league. They have played 373:33, about an average of 12:04/game. The PP and PK are 13th and 15th respectively, and the only way the Oilers can win is if their PP sits top-five, because their 5-on-5 play is horrible.
     
  • The Oilers have given up 72 goals 5-on-5, but they've only scored 47. The organization needs to stop focusing so much on the PP, stop believing that the PP is the engine that drives the team, and realize that until they improve at ES they won't win. It is painfully obvious.
     
  • The Oilers have scored 22 PP goals, and allowed 19 PK. Their special teams basically cancel each other out.
     
  •  Richard Bachman was re-assigned to OKC today. Jason LaBarbera will be sent down once Bryzgalov has another practice or two. Jeff Petry practiced, but won't play. He is day-to-day.

TONIGHT....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The ghosts of game-six past will appear and help the Oilers win 4-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Hurricanes are 0-3 when the second game of a back-to-back is on the road. The Canes have outshot teams in the first game of those sets, but they've been outshot 78-104 in the 2nd games. Oilers will outshoot the Canes 33-24.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Riley Nash, Oilers first round pick, 21st overall, in 2007 will be booed every time he touches the puck. If Ladislav Smid can be booed, there is no reason that a former draft pick you refused to sign in Edmonton can't. When you don't have much to cheer for, the fans need to find something that will entertain them throughout the game. Riley wears #20, in case you were wondering.

DAY EIGHT...MONTH OF GIVING...

Thank you to the Edmonton Rush for donating their VIP package yesterday and to Robert for bidding on it. Through seven days we have raised $22,450 for charities.

Today's package is unique. There are two items up for grabs, and the winning bid can choose which one they want.

Supply and install one High Efficiency Furnace or a 13 Seer Air Conditioning System courtesy of
G & H Heating and Cooling Solutions.

This is what you get with the furnace:

  • One high efficiency furnace
  • All venting
  • All electrical connections
  • All drains
  • All sheet metal modifications to maximize performance of new equipment.
  • City permit and City inspection fees
  • Removal of old furnace

This is what you get with the Air Conditioning System:

  • One 13 Seer Central Air Conditioning System
  • All electrical connections with outdoor safety disconnect
  • Anti-vibration pad
  • One heat/cool thermostat
  • City permit and inspection fees

You will receive a site visit from one of their comfort advisors before installation to take measurements and determine proper size of Air Conditioning system/Furnace for the home and where it will be installed.

To bid you can call 780.444.1260 between 2-6 p.m. today. Thanks in advance for your bid. All proceeds will go to Operation Friendship Seniors Society.

 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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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#51 Alsker
December 10 2013, 07:54PM
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James wrote:

How the hell does Yak get an assist there? Clearly it was passed to Hall by Gagner.

Yak started the play outside the blueline checking the 'cane player and sending gags and Hall in.

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#52 James
December 10 2013, 08:11PM
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@Alsker

Yeah I know, but they gave Yak the first assist and Schultz Jr. the second one. I see they fixed it though. It was a head scratcher for a minute.

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#53 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 10 2013, 08:17PM
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I can't tell if the Oil are playing well or if the Hurricanes are just playing that bad. Not even trying to be funny here.

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#54 Arius Mumin
December 10 2013, 08:23PM
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James wrote:

How the hell does Yak get an assist there? Clearly it was passed to Hall by Gagner.

Calm yourself Mrs. Gagner.

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#55 OILERSORDEATH
December 10 2013, 08:33PM
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Wow, can't believe it took Eakins that long to realize Hall and Yak actually play well together.

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#56 Arius Mumin
December 10 2013, 08:36PM
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James wrote:

Just a question guy, no need to throw out insults.

hahahahahahahahahaha

if you can get worked up so quick: why can't I?

I was just adding some humour to the comments, no need to get your panties in a knot.;-')

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#57 Arius Mumin
December 10 2013, 08:44PM
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Jackson wrote:

You want humour watch this

http://vimeo.com/70478549

I'll assume it is a video of S.Gagner backchecking.?

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#58 bazmagoo
December 10 2013, 08:53PM
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Can someone please tell me what Gagner was doing on that second goal? Leaves Staal all alone in the slot and screens/nudges Dubnyk, wow.

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#59 Alsker
December 10 2013, 08:56PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Can someone please tell me what Gagner was doing on that second goal? Leaves Staal all alone in the slot and screens/nudges Dubnyk, wow.

Well lets see,~ missed golf swing in an attempt to clear and then attempt to recover by playing goalie. Of course since there already is one you must pin him against the post so you can make the save~ in other words, you're f^ckin guess is as good as mine.

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#60 The Soup Fascist
December 10 2013, 08:56PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Can someone please tell me what Gagner was doing on that second goal? Leaves Staal all alone in the slot and screens/nudges Dubnyk, wow.

Gagner has the defensive acumen of France circa 1940.

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#61 The Soup Fascist
December 10 2013, 09:00PM
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LoweBlow wrote:

Quinn sounds terrible on the commentary tonight! Flu? Or did his wife leave him?

Thinking the same thing. But waaaay worse than the wife leaving. Maybe his dog died.

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#62 Reg Dunlop
December 10 2013, 09:08PM
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If Gagner is worth 5mil per annum what is Arco worth? Infinity mil?

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#63 kgo
December 10 2013, 09:24PM
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Alsker wrote:

Well lets see,~ missed golf swing in an attempt to clear and then attempt to recover by playing goalie. Of course since there already is one you must pin him against the post so you can make the save~ in other words, you're f^ckin guess is as good as mine.

The last guy who tried to play goalie all the time was Smid.....the guy before that? Gilbert.....the guy before that? Staios.....

Gagner is gone at the deadline for sure....Mark my words, If for no other reason than pissed MacT off with the negotiations.

Besides, Gagner has millions and a superhot fiancee...he's gonna go the way of Mike Comrie.

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#64 Alsker
December 10 2013, 09:32PM
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kgo wrote:

The last guy who tried to play goalie all the time was Smid.....the guy before that? Gilbert.....the guy before that? Staios.....

Gagner is gone at the deadline for sure....Mark my words, If for no other reason than pissed MacT off with the negotiations.

Besides, Gagner has millions and a superhot fiancee...he's gonna go the way of Mike Comrie.

The fact that he decided to check Dubnyk rather than a 'cane doesn't choke me near as much as his turning away from a check and the trying the wild golf swing in the corner. He did it in the first period and banked it off the glass and over the boards but show some balls and make the simple play.

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#65 RL
December 10 2013, 09:40PM
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Gagner needs to sit when Gordon is back!! That was the worst turnover ever. Please scratch him an get Gordon in.

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#66 steelymac
December 10 2013, 09:43PM
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No time to read but this mono-tone commentater is brutal onsportsnetwest .

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#67 Reg Dunlop
December 10 2013, 10:11PM
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Anyone else holds their breath whenever Carolina shoots? DD does not inspire confidence. Buchburger, however, really seems to know his stuff. Next head coach. Watch the intensity when he chews that gum. Also, nice response on Faulk. He turned around expecting to get pummeled and... crickets.

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#68 Reg Dunlop
December 10 2013, 10:14PM
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That win felt like a loss. Still, some redemption for #14.

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#69 I tried it at home
December 10 2013, 10:21PM
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First star... T. Hall Second star... the refereees who G. Bettman obviously told "ok f*k it. Give it to tje Oilers" Third star... who cared. Ill take it.

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#70 pkam
December 10 2013, 11:00PM
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It is an ugly win for sure but still a win, it is even more special in a night when all the other Canadian teams lose.

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#71 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 10 2013, 11:19PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Ralph Krueger said it last year, Eakins said it this year. Taylor Hall said it during the first intermission of the Colorado game.

Is that enough evidence enough for you? Just because you didn't read it,doesn't mean it didn't happen. You should try reading and listening rather than always assuming.

It has been said on record many times that the players and coaches feel the PP is the engine of their team. It isn't, and the fact they say it, shows it is an internal belief, and what that needs to change. They have to improve at ES.

Thanks for the response.

But, it's not really answering my comment.

Asking someone to clarify a statement that doesn't fit readily available evidence is the definition of "reading and listening rather than always assuming."

A credulous person is one that simply accepts statements as true.

I've heard all these people you mention say the PP is important to the team. I also recall them all saying things about the importance of even strength and about needing to be better at it.

However, I honestly don't recall them saying anything like the PP is the engine of the team (or some variation of that).

If they've said it, I missed it, which is completely plausible and also why I asked about it… which seems like a pretty straightforward thing to do.

That said, I still don't see anything to suggest the organization believes this, however, I'm completely open to having that case made.

And, as I said before, it is certainly the case that they need to be a lot better at 5x5, that that should be a priority and that their special teams need a lot of work… i.e., they are crappy team.

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#72 Arius Mumin
December 11 2013, 12:16AM
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Spydyr wrote:

You know in interviews Gagner seems intelligent.He has a doctor for a fiance. Yet after 7 years in the NHL he still makes bone-head plays like that. Not sure why he does not "get" defensive hockey.

Key word in your comment:"seems".

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#73 #PennerForSochi
December 10 2013, 01:16PM
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Hey Gregs, what are your thoughts about Nash? Why'd he not want to sign with Edmonton? It doesn't seem like a bad thing, he hasn't been overly successful at college level and Marincin seems like a better prospect. What went down?

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#74 Harlie
December 10 2013, 01:28PM
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Damn! I just got a garage/shop heater installed on Friday or I would be bidding on this package for sure! Good luck to all who are bidding and just think about how good you will feel if you win the auction and know the money goes to charity.

Believe me I know how it feels as I jumped at the auction on the first day and was able to get a 1 year lease on a sweet 2014 GMC from the guys at Petersen Buick GMC in Sherwood Park. Through Jason's hardwork and through the charity I have had the chance to meet the GM at Petersen and the Sales Manager and other great people and can definitely say they are great dealership and they are huge sports fans. Especially the GM over there!

Good luck on the auction everyone, it feels good to give!

Oh, and GO OILERS!

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#75 Smokey
December 10 2013, 01:49PM
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BIngBong wrote:

Speaking of d-men, Weber and Suter aren't putting up particulary great numbers this year. Weber has 13 points and is a -7. Suter has 0 goals in 32 games and is even. I know these guys are 2 of the best, but I figured their numbers would be much better than that.

Still early, but Minny is winning so I am sure they don't care. And Nashville is competitive and are always in the mix.

Take either guy outta their line-up and those teams really suck.

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#76 geoilersgist
December 10 2013, 02:45PM
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Man living in Calgary during that run was awesome I can't imagine what it was like living in Edmonton. I will never forget 2006 as I was just a little young to remember the last two cups.

I would give almost anything to get a run like that again (hoping it happens every year after).

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#77 Anthony
December 10 2013, 02:59PM
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I got to say the '06 playoff run has to be the most memorable experience in my life time as a hockey fan and proud Edmontonian. I grew up in Montreal I was 5 years old during the '86 finals didn't realize what it meant. I saw the '93 habs miracle run and I can tell you it was magical... but there was still something special about that '06 Oilers team. All the pundits wrote them off during the Detroit series boy did they 'stick it' them. And man who can forget Raffi Torres hitting Milan Michalek!! That hit changed the series around...I still choke up watching game 7. I wish the current Oilers would play at that level just bring it every night... maybe I'll be fortunate enough to watch another final someday

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#78 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 03:03PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Jason Gregor continues his wonderful charity work.Wow, what a package today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your awesome work for those who need it most.

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#79 BLAKPOO
December 10 2013, 03:21PM
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Smokey wrote:

Double Barf on d corps tonight. Luckily Carolina is a soft bad team. What GM plays a line up with 4 defenders under 200, and 3 of them are under 190...yikes.

Looks like the top 4 will be rolled out non stop if the game is tight. We gotta get a jump on Carolina before they realize how small the defence is. They should be licking their chops. I wish Klefbom would develop already...face palm.

If you'd been watching Larsen play the last few games, you'd see that he uses his size very efficiently. He's making contact, disrupting plays, and winning battles.

Yeah, he's not going to be smashing out the glass or breaking ribs with massive hits, but he's where he needs to be most of the time. He's also extremely quick, generates good speed through the neutral zone on breakouts, and can dish on the fly.

He's definitely playing J.Schultz out of his ice time right now.

"Judge me by my size, do you?" - Yoda

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#80 Rama Lama
December 10 2013, 03:42PM
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David S wrote:

Thanks for this totally fresh, never mentioned before perspective!

You my friend are most welcome..........Merry Christmas!

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#81 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 03:55PM
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Oilers Coffey wrote:

Living in Lethbridge was pretty cool too, the bars were always packed with the Southern Alberta die hard Oilers fans! I was just finished the last of my university degree. It was celebration city! I do remember and have been a part of all five cups!

Forever an Oilers fan!!!

For me the first Cup will always be the best one.It was the first that alone makes it special.

Everyone was so happy on Jasper Avenue.It was so spontaneous the Cops did not expect anything like that.Not that the Cops were needed, there was absolutely no sign of trouble.

What a night!

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#82 pkam
December 10 2013, 04:39PM
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A-Mc wrote:

"THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE"

I was mislead with Omark, Smid and Yak. It is unlikely for that Weber with this package.

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#83 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 10 2013, 04:45PM
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pkam wrote:

I was mislead with Omark, Smid and Yak. It is unlikely for that Weber with this package.

I think that was his point… i.e., let's all enjoy some wild speculation surrounding an old hobby horse to kill time/have fun…

The Omark/Smid inclusions are a bit of a giveaway here.

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#84 Rocket
December 10 2013, 06:24PM
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That 2006 playoff run was amazeballs!

I was working construction that spring and summer while I went to university. My boss was a big hockey fan so we would always quit early on game days and make up the extra time on off days. Worth it.

Going to bars with a big group of friends every game was unreal. Good times....

For tonight's game I don't know; let's say The Oilers win 2-1. Give the fans a win at home for once.

Holy smokes does the Oilers defence look soft. I hope they play better than expected though.

OGDP: Gags goes minus, Fans after the game obsess about the backcheck, MacT doesn't solve obvious problems.

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#85 Alsker
December 10 2013, 08:11PM
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One line going tonight, thank goodness that's one more than Carolina..not exactly awe inspiring action but hey we're winning.

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#86 James
December 10 2013, 08:33PM
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@Arius Mumin

Just a question guy, no need to throw out insults.

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#87 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
December 10 2013, 08:40PM
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Please can Joensuu stay healthy and play every night like he has tonight?

I almost forgot what it was like to see an Oiler forward that was bigger than an opponent's D-men...

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#88 S. Horco**
December 10 2013, 08:41PM
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my favorite memory of 2006 was the big fat contract i signed 'SUCKUZ'..

S. Horkoff

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#89 LoweBlow
December 10 2013, 08:57PM
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Quinn sounds terrible on the commentary tonight! Flu? Or did his wife leave him?

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#90 Jerod
December 10 2013, 09:05PM
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Jackson wrote:

You want humour watch this

http://vimeo.com/70478549

That was funnny

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#91 Alsker
December 10 2013, 09:10PM
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Arco and Jonesuu attacking the net even with the good lead. Everyone else take note...

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#92 I tried it at home
December 10 2013, 09:23PM
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@Doctor Smashy

**UPDATE** Im drunk. Oilers still winning. Shweeeet. Calgary still sux, right?

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#93 cubsfan
December 10 2013, 09:33PM
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thanks gene principe for reminding us oilers picked steve kelly just before shane doan...........

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#94 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
December 10 2013, 09:50PM
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Brutal hit. Suspendable for sure.

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#95 Hauk15
December 10 2013, 09:58PM
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Because of that abysmal effort on the powerplay I hope Carolina comes back and wins. Complete $hit.

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#96 Andrew
December 10 2013, 10:00PM
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Why wouldn't Freakins call a time out to get the Oilers PP on the same page. Especially when they flounder on a 5 minute PP. WTF!!!!

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#97 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
December 10 2013, 10:01PM
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And that's why Hall is not in the Oly conversation.

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#98 Hauk15
December 10 2013, 10:02PM
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Oilers deserve to lose.

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#99 Alsker
December 10 2013, 10:04PM
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Hauk15 wrote:

Oilers deserve to lose.

Not sure if the deserve to lose but sure as h3ll don't deserve to win.

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#100 Hauk15
December 10 2013, 10:04PM
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vetinari wrote:

Since the game is likely in the crapper... anyone else think that Eakins looks like Charlie Sheen's long lost brother?

He might look kinda mean if he got rid of his tool haircut.

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