GAME CHANGER....

Jason Gregor
December 06 2013 02:17PM

It is interesting how often we see similarities between sports and life. Last night, I watched my first NHL hockey game as a father. I spent half of the game watching my son Beckett sleep, your eyes gravitate towards a newborn just to ensure he is still there, and the other half of the game I watched with a grin. Those damn Oilers did it to the fans again.

Many parents have had their patience and sanity tested by a screaming child, but then in an instant when they stop crying, look up at you with a grin, your heart melts and everything is good again. It isn't that easy with the Oilers, and maybe a better comparison is that they are like that bad girlfriend/boyfriend that keeps sucking you back into the relationship.

Either way, last night the Oilers grabbed your attention, and despite your best efforts, once again they found a way to penetrate your inner fan.

They started off by making a statement before the game started.

I've been wondering when Dallas Eakins was going to use the pressbox as a motivator for someone other than his fourth line.

He banished Jeff Petry to the pressbox, and sent Anton Belov and Wil Acton to the minors. Finally, a sign that management and the coaches are tired of players making the same mistake over and over. These decisions aren't easy, but it was long overdue. Moving forward Eakins should hold his top-nine forwards to the same level of scrutiny as Petry.

Petry plays the most minutes of anyone, 22:03, and by sitting him Eakins sent a strong message to the rest of the team; play time is over.

Petry is a good player. He isn't ready to be a top-pairing defender, but unfortunately on this team he gets put in that role. However, he is good enough to cut down on his turnovers, and a one-game stint in the pressbox could be a very good thing for him. It is humbling, but more than anything it allows a player to recognize that he does have more time to move the puck than he thinks.

Petry won't lose his confidence or swagger by spending one game upstairs, or at least he shouldn't. I'd expect him to be highly motivated tomorrow night vs. the Flames. Belov, however, has been struggling mightily for weeks, and he needs some time in OKC to rediscover his game, and hopefully learn to shoot the puck. Acton hasn't done much the past few weeks to argue that he didn't deserve his re-assignment.

THE GAME...

The Oilers got an early break, Hall capitalized on a breakaway and then the powerplay took over with two goals in 15 seconds. Even after Colorado scored two goals to make it 3-2, the Oilers didn't panic. David Perron, their most consistent forward this year, ripped his 12th goal of the season to restore the two goal lead. The Oilers didn't sit back in the third; instead they showed a killer instinct and tallied four times.

The Oilers skilled players were much better than Colorado's. Hall had four points, Jordan Eberle, Mark Arcobello, Ales Hemsky and Perron had two, while Ryan Smyth picked up three assists to give him 450 in his career.

The Oilers are a frustrating team to figure out. They soil the sheets on Tuesday vs. Phoenix, and then 48 hours later they completely dominate a good Colorado team.

The Oilers are 6-3 in their last nine games, and they need wins over Calgary and Carolina before they play six straight against some of the best teams in the league: Boston, Anaheim, Vancouver, LA, Colorado and St.Louis.

It was time for Eakins to send a message to his players that bad play and inconsistency would no longer be tolerated, and based on their response, he shouldn't be afraid to do it again when necessary.

QUICK HITS...

  • With his three assists last night, Smyth passed Brent Sutter, John Ogrodnick and Doug Wilson and now sits 128th all-time in NHL points with 830. Not bad for a player who some said has more heart than skill. I'd say his skills are pretty good. If Smyth picks up 20 points in the final 52 games he'll sit 120th all-time.
     
  • Arcobello should push Gagner for icetime. Competition is great, and as Gagner's jaw continues to feel better it will interesting to watch those two compete for icetime.
     
  • You shouldn't evaluate a draft class until five years after they were drafted. You shouldn't expect 2nd-7th round picks to make an impact before then, and that's why it is still too early to critique the 2010 draft class. Tyler Pitlick and Martin Marincin have played in the NHL this year, and while both need some more seasoning, their progress is not as slow as some suggest. The key will be how they continue to progress over the next two seasons.
     
  • The Oilers have scored the 8th most goals (81) in the NHL, but the problem is they've given up the most goals in the league, 102. They are averaging 3.4 goals against in the first 30 games. They need to get that closer to 2.4-2.6 during the next 52 games. Or at least around 2.8 to show improvement.
     
  • The Flames have the worst GAA at 3.44, so the Oilers could have another offensive outburst tomorrow.
     
  • Quick story.... I'm always arguing with Wanye that we have more female readers than he thinks; they are just usually smart enough not to post. On Wednesday my wife and I showed up at the Royal Alex ready to deliver our baby. Traci's OBG was Heather Robinson, and not only is she a great doctor, but it turns out she is a loyal reader of Oilersnation. We had a quick chat about the Oilers, and how she loves reading the Nation. So Wanye, not only do we have female readers, we have high quality female readers.

    A huge thank you to Heather and Dr. Hoskins who delivered Beckett. Also a big thanks to Shelly, Shannon, Millie, Janelle and Devina and all the other nurses who took such great care of my wife and son. You were very patient, soothing and kind, and you calmed down a rather nervous, yet elated father. Thank you.

MONTH OF GIVING...

We have raised $17,750 in the worst week. AWESOME. Thank you to all the sponsors and bidders. We kick off week two with a unique package, built around my good friend Jason Strudwick who is guest-hosting today.

Today's package is for the man who wants to look good....

 

 

  • A $1,000 shopping spree at Derk's Mens Wear
  • One Derk's Black Label Suit.
  • $300 in tailoring to help with your new wardrobe.
  • A wardrobe consultation. Derks will come to your house, go through your closet and asses what you need or what pieces need to go.

This is a great package and all the proceeds go towards the Christmas Bureau. You can bid by calling 780.444.1260. Thanks in advance.

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 RJ
December 06 2013, 02:18PM
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YA boyyyys

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#2 TayLordBalls
December 06 2013, 02:25PM
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congrats Gregor, kids are what its all about!

oh ya - change is imminent

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#3 pkam
December 06 2013, 02:26PM
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@Jason

First, congratulations on your new baby.

Now I need to ask you for a big favor. I hope it is not too much to ask of you, but you need to have a new baby every time the Oilers play, just 82 babies in regular season and 16 more in playoff.

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#4 Chaz
December 06 2013, 02:34PM
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I suppose that having a kid is an adequate excuse for the fact you passed the GDB responsibilities on yesterday. Just don't let it happen again! Haha.

Congrats JG! I hope all three of you are well. The Nurses at the Lois Hole are phenomenal, if only the Oilers performed their job half as well each day, we'd be in the playoff hunt for sure.

Enjoy!

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#5 Truth
December 06 2013, 02:43PM
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Congratulations!

No doubt that the first addition to the family is a game changer. Puts everything into perspective.

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#6 A-Mc
December 06 2013, 02:48PM
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Babies are so easy, i wish i had known to really appreciate how easy it is taking care of one...

You're always told "Just wait until...Then you'll be sorry" and it's true! What ever phase your child is in, enjoy it because it only gets worse haha *sigh*

The worst of it is once they reach teenage years, but by then atleast you're close to kicking them out!

*Father of a 4 year old boy* Long way to go

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#7 YFC Prez
December 06 2013, 02:51PM
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"With his three assists last night, Smyth passed Brent Sutter, John Ogrodnick and Doug Wilson and now sits 128th all-time in NHL points with 830. Not bad for a player who some said has more heart than skill. I'd say his skills are pretty good. If Smyth picks up 20 points in the final 52 games he'll sit 120th all-time."

It should also be mentioned he would pass Gary Suter in the process if he does indeed get those 20 points. Another oiler legend surpassing one of Calgary's best players ever. That sounds just about right.

Smyth has been playing very well lately and hasn't really been getting any love for it. Good to see some appreciation for the old man. I love Smyth!

# Oilers making me bipolar.

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#8 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 06 2013, 02:54PM
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Congrats on the son!

That's really exciting.

May he learn the virtue of failing better after each failure.

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#9 Greasy Goal
December 06 2013, 02:58PM
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RJ wrote:

YA boyyyys

nice profile pic!

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#10 YFC Prez
December 06 2013, 03:04PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Babies are so easy, i wish i had known to really appreciate how easy it is taking care of one...

You're always told "Just wait until...Then you'll be sorry" and it's true! What ever phase your child is in, enjoy it because it only gets worse haha *sigh*

The worst of it is once they reach teenage years, but by then atleast you're close to kicking them out!

*Father of a 4 year old boy* Long way to go

Parenting is one of the most rewarding jobs a person can have. But it's incredibly difficult from the moment your child is born till they leave the nest. Your responsible for creating a good contributing human being under you and your wife's guidance. A parent will make several mistakes as their child grows and learns as their child learns.

I love being a dad but it isn't easy.

Congrats Gregor , enjoy the ride.

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#11 Fatbob24
December 06 2013, 03:06PM
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Congrats Gregor!

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#12 Bucknuck
December 06 2013, 03:09PM
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Congratulations on becoming a father. Now you get to have fun learning how to become a Dad. From what you have written about your own father, it seems you have a good role model, and also an appreciation for how big (or small) an impact you can have.

I think your kid is pretty lucky.

I had four kids. My oldest just moved out, and it all went by so fast it made my head spin. Enjoy it. I watched the game with my other three last night and we had a great time. I hope the Oil give us more to cheer about in the next few years before they move out. I want some of those playoff hockey watching memories with them.

The last ten games have been a lot more fun than the first 20. Now they beat a top ten team convincingly. Things are looking up.

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#13 Bubba
December 06 2013, 03:16PM
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Oilers...You gotta love 'em. They're like my Golf Game... 1 month of extreme depression followed by a Stellar game full of 'TV' shots. Awesome!

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#14 Bubba
December 06 2013, 03:21PM
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Oh yeah.. Congrats on fatherhood. Welcome to about 50 years of constant worry that you will not want to trade for anything heheh

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#15 mlcselli
December 06 2013, 03:27PM
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Jason, congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your beautiful boy. You are very blessed to have the privilege of being a parent, and little Beckett is welcomed into the world of two very loving parents.

Now about those Oilers. They remind me of the box of chocolates on Forrest Gump---you never know what you're gonna get.

Readership at the nation--you bet there is a huge female following. I read it daily and comment occasionally.

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#16 Jason
December 06 2013, 04:03PM
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Congratulations, Jason.

Great piece, but congrats on Beckett's birth. When my daughter was born almost 5 years ago, I remeber telling my father. "Dad. I get it now, I understand. Life. Everything like that all made sense. If the point of my existence is simply to have been the father of my daughter, I'm good with that!"

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#17 Philosiphil
December 06 2013, 04:13PM
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Congrats JG. I spent the first day with my son years ago watching MLB opening day-ish Jays vs. Royals. 3 kids and a busy life later, its still etched in my memory.

Best advice i received as a new Dad - if they can walk, they can skate....start 'em young!

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#18 Oilsinc79
December 06 2013, 04:39PM
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Grand pappy of 7 lil ones here. Congrates JG, enjoy, they are a blast. Ya really learn the patients when you have raised your own then get the new lil ones. A lot of the oil fans trash Dubby. These fans need to remember he has played for a losing club snc he came into the nhl, he has to learn to win along with the other young guns.

Up till last nite I would have sat Halls ass down for a game regardless of the point total, (give aways n bad passes).

Smitty, Heart n Sole, I was pumped for him last nite.

Arco, good job. Rookie of the year?

The kids are rounding into form slowly and will take more time but Eakens is an excellent coach and will get them on the same page. ( Marlie Fan I am. being from Ont(OKC also))

be patient me fellow fans,as I have seen a lot worse team than this thru out my many years as an oiler fanatic.

Again, congratulations Jason.

Oilsnc79

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#19 Curcro
December 06 2013, 04:46PM
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pkam wrote:

@Jason

First, congratulations on your new baby.

Now I need to ask you for a big favor. I hope it is not too much to ask of you, but you need to have a new baby every time the Oilers play, just 82 babies in regular season and 16 more in playoff.

Realistically we only need about 50 regular season and 16 in the playoffs, we don't want to put Mrs. Gregor through too much..

That being said my wife and I should be able to provide an Oilers win in the playoffs should they make it.

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#20 TDSM31
December 06 2013, 04:48PM
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I'd like to see them give Gagner and Yak the same treatment they just gave Petry and Belov....but it won't happen.

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#21 YFC Prez
December 06 2013, 04:53PM
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TDSM31 wrote:

I'd like to see them give Gagner and Yak the same treatment they just gave Petry and Belov....but it won't happen.

He gave Yak the exact same treatment at the start of the season. Had little effect. Petry is their leading minutes D-man. If Eakins is willing to sit him a game I doubt Gags is that untouchable.

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#22 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
December 06 2013, 04:54PM
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Congratulations on becoming a dad! It's great that he was healthy and that the whole experience was so positive.

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#23 Curcro
December 06 2013, 04:55PM
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Apparently Hall scored a rare Bra-Trick, which tends to happen in blow outs where the hat trick goal is scored in the last two minutes.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/bra-trick-taylor-hall-fan-offers-support-third-064345480--nhl.html

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#24 Eulers
December 06 2013, 04:56PM
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Congrats, DAD!!

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#25 D
December 06 2013, 04:56PM
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Big congrats on the baby!

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#26 Rama Lama
December 06 2013, 05:02PM
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Congratulations JG!

Welcome to the real world of sleepless nights and constant worrying.........don't worry it goes away after about 25 years.

I watched the game in suspended disbelief.......waiting for Colorado to mount a come back........can we just end the season now, while we are on a high?

I would have to say it's no coincidence that we seem to score more or at least be more of an offensive threat when Philip Larsen is in the mix. The kid can move the puck but I still think he may be my paperboy.........incognito.....lol

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#27 Buttonpusher
December 06 2013, 05:02PM
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Congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your son, Gregor! That's great news!

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#28 YFC Prez
December 06 2013, 05:05PM
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Curcro wrote:

Apparently Hall scored a rare Bra-Trick, which tends to happen in blow outs where the hat trick goal is scored in the last two minutes.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/bra-trick-taylor-hall-fan-offers-support-third-064345480--nhl.html

I don't live in Edmonton, but this is why I love that city. Awesome people....hope the lady started a new tradition.

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#29 Harlie
December 06 2013, 06:21PM
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It's a boy!!!!!

Congrats to the Gregor's and from my family to yours, we wish you health, wealth and happiness.

Happy for you man!

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#30 Harlie
December 06 2013, 06:35PM
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Gregor, for fun and interest you can put your boys name in here and learn about some of his future traits. To see how accurate it is try your wife and your name in there and see. It's pretty cool.

http://www.paulsadowski.com/Numbers.asp

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#31 csaw84
December 06 2013, 06:36PM
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Jason,

Congrats on fatherhood. It truly is a blast, great to hear that everyone is happy and healthy.

As for these Oilers, I was just happy to see them not panick when the game got close. Hopefully its another baby step in the right direction.

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#32 spliff
December 06 2013, 07:08PM
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Congratulations. Raising your child and forcing them to be Oil fans is what it is all about. I only watch NHL gamecenter with my 6 year old boy when the Oilers win, so he has never seen them lose. Classic line from my son when watching hockey; "why is the big guy punching the little guy?"

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#33 Oiler Al
December 06 2013, 07:22PM
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J.G. and Mom, congrats... remember to love them same way at 15 yrs, as at 15 months.

Game.. good spirit and confidence builder for a struggling team. Good team game by all.. want to give a shout out to the old guy... Smyth, had his best game in his reprise with the Oilers.

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#34 K_Mart
December 06 2013, 07:39PM
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Great article Jason, except the part where you call Colorado 'good'. Sometimes the record is better than the team, this is one of those times. Colorado may well make the playoffs, but it will only be by a hair. They are awful and they will continue to plummet right to the end.

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#35 JDP
December 06 2013, 07:52PM
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Hey Gregor. Dr. Hoskins is outstanding. Truly a man who loves his job. He delivered my daughter and can truly say he is a class act all the way.

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#36 peebos
December 06 2013, 08:03PM
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I'm on vacation so I didn't even read the whole post, just wanted to wish you all the best with your newborn son. There's nothing like becoming a dad. Congrats to you and your family :)

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#37 ?
December 06 2013, 08:18PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

"With his three assists last night, Smyth passed Brent Sutter, John Ogrodnick and Doug Wilson and now sits 128th all-time in NHL points with 830. Not bad for a player who some said has more heart than skill. I'd say his skills are pretty good. If Smyth picks up 20 points in the final 52 games he'll sit 120th all-time."

It should also be mentioned he would pass Gary Suter in the process if he does indeed get those 20 points. Another oiler legend surpassing one of Calgary's best players ever. That sounds just about right.

Smyth has been playing very well lately and hasn't really been getting any love for it. Good to see some appreciation for the old man. I love Smyth!

# Oilers making me bipolar.

You might wanna remember the fact that Suter was a defenceman, so Smyth passing him is more a credit to Suter's play than Smyths.

Let the trashes commence Oilers fanz :()

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#38 Dangilitis
December 06 2013, 09:18PM
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Dr Hoskins delivered me about 30 years ago. And I trained a bit with Dr Robinson. Both great. Congrats

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#39 Doctor Smashy
December 06 2013, 10:36PM
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Great article. I am not big on correcting spelling errors on message boards but I must admit I was a bit startled after reading about Dirk going through the winning bidders' closet and asses....

Great work for a great cause.

And congratulations on your son.

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#40 TDSM31
December 06 2013, 10:56PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

He gave Yak the exact same treatment at the start of the season. Had little effect. Petry is their leading minutes D-man. If Eakins is willing to sit him a game I doubt Gags is that untouchable.

By same treatment I meant sit Gags like they did Petry and send Yak to minors like they did Belov.

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#41 mackb
December 06 2013, 11:59PM
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Congrats. Great name choice too. It was nearly 8.5 years ago we named our boy Beckett and it's a great fit for him. May yours fit his name just as well.

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Congratulations.

No feeling quite like being

a first time father.

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#43 onlyoil
December 07 2013, 09:10AM
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Congrats Jason to you and your wife.

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