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 Ca$h-Money!
September 18 2013, 10:23AM
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On Trouba,

I've read lots of great stuff, but the Jetsnation site has an interesting article on him comparing him to Jack Johnson... who might very well be the most divisive player in the league, with bloggers thinking he's utter garbage and the Pierre McGuire's of the world becoming semi-erect at the mere mention of his name.

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#52 Will
September 18 2013, 11:16AM
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I disagree that Pitlick was the best forward. I read over at the cult that Yak had ten shots not four. Not to mention all the scoring chances he created. He looked dangerous all night, and indeed basically created that second goal with his strong work behind the net.

I keep hearing, year after year after year about our lack of compete, and fire. And yet, Yak, Hall, Ebs, Nuge, Smid, are all known for their tenacious compete level. I keep hearing about Gags the fighter, and how Hemsky is willing to go to the dirty areas.

There seems to be a discord between the effort being reported and the effort being complained about. What is the deal. Is this will to win some kind of non existent thing that is always in short supply if a team loses, but is thoroughly on display when a team wins?

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#53 Taylor Gang
September 18 2013, 11:33AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Let me dumb this down for you a little....

No split squad games period. Just take the chosen 23 bodies from the approx. 35 bodies available to you each night. All the kids who'll probably never play an NHL reg season game, are being promised an exhibition game or two at each camp, are just getting in the way.

26th, 30th, 30th, 29th and 24th (there you go drago, you 1Di0t) reveals you need every competitive advantage you can get. The Oilers should be pushing the alsorans out asap. No need to take more than just a couple kids from rookie camp to the main camp.

Your logic is off to say the least.

What's the point of icing the most competitive roster available in the preseason? Win or lose, the games mean nothing. All you're doing is exposing more roster players to injury that could spill over into the regular season. Also, the team wants to see who has progressed over the offseason and who has floundered; not everyone is guaranteed a roster spot.

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#54 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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#55 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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#56 Bruner
September 18 2013, 09:43AM
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I have neither the wagon, nor rope. Go Oilers!!!

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#57 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 18 2013, 09:52AM
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@John Chambers

Totally agree.

Buff looks a little quicker, too. I'm inclined to believe the reports about him being in game shape from day 1 of camp this year.

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#58 Ducey
September 18 2013, 10:25AM
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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 their best young goalie? Come on Gregor. Ever hear of small sample size?

He is small (5'11") and had a .912 save % in his last year in the WHL last year.

Bunz (who is the same age) had a .921 in his last year in the WHL. He has stuggled in his first professional year, but its a little ealry to write him off.

Roy has excelled in his time in the ECHL and needs to step up in the AHL.

Perhonen is 6'5", is younger than Rimmer, and has played internationally for Finland every year.

With Bachman/ Roy in OKC and Bunz in the ECHL, there is no room for him, nor should they waste a contract on him.

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#60 Spydyr
September 18 2013, 10:45AM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

Wait wait, let me guess, your reply will be something along the lines of "30,30,29, and 24 place finishes blah blah blah".

So he speaks the truth then.That is what this team is at the momment. I am hoping with all my heart that changes this year but right now that is this team.

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#61 Quicksilver ballet
September 18 2013, 11:00AM
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pkam wrote:

How could we play the split squad games last Saturday with 32 players? So each team carried only 16 players, 14 skaters and 2 goalies?

Let me dumb this down for you a little....

No split squad games period. Just take the chosen 23 bodies from the approx. 35 bodies available to you each night. All the kids who'll probably never play an NHL reg season game, are being promised an exhibition game or two at each camp, are just getting in the way.

26th, 30th, 30th, 29th and 24th (there you go drago, you 1Di0t) reveals you need every competitive advantage you can get. The Oilers should be pushing the alsorans out asap. No need to take more than just a couple kids from rookie camp to the main camp.

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#62 Quicksilver ballet
September 18 2013, 11:44AM
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@Ivan Drago

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).

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#63 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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#64 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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#66 #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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#67 pkam
September 18 2013, 10:15AM
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@Jason Gregor

Are you sure Belov will play tonight?

I remember Eakins said on Monday that Belov would not play the next 2 exhibition games, which would be last night's game and tonight's game.

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#68 Spydyr
September 18 2013, 10:42AM
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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.

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#69 madjam
September 18 2013, 10:56AM
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Martindale and Pitluck deserve another shot tonite .Would be nice if they could start turning the corner with their physicality a bonus . I'd send Gagner there to , as he seems to need the work off last nites poor performance . Nurse is making a good case for keeping him on parent club - not counting him out as yet . Landers doesn't seem to be an answer to a centerman . Grebs is playing himself off the team - to many glaring and costly mistakes. Klefbom and Larsen best of last nights rearguards .

We need victories !

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#70 Quicksilver ballet
September 18 2013, 11:38AM
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@Craig1981

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.

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#72 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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#73 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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#74 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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#75 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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#76 Craig1981
September 18 2013, 12:11PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

excuse my double post

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#77 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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#78 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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#79 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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#80 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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#81 Alsker
September 18 2013, 10:32PM
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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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#82 pkam
September 18 2013, 10:43AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

He will not be playing...He hasn't had enough time here, and he wasn't on the ice for a week waiting for his visa to clear. I suspect we will see him Saturday night.

Thanks. That makes more sense.

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#83 Benny Botts
September 18 2013, 11:15AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Let me dumb this down for you a little....

No split squad games period. Just take the chosen 23 bodies from the approx. 35 bodies available to you each night. All the kids who'll probably never play an NHL reg season game, are being promised an exhibition game or two at each camp, are just getting in the way.

26th, 30th, 30th, 29th and 24th (there you go drago, you 1Di0t) reveals you need every competitive advantage you can get. The Oilers should be pushing the alsorans out asap. No need to take more than just a couple kids from rookie camp to the main camp.

Does the NHL not make up their pre-season schedule (i.e split squad games)...in that case would they not have to bring the extra bodies in from rookie camp to help fill out the rosters?

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#84 Oilcruzer
September 18 2013, 11:18AM
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I've preached the Pitlick needs a shot story too many times here. Love his work in what the Oil didn't have last year, and need this year.

Hoping he shows enough to Eakins that he sticks. Oil have enough flash. This guy is a lunch bucket player. Something last years GM and Coach didn't understand.

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#85 Zipdot
September 18 2013, 11:37AM
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QSB is tolerated here because he draws clicks in. But damn, he sure does cause the quality of the comments to tank. I'd say the imbalance needs to be corrected. QSB belongs on HFboards. I guess Oilersnation is just another HFboards, these days.

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#86 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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#87 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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#88 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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#89 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 18 2013, 08:20PM
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2-0, pile it on boys!

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#90 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?

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#91 pkam
September 18 2013, 10:32AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Hard to see how all these split squad games will help this team moving forward. If there was ever a time where you needed a couple weeks to get all the required players functioning as one group, this would be it. Dallas Eakins should have broken tradition in order to get this group down to 32 over a week ago. With the season starting in a little over a week, he'll have only 1 or 2 days of practice with his all important final group of 25. Seems like a terrible waste of two weeks if you ask me.

Certainly appears to be a lot of unnecessary bullship and distraction for someone wanting to take charge of his hockey club asap.

How could we play the split squad games last Saturday with 32 players? So each team carried only 16 players, 14 skaters and 2 goalies?

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#92 pkam
September 18 2013, 10:47AM
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Any news on Potter? Does he start practicing yet?

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#93 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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#94 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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#95 AussieOil
September 18 2013, 07:59PM
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Anyone know if this game is on Gamecenter?

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#96 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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#97 Mikey
September 18 2013, 08:22PM
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Oh o.

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