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 

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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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#1 Spydyr
December 17 2013, 01:06PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Alcohol will be drunk by the Oiler faithful tonight.

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#2 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 17 2013, 10:58PM
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Would someone ban this idiot?

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#3 Wax Man Riley
December 17 2013, 10:59PM
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Gagner has got to go.

IR.

Eastern Conference.

OKC.

Switzerland.

Shell gas station.

I don't care, anywhere but on the roster.

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#4 Smokey
December 17 2013, 01:32PM
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Arco shafted again.

Gagner and Yakupov is a bad combo.

Obviously a goal by Gagner means he's back and will get a push even though twice as many our going into our net. Frankly I think your top three centers are RNH, Gordon, Arco. Play the hell outta of your two way players. Gagner should play 10 mins tops till he learned defensive responsibility.

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#5 NsxZero
December 17 2013, 01:07PM
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Ferraro is just another person echoing what we already know. The question is just how and how well MacT solves the issue.

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#6 A-Mc
December 17 2013, 01:13PM
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Seriously, They better re-sign Arcobello because this kid deserves to play in the NHL ahead of some other guys.

I agree with the 3-2 OT loss.. Even though we lost vs Boston and Anaheim, they were EXCELLENT games. If only the Oilers played that well every game - they'd certainly be near .500 hockey!

#GOilers

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#7 French Toast Mafia
December 17 2013, 02:44PM
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Does anyone else see that on a regular basis Acro has been better than Gagner.

Isn't afraid to hit, wins face-offs, can PK, competes hard, has some offence, and seems to show up pretty much every night.

I have never been on the anti-gagner train but he has a fairly large price tag and consistently gets worked by bigger and better centers.

Not saying Acrobello should be the second line center instead of Gagner. But why not move that Gagner contract out when you have almost the exact same player at a much lower cap hit who can actually play center if you need him to...

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#8 Mikey
December 17 2013, 10:59PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Would someone ban this idiot?

I agree, ban his IP.

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#9 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
December 17 2013, 01:26PM
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You may as well watch a televised prison rape tonight, if you plan on watching this game. Like a good prison b*tch, the Oilers are gonna get man-handled and not do a thing about it.

Also, nice to see the toughest guy on our team happens to be our smallest defenseman. Goes to show that it has as much to do with attitude as it does with size.

#HereComeThePrisonB*tches

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#10 Walter Sobchak
December 17 2013, 11:18PM
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It's obvious that Gagner can't or won't play defence or is completely lost on Eakins system.

However, how the holy hell is Gagner out on a two man advantage for the WHOLE two minutes!!

Eakins has his own head so far up his arse, it's bloody aggravating that a coach is so egotistical that he refuses to put the better shooter out despite being down a goals!

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#11 admiralmark
December 17 2013, 02:34PM
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Great Eakins moved Gagner back to the 2nd line. Where he can suck again. What happened to wiping the slate clean and earning your spot? Arco should be in the 2C spot. And Gagner should be 3C or 4C or better yet on a wing... Actually the best would be traded.

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#12 emonkee
December 17 2013, 11:16PM
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"We showed again we can play with this team... Two mistakes ended up in our net. Other than that we played a good game." - Jordan Eberle

I like you Ebs, but don't say other than that we played a good game...the team made 2 mistakes, while the kings didn't. If we want to win, we can't even afford to make 1 mistake.

I want to see an oilers come out and just go @#$@#$@#, we lost, it stinks, it's unacceptable......

u get the pt...

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#13 Zarny
December 17 2013, 01:32PM
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Dman wrote:

I am curious as to why you are so hung up on provind the fact that LA is a larger team than us. "Edmonton is 6-3-2- in their last 11 visits to LA..." so does that record really indicate size wins games?

No. Size doesn't win games; outscoring your opponent does.

And in the playoffs when you have to win four 7 game series against different teams you have to be able to score different types of goals.

The Stanley Cup winners since the previous lockout are: Chi, LA, Bos, Chi, Pit, Det, Anh and Car.

Everyone of those teams scores in multiple ways.

The Oilers can only score 1 way.

If you really need further proof...look at the standings. 28th place. Nuff said.

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#14 TDSM31
December 17 2013, 11:02PM
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Send Gagner down to OKC...and don't tell me he wouldn't clear waivers...even re-entry. I can't recall ever disliking an Oiler this much.

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#15 vetinari
December 17 2013, 01:17PM
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Just a quick question-- Ferraro ever think about becoming an assistant GM or assistant coach because he's usually "bang on" with his assessments?...

GDP: Kings 4 Oilers 2

OGDP: One Kings' goal will be scored off a "failed toe drag turnover" or "blind pass to the blueline, odd man rush back".

NSOGDP: During a scrum in front of his net during the third, Bryzer gets tired of Kings falling all over him and takes matters into his own hands, diving into a group Kings and swinging like a lumberjack...

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#17 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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#18 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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#19 Walter Sobchak
December 17 2013, 11:20PM
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kale wrote:

Does this game qualify as a moral victory?

According to Eakins & Eberle it does.

11-22-3 with 6 moral victories.

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#20 kgo
December 17 2013, 09:07PM
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Amazing juxtaposition on the Kings goal.

On the right post, Perron, covering his man so ferociously he's literally trying to pick him up and carry him out of scoring postition.

On the left post, Gagner, 10 ft away staring at the open man. Wondering why his helmet is crooked.

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#21 **
December 18 2013, 01:03AM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Gagner has got to go.

IR.

Eastern Conference.

OKC.

Switzerland.

Shell gas station.

I don't care, anywhere but on the roster.

What did Switzerland ever do to you, or shell for that matter?

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#22 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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#23 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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#24 kale
December 17 2013, 11:19PM
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emonkee wrote:

"We showed again we can play with this team... Two mistakes ended up in our net. Other than that we played a good game." - Jordan Eberle

I like you Ebs, but don't say other than that we played a good game...the team made 2 mistakes, while the kings didn't. If we want to win, we can't even afford to make 1 mistake.

I want to see an oilers come out and just go @#$@#$@#, we lost, it stinks, it's unacceptable......

u get the pt...

If you say that you get traded to Calgary.

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#25 @Oilanderp
December 17 2013, 04:27PM
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On the bright side, Mitch Moroz has a point per game over 33 games, and is fourth in the WHL this season in PIMS.....

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#26 Zarny
December 17 2013, 04:55PM
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David S wrote:

I thought games were won by scoring, i.e. "putting the puck in the opposition's net" rather than +/-. Sam contributed where it counted, on the scoreboard.

If Petry had been just a bit more aware he would have let Bryz see that Penner shot clean instead of trying to wimp block it with his stick. We would have had at least a point out of that game.

I know the "Gagner sucks" narrative is easy to jump on board with because, hey who doesn't like social gratification, right? But alot of times mobs are just dumb guys bunching together against the cold wind of reason.

Or he might actually suck. 50/50 really.

Games are won by scoring more than your opponent.

So scoring 1 G but giving up 2 doesn't help the cause.

Regardless, Gagner doesn't "suck". He simply doesn't compliment Nuge or the other top 6 F well.

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#27 Dman
December 17 2013, 01:07PM
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I am curious as to why you are so hung up on provind the fact that LA is a larger team than us. "Edmonton is 6-3-2- in their last 11 visits to LA..." so does that record really indicate size wins games?

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#28 kale
December 17 2013, 11:04PM
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Does this game qualify as a moral victory?

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#29 **
December 17 2013, 01:13PM
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The size comparison gets worse when you only count the top six forwards. By the way, what's with sitting Joenssu, your biggest forward, against the biggest team in the division?.

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#30 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
December 17 2013, 01:45PM
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Why is Ryan Jones in the NHL??

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#31 Felix
December 17 2013, 03:09PM
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Building a team for 8 years and Oilers brain trust still does not understand you need size in the top 6.

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#32 Tikkanese
December 17 2013, 04:21PM
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So if Gazdic and Joensuu weren't Oilers, Ryan Smyth would be the tallest Forward at 6'2". Sad. Not to mention, the smallest (Arcobello) and 3rd smallest (Perron) hit the most. Sadder.

The Defense has decent size but most are pretty soft and very easy to play against. Not to mention once again, the smallest (Ference) plays the biggest by far. Sad.

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#33 Sean17
December 17 2013, 04:37PM
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On the bright side Yak is still even in plus/minus for tonights game….

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#34 Walter Sobchak
December 17 2013, 05:23PM
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David S wrote:

I thought games were won by scoring, i.e. "putting the puck in the opposition's net" rather than +/-. Sam contributed where it counted, on the scoreboard.

If Petry had been just a bit more aware he would have let Bryz see that Penner shot clean instead of trying to wimp block it with his stick. We would have had at least a point out of that game.

I know the "Gagner sucks" narrative is easy to jump on board with because, hey who doesn't like social gratification, right? But alot of times mobs are just dumb guys bunching together against the cold wind of reason.

Or he might actually suck. 50/50 really.

I like Gagner too, but if you think that was Petry's man you need to go back & watch that goal frame by frame.

That's Gagner man in the slot, Gagner actually takes the wrong man on the last goal leaving Petry stuck down low, by the time Petry reacts to the play he's to late.

How many defensemen do you see covering the high slot in all your years of hockey?

As Zarny points out you can score a goal put if your on for two then you ARE part of the problem.

This has been Gagners problem, while a good hockey player on the offensive side he's getting worse defensively.

The Oilers need a big two way center who can bring some offence to the table. Think Dubinsky.

How much do you want to bet Gagner gets owned in the face off circle tonight?

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#35 6 ring circus
December 18 2013, 12:51AM
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Is this Kevin Lowe's idea of building a winner?

Please enlighten us all old 6 rings and tell us how your going to turn this team into a winner,you must have Katz convinced with your master plan because you still have a job.

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#36 kawi460
December 17 2013, 01:12PM
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I know Joesnuu hasn't played that great. But I wouldn't mind having a bigger body in the line up against the kings.

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#37 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 17 2013, 02:37PM
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The old saying. If you can't beat em on the ice you better be able to beat them in the Alley or your in serious trouble in the NHL. still holds true.

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#38 cain
December 17 2013, 09:23PM
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vetinari wrote:

Bryzer's looking good tonight... I get the feeling that if Dubnyk was playing, we'd be down 3-0 or so by now.

Gags gotta really get his reads down, especially in the defensive zone.

The first rule when a player hits the ice is, "do your team no harm"...

Hey, Hey, Hey !!!! Go easy on "Gags"...it's only his seventh year...we're rebuilding here dammit!

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#39 cain
December 17 2013, 10:57PM
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OHHHH SAMMY.....you sir, blow chunks.

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#40 Ari Gold
December 18 2013, 01:13AM
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Missed the game. Glad I did.

Love my team, hate this year.

Wake up Management, wake up!

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#41 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 18 2013, 01:26AM
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No way in hell does Bryz re-sign here. Why would he. Cap going up next year more teams will have space than this year. Puts up an awesome game again and his team loses. Mask aint painted cause he ain't staying. Was Smid traded so bryz can get an audition to sign with a good team next year?

MacT is brilliant. NTC/promise to gags. Perron deal may have been a complete fluke. 4 year contract to Eakins. MacT is the best sorry i ever said otherwise.

Didnt watch the game and thank f'in god I didn't. no way am i gonna help ratings for their games when it is the same crap. Eakins said in post game that if they would have scored earlly in the first it would have been a better result. What a genius. Scoring will help win??? Awesomeness

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#42 Dman
December 17 2013, 02:08PM
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Zarny wrote:

No. Size doesn't win games; outscoring your opponent does.

And in the playoffs when you have to win four 7 game series against different teams you have to be able to score different types of goals.

The Stanley Cup winners since the previous lockout are: Chi, LA, Bos, Chi, Pit, Det, Anh and Car.

Everyone of those teams scores in multiple ways.

The Oilers can only score 1 way.

If you really need further proof...look at the standings. 28th place. Nuff said.

I don't think their problem is scoring goals. Their inability to prevent the other team from scoring on them is of major concern. If you need further proof look at their 93-120 GF-GA.

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#43 Spydyr
December 17 2013, 04:19PM
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David S wrote:

If by "suck again" do you mean scoring a beauty goal and being over 80% on the dot like he was in Anaheim?

I'll take that "suck" any day.

I think the suck might be Gagner was -1.Yet again another minus game.He was also out of position on Penner's game winning goal.That kind of suck.

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#44 Alsker
December 17 2013, 05:13PM
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Ducey wrote:

Defense can be learned. Talent can't.

Well at this pace gags will be 35 and should almost have a proper grip on it. If defense can be taught desire/heart cannot. We have not seen anywhere near enough of either from this team since the days of Gator.

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#45 Zamboni Driver
December 17 2013, 09:05PM
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Well at least Gagner knew he was to blame.

Again.

Maybe the coach noticed too.

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#46 @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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#47 Soccer Steve
December 17 2013, 11:07PM
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It must be obvious to us all now that the Oil powers-that-be certainly see things much different than we do.

Gagner isn't going anywhere. MacT would undermine himself by doing anything other than trading him (which they won't/can't because of the NTC). They won't buy him out because they'd lose him for nothing. The won't send him to OKC because they risk losing him for nothing.

Shot in the foot.

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#48 **
December 18 2013, 12:55AM
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Ganger put on quite the clinic on how to single handedly lose your team a game, with gusto!.

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#49 Zamboni Driver
December 17 2013, 01:29PM
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vetinari wrote:

Just a quick question-- Ferraro ever think about becoming an assistant GM or assistant coach because he's usually "bang on" with his assessments?...

GDP: Kings 4 Oilers 2

OGDP: One Kings' goal will be scored off a "failed toe drag turnover" or "blind pass to the blueline, odd man rush back".

NSOGDP: During a scrum in front of his net during the third, Bryzer gets tired of Kings falling all over him and takes matters into his own hands, diving into a group Kings and swinging like a lumberjack...

Ferraro is about to be paid more money than he made as a player by Rogers (or at least offered, and I actually hope that he jumps ship).

He is not going to end up standing next to, like, Kelly Buchberger, with an ear piece in his ear "paying his dues".

He's, by far, the best at what he does.

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#50 S cottV
December 17 2013, 04:23PM
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Dont get all the apparent support for Yak.

I know - dynamic skill winger and the whole bit.

But - really he is one dimensional and not really the type of player you need as a cornerstone to a contender.

He pretends to be physical but is really pretty good at getting out of the way, of any trains that might be coming through.

Nice to have if the cornerstones are in place and you can afford it.

He may fetch the biggest return for what we really need, so - I would be very surprised if any bold moves made by MacT, dont include him.

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