Missing out on goaltenders

Jonathan Willis
June 21 2013 09:21AM

One by one, the top free agent goaltenders in Europe and out of college hockey have made decisions about their NHL future. So far, none of them has opted for the Edmonton Oilers, a team desperately in need of rebuilding their depth chart in net, and one that was optimistic earlier in the summer about attracting somebody like Antti Raanta (pictured above; ended up in Chicago).

Where does Edmonton go now?

Number Two

With Nikolai Khabibulin on the way out of town – and given his injury history that is without question the right decision – the Oilers options are limited to trade or NHL free agency.

In trade, we’ve previously looked at the Anaheim Ducks as a possible target, and they very much remain one. Frederik Andersen is a player who has youth, size and a sterling track record on his side – last season he was a 0.929 save percentage goalie in the AHL; the year prior he managed a 0.943 save percentage in Sweden. Blocked on the depth chart by Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller, and with highly-touted John Gibson the team’s probable goalie of the future, Andersen is a player who could be a very good fit as Edmonton’s backup.

In free agency, there are a number of solid veteran options (we’ve considered those previously, too). Ray Emery, Jose Theodore and Jason Labarbera are the three that strike me as the best potential fits/most likely to be available for the Oilers, but there are others. There are also less experienced options. Commonly mentioned are Boston’s Anton Khudobin, who could be a good fit because he’s been good both in limited NHL minutes and in longer stints in Europe and the minors. Also commonly mentioned is Thomas Greiss, who has been good in limited NHL minutes, but has been much less impressive in the minors and Europe.

Number Three

Yann Danis didn’t have a very good year, but realistically he’s the class of player the Oilers are likely looking at for the number three role, unless they manage to steal a not quite NHL ready prospect from another organization.

Personally, given the choice between another journeyman AHL netminder and Danis, I’d likely stick with the incumbent. His longer track record is excellent (he was the AHL’s goalie of the year last season) and he rebounded in the playoffs after a poor regular season. Unless there’s something that hasn’t been publicized that gives the team reason for concern, simply switching to a different AHL veteran seems unlikely to gain the Oilers much.

The exception would be if the Oilers see an AHL veteran that they feel has NHL potential, something that seems unlikely – looking at the AHL goaltending list, there aren’t a lot of non-prospect types that jump out as future NHL’ers. There's also the possibility of adding a lower-tier European - such as Bernhard Starkbaum - though it's debatable how much of an upgrade that is.

Recently around the Nation Network

At Canucks Army, Jeff Angus looks at Diamond in the Rough Free Agents (Forwards). While it's written from a Vancouver perspective, every team in the league would like to find an unheralded free agent who knocks it out of the park for them. Is there a player on this list that qualifies?:

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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 DSF
June 21 2013, 12:04PM
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Jim Matheson ‏@NHLbyMatty 11m

very quiet on Oil trade front. I still think they will try and deal for BUFF winger Drew Stafford.

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#52 washed up
June 21 2013, 12:11PM
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@nuge2nail

There's no way you can compare the Oilers defense to the defense that kipper had in front of him since his time in Calgary. IMO Calgary's defense as been vastly superior to the Oilers. However I will agree that kipper made Calgary look like a better team then they actually were. Same as Broduer with NJD.

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#53 nuge2nail
June 21 2013, 12:13PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Shouldn't goaltending be priority number three?

Defense is a clear #1 Complete revamp of bottom 6 is #2 . . . . . . . Goaltending at #3

Oiler Domination To Follow

You would be surprised how addressing priority number 3 can fix problems 1/2.

Teams play with more confidence behind star goaltending, and star goaltenders make their teams and more importantly their defence look good on nights they aren't.

Example. kipper the last ten years with the flames. Horrible pylon useless team, competing for playoffs every year. Imagine what goaltending like that could do for us.

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#54 nuge2nail
June 21 2013, 12:17PM
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@washed up

Oiler Domination To Follow

I think if The flames had the goaltending they got this year for the past decade, they would have more lottery picks than us.

I live in Calgary, catch a lot of flames games with the guys and I've never missed an oiler game in a decade(good ol pvr).

Kipper in his prime made 4 highlight saves a game and stole games regularly.

Sadly we haven't had that since cujo was stealing us games.

We shouldn't settle for any less than all star goaltending. If we do we wont be in the playoffs for another 7 years. Seems like MAcT agrees and thank goodness for that. Cap keeps going up, free agency is thinning out. Get Luongo for a couple seconds, and trade Dubnyk if he continues to improve. We could create an asset similar to Schneider if he keeps improving, giving us an opportunity to upgrade our d. Would that be such a bad thing to have two great goalies, we have Horcoff Hemsky money to spend anyways

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#55 Taylor Gang
June 21 2013, 12:23PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

You would be surprised how addressing priority number 3 can fix problems 1/2.

Teams play with more confidence behind star goaltending, and star goaltenders make their teams and more importantly their defence look good on nights they aren't.

Example. kipper the last ten years with the flames. Horrible pylon useless team, competing for playoffs every year. Imagine what goaltending like that could do for us.

As much as I hate admitting it, the reason the flames were higher in the standings is because their team was better than ours.

Goaltending: Kipper, one of the top 5 goalies in the league at one point

Defense: Wideman, Boumeester, Giordano. MUCH better defensive core

Forwards: Led by Jarome friggin Iginla, Alex Tanguay and one of the best third liners in the NHL, Curtis Glencross.

Granted, now we have more star power, and also you could argue our goaltending is better, but their team still has more balance.

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#56 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 21 2013, 12:25PM
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This Torts news (if it pans out) is the best news of the off-season.

We are all going to be treated to whirling entertainment.

I have no idea if he's a good coach or not, I am in no position to evaluate coaching.

I don't care about that. I care about hilarity. We just got gifted a ton of it.

No Eakins. No Stevens. how could so many books be wrong?

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#57 Spydyr
June 21 2013, 12:37PM
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Hope Torts does end up in Vancouver.Him and Nuk fans deserve each other.It is going to be fun sitting back and watching that gong show unfold over the next few years.

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#58 Czar
June 21 2013, 12:45PM
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@ spydyr and Romulus

Can't wait for him to call out the divers and make the sisters cry! Maybe a new love affair with Cam cole on the horizon?

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#59 nuge2nail
June 21 2013, 12:46PM
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@Taylor Gang

Oiler Domination To Follow

I don't agree at all. I don't think tanguay and Iggy are better than Hall and Eberle. They have had no depth at center and their defence are composed of puck movers who can't play d.

I don't think their defence is all that great, that core was horrendous last year and their goals against show it. If Kipper played the way he did this year for the last decade, their average defence would have been exposéd a long time ago. The way the Oilers has been post lockout

He just made average Defenceman look great, and that's what all star goaltenders do for a team.

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#60 Spydyr
June 21 2013, 12:52PM
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A great goalie can carry a average team to the cup.A great team can carry an average goalie to the cup.A average team with an average goalie...NO CUP FOR YOU!!!(in soup Nazi voice)

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#61 Darrell
June 21 2013, 01:07PM
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DSF wrote:

gary lawless ‏@garylawless 4m

NHL source tells me John Tortorella has been offered #Canucks job and two sides are close to a deal #nhl #canucks Torts will coach Canucks

A know it all that puts down the home team - You must be ecstatic DSF !

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#62 OilDieHard
June 21 2013, 01:55PM
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i'm still pissed the Oilers didn't take John Gibson when they had a chance at #31 in 2011. Gibson will turn 20 in July and will be playing in the AHL, so i a couple of years, if things don't work out with Dubnyk, Gibson could perhaps be ready to go? i like the Musil pick but i think the Oilers missed a golden opportunity to take the best goalie in the 2011 draft !

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#63 They're $hittie
June 21 2013, 01:59PM
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DSF wrote:

Jim Matheson ‏@NHLbyMatty 11m

very quiet on Oil trade front. I still think they will try and deal for BUFF winger Drew Stafford.

Thanks we can read our own twitter account.

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#64 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 21 2013, 02:42PM
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Hilariously interesting:

The likely rationale for the hiring of Tortorella is that he is the man who can whip stronger performances from a veteran team, led by the Sedin twins, who turn 33 in September. Tortorella, beyond his bluster, has, like Vigneault, demonstrated innovative thinking, such as deploying players aggressively in the offensive or defensive zones to achieve better results. That said, Vancouver and New York had similar problems in the shortened 2013 season, such as weak power plays. The Tortorella decision was likely influenced by the Canucks owner, billionaire Francesco Aquilini. He is, in general, active with the team throughout the year, in constant contact with Gillis several times a day, though the owner generally leaves his president to run the team. This time, however, Aquilini is believed to have played an active role in the interviewing and hiring of the coach, a result of the disappointment of watching his large investment in the team result in nothing. Aquilini has always provided Gillis the millions to spend right to the salary cap and also much more to provide additional assets such as a posh locker room and team facilities at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, as well as a sleep doctor and a troupe of other specialists. It is unclear whether Tortorella is interested in seeing his players have yoga sessions among their fitness routines, a staple of recent years. Aquilini has a reputation for emotional, at times petulant, outbursts – particularly well-known for his upset and anger at reporters in the Canucks locker room after his team collapsed in Game 7 of the Stanely Cup final two years ago and lost 4-0 to Boston. Vigneault’s relatively mild manner was not in sync with Aquilini. Vigneault would often leave it to his players to hash out problems in between periods in games in which the team had problems.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/canucks-on-the-verge-of-hiring-john-tortorella/article12748907/

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#65 LinkfromHyrule
June 21 2013, 03:03PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Thanks we can read our own twitter account.

actually for those of us who don't use twitter it's nice when people post tweets and other stuff like that. DSF is not being an a$$ so why do you need to be

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#66 Bucknuck
June 21 2013, 04:12PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Thanks we can read our own twitter account.

I can't believe I am defending DSF, but c'mon!

This is a discussion board and that was an interesting piece of info that could add to the discussion.

Not all of us have twitter.

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#67 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 21 2013, 05:39PM
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Mr common sense wrote:

Umm...sorry why are we narrowing our lens to a #2 and 3 goalie only? What has Dooby done to make us fully confident in him? Is the price of goalies during the year not astronomically higher and selection leaner? If I'm MacT I'm looking at Mike Smith for sure, he's a battler and a proven goalie. under Eakins the Oil will play a tighter game and Smith would thrive. I'd also be looking at the Luongo option....I know it sounds nuts but he alone could propel the Oil into the playoffs.

Mike Smith couldn't stop a beach ball when he played for Tampa Bay....then looked like an MVP when he got moved to Pheonix.......the Oilers look ALOT more like TB then they do Pheonix.....

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#68 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 21 2013, 05:42PM
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rickithebear wrote:

Dubnyk was a top 10 save% goalie and the second best high shot count save% goalie in the league.

He is a 7W-0L 1.29GA .940SV% goalie with team canada in Spengler and WC this year.

In the 3 years as a starter Dubnyk has faced 32SH/gm. Has been league average or better all three years.

Generates 109/224 points .486 win% on a .426 team the other goalies have 72/200 points for a .360 win%

What Goalie in there right mind would want to play in an organization that has a GM that thinks a top 10 goalie with terrible D is not a starter.

If I am dubnyk, I do my final year in Edmonton then take my ass to NJD who only give up 22 shots/gm. 10 less per game.

He can be a 40+ win and 1.76GA goalie for 5-6 milion a year.

EXACTLY !!!

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#69 westcoastoil
June 21 2013, 06:01PM
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"Diamond in the Rough" post is really the poo poo platter in disguise.

So AV (great guy btw) gets fired in Vanc. because his team can't score in the playoffs and lands a 5 yr gig in NY where they fired Torts...because his team couldn't score in the playoffs. Gillis whiffs on Eakins and Ruff because he's been interviewing everyone who's coached higher than bantam and ends up hiring Torts - whose teams can't score in the playoffs and is the most media bombastic coach in the NHL to lead the club in a town where the media and fans are more or less the same as those in Leafville.

As an Oiler fan living in Vancouver this is a fantastic day. Never mind than the sun just came out for the first time since Tuesday...and it's the first day of summer. Awesome!

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#70 Taylor Gang
June 21 2013, 06:53PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

I don't agree at all. I don't think tanguay and Iggy are better than Hall and Eberle. They have had no depth at center and their defence are composed of puck movers who can't play d.

I don't think their defence is all that great, that core was horrendous last year and their goals against show it. If Kipper played the way he did this year for the last decade, their average defence would have been exposéd a long time ago. The way the Oilers has been post lockout

He just made average Defenceman look great, and that's what all star goaltenders do for a team.

I'm not suggesting that the flames are a better team now; last year's stats show that. But they WERE better before they got Hall and Eberle, which is what I'm saying. It wasn't a mirage hidden by Kipper, Calgary simply was a better team than us.

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#71 nuge2nail
June 21 2013, 07:45PM
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@Taylor Gang

Oiler Domination To Follow

My point is we just don't need better goaltending to succeed, we need all star vezina type goaltending. The type Kipper provided for a decade for the flames.

I know you are not suggesting we have recieved that caliber goaltending over the last 7 years. If we had we would have been in at least one playoff Race. Great goaltending makes everyone seem better than they are.

If we want to end the playoff drought we need premeir goaltending, and I don't believe we have that now. Bring in a 1a and we might have a tandem that could steal us enough games to get into the playoffs.

Without it out weaknesses will continue to get exposed.

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#72 DSF
June 21 2013, 08:18PM
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Strombone ‏@strombone1 43s

I'M WILLING TO STAY, BE THE BACK UP AND PLAY FOR FREE IF THEY LET ME SIT IN AT EVERY TORTS PRESSER! #MAN #MYTH #LEGEND

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#73 a lg dubl dubl
June 21 2013, 08:25PM
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DD will be fine, will he be a vezina winner, maybe maybe not. Im of the opinion that MacT should get a goalie that has more games under his belt than a guy who has less than 150 games.

The problem was with the D

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#74 a lg dubl dubl
June 21 2013, 08:28PM
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DSF wrote:

Jim Matheson ‏@NHLbyMatty 11m

very quiet on Oil trade front. I still think they will try and deal for BUFF winger Drew Stafford.

I wouldn't mind Stafford here at all, a solid 2nd/3rd line winger IMO.

Funny that Matheson said that, while Terry Jones tweeted yesterday that MacT was just waiting for the finals to end to announce a few trades.

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#75 Langco
June 21 2013, 09:28PM
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3 deals I would love to see :7th pick ,petry for Letang, Anaheim 2nd rounder(cogliano) for clutterbuck ,and hemsky and 4th rounder to leafs for Frattin and scrivens.

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#76 DSF
June 21 2013, 09:33PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

I wouldn't mind Stafford here at all, a solid 2nd/3rd line winger IMO.

Funny that Matheson said that, while Terry Jones tweeted yesterday that MacT was just waiting for the finals to end to announce a few trades.

Yeah, I think the dam will break all over the league the day after the finals end.

Should be great theatre.

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#77 a lg dubl dubl
June 21 2013, 10:24PM
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Langco wrote:

3 deals I would love to see :7th pick ,petry for Letang, Anaheim 2nd rounder(cogliano) for clutterbuck ,and hemsky and 4th rounder to leafs for Frattin and scrivens.

One Id like to see is Horcoff and half his $ to Detroit for Helm.

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#78 a lg dubl dubl
June 21 2013, 10:26PM
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DSF wrote:

Yeah, I think the dam will break all over the league the day after the finals end.

Should be great theatre.

I hear ya, its going to be interesting trying to follow everything whilst drunk at Boonstock next weekend lol

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#79 NewAgeSys
June 22 2013, 01:24AM
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I think Dubby is going to be fine for us. He has lots of quality support, I would like to see us bring in a back-up for him that has a much different body type and style contrast.

We can let go of the burp we saw last year with the midrange wristers , goalies league wide are being hit with new shooting tactics and are being exposed repeatedly. It is a Retro-craze, pretty soon d-men will be forced to stop the transition game by stepping up or the Tactical Shooting programs will keep ripping even All-Star tenders to pieces. There is a devious plan behind this evolution, Bah ha ha ha.

People are Yapping about the Hawks goaltenders glovehand side but are failing to mention the Blocker side the Hawks scorched for Boston. Both teams are using Tactical shooting Programs and are focusing on one spot for 60 minutes, they are changing the odds so to speak for themselves. Every punch is landing in the same spot. This is an easy tactic to stop, its just a recent innovation to some teams, it is a natural fit for a possesion/transition style. The simple method of stopping this tactic is intellectual property, I hope Chicago can figure it out because the only thing keeping Boston in it now is the Tactical Shooting Program they also use, it isnt enough if the Hawks can shut it down then the ice tilts epiclly. It is the ONE optimal adjustment that will win the game for whoever does this. Stop the TSP for 60m mins , impose it on your opponent and you win the Stanley Cup.

I say the final is 6-2 Hawks, Penaltys kill Boston, few but impactfull penaltys. Chara will be on the ice for 4 goals against. High sticking penaltys will decide the game, its a bad day to be tall and lanky, especially in games as tough as this when everyone is giving 100%, just draw a drop of blood on a little feller and you are done like dinner, redfs the color in a game #7, you can get a stick broken over your face but if there is no blood there is no penalty. I see a 4 minute stick foul on Boston and a critical puck shot over the glass by Boston Player creating a delay of game foul, I am seeing Seguin as being guilty for some reason.

People have correctly identified a gap in our goaltending progression.

Who says we cant use a 3 goalie system? It has worked in the past. Olivier Roy may be young but he sure brings us the style contrast we need AND SOME COMPETITIVE FIRE. The only way to bridge the gap we created in our goalie pipeline is to bring someone right in under a little fire, if we keep Khabby there will be no chance of scorching a young hand.

I would rather bring someone up from OKC than trade for anyone unless its a blockbuster upgrade on our starter.

Wouldnt it be nice to see Olivier Roy come in for a look see and get the chance to run with his wins if he can string some together? You know like NOT just give him ONE game to rest Dubby, but give him one and a free ticket to the next one if he can find a W.

Has anyone considered doing a Game Day Blog for the Big Game tomorrow?

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#80 madjam
June 22 2013, 06:56AM
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"Spinning wheels got to go round ", I believe by Blood , Sweat and Tears. I suppose that aptly describes management approach to fixing our problems . Same caste operating the merry go round ? Culture changes with winning . I don't feel GM brow beating players in public is of positive value ,that's old school and most find it a negative way to motivate .

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#81 Langco
June 22 2013, 09:05AM
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@a lg dubl dubl

Horcoff will be a buyout,can't imagine anyone will give anything but their own bad contract

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#82 Czar
June 22 2013, 09:21AM
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DSF wrote:

Strombone ‏@strombone1 43s

I'M WILLING TO STAY, BE THE BACK UP AND PLAY FOR FREE IF THEY LET ME SIT IN AT EVERY TORTS PRESSER! #MAN #MYTH #LEGEND

That is fukcing hilarious! At least he hasn't lost his sense of humour through all the BS he's endured.

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#83 NewAgeSys
June 22 2013, 12:32PM
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We dont need a new goalie.

Pay attention to Doug Weights game commentary as compared to the rest of the Panel he works with. They are all trying to analyse how and why the Hawks glove side is being exploited, failing to mention the Bruins Blocker side is being ripped up in an identical tactical manner. There is an easy way to teach the fans what is being done out there, isnt that an Analysts job?

Both the Hawks and the Bruins are using this NewAge Hockey System catalysed Tactical Shooting Program exactly the same ways LA used it last year. This is documented fact and should be easily verified by a Media group with resources.

The Tactical Shooting Program is a specific original tactic and commentators can use my unique NHS terminology, it will make their jobs easier. Pay attention to Doug Weight more, he is so in tune and dialed in right now with the NHS and the changing pulse of the NHL game, he is full of perfect contextual references and has been leading the commentary every night because of it. He has been holding back a lot, ha ha ha, smart man, he has been making a Plan of his own ever since he watched LA use the NHS to win a Cup using a Tacticl Shooting program and IDENTIFIED and accepted that this was really what was happening.

He is ballsy enough to be skirting the issues on air constantly, I wonder why he doesnt just ask for the full NHS? Hey Doug The Slug, I can feel your energy and I hear pure NHS philosophy in nearly everything you are saying when you let your guard down, I am an Intuit Pal. I am not adding anything more NHS related online or posting long detailed explanations, that data is now being treated as Intellectual Property, come get some. You are as Hyper as I am, ha ha ha ha, for real.

You cant self-analyse but Dougie my friend on the air you sometimes jump three thoughts ahead of everyone because you are thinking your NHS dynamic template perspective and concepts, it is leaking through and you are warping ahead of everyone without being able to help it, and I chuckle.

You will never get your peers on your page unless they learn the NHS terminology like you have, which is as unique as the Philosophies, ha ha ha. Yes my friend once those unique terms hit the mainstream media airwaves there is no going back is there? As planned. It is nearly impossible to keep people on the right page without the NHSs Dynamic terminology isnt it? Conventional hockey explanations dont cut the Mustard do they? Just give it up to Moma2 already, jeepers, why so serious.

If I listed specific terms and contextual usage of specific words it would be laughable at how much of the NHSs Dynamic Intuitive influence is simmering all around the analysis you guys are providing, everyone is being forced to lean towards the most correct and optimal terminologys staying as traditional as they can but slowly transitioning to superior dynamic NHS terminology, word by bloody word, unique terminology undeniably original to the NHS.

Your panel has tried expaining what the teams are doing to the Goaltenders on the ice without using the term Tactical Shooting Program? Why not consider simply explaining how and why the Blocker and Glove sides were exploited in exactly the same way using exactly the same NAMED NHS Tactical Shooting Program which is initiated in an unconventional dynamic possesion/transition based manner related to the NHSs influences on the Adjusted-Hybrid.

Maybe do a comparative Analysis to last years identical damage LA caused to Goalies all the way to the Cup, teach the fans already fellas. Instead of beating around the bush.

OilersNation seems to be the only current source of NHS data online, seems natural to reference people to the source doesnt it?

It isnt against the law to name an online poster either , all Major Media outlets give credit to posters via their online moniker so feel free to toss the name Moma2s NewAge Hockey System around as well. Its coming out sooner than later believe me, take a risk what do you have to lose? Break the story open already, it is a pre-determined eventuality that it is forthcoming, why wait, there is no tactical advantage to suppressing the data already posted online for everyone, the Tactical Shooting Program is an unique, original, and documented NHS tactic fully explained online many times, just never formally aknowledged and credited by Name. Its online introduction coincided exactly with LAs implementation and success ,all fully documentable facts for a media outlet to verify and illustrate. After LA other teams also embraced the NHS tactic. The rest of the story we need to wait to see, it is called dynamic league evolution.

Anyone who bothers to read NewAgeSys posts will instantly recognise the terminologys and words creeping into the analysts commentary between periods and on pre-game shows, especially Dougie Weights perspective, he sounds like an Intuit to me.

Resistance is Futile. You will be Assimilated

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#84 jordan
June 23 2013, 04:08PM
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I Would try to get ryan miller

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