GDB 34.0: Once More Unto The Breach

Jonathan Willis
December 13 2013 01:56PM

It’s a fair bet that Edmonton Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins did not and will not quote Shakespeare when talking to his team today, but doubtless both he and fans of the Oilers would like to see the spirit embodied in Henry V’s speech as they play the Vancouver Canucks tonight.

“Lend The Eye A Terrible Aspect"

But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage; Then lend the eye a terrible aspect… Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.

David Perron did a pretty good job of that sort of thing last night, and has all season. It’s not just that he’s driving scoring chances (though he is, and that’s the most important thing) but that he’s tenacious and battles at both ends of the rink. I thought Eakins summed him up nicely this afternoon:

It’s something the rest of the lineup needs to imitate. Taylor Hall has been that kind of player before, hard and physical and clearly giving it his all on the ice, but he wasn’t last night and hasn’t been all too frequently this season. With a tired Oilers team facing a rested contender in Vancouver, they desperately need that kind of play from Hall.

The Lineup

We don’t know what the Oilers’ lineup tonight is going to look like, but we do know from the team’s official Twitter feed that Devan Dubnyk will start and that Boyd Gordon is both ready to play and likely to play.

I liked the shift that Eakins made late against Boston, moving Jesse Joensuu to Sam Gagner’s line and Hall to play with Mark Arcobello and Ales Hemsky, and I would keep those trios together tonight. In the absence of official information, I’ll just post the lines I would run if I were in Eakins shoes tonight:

  • F1. David Perron – Ryan Nugent- Hopkins – Jordan Eberle. They’ve just been too good to split up. I was tempted to bump Eberle down to Hall’s wing in an effort to get the latter going but I would not want to mess with this trio.
  • F2. Taylor Hall – Mark Arcobello – Ales Hemsky. Hall and Hemsky have played well together in the past, and Arcobello had great chemistry with Hall in Oklahoma. More than that, Arcobello has outplayed Gagner all season and deserves this shot.
  • F3. Jesse Joensuu – Sam Gagner – Nail Yakupov. Joensuu looked really good versus Boston and adds some nice things to this extremely soft minutes line.
  • F4. Luke Gadzic – Boyd Gordon – Anton Lander. Assuming that Ryan Smyth is still injured, this would be my choice for the fourth line tonight. Gazdic played well against Boston and if you’re packing around an enforcer this game is one where he might be good to have. Gordon/Lander gives the line two faceoff men and this unit would be used almost entirely as a defensive zone line.
  • D1. Andrew Ference – Jeff Petry. Petry looked pretty good last night and none of the options for this role are ideal; this is what the Oilers have.
  • D2. Anton Belov – Justin Schultz. This pair had some nice moments together and would be the Oilers go-to offensive zone unit.
  • D3. Nick Schultz – Corey Potter. Philip Larsen had a bad game last night, and the demotion of Martin Marincin suggests that Potter’s ready to play. Ordinarily, I’d keep Larsen in on the third pair, but because this is a back-to-back there’s some value in having fresh legs.
  • G1. Devan Dubnyk. We know that Eakins is rolling Dubnyk, and the bottom line here is that we know Jason LaBarbera has no future in Edmonton. It makes sense to use the guy who a) has been better over the long term and b) will still be on the NHL roster after Ilya Bryzgalov gets healthy.

Predictions

Game Day Prediction: Four games ago I was pessimistic about the Oilers chances against a hot Colorado team and predicted a 5-1 loss. Edmonton won 8-2. Tonight I predict another 5-1 loss.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: This is the first time Zack Kassian will play the Oilers since breaking Gagner’s jaw with his stick, and Edmonton won’t forget that. Gazdic will drop the gloves with Kassian the first chance he gets, and moreover he’ll fare better than Ben Eager did last season.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Gagner, demoted to the third line and rapidly falling out of favour with Oilers fans, will enjoy a very solid game in his new role and do most of the work in setting up Edmonton’s lone goal, which will come from Jesse Joensuu.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 07:37PM
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Looks like Hallsy is flying tonight though. Maybe he and Perron can get them going. 90 % Canucks so far.

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#52 Rod from Viking
December 13 2013, 07:39PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good backcheck from Hallsy there. Turn it on tonight buddy, we want last year's Hall back.

EDIT: GREAT stick there by Hallsy, keep it coming.

Hall is worried about his defensive tonight which is great, Hemsky is looking very soft so far.

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#53 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 07:44PM
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I hope they wake up for 2 nd and 3 rd like last night. They're lucky it's scoreless after that. Props to dubs.

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#54 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 13 2013, 07:46PM
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Wasnt even close after one. Shaky start for DD but he wasnt too bad after. As for the rest.....

Lowe must be proud.

Damn that MacT is a genius for putting this defense together

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#55 Serious Gord
December 13 2013, 07:46PM
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That first period was a clinic.

And it can't all be due to the talent on the ice - torts and company are far and away doing the better coaching job.

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#56 Mac962
December 13 2013, 07:46PM
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Looks like we have played 4 games in 2 nights. Awesome.

Why oh why can we not pressure on the forecheck.

No one bangs at all - no aggression. un-f--king real.

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#57 Hockey fan 1976
December 13 2013, 07:49PM
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Boys vs. men tonight. Kessler I fear will hurt poor Nuge lol. Gags looks once again like a non-factor or scared, can't tell. 14-4 on shots so far. Funny how When Dubmnuts plays well the players can't score and when players play well well......you know lol.

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#58 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 13 2013, 07:52PM
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Canucks pre game, Kassian interviewed at the buzzer, now a feature on Bo Horvat. Are we completely sure this isn't a Canucks broadcast?

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#59 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 13 2013, 07:56PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Canucks pre game, Kassian interviewed at the buzzer, now a feature on Bo Horvat. Are we completely sure this isn't a Canucks broadcast?

NNIC

Nucks Night In Canada

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#60 Ari Gold
December 13 2013, 08:12PM
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I'm seriously sick of watching our team get pummeled.

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#61 Ari Gold
December 13 2013, 08:18PM
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This game is a bloody disgrace. Why am I watching this? It's like an NHL team playing an AHL team.

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#62 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 13 2013, 08:20PM
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Every time Hall or Ebs tries an idiotic toe drag, they should be docked pay. Yeah they can work, when it's not your ONLY FREAKING MOVE. Good god, if I see another failed to drag, I'm gonna be sick.

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#63 cubsfan
December 13 2013, 08:22PM
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we need some truculence.....im tired of watching these guys not checking, getting pushed around and not sticking up for themselves or their mates

the Sedins look like the broad street bullies compares to us

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#64 Hemmercules
December 13 2013, 08:22PM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

CBC hasn't liked Edmonton In a while for some reason. They just pick them apart every chance they get. Lots of it for good reason though I suppose.

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#65 Hemmercules
December 13 2013, 08:26PM
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I'm actually impressed right now. Playing boston at home then Vancouver the next night in van when they have 4 days break. They should be getting destroyed right now but the game is within reach.

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#66 Ari Gold
December 13 2013, 08:27PM
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There's nothing worse than watching a Canucks game commentated by Jim Houghson. Ridiculous bias.

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#67 Rocket
December 13 2013, 08:27PM
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So The Oilers get scored on and then they show some energy? Did they not notice that the game started an hour and a half earlier?

Also, if Eberle tries another toe drag, I'm gonna lose my $_hit!

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#68 Hemmercules
December 13 2013, 08:30PM
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@Ari Gold

Oak and weekes are the worst. It's almost like they are making fun of the Oilers the whole time.

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#69 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 13 2013, 08:38PM
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Gotta love Larsen diddling around in the corner picking up his stick while the play shifts to the slot and Kesler is wide open.

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#70 Harlie
December 13 2013, 08:38PM
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I remember going to see Henry V movie at the theatre for a Grade 8 field trip. Still resonates today, thanks JW

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dDZVxbrW7Ow

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#71 Hockey fan 1976
December 13 2013, 08:42PM
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So we have Hall/Ebs/Nuge/Yuk/hemsky /Gags ans yet shots are 26-10. Good coaching Dickens!!!

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#72 Mulli35
December 13 2013, 08:44PM
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@Hemmercules

What game are you watching? They deserve to be made fun of but sadly the announcers are just being honest. We've seen some pretty bad hockey at times this year and so far tonight's game is near the top of that list (obviously excluding Jekyl Dubnyk).

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#73 tom.MTL
December 13 2013, 08:44PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Canucks pre game, Kassian interviewed at the buzzer, now a feature on Bo Horvat. Are we completely sure this isn't a Canucks broadcast?

It might as well be. There's only one team on the ice.

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#74 Serious Gord
December 13 2013, 08:46PM
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Hemmercules wrote:

I'm actually impressed right now. Playing boston at home then Vancouver the next night in van when they have 4 days break. They should be getting destroyed right now but the game is within reach.

This is a definite case of the scoreboard not telling the real story. The Canucks are dominating in every category. Note how they hit - not nudge or push - their targets. And Vancouver isn't even in the top eight in the league.

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#75 Serious Gord
December 13 2013, 08:48PM
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Re the CBC broadcast.

Just remember most of these guys are out of job at the end of the season.

Karma's a beeotch.

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#76 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 08:51PM
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Anyone surprised Gillis is interviewed in the second intermission. It's getting comical.

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#77 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 08:53PM
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Jim Hughson always looks like he's just drank 3 pots of coffee. Those eyes.

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#78 tom.MTL
December 13 2013, 08:54PM
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it should be 15-0 right now. Good effort, boys.

*clap clap clap

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#79 **
December 13 2013, 08:55PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

when this team starts to fire on ALL cylinders, they will be a formidable team!

Thank you for letting Jack do the play by play, last night - that was amazing!

NO, they wont. When they fire on all cylinders and play against any of the teams they're about to play against, they are like a v4 sedan against a diesel v8 one ton. This team needs pieces.

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#80 **
December 13 2013, 08:55PM
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tom.MTL wrote:

it should be 15-0 right now. Good effort, boys.

*clap clap clap

Unserious Gord, love the handle.

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#81 **
December 13 2013, 08:57PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

There's nothing worse than watching a Canucks game commentated by Jim Houghson. Ridiculous bias.

I/ve tried watching with 630 ched radio play by play, but the lag between both feeds drives me nuts.

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#82 Rod from Viking
December 13 2013, 08:58PM
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Nice hi-light pkg to start the 3rd period by Canuck Broadcasting Corporation, you would swear the score is 20-0 Vancouver.

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#83 **
December 13 2013, 08:59PM
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Hockey fan 1976 wrote:

Boys vs. men tonight. Kessler I fear will hurt poor Nuge lol. Gags looks once again like a non-factor or scared, can't tell. 14-4 on shots so far. Funny how When Dubmnuts plays well the players can't score and when players play well well......you know lol.

Forget Kessler, a Sedin sister just creamed Nuge. *face palm*

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#84 Rod from Viking
December 13 2013, 09:02PM
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Hemmercules wrote:

CBC hasn't liked Edmonton In a while for some reason. They just pick them apart every chance they get. Lots of it for good reason though I suppose.

Don't you know Vancouver is the 5 time defending Stanley Cup Champion.(lol)

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#85 Mikey
December 13 2013, 09:04PM
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Hey Taylor Hall, some friendly advise. Stop reaching for lose pucks, to try and break up a play. It lets the other team know exactly how close/far away you are from it.

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#86 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 13 2013, 09:05PM
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2-0. In keeping with the theme of the article...

Good night, sweet prince.

EDIT: er, 3-0.

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#87 Serious Gord
December 13 2013, 09:06PM
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Goals 2 and 3 are largely on dubnyk. No more starts for you!!

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#88 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 09:09PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Goals 2 and 3 are largely on dubnyk. No more starts for you!!

This game and all the goals are on the entire roster. It's like they're not even trying. How do you not show up to play one if your biggest rivals. Too many heartless players.

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#89 Rod from Viking
December 13 2013, 09:09PM
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Ok,3-0, time for Gadzic to pay a visit to Kassian

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#90 cubsfan
December 13 2013, 09:12PM
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tom.MTL wrote:

it should be 15-0 right now. Good effort, boys.

*clap clap clap

it kind of is.....3 goals through the 5 hole.....15

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#91 Rod from Viking
December 13 2013, 09:13PM
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Quit shooting in Luongo's glove. Is Vancouver's worse d-man better than 5 of the Oiler's.

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#92 camdog
December 13 2013, 09:15PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Goals 2 and 3 are largely on dubnyk. No more starts for you!!

I gotta disagree they were both Horcoff's fault.

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#93 bob
December 13 2013, 09:16PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Ok,3-0, time for Gadzic to pay a visit to Kassian

why should he? hes not making $6 million per year for 6 years....like rest of the gutless doormats

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#94 YFC Prez
December 13 2013, 09:16PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Quit shooting in Luongo's glove. Is Vancouver's worse d-man better than 5 of the Oiler's.

Ferrence and Petry would make their 3 rd pairing. The rest....

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#95 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
December 13 2013, 09:19PM
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The Oilers' lack of try in tonight's game is very disappointing. No wonder why CBC doesn't take the team seriously: every time the CBC covers an Oilers game, the team totally lays an egg (remember the 5-0 debacle against Detroit on HNIC?)

I think if the Oilers were given credit for a goal every time they maintained possession below the Canucks' goal line, they'd probably still be losing this game...

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#96 Zamboni Driver
December 13 2013, 09:19PM
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Yeah, the crew is so biased towards Vancouver.

Except for the fact that the colour guy is a Boy on the Bus, and best friends with the GM and Six Cups.

Also, this might be a surprise if you're hearing non-Debrusk-like cheerleading.

WE ARE LOSING....AGAIN.

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#97 Hockey fan 1976
December 13 2013, 09:26PM
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On the plus side, we'll break our streak of W/L/W/L to a more realistic one of W/L/L/L/L/L/W

Am so depressed!!!

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#98 **
December 13 2013, 09:27PM
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Like Schneider's deli meats: "You can taste the difference quality makes".

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#99 Asian on Oilers Nation
December 13 2013, 09:29PM
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#ConnorMcDavidForOilers2015

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#100 Jay
December 13 2013, 09:29PM
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Why do we still have the same assistants??? We need a shake up or a change of some sort! I'm sick of this team

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