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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#101 keilan
March 08 2013, 07:54PM
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Dennis wrote:

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.

You Sam's your kind of player congrats!

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#102 HongKongHockeyFan
March 08 2013, 07:56PM
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Let me clear, I'm not a Oilers fan. But It's clearly time to fire Tambellini! There is still enough time left to salvage the season if management makes the right trades but it's clear that Tambellini is not capable of doing so. Yeah, getting Brown was a good move but it's small potatoes.

Management needs to show some guts and make some real hockey trades and get some grit out front and some real help in the backend. This means that some young assets need to be traded away otherwise they will all regress in unison. It's shocking how management is willing to accept mediocrity this year. The Oil are bigger a joke than the Flames. Pretty crazy...

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#103 Dennis
March 08 2013, 07:56PM
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@keilan

What? What does that even mean? Whatever bra, do whatever blows your hair back I guess. Sigh!

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#104 Dave
March 08 2013, 07:59PM
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Still my opinion that the Oilers will never win anything without a top tiered goalie.

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#105 Spydyr
March 08 2013, 08:00PM
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Bout time they take a run at Ebs .We destroy one of your to guys.Way to go Teddy.

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#106 keilan
March 08 2013, 08:01PM
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Dennis wrote:

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.

Nuge is in a slump...and you expect anyone to take you seriously?

The kid is 19 playing 1st line minutes where the skill, maturity dynamics are all wrong. Yep you stick with that.

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#107 shifty203
March 08 2013, 08:02PM
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keilan wrote:

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

Shame he doesn't feel the need to actually show up and play then.

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#108 Oilersfan4
March 08 2013, 08:02PM
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I would rather watch the Brier then finish watching this garbage. Just start cleaning house from management to players (not the kids).

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#109 Dennis
March 08 2013, 08:05PM
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@keilan

What's you deal buddy. My kind of player? I'm not taking you seriously because Nuge is having a tougher time the last few games? Alrighty then.

If by my kind of player you mean one that puts up points, shows teamwork, effort, etc then yes, that is my kind of player. Whether that player's last name is Hall, Eberle, Gagner, Schultz or wait for it...Nugent Hopkins doesn't matter to me. Good effing grief, give it up!

Nuge is an extremely gifted player. NOBODY is saying he ISN'T!! Even good players sometimes don't have luck go their way for a couple games. Ugh!

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#110 CliffClaven
March 08 2013, 08:06PM
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Make it stop Normie.

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#111 Paul
March 08 2013, 08:08PM
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keilan wrote:

Nuge is in a slump...and you expect anyone to take you seriously?

The kid is 19 playing 1st line minutes where the skill, maturity dynamics are all wrong. Yep you stick with that.

Are you trolling?! 93 IS in a funk. He's got one goal and seven assists. Even the panel on sportsnet just mentioned it. So what? It happens. All you need to do is look at the stats on the team page to see he's having a harder time this season than he was last season!

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#112 Mike Krushelnyski
March 08 2013, 08:09PM
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3 months of lockout and it only takes 2 months for me to lose the stomach to watch Oilers hockey. I don't want to jump ship, but I feel like such a sucker for supporting this team.

Smart investment, Mr. Katz. You'll keep making a mint running out a garbage product to a rabidly loyal fan base for years to come.

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#113 Time Travelling Sean
March 08 2013, 08:09PM
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I feel so shamed, I actually thought this team was decent to the point of competing. The Blue Jackets lose more oft than not, but they lose as a team, to the end, at the least.

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#114 Paul
March 08 2013, 08:10PM
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shifty203 wrote:

Shame he doesn't feel the need to actually show up and play then.

Yep, pretty much what the analysts said. Said that someone needs to take him aside and have a chat because he's a better player than this. He'll get better, but something is up. Maybe his shoulder is buggin him.

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#115 Paul
March 08 2013, 08:12PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

I feel so shamed, I actually thought this team was decent to the point of competing. The Blue Jackets lose more oft than not, but they lose as a team, to the end, at the least.

Hard to stomach, eh? No compete in this team, and it's ridiculous. They're on their way to geting shut out a second time in as many nights. Awful!!

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#116 michael
March 08 2013, 08:13PM
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4-0 . The 2-0 goal put a knife in us.Where did we hear that before? Shut out? I'd take the odds on that bet at 1-5.That the Oilers get shutout.Brutal. No finish. Best thing so far.Peckham and Brown showing some balls.On to Chicago and we'll be home and cooled soon. Once this team comes home there should be a funeral held for all the expectations that will need to buried including any hope of taking a step forward this season.The Slow Death for Seth and or the Not winnin for Makinnon draft will be the officail slogan of \oilersnation until June 30th. And the Oilers with the historic 4th number 1 pick in a row choose Seth Jones from the Portland Winter Hawks says GM Craig MacTavish.

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#117 Crispy
March 08 2013, 08:15PM
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We suck again!

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#118 Naky
March 08 2013, 08:15PM
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So since Krueger likes to pull goalies after a period ends, usually after two goals are scored, who's going in net for the third? Strap dem pads on Bucky? Seems fitting for the gongshow going on right now.

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#119 Paul
March 08 2013, 08:18PM
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Crispy wrote:

We suck again!

When did we not suck? Haha!

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#120 keilan
March 08 2013, 08:18PM
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Dennis wrote:

What's you deal buddy. My kind of player? I'm not taking you seriously because Nuge is having a tougher time the last few games? Alrighty then.

If by my kind of player you mean one that puts up points, shows teamwork, effort, etc then yes, that is my kind of player. Whether that player's last name is Hall, Eberle, Gagner, Schultz or wait for it...Nugent Hopkins doesn't matter to me. Good effing grief, give it up!

Nuge is an extremely gifted player. NOBODY is saying he ISN'T!! Even good players sometimes don't have luck go their way for a couple games. Ugh!

Nuge is the best 19yo on the planet.

Sam struggles mightily to be a complete player after 5 years in the league. He is below average on almost all aspects of his position.

If you judge someone by points only you're gonna be wrong far more often then you're right.

Getzlaf signed today for 8 million per season and he scored 8 goals with 42 helpers last year. Guess what he might have gotten more had he held out. Getzlaf is the real deal, Sam is not.

Time to take the dog for a walk!

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#121 Paul
March 08 2013, 08:21PM
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keilan wrote:

Nuge is the best 19yo on the planet.

Sam struggles mightily to be a complete player after 5 years in the league. He is below average on almost all aspects of his position.

If you judge someone by points only you're gonna be wrong far more often then you're right.

Getzlaf signed today for 8 million per season and he scored 8 goals with 42 helpers last year. Guess what he might have gotten more had he held out. Getzlaf is the real deal, Sam is not.

Time to take the dog for a walk!

Dude I don't think you're reading skills are up to par. That's not what I got out of that post at all but hey each to their own. BTW, 8 goals and 42 helpers is 50 points, which isn't the same as 8 but I'm guessing you knew that. Haha!

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#122 Mike Krushelnyski
March 08 2013, 08:22PM
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Paul wrote:

When did we not suck? Haha!

6.5 years ago

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#123 Spydyr
March 08 2013, 08:24PM
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michael wrote:

4-0 . The 2-0 goal put a knife in us.Where did we hear that before? Shut out? I'd take the odds on that bet at 1-5.That the Oilers get shutout.Brutal. No finish. Best thing so far.Peckham and Brown showing some balls.On to Chicago and we'll be home and cooled soon. Once this team comes home there should be a funeral held for all the expectations that will need to buried including any hope of taking a step forward this season.The Slow Death for Seth and or the Not winnin for Makinnon draft will be the officail slogan of \oilersnation until June 30th. And the Oilers with the historic 4th number 1 pick in a row choose Seth Jones from the Portland Winter Hawks says GM Craig MacTavish.

How about a Gm that has not been fired once already.Someone who has actually paid his dues knows hockey and is not an ex-Oiler.

Try something unusual for this organization and hire the best candidate available.Not some old boy from the club.

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#124 EP
March 08 2013, 08:25PM
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This has to be the end of the road for someone. Tambellini, Lowe, MacT, or Kruger. Preferably all 4. It's time. This is brutal.

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#125 Shermanater
March 08 2013, 08:25PM
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Little better than a minor league team

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#126 geeker99
March 08 2013, 08:27PM
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No goals and no powerplays in 5 periods which is crazy for supposed "quick young team" wow nothing looks good, maybe Jersey Shore is on.

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#127 vetinari
March 08 2013, 08:27PM
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5 to 0 for Nashville now...

Thank god you traded for Mike Brown because that made all the difference in the world to this team, Steve!

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#128 Randy35
March 08 2013, 08:27PM
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The hospitals are going to be busy tonite with all the broken legs from the bandwagon jumpers.

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#129 andrewmk20
March 08 2013, 08:28PM
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I agree, it's time Edmonton cleans out it's management team. The only ones who should be left standing are Stu MacGregor and the amateur scouting staff.

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#130 Gilmore Tuttle
March 08 2013, 08:28PM
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Double fisting in Nashville tonight alright.

The Soilers are taking two fists right up to the elbows so far.

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#131 DrunkGuyTy
March 08 2013, 08:29PM
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Feel free to join in...

B0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#132 Mike Krushelnyski
March 08 2013, 08:29PM
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Randy35 wrote:

The hospitals are going to be busy tonite with all the broken legs from the bandwagon jumpers.

What bandwagon? This has been the worst team in the league for 4 years running.

Also: WE WANT 10!!!

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#133 Dennis
March 08 2013, 08:30PM
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@keilan

Look, I'm going to say this again because apparently you are totally ignoring the content of my posts. I'll put it in capitals so you can get it.

Nugent-Hopkins is an EXTREMLY GIFTED PLAYER...NOBODY is saying he isn't. Points, EFFORT, COMPETE LEVEL, TEAMWORK, PASSION, ETC are ALL important in my opinion.If ANYONE plays with these things then yes, they are a good player in my opinion REGARDLESS of their name.

Please learn how to digest full meaning before saying that others are saying the complete opposite of what they actually said.

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#134 Dennis
March 08 2013, 08:31PM
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@Paul

I appreciate the effort, however I think it will end up being completely pointless.

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#135 Gilmore Tuttle
March 08 2013, 08:32PM
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Randy35 wrote:

The hospitals are going to be busy tonite with all the broken legs from the bandwagon jumpers.

They will have to wait in line behind all of you that have overdosed on the crapper and blow Koolaid.

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#136 Alsker
March 08 2013, 08:33PM
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Holy crap-sh^t batman, this is beyond embarrassing, this is worse than that fateful morning in Hartford so many years ago..that was a speedbump on the road to the cup this is....undefined

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#137 geeker99
March 08 2013, 08:33PM
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@vetinari

really your going after Brown? he did his job tonight and is one of the only oilers with a little try in him. Not offensively gifted but hits to hurt.

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#138 James
March 08 2013, 08:35PM
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4-93-14 have been on for 3 goals against. Ouch! God this game is a huge f@*king stinker just like the rest of this roadie. Time to tuck your balls in and head home with the ole tail in between your legs like the neutered dogs your are Oilers.

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#139 Oilersfan4
March 08 2013, 08:36PM
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Darryl Katz is just like the oilers management, neither have the BALLS to make a change.

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#140 vetinari
March 08 2013, 08:37PM
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Randy35 wrote:

The hospitals are going to be busy tonite with all the broken legs from the bandwagon jumpers.

With the greatest of respect, Randy35, blow me (and about a few thousand other fans)...

Being a fan doesn't mean blind, stupid support of a dysfunctional team that once was great. It's fine to have an opinion on the team's problems and how to correct them (by the way, fire Tambi). If you think that this team is perfect as it is or will play its way out of its current tailspin, then fine, but don't try to be sanctimonious when others express their displeasure over how this team is built, how it is run or how they play.

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#141 Gilmore Tuttle
March 08 2013, 08:38PM
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It appears that the Preds have gone to the "three pass" before you score rule that is the staple of minor hockey tournaments when two teams are mis-tiered. Glad to see some sportsmanship still exists in the world.

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#142 vetinari
March 08 2013, 08:38PM
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geeker99 wrote:

really your going after Brown? he did his job tonight and is one of the only oilers with a little try in him. Not offensively gifted but hits to hurt.

His job is meaningless if the players around who are paid to score, don't, and the goalies can't stop a volleyball. You don't get a car moving by changing its spare tire... you gotta be where the rubber hits the road.

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#143 EP
March 08 2013, 08:39PM
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This is the 4th year in a row that I've said "this is rock bottom." Unfortunately, every year they manage to dig a little deeper.

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#144 Spydyr
March 08 2013, 08:42PM
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Randy35 wrote:

The hospitals are going to be busy tonite with all the broken legs from the bandwagon jumpers.

The Oiler have been my team since before they entered the NHL.Most people here bleed Oiler blue.Go Trolloff!

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#145 Crispy
March 08 2013, 08:42PM
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Paul wrote:

When did we not suck? Haha!

1990

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#146 Dennis
March 08 2013, 08:42PM
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Not a single PP so far. Good grief this is brutal. We can't even draw a single penalty?

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#147 Dennis
March 08 2013, 08:43PM
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@Crispy

Ok I totally laughed at that. Gold, buddy!

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#148 andrewmk20
March 08 2013, 08:43PM
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@vetinari

I agree with you Vetinari, randy35 seems to be missing the point of all this displeasure. If we were bandwagon jumpers than we'd just not post at all because we would have stopped cheering and supporting our hometown team. The fact is we are all angry and complaining because we are fans. Passion is passion, and it can come out positively or negatively, and based upon how the Oilers are playing recently of course the fans passion is going to be reflected in a negative manner.

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#149 Spydyr
March 08 2013, 08:43PM
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EP wrote:

This is the 4th year in a row that I've said "this is rock bottom." Unfortunately, every year they manage to dig a little deeper.

Time to trade some talent for some heart.

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#150 Mike Krushelnyski
March 08 2013, 08:44PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

Darryl Katz is just like the oilers management, neither have the BALLS to make a change.

What's his incentive to make a change? Rexall will be sold out when the oilers get home.

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