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 a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Harry Crack
March 23 2013, 10:02PM
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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?

Pretty sure he found the jacket in Mr. Dress Ups tickle trunk

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#102 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:03PM
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Nice job of getting the sticks down and useing the spheres of influence much better, we are putting even zone pressure on them now, and we are engaging the puck much better, now just a tad faster working on the same platform .

we need to keep the pressure on the puck up high and very early so we draw their middle support man up and out of the middle in front of our net, as long as we can keep that middle support man of theirs up high responding to our blueline pressure he cant be scabbing rebounds or taking those fast passes, and Khabby and the d-men can handle the shots and rebounds as long as that middle pressure is drawn up high to give them space to work and a fair numbers match. Plus we are in a high strong postion to recover rebounds and takeaways and rush them straight up the middle .

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#103 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:05PM
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Harry Crack wrote:

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'

Hahaha you know it. Trade him to the Flames they need a lot of help there

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@Oilanderp wrote:

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

Yeah and he takes a few days off in April.

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#105 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 10:13PM
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No resurrecting this one. Terrible game to watch.

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#106 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:15PM
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We need to initiate contact with the PUCK on our blueline.

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#107 Harry Crack
March 23 2013, 10:16PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

Hahaha you know it. Trade him to the Flames they need a lot of help there

LOL ,Thats just all out mean. !! My beloved Flames need a new majority Owner, and President that will allow a GM to make Hockey decisions , not emotional decisions. Jay Nevermissafeaster can likely do what needs to be done over the next 3-4 years if those Bettmans can get out of the way. Habi looks good for the Oil so far tonight !

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#108 Slats
March 23 2013, 10:17PM
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Cmon boyz we ar lucky to be only down one.

Whitney please make 1 just 1 hockey play this period!

Belanger may break the seal tonight.

Cant believe Hitch is trying to beat us with the cycle down low in our end . . . man he's good.

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#109 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:19PM
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When all else fails sometimes it pays off to play like a team and work the give and go with short crisp passes. And good support coming behind the playaction.

Maybe we can draw a penalty by working the give and go,lets just draw it out through the n-zone and not give them takaways chances.

We need to hit them in the middle immediatly with our speed and MPSs size, we need to ignite our offense , good time for a timeout Ralph.

Put the 2nd line back together before its to late.

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#110 slats
March 23 2013, 10:21PM
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horcoff looks like he forgot how to skate this evening

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#111 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:22PM
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Perhaps Mr.Brown would like to offer his team a spark.

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#112 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:24PM
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Well there went one breakaway from jackman, had we had aggressive blueline pressure we were off to the races.

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#113 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:24PM
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Well the real Jordan Eberle please stand up, I repeat well the real Jordan Eberle please stand up.

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#114 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:27PM
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As we run out of time we will end up flooding the o-zone with numbers so why not start now, go for it we need to change momentum right now, just use the Flying V-Door play through the n-zone and flood them with lateral numbers and pressure them right to their net.

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#115 Harry Crack
March 23 2013, 10:27PM
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@slats

Horc has done so much for your Team since he got back , he surely gets a hall pass. Still overpaid, but a big hole to fill when he is not skating for the Oil !

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#116 Slats
March 23 2013, 10:28PM
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@NewAgeSys

After that hit on Hall watch his next shift!

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#117 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 10:28PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

No resurrecting this one. Terrible game to watch.

Still, I can't turn it off. I watch the Oilers religiously.

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#118 Slatd
March 23 2013, 10:29PM
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@Harry Crack

unfortunately this team has no more time for guys to have a night of "free passes"

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#119 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:29PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

Well the real Jordan Eberle please stand up, I repeat well the real Jordan Eberle please stand up.

He wont be showing up on this line for 5 or 6 games, Yakupov should be where he is right now, the way we have it now is a horrible dynamic fit.

Ralph needs to do SOMETHING, and we might as well go with what has worked in the recent past before we run out of time and Ralph pulls the goalie with 2:40 left to go.

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#120 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:32PM
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Lets double shift Hall and put him in Eberles spot, seriously he has great conditioning and great speed so lets double shift him, this game is critical to our year this is the time to leave it all out there.

Send J Schultz all the way to the net so he can help us out offensively, greelight our weapons before its to late.

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#121 Slats
March 23 2013, 10:34PM
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nice play Whitney . . ..was 1/2 a Kostitstyn on that one

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#122 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:34PM
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Jesus, if we dont apply immediate and constant pressure right on our blueline and go for the odd man rushes every time we might be rolling over on our season, we need to step up on them and take a stand and try to wrestle this game back. This is no way to lose a game man.

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#123 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 10:36PM
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The blues defensive support is amazing. No wonder we can't score.

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#124 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:37PM
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All night long we brough nothing from the middle as far as offensive pressure goes, horrible adjusting by the coaches.

Same peripheral crap all night lone especially from Hall.

TAKE IT TO THE NET NOW BOYS.

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#125 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:37PM
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We lose this game and I'm packing her in for the year, another year and no playoffs. Meaningful games in March hahahaha. Ya right. They say Chris Stewart is on the trade block, I wonder how much it would take to get him here in Edmonton

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#126 thednp
March 23 2013, 10:39PM
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Ralph has better not talk about lessons and so on. The Oilers don't show enough compete and the coaches don't / can't adjust their game plans to compete against different teams & systems.

Eberle is awesome, but the kid is in a super slump. How about giving Yaks a shot in his spot. Really at this point what can that hurt? Maybe we would learn something?? Isnt that what this season is all about Ralph!?! Learning?!?!

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#127 Rod from Viking
March 23 2013, 10:39PM
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This fantastic system we are using is so ineffective against the heavy defense oriented teams,I see three losses in a row in our immediate future.Why can't we try to use our speed and skill?

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#128 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:39PM
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Ok lets get creative here, 1st line of MPS-Gagner-Yakupov and ride it out.

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#129 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 10:40PM
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@Oilersfan4

*tips hat*

Cya next year...

Also, Stewart is shooting something like 25%. He won't be this good forever.

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#130 washed up
March 23 2013, 10:41PM
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Man, I wish the oilers could pull off a trade like the Blues made with Colorado. The Oilers could sure use a player like Stewart.

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#131 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:42PM
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Hey Ralph use your timeout for what it was designed for we have time to score a few goals give the men a boost and at least hope for gods sakes, dont save the dam timeout when we are down 3 goals pal.

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#132 thednp
March 23 2013, 10:43PM
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washed up wrote:

Man, I wish the oilers could pull off a trade like the Blues made with Colorado. The Oilers could sure use a player like Stewart.

you're making the assumption that the Oilers remember how to make legit hockey trades. Bad assumption.

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#133 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:43PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

*tips hat*

Cya next year...

Also, Stewart is shooting something like 25%. He won't be this good forever.

That maybe true but tonight he's a beast, the type of player the Oilers need.

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#134 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:45PM
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maybe it will occur to Ralph one day that it is the lack of veteran depth that makes his line blending so damaging, the young guys need the support of familiar faces at this level right now and that must be a priority like it or not. He has to learn to trust the men more.

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#135 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 10:45PM
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Wow that's a lot of booing.

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#136 Harry Crack
March 23 2013, 10:47PM
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@Slatd

You Guys are 1 veteran gritty Winger and another years seasoning from climbing the mountain. Push Smitty into his AGM or scouting role , bury Belanger in a hole somewhere , your good to go!

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#137 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:48PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Wow that's a lot of booing.

Maybe mr Katz well hear the booing, oh wait he's in Vancouver

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#138 washed up
March 23 2013, 10:48PM
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When you at rosters like Ottawa and then compare it to the Oilers it really makes a guy wonder.

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#139 Zed
March 23 2013, 10:50PM
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Watched the game, had a drink, saw a good team beat an easy team. Yeah the easy team tried but..... Boo.

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#140 Jay
March 23 2013, 10:51PM
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See you all next year! With tambi, KLowe and the 7 other hockey op guys sitting around the round table, I'm sure there's big and wonderful changes to come! we'll have a new backup goalie, a much higher priced smid and gagner, and pressure another young dman into top minutes(klefbom). Yup, just a matter of time! All we gotta do is sit here and watch

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#141 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 10:52PM
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Slats wrote:

nice marshmallow game Whitney . . .there's a Greyhound leaving at 11pm please get on it . . .

Under > on

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#142 Harry Crack
March 23 2013, 10:57PM
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@Zed

What happened to Ben E.? Was he not supposed and expected to provide needed sandpaper ?

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#143 Slats
March 23 2013, 10:59PM
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PJ-Dracula and Weeks going toe to toe. Oilers are a disappointment - can't play without the puck and got worked by a team that has the best breakout in the NHL.

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#144 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:59PM
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Jay wrote:

See you all next year! With tambi, KLowe and the 7 other hockey op guys sitting around the round table, I'm sure there's big and wonderful changes to come! we'll have a new backup goalie, a much higher priced smid and gagner, and pressure another young dman into top minutes(klefbom). Yup, just a matter of time! All we gotta do is sit here and watch

Ya your right on there. This management has no previous experience than with the Oilers, and it shows on the ice as well. When well Katz wake the heck up.

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#145 Sloppy joe
March 23 2013, 11:02PM
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Am I the only one watching CBC who is surprised by how stupid Healy's comments are? Jeez, I never noticed he was that bad. Edmonton had a tremendous defensive game? Really? Nuge is our best defensive C? Really? Pretty embarrassing.

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#146 Sloppy Joe
March 23 2013, 11:09PM
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Also, I officially request that the stats gurus do an analysis of oilers' drop-passes just inside the offensive blue line and in the high slot. Let's count the drop passes and figure out what percentage lead to a turnover. It's got to be 85 percent or more. Why do they do it game upon game?

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#147 Slats
March 23 2013, 11:09PM
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Healey is trying to be the next version of the CBC's Milbury

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#148 Time Travelling Sean
March 23 2013, 11:09PM
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@Sloppy joe

I think he meant that he played against the opposing teams toughs on a nightly basis.

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#149 Sloppy joe
March 23 2013, 11:25PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

I think he meant that he played against the opposing teams toughs on a nightly basis.

I get that. But he played the toughs while Horc was hurt. Horc is now back and playing the toughs. Don't get me wrong - I'd take Nuge over Horc on my team any day - but Healy has his head up his ass when he says that we missed Nuge for the tough match-up. Those would have been horc's minutes in any event (and rightly sonar Horc is the superior defensive option)

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#150 Oil Change?
March 23 2013, 11:35PM
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Can't wait for Willis to defend Belanger's position on the team as a face off specialist. He wins 4 more face offs than he loses over 100 total face offs.

Please as a fan of the team do not pile of Yaks scoring production as his fault. Playing with Jones and Belanger as a chance. If he wasn't going to get a chance to play with even average players they should have sent him back and not wasted the year of a rookie contract.

War: Belanger always on the ice during four on four

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