GDB 23.0: A DATE IN DETROIT

Jason Gregor
March 07 2013 01:15PM

The Oilers skate into Detroit hoping to match the effort they played with last Thursday in Dallas. Over the last 18 years the Stars owned the Oilers, but the Oilers dominated them last week, and tonight they face a Wings team they've only beaten 24 times in their last 73 meetings.

Can they slay the dragon for the second Thursday in a row?

It will be a daunting task, but few people expected the Oilers to get a point in Chicago and two in Dallas, and that's exactly why we will all be watching tonight.

LINE UP

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

The top lines stay the same, while Chris Vande Velde draws in and Ben Eager takes a seat in the press box. Krueger stated this morning the need to get all four lines going, but realistically I think he'd settle for getting two going.

If you are wondering why Eager is out, and why the Oilers acquired Brown, take a look at these sobering numbers that Micheal Parkatti graciously sent me when I asked for them. Parkatti does a recap of every game at boysonthebus.com 

Name While on ice Game 1 Game 11 12 13 G14 G 15 G 16 G 17 G18 G 19 G 20 G 21 G 22 Totals
Eager Shots Attempts For 6 6 2 1 13 9 9 14 4 7 5 1 9 86
Eager Shots Attempts Against 14 11 5 12 12 13 11 12 12 15 23 13 11 164
Eager Net Shot Attempts -8 -5 -3 -11 1 -4 -2 2 -8 -8 -18 -12 -2 -78
Team Net Shot Attempts 0 -16 -19 -4 25 -31 -3 2 -37 -17 -19 -8 -7 -134

The percent of net differential while Eager is on the ice is a mind-blowing 58%.

For non-believers of Corsi, that is incredibly high considering how little time he spends on the ice. Keep in mind that includes all shots attempts; shots on goal, blocked shots and shots that missed the net.

Someone might look at Eager's +/- and suggest he's only -4, but that is in 13 games with only 9:36 of TOI/game. Either way you slice it, it is brutal. And it explains why the Oilers added Brown. Brown isn't perfect either, but he hasn't been a defensive liability along the lines of Eager, and his reputation suggests he's more consistent in his physical play.

I want to be clear that Eager isn't the reason the Oilers are losing, but obviously he isn't pulling his weight. Krueger will be looking for more consistency out of his 4th line and hopefully some production. Jones has proven in the past he can score in limited minutes, so we'll see if he can produce on the 4th line.

Realistically if the Oilers are going to win tonight, their top two lines need to be good, and their PP needs to awaken from its recent slumber. They are 3 for 25 in their last 7 games, and in the three games where they scored a PP goal they won twice and lost in OT.

The Oilers lack of finish with the man advantage in Columbus cost them a point. If they score on that 4-on-3, they win and Eberle had two glorious chances. We all saw his reaction after he couldn't lift the puck over Bobrovsky's pads, but that is a shot Eberle has to make. Ideally you don't want all the pressure to win on the shoulders of your young players, but that's how it is in Edmonton and I guarantee you Eberle is livid he didn't score in OT.

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

Petry has three goals and five points in the first five games of the road trip. He's had some luck by just putting pucks on net, and you wonder if his teammates follow suit. Whitney has two goals in the last three games and he's been much more involved offensively. The good news for the Oilers is that they are finally getting some production from their blueline.

Dubnyk

He is 2-0-1 with a 2.47 GAA and 0.931 SV% vs. Detroit. Yes, it is a small sample size, but he's got 5 of 6 points in his career v. Detroit. In fact, all three games have gone to OT. He's 1-1 in OT and 1-0 in the SO. His only start in Detroit he stopped 42 of 44 shots on March 11th, 2011.

QUICK HITS

  • Watched the entire Chicago/Colorado game last night. The Hawks are entertaining to watch regardless of who they play. They push the pace the entire game. They never sit back, and Toews has to be amongst top-five centres, if not higher, in the game. Very complete player.
     
  • If Patrick Sharp is out for any extended period of time, that would be a huge blow for them. He left midway through the 3rd favouring his shoulder. He'll miss some games, just not sure how many according to Quenneville.
     
  • If the Oilers continue their trend of turning the puck over at the offensive blueline, the Wings will dominate territorially and on shot attempts. Datsyuk is the best in the league at creating turnovers so the Oilers need to be smart with the puck.
     
  • Might only interest me, but in the limited games he's played Chris Vande Velde has faced the 5th toughest competition amongst Oiler forwards. And really it is 4th because he didn't play when Horcoff was in the lineup.

JUST BECAUSE

 

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Just when you think the Oilers are done, they surprise you with an effort like tonight. 3-2 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Datsyuk will have you sitting in awe at least once with one of his "sick" dangles.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Tootoo Train and Moustache Mayhem will collide at centre ice for one of the best hits of the season. The great part is that neither one will have had the puck, and neither fanbase will know who initiated the contact.

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 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 01:20PM
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Fist.

Can't see them winning after the efforts that they've been putting up recently.

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#2 A-Mc
March 07 2013, 01:28PM
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With the piss poor effort they've put forth over the last few games, i think the oilers come out firing on all cylinders.

Oiler's win 4-2

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#3 Will
March 07 2013, 01:41PM
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Oilers win and look like a completely different team in the process. The next day there is a rash of blog posts on what a great job management is doing, yet fans are still frustrated with a team that beats Detroit one night but loses to columbus on another. Sound of blogging the next day: rabble rabble rabble rabble.

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#4 Spydyr
March 07 2013, 01:42PM
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Beer and wings and Wings tonight. At least one can drown their sorrows.

Sure hope they play the Hockey Song tonight.......

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#5 Quicksilver ballet
March 07 2013, 01:43PM
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Anyone know of a smokin hawt new puzzle recently?

Looking for something interesting to do instead. One looking up into the blackness of space, a few pretty stars would be fine as well.

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#6 Shredder
March 07 2013, 01:49PM
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Not sure if I want to watch this one. I'm in a semi-good mood today. If Nuge scores in a loss, I'll call it a moral victory and be happy.

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#7 Dodd
March 07 2013, 01:56PM
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I'm not a fan on the ledge, or turning in my Oilers gun and badge, but recent lack of effort means I will work tonight, and check the highlights. Sorry Kevin, Louie and Gene. I don't want to put in 3 hours if the Oil won't. Go Oilers.... but I have other plans.

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#8 I'm a Scientist!
March 07 2013, 01:56PM
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God I love her. That is all.

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#9 northof51
March 07 2013, 01:59PM
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Shredder wrote:

Not sure if I want to watch this one. I'm in a semi-good mood today. If Nuge scores in a loss, I'll call it a moral victory and be happy.

I agree... I go from excited, to dejected, to angry on most gamedays. Excited at the possibility of the Oilers finally breaking through and showing off their wicked talent. Dejected when they throw up a stinker and get outplayed soundly. Enraged when I realize that I am feeling depressed about a bunch of millionaires playing hockey for a living

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#10 Archaeologuy
March 07 2013, 02:00PM
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So every team that employed Eager before the Oilers did WASNT wrong?

I find this difficult to believe.

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#11 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 07 2013, 02:02PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Anyone know of a smokin hawt new puzzle recently?

Looking for something interesting to do instead. One looking up into the blackness of space, a few pretty stars would be fine as well.

The unveiling of the PC budget should be somewhat entertaining, the way they spin taking money out of my pocket is always inventive!

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#12 DSF
March 07 2013, 02:04PM
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Dubnyk is overdue for a stinker and it happens tonight.

6-2

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#13 DSF
March 07 2013, 02:04PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

So every team that employed Eager before the Oilers did WASNT wrong?

I find this difficult to believe.

I tried to tell them.

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#14 mr_nihilism
March 07 2013, 02:07PM
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As a fan I'm somehow reminded of the masochist that Charlie Brown is as he continually kept trying to kick the ball out of that bitch Lucy's hand.

Dear Edmonton Oilers, if you can't score can we at least see a genuine whole-game effort? Please and thank you.

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#15 Dodd
March 07 2013, 02:11PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

So every team that employed Eager before the Oilers did WASNT wrong?

I find this difficult to believe.

No, the takeaway here is that every team that parted with him on his way here was right.

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#16 vetinari
March 07 2013, 02:12PM
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Playing the Wings @home during an epic roadtrip... I say that they come out flat in the first... show up for the second... and then collapse in the third when the Wings turn on the jets... Oilers 2 Wings 4.

God, I envy the Wings and their organization... they lose a generational player to retirement, have an aging core and they still are in a playoff spot... learn Tambi... learn...

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#17 Archaeologuy
March 07 2013, 02:14PM
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Actually, this road trip has completely murdered my hopes for the season. I'm one or two more losses away from reverting back to "Cheering for the Tank" mode, because being horrible appears to be the only thing the Oilers are truly successful at.

Watching the Oilers make the Blue Jackets look like the Globetrotters in terms of shots on net was a back-breaker for me.

FTNF

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#18 Archaeologuy
March 07 2013, 02:20PM
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DSF wrote:

Dubnyk is overdue for a stinker and it happens tonight.

6-2

He's had two good games in his last 7 starts. I think he's more due for a good outing.

Last 7 Starts for Devan:

.921 .907 .867 .971 .893 .750 .862

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#19 VK63
March 07 2013, 02:23PM
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I bet on the wings to cover. If they don't. I will beak Babcock relentlessly this summer at the lake.

*small victories*

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#20 dawgtoy
March 07 2013, 02:23PM
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DSF wrote:

I tried to tell them.

Yes we all know you love to blow your own horn.

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#21 DSF
March 07 2013, 02:30PM
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dawgtoy wrote:

Yes we all know you love to blow your own horn.

If I don't, who will?

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#22 Ducey
March 07 2013, 02:32PM
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When did Gregor start relying on fancy stats?

Not that I am complaining...

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#23 tileguy
March 07 2013, 02:40PM
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OGDP. Those lines will be in a blender before the halfway mark, Yak with Smyth and Belanger (roll eyes) NSOGDP. No money in the budget for the porkchop so Katz throws a tantrum and fires K low and mr dithers and a parade down Jasper Ave breaks out.

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#24 Hayek
March 07 2013, 02:41PM
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I agree that Eager is a problem, but not THE problem. However Brown is no solution. You are replacing one player who is below NHL replacement level, with another that is below NHL replacement level.

That's where the frustration is coming from.

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#25 VK63
March 07 2013, 02:44PM
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@Ducey

those aren't fancy stats.

they are simple stats.... not much subjective interpretation in shots.

Well a bit... but its minimal.

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#26 Ogie Oilthorpe
March 07 2013, 02:48PM
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northof51 wrote:

I agree... I go from excited, to dejected, to angry on most gamedays. Excited at the possibility of the Oilers finally breaking through and showing off their wicked talent. Dejected when they throw up a stinker and get outplayed soundly. Enraged when I realize that I am feeling depressed about a bunch of millionaires playing hockey for a living

I couldn't agree more, had to buy the center ice package to watch Oil, again. Every game day I can't wait to see the lineup, get excited about the prospect of a 60 minute effort, and then go to bed pissed off because the boys showed the heart of Pencakes in a regular season game and the offensive zone presence of the Japanese women's olympic team.

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#27 Quicksilver ballet
March 07 2013, 03:02PM
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Detroit Red Wings 5, Edmonton Generals 1.

We're coming for you....Drouin.

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#28 VK63
March 07 2013, 03:14PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

No no no.

the mantra is thus

No Stones= Seth Jones

Luv twitter btw. Very funny people on there.

Speaking of which.

Wanye... you gonna insult any sensitive types tonight? ;))

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#29 justDOit
March 07 2013, 03:24PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Anyone know of a smokin hawt new puzzle recently?

Looking for something interesting to do instead. One looking up into the blackness of space, a few pretty stars would be fine as well.

Just heard of this puzzle - I think RK plays it several times per day.

Take the following numbers, and rearrange them in a 3 x 4 grid that will result in wins for the Oilers:

4-13-14-20-28-54-64-83-89-91-93-94

Good luck!

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#30 DK0
March 07 2013, 03:35PM
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@justDOit

It's simple, you align them 4x3 instead of 3x4. I think we could win with 3 forward lines of 4 players, CONSTANT POWERPLAY!!!

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#31 Quicksilver ballet
March 07 2013, 03:37PM
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@justDOit

55-4-64

83-93-14

94-20-89

13-54-16

.....am i doing it right?

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#32 justDOit
March 07 2013, 03:37PM
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DK0 wrote:

It's simple, you align them 4x3 instead of 3x4. I think we could win with 3 forward lines of 4 players, CONSTANT POWERPLAY!!!

I gave you props for that, until I reminded myself of how much the PP stinks. It seems as though they play better with fewer players on the ice.

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#33 justDOit
March 07 2013, 03:38PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

55-4-64

83-93-14

94-20-89

13-54-16

.....am i doing it right?

That's the beauty of this game - no wrong answers!

Edit: Well the 16 is less correct than the others.

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#34 Will
March 07 2013, 03:43PM
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I hope it's such a loss that in the third period Kruger finally says what the hell let's give it a shot. Then out of the tunnel to start the third, is the natural position, 1st overall line of Nuge, Hall, Yak, with Smid and Nick Schultz on the back end to cover the inevitable river hockey that ensues.

And finally, finally, our powerhouse unstoppable top line is born.

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#35 Quicksilver ballet
March 07 2013, 03:46PM
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I vote Jason Gregor do the next "Re-lowered Expectations" article, at the conclusion of this roadtrip.

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#36 vetinari
March 07 2013, 03:50PM
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The other sad thing that I just realized is that we are almost at the 1/2 way mark for the season, and Chicago is already 24 points up on us or the equivalent of 12(!) wins. Of course, I'm not saying that we can catch Chicago, but isn't it interesting that they don't have a GM named Tambellini in their front office? Coincidence? I think not...

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#37 Quicksilver ballet
March 07 2013, 03:52PM
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justDOit wrote:

That's the beauty of this game - no wrong answers!

Edit: Well the 16 is less correct than the others.

A near .380 win % since the Kamsack Killers (Hordichuk) demotion....

coincidence, i think not! lol.

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#38 rubbertrout
March 07 2013, 03:53PM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

God I love her. That is all.

Unfortunately that really seems to be the only thing that is very positive to take away from the article.

I'm almost getting ready to put my Oilers jammies back into mothballs for another lottery pick.

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#39 justDOit
March 07 2013, 03:54PM
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@vetinari

I posted on the Gregor's Chicago article that the Oilers could continue on their current 10 game pace of 3-5-2 for the rest of the season, while the Hawks could lose every game over that same span, and the Hawks would still finish higher than the Oilers.

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#40 Clarko
March 07 2013, 04:05PM
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Well, even if the Oilers lose, at least the Wings are an entertaining team to watch. Nothing like watching the Oilers in Minnesota losing their millionth game in a row and being bored out of your mind!

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#41 Alsker
March 07 2013, 04:13PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

I vote Jason Gregor do the next "Re-lowered Expectations" article, at the conclusion of this roadtrip.

What he said...I dont know why, maybe this should be the next POLLZ

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#42 MAC962
March 07 2013, 04:23PM
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One of the kids breaks out tonight with a big night. Not saying they win, but someone will have a fire under their a$$. I am guessing Eberle dazzles as he he is still ticked off.

Yak - i feel for you playing with players with no offensive talent game in and game out unless its on the PP.

Funny how Hall - Eberle - Hoppy were given each other

to succeed,, and you get ...crap. Give the kid a chance..

GO OIL.. You usually come throiugh when we least expect it.

4-3 OIL.

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#43 They're $hittie
March 07 2013, 04:27PM
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they’re shi!!y

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#44 dawgtoy
March 07 2013, 04:31PM
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DSF wrote:

If I don't, who will?

The real question that begs asking is will you admit when you're wrong?

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#45 StHenriOilBomb
March 07 2013, 04:36PM
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When the season started, I didn't expect the Oilers to be in the post-season, but I would be lying if I said there wasn't a sliver of hope that they'd make some noise and we'd all be talking about the Oilers SUTBSOHC. Now - with boatloads of dramatic suck witnessed this past month - the sliver of hope is gone, and this year feels like a sorry reproduction of 2010.

I'll watch the games, and deep down I'll be waiting for a miracle, but every crappy period is a stark reminder of how far this team is from contention, and how little confidence I have in management to get them there.

Go Oilers. I guess.

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#46 They're $hittie
March 07 2013, 04:37PM
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@dawgtoy

nope

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#47 Dog Train
March 07 2013, 04:42PM
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I actually have liked what I've seen out of VV. He isn't flashy but he knows his role and he doesn't deviate from it. Eager's D is brutal and he was covering Boll when Boll got the assist on the first Blue Jackets goal. It is so deflating to have an opposing fourth line score on you.

I think the Oilers will show up in this one. They tend to play weak in winnable games and show something in tough games. I will say 3-2 Red Wings in the SO.

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#48 DV. Asteroid
March 07 2013, 05:17PM
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Hall-Nuge-Yak

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#49 Mike Krushelnyski
March 07 2013, 05:22PM
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I was thinkin bout watching this but I'm gonna count my balls instead.

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#50 Quicksilver ballet
March 07 2013, 05:36PM
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Okay, okay........okay, i got one.

After many hours of reseach, i've come up with a decent trade proposal. Ryan Jones and Linus Omark to Anahiem, in exchange for 21 minute and night +13 d'man Sheldon Souray......since the Oilers are still paying him anyways?

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