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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#51 Dog Train
March 05 2013, 03:50PM
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We can still salvage this road trip but this game is absolutely necessary. I said before the trip that we needed at least 9 points on this swing to even consider taking a run at the playoffs. I'll say 4-1 Oilers.

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#52 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 03:52PM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

"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."

:(

Details, details, details .........

Actually pretty sobering that things are this bad this early into the season.

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#53 OilerLand
March 05 2013, 03:55PM
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I can't wait to see Brown in our lineup. Especially with Eager and Smyth. That is just awesome. Old school hockey right there. Love it.

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#54 justDOit
March 05 2013, 03:57PM
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OilerLand wrote:

I can't wait to see Brown in our lineup. Especially with Eager and Smyth. That is just awesome. Old school hockey right there. Love it.

You'll enjoy this then:

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Philadelphia/2013/03/04/20628216.html

(sorry, I don't know how to wheel a link into that)

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#55 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 04:08PM
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CJ wrote:

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

What does that mean? He's a better scorer than other guys from his draft year that don't have as many points? Guys like Stephen Weiss, Mikko Koivu, and Chuck Kobasew? It certainly doesn't mean he's almost as good as Kovy and Spezza.

I'm not saying Hemsky sucks. I'm saying he can be better. He needs to use his teammates more.

Hatin? Don't think so.

Don't be so sensitive.

Edit: By the way, have a look at round 2 from that year and tell me how much longer can people keep using your argument.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2001e.html

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#56 Shredder
March 05 2013, 04:14PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Details, details, details .........

Actually pretty sobering that things are this bad this early into the season.

Whoa, whoa, whoa...you mean to tell me the Oilers have to win some games to make it to the playoffs? That's just crazy talk, I don't know if the team will buy into that.

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#57 Kaiser
March 05 2013, 04:15PM
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bsmart wrote:

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.

Well not really...just ask 89. Haha!

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#58 shonn
March 05 2013, 04:23PM
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Brown should fight Eager in the game lol so Eager gets another concussion so he can sit for the rest of the season or the rest of his contract

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#59 CJ
March 05 2013, 04:24PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

What does that mean? He's a better scorer than other guys from his draft year that don't have as many points? Guys like Stephen Weiss, Mikko Koivu, and Chuck Kobasew? It certainly doesn't mean he's almost as good as Kovy and Spezza.

I'm not saying Hemsky sucks. I'm saying he can be better. He needs to use his teammates more.

Hatin? Don't think so.

Don't be so sensitive.

Edit: By the way, have a look at round 2 from that year and tell me how much longer can people keep using your argument.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2001e.html

I thought my point was obvious. You're point that Hemsky should score more is not based on facts. He does score enough. His scoring has been one of the few bright spots this teams has had in the past decade. Why not complain that he doesn't hit enough. Although that isn't something we should expect from him, at least the evidence supports that argument.

It frustrating to listen to complaints like this, when there are dozens of actual problems we can all talk about.

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#60 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 04:46PM
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CJ wrote:

I thought my point was obvious. You're point that Hemsky should score more is not based on facts. He does score enough. His scoring has been one of the few bright spots this teams has had in the past decade. Why not complain that he doesn't hit enough. Although that isn't something we should expect from him, at least the evidence supports that argument.

It frustrating to listen to complaints like this, when there are dozens of actual problems we can all talk about.

The only thing obvious about your point is how wrong it is. This argument has been used for so long it's not even valid any more.

He scores enough? Hmm... I didn't think about that.

I was gonna say, don't take it so seriously. But I think it's too late. So I'm just gonna stop so I don't completely ruin your evening.

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#61 Robin Brownlee
March 05 2013, 04:59PM
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Julien video is brilliant.

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#62 Mikey
March 05 2013, 05:13PM
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Will wrote:

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.

I as well would like to see that line.

I agree that Hall and Hemsky wouldn't seem to fit, both of their play style demands they have the puck most of the time.

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#63 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 05:14PM
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Peckham out ??? Illness???

That all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet at the Columbus Sizzler came at a baaaaaad time in the road trip!

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#64 justDOit
March 05 2013, 05:16PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Peckham out ??? Illness???

That all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet at the Columbus Sizzler came at a baaaaaad time in the road trip!

He was in the lineup as of a little while ago - where did you hear this?

Edit: Ah yes, Oilers' twitter says illness. A lot of flu going around these days - I've been a victim of it myself.

Potter draws in.

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#65 Mikey
March 05 2013, 05:17PM
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Ogie Oilthorpe wrote:

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.

I would love to see Hall stick a guy in the gut next time they take a run at him. Slash them were there is no protection. Dude wants to fight Hall, he can just skate away. Too bad they eliminated the old Howe/Mess elbow to the head...

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#66 Dexter Morgan
March 05 2013, 05:17PM
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This team desperately needs Tom Renney. Why we got rid of him ill never know.

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#67 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 05:19PM
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justDOit wrote:

He was in the lineup as of a little while ago - where did you hear this?

Edit: Ah yes, Oilers' twitter says illness. A lot of flu going around these days - I've been a victim of it myself.

Potter draws in.

Oilers Twitter and Gregor's show. Gregor is questionable but Meg would not lie ...... oh no .... Never Never!*

*Imagine a spot-on Denis Lemieux impersonation

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#68 BleedingOil
March 05 2013, 05:53PM
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weak defense Whitney on that one......weak

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#69 BleedingOil
March 05 2013, 05:54PM
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What? Now you take a stupid penalty? C'mon Whitney.

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#70 BleedingOil
March 05 2013, 05:57PM
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Cant blame that one on Whitney, he was in the box.

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#71 bleedingoil
March 05 2013, 05:58PM
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lets try MPS on D. His old position and is probably better than some of what we have here already. Probably get more ice time too.

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#72 The Soup Fascist
March 05 2013, 05:59PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Why the long face, Seabiscuit?

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

I am looking good! Now if the Oilers 4th line can just score 2 and keep the Jackets off the board .......

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#73 bleedingoil
March 05 2013, 06:07PM
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BleedingOil wrote:

What? Now you take a stupid penalty? C'mon Whitney.

REDEEMED.......for now

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#74 Newj
March 05 2013, 06:08PM
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bsmart wrote:

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.

Fyi...the intention isnt to score from behind the net, rather to pass it to out front for the goal...guy named Wayne started that moronic idea.

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#75 Ryan2
March 05 2013, 06:26PM
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@ Jason Gregor - I listened to your show today on the way home, and I caught the Spec Report. What did Hemsky do to Spector that he takes shots at him every chance he gets? Did Hemmer run over his dog? Refuse to sign something for his kid? Tell Spector that it is getting embarassing already.

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#76 Alsker
March 05 2013, 07:19PM
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Damn early games..what have I missed other than Col. has no goaltending 3 goals 12 shots

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#77 Alsker
March 05 2013, 07:27PM
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well from that PP attempt i see i havent missed much

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#78 tyler
March 05 2013, 07:36PM
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why am i not surprised the oilers have looked terrible again against the worst team in the league no energy at all its just disgraceful if steve mason didnt play like garbage the oilers wouldnt even be in the game

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#79 Alsker
March 05 2013, 07:39PM
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I dont know why,but wish I would have worked late, but hey 2 shots on that last shift

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#80 Alsker
March 05 2013, 07:54PM
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Allright a bonus of 5 more minutes of this

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#81 WOW
March 05 2013, 07:54PM
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I guess we just have to rebuild the rebuild....f'n joke.

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#82 Alsker
March 05 2013, 08:01PM
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was that the horn I heard on the post shot.lol

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#83 OILERSORDEATH
March 05 2013, 08:04PM
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WOW wrote:

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

Yes as painful as it is the say and watch, Oilers are really that bad.

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#84 bleedingoil
March 05 2013, 08:08PM
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embarrassing. what a joke.

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#85 Daryl K
March 05 2013, 08:11PM
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Tambo and Lowe should be proud of the team they built. Columbus is one of the best teams in the league, and Edmonton took them to a shoot-out.

Next year there is no stopping the Oilers.

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#86 6 ring circus
March 05 2013, 08:11PM
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The Oiler's are going no were again!!!! Is this ELPHA episode 4 directed by Tambellini and Lowe?

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#87 MarcusBillius
March 05 2013, 08:15PM
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Well, this was just disappointing.

I'm normally the more positive, look-on-the-bright-side type. Yet I find myself realizing I can't handle another season of abysmal failure.

Too bad, I just started posting here, too.

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#88 Alsker
March 05 2013, 08:16PM
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another point closer to meaningless games...its actually getting hard to get pissed off at this

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#89 Daryl K
March 05 2013, 08:17PM
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Tambellinni was hired in 2008, he has had very little time to make this team look like a good AHL team. Give him a break. He has had only 3 # 1 picks and add Justin Schultz . What can you expect. Give him 10 more years, we just need to wait 5- 10 yrs and Edmonton will be competitive.

C-mon

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#90 Sanaa Montana
March 05 2013, 08:19PM
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^

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#91 Jay
March 05 2013, 08:20PM
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I'm gonna pretend the lockout's still on and stop watching hockey. I don't like being this angry and depressed

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#92 mo
March 05 2013, 08:20PM
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Fire Ralph he is the worst coach ever. He is probably saying ......Character loss there guys . He's a piece of sh!t.

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#93 MAC962
March 05 2013, 08:24PM
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Been asleep for 2 weeks- i see nothing has changed. Way to Go Brownie.

Oilers Management u suck. Sick of this rebuild crap.

one more CBJ Win and we are dead last in the west is that right ? or a hair away. Kevin and Steve , quit please !!!

Kruger im sorry , u were the wrong choice, Tom Renney V2

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#94 MOE
March 05 2013, 08:24PM
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We are clearly worse than last year. We get owned by the Jackets twice . Are you f*ckI*NG kidding me. What does Ralph have to do to get fired. If i don't see big move soon the oilers just lost another money spending devoted fan.

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#95 Reg Dunlop
March 05 2013, 08:24PM
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Not sure Hall should be playing, he is clearly injured. Funniest play of the night was when the creaky old man Aucoin made Magnus look like a feather in the wind. Man, the oil are bad. Any chance Seth Jones will help? If so, this will be the year we lose the lottery and select another munchkin 2nd overall.

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#96 Bob Cob
March 05 2013, 08:26PM
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They need a heart and soul captain like Smid, at least the guy doesn't take a shift off. This team has no work ethic and will not succeed until they learn how work. The PP tonight was pathetic, either Tambellini or Krueger has to go. Absolutely pathetic!

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#97 K
March 05 2013, 08:26PM
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What has happened to this team? Since the Dallas game the team hasn't been the same - what has happened on this road trip?

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#98 Daryl K
March 05 2013, 08:27PM
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1 more small winger in the draft and the Oilers will win the cup.

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#99 Joel
March 05 2013, 08:31PM
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Just imagine Oilers playing in the playoffs with less ice and more clutch and grabbing, they will dominate .

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#100 Jay
March 05 2013, 08:31PM
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You can teach a lot of things, will and determination isn't one of them

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