GDB -5: VICTORY HUNTING IN VANCOUVER

Jason Gregor
September 18 2013 09:29AM

Before we get carried away let's remember it is only preseason, but Dallas Eakins will be looking for a better effort from the Oilers tonight in Vancouver compared to last night's display in Winnipeg. The Jets had 12 NHL regulars in their lineup while the Oilers had six; Gagner, Yakupov, Jones, Smid, Petry and Grebeshkov, but Eakins has preached being competitive since day one of camp, and if Richard Bachman doesn't stand on his head in the middle frame the score would have been much worse.

The Oilers will dress a more skilled lineup tonight, and Eakins will be hoping for a more competitive result.

Most coaches don't put much stock into the score in the first four or five preseason games, mainly because many of the players aren't regular NHLers, but they are hoping to see improvement in system play, individual competitiveness and watching the veterans find their timing.

Last night's lineup had more "bubble boys" than regulars, while tonight's roster contains more NHL skill and experience.

LINEUP

We know who nine of the forwards will be, but Eakins will need to add a few forwards who played in Winnipeg.

Smyth-Hall-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hemsky
Eager-Acton-Brown
Khaira-Nugent-Hopkins-Miller

Nugent-Hopkins isn't playing, while Miller and Khaira are questionable due to nagging injuries, so that means at least one, and potentially three, forwards will play back-to-back.

Tyler Pitlick has only played one game thus far and prior to his strong showing last night, I thought he was a good bet to play both games. "“There’s something there with that kid. We just have to see if we can bring it out,” said Eakins last night. If one of Miller or Khaira can't play I'll guess Pitlick replaces them.

Marc Arcobello or Anton Lander will fill RNH's spot. Arcobello played almost 18 minutes last night, while Lander played just over 14. Both have played two games, and neither did much last night, but one of them will play. Sam Gagner won't play back-to-back, and Eakins would likely rather get another look at guys who are fighting for a spot than Ryan Martindale who is destined for the minors.

I'm guessing the top three pairings below will make the trip:

Ference-J.Schultz
Nurse-N.Schultz
Marincin-Hunt
Belov-Fedun 

Belov won't play until Saturday most likely, while Ference and J.Schultz need some playing time together. Nurse has really impressed his teammates in practice and in the preseason. In conversations with forwards, D-men and even goalies all of them have raved about his smarts, skating ability and decision making. The Oilers won't rush him into the NHL this season, but they will want to see him at least two or three more times, if not more.

Dubnyk/Rimmer

Rimmer is the best young goalie the Oilers have, and he isn't officially their property. He's outplayed Tyler Bunz and Olivier Roy, and they might want another look at him before deciding if they offer him a contract. Rimmer is one month younger than Bunz and a year younger than Roy, and if he plays well he could secure a two-way contract, or at the very least a 25-game deal.

It is clear Dubnyk is the starter, so making sure he is sharp for October 1st is a bigger concern than signing Rimmer, and he likely starts and finishes tonight. The issue is how much playing time does he need? Will he need to start at least two, if not three, of the final preseason games?

He could start this Saturday, next Tuesday and next Friday and likely be ready. I'm sure he and Eakins have discussed how much playing time he needs. I asked Dubnyk if he felt he'd need more preseason action than usual to get accustomed to his new pads, and he said no.

He acknowledged the shorter pads feel different, especially when he butterflies because the top of the pads don't touch like they did last season, but he didn't think he'd need more playing time to adjust.

**EDIT***

The other forward line will be Joensuu/Arcobello/Pitlick. It makes sense to have bubble guys playing back-to-back, and if Pitlick wants a legitimate shot at making the team, he'll need another strong game. Also, likely you will see Arcobello and Gordon switch lines, so Arcobello plays with Hemksy and Perron.

CANUCKS LINEUP

D. Sedin- H.Sedin - Kassian
Shinkaruk - Richardson - Hansen
Gaunce - Santorelli - DeFazio
Stuart - Horvat - Jensen

Garrison - Bieksa
Andersson - Mullen
Negrin - Tanev

Luongo

THOUGHTS FROM LAST NIGHT....

  • Bachman was the best Oiler and he kept the game close, especially in the second period. In my eyes he is a slightly better NHL backup option than Yann Danis.
     
  • Pitlick was the best forward. He was strong on the puck and assertive.
     
  • Joensuu, Lander, Hamilton, Arcobello and Omark didn't do much to gain an edge in the race of the bubble boys. Joensuu was okay, but he didn't stand out like he did in Edmonton on Saturday. Omark got a late assist, but if he is going to play in the top-nine he's going to need to generate more scoring changes. Lander's footspeed might cost him a spot on the roster.
     
  • Larsen was much better than he was in Calgary on Saturday, and he showed his playmaking abilities more than Grebeskhov last night. Both of them have NHL experience, and until we see Belov play, they are battling for the #6 spot. Grebeshkov has the advantage in experience, but their final preseason games will determine who skates beside Nick Schultz on October 1st.
     
  • Yakupov had four shots and he looked sharper than he did in first game. I'm guessing he'll play with Hall, Gagner or Gordon in the next few preseason games to find some chemistry.
     
  • Lander was 56% in the draw, while Arcobello was 58%. Neither of them stood out for me, but in a game where they didn't stand out, both were solid in the dot.
     
  • If Will Acton has a strong game tonight, he'll take the lead in the battle for the 4th line centre.
     
  • Tonight's game is on Sportsnet West at 8 p.m. MST.
     

NEED YOUR HELP

Nation, I need your help. I need to borrow two Red Wagons, big enough that I can sit in, kind of, for a photo opportunity. I also need a thick 10-foot rope, like a boat rope. If you have either, email gregor@theteam1260.com. I'll make it worth your while.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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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#51 Rama Lama
September 18 2013, 11:47AM
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If Omark is playing a little off the mark..........chalk it up to trying to do too much to impress the new coach.

One he settles down, he will be just fine. If I were him............I would go to the AHL and dominate, he will eventually get noticed and by that time Hemsky should be injured again opening up a spot for him.

Linus will not be a minus.

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#53 justsaying
September 18 2013, 11:48AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Watched the first two periods last night. Did not see the effort Eakins talks about. It is early but it looked like the same half hearted effort as the last seven years.

It's true.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I suspect this year will be no different.

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#54 Czar
September 18 2013, 11:50AM
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@Jason Gregor

I'd be a lot happier with a Bachman/Rimmer tandem in OKC. The Oiler goaltending depth is as weak as any team in the NHL, we need all the help we can get,who cares where it comes from and who gets lost in the shuffle.

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#55 Craig1981
September 18 2013, 11:52AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Sorry Craig, should be directed at Frenchtoast Mafia. OWTHHNI

23 man roster Frenchy. 36 spots to start camp. Do the math. Would allow for atleast 10 spots for rookies and/or blue chip prospects.

Oilers should/could benefit from being much closer to that final 25 by now.

What are you even talking about?!?!? I have "done the math" If you have only 25 now you do not have enough to develop your prospects, train your callups to the oiler system, and evaluate who is in the bottom 1/4 of your lineup.

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#56 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
September 18 2013, 11:53AM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Are players coachable? Capable of learning a new system, or thriving in the new coach's system? It seems to me like a coaching staff would want to see how players progress over the span of a training camp.

Sounds like Omark, for instance has been unimpressive (haven't been able to watch for myself), but in his case, the most important thing IMHO, would be growth, adaptation and willingness to try to do the things Eakins wants him to do. Sounds tough to evaluate over one or two days.

From a player development perspective, I have to believe they have a file on each player at camp, and goals that each player is working towards. Many players, whether destined for Edm, OKC, or junior, will improve due to their camp experience. Seems like the more those players improve, the better in the long term.

By the way, winning and scoring in pre-season guarantees nothing. Just ask Patrick Thoreson.

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#57 pkam
September 18 2013, 11:57AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Maybe when you know the difference between you, you're and your. You, of all people, shouldn't be using the word intelligent in any of your comments, and stop butchering the English language. Appologies if it isn't your first language (an olive branch you may want to consider grasping onto).

Perhaps you should know better when to use a period and a comma, and understand proper sentence structure, before commenting on others' grammatical mistakes?

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#58 match16
September 18 2013, 12:01PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Maybe when you know the difference between you, you're and your. You, of all people, shouldn't be using the word intelligent in any of your comments, and stop butchering the English language. Appologies if it isn't your first language (an olive branch you may want to consider grasping onto).

Apologies*

See, even you can make mistakes posting on a blog.

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#59 Quicksilver ballet
September 18 2013, 12:04PM
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@Jason Gregor

Not you too...

Where in any of my statements did I claim the Oilers are the only team using S/S games? Don't be putting words in my mouth. You of all people should appreciate this guideline.

I don't friggen care what the Canucks did on such and such insignificant date. Maybe they had some of those 1 or 2 pre season game commitments they wanted to get out of the way as well. All I care about is the Oilers using the 7 or so exhibition games to use this time to build a cohesive 25 man group. Traditionalists like yourself, appear to be comfortable having this period stretch into the first couple weeks of the season that matters. A 35-36 man post rookie camp roster makes sense.

Give your head a shake Jason, did you look at what you just put your name on? Don't be putting words in my mouth.

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#60 madjam
September 18 2013, 12:04PM
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Love the split games - double the action and double the fun. Wish there were more . Great for prospects to get a taste of NHL hockey and compare themselves to the veterans and competition and what they have to do to make parent club on a full time basis . Good push for veterans as well . We want more split games , as it also shows our depth or lack thereof .

MacT. figured our depth was good enough . I think he might be waivering on that thought now , however , as not to many bright lites are coming forth as he expected .Slit games allows staff to focus in more on possible players making club , or the necessity to go out and get other talent elsewhere .

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#61 Ducey
September 18 2013, 12:07PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

If the Oilers thought Bunz or Roy was better, why wouldn't they have kept them for an extra day or two. The OKC coaching staff is still here, so it's not like they are practicing.

I'd expect the Oilers to sign him to a minor league deal, and maybe, big maybe, they sign him to an NHL deal.

If he is better than Roy and Bunz, you don't let him go just because. They will find a way to keep him.

I don't know why the Oilers would keep Rimmer up. Presumably they need 4 goalies for the back to back games and for practice purposes?

My point is that Rimmer can't be considered the best goalie in the system.

If the Oilers are going to ignore his numbers from a whole season and sign him to an NHL contract based on 120 training camp/ exhibition minutes, well, then they are making a mistake. I could see them signing him to a contract to play in the ECHL, but that wouldn't really make him the best goalie in the system.

I would think they would be better served to grab someone off waivers from another team if they are looking to upgrade on Roy or Bunz.

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#62 StHenriOilBomb
September 18 2013, 12:09PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Not you too...

Where in any of my statements did I claim the Oilers are the only team using S/S games? Don't be putting words in my mouth. You of all people should appreciate this guideline.

I don't friggen care what the Canucks did on such and such insignificant date. Maybe they had some of those 1 or 2 pre season game commitments they wanted to get out of the way as well. All I care about is the Oilers using the 7 or so exhibition games to use this time to build a cohesive 25 man group. Traditionalists like yourself, appear to be comfortable having this period stretch into the first couple weeks of the season that matters. A 35-36 man post rookie camp roster makes sense.

Give your head a shake Jason, did you look at what you just put your name on? Don't be putting words in my mouth.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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#63 Craig1981
September 18 2013, 12:11PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

excuse my double post

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#64 Ducey
September 18 2013, 12:12PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Not you too...

Where in any of my statements did I claim the Oilers are the only team using S/S games? Don't be putting words in my mouth. You of all people should appreciate this guideline.

I don't friggen care what the Canucks did on such and such insignificant date. Maybe they had some of those 1 or 2 pre season game commitments they wanted to get out of the way as well. All I care about is the Oilers using the 7 or so exhibition games to use this time to build a cohesive 25 man group. Traditionalists like yourself, appear to be comfortable having this period stretch into the first couple weeks of the season that matters. A 35-36 man post rookie camp roster makes sense.

Give your head a shake Jason, did you look at what you just put your name on? Don't be putting words in my mouth.

You should be giving your own head a shake (or two).

You rack up "Trashes" at rate higher than anyone else around here.

For most people, that would be a clear indication to modify the way they post, to re-examine their opinion, or to get lost.

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#65 Craig1981
September 18 2013, 12:12PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Not you too...

Where in any of my statements did I claim the Oilers are the only team using S/S games? Don't be putting words in my mouth. You of all people should appreciate this guideline.

I don't friggen care what the Canucks did on such and such insignificant date. Maybe they had some of those 1 or 2 pre season game commitments they wanted to get out of the way as well. All I care about is the Oilers using the 7 or so exhibition games to use this time to build a cohesive 25 man group. Traditionalists like yourself, appear to be comfortable having this period stretch into the first couple weeks of the season that matters. A 35-36 man post rookie camp roster makes sense.

Give your head a shake Jason, did you look at what you just put your name on? Don't be putting words in my mouth.

You quoted the oilers finishing poorly as proof they need to change. That info would only help your case if the top teams were different. His point is very valid. Also shows that if 29 other teams with highly skilled executives and GMs do it one way, its highly unlikely your way is correct and should at least not be brought up as fact.

and please quit insulting people who take the time to write articles for us to read. Disagree with them, but don't insult someone that has taken the time from their day to write something to entertain you.

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#66 pelhem grenville
September 18 2013, 12:16PM
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...it all makes perfect sense Q...why these sh33pl3 take offence at your takes on the reality that is this team during pre-season I have no idea...the peanut butter in a spray can is too funny and the creative way of naming some is still superlative and IMO requires NO BAN action...keep up the good play my friend

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#69 pkam
September 18 2013, 12:24PM
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Zipdot wrote:

INSULTS!!! THAT'S A BAN!!!

You may think his comment is an insult. To me, itis just a loser's way to end a losing debate. Nothing more, nothing less.

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#70 Zipdot
September 18 2013, 12:29PM
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DSF wrote:

Homerism and boosterism do not equal quality.

I'll give you that, but with distractions vis-a-vis off-topic troll baiting, how can commentators even begin to have focused, relevant, critical conversations?

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#71 pkam
September 18 2013, 12:32PM
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Ducey wrote:

I don't know why the Oilers would keep Rimmer up. Presumably they need 4 goalies for the back to back games and for practice purposes?

My point is that Rimmer can't be considered the best goalie in the system.

If the Oilers are going to ignore his numbers from a whole season and sign him to an NHL contract based on 120 training camp/ exhibition minutes, well, then they are making a mistake. I could see them signing him to a contract to play in the ECHL, but that wouldn't really make him the best goalie in the system.

I would think they would be better served to grab someone off waivers from another team if they are looking to upgrade on Roy or Bunz.

Why close the door instead of give ourselves a chance to see if Rimmer can outperform the other goalies? What could it hurt?

We have 8 defenses with NHL experience and 3-4 with no NHL experience fighting for 7 spots. The addition of Grebeshkov, Belov, and Larsen may bump Klefbom down to the minors. Do you see a problem?

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#72 Quicksilver ballet
September 18 2013, 12:42PM
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@Jason Gregor

With all the one way deals signed going into this season, why waste all this time allowing the extra bodies to get in the way of what should be the focus.

Looks to be more than a few kids who have zero chance of making this club this year. Get them the hell out of the way. 26th, 30th, 30th, 29th and 24th must reveal the Oilers need every competitive advantage they can get.

Apologies in advance for all the possible inaccuracies/fictional claims in this post. This just expands on what the highlighted sentence meant/inferred.

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#73 DSF
September 18 2013, 12:43PM
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Zipdot wrote:

I'll give you that, but with distractions vis-a-vis off-topic troll baiting, how can commentators even begin to have focused, relevant, critical conversations?

By ignoring any comment that you think is trolling and then adding something to the the conversation yourself?

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#74 Zipdot
September 18 2013, 12:49PM
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DSF wrote:

By ignoring any comment that you think is trolling and then adding something to the the conversation yourself?

If it were that simple, there would be no market for trolls and we wouldn't be having this chat. But like I said, people get derailed easily. Better to take the troll out of the kitchen then to tell people to ignore the roaches on their plates, next to the mashed potatoes.

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#75 Quicksilver ballet
September 18 2013, 01:06PM
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Zipdot wrote:

If it were that simple, there would be no market for trolls and we wouldn't be having this chat. But like I said, people get derailed easily. Better to take the troll out of the kitchen then to tell people to ignore the roaches on their plates, next to the mashed potatoes.

Love me some metaphors. No such thing as a poor metaphore on Oilersnation.

Zipdot, name me a colour you've never seen before?

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#76 DSF
September 18 2013, 01:08PM
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Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 7m #Oilers assign D Brandon Davidson, RW Cameron Abney and LW Kale Kessy to @OKCBarons, also assign LW Mitchell Moroz to @EdmOilKings.

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#77 Supernova
September 18 2013, 01:46PM
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I don't usually agree with DSF, but he makes a few good comments here.

I usually disagree with DSF alot but I don't find that he takes to name calling or slander. In my communications with him here and at LT site, I find we don't have the same take, but we can professionally and courteously discuss these matters, without digressing.

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#78 The Soup Fascist
September 18 2013, 02:20PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Man, aren't you precious.

You're about as swift as peanut butter in a spray can, aren't you?

... about this Peanut Butter in a spray can?? Would you know if it is available in Calgary?

Jay F. (asking for a friend)

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#79 MessyEH!
September 18 2013, 03:05PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Yes you can Jason. Conditioning stint or other possible circumstances can allow this to occur. Looks fairly iron clad to me with you failing to include an asterisk. You may have a few bullet holes in your theory/boat. I have a few wine corks (to plug them) you may be interested in purchasing Jason. (love metaphors, absolutely love'em.)

What was it, a reputable blogger mentioned awhile ago.....I don't have to put words in your mouth to make you look foolish, you did it yourself, don't blame me.

Just sayin dude....

I see Calgary's village idiot has discovered the internets. The "kiss your cousin festival" is coming up soon, shouldn't you be practicing your moves on grandma.

Conditioning stints, on waiver wire pick ups. Can you even find 2 examples of this?

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#80 Walter Sobchak
September 18 2013, 03:06PM
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Supernova wrote:

I don't usually agree with DSF, but he makes a few good comments here.

I usually disagree with DSF alot but I don't find that he takes to name calling or slander. In my communications with him here and at LT site, I find we don't have the same take, but we can professionally and courteously discuss these matters, without digressing.

I have to question some people's responses to DSF; I have seen some pretty nasty stuff thrown his way.

I've always found for the most part, that DSF makes a reasonable argument, even if I don't agree with it, at least there is something to work off of.

I actually like a lot of what goes on here to be truthful. EDIT: except comment 79.

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#81 David S
September 18 2013, 03:08PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Every team in the NHL plays rookies and AHL players the first few games, THIS ISN'T NEW.

Stop suggesting the Oilers are the only team that does it. Veterans won't play 8 preseason games, they don't need it.

Did you look at Vancouver's lineup on Monday, when they only had one game, it was similar to Oilers. This is how it works in the NHL.

The final 3 or 4 preseason games have mainly NHL players or guys battling for sports.

The Oilers have about 7-8 forwards competing for three spots, you think in two practices Eakins will know who is good. He's never coached them, he has no idea how they are as people and players, and you want him to cut down to 25 after two days.

The only bullship is your theory. Move on.

Whoo boy. CANNOT believe you had to say this.

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#82 Rocket
September 18 2013, 03:18PM
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JG

You put Belov in the line-up so I assume he will play tonight but do you know if Eakins put Belov through that physical/conditioning test?

@ The Real Ronnie

I agree with your take on DSF

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#84 #ThereGoesTheOilers
September 18 2013, 05:13PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

"You want to get them into games. Even though they know they’re probably going to start the year in the minors, you have to have that fire. You have to have that light at the end of the tunnel. It has to be flickering.

“I’m doing my best to get everybody a little bit of experience ... so it creates competition in your organization."

Perhaps you should use your creative energy to write a strongly worded letter to Dallas Eakins explaining why he wrong. That effort would be a better investment than giving Mr. Gregor a hard time.

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#85 Dog Train
September 18 2013, 06:21PM
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Judging by some of the senseless banter, hockey season must be back.

As far as the game goes, this is obviously a much more experienced lineup than yesterday. The bubble players like Arco and JJ had better make an impression in this game because the bubble will get smaller and smaller every game.

I'll say 3-2 Oilers. Goals by Hall, Ference and Pitlick. For all of Pitlick's hard work, he doesn't often get rewarded so I am pulling for him to net one.

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#86 pelhem grenville
September 18 2013, 06:22PM
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...Oilers Faithful in Whale Watching Land...

...giving your 'mister' Gregor a hard time is sport here...where would we be without giving him the pointy end every so often...Coach Eakins does need your support when he pops his first ever NHL coached game cherry though...maybe have a whale watching artisan out there make up a big candle in the shape of a one for his cake...

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#87 AussieOil
September 18 2013, 07:59PM
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Anyone know if this game is on Gamecenter?

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#88 shifty203
September 18 2013, 08:05PM
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So annoying. Game is blacked out on the HD channel for me, but works on the SD channel.

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#89 Dog Train
September 18 2013, 08:05PM
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It looks like this game is going to be blacked out in Saskatchewan. No better way to market your game than to pointlessly black out pre-season games. Good grief.

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#90 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
September 18 2013, 08:20PM
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Dog Train wrote:

It looks like this game is going to be blacked out in Saskatchewan. No better way to market your game than to pointlessly black out pre-season games. Good grief.

SNet West has it in Saskatoon. I don't know anybody's numbers, but we just scored our second!

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#91 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 18 2013, 08:20PM
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2-0, pile it on boys!

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#92 Mikey
September 18 2013, 08:22PM
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Oh o.

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#93 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 18 2013, 08:24PM
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Scratch that, 3-0. First great soundbite from Torts in the post game?

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#94 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
September 18 2013, 08:31PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Scratch that, 3-0. First great soundbite from Torts in the post game?

Please, someone bring a cell phone

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#95 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 18 2013, 08:42PM
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I could watch Taylor Hall play for days. That guy's a scoring chance machine.

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#96 Thumby
September 18 2013, 09:48PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Love me some metaphors. No such thing as a poor metaphore on Oilersnation.

Zipdot, name me a colour you've never seen before?

Can I play? How about infrared or ultraviolet?

Avatar
#97 Alsker
September 18 2013, 10:32PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Nice game, I think we had as many hits tonite as we did all of last season vs cansucks, or maybe it was just me. Definitely more aggressive, Eager/Brown looked good together at times. The eventual lull was shorter than usual.

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