ONE FOR KRUEGER

Lowetide
April 20 2013 07:41AM

Edmonton Oilers fans have one eye on the standings and one eye on the draft lottery (where young men like Sasha Barkov--in photo--are available) as we hit the final stretch of this season. Oilers coach Ralph Krueger's goal may be the exact opposite of the Nation. Or is it?

I very much like Krueger's take on this situation. The Oilers have had THREE number one selections since 2010 summer and the time to turn the corner is now. Another week of losses might seem like a small deal, but the Oilers have to stand and deliver at some point and losing for the sake of draft position after those three long, losing years seems noxious to this Oiler fans. If they lose the games fair and square, so be it. However, the Oilers owe it to the spirit of sport to make every effort to do as Krueger suggests in the quote above--and I'm sure they will.

CAN THEY RUN THE TABLE?

The Oilers are currently tied for 23rd in the NHL, with 5 games left (they have a game in hand on several other clubs, but also have a ridiculous final week coming). Taylor Hall left last night's game with an arm injury, Ales Hemsky may not play again this season and there are no gimme's among the teams Edmonton faces this coming week (ANA x 2, Chicago, Minnesota, Vancouver).

Chances are Edmonton remains about where they are (the Flames may pass them, Calgary doesn't know how to lose properly) and a reasonable guess would have them drafting 6th-10th. The draft board on Kingsway might look like this:

  1. Seth Jones
  2. Jonathan Drouin
  3. Nathan MacKinnon
  4. Sasha Barkov
  5. Sean Monahan
  6. Elias Lindholm
  7. Valeri Nicushkin

and I'd think they would be thrilled with any of the top 5. There's still a lot to be sussed out about this year's edition and of course there's always a wild card (often a defenseman) in there somewhere. Darnell Nurse is a defenseman getting a lot of chatter, perhaps he ends up being this year's surprise selection in the draft.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Losing games to improve draft position isn't a sin on the scale of putting ketchup on spaghetti (what the hell?) but as a fan I'm pleased with Krueger's quote. To hell with losing, every damn Oiler fan has had enough for a lifetime. Seriously.

The Memorial Cup champion 1963 Oil Kings are appearing this weekend (along with Paul Henderson and others) at the Summit IV memorabilia and collectibles show at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park today (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.) and tomorrow (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m).

We'll be broadcasting the show live today noon to 2pm, and interviewing many of the Oil Kings players at the event. The day is "fluid", but scheduled to appear:

  • Members of the 1963 Oil Kings: Gregg Pilling, Bert Marshall, Bob Falkenberg, Dave Rochefort, Tom Bend, Russ Kirk, Vince Downey, Harold Fleming and Jim Brown.
  • Scott Francis Winder will preview the FC's home game this week
  • Evan Daum will discuss the FC's season, the Oil Kings and more.
  • Kent Simpson (Oil Kings color commentator) gives us an update on what is turning into a very good series.
  • Dennis King, to talk Oilers, Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe and more.
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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#2 DSF
April 20 2013, 09:50AM
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Tom wrote:

Wow. A reasonable, well spoken human being. Thank you. I might have been a bit snarky. I just get tired of the poor writing. Makes us all look stupid.

You realize that this comment contains not one, but two, incomplete sentences.

Right?

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#3 Maggie the Monkey
April 20 2013, 09:10AM
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@Tom

If there was ever a good cause for a negative prop button this comment is it.

Tom, I work as both a content and a copy editor professionally and LT is one of the better technical writers about sports out there. Mistakes happen in all sorts of publications, from PhD dissertations to the NY Times to hockey blogs. I'm not sure why you're letting whatever minor errors have slipped through bother you so much - he has a lot of great things to say and says them well.

ps: Good luck trying to survive a NewAgeSys comment. (I am fond of them.)

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#4 John Chambers
April 20 2013, 08:29AM
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Tom wrote:

Couldn't care less how you want to spell your blogging handle. Would you mind finishing your sentence that starts with "Taylor Hall left....."?

What's wrong, girls won't touch your pee pee?

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#5 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 20 2013, 08:58AM
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Tom wrote:

Really worried that LOWEtide didn't make it past grade 5 making his opinion not worth listening to. Doesn't matter what time of day it is. Same mistakes happen all day long. Just because you're writing about sports doesn't mean you get a pass on grammar, etc. You guys just further support the theory of "dumb jocks".

Relax oiler fan friend.

I'm on your side here (partially).

I don't think anyone who writes for a living should have a thin skin about their writing. Those two things don't compute.

Helping someone improve the clarity of their vision ought to be appreciated.

However, there's a parting of the Red Sea big chasm between a friendly suggestion for clarity and the kind of posturing you are undertaking.

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#6 GVBlackhawk
April 20 2013, 10:17AM
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Tom wrote:

ok,can someone explain to me the system that Kreuger has put in place and how it has hindered the Oilers. Should we be going after Lindy Ruff.

Mistakes made:

Sentence not capitalized, Krueger spelled incorrectly, and two questions that don't end with the proper punctuation.

Terrible.

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#7 Tom
April 20 2013, 10:43AM
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I must admit that you have all called me out pretty good. I guess writing is harder then I thought. I apologize for my comments. Back to hockey.

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#8 GVBlackhawk
April 20 2013, 10:21AM
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Tom wrote:

Wow. A reasonable, well spoken human being. Thank you. I might have been a bit snarky. I just get tired of the poor writing. Makes us all look stupid.

Fragmented sentences, well-spoken not hyphenated. You are making us all look stupid.

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#9 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 20 2013, 03:10PM
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6'2" 209lbs, good size, but he has never had more than the minimalist of penalty minutes. Doesn't appear to be much backbone to his game yet for a kid his size.

Another soft Euro kid who'll need protecting, just sayin. Rather have MacKinnon. Man it really sucks to not have a top 3 pick. Big difference from the top 3, and the next 3 it appears.

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#10 book¡e
April 20 2013, 05:49PM
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I want to return to the spelling thing, because Tom has totally nailed something that has bothered me for a long time. Some of LT's spelling is simply unbelievably atrocious.

For example, he always used to misspell Pouliot as S-M-I-D and then he would misspell Smid as P-O-U-L-I-O-T as in "The Oilers have a real player in Pouliot, but they should trade this Smid guy and get something for him while they can".

He is still doing stuff like this. In todays article for example there are so many spelling and grammar mistakes that if you don't read it carefully, you might think LT wants the Oilers to WIN games, when clearly what he means to say is that the only logical thing to do is to lose games.

Seriously, this is like grade 2 English stuff here and I expect better.

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#12 15w40
April 20 2013, 08:21AM
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Go back to bed.........

Now is not the time to start winning - that was 2 weeks ago. Keep it close play hard - lose. Add another top asset.

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#13 jonrmcleod
April 20 2013, 08:29AM
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Something else to consider: how will the Oilers' final record influence possible free agents this summer. If the Oilers tank, free agents might look at their final record and say to themselves, "I don't think this team is good enough to make the playoffs." However, if the Oilers play well in these final games, free agents might think the opposite and be more easily convinced to sign.

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#14 Spydyr
April 20 2013, 08:39AM
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The time for winning has past.They blew it again.At least win at losing.It is what they do best.

Sure hope this is the last year fans cheer for the team it lose.It is so 2011.

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#15 Maggie the Monkey
April 20 2013, 08:58AM
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"We don't want to be in the top 5 and drop into the lottery."

I know Krueger is the coach and not the GM but shouldn't everyone in the organization know that all teams out of the playoffs, not just the bottom five, are in the lottery for the first overall pick this year?

Small quibble, yes, but still somewhat unnerving that a fan is aware of this and not one of the most important members of the Oilers' staff.

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#16 Tom
April 20 2013, 09:30AM
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Spydyr wrote:

@Tom

Lowetide posts thoughtful, funny and insightful articles.Everyone has a different opinion.Some more different then other.That is what makes the comments sections fun.

This is a sports blog.Who really cares if the period is outside the quotation marks.We are all here to talk about hockey not grammar.If you want to talk about grammar I'm sure there are blogs for that too.Please go enjoy yourself at one.

I guess really care if LT in full sentences either then. I would to understand his so I can his opinion. Know what mean?

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#17 Spydyr
April 20 2013, 09:34AM
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Tom wrote:

I guess really care if LT in full sentences either then. I would to understand his so I can his opinion. Know what mean?

Actually i was able to follow what you meant.

Makes the point for me.

Now talk hockey.

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#18 Klima's Mullet
April 20 2013, 09:36AM
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Tom wrote:

Really? Are we gonna meet at the bike racks later. You're an idiot. What exactly are your professional credentials, watching hockey?

Tom...I feel we can give Lowetide a mulligan with the grammar. I follow his blog and catch the podcast of his weekly radio program because I appreciate his insight into something I love...Oilers hockey. He is highly engaged with his twitter followers and has a unique ability to communicate with advanced stats innovators and old guard hockey purists. I enjoy what he posts on the internet because it stirs thought and debate...unlike your anti-social negative garbage. Eat a large bag of dicks and get off your high horse.

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#19 Stuck in Calgary
April 20 2013, 10:30AM
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@ Tom

Your lack of discernment with regards to your argument vs. audience is rather disturbing. For someone who claims to be educated and intelligent, you've sure missed the mark. Lowetide is one of the more insightful bloggers out there. If you don't like how he writes, stop reading. The attitude you've displayed in your posts will only lead to being ignored, or labelled a 'troll.' Either way, this is not the place to try to be a 'smart-ass.' Then again, you might just be DSF.

Back to hockey...Go Oilers.

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#20 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 20 2013, 10:31AM
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Tom wrote:

ok,can someone explain to me the system that Kreuger has put in place and how it has hindered the Oilers. Should we be going after Lindy Ruff.

First,

C'mon guys, let's move along here.

Second,

Zona's recent article is the main point people are circling around re: RK

http://www.coppernblue.com/2013/4/17/4230198/oilers-struggles-centre-systemic-slumps-ralph-malph

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#21 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 20 2013, 10:58AM
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Numenius wrote:

Principe was a little inaccurate with his quotation. RK didn't say anything about the lottery:

"We don't want the Edmonton Oilers picking in the top 5 in the draft. We want to move up in that category even if that gets us to 21st or whatever we want to reach for. … I think we can get this team to 21st in the league, which I kind of have set with the team as a goal here."

RK and LT are absolutely right to emphasize not tanking. To tank now, especially intentionally, would show lack of character and would encourage the losing culture that is still prevalent in the organization.

there are several ways to tank.

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcMGSdPVZiY

not cool

2) tinker with the roster (sit players with lingering injuries; call up prospects)

3) simply be bad

2 and 3 aren't mutually exclusive.

I, like many, want the Oil to tank. I want Barkov.

That doesn't mean I want to watch Hall give up or anything. I want to lose 5-4 games every night until the season is over.

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#22 jonrmcleod
April 20 2013, 12:04PM
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@Rama Lama

"I know that there are Horcoff fans out there but eveytime I watch the guy he is usually coughing up the puck ..........exactly what role does this guy perform?"

A defense of Horcoff could begin with the Oilers' record while he was injured earlier this season.

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#23 jonrmcleod
April 20 2013, 12:20PM
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@tileguy

I personally believe it's Katz's.

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#24 Light, Sweet, Crude
April 20 2013, 12:20PM
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My favorite part was when DSF stuck-up for LT.

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#25 CJ
April 20 2013, 01:08PM
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Tom wrote:

I must admit that you have all called me out pretty good. I guess writing is harder then I thought. I apologize for my comments. Back to hockey.

He's definitely not DSF, otherwise he would have used a small sample sized statistic to prove he was correct.

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#26 Crispy
April 20 2013, 01:28PM
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Numenius wrote:

I want Barkov too. And losing the last games 5-4 would be an acceptable way to tank to me.

But if the Oilers could find a way to win all last 5 games, I think it would bring something better (though more intangible) to the team than Barkov.

So you believe that a 5 game winning streak, which still results in us missing the playoffs, is more valuable to the team than acquiring a potential star Center with size grit and skill? You know we have been needing that exact type of player for many years now right?. Winning meaningless games to me is, well.... Meaningless! All that matters now is getting the best possible roster for next year, and our Roster would look much nicer with Barkov rather than Lazar.

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#27 Lochenzo
April 20 2013, 01:56PM
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Sasha Barkov looks good in Oiler colours.

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#28 Phil
April 20 2013, 05:34PM
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Lowetide,

I was thinking about the Oilers shoring up on size and skill in the bottom six for next season. I was wondering what you might think of the possible additions of either Dwight King, Brian Boyle, or both?

Dwight King is a younger guy (23) and is massive. He has proven over the last two seasons that he is a top 9 player and I think would add some serious size to a lacking third string.

Boyle is a do-it-all grinder. Wins faceoffs, puts up decent points, and also has some good size. Contract is comparable to Belanger so I think he would look good on the 4th line with hartikainen and Brown in a serious energy line.

Let me know what you think!

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#29 Walter Sobchak
April 20 2013, 06:52PM
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Jari Kurri On Barkov.

For those who have not had the chance to read this.

The Edmonton Oilers almost surely would take Finnish centre Aleksander Barkov with the first pick in the NHL entry draft, but they have to get in the top five to do so. He’s big at six-foot-three and 205 pounds, has skill and he’s just 17, but he’s played in the Finnish Elite League for two years and has 48 points in 53 games in Tampere. “Plays a 200-foot foot game, up and back. Plays like (Mikko) Koivu,” said former Oilers star winger Jari Kurri, general manager of the Finnish national team. “Yeah, I like him.”

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/03/31/edmonton-oilers-seriously-eying-aleksander-barkov-in-draft/

That's some pretty big praise right there, Barkov is not soft.

I apologize in advance for the music not my choice, but check out where he is scoring the goals his from.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVqhvEkDQGk

The Oiler's need this kid in the worst way, IMO if he was in the CHL, he might be number 1.

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#30 leadfarmer
April 20 2013, 07:51AM
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Well of course the coach wants to be out of the lottery. If he finishes in the lottery there will be some calling for his head. He does have a better team than his predecessors and one should expect better results. I think they'll give him another chance next year, which is the right thing to do, but if they are lagging outside of the playoff picture halfway through I could see a change.

What did you think of Lander at the game last night. From my point of view he had a quiet night which is not a bad thing. Looks like he has been hitting the gym more than his fellow young oilers which is a good thing. Still think they should send him back and let him be for another year or two. I am Starting to think he might have a career at least.

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#31 leadfarmer
April 20 2013, 07:53AM
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Oh yeah and Brisssstttssss.

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#33 michael
April 20 2013, 08:07AM
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Last nights win was one of the 2 I thought we would win. I think the Oilers win the Sunday night game against Anaheim. The Ducks appear to be unmotivated going into the last part of the season. They have locked up a playoff position and they appear satisfied are playing without their previous urgency. The rest of the games I see us losing. I felt at the beginning of the season that we would finish 25th and I still think that now. My reasoning was based on the Oilers first line being asked to step up and first line minutes. I felt that it would take at least a season for the big 3 to adjust to the level of play expected of them. It has been exactly as I thought. They have thrived at times and other times have looked overmatched. Nagging injuries and a new system contributed to their lack of production early on. Especially RNH coming back from Russia. I felt for the first month that he was out of sorts. Hall showed me the most and he continues to impress.

The other reason was the defence. The numbers at the end of the season will be ugly. Whitney continued to show me that he can't play the defensive side of the puck. And for a defencemen that is death. Paired with rookie JS it was lethal combination. And way to soft. The shot blocking of Smid is nice but he isn't that nasty I am going to make you pay kinda guy like Kevin Bieksa. Petry? Does not know how to throw a hit. Potter.Mr Marshmellow. The only thing that saved the Oilers defense was DD. He steped up his level of play and if he had a better defense would be rewarded with better numbers.He is my number 2 team MVP behind Hall.

Next 5, 1-4. Finish 25th.Pick Barkov.

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#34 Tom
April 20 2013, 08:16AM
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You know what I'm tired of? All sports writers, from Principe on down, not bothering to proof read their blogs. That definitely includes you lowtide and includes most responders as well. Why can't you guys read your blogs, articles, and responses before posting to check spelling, grammar, and even whether you have completed your sentences. It gets tiring trying to interpret what you are trying to say.

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#35 Tom
April 20 2013, 08:24AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Ahem. LOWEtide. You're welcome.

Couldn't care less how you want to spell your blogging handle. Would you mind finishing your sentence that starts with "Taylor Hall left....."?

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#36 jake
April 20 2013, 08:26AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Ahem. LOWEtide. You're welcome.

LOL....classic.

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#37 michael
April 20 2013, 08:33AM
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Your worried about spelling and grammer at 830 on a Saturday morning. Little Zyprexa or Zoloft would help with your OCDness.

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#38 michael
April 20 2013, 08:41AM
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Lowetide what did you think of Gernats performance last night?

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#39 Tom
April 20 2013, 08:43AM
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Really worried that LOWEtide didn't make it past grade 5 making his opinion not worth listening to. Doesn't matter what time of day it is. Same mistakes happen all day long. Just because you're writing about sports doesn't mean you get a pass on grammar, etc. You guys just further support the theory of "dumb jocks".

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#41 Tom
April 20 2013, 08:47AM
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John Chambers wrote:

What's wrong, girls won't touch your pee pee?

Really? Are we gonna meet at the bike racks later. You're an idiot. What exactly are your professional credentials, watching hockey?

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#42 madjam
April 20 2013, 08:52AM
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Kreuger looks peaked and one might fear he is ill or scared his job on line if Oilers continue to lose closing out the season . With other veteran coaches like Ruff, etc. looking for jobs Oilers could decide to employ more of a veteran proven coach going forward ? Would nt surprise me if losing continues at or below .50 the rest of the way .

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#43 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 20 2013, 08:53AM
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Nurse could be last year's Reinhart pick.

Giant D taken ahead of sched with a chaos of development ahead of him.

I like the list as you've got it LT.

If not Jones... take a forward. Get a D in the 2nd.

BTW. She can put syrup on her pasta (a la Elf) if she wants as long as she comes over for dinner.

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#44 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 20 2013, 09:01AM
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Maggie the Monkey wrote:

"We don't want to be in the top 5 and drop into the lottery."

I know Krueger is the coach and not the GM but shouldn't everyone in the organization know that all teams out of the playoffs, not just the bottom five, are in the lottery for the first overall pick this year?

Small quibble, yes, but still somewhat unnerving that a fan is aware of this and not one of the most important members of the Oilers' staff.

I saw that too...

I think he meant "the lottery" in a symbolic sense, not literally, i.e., the lottery typically refers to the bottom five who retain an aura of "crappy, but with a glimmer of promise"

This year, with the lottery wide open, that aura is greatly depreciated.

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#45 madjam
April 20 2013, 09:01AM
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I would trade first round pick unless Nicushkin is available to us if we are over into 6-10 th spot . I'd still try to maintain a first round in deal- just move up is all . We can wait on Nichushin , as we have enough to develop already .

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#46 admiralmark
April 20 2013, 09:02AM
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Of course the team should be trying their best to win games.. Its in their DNA anyways s nobody's gonna be throwing games intentionally.

However.. as a fan. I can't help but to think in the back of my head how much better in the long run would a #4-#6 pick be over a #9-#10 pick this draft particularly. And will I as a fan feel that much more pride with a 20th in the league finish over a 25th in the league finish?

I guess ideally I would like to see a strong effort from the team and a win or two. But a top 6 pick ultimately would be a sweet final piece to add.

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#47 michael
April 20 2013, 09:11AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Nurse could be last year's Reinhart pick.

Giant D taken ahead of sched with a chaos of development ahead of him.

I like the list as you've got it LT.

If not Jones... take a forward. Get a D in the 2nd.

BTW. She can put syrup on her pasta (a la Elf) if she wants as long as she comes over for dinner.

I agree with you about about getting a dman in the second round but I think with 2 picks in the 2cd round our first choice in round 2 is take the best goaltender available. We "need" a goalie prospect right now more than another dman.

Is Monahagn another Jason Arnott kinda player? Do the Oilers wait and see if Curtis Lazar moves down in the draft and make a trade for him of do they pass on him totally? Would you trade this years 5-7th pick for Griffin Rhienhart from the Islanders?

Watched mark Psyk play the other night against Boston. Did not look out of place. At all. He moves the puck well and has decent size and speed. If there is a trade with Buffalo I would like him in the deal.And not just because he is homegrown. Heck if its me I regret not taking Keegan Lowe when we had a shot. He has compete and plays hard. He makes the opposing player pay the price for the puck. Carolina did well drafing him. He has the drive to be an NHL dman.

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#48 John Chambers
April 20 2013, 09:14AM
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jonrmcleod wrote:

Something else to consider: how will the Oilers' final record influence possible free agents this summer. If the Oilers tank, free agents might look at their final record and say to themselves, "I don't think this team is good enough to make the playoffs." However, if the Oilers play well in these final games, free agents might think the opposite and be more easily convinced to sign.

Interesting question, as MacT needs to do more than just tinker with the roster, and there is a veritable bumper crop of UFA's and compliance buyouts at the forward position soon to become available:

Clowe, Horton, Iginla, Weiss, Clarkson, Ryder, Jagr, Ribeiro, and possibly Heatley, Briere, Havlat, and others. Hoo Weee!

They're all on the discount rack for various reasons (injuries, age, performance), however it's a plethora of veteran talent that is exactly what the Oilers need.

I think most would strongly consider Edmonton because they understand they can potentially push the team over the hump, but most will want both money and term which will be risky.

Personally I would use our compliance buyout on Hemsky and see us allocate that money to a Weiss or a Horton.

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#49 Acumen
April 20 2013, 09:16AM
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Taking the bait from the troll. Please delete.

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#50 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 20 2013, 09:23AM
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michael wrote:

I agree with you about about getting a dman in the second round but I think with 2 picks in the 2cd round our first choice in round 2 is take the best goaltender available. We "need" a goalie prospect right now more than another dman.

Is Monahagn another Jason Arnott kinda player? Do the Oilers wait and see if Curtis Lazar moves down in the draft and make a trade for him of do they pass on him totally? Would you trade this years 5-7th pick for Griffin Rhienhart from the Islanders?

Watched mark Psyk play the other night against Boston. Did not look out of place. At all. He moves the puck well and has decent size and speed. If there is a trade with Buffalo I would like him in the deal.And not just because he is homegrown. Heck if its me I regret not taking Keegan Lowe when we had a shot. He has compete and plays hard. He makes the opposing player pay the price for the puck. Carolina did well drafing him. He has the drive to be an NHL dman.

BTW in case anyone missed it, Gernat is signed:

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=666774&navid=DL|EDM|home

I'd take a G later in the draft. Their development is even more erratic than Ds and there always seems to be cast offs, college kids or Euro guys popping up.

If I'm trading around in the draft, I'm trying to get to Barkov, but if that doesn't work we are primed to get Lindholm or Monahan... either a good looking choice.

I think the Lazar talk is really based around thinking we'd be picking 12th.

Not taking Lowe was a favor to him personally. I think you have to respect that kind of thing and wish him well.

Dillon Simpson, though... looks like he could make it in a few years!

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