GDB 52.0: MATCHING INTENSITY

Jason Gregor
January 21 2014 12:04PM

 

John Tortorella is on third day of his 15 day suspension, but tonight is the first game he'll miss as head coach of the Canucks. It is too early to tell how the Canucks will react to 15 days without their fiery coach.

You have to believe the Canucks will bring a lot energy and emotion into Rexall tonight, and it would be nice to see the Oilers match their desire. The Oilers don't have enough guys to brawl with them, but they need to learn to match the intensity of their opponents.

Tonight will be a good test.

Recently the Canucks have tried to ignite their passion with fighting. Their recent games vs. Calgary and LA have the Canucks tied with the Flyers for most fights in the league, and you can expect they will try to intimidate the Oilers tonight.

After Saturday's loss I wrote about the Oilers losing too many one-on-one battles, and yesterday I asked Eakins about those battles and specifically Jeff Petry.

Gregor: Petry was in the right position to make a play twice against the Jets, but both times he lost his man. How can you instill an increased competitive level amongst the players, because too often your team is losing too many important one-on-one battles?

Eakins: It is interesting we were talking about it after the game and then this morning. Early in the season we had some guys who didn't understand where they were supposed to be and we were teaching that. Now it has come down to we have people in the right spot, but we need them to finish off the execution. There are a number of things that go into it...

I'm guessing I know the plays you are referring to. Every player wants to do it, they are going to dig their heels in and do the best they can. Sometimes it is not being so aggressive, or overplaying the guy, sometimes it is not being aggressive enough. And what we try to do with that is we may show instances to the whole team with a video session, but a lot of times it is one-on-one stuff.

I think we have been doing a good job of instilling winning those one-on-one battles in practice, whether it is full ice one-on-one, down low two-on-twos or three-on-threes and the importance of not getting beat one-on-one...cause in the end that is what it comes down to. You can run whatever system you want, offensively or defensively, but the winning of the one-on-one battle is huge and the creating of a two-on-one battle is huge when you have the puck.

For some players it is small adjustments and for some it is experience."

Gregor: Being a former player, I'm sure you played with guys who found ways to win more battles than they lost. Is that something you gauge, and if you are going to improve do you need more guys who are winning instead of losing those battles?

Eakins: Exactly. A lot of times it is the personality test. There are some guys, that are just so...it doesn't matter what they are doing, they are competitive and they have just that slight uncertainty....listen they are polite guys in public... your wife walks in, they will hold the door open, but if you look sideways at you they might smack ya...there has to be a little meanness in them.

That is part of the evaluation going forward for, not only are coaching staff, but for Craig and managment. We've got some good, good players and we've got to see if they fit...especially playing in this conference; this conference is nasty. The game is being played by strong men who enjoy doing hard things. Not only do we have to look at our skill set, we have to look at the makeup of the guy's DNA when it comes to the level of battle that comes naturally to him.

THOUGHTS...

I don't expect, or need, every player to be aggressive or a banger, but you need a team filled with players that when they find themselves in a one-on-one situation have the internal drive to make it difficult for their opponent.

Randy Gregg is a perfect example. To be clear I'm not saying Petry is as good as Gregg, I'm just comparing styles.

Gregg was a valuable member of the Cup winning teams, but he wasn't nasty or a banger. They had Craig Muni, Jeff Beukeboom, Kevin Lowe and Steve Smith who played gritty, but Gregg was a guy his teammates could rely on when he engaged in a battle. He was a very cerebral player, and usually used his positioning and smarts to make good plays, but whether it was battling for positioning in front of the net, in the corner or fighting for a loose puck he always held his own.

The Oilers don't need Petry to suddenly become nasty, that isn't his persona, but he has to show more effort than he did in those two one-on-one situations in Winnipeg. I'm a firm believer that when the Oilers acquire more guys with a fierce desire to win battles it will rub off on other players.

It can be contagious, and if every player becomes even 5% grittier for lose pucks or battles, then the team's chance of success will improve. 

Eakins alluded to the fact the Pacific division is filled with strong men who enjoy doing hard things, and while the Oilers try to improve their blueline and forward group, it sounds like they will also be looking for players who, not only fill those holes, but also possess a strong desire to compete.

LINEUP

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

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

Scrivens

Two changes. Belov comes out and Potter takes his place in the 3rd pairing, and Ben Scrivens gets his first home start as an Oiler. 

QUICK HITS...

  • After watching Dubnyk and the other goalies in the Oilers organization, I sense there will be a new goaltending coach next season. Which goalies have continually developed during Chabot's time? Maybe the goalies simply weren't good enough, but with little progress look for a new goalie coach next year.
     
  • Ales Hemsky skated after practice with no equipment yesterday, while Nail Yakupov was on the ice with him in full equipment. Hemsky has a deep bone bruise, but no broken bones. They Oilers need him healthy for the Olympics and up until March 5th so he has trade value.

    I've always liked Hemsky as a player, there are very few players who can skate as fast with the puck as without it, and won't be surprised if he produces elsewhere, but I believe he has less than 10 games remaining as an Oiler. If he plays nine more games before being dealt he will be 12th all-time in GP as an Oiler and he'll finish 8th all-time in points. The only way I see him staying past the deadline is if he is injured. I don't see him re-signing in the summer, so there is no point letting him leave without getting some sort of asset in return.
     
  • The Oilers could keep half of his remaining salary in a trade, just over $600,000, and that would make him even more attractive to potential trading partners. If the Oilers keep part of his salary, the return will likely be more.
     
  • I wonder if a team will inquire about Nick Schultz or Ryan Smyth?

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: I have no idea about tonight. Gut says Oilers lose, likely because that is the smart bet, but I'll pick the Oilers to win, 4-2, which is still smarter than the actions of the above Canucks fan. What is your best guess why the guy behind him is carrying a pillow? Never change Canucks fans, never change.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Gazdic ends his 12-game fighting drought with a first period tilt against Tom Sestito. Sestito is first in the NHL in fights, 15 while Gazdic is second with 10.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: One day after writing his letter to the fans, or at least signing the bottom of the letter, D. Katz makes an appearance at Rexall. During the 2nd intermission he hangs out on the concourse chatting with fans and thanking them for their support. **I know this will never happen, but it should happen a few times a year.**

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 DevoKnows
January 21 2014, 05:55PM
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Somebody today parked a mobile sign in front of The Oiler Head Office reading "Kevin Lowe Must Go". Now that's my definition of a BOLD move McT!!!

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#102 boxman
January 21 2014, 05:56PM
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sigh………..

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#103 james_dean
January 21 2014, 05:57PM
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"I spent 3000 on season tickets and all saw was terrible hockey"

《《 First ₩orld Probl€ms 》》

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#104 boxman
January 21 2014, 06:07PM
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james_dean wrote:

"I spent 3000 on season tickets and all saw was terrible hockey"

《《 First ₩orld Probl€ms 》》

3000 for season tickets….could you see the ice?

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#105 madjam
January 21 2014, 06:08PM
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You look at our forwards and we don't look so bad . When you look at our defence you realize it is the worst assembly of defenceman in the NHL . Even the forwards doing a reasonable job of helping defensively , still cannot overcome the dire lack of quality defenceman . Nor can the defencsive personnel do much to help the forwards produce more . Wen we finally get a quality defence this team might at least be competitive .

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#106 RexHolez
January 21 2014, 06:17PM
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DevoKnows wrote:

Somebody today parked a mobile sign in front of The Oiler Head Office reading "Kevin Lowe Must Go". Now that's my definition of a BOLD move McT!!!

Things are gonna get interesting around here.... I hope the boys show up tonight or it might get real ugly

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#107 Bloodsweatandoil
January 21 2014, 06:35PM
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"That is part of the evaluation going forward for, not only are coaching staff, but for Craig and managment. We've got some good, good players and we've got to see if they fit...especially playing in this conference; this conference is nasty. The game is being played by strong men who enjoy doing hard things. Not only do we have to look at our skill set, we have to look at the makeup of the guy's DNA when it comes to the level of battle that comes naturally to him."

Its statements like that really piss me off. How could they not realize over the last 4 years that the rest of the teams have been building or have already built the big and nasty nucleus with skill set.

Its going to be some more long tough times going forward, the Lucic's, Getzlaf's, Thortons, etc don't fall from trees, it has to be home grown or traded for. And then we still need defence...

I'm happy we have Hall, Nuge, Eberle, not so much Yakupov, but what else do we have or to show for 8 years of futility?

I have been an Oiler fan for 30 years, a Oiler Season Ticket holder for 9 years, I've watched them on road games live....Lots of my money has gone to that club and I am sure I will spend more in the future.

Nobody can tell me or my friends on Oilers Nation that we are not true fans. I am not afraid to say how it is and that these last 6 years for sure, that the current Oilers management have mismanaged this club, 5 coaches, still not the right one, a misguided, arrogant & delusional POHO, it goes on and on and never ends it seems.

I'm pissed as hell. Like many of my friends here, we have every right to state our thoughts and opinions here, we have earned the right. So TrueFanNotaFaiWeatherFan, get bent and drink your koolaid yourself, and better yet, show me your season ticket stubs.

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#108 Hall the time
January 21 2014, 06:45PM
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Someone should grab that drum from the drummer boy and toss it on the ice I hate him so much. I'm sure he's part of Katz group try to make something out of nothing all the time. I tried to shut him up a few times but he just keeps drumming and probably thinks he's contributing when he's just forcing turnovers.

Or we need to start the "Defence" chants.

Also fire Lowe.

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#109 Arius Mumin
January 21 2014, 06:47PM
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boxman wrote:

3000 for season tickets….could you see the ice?

Just watch the other teams while you are there, you'll get to see good hockey for the money you paid. As long as you don't care for the Oilers, like the players don't, the losing that takes place is easy to swallow.

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#110 China town man
January 21 2014, 06:50PM
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Are our oilers going to open a can of woop ass!!! Or are the oilers going to open up a can of diaper rash? Stay tuned

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#111 Arius Mumin
January 21 2014, 06:54PM
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etownman wrote:

'One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities', really??

Petry's progression has been steady, once the whole d-corp matures some more he'll be an excellent defender!

I wonder at where and who told him that?

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#112 Sketchy
January 21 2014, 07:01PM
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Jay wrote:

Been waiting for this GDB all day!!

Going to the game tonight

Like - and my jersey's on the ice Trash - and I'll reluctantly take it home with me

What say you oilersnation??

Name the place and I'll be the first to get in line to buy you a beer!!

Jerseys are awkward to throw, I hope you practiced!

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#113 THRNHJE
January 21 2014, 07:05PM
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First of all the jersey toss thing is old, and it shows your fairweather fandom. Any real Oilers fans would agree the jersey goes beyond current situations, and it lacks respect to throw it.

Second the whole anyone who disagrees with you must be sent from corporate thing is pretty stupid. The argument that KLowes value should be apparent based on the fact that he is an integral part of hockey Canada has its merits, even if the record shows otherwise.

I know it is frustrating to have a team it is easier to be ashamed of than proud of these days, but all this negativity on the blogs doesnt help anything at all.

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#114 jim
January 21 2014, 07:11PM
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GDP: Gagner slashes Kassian, Gazdic kicks his ass

OGDP: Oileres lose

Not so Obvious GDP: Eakins starts his 4th line and Canucks get sucked into another line brawl.....

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#115 RexHolez
January 21 2014, 07:14PM
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THRNHJE wrote:

First of all the jersey toss thing is old, and it shows your fairweather fandom. Any real Oilers fans would agree the jersey goes beyond current situations, and it lacks respect to throw it.

Second the whole anyone who disagrees with you must be sent from corporate thing is pretty stupid. The argument that KLowes value should be apparent based on the fact that he is an integral part of hockey Canada has its merits, even if the record shows otherwise.

I know it is frustrating to have a team it is easier to be ashamed of than proud of these days, but all this negativity on the blogs doesnt help anything at all.

First off... The jersey toss is a symbolic gesture towards the disgrace that this team has become. A fair weather fan doesn't care anymore. Katz has released a letter stating that nothing is going to change, someone needs to show that we don't accept that. You can just sit back and keep hoping and praying

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#116 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 21 2014, 07:18PM
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Haha Smitty just whacked Principe in the ass with his stick while he was walking by. Next up, Kassian.

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#117 Hall the time
January 21 2014, 07:19PM
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THRNHJE wrote:

First of all the jersey toss thing is old, and it shows your fairweather fandom. Any real Oilers fans would agree the jersey goes beyond current situations, and it lacks respect to throw it.

Second the whole anyone who disagrees with you must be sent from corporate thing is pretty stupid. The argument that KLowes value should be apparent based on the fact that he is an integral part of hockey Canada has its merits, even if the record shows otherwise.

I know it is frustrating to have a team it is easier to be ashamed of than proud of these days, but all this negativity on the blogs doesnt help anything at all.

Pointing out the problems is helping it forces the management to do things so they will never have to go though this ever again, so the more noise we make the faster things will get done and just hope that they remember what its like to be the laughing stock of the NHL, for now.

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#118 BRHLBryce
January 21 2014, 07:31PM
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WTF why does the Edmonton broadcast never have HD on Center Ice?

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#119 Oilerz4life
January 21 2014, 07:39PM
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Spydyr wrote:

You know we have a weak line-up when you see Jones in it.

Fixed it for you.

lmao

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#120 Zarny
January 21 2014, 07:39PM
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To h*ll with fighting. Tonight is about payback. Somebody better go after Kassian. And I'm talking intent to injury. Specifically the head.

Vancouver has been garbage the last 10 games and Hank is injured. If the Oilers aren't careful they'll get 2pts.

Can't wait for Jay's jersey toss. Won't change anything but it will be funny that he's out $100. You show 'em Jay!

Here we go...hey look Ekblad picked up an assist last weekend.

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#121 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 21 2014, 07:44PM
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Good pressure so far.

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#122 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 21 2014, 07:47PM
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Scratch that.

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#123 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 07:49PM
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Scrivnyk almost had that one

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#124 Poolanov
January 21 2014, 07:50PM
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Brutal goal by Scrivens. Don't just sit there, get back in your net!!

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#125 Hockey mom
January 21 2014, 07:53PM
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Seriously Kassian chirping at RNH! That's where I draw the line. Let me at him!!

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#126 Zarny
January 21 2014, 07:54PM
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RexHolez wrote:

First off... The jersey toss is a symbolic gesture towards the disgrace that this team has become. A fair weather fan doesn't care anymore. Katz has released a letter stating that nothing is going to change, someone needs to show that we don't accept that. You can just sit back and keep hoping and praying

How spoiled are Oiler fans that they can throw away a jersey some kids only dream of owning as part of a symbolic hissy fit?

If the jersey tosser disavows all association to the Oilers never again buying a ticket or watching a game it's a statement. I'm done.

The last guy had 4 more jerseys at home and isn't going anywhere.

His act was no different than a drama queen who "breaks up" with their SO with a public meltdown but is back in bed that night.

It just means your high maintenance.

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#127 BRHLBryce
January 21 2014, 07:55PM
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It is mind boggling how much Eberle has regressed defensively from his rookie season

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#128 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 07:56PM
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Nice save Scrivens!

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#129 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 21 2014, 07:58PM
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@Zarny

Spoiled? What, did the organization mail out jerseys to everyone when I wasn't looking? You ever think the guy earned the money he bought the jersey with?

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#130 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 07:58PM
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When Bieksa has time to pump fake 3 times at the point, you can tell how scared the Oilers are. They are afraid to challenge, to make a mistake, to be out of position... and that's 5v5!

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#131 Show me da Money
January 21 2014, 07:59PM
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BRHLBryce wrote:

It is mind boggling how much Eberle has regressed defensively from his rookie season

It's the Oiler way.

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#132 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 08:02PM
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FKN RIGHT JONESY!!!!!

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#133 Show me da Money
January 21 2014, 08:02PM
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For the love of all that is holy why didn't Jones pump a few on Bieksa while he hid his head under his jersey?

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#134 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 21 2014, 08:04PM
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Atta boy, Jonesy. I'm liking this new element to his game.

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#135 RexHolez
January 21 2014, 08:05PM
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Zarny wrote:

How spoiled are Oiler fans that they can throw away a jersey some kids only dream of owning as part of a symbolic hissy fit?

If the jersey tosser disavows all association to the Oilers never again buying a ticket or watching a game it's a statement. I'm done.

The last guy had 4 more jerseys at home and isn't going anywhere.

His act was no different than a drama queen who "breaks up" with their SO with a public meltdown but is back in bed that night.

It just means your high maintenance.

So just sit down, shut up or just stop watching??? I don't get people like you. You're last post you were calling for kassians head, wanting someone to intent to injure "specifically the head". Yet we as fans can't do anything but accept the garbage we are being force fed??

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#136 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 21 2014, 08:07PM
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Show me da Money wrote:

For the love of all that is holy why didn't Jones pump a few on Bieksa while he hid his head under his jersey?

My thoughts exactly. Dirty? Hell yes it would've been dirty. When's the last time an Oiler did something dirty?

Now where's Rod From Viking to tell us all how the Oilers should use polite language instead of physicality.

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#137 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 08:08PM
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You used to be able to pull the jersey over a guy's head, now with the straps 'n all Jones has found a PUSH the jersey up from the front over a guy's head HAHAHAHA that's twice i've seen him do that now.

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#138 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 21 2014, 08:11PM
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Seriously, don't give us a powerplay. Pleeaaase don't give us a powerplay...

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#139 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 21 2014, 08:12PM
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I miss the old days when the object of a fight was to get the other guys jersey pulled over his head then pummel him.....now as soon as the jersey is pulled over the head the refs jump in. I get that the league views it as a legal liability but it's just sad that hockey is more of a business than entertainment or sport.

Gotta go take my Metamucil now.

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#140 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 21 2014, 08:14PM
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Hamhuis whiffs on the clearing attempt then falls on his butt and slides to the corner, and Van still clears it. Shorthanded, no less.

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#141 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 21 2014, 08:14PM
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I wonder if Jay is worried nervous or excited nervous?

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#142 Sketchy
January 21 2014, 08:16PM
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Wish the oilers could play the entire game on the PP. it seems like a much more fair game.

Now why is luongo in net? Don't the canucks have a backup goalie?

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#143 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 08:18PM
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Ok I'll say it: SHOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!

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#144 Lawndemon
January 21 2014, 08:20PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Seriously, don't give us a powerplay. Pleeaaase don't give us a powerplay...

It's so depressing that I consider a good power play one where we get a shot on goal and don't give up a short-handed goal. Things like zone pressure and scoring chances are for other teams.

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#145 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 08:20PM
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Can't wait for the Oilers Skills Competition. I bet they will lose.

HAR HAR!

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#146 Alsker
January 21 2014, 08:22PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Hamhuis whiffs on the clearing attempt then falls on his butt and slides to the corner, and Van still clears it. Shorthanded, no less.

Lack of intensity? Or is the new rule on the PP: Attacking/forechecking leads to odd man chances against. Just got in, how was the first?

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#147 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 08:27PM
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@Alsker

1-0 on a bad bounce rebound to a guy who was covered... pretty tame game actually, not a lot of chances either way it seems.

Still winnable, but the Oilers are going to have to simplify and get pucks to the net instead of turning it over on low percentage passes.

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#148 kale
January 21 2014, 08:27PM
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Last few years at least this team was exciting to watch. I thought the future looked bright. This team has lost all of its excitement. Maybe its cause they are in last place and don't have much to motivate them...I don't know, but it is not exciting hockey-its boring.

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#149 Alsker
January 21 2014, 08:33PM
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@@Oilanderp

Thx

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#150 @Oilanderp
January 21 2014, 08:43PM
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Nice draw by Ference. Ol coot.

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