PUSHING THE RIVER

Lowetide
January 01 2014 11:01AM

I think we've established that Taylor Hall is unlikely to make the Olympic team—he's on my team without a throw—but as the calendar turns it's important to keep in mind what Hall's been through this season, and what he's been doing recently.

TAYLOR HALL BY MONTH, 2013-14

Early in the season he was a center, and then he suffered an injury. Although he didn't miss a lot of time (7 games), it certainly had an impact when he returned to play. Still, Hall has been improving and recently has been very good, especially at evens (he has 11 of the team's 81 even-stength goals). In Hall's last 6 games, he's 3-7-10 +4. Things aren't back to normal (his Corsi For % at 5x5/close is lagging from previous seasons) but he's trending in a good direction.

I'd love to see him at the Olympics, but Hall's performances for the Oilers are the real thrill for this fan. Taylor Hall is a difference maker, and the team's recent record (2-0-2 in the last four game) has a lot to do with #4.

Even having a season that looks wonky based on his own established levels, Hall is one of the top players in the game (76th in GVT right now and trending) and if Team Canada passes on him they're addled.

HE CAN'T PLAY DEFENSE!

The 'he can't play defense' argument went full sail during the WHC's last year, when Lindy Ruff chose to hamstring his own team and move Hall down the depth chart. Hall's ability to push the river and help possession makes him BETTER than a defensive forward—the best defense is a good offense—and hockey fans can go overboard making this argument.

Example: Gretzky. People would bitch and moan about his ability to play defense, completely disregarding the fact that the puck was rarely in Edmonton's zone with 99 on the ice. I know, I was there and I did it! Today's modern metrics allow me to understand that Gretzky's offense was so good that the defensive side of the game was reduced markedly with him as part of the solution (that became less of a factor as time wore on, but as an Oiler the ice was tilted in a major way—more than at any other time in history is my guess).

Now, I'm not comparing Hall to Gretzky, but the dynamics are the same. What Hall does well (drives defensemen back, opening up space for zone entries on sorties) has extreme value in possession metrics, and pushes the river in Edmonton's favor. Now, they don't do enough with it, but that's another discussion.

If the group choosing Team Canada focuses on that, Hall makes this team in a breeze.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

My guess is Team Canada passes on Hall, and that he uses it as fuel to punish the hockey world. As an Oiler fan, that's the best thing about looking forward to 2014.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 They're $hittie
January 01 2014, 11:12AM
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sorry double post.

for the sake of the sight run up the trashes please.

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#2 Jackson
January 01 2014, 02:31PM
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Oilers42 wrote:

It's still the highest level of hockey there was for and he still won and dominated Point is hall is one of the best forwards in the league with the 7 games hall missed he would be 3rd in scoring

No team plays the Oilers hard. They have the worst D in the NHL. No team brings their A game to play the Oilers. Hall points are inflated.

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#3 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
January 01 2014, 11:27AM
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Gagner > Kadri.

Enough said

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#4 DonDon
January 01 2014, 11:19AM
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Another possible opportunity for MacT to make a deal. Kadri from the Leafs for either Gagner or Hemsky and, if necessary, a prospect. Would add some size and muscle to a roster that is short on these attributes. Kadri may be a bad ass in Toronto, but this is something the Oilers need to balance the roster.

We're still waiting for MacT's bold moves.

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#5 Impartial Oilers Fan
January 01 2014, 11:19AM
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Can someone please explain why fans and bloggers believe that they're smarter and know more about hockey than the guys in charge of picking the Olympic team?!

I do not understand how fans have an blind belief in players, specifically like Hall and Yakupov. These fans that come across like hockey mom's talking about their own son's, spouting off that they are better than kids picked on a team that their son wasn't.

So, do tell, why are these fans and bloggers not seeing the same flaws in Hall and Yakupov that some of the most important and influential minds in hockey are seeing?

Obviously standard stats aren't the sole criteria, otherwise Hall would be a lock apparently. And its not a anti-Russian thing, because even Russian's own Olympic committee was talking about the glaring deficiencies in Yakupov's game. Yet, everyone that loves to scream YakCity before he's even proved anything substantial, think that its only a Russian bias as to why he needs to improve and drop the prima donna act in the media.

So again, please, inform me why fans and bloggers are right about Hall and Yakupov and their respective Olympic selection committees don't see them the same way??

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#6 Zamboni Driver
January 01 2014, 12:05PM
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Complete UTTER nonsense.

The second best player this year on the second last team in the NHL does NOT MAKE THE OLYMPIC TEAM ALAN. He won't be given a second thought.

I'm stunned as well that you actually used 'regular' statistics to back up your position. Certainly there must be backhand shot attempts versus American goalies that could really drive your point home.

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#7 TayLordBalls
January 01 2014, 03:34PM
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EricOG wrote:

Are we talking about the same coach who stuck Acton into the train wreck that was the 4 line at the start of the year?

When they want to play good, they play great. The rest of the time, you can make a video of them with the Benny Hill theme song and it will come out natural.

Say what you want, but in the end, this whole crap show is coaching and management.

Nonsense!

The Oil have turned the corner. The coach is excellent.

MacT will invest in quality D at the appropriate time.

This team has the makings of something truly spectacular.

The dynasty years were exactly the same - the Oil could score, but the other team scored more. Fans complained!

The moment they added quality D that team became a powerhouse.

So it was and so it will be again.

Hang onto your britches because its something special.

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#8 David
January 01 2014, 01:42PM
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Never in a playoff game.

Does not play a 200ft game.

Uses his speed against non playoff teams. Does not work against talent

Of course he is not on the Olympic team. Unless they want a 1- way player

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#9 Jason
January 01 2014, 04:57PM
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@Taylor Gang

Sean Couturier for Eberle would be a good trade for Edmonton

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#10 Jason
January 01 2014, 05:35PM
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@Taylor Gang

You don't understand how to build a team.

Ask Lindy Ruff about Hall.

You truly don't get it.

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#11 They're $hittie
January 01 2014, 11:12AM
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why kunitz, I would rather take neal

props for neal

trash for kunitz

HALL SHOULD BE ON THIS TEAM. His D game would look a lot better on a team like san jose. Hall is better than couture also.

Patrick sharp is almost a god with his two way play.

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#12 TayLordBalls
January 01 2014, 01:00PM
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EricOG wrote:

Thing is Eberle and Gagner are finishers by nature. So putting them both together makes that line a null one.

Last night they created nothing, the only lines creating were the Hall line and a little bit from the Hemsky-Gordon-Smyth line. That, is on coaching.

The coach is excellent.

It may not be all the players he wants, but he's done a heck of a job with what he's been given.

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#13 Oliveoiler
January 01 2014, 07:53PM
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@K_Mart

Unfortunately, Taylor Hall is VERY predictable to other teams. He plays with passion, but plays the same reckless moves around the boards - game after game, immediately alerting the opposition to what he's going to do. Then, if he doesn't fall down, he will give the puck away as the opposition is waiting for him. He scores when he has a breakaway or clear ice, when he's up against D men from the other team, he's hooped. Does that answer your question?

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#14 Serious Gord
January 01 2014, 11:50AM
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What hall has done in the past few weeks doesn't erase how he played prior to that interval though it does help make the case.

Hall being a natural left winger helps a lot. But more significantly is the likelyhood that injuries to some players may force hockey Canada's hand - to wit Eric staal and stamkos are possible scratches.

This is very likely the last time any players over the age of twenty play in the Olympics so if hall doesn't make this year he never ever will. Perhaps that is pushing him...

God knows there's nothing else besides personal pride worth playing for on the oil.

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#15 RexHolez
January 01 2014, 02:11PM
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@Oilers42

This isn't a world juniors tournament

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#16 Jason
January 01 2014, 05:43PM
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@Jason

Taylor Gang knows how to trash a comment, howerver he does not know hockey.

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@Impartial Oilers Fan

Your name makes absolutely no sense and neither does your post. How the heck can you be a fan and be impartial? Oxymoron much? Do you own a dodge ram too?

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#18 Taylor Gang
January 01 2014, 05:14PM
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Jackson wrote:

No team plays the Oilers hard. They have the worst D in the NHL. No team brings their A game to play the Oilers. Hall points are inflated.

What an ignorant thing to say

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#19 TayLordBalls
January 01 2014, 06:43PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Kevin Lowe? Is that you trying to keep your job by trying to blow that same smoke??

Katz should walk into a grocery store, pick the first person he sees and make them G.M. Then appoint the check out girl as the Coach, and have random draws every game for assistants! I bet the team would improve dramatically

Your just using Lowe as a scapegoat.

The structure of the team is that:

Lowe manages the upper management of the team /

MacT manages the staff (coaches) and secures players.

Coaches manage the players.

Consider that Tabo and MacT have essentially started a new NHL team from nothing.

Hall, Nugent Hopkins, Eberle, Yak and others have not come close to peaking yet.

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#20 RexHolez
January 01 2014, 02:57PM
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If the oilers picked seguin and hall went to Boston I bet he would of made team canada! Sorry you were drafted by this joke of a franchise Hallsy

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#21 Sisyphus
January 01 2014, 12:12PM
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The way I see it is, if Hall is snubbed from Team Canada, one of two things is going to happen, and I don't see much middle ground:

1. Hall uses it as motivation to really round himself out as a player, work on his defensive skills, and try even harder to carry this team to a playoff game on his back.

OR

2. Hall comes to the realization that by signing on as an Oiler for so many years, he has essentially robbed himself not only of any real chance to complete for the Cup in the next 5-6 years, but also for any real shot at making the Olympic team. Tolerates the suck for another year, then asks for a trade when the oilers are out of the playoffs next year by Thanksgiving again

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#22 The Real Scuba Steve
January 01 2014, 11:43AM
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Czar wrote:

Having Kurri on his line didn't hurt the Great one either.

Hall will use the snub as motivation and dominate in 4 years.

That's if he is still here.

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#23 Jackson
January 01 2014, 02:00PM
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David wrote:

Never in a playoff game.

Does not play a 200ft game.

Uses his speed against non playoff teams. Does not work against talent

Of course he is not on the Olympic team. Unless they want a 1- way player

I agree, I like players that have played under pressure and performed . Hall gets points against teams that don't bring their A game because the Oilers are so weak. Battle tested players all the way for me.

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#24 David S
January 01 2014, 02:47PM
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EricOG wrote:

Thing is Eberle and Gagner are finishers by nature. So putting them both together makes that line a null one.

Last night they created nothing, the only lines creating were the Hall line and a little bit from the Hemsky-Gordon-Smyth line. That, is on coaching.

They were lugging around a career AHL'er who's had a smattering of (failed) games at the NHL level.

Watch the difference tomorrow night with Yak on that line. #NightAndDay

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#25 K_Mart
January 01 2014, 11:40AM
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Impartial Oilers Fan wrote:

Can someone please explain why fans and bloggers believe that they're smarter and know more about hockey than the guys in charge of picking the Olympic team?!

I do not understand how fans have an blind belief in players, specifically like Hall and Yakupov. These fans that come across like hockey mom's talking about their own son's, spouting off that they are better than kids picked on a team that their son wasn't.

So, do tell, why are these fans and bloggers not seeing the same flaws in Hall and Yakupov that some of the most important and influential minds in hockey are seeing?

Obviously standard stats aren't the sole criteria, otherwise Hall would be a lock apparently. And its not a anti-Russian thing, because even Russian's own Olympic committee was talking about the glaring deficiencies in Yakupov's game. Yet, everyone that loves to scream YakCity before he's even proved anything substantial, think that its only a Russian bias as to why he needs to improve and drop the prima donna act in the media.

So again, please, inform me why fans and bloggers are right about Hall and Yakupov and their respective Olympic selection committees don't see them the same way??

First off, it's the people here in edmonton that see Hall's flaws more than anyone else. We watch him closer than anyone on that panel except maybe klowe, but even that's up for debate.

The reasons we are right about Hall are as follows:

He is the best left winger on the planet.

Hall was playing centre to start the season and was -9 after 13 games. Brutal.

Since then he is +3 on an absolutely dreadful team. The fact that he is able to consistently drive the play towards the opposition's zone against the best d men in the league game in and game out despite having a horrible team supporting him is huge reason all on it's own. Right now, Steen, Kunitz, and Sharp are the canadian left wingers with more points than Hall. But none of them have more points/game than him. He leads in that category. He has more p/g than every canadian left winger in the league, and he's on the 29th place team. Think about it. How has he been able to be +3 since game 13 and produce the most points on a team as bad as the oilers? Because he is just that good. He has a reputation for being a selfish player who turns the puck over way too much. He earned that reputation because that's how he played earlier in his career, but he is doing his part to shed that rep.

If you listen to the reasons the Olympic selection panel isn't leaning towards Hall, they are as follows:

He turns the puck over too often when trying to gain the zone. (He's almost completely removed this from his game.) He seems to know when to dump it in and when to carry it in now.

He doesn't back check (false false false) Over the last 20 games he's often been the first forward back, and I've seen him below our goal line supporting our horrible defensemen more often than any forward not named Nuge or Gordon.

His defensive game is non existent. Also false, see previous point.

The truth is, if the Oilers were in the playoff hunt, Hall would be in consideration for the Olympics. The fact that he hasn't been able to drag this team to the playoffs all on his own is basically the real reason he isn't on the team.

He is so much better than Couture it isn't even funny. But unfortunately for him, he isn't playing for san jose.

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#26 TayLordBalls
January 01 2014, 11:44AM
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Hope I am wrong, but with troubles in Russia, it may be the very best thing for Hall not to make the trip.

God Speed!

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#27 RexHolez
January 01 2014, 01:51PM
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I think there's only one number why Hall won't make the Olympic team and that's 13-24-5. On a team that has no other option but to win gold, it's hard to pick a guy that's on such a terrible hockey team no matter what his personal stats are. Fair or not the canadian Olympic team needs winners and hall isn't one yet

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#28 Fred
January 01 2014, 03:43PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

Nonsense!

The Oil have turned the corner. The coach is excellent.

MacT will invest in quality D at the appropriate time.

This team has the makings of something truly spectacular.

The dynasty years were exactly the same - the Oil could score, but the other team scored more. Fans complained!

The moment they added quality D that team became a powerhouse.

So it was and so it will be again.

Hang onto your britches because its something special.

NO,

The moment they fire Kevin Lowe they become a better team

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#29 K_Mart
January 01 2014, 12:10PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Complete UTTER nonsense.

The second best player this year on the second last team in the NHL does NOT MAKE THE OLYMPIC TEAM ALAN. He won't be given a second thought.

I'm stunned as well that you actually used 'regular' statistics to back up your position. Certainly there must be backhand shot attempts versus American goalies that could really drive your point home.

He's the best player on this team. I'm assuming you have Perron ahead of him. But he shouldn't be. Perron is great. But hall is miles ahead of every player on our roster at the moment.

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#30 Serious Gord
January 01 2014, 12:29PM
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OT:

For the hemsky and gagner lovers out there including MacT - take a good look at that Gleason trade. The oil doesn't have the cap room to even be in on the conversation because those to stiffs are still on the roster

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#31 EricOG
January 01 2014, 12:31PM
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Thing is Eberle and Gagner are finishers by nature. So putting them both together makes that line a null one.

Last night they created nothing, the only lines creating were the Hall line and a little bit from the Hemsky-Gordon-Smyth line. That, is on coaching.

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#32 Oliveoiler
January 01 2014, 02:29PM
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NONE of the Oilers should be playing at the Olympics - instead, EVERY day, for hours on end, they should be practicing ALL aspects of the game, particularity defense, PP and PK, watching videos of teams that get it right, game after game and not going to the bar to unwind. Then perhaps, maybe, possibly, by some miracle we will have a decent team AFTER the break to carry over to next season. I know, I'm dreaming, but that's about any of us fans have left - dreams.

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#33 EricOG
January 01 2014, 02:57PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

The coach is excellent.

It may not be all the players he wants, but he's done a heck of a job with what he's been given.

Are we talking about the same coach who stuck Acton into the train wreck that was the 4 line at the start of the year?

When they want to play good, they play great. The rest of the time, you can make a video of them with the Benny Hill theme song and it will come out natural.

Say what you want, but in the end, this whole crap show is coaching and management.

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#34 PapaMike
January 01 2014, 03:50PM
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Sorry about the bad spelling....

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#36 RexHolez
January 01 2014, 02:33PM
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@Oilers42

I agree with you, if I was picking the team Hall would be on it for sure. But I don't see him making it due to the fact that he's on such a terrible team and there's lots of high quality players that can and have won at the professional level. Canada is gonna take proven winners, not a guy with good stats on the worst team in the NHL

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#37 David S
January 01 2014, 02:35PM
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Impartial Oilers Fan wrote:

Can someone please explain why fans and bloggers believe that they're smarter and know more about hockey than the guys in charge of picking the Olympic team?!

I do not understand how fans have an blind belief in players, specifically like Hall and Yakupov. These fans that come across like hockey mom's talking about their own son's, spouting off that they are better than kids picked on a team that their son wasn't.

So, do tell, why are these fans and bloggers not seeing the same flaws in Hall and Yakupov that some of the most important and influential minds in hockey are seeing?

Obviously standard stats aren't the sole criteria, otherwise Hall would be a lock apparently. And its not a anti-Russian thing, because even Russian's own Olympic committee was talking about the glaring deficiencies in Yakupov's game. Yet, everyone that loves to scream YakCity before he's even proved anything substantial, think that its only a Russian bias as to why he needs to improve and drop the prima donna act in the media.

So again, please, inform me why fans and bloggers are right about Hall and Yakupov and their respective Olympic selection committees don't see them the same way??

http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view8/4735540/wiser-s-slow-clap-o.gif

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#38 Velo
January 01 2014, 03:42PM
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Like Hall. Enjoy watching him develop. I still wouldn't have him on my Oly team. How someone with such high offensive iq is so crap in his own end I'll never know. On larger ice his angles and reads will leave his side of the ice exposed. His offensive gifts and his ability to develop other areas are not in question IMO. Just not there yet.

That said, the Olympics are not best of 7's. A hot Hall could be very valuable. But, I'm not taking that risk if I'm picking players.

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#39 RexHolez
January 01 2014, 03:43PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

Nonsense!

The Oil have turned the corner. The coach is excellent.

MacT will invest in quality D at the appropriate time.

This team has the makings of something truly spectacular.

The dynasty years were exactly the same - the Oil could score, but the other team scored more. Fans complained!

The moment they added quality D that team became a powerhouse.

So it was and so it will be again.

Hang onto your britches because its something special.

Kevin Lowe? Is that you trying to keep your job by trying to blow that same smoke??

Katz should walk into a grocery store, pick the first person he sees and make them G.M. Then appoint the check out girl as the Coach, and have random draws every game for assistants! I bet the team would improve dramatically

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#40 Czar
January 01 2014, 11:26AM
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Having Kurri on his line didn't hurt the Great one either.

Hall will use the snub as motivation and dominate in 4 years.

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#41 They're $hittie
January 01 2014, 11:29AM
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@Impartial Oilers Fan

Not completely disagreeing with you but there clearly is an eastern bias. (ovechkin allstar team last year) Ruff was in Buffalo so long he has become super stubborn. He could not find a way to use his weapon so he threw it away. Did they win gold? no. Epic fail on him.

Everyone has there biases, even professionals. We all know that they wont take the 25 best players, they will try to build a team and all the top hockey minds will have a different opinion on this.

Taylor Hall is a superior player to a lot of the players that will make this team. If he was the same player and the oilers were in a playoff spot this wouldnt be a conversation.

Remember 6 rings is on the management of team canada, Dont right hall off yet.

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#42 Taylor Gang
January 01 2014, 01:55PM
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Hall is just beginning to become a superstar in the NHL. At this rate of scoring, if he didn't get injured for 7 games, he'd be THIRD in the NHL in scoring. Third. How he won't make Team Canada is beyond ridiculous.

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#43 John
January 01 2014, 03:30PM
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USA left off Keith Yandle from the team because of defensive ability.

Hall not much defensive ability

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#44 PapaMike
January 01 2014, 03:48PM
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When is the Canadian roster going to be annouced?

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#45 admiralmark
January 01 2014, 03:58PM
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Forget Hall, I cant believe Gagner's not gonna make the team?! lol

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#46 Serious Gord
January 01 2014, 06:41PM
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gr8one wrote:

The ignorance of this post is astounding on so many levels.

First of all, the Oilers have over 12 million of cap space currently, more than enough to make taking on Gleason's salary a moot point.

Second, and more important, Gleason is TERRIBLE, the last thing this team needs is another slow defender that can't pass the puck. Especially @ $4m/per for two more years after this season.

N.Schultz is a better option than Gleason.

So if the oil have so much cap room - why did MacT unload smid? This is the first I heard that the oil had that much room.

And yes, Gleason isn't worth the dough - but then neither is Ference or phaneuf. Maybe what is considered an over pay is what really is the going rate for established defensemen that aren't tied up by a team that can afford them.

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#47 Oliveoiler
January 01 2014, 07:57PM
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Taylordballs - you obviously live in Colorado - your brain is fried from too much LEGAL whacky baccy.

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#48 Rod from Viking
January 01 2014, 07:58PM
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@Serious Gord

So why was Smid dumped?

To make room for J Schultz 7x7mil extension, this was done before they knew the cap was going up, or for Shae Weber's contract....

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#49 Rdubb
January 02 2014, 07:45AM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

You remind me of Adil, that brown dude from Millwoods that trolls the edmonton air waves to hear his own voice.

You might accomplish something good if you focused your energy on something worth it instead of worrying about these jokers.

That being said, sometimes I agree with you and sometimes I think you're so far out to lunch that I just have to shake my head.

Have a good one Gordo

as I was reading your comment I found myself "somewhat" agreeing with you, until your 2nd last line when you said you "sometimes agree"...it is my opinion that this serious gord character is generally so far out to lunch it is pitiful, and when he cannot beat you in an argument, he'll try and pick apart ones punctuation, why, just to make himself feel better. When gord does this, he proves to me to be woefully inadequate in talking about sports, thus he must be a teacher or professor of English lit or something along those lines... Generally, the un-educated sports babble that he tries to discuss has most of the sports educated people giggling like school girls. It is obvious that gord has never donned the pads or equipment of any real sport, & if he did, he sat in the corner... just an observation from the stuff written and his responses to people. "when you can't beat them, pick apart their grammar" is the quote he lives by...

Avatar
#50 Oilers42
January 01 2014, 01:19PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

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