GDB 66.0: A FASTH START

Jason Gregor
March 11 2014 11:58AM

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Viktor Fasth stopped 19 of 21 shots in regulation and three in the shotout to win his NHL debut 3-2 over Nashville on January 26th, 2013. He went on to win his first eight NHL games with a dazzling .934sv% and a 1.87 GAA.

During his next twenty starts, 15 last year and 5 this year, he's compiled a 9-8-3 record with a .901sv% and a 2.45 GAA. Tonight in Minnesota, he'll get his first start as an Oiler and his first NHL start since November 18th, 2013.

He is excited about the opportunity to compete for the starting job in Edmonton, but he'll need to be very good down the stretch to match Ben Scrivens.

Fasth should have ample opportunity to impress the coaching staff and his teammates. The Oilers have been out shot in 11 of their past 12 games by an average of 36.4 to 25.3. The only game the Oilers weren't out shot was in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota with both teams firing 21 shots.

Fasth will need to play like he did last January and February if he hopes to play as much as Scrivens. Scrivens has been exceptional in ten starts with the Oilers. He is 5-5 with a 2.30 GAA and a sparkling .938sv%.

LINEUP

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

Marincin-Petry
Fraser-J.Schultz
Klefbom-Ference

Fasth

Gagner's line played very well vs. LA. Hall has four points in his last two games and Gagner is starting to show some offensive life. They will need to be very good again if the Oilers hope to start the road trip with a win.

The RNH line wasn't great vs. LA and individually they've struggled to score goals recently. Eberle has 1 goal and 3 points in his last 9 games. RNH has 0 goals and 3 points in his last 11 games, while Yakupov has 1 goal and 6 points in his last 10 games. Yakupov has at least produced some points, but these three need to score more consistently.

Oscar Klefbom makes his NHL debut. The 19th overall pick in 2011 has had shoulder issues for a few years. He only played 11 games last season, and he's dressed for 45 of 60 games in OKC this year. Hall and Nugent-Hopkins returned from shoulder surgery and haven't had any issues, but Klefbom is still having minor shoulder problems. The Oilers are hoping he can stay healthy, but you wonder if one more surgery would help him stay healthy?

Regardless of his shoulder problems, he adds much needed size, strength and mobility on the backend. If he stays healthy, I'd play him every game down the stretch. I don't need to see more of Philip Larsen to realize he isn't a long term answer.

QUICK HITS...

  • Ales Hemsky's comments yesterday in Ottawa had the Nation fired up. The Oilers management and players should take his comments to heart rather than brush them off. There are clearly some issues within the organization, and instead of saying Hemsky was never a leader, so he shouldn't be commenting on it, they must take hard look in the mirror and change some things.

    The young players need to be more competitive, and management needs to surround them with some veterans. No team wins with a top-six comprised of all young players. David Perron is the veteran of the group, but he's only been here for 65 games. They need a veteran skilled forward to help teach, challenge and mentor the kids, and of course they need to improve the backend. Neither acquisition will be easy, but that has to be Craig MacTavish main focus this summer.

  • I've said for years that rotating the 4th line or 6/7 D-men wasn't going to solve anything, and it hasn't. Hemsky was bang on with that assessment. I wish Hemsky would have shared these thoughts when he was here, and maybe he did privately, but considering how Sheldon Souray was treated after he voiced his concerns, I can see why Hemsky said nothing. Granted, Hemsky's comments weren't a direct attack on any person specifically, but I wonder if he feared being ostracized if he spoke out?

  • Scary situation in Dallas last night with Rich Peverley. Early reports suggest he is doing okay, but no one knows if he will play hockey again. There is a push to have every hockey rink in Alberta equipped with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in the coming years. We will discuss this on my show today at 4 p.m. The AEDs are very easy to use. I took a CPR course two weeks ago where we got to use one, and they are idiot proof (I figured out to use it), so any parent or spectator could use it safely and properly in case of an emergency. They save lives.

  • No radical rule changes have emerged from the annual GM meetings, but there is an appetite to lower the amount of SO games. I'd love to see 3-on-3 after five minutes of 4-on-4, but the easiest change could be for them to switch ends. When teams have the long change we see more goals.

    NHL teams have scored 1492 goals in the first period, 1844 in the second period and 1792 in the third. The difference between the 2nd and 3rd period isn't much, but clearly most teams feel their way into games in the first. Switching ends in the SO might increase scoring a bit, but I'd like to see them do that and play four minutes of 3-on-3.

  • I'd love to see the NHL adapt a new point system that rewards teams for winning in regulation, three points, but right now the league, sadly, has no interest in it.

TONIGHT....

girlsgonewild

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers' struggles in Minnesota continue. They are 2-14-3 in their last 19 visits to the Excel Energy Centre, and they pick up their 15th loss in their last 20 trips by a 3-1 score.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get out shot. The good news is the Wild don't generate many shots so it will only be about 25-22.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Klebom levels Dany Heatley with a solid check in the second period and instantly becomes a fan favourite.

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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#51 GoCanadaGo
March 11 2014, 03:46PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Yakupov and RNH are still 21.

The call him Sid the Kid, so I think he was referred to a kid a few times..ha

The difference in Toews and Crosby was that they have veteran leaders amongst their forward group. Crosby learned from Lemieux. They also had Roberts and Guerin around when he won...

Hossa and Sharp were with Kane and Toews. Having skilled veterans makes it easier to adapt.

Stamkos had Marty St.Louis. I believe it helps having skilled leaders to learn from.

Hemsky was most skilled fwd they had, but he was pushed to side quickly, before younger forwards had proven they were better, IMO.

They haven't had highly skilled guys to shelter them in Edmonton, and I feel the young players haven't worked hard enough to become leaders. It is hard.

Ok fair enough. But what about the point of not calling them "kids" anymore. 18-20 can be a "kid". Even the 2 youngest at 21 have been playing with and against men for a few years now.

If the media and fans continue to use that term with them, it does more harm that good for their reputation. The NHL isn't an old mans league anymore, yes there are some exceptions, but a lot of teams build their core and try to win around those in their mid 20's.

No longer are they kids, at least lets use the term young men if anything.

This relates to what Hemsky said. If the core is treated like children they won't progress from being children. They each have been leaders of their previous teams so its not like leadership is a new thing to them. The letters on their sweaters and the dollars on their pay stubs are what they are because of the expectation to be leaders in the room. (Hate to bring up contracts, but they are what they are.)

And I'm pretty sure Crosby will be "Sid the Kid" till he retires... a nickname is a wee bit different than how he's viewed in regards to age.

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#52 Oiler Al
March 11 2014, 03:53PM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

Here's a letter Kevin Lowe sent out to season ticket holders when he was still GM:

Hi, this is Kevin Lowe.

After a very eventful week around the hockey club, I wanted to take a moment and communicate to you, our most valued customers, our continued commitment to success.

As I stated last week, our hockey club will always do what we feel is in the best interest of our fans, and in the best interest of building a Stanley Cup championship team here in Oil Country.

Right now, we have a core group of veteran players and a wealth of emerging young talent. Last week’s trade brought us two more young players in Robert Nilsson and Ryan O’Marra, and another first round draft choice in this year’s NHL draft. They will join players like Pouliot, Jacques, Stortini, Brodziak, and Schremp, just to name a few, as potential members of a championship Oilers club. Certainly, along the way, we will add to our roster through trades and free agency when the right opportunities are there, now that we have the resources to do so. Make no mistake; our plan is to return the Stanley Cup to Edmonton.

We have an exciting future ahead of us all, and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Thanks again for your ongoing support of Oilers Hockey.

Ya,he knows something about winning. Its all snake oil juice to sell season tickets.

Other than maybe, Brodziak, the other six players will never see their names on any kind of NHL trophy, including the Stanley.

If Lowe really really meant what he said about those players, shows you how much he knows about judging NHL talent.

My most recent favorite saying.. the fish rots from the head..

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#53 RexHolez
March 11 2014, 03:57PM
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They still have to play?? Seems unfair to make this team play games they have no chance of being remotely competitive in

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#54 The Soup Fascist
March 11 2014, 04:17PM
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Gene will be a busy punster tonight - what with all the Fasth / Fast options he has.

But we are forgetting Oscar. Undoubtedly there will be a "(Klef)bomb from the point" - reference at some point in Gene's schtick. Or an "Oscar can be "grouchy" when Wild forwards are in front of the net". There must be another game in LA at some point so Geno can beat the horse that is "Oscar in Hollywood".

Lord help us when Nurse is in the lineup fulltime. "Nursing a one goal lead". "Someone call a Nurse".

In may never end.

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#56 james_dean
March 11 2014, 04:40PM
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Princepe has to go. His garbage is old.

Also bye bye kypreos bye bye lawton

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#57 Vinotintazo
March 11 2014, 04:54PM
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I dont mind principe's stuff, now Quinn and Debrusk, thats a whole different story.

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#58 SmythsMullet
March 11 2014, 04:58PM
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Principes focusing on his last name with all the jokes. I predict tonight Gene will use Fasths first name. "in leading us to Viktor-y"

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#59 Striker
March 11 2014, 05:15PM
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@Jason Gregor

"Hemsky was most skilled fwd they had, but he was pushed to side quickly, before younger forwards had proven they were better, IMO."

Do you think they should have re-signed Hemsky before the trade deadline. Then let one of the younger wingers try to prove they deserve that spot and try to supplant him next year?

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#60 MessyEH
March 11 2014, 05:44PM
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Why is Perron considered a Vet and Gagner gets no mention. Same Draft year . Same age. But Perron looks good, Gagner looks like some kid that needs to be seasoned in the minors.

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#61 Smokey
March 11 2014, 05:56PM
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Hemsky sure looks like a follower lately? Sens fans are pretty damn happy with our loss. Hemsky was a good soldier, sorry to the guy who hates the reference. I expect the Oilers will miss his ability to enter the zone and maintain possession. Horrible to loose quality players with no replacement, and his departure is sad because you can't replace a guy who brings the abilities he has to the table.

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#63 ubermiguel
March 11 2014, 06:13PM
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MessyEH wrote:

Why is Perron considered a Vet and Gagner gets no mention. Same Draft year . Same age. But Perron looks good, Gagner looks like some kid that needs to be seasoned in the minors.

That's just sad for Gagner. There are a couple of Gold Medal winners from that draft year too (Subban, Benn).

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#64 The Real Scuba Steve
March 11 2014, 06:45PM
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It's getting ugly.....

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#65 kale
March 11 2014, 06:46PM
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Oh man down 3-0 in the first...I was so hoping the team would be there for Fasth, especially after the amazing save just before the third goal

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#66 **
March 11 2014, 06:46PM
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Fasth is playing really well but he's got zero support in clearing the net and the Oilers d men keep working against him. Wow, just wow

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#67 GoCanadaGo
March 11 2014, 06:47PM
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Just my opinion but, Jared Spurgeon is like Ray F. just said, has got to be on of the smallest players in the league. Granted this year hes protected by being paired with Suter, but he hasnt always been. The guy plays a great hard working aggressive game. He thinks the game very well and defends smart. Who on the Oilers D has smart and capabilities like that. The Oil have more "skill" on paper if you think Schultz. But this guy was drafted 158th overall...in 2010! That is called developing a player proper!

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#68 ubermiguel
March 11 2014, 06:48PM
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Does pinning the man on the boards behind your own net ever work?

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#69 Alsker
March 11 2014, 06:48PM
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Man this game was over as quick as our season was, just EPIC. Eakins has lots of time to decide which of his speeches we hear come post game.

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#70 Randaman
March 11 2014, 06:49PM
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Welcome to the most pathetic sh!tshow on ice Victor.

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#71 **
March 11 2014, 06:51PM
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The oilers deploy too casual, too slow, like they're on practice, not in game.

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#72 **
March 11 2014, 06:52PM
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I like how Klefbom doesn't just shoot the puck away, he actually makes sure it goes to a teammate.

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#73 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 11 2014, 06:59PM
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Men against boys.

To be expected. Helps our draft status.

Reader Poll: if you're a Man Prop this, if you're a Boy Trash it!

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#74 Cain
March 11 2014, 07:00PM
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Man, locking Gagner up for a mere 4.8 Mil per year sure is paying off now...every game he looks more and more disinterested than the game before, and that's saying something.

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#75 Reggie
March 11 2014, 07:02PM
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After 60 + games the Oilers are learning. The coaching is stellar.

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#76 Jackson
March 11 2014, 07:07PM
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I'm the only one here that said not to sign Gagner I got torched for saying they should trade him for Brandon Sutter. All you went on Brandon is a 3rd line centre. Well I'm back how is your 2nd line centre doing?

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#77 **
March 11 2014, 07:08PM
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Cain wrote:

Man, locking Gagner up for a mere 4.8 Mil per year sure is paying off now...every game he looks more and more disinterested than the game before, and that's saying something.

The love lust for Gagner fro this organization has baffled me to no end. Any other team would ahve given him a one year contract to show what he could do. Look at Montreal, they stuck to their guns with Subban, and he is an olympian.

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#78 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 11 2014, 07:10PM
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Viktors new mask is in the paint shop. One side has a picture of a deer in the headlights, the other side has a guy shooting fish in a barrel. Written across the front is ÄÖÜ? That's WTF? in Swedish.

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#79 FireKLowe
March 11 2014, 07:11PM
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Day and night difference between Sportsnet's coverage of Oiler games and TSN's coverage. TSN actually breaks down the Oilers' horrendous play whereas Sportsnet not so much. Still can't believe the stupid NHL signed the deal with SN.

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#80 Rod from Viking
March 11 2014, 07:16PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Viktors new mask is in the paint shop. One side has a picture of a deer in the headlights, the other side has a guy shooting fish in a barrel. Written across the front is ÄÖÜ? That's WTF? in Swedish.

That is so funny, there should be a parting sea on the back to symbolize the stellar d.

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#81 kale
March 11 2014, 07:22PM
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we are only giving up one two on one per power play tonight....thats an improvement(looking for a silver lining)

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#82 Rob F
March 11 2014, 07:23PM
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The Oilers should start declining the powerplay....is that possible

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#83 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 11 2014, 07:23PM
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I made my mind up about his Fasth kid. I like him, I like him a lot! Just what we needed, right when we needed it.

This message sponsored in part by Aaron Ekblad, along with the Committee for a Better Oiler Blueline (CBOB) next season.

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#84 Anton
March 11 2014, 07:24PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

That is so funny, there should be a parting sea on the back to symbolize the stellar d.

TSN only needs to cover Oilers game once awhile, but SN has to do it almost every game. Won't you give it up on trying to analyze a bad team on daily bases too?

So, with such a bad display of PP that looks like Eakins still unwilling to give up 1-3-1 yet.

Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

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#85 2004Z06
March 11 2014, 07:25PM
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So when are Gagner and Eberle going to be held accountable for being lazy and disengaged? Why do they continue to use Gagner for the offensive zone draws on the PP? Hell at least Gordon would win the draw and go to the net.

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#86 Anton
March 11 2014, 07:25PM
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Rob F wrote:

The Oilers should start declining the powerplay....is that possible

It is not like that Oilers can score on even chance anyway.

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#87 The Real Scuba Steve
March 11 2014, 07:28PM
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We will be the only team in hockey history of not having a defensemen score a power play goal in a whole single season? Wow that's horrible! well according to 6Rings, we are approaching year 5 of this rebulid so everything going to be alright.

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#88 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 11 2014, 07:31PM
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Fasth making some big saves!

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#89 Butters
March 11 2014, 07:33PM
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Still better than being a Canucks fan.

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#90 Cain
March 11 2014, 07:34PM
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Another lost-a-step hooking penalty by Smyth...time to retire.

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#91 kale
March 11 2014, 07:35PM
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nice hit Smyth, your best one all season, wished it wasnt on the nuge though

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#92 Anton
March 11 2014, 07:35PM
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Oilers don't deserve to have Scrivens and Vasth...hope the rest of the team will be as good as our goalies one day.

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#93 Rod from Viking
March 11 2014, 07:35PM
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Anton wrote:

TSN only needs to cover Oilers game once awhile, but SN has to do it almost every game. Won't you give it up on trying to analyze a bad team on daily bases too?

So, with such a bad display of PP that looks like Eakins still unwilling to give up 1-3-1 yet.

Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

Excuse me isn't what this site is for?

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#94 Randaman
March 11 2014, 07:37PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

I made my mind up about his Fasth kid. I like him, I like him a lot! Just what we needed, right when we needed it.

This message sponsored in part by Aaron Ekblad, along with the Committee for a Better Oiler Blueline (CBOB) next season.

You actually believe Ekblad would sponsor anything that would bring him to this joke of an organization(I use that word lightly).

Lindros part deux if I was drafted here.

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#95 Rod from Viking
March 11 2014, 07:38PM
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Anton wrote:

Oilers don't deserve to have Scrivens and Vasth...hope the rest of the team will be as good as our goalies one day.

Are you analyzing or just making an observation?

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#96 Dave
March 11 2014, 07:39PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

Day and night difference between Sportsnet's coverage of Oiler games and TSN's coverage. TSN actually breaks down the Oilers' horrendous play whereas Sportsnet not so much. Still can't believe the stupid NHL signed the deal with SN.

I can not stand Cuthbert !! Kevin is better IMHO.

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#97 Anton
March 11 2014, 07:39PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Are you analyzing or just making an observation?

I guess that you are working for SN then.

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#98 Rod from Viking
March 11 2014, 07:43PM
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Anton wrote:

I guess that you are working for SN then.

No I just put my opinion on here like most everyone else without adding personal insults.

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#99 Anton
March 11 2014, 07:45PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

No I just put my opinion on here like most everyone else without adding personal insults.

...ok...sure

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#100 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 11 2014, 07:48PM
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Randaman wrote:

You actually believe Ekblad would sponsor anything that would bring him to this joke of an organization(I use that word lightly).

Lindros part deux if I was drafted here.

They all have to start somewhere. The other three firsts came here with an open mind. If the Oilers can't build a team they'll want to hang around and be apart of, then that's not these kids fault.

May be too late for Hall and Yakupov, but the Oilers can't say these kids didn't give Edmonton shot.

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