GDB 36.0: A KING SIZED CHALLENGE

Jason Gregor
December 17 2013 01:00PM

 

Name  Height  Weight    Name  Height  Weight 
Jeff Carter    6' 4"  212   Jesse Joensuu    6' 4"  210
Dwight King    6' 4"  230   Luke Gazdic    6' 3"  240
Anze Kopitar  6' 3"  224   Ryan Smyth    6' 2"  191
Jordan Nolan    6' 3"  221   Taylor Hall    6' 1"  201
Kyle Clifford    6' 2"  211   Ryan Jones    6' 1"  208
Trevor Lewis    6' 1"  198   Ryan Nugent-Hopkins    6' 1"  180
Jarret Stoll    6' 1"  213   Boyd Gordon    6' 0"  202
Tyler Toffoli    6' 1"  196   Ales Hemsky    6' 0"  185
Justin Williams    6' 1"  189   David Perron    6' 0"  198
Dustin Brown   6' 0"  207   Mark Arcobello    5' 8"  166
Daniel Carcillo    6' 0"  200   Jordan Eberle    5' 11"  180
Matt Frattin    6' 0"  205   Sam Gagner    5' 11"  202
Mike Richards   5' 11"  196   Nail Yakupov    5' 11"  186
             
Name  Height  Weight    Name  Height  Weight 
Matt Greene  6' 3"  234   Anton Belov    6' 4"  218
Willie Mitchell    6' 3"  210   Jeff Petry    6' 3"  195
Jake Muzzin    6' 3"  214   Corey Potter 6' 3" 203
Robyn Regehr    6' 3"  222   Justin Schultz    6' 2"  188
Drew Doughty    6' 1"  213   Nick Schultz    6' 1"  203
Alec Martinez    6' 1"  209   Philip Larsen 6' 0"  182
Slava Voynov    6' 0"  194   Andrew Ference 5' 11" 187

When you compare the two rosters it is easy to see where the Oilers fall short. They aren't as experienced as the Kings, and they severely lack the size and overall heaviness of the Kings. Dustin Brown is one of the smaller Kings forwards in stature, but he plays big, and he's one of the best hitters in the game. Same as Mike Richards.

The Kings have a lot of size, but even their "smaller" players play a physical style. The Oilers can't match the Kings' size or abrasiveness, so they need to play a fast-paced, up tempo style to try and defeat the Kings.

**Also for those who keep suggesting the Oilers are an average team in size because one article listed them at an average of 203 pounds. Don't believe everything you read. Add up the numbers above. The Oilers average weight is 196.2 pounds, while the Kings are 209.9. That is an average difference of almost 15 pounds a player. Stop suggesting the Oilers aren't small. They are, and not only are they small, very few of them play big. That isn't a knock, that is just who they are and management will need to adjust the roster accordingly moving forward. The Oilers blueline isn't heavy enough and collectively they lack the aggression needed to shut down a good team.***

It is unfair to compare the Oilers to a team that won the Cup18 months ago, but you can see how to properly construct a Cup contender, when you look at the make up of the Kings and see so many different style of players. The Kings win because they have many skilled players, but also because they have diversity throughout their lineup.

The major difference is the size and strength of the Kings blueline compared to the Oilers. How can the Oilers expect their D-men to break up a cycle when they are so slight. You can have one or two smaller D-men, but you can't have five of them and expect to compete and against heavy teams. The Oilers D-men will need to use significantly more energy just to try and compete with the larger Kings, especially when they are battling for position in front of the net and in the corner.

It is unrealistic for the Oilers management and coaches to expect their team to defeat the Kings. They Oilers worked hard against the Bruins and Ducks, but ultimately they couldn't wear them down. That theme is likely to repeat itself tonight.

BUILDING AN IDENTITY...

Yesterday, I wrote that the Oilers need to find an identity, preferably one that will lead to more victories, and that Craig MacTavish has his work cut out trying to forge said identity.

I asked TSN analyst Ray Ferraro his thoughts on the Oilers identity. 

Their identity is they want to play with the puck, and they will degenerate into one-on-one play if you shut them down. If you ask anyone around the league they will say they are highly skilled up front, not so much on the backend and their goaltending is iffy. 

They have too many of the same players. That is their identity and it isn’t a winning one.  The problem is, even if they play really well a lot of their guys are all doing the same thing. They have a lot of dancers and not many singers. You can’t ask the players to change that; it is up to management.

You can’t ask Gagner to rattle someone’s cage and run people over on the forecheck. Sam is what Sam is. Yakupov is what he is. Nugent-Hopkins is what Nugent-Hopkins is. You can’t ask them to be different. You can ask them to try and do a few more things to round out their game, but they can’t be what they’re not. You can’t ask Boyd Gordon to anchor the powerplay, but you can ask him to win faceoffs and be physical.

If you put enough of those pieces together and they aren’t the same pieces, then you can build your identity.  

I've said essentially the same thing for the past few seasons. I understand it isn't as easy as saying, "we need to get this type of player," and then magically acquiring him. MacTavish did acquire three players this past summer who add a different dimension to the Oilers in Perron, Gordon and Ference, but MacTavish will need to add at least another five or six before the make over is complete.

 The other glaring weakness is the blueline. Ferraro said this about their D corps. 

You would like to have a couple big physical guys, because there are not enough guys who make you stay in the battle. They don’t separate opposing players from the puck. There are too many second plays that hang around on the forecheck. 

You have to define what you are. They have a bunch of tweeners on the blueline. You can have one or two of them, but you can’t have five of them. Without question that is their biggest area of concern moving forward, and the way they are going to have to correct that is to make a pecking order amongst the forwards.

They have to figure out which ones stay and which ones are lower down, and if they are lower down that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t want them, and wouldn’t drool over them, because they probably have a part you want. But you have to step off the curb and say, “I’m going to move one of these highly skilled forwards.

And if the highly skilled forward scores 35 goals somewhere else, but I get a solid stay-at-home D-man who scores 15 points, and that is what we need, then I don’t care that the other guy gets 35, because I just put a piece in the puzzle that makes us a better team.

Again, I completely agree with Ferraro. I've written many articles stating that eventually MacTavish will need to make a tough decision and move a few of his skilled forwards. Not because they aren't good, but because he has too many of the same style of forwards.

 When you watch tonight's game, watch closely at how much harder the Oilers forwards need to work to sustain a cycle. They have to pay a price to keep in the Kings zone. Then compare that to how easy it is for the Kings to maintain possession in the Oilers zone.

The Oilers do make some bad decisions with the puck in their own zone, but often they are working extremely hard, but the reality is that often they are physically overmatched by opposing forwards.

LINEUP...

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Gagner-Yakupov
Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
Jones-Arcobello-Gazdic

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

Bryzgalov

Hemsky returns to the lineup after Eakins decided Hemsky needed a game off to rest his sore ribs. Hemsky and Regehr will likely renew their rivalry. Hemsky never shied away during their battles when Regehr was in Calgary, and I doubt he will tonight.

The more I watch Arcobello the more I like every aspect of his game. He sees the ice very well, makes smart decisions with the puck, is solid defensively, he is always in the battle and he plays physical.

Edmonton is 6-3-2- in their last 11 visits to LA...

WHAT WILL WE SEE...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers play a competitive game but lose 3-2 in OT.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Jarret Stoll scores for the Kings. Former Oilers always find ways to light the lamp against the Blue and Orange.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After getting hit hard five or six times by Ben Lovejoy in Anaheim, Taylor Hall decides to initiate contact rather than recieve it, and he delivers are levels Martinez early in the first period. This sets the tone for a surprisingly physical game. When Hall returns to the bench, the camera show Arcobello congratulating him on a big hit, and Hall says to Arcobello, "You can't be the only forward who hits; we need to help you out."

DAY 13...MONTH OF GIVING...

Thank you to Kyle, Sammy's Restaurant and Victor for bidding on our packages yesterday, and to Etelligent Solutions and Crystal Glass for donating them.

Today's package includes:

A CHEF's dinner courtesy of Von's Steakhouse and Oyster Bar. It will include all your beverages as well.

You and three friends will dine with Eskimos GM Ed Hervey, quarterback Mike Reilly  and Eskimos Wall of Honour inductee, current head coach of the U of A Golden Bears and outstanding story teller Chris Morris. I'll also be there, but mainly to fill up your wine glasses.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds go to the Christmas Bureau.

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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#101 Alsker
December 17 2013, 09:28PM
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Holy f^ck I love the comments here, so blatantly honest and obvious...Gags nd Yak CAN NOT be paired together...how often does this have to go wrong before Eakins realizes this...why the frick is Arco not at 2C????????

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#102 Serious Gord
December 17 2013, 09:30PM
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Gagner has had twenty years to figure out how to play defense. To blow coverage as bad as he did on that goal tells you that he will NEVER learn it. The grim thing is every other team knows it and thus he has nil to negative trade value.

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#103 @Oilanderp
December 17 2013, 09:34PM
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cain wrote:

You ARE kidding right? 1 of the open Kings was his man!!!! Please tell me you're kidding,otherwise you may qualify as our next defensive coach...

You WERE kidding Right?

Wow. Read what I wrote. It isn't "JUST" his fault. As in: there's more than Gagner at fault.

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#104 Zamboni Driver
December 17 2013, 09:34PM
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Gagner to the fourth line = positive.

Gagner playing at all = negative.

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#105 vetinari
December 17 2013, 09:37PM
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Just read a funny piece over at "Down Goes Brown" on the Flames GM search--

http://www.downgoesbrown.com/2013/12/brian-burke-interviews-candidates-for.html#more

Kevin Lowe makes a (fictional) appearance. Also tells you that the rest of the world knows what his contribution to the Oilers has been these past few years. I especially like the part about "the Oilers Rebuild Clock". It hurts because it is true...

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#106 Zamboni Driver
December 17 2013, 09:39PM
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Honestly, does anyone else get the impression that good teams like the Kings are actually bored to tears playing against the Oilers?

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#107 Alsker
December 17 2013, 09:39PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Gagner to the fourth line = positive.

Gagner playing at all = negative.

Now now, lets be positive...Gagner playing for someone else = positive!!!!!!!!!!!

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#108 OILERSORDEATH
December 17 2013, 09:42PM
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I really wish the the Oilers could play like LA. What a solid ream

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#109 Reg Dunlop
December 17 2013, 09:44PM
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Nice to see Peron go after Stoll. Not so nice to see ONLY Peron go after Stoll.

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#110 vetinari
December 17 2013, 09:45PM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

I really wish the the Oilers could play like LA. What a solid ream

"Solid ream"????

Are they... are they lubbing their sticks on the bench or something???

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#111 cain
December 17 2013, 09:45PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Wow. Read what I wrote. It isn't "JUST" his fault. As in: there's more than Gagner at fault.

Sooo...that excuses HIS laziness and/or misunderstanding of his defensive responsibility on the play? A seven year veteran? Your defense of Gagner's performance on that play is that he was not the ONLY one who messed up on that play? Yep, you qualify as the next defensive coach for the team....right this way to excuseville...

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#112 Alsker
December 17 2013, 09:45PM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

I really wish the the Oilers could play like LA. What a solid ream

We will, kBlowe is sure we'll be there in 4-5 years.

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#113 @Oilanderp
December 17 2013, 09:53PM
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cain wrote:

Sooo...that excuses HIS laziness and/or misunderstanding of his defensive responsibility on the play? A seven year veteran? Your defense of Gagner's performance on that play is that he was not the ONLY one who messed up on that play? Yep, you qualify as the next defensive coach for the team....right this way to excuseville...

My apologies. I had not realized that you are mentally delayed. I also apologize that due to your extreme hatred of everything right now, you cannot see that rather than defending Gagner, I am blaming him AND the other Oilers on the ice during that play. Two open Kings in front of the net is inexcusable.

Now I want you to apologize to me for causing me to waste more of my time typing this.

For further reference, I urge you to read what I originally wrote. This will be the last time I respond concerning this foolishness.

If it makes you feel better, here:

*breathes through mouth*

*drools*

*combs knuckle hair*

*slurs speech "FIRE SOMEBUUDY!"*

P.S. SIZE!!!

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#114 Alsker
December 17 2013, 09:58PM
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@@Oilanderp

*breathes through mouth* *drools* *combs knuckle hair*

Wish I would've seen the play,so I could back u up or slam you, but that reference to the mid70's Flyers team(or Troll) was awesome.... 10000 Props to you Sir!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#115 emonkee
December 17 2013, 09:58PM
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Hall, what the heck is that pass?

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#116 cain
December 17 2013, 09:58PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

My apologies. I had not realized that you are mentally delayed. I also apologize that due to your extreme hatred of everything right now, you cannot see that rather than defending Gagner, I am blaming him AND the other Oilers on the ice during that play. Two open Kings in front of the net is inexcusable.

Now I want you to apologize to me for causing me to waste more of my time typing this.

For further reference, I urge you to read what I originally wrote. This will be the last time I respond concerning this foolishness.

If it makes you feel better, here:

*breathes through mouth*

*drools*

*combs knuckle hair*

*slurs speech "FIRE SOMEBUUDY!"*

P.S. SIZE!!!

Wow. Read what I wrote. I'm just saying you're stupid.

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#117 S cottV
December 17 2013, 10:02PM
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@cain

In fairness it was a great sustained offensive sequence by the Kings. Poor coverage by all of the Oilers at one point or another. However the down low supporting forward - Gagner is a key guy and it wasn't pretty. He just can't do it at a high level.

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#118 Sailge
December 17 2013, 10:06PM
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Not to take any credit away from the kings goalies, but one can observe why they all have stellar save percentages.

Their defensive coverage is excellent. They don't give up much.

Raise the puck, Oilers. If you can.

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#119 Mikey
December 17 2013, 10:07PM
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So Martin Jones. Arcabello and a second?

Or maybe one of Bachman, Bunz, Arco. And a second.

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#120 @Oilanderp
December 17 2013, 10:07PM
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I think it might be time for bigger nets haha.

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#121 cain
December 17 2013, 10:08PM
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S cottV wrote:

In fairness it was a great sustained offensive sequence by the Kings. Poor coverage by all of the Oilers at one point or another. However the down low supporting forward - Gagner is a key guy and it wasn't pretty. He just can't do it at a high level.

I think that's fair to say. He can't do it a high level. I also think at 4.8 million per year, and seven years in the league, Sam should be held accountable...no?

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#122 Alsker
December 17 2013, 10:09PM
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Sailge wrote:

Not to take any credit away from the kings goalies, but one can observe why they all have stellar save percentages.

Their defensive coverage is excellent. They don't give up much.

Raise the puck, Oilers. If you can.

How 'bout crashing the net wether there's a rebound or not. What will it cost to get Ott out of Buf? Gags+ anything...please......man we lack some ugly grit...

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#123 Mikey
December 17 2013, 10:13PM
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Alsker wrote:

How 'bout crashing the net wether there's a rebound or not. What will it cost to get Ott out of Buf? Gags+ anything...please......man we lack some ugly grit...

Dwight King for Gags.

Oh and we will retain the difference in cap hit.

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#124 kale
December 17 2013, 10:14PM
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Bryz is playing extremely well, Gags must have impressed Eakins somehow as he was playing on the first line the last couple of shifts...

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#125 PapaMike
December 17 2013, 10:23PM
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C'mon boys, just get a lucky goal.....

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#126 emonkee
December 17 2013, 10:31PM
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yikes, first hall missed the breakaway, then ference gave up the breakaway... at this rate..i see we lose 2-0 with an EN, argh! Bryz is awesome!

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#127 @Oilanderp
December 17 2013, 10:32PM
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Bryzgalov has a more active stick than some of our d-men!

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#128 uh-oh
December 17 2013, 10:44PM
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It seems L.A. exceeds our skill level.

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#129 emonkee
December 17 2013, 10:46PM
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freaking Gagner again!

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#130 Zamboni Driver
December 17 2013, 10:46PM
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So I love Eakins. Really do.

But why in the WORLD is Sam Gagner on the ice with 5 minutes?

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#131 Sailge
December 17 2013, 10:48PM
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Wow great game 89. Couldn't be hurting the team any more that he is almost every single game.

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#132 S cottV
December 17 2013, 10:49PM
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I have been trying to support Dubie, but does look like Bryz is better. MacT needs to start thinking about signing him, beyond this year.

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#133 cain
December 17 2013, 10:50PM
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Just want to point out...not JUST Gags fault...um...for the second time tonight.

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#134 Zamboni Driver
December 17 2013, 10:50PM
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Not only does Gagner give it away again.....he STANDS THERE AGAIN looking puzzled as the puck goes down in the other end.

Press.

Box.

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#135 emonkee
December 17 2013, 10:51PM
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Gagner...!@#!@#! Larsen...what are the commentators thinking? He is so poor defensively...get stripped off the puck...dun think he deserves to be on the 3rd pair, but we got no one..

Like Jason kept saying over and over again, we just dun hit...when we check, we don't pin the guys to the board...unlike the kings...bam

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#136 Zamboni Driver
December 17 2013, 10:51PM
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And out Gagner goes again.

Incredible.

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#137 emonkee
December 17 2013, 10:51PM
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cain wrote:

Just want to point out...not JUST Gags fault...um...for the second time tonight.

agree, not just his fault, but he is part of the fault...again

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#138 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 17 2013, 10:52PM
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No one on this team can pass, and no one can receive a pass cleanly.

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#139 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#140 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#141 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#142 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#143 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#144 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#145 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#146 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#147 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#148 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#149 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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#150 Mike Krushelnyski
December 17 2013, 10:55PM
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You gotta pay the Stoll Toll to get into this boy's goal

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