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, Sportsnet, 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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#1 They're $hittie
December 13 2013, 02:03PM
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Whos face should Gazdic bust

Props for a Sedin

Trash for Kassian

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#2 TayLordBalls
December 13 2013, 02:01PM
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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!

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#3 aceglfr
December 13 2013, 03:07PM
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Why is Dubs starting he has already had his chance how much more of this crap before we can start with an nhl goalie. Its not like once in a while he will let in a softie, its every bloody game. I am not the only fan pissed off with Oilers reluctance to change goalie its way past its time. I don't think any team in the nhl would want him maybe Spruce Grove or the Saints would take him for their third stringer. Whats going on with Bachman he impressed me, he should here, is Bryz ready to go?

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#4 ?
December 13 2013, 09:46PM
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cubsfan wrote:

everybody wants a bold move.....in fairness every team is looking for centers and d-men.....if they have them they dont trade them

oilers are not in a position of strength......gazdic and perron are the few guys with value......cant trade them......they are the only guys with any heart and pride

what a shame, i was looking forward to this year.......

Gazdic's limited ability won't get you much more than a 6th rounder though. Dealing draft picks is the way EDM has to bring in some good players, that and wait for FA.

They won't be this bad all year long, so holding your breath for Ekblad or Reinhart is a fool's errand

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#5 Bryzarro World
December 14 2013, 12:07AM
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Heff I fart in da woods, does bear smell it?

I just blow your universe

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#6 2004Z06
December 13 2013, 03:17PM
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Hall and Eberle have 6 million reasons to not give a s#@&!

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#7 Rdubb
December 14 2013, 02:27AM
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Johnathon, your so-called predications where OUT TO LUNCH, except for the score, and the monkey from TSN could have gotten close to that one too, your others...way far off, and I mean WAY... All you need to do is listen to any call-in radio show and you'd know the fans are pissed with gagner's compete level this season, his lack of defense (since there hasn't been any)... For someone who is more "in-tune" with the Oilers and around the team a whole lot more, your "predications" should much much closer than these where...just a thought

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#8 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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#9 Mac962
December 13 2013, 04:20PM
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Very active and positioned sticks tonight boys. Keep them in the passing lanes. And for gods sake- be PHYSICAL.

Perron- go boy go !

To me - this guy deserves what Hall and Nuge and Ebs are making. He earns it.

David Perron - you are the man.

Come on Oil. Take out Kessler or Beak off Beiksa.

Prop if you despise the Canucks.

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#10 bwar
December 13 2013, 03:02PM
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I would consider putting Hall on a grinder type line. Maybe something like Hall-Arco/Gordon-Jones/Joensuu. He needs to get some fire in his game and I really feel that forcing him to play on a more physical line might ignite a fire under his ass and get him producing like he can. I truely believe that when Taylor Hall is playing well that he he create scoring chances no matter who he plays with.

Perron-RNH-Eberle

Gagner-Arcobello-Hemsky

Hall-Gordon-Joensuu

Gazdic-Lander-Yakupov

Those are my armchair coaching lines for tonight assuming Gordon is playing. We desperately need more than one functional line on this team and at this point I think Eakins needs to start thinking outside of the box in order to find that solution. Right now I feel Arcobello is playing better than Gagner therefore he should be rewarded with the 2C role. Gagner is starting to play better but I think moving him to the wing sends a little message to him that he is replaceable and also takes a bit of the pressure off of him being paired with some more defensively responsible players.

As for poor Yakupov he just doesn't seem to be clicking with anyone. I think its time for him to have a quick reset and reasses his current role on the team. For him to be most effective right now I think he needs to be playing reduced minutes and be playing against soft competition 5v5. I also feel he can be a powerplay specialist as the main trigger man on the top PP. He has an incredible shot that needs to be used. Its also nice to have him in the back pocket so that if someone else in the top 9 is playing poorly Yak can quickly be rotated in as the replacement.

TLDR; Wall of text from an unintelligent internet nerd.

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#11 RexHolez
December 13 2013, 04:12PM
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I heard Eberle can't play tonight, he's got a commercial to shoot

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#12 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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#13 God
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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#14 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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#15 Rob...
December 13 2013, 02:17PM
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Here's hoping Gazdic turns Kassian into Ivanans II. Whereas Ivanans didn't deserve the aftereffects of his fight, I wouldn't spend a extra second thinking about Kassian's lost years.

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#16 Danger Pay
December 13 2013, 02:40PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Whos face should Gazdic bust

Props for a Sedin

Trash for Kassian

First time I propped and trashed a comment. Thank you for that!

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#17 A-Mc
December 13 2013, 02:51PM
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PERRON FOR MAYOR!

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#18 Virtual_Xi
December 13 2013, 03:15PM
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well, at least gagner will show up tonight? or will he be super scared? he's turning into the new 'lil, Nuge is growing up quick!

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#19 tileguy
December 13 2013, 03:59PM
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whence cometh evil, Samuel beware. #9 approaches, battle be near. Sticks and fists ready to slice Gazdic is here, all will be nice.

Sorry just made that up (can ypu tell?)

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#20 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
December 13 2013, 04:03PM
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Oil win tonight. Like I've said before they are the equivalent of a really bad girlfriend but the sex is amazing. They frustrate the hell out of me and make me wanna bang my head agaisnt the wall but when they put it on, I have no problem screaming and cheering like a fanboy.

Just because she tortures me mentally doesn't mean I'm turning down some good head. In the words of the Offspring "I may be dumb but I'm not a dweeb"

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#21 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 13 2013, 04:14PM
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I hope Kassian skates into Bieksa unawares and both have to leave the game.

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#22 Bi-Curious Gord
December 13 2013, 05:54PM
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OGDP:

Gazdic punches Daniel's face and Henrik's nose starts to bleed

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#23 Quicksilver ballet
December 13 2013, 06:02PM
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Had to listen to the first half the game on the radio while coming home. Quite surprised, Bob Stauffer sounded more at home/comfortable doing play by play than just being a color man. Could be a changing of the guard in the near future for both these guys.

Micheals just needs a chin tuck and a hair cut and he would be fine to replace Kevin Quinn. Jack sounded like a better fit for TV than radio. He seems much more descriptive of the game doing TV than he does on radio. Find he rambles on and on about things that don't matter when doing his regular gig.

6-1 Canucks tonight. Oil all to easily intimidated this night. Most of the Oiler kids want to be 100% (play safe, not on the edge) for the holiday break, the seasons beatings are upon us. So they'll tuck tail rather quickly I'm sure this road trip.

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#24 Serious Gord
December 13 2013, 06:24PM
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I don't think gadzic fights kassian. I think the NHL has told both teams to not allow it. This is the same team that was in the middle of bertuzzi/Moore debacle.

Hard to put too hard an emphasis on it - if dubnyk lets in a bad one he can never be given a start again.

If the Canucks are healthy they win. 5-2 nucks.

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#25 David S
December 13 2013, 06:31PM
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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!

Sometimes I catch Jack coming home from work on those ungodly early games. He freaking rocks the radio cast so I kind of expected him to do the same last night. He delivered.

In fact, I'd much prefer Jack to just about any other announcer right now. He was THAT good.

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#26 hall the time
December 13 2013, 06:35PM
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Oil for the win 4 - 3.

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#27 Bi-Curious Gord
December 13 2013, 06:40PM
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OGDP:

Quicksilver Ballet posts something utterly devoid of intelligence, relevance or humour... and then Props himself.

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#28 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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#29 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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#30 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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#31 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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#32 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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#33 **
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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#34 **
December 13 2013, 08:55PM
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Bi-Curious Gord wrote:

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

*clap clap clap

Unserious Gord, love the handle.

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#35 **
December 13 2013, 08:57PM
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God 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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#36 **
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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#37 Asian on Oilers Nation
December 13 2013, 09:29PM
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#ConnorMcDavidForOilers2015

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#38 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 13 2013, 09:31PM
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#BombErForConnor2015

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#39 **
December 13 2013, 09:44PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Re the CBC broadcast.

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

Karma's a beeotch.

Can I get a hallelujah!!!

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#40 Ryan2
December 13 2013, 09:54PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

I'm getting depressed. It's demoralizing as a fan, I feel sorry for Perron, from St.Louis to this...although St.Louis wasn't very good for quite a while........ maybe :c

Don't feel sorry for him. He will pump up his stats and then request a trade later this year or next and be gone to a contender that will allow him to freewheel more than St. Louis did. He has value, and if the team is still a basement dweller at the deadline this year he could be gone. His salary is reasonable for a player producing at his level, and since the acquiring team will have him under contract for one or two more seasons he has higher value.

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#41 Dog Train
December 13 2013, 02:08PM
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We owe these guys big time. Hopefully Gazdic takes care of Kassian. We also owe them for that stinker we laid in game 2 of the season. If we're going down, let's give the Cancucks a dose of what their not-so-distant future holds. Their window is closing fast, if it's not already closed, so let's make their fans sad tonight.

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#42 james_dean
December 13 2013, 02:41PM
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Im looking fwrd to tortelinni and acton yelling at eachother tonite.

gonna get heated

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#43 oilerjed
December 13 2013, 03:09PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Whos face should Gazdic bust

Props for a Sedin

Trash for Kassian

I was conflicted so i did both.

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#44 yegger
December 13 2013, 04:06PM
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If the boys continue with this whole win-loss thing, tonight *should* be a win...right???

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#45 Ron Burgundy
December 13 2013, 04:37PM
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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!

I too enjoyed the new guy.

Effort better be there tonight. If you can't screw your courage to the sticking place (more Bill Shakespeare for you) against the douchiest team in the league and a bitter rival, that is a sad commentary. Here's hopin.

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#46 MAC962
December 13 2013, 04:43PM
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Go crunch on Granola and suck back some Soy sauce You beatnik off spring. And while i am at it , Enjoy also missing the playoffs, i wish you do make it though. Watching you choke like the Smog in your city makes my day, You have won nothing E-V-E-R !! Canadas most hated City and Hockey Team.

Gag Canucks Gag.

Losers - Eat S--t.

Go Oilers

ps- One of your girls takes a Beating tonight. Payback's a Bit-h.

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#47 Rod from Viking
December 13 2013, 04:44PM
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This is one game I wish they would have recalled Big Mac, If I was Vancouver I would send Sestito out to pick a fight with Gadzic which I am sure he would oblige and then that would give Kassian the upper hand if he chose to fight Gadzic later. If Mcintyre is in the line up he could step up to fight Sestito and Gadzic would be able to go after Kassian. With last change Vancouver have a huge advantage in this respect, if the Oilers get manhandled tonight you would hope the Oilers would have a tougher lineup back in Edmonton next game against the Canucks.It is not like the Oilers are fighting for a play-off position, oh I forgot, nobody likes fighting.

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#48 Spydyr
December 13 2013, 04:45PM
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Obvious Game Day Prediction: Luongo tries to pump Dubnyk's tires . To no avail he still sucks.Canuck players cross the red line and let them rip.Dubnyk's save percentage looks great. He still lets in a soft goal.Gagner falls down forgets to back check and ends up minus something.

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#49 They're $hittie
December 13 2013, 04:48PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Whos face should Gazdic bust

Props for a Sedin

Trash for Kassian

If you guys like that one go to the one I posted on the last canuck army and flames nation article.

Hope start some fights over there, LOL.

The Trolling was on a DSF level

http://flamesnation.ca/2013/12/13/brian-burke-is-running-cowtown#comments

Comment 2, please trash and props the comment. LOL

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#50 Rod from Viking
December 13 2013, 06:12PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Jack likes to eat and is proud of it, he has added at least 2 chins since he got the play by play gig. Rob Brown is the best Oiler broadcast person period, he tells it like it is and has played the game.

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