GDB 33.0: BATTLING THE BRUINS

Jason Gregor
December 12 2013 12:33PM

The Boston Bruins are not only good on the ice; their marketing team is pretty solid off the ice as well. The Bruins have produced some humourous commercials the past five seasons, and this is one or my favourites. The Oilers aren't a divisional rival, but many Bruins fans have told me they have a healthy disdain for the Oilers due to two Stanley Cup Finals losses in 1988 and 1990.

The Bruins and Oilers are at opposite ends of the NHL standings, and have been since 2007/2008, and the Oilers will need to play their one of their best games of the season tonight, just to keep it close.

The Oilers might catch a break with Tukka Rask battling the flu, but the Bruins are stacked and they haven't lost in Edmonton since October 17th, 2000. That night Dan Lacouture and Brian Swanson scored their first NHL goals in a 6-1 thrashing of the Bruins. Since then, the Bruins have won four straight games in Edmonton including a 3-2 victory in their last visit to Edmonton on February 27th, 2011.

It is hard not to respect the Bruins.

They have skill, size, experience, solid two-way players, great goaltending and they are the toughest team in the NHL led by their captain Zdeno Chara. They don't have any weaknesses, and once again they are sitting first in the Eastern conference with a 21-8-2 record.

The Oilers are playing their best hockey of the seasons, 7-3-1 in their last 11 games, and while they didn't beat up on the top teams in the league, they did grab 15 of a possible 22 points. That is a solid stretch of hockey, but tonight will be a much more difficult task for the Oilers.

The Oilers will need to use their speed, and be disciplined with the puck. They can't continue to turn the puck over, especially on the powerplay, or the Bruins will skate them out of the rink.

LINEUP

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

Boyd Gordon still isn't healthy enough to play. Ryan Smyth is also banged up, and he'll be a game time decision. Eakins will switch up the PP units. They've been really hot or really cold, similar to the overall play of the team. Since November 5th, the PP is 17 for 71 (23.9%) so it's not like it has been terrible. The production has been great, but the bad giveaways are the issue. 

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

Jeff Petry has been cleared to play. He's an upgrade on Potter, and the Oilers need their best lineup against the Bruins.

Dubnyk

QUICK HITS....

  • It was a subtle message, but Dallas Eakins didn't play Taylor Hall in the final five minutes on Tuesday after Jeff Skinner tied the game. You might say it was only five minutes, but it was the most important time of the game, and I'm sure Hall got the message. I'm curious to see how he responds, especially in the defensive end.
     
  • Eakins did put Hall out for the PP in OT, which was a smart, but not being on the ice for the final five minutes of regulation should get Hall's attention.
     
  • It was interesting to note that Hall got a short stint on the bench, but Sam Gagner, despite some equally bad defensive decisions never missed a shift. Eakins must be giving him some leeway due to the injury, or he wants to keep throwing him over the boards with the hope it builds his confidence.
  • Firing Feaster today makes sense. There is no point waiting until the end of the season to can him, if the Flames knew he wasn't their guy moving forward. You can also expect the Flames' new GM to fire Hartley before the start of next season. The Flames should look at Oilers to see that firing coaches frequently doesn't change much, if you don't give the new coach better players.
     
  • Good luck to all of you in Fantasy Football playoffs...whether you are going for a championship, or trying to avoid losing the Toilet Bowl. Good luck. I have Manning, Decker and Moreno on my team...Please don't pick tonight to have an off night.

TONIGHT....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Because everyone expects them to lose, the Oilers stun the Bruins with a 4-3 victory. P.S... I put the team logos in front of my son, and whichever one he touches, I go with that team to win. He is 8 days old, and his record is already 2-0.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers lineup has a combined four career goals vs. the Bruins; Hemsky, Perron, RNH and Ference each have one goal. Two Oilers will score their first career goal against Boston tonight.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Now that he isn't a member of the Calgary Flames, the Oilers will give St. Albert native, Jarome Iginla a healthy cheer when he announced over the PA. Iginla will be honoured, and he'll return the favour by scoring a second period goal. After the game, Oilers fans collectively decide never to cheer for an opposing player, who never played for the Oilers, ever again.

DAY TEN...MONTH OF GIVING

Yesterday we raised another $2,800 for Santas Anonymous.

Today we have an excellent and very generous package that was donated to us by The Home Matchmaker Michelle Derk from Remax Elite.

  • Up for grabs is the seller's commission for your house. (In a regular sale half the commission goes to the seller realtor and half to the buyer. So this is $3.5% on the first $100,000 and $1.5% on the balance).

On a $500,000 house that is a value of $9,500.00 just to give you a reference point.

You can bid on this package by calling 780.444.1260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance.

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 vetinari
December 12 2013, 07:42PM
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So, predictions on shot totals tonight? I say 45-20 for Boston...

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#52 vetinari
December 12 2013, 09:14PM
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At least LaBarbera isn't hurting us. If we took away that first softie on Dubnyk, we'd be feeling pretty good heading into the third.

And here I was going to suggest some new nicknames for our goalies. Like--

"Leaky" Labarbera and "Digger" Dubnyk

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#53 **
December 12 2013, 09:20PM
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Credit to Ebs and Yaks, they've been back checking and moving to cover. Hell Ebs even threw one on Chara.

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#54 cubsfan
December 12 2013, 09:22PM
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is taylor hall playing tonight.....invisible again when going gets tough

piles up points against weaker teams.......-3 tonight

he's got a better shot at summer olympics.......

its a mans game arco , gazdic, and perron are men

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#55 Quicksilver ballet
December 12 2013, 09:41PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

McTavish has to be given props for Perron,Gadzic & Gordon, possibly Ference,Belov,Bryzgalov and Joensuu(only time will tell), thumbs down to Gagner contract.

Grabeshkov didn't pass the smell test either.

Not sold on Joensuu, not much difference between him and Patrell.

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#56 Thumby
December 12 2013, 10:09PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Iginla is an Oiler Killer.

Dub is an Oiler killer....

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#57 Andy7190
December 12 2013, 10:09PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Iginla is an Oiler Killer.

Dubnyk is an Oiler killer.

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#58 Muller
December 12 2013, 10:16PM
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Jack did a good job on the mic

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#59 Andy7190
December 12 2013, 10:23PM
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Thumby wrote:

Ha - beat you to it!

You did so!

You are right, though. How many games have the Oil lost now (despite certain bloggers apologist articles) because of Dubnyk?

The guy doesn't win.

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#60 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 12 2013, 10:28PM
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Andy7190 wrote:

You did so!

You are right, though. How many games have the Oil lost now (despite certain bloggers apologist articles) because of Dubnyk?

The guy doesn't win.

Yeah.....but his STATS are better than any Oiler goalie in history....so there has to be some other reason the floaters from the blue line keep getting past him......hhmmmmm...what could it be.....there must be stat somewhere that explains it.

Oh that's right!......being on your knees when the opposition players crosses the blue line is one of those intangibles....we can't count that......

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#61 Thumby
December 12 2013, 10:34PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Ever dare to think Boston took their foot off the gas a bit?

Possibly.

But the Oil had a legit push back...you cant deny the "tilting the ice" effect your tough guy gives the team when he feeds his fist to the other teams tough guy!

I vote Gazdik for captain.

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#62 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 12 2013, 10:41PM
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** wrote:

Actually Jonathan Willis posted a goalie list with numbers updated for the modern day sv%. Dubnyk ends up somewhere in the bottom third of the list.

See!!!.....I knew there was a stat that would explain it. Thank you. I feel better.

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#63 Serious Gord
December 12 2013, 10:41PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I do believe they were up 3-0 after the first.

Set the cruise control win 4-2

And they did it with five regulars out and their best goalie apparently so sick he was barely able to sit on the bench.

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#64 Quicksilver ballet
December 12 2013, 10:51PM
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With Dubey, Hemsky, N.Schultz and Gagner off the books later this season, the Oilers would certainly have some space to possibly bring in a top pairing blueliner or two.

Offer Gudbranson a redonkulous 5 yr 22 million dollar leap of faith RFA offer sheet.

Yeah, I'm desperate.

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#65 RexHolez
December 12 2013, 11:03PM
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Spydyr wrote:

The Oilers are the softest team in the NHL. They have missed the playoffs going on eight years. Coincidence.I think not.

I agree they need to get tougher, but were not building a Brian Burke team. We switch goalies with every team and were in the playoffs.

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#66 2004Z06
December 12 2013, 11:04PM
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Loweblows wrote:

Gag-me is an Oiler killer. If Eakins is preaching accountability then Gag-me better be sitting next game. And on another tangent, would Louie DeBrusk please go away!

Can't sit him until Gordon is back. No depth at center.

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#67 2004Z06
December 12 2013, 11:25PM
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Andy7190 wrote:

They could you know...

Fire the apparently entrenched assistant coaches..

Just to try and fix some of it.

Hey I am all for getting rid of the assistants...But Eakins is not the problem. This team needs better players.

Aside from Perron, Gordon, Arcobello, Belov, Ference, RNH, Hall(if he stops with the horrid turnovers in the offensive zone) everyone should be upgraded. I would probably keep Gazdic as well.

Mac T has batted 70% thus far, but you can't turnover the whole team in one season.

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#68 bwar
December 12 2013, 11:37PM
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Remember that one time Eakins put out Hall-Gagner-Yakupov for a defensive zone faceoff against the Lucic-Krejci-Iginla line? Yeah that was a free goal for Boston.

Remember that one time Dubnyk got scored on with a dump in? Yeah that was a free goal for Boston.

TRADE EVERYONE AND FIRE EVERYONE (except for Perron, keep Perron)

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#69 bazmagoo
December 12 2013, 11:55PM
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It's a real shame, which of these young guys is going to step up and take ownership of this team? I have to admit, I'm a little shocked. Thought Hall and Eberle would step it up this year, especially after being passed up for captain.

Personally, I think that's a big sign you need to split those guys up. Just my opinion.

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#70 Romanus
December 12 2013, 12:58PM
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Harlie wrote:

Would Beckett be opposed to touching my 649 and LottoMax tickets? I need the luck!!

And, no surprise on the Feaster firing.

Agreed. With the hiring of Burke was just a matter of time. Although would say the mess the flames got in were really the result many bad decisions by Sutter.

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#71 tileguy55
December 12 2013, 01:10PM
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That Bruins commercial was a LoL, where can I find more?

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#72 rindog
December 12 2013, 03:16PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I'm guessing the new GM will bring in a new coach before next year. Easy to can Hartley after finishing 25th his first year and likely even worse this year...

Most GMs like to hire their guy, and I doubt this will be different. The two bad years just make it easier to say Hartley isn't the guy. Hard to say how good or bad a coach is when you coach a team like the Flames, that doesn't have much talent.

So what does it mean when the Oilers go through 4+ coaches in five years when they "coach a team like the Oilers"?

Either the coaches haven't been been good enough or the players arent good enough and management isn't competent enough to recognize it.

Either way, it sure sucks for the fans...

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#73 Zarny
December 12 2013, 03:17PM
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Bos will be a good test for the Oilers at the right time.

I expect Bos size and depth will be too much. I don't see the Oilers having an answer for Chara or Lucic.

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#74 camdog
December 12 2013, 04:40PM
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Bruins are injured and have the flu. If there is a time to play the Bruins it's tonight, this is a must win for the Oilers.

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#75 Dog Train
December 12 2013, 04:59PM
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Now for a real test. I'm cautiously optimistic about this one because that's just my nature. I have lots of relatives who are Bruins fans so a win tonight might make hockey talk a little more bearable at Christmas time.

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#76 Rod from Viking
December 12 2013, 05:47PM
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I don't expect the Bruin's "A" game tonight due to injuries,flu and on the road, I also don't think the Oiler's will win but it may be a close game. I am more interested in tomorrows game in Vancouver, this is the first game since Zack(the simpleton) Kassian broke Sam's jaw. Let's compare the team toughness; Canuck's have Kassian, Bieksa,Sestito,Stanton,Alberts and Garrison, The Oiler's have Gadzic and Ference(kind of) and who else? After the Canuck's ran the Oiler's show in Edmonton McTavish picked up McIntyre. With no chance for play-offs I hope he is called up but I won't hold my breath.

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#77 Spydyr
December 12 2013, 06:49PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: When push comes to shove the little guy loses.Oilers hang in until the Bruins try hard enough to pick up the two points.

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#78 Serious Gord
December 12 2013, 06:59PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I'm guessing the new GM will bring in a new coach before next year. Easy to can Hartley after finishing 25th his first year and likely even worse this year...

Most GMs like to hire their guy, and I doubt this will be different. The two bad years just make it easier to say Hartley isn't the guy. Hard to say how good or bad a coach is when you coach a team like the Flames, that doesn't have much talent.

I doubt that Burke will fire Hartley. The flames are playing very well given the talent level - esp when giordano is in the line up. For what it's worth Burke gave a very strong endorsement of Hartley today.

And if, as you say its hard to judge a coaches performance when they have little talent to work with then ipso facto you can judge a coaches performance more easily when he does have talent to work with. Using your logic we should be very well armed in making a judgement on Eakins around jan 15.

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#79 Spydyr
December 12 2013, 07:43PM
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vetinari wrote:

So, predictions on shot totals tonight? I say 45-20 for Boston...

I say closer the Oilers hang in till late in the game because Boston only plays well enough to win.

35-30 Boston

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#80 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 12 2013, 07:47PM
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If we make it out of this game without any major injuries, I'll consider it a victory.

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#81 vetinari
December 12 2013, 07:57PM
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Okay, Dubnyk lovers, any comment on that first goal?

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#82 Serious Gord
December 12 2013, 07:57PM
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The worst goal against dubnyk to date.

The phrase "that's a dubnyk" may soon enter the hockey vernacular.

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#83 RexHolez
December 12 2013, 07:58PM
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Honestly... Can we give up on Dubnyk yet?? Where's Bachman? I bet he can put up average stats too

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#84 vetinari
December 12 2013, 07:59PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

The worst goal against dubnyk to date.

The phrase "that's a dubnyk" may soon enter the hockey vernacular.

I suggest that we take it one step further:

"Did you see that 50 foot Dubnyk, lobbed from the blue line?"

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#85 Spydyr
December 12 2013, 08:19PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Beer use to help me... These days only whiskey gets the job done

If you have to move on to crack get help.

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#86 Spydyr
December 12 2013, 08:23PM
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TonyT wrote:

Is Eakins doing the "accountability" thing tonight, if so I fully expect to see Eberle stapled to the bench to begin the 2nd. Terrible back check, that's fully on him.

But,but Eberle is pissed off.

Maybe he was referring too the waitress that cut him off.

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#87 **
December 12 2013, 08:26PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I doubt that Burke will fire Hartley. The flames are playing very well given the talent level - esp when giordano is in the line up. For what it's worth Burke gave a very strong endorsement of Hartley today.

And if, as you say its hard to judge a coaches performance when they have little talent to work with then ipso facto you can judge a coaches performance more easily when he does have talent to work with. Using your logic we should be very well armed in making a judgement on Eakins around jan 15.

Burke did say during the media availability that he didn't like the way the team was playing. He was talking about the style, but he did praise the work ethic.

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#88 Kevin
December 12 2013, 08:27PM
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with Lowe and Mac T trading off their heart and sole D-Man Smid, they now have freed up some cap space to sign Yakopov to a 7 year $42 million contract. Can some please STOP the insanity ! this is to comical and quite honestly sad for us long time Oil fans. Looking for a new team to cheer for ! Surfing centre ice for an NHL team to watch.

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#89 Spydyr
December 12 2013, 08:37PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Good luck Labarbs! Stand between the two red posts!

*covers eyes*

Red portals?

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#90 @Oilanderp
December 12 2013, 08:45PM
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If that fight had an effect on you as a fan, imagine what it did to the bench.

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#91 Spydyr
December 12 2013, 08:45PM
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Does that awesome scrap show up on the stats guy's spreadsheets?

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#92 Spydyr
December 12 2013, 08:46PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

If that fight had an effect on you as a fan, imagine what it did to the bench.

Sure, Gagner is now hiding under the bench.

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#93 **
December 12 2013, 08:49PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Does that awesome scrap show up on the stats guy's spreadsheets?

I hate when fourth liners like Gazdic are evaluated like the rest of the forwards. He is a different breed, with a different job, his effectiveness should be measured differently.

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#94 OilMan31
December 12 2013, 09:13PM
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We are paying Gagner 4.8 million to turn over pucks and be a terrible 2nd line centerman. Yet we pay Perron 3.8 million to be our leading scorer!!! Dump Gagner to anyone who will take him (and absorb some of the salary if needed). There is no way the Oilers will be a winning club with Gags playing the role he his playing now.

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#95 Soccer Steve
December 12 2013, 09:35PM
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Hockey fan 1976 wrote:

Only ones that look like actual NHL players from : Arco/Perron and Belov. Everyone else is like boys vs men. Well, in Gagner's case is girls vs men.

Not fair to girls.

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#96 Rod from Viking
December 12 2013, 09:36PM
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McTavish has to be given props for Perron,Gadzic & Gordon, possibly Ference,Belov,Bryzgalov and Joensuu(only time will tell), thumbs down to Gagner contract.

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#97 Rocket
December 12 2013, 09:43PM
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Jack Michaels:"Gagner with a shot on net"

Wait, what!?! Gagner is actually playing tonight? Huh, I couldn't tell.

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#98 vetinari
December 12 2013, 09:49PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Interesting stat they put up,Gagner was 6th in points since the 2007 draft Perron is 26th.Who would you rather have on your team.Come on stat guys explain to me why you would want Gagner on your team over Perron

Gagner was rushed to the NHL while Perron was given time to develop. Both have had significant injuries in their careers, but Perron is more competitive and seems more driven. Gags has a good hockey bloodline but he's been erratic the past year or so.

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#99 Spydyr
December 12 2013, 09:52PM
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vetinari wrote:

Gagner was rushed to the NHL while Perron was given time to develop. Both have had significant injuries in their careers, but Perron is more competitive and seems more driven. Gags has a good hockey bloodline but he's been erratic the past year or so.

After tonight's game you have the audacity to defend Gagner?

Man i wish Gagner had balls as big as yours.

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#100 Rod from Viking
December 12 2013, 09:57PM
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Oiler's putting in an effort and crowd is behind them, see how that works Taylor & Jordan, that is all it takes.

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