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 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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#2 Tiredofthis
March 07 2013, 08:44PM
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GOOD BYE, NOT WATCHING THIS CRAP ANYMORE. OVER 20 YEARS OF MEDIOCRITY, WITH A SPLASH OF SUCCESS THROWN IN IN 2006. OWNERSHIP IN EITHER CITY DOESN'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE FAN AS THEY KNOW EACH BUILDING WILL SELL OUT NO MATTER WHAT. THE 80'S IN ALBERTA WERE TERRIFIC WITH EDMONTON AND CALGARY DOMINATING THE CUP FINALS. HOWEVER SINCE THEN SQUAT. AND VISITING THIS SITE AND FLAMES NATION IS LIKE WATCHING TWO CHIHUAHUA'S EACH CLAIM TO BE THE BIGGER DOG.

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#3 Citizen David
March 07 2013, 10:15PM
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I still like the oilers.

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#4 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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#5 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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#6 2004Z06
March 07 2013, 09:28PM
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Megan Fox? Not even close! Try good ol Canadian Evangeline Lily. Not worth commenting on the game tonight.

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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 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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#11 Clarko
March 07 2013, 11:10PM
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Chaz wrote:

Not blaming Dubnyk for the loss as that would be silly seeing that we didn't score, but letting in that first goal really deflated the team. They were playing well up until then I thought and that brutal goal seemed to take the wind out of their sails. It's obviously more than goal tending, but he's let in way too many weak goals this year to convince me he's an NHL starter. We keep saying to play him to see what we've got. Well so far, it's not a starting NHL goalie in my mind.

I'm not going to say Dubnyk has been spectacular, but he has been pretty good in my opinion. I think the "soft" goals he lets in actually may be due to him pressing and knowing that if he lets in 1 or 2 goals, he know this team can't score most nights. I think these numbers say he has been better than most:

21 goalies have appeared in 15 games or more this season. Dubnyk ranks 5th out of those 21 in terms of save percentage behind a defense that most of us think gives up more quality chances than most teams.

Dubnyk has started in 19 games giving up 3 or less regulation goals in 15 games and 2 or less goals in 11 games. Considering he only has 6 wins, there has clearly been a lack of scoring as he has kept this team in it most nights.

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#12 al
March 08 2013, 12:21AM
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Damn i miss the overachieving oilers of the late 90's!

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#13 vetinari
March 08 2013, 10:59AM
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Oiler games should now come with a "Surgeon General's Warning":

WARNING: The Surgeon General has determined that prolonged exposure to Edmonton Oiler hockey games may cause: sleepiness followed by irritability, paranoia that management is out to sabotage the team, uncontrollable verbal outbursts at tv sets, and in some causes, drunkeness and volatile diarrhea. Not to be confused with "Maple Leaf" syndrome that includes delusions of grandeur and unjustified boosts in self esteem and self worth.

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#14 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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#15 I'm a Scientist!
March 07 2013, 01:56PM
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God I love her. That is all.

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#16 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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#17 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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#18 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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#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 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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#21 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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#22 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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#23 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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#24 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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#25 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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#26 DV. Asteroid
March 07 2013, 05:17PM
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Hall-Nuge-Yak

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#27 Oilersfan4
March 07 2013, 07:18PM
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Plain and simple, the Oilers are brutal

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#28 MOe
March 07 2013, 08:25PM
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Kruger is fire for sure. RuFF RUFF RUFF RUFF

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#29 Harlie
March 07 2013, 08:26PM
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Lottery, lottery....I declare a lottery.

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#30 vetinari
March 07 2013, 08:27PM
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Final - Wings 3 Oilers 0

Thank god we traded for Mike Brown and fixed our fourth line because it made ALL the difference in the world, Tambellini...

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#31 Quintana
March 07 2013, 08:31PM
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Krueger has to go!!! now.

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#32 DSF
March 07 2013, 09:02PM
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Newj wrote:

I thought Yak had a decent effort/game, but he doesn't get the opportunity to be on ice when they pulled the goalie?

I dunno....just getting very frustated by the lack of juggling line-ups to maybe try to find something that clicks or some chemistry.

Same old. Same old.

Quicksilver had a few interesting line combinations.

Do something different... PLEEEASE.

Good grief...the Wings scored 2 even strength goals (not counting EN) and Yakupov was on the ice for both of them.

Kid can't play.

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#33 The Dude
March 07 2013, 09:02PM
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serious gord wrote:

He's a pederast dude...

Come on, man. I had a rough night and I hate the fricken' Eagles, man!

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#34 R-DAWG
March 07 2013, 09:20PM
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Well, now there are 3 things for sure in life. Death, Taxes, and my Oilers sucking hard! I hate being an Oilers fan!!

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#35 keilan
March 07 2013, 09:24PM
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How long before Mike Brown stops hitting and begins playing like the rest of these stiffs?

Ryan Smyth needs to retire tonight. Make up any excuse at all and save some face. No Oiler in their history has been given more love and money and given back so little.

No try, no compete, no heart, no leadership, can't skate, can't pass, can't shoot. My all-time most un-favorite Oiler.

I hated that he was brought back at the time and voiced it. Guys jumped all over everything I wrote here because they don't understand anything about assessing talent.

I expected this team to finish 12th in the west but that could very easily be a lot worse. It's how they lose that is killing me......

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#36 Walter Sobchak
March 07 2013, 09:37PM
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MOe wrote:

Kruger is fire for sure. RuFF RUFF RUFF RUFF

That's what your sister said!

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#37 Naky
March 07 2013, 09:41PM
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This team is so comfortable with their losing culture that it's sickening. It's obvious how comfortable they are with it in how they play each and every game with a lack of passion, consistency, and anything remotely resembling heart. The words they say afterwards and the pouty faces they make may say otherwise, but deep down they simply have to be comfortable with it or they'd have truly done something about it by now. 'Cuz hey, the bank account's still pretty sweet whether you win or lose right?

I have to say one thing though - this constant problem of lack of 5 on 5 scoring isn't just bad luck by now, twenty something games into a 48 game season. It's either a flawed system implemented by Krueger that opposing coaches have figured out and completely adjusted for or a bunch of players who are completely ignoring the system to do their own thing. In either situation, this bodes ill for a rookie NHL coach whose team is not nearly living up to even low expectations.

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#38 Jakethesname
March 07 2013, 09:50PM
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Complete joke this whole team. Even Hall doesn't give a F anymore. What a fn joke

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#39 Slats
March 07 2013, 09:54PM
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What the h#ll was that?!

I saw Oiler players banging into each other all over the ice. I saw players trip on the hash marks and blue line half dozen times.

Did anyone see in the 2nd Period on SN on the camera shot down the bench. The looks on their faces when it was 2-0 where Gagner had this crazy wide-eyed stare on his face and was just seething on the bench. That says it all - it was brutal to watch that.

I feel sorry for these players.

And Nashville tomorrow night they cant even go out and get hammered.

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#40 Slats
March 07 2013, 10:17PM
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@Cowbell_Feva

The guy has stopped 2nd most pucks in the NHL this year. Sure it was soft one but you are supposed to have a high powered offence to bail you out. They can't score 5on5. And worse now they have no hussle or fight that they can't even draw a penalty.

This D is so soft and so porous no goalie is going to win here.

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#41 Clay
March 07 2013, 11:53PM
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Dubnyk is far from the problem here. His save percentage is better thank all of Luongo, Schneider, Price, Howard, Rinne, Quick, Brodeur, Ward, Fleury, and on it goes. He's been flat out unbelievable given the fustercluck going on in front of him.

He gave up two goals tonight. C'mon guys. How about the fact that this team is on track to have the worst 5v5 goals/game since expansion in 1979?

If they were even league average 5v5, they'd have ~ 13 more goals. Since they're 4-2-5 in one goal games, you can do the math on what 13 more goals might mean to their position.

Let's lay the blame where it belongs - since Lowe has taken the reigns, the team has made the playoffs 3 times in 13 years. Including 0 times in 4 years since his hand-picked GM came aboard.

Since Katz bought the team, it's gone 130-177-44. Hopefully, in our lifetime, he'll realize that his bud Lowe and Co aren't the answer.

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#42 charliedont
March 08 2013, 07:29AM
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I'm thankful this wasn't a full season.

Gagner and Hemsky can fly at the trade deadline. Gagner is overachieving and has a dictionary without the word defence and Hemsky has never been a team-guy. We don't need pirouettes and give-aways. These guys would prosper on other teams and could hopefully add either some size to the front or some intelligence to the back.

Skilled guys like Hodgson and Vanek thrive in a lineup where Ott exists.

It could be worse. We could have a 40 year old Doug Weight, 40 year old Joseph and have just drafted a 132 pound high school kid. But, even THAT team is looking down on us.

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#43 Marcus
March 08 2013, 09:19AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Want changes? Stop buying the damn tix!

Grew up in Edm during the glory years. Hell, even saw Gordie Howe play the WHA Oilers in the Coliseum before we began to expect to win the Cup every spring. Left the province in '98. I understand the hockey hotbed mentality in Edm but..........

I cannot understand how that building remains full every game despite the crappy product being presented. Someone wrote that the exec box suites are not full anymore, that's a start. DO NOT GIVE THESE EXEC/MANAGEMENT FOOLS YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY!

Don't renew season tix (so many of you said you wouldn't during the lockout), eliminate the waiting list, save your money and don't buy walk up tix. Simple, right? I mean the product stinks right, so how much fun are you having going home dejected every night?

How many folks did we hear say they wouldn't support the Oil or NHL with merchandise purchases? Yet there they were in the deep lineups because they fooled you into some discounted (still way overpriced) merch.

So if you really must continue to buy tix and merch and booze at premium prices, at the very least could you start the odd 'LOWE MUST GO' chant. And 'GIVE STEVE THE HEAVE' while your at it.

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#44 non descript
March 08 2013, 09:38AM
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i think part of the problem is that the buffoons who run this "team" forgot to inform their fan base that the oilers would be playing rbculph.

i guess its death for seth, althought the idea of ruining another 18 year old hockey player in this talent vacuum does not excite me at all and in fact turns my stomach somewhat.

taylor hall and jordan eberle have no excuse. they are in their third year, wear letters and are about to make 6 f##cking million dollars apiece. are you kidding me with these two?

really looks to me like they did in fact draft max afinogenov first overall last year.

every day, more and more, i am coming to the stark realization that i root for the new york islanders. i really need to re assess my priorities.

ridiculously boring, completely undisciplined.

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#45 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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#46 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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#47 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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#48 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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#49 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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#50 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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