GDB 33.0: STAYING IN THE RACE

Jason Gregor
March 28 2013 12:49PM

According to sportsclubstats.com the Oilers have an 8% chance of making the playoffs. Before the St. Louis game it was 4%, so the good news for Oilers fans is that your chances of watching a playoff game at Rexall Place has improved in the last 48 hours. However, the site gives the Blue Jackets a 10% chance, even though the Jackets suck on the road (3-9-2) and play 10 of their remaining 15 games on the road. So use the % at your own discretion.

Either way, both teams are longshots to make the playoffs, but if the Oilers want to keep their faint hopes alive they must beat the Blue Jackets; one of the four teams between them and 8th place.

If there was ever a night you'd expect the Oilers to win it would be tonight. The Oilers are 17-4-1 at home vs. Columbus. and they've won the last four by a combined 19-8. The Blue Jackets didn't have Sergei Bobrovsky in the pipes the past two seasons, and right now he's the hottest goalie in the league.

Bobrovsky os 8-1-3 in his last 12 games. During this stretch he has 4 shutouts and he's only allowed 14 goals on 350 shots for a stellar .960 SV%. He blanked the Canucks on Tuesday, but lost in the SO.

The Jackets don't have a lot of skill, but they work incredibly hard and they allow lots of shots from the outside. The Oilers aren't great at going to the net for rebounds, so they have to avoid getting sucked into Columbus' game plan of allowing shots from the outside. The Oilers need to attack the defenders and take pucks to the net.

LINEUP

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

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

Khabibulin

No changes after the 3-0 shutout in St. Louis, which isn't a surprise. Ralph Krueger said the Oilers will evaluate after tonight's game if they will recall anyone, likely Anton Lander, from OKC. Smyth is more effective as a winger in my view.  

QUICK HITS

  • With Jarome Iginla landing in Pittsburgh, not Boston like it was reported last night, you wonder if the Oilers/Bruins trade talks will continue. Two sources told me that nothing was imminent, but that some minor "tire-kicking" had gone on between the Oilers and Bruins. Ryan Whitney's name was involved, and then Boston reporter Joe Haggerty tweeted that he heard a forward was also involved. He mentioned Ales Hemsky in one tweet and then Magnus Paajarvi in another. A source from Edmonton suggested there has been no talk regarding a forward.
     
  • If Hemsky or Paajarvi is involved the Oilers would have to get a roster player in return. I don't see any scenario that has either of those two moving without the Oilers getting someone with NHL experience in return. The Oilers are aware they need to change the dynamics in their top-six, but they won't rush into any deal.
     
  • Here is what the Flames received from Pittsburgh for Jarome Iginla. The Penguins 1st rounder in 2013 & two college kids, Ben Hanowski (3rd round, 2009) and Ken Agostino (5th round, 2010). Agostino has 96 points in 97 games over three years at Yale University. Hanowski has played 4 years at St. Cloud State, and in his final two years he tallied 39 goals and 72 points in 73 games.
     
  • The one thing that surprises me the most in this deal is that there were no conditional picks involved. If Iginla re-signs in Pittsburgh, maybe another pick or if the Pens win the Cup, similar to what the Oilers got in the Pronger deal.
     
  • I see many suggesting Iginla will re-sign in Calgary. I don't see that happening. He'll get a taste of playoff hockey and success, and I seriously doubt he'd want to return to Calgary as part of their rebuild.
     
  • Solid work by Ray Shero for being able to acquire Iginla and Brendan Morrow without giving up Scott Harrington or Olli Maatta. The Penguins didn't give up any of their top-five prospects in those two deals.
     
  • As you get set for a long weekend, ask yourself if you know someone like this... Hilarious. When the girl asks the guy to go outside, his reaction is the best. 

  • "This is an unbelievable four-point game. If we want to remain in the playoff hunt, we need a win," Ralph Krueger said this morning. Even when a scenario like tonight is obvious to everyone coaches rarely say it publicly. Krueger also stated the Blue Jackets have been the hardest working team in the west conference the last month and the Oilers need to match that work ethic if they hope to win. We'll see if the player's understanding of the situation is as clear as their coach.
     
  • The Penguins have $53.6 million committed to16 players for next season. Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Doug Murray will all be UFAs at the end of the season, along with Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy and Pacal Dupuis. If they re-sign Iginla for $5 million they would only have $5 million to sign 6 players. Which isn't great, but not impossible. Then they'd have to hope the Cap goes up for 2013/2014 when Malkin will get a slight raise on his $8.7 cap hit and Kris Letang will need a bump on his $3.5 cap number.
     
  • This morning in the dressing room Jim Matheson and I were discussing the cap situation of the Penguins, when two Oilers players mentioned that Iginla should sign here if Pittsburgh can't afford him. "Get it started," they said with a slight laugh, but both were serious. I doubt it would happen, but wow that would sure ignite some fire into the Battle of Alberta.
     
  • Do you want some of the stylish Nation gear? The Nation on-line store has opened and you can get one of the limited editions hoodies here. Wanye isn't very organized so he only orders a few at a time. If you want one before they sell out click here. As always portion of proceeds go to charity.

LEAP FROG...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers continue their home dominance over the Blue Jackets with a 3-1 victory and leap frog the Blue Jackets into 11th place.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ales Hemsky ends his 12-game goal scoring drought in the first period. Hemsky has 13 goals vs. the Blue Jackets (most against an opposing team) and he pots his 14th on a nice pass cross-ice feed from Sam Gagner.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Late in the 2nd period Ryan Whitney leaves the bench and heads to the dressing room. No replay can show him suffering any sort of injury, so during the intermission twitter erupts in speculation that he has been traded. Even the panel on Sportsnet suggests this is very likely. Two minutes into the 3rd period Whitney is back on the ice, and the speculation appears to be false. After the game Whitney explains that the strap on his jock broke. "I'm single it's too risky to play with no can. I have to protect my boys," he says. As I'm walking away he adds, "Make sure everyone knows I didn't veto any trades," he says with a laugh. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 The Soup Fascist
March 28 2013, 01:07PM
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DSF wrote:

There is no hope.

None.

At all.

In order to make the playoffs the oilers would need to PASS San Jose or STL.

The Sharks just won the first game of a 7 game homsstand 4-0.

They are 9-1-4 at home.

The Blues have two extra games at home and are a better team than the Sharks.

In any events...all those two teams need to do is play.500 hockey and the will finish ahead of the Oilers.

Why so glum, Chum? You are typically pretty optimistic when it comes to the Oilers.

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#2 Bucknuck
March 28 2013, 11:01PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

You've drank the kool-aid Timid Tambellini and Loser Lowe hand out. This was your Stanley Cup win tonight wasn't it? It was Columbus for god sake. It was a good game for 11th and 13th place teams. I think Yakupov got on the ice once in the third with about 4 minutes left but I may be wrong. Can't figure this coach out.

I am not drinking kool-aid. I will me AMAZED if this team makes the playoffs. However. I am a fan and I can enjoy the win without being a big bag of crap.

As far as the coach goes. He's turned a crappy PK into a top ten PK and a mediocre PP into a top ten PP and has gotten the team to playing meaningful games in April. He also pulled Khabibulin tonight. That makes him kind of awesome in my books.

Lay off Kreuger. If you need to complain, then complain about Tambellini. I can support that any day of the week. The Oil are winning in spite of him, not because of him.

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#3 Bucknuck
March 28 2013, 10:41PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Does a 13th place team really deserve a standing ovation after beating an 11th place team??

can you please just go away. that was a great game. piss off with all your negativity for a night please. jeez.

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#4 Ducey
March 28 2013, 01:39PM
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•I see many suggesting Iginla will re-sign in Calgary. I don't see that happening. He'll get a taste of playoff hockey and success, and I seriously doubt he'd want to return to Calgary as part of their rebuild.

Rebuild? No way!

They are "retooling". Its much different.

"Retooling" is where you trade away your players for picks and prospects while also making offer sheets for players that have to go thru waivers.

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#5 Rama Lama
March 28 2013, 11:13PM
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Im starting to think that Magnus has finally figured out where to score from in this league,

Great to see him having success now........also ,makes me think trading this guy now would be a mistake.

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#6 DSF
March 28 2013, 01:01PM
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There is no hope.

None.

At all.

In order to make the playoffs the oilers would need to PASS San Jose or STL.

The Sharks just won the first game of a 7 game homsstand 4-0.

They are 9-1-4 at home.

The Blues have two extra games at home and are a better team than the Sharks.

In any events...all those two teams need to do is play.500 hockey and the will finish ahead of the Oilers.

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#7 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 10:27PM
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Nice of Hemmer to take it to the net, but that power forward move by MPS taking the middle and busting them open was beautiful to watch, that is what you are supposed to do when you dont have the puck,use your sphere of influence as a weapon. Well done.

Hemmer has divine timing as usual, he is just showing us what he can do if we can carry him to the playoffs, he reminds me of Petr Klima, so talented and so needing the moment to do his best work.

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#8 David S
March 28 2013, 11:15PM
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@Bucknuck

Not to mention Krueger has explained his reasons for shortening the bench and sitting Yakupov late on several occasions in post-game scrums. All people have to do is slide over to the Oilers site and listen.

Kid is 18 and not strong in his own zone yet at a time when the other side is pouring it on. I'm not really understanding what people don't get about that.

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#9 oilerjed
March 28 2013, 12:56PM
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My FIST my go through the wall if the Oil dont come out hard and play a full 60 minute game tonight. It aint over yet!

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#10 Eddie Shore
March 28 2013, 01:11PM
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@DSF

So should the Oilers not play the games then?

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#11 watkinator
March 28 2013, 01:37PM
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DSF is trolling but he has a point. It's the three remaining games against Anaheim and one vs. Chicago that set reality in for me. Still, the games are meaningful and there is something to say for the fact that St. Louis and San Jose have been no screaming hell this year.

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#12 Ducey
March 28 2013, 01:43PM
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watkinator wrote:

DSF is trolling but he has a point. It's the three remaining games against Anaheim and one vs. Chicago that set reality in for me. Still, the games are meaningful and there is something to say for the fact that St. Louis and San Jose have been no screaming hell this year.

Honestly, I can't believe people think the Oilers will make the playoffs.

Hope for it. Cheer for the team. Good on ya.

But if you actually think they have a good chance of making the playoffs you should stay away from Vegas (and sharp objects).

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#13 dawgtoy
March 28 2013, 09:15PM
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Brown was an excellent acquisition. Not sure how that is even debatable?

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#14 Butters
March 28 2013, 10:23PM
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Gotta admire Columbus, that is one hardworking hockey club.

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#15 outdoorzguy
March 28 2013, 10:34PM
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Got tired of seeing that idiot in pink jump up all night on tv. And that is one ugly blond behind the Oiler bench. Can't we find someone better looking to fill out that t-shirt?

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#16 geoilersgist
March 28 2013, 01:14PM
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@DSF

The Sharks also started the season hot and then not only came back down to earth but there impact was felt all the way to China. The Sharks aren't playing great hockey. The Blues will be tough to catch, but the Sharks not so much.

Don't forget a team we get to play 3 times still just traded away there franchise and thats only the first piece to be moved out.

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#17 Mike Krushelnyski
March 28 2013, 01:40PM
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DSF wrote:

There is no hope.

None.

At all.

In order to make the playoffs the oilers would need to PASS San Jose or STL.

The Sharks just won the first game of a 7 game homsstand 4-0.

They are 9-1-4 at home.

The Blues have two extra games at home and are a better team than the Sharks.

In any events...all those two teams need to do is play.500 hockey and the will finish ahead of the Oilers.

Please submit a life-size cardboard cutout of yourself to the Oilers dressing room so they can peel a piece of clothing off of it every time they win a la the owner in Major League. TIA

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#18 Will
March 28 2013, 02:18PM
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The great thing about sports is that stats don't win or lose games. Anything can happen. 3 good games for the Oil, and three bad games for other teams. Unlikely, sure. Impossible, not at all. The Pens have won 13 in a row, Minny 7, Van 5, Columbus has 13 of a possible 14 points. Anyone here think we are better than Columbus?

Making the playoffs is not impossible, especially that we are closer than we have been in a long time.

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#19 justDOit
March 28 2013, 03:00PM
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West wrote:

Didn't the NHL make a rule that a player could not go back to a team he was traded from for a certain amount of time, meaning Iginla can't re-sign with the Flambes?

No. The player can't come back to his team after being bought out, and possibly some waiver scenarios, but not when traded.

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#20 Mike Krushelnyski
March 28 2013, 03:41PM
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@geoilersgist

Can Tony Danza win faceoffs?

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#21 Dog Train
March 28 2013, 03:57PM
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Nothing is ever accomplished by a sensible person. Set the bar high or you're selling yourself short. Longshot? Sure. I felt before the last game that they likely had to go 12 and 5 at least in their last 17. One down and now it's at least 11 and 5. Maybe that's not even good enough if some other teams play well but the only thing that we control is our level of play.

Must-win but that cliché will be spat out before every game the rest of the way. The Oilers have a frustrating way of squashing optimism but I have my rose-coloured glasses on today so I will say the Oilers open it up and win 4-3 in regulation. GO OILERS GO!!

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#22 Grahaeme
March 28 2013, 04:14PM
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@dsf

Your grumpy wrinkly-balls ass still around?

Hopefully whatever girl that stole your chewing gum gives it back before you "Gafaw" yourself to death.

Life's worth more than sitting at your PC waiting to "hahaitoldyouso" Oil fans.

Grow up.

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#23 Ducey
March 28 2013, 04:44PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Since it's all hockey that doesn't matter the rest of the season, why not let Peckham have a 5 game go as a winger, At a crossroads in his career, it could be the opportunity he'd excel at.

He will get to play the last 13 games after Whitney and his ankle are shipped off to Boston...er, Pittsburgh.

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#24 Rocket
March 28 2013, 05:28PM
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@DSF

Really? It's not even happy hour yet. At least let me get a drink in before I lament the Oilers lack of success & complete suckitude.

Also, GO OILERS!

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#25 justDOit
March 28 2013, 05:30PM
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Rocket wrote:

Really? It's not even happy hour yet. At least let me get a drink in before I lament the Oilers lack of success & complete suckitude.

Also, GO OILERS!

I think he owns a lot of stock in Seagrams, or something, because he's trying to get me to start early - and that's not difficult to do.

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#26 DSF
March 28 2013, 07:28PM
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2-1 Oilers.

In a shoot out.

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#27 The Soup Fascist
March 28 2013, 07:56PM
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DSF wrote:

2-1 Oilers.

In a shoot out.

Pretty sure this is the 4th horseman on the horizon. Cue the Apocalypse!

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#28 Clyde Frog
March 28 2013, 10:28PM
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Hemsky just Jeberle'd ALL over Columbus!

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#29 NewAgeSys
March 28 2013, 10:34PM
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That is called taking care of business Silent Sam, very nice finish no screwing around.

Well done men.

Nice adjusting bench.

Lets get ready for the next game and try to be better prepared in the 1st period maybe eh?

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#30 outdoorzguy
March 28 2013, 10:38PM
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Does a 13th place team really deserve a standing ovation after beating an 11th place team??

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#31 northof51
March 28 2013, 10:45PM
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Good win by the boys! But WTF is with the 3 stars? Must be DeBrusk's picks. Calvert, Anisimov and Atkinson shouldn't have got snubbed like that, they played an incredible game.

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#32 oldhippy
March 28 2013, 10:46PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Does a 13th place team really deserve a standing ovation after beating an 11th place team??

Comeback win. Dubnyk held the fort, and the players played well. Yakupov played physical. Easy to fold down two goals early. For the fans it was probably a relief more than salutung an awesome display. Khabi was not on his game. Don't hang it on the rest of the players!

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#33 outdoorzguy
March 28 2013, 10:47PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

can you please just go away. that was a great game. piss off with all your negativity for a night please. jeez.

You've drank the kool-aid Timid Tambellini and Loser Lowe hand out. This was your Stanley Cup win tonight wasn't it? It was Columbus for god sake. It was a good game for 11th and 13th place teams. I think Yakupov got on the ice once in the third with about 4 minutes left but I may be wrong. Can't figure this coach out.

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#34 Rocket
March 28 2013, 10:48PM
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Wow two enjoyable games in a row!

If only the Oilers could play Columbus every night.

The Oilers are such teases. Don't they know I have emotions to overreact to?

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#35 Crusty Grit
March 28 2013, 10:51PM
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The fourth line in that game and especially Brown, had the answer for letdowns tonight. They re-established momentum and kept the team in the game.

Also, Great game yak-city!

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#36 Rod from Viking
March 29 2013, 06:53AM
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I think last nights game was what most of us real fans of the Oilers thought we would see on most nights this year, lots of excitement with our speed and skill and losing a fair number of games 6-4 as well because of our youth and not a great defense, it was good to see the no quit attitude last night and the coaching decisions made sense (eg the goal tending change in the third).It would be a miracle if this team made the playoffs but I am going to try to just enjoy the last month of this season.It will be real interesting what decisions will be made in the next week,Hemsky looked like a $5 mil player last night and I thought Smid played one of his best games of the year as well. I also hope they don't trade MPS, it looks like the coaches and management did do the right things for his development.

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#37 Will
March 28 2013, 01:00PM
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Was at the sharks game, disappointment. Here's hoping tonight will be better.

GDP Oilers go down by a goal in the first, kid line gets re-uinited and Oilers win 4-1.

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#38 Bucknuck
March 28 2013, 01:04PM
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I hope the Oilers blow the doors off of Columbus. I am nervous about the shot differential in the last game, though. They won, but only because of amazing goaltending.

They need to be better than they have been.

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If the Oilers win today, guess what? They'll have to win the next game. And if they win that one, they'll have to win the next one, and the next one, and the next one...... just to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs.

And although I know what inevitability is, I also understand and appreciate what Ralph is trying to do. He's the exact opposite of a troll.

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#40 Minister D-
March 28 2013, 01:24PM
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Regardless of whether the Oilers have a realistic chance of making the playoffs this year, it's nonetheless important that our youth finally gets some kind of a taste of playing meaningful games this late in the year. With a deep draft, the Oilers don't have to tank to get a quality player; if they finish a few points back of the cut line and end up picking between 8-11 they're still likely to get the guy they want (Lazar, I'd wager) without sacrificing BPA. Everybody wins. And least, theoretically.

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#41 Jimmeh
March 28 2013, 01:31PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

So should the Oilers not play the games then?

Protect the assets, forfeit the game, and every other game until the deadline.

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#42 smiliegirl15
March 28 2013, 01:41PM
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I missed the beginning of the Blues game - did Hall start with Horc and Hemmer? The line that seemed to be most effective that game was Hall / RNH / Eberle. Why wouldn't that be their line and move Jones with Horcoff and Hemsky? Just wondering...

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#43 Quicksilver ballet
March 28 2013, 02:03PM
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Another of those all world goaltending performances from Khabby and Oilers will have to run him out of town at the dealine. You're killing us Khabby! Enough of this ship, aren't you aware of "managements plan"

Please don't be a hero Nikolia, Jones/Drouin/MacKinnon is starting to slip from our grasp.

5-2 BlueJackets win on work ethic alone.

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#44 Butters
March 28 2013, 02:19PM
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I will cheer for the Oilers to win tonight, then the next game, then the next game. I expect them to try to win tonight, then the next game, then the next game.... If/when they are mathematically eliminated, I hope that day is as close to the end of April as possible.

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#45 tileguy
March 28 2013, 02:19PM
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Off topic and because I don't know where else tp post this but this is an interesting little story about hockey in Finland(Fins are great people) and a Canadian connection

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/03/27/canada-bowl/

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#46 Bucknuck
March 28 2013, 02:27PM
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It's a long shot, but it's still possible, so let us hope. You can now say "I told you so" later and feel all self important.

For now I am happy that there is still a chance.

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#47 West
March 28 2013, 02:46PM
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Didn't the NHL make a rule that a player could not go back to a team he was traded from for a certain amount of time, meaning Iginla can't re-sign with the Flambes?

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#48 hunkybill
March 28 2013, 03:10PM
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Small chance to make playoffs yes,but also small chance to win first overall draft last year. I'd rather dream and hope knowing the odds then be too pessimistic. Some optimism is healthy. Just can't get too disappointed if dream doesn't happen. For example, dream that tambo will be gone. Unlikely, but it will happen eventually if you believe.

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#49 geoilersgist
March 28 2013, 03:33PM
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If we are to make the playoffs we are going to need some Angels in the blue paint

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#50 The Soup Fascist
March 28 2013, 04:08PM
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@ Krusher

There HAS to be some clever "Who's the Boss" reference in terms of Craig McLowbellini, but this has been a trying 4 day work week. I got nothin'.

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