GDB 13.0: IN NEED OF A CHANGE

Jason Gregor
February 12 2013 12:44PM

The Edmonton Oilers used to feast on the Minnesota North Stars. Over 14 seasons the Oilers were 27-7-11, but once they dropped the North, relocated to Dallas for the 1993/1994 season and became the Stars, they have owned the Oilers.

The Stars are 54-13-4-2 v. the Oilers since moving to Dallas. If you add in the playoffs, 23-10, they are a ridiculous 77-23-4-2 all-time against Edmonton. That is not typo.

Nine different Oiler head coaches have witnessed their team get dominated by the Stars over the past 18 1/3 seasons, so Ralph Krueger will be in tough to try and change this one-sided series.

The Oilers are the only western conference team that Glen Gulutzan, 5-0, has yet to lose against, and he'll try to continue that streak tonight.

The Stars have kept their supremacy over the Oilers through five different head coaches and numerous players. From Mike Modano, Ed Belfour and Sergei Zubov to today's group of Jamie Benn and Kari Lehtonen it doesn't seem to matter who plays for Dallas the Stars usually win.

The Stars enter Rexall on a three-game winning streak, and Benn is starting to heat up with four goals in those three victories. Jaromir Jagr scored his NHL-best 17th OT winner last Wednesday in Edmonton and after that game he said, "If you skate with them (Oilers) they will beat you, so you have to beat them along the boards."

Krueger should take that quote and show it to his players and then Steve Tambellini should also read it because it is clear how you beat the Oilers. Don't play run and gun with them. The Oilers have yet to figure out that they won't be able to carry the puck into the zone on every shift.

The Oilers are 3-for-23 on the powerplay since Shawn Horcoff broke his knuckle, and a big reason for that is their unwillingness to dump and chase the puck with the man advantage. They have continually turned the puck over at the blueline, because they won't chip and chase it.

If the Oilers are going to string together some wins during this five-game home stand they need to be willing to alter their game. They've only scored eight goals five-on-five so far this season, and unless that changes in the next quarter they could find themselves six or seven points out of the playoffs at the halfway mark of the season.

The Oilers need to start winning some one-on-one battles, and stop trying to play pretty, fancy hockey all the time. There is no doubt they have lots of skill in their top-two lines, but when you aren't producing highlight reel goals, you have to be able to produce some garbage ones, and so far this season the Oilers haven't shown the willingness to get their nose dirty.

That needs to start tonight if they hope to beat the Stars.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Hartikainen-Belanger-Paajarvi
Eager-Vande Velde-Petrell

N. Schultz-J.Schultz
Smid-Potter
Fistric-Petry

Dubnyk

Chris Vande Velde wasn't at the morning skate, but he will play tonight and Ryan Smyth will take a seat in the pressbox for the first time as an Oiler since Ron Low made him a healthy scratch.

Smyth is a very emotional player and he loves the game, and he took the news very hard. He politely declined comment, but said he will speak tomorrow. It really doesn't matter what he says, because we should all understand that he isn't happy with the decision.

Kreuger isn't afraid to bench a player, rookie or veteran, and whether players like the decision or not, they will respect a coach who isn't afraid to make a tough decision. Krueger did hint that the schedule was a factor, and with the Oilers not playing again until Saturday giving Smyth the night off allows him five days rest between games.

I'd suggest it is way too early to write Smyth off. I'm amazed at how many people are suggesting he is finished as a player. Guys have slumps, players get off to slow starts, and while Smyth won't be the player he was ten years ago, it is way to premature to suggest he's no longer an NHLer.

QUICK HITS

  • Jaromir Jagr is still a force in the NHL. He is 8th on the all-time points list with 1,653 and his work ethic is a major reason why. "I always felt when I was tired I should work a lot harder. I think tired is just in your mind. I'd rather feel strong and tired than rested and weak," Jagr told me when I asked about his training regime. 
     
  • If I was Steve Tambellini I'd look very hard at signing Jagr this summer. Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux raved about what they learned from his last season and Jamie Benn has already said the same this year.
     
  • I asked Jagr about being a mentor and what he tries to teach the young offensive stars that he plays with.

    "There not many players, maybe Gretzky and Lemieux, who were born to be great players and didn't have to watch anyone else. I think you always have to learn and watch older players. Maybe they (Gretzky and Lemieux) did, but they were great at a young age. If you don't listen to anybody and just do it your way, you will find out that you might get it but probably too late in your career. That is why I try to help those guys. What I've learned during my hockey career, those little details, I can tell them right away so they can learn at 22 and not have to wait another ten or fifteen years."

    Are you telling me Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner, Hemsky, Paajarvi and Yakupov couldn't learn a few things from Jagr. I would seriously look at a one-year contract with Jagr.
     
  • Ryan Whitney will also sit tonight, and it should come as no surprisine that he is frustrated. I don't understand why people call players whiners when they state they are frustrated and want to play. Do you think the player is happy about not playing? Talking about it doesn't make them a whiner. Far from it.

    "I'm very frustrated. I want to play. We got outshot 40-14 and I'm not playing, so I think that shows where their thought on me is. I don't really know what to say. He (Krueger) did say he wants to talk to me today, so I'm going to ask him what it takes to get back in the lineup," Whitney said regarding his second straight game in the pressbox.
     
  • "He doesn't care. He wants to win. Whatever he thinks the best lineup for him to win is, is the one he is going to play. When I got scratched the first time against Vancouver he said those are the six D that gives us the best chance to win. I don't think he cares who you are. I just need to play better when I get a chance," Whitney said honestly when asked about Krueger's willingness to bench veterans.
     
  • Whitney sitting out two straight games will have many wondering how long he remains in Edmonton. It seems likely that he will get moved at some point and Whitney didn't avoid the question when he was asked if his future in Edmonton was solid. "I would have to say that right now it's not looking that way. They are paying me a lot of money and I'm not playing. I like it here a lot. I like the guys and I like playing here, but I don't think they necessarily like me right now. I'd like to play. I'm just frustrated. I will not ask for a trade and it's not my place to ask. If anything they'd be looking to do it. Why would they pay me this much to just not play," said a very candid Whitney.
     
  • Before you get too concerned about Eberle's goal scoring woes keep in mind he only had three goals in the first 16 games last year. He had three goals on 34 shots for a 9.1SH%. This year he has three goals in 12 games, and he is confident that once he scores one they will come in bunches.
     

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Stars domination over the Oilers continues with a 2-1 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The comment section regarding Smyth and Whitney will be more entertaining than the actual game.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Last night Jaromir Jagr went to Strudwick's house for dinner. After sharing a few stories of their days in New York when Jagr was Strudwick's personal stick maker for six weeks (true story), they play NHL 13. They had a friendly wager on the game which resulted in a stunning Strudwick victory. In the post-game scrum Jagr honors his bet when asked about his game-winning goal.

"I learned that move from an old teammate of mine in New York. Jason Strudwick didn't score many goals, but he actually had really good hands. I used to watch him use that move in practice over and over, and I have to thank him for making me try it tonight."

Jagr's game winner didn't even come off his stick. He crossed centre and dumped the puck in. It bounced off the end boards into the low slot and ricocheted off Corey Potter's skate into the net. Jagr was completely straight-faced during his post-game scrum when he honoured his bet to mention Strudwick.

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 Phixieus666
February 12 2013, 03:54PM
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Also if your paying for Game Center Never should a game be blacked out and if it is I'd be asking for my money back. And if all else fails, google "first row sports" you can stream any sport you want for free. Quality sucks but at least you can watch it.

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#52 Dog Train
February 12 2013, 03:59PM
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Ralph Krueger has the guts that we have been lacking behind the bench for too long. The lineup that he feels gives him the best chance of winning, will play. Whitney hasn't played as well as he can and Smyth was just asking to be benched with the 3 needless penalties he took against Columbus. Good on Ralph for setting egos and contracts aside in an effort to win.

The Stars own us and until I see it, I don't think the Oilers are winning to get greasy enough to win games consistently. I'll say 4-2 Stars. GO OILERS GO!!

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#53 27Ginge
February 12 2013, 04:03PM
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If you've got a problem with Jags you've clearly got a problem with your self.

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#54 The Soup Fascist
February 12 2013, 04:14PM
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Pucker wrote:

Doan and Glencross . . . I hope people lost their jobs because of these decisions.

Clearly Steve Kelly WAS the prudent choice while the entry draft crowd in Edmonton chanted Doan's name.

Are you saying acquiring Ales Kotalik was not an upgrade vs signing Curtis Glencross? I mean they did have the market cornered on guys named "Ales" that year.

Next thing you will be telling me that quashing the Mike Comrie for Corey Perry trade because Mikey would not give his signing bonus back was a poor move based on ego ....

Pffft. Rookie.

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#55 Huh
February 12 2013, 04:19PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Also if your paying for Game Center Never should a game be blacked out and if it is I'd be asking for my money back. And if all else fails, google "first row sports" you can stream any sport you want for free. Quality sucks but at least you can watch it.

Game Center *always* blacks out local team games. It is part of the NHL's TV deal requirements, TV gets exclusive in local areas.

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#56 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
February 12 2013, 04:23PM
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i love 68 girls. They don't mind being owed one.

Oil win 4-2

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#57 Phixieus666
February 12 2013, 04:25PM
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Huh wrote:

Game Center *always* blacks out local team games. It is part of the NHL's TV deal requirements, TV gets exclusive in local areas.

Ya but they will black out games in Grande Prairie. That's not local to any team.

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#58 DSF
February 12 2013, 04:40PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Ya but they will black out games in Grande Prairie. That's not local to any team.

GP is in the Edmonton broadcast region.

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#59 NewfoundlandOil
February 12 2013, 04:56PM
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Ryan wrote:

Ryan O'Reilly

Oilers have assets they could trade MPS Gagner Whitney.

Ryan O'Reilly is good but he isn't worth that. He may be marginally better than Gagner.

Oh, and he seems content to stay in Russia.

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#60 Smokey
February 12 2013, 05:22PM
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"They are paying me a lot of money and I'm not playing. I like it here a lot. I like the guys and I like playing here, but I don't think they necessarily like me right now. I'd like to play. I'm just frustrated. I will not ask for a trade and it's not my place to ask. If anything they'd be looking to do it. Why would they pay me this much to just not play,"

I won't ragdoll on a guy who wants to be here, but with Whitney it seems injuries have taken a toll on his effectiveness as a NHL player. I don't think he accepts this, but his movement and ability to guard the offensive player is severely hampered and you hope it will get better, but it does not seem too.

Very impressed with the message Kreuger is sending, but I think the benching of Smytty is not fair in a sense. The guy accepts the role to play fourth line center, and you can tell hes not natural at it, and then takes some dumn penalties. Its just seems like Smytty should of been extended a little rope and grace. Anyways I think these are the decisions that sometimes send a message to turn a team around, and there seems to be a coach who communicates accountability that has been lacking for 6 years.

I'm also impressed with Kreuger's handling of MPS. I think hes finally becoming that 2 way winger ala Fernando Pisani that we have lacked. Watching him taking pucks to the net, working the cycle, hitting defenders and using his God given size is wonderful to see.

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#61 Szach
February 12 2013, 05:34PM
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Jason,

Re.: The Stars are 54-13-4-2 v. the Oilers since moving to Dallas. If you add in the playoffs, 23-10, they are a ridiculous 77-23-4-2 all-time against Edmonton. That is not typo.

Would you not agree that a move to Seattle could reverse this trend? If it were only that simple.... S.

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#62 Smokey
February 12 2013, 05:43PM
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Ryan wrote:

Ryan O'Reilly

Oilers have assets they could trade MPS Gagner Whitney.

Overpay... and Col don't want 8 million of salary for 3.5 back.

Reilly and Gagner are a saw-off give er take a asset. Reilly's a better skater, better at faceoffs, neither are super tough.

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#63 Smokey
February 12 2013, 05:47PM
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Cody anderson wrote:

I knew Glencross had a no trade clause, but I have never heard him say anything negative about his time in Edmonton or the way they parted ways.

If he does not have hard feelings I would not think there are many players that would rather play in Calgary than in Edmonton with the current age and prospects of both teams.

I only mentioned it because of the suggestions to go for Penner who has all the tools but no motivation.

Glencross don't have a career with the audition he got from the Oilers to showcase his skills for the Flames. The trade from CBJ was a huge win for the Oil, except the Gm could not figure that out. He's probably greatful for the opportunity and says thank you to the Oilers everytime hits Eberle.

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#64 Rama Lama
February 12 2013, 06:13PM
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Dog Train wrote:

Ralph Krueger has the guts that we have been lacking behind the bench for too long. The lineup that he feels gives him the best chance of winning, will play. Whitney hasn't played as well as he can and Smyth was just asking to be benched with the 3 needless penalties he took against Columbus. Good on Ralph for setting egos and contracts aside in an effort to win.

The Stars own us and until I see it, I don't think the Oilers are winning to get greasy enough to win games consistently. I'll say 4-2 Stars. GO OILERS GO!!

If you want to measure courage by benching a couple of veterans........might I suggest that Ralph has not yet displayed the courage to tell his young stars to stop with all the pretty plays.........and start shooting or directing pucks to the net.

Just a casual observation.......most of the high scoring games so far this year are void of the pretty passing plays.

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#66 Oilfan
February 12 2013, 06:20PM
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Interesting stat here (correct me if I'm wrong). Current conference standings show as such:

1 * - Chicago CEN 12 10 0 2 22 2 * - Anaheim PAC 11 8 2 1 17 3 * - Vancouver NW 11 7 2 2 16 4 San Jose PAC 12 7 3 2 16 5 Detroit CEN 12 7 4 1 15 6 Nashville CEN 12 5 3 4 14 7 Phoenix PAC 13 6 5 2 14 8 St. Louis CEN 12 6 5 1 13 9 Dallas PAC 12 6 5 1 13 10 Edmonton NW 12 5 4 3 13

If Bieksa hadn't scored that late goal to send the Edm/Vcr game to OT and Edm wins that game in regulation, Edm would actually be tied/leading the NW division with a record of 6-4-2 over Vcr's 6-3-2(complete with more RW's than Vcr) despite the recent 5 game losing streak (and despite Vcr's 5-game win streak). Just begs the question...would the mood here be quite so "doom and gloom" if the standings actually read this way as opposed to the current standings today? If so, it's interesting how much difference a couple more minutes of one game out of 12 might make on the team's outlook.

Makes ya wonder, if Edm is leading the division today despite how the season's gone...sure, issues still remain and certainly still a lot of room to improve...but maybe the focus is more on some of the gains that have been made since last season rather than the hate comments seen during the losing streak (too small, too soft, no size, no grit, no NHL centres, 1 NHL defenseman, vets are no longer NHL quality, etc, etc.).

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#67 Alsker
February 12 2013, 06:23PM
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Heres hoping our guys dump + chase as odds are we'll beat the Dallas D to the puck but more than anything lets pray its not the ZZZZZ-fest that occured in cowtown last nite....it should be unlawful to charge for that crap.

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#68 Cowbell_Feva
February 12 2013, 06:23PM
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I have always loved Smytty's work ethic and professionalism. Will never forget having Pronger re-arrange his face with a clearing attempt, just to have him return with a bloodied Oiler jersey on to continue to battle in '06. I don't think his career is over just yet. He's a bit slower than he has been in the past, but he was never a high flier. His grit and greasy goals are something the Oilers are lacking in a huge way this year. I hope a view from above will spark some of his old school magic for the rest of the season.

Whitney is looking bad. Hope they can offload him, but his contract and recent play will have his value at an all time low. I have serious issues with our defence as a whole. I think it needs to be addressed very soon or this year will be another wasted one. That and some size up front would be nice. Only the Oilers and 29 other teams looking for these commodities.....

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#69 Crooked
February 12 2013, 06:25PM
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Can't say I'm surprised. Smyth has taken way too many bad penalties this season, especially over the weekend, and his overall game isn't where it needs to be. Hopefully he mans up, recognizes his mistakes and works to correct them instead of sulking and pouting.

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#70 Alsker
February 12 2013, 06:31PM
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Howson been axed in Colum. maybe a prospect or 2 in minors new GM will move for a veteran name ie.. Whitney....

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#71 Harlie
February 12 2013, 06:40PM
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Bye bye not-Howes-son in Columbus.

Carnac the Magnificent sees you spending even more time on OilersLunch than you already do.

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#72 Oilcruzer
February 12 2013, 06:51PM
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Funny pic JG. Laughed out loud on that one.

Oil doing the right things. Make a point of what you have to. Stay out of the "he said, he said" crap.

One guy needs to learn the game is changing. One guy needs to learn he CAN still be great, but he can't get there with his ego blocking the door.

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#73 Oilcruzer
February 12 2013, 06:52PM
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Scott Howson, a good guy. Everyone saw this coming tho.

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#74 pan0ramic
February 12 2013, 07:11PM
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GCL: If you think GP is far away: I live in Hawaii and I get Kings and Anaheim games blacked out, even though I'm 3000 miles away.

Frustrating when I can't watch the Oilers play those teams.

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#75 DieHard
February 12 2013, 07:14PM
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pan0ramic wrote:

GCL: If you think GP is far away: I live in Hawaii and I get Kings and Anaheim games blacked out, even though I'm 3000 miles away.

Frustrating when I can't watch the Oilers play those teams.

I feel your pain.

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#76 Time Travelling Sean
February 12 2013, 07:31PM
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I think Lindy Ruff is close to being fired, gut feeling.

I think benching Smyth is a mistake. Give him some time to get into things, and give him some PP time.

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#77 Mikey
February 12 2013, 07:50PM
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Matt Kassian was put on waivers. Discuss.

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#78 Mikey
February 12 2013, 07:56PM
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A few years back didn't Jagr want to come to edmonton, to play with Ales Hemsky?

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#79 Bryan in SK
February 12 2013, 08:06PM
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GDP: Oilers win 4-2. Eberle gets 2.

OGDP: At least twice per period, game announcers refer to both Smyth and Whitney, while showing fans hold signs bearing messages of encouragement.

NSOGDP: Krueger is frustrated with the lack of grit provided by GM Tambellini. Showing his moxy to bench big names, Ralph walks over to Tambellini and sternly points to the pressbox. Shuffling along dutifully, Steve sits down beside the two Ryans. Looking briefly at the chair marked "S. Tambellini," the GM wonders aloud, "How did he know???" Meanwhile, Scott Howson is seen banging on the Rexall Place doors, holding a sign that says "Will Work For Food."

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#80 OILERSORDEATH
February 12 2013, 08:07PM
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Mikey wrote:

Matt Kassian was put on waivers. Discuss.

Very interesting.

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#81 Harlie
February 12 2013, 08:08PM
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DEJA..

"Pierre-Marc Bouchard will be a healthy scratch tonight. The playmaker has one goal in the past 10 games and one assist in 12 games this season. He has played on the fourth line the past two games and last night was taken off the No. 1 power play in the third period after a rough first few power plays.

Bouchard can't get into the top-6 now because he has struggled and he is useless on the fourth line. "

http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/190938401.html

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#82 Harlie
February 12 2013, 08:13PM
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Mikey wrote:

A few years back didn't Jagr want to come to edmonton, to play with Ales Hemsky?

Yep, and there were quite a few people around here who thought Jagr was done at that time with no hope of producing at the NHL level again.

Hmm...kinda like Souray too eh..

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#83 Lofty
February 12 2013, 08:40PM
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Oil definetly got the memo about shooting more. Worked for Hall, just need to get Eberle to hit the net.

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#84 Lofty
February 12 2013, 08:40PM
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Oil definetly got the memo about shooting more. Worked for Hall, just need to get Eberle to hit the net.

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#85 Alsker
February 12 2013, 08:53PM
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way more passion and effort than at any time Sunday now can we keep it up for 60 min...I for 1 hope the hell so..GoOil

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#86 Oilersfan4
February 12 2013, 09:08PM
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Did anyone here Louie DeBrusk drop the F bomb after Dallas scored that strange goal. Lol

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#87 Alsker
February 12 2013, 09:11PM
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Only Dallas could score that one(well maybe the shames) UUUUUghlyyyyyyyyyy.....thus our record vs. Stars

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#88 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
February 12 2013, 09:34PM
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Mikey wrote:

Matt Kassian was put on waivers. Discuss.

Big local dude. Can he skate?

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#89 Sanaa Montana
February 12 2013, 09:55PM
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Eager-Vande Velde-Paajarvi would be a beastly line.

Pettrell seems a little too sophisticated for the his current linemates.

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#90 Sanaa Montana
February 12 2013, 09:59PM
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NHL officiating is up to it usual self. It appears cross-checks, slashing and tripping are legal options for the Stars tonight.

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#91 Sanaa Montana
February 12 2013, 10:22PM
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I am a few calls away from contacting Interpol and asking them to investigate the NHL and it's officiating. This sh!t has to be rigged.

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#92 thednp
February 12 2013, 10:25PM
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Why do we even bother playing the Stars? Just give them the two points and skip the game! They own the Oilers.... so frustrating!!

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#93 Don W
February 12 2013, 10:30PM
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@Phixieus666

Just make sure you have an up to date virus scanner on your computer. Actually, I watch on first row sports pretty much all the time.

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#94 Dog Train
February 12 2013, 10:34PM
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I hate Dallas.

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#95 BingBong
February 12 2013, 10:46PM
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So Sunday we play our worst game of the year, and win 3-1. Tonight we play our best game of the year and lose 4-1. Go figure...

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#96 Slats
February 12 2013, 10:47PM
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Good grief that was just f'n awful!!

Goal 1 - Rexall Plexiglass (unassisted)

Goal 2 - Off the back, hit the shoulder pad, off the mask, post and in!

. . . . . Tick tick Boom!

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#97 Slats
February 12 2013, 10:58PM
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"I'm very frustrated. I want to play. We got outshot 40-14 and I'm not playing, so I think that shows where their thought on me is. I don't really know what to say. He (Krueger) did say he wants to talk to me today, so I'm going to ask him what it takes to get back in the lineup," Whitney said regarding his second straight game in the pressbox."

-Kreuger's response

1 Engage in offensive zone (you are not a shutdown guy) so make a choice to pinch - trust your instincts and engage 2. On PP shoot the puck in 5g you have taken 6 shots! 3. Win more one on one battles than you lose in the defensive zone.

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#98 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 12 2013, 11:25PM
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Not much to dissect over this effort. Oil just got beat by a better goaltender tonight.

Have to think that Captain snowypants rep with the officials (that he goes down far to easily) is starting to catch up to him. Even when he's tripped now, it's a flip of the coin that the Oilers get a powerplay.

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#99 Reagan
February 13 2013, 07:08AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
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cheers

The game prediction was pretty close. Have did get the final mail in the coffin. On a crazy bounce and a nice spin shot.

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#100 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 13 2013, 08:31AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Jason Gregor

Never said you did or did not, but there were a lot. Do we really need 10 guys to ask Smyth how he feels about being benched? Because you know one guy from TSN, Sportsnet, CBC, Sun, Journal, 1260, 630 etc.. will have to make sure they ask him.

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