GDB 30.0: Three in four

Jonathan Willis
March 23 2013 12:46PM

Tonight’s game kicks off a stretch of three games in four days – the Oilers host St. Louis this evening, go to Nashville to play Monday night, and then play again on Tuesday in St. Louis. To keep up with the playoff pack, they probably need to win two of three, with tonight’s match and the Monday game representing their best chances to come away with two points.

The Standings & Action Today

Today's games:

  • San Jose @ Minnesota
  • Vancouver @ Los Angeles
  • Columbus @ Nashville
  • Colorado @ Dallas

From an Oilers’ playoff perspective, the most important game here is the one at the top of the list: a regulation loss for San Jose to the Wild would make a lot of teams happy. If cheering for the Wild to win even one game bothers the hardcore fan, feel free to spit after that sentence, so long as you aren’t in a library or something. Meanwhile, Nashville vs. Columbus is a two-edged sword; the Blue Jackets are on the precipice of the post-season but the Predators are still in the conversation. Given how few home games the Blue Jackets have left, I’d suggest a regulation win for them is probably the best case scenario here – sure they’re ahead of Nashville right now, but it’s hard to believe the other shoe isn’t about to drop.

From both a playoff perspective and a draft position perspective, a regulation win by Colorado over Dallas is the Oilers’ preferred outcome. Speaking of the latter view – both Tampa Bay and Buffalo play today; a win for both (combined with an Oilers’ loss) would move the Oilers into the eighth overall pick range, and tied in points with the team’s slated to make picks five through seven.

The magic number for the Oilers to make the playoffs entering action today (and assuming all teams maintain their current paces) is 54 points; they likely need either 12 wins and a regulation loss or 11 wins and three regulation losses in their final 19 games for a post-season berth.

The Lineup

The Oilers' official Twitter feed had the lines from the morning skate, which were as follow:

  • Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
  • Paajarvi - Gagner - Eberle
  • Jones - Belanger - Yakupov
  • Brown - Smyth - Petrell

On defence, the same six - Smid, Petry, the Schultzes, Whitney and Fistric - will dress, while Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in net.

Predictions

Game day prediction: St. Louis is a very good team and jump out to a two goal lead, but the Oilers fight back in the third, force overtime and ultimately win 3-2 in the shootout.

Obvious game day prediction: Nail Yakupov, who has just one goal in his last 21 games, scores both of the Oilers’ regulation goals. Asked about the goals after the game, Yakupov shrugs and says ‘We win. We scored more goals. We win.’

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Ralph Krueger wears a bright orange blazer and borrows the green hat Don Cherry wore last week for his post-game press availability. Before anyone can ask a question, he yells ‘WHAT DID I TELL YA? DIDN’T I SAY WE COULD WIN IN THE PENALTY SHOTS? SMITTY, SHOW THEM WHAT I SAID.’ At this point a much more conservatively dressed Steve Smith, who nobody had noticed until just then, fires up a monitor and a clip from Friday’s availability of Krueger saying “We just have a lot of confidence in our penalty shooting ability” and “we believe in our ability to win in penalty shots.”

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#51 Quicksilver ballet
March 23 2013, 03:03PM
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1 solitary point over these next 4 games is my hope. Out with the deadwood, in with the new blood.

....how many sleeps till the entry draft?

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#52 DSF
March 23 2013, 03:04PM
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Wild 2 Sharks 0

Final

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#53 DSF
March 23 2013, 03:04PM
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Klima's Mullet wrote:

Am I the only one excited about 91-89-14 as a line? I think they'll pop a couple tonight.

They'll get killed defensively.

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#54 DSF
March 23 2013, 03:06PM
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Minnesota now has a 97.3% chance at making the playoffs.

Who could have seen that coming? :0

Sharks drop to 41.8%

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#55 TOM//MTL
March 23 2013, 03:14PM
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OGDP- Eberle misses an open net and immediately takes off his glove and frowns at his hand. Backes spends all game slashing and hacking Hall - no call. Jones floats around aimlessly but looks damn good doing it with his sexy hair and intense facial expressions.

4-1 Blues

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#56 Butters
March 23 2013, 03:34PM
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When the Oilers eliminate the Wild in the playoffs it is going to be SWEEEEET!

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#57 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 23 2013, 03:36PM
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Khabibulin. What I like about this old timer is his ability to move the puck. It really helps the breakout and provides a flow for the team from the D-zone. At times he can be a bit erratic, but overall I think it helps the pace for the Oilers. JMO.

Keys to the game: Hall needs to drive the bus with the passengers willing to get on board and Khabi needs to turn water into wine. It can be done. People believe in more with less factual evidence.

Keep the faith. Oil win. What's the score? Don't care as long as it's one more for the Oil.

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#58 Sailge
March 23 2013, 03:37PM
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GDP: Oil need a win. I hope they get it. Don't have a crystal ball though.

OGDP: DSF predicts the Oil get killed just like every single game

NSOGDP: While cherry picking more stats due to his love of anything non oilers, it should be known that if we say for fun the oilers had Brodin, who had a terrible plus minus because be wouldn't have a D partner named Suter, DSF would gladly point out how he is "getting killed"

And if J Schultz was on ANY OTHER TEAM and had the same numbers he does now, we would constantly be hearing how great he is and how it's so sad we don't have him.

These are your GGFOTD. Good Grief Facts Of The Day

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#59 DSF
March 23 2013, 03:57PM
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Butters wrote:

When the Oilers eliminate the Wild in the playoffs it is going to be SWEEEEET!

What year do you expect that to be?

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#60 hmm?
March 23 2013, 03:58PM
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I always wondered what DSF stood for... DrinkSuckingFlagger?

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#61 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 04:05PM
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Remember that year not so long ago when the Oil won something like 18 or 19 of their last 20 games and finished 1 or 2 pts out of the playoffs?*

This is their chance to do that again, except get rewarded. It starts tonight.

*That did happen right? Did I imagine it?

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#62 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 23 2013, 04:10PM
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DSF wrote:

Minnesota now has a 97.3% chance at making the playoffs.

Who could have seen that coming? :0

Sharks drop to 41.8%

didnt you call conference championship contenders and 60 home playoff dates over the next 10 years?

dont start patting yourself on the back quite yet

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#63 DSF
March 23 2013, 04:14PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

didnt you call conference championship contenders and 60 home playoff dates over the next 10 years?

dont start patting yourself on the back quite yet

Certainly didn't see the dominance of the Hawks and Ducks coming...who did?

Did see the Wild rising rapidly up the standings and they have.

And the thing is they are going to get even better.

3 rookies in their lineup and another bunch getting ready on the farm.

Going to be an elite team for a very long time.

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#64 DSF
March 23 2013, 04:15PM
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@hmm?

Clever boy.

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#65 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 04:19PM
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Oh yeah, my prediction: 3-1 Oilers. Khabi plays like a sheet of freakin' plywood. Oiler bottom 6 comes through with goals from Jones and a weird one from Belanger. Eberle with the empty netter. Steen scores the lone Blues tally.

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#66 Sox and Oil
March 23 2013, 04:38PM
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Game Day Prediction - 4-3 Oil, 2 powerplay goals (Yak, Gagner) 1 Even Strength goal (Smid) and a Shorty from Magnus. Oil will be up 4-1 early in the 3rd but come away with the win only by the skin of their teeth.

Game Day Prayer - Trade Peckham and Potter or just waive them and call up VDV or claim a extra center, please stop plugging Smyth at center it looks like his legs will fall off.

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#67 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 04:44PM
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I would sure like to see Nuge have a breakout night, and this is as good a time as any, if Taylor or Ales can contribute with a multiple goal game then Nuge might be sparked to greatness and chip in one or two of his own goals, those two need to score to open up a wound for Nuge to pick apart.

Sam Gagner is due for a hattrick soon, his shot utilisation has been excellent, his decisions are all solid and natural so his release is fast and NHL caliber 100% of the time, he may not always have a heavy shot but he is getting it off very fast.

The real question we have to ask is how fast each of our lines can identify and exploit as a group individual weaknesses in their opposition counterparts system execution. How well will our line leaders communicate and tacticlly manage their lines system execution to be first to the punch and first to the block and recovery.

How fast can the coaches relate specificly to the line leaders adjustments they want to see out there,NOT to the entire bench but just to the leaders, and will they then trust to micro-manage on their own past that point. Our onice communication will decide each and every game from here on in, the rest of the components we need to win are in place, now the responsibility to carry the heavy weight is all on the players as a group, they only have each other to answer to now.

GDP Oilers 6-2 over the Blues

The Oilers PP goes four for six, with Hall, Gagner , Whitney and J Schultz potting goals. MPS pots one off the rush and Nuge finally gets pissed off and creates some real offense again scoring one 5 on5.

Magnus needs to sit down and watch the Abbdilcator or whatever his name is, the guy who scored a hattrick the other night, one of his goals was off of a rush where he used his size and speed to keep it to the middle and then he went wide and deep and curled back to the net from the redline and beat a premier d-man by simply useing his speed for a second longer and taking the puck to the net where it belongs ASAP, which meant just curling and goint straight there with no pass thoughts. I think Maggie has the elite speed to take it in and to the net the exact and i mean stride for stride exact same way BETTER than Abbdilcator or whatever his name is. hahaha, the d-man cant maintain speed and coverage as he is forced to turn around, the move forces the d-man to turn around and no matter how big or strong he is he will lose the battle from that spot to a man as big and strong as MPS who is now facing forward himself with superior body position.

I think this could turn out to be a prime weapon for MPS to mix it up on d-men. I like how Maggie is taking it to the net now with immediate pressure and sucessfully taking it crosscrease and dont want to see him change that, but think he is big fast and strong enough to pull off the Abbdilcator move in a sic way once or twice a game. Its a good way to beat the bigger d-men because it neutralises their size and reach and strength by forcing them to turn when they dont want to,ha ha ha. Hallsy could benefit from this, he has the speed but might not be enough of a physical presecnce to force the initial pressure down the middle which is needed first. Hemmer and Hall are similar and hemmer doesnt have the size to make the play work, he is in the exact area multiple times every game but never trys the move because he always enters the zone strong to the wing, and this play requires strong middle pressure early on the zone entry. Taylor does have the ability to create middle pressure early but its not his comfort zone. This is really more of a fastbreak finish not a set play system tactic. But it can turn games veery quickly. A superman play where you really isolate the d-man and create a true blue one-on-one. With any system this is the secondary goal right behind a numbers advantage, 1 on1s are very nice to see for a coach at the NHL level because even that is a hard ticket to buy with high level defenses. It is where a team with skill will pull ahead, the more 1 on 1s they can create the more the odds favor them to win the game. This is a good secondary tactic when systems checkmate each other and there seems to be no offense either way.

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#68 Quicksilver ballet
March 23 2013, 04:44PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Once they lose these three games, they might as well, just trade/get rid of.

Whitney - Smid - Hemsky - Belanger - Smyth - Khabibulin - Jones - Petrel.

6 to 10 does the Oiler's no good in the draft.

If there going to miss the playoff by an inch it might as well be by a mile.

OGDP 5-2 Blues.

Amen to that!

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#69 Quintana
March 23 2013, 05:38PM
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DSF wrote:

Wild 2 Sharks 0

Spurgeon (4) Suter, Koivu PP

Suter keeps piling up the points.

Now 26 points in 30 games.

He's on pace for a pro-rated season of 71 points in an 82 game season.

He sure is missing Weber :)

yeah and hes on pace for the total of 3 goals..........

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#70 Dog Train
March 23 2013, 05:52PM
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Looks like we are down to 2 scoring lines tonight. It won't be easy against the Blues and their defensive structure. I will say 3-1 Blues. Hope I am dead wrong.

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#71 Newj
March 23 2013, 06:06PM
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@NewAgeSys

@ Sys.... Nugent-Hopkins even playing?

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#72 Newj
March 23 2013, 07:11PM
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@DSF

Just jiggin' before the game starts, got one bite though.

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#73 Wanyes bastard child
March 23 2013, 08:20PM
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DSF wrote:

Don't make eye contact.

LMAO!!! I had to props that!

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#74 Bonvie
March 23 2013, 08:22PM
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I can't believe we're at this point in the season already but if they are unable to take the two points away from St. Louis, after not sealing the deal with San Jose teams that are taking up the final playoff spots, then the writing is on the wall for another disappointing lottery year.

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#75 DSF
March 23 2013, 08:30PM
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Bonvie wrote:

I can't believe we're at this point in the season already but if they are unable to take the two points away from St. Louis, after not sealing the deal with San Jose teams that are taking up the final playoff spots, then the writing is on the wall for another disappointing lottery year.

What can't you believe it?

i've been telling you this for weeks.

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#76 Reg Dunlop
March 23 2013, 08:31PM
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CBC pregame-P.J.Suck has a serious hate on for the oil. What exactly are his credentials?

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#77 Reg Dunlop
March 23 2013, 08:36PM
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Oh, I remember P.J.'s resume. Paired with a Russian skater in Battle of the Blades. A Russian guy.

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#78 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 08:36PM
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Newj wrote:

@ Sys.... Nugent-Hopkins even playing?

No, sorry, he is out tonight apparently. This must be how Ralph justifys messing with MPS-Gagner-Yakupov as the 2nd line.

As long as we have Hall and Hemmer together no one can handle the speed from both sides , within 5 mins that line has to be attacking the same spot over and over because one side HAS to be weaker, it doesnt matter who we put with them, those two need to alternate rushes until they find the weak spot and them they need to key within 5 mins with the coaches help on the weak side and start chewing. Their center just needs to get open for shots in front.

With the aforementioned 2nd line intact we have a great 1-2 punch.

Nuge needs the rest, and we can win without him. But we will be missing a very solid defensive component.

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#79 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 08:43PM
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*click*

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#80 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 08:44PM
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We need to keep our sticks active in our zone because they are ALL greenlighting on the first shot attempt.

We need to hit them in the n-zone high and not let them get speed coming through, their game is very solid north/south, so we need to stop their n-zone speed, and their d-men are posturing up high in their zone so they are vulnerable to the short dump-in to the middle we were useing last game.

They are really posturing in the shooting areas and lanes without the puck so we need to focus on hard and terminal contact with the puck carrier ASAP at our blueline or sooner, they arent looking for set plays they are relying on a fast shot or pass and are all going to hot spots and spreading us out, we need to engage the puck carrier before the break into our zone at the very least with our sticks to stop the speed of the pass or shot which is what they are catalysing off of.

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#81 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 08:52PM
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They are weak down the middle so we should try to headman it down the pipes, maybe stack a few guys and just penetrate the neutral zone relaying the puck. Because they are weak there we should have immediate sucess. The short dumin into the middle will be effective as well, we just need to draw their d-men into early contact and then saucer it right into the middle for an upspeed support man we need to bring in late and at high speed right to ther middle.

They are counting on stopping us in the n-zone with a numbers advantage and by keeping their d-men postured high so lets stack players and just force our way down the middle and open up the wings for our speed off the give and gos.

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#82 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 08:54PM
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We need a faster first shot we are hanging on a bit to long before we let it go, we have good rebound support and positioning but are being overly patient, lets see some urgency.

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#83 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 08:58PM
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We really need to start making contact at our blueline because they are ALL greenlit to shoot and are waiting for gaps as our coverage adjusts then simple shooting at will, they arent looking for set plays, its all catalysing off of the first shot. So all we need to do is as a group stop that first shot or pass ASAP remembering they arent going to be picky because they are looking for speed of execution, and knowing their linemates are either planted in or cruising through shooting spots. Contact at the blueline and active sticks and extra long pursuit of the puck carrier through the n-zone.

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#84 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 09:04PM
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Our 1st line needs to stop trying the deflection play and hit them down the middle with direct penetration, dont waste zone possesions on deflections unless you can set up two layers of attack or deflection areas in front of the net.

What MPS just did is what we need to do, pursue the puck carrier longer because they are all greelit to skate it into the zone and just let it go as fast as they can, so we know they will hold onto the puck longer than usual, our speed should give us an edge here.

Simple give and gos in their zone using upspeed support will be effective because they are giveing us the zone easily and collapseing in early.

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#85 BingBong
March 23 2013, 09:10PM
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My comment won't be as detailed as NewAgeSys...but we're lacking desperation so far. And weak goal by Khabbi, screen or no screen.

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#86 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 09:14PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

CBC pregame-P.J.Suck has a serious hate on for the oil. What exactly are his credentials?

Poor P.J had his bell rung here a few times, and you are right he is outwardly aggressive in his refusal to aknowledge the progress we are making monthly and our skillsets especially that we have , I love it when the other guys mention our deeeep talent and skillset depth it makes him go into convulsions and I swear to god his scar gets longer he strains so hard,ha ha ha.

Just say the words team of the future and then try to guess what Stockpots heartrate will spike at, haha ha ha.

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#87 Mike Krushelnyski
March 23 2013, 09:17PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

CBC pregame-P.J.Suck has a serious hate on for the oil. What exactly are his credentials?

Even if he had an incredibly impressive resume, I can't take a man who pops the collar of his suit jacket seriously. How do they allow him to look like that much of a jackass on tv?

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#88 Walter Sobchak
March 23 2013, 09:23PM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Even if he had an incredibly impressive resume, I can't take a man who pops the collar of his suit jacket seriously. How do they allow him to look like that much of a jackass on tv?

Really? it's the CBC man!

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#89 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 09:24PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

What we really need is a "block" button.

@ The Soup Fascist

What you really need to do is play nice.

But you bring up a good point, they are rushing the puck at ever opportunity from everywhere and releasing the shots as fast as they can as soon as they enter the zone they are just going on one man rushes as the rest of the line sets up in hotspots, waiting for the quick pass or rebound they know us coming from somewhere, no real set play reliance, so BLOCKING shots is a great focus for us for the rest of the game because stopping that playaction coming out of the quick first shot and erratic one-man penetration that catches us in transitions defensively is key for us, we need to eliminate that first puck directed at the net. They are simply funneling the puck to the net and hoping they can have one of their guys in a hotspot when the puck arrives at the net from virtually anywhere, we need ontact or blocks, or cative sticks or longer puck pursuit anything to stop that first erratic one-man penetration and first fast on net shot.

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#90 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 23 2013, 09:27PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

What we really need is a "block" button.

or a negative props button.

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#91 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 09:29PM
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@NewAgeSys

Excellent tie in. All in good fun, NAS. Your dedication and commitment to your craft is commendable.

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#92 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 09:30PM
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Taylor needs to STOP going for the deflection crossice and needs to drive the puck in himself for a shot from the middle, he needs to drive the net or go wide and draw the d-man over to open up the middle, but that is the 4th time they missed that same play and its time to retire it for a period.

The 1st line is getting good zone penetration but we need both Hall and Hemmer to take it to the net like hemmer just did, way to go Hemmer. Just take turns doing their thing and going for it every rush, they need to work on the %s and make every rush a total speed issue with a sot on net. Just pound the wings. Stop being so fancy. Get a solid shot on net every zone possesion.

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#93 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 09:40PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Excellent tie in. All in good fun, NAS. Your dedication and commitment to your craft is commendable.

@ The Soup Facist

For sure all in good fun, you are both a Scholar and a Gentelman.

I want to say how much of an NHS style the Blues are useing but it would be redundant at this point, but they are catalysing their offense from all over the ice in very much the same way the NHS does, very very close, but they are still useing the same adjusted-hybrid we are only with different offensive initiation tactics, they have a swarming tactic that emulates the NewAge Hockey Systems Two-Phase Cycle.

They are just greenlightng everyone to penetrate the zone and try to get the best shot or pas they can ASAP, all the playaction is coming off of the puck carrier and they are not using set plays really at all, they are instead really useing their spheres of influence well and going to shooting lanes and hot spots early to beat our defensive transitions which folow the puck and playactio. They are doing this because Dougie Weight was learning last year during the playoffs when he was an analyst seeing the NHS influenced adjusted -hybrid LA was useing so sucessfully. The Blies liked what they saw and worked on their own version of the same system.

They arent that hard to stop. Just smother the puck carrier with contact immediatly from the front preferably at our blueline or in the n-zone and with extra long puck pursuit looking for the takebacks using our footspeed and body position to seperate the puck from the play ASAP and deny them the directional lobs at out net from everywhere.

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#94 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 09:45PM
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On that PK it was hard not to notice EVERY Oiler holding their sticks high and off the ice, tell them to drop those sticks and remember how important they are to their spheres of influence.

Get those sticks on the ice and get them active on that puck, not the man, but immediatly on the puck. Dont play the puck positionally be aggressive and disrupt the playaction they are trying to initialise so quickly. They will always beat us to the zone positions, the hotspots because they arent taking time to set up set plays and this is why we need IMMEDIATE disruption of that ability to lob the puck at the net at the blueline at better yet with n-zone contact.

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#95 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 09:46PM
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The more I watch Hemsky the more I think we should trade him,there has to be a better player out there for 5mill than Hemsky. The play always starts on his stick and always dies on his stick too. He is way over paid for what he does which on most night is nothing. Also I feel way more comfortable with Habby in net than Dubby

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#96 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 09:48PM
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It would be a good time to reunite the 2nd line of MPS-Gagner-Yakupov. We are not getting enough zone penetrations converted to shots now, we need to make an adjustment. Only our 1st line is effective in the zone entry dept tonight and it is hurting our offense big time.

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#97 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 09:50PM
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Now would be a really good time to make a good pick at the blueline and blast a d-man straight out of the zone and go for the shorthanded goal. We definately need to contact the puck much sooner on the PK and not worry so much about the body and we always need to be looking for offense in games on the PK.

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#98 Quicksilver ballet
March 23 2013, 09:52PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

I don't feel comfortable even with Jesus Christ in net given the way this team is playing in front of their goalie.

That's not a knock on the defence... just seems this entire team can't take or make a pass tonight. Oh yeah and they can't shoot either. Other than that everything is great.

He is a UFA July 5th, what kinda money's he making now?

If there was ever a guy who'd make the players in front of him better, he'd be the guy.

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#99 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 09:53PM
Trash it!
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@Quicksilver ballet

Bah I hear he just gets killed out there, constantly being nailed to the boards.

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#100 Harry Crack
March 23 2013, 10:00PM
Trash it!
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trashes
+1
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props
Oilersfan4 wrote:

The more I watch Hemsky the more I think we should trade him,there has to be a better player out there for 5mill than Hemsky. The play always starts on his stick and always dies on his stick too. He is way over paid for what he does which on most night is nothing. Also I feel way more comfortable with Habby in net than Dubby

Hemsky started out lights out but has certainly slid into obscurity of late. Trade him quick before his shoulder realizes how long he has been playing without being on "IR'

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