NASHVILLE: DOUBLE FISTING FRIDAY

Jason Gregor
March 08 2013 12:15PM

*We encourage everyone to drink responsibly.*

Friday is one of the best days of week. The work week is over, you look forward to a few days off and you've usually got something planned. Most of you will watch tonight's game in Nashville despite how frustrated you were watching last night's game in Detroit.

That's what Oiler fans do. You're a veteran when it comes to dealing with hockey disappointment. You loathe the feeling, yet you still show up and watch the next game. Despite this seemingly endless cycle of losing, you still find the strength and courage to watch your beloved Oilers.

You went to bed last night with the intention to do anything but watch the Oiler game tonight. However, just like when you know that extra shooter at 1 a.m. will make you feel worse in the morning, you just can't say no, and tonight you will hunker down and watch the Oilers battle the Predators.

Don't worry you aren't alone. Thousands of Oiler fans feel the exact same way, and if you want company to drown your sorrows you'll find hundreds of Oiler fans watching at the Pint off Whyte tonight.

LINEUP

At this point does it really matter? Just ice 18 skaters who will play smart and with the intensity and passion necessary to compete in the NHL.

Ales Hemsky will be a game time decision after being hit by a puck last night. If he can't go Lennart Petrell or Ben Eager draw in. Not a great trade off.

Also Chris Vande Velde has been sent down to OKC, which is a bit odd considering Shawn Horcoff isn't ready yet. Moving Smyth back to C, where he has to skate more, on back-to-back nights is a tad perplexing.

This team's "Give-A-Crap" meter needs to increase, so who plays where is secondary.

Devan Dubnyk is a better goalie than Yann Danis. Dubnyk can handle playing back-to-back and on paper he gives them the best chance to win, which is why he'll start tonight. Many didn't like the first goal last night, and I can respect that, but until the Oilers produce some offence it is hard to blame the goalie.

It might not be fair, but Dubnyk has to stand on his head until the Oilers score the first goal of the game. If they score first they will have a chance.

QUICK HITS

Some have suggested that hitting can impact the outcome of games and some say it doesn't. 

It is hard to argue either side with any accuracy, since the statisticians/hit counters from building to building all judge a hit differently, but that is all we have to go on so let's take a close look at the Oilers record when they out hit the opposition and when they get out hit.

I didn't include the four games that went to SO, since winning or losing that way isn't "real" hockey. The Oilers went 2-2 in shootout.

Let's start with games the Oilers get out shot, but they out hit the opposition. 

Location Dec  Opp  GF  GA  SF  SA  HF HA
Road L MIN 2 4 21 43 16 15
Road L CGY 3 4 20 35 19 14
Road O CHI 2 3 19 34 42 29
Road W CBJ 3 1 14 40 26 13
Road L DET 3 0 22 28 26 15

Not great. They are 1-3-1 and the only win came when Devan Dubnyk was outstanding.

Here are games where the Oilers have out hit the opposition, but this time they out shot them or were tied in shots. Tied in shots or hits only happened once, so I chose to keep it in. 

Location Dec  Opp  GF  GA  SF  SA  HF HA
Home L DAL 1 4 36 29 26 25
Road W DAL 5 1 38 34 29 28
Home W COL 6 4 56 29 34 33
Home L MIN 3 1 28 28 34 19

Oilers went 2-2. What is interesting is that in the nine games the Oilers have out hit the opposition 6 came on the road and 3 came at home. Tyler Dellow wrote an article that illustrated how across the league the home building usually marks hits in favour of the home team, but so far this year that isn't the case with the Oilers.

In total the Oilers are 3-5-1 in games where they've out hit the opposition.

Here is the Oilers record when they've been out hit and out shot. 

Location Dec  Opp  GF  GA  SF  SA  HF HA
Road L STL 2 4 17 30 16 27
Home L LAK 1 3 24 38 17 32
Road L DET 1 2 24 30 14 24
Road L COL 1 3 26 40 16 25
Home L SJS 3 6 29 31 11 13
Home O VAN 2 3 25 40 17 19
Road W PHX 2 1 21 28 24 44
Home W COL 4 1 27 38 25 26

The Oilers are 2-5-1 and not surprisingly these games were some of their worst efforts of the season.

Lastly, here is the Oilers record in games they've been out hit, but out shot the opposition.

Home W LAK 2 1 39 31 12 18
Home O DAL 2 3 29 28 10 12

The Oilers went 1-0-1. Also of note they were out hit in 6 home games and 4 road games. When you consider Dellow's article about home bias, it means either the Oilers stats guys call it as they see it, or they used their bias just to make it look close. Likely the former.

TOTALS

The Oilers are 3-5-1 when they've out hit the opposition and are 3-5-2 when they've been out hit. Basically they have the same record whether they out hit a team or get out hit. They lose either way, which is the most concerning.

I don't believe the majority of hits have a direct factor in the outcome of most games, the odd big hit that leads directly to a goal can, but most are used to hopefully wear down the opposition or make them rush a pass that could lead to a scoring chance.

When I suggest the Oilers need to be grittier and tougher it isn't just about hits, far from it actually. I've never said they just need a guy who can hit. I wrote yesterday why I think they added Mike Brown, because he'll be an improvement over Ben Eager. Brown won't be taking minutes away from more "skilled" players.

Make no mistake, when I talk about the need for grit and toughness it is more about a dedication to out working the opposition. Stop turning the puck over at the offensive blueline (mental toughness), don't be afraid to take the puck to the net and win more one-on-one battles. Some of those battles will involve body contact, but many  will just be a flat out battle to get the puck. The Oilers need to start winning more of them and start playing smarter.

The bigger concern for the Oilers is their inability to get shots on net. Not surprisingly the Oilers are 2-8-2 when they've been out shot and 3-2-1 when they've outshot the opposition. Again, just using shot totals as the main factor in losses would be deceiving as well, but it does give you an indication of how the game will end.

Take last night for instance. The Oilers were outshot 28-22 which doesn't look awful, but David Staples had the scoring chances were 22 to 6. That's brutal.

Either way the Oilers need to improve many aspects of their game, but suggesting that hitting hurts the Oilers is misleading. They have much bigger concerns that if they are hitting too much.

POSITIVE FRIDAY

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The good news is that the Oilers can't possibly play worse than they did last night, and last year they crushed the Predators 6-2 and 6-3 in Nashville. I see a better effort, but it results in a 3-2 SO loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The sight of Adrianna Lima gets you in a better mood. Sometimes you just need some "Lima-Time." With Horcoff's return getting closer, many will say how much the team misses him. Of course this means the end of the world is coming, but at leat you got to see Lima one more time.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Lima will read this post and send me a tweet thanking me for the support. She also offers to mail 100 Nation readers a never-been-seen-before-behind-the-scenes calender of her most recent photo shoot if the Oilers win. Just when you thought a loss couldn't hurt anymore than it does now.... 

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 Time Travelling Sean
March 08 2013, 03:08PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

You also need to factor in that he missed 21 games to injury

I meant John Carlson, he plays for the Capitals.

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#52 oilerjed
March 08 2013, 03:09PM
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The article started out so strong.. Bold headline of "double fisting......" followed by an incredibly hot young lady. Unfortunately followed up with more talk of the oil losing again. Watching them is depressing enough, Jason, is it to much to ask that you blow smoke up our butts and tell us more about the process... but thanks for Lima.

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#53 Time Travelling Sean
March 08 2013, 03:12PM
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We lose 4-3.

We are leading 3-0 going into the 3rd but it's too hard and we're too tired so we quit and die and say how upset we are at the end of the game, and say we'll be better, and have our idiot GM say the same things, and have RK shrug his shoulders and say, "The players play the game, I can't do it for them."

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#54 G Money
March 08 2013, 03:13PM
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@ Gregor,

A good way to determine the link between hits and winning would be to use classic statistical correlation. Basically, use goal differential (not including shootouts) vs hit differential.

(Same analysis is/could be used to determine validity e.g. of Corsi).

In English, for a particular game, if the Oilers lost 3-2 but outhit the opposition 20-18, the data points for the game would be -1 and +2.

You could then look across all team games, not just Oiler games, and see what the statistical correlation goal diffhit diff was. This (in theory) should wash out individual hit count differentials in different arenas.

Based on your analysis above, we would expect to see a goals/hits correlation close to zero. Not sure if anyone has done this analysis ...if so - link please! ... easy enough to do but no time...

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#55 PapaMike
March 08 2013, 03:19PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Were you even surprised? And come on Perry? What is this Be a GM? Why not pick up Iginla while we're at it too

I like Perry and Iggy, would take them on my team anyday. But seeing as you have your panties knotted up, yes it is be a GM Day at my work. That is why I can type here and not work at my real job. It is almost like being hall for president.

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#56 keilan
March 08 2013, 03:26PM
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PapaMike wrote:

$66 MILLION for Getzlaf. Yikes, that seems a wee bit high for me. I wonder if there is a way we can get Perry out here?

Worth every cent, wish the Oil would step up to the plate just once.

8.25 mil for Getzlaf - Horcoff and Smyth last year cost 12+

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#57 PapaMike
March 08 2013, 03:36PM
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keilan wrote:

Worth every cent, wish the Oil would step up to the plate just once.

8.25 mil for Getzlaf - Horcoff and Smyth last year cost 12+

I think that the Oilers will have more wiggle room once Horcoff is off the books, I just don't know if they know how or who to spend it on. If the culture of losing continues on for much longer, they may have no other choice than to overpay to attract a UFA of any calibre.

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#58 Rama Lama
March 08 2013, 04:08PM
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Well the double fisting had me thinking about all sorts of things........least of all hockey!

I think that Renny was on to something..........maybe easing the kids into heavy minutes was the correct strategy after all. It seems to me Krueger is doing exactly that with Yakupov except he keeps choosing less effective players to fill that spot........most confunding? Not sure how I feel about this, except using Jones as a replacement for Hemsky is like Renny using Belenger on the PP........does not make any sense to anyone except themselves.

I'm starting the think that bringing in Brown was a diversionary tactic to get the fans vitriol pointed away from management. If we can keep drafting first for the next couple of years our third and fourth lines will be comprised of first round draft picks.

There is no reason to believe that the team will not finish last once again.

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#59 Hayek
March 08 2013, 04:09PM
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Will wrote:

Without having read any of the comments, is anyone going to give even a modicum of credit management for bringing in Brown. Especially anyone who has written here or any place else that the Oilers need someone to protect the kids but preferably someone who can actually play hockey. Brown led the team in hits, played for about ten minutes, skated well, and sent a message real early to Tooto. If he does that night in and night out, that is a solid acquisition.

I actually feel bad for the guy as the Leafs have been so crappy for so long, and the year they are finally good, he gets traded to the team that is still crappy. That has to hurt. And yet, did he whine, was he sad, di he play without heart? No, he went out there and punched the crap out of Tootoo, or maybe Rutu, I can't remember.

Comments like this are ones the make me laugh, at how people actually believe things like this. As far as I remember, Oilers have not been run this year, any more so that any other team. Having these goons in your lineup does not prevent hits, just as it hasn't with McIntyre, Peckham, and Stortini in the same lineup. How about look at it from the same asinine statement from the opposing team. Tootoo has been such an effective player for the Wings. After being hit by Brown, he stood up for himself and fought Brown. Immediately after, the Wings scored. Because of the threat of Tootoo, Oilers players such as Smid, Brown, Eager did not dare intimidate of hit a Wing for the rest of the game.

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#60 Lochenzo
March 08 2013, 04:10PM
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They need Patchs O'Hollihan to throw wrenches at them during practice. "You gotta get angry! You gotta get mean!"

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#61 keilan
March 08 2013, 04:14PM
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PapaMike wrote:

I think that the Oilers will have more wiggle room once Horcoff is off the books, I just don't know if they know how or who to spend it on. If the culture of losing continues on for much longer, they may have no other choice than to overpay to attract a UFA of any calibre.

Getzlaf is an unique player and probably under-appreciated as a hockey player. I can't think of another player in the league that brings what he brings.

My fear is when the Oiler's do step up it will be a bust. I've lost whatever faith I had in Klowe.

Anyways he's signed and the Oilers don't get a chance to acquire him. Knowing this management it's entirely possible that he wasn't on their radar.

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#62 sjshep
March 08 2013, 04:29PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Well the double fisting had me thinking about all sorts of things........least of all hockey!

I think that Renny was on to something..........maybe easing the kids into heavy minutes was the correct strategy after all. It seems to me Krueger is doing exactly that with Yakupov except he keeps choosing less effective players to fill that spot........most confunding? Not sure how I feel about this, except using Jones as a replacement for Hemsky is like Renny using Belenger on the PP........does not make any sense to anyone except themselves.

I'm starting the think that bringing in Brown was a diversionary tactic to get the fans vitriol pointed away from management. If we can keep drafting first for the next couple of years our third and fourth lines will be comprised of first round draft picks.

There is no reason to believe that the team will not finish last once again.

You are clueless. Now you love Renny. Last year you hated him. When we get a new GM the next year you will say you likes what Tamby was doing. Are you sure your not from Red Deer. Seems like you are stuck in the middle and cant decide which way to turn

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#63 Taylor Gang
March 08 2013, 04:42PM
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PapaMike wrote:

I like Perry and Iggy, would take them on my team anyday. But seeing as you have your panties knotted up, yes it is be a GM Day at my work. That is why I can type here and not work at my real job. It is almost like being hall for president.

That's my blog name, completely different. I'm just saying do you REALLY think that's what this team needs? You only pick up superstars like Perry if you're looking to make a serious Cup run. Since we clearly aren't, all we'd get is Perry for about one month and we'd lose him to free agency. I don't think you understand the cycle of choosing players for your roster.

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#64 Puck JammeR!
March 08 2013, 04:56PM
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Oilers FRIGGIN SUCK! Players who need to be GONE ASAP

Whorcough Belangegay Ebergay Poorey Pooter Ryan Sh!tney Teemo Hard-for-guys-nen Ben Eager (to do it with a guy) Gags (you know what he gags on) Deaf and Dumbnyk

BUT MOST OF ALL RALF BOOGER

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#65 Hayek
March 08 2013, 05:04PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

That's my blog name, completely different. I'm just saying do you REALLY think that's what this team needs? You only pick up superstars like Perry if you're looking to make a serious Cup run. Since we clearly aren't, all we'd get is Perry for about one month and we'd lose him to free agency. I don't think you understand the cycle of choosing players for your roster.

Exactly!

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#66 Phixieus666
March 08 2013, 05:05PM
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@Puck JammeR!

you got way too much time on your hands man.

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#67 Rama Lama
March 08 2013, 05:15PM
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sjshep wrote:

You are clueless. Now you love Renny. Last year you hated him. When we get a new GM the next year you will say you likes what Tamby was doing. Are you sure your not from Red Deer. Seems like you are stuck in the middle and cant decide which way to turn

Now why do you have to be like that??

There is one thing that I can guarantee .............I will never say that Tamby is or was a good GM.

For that to happen, he would have to get a second line center and a big rugged winger ( like Lucic) for Horcoff and Belenger.

One can dream!

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#68 Hayek
March 08 2013, 05:53PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Now why do you have to be like that??

There is one thing that I can guarantee .............I will never say that Tamby is or was a good GM.

For that to happen, he would have to get a second line center and a big rugged winger ( like Lucic) for Horcoff and Belenger.

One can dream!

Lucic for Horcoff and Belanger? Are you even serious. You could add our 1st and 2nd round picks and Boston wouldn't take that.

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#69 Taylor Gang
March 08 2013, 06:19PM
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Hayek wrote:

Lucic for Horcoff and Belanger? Are you even serious. You could add our 1st and 2nd round picks and Boston wouldn't take that.

It's like people don't understand the value of players! Hahaha

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#70 OilHub
March 08 2013, 06:21PM
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Anyone have a link to watch the game?

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#71 Paul
March 08 2013, 06:30PM
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@Puck JammeR!

Idiot

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#72 Dennis
March 08 2013, 06:40PM
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Weak sauce by Jones on that breakaway shot.

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#73 RSD
March 08 2013, 06:42PM
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@Puck JammeR!

Chill-out bro it will improve, you are expecting too much, too quick and the season isn't even over yet. A couple of winning streaks and it can all change; Nashville just scored so maybe not tonight.

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Anyone for a sing-a-long??? I'll start..

You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both......

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#75 HOBOjuice
March 08 2013, 06:45PM
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Cam barker really threw the fists on....oh wait

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#76 keilan
March 08 2013, 06:49PM
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Mike Brown is expendable for the Leafs but since joining the Oil has shown more courage then any other forward...unfrickenbelieveable.

good work Brownie!

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#77 Ogie Oilthorpe
March 08 2013, 06:57PM
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keilan wrote:

Mike Brown is expendable for the Leafs but since joining the Oil has shown more courage then any other forward...unfrickenbelieveable.

good work Brownie!

Couldn't agree more.. Nice to see a little fire after that first goal. Whether you agree with fighting in the NHL or not, what a breath of fresh air to see some passion from someone other than Smid and Hallsy.

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#78 pelhem grenville
March 08 2013, 07:04PM
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...NEXT GAME THUR MAR 8- 6:30 PM ?

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#79 keilan
March 08 2013, 07:09PM
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Tough goal by Dobie, wonder if his team will rally behind him?

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#80 David Bowes
March 08 2013, 07:10PM
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Can they possibly suck any more than they do now?

They are brutal front to back and in between. After Tambo wins 4th lotto in a row they need changes top to bottom. And no one should be untouchable.

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#81 moe
March 08 2013, 07:11PM
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Rally......pfft! They are too lazy too even wipe their a$$es! I hope they loose every game until Kats fires coach and management !

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#82 vetinari
March 08 2013, 07:17PM
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That second goal by Nashville really says it all about how our season is going... it seems like the Oilers gave up about 4 or 5 games into this road trip and are just phoning it in until they can get home to regroup.

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#83 keilan
March 08 2013, 07:20PM
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@David Bowes

The kids get a pass from me but Smyth, Gagner,Whitney and the like should be moved or bought out.

Nugg and Yak are the best 19 yr olds in the world so I'm not to sure no one is untouchable.

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#84 Dennis
March 08 2013, 07:22PM
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@keilan

You want to move or buy out our top points producer and one of the only people on the team who gives a crap?

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#85 a lg dubl dubl
March 08 2013, 07:25PM
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this is gross

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#86 OilHub
March 08 2013, 07:25PM
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WOW funny when you listened to the Gregor show today he said they couldn't play any worse...WRONG!!

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#87 vetinari
March 08 2013, 07:31PM
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Could we get a camera on Tambellini and Lowe's faces during the game?

On a side note, has anyone noticed that during this road trip, most of the stadiums are about 1/2 to 2/3 full but there's actually people showing up for a game in Nashville on a Friday night?

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#88 Gilmore Tuttle
March 08 2013, 07:36PM
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Gee I thought Craig "Homer" Simpson was back in the broadcast booth but it was only Louie praising Teddy Grapes Peckman for injuring a Nashville player by cross checking him into the boards. Old time hockey Teddy - atta boy.

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#89 bazmagoo
March 08 2013, 07:37PM
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So Gaustad instigates a fight with Peckham while wearing a visor and the Oilers get the extra penalty?

Wow can't believe I'm wasting my time watching this game.

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#90 keilan
March 08 2013, 07:39PM
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Dennis wrote:

You want to move or buy out our top points producer and one of the only people on the team who gives a crap?

Yeah and the sooner the better.

I'm sick and tired of listening to guys on this board singing the praises of him and Smyth. Either one of these guys would bring anything back way of trade but somehow guys like you love them.

Using your metric for measuring talent I guess Gagner is twice the player as the Nugg. Nice Dennis!

I'd trade Gagner and Hemsky in a heartbeat and I'd have never have brought Smyth into that dressing room.

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#91 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 08 2013, 07:40PM
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any time tambo...any time...

no rush though. finishing assessing the prior assessments that were based on the assessments from the last number of years.

im not expecting earth shattering trades. im not even expecting playoffs. i wouldnt mind expecting a few minutes a night that dont appear to be a trainwreck.

i should know better by now. keep kicking me in the balls and eventually i will stop asking for more.

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#92 vetinari
March 08 2013, 07:42PM
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I said this in an earlier post on the Detroit Red Wings game thread but I thing that it bears repeating:

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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#93 geeker99
March 08 2013, 07:44PM
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I have a question, if the Barons go deep into the playoffs can the kids go down and play? Hall, J schultz, Nuge, Ebs, Maggie. Anyone?

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#94 Shifty203
March 08 2013, 07:46PM
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@keilan

Gags may not actually be twice the player that Hopkins os, but he's sure playing like it this season.

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#95 Dennis
March 08 2013, 07:46PM
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@keilan

Don't put words in my mouth, guy. There's no "metric", and nobody thinks Nuge is a bad player by any means. I never sang the praises of Smyth either. Nor am I singing the praises of Sam Gagner. All I'm pointing out is that the kid is producing. Good grief! How you came up with that is beyond me. You know what I'm sick of? People wanting to move out our young talent with no examples of what they'd get back in return. All I'm saying is the kid is young and contributing to more of our lacking offense than anyone else. Who is going to make up for that? I'm not saying he's untouchable, but if you're going to send him away you'd better make damn sure you're getting some return. Smyth I'll give you, and maybe even Hemsky. Then again one is really old and slow, the other is getting older and has never really fit into the mold. Big difference there.

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#96 Spydyr
March 08 2013, 07:46PM
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From centre.So who still thinks Dubbie is the answer?

You are part of the problem.

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#97 Dennis
March 08 2013, 07:48PM
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@Shifty203

Fair point, he's bringing tangibles that we need right now on a sorely underperforming team. Nuge is in a slump, but he's young and will work his way out of it. How someone gets that he's a half player out of that is really a stretch.

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#98 106 and 106
March 08 2013, 07:51PM
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I tell ya guys - I hate to lose in our Rec Football League, none-the-less for 7 years straight - don't know how the competitors on the team (Hall, etc) do it and keep the muzzle on during the media scrums. Takes a lot to keep quiet and not show anger.

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#99 keilan
March 08 2013, 07:52PM
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Shifty203 wrote:

Gags may not actually be twice the player that Hopkins os, but he's sure playing like it this season.

You have no idea, RNH has more talent in his pinky then Sam's entire family.

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#100 DrunkGuyTy
March 08 2013, 07:54PM
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From the bottom of my heart .....

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

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