GDB 46.0: LOTS ON THE LINE

Jason Gregor
April 24 2013 12:13PM

  

While Detroit and Columbus battle for 8th place in the west, and the Rangers and Jets try to giveaway their playoff berth, the Oilers are in an epic battle to secure a top-five draft pick. Victories by Carolina and Nashville last night have given the Oilers a legitimate shot at the #4 pick, and a loss tonight would move them into 26th (fifth pick).

I feel for Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and the other players who give a solid effort most nights, because losing sucks, and this year the feelings of frustration, anger, failure and disappointment are more apparent than ever. Oilersnation is as beaten down as some of the players. Many said the 2012 season was rock bottom, however, that isn't the case; this year is turning out to be worse.

The Oilers were supposed to improve and compete for the playoffs this year. They did have a five-game winning streak that had them in the playoffs for ONE day, but since that 24-hour tease the Oilers have plummeted down the standings.

There will be no quick fix for the Oilers in the off-season. They won't be able to fool their fans into believing that an appearance by Oscar Klefbom and their first-round pick will be enough to make them competitive. They sure as hell better not fool themselves into believing that, because the reality is that this team needs improving in many areas.

The most pressing concern for this team is the need to improve their blueline. You can't win with limited size and strength on the backend. They desperately need a legitimate top-pairing defender, however, those aren't easy to find. 

Those changes aren't possible during these final three games, but the players who are in the lineup tonight can at least give an honest effort. Show some pride, show some desire. When your best player, Taylor Hall, is giving a solid effort you'd think the lower-tier players would follow his lead.

If they don't, that should tell Craig MacTavish all he needs to know.

LINEUP

Hall-Gagner-Eberle
Paajarvi-Lander-Yakupov
Hartikainen-Horcoff--Jones
Smyth-Smithson-Brown

Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Whitney-Potter

Dubnyk

Ryan Whitney has a lower body injury, leg, and he will sit tonight. Magnus Paajarvi is healthy so Eric Belanger returns to the pressbox.

The Oilers need to show up tonight, or the Blackhawks will embarrass them. The good news is that the Oilers are 4-1-1 vs. the Hawks over the past two seasons. and they've outscored them 32-23.

At the very least they need to be competitive tonight.

QUICK HITS

  • I disagree with those who believe the Gretzky statue should stay at Rexall, IF or when a new arena actually gets built. Gretzky is connected to the Oilers, not Northlands, Sky Reach Centre or Rexall Place. Molsons purchased the statue and spokesperson Julie Gathercole said,
     
  • I did, however, agree with Mark Spector's thoughts on my show. He said, "The Katz Group should step up and build their own statue at the new rink." That makes sense. They should finally step up and lead the charge. They should build some real statues, like the Roberto Clemente one in Pittsburgh (above, how awesome is that). Make a statement and show the fans you are committed to the past, present and future of your franchise. Spend some of your own money.
     
  • Why are so many fans in love with Teemu Hartikainen? What has he done? He has played 22 games and he has 0 ES points. Zero. If I'm not mistaken, he hasn't even been on the ice for an ES goal. He has an incredible opportunity to earn himself a regular NHL job, but he's done nothing to show he wants that job. Players need to realize they don't get NHL jobs handed to them. They need to earn them.
     
  • Ralph Krueger agreed that Hartikainen needs to be more aggressive and have more pushback. "It is important as part of your persona that you respond to that (Beauchemin hit), whether you are a skilled player or not. It is the grit within our offence that is a major element that is missing on our team. We need to have that from guys who aren't PP guys. He is trying to figure that out, and he needs to become more aggressive with his personality."
     
  • Gotta love the NHL. The Panthers, the worst team in the league, defeated the Rangers, in a fight for their playoff lives, last night. Did anyone pick the Panthers on their Sports Select ticket? I doubt it. Most of us assume the Hawks will win tonight, but in the NHL you never know from game-to-game who will win.
     
  • Oscar Klefbom has spent the past few seasons playing against men, and he looks like he can handle the physical toll of the NHL. He is bigger than many of the guys in the Oilers room. It was refreshing to hear this from Krueger today, "I think he will be able to come to camp and push for the #6 spot on our blueline." The last thing the Oilers need to do is pencil him into their top-four. They need to find proven top-four veterans to play there. If Klefbom comes in and blows the doors off, great, but this team can't expect to improve if they pin their hopes on another young defender.
     
  • Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL with 31 goals. In the 48-game, 1995 season five players had 30+ goals. Owen Nolan, Ray Sheppard and Alex Zhamnov had 30, Jaromir Jagr had 32 and Peter Bondra led the league with 34 goals. The crazy stat is that Bondra only had 9 assists. NINE freaking assists in 48 games, despite scoring 34 goals.
     
  • Here are some other goal-scoring leaders who came close to Bondra's Goals/assist ratio:
                                         YEAR     GP       G         A       PTS
    Cy Denneny               1924      22        22       2        24
    Babe Dye                   1925      29        38       8        46
    Nels Stewart             1926      36        34       8        44
    Maurice Richard       1945      50        50       23      73
    Gaye Stewart             1946      50        37       15      52   
    Bobby Hull                 1962      70        50       34      84
    Bobby Hull                 1967      66        52       28      80
    Peter Bondra             1995      47        34        9       43

    Bondra's season was unlike anything the NHL had seen in 70 years.
     
  • Did you notice Babe Dye's 1925 season? He had 38 goals in 29 games, which was 1.31 goals/game. When Gretzky scored 50 in 39 he was at 1.28. Technically Dye had missed one of his team's game so he had 38 goals in 30 of his team's games which dropped him to 1.26. Either way, Dye had an unreal 1925 season. 
     
  • Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Devan Dubnyk have accepted invitations to the World Championships. Sources tell me Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, Eric and Jordan Staal are also likely to be going. Also Justin Schultz, Nick Schultz and Sam Gagner might get an invite. Ladislav Smid will play for the Czech Repulic. Nail Yakupov, Jeff Petry also have a good chance of representing the USA and Russia.

 TONIGHT....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The last time the Hawks were in Edmonton Sam Gagner had 4 goals and 8 points. No one expected that to happen, so anything is possible tonight. We'll see 10 goals tonight, but the Oilers will lose 6-4.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Andy Moog gets a huge ovation, and before puck drop someone will have the Moog mini-stick they received before the game listed on Kijiji. Likely for $30 bucks.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers fans despite being beaten down, will give a standing ovation in the 2nd period after the 4-89-14 line hem the Hawks in for 30 seconds. The dedication and passion of Oilers fans never ceases to amaze me.

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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#101 Slats
April 24 2013, 07:26PM
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Cmon DSF you know that was another one your whoppers admit it. You were exposed for some pretty weak logic, by G Money.

Really there is no linkage to those facts you threw out - zero. Influence - arguably but no linkage.

move along now . . .time for your Schulz Jr. trashing.

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#102 DSF
April 24 2013, 07:28PM
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Slats wrote:

Cmon DSF you know that was another one your whoppers admit it. You were exposed for some pretty weak logic, by G Money.

Really there is no linkage to those facts you threw out - zero. Influence - arguably but no linkage.

move along now . . .time for your Schulz Jr. trashing.

Schultz doesn't need my help.

Watch.

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#103 Rocket
April 24 2013, 07:29PM
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@G Money

I don't know if DSF is a vancouver troll. I believe DSF lives on the island Although he/she has admitted to watching all Canucks, Oilers, & Wild games so I'm not sure who DSF cheers for.

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#104 Rocket
April 24 2013, 07:31PM
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DSF wrote:

Schultz doesn't need my help.

Watch.

I don't know, if any other team would have got him you would have called it a steal. Not every Oilers rookie is a bust. Give him time.

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#105 DSF
April 24 2013, 07:31PM
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Rocket wrote:

I don't know if DSF is a vancouver troll. I believe DSF lives on the island Although he/she has admitted to watching all Canucks, Oilers, & Wild games so I'm not sure who DSF cheers for.

I also watch all the Kings games too.

This season, I'm a "fan" of Columbus.

But I don't think they're going to make it.

Watch out next year though.

JD and Kelkalainen are two of the smartest guys in hockey.

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#106 G Money
April 24 2013, 07:33PM
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On a different hockey topic - while waiting for the Oiler game to start, I'm forced to endure the TB-TO game finish.

What a spectacularly unselfish play by Lecavalier to get Martin St. Louis the hattie.

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#107 DSF
April 24 2013, 07:33PM
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Rocket wrote:

I don't know, if any other team would have got him you would have called it a steal. Not every Oilers rookie is a bust. Give him time.

Most any other team would have sent him back to the minors long ago.

Even the Leafs have been sitting Gardiner for his defensive play and he's better in his own zone than Schultz.

He may learn how to play his position but you would think at his age he would have a clue.

He doesn't.

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#108 Slats
April 24 2013, 07:36PM
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DSF wrote:

Schultz doesn't need my help.

Watch.

it's so easy with you - I just say the word "Schulz" and you dance. . .it's really funny.

SCHULZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

SCHULZ

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#109 Slats
April 24 2013, 07:37PM
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We could some of that type of leadership and heart from our veterans.

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#110 G Money
April 24 2013, 07:37PM
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DSF wrote:

Most any other team would have sent him back to the minors long ago.

Even the Leafs have been sitting Gardiner for his defensive play and he's better in his own zone than Schultz.

He may learn how to play his position but you would think at his age he would have a clue.

He doesn't.

Wow, you're on fire today, DSF! Though I have heard that turd is a good source of hydrocarbons.

Schultz Jr is leading all rookie D in points. That's why he stays up. Every other team in the league would take him in a heartbeat.

Speaking of rookies - hey DSF, remember back a whole month ago when you were declaring Yak City a bust and predicting he would finish -40?

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#111 Slats
April 24 2013, 07:38PM
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EDIT - in reference to the Lecalvier play

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#112 Rocket
April 24 2013, 07:40PM
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@DSF

Yeah I'm kind of rooting for Columbus too this year to make the playoffs. I've never really hated The Blue Jackets (except for Oiler-killer Kristian Huselius) so it would be good for that franchise.

About Schultz Jr.: I still think it's too early to tell, especially for a defenceman. But you may be right: Gardiner might be better. He also plays on a better team.

I guess we'll see.

Side note: It must be fun to watch L.A. this year; they are a serious contender & my pick to make the western final at least.

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#113 Fantheoilman
April 24 2013, 08:00PM
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What a sweet celebration from Yakupov. Kiss the crest. Man crush. That kid is my new favorite player.

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#114 Jakethesnake
April 24 2013, 08:02PM
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If dubbie plays for team Canada they have no chance of winning. He sucks. 2 weak goals already. Wow. This goalie sucks

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#115 clyde
April 24 2013, 08:02PM
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G Money wrote:

Wow, you're on fire today, DSF! Though I have heard that turd is a good source of hydrocarbons.

Schultz Jr is leading all rookie D in points. That's why he stays up. Every other team in the league would take him in a heartbeat.

Speaking of rookies - hey DSF, remember back a whole month ago when you were declaring Yak City a bust and predicting he would finish -40?

No one outside of Edmonton is speaking all that glowingly about Yak and his one dimensional game. Just looks like more of the same as what they already have. Hall with 2 nice assists on Hawk goals though.

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#116 DSF
April 24 2013, 08:03PM
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@G Money

Schultz.

-1

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#117 Alsker
April 24 2013, 08:04PM
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Great shot by Yakster, hmm lots of chances might end JG could be right @ 6-4, atleast Dubby doing his part so far.

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#118 Alsker
April 24 2013, 08:05PM
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How do we get out numbered 3-1 on the halfboards on the PP. Good support, lol.

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#119 Troy
April 24 2013, 08:07PM
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I could not agree more with the original guys statements. I try to watch all of every game, cuz I love it. However, I've never been so disgusted as a fan, as this year with the Oilers. There's a handful of them that put an effort in all the time, and I mostly mean Hall. I'm a Riders fan so I'm not new with being disappointed but with the Oilers..... They pushing me to be a Jets fan! Completely sick of the lack of effort!..... Sorry to any fans that don't agree with me, hate to say it, but the truth hurts! It hurts me.

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#120 NewAgeSys
April 24 2013, 08:20PM
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Two more points to give Nail the Calder points tie.Three for the lead. Lets push for it. It is our only positive left.A hattrick with an extra assist would be perfect.

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#121 nunyour
April 24 2013, 08:20PM
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Jakethesnake wrote:

If dubbie plays for team Canada they have no chance of winning. He sucks. 2 weak goals already. Wow. This goalie sucks

what he said.

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#122 NewAgeSys
April 24 2013, 08:29PM
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The difference tonight seems to just be that they are targeting Dubbys 5-hole and they capitalised,thats about it.

We are doing ok so far.

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#123 nunyour
April 24 2013, 08:30PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=407200

He's not soft.

if he's scared to drop the gloves we don't need him,we have to many of that kind already.

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#124 Serious Gord
April 24 2013, 08:37PM
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@G Money

1. Point totals do not tell the whole story - see Sam gagner

2. I bet he leads rookie Ds in minutes by a country mile.

3. Dsf is probably right - pretty much any other team would have sent him to okc by now. He could probably use a rest too.

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#125 NewAgeSys
April 24 2013, 08:57PM
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It seems to me that the give and go transitions into the o-zone have traditionally allowed us to destroy this team, so what the heck,why not give it a roll ?Hahahaha. Oh , dont forget the zone entry speed must be correct, not to fast now its a race not a sprint.

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#126 Cheap Shot Charlie
April 24 2013, 09:04PM
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@DSF

YESSSSS!!! How do you do it!?! So, funny!!! Dude's Super Funny!!! Thanks for the posts!

I love you, man! *HUG*

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#127 Reg Dunlop
April 24 2013, 09:17PM
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There was once a time when a game like this would give oil fans false hope. 'See, we can compete with the league's best, we just need to be consistent'. Once we were that naïve. The truth is that the Hawks are trying not to incur any injuries. This has the intensity of a scrimmage. Non-contact hockey with the oil, all of the oil, going through the motions. A complete embarrassment.

Anyone thinking that we hit rock bottom last year, wrong. This year? Wrong again. Like crackheads find out, the bottom is WAY further down than can be imagined.

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#128 NewAgeSys
April 24 2013, 09:19PM
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We want a controlled laterally strong 3 man transition into the o-zone,with a d-man ready to come in behind right to the net to clean up garbage. Not a semi-fast break give and go attempt like we tried there for a bit.ANd when we finish the give and gos we need to use a onetime redirection or some type of quick-release onetimer,we need to speed our shots up,the zone entry is controlled but we execute the onetimer type of shots.

Simple method.

All is well,just hit the o-zone entrys better with lateral strength ,use the onetimers and have a d-man coming in upspeed down the middle for the rebounds we box out with our 3 man entry and net collapse.

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#129 DSF
April 24 2013, 09:38PM
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Schultz.

-2

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#130 @Oilanderp
April 24 2013, 09:41PM
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@Serious Gord

Yeah you're right, Schultz belongs in the AHL. You know he still leads all defencemen in scoring right? There's a guy tied with him who has played 75 games. Schultz played 34. Do you read what you write?

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#131 NewAgeSys
April 24 2013, 09:41PM
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Well the simple goddarn play worked fine for the Hawks, but I was hoping we would execute it,ha ha ha ha ha, the Oilers are so dysfunctional man.They just keep on kissing their sister.

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#132 @Oilanderp
April 24 2013, 09:45PM
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DSF -9.5x10^7

I have recorded all of your little predictions gave you a minus for each one that didn't come true. GO AWAY, Deliberate Stats Fudger.

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#133 Cheap Shot Charlie
April 24 2013, 09:52PM
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DSF wrote:

Schultz.

-2

HAHA!!! Non-stop laughs, like America's funniest home videos!!! You sir, are a Bob Sagat!

I love you, man! *HUG*

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#134 NewAgeSys
April 24 2013, 09:59PM
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J Schultz to Nail for the onetimers,lets work it times a flying.What happened to the fast release onetimers 5on5? And why always the huge windups, faster pass,shorter windup.

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#135 Jerod
April 24 2013, 10:08PM
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Edmonton has a real chance to finish 28th.

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#136 Reg Dunlop
April 24 2013, 10:11PM
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Assuming the oil lose out, a TB win over Fla and a big effort from Nashville in Columbus puts the oil in 28th. 30th, then 29th and now 28th. Movin on up like George Jefferson! Stanley comes home in 2040.

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#137 Jerod
April 24 2013, 10:11PM
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I could see Nashville beating Columbus or overtime.

I could see Tampa Bay beating Florida or overtime.

I could see Edm losing to Minnesota and Vancover

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#138 DSF
April 24 2013, 10:13PM
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Schultz -2

Now -19 on the season.

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#139 Rocket
April 24 2013, 10:13PM
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Well that game was something that happened. The fans didn't really even boo The Oilers too much. Maybe even the ticket holders are getting apathetic.

Anyway, how 'bout that other local sports team. You know the one that can actually beat a calgary hockey team. Great series.

Go Oilkings!

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#140 TeddyTurnbuckle
April 24 2013, 10:19PM
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This website has turned into a blood bath

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#141 madjam
April 24 2013, 10:26PM
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FORESIGHT - Oilers will finish in top 8 of the league next season . Prepare yourselves .

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#142 @Oilanderp
April 24 2013, 10:29PM
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Dubnyk stood on his head and still lost. Without paying much attention I counted 6 breakaways. That is bush league hockey. The first one occurred because Hall decided to try to deke 4 Hawks instead of chipping it deep. That set the tone.

If the d-men know this happens repeatedly, I'm not sure why they just don't back up. Yeah the game is fast but... they do this for a frickn living. Someone along the way isn't accepting the system.

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#143 The Soup Fascist
April 24 2013, 10:32PM
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DSF wrote:

Schultz -2

Now -19 on the season.

How happy you must be! Now if only a puppy would get run over your day would be complete!

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#144 @Oilanderp
April 24 2013, 10:32PM
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The only hope now is to find Kyle Wellwood. He will know what to do. Did you know that during one 60 second stretch in a game 4 years ago Wellwood was a +2? That works out to be +120 per 60 mins!!! He is obviously superior to every Oiler that ever lived ever in everington everville.

Find the Wellwood, Save the World.

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#145 G Money
April 24 2013, 10:33PM
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DSF wrote:

Schultz.

-2

Right on schedule ...

Drops Steaming Fudge - king of the small sample!

Hey DSF, here's a term for you to look up in the dictionary: "Rookie".

Here's another one: "Hockey".

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#146 DSF
April 24 2013, 10:34PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

How happy you must be! Now if only a puppy would get run over your day would be complete!

It is what it is.

He can't play defense AT ALL.

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#147 DSF
April 24 2013, 10:36PM
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G Money wrote:

Right on schedule ...

Drops Steaming Fudge - king of the small sample!

Hey DSF, here's a term for you to look up in the dictionary: "Rookie".

Here's another one: "Hockey".

Why don't you look up 23 year old "LOSER".

46 games is a pretty fair sample size.

Kid can't play.

At all.

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#148 Crispy
April 24 2013, 10:40PM
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I know people are sick of losing, but with our loss and Tampa's win, this is great for the draft. Tampa is playing Florida in game 48 and are just one point behind us. I want Barkov!

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#149 The Soup Fascist
April 24 2013, 10:40PM
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Agree. But too early to write him off. Kid has boat loads of talent. Oilers needed to find him a skilled veteran and they failed to do that. If MacT can right that wrong he will settle down. College and AHL was far too easy for him. NHL speed and size has been a wake up call.

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#150 @Oilanderp
April 24 2013, 10:41PM
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