GDB 61.0: WELCOME BACK

Jason Gregor
February 27 2014 12:38PM

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"Welcome back,
To that same old place that you laughed about.

Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around."

I loved Welcome Back Kotter. Epstein was my favourite, although all the Sweathogs were beauties. I miss that show, and despite sitting in 29th place again most of the diehard Oilers fans miss watching their team.

Edmonton hasn't played a home game since Ben Scrivens set an NHL record for most saves in a shutout with 59. It was a memorable night, and even though it has only been 28 days since the Sharks peppered Scrivens it seems like forever that you were watching the Oilers with equal amounts of anger (for the skaters) and awe (for Scrivens).

Welcome back Oil fans, I'm sure the final 22 games will provide you with a wide array of emotions.
The Oilers went into the Olympic break on a high, going 5-1-1 and outscoring the opposition 18-12. The Oilers were outshot 266-195 in those games, but Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov only allowed 12 goals for a spectacular .954 SV%.

Great goaltending can cover up a lot of weaknesses, and while the Oilers played well in victories over Nashville, Vancouver and New York, it is clear they still have significant room to improve. Winning does give you confidence and the Oilers are feeling much better about their overall game today than at any other point this season.

Clearly they need to cut down on shots against, but at this point they will take a win regardless of how ugly or pretty it is.

The Oilers have had the luxury of having almost the entire team practicing for a week, and they have been able to have a mini training camp and work on improving their system play. The Wild have not had one practice with their entire team, and we'll see if that is a factor tonight.

The Oilers have played the fewest home games of any team thus far, 26, and one of their goals is to try and become a competitive team on home ice during their final 15 games at Rexall Place.

Tonight presents a good opportunity to start their modest two-game home winning streak when they face the Wild, who are one of the worst road teams in the NHL. The Wild are tied with the Flames, Oilers, Capitals and Coyotes for 2nd fewest road wins in the league, but only Buffalo has scored fewer goals on the road than the Wild's 59.

The Wild are outstanding at home 21-7-2, but they are a measly 10-14-5 on the road. The Oilers need to take advantage of a team that can't score when they don't have last change. The Wild have scored more than 2 goals only 8 times in 29 road games.

The Oilers haven't been world beaters at home, however, with only 10 wins in 26 games, but if they want to eventually become competitive they have to make Rexall Place less inviting. They play 15 of their final 22 games at home, so they will have ample opportunity to get comfortable at home.

LINEUP

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

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

Scrivens

Hemsky has been moved up to the 2nd line and he'll play the left wing. He hasn't spent much time on the left side, but he is excited to be in more of an offensive role. I see this as a final week showcase for Hemsky and Craig MacTavish must be hoping Hemsky can get a boost from his Olympic production. I doubt three or four good games will change things that much, but you never know. Right now I bet there are 10-12 GMs who firmly believe their team could win the Cup, and another 8 or so who think with a lucky bounce and a smart addition they too could be in the hunt.

Nick Schultz is also in showcase mode playing alongside they younger Schultz. I suspect the elder Schultz will be moved before Wednesday and when he is gone, I'd put Belov with J.Schultz for 5-10 games and see how he does. Belov needs to play better, but he skates well and is strong enough to defend big, top-six forwards. He needs to be more consistent, but I think it would be wise to play him top-four minutes and see how he does.

QUICK HITS...

grab-bag
  • Hemsky would fit nicely in Ottawa. They need another top-six winger and some speed. The Oilers would probably love to get forward Matt Puempel, but that won't happen. D-man Fredrik Claesson is a nice prospect, but he shoots left. Nurse, Klefbom, Gernat, Simpson and Musil all shoot left. Ideally if the Oilers acquire a D-man prospect he should be a right-handed shot.

  • If the Oilers are able to acquire a prospect instead of draft picks, I think it should be a forward. Right now the Oilers have more quality defence prospects than forwards. A centre would be ideal, but if MacTavish can somehow get a 20-22 year old prospect I'd try for a forward, and not a small, skilled one.

  • Most fans and media felt the Islanders overpaid to get Tomas Vanek, but it looks even worse now. He gave up Moulson AND a 2014 or 2015 first rounder and a 2015 2nd rounder. Vanek won't re-sign so he'll be traded before Wednesday. If Snow gets a first rounder back, it isn't going to be a top-five pick this year and likely not even a top-ten next year. Snow either gives up a top-five, likely a top-three pick this year, or he rolls the dice and hopes that somehow his team will improve next season.

    The Islanders will be without Moulson or Vanek and they are on the verge of trading away the D-man who plays the most minutes, Andy MacDonald. It will be a massive task to avoid giving up a top-ten pick next year. If the Islanders struggle next year, they could give up two top-35 picks for a player who played 45 games for them. Ouch.

  • Ryan Kesler's agent, Kurt Overhardt, told Adrian Dater the report from TVA Sports that Kesler asked for a trade "is B.S." If Kesler did want out there would be a long list of teams interested in acquiring him. He is a very good player. The Oilers desperately need a guy like Kesler. He is a high-end #2 centre, who is a good defensively, can produce offence and plays with an edge. However, there is no way the Canucks trade him within the division. None.

  • The Oilers will be a seller, but if I was them I'd look at trying to find a gem like the Ducks did last year with Ben Lovejoy. The Ducks gave up a measly 5th rounder for him and now he's playing 20 minutes a night for them. The Oilers desperately need some 25-30 year old players. Guys with experience, but not a lot of miles. It will be difficult to pull off, because teams want depth, especially on the blueline, but their pro scouting has to be better and find steals like Lovejoy.

    The Rangers want to make a splash and could be looking to get extra cap space. Maybe Justin Falk.
    The Coyotes have a lot of D-men -- Could David Rundblad be had, altheven though he is 23 and not that experienced? It is difficult to find a Lovejoy, but I can't recall the last time the Oilers traded away nothing for a player who blossomed in Edmonton.

    Spacek, I guess, but that was short term. Ryan Jones on waivers for nothing had two solid 17 and 18 goal seasons, but their overall lack of finding quality veteran NHL players the past eight years is extremely alarming. It is the biggest off-ice issue in the organization in my opinion.

TONIGHT....

image4

**Anna Sidorova... Russia's curling skip at the Olympics. She is very good, and I suspect she is likely to become one of the most popular curlers in the world. Gotta love the Olympics.**

GAME DAY PREDICTION: If you can't beat the pop gun offence of the Wild at home, then who can the Oilers beat? The Oilers start the final quarter of the season much better than they did the first quarter with a ~riveting~ 3-1 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Kyle Brodziak scores. Brodziak has 5 goals in his last 8 games in Edmonton and he has 47 career goals on the road compared to 38 on home ice.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky scores two goals. It will be only the 11th multiple goal game of his career. He hasn't scored a pair of goals in a game since February 16th, 2013. His two goals adds fuel to the trade rumours and sets up the inevitable, "the Oilers didn't get enough for him," talk for next week.

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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#51 Spydyr
February 27 2014, 05:50PM
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Forget Welcome Back Kotter. The old TV show that best represents the Oilers is obviously The Smurfs.

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#52 The Swarm
February 27 2014, 05:56PM
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Horsestack could have coached the Oilers to a better record this year.

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#53 Serious Gord
February 27 2014, 06:31PM
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Oil should win tonight 3-1. whether fans of exciting hockey win is another story...

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#54 nuge2nail
February 27 2014, 07:00PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Would you trade...

2014 First Overall (Bennett or Reinhert), Gagner(2yrs @ 2.4), Prospect(D Simpson)

For

Keslar

Canucks are rebuilding, Keslar probably won't resign in 2 years, but if you could get him to resign would you do this trade?/

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#55 Brian
February 27 2014, 07:08PM
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7:02. The Sportsnet resident Bobbleheads are back. Wait for Louie's favourite ; Blue Paint. Painful.

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#56 john
February 27 2014, 07:09PM
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I was kinda getting used to not watching my favourite team get shelled & having one of the most pourous defences in the league exposed on national t.v. like a cheap stripper. On the other hand it has been pretty exhilarating watching the topnotch goaltending which has emerged in Oilerville so bring it on!!

3-2 Oiler win

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#57 john
February 27 2014, 07:16PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

Would you trade...

2014 First Overall (Bennett or Reinhert), Gagner(2yrs @ 2.4), Prospect(D Simpson)

For

Keslar

Canucks are rebuilding, Keslar probably won't resign in 2 years, but if you could get him to resign would you do this trade?/

You must be kidding on your aquisition price! For the Nuckleheads to trade Kesler, they would be asking this years 1st, an additional pick in 2015 (to bolster their rebuild ), + Eberle or RNH. The return to aquire Schneider from them in the summer was allegedly not much different from what I laid out for Kesler.

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#58 Defenceplease
February 27 2014, 07:30PM
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tabs wrote:

I got a far as your 2nd point..

Brownlee made the comment and Jason stated "all day long". You inferred I have a man-crush Yak, I'm old enough to be your father. Go have a discussion with someone else.

You only got to my 2nd point, but then commented on the 4th paragraph. Good one.

I just listened to the podcast (that is where people can listen to the entire conversation, and double check things), and guess what there was not one mention of the 21st pick.

Might want to turn up your hearing aid before falsely accusing people. Nice attempt at sewering someone by making up things. Have a nice day.

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#59 tabs
February 27 2014, 07:37PM
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Defenceplease wrote:

You only got to my 2nd point, but then commented on the 4th paragraph. Good one.

I just listened to the podcast (that is where people can listen to the entire conversation, and double check things), and guess what there was not one mention of the 21st pick.

Might want to turn up your hearing aid before falsely accusing people. Nice attempt at sewering someone by making up things. Have a nice day.

If it was false Jason or Brownlee would be calling me on it.

The last ten picks in the first round starts with pick 21, next pick 22, after that 23. Are you getting the idea?

Bye

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#60 Sam
February 27 2014, 07:46PM
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How do you go from watching team canada to watching the perenial bottom feeder oilers??

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#61 Randaman
February 27 2014, 07:49PM
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Wow! Awesome back check by our two best players on the first goal. Still in vacation mode?

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#62 Alsker
February 27 2014, 07:53PM
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Randaman wrote:

Wow! Awesome back check by our two best players on the first goal. Still in vacation mode?

Give them credit, it took 2 whole minutes until our first defensive brainfart. ~Moral victory~

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#63 tabs
February 27 2014, 07:58PM
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Randaman wrote:

Wow! Awesome back check by our two best players on the first goal. Still in vacation mode?

Rookie coach, they don't have to play 60 min

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#64 Alsker
February 27 2014, 08:13PM
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3 shots in over 15 minutes...what the f^ck did they work on during the "mini camp"? At this pace Scrivens could have a SV% of .960 and not get the win. Epic.

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#65 Rob F
February 27 2014, 08:14PM
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Is this game as boring on TV as it is live? Wish I hadn't bought my 50/50. Now I'm stuck till 3rd period

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#66 Alsker
February 27 2014, 08:18PM
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Rob F wrote:

Is this game as boring on TV as it is live? Wish I hadn't bought my 50/50. Now I'm stuck till 3rd period

No, not really, wait I've got a remote, comp, and beer fridge. Ok yes it is.

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#67 Serious Gord
February 27 2014, 08:22PM
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Rob F wrote:

Is this game as boring on TV as it is live? Wish I hadn't bought my 50/50. Now I'm stuck till 3rd period

Lol.

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#68 Rod from Viking
February 27 2014, 08:30PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Lol.

I'm still out of the country until Saturday and listening on Ched, sure glad someone else has my tickets tonight. What is the record for goals given up in the first 3 minutes of the game, this years addition has to be close.

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#69 loweblows
February 27 2014, 08:38PM
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tabs wrote:

Rookie coach, they don't have to play 60 min

youre a real f*cking idiot.

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#70 Randaman
February 27 2014, 08:40PM
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I usually take issue with Spector but he called it right on Petry in the first intermission. Standing there while Nuge & Hall are in altercations is unacceptable!! P:;ssy!!

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#71 tabs
February 27 2014, 08:46PM
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loweblows wrote:

youre a real f*cking idiot.

And you're a f*ucking tool.

Learn how to spell

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#72 Randaman
February 27 2014, 08:49PM
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tabs wrote:

And you're a f*ucking tool.

Learn how to spell

Now now boys. Don't make us send you to your rooms for a timeout. We're supposed to be adults here

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#73 Rob F
February 27 2014, 08:56PM
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Gazdicks the man. The rest awful. If we r going to be perennial bottom feeders, I'd rather have a bunch of 4th liners like gazdick than premodonnas.

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#74 loweblows
February 27 2014, 08:56PM
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tabs wrote:

And you're a f*ucking tool.

Learn how to spell

stop it

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#75 Tuningout
February 27 2014, 09:06PM
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Before this game I mentioned a final 22 games of 5-15-2. I got a lot of trashes. How about now ? My post was in Gregor's "let's keep Eakins" campaign.

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#76 Doctor Smashy
February 27 2014, 09:06PM
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Wow...did I ever not miss Sportsnet during the Olympics...I don't mind Debrusk because I find it amazing how much he looks like a Doonesbury character and Keven Quinn reminds me of Kevin Nealon. Hell, I don't even mind Gene's terrible puns....BUT...Mark Spector has to stay off of the TV. He is terrible. His rant in the first intermission praising Hendricks for that dirty hit was disgusting. Spector has the most superficial understanding of the game of anyone I have ever heard talk about it. "Was it a dirty hit? Yeah it was a dirty hit but who cares? Hit somebody!" Eakins best moment this year was embarrassing that tool during the scrum...what an idiot.

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#77 tabs
February 27 2014, 09:07PM
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loweblows wrote:

stop it

You come on here and call me a f*cking idiot, I call you a f"ucking tool and you come back with "stop it".

Is there an ignore button here........

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#78 Randaman
February 27 2014, 09:07PM
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Man, the trade values are really skyrocketing aren't they? 1st rounder for Hemsky? Haha. Playing with Gagner will be the undoing of his trade value. He will be covering defensively for Gags & Eberle so much his offence will be NIL! Good call Eakins & MacT. Fail!!!

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#79 Quack
February 27 2014, 09:08PM
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This just in.... The oilers still suck

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#80 loweblows
February 27 2014, 09:09PM
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tabs wrote:

You come on here and call me a f*cking idiot, I call you a f"ucking tool and you come back with "stop it".

Is there an ignore button here........

absolutely no need for that kind of talk. no need.

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#81 Rod from Viking
February 27 2014, 09:10PM
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Tuningout wrote:

Before this game I mentioned a final 22 games of 5-15-2. I got a lot of trashes. How about now ? My post was in Gregor's "let's keep Eakins" campaign.

I think you will be a lot closer than some media that are talking 12 wins and 25pts.

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#82 Randaman
February 27 2014, 09:13PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Wow...did I ever not miss Sportsnet during the Olympics...I don't mind Debrusk because I find it amazing how much he looks like a Doonesbury character and Keven Quinn reminds me of Kevin Nealon. Hell, I don't even mind Gene's terrible puns....BUT...Mark Spector has to stay off of the TV. He is terrible. His rant in the first intermission praising Hendricks for that dirty hit was disgusting. Spector has the most superficial understanding of the game of anyone I have ever heard talk about it. "Was it a dirty hit? Yeah it was a dirty hit but who cares? Hit somebody!" Eakins best moment this year was embarrassing that tool during the scrum...what an idiot.

Agreed but I do agree with his point that they have to play with more fire! Another thrilling period comes to an end. Thank god

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#83 Loweblows
February 27 2014, 09:13PM
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I am the original loweblows and i dont approve of the other loweblows boorish language-time to change my moniker since i dont want to be associated to you-

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#84 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
February 27 2014, 09:21PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Forget Welcome Back Kotter. The old TV show that best represents the Oilers is obviously The Smurfs.

Smurfs were tougher than Oilers....it'd say more like teletubbies.....with the controversial gay purple triangle.

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#85 tabs
February 27 2014, 09:22PM
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loweblows wrote:

absolutely no need for that kind of talk. no need.

I have no history with you, I've never commented on your posts - never. You come on here and call me a f*cking idiot. Then in your next post write "stop it" now it's " absolutely no need for that kind of talk. no need".

Do me a favor and don't ever reply to my posts again. Try and enjoy the rest of your evening.

Fricken whack-job

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#86 tabs
February 27 2014, 09:23PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I think you will be a lot closer than some media that are talking 12 wins and 25pts.

I had them winning 7 of the final 22

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#87 Alsker
February 27 2014, 09:26PM
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Thank goodness Minni is one of the worst road teams in the league otherwise this might really be embarrassing. Does Eakins ever adjust to whats happening during the game or is that just not necessary?? I miss the Olympics.

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#88 tabs
February 27 2014, 09:26PM
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Randaman wrote:

Agreed but I do agree with his point that they have to play with more fire! Another thrilling period comes to an end. Thank god

In fairness to Spec he was talking mostly about changing the culture, not so much about praising Hendricks hit.

And anyone that believes the culture is good around here might be drinking the koolaid.

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#89 loweblows
February 27 2014, 09:27PM
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tabs wrote:

I have no history with you, I've never commented on your posts - never. You come on here and call me a f*cking idiot. Then in your next post write "stop it" now it's " absolutely no need for that kind of talk. no need".

Do me a favor and don't ever reply to my posts again. Try and enjoy the rest of your evening.

Fricken whack-job

and there you go flying off the handle once again. sheesh!

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#90 Doctor Smashy
February 27 2014, 09:28PM
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Randaman wrote:

Agreed but I do agree with his point that they have to play with more fire! Another thrilling period comes to an end. Thank god

Sure...his "point" (sarcasm directed at him, not you) is hard to disagree with - Petry being his best example of how they should NOT act. But my problem with this guy is that he can't tell the difference between Nuge battling with Ballard (fire)/Hall dumping Cooke (fire) and Hendricks drilling someone from behind (not fire).

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#91 Rod from Viking
February 27 2014, 09:32PM
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Alsker wrote:

Thank goodness Minni is one of the worst road teams in the league otherwise this might really be embarrassing. Does Eakins ever adjust to whats happening during the game or is that just not necessary?? I miss the Olympics.

Their record coming in was 2-5 in first of back to backs as well, looks like they will improve on that record tonight. They should still have lots left for the Canucks tomorrow since not wasting much energy.

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#92 Doctor Smashy
February 27 2014, 09:35PM
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Wouldn't it be hilarious if tabs and loweblows actually work together or something?

Pete: "Hey Dean. You're never going to believe this but I sometimes post on this Oilersnation website..."

Dean: "Oh sure, I know that site. I was posting there just last night..."

...awkward.....

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#93 Tuningout
February 27 2014, 09:37PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I think you will be a lot closer than some media that are talking 12 wins and 25pts.

That's just it. I don't understand how our "well informed media" every time there is a break in play. Keep spitting out this "oilers will be playing over .500 hockey". Do they have short memories ? Too much hope ? I don't know. But it's pathetic really. Completely ignore the facts.

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#94 tabs
February 27 2014, 09:39PM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Wouldn't it be hilarious if tabs and loweblows actually work together or something?

Pete: "Hey Dean. You're never going to believe this but I sometimes post on this Oilersnation website..."

Dean: "Oh sure, I know that site. I was posting there just last night..."

...awkward.....

Not really, since I own the company :)

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#95 loweblows
February 27 2014, 09:47PM
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tabs wrote:

Not really, since I own the company :)

listen junior. whatever two bit operation youre trying to run, i sure hope you clean up your act. real quick.

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#96 dobiezeke
February 27 2014, 09:49PM
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I have never seen a team be on the wrong side of checks the way the Oilers are...not even a peewee team tries to hit from the weak side. And the result - easy goal for Heatley.

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#97 Redman
February 27 2014, 09:49PM
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Picking the oilers to play anything close to .500 hockey is as smart as picking Russia to win gold. They've sucked for 8 years, thats not gonna change anytime soon

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#98 Oilers4ever
February 27 2014, 09:49PM
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Hey look... the morons returned to play tonight. Wonders never cease. Knew the stuff before the olympic break was just a smoke and mirrors act. Wake me up when spring is here and I can drive my sports car again. Hockey in this city sucks donkey balls.

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#99 Randaman
February 27 2014, 09:50PM
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tabs wrote:

Not really, since I own the company :)

I just figured it out. You must own Immaturity.com?? That would explain it... Just sayin LOL

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#100 dobiezeke
February 27 2014, 09:53PM
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@tabs

You never know...Loweblows may do well on one of your dickie dee carts.

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