GDB 50.0: DO THE MOVES MATTER?

Jason Gregor
January 16 2014 12:25PM

Instead of firing another head coach, Craig MacTavish has decided to move out some players who have been here for most of the losing. Ladislav Smid was traded earlier this year, and yesterday Devan Dubnyk was sent to Nashville for Matt Hendricks. MacTavish quickly replaced Dubnyk by acquiring netminder Ben Scrivens from Los Angeles. 

Will these moves make the Oilers better? 

I don't see Hendricks making a major impact, but I also don't expect 4th liners to be difference makers. His salary is too high for a 4th liner, but if he plays well, helps out on the PK and adds some energy then he could break even. The Oilers aren't in a massive cap crunch and I don't see anyone on the roster in line for a significant raise over the next two seasons, so I don't see his $1.85 million cap hit hampering them financially. You can critique Hendricks the player, and have reservations about his play, but his cap hit is not going to hinder the Oilers.

Scrivens has an opportunity of a lifetime. He's coming to a team that is desperate for adequate goaltending. He doesn't need to be great, he just needs to be better than Ilya Bryzgalov's .904 SV%, and if he can avoid allowing weak goals he'll be considered an improvement.

Let's make one thing abundantly clear, however, Dubnyk was not the main reason the Oilers are in 29th place.

He was brutal at the start of the season, but since November he has been no worse than the majority of the roster. I've heard and read suggestions that that his slow start ruined the Oilers season.

I'd say that is just a tad misleading.

No doubt he was brutal early on, especially against the Jets, Canadiens and Leafs. Had he played decent they win those games. However, when you look closer you realize that the Oilers winning % didn't go up when Dubnyk was out of the lineup, it went down.

In the 29 games Dubnyk started the Oilers won 11 of them.
The 20 games he didn't start they won 4.

The Oilers won 38% of the games he started, but only 20% of the games he didn't. In case you are wondering in his 11 wins he only allowed 20 goals, so you can't say the offence carried him. 

I'm not giving Dubnyk a free pass. He didn't play well this year. He has to own that, but they Oilers need to realize that when he didn't play they won 4 of 20 games. FOUR. I'd say they have many other issues besides Dubnyk.

The goaltending needs to be better, but after speaking to a few scouts and goalie coaches I'm not sold that Scrivens is an automatic upgrade.

Dubnyk played much better last season; however, he hasn't been able to shed the "weak goal" label. Those goals were magnified on a losing team, and if he wants to be a starter somewhere else he'll need to limit the softies. Scrivens is a good backup, but he's yet to show he can be a starter. He'll get every opportunity to prove he can be over the next few months.

Dubnyk didn't look comfortable this year and to me it became clear the organization had lost faith in him, and I sense that Dubnyk's confidence was waning. Sometimes you just have to realize that both sides are better off without one another, and I think that was the case.

I won't be surprised if Dubnyk puts up decent numbers elsewhere, but I will be shocked if he re-signs in Nashville. With Pekka Rinne signed for another five seasons, I doubt Dubnyk wants to settle for a guaranteed backup role. I suspect he will sign with a team that doesn't have a clear cut starter.

HENDRICKS...

He is a 4th liner who kills penalties, but he hasn't produced much offence since he tallied 25 points in 2011. He is competitive and will battle, but some won't be able to get past his $1.85 million salary for the next three seasons. If you expect him to produce a lot of points due to his salary, then you'll be disappointed. He won't bring much offence.

He's never been a regular centre, but he has won 53% of the 700+ faceoffs he's taken. I'd have him centre the 4th line the rest of the season. Smyth is better on the wall than he is down the middle.

At best he's a 4th liner who kills penalties and will add some energy and break even offensively. The latter will be his biggest challenge, and MacTavish has opened himself up for criticism if Hendricks can't be break even. 

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Gagner
Yakupov-Arcobello-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hendricks/Jones
Jones/Hendricks-Smyth-Gazdic

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-N.Schultz

Scrivens

Starting Scrivens was the obvious decision. He'll want to make an impression right away and Bryzgalov wasn't very good in Dallas. The Oilers are 2-16-3 in their last 21 visits to Minnesota, so any new face in the lineup could be a welcomed addition.

Hemsky is back in Edmonton getting his swollen ankle looked at. If it is just bruised, I'd sit him out until it was 100%, not 80 or 90, but 100% before I'd put him back on the ice. The Oilers need him healthy and at his best to maximize his trade value. He won't re-sign to be a 3rd line RW next year, so they need to get something for him at the deadline.

Hendricks should play 4th line centre, mainly because Smyth is better on the wall, but Eakins suggested you might see him on the wing, possibly with Gordon. The Oilers like his energy, which is great, but he'll need to generate some offence if you play him on the third line.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven't had a lot of luck in the Twin Cities (inner Gene comes out) recently, but the new faces will give them a boost and they will skate away with a rare win in Minnesota. They get a break not having to face Niklas Backstrom -- he is 25-4-1 all-time vs. Edmonton, although the way he's playing maybe they would prefer to face him -- and they score three on Darcy Kuemper to win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: You can change the coach and the players, but the Wild are still a boring hockey team. They are 26th in scoring, but have the 10th best GAA. This game is a reminder of how awful it was to have to watch the Wild six times a year. Thankfully we are only subjected to it three times a year now.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Most stats suggest Hendricks won't produce much offence, but he picks up a 2nd period assist and Oilersnation rejoices. Also, in a rare change of fortunes an Oiler scores against his former team when Nick Schultz scores his first of the season. Kyle Brodziak watches in disbelief. He was certain he would score tonight.

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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#101 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 07:27PM
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I'm really getting tired of looking at Bucky and Smith standing on the bench

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#102 Randaman
January 16 2014, 07:31PM
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We'll at least I think we have found a third line that can actually cycle the puck and create havoc while getting some chances as well. Perron, Hendricks, Gordon. Yay! If Eakins screws that up then he proves he is an idiot if it hasn't already been proven. Gagner looks horrible with Hall and Nuge.

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#103 Spaz
January 16 2014, 07:31PM
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Is it just me or is someone very near the audio gear dropping fbombs on the sportsnet feed? I swear I've heard it four times already.

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#104 Jay
January 16 2014, 07:34PM
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I like these quiet buildings when you can hear all the oilers swear like truckers when they give the puck away

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#105 Randaman
January 16 2014, 07:34PM
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Spaz wrote:

Is it just me or is someone very near the audio gear dropping fbombs on the sportsnet feed? I swear I've heard it four times already.

Ya, it's Hall. Saw it in the first period. My wife doesn't like him anymore. LOL

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#106 Randaman
January 16 2014, 07:35PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I'm really getting tired of looking at Bucky and Smith standing on the bench

That makes about 50,000 of us

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#107 Mason Storm
January 16 2014, 07:44PM
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Randaman wrote:

That makes about 50,000 of us

I think you missed a 0

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#108 PimKing
January 16 2014, 07:45PM
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J.Shultz is not a defenceman. Just a lostman. Lost.

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#109 OILERSORDEATH
January 16 2014, 07:46PM
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And there ya go oiler hockey at its best, can't get the puck out and and its in the back of the net. Typical Oiler hockey. I feel so bad for Scrivens.

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#110 FireKLowe
January 16 2014, 07:47PM
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Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe! Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe! Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe!

We expect nothing less from the Tier 1 fans at the next home game.

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#111 Jay
January 16 2014, 07:47PM
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PimKing wrote:

J.Shultz is not a defenceman. Just a lostman. Lost.

Maybe if we packaged him up with Dubnyk we wouldn't of had to take Hendricks back

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#112 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 07:49PM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

There you go Puck JammeR....your tummy feeling better now?

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#113 2004Z06
January 16 2014, 07:49PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

The team got WORSE under Mact's first year and you " seriously don't see how people can think he's been ineffectual" HIS TEAM IS WORSE!!! thats how people think he is ineffectual

your a Troll or on the Oiler payroll. Perron been good

Gordon ok

Joensuu has brought nothing

Ference has made no difference at all

Bryz is what he was in Philly. Overrated

you forgot grebeshkov. remember how Mact knew this guy was ready for a good year after being away from the NHL

Belov "personally scouted by macT" is average at best

take your PR efforts to the Oilers site where it belongs

The team got worse under Mac T's first year? He's only had the job for 7 months. Everybody is getting really tired of your constant whining.

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#114 Romanus
January 16 2014, 08:03PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe! Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe! Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe!

We expect nothing less from the Tier 1 fans at the next home game.

Want to buy my tickets so you can do it yourself?

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#115 The Real Scuba Steve
January 16 2014, 08:07PM
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Unbelievable..

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#116 Loweblows
January 16 2014, 08:07PM
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Welcome to edmonton scrivens! Where all hope dies.

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#117 LoweBlow
January 16 2014, 08:08PM
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Welcome to Etown, Sribbles. Say goodbye to solid D.

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#118 Mike Krushelnyski
January 16 2014, 08:08PM
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Hitler did less harm than Lowe

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#119 FireKLowe
January 16 2014, 08:09PM
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Romanus wrote:

Want to buy my tickets so you can do it yourself?

I would but I live in cowtown.

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#120 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:09PM
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Darren Dregger breaking a trade rumour on Twitter...

Sam Gagner to the the Canadian Women's Olympic team for Haley Wickenhieser

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#121 -30-
January 16 2014, 08:12PM
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Switching over to Ancient Aliens. At least that show is entertaining.

Just when you thought the oilers couldn't get any worse, they do.

-30-

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#122 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:15PM
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This just in......Oilers agree to retain half of Gagner's salary in the Wickenheiser deal.

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#123 Hall's Knee Brace
January 16 2014, 08:15PM
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Romanus wrote:

Want to buy my tickets so you can do it yourself?

lol, you still pay for this steaming pile of crap...

best way to protest is to not give a plug nickel to this franchise

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#124 Mason Storm
January 16 2014, 08:16PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Darren Dregger breaking a trade rumour on Twitter...

Sam Gagner to the the Canadian Women's Olympic team for Haley Wickenhieser

How much salary do we retain in that trade?

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#125 Cameron
January 16 2014, 08:16PM
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The Oilers have hit a new Lowe......

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#126 Bryzarro World
January 16 2014, 08:17PM
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Have the Wild feed on and they pretty much pity us.

"And they make the Oilers go 200' again. They seem to make them do it 3, 4, 5 times each PK. Oilers can't score like that..."

"I can't believe how many chances we have on the PK. The Oilers are known to give up a few. More than a few... A lot!"

Just some of their lines and you know what, THEY'RE ALL TRUE.

What a joke...

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#127 Bryzarro World
January 16 2014, 08:18PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I'm really getting tired of looking at Bucky and Smith standing on the bench

I was sick of them 2 coaches ago...

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#128 Hockey fan 1976
January 16 2014, 08:18PM
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How sad that Sportsnet keeps showing Eberle's lone goal as " remax play of the game". All good though we are only losing 4-1. God I am starting to hate anything to do Oilers including these loser commentators.

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#129 Loweblows
January 16 2014, 08:18PM
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In Indonesia the cook who keeps burning fish gets fired. In the USA some CEO will lose his job for a companies poor earnings. In Pakistan some basket weaver will lose his job for not making baskets fast enough. In Oilerland Unicorns fart rainbows and all is well.

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#130 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:19PM
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Breaking news!......in a bold move....Oilers fire teams skate sharpener guy! Have you EVER seen a team with so many guys falling down all the time...every game! WTF!

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#131 Bryzarro World
January 16 2014, 08:23PM
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Romanus wrote:

Want to buy my tickets so you can do it yourself?

You couldn't pay me to waste a night watching this crap in the old barn or the new one.

I'd rather have Brownlee give me a Cleaveland steamer than sit through this garbage waiting for the 50/50 so I can gtfo

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#132 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 08:25PM
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#oilerspositives - another fantastic night for the skate laces they chose to use! Not a single skate lace broke tonight!!! Kudos

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#133 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 08:29PM
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#oilerspositives - equipment guys did a fantastic job screwing the visors onto the helmets, and once again the jerseys looked clean! Keep up the good work guys

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#134 LoweBlow
January 16 2014, 08:29PM
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First game I tried to watch in a month. What a serious waste of time.

House of Cards has much more conviction.

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#135 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 08:30PM
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So when will this team just admit that they suck and start a rebuild???

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#136 Quintana
January 16 2014, 08:31PM
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FIRE LOWE!!!!!! FIRE LOWE!!!!

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#137 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:32PM
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#oilerspositives - On a positive note....our CORSI was off the charts tonight!

#oilerspositives - another molar victory....no one lost any teeth tonight!

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#138 outdoorzguy
January 16 2014, 08:34PM
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Please...let this be the last night of the Marx Brothers on the bench!!

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#139 outdoorzguy
January 16 2014, 08:36PM
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Everyone who would like Lowe to go really now needs to re-focus their energies on having this coaching staff removed ASAP!!

We can deal with Lowe later since he doesn't do anything anyways.

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#140 kale
January 16 2014, 08:37PM
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I think snowpants deserves a star, he didn't fall once tonight

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#141 Loweblows
January 16 2014, 08:38PM
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RexHolez wrote:

#oilerspositives - equipment guys did a fantastic job screwing the visors onto the helmets, and once again the jerseys looked clean! Keep up the good work guys

Actually I just heard they have been traded for futures.

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#142 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 08:38PM
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#oilerspositives - every player was wearing the right numbered jersey and name plate!!! Amazing!!!

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#143 outdoorzguy
January 16 2014, 08:38PM
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How does an Oiler earn a star in a 4-1 loss? Sportsnet is just as pathetic as the Oilers are.

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#144 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:39PM
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#oilerspositives - Oilers lay an egg.....but do so on the road so no Jerseys thrown on ice!

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#145 FireKLowe
January 16 2014, 08:40PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

#oilerspositives - On a positive note....our CORSI was off the charts tonight!

#oilerspositives - another molar victory....no one lost any teeth tonight!

Willis and Staples will show us how the oilers are actually improving with the advanced stats.

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#146 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:40PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

How does an Oiler earn a star in a 4-1 loss? Sportsnet is just as pathetic as the Oilers are.

Mercy Star.

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#147 cubsfan
January 16 2014, 08:43PM
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LoweBlow wrote:

First game I tried to watch in a month. What a serious waste of time.

House of Cards has much more conviction.

Eagerly awaiting next season of House of Cards....cant say that about this 'house of cards'.....

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#148 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 08:45PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

Willis and Staples will show us how the oilers are actually improving with the advanced stats.

They only got outshot by 12!! That's progress right Willis??

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#149 Alsker
January 16 2014, 08:47PM
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Since no QSB again, allow me to remind everyone this was another step closer to Ekblad or whomever we choose with the #1 this year. Even with fLames getting their asses kicked tonite we still are able to maintain our lead for epic fail of the year.

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#150 6 ring circus
January 16 2014, 08:47PM
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Maybe Lowe said he knew a thing or two about being a wiener and we all misunderstood him for saying a winner.

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