GDB 53.0: HOME COOKING...BAD

Jason Gregor
January 24 2014 12:48PM

The Oilers have played 23 home games. They have only won eight of them.

Last year they won 9 of 24 home games.  The last season the Oilers and their fans left Rexall place in a good mood more often than a bad one was in 2007/2008 when the Oilers won 23 of 41 home games.

Since October 2008, the Oilers have played 213 home games and they've won 86.

The Oilers have 18 home games remaining this season, and hopefully for their sakes and the fans, they can find a way to start winning on home ice.

When the Oilers finished dead last in 2010  they were at least competitive at home winning18 and losing 23 (OT loss is still a loss for me), so there is no reason this team shouldn't be able to match 18 wins or better it.

It won't be easy with 14 of the 18 games against western opponents.

They play the Kings, Ducks, Sharks and Flames twice and the Coyotes, Avalanche, Wild and Canucks once. The Senators, Rangers, Islanders and Sabres will visit from the East. Ten of those games will be against teams currently in the playoffs, but if the Oilers are going to start improving eventually they need to be a few playoff caliber teams, especially at home.

The Oilers won't make the playoffs, but they need to start building a foundation for the future, and one of those bricks needs to be molded into a good home team.

Of the current 16 playoff teams, only the Rangers have a losing record at home winning 12 of 28. Of the 14 teams not in the playoffs only three, Washington, Phoenix and Dallas have won than half of their home games. Winning at home doesn't guarantee you a playoff spot, but it increases your chances significantly, especially if you can be a dominant team at home.

The Oilers need to start creating winning habits at home, and since I highly, highly doubt Dallas Eakins gets fired at the end of the season, it is up to him and his team to start finding a winning formula on home ice.

HITS...

After Tuesday's loss to Vancouver Dallas Eakins made reference to "the perfect game."

Do you know what the perfect game is? The perfect game is no hits. Do you know why that is? It’s because you have the puck. You don’t have to hit anybody; you have the puck. 

That statement got some people excited. Many believe hitting doesn't help you win games, mainly due to the reason Eakins outlined above. In theory that makes sense, however, practicality and reality often offer up different outcomes.

There is no such thing as the perfect game, no hits, and many successful teams use their physical play to help them win. Here is a hit chart for this season. Playoff teams are in bold.

Hits Team Hits/game
1768 Toronto 33.3
1662 Los Angeles 31.9
1569 Ottawa 30.7
1519 Columbus 30.3
1397 Winnipeg 26.8
1323 Phoenix 26.4
1263 Buffalo 25.7
1263 Colorado 25.7
1300 Pittsburgh 25.4
1313 Philly 25.2
1232 Boston 25.1
1307 NYR 24.6
1298 NYI 24.5
1264 Anaheim 23.8
1181 Washington 23.6
1153 Carolina 23
1178 Edmonton 22.6
1093 Florida 21.8
1076 Calgary 21.1
1048 St.Louis 20.9
1047 Montreal 20.9
1049 New Jersey 20.5
1030 Dallas 20.1
1029 Tampa Bay 20.1
1030 Nashville 19.8
1015 Vancouver 19.5
963 San Jose 18.8
1001 Detroit 18.5
898 Minnesota 16.9
888 Chicago 16.7

I think we all agree that hit charts from building to building can be subjective. The Leafs have 1099 hits in 28 home games, but only 669 in 25 road games. Are they magically that much more physical at home or do the statisticians in Toronto consider every rub out a hit?

That being a team like Columbus has virtually the same amount of hits on the road as they do at home. I'd say it gives us a general idea of which teams are more physical than others.

The chart proves that some teams win by being more physical, while others don't need to.
Nine of the top-14 teams in hits are in the playoffs, while seven of the 11 teams with the fewest hits are currently in the postseason.

My issue with Eakins comment is that he tried to deflect the issue of contact and brought up the unattainable "perfect game" scenario. No team is perfect, but the suggestion that being physical will automatically decrease your chances of winning is somewhat misleading.

Of course you want your team to have the puck, but both teams want it, and I find many of the successful teams are not only good at controlling the puck, they are excellent at getting it back.

Many consider Pittsburgh to be a puck possession team, and they are, but they also are top-ten in hits/game. Delivering a hit hasn't hurt them, and clearly they win despite not playing a "perfect game."

A major benefit from being physical is that your aggressive play will force teams to move the puck quicker than they want, which often leads to turnovers. Having players who can separate opponents from the puck through body contact is also valuable and a significant part of the game.

The problem with the Oilers is that their overall skill isn't good enough to be a puck possession team, and right now they aren't very good at retrieving the puck once the opposition has it.

I'm sure Eakins will strive to build his team to become more of a puck possession team, but I'd hope he realizes that until they become great at protecting the puck and not turning it over, they will need to improve their puck retrieval skills at the same time, and often pressuring the puck carrier, hitting and being physical is the best way to create turnovers.

I respect that he wants his team to have the puck, but I felt bringing up the notion of the "perfect game" was an attempt to deflect attention away from an area of their game, physicality and aggression, that has been lacking for years.

LINEUP...

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

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-Potter

Bryzgalov

Hemsky is still nursing a deep bone bruise, but Nail Yakupov returns to the lineup.

The optics don't look great having Yak on the fourth line and Smyth on the second, but I doubt they stay that way very long. They were hoping Hemsky was ready and he'd be playing there.

Gazdic hasn't had a fight in 13 games and while Eakins stressed being a healthy scratch wasn't performance-related, I wonder if his lack of aggressiveness recently is the reason he is in the pressbox? If your job is to play physical and get the opposition's attention, then you have to find a way to do it. However, Eakins defended him in the post-game presser on Tuesday saying he tried to do his job.

So either he isn't doing it well enough or he is sitting because Phoenix rarely dresses a tough guy. What do you think?

QUICK HITS...

  • I would have liked to see Eakins put Gazdic on the ice more often against Kassian. I never expected him to jump him, but had he been on the ice more often the chances of a "heat of the moment" altercation would have been higher.
     
  • I don't buy the Bertuzzi/Moore argument as a reason why Gazdic couldn't have done something to Kassian. That happened a decade ago, and since then many teams and players have found ways to send a message to the opposition without being suspended.

    Andrew Ference didn't ask Lee Stempniuk to fight earlier this year. He dropped his gloves and Stempniuk had no choice but to eat a few rights or defend himself. In the past week I've seen Milan Lucic and Tom Sestito go after Jordan Nolan instead of waiting for him to politely oblige their request to fight.

    Sestito and Lucic went after Nolan after he hit one of their teammates earlier in the game. Had Gazdic been on the ice for more than one and a half shifts against Kassian, he would have had a much better chance of engaging him.
     
  • I wouldn't have worried about Gazdic taking an instigator or even worse a 7-minute penalty like Sestito did in LA last week. Was getting the win that important in the overall picture? The Oilers are in 29th, had the won they'd still be in 29th and out of the playoffs in late January.

    Whether they like it or not, the perception from players around the league is that teams can take liberties with the Oilers skilled players without fear of retribution. If Gazdic had got a hold of Kassian and landed a few shots that wouldn't have stopped every team from trying to hit the Oilers in the future, but at least it would show that if you do there will be some consequences to your actions.

    If the Oilers were in a battle for a playoff spot, I could understand being worried about giving up an extended powerplay, but that wasn't the case on Tuesday and it won't be the rest of the season. I'd hope the next time someone cheap shots one of the Oilers skilled players, Eakins will at least give his physical players an opportunity to try and even the score; in a manner that won't lead to a suspension like Lucic or Sestito managed to do. 
     
  • It is smart not to rush Hemsky back. You want him healthy for the deadline.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: I'm taking a night off. The first person to tweet @jasongregor their GDP I will add it to this post. Look deep into your crystal ball.

Update...Courtesy of @JaredGorbahn GDP: Oilers 4-1. Bryz forced to stand on his head and Hall adds 2 assists.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Yakupov and Arcobello combine to score and many will suggest they should be playing with Perron.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eberle ties a career-high with goals in four consecutive games, but it is his game celebration that surprises many. After the game he sends Wanye a tweet, "I know yesterday was difficult for you with the Biebs' arrest. Don't worry I won't let you down. I'm not getting traded." Wanye promptly retires from twitter saying his life can't possibly get any better. 

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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#201 Rick Stroppel
January 24 2014, 09:06PM
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HEY BRYZGALOV FANS!

About a month ago I posted my opinion that by the end of the year, Bryzgalov's numbers would be as bad as Dubnyk's. Did I get trashed! "Bryzgalov is MUCH better than Dubnyk" they said. "Bryzgalov gives us a chance to win".

If he loses tonight, that gives Bryzgalov THREE WINS IN SIXTEEN STARTS. That's quite a chance to win!

Another EPIC FAIL for MacTavish.

BTW: Dubnyk playing in Calgary tonight, Nashville up 3-1.

HAPPY TRAILS, BRYZ! GOOD LUCK IN THE KHL (or the Swiss League)! SO LONG, SPACEMAN!

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#202 Anton
January 24 2014, 09:07PM
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3 games into season: I believed that Eakins was wrong hiring.

10 games into season: I believed that Eakins should be fired.

30 games into season:I believed that Oilers need to clean houses.

50 games into season: I wonder if we have an NHL team at all, is this team even qualify to compete in AHL?

NOW: I WANT TO SEE SOME JERSEY HIT THE ICE! MAKE IT A NEW (expensive) TRADITION.

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#203 Zamboni Driver
January 24 2014, 09:12PM
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Also I think it's a perfectly reasonable idea that the 20 year old, 150 lb boy is an assistant captain on an NHL team.

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#204 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 24 2014, 09:12PM
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SlumpBusters!

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#205 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 09:12PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

HEY BRYZGALOV FANS!

About a month ago I posted my opinion that by the end of the year, Bryzgalov's numbers would be as bad as Dubnyk's. Did I get trashed! "Bryzgalov is MUCH better than Dubnyk" they said. "Bryzgalov gives us a chance to win".

If he loses tonight, that gives Bryzgalov THREE WINS IN SIXTEEN STARTS. That's quite a chance to win!

Another EPIC FAIL for MacTavish.

BTW: Dubnyk playing in Calgary tonight, Nashville up 3-1.

HAPPY TRAILS, BRYZ! GOOD LUCK IN THE KHL (or the Swiss League)! SO LONG, SPACEMAN!

how is this an epic fail? were we gonna make the playoffs with Dubnyk in net?

we got Hendricks for Dubnyk you knucklehead. we're a better team with Hendricks and without Dubnyk in the long run than we were if we kept Dubnyk and got nothing for him when we let him walk at the end of the year as a free agent. Think a little bit before you blab nonsense.

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#206 Gk1980
January 24 2014, 09:13PM
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It's so bad. I want to see the oilers blown out tonight and I want the rest of the season to be so brutal changes will HAVE to be bold and forced. I'm sick of this crap.

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#207 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 09:15PM
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RexHolez wrote:

how is this an epic fail? were we gonna make the playoffs with Dubnyk in net?

we got Hendricks for Dubnyk you knucklehead. we're a better team with Hendricks and without Dubnyk in the long run than we were if we kept Dubnyk and got nothing for him when we let him walk at the end of the year as a free agent. Think a little bit before you blab nonsense.

Final warning…one more personal non-sports post and you will be blocked. Signed, Nation Editor.

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#208 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 09:16PM
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Gk1980 wrote:

It's so bad. I want to see the oilers blown out tonight and I want the rest of the season to be so brutal changes will HAVE to be bold and forced. I'm sick of this crap.

agree

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#209 Dan 1919
January 24 2014, 09:17PM
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The concern isn’t that we’re impatient only “3 years after the rebuild’s started.”

If there’s ever a concern, it’s that no one ever said a rebuild would be as easy as you sitting on your @.s.s drafting first overall thinking you’re building something (while juggling the fourth line). If it was only that easy.

The only concern is that this already terrible team, is regressing.

You’re Fired Kevin Lowe

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#210 Yaz
January 24 2014, 09:24PM
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Hmmnn, according to Mr Fitness he worked on some good stuff with the team this week, ok Dallas still looking for it ?? Lets hope some Jerseys hit the ice tonite and this clown is gone..Hopeless !!

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#211 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 09:24PM
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Hendricks thinks Phoenix is a Fragile team?? They're beating us by 3. Good god what are the Oilers then?

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#212 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 09:29PM
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Thank god for all the commercials between periods!! It cuts down on having to listen to the Sportsnet idiots. Principe is the head clown..

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#213 Johnnydapunk
January 24 2014, 09:30PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

HEY BRYZGALOV FANS!

About a month ago I posted my opinion that by the end of the year, Bryzgalov's numbers would be as bad as Dubnyk's. Did I get trashed! "Bryzgalov is MUCH better than Dubnyk" they said. "Bryzgalov gives us a chance to win".

If he loses tonight, that gives Bryzgalov THREE WINS IN SIXTEEN STARTS. That's quite a chance to win!

Another EPIC FAIL for MacTavish.

BTW: Dubnyk playing in Calgary tonight, Nashville up 3-1.

HAPPY TRAILS, BRYZ! GOOD LUCK IN THE KHL (or the Swiss League)! SO LONG, SPACEMAN!

When Dubnyk is in net the game is never over until the final whistle. It's 4-4 now and the goals he let in weren't so pretty...

I don't have any issues with Hendricks at all, he has a bit of bite that the Oil were seriously lacking.

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#214 Serious Gord
January 24 2014, 09:30PM
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RexHolez wrote:

how is this an epic fail? were we gonna make the playoffs with Dubnyk in net?

we got Hendricks for Dubnyk you knucklehead. we're a better team with Hendricks and without Dubnyk in the long run than we were if we kept Dubnyk and got nothing for him when we let him walk at the end of the year as a free agent. Think a little bit before you blab nonsense.

In the long run the oil gets a dead dog contract for an ahler @ 1.85 mill for three years. Absolutely awful deal for the oilers n

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#215 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 09:30PM
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Listen to the fans cheering as the team leaves the dressing room. That is where the first jersey should have been thrown. Yep, we're in this, only down by 3!!

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#216 jbogus
January 24 2014, 09:31PM
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Inside the the room 3rd period:

Eakins: hmm wonder if I left that light on? Ebs: that was a funny tweet I shot out on the crapper today Smyth: gonna tape my stick in the garage tonight, yeah need to chuck an extra tape in the bagola

Dooby: thank F.

6 rings: whose this Horc I'm hearing about, hey MacT get in here

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#217 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 09:32PM
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Yandle throws Belov to the ice with a little push. Nice!!

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#218 Mrs Eakins
January 24 2014, 09:32PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

Eakins has the look of a guy who has just been left behind by his ride.

Gentlemen , I also have seen that look before. It was on our wedding night when I came out of the shower into the bedroom. He had that glassy eyed , WTF do I do now stare. As I approached him, he laid back, assumed the fetal position , and fantasized about the Toronto Marlies.

Best Regards.

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#219 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 09:33PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Final warning…one more personal non-sports post and you will be blocked. Signed, Nation Editor.

You are commenting to yourself…We see your IP address… Good bye… Lovingly yours, Nation Editor.

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#220 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 09:33PM
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Let's pull the goalie now!

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#221 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 09:37PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

In the long run the oil gets a dead dog contract for an ahler @ 1.85 mill for three years. Absolutely awful deal for the oilers n

1.85 is peanuts in today $$$. we're below the cap and are gonna shed contracts in the offseason. whats your other argument?

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#222 Ivan Drago
January 24 2014, 09:40PM
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Larry wrote:

Does it really matter when a 175lb player is hitting a 210lb player?

Yes

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#223 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 09:40PM
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Joey' s taken over as coach. Thank god!!

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#224 Johnnydapunk
January 24 2014, 09:44PM
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This may be like commenting on the direction of the deck chairs, but I'm really liking the play of Hendricks, the penalties were not so good, but he is playing like a man trying to earn his paycheque, I like what he is bringing to the Oil.

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#225 RexHolez
January 24 2014, 09:44PM
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Trade Eberle! Value is high! Decent return!

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#226 whosholez?
January 24 2014, 09:49PM
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Is Rex gone?

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#227 Hockey mom
January 24 2014, 09:51PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Jason:

"The Oilers have played 23 home games. They have only won eight of them"

It's worse than that. They have only won five in regulation.

And yet we still keep going and shelling out $$$ . So perhaps those are the only stats that really matter to the brass.

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#228 Hockey mom
January 24 2014, 10:02PM
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OMG Phoenix is so bad that they're actually making the Oilers look good.

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#229 Reg Dunlop
January 24 2014, 10:04PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

This may be like commenting on the direction of the deck chairs, but I'm really liking the play of Hendricks, the penalties were not so good, but he is playing like a man trying to earn his paycheque, I like what he is bringing to the Oil.

It's amazing how a man can shame boys into trying. Finally the kids wake up, but they sure do have skill.

Hendricks did 2 things tonight that I haven't seen an Oiler do this year. He showed genuine emotion and he went to the Phoenix net after a whistle and looked the D square in the eyes. More men please.

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#230 Brian
January 24 2014, 10:08PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

It's amazing how a man can shame boys into trying. Finally the kids wake up, but they sure do have skill.

Hendricks did 2 things tonight that I haven't seen an Oiler do this year. He showed genuine emotion and he went to the Phoenix net after a whistle and looked the D square in the eyes. More men please.

Hendricks knows his role. Impressive for a guy who allegedly turned down more $ from the Oil to sign in Nashville. Take notes, kids.

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#231 Zamboni Driver
January 24 2014, 10:09PM
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"You know....uhhhh....obviously we need to play 60 minutes. Uhhhhhh, obviously it's disappointing....uhhhhh...obviously it's unacceptable...uhhhh, you know...obviously...."

Dumbest team in the NHL.

Top to bottom. Absolute morons.

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#232 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 24 2014, 10:10PM
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Almost Coyote Ugly tonight Nation........almost.

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#233 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 10:13PM
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In the end, our coaching staff leads us to another loss. Screw Corsi, SOG, PP attempts, all that stat crap. Another loss is another loss. Plain and simple!!

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#234 spliff
January 24 2014, 10:13PM
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Another game = another loss. Can't wait for Eakins and the boys to talk about a moral victory, and showing character.

Its all BS. We should have more then 15 wins at this time in the so-called rebuild. This is pathetic.

Flames come back tonight and win. The Flames, who are a bad team with a fraction of the talent we have, may finish up to 15 points ahead of the oilers this year. Think about that KLoser and MacT, how the f*ck do you explain that?

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#235 MattL
January 24 2014, 10:13PM
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There's help on the way guys, the leading scorer in OKC is... STILL LINUS OMARK?? Oh dear...

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#236 rectal place
January 24 2014, 10:15PM
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Great game from the oil. Finally pushed back. How about nuge and yandle?!

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#237 Oasis
January 24 2014, 10:15PM
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We'll, my first game into the self-imposed ban on attending Oiler games and everything is great.

I stayed at home and played with the kids, had a bottle of wine with the wife, and saved myself $300.00 on tickets, parking and beer.

Man, this Tier 2 fan stuff is awesome. Thanks K Lowe

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#238 Zamboni Driver
January 24 2014, 10:16PM
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I feel like that is precisely the assessment of the game that Ray Ferarro would have given.

"...keep it up going to be hard to play against."

"...liked Ryan Jones' toe-drag..."

Great job as always Lou.

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#239 Something
January 24 2014, 10:17PM
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It's something to build on, says Louie D ... sarcasm font ...

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#240 Tier 2
January 24 2014, 10:18PM
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@Oasis

Me too, took a small loss on stubhub tix, but saved beer and cab money ...

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#241 James
January 24 2014, 10:20PM
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#77 jersey tossed on the ice after the game. Trainer gave it to Eakins to take off the ice. I wonder if he'll hold his tongue this time.

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#242 Johe
January 24 2014, 10:21PM
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James wrote:

#77 jersey tossed on the ice after the game. Trainer gave it to Eakins to take off the ice. I wonder if he'll hold his tongue this time.

Haha. I don't think so. His death stare was colder than usual.

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#243 Belieber
January 24 2014, 10:22PM
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Hey guys,

Do you guys think the Oilers can win the cup? I sure do! maybe even this year. They have awesome frikkin potential.

YakCity will lead us there along with Ebsy and Hallsy and Schultzie. Eakins and the eastern media hate Yakcity and try to keep him down, but it wont work. As a matter of fact, Yak would probably win the scoring title this year if not for the lousy assistant coaches.

High five guys. Go Oilers.

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#244 Rick Stroppel
January 24 2014, 10:23PM
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RexHolez wrote:

how is this an epic fail? were we gonna make the playoffs with Dubnyk in net?

we got Hendricks for Dubnyk you knucklehead. we're a better team with Hendricks and without Dubnyk in the long run than we were if we kept Dubnyk and got nothing for him when we let him walk at the end of the year as a free agent. Think a little bit before you blab nonsense.

WHY YOU HEFF TO BE MAD?

PS. Dubnyk coughed it up in Calgary. Too bad.

PPS. Edmonton should have signed Wade Dubieliewicz. Then they could have called their goalies "the Doobie Brothers ".

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#245 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 10:25PM
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I think its fitting the jersey was handed to Eakins. Do you think he might understand the message of the action?

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#246 Alsker
January 24 2014, 10:25PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Joey' s taken over as coach. Thank god!!

Sweet, 2 seasons away from being GM and 4 from POHO. Hopefully he can fast track and takeover next season. All hail Joey!!!!!

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#247 outdoorzguy
January 24 2014, 10:26PM
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I just figured this whole thing out.

It's just like Seinfeld.

A decade about nothing!!

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#248 Fresh Mess
January 24 2014, 10:26PM
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Belieber wrote:

Hey guys,

Do you guys think the Oilers can win the cup? I sure do! maybe even this year. They have awesome frikkin potential.

YakCity will lead us there along with Ebsy and Hallsy and Schultzie. Eakins and the eastern media hate Yakcity and try to keep him down, but it wont work. As a matter of fact, Yak would probably win the scoring title this year if not for the lousy assistant coaches.

High five guys. Go Oilers.

Truth. High five and a bro hug coming your way. The rest of the world just doesn't get it. The Oilers are special.

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#249 Oasis
January 24 2014, 10:27PM
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@Tier 2

I have a business so at least my tickets are a write off and I can give them away to employees/customers so it's not a huge loss.

Honestly, I really feel bad for people who pay out of pocket to watch this sh!t. I can't imagine shelling out thousands of after tax dollars to watch this crap and being eliminated from the playoffs 2.5 months into the season. I guess i am fortunate that I was only a Tier 1A fan.

Avatar
#250 James
January 24 2014, 10:29PM
Trash it!
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trashes
+1
15
props

Jones sounds really pissed in his post game interview. He made some interesting comments about players have to start being accountable and stop passing the blame around to coaching, and other people. He was asked about his recent fights and just said that was what the game called for and that he's just "trying to survive", another interesting comment.

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