GDB -1: FINAL IMPRESSIONS

Jason Gregor
September 27 2013 12:58PM

The Oilers wrap up the preseason with a tilt against the Dallas/Texas Stars tonight in Oklahoma City. The Oilers currently have 27 players remaining in camp, 23 of them are healthy while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Corey Potter and Denis Grebeshkov will start the season on either the IR or LTIR.

It is the final opportunity to impress head coach Dallas Eakins, and tonight's lineup will be very close to what we see next Tuesday when the Oilers open their 34th NHL season against the Winnipeg Jets.

Unfortunately, the Oilers will once again face a lineup with half a roster of AHL-destined players. The Stars still have 20 forwards and 10 D-men in camp, and last night vs. the Avalanche the Stars dressed about 95% of their opening-night roster, so tonight the Oilers will faceoff against Luke Gazdic, Lane MacDermid, Travis Morin, Chris Mueller, Brett Ritchie, Colton Sceviour and others. The Stars will dress two forward lines of NHL players, but it likely won't be their best lines.

Usually the final preseason games involve more NHL-ready lineups, thus allowing the players to fine-tune their skills as well as giving the coaches a better sense of where their team is at. Eakins won't have that luxury this year.

Eakins mentioned he only worries about how his team plays and I respect that, but if your opponents aren't NHL caliber, is it possible to get an accurate gauge on your team's play? It is easier to defend the aforementioned Stars than it would be trying to shut down Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Ray Whitney, Erik Cole, Valerie Nichuskin and Shawn Horcoff.

The Oilers will see a few of those players tonight, but not all of them.

LINEUPS

Smyth-Hall-Hemsky
Perron-Gordon-Yakupov
Joensuu-Arcobello-Eberle
MacIntyre-Acton-Brown

Belov-J.Schultz
Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-Larsen

Dubnyk

Perron and Joensuu switched spots in practice yesterday and they'll stay that way tonight. That is interesting considering Perron and Eberle have played very well together. Jordan Eberle leads the NHL in preseason points with 8, while Perron leads the league with 5 preseason goals.

I suspect Eakins is just experimenting. Before leaving Edmonton he said he wanted three balanced scoring lines, and putting Eberle with two guys who played a combined eight NHL games last season seems to contradict that. I'm going to guess he's just looking at different combinations.

The Oilers know what they have in Andrew Ference so he'll get the night off.  Belov playing with Justin Schultz tells me he'll be on the opening night roster, likely in a pairing with Nick Schultz. .

PP UNITS...

The Oilers haven't spent much time practicing their powerplay, but yesterday they did.

The first unit consisted of Hall,Hemsky and Smyth up front with J.Schultz and Yakupov on the points. Yakupov on the right point was a focal point in the previous games, and I'm sure we'll see him unleash his one-timer frequently. Smyth replaces Horcoff in front of the net. I understand wanting to use Yakupov's one-timer, but they should also focus on getting Hall in a good shooting lane. He's got an excellent snap/wrist shot.

The 2nd unit will be Eberle, Arcobello and Joensuu as forwards with Perron and Belov on the point. Belov has a bomb of a shot, while most of the puck movement should go between Eberle and Perron.

When Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner return, the Oilers PP should get even better.

Texas Dallas lineup:

MacDermid-Eakin-Nichushkin
Garbutt-Fiddler-Ritchie
Roussel-Mueller-Sceviour
Gazdic-Morin-Smith

Connauton-Oleksiak
Dillon-Fortunus
Nemeth-Jokipakka

Ellis
Nilstorp

QUICK HITS

  • The Stars new green jerseys look fantastic. I rarely like a new jersey more than the old one, but these ones look great, especially on TV.
     
  • Nichuskin has looked great in the preseason, and he'll start the season in Dallas. If he has a good season, I'm sure some will rip the Oilers for taking Darnell Nurse instead of him. Like most draft years, I think you have to wait at least five years to gauge players, and sometimes even longer, especially when comparing a D-man to a forward. It will be a good debate.
     
  • Remind you to watch my fellow Nation writer, Jason Strudwick, this Sunday evening on Battle of the Blades. Struds informed me that his first outfit is, umm, outside his comfort zone. Can't wait, it will be fun. Break a blade Struds.
     
  • Please do me a favour and sign up for Streakcred. I'm getting sick of Wanye texting me every ten minutes reminding me to add a link in my story. The early bird special is on right now for only $15 a team, and it's addicting. The best part is that in addition to winning some cool prizes, you will also be helping out The Inner City Children's Program. Show the world how smart you are, and help kids eat a healthy meat. It's a win-win. You should sign up here.  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR  

 

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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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#1 Jeff
September 27 2013, 07:53PM
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Nice effort Dubie. What the heck are Oilers management thinking running with this turd of a keeper?

Lots of empty seats. Katz' new arena may have the same look. Maybe they should cover the new seats with pictures of en-raptured fans so the 3 paying customers who do show up don't feel lonely.

Just saying...

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#2 Team Omark
September 27 2013, 08:00PM
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What kind of fools bring a huge canada flag and wave it around at an NHL pre-season game in OKC? These people are an embarrassment.

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#3 Team Omark
September 27 2013, 08:10PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Probably a Canadian.The Canadian flag at a hockey game will never be an embarrassment to me anywhere, anytime.

I repeat.. NHL PRE SEASON GAME. Nationalism has no place in pro sports. Especially obnoxious nationalist clowns who run around after cheerleaders trying to get on camera.

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#4 brian_d
September 27 2013, 01:32PM
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I know balanced lines are the approach, but I don't like the idea of the Smyth-Hall-Hemsky line. Smyth is just too old to keep up with those guys for a sustained period. On the other hand, I suppose with Hall at LW, our LW depth is compromised to the point where Smyth is pushed into the top 6.

Everything is a stop-gap until we get Nuge and Gags back. Even if Hall does do well at center.

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#5 WONGER
September 27 2013, 01:33PM
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Two top AHL Super Heavies BIG STEVE MACINTYRE and LUKE GAZDIC (24 years old) set to collide in OKC tonight! Wonger rated them 1-2 last year - never fought each other before! MacIntyre absolutely destroyed-dropped JOEL(THE RECKER) RECHLICZ (Washinton at the moment)in 1 of his only 4 fights in the last 2 years in the AHL MAC also destroyed-dropped tough MATT CLACKSON last year!!! Nobody wants to fight him in the AHL either!!! WONGER RATED RECKER #3! Gadzic rarely loses but will have his hands full with BIG MAC!!!

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#6 Concur
September 27 2013, 09:09PM
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The best play was 'Oilers forward Steve MacIntyre left the game with an apparent knee injury and did not return.'

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#7 Quicksilver ballet
September 27 2013, 08:25PM
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Not a big deal, nothing game. Once all the alsorans are gone, give these guys 3 or 4 weeks and they'll be a better hockey club than they are now.

It's unfortunate the traditional training camp circus had them wasting the last 3 1/2 weeks. Now they'll have to use the next 15-30 games that count to try and grow together as a 25 man group.

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#8 Fresh Mess
September 27 2013, 08:26PM
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Nice zinger by Stauffer towards the Oil for waiving Whitney....

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#9 madjam
September 27 2013, 08:55PM
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After tonites performance have to be scared how regular season might go ? Not sure Perron and Ference can make enough difference to make us look respectable . I blame it on Tams and Kreuger for leaving team .

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#10 Oiler Al
September 27 2013, 03:05PM
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EHH Team wrote:

Staples wrote on the Cult of Hockey site that Paajarvi is on the bubble in St Louis & might be waived. Can the Oilers pick him up after having traded him? If so, he would clearly be an upgrade on the third or fourth line.

Only if his father is an Oiler coach.!

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#11 YA BOI JORDDY EBS
September 27 2013, 04:28PM
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Team Omark wrote:

I was tempted to signup for StreakCred.. But they only accept visa and mastercard. What year are we in? You blew it Wanye. Ya dun goofed.

I'll put the $15 towards an official, signed Linus Omark Baron jersey instead.

DONT DISS THE WAYNE! WHAT YEAR ARE YOU IN? DID YA WANNA PAY BY GOLD COINS YOU HOSER? SUPPORT A CHARITY, HAVE FUN AND QUIT BEING SUCH A NOB! GET OFF THE INTERNETS IF YOU CANT FUNCTION GOOBER.

AND WAYNE :*

:)

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#12 Fresh Mess
September 27 2013, 07:20PM
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The Oil are terrible. 8 years and counting....

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#13 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 08:14PM
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dman wrote:

An Oilers flag I can understand but why a Canadian flag? It's not the Olympics. It is as out of place as an American flag at Rexall

Because Canada rules.

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#14 Team Omark
September 27 2013, 02:44PM
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I was tempted to signup for StreakCred.. But they only accept visa and mastercard. What year are we in? You blew it Wanye. Ya dun goofed.

I'll put the $15 towards an official, signed Linus Omark Baron jersey instead.

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#15 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 07:46PM
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Mikey wrote:

Meh. Just like every other game so far, it's pre season.

Looks a lot like the last seven seasons.

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#16 @Oilanderp
September 27 2013, 08:42PM
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And now the post-game show:

"Oilers still suck. Thanks and good night!"

[fin]

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#17 Mikey
September 27 2013, 09:09PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Looks a lot like the last seven seasons.

I notice you don't come around while the oilers are winning. Seems strange, no?

Who cares what team had what roster, the oilers went 5-2-1 in the PRE season. So the oilers dominated other teams ahl roster and now they lost to a ahl roster.

Like I said, meh.

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#18 Andy
September 27 2013, 10:10PM
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I can't see how even the most blinded, myopic Kool-Aid sucking fan can a see anything even remotely positive about the display in OKC tonight.

When does McDavid enter the draft? Does Tambellini have a Craig MacTavish mask? I wonder.

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#19 Danger Pay
September 27 2013, 02:06PM
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It just goes to show the different approaches and evaluation of talent. Kruger had Yakupov relegated to the third line playing with plugs for most of the year and it cost him the Calder B/C of it. Then he had Smyth on the 4th line playing a limited role, yet Eakins has him on the top line with Hemsky and Hall. I know injuries play a part, but man Smyth can still create a lot of havoc in front of net and Eakins has said Smyth is the Oilers best guy down low and along the boards. I have to say Mac T hit the nail on the head by replacing Kruger. I am now embarrassed for supporting Kruger for as long as I did. Learning from losing...what kind of message is that? Watching the Oilers compete to play and not letting up is going to be fun to watch this year!

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#20 michael
September 27 2013, 04:00PM
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Not even going to bother with this one on the internet. Not worth the hassle watching the delays and the gliches. I'll do the old reliable standby and tune in on the radio.

Spec is toast. Is Specs Deck in its final incarnation? Or is that still a go for Next year? His deck does not belong to Sportsnet does it? I wish him well.

And the 12-2 slot goes to?

Who in this town is more credible than Brownlee. Get him out of the garage and into the studio.

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#21 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 06:25PM
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Nice goal Dubbie.See your are in mid season form already.

1-0 Dallas

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#22 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 07:21PM
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Boo birds in OKC 2-0 Dallas .Hall turnover at Dallas blue line leading to a 2-1 the other way.That is why Hall will have a hard time making the Olympic team.

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#23 Naky
September 27 2013, 09:25PM
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Oh my, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.

Yes, the Oilers should have given it all they got against a team of nobodies and nothings in a meaningless game.

Oh, yes, and it's all Dubey's fault we lost this game for sure. Nevermind the bagel, donut, zip, nada, nothing, zero, hula hoop on the scoreboard. Or the shot clock. Nope. It's on the Dubster to score the goals too. If we had traded Omark for Carey Price this past summer, this would never have happened, you see.

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#24 Mikey
September 27 2013, 09:42PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I'm here most everyday but thanks for noticing.

You're right, most days. And since the oilers have sucked the past many years, you've been around a lot. Here's to hopping the oilers win more than lose, even if it only meant you would stop showing up here.

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#25 Quicksilver ballet
September 27 2013, 10:54PM
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@konst16

The NHLPA wouldn't care, players don't start paying dues till they start getting paid/playing reg season games. You can still develop plenty of players without them getting in the way of the guys who have a place on the parent club.

10 day rookie camp.. Let those kids play the other NHL rookie squads, the Golden Bears, the Nait Ooks, the Oil Kings...who cares.

Starting with a much smaller group would quicken this process sharply. 42 players go to main camp (4 goalies and 38 skaters). After week one of main camp 12 guys get reassigned/gonzo (JRS or AHL/ECHL) This leaves 30 bodies remaining. Plenty of opportunity to work with the players that matter the most. Shorten the pre-season to 6 games and put some value back into those games for the few fans who show up. The NHL has established you need to dress 8 veterans for every exhibition game. The is no rule to prevent you from icing 75+% of your opening day roster. Two weeks (ahead of your competition) to work on your new system with the group that matters most.

Best 4 or 5 rookies (plenty of opportunity since zero kids had a legitimate shot at making the parent club this year) from rookie camp go onto the main camp. This still leaves room for 10-12 AHL/ECHL so called blue chip prospects. Your 25'ish veterans with contracts make up the rest of that group of 42 for main camp. Show well at the AHL/JR level and you'll get that invite to camp the following fall.

The 70+ player gong show the Oilers went through this last month is no longer productive. Time to do away with all the promises of giving all these kids an exhibition game or two, they're not in danger of making the club anyways. The Oilers would have benefitted greatly by having the 29'ish remaining players they have today, 2 1/2 weeks ago. The Oilers need new ways to find a competitive advantage. Points won in October still count in April. Steal those October points until the rest of the league follows the Oilers lead. Start your own path and make your own luck.

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#26 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 08:04PM
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Team Omark wrote:

What kind of fools bring a huge canada flag and wave it around at an NHL pre-season game in OKC? These people are an embarrassment.

Probably a Canadian.The Canadian flag at a hockey game will never be an embarrassment to me anywhere, anytime.

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#27 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 09:37PM
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Mikey wrote:

I notice you don't come around while the oilers are winning. Seems strange, no?

Who cares what team had what roster, the oilers went 5-2-1 in the PRE season. So the oilers dominated other teams ahl roster and now they lost to a ahl roster.

Like I said, meh.

I'm here most everyday but thanks for noticing.

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#28 Rob...
September 27 2013, 10:14PM
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There are times I pity trolls. Their lives must be so empty to think that what they do is a rewarding pastime.

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#29 oildawg99
September 27 2013, 11:15PM
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So the Oilers win a bunch of pre-season games and some "fans" howl how its only pre-season and no one should give it much attention.

But then they put in a stinker in the pre-season and the sky is falling? get a grip. Let see how these guys perform when the actual season starts before passing judgement. And even then its going to take a few weeks to get a real gauge on how good this team actually is.

I am curious of all the oilers hate I have been seeing on TSN and other sights, has anyone else noticed this and is it more than normal? if it is that sure is a good sign. hahaha

Go OIL!

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#30 EHH Team
September 27 2013, 02:51PM
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Staples wrote on the Cult of Hockey site that Paajarvi is on the bubble in St Louis & might be waived. Can the Oilers pick him up after having traded him? If so, he would clearly be an upgrade on the third or fourth line.

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#31 Danger Pay
September 27 2013, 04:04PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

It's pre-season. Let's not anoint anyone emperor yet.

You can't see the night and day difference? I can. Eakins is doing to Kruger what Mac T has done to Tambo. Which is making them look like lazy, outdated wind bags that hockey has left behind.

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#32 Quicksilver ballet
September 27 2013, 04:19PM
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@brian_d

That would be the popular opinion amongst most fans. Smytty fans/Dallas Eakins might see it a little differently. Ryan's finally got a set of forwards to play with and succeed. There aren't many more capable of coming off the boards with the puck and getting to the front of the net with your stick on the ice. Ryan Smyth can do all this in spades. Feeding the beast that is Taylor Hall may be all that's required for Ryan to further succeed even beyond this season. I hope it lasts long beyond what most expect it will.

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#33 @Oilanderp
September 27 2013, 06:02PM
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Danger Pay wrote:

You can't see the night and day difference? I can. Eakins is doing to Kruger what Mac T has done to Tambo. Which is making them look like lazy, outdated wind bags that hockey has left behind.

Krueger didn't even have a pre-season. Furthermore, the only team that iced anything close to an NHL lineup against us was WPG, which we lost.

Keep drinking the Kool Aid man, but.... well.... you know our top 2 centers are out right?

This is not the time for a parade.

P.S. I don't think "getting left behind by hockey" means what you think it means. Krueger has a job with Team Canada.

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#34 Johe
September 27 2013, 07:49PM
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I knew the Oilers would lose tonight. One team full of future hopefuls or guys fighting for jobs versus a team that just wants the season to start. It's almost exactly like Edmonton beating the snot out of Vancouver at the end of the season last year. One team wants to prove something, one team is just waiting for the games that mean something to get under way.

Mind you, playoff games don't really mean anything for Vancouver, do they? Ba dum bum chh!

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#35 Fresh Mess
September 27 2013, 08:07PM
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HAHAHA. Getting owned by an AHL team. Brutal.

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#36 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 08:27PM
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Oilers have 4 third period shots.Brutal effort.Hope Eakins bag skates them tomorrow.

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#37 biscotti
September 27 2013, 08:38PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Nice zinger by Stauffer towards the Oil for waiving Whitney....

Ray whitney... not ryan whitney. Good try

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#38 michael
September 27 2013, 09:08PM
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Glad I am not watching or listening to this game. The end is nigh. Thank goodness. Pre season is wayyyy to long.

Ryan Whitney is still a bum.

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#39 David S
September 27 2013, 09:19PM
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Spydyr wrote:

As he should.It looks like there was some kind of "team activity" last night.

If you follow the Oilers Twitter feed, you'd know what happened. They dragged the players all over OKC today doing public relations appearances to pump the Barons. Probably obliterated their game day routines.

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#40 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 09:36PM
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David S wrote:

If you follow the Oilers Twitter feed, you'd know what happened. They dragged the players all over OKC today doing public relations appearances to pump the Barons. Probably obliterated their game day routines.

Twitter is not my thing but thanks for the heads up.

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#41 Dog Train
September 27 2013, 01:34PM
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OK, you got me. I signed up for StreakCred. I figured since my alias, Slick Rick, is currently leading the pre-season standings I should probably show up to defend my title.

As for this game, it can't come and go fast enough for me. I am ready for real hockey and like you said Gregor, it's hard to really evaluate anybody against this type of opposition. I will say 4-1 Oilers. Yakupov and Perron with 2 goals each.

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#42 ghostofberanek
September 27 2013, 02:01PM
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Sooo any television tonight?

Also, Oilers win 4-1, 2 goals for Yak, 2 apples for Arco.

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#43 Benny Botts
September 27 2013, 02:40PM
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@Gregor

I haven't seen Brule play in years, and I really haven't had a great chance to see Acton yet this year. But do you think if they grab brule off the waiver wire that he is an upgrade over Acton?

And how hard do you think MacT pushes if a reliable vet becomes available on the waiver wire this weekend??

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#44 Ducey
September 27 2013, 02:53PM
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Benny Botts wrote:

@Gregor

I haven't seen Brule play in years, and I really haven't had a great chance to see Acton yet this year. But do you think if they grab brule off the waiver wire that he is an upgrade over Acton?

And how hard do you think MacT pushes if a reliable vet becomes available on the waiver wire this weekend??

I'd like to see the Oilers upgrade on Acton but Brule doesn't seem like one.

He has more offensive potential than Acton to be sure, but he doesn't play physical and if I recall he was poor on faceoffs. He was a mess on the defensive end of things.

Brule might be a good guy to try and put on the Barons and see if he really has sorted himself out.

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#45 Rama Lama
September 27 2013, 04:23PM
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No more re-cycling projects........although Brule would be worth a gamble with a two-way contract.

I like everyones game so far this year........still sitting on the fence on Ryan Hamilton though. The one thing that rarely gets talked about is the experience factor on the top six.......chalk up last year to a learning on the job. THis year RNH, Ebs, Hall, Yakupov, Schultz, have some maturity to their game which looks very promising.

If the defense can move the puck like everyone projects.......I like our chances to make the playoffs.

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#46 Bucknuck
September 27 2013, 04:44PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

That would be the popular opinion amongst most fans. Smytty fans/Dallas Eakins might see it a little differently. Ryan's finally got a set of forwards to play with and succeed. There aren't many more capable of coming off the boards with the puck and getting to the front of the net with your stick on the ice. Ryan Smyth can do all this in spades. Feeding the beast that is Taylor Hall may be all that's required for Ryan to further succeed even beyond this season. I hope it lasts long beyond what most expect it will.

I'm with you Quick.

I picked Ryan Smyth as my star, and I expect him to surprise some fans this year, but sustained time on the top line isn't something I expect to see after RNH comes back.

I think his work on the boards complements the skilled group pretty well, so I hope he doesn't end up stuck with fourth line plugs because that would be a waste.

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#47 madjam
September 27 2013, 05:03PM
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Whitney cut loose from St.Louie . Doubt we'll bring him back ,or Brule . Looked at depth chart for end of season and surprised how many are no longer on team . We have had a makeover , now we see what kind of job we did in a week .

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#48 @Oilanderp
September 27 2013, 07:42PM
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If I was Eakins, I wouldn't even go into the dressing room. If I was ME, I'd go in there and scream my face off until I lost my voice lol.

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#49 Mikey
September 27 2013, 07:45PM
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Meh. Just like every other game so far, it's pre season.

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#50 Spydyr
September 27 2013, 08:07PM
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More boo birds 3-0 Dallas.Seems the OKC fans don't like the Oilers effort either.

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