GDB 43.0: SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS

Jason Gregor
January 02 2014 12:11PM

During their seven, soon to be eight, year playoff drought the Edmonton Oilers have done surprisingly well against the San Jose Sharks. While the Oilers have floundered near the bottom of the standings the Sharks have circled near the top, finishing 5th, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 7th and 6th in the western conference.

Once again, the Sharks are one of the best teams in the west, sitting 4th with a 25-9-6 record, and the Sharks lead the league with a +7.3 ratio in shots for/against. Despite the Sharks consistency as an elite team and the Oilers as a bottom-feeder, Edmonton is 6-6-1 in San Jose during the past seven seasons.

Why? I have no idea, but the Oilers are hoping they continue to be competitive in the Shark Tank tonight.

The Oilers' struggles against western division playoff teams continued in Phoenix on Tuesday with a 4-3 OT loss. The score flattered the Oilers as they were outshot 45-25. In 14 games against the top-8 western teams the Oilers have been outshot by a combined 163 shots and are a paltry 1-11-2. It has been ugly vs. the best in the west, and the Oilers need to wake up to avoid another "shot kicking" tonight.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Perron
Yakupov-Gagner-Eberle
Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
Joensuu-Lander-Gazdic

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

Bryzgalov/Dubnyk

Those were the lines at practice yesterday, so they likely stay the same tonight. Eakins likely won't play his goalies back-to-back and Bryzgalov has played two very strong games, so they could go with him tonight and Dubnyk tomorrow; unless Eakins wants Bryz to face another one of his former teams. Either way, goaltending hasn't been the issue the past few games.

Yakupov draws back in while Roman Horak played one game and was sent back to OKC. I'm curious to see how Yakupov responds to Eakins' "plan." The simple part of the plan is that Eakins will play Yakupov with offensive guys as long as Yakupov plays better without the puck and in the D zone.

I expect Yakupov to play hard tonight, but based on what Eakins said he'll need to do it consistently to stick in the top-six. That is fine, but it's about time Eakins starts thinking about challenging some other forwards the way he has Yakupov. Gagner and Eberle need to be better.

QUICK HITS

  • Anton Belov's play on the OT goal was the epitome of a soft play. For reasons unexplained he elected to coast for one stride at the blueline and then he made a weak stick check on Yandle. I understand that players will make mistakes, turn the puck over and not always execute, but soft plays are inexcusable and the Oilers have too many players who make soft plays fairly frequently. Until that stops this organization won't improve. If Belov plays significant minutes tonight what message is Eakins sending his team?
     
  •  The players need to be more accountable to each other, and I liked that Ilya Bryzgalov showed his displeasure after the tying and OT goals. You don't want players doing it all the time, but at certain times it is necessary. It might cause some discomfort now and then, but when Bryzgalov, who spent the past 120 minutes standing on his head keeping his team in the game, gets fired up his teammates should listen. He was playing his ass of and it is nice to see a player demand that his teammates put forth the same effort.
     
  • Scott Burnside wrote a fantastic article on how TEAM USA picked their 25-man roster. It was great to get a glimpse into the process. The thing that stood out to me, yet didn't surprise me, was how cautious they were about offensive players. That is the biggest issue in our game in my opinion. GMs and coaches would rather go with safe players than highly skilled guys who might make mistakes.

    Bobby Ryan has scored 160 goals since the start of the 2008/2009 season. Phil Kessel, 175, is the only American with more goals during that span, yet Ryan didn't make the team.

    What perplexed me the most was that the coaches felt they didn't need him on the PP, because he only had 8 PP points in Ottawa. The majority of the game is played five-on-five, and the only forward on the USA roster with more ES points than Ryan's 28 is Patrick Kane. Ryan produces at ES, and Brian Burke even admitted in the article that he is an elite finisher. Instead of downplaying his PP production, shouldn't they have been applauding his ES totals?

    My biggest beef about the state of hockey is that coaches are drawn towards safe players instead of finishers.Hockey is becoming to risk averse. I understand the need to have reliable players on the roster, but if you can't score you won't win. Is Derek Stepan going to be a difference maker more than Ryan? Ryan has been one of the top-ten most productive goal scorers in the NHL the past five years, yet the USA elected to go with guys who were "safer" and had a good first 40 games of the season. I suspect they will regret that decision.
     
  • What makes Ryan's omission even more surprising is the make up of their blueline. Only one of the eight D-men named to team USA would crack Canada's top-seven, Ryan Suter. The rest are Ryan McDonagh, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Justin Faulk, John Carlson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Cam Fowler. Orpik is the only physical defender, and only Carlson is the only other one above 6'2".

    How do they plan to defend Canada's big skilled forwards like Getzlaf, Perry and others? They can't expect to win games 2-1 just because they have Jonathan Quick in goal? Their blueline is made up of puckmovers, but they cut their 3rd most productive forward and that seems somewhat contradictory to me.

    I'm very surprised Dustin Byfuglien wasn't one of their eight defenders. He adds a different dimension. To me Carlsson, Faulk, Fowler and Shattenkirk are essentially the same player. I don't see how their blueline will be able to handle Canada's forwards when they start cycling. That is great news for Canadians. I don't see USA as a main threat in this tournament.
     
  • You can point at Taylor Hall and make an argument that he should make Team, Canada based on his offence, and that is a valid point. However, the difference between him and Ryan is that Canada has other guys with more points than Hall. Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Perry, Sharp, Tavares, Kunitz and Thornton. Kunitz also has more points, but playing with Crosby definitely helps.

    I've said I'd have Hall on the 25-man roster, but Canada has the luxury of going with guys who are also very good offensively, but have a bit more experience in Staal, Nash and Giroux.  Even in the case of Kunitz he is showing he can produce. Pascal Dupuis also played with Crosby and he only had 20 points. If Kunitz makes the team at least they can say he is producing more than guys who didn't make it, unlike Ryan with Team USA.

    When Hockey Canada makes their announcement next week it will be interesting to see which forwards aren't on it. We could see Hall, Seguin, Benn and Duchene on the outside.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Their struggles against top teams continue with a 4-2 loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall has eight points in his last four games and he continues his strong play tonight with a goal and an assist. He is making a strong push to make Team Canada, but even he admitted he doesn't think he'll crack the roster. Hall could be top-15 in scoring by the time January 7th rolls around, which will only add to the debate if he doesn't make the cut.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After scoring four goals in his first six games, Boyd Gordon only has one in his last 30. He buries his 6th of the season tonight which puts him on pace to shatter his career high of eight goals.
 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Arius Mumin
January 02 2014, 09:46PM
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Did the Oilers just call a "players only" timeout? WTF?

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#102 Harlie
January 02 2014, 09:56PM
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Eberle is 3 feet away from the goal, and then decides to button hook and pass it to the defence? C'mon man!

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#103 Arius Mumin
January 02 2014, 09:56PM
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I tried it at home wrote:

The commercial advertising the "Oilers skill competition" is a nice touch. Sarcasm intended.

hahahahahahahahaha

I stopped watching the game, but I can hear it in the background:"Gagner is down-he thought he had the puck under him.".

hahahahahahahahahahaha

Is that funny or is that funny? Or is it just funny to me 'cause I have to get high to watch the Oilers play?.

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#104 Brian
January 02 2014, 10:19PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

In fact I'm pretty sure Stauffer is beating the hell out of Debrusk right now.

He played for the Southside Athletic Club. Maybe you didn't know that.

And he pines after Joffrey Lupul like a nine year old girl at a Bieber concert, or like Katz does with the Boys on the Broken Down Bus.

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#105 cubsfan
January 02 2014, 11:49PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Please don't go cubsfan......you'll be giving up your tier one status.....and you'll regret it $150,000.00 from now when the Oilers finally ice a contender!

...I'll feel like such a sucker in 10 years......$150k is a lot when you think about it.....im having a bit of an epiphany......i may not be the only one

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#106 RexHolez
January 02 2014, 11:59PM
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For $15,000 you could probably buy enough pitch forks and hand them out to everybody for the next home game

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#107 Stack Pad Save
January 02 2014, 01:17PM
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@ Jason

I don't know how you think Bryzgalov had a strong game, he had a typical Dunynk game. Make some great saves, and then let in a super weak goal (the TIm Kennedy Goal) and made a soft play on the final goal. HE should have stopped that goal from Yandle, even though Belov played it poorly, so did Bryzgalov.

Dubynk had a shut-out his last game, he hasn't played the last 2 games, and Bryzgalov had a weak game in the previous outing. If Dubnyk doesn't play today it shows that accountability really isn't a game plan of Eakins.

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#108 Rick Stroppel
January 02 2014, 04:19PM
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GRETZKY AND MESSIER TO THE RESCUE!

I am really tired of the relentless negativity displayed by the posters on this site! Gretzky and Messier are waiting in the wings and Katz is just looking for the right time to put them into positions of high influence and responsibility in Oilerville. There are at least good four reasons for this:

1. Former Oilers Glory Boys.

2. Neither has accomplished anything of note as a coach or manager in the NHL, therefore unable to question anything done by anyone else.

3. Both will be available to clean Katz' glasses during time outs like Jerry Jones son-in-law.

4. Both will be contractually obligated to go to Katz' house and play table hockey with his kid.

Gretzky and Messier should work so well with MacTavish, Lowe, Steve Smith and Buchberger! I can't wait!

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#109 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 02 2014, 08:41PM
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GDP: Sharks are Big ...Oilers are Small.....Sharks Win!

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#110 Bryzarro World
January 02 2014, 09:20PM
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So refreshing to hear another feed. Listening to the SJ crew makes me realize how sick I am of the sportsnet group.

The few games that I do watch I find it eases the experience if I slap on GTA during the intermission and go 6 stars with Niko.... Trust me, try it!

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#111 Randaman
January 02 2014, 09:26PM
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I was offered Gold tickets 3 rows behind the bench for a game in February. I live 700 miles north and normally would have jumped at the chance but not this year. I have a fear of throwing my Hall jersey on the ice. I want to but I don't think I could do it. If it was #14 or #89 I honestly would have no problem. The longer we keep these two the longer the losing goes on

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#112 Quintana
January 02 2014, 09:45PM
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WE WANT 10!!!! WE WANT 10!!!!!!

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#113 Serious Gord
January 02 2014, 09:50PM
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In the fifties the Habs were so dominant that the league brought in new rules to make power plays less lethal - they made it legal for the penalized team to ice the puck and they ended two minute penalties if a goal was scored.

Now I suspect the nhl will consider a new rule in light of how uncompetitive the oil are:

the mercy rule.

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#114 Harlie
January 02 2014, 09:52PM
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Whens are heads gonna roll??

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#115 Deep Oil
January 02 2014, 10:12PM
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What are your thoughts about the Oilers advertising a skills competition, is there some AD Council we could complain to for fraud ?

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#116 cubsfan
January 02 2014, 10:40PM
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cubsfan wrote:

GDP

Oilers outshot 20 to 4 in the 1st period, but only down 2-0

Gene Pricipe interview The Nuge...he says they have to try harder and they are better than this, and have to start taking body, let the puck do the work for them.....blah blah

Gene cracks a bad Pun that the 2 guys in the booth are obligated to laugh at... and I quickly change the channel and watch Oklahoma v Alabama game

....in this way i dont throw the remote at the TV when the Oilers lose again with a half-arse effort

This team has turned me into a glass half empty guy

I guess its better the glass totally empty guy like serious gord....but im getting there

I know its not in good taste reposting my own GDP....and i'l get trashed...

but.......

All i want to know is if I got the prediction hat Gene Principe made a bad pun .....i changed the channel early and watched a great NCAA football game....and saved my TV at the same time

I'm not bragging about the 2-0 prediction and the shot differential (very close on that)..........Im not bragging...... because that prediction is like predicting the sun comes up in the morning and sets in the evening.... it is more like Obvious game prediction.....

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#117 OILERS SUCK
January 02 2014, 11:13PM
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Hey Randaman these guys are all similar players... one way players with no heart. Kruger was a much better coach than Eakins but the Oilers brass wanted Toronto's golden boy. they need to clean house from Lowe to Yakupov but Katz won't make this happen until he sees some serious amounts of empty seats. Unfortunately no matter how poor the product as long as the foolish lovestruck fans keep attending games he will do nothing other than count his $$$.

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#118 RexHolez
January 02 2014, 11:31PM
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cubsfan wrote:

I was thinking same

you can buy San Diego season tickets, or Arizona Cardinal tickets, even Chicago bears (direct flights now).....

Only 8 home games......

You can pay for a flight for 2, watch NFL game, and hotel.....all for the price of GOLD Seats ......LITERALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the idea

or

I can save my 15k, go to a masters, fly to the UK and catch EPL game, go to the final four, go to Kentucky derby, go to Vegas and watch some UFC live....... and have life experiences.......

Seriously considering

I could have went to school and became a surgeon in the time it's taking the oilers to simply make the playoffs again

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#119 dobiezeke
January 02 2014, 11:36PM
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Oasis wrote:

Its time to trade Eberle. Rape me on this if you want. The guy is my favourite player, but I am sick and tired of watching him mail it in game after game. I mean, would it kill you to actually even pretend you will throw a hit or be physical?

This team has lots of skill, too much skill. We need heart. Hall has heart, Nuge has some and we all know Perron has some. Eberle has no drive whatsoever. He is one guy who can get us a return.

Rip on me if you want. I am not saying he isn't talented or skilled. Eberle is a great player, but not what this team needs right now.

You want a Bold move MacT. There you go.

I agree - I have been a huge supporter of Eberle since he came to the Oilers.

He is weak on the puck, does nothing positive in the defensive end and plays like he is pouting when he isn't with Hall/RNH.

But we shouldn't be surprised after he called out Krueger last year for breaking up the top line...

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#120 Rod from Viking
January 03 2014, 12:04AM
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RexHolez wrote:

For $15,000 you could probably buy enough pitch forks and hand them out to everybody for the next home game

That would buy a lot of knock-off Oiler jerseys with #0 and Eakins on the back to throw on the ice, oh and an "A" on the front that doesn't stand for assistant. I can't believe he was basically blaming Yak for the loss, what a joke.

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#121 Fatbob24
January 02 2014, 12:18PM
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Hey-ho! Let go Oilers!!!

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#122 Horcsky
January 02 2014, 12:57PM
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Hmm, I disagree with some of the guys you listed as being more productive than Hall, Gregor.

Perry, Kunitz, Sharp, and Toews are all at a lower points per game pace than Hall.

http://www.sportingcharts.com/nhl/stats/player-points-per-game-leaders/2013/

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#123 I tried it at home
January 02 2014, 01:21PM
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Is there any link I could use to hear what Bryz said after the Phoenix game? Guy is rapidly becoming my favorite player, and I love having someone in the dressing room who's calling out the slackers ( I hope).

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#124 RexHolez
January 02 2014, 04:36PM
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@Kevin

Why would they claim a free NHL player?? We have lots of AHL guys to give ice time. Even Konopka would be an upgrade

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#125 K_Mart
January 02 2014, 05:03PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Stauffer pointed out that hall has 38 points and has cracked the top twenty.

Guess who has one more point and is +11? And no one seems to be talking about him playing in Sochi.

Seguin is having a nice season. Not as nice as Hall's though, especially considering the first 13 games for hall.

By the end of January if Hall stays healthy, seguin will be a mere spec in the rearview. Hall has been +3 since moving back to the wing. More impressive than Seguin's considering Hall's supporting cast.

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#126 RexHolez
January 02 2014, 05:13PM
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@**

He's grooming yak to be our. 4th line checker/pk specialist. It's a challenge for him

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#128 Andrew
January 02 2014, 09:15PM
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According to Debrusk a wrist shot from the blueline is unstoppable. Just another excuse making eh-hole? I think I hear a huge sucking noise coming from Cali.

Piss pathetic.

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#129 Hockey fan 1976
January 02 2014, 09:24PM
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Omg. The Coilers are brutal!! The Sharks are literally toying with these clowns. How can anyone in their right mind think this team is on track with their rebuild after watching this period. Katz, please fire everyone and earn the respect back from your Edmonton fans. Turning off this game and watching a movie.

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#130 I tried it at home
January 02 2014, 09:53PM
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The commercial advertising the "Oilers skill competition" is a nice touch. Sarcasm intended.

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#131 Brian
January 02 2014, 10:07PM
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I try very hard to tune out the Sportsnet Bobbleheads and now I got to read about them here? DeBrusk has been sniffing too much blue paint lately. And Quinn knows nothing about broadcasting if there was ever any concern.

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#132 Rod from Viking
January 02 2014, 10:08PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I expect Ryan Smyth to win the fastest skater and the hardest shot competition.

And Gagner to win most accurate shot, does he ever hit the net?

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#133 Ari Gold
January 03 2014, 04:29AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Is there anybody who still thinks Eakins isn't in way over his head?

If I was Nelson I'd feel cheated!!!

Arguable the worst Oilers team in 8 years.

Ironically I'd say that this roster looks to be the best of the past 8 years but they're certainly putting up the worst numbers.

But what do I know, I've quit watching this mess. I've got just enough effort to watch highlights.

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#134 RexHolez
January 02 2014, 12:30PM
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@Jason Gregor

It's hockey canada, it doesn't have to make sense.

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#135 BC BOY
January 02 2014, 01:14PM
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"Canada has other guys with more points than Hall. Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Perry, Sharp, Tavares, Kunitz and Thornton."

The only players on this list with a better P/G than Hall on this list are Crosby, Getzlaf, Tavares and Thornton

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#136 Bryan in SK
January 02 2014, 01:21PM
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That photo... (the one with the shark)... that looks like Petry getting chased into the corner by Thornton.

NSOGDP - Jumbo Joe scores his third with 5 to play in the third. Farhan Lalji has a stroke waiting for #4 and the subsequent post-game interview.

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#137 Sid
January 02 2014, 04:22PM
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To take a page out of Burke's book. Do the Oilers have any intense players?

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#138 D-Unit
January 02 2014, 09:47PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

No chance again, right Louie?

I remember some people (I think even writers here) were suggesting Dubnyk had a 'dark horse chance' for the Olympic team.

Yeah. No.

Whoever thought Dubnyk on the Olympic team had to be on heroin.

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#139 Rod from Viking
January 02 2014, 10:00PM
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I tried it at home wrote:

The commercial advertising the "Oilers skill competition" is a nice touch. Sarcasm intended.

I expect Ryan Smyth to win the fastest skater and the hardest shot competition.

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#140 sizedoesmatter
January 02 2014, 10:00PM
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Just heard Debrusk say unkind words directed towards the Oilers

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#141 Loweblows
January 02 2014, 10:07PM
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Note to gag- me. Hit the effin net!

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#142 Oasis
January 02 2014, 11:30PM
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cubsfan wrote:

I was thinking same

you can buy San Diego season tickets, or Arizona Cardinal tickets, even Chicago bears (direct flights now).....

Only 8 home games......

You can pay for a flight for 2, watch NFL game, and hotel.....all for the price of GOLD Seats ......LITERALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the idea

or

I can save my 15k, go to a masters, fly to the UK and catch EPL game, go to the final four, go to Kentucky derby, go to Vegas and watch some UFC live....... and have life experiences.......

Seriously considering

I am a Chiefs fan. An organization that has had plenty of failure for many years. Well last year the fans got together and said enough is enough. We flew plans over the stadium asking for heads to roll and one day they actually did. They cut ties, fired everybody and brought in new blood and turned it around.

I know full well that I could attend at least 4 games a year, hotel, airfare, etc for what I pay for my seats now.

I can watch the Oiler games on TV and shut er down at anytime I want. Oh look Twister is on tonight, I think I will watch that instead of the Oilers.

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#143 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 02 2014, 11:36PM
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cubsfan wrote:

I was thinking same

you can buy San Diego season tickets, or Arizona Cardinal tickets, even Chicago bears (direct flights now).....

Only 8 home games......

You can pay for a flight for 2, watch NFL game, and hotel.....all for the price of GOLD Seats ......LITERALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the idea

or

I can save my 15k, go to a masters, fly to the UK and catch EPL game, go to the final four, go to Kentucky derby, go to Vegas and watch some UFC live....... and have life experiences.......

Seriously considering

Please don't go cubsfan......you'll be giving up your tier one status.....and you'll regret it $150,000.00 from now when the Oilers finally ice a contender!

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#144 cubsfan
January 02 2014, 11:53PM
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Drowning in Oil wrote:

And this is coming from a Cubs fan, lol!!

.....at least we/they are the 'loveable losers'......thats their identity.....cursed for eternity.....not much to love here

maybe i'm the problem.....every team i cheer for loses.....a lot!

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#145 RexHolez
January 03 2014, 10:37AM
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4 years of rebuilding and I see maybe 4 players with any value? How exactly are we rebuilding other than picking 1st overall?? This is a joke and I'm amazed the guys in charge are still allowed to sell this fantasy dream they keep talking about. It's obvious they're incompetent

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#146 Stack Pad Save
January 02 2014, 01:25PM
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I tried it at home wrote:

Is there any link I could use to hear what Bryz said after the Phoenix game? Guy is rapidly becoming my favorite player, and I love having someone in the dressing room who's calling out the slackers ( I hope).

Your favorite player is the guy who calls out his teamates and yells at them on the ice? Has tantrums and throws his stick? The guy who won't paint his helmut because he is using the organization to audition for other teams for next season?

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#147 Dan the Man
January 02 2014, 01:59PM
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Ed in PV wrote:

Having Gags and Yak on the same line, Eakins is rolling the dice. I think the dice are loaded against him.

I guess the only positive is that they probably can't be any worse than the line of Gagner, Eberle and Horak were last game. One of the worst performances I have ever seen.

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#148 He Who Knows
January 02 2014, 02:43PM
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Hey Katz, find someone like Doug Wilson. Mac-T could not get another coaching gig in the league and you gave him the GM position, LOL. It sucks to be an Oilers fan.

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#149 Reg Dunlop
January 02 2014, 09:06PM
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When did this world become so unfair? The sharks are 25% bigger than the oil per man yet they are just as quick, just as fast and infinitely more experienced. The oil have NO chance and will have no chance until Thorton, Boyle et al retire.

Why is it that the oil forecheck is absolutely ineffective while opponents send a single forchecker in and he always forces our two Dmen backwards until they lose possession or ice the puck. Is it coaching or is it the fact that our D corps is ECHL calibre?

Avatar
#150 Reg Dunlop
January 02 2014, 09:07PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

The oil are soooo bad. There is no hope. Goodnight all.

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