GDB 71.0: THE BEST TEAM WON

Jason Gregor
March 20 2014 11:52AM

defeat

Sometimes you just need to accept that your competition is better. Twenty days ago the Buffalo Sabres had 44 points and the Oilers had 48. The Sabres had two games in hand and some wondered if the Oilers could grab 30th spot once again.

In a short span of 20 days, the Sabres have shown they are much more deserving of a 30th place finish. It was a close race less than three weeks ago, but the Sabres desire, commitment and determination to finish 30th was too much for the Oilers to overcome. The Sabres have lost seven straight and now have a 13-point cushion on the Oilers in the "Be Bad of Ekblad" sweepstakes.

Give them credit, when the race for 30th heated up the Sabres ran away with it. They've earned their position, and on April 15th they will have the best chance, 25%, of winning the draft lottery.

No team has won four Stanley Cups in five years since the Oilers in 1984-1988. It is extremely difficult to achieve, and no one should have expected the Oilers to pick first overall for the 4th time in the last five years either. It was unrealistic, and while they will still have a chance to pick first via the lottery, 18.8% if they finish 29th, 14.2% if they finish 28th and a 10.7% shot if they end up 27th, their odds are diminishing by the day.

The Sabres commitment to winning the lottery has been solid. By trading Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson and Steve Ott they've taken a stranglehold on 30th and they won't relinquish it. They are so committed to having the best odds in the lottery that they could have the lowest point total in the NHL since the Islanders finished with 52 in 2001. The Sabres need 7 points in their final 13 games to pass the Islanders, but 9 of those games are on the road and they've only won 7 road games all season.

Meanwhile, the Oilers are 10-4-3 over their past 17 games and are now in a fight with Florida, New York and Calgary for 29th to 26th.

Despite a banged up offensive unit, tonight is a must-win game for the Oilers. A loss to Buffalo would make the past 10 victories meaningless in my opinion. They can't afford to take steps back against bad teams.

LINEUP

Hall-Gagner-Perron
Lander-RNH-Pitlick
Hendricks-Gordon-Smyth
Gazdic-MacIntyre-Jones

Ference-Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Fraser-Klefbom

Scrivens

Eakins suggested he will keep rotating his goalies, but he will switch things up so Fasth can face the Ducks and Scrivens can battle the Kings.

Eberle and Yakupov weren't on the ice this morning and both are out for tonight. Eberle did not have an MRI, and the team feels he doesn't need one. He is day-to-day. I doubt we will see the aforementioned 4th line with MacIntyre at centre, but you might see Smyth in the middle with the two massive bookends for a shift or two.

Eakins suggested he might play dress 7 D-men, so we won't know until game time who is in.

Many wondered why the Oilers recalled MacIntryre instead of Arcobello or Horak. The Oilers desperately want the OKC Barons to make the playoffs, and they need those two down there more than up here, although Arcobello tweaked something last game and is day-to-day and might not play vs. Texas. The Barons are 3 points back of 8th place and 4 back of 6th. It makes sense to keep their two leading scorers down there for the weekend.

MacIntyre knows his role and his limitations as a player, but I've never encountered a guy who truly appreciates his time in the NHL like MacIntyre. He is living a dream, and he'll cherish every moment that he is with the big club. It is easy to cheer for a guy like that. It is a refreshing change from some of the players who seemingly take the NHL lifestyle for granted.

QUICK HITS...

  • It is amazing how one goal can change the psyche of a player. Schultz took three slapshots last game, and I don't think he'd taken three in the previous 69 games. He ripped one off the crossbar and two others led to scoring chances. I asked him why he suddenly decided to use his slapshot. "I don't know. I couldn't tell ya. It was one of those things, I scored last game from shooting the puck and it gives me more confidence. I think I'm finally starting to realize that is the way we are going to score goals and get chances for our team."

    Schultz is a pass-first type of player, and shooting quickly or often doesn't come natural to him. He'll need to fight the urge to pass and keep shooting. If the does, the PP should have more success in the future.

  • The CHL regular season is over and now the playoffs begin. Here is a quick look at how the Oilers prospects did ranked by total points.

    Greg Chase: 7th rounder in 2013. 70-35-50-85. Calgary finished 3rd in east division of WHL. Tied Edmonton for most points in east. Chase had the 9th most points of any player in his draft class. That doesn't include the 7 picks who are in the NHL, but for a 7th rounder he had a fantastic season.
    Mitch Moroz: 2nd rounder in 2012. 70-35-28-63. Edmonton finished 1st in WHL east divsion. A very strong season for Moroz, who likely will go to AHL next season.
    Jackson Houck: 4th rounder in 2013. 69-34-27-61. Vancouver finished 7th in west division in WHL.
    Darnell Nurse: 1st round 2013. 64-13-37-50. Sault Ste. Marie had 4th most points in OHL. 2nd seed in western conference.
    Jujhar Khaira: 3rd rounder in 2012. 59-16-27-43. Everett finished 5th in WHL west division.
    Kyle Platzer: 4th rounder in 2013. 66-22-14-36. Was traded from London to Owen Sound and will face Nurse in the first round of the playoffs.
    Marc-Oliver Roy: 2nd rounder in 2013. 39-14-21-35. Blainville-Broisbriand Armada finished 5th best in QMJHL.
    Ben Betker: 6th rounder in 2013. 68-7-14-21. D-man helped Everett finish 5th in WHL west division.

    The Oilers have other prospects in Europe and the NCAA, but I'll feature them in another article. Chase, Moroz and Nurse had the best seasons. Roy was good when healthy.

  • Day two of the Gregor MS Bike Tour WSOP poker event is already 60% sold out in less than 24 hours. If you want to enter call 780.643.4060. Details on buy in and winnings is here.

TONIGHT....

bar-refaeli-photoshoot

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers keep rolling with a 5-2 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall picks up three points. Hall needs 16 points in his final 12 games to reach 80. He'll need a few three point nights to have a chance, and with Buffalo using their 4th string goalie tonight is one of those games

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Luke Gazdic scores. With all they talk surrounding MacIntyre, Gazdic, who has done very well in fights this year, shows the organization he has some offence.

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 Craig1981
March 20 2014, 05:34PM
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Spydyr wrote:

How could he ever prove that Mac-T offered 100 grand more then he was going to before?

Come on man.

Ya, it might be tough, but then again organizations have leaks and its possible the NHL finds out. Is that really a bees nest you want to poke just to beat some guy that plays 12min a game?!?

And what about the suspension to MacT and Eakins if that happened. Sean Payton got a year for the bounty incident.

PS. If Big Mac got offered to a one way contract after spending the year in the AHL it would raise red flags, let alone +$100,000 plus on it.

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#52 Spydyr
March 20 2014, 05:34PM
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majin_oil wrote:

Totally agree! Here's hoping this new found "toughness" this team is showing can last till the next canucks game

IMO new found "toughness" this team is showing has a lot to do with standing up for one another.It does not hurt to have a few guys who can bring it on the team.

For far to long the team has been the softest in th NHL.

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#53 Spydyr
March 20 2014, 05:39PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

Ya, it might be tough, but then again organizations have leaks and its possible the NHL finds out. Is that really a bees nest you want to poke just to beat some guy that plays 12min a game?!?

And what about the suspension to MacT and Eakins if that happened. Sean Payton got a year for the bounty incident.

PS. If Big Mac got offered to a one way contract after spending the year in the AHL it would raise red flags, let alone +$100,000 plus on it.

He made $625,000 on a two way contract and is UFA offering him $725,000 with good pay in the AHL would not raise a flag.Even if it did it is almost impossible to prove.Bring him up for Flames and Canuck games.The fans would love it.

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#54 Craig1981
March 20 2014, 06:02PM
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@Spydyr

You are missing the point.

You want to offer a contract to jump an opposing player and then repay whatever his suspension was on his next contract?!?!???

I am saying people would know about that. The agent, player, GM, Eakins, other people in the organization. Incidents like this get out. See The Bounty scandal, Armstrong, SMU death penalty, etc.

The fact is the NHL discipline if you got caught would be heavy. Draft picks forfeited, management coach and player suspensions, some of them maybe lifetime. Now you would risk that to have some 12 min a game forward take a beating?!?!! I'm not sure there is anything I can say to make you realize how ludicrous your thinking is. Let alone talk about how unethical your idea is. OMG why am I typing this

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#55 Spydyr
March 20 2014, 06:22PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

You are missing the point.

You want to offer a contract to jump an opposing player and then repay whatever his suspension was on his next contract?!?!???

I am saying people would know about that. The agent, player, GM, Eakins, other people in the organization. Incidents like this get out. See The Bounty scandal, Armstrong, SMU death penalty, etc.

The fact is the NHL discipline if you got caught would be heavy. Draft picks forfeited, management coach and player suspensions, some of them maybe lifetime. Now you would risk that to have some 12 min a game forward take a beating?!?!! I'm not sure there is anything I can say to make you realize how ludicrous your thinking is. Let alone talk about how unethical your idea is. OMG why am I typing this

Not once did I say tell him to do anything.What I did say is if he was fined the team could find a creative way to pay the fine.Such as including the amount in his next contract.Not sure where you got the bounty thing from it came for your mind.

Stop being delusional.

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"excusee meeee while i piss this guy"

Every time Hendricks lays someone out, imma go outside and belt this out.

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#57 Craig1981
March 20 2014, 07:16PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Not once did I say tell him to do anything.What I did say is if he was fined the team could find a creative way to pay the fine.Such as including the amount in his next contract.Not sure where you got the bounty thing from it came for your mind.

Stop being delusional.

"Make it up too him next contract.Give him a sweet one way deal for being a good solider" Spydyr

Offering to do this for him is the same as telling him.

The New Orleans Bounty Scandal. Its an example of a professional North American sports team bending league rules to injure players. It seems pretty relevant as it is what you are suggesting

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#58 Brian
March 20 2014, 07:37PM
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On another note, I hope Quinn/DeBrusk watch and listen to the pros work s game, and take notes.

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#59 LoweBlow
March 20 2014, 07:42PM
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This actually may be an interesting game. I can barely believe TSN will play it! Battle in the basement. Scott Vs Mac!

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#60 LoweBlow
March 20 2014, 07:43PM
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Also, nice to have a decent commentary! Cuthbert & Johnson!

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#61 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 07:50PM
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Is it bad that I wish my Eberle jersey said "Gazdic" on the back?

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#62 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 07:52PM
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Mac was in the warmup but isn't in the lineup for the game. I can feel Wonger's rage from here.

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#63 Johnnydapunk
March 20 2014, 08:13PM
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If that was Scrivens having a go at Conacher for the hit on The Nuge, that is a very good sign as I've never seen the Oil have that kind of mentality before.

I don't know what changed with the Oil, but is good to see.

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#64 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 08:14PM
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Liking the point shots from Schultz, spread it on.

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#65 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 08:22PM
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Good shot, Hallsy.

This is an eerily quiet GDB. No interest in Toilet Bowl 2: Electric Boogaloo?

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#66 LoweBlow
March 20 2014, 08:26PM
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Schultz has a bloody great shot! Great patience too.

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#67 vetinari
March 20 2014, 08:27PM
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Going to miss TSN broadcasts... But hey, the corpse is showing signs of life... hope to see this mentality and energy carry over to next month's games and the start of next season.

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#68 Zarny
March 20 2014, 08:36PM
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Interesting panel discussion about Carolina. Either Staal brother would solve Edm's problem at C.

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#69 #ThereGoesTheOilers
March 20 2014, 08:43PM
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Off topic, but that goal Hemsky scored tonight was classic. I miss him.

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#70 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 08:46PM
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@#ThereGoesTheOilers

Just saw the highlight, what a move.

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#71 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 09:00PM
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Even Petry's dropping bombs from the blue. I think I've seen more point shots in this game than in the last three seasons.

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#72 Harlie
March 20 2014, 09:08PM
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Ol Dangles gettin the TSN and Eastern love all of a sudden. ;(

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i28UEoLXVFQ

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#73 Mason Storm
March 20 2014, 09:11PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good shot, Hallsy.

This is an eerily quiet GDB. No interest in Toilet Bowl 2: Electric Boogaloo?

It looks like you've got the comments in the thread on a typical pace by yourself. The rest of us decided to sit this one out. Unless the Oilers lose, then it'll turn into a fire/trade/buy-out/sign parade of comments.

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#74 Anton CP
March 20 2014, 09:16PM
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1-3-1...1-3-1...every time that I saw Oilers on PP that I have a nightmare about 1-3-1...

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#75 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 09:16PM
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I'm trying to space them out so it's not so obvious that I'm talking to myself...

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#76 shifty203
March 20 2014, 09:28PM
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Wow. TSN just said Gagner is over 17 minutes of ice time after the first two periods. Hall is 5 seconds behind him in ice time, but hall was in the penalty box for 2 minutes.

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#77 vetinari
March 20 2014, 09:42PM
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I hate you Buffalo... but I love your tasty chicken wings...

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#78 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 09:47PM
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Uh oh

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#79 Gk1980
March 20 2014, 09:47PM
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And that's why we all need to be cautiously optimistic....

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#80 majin_oil
March 20 2014, 09:47PM
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And you guys were worried about draft position... That's never a worry in Oil Country

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#81 Gk1980
March 20 2014, 09:49PM
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And that's why we all need to be cautiously optimistic. This D needs to get rebuilt ASAP.

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#82 vetinari
March 20 2014, 09:49PM
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We're slump busters!

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#83 Randaman
March 20 2014, 09:50PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I'm trying to space them out so it's not so obvious that I'm talking to myself...

Couldn't blame you if you were because this is an epic battle of SUCK! TSN really picked a winner here! Just when you start to think there is improvement they put on this kind of show? Pathetic

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#84 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 09:50PM
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This...

This could get ugly.

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#85 kale
March 20 2014, 09:52PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

This...

This could get ugly.

LOL it was ugly before the game started, thankfully I can switch between march madness and the game

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#86 vetinari
March 20 2014, 09:53PM
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We played good in the first... okay in the second... but man did we come out flat and lifeless in the third.

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#87 The Last Big Bear
March 20 2014, 09:55PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

This...

This could get ugly.

This... has been pretty ugly since about 2008...

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#88 Anton CP
March 20 2014, 09:55PM
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shifty203 wrote:

Wow. TSN just said Gagner is over 17 minutes of ice time after the first two periods. Hall is 5 seconds behind him in ice time, but hall was in the penalty box for 2 minutes.

Perron, Hall, and Gagner all have more minutes than any D-man.

The 3rd period collapse may just because the players are starting to burn out. RNH has the most shift but most of them are short. This is typical Eakins plan on shorten bench: burn whoever on top lines to nothing left into 3rd period. This is just like the first game of the season against Jets...well, 70 games later that Eakins is still running the same **** as the first game. Someone is just never going to learn.

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#89 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 09:56PM
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@kale

I kinda meant the rest of the season. This is literally the easiest game they play the rest of the year.

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#90 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
March 20 2014, 10:05PM
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"Oilers get a much-needed man advantage"

What?

Well it had been about 45 seconds since the last 2 on 1 they gave up...

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#91 Ivan Drago
March 20 2014, 10:07PM
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Gagners defensive zone coverage as a center makes me wanna puke. I'm sick and tired of it. 6 yrs and he still doesn't get it. Trading him will be addition by subtraction. He needs to spend less time chewing his mouthguard and more time learning how to read the play in his end. Utterly useless.

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#92 Rob F
March 20 2014, 10:11PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Good shot, Hallsy.

This is an eerily quiet GDB. No interest in Toilet Bowl 2: Electric Boogaloo?

its called march madness

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#93 LoweBlow
March 20 2014, 10:11PM
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Dear god!!! Those Oiler cheerleaders are LOW quality. Hahahahah!

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#94 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 20 2014, 10:12PM
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Another season of this and we're gonna have a full blown Tibetan monk situation, people self-immolating in front of Rexall.

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#95 kale
March 20 2014, 10:15PM
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Does anyone for a second believe Gagner is on a roll with his 9 points in 8 games...what I see is someone else does all the work and he just happens to be there to pick up a point

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#96 Reg Dunlop
March 20 2014, 10:15PM
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I don't know what is more embarrassing, the thick cheerleaders or the sabres outworking us. The first problem can be solved with cocaine, the second with less cocaine.

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#97 tileguy
March 20 2014, 10:15PM
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Well I guess this makes those last ten victories useless, le sigh.

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#98 SlaveLake
March 20 2014, 10:19PM
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Well. Even Gregor said. Lose to the Sabres and forget all the positives from the previous games. Here we go.

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#99 majin_oil
March 20 2014, 10:20PM
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LoweBlow wrote:

Dear god!!! Those Oiler cheerleaders are LOW quality. Hahahahah!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so. WOOF!!!

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#100 SlaveLake
March 20 2014, 10:20PM
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Now that we lost to the Sabres ... can I say "fire Eakins" again without being trashed ?

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