GDB 30.0: Blue

Jonathan Willis
December 05 2013 06:22PM

The Edmonton Oilers play the Colorado Avalanche tonight sans two of their top-four defencemen. Jeff Petry is a healthy scratch; Anton Belov has been demoted to Oklahoma City.

The Remainder

Edmonton will ice the following not remotely NHL-caliber blue line against the Avs:

  • Justin Schultz
  • Andrew Ference
  • Nick Schultz
  • Philip Larsen
  • Corey Potter
  • Martin Marincin

Some of that's poor roster construction, but some of it is decisions by the coaching staff.

Either way, the Oilers go into tonight's game against Colorado (tied with Pittsburgh as the sixth highest-scoring team in the NHL) with almost nothing on the back end.

The Lines

We don't know the lines; all we know for sure is that they're going to be different, both because of the changes in personnel and possibly owing to other factors:

Update: As expected, the lines change:

Predictions

Game day prediction: Let's say 5-1 Colorado.

Obvious game day prediction: Nathan MacKinnon moves ahead of Mark Arcobello for the rookie assists lead when he picks up two tonight. 

No-so-obvious game day prediction: Luke Gazdic will score the Oilers' only goal, crashing hard to the net and redirecting Anton Lander's shot past Colorado's goaltender. 

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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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#51 Danger Pay
December 05 2013, 07:00PM
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Stranger things have happened, if the Oilers can with stand the first 10 mins, maybe they have a chance? Just a little optimism from seberia here boys, relax.

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#52 Ari Gold
December 05 2013, 08:16PM
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3-0??? Who are these guys?

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#53 Alsker
December 05 2013, 08:23PM
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Money Moe wrote:

Once upon a time there was a undersized undrafted rookie leading all rookies in assists named Cory Conacher ..

His GM then traded him while he was hot for a legit number 1 goalie

I'm talking about Conacher , Bishop &&&....Arcobello !!!

Getter done ....a Dman will do ;)

How 'bout keeping that undrafted rookie and move a young,xperienced offensive centre + prospects/pick for that Dman.

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#54 Harlie
December 05 2013, 08:58PM
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Perron

Sniper

Diggity

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#55 HOFFFF
December 05 2013, 10:12PM
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Haha Gagner looks like Quagmire!

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#56 A-Mc
December 05 2013, 10:36PM
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The real question now is will Eakins keep his winning roster the same? Or does Petry slot back in just cause?

You have to adhere to the code!! You win, the roster stays the same.

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#57 Danger Pay
December 06 2013, 11:23AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good to see the Oilers beat a better team, but I think we should temper the optimism a bit. Some folks here are planning the parade, but it's gonna take a whole lot more than one win to make me believe they've turned any kind of corner.

Can't we just enjoy a nice win and start up the Doom and Gloom after the next loss????

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#58 Rod from Viking
December 05 2013, 07:15PM
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@Jonathan Willis

On a different topic, I can't find the raw interview of Taylor Hall after the loss to the Coyotes but someone asked him if he watched Nathan McKinnon and he said something like he doesn't watch teams above them in the standings play. If I heard right he doesn't watch much NHL hockey, it would sure be nice to get the Taylor hall back that charged down the wing and gave a chicken wing to Drew Doughty when he took a run at him or the guy that got suspended for his hit on Clutterbuck. Is he injured,disinterested or being told to play this style? I really hope the changes can happen so this team can have a turnaround next year like Colorado and Hall can get his mojo back,if he stirs the drink it is now a glass of flat Pilsner.

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#59 bulldog12
December 05 2013, 07:44PM
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Oiler fans complain when Eakins doesn't sit some guys and complain when he does. So what is it. I think it's a good move. It sends a message to the guys sitting and to the ones not. Now they should be all worried about who's next. Bet the guys coming in have good games. And how could it possibly get worse. Oil get a W tonight.

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#60 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 09:42PM
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Gazdic vs Bordellau

Man you have to be tough to grow up with those last names.

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#61 Jzed
December 05 2013, 10:10PM
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Oilers got an IPad on bench? Gags hearing footsteps.......

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#62 Danger Pay
December 05 2013, 10:37PM
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TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!

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#63 Eulers
December 06 2013, 06:45AM
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For a night, the Oilers taught the Avalanche what it feels like to be the Oilers.

Seriously though, demoting Belov ranks right up there with trading Smid for magic beans and demoting/sitting Arcobello with the head-scracher moves that are starting to remove scalp.

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#64 Westcoastoil
December 05 2013, 10:12PM
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Soooo, where are all the mea culpas from everyone who ripped Eakins for his lineup changes?

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#65 bulldog12
December 05 2013, 10:20PM
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See comment # 30 Big team win Apparently they got the message. What do you think is going thru Petrys head. Didn't miss watching him at all tonight. Everyone contributed tonight. Even non factor Hemsky was a factor. Can't mess with a winning line up.

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#66 Alsker
December 05 2013, 10:07PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

Lander you clown! Give Hall the breakout pass to give him a chance for the hatty on that empty net.

Can't blame him, looking for his first and in need to impress Eakins. If it was anyone else I would agree with you.

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#67 Chainsawz
December 05 2013, 10:08PM
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Does Petry come back from the press box next game? I say keep him there, it was a nice change on the blueline.

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#68 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
December 05 2013, 10:19PM
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Where was this effort

Earlier in the season?

Come on Boys....Fight on

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#69 6 ring circus
December 05 2013, 10:20PM
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Westcoastoil wrote:

Soooo, where are all the mea culpas from everyone who ripped Eakins for his lineup changes?

Yes I will eat humble pie I never thought they were going to win tonight good thing I didn't bet on the game I would of lost a fortune!!!!

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#70 emonkee
December 05 2013, 10:27PM
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Wonder what Eakins will do next game...stick with the same "winning" lineup and have Petry sit again?

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#71 LOIL
December 05 2013, 10:51PM
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dawgtoy wrote:

Is a team allowed to demote its head coach? If so, I'd say send Eakins to OKC and call up Todd Nelson. That is all!

No, they cant

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#72 Chainsawz
December 05 2013, 07:33PM
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At least Gene brings it every night.

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#73 Alsker
December 05 2013, 08:17PM
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I am so confused, we should be getting thumped,no? Nice tic-tac-toe Arco-Smyth-Hemmer..

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#74 Money Moe
December 05 2013, 08:19PM
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Once upon a time there was a undersized undrafted rookie leading all rookies in assists named Cory Conacher ..

His GM then traded him while he was hot for a legit number 1 goalie

I'm talking about Conacher , Bishop &&&....Arcobello !!!

Getter done ....a Dman will do ;)

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#75 Alsker
December 05 2013, 08:43PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Lets see if I can jinx this...

3-0 lead, worst lead in hockey.

Oh you're good...shot off Schultz and then off Yak and in....feel bad for Yak...actually was back checking and has the puck deflect off him and in...

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#76 Ales Hallsky
December 06 2013, 11:29AM
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Mo Playoffs Mo Problems wrote:

Agreed.

I don't want to speak blasphemy, but the Oilers 28.6% shooting percentage from last night might not be something that happens every game...

an 11% shooting percentage would have been enough...

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#77 Rip van Winkle
December 06 2013, 02:16PM
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@Spydyr

I had to laugh when J Shultz was skating away sheepishly and Acro came in guns a blazing to defend Dubnyk. There was no other oiler around. Eakins has to show that clip to the room to shame them into growing some balls or at least acting like they have a pair.

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#78 KRad
December 05 2013, 07:10PM
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Unfortunately, even if a miracle happens and Edmonton wins, they will not want to mess with a "winning lineup" and we will ice the same group against Calgary on HNIC - and get destroyed by a terrible team.

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#79 ValleyviewSports
December 05 2013, 08:32PM
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how stupid is it to have a Jamie Benn segment on right now? we played Dallas on sunday...

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#80 Danger Pay
December 05 2013, 10:34PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Seriously WTF happened tonight ? How can the Oilers play so brutal one night and then come out and play like a bunch of all stars two days later unreal!!!

There's this really competitive league out there where any team, can beat any team, on any night. It's really good, you should check it out.

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#81 ValleyviewSports
December 05 2013, 11:37PM
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It's a damn good thing the majority of the players showed up and played tonight. it shows Eakins CAN motivate and hasn't lost the room, which I think was a valid worry. This drubbing should go a long way towards better cohesion on the ice night in night out. I don't think the score was necessarily reflective of the state of the game all around, Larsen and Potter had some real scrambly moments but Dubnyk had some huge stops at the right times. All around, with the lines blendered and this outcome, this should do a lot towards the confidence of the team/with on another. Not complaining whatsoever, that was a treat to watch Varlamov fill the role that has so often been on our side...PRAY HE IS THE STARTER FOR THE RUSKIS IN SOCHI.

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#82 Todd
December 06 2013, 07:44AM
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Eulers wrote:

For a night, the Oilers taught the Avalanche what it feels like to be the Oilers.

Seriously though, demoting Belov ranks right up there with trading Smid for magic beans and demoting/sitting Arcobello with the head-scracher moves that are starting to remove scalp.

My gut agrees about all three. Smid, Arco & Belov. Not moves I would have done...

BUT - Team went 4-1 in the games Arco sat - Before Smid trade we had 3 wins on the season, now we have 10. - Team is 1-0 after demoting Belov

Sample sizes really small obviously, but could it be that the coach, who spends 80 hours per week with his team has a better read on the players than us fans? Just sayin....

If they can beat the Flames (hopefully 8-2, but I'll take any win) for me it'll be reason to believe the corner has turned. Like everyone, I'm skeptical from being burned so many times. But 7-3 in the last 10 is nothing to shrug off. Unless you want to also shrug off the sh1taneous first 15 games.

But if they lay an egg tomorrow, I'll be pretty disappointed.

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#83 vetinari
December 06 2013, 08:51AM
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I was at a Christmas party last night and when I got home and looked up the score, I had to read it twice to make sure that it was Edmonton who had won 8-2. What the heck???

In accordance with recent tradition, does this mean that the lineup is set for the next game?

Also, when I read the score and saw that Varlamov was the goalie for all eight goals against, my first thoughts were "please tell me that he was ticked that Roy didn't pull him sooner, and that he asked for a trade right after the game..."

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#84 Todd
December 06 2013, 11:27AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good to see the Oilers beat a better team, but I think we should temper the optimism a bit. Some folks here are planning the parade, but it's gonna take a whole lot more than one win to make me believe they've turned any kind of corner.

Would 7-3 in the last 10 games cause you to think they've turned the corner? Cause thats what the "last 10 games" line will show after we beat the Shames tomorrow. 7-3 is a good stretch for any team.

I fully get the scepticism. We've been burned SOOOO many times by this team. But I think people are being overly negative now. We had a terrible start. But since then its been about as per expected. A middling, not quite playoff team. Not great, but surely not as bad as the first 20 games.

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#85 @stevegregson02
December 05 2013, 07:03PM
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I think what were seeing (and I've speculated this before) is that Eakins has full control over roster. He has obviously failed to manage his roster effectively, run a good special teams or match lines while the game is being played.

His decision to sit both Petry and Belov is asinine. He's more less handing the game to the Avalanche. After this decision, especially based on how the Oilers for the majority of the game vs Phoenix - outplayed and out fancy statted them at even strength - is ridiculous.

This team has underperformed and lost for a variety of reasons. The Defense is bad, they have made costly mistakes, but sitting both of these guys (especially Petry) shows just how mad or ill informed Eakins is an NHL coach. This decision tonight along with the Smid deal shows that the crazy house runs this organization. No logic, no planning, no attention to the underlying numbers, no results.

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#86 Turnover
December 05 2013, 07:19PM
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Petry out? Someone finally came to their senses. Without him giving the puck away all night, that'll be like Colorado playing a man short. So I think we got a good shot at a win.

They should have Yakapov and Gagner in the pressbox also.

I wonder if Dubnyk is going to play like there's nobody to take his job, or is he going to have a decent game?

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#87 Rheal1
December 05 2013, 07:40PM
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Did taylor hall really say this? "I don’t watch hockey these days, it makes me bitter seeing teams higher up in standings winning”. Can anyone prove/disprove?

This would be extremely telling about the psyche of NHL stars stuck in Edmonton, under Kevin Lowe.

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#88 Taylor Hall's Knee
December 06 2013, 08:22AM
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looks like Willis has to do the GDB from now on...

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#89 S cottV
December 06 2013, 08:58AM
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Human nature to get too high on a big win and too low on a big loss One of those nights when everything's going in for one team. First goal - Av's all over the Oilers - one of our guys breaks a stick and Hall fly's out of the zone and happens to connect to a hail Mary? Unorthodox way to start a game but it works and they were away to the races. Don't be surprised if this is merely a mirage and Eakins should get those more experienced d men back in the line up sooner than later.

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#90 DrunkGuyTy
December 06 2013, 11:32AM
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Yeah - but just wait and see what happens when we play the good western conference teams!!!!

Oh wait, Colorado is a western team in the playoffs??? ...and the Oilers beat them????

...that's unpossible!!!!!

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#91 Spydyr
December 06 2013, 01:58PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Taylor Hall signed my jersey and I legitimately cried. No hate please he is just my favorite player!

Justin Shultz is that you?

If it is stop crying grow some balls and stand up for your goalie.

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#92 David S
December 05 2013, 06:36PM
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Greg the Hammer Valentine wrote:

Like Han Solo would say: "I have a bad feeling about this."

http://youtu.be/sBknAcTaMiI

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#93 A-Mc
December 05 2013, 06:46PM
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#GOilers

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#94 Rusty Patenaude
December 05 2013, 07:16PM
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Wow! I don't know what alternate plain of reality Eakins exists on but Potter and Larsen in for Belov and Petry is just deranged.

Larsen is a train wreck in his own end and Potter makes me sick the way he loses every battle he ever engages in. I know Petry has been off the last several games, but Belov has been pretty solid, not perfect but imo the bet all-around defenceman the Oil have had this season.

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#95 Derian Hatcher
December 05 2013, 07:47PM
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@Rheal1

There's only one other person in hockey that has won more cups than KLowe. So I think he knows a little bit about winning ....if there's ever a concern.

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#96 YFC Prez
December 05 2013, 08:56PM
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Crappy call on hall. Can someone explain to the refs the oilers are perfectly capable of blowing this without their help.

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#97 madjam
December 05 2013, 10:15PM
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NAILED THE FINAL SCORE AND WINNER . ON A HOT STREAK NOW .

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#98 Danger Pay
December 05 2013, 10:30PM
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Eakins get's a pass for the next time he mixes up the lineup, and it doesn't work.

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#99 Craig1981
December 06 2013, 07:37AM
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Craig1981 wrote:

I try and not judge or criticize coaching and GMing decisions since I am aware I don't have the expertise nor the inside knowledge MacT or Eakins has. That said, this defense that is dressing tonight really tests my conviction to that Philosophy....,REALLY tests it

Conviction restored!!!!!!!!!!1

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#100 Joe Mamma
December 06 2013, 07:46AM
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Gho-gho-g-g-ghost ride.

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