CONGRATS, YOU'RE GOING TO EDMONTON

Robin Brownlee
January 15 2014 11:33PM

Ben Scrivens was decidedly understated today when Jason Gregor and I asked him if joining the Edmonton Oilers was his big chance to prove he's a bonafide NHL starter -- a timely opportunity, seeing as he's approaching unrestricted free agency. One can hardly blame him.

Scrivens, a native of Spruce Grove who has just 51 NHL games on his resume at the age of 27, wasn't going to get that chance playing behind Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles, so I was a bit surprised he didn’t sound more pumped about the deal that landed him back in Alberta.

Scrivens talked about not putting the cart before the horse and downplayed the bigger picture Gregor and I were trying to paint. Fair enough. Can't blame a guy for not flapping his gums to a couple media guys on live radio just hours into trying absorb a trade. He was getting ready to board his flight to join the Oilers on the road when we talked.

Then again, I'm assuming that, while Scrivens relishes a chance to play in a city where he'll have to compete for the crease with Ilya Bryzgalov instead of Quick, he's smart enough to know if he's going to prove to any team, including the Oilers, he's ready for prime time and a fat UFA contract, the opportunity comes with, shall we say, challenges.

If Scrivens can make it here, he can make it anywhere.

ONCE AN OILER . . .

On the upside for Scrivens, Quick is out of the equation. On the downside, so is Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov and the rest of a Los Angeles defense that's deeper and more talented than any group Oiler GM Craig MacTavish and coach Dallas Eakins can put in front of him right now.

In the Oilers, Scrivens joins a team that's 26 points behind the Kings in Western Conference standings. He goes from a team that has a decent chance to win a Stanley Cup to a team that's a lock to be a lottery team for the fifth straight year on the way to missing the playoffs for an eighth straight campaign.

In the Oilers, Scrivens joins a team that's allowing an average of 3.55 goals per game through 49 games and is on pace to allow 291 goals. Simply put, it's going to take a helluva lot more than a pending UFA like Scrivens – and the addition of journeyman ham-and-egger Matt Hendricks in another deal today – to turn that around.

Tending the four-by-six behind this bunch chewed outgoing Devan Dubnyk up before he got his ticket to Nashville in the Hendricks deal today. A faded Nikolai Khabibulin couldn’t get anything done here. Bryzgalov, who could not get an NHL job before the Oilers came calling, has had his moments, but has been mediocre at best (.902 with a 3.27 GAA) so far. Playing behind a team this full of holes on the blue line will do that to a stopper.

Is Scrivens good enough to overcome the team playing in front of him? I don't know, but he arrives with less impressive credentials than Bryzgalov and the broken-down Khabibulin. I don't see Scrivens, by the numbers at least, as a proven step-up from Dubnyk.

Understated is probably the way to play it, Ben.

WHILE I'M AT IT . . .

. . . I've got no argument with MacTavish trading Dubnyk. It was clear from his first comments about Dubnyk as GM that MacTavish wasn't sold on the former Kamloops Blazer as a No. 1 goaltender. Playing behind a bad team or not, Dubnyk didn't do enough to change his mind.

If MacTavish and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, who have watched Dubnyk, 27, since he turned pro, weren't convinced he was the guy by now, that wasn't going to change. Best to move him along.

. . . Analyst Matthew Barnaby said today via Twitter Hendricks turned down more money from the Oilers as a UFA to sign with Nashville: "I'm told Hendricks turned down more money from EDM in offseason but chose Nash for better fit." Hmm.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 tileguy
January 16 2014, 09:42AM
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Mason Storm wrote:

Hopefully he can prove himself here. What do you think is a reasonable expectation for his save percentage Robin? .915? Or should I lower that?

If he does post .915 - .920 the question is what will it take to resign him?

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#52 Bryzarro World
January 16 2014, 09:48AM
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Read that little article in regards to Ben's wife and yup, he is gone after this season if anyone will give him a sniff.

Look at her. He can commit career suicide or keep tapping that a$$. Which would you choose?

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#53 tileguy
January 16 2014, 09:54AM
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Kr55 wrote:

Little article about his wife:

http://blogs.canoe.ca/slam/hockey/biggest-loser-in-oilers-kings-trade-mrs-scrivens/

Definitely looks like she prefers life in LA, and the US in general.

She sounds like a beaut.

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#54 tileguy
January 16 2014, 09:57AM
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Sisyphus wrote:

Here's my prediction for how this goes over the next bit:

1. Scrivens plays worse in EDM than in LA, and even though his offers will be even fewer now, refuses to re-sign in EDM. 2. Bryz wants out, and would rather go back to Vegas to play than re-sign another year contract in this circus. So we're out a starting G. 3. We lose all but 2 Dmen we currently have, so we're already dealing with totally new teammates, possible lack of chemistry, etc. We find out the hard way that no FA Dmen want to come to Edmonton, even if we try to overpay for them. We're left scraping bottom of the barrel AND still overpaying to get enough Dmen to field a team. 4. We can't get rid of Gagner, so we're stuck trying to figure out what to do with him--play him, or buy him out. 5. Hemmer walks for nothing at the end of the season, and won't resign for more than a year here, and for overpayment. 6. Edmonton starts next season basically where we are now, if not worse. Continues to play terribly, finishing 2014-2015 in bottom 5 in league at best. 7. By end of 2014-2015, Hall has quietly asked for trade out of this h3II hole

Worse case scenario for sure, but possible.

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#55 Kr55
January 16 2014, 10:02AM
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Brian wrote:

What's the divorce rate between Valley Girls and hockey players once the career, glamour, glitz and money are gone?

Along the lines of what Brownlee said in his response, I wonder how many guys have gotten married since the last time the Oilers made the playoffs that understand now that Happy Wife = Happy Life. I know I'm one of them :)

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#56 Ted Sheckler
January 16 2014, 10:13AM
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Mrs. Scrivens is also a goalie. Would probably slot in behind Rimmer and ahead of Bunz on the depth chart.

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#58 Sal-Sational
January 16 2014, 10:55AM
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She sounds retarded!! http://blogs.canoe.ca/slam/hockey/biggest-loser-in-oilers-kings-trade-mrs-scrivens/ + take all that make up off and she'd look worse then Ben #Donkey

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#59 2004Z06
January 16 2014, 10:59AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

The D last year was no better than it is this year (Ference is an upgrade over Whitney). Last year Dubnyk got a .920 save percentage and the year before that .914. So I would argue that .915 is a reasonable expectation if Scrivens is to make an argument that he is a number one.

If Dubnyk did it for two years, then Scrivens should be able to. I'm not sure what happened to Dubnyk this year, but he was not the same goaltender as he was the previous two years.

PTSD is what happened to Dubnyk this year. Sad but true!

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#60 Still Hoping
January 16 2014, 11:09AM
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The important read here is how understated Scrivens was during the interview. NO ONE WANTS TO PLAY for the Oilers.

REASON: LOWE and MAC T

We need a cultural overhall that is going to take a few years for players to trust the Oilers organization. Right now. Oilers are the laughing stock of the league.

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#61 I agree
January 16 2014, 11:14AM
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tileguy wrote:

Worse case scenario for sure, but possible.

Couldn't have said it any better. Hey you should be GM (and I am not kidding). Anybody can run the Oilers better than the two boneheads Lowe and Mac T.

Fire them all Katz, or get stuck losing for another 14 years.

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#62 Spaceman Spiff
January 16 2014, 11:22AM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

Read that little article in regards to Ben's wife and yup, he is gone after this season if anyone will give him a sniff.

Look at her. He can commit career suicide or keep tapping that a$$. Which would you choose?

If I'm Ben Scrivens, I choose the opportunity that's just been handed to me. He has been given a three-month audition to be a starting goaltender for an NHL team. If he’s a professional and if he has any desire to be something more than a caddy for a superstar-goalie in a warm-weather non-hockey market, then he just got handed a golden opportunity. His wife should understand that, too.

Yes, make all the snide comments about Edmonton’s (lack of) defence, its fishbowl environment or the city’s cold climate or lack of SoCal amenities. But the bottom line is the bottom line: Ben Scrivens chose to play a winter sport that’s actually played during the winter in a few NHL cities … and at a position where there are only two jobs per team.

The most disappointing news yesterday had nothing to do with the trades MacT made. Rather, it was the tired, par-for-the-course reaction from certain (non-local) members of the media. Saw a few posts from guys like Bruce Arthur noting Mrs. Scrivens’ tweets and the conclusions that were drawn from them.

Given that no one conducted any … you know … actual interviews with her, it does make you wonder if the whole players-hate-going-to-Edmonton-because-of-the-weather is actually based on anecdotal evidence, or if it’s simply become Standard Operating Procedure for certain members of the media to go searching for circumstantial evidence that the player or his family might hate having to come earn millions playing a winter sport … during the winter … in a city that actually has winter.

Obviously, the Oilers are terrible and players might have certain misgivings about joining the gong-show here, but speculating on the non-hockey reasons for not coming has become tiresome … and a bit insulting, actually, to someone like me who grew up in northern Alberta (Grande Prairie) and is proud to call this place home, 365 days of the year.

I know that all sounds melodramatic … but Edmonton, the city, has nothing to prove to anyone, really – least of all, Scrivens, who grew up here. He’s the one who’s got the proving to do. Scrivens, his wife, his agent - all should understand that. If they don’t, we don’t want the guy.

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#63 2004Z06
January 16 2014, 11:24AM
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Sisyphus wrote:

Here's my prediction for how this goes over the next bit:

1. Scrivens plays worse in EDM than in LA, and even though his offers will be even fewer now, refuses to re-sign in EDM. 2. Bryz wants out, and would rather go back to Vegas to play than re-sign another year contract in this circus. So we're out a starting G. 3. We lose all but 2 Dmen we currently have, so we're already dealing with totally new teammates, possible lack of chemistry, etc. We find out the hard way that no FA Dmen want to come to Edmonton, even if we try to overpay for them. We're left scraping bottom of the barrel AND still overpaying to get enough Dmen to field a team. 4. We can't get rid of Gagner, so we're stuck trying to figure out what to do with him--play him, or buy him out. 5. Hemmer walks for nothing at the end of the season, and won't resign for more than a year here, and for overpayment. 6. Edmonton starts next season basically where we are now, if not worse. Continues to play terribly, finishing 2014-2015 in bottom 5 in league at best. 7. By end of 2014-2015, Hall has quietly asked for trade out of this h3II hole

That's ok. Hall will be replaced with Connor Mcdavid.

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#64 Kodiak
January 16 2014, 11:44AM
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Combine Belanger/Eager/Brown/Smithson, four failures here and you get Hendricks. He had the worst corsi rating on the Preds and is top ten worst in the league. We will pay him almost $2m/yr for the next three years. These types of players (but probably better) are fairly readily available for under a million. Why would anyone in their right mind figure we need this?

Then we give up possibly the 60th pick in the draft to acquire a goalie that will most likely walk at seasons end so he can maybe give us a handful more wins than Dubnyk would have in an already lost season.

The Scrivens deal I can actually live with, but there is no reason why we couldn't have acquired him and kept Dubnyk or gotten a draft pick for him as opposed to acquiring another marginal and overpriced hockey player in return.

These deals do not improve us in any way next season, they actually hurt us and who cares about this season, it's already a write off. What a joke. Of all the deals MacT has made, only the Perron deal made us noticeably better. All the others were lateral or backwards. We suck. Screw the lateral moves and fill some of the glaring holes.

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#65 Mac962
January 16 2014, 11:51AM
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Spaceman Spiff wrote:

If I'm Ben Scrivens, I choose the opportunity that's just been handed to me. He has been given a three-month audition to be a starting goaltender for an NHL team. If he’s a professional and if he has any desire to be something more than a caddy for a superstar-goalie in a warm-weather non-hockey market, then he just got handed a golden opportunity. His wife should understand that, too.

Yes, make all the snide comments about Edmonton’s (lack of) defence, its fishbowl environment or the city’s cold climate or lack of SoCal amenities. But the bottom line is the bottom line: Ben Scrivens chose to play a winter sport that’s actually played during the winter in a few NHL cities … and at a position where there are only two jobs per team.

The most disappointing news yesterday had nothing to do with the trades MacT made. Rather, it was the tired, par-for-the-course reaction from certain (non-local) members of the media. Saw a few posts from guys like Bruce Arthur noting Mrs. Scrivens’ tweets and the conclusions that were drawn from them.

Given that no one conducted any … you know … actual interviews with her, it does make you wonder if the whole players-hate-going-to-Edmonton-because-of-the-weather is actually based on anecdotal evidence, or if it’s simply become Standard Operating Procedure for certain members of the media to go searching for circumstantial evidence that the player or his family might hate having to come earn millions playing a winter sport … during the winter … in a city that actually has winter.

Obviously, the Oilers are terrible and players might have certain misgivings about joining the gong-show here, but speculating on the non-hockey reasons for not coming has become tiresome … and a bit insulting, actually, to someone like me who grew up in northern Alberta (Grande Prairie) and is proud to call this place home, 365 days of the year.

I know that all sounds melodramatic … but Edmonton, the city, has nothing to prove to anyone, really – least of all, Scrivens, who grew up here. He’s the one who’s got the proving to do. Scrivens, his wife, his agent - all should understand that. If they don’t, we don’t want the guy.

Very well said Bro, Very well said. it has become tiresome to hear the crap this city and surrounding areas have taken, If you don't like leave please It pains me some players complain about having to play / live here for what ? 10 + years of your life if that actually and only during hockey season. Most, if they are smart with their money can retire in a warm climate by the time they are 40 ish if not sooner. Sorry, i dont have that luxury. And to tell you the truth, i will always have a home here even if i did. Yeah , i would have a vacation home somewhere warm but this City has great tough hard working people. Calgarians have slammed this city but tell me this, who were some of the first to help when your City Flooded ? It was us , Edmonton. Because thats what we do.

Again - well said.

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#66 **
January 16 2014, 11:59AM
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Hendricks must be feeling pretty silly right now. It's worrisome to learn that MacTavish was willing to give this guy even more money than what Nashville is paying him. Not unlike David Clarkson's situation, what a bullet Mac T dodged there.

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#67 Joe Mamma
January 16 2014, 12:09PM
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Sisyphus wrote:

While I agree that wanting to go to a winner can be a deciding factor for MH too, what does that still say about FA chances this off-season? Again, even with more money, veteran FA's want to go to a team with a chance to win--which is not EDM.

As for Scrivens and the hometown bit, I think we over-value how much that counts for. Maybe if your "hometown" is Toronto, where its still a vibrant, international city even if the hockey team isn't great, it might count, and you'd be willing to take a crappy starting job to be there. But this is Edmonton. Frozen tundra, relatively small-town, definitely no international feel, etc.

Edmonton is a city of over a million people. It's not a "small town" by anyone's estimation. Not saying I necessarily disagree with your point.

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#68 nina russo
January 16 2014, 12:20PM
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Unfortunately this has Eakins written all over it. If you are going to trade with LA take Jones. The guy has the potential to be a phenom.

But then again the issue here likely isn't the goaltending or defense per se but the coach in charge of them.

Dubnyk would have been far more effective with either Sean Burke (Pheonix) or Bill Ranford (LA) or Francois Allaire (Colorado) behind them.

Too bad we couldn't trade for Ranford and Jones, but then again Eakins has no history with them so they would have been simply sent to the minors....

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#69 max
January 16 2014, 01:13PM
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Not a very nice thing to show Ben's wife's tweets. And Toronto WASN'T his home town. I'm sure she is aware of what Edmonton is like from family visits. And Ben, ALL you have to do is better Bryz's stats and you'll be number 1. Win and you're in, simple as that. Show us all what a local boy can do - remember Grant Fuhr was a Spruce Grove boy too, and look what happened to the Oilers with him as netminder. Welcome to you, and Matt and good luck.

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#70 Max
January 16 2014, 01:36PM
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If she truly loves and supports her husband, Mrs. Scrivens should cause no problems. However, if she proves to be like the woman who married AND divorced BOTH Richard Zednik and Dustin Penner, then he's in for big trouble. Of course, she may turn out to be another Mrs. Pronger, hell, that wouldn't be good either. I think we should give Mrs. Scrivens the benefit of the doubt - she knows Edmonton, it's her husband's home town and surely the in-laws will keep her in line!

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#71 Max
January 16 2014, 02:26PM
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Sorry - one last thing. For Ben: you have the chance to shine, you have the chance to become a superstar, you have the chance to become our saviour, you have the chance to make a huge difference to our team and fan morale, you have the chance to PROVE you are a #1 goalie in the NHL, you have the chance to surpass Bryz in numbers - so stand on your head buddy, do what you do best and what you love. Do this and you'll be a God in Edmonton. Only the Oilers can raise a man from obscurity to a hero in 40 seconds flat. Playoffs may be out of sight, but a long winning streak and rising up in the west standings will make us all very very happy.

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#72 Bubba
January 16 2014, 02:27PM
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@Bryzarro World

I dunno, I'd be pretty pissed if someone made me live in T.O. for 3 years too lol!

Her last tweet says she's excited for Scrive's hometown. We're just dysfunctional enough to welcome one more nut to our party right? lol!

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#73 UnderOil
January 16 2014, 03:33PM
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Sal-Sational wrote:

She sounds retarded!! http://blogs.canoe.ca/slam/hockey/biggest-loser-in-oilers-kings-trade-mrs-scrivens/ + take all that make up off and she'd look worse then Ben #Donkey

Nice class. Way to send a message on how we value the players that do come to Edmonton. Or are from here...sheesh

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#74 ZappBrannigan
January 16 2014, 03:49PM
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Did we belt a grandslam out of the park with this trade? -no. Are there personnel changes still required in the lineup? -plenty. But taking the 500-foot view of the franchise at this point is tiresome.

We got a promising young goalie who has an opportunity to become an NHL starting goalie in his home town. How it turns out only time will tell, but its a pretty f'n cool situation imo.

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#75 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 16 2014, 03:56PM
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This team is a joke. Lowe and mact made things worse. Traded for a guy who took less money to not be here. How is that an intelligent move? I don't think any NHL player really wants to be here. Not the city people it is incompetent management.

To the fans who have stopped drinking the kool-aid i suggest we make contact with Cleveland Browns fans and maybe we can make a support group for hardcore fans of crappy teams and idiotic owners. Both groups deserve MUCH better than their favorite teams are giving them.

To the fans who still believe in management, bless you but please wake up.

I watch and laugh and hope katz realizes what a pro team should be.

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#76 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 16 2014, 03:57PM
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Max wrote:

Sorry - one last thing. For Ben: you have the chance to shine, you have the chance to become a superstar, you have the chance to become our saviour, you have the chance to make a huge difference to our team and fan morale, you have the chance to PROVE you are a #1 goalie in the NHL, you have the chance to surpass Bryz in numbers - so stand on your head buddy, do what you do best and what you love. Do this and you'll be a God in Edmonton. Only the Oilers can raise a man from obscurity to a hero in 40 seconds flat. Playoffs may be out of sight, but a long winning streak and rising up in the west standings will make us all very very happy.

no pressure tho

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#77 Max
January 16 2014, 04:25PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

no pressure tho

Absolutely none whatsoever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#78 Cynic
January 16 2014, 09:47PM
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Cynic wrote:

Just got dealt from Cup-contender LAK. Today's temp in the 80s. To perennial cellar-dwelling Mickey Mouse Club. Today's temp I'm gonna guess -40. I'd be suicidal, never mind "understated."

51 Edmondchuckians in denial. I suppose you were swimming outside today...Didn't think so.

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#79 #ThereGoesTheOilers
January 16 2014, 11:16PM
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If we can all agree that these two gentlemen will not address much more than a smidgen of the deficiencies our team has, then what is all this discussion about? The only news here is that Dubnyk is getting a new start. Glad for him.

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#80 tileguy
January 17 2014, 12:37PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect Scrivens to be in the .905 to .915 range. Then again, I was expecting that from Dubnyk in the second half, too, and we didn't get it.

Well he's off to an .888 start, hope those are lucky numbers for him.

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#81 Rdubb
January 18 2014, 08:40AM
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Seriously people, quit freaking talking about how good LA's defence is, look @ the number of shots they give up day in and day out, they are very similar to what Edmonton gives up, maybe more. The only real difference is that Edmonton may give up a few more "prime time" scoring chances per game, but other than that, everything looks pretty much equal. Yes, LA has the D-men mentioned in the article, but they still give up a ton of shots, LA has played 1 less game but has given up 100 more shots, basically just over a spg more than Edmonton has to this point. In reality, LA has given up the MOST shots in the NHL to this point in the season... Just saying... Peck

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