GDB 38.0: They’re all big games

Jonathan Willis
April 06 2013 10:30AM

The out-of-town scoreboard wasn’t particularly kind to the Oilers yesterday. St. Louis, Detroit, and San Jose all won. Dallas won too (though they’re far enough back that it’s a secondary concern), while Columbus lost in regulation – though given that they lost to the Blues, that’s not really great news.

The Oilers aren’t particularly likely to catch Los Angeles, but they need the win today to keep pace with Detroit and St. Louis, the two most catchable teams.

Playoff chances

Via sportsclubstats.com, here are the playoff odds for teams still in the hunt in the West entering action today:

  • 3. Los Angeles: 98.2%
  • 4. Vancouver: 97.1%
  • 5. San Jose: 95.4%
  • 6. Minnesota: 90.8%
  • 7. St. Louis: 88.6%
  • 8. Detroit: 71.3%
  • 9. Edmonton: 24.6%
  • 10. Phoenix: 14.3%
  • 11. Columbus: 8.4%
  • 12. Dallas: 5.7%
  • 13. Nashville: 5.5%

None of the other games going on today are particularly critical for the Oilers. Nashville hosts Chicago, Phoenix hosts Colorado, and Calgary is in Vancouver – all the teams involved are around the periphery of that list above. A Phoenix win, coupled with an Oilers loss, would move them past Edmonton on the chart above, so that’s probably the most important of the games being played today outside of the one the Oilers are playing.

Lineups

No information is available as of yet regarding tonight’s Oilers’ lineup, though it’s a decent bet there will be some changes due to the acquisition of Smithson and the loss to Vancouver. My guess – Mark Fistric draws in on the third pairing, Smithson draws in on the fourth line, and Ryan Smyth moves into the top-nine, replacing Ryan Jones. It also seems likely that Devan Dubnyk will start in net.

This will be updated as soon as the lines become available.

Update: Jerred Smithson will draw in, though exact forward lines remain unknown. The defence will stay the same as against the Canucks, meaning Petry-Smid, Schultz-Schultz, and Whitney-Potter.

Update II: Via the Oilers' official Twitter feed, we have the forward lines:

  • Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
  • Smyth - Horcoff - Hemsky
  • Paajarvi - Gagner - Yakupov
  • Petrell - Smithson - Brown

Predictions

Game day prediction: Both games between the Oilers and the Kings have been nail-biters this season, with the Oilers winning one in overtime and the Kings scoring the winner with less than a minute in regulation last time. This one will be, too, but the Kings will win 3-2 in overtime.

Obvious game day prediction: With the Oilers down by a goal with two minutes left in the third, Ralph Krueger will pull his goaltender – and Nail Yakupov will tie the game to force the extra frame.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Jerred Smithson hasn’t had a fight in more than three years, but eager to make an impression with his new team he’ll square off against Colin Fraser. The fight itself will be a non-descript affair, but Smithson will be applauded by his new teammates, with nobody happier to see it than Mike Brown.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 jason
April 06 2013, 03:22PM
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those five wins in a row was just a mirage, were not done the first period and this game is lost and the season with it. good teams find a way to win, good players have heart they play hard every shift, they come up big when it counts. thats the difference between what's on the ice and the team we want. think these guys aren't bums watch the rest of the season if you can stomach it, watch how they find a way to lose. we'll never see another stanly cup with this team, this applies from rotten managment straight down to the 4th line, throw the whole damn thing out.

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#52 StHenriOilBomb
April 06 2013, 03:24PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

We really need to step up the physicality of this game, we are way to passive, its about time we crashed the net.

But lets focus on their new habit of carrying the puck through the n-zone, lets target them there and force some mistakes from them.

We are cycling nicely tonight in their zone, so lets remember to use the BACKHAND more, we need to be shooting mid-cycle when they are transitioning, not doing all the dam work just to work it to the point where they can read the shots, shoot from everywhere , all the time, and focus on the backhand.

We have been puonding the shots in from the far perimeter long enough to imprint them so lets send some guys right in on foot now.

We really better work on the PK offense tonight,pressure them early on the half-wall because that is how they are stopping us from going after them high on the blueline early, so pinch off the half-wall on them and then pull everyone up high and force the puck out and go on offense.

"we" and "lets"? lol. are you part Oilers staff? If so, why the hell are you posting here during a game?

also, "let us" is contracted to "let's"

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#53 NewAgeSys
April 06 2013, 03:24PM
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Alsker wrote:

Not sure whats worse, 2 kings alone infront of Dubby or another half page post by NAS

Give it a rest alright, the traffic on the GDB isnt exactly overwhelming, so you cant be that far out of your comfort zone.

Why dont you try to post some observations on the game. What are we failing to do tonight so far? What are we doing right so far? Simply what the hell are we doing maybe? But how about you post something hockey related huh?

Those Kings in front of Dubby better be in pain if they are in that spot.

We need to simple force the Kings to pass the puck more than they are, we need to interrupt their easy n-zone traverses and we need to stop their initial d-zone exit earlier. They arent doing anything special, we just need to force them to adjust, they are keeping it simple and we need to make them complicate it, so we need to get simple as well, we need to forecheck differently, we need to adjust our pressure and we need to make passage through the n-zone very painfull.

We should be able to mount offense off of simple old fashioned hard aggressive forechecking and in the n-zone we need to work in pairs and focus on the puck carrier and first outlet pass, we can cheat with the 3rd coverage man to build offense because they are trying to catalyse the playaction off the puck carrier as a primary decision so we just need to hit the puck fast and hard and cut in front of the first outlet pass early, our 3rd man can converge on the puck ASAP, so essentially we should have two of our three forwards pressuring the puck carrier very aggressively and the 3rd coverage man will STICK on the first closest outlet pass the puck carrier needs to utilise. We cut their 3rd man loose and pressure the puck and primary outlet only, out d-men need to pat attention and not get caught to deep in our zone as the one on the plyaction side might be needed to step up into the n-zone.

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#54 DSF
April 06 2013, 03:46PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

MPS scores and DSF sinks into his chair. The kid is starting to look like a player again.

He's got all of 11 points and is -4.

Not much to get excited about.

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#55 NewAgeSys
April 06 2013, 03:51PM
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We really need to stop leaving their pointmen alone like this, remember they like to catalyse their offense from there right, we are ALL collapsing to soon, if we start laying some serious hits on the slot and in front of our net they will respect that area, we are letting them run rampant and are trying to maintain tight coverage, because they are bringing 3 men in with lateral strength they are spreading us out, we need to remove one of those 3 men ASAP, we need to break up their playaction laterally sooner, and this means hitting hard in the mid-zone to remove guys from the play to try to knock them down, to commit once in a while Fistric style.

We better start forechecking them muck earlier, like in their zone, because they are killing us through the n-zone, lets forecheck already. We cannot let them initiate so fast, they are transitioning fast.

Pull gaddam Dubby already, use the bloody time-out and pull the tender before we let this game get our of control.

We dont want to roll over like this, lets get physical especially on the forecheck.

This is NOT the time to be patient, its the time to adjust and go for it.

Lets try skating the puck end to end, lets stop the passing and skate it with them, they are covering us tightly but we have better team speed, so lets keep the puck on our speedsters sticks and cut them loose to do as much damage as they can, lets use our speed like we should tonight, give it to Hemmer and Hall and just take it to them, let the d-men go end to end if they have the energy, just not the big bird striders like Whitney, keep them back.

Lets fight for this one, nows the time to fight and bleed, we dont have a cushion to rely on right now, we need to see nasty because this is as much of a playoff race as we will be in again next year, if these men cant see that tonight is the night to leave it all out there then we need to seriously look at our character.

Throw it all out there today or there will be no tomorrow. Put the puck on the speedsters sticks and let them know the coverage will be tight but to go for it, we need to go for it and be aggressive one-on-one and try to bust loose with our speed and take it to the net.

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#56 NewAgeSys
April 06 2013, 04:05PM
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Gagner has the o-zone entry right, carry it in and do that short dumpin.

Their d-men are cheating up high and are meeting us and engaging us very eary on their blueline, and they are both coming up high to do this, so use an upspeed man coming through the middle off the give and go or do as Gagner did use the short dump in, but we need to carry it in through the n-zone.

If we use the Flying V we can pick those d-men off with contact WE initiate, its to our advantage to do this because if we gang rush them from the n-zone and they get caught cheating we should have odd-man advantages.

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#57 Alsker
April 06 2013, 04:13PM
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Man I thought we were done with trying to react to what the opp. does and simply drive the play and make them react...they did it for 5 games and now we're back to the same old again. Playoff team vs. bubbleteam, thats how far we still have to go.

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#58 Mac962
April 06 2013, 04:18PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Gagner has the o-zone entry right, carry it in and do that short dumpin.

Their d-men are cheating up high and are meeting us and engaging us very eary on their blueline, and they are both coming up high to do this, so use an upspeed man coming through the middle off the give and go or do as Gagner did use the short dump in, but we need to carry it in through the n-zone.

If we use the Flying V we can pick those d-men off with contact WE initiate, its to our advantage to do this because if we gang rush them from the n-zone and they get caught cheating we should have odd-man advantages.

I will say it for everyone. Shut The F--k Up. You know Jack S--t about Hockey and are just the Cliche King.

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#59 StHenriOilBomb
April 06 2013, 04:22PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Come on already, talk hockey, whats your problem?

I think you are on the wrong site if you are here to simply flame other posters and be a general pain in the arse.

Shut up with the spelling and vocabulary BS, ok, we are here for hockey, all of us, not to score cheezy little brownie points.

Anything hockey related to say or were you just making sure you used up your thirty seconds of fame?

We need two quick ones here men, lets get on it, time is a wasteing.

Hopefully we can see some nice n-zone pressure and some odd-man rushes in our favor.

just thought I'd take a cheap shot.

I mostly ignore you because your posts are usually overly-long and come off as arrogant. You're not so much part of the conversation as you are like an old man blabbering to the wind from his front porch rocking chair. Maybe you know hockey, but you don't know how to chat.

I agree, a big third period would be exciting. It seems we're losing every individual battle though, and I'm not sure the systems even matter when things are going that way...

edit: I actually think you're the first one I've ever 'flamed'. Consider it a compliment...

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#60 NewAgeSys
April 06 2013, 04:28PM
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Stretch passes made from a foot inside the n-zone will hurt them immediatly, not made from ddep, but skated up and made from a foot into the n-zone maybe a few feet. We have done this before with the Kings defense. It catches them cheating with the defense up high.

So we can take the puck into the n-zone deep just before their blueline and then pass it back to our blueline but still inside the n-zone crossice to a man pinched on the boards, then the high man who made the first n-zone pass just steps into the o-zone for the breakin passback. The Kings specialised in this last year.

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#61 OilersBrass
April 06 2013, 04:28PM
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People must be bored today, so much trolling going on.

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#62 Alsker
April 06 2013, 04:28PM
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Epic, first time Hemsky looks awake AND he hits Quick in the crest with his shot...lol

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#63 Alsker
April 06 2013, 04:35PM
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OilersBrass wrote:

People must be bored today, so much trolling going on.

Bored, are you watching the game?? No seriously, whos "trolling", Du_bS_up_dF_c__r only has couple posts today at most.

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#64 NewAgeSys
April 06 2013, 04:37PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

just thought I'd take a cheap shot.

I mostly ignore you because your posts are usually overly-long and come off as arrogant. You're not so much part of the conversation as you are like an old man blabbering to the wind from his front porch rocking chair. Maybe you know hockey, but you don't know how to chat.

I agree, a big third period would be exciting. It seems we're losing every individual battle though, and I'm not sure the systems even matter when things are going that way...

edit: I actually think you're the first one I've ever 'flamed'. Consider it a compliment...

Are you still chirping? Fly away little bird. Nice observations about my dynamic interactions in the chat dept., that is intentional on my part by the way,arrogance is in the eye of the beholder, and yes i agree the posts are long but so is the natural and everpresent communication gap between all people everywhere .

How nice of you to mention something hockey related. Nice observation about the individual battles, they are playing us very close one on one all over the ice, they are trying to make it a skating game with as little passing as possible on both sides.

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#65 StHenriOilBomb
April 06 2013, 04:42PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Are you still chirping? Fly away little bird. Nice observations about my dynamic interactions in the chat dept., that is intentional on my part by the way,arrogance is in the eye of the beholder, and yes i agree the posts are long but so is the natural and everpresent communication gap between all people everywhere .

How nice of you to mention something hockey related. Nice observation about the individual battles, they are playing us very close one on one all over the ice, they are trying to make it a skating game with as little passing as possible on both sides.

zzz...

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#66 oilman3
April 06 2013, 05:04PM
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well that was frustrating. once again we see the importance of size and what a good defensive system can do. edmonton was not allowed any time and space out there and had a very hard time getting to the front of the net. the kings played exactly the way they need to as they gear up for another playoff race.

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#67 StHenriOilBomb
April 06 2013, 05:04PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

I am sorry you weasel but you speak for yourself first, just like you would in real life in the parking lot or anyplace else with the exception of here in cyberspace.

So YOU STFU you spineless sack of fluid. You cant even open that crack in your head wide enough to post hockey related data, you knob.

Keep your cheap arse opinions to youself.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

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#68 StHenriOilBomb
April 06 2013, 05:07PM
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"THEY’RE ALL BIG GAMES"

...not any more.

Too bad. Hopefully the boys can keep it close for the sake of learning to compete. Well hope, I'll see you next season. It finally feels like next year could be for real (and not in Feaster's sense of the phrase).

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#69 Dog Train
April 06 2013, 05:10PM
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Looks like our playoff hopes are slipping away. Regardless of what happens, this summer is huge. We are clearly not able to handle playoff teams like the Kings. We don't manage the puck well at all. We spend 30 seconds to a minute at a time in our own zone and it kills all the flow in our game. Next season we will be in a division with Vancouver, LA, Anaheim and San Jose. We have lots of work to do and it shows time and time again when we play physical, defensive teams.

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#70 Frank
April 06 2013, 05:21PM
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Problem for Edmonton on making the playoffs is

Nashville , Phoenix and Detroit know how to play playoff Hockey. 1 of these teams will finish 8th .

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#71 Fresh Mess
April 06 2013, 05:44PM
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Does this mean the bipolar, bandwagon-jumping fanboys are finished with their love in and want everyone traded/fired again? Because a few short days ago they were praising Oiler management for not taking advantage of a seller's market and trading away useless spare parts in exchange for valuable assets.

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#72 DSF
April 06 2013, 05:56PM
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Justin wrote:

STL is not catchable. Detroit is the only team Edmonton could catch.

Problem for Edmonton teams are taking then seriously now, they bring their A game. With the standings so close every team is bringing it.

Oilers cannot compete with teams that take away space and ice. They have no power players in their top 6.

STL plays DET tomorrow .

End of the line.

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#73 oilman3
April 06 2013, 06:10PM
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DSF wrote:

STL plays DET tomorrow .

End of the line.

they do? who knew? thanks for the update.

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#74 Serious Gord
April 06 2013, 07:29PM
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If Dallas and phx win EDM will be tied for thirteenth before they play again.

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#75 DSF
April 06 2013, 07:42PM
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@Serious Gord

Phoenix already leading Colorado 1-0.

That won't end well and Phoenix moves ahead.

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#76 sammy
April 06 2013, 09:09PM
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Mac962 wrote:

I will say it for everyone. Shut The F--k Up. You know Jack S--t about Hockey and are just the Cliche King.

I spend a lot of time lurking in the shadows here. I enjoy the blogs and different contributions made from the writers. My favorites are Willis and Brownlee. I also like reading the comments from the fellow oilers fans and know a lot of your opinions from the months of reading them.

seems lately though the nation has been a little clique lately. New age gets told to "shut the f--k up" because you don't like what he has to say, he gets this type of response from several of the nation faithful. . Why not just skip past newage's posts if they bother you? Not to sure why open discussion and varying opinions would be discouraged on this site. The other day DSF wasn't even allowed to post on an article.

And now back to the shadows

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#77 DSF
April 06 2013, 09:31PM
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4-0 Phoenix.

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#78 Serious Gord
April 06 2013, 09:44PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

If Dallas and phx win EDM will be tied for thirteenth before they play again.

Sorry tied for 12th

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#79 Walter Sobchak
April 06 2013, 09:49PM
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@DSF

@ Sammy

"The other day DSF wasn't even allowed to post on an article"

Is this true?

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#80 DSF
April 06 2013, 10:01PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

@ Sammy

"The other day DSF wasn't even allowed to post on an article"

Is this true?

Yes.

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#81 Rocket
April 06 2013, 10:07PM
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DSF wrote:

Yes.

Wow that sucks. I don't always agree with your posts but you should still be able to share your opinion freely.

@Sammy: I think fans are pretty frustrated watching The Oilers get dominated in games again & are taking it out on each other. Stay classy Oiler fans.

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#82 DrunkGuyTy
April 06 2013, 10:12PM
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Have they ever won a Saturday afternoon game in CA?

We know the standings fluctuate every day and frankly, things don't look real good. But ... they're getting a better picture of what they're really gonna need to bring to the table EVERY game if they wanna compete with the big kids. Even if they don't sneak in, there's some learnin' to be learned. It's up to them to get after it. Still good arrows.

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#83 StHenriOilBomb
April 06 2013, 11:12PM
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Mac962 wrote:

zzzzzzzz is right. How little you know , tsk tsk. If you only knew.

Go away little Boy. Or better yet come and shine my shoes You probably need the cash don't you ?

Enough of you.

Mom still doing ok ? lol.....

zzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

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#84 Walter Sobchak
April 07 2013, 03:10AM
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Rocket wrote:

Wow that sucks. I don't always agree with your posts but you should still be able to share your opinion freely.

@Sammy: I think fans are pretty frustrated watching The Oilers get dominated in games again & are taking it out on each other. Stay classy Oiler fans.

^ This

@ DSF

Sorry to hear about this, Last time I checked this was a fundamental freedom of ours.

We all need to be better.

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#85 andrewmk20
April 07 2013, 06:30AM
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@NewAgeSys

Yeah you use a thesaurus, that's quite impressive. Using big words does not make your argument more effective, it's just pretentious.

The fact is simple the Oilers just need to be smarter about their zone entries. They need someone who already has forward momentum through the neutral zone before dumping in the puck because without that pressure the goalie and dmen can simply get behind the net and move the puck out without pressure. Too often the Oilers aren't set before the dump in. They need to look up the definition of dump and chase, they seem to only have the first part down.

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#86 RDS
April 07 2013, 09:09AM
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Looks like we are all a little grouchy after having our hopes dashed. I agree with the poster who said this summer will be key. Management must see what we are missing and have to make the right moves. That is why they make the big bucks. To sit back and do nothing is worse than making the wrong move.

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#87 The Soup Fascist
April 07 2013, 11:25AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

^ This

@ DSF

Sorry to hear about this, Last time I checked this was a fundamental freedom of ours.

We all need to be better.

Free DSF?

While I disagree with many of DSF's views, get annoyed by his fact twisting and circular arguments and think his intent is more often to aggravate than debate - he should have every opportunity to do it.

He isn't overtly abusive to anyone and can be entertaining. He is like the "heel" in wrestling. You love to hate him but in the end he makes the "show" better. The old adage, " I hate what he says, but I defend his right to say it" comes to mind.

I suppose the blog managers can do what they want as they pay the bills but think it was a step backwards to ban a guy, even for a day - just because he annoys people.

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#88 Rama Lama
April 07 2013, 12:22PM
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Why cant we all just get along?

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#89 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
April 07 2013, 04:20PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Why cant we all just get along?

im allergic. sorry.

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#90 Ryan2
April 07 2013, 06:25PM
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DSF wrote:

He's got all of 11 points and is -4.

Not much to get excited about.

And here are the stats for DSF's boy wonder, Mikael Granlund, from Minny this season:

20GP 1G 5A 6TP -3

A ton to get excited about there, right?

While I agree with some of your comments, you need to give it up on MPS already. It is funny how you are willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a a small (5'10", 180lb) 21 year old center with average (being generous here) speed and no physicality, while still harping on MPS as, at the over the hill old age of 21, he is showing that he is learning how to play in the show.

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