GDB 42.0: PLAYING FOR PRIDE

Jason Gregor
April 16 2013 12:23PM

The Oilers won't reach their goal of making the playoffs. For them it sucks. They want to win, and missing the playoffs for the 7th consecutive season must feel like a swift kick to the junk. However, the Oilers need to suck it up and compete in their final seven games.

If they don't, then new genernal manager Craig MacTavish will have a much more difficult job trying to re-shape his team. If the Oilers don't have enough competitive players, it doesn't matter how much skill, speed or size they assemble. You can't win if you aren't willing to match the intensity, desperation and desire of the opposition.

"We basically lost to the &*(&*(#@$% Abbotsford Heat last game...We didn't just lose, we got our ass kicked," an Oiler player told me yesterday. He was embarrassed by his team's performance and said the next seven games guys have to show each other they care. He said it off the record, so I can't attribute it to him, but he was fuming which surprised me since I've never seen him that amped up.

We'll see if his teammates feel the same as him when they face the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild are in 6th place, one point up on St. Louis and two up on Detroit and Columbus. A month ago they looked like a lock to make the playoffs, but they are 3-6-1 in their last 10. They aren't playing very well down the stretch and the young Oilers have an opportunity to share their non-playoff disappointment with another Northwest division foe.

LINEUP

The Oilers recalled Teemu Hartikainen and Anton Lander yesterday and both will be in the lineup tonight. I'd have thrown Hartikainen beside RNH and Eberle and put Hall with Gagner and Yakupov, because the top line hasn't scored a goal in five games, so switch it up.

Kreuger will switch up his lines:

Hall/Gagner/Yakupov
Paajarvi/RNH/Eberle
Hartikainen/Lander/Horcoff
Brown/Smyth/Petrell

Smid/Petry
N.Schultz/J.Schultz
Fistric/Potter

Dubnyk

At this point you might as well look at many different combos. It is odd seeing Horcoff on the wing and Smyth at centre, but for one game why not. It shouldnt' matter what positions the players play, all 18 skaters must simply play hard and smart.  

QUICK HITS

  • Craig MacTavish will be much more decisive and proactive than Steve Tambellini. I'm not sure if he'll be Paul Holmgren-ish, but he's not going to hesitate to makes some moves. That could be good and bad of course, but Oilers fans will have lots to discuss this off-season. I suspect you will see at least 7 new regulars on the roster next year.
     
  • I'm not surprised MacTavish said he'd make bold moves. I wrote this on March 27th, yet many claimed I was clueless. A bold move doesn't mean shipping out 4th liners, it means moving out a good player and getting a good one in return. It won't be a surprise when MacTavish pulls off a deal, but it will be intriguing to see how many deals he makes.
     
  • If I had to rank the most pressing needs of the Oilers, i'd go with these. 1. A strong veteran shut down D-man who can play 20 minutes. 2. Another puck moving defenceman. 3. One, and ideally two, top-six forwards with strength and size. 4. A third line veteran forward who is physical, can kill penalties and play tough minutes. None of those are easy to find, but that is what this team needs. If Oscar Klefbom makes the team next year, he has to start the season in the third pairing. They can't rely on him to be a top-four. If he plays his way up the ranks, great, but he shouldn't be expected to start there.
     
  • The great part about sports is that we will all interpret comments/quotes differently. Kevin Lowe's comments yesterday regarding "two-types of fans" had many fans irate. He never said he cares or listens to season ticket holders more, he said they communicate with them more, which is true. Ideally, he never should have said "two-different type of fans," because automatically those who aren't season seat holders will feel offended.  You can say he chose the wrong words, but Lowe interacts with fans more than his players, so any suggestion that he doesn't care about fans would be misleading. I actually thought his comment about six Stanley Cup rings would rile people up more than his fan comment. Either way, It made for some excellent debates.
     
  • The Wild are in a battle for the final three playoff spots. They can't afford to take the Oilers lightly, and I suspect they won't. The Wild didn't skate this morning, but Mikko Koivu made it clear that they expect the Oilers to be hungry and ready to show their new GM they are worthy of being part of the team moving forward. It was an interesting take from an opposing player, and I'm curious to see if he is right.

TONIGHT....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Wild played last night, so the Oilers should have more energy and a heightened urge to impress their new GM. Oilers squeek out a 2-1 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Someone will try and make the Clutterbuck/Hall hit a story line. Clutterbuck has only fought twice in the last three seasons, but someone will go with the redemption angle. Clutterbuck loves to hit, and if he takes a few healthy runs at the Oilers none of us should be surprised.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Lander has played 60 NHL games thus far, but he's played 13+ minutes only 9 times. He will play 14 minutes tonight, and he will end his 19-game (dating back to last year) goal-scoring drought in the 2nd period.

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 DigDeepNBleedBlue
April 16 2013, 05:42PM
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jason wrote:

look we don't need to incude eberle, rnh, hall or yaks, how about this year and next years first round picks and gagner and omark. eventualy the future has to become the present, and unlike burke who made a similar trade for kessel our team is ready to mortgage some of the future to fill a big hole.

A little different then Burke and his Kessel trade. D-men, good D-men, are a high commodity.

I wish that would get him, but realistically I doubt it. Gotta give to get.

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#102 michael
April 16 2013, 05:58PM
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Adam Larsson for Eberle. A 70 point 30 goal player for a guy who has played like 100 games and score 3 goals. Are you on the same koolaid as DSF?

Adam Larsson "might" be a #4 dman is a couple of years. Klefbom was rated higher than him on some lists in his draft year.Craig Button thinks Klefbom has the potential to be a #2 and that Larsson's ceiling "might" be as a #4.

If your trading Eberle for Adam Larsson you better be getting NJ first round pick this year also.

As far as MacTs we'll be bold statement.I would think that we'll be bold when all the compliance buyouts and UFA's start becoming available. With the cap going down there will be a bunch of dmen available. Like Vancouver. Target a guy like Bieksa or Edler. Or in Philly. Target a guy like Shenn.

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#103 DigDeepNBleedBlue
April 16 2013, 06:08PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

PLEASE please please shut up about Weber. PLEASE. He's not Hockey Jesus, and he's not coming here. I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you.

Got your panties in a bunch there big guy?

But, you're right, you provide a very knowledgeable and articulate argument.

WTF?! lol

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#104 Kypreos
April 16 2013, 06:20PM
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I am sick of all the Kevin Lowe bashing. He done everything for this team. He has brought us 3 first round picks.

You need to lay off.

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#105 @Oilanderp
April 16 2013, 06:25PM
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@DigDeepNBleedBlue

I will chaulk your comment up to being due to just receving the shocking news. Since we are on the topic I suppose I should tell you that the sun will come up tomorrow, Elvis is dead, and life's current forms were arrived at via mutation, reproduction, and competition. Again, sorry.

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#106 Czar
April 16 2013, 06:26PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

The problem there is....you never know who that guy is/or will be.....our last 2 times in the show...it was Roloson and before that Ranford......neither guy was that highly touted...in fact they both resembled a guy named......................................................Devan Dubnyk.......

If only Dubnyk had their reflexes...different styles... but I get your point.

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#107 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 06:46PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

I'd love to see Weber here but honestly I'd totally be happy if we can sign Streit and Regehr. A couple of veterans that can take pressure off and help guide our young D.

Striet is going to 38 or something like that and Regehr is well past due date.

Sign them and will be talking about two more defensmen in two years, this does nothing to push the team forward.

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#108 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 06:48PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Another kid the Oilers may want to have a look at, is Erik Gudbranson. Shea Weber jr? Taken 3rd overall 3 yrs ago. Might be able to get him without involving one of the kids. Gagner and the first in 2014.

I would do that, Gagner and a 2014 first. I still think it will be something big when it goes down.

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#109 DigDeepNBleedBlue
April 16 2013, 06:54PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

I will chaulk your comment up to being due to just receving the shocking news. Since we are on the topic I suppose I should tell you that the sun will come up tomorrow, Elvis is dead, and life's current forms were arrived at via mutation, reproduction, and competition. Again, sorry.

Sucked on momma's tit for too many years, huh?

lol

And, no, I'm sorry for ya.

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#110 Smokey
April 16 2013, 07:01PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Why would you pay Horcoff not to play??

He would be the best third line center in the league....Horcoff is not the problem....

You pay Horcoff not to play cause, the 5.5 mil of cap space could hopefully be used for the right top 6 forward. Maybe a third line replacment, or a second line center, or top four defencemen. The NHL is going to be about cap space with the cap going down to 64 mil. If you are actually wanting to make a statement and say we are going for it, you may want the cap space to get proper pieces. I know its not my money, but I look at if I can dump his contract I can make up a portion of it on 2-3 playoff dates. Why on Earth would I continue to pay him when I can replace him and augment my line-up and fill holes with the idea of having a chance of playoffs. . Possible Senario, pay out Horcoff, sign Jagr for 4 mil, Horc replacement for 1.5.

Or sign a FA Dman or trade for one for 4 mil, and spend the 1.5 mil with the money you save on Khabby for a veteren FA. Give yourself a chance to be bold and have flexibility to do something.

Lastly, I use to think the Webber senario was crazy, but Nashville may simply may not be able to afford him. They ice a no name forward group as it is, they dumped one of their best players in Erat for a cheeper model. Everyone saw the reasonable return Columbus got for Nash, and their playoff bound. I don't think he would require a gross overpay. Why not MPS, Smid, 1st, and say one of Musil, Pitlick, or Marincin...Just dreaming.

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#111 @Oilanderp
April 16 2013, 07:05PM
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@DigDeepNBleedBlue

Once again I will forgive you for these comments. You are clearly in shock due to the recent Weber news. Silly me, you are in pain. As an easement, why don't you tell us more about these 'what-once-weres'... these wonderful trades in that imaginary two-teamed league you fantasize about. You know, that league with only NSH and EDM as teams. Yes. Tell us again how we will trade for Weber. Yes I know. It's ok. Let it out. It'll get better someday. Someday.

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#112 DigDeepNBleedBlue
April 16 2013, 07:13PM
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Princess, I forgive you too.

Now, what would you like to talk about if you don't like hypothetically discussing trades?

No, please, enlighten me to your wonderful topics of choice.

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#113 GVBlackhawk
April 16 2013, 07:16PM
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There is a good article at Copper & Blue on dual offer sheets. This is an excellent strategy.

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#114 DigDeepNBleedBlue
April 16 2013, 07:16PM
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@@Oilanderp

That last comment was for you, princess.

Wasn't sure you get that.

Big smile? lol

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#115 @Oilanderp
April 16 2013, 07:20PM
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*tosses his cigarette butt on the ground*

Never mind man.

*exhales the last plume into the evening air*

*steps on the butt, giving two purposeful twists with his boot*

Never mind.

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#116 Reg Dunlop
April 16 2013, 07:39PM
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The oil, due to the embarrassment vs Calgary, put forth an effort tonight. Against all odds they beat the wild 4-2. Then they proceed to lose their remaining games and pick #5 in the draft only to waste the pick on Lazar. 3 flame fans subsequently suffer laugh-related injuries at our off-the-board selection.

Anyway, go oil.

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#117 Sailge
April 16 2013, 07:43PM
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Great play gagner. What a brutal hockey player

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#118 Dave
April 16 2013, 07:45PM
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The one stat that you never see ... soft goals per goals let in . Duby has more than his share.

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#119 Shifty203
April 16 2013, 07:54PM
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Sailge wrote:

Great play gagner. What a brutal hockey player

Really? There were three minny players attacking, and one defensman back. Gags was the only one who came back to help. Hardly his fault he was left with two men to cover.

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#120 Alsker
April 16 2013, 07:56PM
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Are my eyes deceiving me, we had a forward(93) take the man in front of the net? Hopefully his experienced play will rub off on our centers...

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#121 Newj
April 16 2013, 07:58PM
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Change the GM? How about the coach?

Gave up two 2 on 1's in the first shift. Ridiculous pinches. This team is so bad without the puck. That is not Tambi's doing although he did little to provide Ralph with the necessary tools.

Beyond frustrating to watch this team give up so many scoring chances and odd man rushes.

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#122 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 08:05PM
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Shifty203 wrote:

Really? There were three minny players attacking, and one defensman back. Gags was the only one who came back to help. Hardly his fault he was left with two men to cover.

Really,

You are taught in pee-wee to take a man in front not stand there and do nothing.After 6 years in the NHL either you know that or you never will.Trade Frodo.

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#123 Shifty203
April 16 2013, 08:12PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Really,

You are taught in pee-wee to take a man in front not stand there and do nothing.After 6 years in the NHL either you know that or you never will.Trade Frodo.

Really? I get that, all I'm saying is pull off the blinders. Guess we should trade Schultz, hall, yak, and who ever the other defenseman on the ice was too, cause they were all doing the same thing.

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#124 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 08:15PM
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Shifty203 wrote:

Really? I get that, all I'm saying is pull off the blinders. Guess we should trade Schultz, hall, yak, and who ever the other defenseman on the ice was too, cause they were all doing the same thing.

Any of them been in the league 6 years?

He was the center in front of the net.Standing there doing nothing.

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#125 Shifty203
April 16 2013, 08:20PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Any of them been in the league 6 years?

He was the center in front of the net.Standing there doing nothing.

Exactly, he was the only person who bothered to come back ,meanwhile he was left to cover 2 forwards.the rest of the team stood around and watched the 3rd forward streak in.

I'm not saying he didn't make a mistake, just pointing out there's 4 other players on the ice that did nothing either. Not solely his fault.

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#126 Sailge
April 16 2013, 08:20PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Any of them been in the league 6 years?

He was the center in front of the net.Standing there doing nothing.

Glad somebody else can see how brutal he is. 41% faceoffs. Wins about 1% of 1-on-1 puck battles. Horrible defensively as per exhibit A. 6th year in the league he's never going to get it. Why not work on these things to improve?

We need an upgrade on 2C. Overall, he is more harm to the team than good.

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#127 Harlie
April 16 2013, 08:28PM
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HORCOFF TRADED. SMYTH TRADED.

MacT in the 214

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#128 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 08:29PM
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Shifty203 wrote:

Exactly, he was the only person who bothered to come back ,meanwhile he was left to cover 2 forwards.the rest of the team stood around and watched the 3rd forward streak in.

I'm not saying he didn't make a mistake, just pointing out there's 4 other players on the ice that did nothing either. Not solely his fault.

I have watched every game this year and can honestly say I can not remember one time he knocked another player off the puck.Not once.

Not what you want in your second line center.

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#129 steelymac
April 16 2013, 08:35PM
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Hey faithfull,anyone else out there think Jack Michals shoulda followed Dithers out the door?Listen to the guy he gets more jacked up(no pun intended) when the other teams scores than the OIL.I really get the scense he get on Stauffers nerves.

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#130 Shifty203
April 16 2013, 08:36PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I have watched every game this year and can honestly say I can not remember one time he knocked another player off the puck.Not once.

Not what you want in your second line center.

Completely agree. I fully expect him to be gone this summer.

Just pointing out the stupidity of some fans that have blinders on and seem to think he can be blamed for all the teams problems. There is a lot of lazy players on this team that have to go.

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#131 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 08:37PM
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steelymac wrote:

Hey faithfull,anyone else out there think Jack Michals shoulda followed Dithers out the door?Listen to the guy he gets more jacked up(no pun intended) when the other teams scores than the OIL.I really get the scense he get on Stauffers nerves.

After Rod we were all spoiled .Now that being said I can't stand the guy.

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#132 Harlie
April 16 2013, 08:38PM
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Stoner Rolls One Past Dubey

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#133 Harlie
April 16 2013, 08:44PM
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Damn Stoner's!

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#134 merfer
April 16 2013, 08:44PM
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Hey faithfull,anyone else out there think Jack Michals shoulda followed Dithers out the door?Listen to the guy he gets more jacked up(no pun intended) when the other teams scores than the OIL.I really get the scense he get on Stauffers nerves.

No kidding. That guy must go. He is sickening to listen to.

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#135 MICHAEL
April 16 2013, 08:51PM
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4th line gets burned 2x this period. Oilers with no PP"s? The play is mostly in the Oilers end. 4-2 loss coming up. You ever wonder why the Wild own us? Look no further than how many shots they block. They collapse down low and if a shot gets through Backstrom is there to save the day.We have a total of 9 shots on goal> We might have 17 by the end of the game. Not enough to beat this team. Oilers need to come harder into the paint. Won't happen because their too soft.

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#136 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 08:58PM
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Petrell injured? Time to tank.

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#137 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:09PM
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Samboni coughs it up then takes a bad penalty.Are you paying attention Mac-T?

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#138 clyde
April 16 2013, 09:11PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I would do that, Gagner and a 2014 first. I still think it will be something big when it goes down.

Donyounreally believe 1 dimensional softbplayers such as Gagner and Hemskybhave that much value?

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#139 Alsker
April 16 2013, 09:11PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Petrell injured? Time to tank.

McT's first dilemma, oh what ever will he do? You may be right, tank time.

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#140 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:13PM
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Alsker wrote:

McT's first dilemma, oh what ever will he do? You may be right, tank time.

To bad the trade deadline is passed I heard Reasoner was available.

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#141 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 09:20PM
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clyde wrote:

Donyounreally believe 1 dimensional softbplayers such as Gagner and Hemskybhave that much value?

Gagner + a 1st, yes I do.

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#142 clyde
April 16 2013, 09:28PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Gagner + a 1st, yes I do.

Only they really value that 1st rounder. I cant see itbthough. A potentiallybdominant def is worth more than a soft small center and a maybe

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#143 NewAgeSys
April 16 2013, 09:38PM
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MMMmm...

Down two goals and I could swear I heard trumoers that awoke me from my early slumber.

Lets see if we can use MPS as an upspeed man coming from behind the play, We need to use a give and go that starts from a d-man at the half -boards then pass it to the pinchpoint of our blueline on high corner ,make one crossice pass through the n-zone to a forward on the opposite boards who will move the puck up MPS flying through the n-zone as early as he can get the puck , then have the forward come in behind MPS for the return pass, they cant handle MPS if we give him a short give and go to work off of, he is best used with some speed and with less telegraphing so d-men cant contact his big body to early and slow him down. Just make the d-men key on someone else early and give MPS a few strides where they cant key on him and get set.

Our forecheck is looking decent, two men gapped nicely, now we need to be patient on the forecheck , they are trying to keep it organised when we pressure them and its not easy for them, that pressure is working out, but now we need to use the cerebral muscle memory we have given them to create offense, so now we need to use the same forchecking pressure but we need to target their outlet passes, they are strong numericlly in their zone so they are going easy and not panicing, but they are NOT making lateral east/west short passes between their d-men and their support, they are passing it straight upice, this is good, now there are less options for us to consider when attacking them, we need to target those short upice passes they are making to beat our forecheck pressure, there are two sweetspots they are useing,so lets bring some selective pressure up by having a d-man or someone step into some of those outlet asses and drive them to the net.

Keep up the forechecking the way we are with the two men EXACTLY as we are executing it because it is so early they are resfusing to make those lateral passes, that pressure is setting up perfect opportunitys to take the puck in form a deep and vulnerable spot.

When you see them collapse in and there are 3 men back consistantly it tells us to use the give and go but try to initiate it earlier so they start transitioning early laterally, they are keeping good lateral positioning in their zone so when we have possesion and are challenging them we need to use conventional simple plays like the give and go to break into their zone, speed is less critical than an executed give and go, but remember to blast every third possesion right past them, lean towards slower organised transitions as we are doing now, but toss a bullet at them once in a while out of the blue, use the controlled play 2/3 of the time and toss in some shrapnel .

Once we get them to begin to transition laterally as we challenge their zone we can use that movement to key our offense, so test them with the give and go and see where they begin the transition laterally, what depth they are begininng to cross over at, once we know that we can set the give and go depth we need to initiate at, we need that dat so we time the give and go right, so try a few give and gos so we can see their transitions.

Remember that give and gos normally end in shots on net and we need those badly, we need those first shots followed up immediatly, so lets use the give and go and lets collapse around the initial shot. Measure them for the give and gos , we need to know when to engage the upspeed man, what area to begin the play in, and that is decided by their transition spots in their own zone, so lets challenge their d-zone with a few small give and gos and see that transition spot.

We are so far behind we need to use our speed to create individual breakaways and one on one plays as well, lets isolate guys one on one in their zone if we can, not a numbers advantage they will key on early but simply isolate them into one on ones so we can try to beat them that way.

Throw two give and gos at them and then hit them with a pure speed move.

Have Yakupov cross to the middle and carry the puck into the middle from the center of the ice, early so his speed can hit them in the middle and back them off, lets use middle speed and MPSs size and speed going to the back door, lets let MPS get some clean o-zone entrys without the puck so his big frame can be used as a screen and to cause trouble more. Get MPS into the zone cleanly and use him as a screen or to force the defense when he heads to the back door looking for the deflection. yakupovs speed needs to come from the middle and be supported by backdoor pressure, so have MPS come in streaking upspeed just as Yak hits the mid n-zone and begins moving the d-men around early. Send MPSs big frame at high speed and upspeed right to the back door for the deflection use the stick length and speed to force their d-men to cover MPS at the backdoor early, this softens up the middle for Yakupovs attack.

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#144 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:38PM
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Tell me again who was in charge when they gave Kyle Brodziak away for a bag of pucks?

Yeah,thats right the three amigos.

Facepalm.

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#145 Jakethesnake
April 16 2013, 09:38PM
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All the talk about they need to play like they care. I see no care out there. This whole team sucks. Wow Mac t has a lot of work to do. Even Hall doesn't care anymore. How F ing sad

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#146 michael
April 16 2013, 09:43PM
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5-1? The message is certainly being sent that the teams problems are all KLOWES fault. Definitely if it was 8-1 it would be KLOWES fault. He should put on his skates and show his dmen how to play the man. A pp? what?

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#147 NewAgeSys
April 16 2013, 09:47PM
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Hey what happened to my dam post i sent it when we were down 3-1??

Lets throw the Flying -V at them as many times as we can, why not, lets get some Youtube coverage and throw some smoke up for next year, lets have some fun now.

Send the d-men right up like forwards and have the forwards fall back, lets force some play here, lets allow some odd man rushes and let our hair down lets make Dubby sweat,serious;y lets loosen up now, and try to create some odd dynamics.

Bait them into playactions that make them tempted to go for it, they need to be lured into mistakes we cannot force 4 goals out of them the normal ways with this little time, so lets bait them with sugar, give them some situations they cant deny themselves, bait the suckers in boys, take some chances, if we plan them they become tactics, high risk but still tactics.

Pick the most common odd man rush teams generate and lure them into going for it. Set it up . We need them to take chances so lets use greed as a weapon and lure them out into the open.

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#148 NewAgeSys
April 16 2013, 09:54PM
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Who said this was over. Ha ha ha.

The boys are back it seems hey?

Very nice play fellas, nice play in the d-zone perfect way to sidestep their pressure with the short pass and tight support.keep chipping.

Excellent speed explosion by Nail, hammer on them fellas.

Almost nailed them again the same way, good job, short give and gos guys. simple and sure.

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#149 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 10:00PM
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Too bad they never started every period with the same intensity of the last 2 minutes in the third.It may have been a game.

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#150 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 10:01PM
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Funny even the TV guys are saying to little to late now.

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