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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#1 EP
March 08 2013, 09:06PM
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I need someone to hold me and tell me everything's going to be okay.

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#2 Old Retired Guy
March 08 2013, 11:05PM
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On the one hand one is always hoping/cheering for the win.....and always concerned about the emergence of the "culture of losing".......

On the other hand, given the orgnaizations seemingly inexhastable patience with the rebuild mentality and the glass is half full attitude.....Maybe several good beat downs and a bottom 4 finish to the season is what's required to FORCE the trades/changes that many here are hoping for???

On the other hand......( wait....that's 3 hands....whose F*#king hand is that...)...Whitney is starting to look good enough that someone might actually want him in a trade...and Hemmer may make it to the end of the season in good enough health to also be moved....

I'm predicting we'll be getting Ryan Clowe, a Blue Jackets defenseman, and a Big Center in the Draft.....

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#3 Jay
March 08 2013, 12:29PM
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Another game already? Is there no break from the misery and disappointment?

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#4 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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#5 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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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 Crispy
March 08 2013, 08:15PM
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We suck again!

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#10 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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#11 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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#12 Mike Krushelnyski
March 08 2013, 08:52PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Beet them?

How do you do that feed them too much Borscht so they can't even skate?

There are not enough beets in the world. They'd be all "thanks for the borscht losers" while scoring and dropping beet farts in our faces.

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#13 Ales Hallsky
March 08 2013, 09:12PM
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I bet mike brown would rather sit in the press box as a leaf than be a part of this...

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#14 EP
March 08 2013, 09:14PM
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Naky wrote:

Anyone else remember when Krueger said that this team would be a team with high octane offense that would compete hard every night?

Yeah.

He must not have been referring to game nights.

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#15 6 ring circus
March 09 2013, 01:20AM
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When Katz told Tambellini and Lowe he wanted the Oiler's to be like Detroit,he should have been more specific and told them the Red Wings, not the NFL Lion's!!!!

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#16 lucky
March 08 2013, 12:26PM
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I vow not to sober up until we make the playoffs.

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#17 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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#18 106 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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#19 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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#20 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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#21 Old Retired Guy
March 08 2013, 11:13PM
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Also.....Love Mike Brown......couldn't give a S**t if he ever scores a point....his abilty and willingness to kick ass is a frigin godsend.

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I think we lose tonight and inexplicably hand Chicago their first regulation loss on Sunday.

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#23 John Chambers
March 08 2013, 12:35PM
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Hayek wrote:

I know Oilers think that Seth Jones is the answer, because he's a good defender. But Johnathan Druin is the real deal. Please can we get Druin. With talented forwards such as him on a stacked young team, signing UFA defenders will not be a problem.

You know what the Oilers really need to do to perform better?

Age

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#24 Jay
March 08 2013, 12:41PM
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Hayek wrote:

I know Oilers think that Seth Jones is the answer, because he's a good defender. But Johnathan Druin is the real deal. Please can we get Druin. With talented forwards such as him on a stacked young team, signing UFA defenders will not be a problem.

Hall-RNH-Ebs & Drouin-Gags-Yak looks good to me. Then three more years of lottery picks and we'll have a good third line. 4 more lotto years after that our defence will start rounding into shape. The hard part is gonna be finding a goalie somewhere

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#25 Brad 21
March 08 2013, 12:42PM
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Watching the oilers is like driving by a car accident you know what the outcome will be but you cant look away. And seriously am i the only person who gets road rage while sitting on my couch. Time for tambi to wake up and make some trades and give this team a soul. Can you say Stewart and Clowe.

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#26 Yep
March 08 2013, 12:45PM
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Hayek wrote:

I know Oilers think that Seth Jones is the answer, because he's a good defender. But Johnathan Druin is the real deal. Please can we get Druin. With talented forwards such as him on a stacked young team, signing UFA defenders will not be a problem.

Now I KNOW you are just trolling with all you wacky posts.

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#27 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 08 2013, 01:16PM
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When i grow up. I want to be that barstool that brunette is seated on.

[edit] I didn't write that mom, someone must've hacked my account.

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#28 Hayek
March 08 2013, 01:24PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Tambellini/Lowes blind eye method of managing will have to eventually bear fruit. Lets just keep our eyes on the prize Oilersnation. Jones or Drouin/MacKinnon or bust! Taylor Hall isn't the leader we were hoping he'd be yet, he still looks to be a year or two away from being that guy. Drouin,Hall and Yakupov, coming to an arena near you this fall.

Been keeping an eye on Dubnyk this season, he's been on, moreso than off this season. In this 5 goal a game (league average per game), anything creeping up or above a 2.5 GAA is iffy territory with the current offensive output on this club right now. Still no answer on if he can be that No.1 goaltender.

3 zip Predators ;)

How exactly can you evaluate on Hall's leadsership skills without being in the dressing room? Did you mean leadshership on the ice by any chance, in terms of production? Because if that is the case, Hall is probably the best Oiler. Although I do agree with you that in a couple years, he is likely to even be better as he matures.

Don't understand the ripping on Dubnyk. He top 15 in league in SV%, and tough to attribute GAA to a goalie, as that is more of a function of shots faced, and quality of shots faced (on the PK for example). Obviously when you are not winning, the goalie becomes an easy target. But goaltending is not the team's problem right now.

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#29 mr_nihilism
March 08 2013, 01:32PM
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John Chambers wrote:

You know what the Oilers really need to do to perform better?

Age

Stop playing along the perimeter so much? Less cute maneuvers that result in absolutely nothing? Spending quality time in the opposition zone? Putting in a genuine effort? Suddenly gaining height and weight in order to compete with the men in the league?

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#30 Taylor Gang
March 08 2013, 01:51PM
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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?

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

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#31 John Chambers
March 08 2013, 02:08PM
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@Hayek

It is indeed a deep draft - I think the Oilers will pick 5th - 7th which means C's Monaghan, Lindholm, or D Nurse will be available.

Drouin is a fantastic player, but not what we need given Hall, Ebs, and Yak on the wing. Besides - Drouin will be gone 2nd or 3rd to Florida or Buffalo.

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#32 Slats
March 08 2013, 02:10PM
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Thanks for the Lima time. And your comment about the vow for not watching anymore and ignore - when I know I will have a few Friday pops and be there at puck drop - damn you!

Who they dress we don't really care comment- is probably correct. Attitude change in 24 hours?

Who stood up in that plane to read the team the riot act? Hall/Whitney/Horcoff/Nuge/Smytty? I don't think so. So not much of a change from last night, although Oilers had a good record vs Nashville and on the road last year.

Dubie takes control but Oilers do not help

1-0 SO Loss

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#33 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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#34 Paul
March 08 2013, 06:30PM
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@Puck JammeR!

Idiot

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#35 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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#36 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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#37 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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#38 DrunkGuyTy
March 08 2013, 07:54PM
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From the bottom of my heart .....

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

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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#42 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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 Spydyr
March 08 2013, 08:50PM
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Ole wrote:

I think I might actually be pissed off if the oil beet Chicago next game and break the streak. And I'm a diehard oilers fan.

Beet them?

How do you do that feed them too much Borscht so they can't even skate?

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#47 Dennis
March 08 2013, 08:52PM
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Well, that was a kick in the pills...again. I'm out. Might as well go drown my sorrows with some beers. Night all.

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#48 Spydyr
March 08 2013, 08:54PM
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Dennis wrote:

Well, that was a kick in the pills...again. I'm out. Might as well go drown my sorrows with some beers. Night all.

You have some catching up to do.Enjoy.

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#49 Newj
March 08 2013, 08:58PM
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@vetinari

With the greatest of respect, blow me? Awesome oxymoron!

I was thinking the guy was referring to all the recent Oiler wannabes ready to abandon ship.

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#50 TonyT
March 08 2013, 08:58PM
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Am I the only one who is beginning to think that if we (the fans) are this pissed off, how pissed off are the players with the organization. For example, last year Tambellini says playoffs are a real goal and after the season Lowe goes out and publicly states that the playoffs were not a goal. If I were a player knowing that management didn't expect (let alone think) they could win would absolutely eat at me... #FTNF #Souray

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