EVERY CHANGE MATTERS...

Jason Gregor
December 30 2013 01:55PM

The past eight Oilers seasons have been painful for everyone involved. The players are sick of losing, management and the five head coaches are tired of it, the fans have to give each other a pep talk before every game just to keep watching and even the media is tired of covering the constant losing.

There are some things none of the aforementioned groups can change instantly, like suddenly making the Oilers contenders, however, there are some small things that can and must be changed to make the process more bearable.

We can all agree what needs to change in the near future for the Oilers to become competitive. They need a better blueline, they need more size and experience up front, the players who return next seasons need to be more consistent and competitive on every shift, and the Oilers must add more experience within their assistant coaches.

Ultimately, those moves or decisions will be made by Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins. We will debate, analyze and scrutinize their decisions. That is our job, and it's what fans love to do and that is what makes sports great.

Every fan and media person will have differing opinions on players and how organizations build their teams. That will never change; however, there are some decisions within a pro team that fans can impact. One of them is the music played at their home facility.

The Edmonton Oilers owe it to their loyal fans to make the in-game experience as enjoyable as possible. The product on the ice hasn't been doing it, but the fans can demand and should be treated to a better in-house atmosphere.

The music during Saturday's OT loss to Philadelphia was atrocious.

I watched the game from the stands, and I asked the fans around their thoughts on the horrendous playlist? These fans ranged in age from 20 to 60, yet unanimously they agreed the music is awful. This is not a new problem, but the Oilers either don't feel the fans deserve a better experience or they haven't searched hard enough to find a better DJ.

Late in the third period and leading into OT the DJ played Give Me Some Loving, a Beatles song and Wooly Bully. The Beatles are one of the greatest bands ever, but their beats aren't energizing. I could not believe how bad the song selection was late in a tie hockey game. None of those songs got the building rocking. Seriously, it shouldn't be that hard to find more appropriate songs during key times in the game.

The fans deserve better, and so do the players. I spoke to three different players off the record and when I asked them about the music they said the following:

"It is embarrassing," said the first one.

"Most rinks play heavy, deep, quick paced music, but we rarely do," said the second.

"My friends come to games here and they all mention the music, and not because it is good," said the third.

If the Oilers don't want to listen to the fans, they shouldn't they at least listen to their players?

I know the music isn't the reason the Oilers are losing, and none of the players suggested that, but the Oilers need to look at improving every aspect of their team and in-game experience. Emotion plays a huge factor in hockey, and a better playlist could get the fans more into the game, thus improving the atmosphere and that could ignite the Oilers at certain times in the game.

Regardless of whether it helps the Oilers or not, the fans deserve better. I am a season ticket holder, so I'm not writing this from a media person's perspective. I've been to many other rinks around the NHL and the music and in-game experience is better in those rinks. The music selection in Edmonton if brutal.

I don't expect the management or scouts to listen attentively to media or fan's opinions on players, although getting as much info as possible is never a bad thing, however I do expect the organization to listen to fans when it comes to non-hockey matters.

It is time the Oilers improve the in-game ambiance. It is the least they can do for their loyal fans, and considering the players admit the music is terrible, an improved musical selection might even help the product on the ice.

QUICK HITS...2ND HALF

  •  The Oilers were 4-15-2 in the first quarter of the season and 9-9-2 in the 2nd quarter. They aren't as bad as they were in the first quarter, but they need to at least maintain a 20 points in 20-game stretch pace the rest of the season. If they pick up 43-46 points in the second half that would be a major improvement, and they need to come close to that to realize the effort and execution necessary to be in the playoff hunt next season.
     
  • Nail Yakupov won't play tomorrow in Phoenix. Yak looked frustrated on Saturday night, and I'm all for sending players a message by putting them in the pressbox, but is Yakupov receiving the message and is it the right one? If they want him to regain his confidence would they be better off sending him to OKC than sitting him in the pressbox?

    I understand that all players mature differently, but playing him six to eight minutes a night or sitting him in the pressbox might not be the best way to develop him. Make a tough decision and send him to OKC for a few weeks. In my opinion he needs to play 15-20 minutes a night and regain his confidence.

    I know many fans are going to scream they are ruining Yakupov, but the harsh reality is he will need to play himself out of it. Missing a game or two won't hamper his long term development, but they need to find some common ground. If they want him to be better away from the puck, then let him learn to do that in the AHL where it will be easier to learn. That isn't quitting on the player or punishing him, it is about trying to help him become a better player.
     
  • "It was a good conversation... We have a definite plan moving forward," Eakins said this morning about a 45-minute chat he had with Yakupov. He didn't outline what the plan was, but I'm curious to see what it will be. The Oilers don't need to just give Yakupov icetime, but they have to ensure they nurture his development and not ruin his confidence. It is a fine balance, but it is one they have to master. He isn't the first #1 overall pick to be benched or play on the 4th line. Steven Stamkos and Joe Thornton did and both became great players, however, they were 18 and didn't have the option of being sent to the AHL. 

    Will the plan see Yakupov playing on the 4th line at ES and then getting PP time? That would allow him to see easier competition at ES, but also allow him to maintain some offensive confidence. I doubt he sits out more than one or two games, and when he returns I'll be intrigued to see what "plan" Eakins has come up with for Yakupov.
     
  • I know it is only a few games, but Justin Schultz has been better the past three games. He is making better decisions with the puck, and more importantly he is making better defensive decisions. His positioning has been better and I haven't seen him getting beat one-on-one. It is a small sample size, but he needs to continue his improvement during the 2nd half of the season. He's only played 81 NHL games, so people need to recognize that it takes time for young, offensive D-men to get comfortable in the NHL, however, the Oilers desperately need Schultz to develop into a solid top-three D-man if they want to become a playoff contender in the near future.
     
  • Roman Horak will make his Oiler debut tomorrow night on a line with Gagner and Eberle. Todd Nelson told me he thinks Horak has potential to be a solid 3rd line centre, and potentially a 2nd line forward if he learns to use his speed regularly.
     
  • I would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all the sponsors who donated packages during Month of Giving, and to all those who bid on packages. This year we raised an amazing $77,150 for the Christmas Bureau, Santas Anonymous, Operation Friendship Senior Society and MS Society during the Month of Giving on my radio show and promoting the packages on the Nation. That is awesome. Thanks again.
     

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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#51 Sliderule
December 30 2013, 05:25PM
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Shultz Jr has been better?

What game are you watching .Fumbling the puck on PP,waving his stick in corners and stickchecking in front of net.

Give me a break.

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#52 Czar
December 30 2013, 05:40PM
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Metallica and AC/DC could get the crowd going and Charlie Huddy behind the bench would be an improvement.

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#53 SmythsMullet
December 30 2013, 05:47PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong but if my memory serves me right. Rexall played motley crues "wildside" on the opening faceoff in 2006. And that team knew a little about winning of there's ever a concern

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#54 Spydyr
December 30 2013, 05:51PM
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So it has come to this.Who would of thought all along it was the musics fault.

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#55 Rotten Ron
December 30 2013, 05:52PM
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I was in Dallas on business a couple of years agoand was asked to go to a Mavericks game. I'm not a basketball fan but went and was amazed at how they entertained there, mark cuban runs a good show.Im fairly reserved at games myself but they had the fans in a frensy all night . Allot of stuff geared towards kids but it was an atmosphere like a game 7. There was 2 or 3 things going on at time, upbeat music. A nice change from the misfiring tshirt shooter or cheer for the car lame game. oilers games I do my best to ignore the crap going on between plays because its basically the same since about 1993. I would also prefer they bring back the cfcw coyote with a puck on a string to the 4's and 5's they are passing off as cheerleaders.

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#56 Lee Fogolin
December 30 2013, 06:06PM
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Play Brass Bonanza after each goal... the Oilers are the modern day equivalent of the Hartford Whalers anyways.

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#57 risto siltanen's slapshot
December 30 2013, 06:12PM
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do they have the same dj as the oil kings. the atmosphere at one of their games is great. maybe it's the effort or the winning if it isn't the music. good management tends to do that. maybe we need a sign out front that says under new management and at least we can forget about how awful this team has been. seems to work for the restaurants that have food issues cuz people always go back to something they used to enjoy if there's hope for the past goodness.why else would anyone go to kfc,dominos,or an oilers game? lately going to a game is like eating rotten ron's...you know what you're getting and you never leave thinking "that was good." all the management will end up doing is hiring the nylons to perform cuz that's what worked in the past. "your still the one" is still their fave song haha

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#58 risto siltanen's slapshot
December 30 2013, 06:18PM
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@Lee Fogolin

I love positive Friday music so please don't let these oilers ruin that too

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#59 OilClog
December 30 2013, 06:25PM
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So we don't have a better option to play along side Gagner and Ebs then Horvat? Give me a break, this is crap.

What is Yakupov suppose to do with Lander and Gazdic? Gets a shift with Hall, scores a goal. Ridiculous.

Why is Perron on the right side? Why hasn't he been as noticeable lately? How about putting him back into position along Nuge and Ebs. Allowing Hall and Yakupov to continue their chemistry.. Wait! Let's play Joenssu! No no no.. Let's call up Horvat!

Good Lord.

And Justin Schultz has been struggling. It's ugly. But playing with Nick "dead puck" Schultz isn't going to help anyone.

This team should keep trying cross ice passes at a stand still. It's beautiful.

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#60 risto siltanen's slapshot
December 30 2013, 06:32PM
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@OilClog

no different than the past when we used to call up a forward , play him with buchberger and wonder why he doesn't score like he used to? you're right on when you say we should play skill with skill. how good was hemsky playing with horcoff? not a superstar and yet we could see potential.keep playing yak with crap and you'll end up with another hemsky.

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#61 risto siltanen's slapshot
December 30 2013, 06:35PM
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what would happen @ rexall if they played "we're not gonna take it?"

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#62 Brian Two Tier
December 30 2013, 06:50PM
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Being a Lowe class cable watcher, I'm wondering if they still play "Cotten Eye Joe" and if that bald dude dances up and down a set of stairs in the lower bowl. That guy was the best. Wait , maybe that was Gregor? Anyway, he was great.

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#63 Serious Gord
December 30 2013, 07:08PM
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Rumour has it that the music manager for the games is a old university friend of Daryl Katz...

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#64 Cynic
December 30 2013, 07:12PM
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I back what Rotten Ron wrote. The Phoenix Suns were weapons-grade bad last year. Tickets were 5 bucks - that's f-i-v-e - on Stubhub (third row uppper level, at exactly mid-court). There might have been 5K there, but certainly not 10K. Never had so much fun at a sporting event. Always something happening. Always something to cheer for. And I went a couple of times, so it wasn't just one of those lightning-in-a-bottle games. Once you're seen live sports in the U.S. I honestly don't know how you'd ever bother to leave the house to attend a game at a Canadian funeral home. And once you've seen basketball live - and I fkn hate basketball, traditionally - I don't know how you could look anybody in the eye and say, "I paid actual money to go to a hockey game in" a Canadian funeral home.

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#65 Yardbird
December 30 2013, 07:15PM
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So now we know what the real problem is......the music OMG grow up Gregor. and when do the posters/ kids go back to school?

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#66 bulldog12
December 30 2013, 07:16PM
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Yak should be sent to OKC to get his game back on track. 10 to 20 games down there would help his confidence and he can learn how to play in his own end. Right now he is totally lost out there. Give him until after the Olympic break, because he's not going to play for Russia. Were going to need him playing better so when they finally get rid of Hemsky he can slide into his spot. If that doesn't work for him and his agent then get rid of both of them.

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#67 Jay
December 30 2013, 07:17PM
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If the people going to the games can't watch a hockey game they should be a me to atleast enjoy some good music

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#68 Rick Stroppel
December 30 2013, 07:30PM
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THESE GUYS HAVE GOT IT ALL FIGURED OUT

I heard Pat Laforge interviewed by Jason Gregor on the radio this afternoon. I think I heard most of the interview. In my opinion, Laforge was prickly, sarcastic and dismissive. He kept on saying they have certain "obligations" to fulfill during the game, as if this had anything to do with the choice of music. When Gregor made a positive suggestion, he sarcastically described it as "brilliant". He minimized the complaints by saying that people are only upset because the team isn't winning. He admitted that the people who were in charge of the music made some big mistakes in the last game. Jason asked whether there would be consequences. Laforge sarcastically replied, "what happens to you when you make a mistake, Jason?".

Now it is my turn to be sarcastic. Lowe, McTavish and Laforge think they got together and invented professional hockey in 2006. They have dislocated their shoulders from patting themselves on the back. There is a profound arrogance that infects this organization from top to bottom. They strut around as if they are responsible for some kind of hockey dynasty. For many years the media in this city have been pandering to them. I think that is finally changing. It's not like we have a choice. NHL is the only major league show in town, and hockey is in our DNA. This team simply is not interested in treating fans with respect.

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#69 Johnnydapunk
December 30 2013, 07:31PM
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I realise I did comment earlier about the music thing, but the more I think about it, deckchairs and a certain unsinkable ship comes to mind....

Man it is pants being an Oil fan at times.

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#70 Alsker
December 30 2013, 07:39PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Yakupov is 20, he can go to OKC this year. Couldn't go down last year.

Excellent, then there shouldn't be any question as to what the Oil should do. I'm sure coach Nelson and the AHL game speed would benefit Yak immensely. This season's lost and Yak would probably play 1st line minutes and PP opportunities in OKC.

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#71 spliff
December 30 2013, 07:44PM
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Last year with Krueger was the first year in a long time that progress was made. PP and PK were much better, and the team's position in the standings improved. I'm not sure what reasoning MacT has used to replace Krueger, and in hindsight, it might have been the most stupid move MacT has made as GM. I don't think Eakins is a bad coach, but perhaps this team would have been better served with the stability of another year of Ralph. Its another example of this management group "thinking outside the box" when what they should be doing is keeping it simple.

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#72 ColourMeImpressed
December 30 2013, 07:44PM
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Puck Daddy tears into the Oilers over Yakupov.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/fourth-liner-nail-yakupov-healthy-scratched-again-edmonton-213228110--nhl.html

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#73 Fresh Mess
December 30 2013, 08:04PM
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I'm guessing Katz' kid is picking the music.

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#74 Ted Sheckler
December 30 2013, 08:08PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

I'm guessing Katz' kid is picking the music.

Not likely. He's busy cashing all his royalty checks he's pulling in from staring as the kid in Bad Santa. They played that almost as much as Elf this year.

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#75 Saytalk
December 30 2013, 08:09PM
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So what's the next topic? How the popcorn doesn't have enough butter on it? Anything to avoid calling out this abysmal team ay Gregor.

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#76 Fresh Mess
December 30 2013, 08:17PM
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@Ted Sheckler

haha

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#77 Retsinnab5
December 30 2013, 08:19PM
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They should hire a DJ who plays "Let's start a riot" and "were not going to take it" when we are losing

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#78 Herbie Versmells
December 30 2013, 08:41PM
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any game you see in pittsburgh on tv, they always have great music. imo.

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#79 Fresh Mess
December 30 2013, 08:44PM
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They should play Benny Hill or Keystone Cops music. The music from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" would also be fitting.

Maybe add in some toilet-flush or flatulence sound effects..

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#80 Merle Eberle
December 30 2013, 08:48PM
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Tambellini must be relieved he was relieved of this gong-show of a circus organization.

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#81 Greg
December 30 2013, 09:01PM
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it's funny i've always wished rexall had a DJ with a sense of humour. you watch some other teams and their DJ's are so spot on with the music. visiting coach complains to the ref, visiting player gets a penalty or ejection, it seems like some have that perfect song just waiting.

meanwhile we have the "carefully selected" octane girls dancing in their "carefully selected" outfits, dancing to "carefully selected" music.

as for the oilers goal song. i always chuckle to myself. because it seems more often that not "The Party!" seems to end quickly and often.

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#82 Oliveoiler
December 30 2013, 09:13PM
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Well, what about the same music they played back in the day when the 5 cups were won? couldn't do any harm, could it? As I seem to remember it was all organ music!! It's a nice try, but really not a huge issue. How about 'move it move it' from the movie Madagascar??? Let the team choose the music and see how it turns out..... As for Yak? do him and everyone a favour, send him to OKC, give the kid mega minutes and watch him flourish. He needs to unwind, mature and have the pressure taken off a bit. It's kinda like a parent bullying his kid to make 100% in every test - backing off could do no harm.

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#83 Jaroslav Pouzar
December 30 2013, 09:17PM
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Was just watching the Hartford Whaler's last game in the NHL. Found it more entertaining than the Oiler's this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rus3oCVc-r0

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#84 sachaschenk@yahoo.ca
December 30 2013, 09:23PM
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@Oliveoiler

let's let the players pick their own song when they score. imagine knowing who scored by their music. sounds like fun to me and maybe humanizes the players a little. yak ety yak etc..

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#85 BingBong
December 30 2013, 09:25PM
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Now this post really made me laugh. Not only do we - once again - have the worst team in the league, but we have the worst dj's in the league as well? How can you possibly make a mistake with respect to what songs to play during an NHL game? I mean I guess we've only been in the league for 34 years, so maybe we need a few more until we get that playlist juuuuuuust right...

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#86 BingBong
December 30 2013, 09:30PM
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Greg wrote:

it's funny i've always wished rexall had a DJ with a sense of humour. you watch some other teams and their DJ's are so spot on with the music. visiting coach complains to the ref, visiting player gets a penalty or ejection, it seems like some have that perfect song just waiting.

meanwhile we have the "carefully selected" octane girls dancing in their "carefully selected" outfits, dancing to "carefully selected" music.

as for the oilers goal song. i always chuckle to myself. because it seems more often that not "The Party!" seems to end quickly and often.

My fav was when we played the Hip's "When the Weight Comes Down" when Dougie would take a big draw. Where did that dj go?

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#87 BingBong
December 30 2013, 09:36PM
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BingBong wrote:

Now this post really made me laugh. Not only do we - once again - have the worst team in the league, but we have the worst dj's in the league as well? How can you possibly make a mistake with respect to what songs to play during an NHL game? I mean I guess we've only been in the league for 34 years, so maybe we need a few more until we get that playlist juuuuuuust right...

Hmm I think my initial post was unclear after re-reading it. I just meant that I 100% agree with Gregor regarding the music and I can't believe we can't even get that right.

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#88 Silver Streak
December 30 2013, 09:40PM
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@Czar

Oh AMEN to Huddy`s return....man would that look good now

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#89 Potato
December 30 2013, 10:24PM
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I've been going to Calgary games to heckle the home team lately....and yeah, they play way better tunes...

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#90 Oiler Al
December 30 2013, 10:25PM
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Check out Katz's eye glasses. If I was Rexall DJ, and looking for a raise in pay, I would play U2 music all night long.

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#91 Soccer Steve
December 30 2013, 10:33PM
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This article. Yikes.

Wake me up in October 2014.

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#92 RexHolez
December 30 2013, 10:39PM
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@Soccer Steve

You mean 2018?

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#93 HOFFFF
December 31 2013, 12:15AM
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My OILERS neon light quit working. :(

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#94 mlselli
December 31 2013, 12:37AM
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A player that said our music selection is embarrassing is right. It is . He should look at some other embarrassing things with the team while he is at it.

Look at us--Six rings and most of the rest of the old boys club looking after the team along with an AHL coach. A President of Hockey Operations putting the fans into categories based on income--Tier 1, the fans that can afford to attend the games, and Tier 2, the fans that have to stay home and watch the games. A team full of smurfs stuck near the bottom of the league again this year. An owner that simply refuses to address the fans and media to put things into perspective or at the very least explain his vision, or his apparent satisfaction with how things stand so far. Eakins who clearly suffers from small mans syndrome, likes to talk big and insult the fan that threw away his jersey from pure frustration and disgust, by calling him a quitter. It is the Oilers that quit that night--a fan just reacted to it. The only bright spot on this team is Joey Moss. Music and everything else about this team that sucks will stay the same because upstairs doesn't give a damn what we think. The seats are sold.

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#95 ?
December 31 2013, 12:40AM
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Roman Horak will make his Oiler debut tomorrow night on a line with Gagner and Eberle. Todd Nelson told me he thinks Horak has potential to be a solid 3rd line centre, and potentially a 2nd line forward if he learns to use his speed regularly.

Flames fan here, and I don't think there's any chance Horak becomes a 2nd line centre. He could become a very useful 3rd, but 2nd line? I doubt it

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#96 ?
December 31 2013, 12:43AM
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"I know the music isn't the reason the Oilers are losing, and none of the players suggested that, but the Oilers need to look at improving every aspect of their team and in-game experience. Emotion plays a huge factor in hockey, and a better playlist could get the fans more into the game, thus improving the atmosphere and that could ignite the Oilers at certain times in the game."

C'mon Gregor… Better music=better fans=better players?

If it was that easy, don't you think someone (ANYONE) would've done something about it by now?

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#97 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 31 2013, 12:58AM
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Oliveoiler wrote:

Well, what about the same music they played back in the day when the 5 cups were won? couldn't do any harm, could it? As I seem to remember it was all organ music!! It's a nice try, but really not a huge issue. How about 'move it move it' from the movie Madagascar??? Let the team choose the music and see how it turns out..... As for Yak? do him and everyone a favour, send him to OKC, give the kid mega minutes and watch him flourish. He needs to unwind, mature and have the pressure taken off a bit. It's kinda like a parent bullying his kid to make 100% in every test - backing off could do no harm.

Do your kids get a $6 million dollar allowance?

Yes to OKC.

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#98 FlamesRule
December 31 2013, 01:23AM
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OilClog wrote:

So we don't have a better option to play along side Gagner and Ebs then Horvat? Give me a break, this is crap.

What is Yakupov suppose to do with Lander and Gazdic? Gets a shift with Hall, scores a goal. Ridiculous.

Why is Perron on the right side? Why hasn't he been as noticeable lately? How about putting him back into position along Nuge and Ebs. Allowing Hall and Yakupov to continue their chemistry.. Wait! Let's play Joenssu! No no no.. Let's call up Horvat!

Good Lord.

And Justin Schultz has been struggling. It's ugly. But playing with Nick "dead puck" Schultz isn't going to help anyone.

This team should keep trying cross ice passes at a stand still. It's beautiful.

Horvat? What team do you really cheer for?

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#99 Andrew
December 31 2013, 02:23AM
Trash it!
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Cheers
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I don't waste my few paultry doubloons on travelling to Etown to watch the Oil. If I want my pocket picked I'll hang out downtown Etown after dark. The whole Rexall experience sucks from the price and quality of the food/beverage to available parking. Oh, and yes of course the music. Going to and from that arena is not worth the 41/2 hour trip. I'm not dissing Etown so the hyper sensitive crowd can relax their collective cracks. It has to be one of the very worst rinks in the league. The Oilers staff in charge of the most basic of ammenties on site are a colossal failure IMO. On Yakupov I think Eakins is the main culprit. He is too busy trying to look like an NHL head coach instead of being one. I'm willing to bet the biggest fail of the GM so far is turning that Idiot loose on this young team. The wrong draft picks and most trades are on the GM's current and previous. The problems of this organization are just beginning to unfold. The real crap has yet to hit the fan. When the light goes off over Katz' head and he realizes he may be facing another re-build and the herd of ex-oilers slopping at his trough have been an enormous failure....well....heaven help us.

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#100 Coco crisp
December 31 2013, 03:41AM
Trash it!
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Music is terrible at rexall. I mean it is absolutely horriawful. I pains me just as much as seeing nail drown on the fourth line/press box.

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