GDB 29.0: SHARK HUNTING...UPDATE RNH OUT

Jason Gregor
March 20 2013 10:47AM

Breaking News: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is sick and will not play tonight...Rishaug just reported from the rink. So Oilers will have to dress two non-centres tonight. Ouch.

After a gutsy third period got them a win over Nashville on Sunday, the Oilers need to attack the struggling San Jose Sharks early tonight and get them on their heels. The Sharks have been one of the worst teams in the league since February 1st.

The Sharks are a woeful 5-10-6 after starting the season with seven straight wins. The Sharks outscored their opponents 27-12 in their first 7 games, but they've been outscored 59-36 in their last 21.

They Sharks are struggling and if the Oilers want to stay in the playoff hunt tonight is a game they need to win.

The Sharks don't have any offensive depth. Joe Thornton (27), Patrick Marleau (23), Logan Couture (21) and Joe Pavelski (17) are the only forwards with more than ten points.

The Oilers have way more scoring depth. Sam Gagner (27), Taylor Hall (26), Jordan Eberle (20), Ales Hemsky (17), Nail Yakupov (14) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11) are in double-digits, while Magnus Paajarvi has 6 points in his last 8 games.

The Sharks are ahead of the Oilers in the standings, but right now they are not playing like a superior team.

LINEUP

Hall/Horcoff/Hemsky
Paajarvi/Gagner/Yakupov
Jones/Nugent-Hopkins/Eberle
Brown/Smyth/Petrell

Smid/Petry
Whitney/J.Schultz
N.Schultz/Fistric

Dubnyk

The only change might be Hartikainen coming in for Jones, but after listening to Ralph Krueger yesterday I think he'll stick with Jones. Jones couldn't do any activity for the entire month of January, due to his eye injury, and that hurt his conditioning. Krueger feels Jones is getting better every day and feels the extra time between games has allowed him to improve his cardio. It sounds like he wants to give him a few more games and see if the improved conditioning will help Jones.

TRADING WHITNEY

The Oilers are in the midst of their first playoff run in four years and yesterday Jonathan Willis and David Staples suggested it would be wise to trade Ryan Whitney. Let's look at this a little closer.

There is no doubt Whitney struggled early this season, but lately he has played better, especially offensively.  After the nine-game road trip, where Whitney scored three goals, he admitted that despite his offence coming around he still needed to work on his gaps and his overall defensive game. No one is arguing he can't improve there.

He'll never be considered a great defensive D-man, however, he does excel on the powerplay and that is why trading Whitney at this point of the season would be a step backwards.

  • 37% of the Oilers goals have come on the powerplay. They rely on their PP more than any other team in the NHL, and Whitney is the best PP D-man they have. The Oilers have no adequate replacement on the roster, and considering they rely that much on the PP to score, I don't see why you would risk trading away your best PP D-man while you are at the start of a playoff run.
     
  • Staples ad Willis suggested Corey Potter could fill in. The same Potter who has 0 points this year. First off he shoots right, and the Oilers 2nd PP unit is set up so a left shooting D-man quarterbacks the powerplay. So, outside of replacing Whitney with an inferior PP player, you are now going to adjust their system, even though the Oilers PP has been very effective at 22.9%. I say, pardon.
     
  • Staples suggested Potter was great on the PP early last season, but then he lost PP time to Whitney. Let's look at that. 

Player  Team Pos  GP  PP TOI PP TOI/G 
 
Corey Potter EDM D 62 153:24:00 2:28
Ryan Whitney EDM D 51 115:02:00 2:15
Jeff Petry EDM D 73 93:26:00 1:16
Cam Barker EDM D 25 58:01:00 2:19

  • In fact, Potter averaged more PPTOI/G and he had 38:36 more PP time all season. Potter finished with 11 PPP, while Whitney had 10. Potter had six of his PPP in the first 9 games of the season, and then produced only 5 in the remaining 57. He had a great start to the season, but I don't think we should use a good nine-game stretch as the basis that Potter is an above-average PP player. 
     
  • In the 21 games Whitney has played this season the PP is 21 for 78, 26.9%. Whitney has been on the ice for ten of those goals and has five points. In the 7 games he sat, the PP was 4 for 31 at 12.9%.
     
  • In the six games Potter played while Whitney sat, Potter played 11:48 on the PP scoring no points and he was on for one PP goal. He averaged 1:58 of PP time in those games, while Whitney plays 2:38.
     
  • It is clear that Whitney has a much bigger impact on the PP than Potter. 
     
  • Whitney is even better than Justin Schultz when you look at PP time=production. Whitney has played 55 minutes of PP TOI and he's been on the ice for 10 PP goals. Schultz has 155 minutes of PP TOI and he's been on for 15 goals. Schultz is a rookie and he's already a very good PP player, and I expect he'll be even better in the future, but right now Whitney is still more productive.
     
  • Unless you believe the Oilers are suddenly going to become a productive ES team, I see no reason why you trade Whitney. The organization wants their young players to experience "playoff-like" games, and if they want that to happen they should keep Whitney because he helps the PP. And right now the Oilers can't win without a successful powerplay.
     
  • The other suggestion was that you could replace Whitney with Jeff Petry. Petry is already playing 22 minutes a night, and he isn't dominating. Adding more minutes and giving him less rest won't make him play better, nor will it make the PP more effective.
     
  • Trading him for a draft pick is pointless, absolutely pointless, at this juncture of the season. The Oilers need to play meaningful games, and stay competitive now, rather than add another 2nd round pick that might, slim chance, help them in four years.
     
  • It is clear Whitney is very good on the PP, and considering how much production they need from their PP to win games, it makes little sense to move Whitney him. The Oilers do not have an adequate replacement. If the Oilers are out of it after the next seven games, then for sure you look at moving him, but if they are in the mix I wouldn't move him for a draft pick.

 QUICK HITS

  • Last night Daniel Alfredsson become only the 57th player in NHL history to record 1,100 career regular season points. He is also one of the rare players who had his best offensive season between the age of 30-35. He had 78 points at 30 years of age, 80 at 31, lockout at 32, 103 at 33, 87 at 34 and 89 points as a 35-year-old. Impressive.
     
  • He's likely to become only the 11th player with 1,100+ points to play for only one team/organization for his entire career. Can you name the other ten? *Answer below.
     
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets are 7-0-4 in their last 11 games and are now tied for 8th place. They only way they keep winning is if Sergei Bobrovsky keeps standing on his head. The Jackets were outshot in 9 of the 11 games, by a margin of 297 to 362. They are giving up 33 shots against in this unbeaten streak. They also played 9 of those games at home and a whopping nine of them went to OT.  They were 3-2 in SO and 2-2 in OT. It is great for fans in Columbus to have their team in the hunt, but they will need to tighten up defensively to stay competitive. Bobrovsky has a .966 SV% in their last nine games. Incredible.
     
  • The Oilers had almost a perfect last few days, and they didn't even play. There were no 3-point games involving teams in the playoff hunt, and the Sharks, Predators, Flames, and Coyotes (twice) all lost. Now it is up to the Oilers to win.
     
  • Carey Price is getting a lot of hype for the Vezina, and deservedly so, but Tukka Rask has been stellar with for the Bruins with a 1.92 GAA and 0.928 SV%. If Bobrovsky continues his stellar play he'd have to be considered.  

PREDICTIONS....

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score three minutes in, and skate away with a 4-2 win led by two goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Devan Dubnyk is much better in the first frame tonight than he was when the Sharks lit him up for six goals in 20 minutes in the home opener. (Easiest prediction ever.)

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: With only one goal in his last 20 games, Nail Yakupov is the second one on the ice for warm up. As he is circling the ice he stops at the top of the right faceoff circle and motions to Paajarvi to come over. Paajarvi stops and after a brief moment, he smiles and laughs. Yakupov looks at him seriously and then Paajarvi mouths something to him. Yakupov smiles and says something back, then he skates away. Paajarvi looks a bit perplexed, but then continues his warm up.

Yakupov scores a PP goal in the 2nd period, and after the game he explains the what happened during warm up. It turns out Russian are very superstitious. Yakupov asked Paajarvi to say, "ни пуха ни пера!" which roughly translates to "neither fur, nor feather!" which means good luck.  Then Yakupov replied, "К чёрту!" which means, "To the Devil," which is a way of securing good luck. Yakupov explains Russians do this before important tests, and since he tonight was considered a "good test" for the Oilers he thought he'd try it. 

TRIVIA ANSWER

** Daniel Alfredsson is now the 11th player in NHL history to play for only one team/organization and score 1,100 points.

Alfredsson sits 57th all-time in scoring with 1,100 points. Senators
Mike Bossy:            52nd with 1,126. Islanders
Nicklas Lidstrom:  50th with 1,142. Red Wings.
Bobby Clarke:         42nd with 1,210. Flyers
Jean Beliveau:       39th with 1,219. Canadiens.
Alex Delvecchio:    33rd with 1,281. Red Wings.
Gilbert Perreault:   32nd with 1,326. Sabres.
Stan Mikita:             14th with 1,467. Blackhawks
Joe Sakic:               9th with 1,641. Nordiques/Avalanche
Mario Lemieux:      7th with 1,723. Penguins
Steve Yzerman:      6th with 1,755. Red Wings. 

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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#151 Alsker
March 20 2013, 09:38PM
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Anyone have an idea of chances for/against

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#152 NewAgeSys
March 20 2013, 09:41PM
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We need to give the puck to Nail earlier and let him skate with it more, he needs to have time to get his head up and see whats happening, them tell him to take his arse to the net AS SOON as he passes OR shoots the puck, but he needs to follow up to the net.

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#153 The Soup Fascist
March 20 2013, 09:49PM
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Logan Couture needs some "Interviewing 101" time with Crash Davis. WTF was that????

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#154 Poolanov
March 20 2013, 09:57PM
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Must every second post be New Age??? I'm almost hoping DSF puts him in his place

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#155 DSF
March 20 2013, 09:59PM
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Poolanov wrote:

Must every second post be New Age??? I'm almost hoping DSF puts him in his place

Almost?

Good grief

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#156 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:03PM
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I saw Timid Tambellini on TSN at the General Managers meetings in Toronto today. Do you think he may have said anything to anyone? Do you think the other GM's asked him where Loser Lowe was? Was Timid Tambellini just a wallflower? Did any other GM know he was there? Did they say...who are you and how did you get into the room?

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#157 RexLibris
March 20 2013, 10:04PM
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@DieHard

I'm with you. If Whitney would net a 2nd round pick I'd make that deal.

Partially because I think that the Oilers need to restock their prospect cupboard. Pitlick and Hamilton are nearing their best-before date, Rieder, Bigos, Musil and Gernat are all needing contracts. This is the best time to stock up and let those picks mature gradually.

There is also the outside chance that they could trade two or three 2nd round picks for a late 1st.

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#158 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:06PM
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How come all the people who sit behind the Oiler bench in Edmonton aren't all that good looking? When I watch games from the Americas, they usually put some pretty good looking girls in those seats. Why does Krueger have to be the best looking thing I see when they show the bench during home broadcasts?

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#159 RexLibris
March 20 2013, 10:06PM
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@DSF

Out of curiosity, what is your perception of things in Calgary right now?

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#160 RexLibris
March 20 2013, 10:07PM
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@DSF

Don't be ridiculous. You know he hired Howson for that, right? (the remote)

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#161 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:09PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I'm with you. If Whitney would net a 2nd round pick I'd make that deal.

Partially because I think that the Oilers need to restock their prospect cupboard. Pitlick and Hamilton are nearing their best-before date, Rieder, Bigos, Musil and Gernat are all needing contracts. This is the best time to stock up and let those picks mature gradually.

There is also the outside chance that they could trade two or three 2nd round picks for a late 1st.

There is nobody in the organization who has the skill, the ability or the authority to do any of these things like trades, signings or anything to improve this team. I'm afraid this management team will do something stupid last minute and trade Gagner who really has been our best player for something like a fifth round pick.

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#162 RexLibris
March 20 2013, 10:10PM
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@outdoorzguy

Are you sure you aren't thinking of the Islanders?

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#163 NewAgeSys
March 20 2013, 10:11PM
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Jones to the net and Ebbs following up, come on already, Joesy needs to pave the way not Eberle. We need to start dumping it HIGH and looping over their d-mens heads because they are cheating up high, we just need to loop it high and to the middle and then race them to it, not dee to the boards though just wayyy high and over their heads, it works well on as a counter them when they are pressureing offensively.

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#164 2004Z06
March 20 2013, 10:12PM
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Atta boy Jonesy!

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#165 NewAgeSys
March 20 2013, 10:13PM
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Jonesy that was freaky, I posted that probably three or four seconds before you scored that goal, freaky man.

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#166 RexLibris
March 20 2013, 10:14PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Jonesy that was freaky, I posted that probably three or four seconds before you scored that goal, freaky man.

Quick, write something about Paajarvi. ;-)

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#167 2004Z06
March 20 2013, 10:16PM
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Keep your foot on the throat boys!

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#168 Bubba
March 20 2013, 10:18PM
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How about that Whitney kid...a real keeper. He's not a step behind more like a day. Other than Gregor and his man crush for this guy it will be no lose to move him down the road.

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#169 NewAgeSys
March 20 2013, 10:18PM
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Someone tell Whitney to shut the hell up and stop yapping off at the refs, we have a lot of game to go and they are looking for a reason to even out the numbers on us, so clam it up sunshine and lets try to close this game out with some momentum and offense, simple plays with steady offensive pressure, safe simple plays to the end.

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#170 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:19PM
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What ya wanna bet we blow this now??

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#171 Archaeologuy
March 20 2013, 10:20PM
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So...can we trade Whitney now?

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#172 2004Z06
March 20 2013, 10:22PM
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Oh come on man that was clearly a dive! he barely touched him.

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#173 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:22PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Are you sure you aren't thinking of the Islanders?

Nope. Timid Tambellini has the skill level to pull that trade off..if he gets permission from Loser Lowe, who might have to call Katz in Vancouver. Does Katz know we played tonight?

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#174 Poolanov
March 20 2013, 10:24PM
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Ol' horse teeth does it again

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#175 2004Z06
March 20 2013, 10:24PM
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And the wheels fall off again! Atta boy Smitty!

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#176 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:25PM
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Smyth looked like the old man he is, not much effort to try and win that puck before losing it on the tying goal. He should go. Retire his number and get someone who has some energy.

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#177 Poolanov
March 20 2013, 10:26PM
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Taylor Hall would be proud of them chicklets (ok maybe not)

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#178 Jakethesnake
March 20 2013, 10:27PM
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Oilers will never be good with this goalie. Everyone keeps talking about dubbie being good. That's crap he sucks

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#179 2004Z06
March 20 2013, 10:27PM
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He was only on the ice as Horcoff was off getting his skate fixed.

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#180 The Soup Fascist
March 20 2013, 10:28PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Smyth looked like the old man he is, not much effort to try and win that puck before losing it on the tying goal. He should go. Retire his number and get someone who has some energy.

Krueger playing him every 2nd shift in the 3rd. These guys can't help themselves. Renney 2.0.

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#181 NewAgeSys
March 20 2013, 10:30PM
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Someone might want to start laying the body on that guy coming in for the shot from the middle and the outside of the circle, we need to hammer that guy becase its their primary offensive outlet, we are pinning them nicely and this is all they can get but they are making it count so we need to step up in there and lay someone out realllllly bad, man.

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#182 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:31PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Krueger playing him every 2nd shift in the 3rd. These guys can't help themselves. Renney 2.0.

Kruegers' a Junior A coach at best. Steve Smith looks like he's been embalmed.

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#183 Bubba
March 20 2013, 10:31PM
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Whitney=buzz kill

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#184 2004Z06
March 20 2013, 10:35PM
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I see Mike Brown has been schooling Yakupov a little.

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#185 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:35PM
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I can't believe we are going to leave Lindy Ruff out there for some other team to grab. Nice try Ralph, thanks, but we've chosen to try and salvage something of this season and our future and go in a different direction..again.. Pick up up your cheque on he way out.

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#186 Poolanov
March 20 2013, 10:35PM
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lets go oilers!!!

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#187 NewAgeSys
March 20 2013, 10:35PM
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Come on guys lets support Yaks energy and get on our horses.

We need to pressure them hard now.

Hall needs to take it to the middle and shoot as he moves laterally with his head up of course.

And tell Yakupov to get to the net on every shift, not stand there and get clocked but charge to the perimeter in closer.

But Brown on the same line as Yakupov now and let them raise hell maybe Yakupov likes the high tempo hitting, lets give him some backup before they cheapshot him, lets be proactive and get Brown in there right now to send a message and let Yak gain some confidence because we want to see him play hard.

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#188 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:37PM
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Does anyone think Katz is watching this crap on tv tonight? Does he have any idea whats going on here?

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#189 Alsker
March 20 2013, 10:40PM
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WTF..I went for beer run @ 3-1 really tied, uuuuugh

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#190 Alsker
March 20 2013, 10:44PM
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Hmmm...Dubie when the puck hits u in the mid section there should be no rebound(thus goal #2) as for #3 well outdoorsguy already covered that one..so much for 8th place..sad

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#191 RyanCoke
March 20 2013, 10:53PM
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Well lets look on the bright side, Colorado beat dallas and we gained at least one point, we are either 1 or 2 points out of playoffs however this ends

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#192 NewAgeSys
March 20 2013, 10:54PM
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Stay up Dooby they are all shooting high on you.

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#193 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:57PM
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I've lived in Edmonton for the last 14 years. Every year, except for the lucky cup run, this team has fought for the last playoff spot or worse. Every year. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen years. This organization will not change it's culture unless people stop spending money on the Oilers. Going to games, buying jerseys has to stop. The only way to force this team to make any move to improve the on ice performance is to hit it in the pocketbook. I even worked in the building for years and had to deal with the organization on a daily basis. There is an arrogance that goes back to Sather's days and as long as the old boys club/boys on the bus are in control, that arrogance will continue. It starts at the top and just permeates itself down through the entire organization. This is a toy for Katz and as long as dollars flow into his pocket he's happy. He doesn't care about the quality of the team. He wants money. He lives in Vancouver. There are 16802 people at every game so why should he care? Come on people. Start to understand why nothing ever gets done with this team. Everything is fine in Oilerland because the money is coming in. Imagine what would happen if there were only 7 or 8 thousand at about 5 games in a row. There would be absolute chaos. And Katz may fall off that list of richest people. That's all that matters to him, and the organization.

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#194 RyanCoke
March 20 2013, 10:57PM
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Dubnyk was bad in that shootout

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#195 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 10:58PM
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RyanCoke wrote:

Well lets look on the bright side, Colorado beat dallas and we gained at least one point, we are either 1 or 2 points out of playoffs however this ends

This is how you hope for success? Give your head a shake.

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#196 Poolanov
March 20 2013, 10:59PM
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I hate horse teeth

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#197 outdoorzguy
March 20 2013, 11:00PM
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@RyanCoke

I've decided Dubnyk is a Junior A goalie at best. He can play on Krueger's Junior A team anytime!!

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#198 NewAgeSys
March 20 2013, 11:00PM
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That was essentially a playoff game, we had the game but couldnt convert on a 4 min PP, and that was the turning point , it is what it is, I would love to be in a final with the Sharks right now, we have their number.

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#199 magick
March 20 2013, 11:02PM
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Butt of course. Good game.....NOT. We are close, maybe two more years before this team can compete for...the 8th seed in the division. How are some of these guys still employed and playing professional hockey. Oh yeah, only the Oilers would hire these journeymen fourth liners who dont even skate HARD!

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#200 magick
March 20 2013, 11:03PM
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Butt of course. Good game.....NOT. We are close, maybe two more years before this team can compete for...the 8th seed in the division. How are some of these guys still employed and playing professional hockey. Oh yeah, only the Oilers would hire these journeymen fourth liners who dont even skate HARD!

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