GDB 22.0: LINE JUGGLING

Jason Gregor
March 05 2013 01:23PM

After 21 games with an offence that scores less than a married guy after coming home late from an all-nighter, Ralph Krueger elected to switch up his line combinations. And he was smart enough to do it against the team the Oilers dominate like no other western division foe, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Oilers have won 28 of 45 games played vS. the Blue Jackets, a solid 62.2 winning percentage. Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Magnus Paajarvi and Ryan Smyth all average at least a point-per-game vS. the Blue Jackets, so juggling the lines should be easier to sort out against the Jackets than the Red Wings in two nights.

LINE UP

Hall/Nugent-Hopkins/Hemsky
Paajarvi/Gagner/Eberle
Jones/Belanger/Yakupov
Eager/Smyth/Brown

Nugent-Hopkins is very good defensively and Hall and Hemsky are the hardest wingers to defend, so that line should see, and be able to handle, the tougher minutes.

The 91-89-14 trio looked decent v. Minnesota, and if Paajarvi can stay as involved in the game as he was in Minnesota they should create some chances.

Jones/Belanger/Smyth had some very good shifts against the Wild where they created turnovers and hemmed the Wild in for a good 30-40 seconds. Yakupov could add the potential for outside shots, but he won't be as good as Smyth at cycling the puck. I'll be curious to see how this trio plays. If Horcoff was healthy this line would be much better.

Moving Smyth to centre isn't ideal, but considering Vande Velde adds little, I'd go with Smyth's experience even if he is out of position. If this line cycles like you'd expect them to, and can wear down the defenders on most shifts Krueger will be happy.

Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Peckham-Whitney

It seems like Whitney is starting to play the way Krueger and Steve Smith want him to. He jumped up into the rush much more in St.Louis and Minnesota, and by being more aggressive, and moving his feet when he had the puck, he wasn't caught standing still as often. He needs to play like he has the last two games to stay in the lineup.

Dubnyk

Dubnyk stole a game the last time the Oilers were in Columbus. The Jackets outshot them 40-14, so you'd expect a better effort tonight from the skaters in front of Dubnyk.

QUICK HITS

  • This is one of the greatest videos I've seen in a long time. Kudos to You Tube poster/artist "M A K A V E L I" for this hilarious compilation. He made this after Bruins head coach Claude Julien had the audacity to complain whine about the Montreal Canadiens and their embellishment. 

  • I know Oiler fans are talented so we might have to have a You Tube contest later this year.
     
  • After listening to Steve Tambellini yesterday I think it is fair to conclude that when the Oilers get healthy he'll have to make a minor trade or two to get guys back on the roster. Vande Velde will go down when Horcoff returns in a few weeks, and Hartikainen likely goes to minors when he comes of IR, but when they activate Mark Fistric from the IR he'll have to try and move someone rather than just lose them on waivers.
     
  • Right now the 8th place team is on pace for 54 points. If we conclude that 54 points is the cut off for the post-season, the Oilers need 34 points in their final 27 games. Meaning they need to go 16-9-2, 15-8-4 or 14-7-6 to make it. I think 8 OT/SO losses in 27 games is a stretch so I won't go lower than 14 wins. A loss tonight v. the lowly Blue Jackets makes the final 26 games even harder. 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers find a way to win and the 4/93/83 trio combine for six points in a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Mike Brown fights Jared Boll. Fans who like scraps will love it, while the number crunchers will suggest Brown is an awful NHL player and that his intensity isn't necessary and that punching people doesn't help you win.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: While Ales Hemsky is serving a rare coincidental roughing penalty, Krueger gives Brown a shift with Hall and Nugent-Hopkins. Nugent- Hopkins finds himself all alone in the slot and releases a quick snapshot. The shot was going high and wide, not surprise since his aim seems a bit off this year, but it hits Brown in the moustache and deflects into the net. Brown's moustache is so thick it protects him from a cut. Within minutes @MBstache will be created on twitter and it will have 10,000 followers by the end of the game.

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 vetinari
March 05 2013, 08:50PM
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Thank goodness we traded for Brown... that made ALL the difference in your game, Oilers... if the worst team in the league outshoots us almost 2 to 1, outhits us, wins more faceoffs than us, and beats us on the scoreboard, doesn't this make us kinda the worst team in hockey now? Where's your "championship" attitude now, Tambellini?

To commemorate the last three and a half years of ELPH, could we all just agree to rename it "the Oilerllini Era" of hockey?

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#2 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 09:30PM
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On a positive note, that 3rd rounder in 2014 looks like it will remain with the Oil!

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#3 tileguy
March 05 2013, 02:14PM
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Licking my chops at the thought of a Brown-Eager hard on the forcheck type of game. NSOGDP after brown and eager sandwich a blue jacket behind the net, Eager picks up the loose puck and does a Smythesque type wraparound for a goal. If we loose I'm going to start a toothpick replica of the new arena.

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#4 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 02:31PM
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I like the line combos for the most part.

My one beef is the same one I've had with Hemsky for a long long time. HE CONNOT PLAY WITH ANYONE!

Hemsky is an amazing player. But he's a one man show. Hemsky and Hall are more effective on separate lines, with players that complement their games on the opposite wing. They're less effective on the same line.

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#5 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 08:32PM
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Ohhhhhh!!!!!!!

I get it!

I watched the overtime and shootout, and I am finally starting to realize why DSF is like he is.

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#6 Zed
March 05 2013, 08:52PM
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Hockey god #1: Hey want to see something funny?

Hockey god #2: Well.... Yeah!

Hockey god #1: OK this one's an easy one. Look at all of those Oiler fans.

Both: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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#7 Taylor Gang
March 05 2013, 10:56PM
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ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM! What is firing the coach going to do? What are we on like our fourth coach under Tambonehead? Meanwhile we stockpile ROOKIES year after year. What's that going to do? The moment I realized our only offseason moves were for 2 raw kids I knew we were doomed for another top 5 draft pick. Other than the gifts of sucking every year our team is virtually IDENTICAL to the team that spawned this demoralizing rebuild in the first place. If every team was a bowl, we'd be a colinder with the amount of holes we have. For the love of God, DO SOMETHING! You probably don't realize it management, but as fans you EMBARASS us with our optimism only for it to be destroyed halfway through the season. It's not asking a lot for a team to at least try to win. It amazes me to imagine what Tambellini is possibly thinking right now... Most likely because he isn't. Jeeeez

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#8 vetinari
March 06 2013, 07:18AM
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All of our recent coaches share one thing in common: an incompetent management team that fails to provide them with appropriate players st key positions. Send Tambi home to "think about what his plan is" for two weeks, and then mercifully fire him.

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#9 michael
March 06 2013, 08:17AM
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Woogie63 wrote:

Wow lots of problems

Why would this team keep playing all those old vets. This year is another play-off miss... Take minutes away from 94, 20, 6, 35 and, 10 and give minutes to 91, 56, 57, 19, 2 and 40.

Does anyone thing we have anything we can use for trades for Good PROS?

Pro scouts have a spotty record....

We traded Gilbert for Shultz??? Tough to get a slow, soft dman for puck moving dman.

Sutton, Belanger, Eager, Hortichuk and Smith....hmmmm

The improvement has to come largely from the current roster.

The roster won't even be close to what it is this season going into training camp next year.Some of the dumbass Tamo signing will come off the books by attrition,buyout or trade. You mentioned several.Sutton will be off the books.Eager,Hordichuck,Belanger,Bulin. Potter.Whitney. Hemsky if we continue at this pace. His value is climbing as more bodies continue to fall.For example,Stephen Weiss(FLA). The Oiler's would be imo doing the right thing if they trade Smyth to a playoff team at the deadline like the NYR. Horcoff will not be bought out. It won't happen.He is too valuable in the role of third line centerman. The real big question will be whether or not the Oilers move Sam Gagne at the deadline or at the draft. The only way I see sam staying in Oilers blue is if he makes the move to wing or the Oilers move him to 3rd line center and push Horcoff down. The Oilers will probably finish 25-27th. They will either get a shot at Drouin,Barkov or MacKinnon.

Patience.The BIG 3 continue to learn.Stauffer hit the nail on the head on yesterdays show.The OIL KINGs have 10 players on their roster older than RNH and Yakupov. Lets all be patient and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Breath.Its a short season.Changes will come later than sooner.I am not a big fam of Tambo's communication style but I admit his patience equals mine when it comes to seeing the long term development of this organization. Don't say you all have to like it.Or accept it. But I have seen this before and it takes patience and a lot of learning to get to that next level.

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#10 Quicksilver ballet
March 05 2013, 01:26PM
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If Hall is unable to go add some pizz'n vinegar to the top line. Put Ben Eager up there for a few games. Who else do the Oilers have on their roster to fill that bill? Still suffering through hockey that doesn't matter this season again anyways.

I appreciate this opportunity to biotch and moan.

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#11 Toro
March 05 2013, 02:11PM
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Sweet Yakupov should become a 50 goal scorer on that line , yippee

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#12 Dennis
March 05 2013, 02:23PM
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"Thornton goes down as if shot... GET UP!!!" Hahahah pure gold. That video is priceless. That whole team looks like they were hungry for clams, dive central.

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#13 Clarko
March 05 2013, 02:39PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

I like the line combos for the most part.

My one beef is the same one I've had with Hemsky for a long long time. HE CONNOT PLAY WITH ANYONE!

Hemsky is an amazing player. But he's a one man show. Hemsky and Hall are more effective on separate lines, with players that complement their games on the opposite wing. They're less effective on the same line.

Hemsky has 312 assists compared with just 132 goals in his career...he must be passing to somebody...

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#14 Will
March 05 2013, 03:11PM
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GAD DAMNIT KRUEGER, why oh why won't you at lest for one game play the 3 first overalls at their natural position for just one damn game? I've been dying to see Hall and Yak on a line all freakin year.

How many times will you 'juggle' the lines without at least giving this a shot.

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#15 Lochenzo
March 05 2013, 03:23PM
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Unfortunately, we haven't seen much out of Vandevelde, so I'm willing to see what happens with Smytty. Smytty decent along the boards paired up with a couple of bangers with decent speed. If they can sustain pressure in the offensive zone and be physical on the other team's Dmen, then they will set up the next line the comes out on the ice.

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#16 Flynn
March 05 2013, 03:54PM
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Smitty should be centering Horcoff and Petrell up in the press box!

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#17 bsmart
March 05 2013, 04:13PM
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The oilers needs to shoot the puck!!! Stop dipsy doodling looking for an open net every time. Sure it looks pretty but if you lose, it does not matter.

5 on 3 put yak on the rgiht side boards, rather than the Nuge behind the net. Kind of hard to score from back there.

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#18 WOW
March 05 2013, 07:29PM
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This is painful to watch. Are we really this bad? Columbus is dominating us.

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#19 tyler
March 05 2013, 07:39PM
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when oilers played columbus last time they got badly outplayed and on oil change krueger said that they battled and it was a character win how is it a character win when the worst team in the league out shoots you 43 to 17 it sounds like the oilers got lucky to me just like they r tonite

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#20 Justin
March 05 2013, 07:54PM
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Oilers look great Tambo and Lowe have done a fine job.

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#21 TonyT
March 05 2013, 08:07PM
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Why is Yak never in OT lately?

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#22 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 08:11PM
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Could we trade Eberle and the rights to Omark for Kevin Martin?

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#23 The Other Ron Burgundy
March 05 2013, 08:27PM
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Vinnie Prospal in the post game- Let's be realistic here, we not going to overpower anybody with our offence or our cuteness or not willingness to battle... For us it's shoot the puck in, go, capitalize on our power plays and don't give the teams any freebies.

Vinnie for coach! Oh, and he's wrong on one thing, you apparently can overpower the Oil with all of those things...

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#24 DSF
March 05 2013, 08:55PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Ohhhhhh!!!!!!!

I get it!

I watched the overtime and shootout, and I am finally starting to realize why DSF is like he is.

Two decades of crap will curl your hair.

And no end in sight.

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#25 dawgtoy
March 05 2013, 08:55PM
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Well ... if I owned this team, the management would all be fired immediately. This group should not be allowed to do anything else with this team, with the exception of cleaning out their offices.

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#26 Wax Man Riley
March 05 2013, 08:59PM
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DSF wrote:

Two decades of crap will curl your hair.

And no end in sight.

But with Eberle and Hall, Tambellini and Lowe can still...

awww screw it

Time to pick a new team. how are the Chiefs doing this year?

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#27 mouthbreather
March 05 2013, 10:17PM
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here's what bugs me....we totally suck, the management sucks but the fans will line up from Rexall all the way to southgate with fists full of dollars, game in and game out. As long as the Oilers sell out every night NOTHING will change!!!! Don't you people get it!!!! F___K!!!! Stop going and then we'll see some changes.

Good Bye I'm going to puke.

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#28 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 05 2013, 10:17PM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

Missed the game. Sounds like a good thing.

youtube.com/watch?v=Inj2Ch-oIX8

this is literally a play by play breakdown.

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#29 GVBlackhawk
March 05 2013, 10:28PM
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mo wrote:

Fire Ralph he is the worst coach ever. He is probably saying ......Character loss there guys . He's a piece of sh!t.

I thought MacT was the worst coach ever.

And Pat Quinn.

And Tom Renney.

Now Ralph Krueger after two dozen games.

Riiiiight.

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#30 GVBlackhawk
March 05 2013, 10:31PM
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WOW wrote:

This is painful to watch. Are we really this bad? Columbus is dominating us.

The Oilers are just one more gritty 4th liner and one more gritty 7th defenseman away from the playoffs.

Give yourself a pat on the back Tambi!

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#31 GVBlackhawk
March 05 2013, 10:38PM
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Chuckpuck5000 wrote:

UGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH once again we lose. to the worst team in the league. Just still being patient i guess. still here...... just waiting around.

The Oilers lost to themselves?

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#32 yawto
March 05 2013, 11:38PM
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Where is the team that outshot the Stars and Avalanche by a ridiculous margin. #confused

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#33 Quicksilver ballet
March 06 2013, 09:08AM
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.......wandering in the desert.

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#34 Hayek
March 06 2013, 12:15PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

The Oilers are just one more gritty 4th liner and one more gritty 7th defenseman away from the playoffs.

Give yourself a pat on the back Tambi!

Finally, someone here who gets it. That is, if I am detecting sarcasm here.......I really hope I am.

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#35 Ducey
March 06 2013, 12:24PM
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Shane wrote:

Hey look at that we're only 3 points out of the playoffs!

Hey look at that, we're only 3 points out of 30th place!

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#36 A-Mc
March 05 2013, 01:33PM
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I've already followed @MBStache on twitter.

#1StepAhead

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#37 Phixieus666
March 05 2013, 01:47PM
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Well at least Smyth is playing where he should be. Really need Horcoff back as belanger needs to be on the 4th

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#38 justDOit
March 05 2013, 01:52PM
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@JG: That NSOGDP is a beauty - just like Brownie!

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#39 VK63
March 05 2013, 01:52PM
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The compilation with Jack Edwards standing on a montreal street going off about where the game went wrong is priceless.

He even brings childhood values and such into his "argument". It is so completely delusional it astounds me........ still.

Poke the bear# 1 I believe. Same youtube guy. Awesome!

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#40 Ogie Oilthorpe
March 05 2013, 02:02PM
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Best NSOGDP in a while, had my crying.

I disagree with all the stat boys, I think having "the stache" in the line up along with Teddy getting a more regular spot will discourage the treatment some of the young guns have been getting from the other teams. Seeing Fistric step in for Nuge last game was the one bright spot for the Oil.

The Oil definitely need more of a deterrant for guys taking runs at their stars. With the exception of Hallsy. He reminds me of ol #11.. Players eventually learned that you took a run at him and you were going to get a neck high cross check before you touched him.

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#41 ScottieA
March 05 2013, 02:12PM
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Eager-Smyth-Brown? What a bone-headed lineup decision.

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#42 Phixieus666
March 05 2013, 02:20PM
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tileguy wrote:

Licking my chops at the thought of a Brown-Eager hard on the forcheck type of game. NSOGDP after brown and eager sandwich a blue jacket behind the net, Eager picks up the loose puck and does a Smythesque type wraparound for a goal. If we loose I'm going to start a toothpick replica of the new arena.

ya hopefully Brown can get Eager going on a more consistent basis. Teddy is looking pretty decent and Whits has been better lately. Might be a turning point in the season happening right now.

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#43 ScottieA
March 05 2013, 02:20PM
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tileguy wrote:

Licking my chops at the thought of a Brown-Eager hard on the forcheck type of game. NSOGDP after brown and eager sandwich a blue jacket behind the net, Eager picks up the loose puck and does a Smythesque type wraparound for a goal. If we loose I'm going to start a toothpick replica of the new arena.

Better get going to Safeway to buy those toothpicks.

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#44 justDOit
March 05 2013, 02:22PM
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ScottieA wrote:

Eager-Smyth-Brown? What a bone-headed lineup decision.

Well why don't you offer your lineup then, with explanations as to why your changes make more sense? You have Van de Velde and Petrell at your disposal.

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#45 ScottieA
March 05 2013, 02:32PM
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@justDOit

That illustrates part of the issue. There isn't much to work with to begin with. And that falls on this brilliant GM we have working for the team.

But since you asked, I will respond. I'd throw an actual centreman on that line, and sit Eager if you MUST play Brown:

Smyth-VandeVelde-Brown

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#46 justDOit
March 05 2013, 02:46PM
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ScottieA wrote:

That illustrates part of the issue. There isn't much to work with to begin with. And that falls on this brilliant GM we have working for the team.

But since you asked, I will respond. I'd throw an actual centreman on that line, and sit Eager if you MUST play Brown:

Smyth-VandeVelde-Brown

Perfect. Then maybe it's not really the coach's fault (re: boneheaded). The BJs already have 22 fighting majors this year, compared to all of 3 for the Oilers. This is going to be a tough game, and it's clear that our mgmt is determined to fight fire with fire, so both of Brown and Eager draw in.

The 4th line C debate comes down to apples and grenades: you have a C who has been underwater all year in the NHL, and you have a real NHL player who isn't a C. For the 8 minutes of ice time they'll get tonight, I don't see how having Smyth in there isn't the 'least worse' option. And sadly, that's the best we can hope for.

Plus, Krueger has Smyth available for PP and PK time as well when he's in the lineup.

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#47 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 03:01PM
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Clarko wrote:

Hemsky has 312 assists compared with just 132 goals in his career...he must be passing to somebody...

I guess what I'm saying is Hemsky would have more assists, and goals for that matter, if he'd use his linemates more. His linemates would benefit more as well.

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#48 Mike Krushelnyski
March 05 2013, 03:16PM
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"Right now the 8th place team is on pace for 54 points. If we conclude that 54 points is the cut off for the post-season, the Oilers need 34 points in their final 27 games. Meaning they need to go 16-9-2, 15-8-4 or 14-7-6 to make it."

:(

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#49 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 03:47PM
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ScottieA wrote:

Eager-Smyth-Brown? What a bone-headed lineup decision.

Why the long face, Seabiscuit?

NSOGDP: This line ends up "plus" on the night.

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#50 CJ
March 05 2013, 03:49PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

I guess what I'm saying is Hemsky would have more assists, and goals for that matter, if he'd use his linemates more. His linemates would benefit more as well.

Third highest scorer from the 2001 draft behind only Kovalchuk and Spezza. Haters will hate, regardless of what the stats say.

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